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alex_wilson
Posts : 728
Join date : 2019-04-10

The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism - Page 3 Empty Re: The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism

on Thu 17 Sep 2020, 5:47 am
Apologies for not posting anything recently, I've been working flat out, indeed the special titanium " Roswell '47 " antennae on my favourite tin foil hat, the one I wear when I go up to Bonny bridge for my bi monthly abduction, is starting to wilt...

My microchip is playing up too ... instead of my controller instructing me to buy lots of fertilizer and to conduct round the clock surveillance on the central London flat of a famous British actress( whose actually an alien hybrid assassin) I'm being woken up by reruns of the iconic 60s radio comedy " Round the Horne" being beamed directly into my frontal cortex....

Apologies too for the numerous sloppy errors I've made, and for the needless repetitions that diminish the narrative flow.

Once I've completed this part( the Great Patriotic War) I'll go back and correct the individual posts.

PART 1

        STALINGRAD PART 9

When dawn broke sluggishly across the blood splattered steppes on the 20th November 1942, with the burnt out wrecks still smouldering fitfully, and plumes of oily black smoke curling up through the frozen air, much to the horror  of the fretful Soviet commanders, peering through their binoculars, it  soon became apparent  - the fog was actually thicker than the morning before.

Great impenetrable banks of fog floated serenely through the regiments of tanks ,massed and waiting. Each machine like the flexed muscles of some giant mechanical beast waiting to whir mightly into motion, rising up to go clanking across the frozen steppes, , the individual commanders ,nervously waiting for the order to advance to come crackling through their headsets , and the drivers peering through the hatches, could barely make out the tank in front of them.
What to do?

The offensive was due to commence at 8am, a quick artillery barrage then the armoured formations, with Volsky's 4th Mechanised Corps in the lead, were then to  surge forward, smashing through the feeble Romanian divisions before linking up at Kalach with their comrades from the Don Front.

Poor Volsky.

What must have been going through his mind? No doubt he looked out at the dense fog with bleary sleepless eyes .. having spent the night endlessly replaying his conversation with the Boss in his mind.
Stalin's words booming out like a siren, echoing through the hollow prison corridors ..waking him up in his cramped solitary confinement cell.

Stalin was to call again this morning.

Three times.

But it wouldn't be Volsky who'd hear the familiar reedy slightly comic Georgian accent coming crackling through the receiver 
Not would it be Vatutin, commander of the Southwestern Front...

It would be Yeremenko, Commander of the Stalingrad Front,  for Colonel General Yeremenko was  in overall command.
Or to put it more straightforwardly it was Tovarisch Yeremenkos head in the noose.

Instead of " Roger and out" Soviet military communiqués of the era usually ended with " You will pay with your life for the mission's failure."

Seeing the thickness of the fog, as it came rolling over the half frozen Volga in great choking waves, like all the ghosts of the battlefield had risen as one, Yeremenko took an unprecedented decision. In the circumstances it was a decision many of his trembling subordinates, picturing   themselves being tied to a post ,with 9 cold rifle barrels and 18 even colder eyes glaring at them impassively, deemed to be foolhardy to the point of being downright suicidal.

" He postponed the offensive until 10am

You can almost picture the shaken colonels and majors, the staff officers and the commissars muttering to each other.
In low anguished voices
As they studied the portly Yeremenko leaning on his cane. Dabbing the forehead of his round flabby peasant's face with a handkerchief.
Wheezing and rasping as he waddled slowly across the floorboards of the Front Headquarters. 
" Has the Colonel General gone mad?"
" Maybe his mistress has left him"
" Maybe his heart condition has got worse"

Yeremenko wouldn't budge 
Even after the Boss himself called him from the Kremlin.

On three seperate occasions. Each time his voice getting a little louder, his breathing a little bit heavier ..and the threats a little bit more ominous.

The fog was too thick for offensive operations. Yeremenko remained calm.

Grossman describes the scene.

