Conservapedia:World History Lecture Twelve
World History – WWII
Instructor, Andy Schlafly
Outline of Lecture:
This lecture focuses on World War II: before, during and after. No war in the history of the world (except, perhaps, the American Revolutionary War) had as much lasting impact as World War II. We still feel some of its effects to this day, more than 60 years later.
- 1 The Rise of Fascism in Europe
- 2 World War II
- 3 Postwar
- 4 Cold War
- 5 China
- 6 Korean War
The Rise of Fascism in Europe
|The world in the early 1930s was suffering from the Great Depression. This created discontent and encouraged change. National governments were in place in Italy and Germany, but the people were not happy with them.||Finally, after plodding through the better part of five thousand years of history, Andy has reached the Lecture about which he has been having wet dreams since he began - the Second World War. This conflict has cropped up numerous times throughout the previous eleven Lectures, always inappropriately, and usually just as a foil to allow Andy to bitch about the Christoservative witch-hunt du jour. Here, he is finally free to ramble at length about how atheism, agnosticism, abortion, feminism, homosexuality, evolutionary biology, socialism, secularism, liberalism, BCE/CE, and whatever other pet hatreds are nurtured in the bosoms of Fundafascist twits, automatically cause men with moustaches to start shoving us around. Because of course, such things as "traditional values", political conservatism, unfettered free-market capitalism, and a group project to implement Biblical "morality" and "justice" never hurt people.
It's worth noting, before we go on, just how awful Andy's structuring has become. The Second World War lasted for six years. That's not a long time, yet Andy devotes more time and effort to discussing those six years than he did to the entire three thousand years of the Copper and Bronze Ages. Glancing over the contents, it's also clear that Andy's little dirge has extremely little to say about the war beyond Western Europe, and the period before American intervention. Predictably, it just becomes another of those tiresome "Uncle Sam to the Rescue!"™ diatribes which accomplishes nothing more than cramming factually inaccurate Republican propaganda down the throats of gullible youngsters. Then right-wing Americans whine that the world doesn't like them. And they wonder why?
Anyway, here we go. The Nazis. War is now inevitable. A political demagogue has risen to power in his own little realm - rewriting history to serve his purposes; blaming all problems on scapegoatable minorities; ranting and screaming from his pulpit about how society must return to 'values which made us great'; and alienating every other entity around him. Creeds and rules are publically proclaimed, with abstract symbols appearing everywhere in an effort to brainwash their viewers. This evil man is not alone - he is backed up by a doggedly loyal cabal of zealots and lackeys who enforce his will, and behind the scenes a shadowy secret police continually strives to suppress and extinguish all dissenters. It is up to us to bring down this hateful, tyrannical regime, and return its people to intellectual freedom.
Note Andy's claim that "No war in the history of the world (except, perhaps, the American Revolutionary War) had as much lasting impact as World War II". When Assfly has stopped pissing in his own brain, he might want to sit down and open a history book. There is a world beyond the United States, there was a world before George Patton and George Washington, and there have been wars whose effects continue to resonate centuries after they ended. Andy obviously hasn't heard of the An Lushan Rebellion in eighth-century China. World War II killed off some 4% of the human population, but the An Lushan Rebellion killed over a sixth of the entire human species. And that didn't involve machine guns and atom bombs - 15% of the human race stabbed and bludgeoned each other to death. Andy mangled the Thirty Years' War so badly that he is unaware of just how significant that was, killing millions of Europeans and ultimately giving us the modern international system that we still have today. He's clearly forgotten his own drivel about the Crusades, which spanned centuries, killed millions, and set in motion the hostility between Islam and the West which, in spite of brief respites, has endured since. The point is, every war has a lasting impact. And not just for the survivors who are left to mourn and weep over the ruins and the bodies (yes, Andy. In war, real people suffer. But having never fought in or lived through an actual war in spite of your militaristic sabre-rattling, you are probably unaware of that). Every war has political, social, and economic consequences which far outlast the actual fighting. That is true for all conflicts, whether it is the Hundred Years War or the 1896 Anglo-Zanzibar War which lasted a mere 38 minutes. Yes, the Second World War had extremely significant repercussions, but to say that it was the most important war in human history is personal subjectivity at its worst.
|Nationalism had been developing for decades, but it turned into an extreme form known as “fascism” during this period. Fascism is defined as a political philosophy that elevates the nation and its ethnicity above the individual, and uses a dictator to impose economic and social regimentation and control. Often symbols are used for the purpose of mind-control, like the swastika in Germany. Special salutes are also required to inculcate complete devotion to the national ruler, such as "Heil Hitler". Mass rallies were common. All opposition was suppressed.||This is a very, very crude definition of fascism. As we are by now tiresomely familiar, a lot of the words which historians use have no agreed meaning, and can mean different things in different contexts. However, it's close enough (yet strangely, is not from Merriam-Webster). So, for the remainder of this course, we will remember this whenever Andy uses the word "fascism". It's fiercely nationalistic and ethnocentric, involves a demagogue imposing his ideas and his norms upon the people, and crushes all opposition without mercy. Ooh. The irony is just too much here...
The swastika is one of those symbols which was created independently by many cultures around the world at different times. In most contexts it symbolises change, or the Sun, or good luck. Indeed, in the 1920s many Europeans used the swastika as a good-luck emblem. Historians are still unsure where Hitler got the idea to use a swastika as his political movement's symbol - Hitler's own story, in Mein Kampf, is dubious at best. In its context as an emblem of change, it had already been picked up by some right-wing nutjobs in European nations long before Hitler was famous - but regardless of where he got the idea, we do know that he interpreted it incorrectly as an emblem of invincibility. Similarly, the Nazi salute is a misinterpretation. In the eighteenth century, artists such as Jacques-Louis David interpreted certain Roman statues to conclude that the Romans used such a salute, and from thereon it became a popular artistic method for showing loyalty and devotion to a noble cause. The Italian Fascist Party later picked up on this as a means of strengthening their desired affiliation with the ancient Roman Empire; and from there it was picked up by the Nazis. Yet as is so often the case, this is total crap. There are no Roman monuments which show anyone performing a salute similar to the Nazi version - all that exist are a few vague figures on Trajan's Column who seem to be pointing, or maybe waving. There are no references in surviving Roman literature to the practice, either. So it is almost certainly not a Roman custom. Neither is it, as those white-power c**ts claim today, an ancient "Aryan" gesture to show that the person was not holding a weapon or a begging bowl. It is purely a misinterpretation. But try telling that to your local skinhead gang. The word "Heil" was in use by pan-German nationalists as a greeting in the early twentieth century; it's one of those words which can have multiple meanings in various contexts, and Hitler just picked up on an existing fashion among the sort of piss-brained little bastards who cry about immigration and socialism destroying a monoculture which exists only in their warped minds.Oh, and points off for starting to warble on, Andy, about salutes and swastikas before even telling your students who Hitler was. We'll subtract another point for failing to spot the irony that Conservapedia does this exact same thing by raising the US flag and the Christian cross to the status of sacred artefacts. Remind us what the Second Commandment says, Andy...?
|Fascism is very different from communism, and fascist countries were the mortal enemies of communist countries. Communism sought a worldwide revolution that would abolish national identity, while fascism sought exactly to advance their country over the rest of the world. Communism opposed different social classes, while fascism encouraged it. Communism hated wealth, while fascism encouraged the creation of wealth to make the nation stronger. Communism considered everyone to be equal, while fascists thought their nation was the best. Communism pushed women into the traditionally male roles of industrial workers and even soldiers, while strongly nationalistic countries like Japan imported foreign male workers from Korea and China rather than force women into industrial jobs. Many say that fascism and communism are opposites, but they did have a few key characteristics in common: both used a dictator and demanded complete allegiance to the state ruler, rather than to God. Both also had a disdain for individual freedom and human rights, and both stressed the collective.||Oh God. There are two things wrong here, on the macro- and micro-levels. Firstly, Andy's really going all-out with the shitty definitions. As he stated in the previous Lecture, the Soviet Union under Stalin swore off the Trotskyist idea of "World Revolution" in favour of "Socialism in One Country"; building up the USSR so it could defend itself economically and militarily against the West. Oh, and fascists don't want world control. They want control of their own country, as all others outside those borders are apparently subhuman scum. Andy then possibly references the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, but that is wantonly misplaced here, before bitching about female empowerment and ending with a rant about East Asia. Why, Andy? Why? On the meta-level, this paragraph is a horrible self-contradiction. He begins by saying that fascism and communism are very different, then ends by saying that fascism and communism are basically the same thing. Make up your damned mind, Andy. We all know that you just want to point and scream "Commienazi!!" whenever you see someone who doesn't entertain lewd erotic fantasies involving Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan, but you could at least try and do a better job than this.|
|The first signs of fascism were in Italy, where the people were upset at not acquiring territory as a result of World War I and where economic problems existed earlier than the Great Depression. In 1919, Benito Mussolini founded Italy’s Fascist Party, emphasizing the need to improve Italy’s economy and its military. In October 1922, the Fascists or “Black Shirts” protested in Rome, demanding that King Victor Emmanuel abdicate in favor of Mussolini. The king did step down and Mussolini became Il Duce, the leader of Italy. Mussolini then suppressed all opposition. Ironically, Mussolini forbade strikes as he wanted to win over the wealthy people in the country and build Italy’s economic strength.||Oh. Dear. Christ. We are used to Andy making a truly, truly god-awful hatchet-job of history - and this inability to teach apparently does not go unnoticed by his own acolytes - but this has to be one of the worst segments that Signor Schlaflia has written. If he's going to write a segment about the Second World War, it is imperative that he includes a substantial segment on Mussolini. So often, we forget the Italian Fascists and focus on the nazis - yet Hitler and his goons simply hijacked a lot of policies and paraphernalia from the existing Fascist government in Rome. Not only has Andy neglected to tell us how and why Fascism emerged in Europe, he has also got it hopelessly, hopelessly wrong.
Let's begin with Mussolini. Like Mao, Stalin, Hitler, and the overwhelming majority of dictators before and since, Benito Mussolini was born into the petit bourgeoisie. In his youth he flirted with several Italian nationalist groups (nationalism had been vocal, but sidelined, in Italy since the peninsula's unification during the nineteenth-century Risorgimento) before joining the largest political party, the Socialists (PSI). When the First World War began, Mussolini quit his job as a small-town journalist and teacher to join up, although he saw limited action and was wounded by an artillery shell towards the end of the war. When peace came, Mussolini was a pompous, vocal, but utterly insignificant man. Here's where large forces come into play.
