Otto Witte – a German circus performer – claimed he was crowned King of Albania on the 13th of August, 1913. When Albania broke free of the Ottoman Empire and Serbian occupation, a Musl…
A thread has recently blown up on Reddit which asked the question: Germans, Japanese, and Italians of Reddit, What did you learn about WW2 in School? The questioner was specific to the axis countri…
Please Note: This post contains images of sensitive content
The National Archives has a large collection of seized foreign records. Within the Still Photos Branch, the vast majority of these records pertain to Nazi Germany. Notable series include photographs taken by Heinrich Hoffman, Hitler’s official photographer, and a number of albums from Eva Braun, Hitler’s long-time girlfriend. In recent months, the Still Photos Branch added another small, yet important, series of seized foreign records: Photographs Obtained from the National Socialist German Workers’ Party Archives.
In 1934, the Nazionalsozialtische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, better known as the Nazi Party, established a central records center. Called the NSDAP Hauptarchiv, the archives collected records created by Nazi officials, as well as Nazi organizations such as the SS and Hitler Youth. Under direct orders from Rudolf Hess, the Hauptarchiv also collected documents from other…
In previous blogs we have shown how the Secret Elite intentionally prolonged the war beyond the Spring of 1915 by providing Germany with raw materials for armaments production and food for her army. There were various facets to the great deception. From the outset, Germany’s crucial source of iron ore from the Briey basin on the Franco-German border was deliberately left intact though it could readily have been destroyed. German commanders admitted that the war would have been over by the summer of 1915 had the Briey supplies been halted. Britain simultaneously ran a sham naval blockade through which food, gun-cotton and desperately needed minerals, including zinc and copper, for armaments production were allowed to pour into Germany.  In conjunction with these inactions, a great ‘humanitarian’ deception under the guise of ‘Belgian Relief’ was used as a cover for provisioning the German army. This allowed it to keep fighting and so…
From time to time in women’s rights protests you see signs saying something along the lines of “Didn’t my Grandmother fight for these rights?” It’s true, the battles aren’t new, or confined to any particular country. One of the earliest champions for women’s rights, including control over their own bodies, was Helene Stöcker of Germany.
Born November 13, 1869 in Elberfeld, Germany, Helene grew up in a strict Calvinist household. She was the oldest of eight children born to Peter Heinrich Ludwig Stöcker and Hulda Bergmann Stöcker. Her father had wanted to be a missionary, but had to take over the family business, still Bible reading and daily prayer were part of the family routine. Helene eventually rejected her father’s religion, but acknowledged his…
Dachau is a place that can not really be described, and I’m not going to try. But seeing the vast roll-call space, let alone the registration building, execution area, gas chamber and ovens is enough to set your hair on end. Yes, it is real. It really happened. And what happened is beyond my imagination. And that hits home as I walk through the gate with the well-known horrific slogan ‘Arbeit macht frei’. That first impact, and the feeling of walking amongst ghosts will stay with me. And then to think my uncle might have been there.
Initially I went to Dachau as a gesture of respect to my uncle, who died when he was 22 years old at the hands of the Nazis in Germany. And I left Dachau with an incredible urge to…
When it comes to the total number of deaths one person is responsible for Hitler is hard to top (beaten only by Stalin and Mao). The number of non-combatants killed under the Nazi regime is in the region of 11,000,000 according to Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale. I find this to be a reasonable and accurate estimate based on my own research. The true devastation and trauma of murder is easily forgotten when simply tallying death tolls as statistics – even more so when we are discussing an amount as colossal as 11,000,000. As Snyder eloquently puts it himself:
“Discussion of numbers can blunt our sense of the horrific personal character of each killing and the irreducible tragedy of each death. As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, the difference between zero and one is an infinity. (1)
But how many deaths was Hitler personally responsible for? We discuss the answer below, looking at all…
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We need a million such men today to halt the tide.
“What will the future be like, when the billions now thrown away in preparation for war are spent on useful things to increase the well-being of people, on the construction of decent houses for workers, on improving transportation, on reclaiming the land? The fever of imperialism has become a sickness. It is the disease of a badly run society which does not know how to use its energies at home.”
Oh to hear such words in the Presidential debates to come! Written more than a century ago, we are no closer to them now than we were then.
Jean Jaures was the leader of the French Socialists, one the first true social democrats.
A brilliant orator and philosopher, co-founder and Editor of the newspaper L’Humanite, leader of the French Section of the Worker’s International, he had spent decades supporting workers in their daily struggles.
Above all he was…
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Black Tom pier photographed on the 31st of July, 1916, a day and a half after the explosion.