Stalin putting the phone down softly before leaning back in his seat. Closing his eyes he pictures divisions, no armies,  of emaciated corpses breaking through the permafrost. Clawing their way out of the mass grave pits, the mouldering rags clinging to their skeletal shoulders, their hollow eyes neither vengeful or remorseless.
Merely sorrowful.

In those 2 hours, as Yeremenko held the southern pincer up, on the banks of the faraway Volga.....
On the banks of Volga Mat, flowing past the city that bore his name, a city mostly occupied by the hordes of grey green fascist slugs, Grossman describes Stalin being tormented by the thought of his vanquished enemies.
Seeing them clamber out of their graves, to form up behind the Nazi hordes.

Stalin was not only in the middle of a life and death struggle with the invaders.
He was in the middle of an even grimmer struggle.
With his past.
For facing defeat, if only for those two, uncertain hours, he understood, clearer than ever before perhaps,  that the victor is never condemned.

Victory on the banks of the Volga would surely ensure his final victory, the clumsy Voroshilov eventually dropping the " Sword of Stalingrad" he would be  presented  with at  Potsdam, on behalf of King George VI and the grateful British people.
Victory would transform the bloody tyrant into cuddly Uncle Joe.
The stalwart ally puffing calmly on his pipe 

To his credit Yeremenko held his nerve.
The offensive finally got underway at 10am with a ferocious artillery barrage.

Then the tanks moved forward, the thunderous clatter of hundreds of treads causing the very earth to shake.

After the fog lifted it turned into a sunny morning. A huge round orange sun, with a rim of dancing coronas, as if Saturn had shed her rings, in a clear blue sky.

Displaying their almost preternatural powers of recovery the German divisions in the immediate vicinity, the 29th Panzergrenadier and the 297th infantry divisions , immediately counterattacked, driving into the flanks of Volsky's Corps, causing significant casualties.

However the demoralised Romanian units( who'd spent the night piecing together the previous day's debacle...a whole army wiped out. Half a million vengeful Red Army troops in their rear . Mass executions..whole regiments summarily shot) collapsed and the sheer weight of numbers caused the whole southern flank to buckle.

The STAVKA had expected the two pincers to meet up within 72 hours ...but ahead of schedule, on the morning of the 22nd, a bitterly cold wind blowing in from the steppes, a column of the 5th Tank Army rumbled towards the small wooden bridge at the centre of Kalach.
Seeing the familiar shapes of the T34s ( squat with a low silhouette) coming lumbering out of the frozen gloom the German sentries thought they belonged to the neighbouring German training units, that were equipped with captured Soviet tanks.
They waved them across the bridge, no doubt cursing them as they thought of the samovar bubbling away inside the peasants izba they'd commandeered.

Within a few hours the German sentries were dead, the whole garrison massacred  while the tankists, opening their hatches cautiously , as they heard the squeal of approaching engines, half expecting to see a column of Panzer IVs gliding towards them, would be joined  by their comrades, a reconoissance unit of the 357(?) mechanised regiment. Having driven northeast through the crumbling Romanian front

The two pincers thus snapped shut. Entombing over 250 000 soldiers inside Stalingrad.

As the sky grew lighter, from the spire of the old abandoned church, they could see the outline of the ruined city.
A fiery blur in the far distance.

The actual link up was unrecorded, but it was re enacted a few hours later, the cameras of the propaganda units whirring hungrily to capture this amazing scene.
The conquering soldiers bounding across the icy steppes towards each other. Throwing their fur hats up in triumph.

Comrade embracing comrade.

Grossman provides us with an intimate, lasting snapshot of victory.
One tankist reaching into the pockets of his overalls to produce a quarter litre bottle of vodka.
Another produces a piece of sausage, carefully wrapped up in newspaper
" Your vodka and our sausage!" was the toast that echoed through the remains of Kalach .... the few remaining civilians emerging warily from coal cellars and bunkers, smiling timidly at their liberators.
Perhaps searching through the group's of cheering soldiers for the tell tale blue uniform tabs of the NKVD Special Sections
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alex_wilson
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The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism - Page 3 Empty Re: The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism

on Wed 23 Sep 2020, 1:56 am
PART 1

     STALINGRAD PART 10

In his famous 1832 treatise cum philosophical meditation on the nature of conflict " Om  Kreig ( On War)" legendary Napoleonic era Prussian strategist Clausewitz wrote that it was impossible for a field army to be completely encircled.