Italy had a long experience of social discontent. Following the Risorgimento of the 1850s and 60s, Italy had experienced an unbalanced shift as the north became urbanised and industrialised, while the south remained agrarian and comparatively poor. The largest parties were the Socialists (PSI) with their strongholds in the northern cities; the Populists (PPI), a Church-backed party dominant in the south; and the Liberals (PLI) with class-based support. Despite the PSI and PPI being the largest parties (and often in coalition with each other), the PLI dominated Italian politics. Italians were generally dissatisfied with the PLI (great chance for Andy to bitch about lib'ruls, here) as Liberal politicians were frequently accused of spending more time (and public money) brokering and bartering to stay in office than actually trying to govern and improve the country. Communism (PCI) had risen in popularity in northern cities, and while the movement was still fragmented and small it was vocal and angry - like the Nationalists. There was also significant international dissatisfaction. At a time when a country's prowess was measured by its imperial ambition, Italy not only had a petty little empire which consisted of a few crappy little colonies, but the Italian Army had suffered a devastating and globally humiliating defeat by the Ethiopian Emperor at Adowa in 1896. So, Italy had simmering long-term tensions that were just waiting to erupt.
Short-term problems were particularly evident after World War One. Italy had only held on after the disaster at Capporetto in 1917 by relying on French and British military support, and at the Paris Peace Conference Italy increasingly became sidelined and humiliated. Italy had joined the Allies on condition that it would receive Austrian territory which the Italians hadn't managed to snap up during the Risorgimento, but the French and British had far bigger problems to deal with and ignored the Italian delegates. Italy eventually did get most of the desired territory but the negotiations became ridiculously petty and widely-reported, Italians began to feel that the British and French had scammed them, and when the Allies refused to give Italy the port city of Fiume (near Venice) - instead giving it to the newly-formed Kingdom of Yugoslavia (which Italy feared as a trade and strategic rival) - a Nationalist group led by poet and soldier Gabriel d'Anunzio seized the city on behalf of the Italian people. This was a rallying-point for the Nationalists, as it gave them a sense of pride, unified the various factions, and showed the weakness of the PLI government which did not dare risk sending their politically-dubious troops to clear d'Anunzio's forces out. By this time, Mussolini's newly-formed Italian Fascist Party was growing in strength. The reasons are varied and debated, but historians point to the petty bourgeoisie turning to the Fascists as they promised a variety of things. A new order whereby Italy would no longer be the laughing-stock of Europe. A strong government which would end the petty squabbling and political backhanders in Rome. A sense of national pride and national identity. And perhaps most importantly, they stood against the Communists who, in the Biennio Rossio (Red Years) of 1919-1921, orchestrated sufficient marches, strikes, lock-outs, and rallies to convince many Italians that their country was about to go down the same shithole at Russia. The Liberals had a softly-softly approach to the Reds; the Socialists and Populists were too close for comfort; and so the Fascists grew in popularity. The growing party attracted a core of supporters not from the factories or the aristocracy, but from shopkeepers, bank clerks, policemen, and housewives - ordinary Italians angry at the establishment and fearful of a Red Revolution. Indeed, police support for the Fascist Party's anti-communist vigilantes has been cited as a reason for the Party's rapid growth. Of course, this is a class-based analysis and there are others. But what's important to bear in mind are these long- and short-term factors to the rapid growing popularity at Mussolini's party and decreasing support for the established parties.
So, Mussolini's rise. By late 1922 the PFI had become by far the dominant Nationalist party in Italy, and Mussolini himself - a very astute politicians who maintained control of his own faction while playing others off against each other - had been elected a Member of Parliament. He had tried a short-lived peace with the PSI in the hopes of forming a coalition, but opposition within his own party compelled Mussolini to adopt a more hardline approach. When a mass anti-Fascist strike was called in August 1922, the second-largest party - the church-backed Populists - refused to join in, thus lending tacit support to the Fascists. At the same time, Gabriel d'Anunzio's own nationalists (still up in Fiume) made some political movements which Mussolini suspected were the precursors to a coup d'etat. Mussolini decided to pip Anunzio to the post and, in October 1922 with discontent at the Liberals at an all-time high, he decided to March on Rome.
In Rome, the leading politician Antonio Salandra (PLI) warned the Prime Minister, Luigi Facta (also PLI) that Mussolini had demanded Facta's resignation and the appointment of Mussolini as Prime Minister. Facta did not entirely believe this, particularly as he thought that Salandra was bluffing him in order to take the job of Prime Minister. But when Fascist paramilitaries assembled near Rome - and the police and army made no move to stop them - he stepped down. However he was still the dominant politician as he had the most support among the PLI, PSI, and PPI, and he tried to stop the Fascists by declaring a State of Emergency. This would effectively condemn the Fascists as traitors, and hopefully bring the PPI and the army onto the government's side. But, it didn't work. In order to pass, the State of Emergency had to be signed by King Victor Emmanuel III - who refused. Historians continue to debate the King's motives, but it seems likely that he was equally sick of the existing parties and saw Mussolini as a man who could be kept on a leash while suppressing the communists. The leading politicians - Salandra, Facta, and Crispi - were publicly humiliated when, instead of appointing one of them as the new Prime Minister, the King telegraphed Mussolini to officially invite him to take the top job. Mussolini hopped on a train to Rome, was sworn in as Prime Minister, and Fascist Italy began.
The history of Italy, 1922-1945 under the Fascist Party, is crucial to understanding twentieth-century history in general. Andy has completely ignored it. We will briefly examine it here as it needs to be known why Fascism in Italy was so much less severe than Nazism in Germany. When Mussolini became Prime Minister, he was far from a dictator. Very far. He still had to deal with the other parties, and held a precarious position. Indeed, during the Matteoti Scandal of 1924, when the Fascists were accused of murdering the prominent Socialist leader and PSI politician Giacomo Matteoti, the press, parliament, public, and Pope, all crucified Mussolini. He only clung onto power through the intervention of the King (who did not, as Andy ridiculously claims, abdicate in 1922. He only abdicated in 1945). And while the Fascists preached strong nationalism - a sort of watered-down Nazism without the emphasis on Jews, but still with the militarism and right-wing shit - it never really took off in Italy. It didn't help that Mussolini severely hampered his own plans for Italy and a new Roman Empire by trying to single-handedly run the entire country from his own desk. He read and censored newspapers, caught up on political parties, dictated economic plans, negotiated with companies and corporations, dictated industrial and agricultural policies and quotas, ran the military, and interacted with the Pope and foreign leaders - or at least, he tried to. In reality, Fascist Italy was a clumsy and confusing mess precisely because Mussolini thought he could micro-manage an entire industrial nation day after day. His economic, industrial, and financial policies were dreadful; causing Italy's economy to stagnate badly. His social and cultural policies consisted of using a clumsy secret police (kept on a tight leash after the Matteoti Affair) trying to suppress anything that did venerate Mussolini, whose public image was more of a clown than an Emperor. The Italian military was also abominably bad. It is recorded that Mussolini chose Italian tank designs by, one afternoon, pretending to study tank designs (he was actually busy having sex with one of his many mistresses in his study), then came out and pointed at a random design. Coincidentally, it was the worst one. The Italian Air Force was still using biplanes at the outbreak of World War Two, while the Navy had barely been modernised in twenty years and the Italian Army was so bad that Hitler had to help the Italians out in Albania, Greece, and North Africa, while grudgingly accepting Italian troops around the Nazi empire as backwater garrisons or cannon-fodder. Indeed, the only victory the Italians had was in 1936 when they gas-bombed and machine-gunned Ethiopian tribesmen in order to avenge Adowa - an invasion which led to the League of Nations slapping trade and diplomatic embargoes on Italy (contrary to Andy's - and popular - belief that the League did nothing useful). Public support for Mussolini was never more than lukewarm, in contrast to the fanaticism attached to Hitler and Stalin, and when the King sacked Mussolini in 1943 in favour of the Fascist Party's second-in-command, the public response was to side with the King. Mussolini, rescued by the Nazis, lingered on as a puppet ruler in northern Italy until 1945.
Oh, and lest I am accused of jumping the gun - Andy doesn't actually return to Mussolini in this lecture, so we have to discuss it all here.Fascist Italy, for all its contradictions and incompetencies, was an inspiration to Hitler and goes a long way towards explaining why successful fascist parties emerged more or less simultaneously across Europe, from Portugal to Poland, Finland to Greece. Public dissatisifaction with their governments; a yearning for national identity and national pride; sore wounds from previous international humiliations; and the ever-present (at least in Fascist minds) threat of communism. Whether you want to view Fascism as random and unpredicted, or a natural yin to communism' yang, or a tool of the capitalists to keep the workers in line, or whatever - it is critical to know what happened in Italy. Shame on Andy for not only not telling his students any of this, but for getting this pithy little segment disastrously wrong. In a way, it's like Fascist Italy. It's a prelude to Hitler but its' small, bumbling, slapdash, wrong, and now that it is over, we the public are glad to see it go.
Hitler and the Nazis
|In Germany the name of the fascists was the “Storm Troopers” or “Brownshirts”, and their political party was called Nationalsozialismus, the Nationalist Socialist German Workers’ Party, or “Nazis” for short. Adolf Hitler became their leader and he promised to stop communism and undo the Treaty of Versailles, which many Germans considered to be a humiliation to their nation. (The humiliation and outrage caused by this treaty is often cited as a reason for Hitler's rise to power.) In 1923 Hitler led an armed rebellion in Munich, but was defeated and jailed. While imprisoned, he wrote Mein Kampf (My Struggle) in which he declared “Aryans” to be the master race. Adolf Hitler was an evolutionary racist. Hitler considered most German people to be “Aryans”, a term that properly refers to the Indo-European people who partly migrated to India. The connection is ironic because the swastika, Hitler’s symbol, is borrowed from Hinduism and the name itself is Sanskrit. But when Hitler said “Aryan” he meant people having Nordic features rather Indian features.||Before moving on to Der Führer let's take a moment to reflect.
