Ambrose Bierce, if we take him at his word, was unfazed by death. As a young Union soldier in the Civil War, he escaped it many times, seeing action at Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Kennesaw Mountain, where he received an almost fatal head wound. After the war, he built a career as a writer and journalist, using the horrors he…
Senator Lester Hunt – Democrat – Wyoming
This morning while enjoying a second cup of coffee and a cheap cigar out on the lanai in these early days of a Florida autumn I was thinking about Joe McCarthy.
Senator Joe of the cold war era; he who believed there was a communist pinko librul behind every bush in Washington and at every other desk in the State Department. He who was dedicated to rooting out these un-Americans.
Joe McCarthy would use every means at his command to win against the vast conspiracy trying to take over America’; those taking their orders directly from Joe Stalin.
I am casually paying attention to the chaos in the House with the Grand Old Party trying to pick a new Speaker. Kevin McCarthy, who was the favorite abruptly withdrew his candidacy after being considered a shoo-in. The Huffington Post reported that a very large…
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Originally posted on Madame Guillotine.
A depressingly long time ago, as a fresh faced young undergraduate at the University of Nottingham, I signed up to a module devoted to art in Nazi Germany, which was taught by Dr Fintan Cullen. Fintan and I never really got along all that well (this is a massive understatement – we absolutely loathed each other) but he was, I have to admit, a really impressive and rather floridly verbose teacher who really came into his element when dealing with the robust imagery and political ramifications of Nazi era art.
At the time, WWII had ended just fifty years earlier and it was still highly unusual for a course of this nature to be offered on a university syllabus. It was a very strange experience to be honest, not least because Nazi art is actually pretty terrible – bloody awful in fact. The course didn’t just look at all those ghastly paintings of strident young soldiers and shiny cheeked haus-fraus though, we also looked at the Nazi contempt for ‘degenerate’ art, their predilection for looting (the high ranking members of the party, most notably the repulsively avaricious Göring, had a habit of treated art galleries and museums like free shopping malls, an upmarket IKEA, if you like) and Hitler’s sophisticated use of imagery and art as propaganda. It was certainly a very eye opening experience and one that sprang to mind, even though I haven’t really thought about it for years, when I was reading Angela Lambert’s The Lost Life of Eva Braun.
I was just twenty years old, not that much older than Eva Braun when she first met and fell under the spell of Adolf Hitler, when I found myself sitting in a darkened seminar room, watching the flickering images of Leni Riefenstahl’s chilling, awe inspiring and rather terrifying Triumph of the Will being projected on to a large screen at the back of the room. The often hilariously awful paintings of potent Aryan manhood had left me completely cold and I remember wondering…
Originally posted on WAR HISTORY ONLINE
Erwin Rommel was, for a time, Hitler’s favorite general. After the success in 1940, when as the commander of a Panzer division he crushed the French, Rommel was appointed to the command of the German forces in Africa – Afrika Korps – where his tactical genius, recognized even by the enemy, and the ability to inspire his soldiers and use limited resources at maximum levels, convinced Hitler to promote him to the rank of Field Marshall.
In 1943 Hitler charged Rommel to coordinate the fortification of the “Atlantic Wall” along the French coast, the defensive line that the Germans wanted to use to repel the inevitable Allied invasion in Europe (which will take place in June 1944).Rommel in North Africa (June 1942). Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
By the beginning of the war Rommel was confident in Germany’s power. But at the start of 1943 his trust in Germany’s ability to win the initiated conflict began to crumble as days went by, and so did his faith in Hitler. Travelling in Germany, Rommel was outraged by the devastation caused by Allied air raids and the eroded public morale was not a good sign for him.
He also found out about the concentration camps, the forced labor, the extermination of the Jews and other atrocities committed by the regime that he was serving. Gradually, he reached to the conclusion that the German victory was a lost cause and that the extension of this war…