In the age of cavalry, smoothbore muskets, muzzle loading cannon and huge poorly trained conscript armies( a recent innovation, replacing the era of so called Cabinet War. An era of mercenary armies and limited war aims. An era when wars were usually nothing more than ( often incestuous) dynastic squabbles) his words were indeed true.
But military truths, like most truths, apart from those deeper universal truths, are flexible. Hostage to the whims of humanity and the rate of progress. Often the most treasured fundamental truths of a generation end up being discarded as archaic fatuity ( or worse) by subsequent generations.

The catastrophic  defeat at Sedan, when an entire French army, led by Napoleon III in person ,was surrounded and forced to surrender by numerically interior Prussian army disproved Clausewitzs maxim
Thus by 1870 the truths considered immutable and self evident, barely a generation before were exposed as the antiquated daydreams of a vanished age.

By 1942/1943 tactics and military technology had advanced so far( especially since the advent of  bomber and fighter aircraft , the submachine gun and the tank) the generals and their political masters could dream of wholesale annihilation on a scale beyond the wildest most destructive fantasies of their predecessors. 

Within 25 years the Somme's and Verduns would transmorgify into the Stalingrads, the Dresdens, the Kursks and the Hiroshimas.

News began to reach the beleaguered 6th Army HQ by lunchtime on the 22nd of November. Their worse fears were confirmed. They were surrounded.

Paulus, haggard and emaciated with an uncontrollable nervous tic, sat chain-smoking morosely, his eyes gazing vacantly out the small window of the peasant izba, beyond the wintery grey sky outside, that suddenly seemed almost threateningly low, deep into the clear blue waves of the past. 
The pale, worried faces, the stench of stale tobacco and unwashed uniforms dissolved to be replaced by gloriously distant images.
Of home. Of himself as a young man, tall svelte and immaculately dressed( his brother officers nicknamed him Der Lord for his fastidious appearance)
Of his beloved wife, daughter of an exiled Romanian aristocrat. The beautiful Elisa
She would die in 1949, while he was still in Soviet captivity.

Despite the commanding generals moods that swung from the merely lethargic to fatalistic apathy, the HQ swsng into action, sending  out a flurry of telexes. To the corps and divisional commanders, to ascertain, if possible, the full extent of the unfolding calamity.
To Von Weichs, Commander of Army Group B
To OKH.
And of course to the Fuhrers Hauptquartiers.

To request orders.

The full scope of the disaster quickly became clear.

Apart from the 62nd and 298th infantry divisions ( around Kotelnikovo), they had been " brushed aside" by the sudden breakthrough in the 5th Army sector.
The rest of the 6th army( 3rd, 29th(mot), 44th,60 the( mot), 66th, 71st, 76th, 79th, 94th, 113th, 295th, 297th, 303rd, 371st, 376th, 384th, 389th infantry , 9th Luftwaffe flak and 100th jager and the 14th Panzer divisions) plus the 16th and 24th panzer divisions from Hoths 4th Panzer army. An independent Croatian rifle brigade ( 385th) and the remnants of the 1st and 20th Romanian cavalry divisions were trapped in the kessel

Approximately 250 000 men.
The majority of whom were still embroiled in ferocious hand to hand fighting inside the ruins of Stalingrad itself.
Chuikov had been ordered to hold on, pinning the 6th army like a giant grey green butterfly in a net.