Adolf Hitler and his Merry Men are probably the most oft-cited political phenomenon of our time. Godwin's Law is not a mere snippet of internet whimsy - it is demonstrably true that in any discussion which turns to politics, Hitler will crop up before too long. This is particularly true when the debate involves childish right-wing types who have a smattering of historical education and a fanatical drive to impose their own version of morality and social organisation onto the entirety of human civilisation. People like KenDoll and Andrew "Voice like Polystyrene rubbing against a Chalkboard" Schlafly are not isolated freaks howling in the wilderness - they are ambassadors of a much, much larger group of people across the entire world who believe that they have a duty to tell us what we may and may not think and do - and given the opportunity, such a dictatorial stance is exactly what these people do. And as we are all aware, one of their favoured tactics is to point at us - the allied coalition of liberals, socialists, women, homosexuals, non-Fundamentalists (basically anyone who doesn't get a hard-on at the thought of Herbert Hoover) - and scream "NAZI!!!". This is a childish but very effective tactic, as it appeals to those ignorant folk who cast their votes for right-wingers on the premise that we opponents are evil people conspiring to collapse human civilisation into an orgy of homosexuality, bestiality, planned economies, secularism, and kitten-eating. But it is mildly surprising that, given this is one of their preferred tactics of "winning" debates, these people know so little about Hitler. It is possible that they actually do know what Nazism was all about, but deliberately misinterpret it in order to seperate themselves from an eerily similar political movement. Or it's possible that they dare not research the Nazis for fear that they will discover just how close they are to everyone's favourite political group. Who knows.
It's not as though information on Hitler is hard to find. For Christ's sake, he was one of the most influential people in human history - and for all the wrong reasons. Wait another three or four centuries, and public knowledge about Hitler will have waned as he fades into the mists of time. Genghis Khan was a nightmare in his own time, but Joe Public knows virtually nothing about him now - it will be the same with Hitler. But that's in the future. Here in the present, we should know about Hitler. It's only been seventy years since the man was alive. He was voted into office and his horrors were committed not by medieval madmen or Bronze Age myths, but by modern, industrialised, technological, educated people like us. To know Hitler is to know how fragile and vulnerable democracy is, and to know what Hitler did is to know that we must fight to the last drop to protect that fragile system from another man like him. And there are a lot of such people around. Just switch on Fox News - pound to a penny, there's a potential Adolf smiling on-camera right now.
This is the reason why Hitler is such a domineering figure in school history syllabi. And not just in the West. We all know that the United States has a fixation with Hitler, while we British have a rather morbid preoccupation with "The War". yet it stretches much further afield. Children in China, India, Brazil, Kazakhstan - they learn about the Nazis. Hell, before I came to live in Britain, I learned about Hitler in a dusty windowless schoolroom in a remote African town. Now, if normal people like you and I can read and study the history of this abhorrent man, why can't hyper-conservative Westerners? The answer may be that, rather than them not being able to learn; they are simply unwilling. Because Hitler and men like Andrew Schlafly are a bit too close for comfort.
Let's examine the context of post-First World War Germany. The country had been internationally humiliated by the Treaty of Versailles; not because Germany couldn't pay, but because the German people had to accept total defeat. Their empire was gone, the Kaiser had fled, the Rhineland was occupied by black Frenchmen, the cities were hungry and swarming with Reds, and great slices of territory, people, and industry had been snipped away from the Fatherland. To cap it all, a new political system had emerged - the Weimar Republic. Historians acknowledge that the Weimar Republic was the most democratic system in human history, but it was born in a nation which had very limited experience with democracy. To a nation which had been used to authoritarian order under a long line of Kings and Kaisers, votes and parliaments frequently seemed chaotic and disorganised. In the wake of the nation's tumultuous rebirth after the First World War, many Germans sought an explanation for why they had lost and sought a political movement that they could believe in. For some, it was the Communists (KPD). For some, it was the new Western-style democratic parties (SPD, LPD). For some, it was far-right nationalists who blamed it all on Jews and degenerates - like the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) - the Nazis. To understand them, let's understand Hitler.
Born to the petite bourgeoisie in the fin de siecle Austro-Hungarian Empire - the "Babylon of Races" - as he called it, Adolf Hitler had a confused childhood as he oscillated between his overprotecting mother and his harsh father (who was also his mother's uncle). For various reasons which are and will be debated by historians and psychoanalysts for decades and centuries to come, the young Hitler fell in with the pan-German movement and flirted with far-right politics. This movement, which argued that all Germans should unify under a single state, was rather popular following the unification of Germany in 1871, but rapidly became associated with various political fringe groups. After dossing around Vienna homeless shelters for a few years, failing to make it as an artist, Hitler moved to Germany upon the outbreak of World War One and enlisted in the German Army. During the war his far-right politics became more honed (as did his self-delusions: he once claimed he had captured an entire platoon of French officers single-handedly and had been awarded the Iron Cross First Class, when in reality he was a bicycle courier and the regimental laughing-stock for his awkwardness and weird opinions), and when the war ended he managed to remain in the greatly-reduced army by becoming a political spy in Munich. His job - basically to sit in at boring beerhall meetings - introduced him to the new NSDAP; a small far-right party which he increasingly flirted with. As Hitler had support and backing from the local Freikorps anti-communist militia led by Ernst Röhm, he managed to weasel his way to the top of the growing party through frenzied, theatrical speeches in which he blamed internal and external enemies for all of Germany's problems - with a particular emphasis on Jews, who Hitler saw as the puppet-masters behind the communists, the French and British, the liberals in Berlin, the apparent moral decay, and whatever other problem was popular at the time.
Discontent with the Weimar Regime was noticeable among various factions in Germany, particularly among the communists (whose attempted revolutions had been crushed, but were still a strong force) and the nationalists. In 1920 a right-wing coup d'etat - the Kapp Putsch - had been launched, and although it was a dismal failure it gave inspiration to right-wing movements seeking to redress the Weimar regime's apparent softness and treachery. By 1923, with the German economy experiencing out-of-control hyperinflation and the French occupying the Rhineland, anger at the government was high. Hitler orchestrated an attempted coup d'etat in Munich, using his stormtrooper paramilitary and a lot of disgruntled thugs, to seize the city and march on Berlin to install a right-wing government. The putsch failed as the army and police fired on the Nazis, and the movement rapidly disintegrated. Hitler and his leaders - including the prominent Field Marshal Erich von Ludendorff, a household name - were rounded up by the police and put on trial for treason. At the trial, Hitler pleaded guilty of treason and, due to sympathy from the right-wing judges, turned his trial into a national exhibition in which he espoused his political views on the weakness and illegitimacy of the Weimar Republic, and the apparent need for strong nationalism. His sentence of nine months in jail - a token slap on the wrist - gave Hitler time to write Mein Kampf and, when he was released from prison, he was a nationally-recognised figure.
During the late 1920s, economic growth and closer ties between European nations caused support for the Nazis to fade a little, but the Party continued to stand in elections and, when the global economy collapsed in 1929, Germany's economy was devastated. With unemployment higher than ever before, extreme political parties - the Communists and the Nazis, opposite ends of the spectrum - gained in popularity. Hitler - a good politician, let's be truthful - forged links with the army, and gained the support of other right-wing and conservative factions. In the 1930 general elections, the Nazis won 6 million votes and became the second-largest party after the Social Democrats. And here is where it all starts to go wrong.
From 1930 onwards, Germany had a series of coalition governments which rose and fell as leaders tried and failed to solve the terrible economic situation. General Elections became more and more frequent, causing dissatisfaction and increasing public support for the German Communist Party (KPD) and the new "Harzburg Front" of right-wingers; essentially an alliance of fascists run by Hitler. Having copied Mussolini, the Nazis had now become a gaudy party with all the paraphernalia, marching bands, rallies, and songs which appealed to people dissatisfied at their government (and still do). In each General Election the Nazi vote increased, and the Nazis became strong enough to bring about the fall of governments by simply walking out of the Reichstag whenever a bill they didn't like looked ready to pass. As the Nazis had so many Members of Parliament, that size exodus forced a new election, and as people got sick of the elections, support for the Nazis crept up. By late 1932 Germany was on its fourth Chancellor in two years and when the government of Franz von Papen was forced to dissolve, another Election was held in November.
What is noticeable is that in the November 1932 German General Election, the Nazis actually lost votes. Historians disagree why, but most conclude that people were getting just as sick of the Nazis as they were of other parties. The Party certainly had problems in its own ranks, as the right-wing thugs growled about wasting time on elections, the Stormtroopers grumbled about being ignored in favour of the German Army, and irritation at Hitler's slow progress heightened. However, circumstances propelled Hitler to the forefront. After only two months, political wrangling forced the Chancellor, General Kurt von Schleicher, to resign as he lacked the confidence of his own party. Hitler approached Schliecher's rival, ex-Chancellor Franz von Papen, and offered a deal. If Papen (who had the ear of Reichspräsident Paul von Hindenburg) would recommend Hitler as Chancellor, Hitler would offer Papen a cushy job in his new cabinet. Von Papen did exactly this.
Contrary to Andy's version of events, Hindeburg did not "panic". Hindenburg, a hero of the First World War and a believer in democracy, hated Hitler. An aristocrat beloved by the people, Hindenburg rightly viewed Hitler as an evil, jumped-up little shit and the few times they had met, Hindenburg and Hitler had both been extremely rude to one another. Yet in January 1933, with Germany in its direst economic and political situation in decades, Hindeburg appointed Hitler as Chancellor.