On the 30th of July, 1916, German agents blew up a pier in New Jersey, USA in an attempt to sabotage American-made munitions intended for World War One.
The worst of the explosions took place at 2:08am, by which point some guards had fled at the sight of fire, knowing what was to come.
The explosion was so great some of the fragments became lodged in the Statue of Liberty, and a clock was stopped over a mile away. The time was frozen at 2:12am.
It is estimated that seven people were killed. Hundreds were injured, and the explosion was felt as far away as Philadelphia and Maryland.
It was later revealed that a Slovak immigrant, who had earlier served in the US Army, was responsible for the explosions, and…
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Originally posted on History And Other Thoughts.
“Brussels will be haunted for ever by the ghost of this noble woman, shamefully murdered. I thought no act of our enemy could surprise me further. I was mistaken. This foul deed will live when great battles are forgotten.”
That’s what King Albert I of the Belgians uttered when he learned English nurse Edith Cavell had been executed. Up to the last, he thought the sentence wouldn’t be carried out. Both he and his wife Elizabeth did all they could to try and get her released since she was arrested, but it was all in vain. The Germans wanted to make an example of her. On 12th October 1915, Edith Cavell was executed in Brussels, an act that shocked the entire world.
Edith Luisa Cavell was born in Swardeston, a village near Norwich, on 4th December 1865. She was the eldest child (she had three siblings) of Reverend Frederick Cavell, vicar of Swardeston. Although the family wasn’t rich, they always shared what they had with those less fortunate than them and, from an early age, the children were taught to care for others. Edith also visited the poor with her mother and even become a Sunday School teacher. This need to help other people had a big influence on her life.
After she finished her education (she was educated at home first and, when she was about 16, attended several local and boarding schools where she learned French), she first became a governess. She worked for several families and they all seemed to like her. In the late 1890s she inherited a small amount of money and decided to take a trip to Austria and Bavaria. Here she visited a free hospital run by Dr Wolfenberg and, impressed with what she saw, donated some money to it. Then, she briefly resumed her governess work before…
Annelis Marie Frank, or Anne Frank, is incredibly famous for her diary, which was published in 1947 by her father, Otto Frank. As the story commonly goes, she was a victim of the Holocaust and hid in an annex until she was discovered and met a tragic death at the hands of the Nazis. It is after this point that most people draw a blank. You might know the odd person who has read her diary and is able to comment that it is a deeply moving coming of age tale against the backdrop of the struggle she faced under Nazi occupation.
On this day, as we remember Anne Frank coming into the world, let us take the opportunity to learn more about her story.
Anne Frank was the younger of two children and had a sister called Margot, who was three years older than her. In 1933, when Anne…
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Joachim Whaley, Professor of German History and Thought, University of Cambridge
The object labelled Charlemagne’s crown in the British Museum’s exhibition Germany: memories of a nation reminds us of a long history that ended over a century before the Third Reich began, but which nonetheless continues to shape Germany and German-speaking Europe even today. Like the polity which it recalls, the crown has a complex history. The object itself is a replica made in 1913 of the imperial crown which was once kept in Nuremberg and has been in Vienna since 1796. This crown almost certainly originated around AD 960, made by a Lower Rhineland workshop, perhaps in Cologne. Whether Charlemagne himself was actually crowned is unclear and while we know that he crowned his son at Aachen in 813 we do…
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The aftermath of the crash.
On the 6th of February, 1958, a British European Airways aeroplane crashed at Munich Airport on its third attempt at take-off.
On board flight 609 were forty-four people. Twenty were killed at the scene of the crash, while three more later died in hospital.
Shortly before take-off.
The crash is famous because eight of the people killed were Manchester United players, but I have to say it doesn’t thrill me that playing football apparently makes your life worth more than somebody else’s.
The plane burning on the runway.
The cause of the crash was eventually blamed on slush on the runway. It was not until ten years after the crash that the Captain was cleared of playing a part in the disaster.
The armistice of 11 November 1918, made it impossible for the German Reich to restart the battle and was tantamount to an unconditional surrender. In terms of international law it was questionable, since it contained conditions of a political nature – the annulment of the Eastern peace treaties – and because it permitted the continuation of the British blockade until peace was finally concluded. Since a blockade constituted a combat operation, it should have been suspended as soon as the armistice began. In addition, the Allies continued their stance of refusing peace talks with the enemies even after 11 November. They negotiated the peace treaty only among themselves. The main features were defined during a British-French-Italian pre-conference that took place in London in December 1918. They also decided to put Emperor Wilhelm II. on trial. President Wilson was unhappy with the result of the pre-conference and told his delegation that…
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