Following their doctrine of " deep battle"( developed back in the mid 30s by Marshal Tuchavesky, widely regarded as the finest strategic brain of his generation. Alas like 3 of the first 5 Marshals of the Soviet Union( with Yegorov and Bluyker), the only survivors were Voroshilov and Budyonny, Stalinist toadies who displayed the full scale of their incompetence in the chaotic early days of June/ July 1941) the ill fated Marshal was swept up in the Army purge, that utterly decimated the higher echelons of the Soviet officer corps. Leaving the survivors supine and pathologically afraid of initiative. Many tragi comedic tales were told of the summer of 41, with Soviet commanders more afraid of their own security forces than they were of the marauding Wehrmacht.
He would be executed in 1937. I've actually seen the notes of his interrogation. All those years later I could still clearly make out the splashes of dried blood) both pincers quickly tightened the noose.
Creating two cohesive mutually supportive lines.
The inward facing line( circumvallation) concentrating on the surrounded troops, whilst the outer line,( contravallation) prepared for any rescuing forces.

The Germans moved swiftly, the supple well oiled cogs of the Wehrmacht whirred instantly into action.
Late on the night of the 22nd, in the HQ of the 11th army( newly transferred from Sevastopol to punish the recalcitrant Leningraders with their giant Krupp howitzers that lobbed 1 ton shells) the teleprinters chattered into action... like the teeth of frozen men.
The commander of the 11th army, the newly promoted Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein( widely viewed as the leading strategist in the Wehrmacht, it was he who conceived the innovative " sicklecut", slicing through the Allied armies and heading for the Channel coast, having sent the vast majority of the panzertruppen through the Ardennes forest, considered impassible by the Allies, that led to the collapse of France in the summer of 1940) was ordered South immediately.
To take control of the newly formed Army Group Don.
Comprising of the remainder of Army Group B and the 6th Panzer division, widely viewed as the Wehrmachts finest.
The 6th, which had been refitting in Poland was at full strength, boasting 150 tanks.

Von Mansteins task was simple.
Breakthrough the Soviet forces, relieve the 6th army and capture the city.

Now comes the most controversial issues of a campaign, that to this day, remains fraught with bitter controversy.

The breakout and the airlift.

Most sources agree that Hitler categorically forebade the 6th army to even consider attempting a breakout.
They were to stay put. Mansteins forces would come to them.
However Von Manstein( he even included a facsimile of the alleged order as an appendix to his post war memoir/ apologia, titled " Lost Victories") a breakout was an integral part of his eventual plan, codenamed Winterstorm.
According to Von Manstein, and his numerous acolytes/ defenders, when the codeword " Thunderclap" was broadcast the 6th army was to breakout, en masse, heading southwest to the nearest German lines.

Survivors of the 6th army( including Hauptmann Winrich Behr, who would be flown out in Jan 43 to the Wolfs Lair in Rastenburg, to plead with Hitler to allow what remained of the 6th army to surrender, and Hauptmann Freiherr Bernd Von Freitag- Loringhoven, flown out because of his serious wounds, Loringhoven , by then a staff officer would be present in the Bunker during the climatic days of April 1945) bitterly dispute this version.
Claiming that a breakout was never seriously considered. Taking the logistics, the lack of mobility, the lack of petrol, the state of the troops and the distances involved it's almost certain that the breakout option was never really seriously considered.
Starved, frostbitten troops crossing over 40 miles of snowbound steppes on foot, with meagre armoured and artillery support....it would have ended in a massacre.
After a battle that had cost them close to 1 million casualties the Soviet forces would hardly be inclined to mercy.

However there are some events, whole divisions burning their supplies, preparing themselves for an imminent order, that hint at some considerable confusion.
Maybe a breakout WAS seriously considered, only to be abandoned when senior commanders released how I'll prepared the rank and file landsers were.