Why? Well, as you probably guessed, historians disagree. Fear of the communists is cited, with Hitler appearing the lesser of two evils. Another probable factor is that the Nazis were a major party and Hindenburg could not keep ignoring the bastards without risking alienation by a lot of his own people. And perhaps most significantly, Hindenburg had run out of choices. He had tried a half-dozen Chancellors in the last three years and none of them had managed to gain the support of the Reichstag nor managed to solve the economic crisis. It is even possible that Hindenburg appointed Hitler so that Hitler could make a big show of failing to gain the Reichstag's support, fail to fix the economy, and be quickly abandoned by the voters - a strategy which, if successful, would almost certainly have been the end of the Nazi Party. Whatever the reasons, Hindenburg appointed Hitler the Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. And it all went downhill from there.See, Andy could have told his students all this. Andy should have told this. Like the Rise of Mussolini, the Rise of Hitler is essential to study as it is a dark cautionary tale of just how fragile our system is. Beneath the veneer of modern Western democracy simmers a deep and searing fury. Lying dormant under our charming twenty-first century personas is dark hatred and if we let this hate-filled anger rear its head - if we let it wriggle its way through the chinks of our democratic armour - it will devour us and by the time we realise what is happening, it will be too late. It's happened before, the potential and the people exist, and unless we know how to fight it it will happen again. Hence we need to know how Hitler rose to power. The historical truth; not the shit which Andy peddles to justify attmepting to repeat history all over again.
|Hitler also promised to help Germany take back land it lost in the Treaty of Versailles and to conquer Russia and Eastern Europe so that Germans could have more living space, or “lebensraum”.||This is partly true. In Mein Kampf Hitler does indeed rant about the need for more territory to secure Germany's economy/frontiers/military security/social structure/"racial purity"/any other Hitlerist buzzword. But he didn't undertake General Election campaigns on the premise that once in office, he would immediately begin a war. The man was evil, but he wasn't stupid.|
|In 1933, Germany was in the throes of the Great Depression and German President Paul von Hindenburg panicked by naming Hitler chancellor. This was one of the biggest mistakes in world history. Hitler quickly solidified power for the Nazis. Calling himself Der Fuhrer, Hitler began in 1934 to murder hundreds of Germans who had opposed him. Hitler developed a secret police known as the Gestapo, and also a special, black-uniformed public police known as the Schutzstaffel, or SS. Hitler took over the schools, requiring teenagers to join the Hitlerjugend, or Hitler Youth (for boys) and the League of German Girls (for girls). They were then brainwashed with pro-Hitler propaganda. But Hitler promoted industrialization and revived the economy, making him a hero in Germany and even to some in the United States.||
Ah, here is where Andy says that Hindenburg panicked. Well, he didn't, as we discussed above. And unsurprisingly, Andy completely misinterprets the situation.
Like Mussolini in 1922, Hitler did not become Head of the Government and immediately transform into an iron-fisted dictator. He still had to deal with the Reichstag, other political parties (including the large and vocal German Communist Party), President Hindenburg who loathed Hitler in the extreme, and a civil service which was largely hostile to him. This last one was more important than it sounds - the attempted Kapp Putsch in 1921 had failed precisely because the civil service refused to support the coup. Hitler also faced serious problems within his own party. His long-time ally Ernst Röhm, leader of the Sturmabteiling or SA, the nazi paramilitary brownshirts, had become increasingly hostile to Hitler as Hitler tried to keep the SA on a tight leash. This attempt to smooth the Nazi Party's public image as "decent" people was too much for the swaggering Röhm, and as Hitler began to increase the power of the regular German Army and his newly-formed Schutzstaffel or SS, a party police, the SA drifted further and further from Party control. These delicate political problems, along with the need to make good on his promises of economic improvement before he too was kicked out of office, forced Hitler to take a softly-softly approach which angered many Nazis.
Almost immediately upon taking office, Hitler presented a bill to President Hindenburg. The bill, which would have suspended parliamentary procedure and many civil liberties, was instantly refused by the President who ordered that it must first be approved by the Reichstag. As the Reichstag was split almost evenly between the Nazis on one side and the Social Democrats leading all other parties in opposition, it would be a very narrow margin and might not pass. Hitler needed a pretext to force the bill through.
Barely days after Hindenburg refused to sign the bill into law, Hitler got his pretext. The Reichstag building in Berlin was burned down in an arson/terrorist attack (could have had a great time with that word, Andy). A man was caught and confessed, who claimed he had burned it down on behalf of the communists. But the evidence was vague at the time and opinion among historians is still divided. It was just too damned convenient, and the Nazis themselves have long been suspected. Whoever did actually burn it down, though, was of little relevance. Hitler, speaking before the Reichstag and the President, cited a terrorist conspiracy of left-wingers who were trying to bring down the regime. By playing on this apparent threat Hitler was able to push the bill through parliament, had it signed by the president, and was made law.
The Enabling Act of 1933, following on from the Reichstag Fire Decree, began the Nazis' consolidation of power. Civil liberties with regard to telephone and postal communications were suspended (**cough**Patriot Act**cough**), the German Communist Party was banned, and over the next few months all parties except the Nazis were shut down. The Enabling Act also suspended the Reichstag, allowing the Chancellor and his cabinet to pass laws without the approval of parliament or President. In a bid to gain support from the establishment, Hitler began publicly ignoring the SA in favour of the regular military, causing great dissent within his own ranks. The SA, a muich more revolutionary force, disliked being sidelined and disliked the links Hitler was forging with the upper classes and business interests. Dissent increased and top nazi leaders, including Hitler, suspected the SA was on the verge of launching a putsch of its own.
Whether or not Röhm planned to overthrow Hitler is debated. Regardless, Hitler was able to crush this apparent imminent revolution in June 1934, when, in the "Night of the Long Knives", the SS and Gestapo rounded up and executed the leaders of the SA, other dissenteres among the Nazi elite, and a few non-Nazi political leaders including the previous Chancellor, General Schleicher. This left Hitler with no remaining official rivals, in other parties and within his own. The only remaining obstacle was President Hindenburg.
Hitler tried to maintain a friendly public relationship with Hindenburg - even though the two despised one another - and as Hindenburg was so popular Hitler did not ruffle his feathers. But when Hindenburg, a very old man, died in August 1934, Hitler merged the offices of Chancellor and President, the Head of the Government and the Head of State, into one office. The Führer. The army swore loyalty to him the very next day, a national referendum showed overwhelming support for the merging of the two offices, and politically, Hitler became a total dictator.
Would have been nice if Andy had explained this...
As for the rest of his paragraph, it's the typical mix of contemporary bitching and historical inaccuracy that we have come to expect from him. The SS were not the national police force - the police were merged into the overall SS structure in 1934, but the actual black-uniformed bastards were internal Party police who generally didn't get involved with non-party members. Similarly, the Gestapo has a somewhat inaccurate legacy. The traditional view is that the Geheim Staatspolizei (Secret State Police, or Gestapo) were a sort of Orwellian Thoughtpolice with their eyes and ears everywhere in Germany. Yet since the late 1990s, research has shown that the Gestapo were in fact rather ineffective. With the exception of a few cases brought against senior Party members - all hush-hush, of course - the Gestapo spent the whole of its existence chronically understaffed, short of resources, and overwhelmed with work. Contrary to the popular image of thousands of trenchcoated policemen spying on the population day and night, the few Gestapo officers appear to have spent the vast majority of their time sitting at their desks trying to keep up with an endless and vast influx of informant reports, denunciations, accusations against neighbours, etc. We're not saying that the Nazis were nice, for God's sake. We're just saying that a realistic interpretation of history should be borne in mind. As for the Hitlerjugend and Bundesdeutschemadchen, these organisations evolved slowly and did not suddenly start snatching children away on the day Hitler came into office. Yes, Andy, we all know that you want to bitch about the state influencing children, but your people really haven't got a leg to stand on. Haven't you watched Jesus Camp? Also, he has failed to mention any of the other, more important organisations, notably Kraft durch Freude or KDF, which provided state-sponsored annual holidays for workers and their families, the Organisation Todt which solved Germany's chronic unemployment problems by employing millions on constructing infrastructure, or the state-sponsored healthcare programme (see what you've missed out on, Andy?!). he could also have mentioned Hitler's concordat with the Pope, his hypocritical public defence of the small businessman while giving massive state subsidies to mega-corporations, his bumbling agricultural policy to make Germany self-sufficient, and the myriad of other social and economic programmes pursued - with varying degrees of success and co-operation - by the Nazi bureaucracy.
|From the start Hitler blamed Jewish people in Germany for its problems. In 1933, the Nazis began passing laws taking away rights from Jews, and on Nov. 9, 1938 the Nazis conducted a massive pogrom in a thousand German towns that attacked Jewish people in their homes and destroyed their businesses. This day, which came after years of harassment, is known as the “Kristallnacht”, or the night of broken glass. Afterward Jews were prohibited from being in public buildings or owning or working in retail stores.||This is mostly accurate. As mentioned, Hitler avoided being too publicly harsh on the Jews as he didn't want to jeopardise his political position in the early stages. A few financial laws were passed and the first concentration camp - Dachau - was for political prisoners rather than Jews. But when Hindenburg died and Hitler became supreme leader, a flood of laws and proclamations were issued. Jews were banned from being civil servants, and restrictions were placed upon Jewish activity in medicine, science, and academia. In order to define just who was a Jew, the Nazis passed the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. This stated that anyone with three Jewish grandparents was to be considered a Jew - regardless of whether or not they considered themselves Jewish - and therefore prohibited from most public employment or activity. The Nazis' anti-Jewish stance was toned down in 1936 during the Olympic Games in Berlin, but quickly resumed and following Kristallnacht (named for all the broken shop windows), Jewish economic activity was severely curtailed. Most Jewish small businesses instantly failed as the Nazis prohibited them from filing insurance claims, and as Germans were not allowed to shop there, while Jewish-owned banks and large businesses were confiscated by the state. These were all precursors for what was to come. Many Jews fled, but the vast majority stayed as they did not have the resources to leave their country. And many did not see why they should - Jewish or not, they were still Germans.
Oh, and lest you think this does not still happen and cannot happen again - or that, should it happen, you are safe - forget it. Conservapedia is merely one outlet which provides an insight into the minds of the right-wing fascist mobs which are growing in power across the entire Western world, and nowhere more so than in the United States. There are growing groups which are doing exactly what Hitler did - pointing the finger at a scapegoat and blaming all of society's problems on them. And on the back of this, people vote into office increasing extremists who deprive certain groups of civil liberties. Whether it's passing the Patriot Act, or smashing the windows of Muslim shopowners, or bombing abortion clinics, or passing laws which prohibit gays from getting married - these are all symptoms of a deep hatred which will eventually turn on you too. None of those Germans in 1935 thought that they would be discriminated against because of who their grandparents were. None of those who cheered the dissolution of the trade unions thought that the Party would then come to oppress them. We are a rich and diverse society, and when one group is targeted - be that group Arabs, or blacks, or gays, or feminists, or environmentalists, or protestors, or whoever is pissing off the modern fascists - we must all stand together in collective defence. And to explain why, always remember the words of German priest Martin Niemöller:
"and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist."
"and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist."
"and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew."