Goering, who was present at Hitler's HQ when the first news of the encirclement arrived, briefly consulted with his senior aide, Jesonneck, before declaring blithely, waving his oversized field marshal's baton for effect ( by this point in the war, the crafty steely Goering, holder of the coveted Blue Max from his days as a WW1 fighter ace, last commander of the Red Baron's famous " Flying Circus" had become a drug addled buffoon. Dressed in the increasingly gaudy uniforms ( designed by himself) , caked in rouge, often with painted fingernails, he spent his time at his palatial hunting lodge Karinhall, playing with his toy trains, dispatching his " agents" to steal artwork and gems to enhance his vast private collection ( that included the Mona Lisa), or cavorting with his menagerie, that included Caesar, a game lion cub. Known as Der Dicke ( the fat one) by now Goering was treated with ill disguised contempt by the senior Nazi leadership, while his Luftwaffe continued it's precarious decline, eventually things got so bad( only two planes, including one piloted by the swashbuckling Pips Priller, to oppose the Normandy landings, his top aides launched a virtual coup, the Fighter Pilots mutiny, that was hushed up thanks only to the swift intervention of the SS) that " my" Luftwaffe could easily supply the surrounded troops via airdrops.
In the spring of 42( 8th(?) Feb- 21st April) in the Demyansk pocket( known to the Soviets as Khorsun) elements of Buschs 16th Army, mostly from HansensH X Corps, HAD successfully been supplied by air. The Luftwaffe managing to drop an average of 300 long tonnes per day until a successful rescue mission could be mounted, using troops from Von Brenckdorffs XI Corps

The situation at Stalingrad however was vastly different.

I'll try to continue the narrative later this week.

Apologies in advance if i've got any of the dates/ division numbers wrong.

_________________
A fez! A fez! My kingdom for a fez!!
The last words of King Richard HARVEY Plantagenet III 
Bosworth Field 1485

Is that a doppelganger in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
Artist, poet, polymath, cancer research prodigies Judyth Vary Baker's  first words to Lee HARVEY Oswald. New Orleans April 1963

For every HARVEY there must be an equal and opposite LEE
Professor Sandy Isaac Newton Laverne Shirley Fonzie Larsen's 
Famous 1st Law of Doppelganging
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alex_wilson
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The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism - Page 3 Empty Re: The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism

on Sat 26 Sep 2020, 1:35 am
PART 1

      STALINGRAD PART 10 ( b)

Looking back over this thread I realise just how far I've wandered off topic.
Initially I hoped to provide an overview of the Cold War, only to become distracted ( in my defence it is a most worthwhile distraction) by holocaust denial.
To me holocaust denial is the ultimate embodiment of pseudo history; anti history may well be a better phrase. It is a repellent form of historical negationism designed not to further our understanding of the past, but to keep the past obscured , hoping through ignorance  to turn the past, in the most visceral, divisive sense into a battlefield for the soul of the future.

Any belief system, be it political, religious or social, that attempts to distort, censor or deny the past; that attempts to prevent their adherents from accessing knowledge on their own terms and reaching their own conclusions , belongs in the past.
In the cold dark corners of humanities past, when humanity sought succour in such denial.

I ended up embarking on a multi post study of the Great Patriotic War. Trying to add a touch of novelistic detail to the historical reality, not to distort nor diminish but simply in an attempt to enhance what was already there.

Like many assassination books, many studies of the Eastern Front become nothing more than a dry lifeless recitation of facts and statistics....bullet trajectories and casualty figures.
The war was fought by people, real people, with hopes and dreams, by attempting to excavate those people from the mass of divisions, lists of battles and gun calibres, by connecting our dreams to theirs, I think the past is enlivened. Through the steppes , the ruined cities and those other cities full of other ruins- the vast cemetery cities, we can better catch a glimpse of the thin cord that binds their pasts to our futures.
And vice versa

With your permission I'll try to finish this part on Stalingrad in another couple of posts, before moving on to the other fronts . Up to Leningrad, then back down through Byelorussia and the Ukraine.
Culminating in Operation Bagration, launched on 6th June 1944, the same day as the Normandy landings.
Named after a Georgian prince and a Napoleonic era Russian general, who was killed at Borodino, the set piece battle outside Moscow, the bloodiest single day of entire French Revolutionary/ Napoleonic Wars. A tactical stalemate, the French claimed the battlefield while the Russian army remained unbroken, beginning its dramatic retreat East of Moscow.
Bagration was the heaviest defeat and the greatest victory of the entire war.
The Soviets , through " maskirovka" ( literally deception) had tricked the Germans into believing that the main attack would come further south, in the Ukraine. So convinced were they the Germans shifted over 80% of their remaining armoured force to anticipate, and perhaps even pre empt the expected offensive.
Thus the central front of Army Group Centre, still a potent fighting force at this point, was left with less than 100 tanks
The Soviets attacked in Byelorussia...an onslaught comprising of the three most powerful Army Fronts. Tearing a hole through the German front, destroying ( and I literally mean destroying) over 30 divisions in a setpiece of near perfect historical symmetry. Almost exactly 3 years to the day from that distant but still traumatic day when the Nazi hordes swarmed triumphantly over the border...all but annihilating AGC as a viable fighting force they pushed the invaders off Soviet soil, driving them reeling back out of Byelorussia and into Poland ..
Bagration would grind to a halt on the banks of the Vistula.
Outside Warsaw.
Seeing the Red Army poised to enter their city, the Polish Home Army( AK Armii Krajowa loyal to the government in London) decided to rise, launching the Uprising.
Better the Soviets enter a liberated city than a conquered one.
The Soviets encouraged the valiant Poles to rise....then did nothing.
In an act of cynicism , unbelievable even for the Soviets, they lazed on the opposite side, their soldiers even swimming in the river as Warsaw burned, watching stoically as their enemies destroyed one another.
The Soviets considered the patriots of the AK enemies.
Indeed Polish/ Soviet relations, with it's long history of mutual suspicion and bloodshed( stretching back well beyond 1920s war into the Tsarist era with its partitions, when Imperial Russia along with Prussia and the Habsburgs dismembered Poland, wiping it off the map for centuries, back beyond the Polish lancers who led the Grande Armee into Russia, back to the days of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth, at the time a colossus of Europe. It was Polish forces the first Romanov Tsar Michael  was hiding from, Polish forces too the peasant Ivan Bunin famously led to their deaths in the forest, an incident celebrated by Glinka in his opera " A Life for the Tsar"
In one of the more poignant ironies of history Glinka's opera was Tsar Nikolai the Lasts favourite opera) with the Katyn massacre( Stalins pet executioner Blokhin allegedly killing all 8000 in a series of carefully managed all night shifts) Sikorskis mysterious death, an aircrash in Gibraltar, threatened to fracture the uneasy alliance between West and East
After much persuasion and the personal intervention of Roosevelt himself Stalin grudgingly allowed the British, American, Australian, Polish and South African pilots, flying in relays from bases in Italy, to refuel in Soviet airbases.
The airdrops would have little effect

While the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had ended with the Dirlewanger and Kaminskii brigades indulging in extended binges of sadistic drunken debauchery that simply staggers the mind( the last days of the Uprising were meticulously photographed . The commander of the " Aktion" Brigadefuhrer Stroophad the photos compiled in an album and had the  album neatly bound titled " The Warsaw Ghetto is no more" it was presented to a grateful Himmler, who no doubt appreciated the captions and the chance to see luminaries such as Rottenfuhrer Blosche, infamous for jabbing his submachine gun into the back of a surrendering 6 year old Jewish boy, in action) the Warsaw Uprising itself ended differently.
Proving the Nazis, even on the brink of defeat could still give the Soviets a run for their money in the cynicism stakes.
With one eye fixed firmly on any post war tribunals, the victorious Nazis, led by SS Obergruppenfuhrer Von Dem Bach Zelewski, a man who had made his name hounding starving Jews through the marshes and forests of the Ukraine and Byelorussia, made a great show of the surrender. Accepting the beleaguered Polish fighters as POWs in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
Von Dem Bach even had the audacity to attempt to engage his opposite number, Bor Kommoroski, in small talk about their pre war equestrian days