"and there was no one left to speak out for me."
|Time magazine named Hitler "Man of the Year" at the end of 1938. It explained that the:
"Greatest single news event of 1938 took place on September 29, when four statesmen met at the Führerhaus, in Munich, to redraw the map of Europe. The three visiting statesmen at that historic conference were Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain, Premier Edouard Daladier of France, and Dictator Benito Mussolini of Italy. But by all odds the dominating figure at Munich was the German host, Adolf Hitler.Führer of the German people, Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, Navy & Air Force, Chancellor of the Third Reich, Herr Hitler reaped on that day at Munich the harvest of an audacious, defiant, ruthless foreign policy he had pursued for five and a half years. He had torn the Treaty of Versailles to shreds. He had rearmed Germany to the teeth— or as close to the teeth as he was able. He had stolen Austria before the eyes of a horrified and apparently impotent world."
|Oh great, Andy is now attempting to describe the Nazi Party's foreign relations by citing from Time magazine about the bloody Munich Conference. We'll discuss that in the next segment. Suffice it to say that it is inappropriate of our Andy to start blabbering on about the complex international politics of 1938 without giving any context whatsoever.|
Franco and the Spanish civil war
|Meanwhile, dictators were rising to power in other countries. In 1936, a civil war broke out in Spain when fascists who supported General Francisco Franco attempted to overthrow the elected republican government. This was a three-sided civil war, as Franco’s Nationalists battled a group of communists (the “International Brigades”) as well as the Republicans, and it lasted for three bloody years until 1939. This war attracted attention by writers and thinkers worldwide. The British writer George Orwell, who later penned classic anti-communist novels entitled Animal Farm and 1984, volunteered to fight against both the communists and Franco’s fascists. Orwell survived after taking a bullet through his neck. Britain, France and the United States remained officially neutral while Germany and Italy helped Franco. Some Americans felt that Franco was far better than the communists, and were relieved that Franco won.||Ahh, the Spanish Civil War. Still a very divisive topic over there. Andy, as usual, gives us the bare bones but instead of putting some historical meat on his skeleton, he instead opts for shoving in some crass right-wing propaganda.
In a nutshell, Spain had spent the nineteenth century caught between conservatives and reformists. One of the legacies of Napoleon's conquest of Spain in the early nineteenth century had been the abolition of the Inquisition and the spread of Republican (as in the concept of a republic, not American twats) ideals among the intelligentsia. When Spain regained its independence following the Napoleonic Wars, polarised factions had started to emerge. Throughout the nineteenth century Spain experienced severe economic problems and an ad hoc process of industrialisation and modernisation which impoverished many, and which was largely concentrated in the underrepresented Catalan region (around Barcelona). The King was deposed in 1873 following a popular uprising, but restored the next year as the military crushed demonstrations. This extremely tense political situation between traditionalists and reformists was exacerbated by Spain's humiliating defeat by the USA in 1896, with the military particularly embittered. When the army launched a coup d'etat in 1923 to overthrow the parliament, a brief dictatorship followed but it lacked popular support, forcing the military to step aside, the King to step down, and a new Republic to be proclaimed in 1931. During the early 30s, the rift between conservatives (backed by the Church) and reformists widened. No prizes for guessing which side dear ol' Andy would be on...
By 1936, the government was genuinely fearful of another military coup, and began removing top generals from their positions in Spain. When shooting began in June between Socialists and Conservatives, the military launched its coup. Flying in troops from Africa to Spain, the army united most of the Conservative factions behind them, while the Socialists did likewise with left-wing movements.
The ensuing Spanish Civil War was bloody carnage, and Andy can go fuck himself for sympathising with Franco. Notice how Andy tries to paint the picture of Franco as a man defending Christianity and Republicanism (obviously, he doesn't realise that "Republicanism" in this context refers to the socialists and communists defending the Spanish Republic, and instead confuses it with his own brand of right-wing American faecal matter) against the slavering hordes of anarcho-communist kitten-eaters. In reality, as we all know, Franco was a right-wing shit who gleefully slaughtered people in the hundreds of thousands. So did the communists, admittedly, but of course Andy won't acknowledge that his beloved Francisco was no better, and in many ways worse, than the Spanish Republicans. Note also, his acknowledgement that Franco was only able to win because of military support from Hitler and Mussolini. The Republicans received only nominal support from the USSR, and while the rest of the international community turned a blind eye to their citizens going to fight for the leftist movement (while simultaneously preventing those who tried to go and fight for Franco), they did remain officially neutral and could not provide military aid. In 1939 Franco's troops took the last Republican stronghold, Barcelona, and the rightists won.
Oh, and Andy. Orwell was not a Conservative, no matter how many times you make that claim. Orwell was opposed to both hardline Nationalism and hardline Communism, which he saw as being no better than its opponent. He believed in Socialism. There is a difference. And Animal Farm and 1984 are just as opposed to fascism and nationalism as they are to Soviet-style communism.So for getting this badly wrong, for not bothering to explain the war, and for openly supporting Francisco Franco, the feedback for young Master Schlafly's homework is: go fuck yourself.
|Yugoslavia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Albania were also taken over by their own dictators. The only democracy left in Eastern Europe in 1935 was Czechoslovakia.||Brilliant. Evidently Andy couldn't be bothered to actually research the names of these men. No mention of Admiral Horthy, Ioannis Metaxas, Tsar Boris III of Bulgaria, or Józef Piłsudski. No mention of the fact that, like Mussolini, Hitler, and Franco, these men were elected to, appointed to, or seized control of the highest state offices due to public fear of communism and popular movements for the restoration of "Traditional Values". Could have had a field day there, Andy. But of course, the man is far too busy masturbating over his shrine to Fascism to actually bother opening a history book.|
World War II
|Two nations – Germany and Japan – had built themselves into perfect fighting machines. They lacked diversity in their populations, with the German people being almost completely of one Germanic ethnicity, and the Japanese population being almost completely of one Japanese ethnicity. Both nations had become dominated by non-Christian belief systems. In Germany the prevailing view among the elite was that there was, or should be, a master race that defeats all others. In Japan, there was unyielding devotion to their warlord emperor, whom they believed to be a god.||Mister Schlafly's Historical Crapestry™ makes its triumphant return...
So first of all, Andy claims that 1930s Germany and Japan had no diversity in their population. Precisely what kind of diversity does he mean? In terms of ethnicity? Age? Gender? Religion? Language? Political beliefs? Education levels? Jobs? Every society has diversity. Unless Germany and Japan c.1939 were inhabited by only one person each, then of course there was bloody diversity.
Second, Andy claims that Germany and Japan were entirely ethnically homogenuous. Bollocks. Perhaps Andy hasn't heard of the German Jews. Or the Prussians, Saxon, Thuringians, Schleswig-Holsteinians, Bavarians, etc. Or the Zaichini Koreans, the Chinese, the Ryukyuans, the Ainu, etc. He then claims that German and Japanese populations were "almost completely" of one ethnicity. "Almost completely" implies that there is some degree of diversity. Oh, and let's have a shout-out for my race here - there were black Germans in the 1930s. Many were ex-officers and administrators from the German colonies, mixed-race children born during the black French occupation of the Rhineland in 1923, and of course black immigrants in Berlin and Hamburg during the Weimar Republic. They all died painful deaths during the Holocaust. Way to ignore them, Andy...
Third, Andy claims that Christianity was not dominant in Japan and Germany. For the former this is true, but 1930s Germany was still heavily Christian. Lutherans, Catholics, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. Hitler trod a very fine line with his religious policies, and frequently promoted the various churches. Let's not go down the road of claiming that the various churches were in league with the Nazis (some were, and some weren't), but suffice it to say that there were a lot of Christians in 1930s Germany.This is pretty easy to find out, Andy. Your tapestry-weaving skills are pretty shit to start with as you can't get the facts right, and this really isn't the appropriate place to publicly reveal your crapness at weaving webs of lies.
|Both countries had powerful industrial economies to feed their thirst for power. In Germany, a leader (Adolf Hitler) had risen to power who had phenomenal public speaking skills, and who could whip the German people into a frenzy with his demagoguery. In Japan the national religion (Shinto) called on the Japanese to do the emperor’s will as though a god had ordered them to do so.||Apparently having an industrial economy automatically causes a nation to become a slavering dictatorship. Interesting. So why do Fundies always blame Darwin for Nazism? Clearly, it's all the fault of Adam Smith!! Note Andy's implicit admiration of Hitler's public speaking skills. Is he a Nazi, or is he just jealous of someone who was able to speak in public without his voice sounding like polystyrene rubbed against a blackboard?|
|Germany and Japan each experienced a rise of nationalism and the rise of an influential, popular dictator, and began to threaten the world at the same time. Other nations experienced the same rise of nationalism, and dictators coming to power, but did not become as serious of a threat. Why was it that these two nations independently arrived at similar nationalism and dictatorship, but came from extremely different starting points; one because of religion, the other, due to the lack thereof? Just as we saw unrelated peoples do similar things in ancient times, such as building structures that looked like ziggurats and developing feudalism, we see the coincidence of German and Japan nationalism independently threatening the world at the same time.||"did not become as serious of a threat". Brilliant wordplay there, Andy. Here, Obergruppenfuhrer Schlafly has posed a very legitimate question which historians continue to rage over - why did Germany and Japan both pursue aggressive nationalist policies in the period c.1933-1945? Obviously Andy doesn't care about Italy, so we'll focus on these two. Well, historians have been coming up with all sorts of theories to answer this question, ever since said aggression began. Was it class conflict? Geographical determinism? Societal structures? The international order (or lack thereof)? The effects of the Great Depression? Long- or short-term factors? Predictably, there is no single answer and since the early 1930s, lots and lots of long books have been written in an attempt to answer the question. But equally predictably, our Andy plumps for the trite monocausal explanation for all of the world's apparent woes - atheism. We'll unpick this gargantuan crapestry in the following segments...|
Aggression in the 1930s
|Japan’s feudal period had militaristic aspects, but in the 1920s Japan was a democratic government that signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact for peace. Then the Great Depression hit Japan just like everywhere else, and the Japanese overthrew their democratic government and replaced it with a military regime. Emperor Hirohito rose to power as a military ruler.||Another classic technique from the Schlafly School of Pseudohistorical Revisionism. AKA "The Ministry of Truth". Imply that events of the Middle Ages had a direct impact upon geopolitics five hundred years later. Every society had militaristic aspects in the feudal period, you jackass. By the same logic, this overbearing tart might as well claim that 1930s Britain and France were drum-thumping militarists simply because there had been militaristic aspects to their societies in the fourteenth century... Oh, and the Japanese did not overthrow their government. Japan remained a de jure constitutional monarchy up until 1945. What changed is that the de jure power of the elected parliament and constituionally-bound monarch became overshadowed by the de facto power of military cliques. A bloodless coup. Not a revolution.|
|Japan decided that it could solve its economic problems by expanding. That would enable it to obtain raw materials for production and new markets for exports. At least that is what many historians say. Perhaps the real truth is that the Japanese liked winning wars and no one had beaten them yet. China was many times bigger than Japan, but was no match for the Japanese military. Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931, attracted in part by the coal and iron deposits there. This invasion began the Asian phase of World War II.||Well, this is partially true. Japan did indeed have some economic reasons for its invasion of Manchuria and the subsequent war with embattled China. But there were other aspects, relating to centuries of Sino-Japanese rivalry, the break-up of China, foreign rivalries, the status of Korea (contested by both Japan and China), and cultural/ethnic antagonisms. We're by now used to Andy picking monocausal explanations for complex events in history, but it's strange here to see him railing on the economy. What happened to Adam Smith's "trade will make the nations free" ethos, Andy?|
|The League of Nations condemned this invasion but chose not to stop it, from fear that any opposition would spark another war like the one they had just suffered through. They held onto the hope that if left alone, the invasions would stop. Japan withdrew from the League in 1933, and, along with Germany, played off of the fears of the League of Nations.||The grammar here is ghastly. Note Andy's sudden defence of the League, when in the previous Lecture he couldn't bludgeon it to death quickly enough. Yes, the League stood by and did nothing. Because it had no power. And why did it have no power? Because as Andy reminded us in the last dismal little dirge, the Americans refused to join. Nice job, Republican Party...|
|In 1937, Japan invaded northern and central China. It sacked the Chinese capital of Nanjing, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians. Jiang Jieshi fled to the west while Mao Zedong’s guerrilla fighters stayed to combat the Japanese.||Andy already covered this in the last session, so why is he repeating it now? And why is he flicking between the names Chiang Kai-shek and Jiang Jieshi for the same man (and if he wants to show off his political correctness why does his other name, Jiang Zhongzheng, go totally unmentioned)? Pick one! AND why is he portraying the commies in such a noble light? Tsk tsk. What would Mitt Romney say...