But back to Stalingrad 
Before I finished the section, and went back to talking about dates, battles and statistics I wanted to mention a certain German soldier. No, he didn't massacre prisoners or capture a block of burnt out ruins...this particular soldier, Kurt Reuber, was an artist. He would die in obscurity in a Soviet prison camp
And in his cramped dugout, with the dense clammy air causing the pine needles of the tiny Xmas trees the 6th army had been sent to wilt, as if burdened by the sorrows of this awful sinful world,  on the back of an old map he painted a famous picture.
The Stalingrad Madonna.
A charcoal drawing of a cowled woman, her thin sad face looking down at the child she clutches in her arms.
The words " Light, Love and Hope" are written round the side.
That Xmas of 1942, with the German soldiers moving through the rat infested ruins of the beautiful city on the Volga they'd travelled over 2000 miles to destroy, like gaunt poorly coordinated shadows, wrapped in rags and blankets, almost as if rehearsing for a nativity play...the 3 wise Aryans from the West ..
Of course they'd have to make to with just the ox and the ass as Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus had already been dispatched to " special treatment".. the painting caused a sensation.
A constant line of thin stooped men shuffling into the dug out to stare at the simple picture, most just stood silently, the hunger making thought too much of an effort.
Some wept. Some saw echoes of themselves, of their own childhoods.
Of their own children they'd left far away in Germany.
When I first read this story it made me angry 
So I thought defeat has reawoken your humanity has it?
I found the whole idea of humbled conquerors crouching in their bolt holes weeping over a picture...and their own lost innocence, utterly grotesque.
The trembling hands that now wiped the.tears from the  gaunt malnourished faces, cheekbones sticking out like arms locked in a Hitler salute from the sickly yellowish skin were the same hands that swept back the shiny blonde hair from the keen blue eyes as they lounged on the turrets of their tanks ..watching the smoke curling up lazily from the burning buildings, the hands that pulled the triggers, herded terrified women restlessly along to the freshly dug pits , tore the bloody garbadine tunics off the teenage radio operators, flung the naked sparrow like bodies onto flaming pyres..

What of the children they left in mass graves ..

Then I realised idI missed the point. These were just simple men, pawns of history, trying to reach out through that history to reconnect with their own lost humanity.
In their own terrible way they were as much the victims as those whom they left behind.

In their own way many Soviets, the victors, travelled similar paths, forced to the very edge of the abyss they looked in and saw a human being staring out.
The greatest victory of all is not flying a flag over a conquered city but coming through all the hell of conquest and still be able to see a human being staring out of the conquered faces ..

As Grossman says it's not about good and evil, I'm not so sure these concepts even exist.
It's the small humane acts in the face of overwhelming inhumanity.

To me, now, some of the most incredible stories about Stalingrad aren't the huge offensives, the swarms of tanks rumbling across the steppes...
Its the stories of the soldiers on both sides, the civilian too that were still able to be human.
Give a dying man a little comfort, a starving man a crust of bread.
These simple actions make a mockery of the complicated madness that swirled around them

The original Stalingrad Madonna hangs in the Kaiser Wilhelm church in Berlin, one of the most famous citadels of German militarism breached at last 
Copies hang in Kazan Cathedral and Coventry Cathedral.
Forget the subject, even the artist but remember the sentiment.

_________________
A fez! A fez! My kingdom for a fez!!
The last words of King Richard HARVEY Plantagenet III 
Bosworth Field 1485

Is that a doppelganger in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
Artist, poet, polymath, cancer research prodigies Judyth Vary Baker's  first words to Lee HARVEY Oswald. New Orleans April 1963

For every HARVEY there must be an equal and opposite LEE
Professor Sandy Isaac Newton Laverne Shirley Fonzie Larsen's 
Famous 1st Law of Doppelganging
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alex_wilson
Posts : 728
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The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism - Page 3 Empty Re: The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism

on Sun 18 Oct 2020, 12:31 am
Apologies for the lack of new posts.....
I've been working my tin foil hat off. With a deadline approaching, like a 2nd Dave Ferrie wobbling up the Grassy knoll towards James Files, and the missus's ever changing moods to deal with ( she's more highly strung than the sinews of Clay Bertrand's rack ( the ACME portable Walsingham Wanger 600...." perfect for today's busy elasticated eroticist on the go") the rack he used to stretch the 2nd diminutive 5 foot 2 inch Dave Ferrie so he could kill officer Tippit) I just haven't had the time to spare ..

With Greg's kind permission I'm going to start another thread in this part of the forum ... hopefully early next week. I'll try to finish this thread concurrently with the new one.

I'm not at home right now and in amongst the books I asked to be brought down was my great uncles diary.
He died aged 98 in 2016. I only met him a handful of times but we got on pretty well. 
I was very honoured when I found out he'd left the original diary manuscript ( and other related documents/ letters/ artifacts to me)

He lived a truly fascinating life, in fact his life almost serves as a mirror of the turbulent blood soaked 20th century. 
I was thinking of posting the most historically interesting extracts, with some commentary.
Starting in July 1936 when he and his elder brother decided their family, slipped out of their father's large country villa and hitchhiked to Madrid to volunteer for what would become the Popular Army.

He was transferred to the North before the siege of Madrid commenced , ending up initially on the Aragonese Front with a " Mixed Brigade"
He fought in many of the major battles of the Civil War - Gandesa, Teruel, Belchite, Brunete eventually rising to major he was 2nd in command of an Aragonese regiment ( comprising of anarchists, communists, the survivors of the recently purged POUM , trade union militiamen and some stragglers from the recently disbanded International Brigades, Poles, Germans and Italians ) leading his troops from the front he crossed the river Ebro at the start of the eponymous battle.

The battle of the River Ebro would turn into a crushing defeat, the Nationalists cutting the Republican zone in two, annihilating their finest field army and opening the route to Catalunya and Barcelona.
He was shot twice, in the lung and in the leg...his brother carrying him over the Pyrenees into France where they ended up at Gurs and then after the German occupation they were transferred with hundreds of their comrades to Mauthausen...

Hopefully I'll have time to start what I think could be an interesting thread early next week...

Perhaps with a preliminary post .. discussing the causes of the Spanish Civil War and the events of the aborted coup ( Las Cuarto Generales of the famous song) that triggered the actual conflict...

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Artist, poet, polymath, cancer research prodigies Judyth Vary Baker's  first words to Lee HARVEY Oswald. New Orleans April 1963

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Vinny
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on Sun 18 Oct 2020, 2:08 am
Thanks Alex.

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alex_wilson
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on Sun 18 Oct 2020, 2:13 am
My pleasure Vinny.

Hopefully I'll get started early next week.

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A fez! A fez! My kingdom for a fez!!
The last words of King Richard HARVEY Plantagenet III 
Bosworth Field 1485

Is that a doppelganger in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
Artist, poet, polymath, cancer research prodigies Judyth Vary Baker's  first words to Lee HARVEY Oswald. New Orleans April 1963

For every HARVEY there must be an equal and opposite LEE
Professor Sandy Isaac Newton Laverne Shirley Fonzie Larsen's 
Famous 1st Law of Doppelganging
Mick_Purdy
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on Sun 18 Oct 2020, 10:21 am
Looking forward to the next installment mate. Excellent stuff.

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alex_wilson
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The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism - Page 3 Empty Re: The Rise of Hitler and the Foundations of Antisemitism

on Sun 18 Oct 2020, 9:44 pm
Thanks Mick. I really appreciate your generous words

_________________
A fez! A fez! My kingdom for a fez!!
The last words of King Richard HARVEY Plantagenet III 
Bosworth Field 1485

Is that a doppelganger in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
Artist, poet, polymath, cancer research prodigies Judyth Vary Baker's  first words to Lee HARVEY Oswald. New Orleans April 1963

For every HARVEY there must be an equal and opposite LEE
Professor Sandy Isaac Newton Laverne Shirley Fonzie Larsen's 
Famous 1st Law of Doppelganging
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