Anyway, the Japanese did indeed invade China in response to apparent acts of Chinese terrorism - which the Japanese were behind. Andy, you really could have said more about the Rape of Nanking. Few things mobilise public opinion more than god-awful newspaper photos, and as Americans, Britons, and French sat at their breakfast tables and unfurled their papers to see photos of dead Chinese women and children knee-deep in the streets, international opinion turned very hostile against Japan. Or at least, the Japanese government. As awful as it may sound, we need those sorts of images again. If Sky News, Fox, The Times and the New York Post carried images of scorched skeletons, severed limbs, and dead babies, maybe people would think twice before voting for a political party which preaches a new Crusade.Maybe.
|In a completely unrelated move, Italy invaded one of the last remaining independent nations in Africa: Ethiopia. In the 1890s, Ethiopia had fought off the Italians, but Mussolini was back for revenge. He easily conquered Ethiopia in 1935-1936 and, again, the League of Nations could do nothing when Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie begged for help.||Ahh, Abyssinia. As a black African I am tempted - even obligated - to get on my racial and cultural soapbox. One Love to His Imperial Majesty, Ras Tafari!! Et cetera ad infinitum. As you can guess, me no speaky Ebonics. So I'll refrain from playing the black card and jumping on the soapbox. It's looking a bit frail, and what with all this inter-contest winter weight-gain, I want to save the tired old girl for a more opportune moment. I have the feeling I'll be climbing back on the thing before long anyway...
Recall that in 1896, the Italians had been dealt a crushing defeat at Adowa by the forces of Abyssinian (Ethiopian) Emperor Menelik III. Well, the Italians had never got over that, and with Mussolini's constant haranguing about building a new Roman Empire, that stain on the public consciousness was something he needed to wipe out if he was to be taken seriously. Plus by 1935 Italy was in the economic shit, thanks to Mussolini's god-awful economic policies, and nothing is better than a foreign war for distracting us proles from how shit our own government is. Hence, Abyssinia.
Within weeks of the invasion, Abyssinia was all but overrun. Adowa in 1896 had been fought with roughly similar technology, and when both sides have the same technology, the advantage goes to the biggest army. In 1896 that was the Abyssinians. But in 1936, the Ethiopians were both outnumbered and outgunned. The Italian Air Force and mechanised infantry later proved to be rubbish against other Europeans, but for rifle-wielding Ethiopian tribesmen, there was little hope against Italian aeroplanes dropping mustard-gas bombs, armoured cars mounting machine-guns, and tanks firing high-explosive shells. Like the Chinese, the Spanish Republicans, and the Europeans soon to be fighting for their own survivial, the Ethiopians fought very bravely and with great skill and strategy to defend their homeland. But alas, the Fascists quickly seized Addis Abeba and although the Emperor did indeed make an impassioned speech to the League for assistance (which, like Spain and China, prompted international volunteers to go and fight against the fascist hordes), volunteer units were not enough and national governments were unwilling to take military action. The British did close off the Suez Canal to Italian oil shipping in the hope that Mussolini's army would grind to a halt in Ethiopia, but it was insufficient. However, like China and Spain, the war mobilised international public opinions. Of particular horror to the world was the Fascists' widespread use of mustard gas - prohibited by international treaties - against Ethiopian troops, civilians, and water supplies. By 1936, it had become obvious to all but the most stupid that war in Europe was inevitable. As newspapers and newsreels showed the dead in bombed Spanish cities, showed the trails of wounded refugees in China, showed the dead babies with mustard-gas burns in Ethiopia; as the Spanish Republican posters warned the Europeans "If you tolerate this, then your children will be next", and as Hailie Selassie spoke on cinema newsreels that "It is us today. It will be you tomorrow", Europe prepared for war.
Y'know, that slogan should be resurrected. Remember what we discussed at the beginning of Lecture Ten. Remember the aforementioned words of Pastor Niemoller. Next time you see, hear, read of, or encounter these fascist right-wing bastards, remember that slogan.
Please don't let your country get to the stage where, instead of repeating the slogan of the Spanish, you are repeating the slogan of the Ethiopians...
|By 1935 Hitler was rearming Germany, and in 1936 he moved German troops into the buffer zone separating Germany from France: the industrialized Rhineland. This violated the Treaty of Versailles but no one did anything to stop it, including the powerless League of Nations. Mussolini thought it best to ally Italy with Germany, and in October 1936 they formed the Rome-Berlin Axis. Japan allied with Germany the following month, and unified the Axis Powers in 1937. In 1940, Italy, Germany, and Japan all joined together in the Tripartite Pact and officially created the Axis Powers.||Which brings us neatly to Germany. But before moving onto Mister Hitler, let's recap.
It's now the mid to late 1930s. The world is still in the grip of the Great Depression. America is in the economic shit and has withdrawn into political isolation from the rest of the world, barring its unofficial Protectorate over the rest of the New World. In the Soviet Union, Stalin's Purges have the entire empire paralysed with fear, while the USSR's rapid industrialisation has wrought immense social and political upheaval. China has collapsed into warring factions. India is the scene of mass social movements protesting the British Empire, which is itself fracturing as the white Dominions gain more and more independence and the black colonies find themselves deprived of British (and other European imperial) investment and government due to the budget-narrowing effects of the Depression. Japan and Italy have become aggressive bullies, Spain has become a proxy battleground, and in Europe itself it appears that democracy has failed. Only Britain, France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and the Scandinavian nations have retained their democratic structures - everywhere else has fallen under the sway of right-wing demagogues. And now Herr Hitler, who since 1933 has been preoccupied dragging his own country out of the economic quicksand, is suddenly sticking his ugly nose into the international arena. This is the international context c.1936, and it is critical for students to know this. Surprise surprise, Andy hasn't bothered.
So, Hitler has started to violate terms of the Treaty of Versailles. Since the late 1930s people have been asking why the world allowed Hitler to do this. Why did we sit back and let him break international laws? Why did we give him an inch, then complained when he took a mile?Unsurprisingly, answers to these questions usually involve finger-pointing - usually at poor Neville Chamberlain, one of history's most slandered figures. To understand reasons for Europe's acquiescence to Hitler's rising aggression, let's start with the Rhineland.
The 1919 Treaty of Versailles had made it patently clear that Germany was not allowed any military forces on the west bank of the River Rhine. The area was still part of Germany, but was officially demilitarised. In 1935, Hitler moved his troops across and the world did nothing. Why? Well, partly for reasons Andy has alread mentioned. Nobody wanted a war. In 1935, people still remembered - all too clearly - what war was like. The mud. The trenches. The artillery shells. The poison gas. The rows of crosses as far as the eye can see. The mothers across Europe weeping as they opened the black-edged army telegrams. Nobody in Europe wanted that again. And many Europeans had wondered whether the Treaty was a little bit too harsh. Germany had gone through enough shit, the Rhineland was German after all, and surely letting Hitler march his toy soldiers up and down a little bit until he got bored, was better than printing out another ten million We regret to inform you... letters..?
Secondly, war was not an option. The Allies (by which we essentially mean Britain and France) by 1935 were in no position to fight a war. Hitler had lowered Germany's unemployment figures by expanding the army and opening factories, which had boosted the economy no end. He had a large, if inexperienced, army. The British and French, by contrast, had been forced to make a series of cuts to their militaries (due to budget cuts and international disarmament treaties) and by 1935 the Ministry of War and the Departement de la Guerre had barely enough troops to keep the peace in theor far-flung empires, never mind fight a European war.
Third, no-one really believed that Hitler wanted a war. Alright, the French and British knew the man was a cunt, but they didn't believe - in 1935 - that he was serious about war. After all, Hitler himself had been in the trenches. He had been shot and gassed. It just seemed inconceivable that he was serious about conflict.So for these reasons and possibly more - depending on which historians you believe - Hitler marched his troops into the Rhineland. It's worth noting, though, that Hitler was prepared to pull back if the French or British tried to stop him. A single French shot eastwards, and the whole Wehrmacht would have gone scurrying back to the east bank and tried to palm the whole thing off as a diplomatic misunderstanding. Because just as the British and French didn't want war, neither did Hitler. He knew his army was raw and inexperienced, and feared they wouldn't stand a chance against the hardened French veterans of 1918. But London and Paris didn't know this, of course. So when Hitler tentatively sent his troops into the Rhineland and the French and British prevaricated over what to do, the result was unexpected and surprising for both sides.
|Hitler was just warming up. Next he wanted to annex Austria to Germany, as they had been combined in the past. Hitler himself was born in Austria and many Austrians supported joining Germany. So Hitler annexed Austria on March 12, 1938 without much resistance, and this is known as the Anschluss (unification of Austria and Germany). France and Britain had promised to defend the independence of Austria, but did nothing.||Andy ascribes to Hitler a devious and well-planned strategy for taking over Europe one piece at a time. This is a very unlikely version of events. In politics - especially international politics - long-term grand strategies very, very rarely work. That's because the situation changes so much. International politics is not nice and neat and ordered, it's random and chaotic, with countries behaving in an unpredictable manner. You can only plan so far, before you reach a historical event horizon beyond which you can't predict what's going to happen. Like all international politicians, Hitler was an opportunist who made up his schemes as he went along, reacting to changes as and when they occured, and in varying ways.
The issue of Anschluss, or Union, between Germany and Austria was highly contentious as they had never been joined, as Andy claims. That's just rubbish. In fact it was quite the opposite - the southern Germans (Austrians) and northern Germans (Prussians/Saxons/etc) had historically been rivals. When the Holy Roman Empire officially ceased to expand following the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, and component states within the Empire gained substantial autonomy, a contest emerged between Austria and Prussia over who would be dominant. Historians refer to this as the "German Dualism", and the rivalry often resulted in wars between the two in the eighteenth century. After the Holy Roman Empire's demise in 1806, and the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Prussia and Austria had emerged as two very powerful and rival states - one a Protestant upstart, one a Catholic establishment. Prussia and Austria went to war again in 1866, and when Prussia united the other German-speaking states (except Austria) as "Germany" in 1871, the antagonism between Berlin and Vienna became even more heightened. The Austro-Hungarian Empire spent the First World War clinging to the coat-tails of its infinitely more powerful northern neighbour, and had been dragged in because of Austria's reliance on German exports and industry. When the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the German Empire were dissolved in 1919, there was admittedly a popular feeling that the Allies were picking on all Germanic peoples, and that the Teutons should all stick together, but this was a short-lived movement which, while popular, was never a majority view. Anschluss was strongly opposed by the majority of Austrians, who didn't want to be reduced to a sort of 51st State in their bigger neighbour, and by a very significant number of Germans who didn't want their brave new world spoiled by the pompous medieval hangover (in many German eyes) that was Austria. So there, Andy.
How did the Europeans react to the Anschluss? Again, they acquiesced. Union between the two was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles, but the Europeans did nothing about this latest violation. Why? Again, for the same reasons above. Neville Chamberlain and Francois Daladier - the Prime Ministers of Britain and France respectively - made public condemnations of the Union but did nothing practical. Britain and France knew that war was coming, but were in no position in 1938 to fight another world war with Germany and Italy. And to people in Birmingham and Bordeaux, Liverpool and Lyons, Anschluss just didn't seem worth digging another ten million graves over.What is interesting in this is that the one country which actively opposed Anschluss was Fascist Italy. Until this point, Hitler had been the junior partner to Mussolini, who still considered himself the father of the fascist movement. Mussolini liked having Austria as a buffer between Italy and Germany, and had warned Hitler in the past about interfering with Austria. But by 1937, the Rome-Berlin Axis had been signed and Mussolini, who was increasingly reliant on discount German imports to fund and fuel his war in Abyssinia, was forced to back down. Henceforth, Hitler became the senior partner in the relationship. The two didn't really get on - Hitler saw Mussolini as a strutting, pompous peacock playing with his crappy little toy soldiers; Mussolini saw Hitler as a jumped-up shit who couldn't go two minutes without ranting and screaming about his weird opinions (of course, both men were right in their perceptions) but despite their personal animosity, the realities of international politics brought Germany and Italy increasingly close together.
|The more Hitler grabbed, the more he wanted. He turned to western Czechoslovakia, which had a large number of German speakers. In September 1938 he demanded that this region, the Sudetenland, submit to Germany and join it. But the Czech government refused and turned to France for assistance.||Ah yes, the Sudetenland. The northern and western rim of Czechoslovakia, which contained a lot of Germans who had been separated from the state in the territorial changes of the Versailles conference. Hitler wanted it for a variety of reasons; mostly he cited the genuine desire of Czech Germans to rejoin Germany (although the propaganda claims that the Czechs treated their German subjects badly was bullshit), and also to cripple Czechoslovakia's ability to make war. All of the country's defensive fortifiations were along the border, and the Nazis genuinely worried that if and when war came, the Wehrmacht would get bogged down in ground fighting while the Czech Air Force, safe in its airfields beyond the fortresses, would bomb the shit out of Munich and Vienna. So, Hitler made a lot of international noise indicating that he was going to take the Sudetenland back.|
|Mussolini called for the Munich Conference in September 1938 to address this crisis about Czechoslovakia. Germany, Italy, Britain and France were invited, while Stalin’s Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia were not. In a classic example of making a deal with the devil, Britain and France agreed to allow Hitler to take the Sudetenland in exchange for his promise to stop there and not invade Czechoslovakia further. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, in one of the worst blunders in the history of the world, insisted that appeasing Hitler was the best approach. Chamberlain received a hero’s welcome on his return to England, and he declared that he had achieved “peace in our time.” An English newspaper justified the appeasement by claiming that Germans were simply “going into their own back yard.” But within six months, Hitler annexed all of Czechoslovakia and then Mussolini grabbed Albania. Chamberlain was discredited, and his major critic (the more conservative Winston Churchill) replaced him in 1940.||Mussolini called the Munich Conference because at the time - late 1938 - it really did seem that France and Britain would go to war. But at the conference, the two nations signed away Czech sovereignty and threw tens of millions of Czechoslovaks into the jaws of the Nazi beast. Why?
Nowhere more so than right here in Britain, is the myth of appeasement more popular. Traditionally, history teachers have raised generations of Britons to vilify and demonise Chamberlain and Daladier as cowards and fools who thought they could buy Hitler off by throwing other people in his path. Poor Chamberlain is remembered as probably the worst Prime Minister in British history while Churchill is lauded as a British hero, but both of these are entirely unwarranted. Let's ignore the propaganda crammed down our throats by that bumbling, drunken bastard Winston Churchill, and evaluate just why Chamberlain and Daladier agreed to Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland.
|Hitler was now ready to make his big move. He demanded that Poland give back a former German seaport known as Danzig. Poland refused and prepared to defend against a German invasion. Courageous Polish soldiers on horses defended against German tanks. Poland obtained the support of Britain and France, who promised to help Poland defend if Germany attacked. Britain and France then turned to Stalin in the Soviet Union, but he double-crossed them. Stalin secretly agreed with Hitler in August 1939 to divide Poland among themselves and not to attack each other. Stalin also received a promise from Hitler that Stalin could annex Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Finland.||Evidently Andy isn't going to bother telling his students that in early 1939, Hitler went ahead and annexed the rest of Czechoslovakia into the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia". At least he's right in mentioning the next big crisis - late 1939, Poland.
Part of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles had been that the new nation of Poland must have access to the sea. For reasons which, even as a geographer, I'm not exactly sure of, the Allies chose to split Germany in two with the "Polish Corridor" instead of simply going around. This isolated East Prussia from the rest of Germany; a sticking-point throughout the 1920s and 30s. Danzig, a city ceded by Germany in 1919, was granted nominal independence as a city-state under League of Nations supervision. When, in 1939, Hitler made a lot of noise about retaking Danzig and building an exclusively German road and rail link across the Corridor, the Polish government protested. Of course, these were merely pretexts for Hitler to pursue his pissy little preoccupation with German Lebensraum in the east. With the USSR indeed on board in this - as Andy remarkably gets right - Hitler prepared to invade.
By this point, Chamberlain and Daladier realised that they could not afford to wait any longer. In the eleven months since the Munich Conference, a lot of headway had been made. French and British armaments production, and military recruitment, had greatly expanded. Assurances had been gathered from the Empires that in the event of war, the Imperial territories would stand by Britain and France. The Maginot Line had been upgraded, air defences had been installed around French and British cities, the radar system was up and running (in secret), and the Allies were far better prepared for war. Not completely - both countries had been hoping to hang on until 1940 to ensure maximum military and industrial output, but when Hitler prepared to invade Poland they could not delay any longer. Chamberlain's ultimatum to Hitler - to back down or face war - came as a surprise to Hitler, who had been expecting Chamberlain and Daladier to back down again and subsequently had not prepared Germany to face a war with both Poland and France at the same time. But, being the cocky shit that he was, he went ahead and on 1st September 1939, the Wehrmacht invaded Poland. When a sad-faced Chamberlain stepped out of 10 Downing Street at a few minutes past 11am, 3rd September, he announced to the BBC World Service that Herr Hitler had not sent a reply to the Franco-British ultimatum and subsequently, Britain and France were at war with Germany.This isn't just storytelling. This stuff is important to know. The Second World War was indeed one of the most influential periods in world history and its aftershocks, like those of the Hundred Years', Thirty Years', and Napoleonic, Wars, will resonate for centuries to come. It isn't enought to simply know the battles and the tank classifications. It's vital to know how and why it started. But of course, in Andy's world, things like causes and influences are just not worth bothering with.
German Aggression in 1939-1940
|Hitler’s dictatorship, the Third Reich, was ready to begin conquering all of Europe. He started with Poland based on Stalin’s promise not to interfere. On September 1, 1939, Hitler launched a lightning-fast, massive attack (a “blitzkrieg”) against Poland. A blitzkrieg combines bombing with a tank invasion. As mentioned above, Polish soldiers fought valiantly on horseback, but were crushed. France and Britain declared war on Germany in two days, on September 3rd. After destroying Warsaw, Poland, with the bombing and destruction of the Polish militia, Hitler annexed western Poland to Germany.||Andy begins this segment by referencing the "Third Reich", for the first time, in the middle of the bloody Lecture. Sigh. For reference, the "First Reich" was the Holy Roman Empire 800-1806, the "Second Reich" was the German Empire 1871-1918, and the "Third Reich" was to Hitler's thousand-year realm. However it is worth noting that although the word "reich" was used by contemporaries in the HRE to describe their own realm (reich roughly analogous to "reign", or "kingdom", etc, and used in the Empire's full name after 1519 as Heiliges Romisches Reich von Teutscher Nation), the concept of three Reichs was an invention of pan-German nationalists in the 1930s and NOT a historical concept. Great work there, Obergruppenfuhrer von Schlafly. The notion of Polish cavalrymen charging Nazi tanks is pure fiction. The Polish Army in 1939 did contain a large proportion of cavalry, but these were not men who were supposed to draw swords and lances and charge the enemy. They weren't fucking stupid. Cavalry hadn't been able to do that effectively since the arrival of gunpowder armies in the Early Modern Period, and throughout the nineteenth century as infantry weapons improved, cavalry were increasingly relegated to reconaissance and foraging duties. This was what Polish cavalry did - they scouted, spied, and when absolutely necessary, would dismount to act as infantry. Nobody in the twentieth century would be stupid enough to send sword-wielding cavalry to charge infantry, let alone tanks, and no soldier would be stupid enough to follow such a brainless commander.|
|By mid-September, Stalin was grabbing eastern Poland and also annexing Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. Finland put up an awesome struggle against Stalin, and the typically cold winter helped its defenses. But by March 1940, the massive Soviet army had taken territory from Finland.||Andy reduces the "Winter War" between Finland and the USSR to a new cocnept of his - Climatological Determinism. Note how badly his logic fails. He states that the Soviets were stopped by "the typically cold winter". Alright - Napoleon, Hitler, and Charles XII of Sweden were all stopped, in their time, by the unexpected coldness of the Russian winter. They were not prepared. But the Finns and the Russians have had a winter like that every year since the last bloody Ice Age - they know how to deal with it. So if the winter was "typical", how would it have stalled an army which dealt with that exact same winter every bloody year?! Also, points off for bitching about the Reds while overlooking the fact that the Finns were allied with Hitler.|
|Germany did little for six months after taking Poland. The Germans nicknamed this the “Sitzkrieg” (sit (wait) – skrieg). Even though war had been declared, the nations seemed to be watching and waiting. Some call this period the “phony war.” The British and French fortified the Maginot Line, which was a defensive line set up along the French-German border. Ever since World War I, the French relied on a strong line there to prevent Germans from ever invading again. But Germany later invaded by going around (“outflanking”) the Maginot Line.||The Phony War is still debated by historians, who disagree as to its nature and causes. Although Britain and France had declared war on Germany on September 3rd 1939, they indeed did not fight until April. It appears that both sides were wary of the other, and wanted to wait for their opponent to make the first move. What is curious is that even though the Luftwaffe, and the combined Royal Air Force and Armée de l'Air were very powerful, neither side dared provoke the other into what they both thought would win the war, yet simultaneously lose it - bomber campaigns. Hitler, Chamberlain, and Daladier didn't want the same thing to happen to Berlin, London, and Paris as had happened to Guernica, Nanking, and Addis Abeba. So, as Andy gets right, they sat and waited. But as he does not get right, the British did not fortify the Maginot Line. The French looked after their own fortifications, and the British deployed according to the joint strategy. They did not come to France equipped with cement and bricks.|
|The Germans, meanwhile, fortified their Siegfried Line on their side. Then, on April 9, 1940, the Germans invaded Denmark and Norway. Denmark surrendered quickly, and by June Norway had fallen also.||The invasion of Denmark and Norway was Hitler's response to the Franco-British plan to occupy Norway. Swden remained neutral yet pro-Allied, while Finland was (at least nominally) allied with Germany. When the Nazis did roll across the Danish border the British and French indeed sent troops to defend the nations, but to no avail. The four Allied countries lost more than 6,000 men between them. Andy could at least reference the human cost...|
|By the middle of 1940 a real world war had begun again. On one side were the Axis Powers of Japan, Germany and Italy. On the other side where the Allied Powers of Great Britain and its colonies (commonwealth), the nations of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, France and its colonies, and potentially the United States and the Soviet Union.||No. No no no. The Italians didn't enter the war until the middle of 1940, and only then when France was about to fall. It did not enter before the French campaign. Why does Andy say that the USA and USSR were potential combatants? Both were officially neutral at this point. And why just them? Surely the Americans and Soviets had no more potential to get involved than the Brazilians, Liberians, Mongolians, or the Vatican City? Really, Andy. Not everything in World History revolves around the US of A.|
Hitler Takes Continental Europe
|After taking Norway and Denmark, Hitler invaded and quickly conquered the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. The Allies were out-manned and ill-equipped for the German tanks and air force. The Allies retreated to Dunkirk, a harbor town on the northernmost tip of France, across the English Channel from England. There they expected to be slaughtered by the advancing German forces.||Ahh, the Fall of Europe. Considering Andy's seething, foaming-at-the-mouth hatred for our side of the Atlantic, it wouldn't be surprising to see Mr Schlafly cheering Adolf on. After all, the two are far closer in their politics than Andy would care to admit. Anyway, let's get on with this. The Nazi conquest of the Benelux nations was depressingly rapid. Luxembourg, which was officially neutral (but supported by the Allies) fell within hours, with around 80 Allied casualties. The Dutch and Belgians, officially in the Alliance and therefore backed by the British and French, fought very hard in defence of their nations - the Dutch lost over 2,300 troops and a similar number of civilians - most killed during the Nazi bombing of Rotterdam - while the Belgians lost a roughly equivalent number. Within less than a month, the entire Benelux had surrendered and the French and British had retreated. Why? Well, as Andy (astonishingly) gets partially right, the Allies were not prepared for the type of conflict that emerged. Allied commanders expected a repeat of 1914; mass infantry movements and limited tank and aeroplane activity. Remember that Nazi tanks in 1940 were not the armoured steel behemoths of later in the war; in 1940 the Nazis still leaned heavily upon crappy little Mk I panzers which were shockingly bad in tank-to-tank combat. The Allies, it must be said, had equally bad armour - and as they were expecting an infantry war, the Nazis' use of blitzkrieg attacks in which their massed tanks punched through the Allied lines, ran rings around Allied commanders. Britain and France had not devoted many resources to tank research in the 1920s and 30s precisely because they considered that in any future war, tanks would merely be backups for the infantry rather than frontline units themselves, and so in 1940 they were not prepared. Andy could have mentioned this. And he could have mentioned the casualties. Would have been appropriate...|
|The Germans did bomb the Allies mercilessly at Dunkirk. But in what Winston Churchill called the “miracle of Dunkirk,” 338,226 soldiers were evacuated to England during constant bombing. This required over 900 vessels to cross the English Channel, and the abandonment of 40,000 land vehicles at Dunkirk. The code name for this was Operation Dynamo. Towards the end of the war, the Allied forces would return to liberate this town amid heavy German resistance.||Bravo, Andy, for chucking in a random quote-mine from Churchill without bothering to mention the f***ing context of the f***ing Battle of France.
It is now early 1940. Hitler has been flirting with the idea of invading the Western European powers, but Führer-Directiv Number 6 makes it clear that Germany's military might is not to be unleashed against the West until late 1941 or preferably 1942, thus allowing Hitler time to strenghten his armies. After all, the combined British/French/Dutch/Belgian/Luxembourgish force is larger than the Wehrmacht, and the German top brass were still fearful of the vast French military. So, Hitler's plan is to conquer the Benelux quickly in order to prevent the French from getting there first, then settle down for a long, drawn-out trench war against the French and British until German military and industrial production is sufficiently high to crush the Allies. But the Allies have attacked earlier than Hitler envisaged, the Benelux have fallen faster than he estimated, and Hitler sees his chance to quickly invade France and push the inevitable trench lines further away from Germany. So, the Nazis invade France.
The German strategy in 1940 was notably different to the 1914 Schlieffen Plan. Whereas the Schlieffen Plan had required the German Army to invade through Belgium and then swing south to take Paris, the 1940 Mannstein Plan required the Germans to invade through Belgium and then swing north to cut off the British, and the bulk of the French Army, who had been deployed to defend Belgium. This is precisely what the Allies did. The strategy in this plan was simple. The Maginot Line prevented the Germans from invading France directly' it was simply too heavily fortified. From the end of the Maginot Line to the English Channel, the Anglo-French army was in position. The Allied strategy, meanwhile, was painful in retrospect. The French alone boasted 98 divisions and 2,500 tanks in one sector, compared to a mere 14 Germans with no armour support. It is notable that this sector was the Saar, and had the French broken through the pithy German defences, they could have taken most of Germany's Ruhr industrial zone while the German Army was badly overstretched in Poland, Scandinavia, and the Benelux. Had the French done this, they could have forced Hitler to sign an armistice in 1940. But alas, the Allies were not aware of this at the time, and the Allies stuck with their strategy of sitting tight and letting the Nazis desolate their own forces under the guns of the Maginot Line and the Franco-British army.
However it must be noted that Germany was not prepared for war with the West. German forces had taken surprising damage in Poland, Scandinavia, and the Benelux, while stockpiles of ammunition and military supplies were dangerously low - German artillery was limited to a paltry 12 shells per gun, per day. Germany's logistics were also hopelessly mismanaged - when France surrendered, most of the German Army was still stumbling through the muddled logistics and confused bureaucratic nightmare of Nazi mobilisation in northeast France. Similarly, the very concept of blitzkrieg is deeply controversial among historians. It may very well be that we are looking for something which did not exist - the concept of a rapid "lightning war" is noticeably absent from German war plans in 1940, which continued to stress a drawn-out infantry war. Even the Allies were aware of this, after the Belgians captured a German general complete with his copy of the entire invasion plan. As is so often the case, both sides in the conflict made up strategies as they went along. In war, nothing goes according to plan and you simply have to muddle through as best as possible. Unfortunately, the Nazis were able to bumble through slightly better than the Allies could.
This Allied strategy might have worked, but for one chink in the armour - the Ardennes. At the centre of the line between the right flank of the Army and the left flank of the Maginot Line, the heavily-forested Ardennes was lightly defended. The French believed that the area was impenetrable to tanks, and so they only had light anti-infantry defences there. There were some dissenters - Marshal Gamelin repeatedly warned Paris that the region could be crossed by German tanks, and in wargames in 1938, a possible invasion scenario proved that tanks could cross the area. But as is often the case, the government didn't like this defeatist talk and refused to listen. So did the senior commanders; Marshal Weygand and Marshal Petain, heroes of the First World War who expected a future tank war to be like the limited tank combat of 1918. Sadly for the Allies, the Germans were indeed able to push through the Ardennes, crose the River Meuse, and break out onto the French plains. When the German commanders disobeyed direct orders from Berlin to halt, instead pushing up north towards the rear of the Allied armies, panic ensued among the Allies. Simultaneous German attacks on the Maginot Line and the Belgian plains, coupled with German tanks loose behind the lines, compelled the Allies to retreat en masse to more defensible positions. But a lack of reliable intelligence, poor communications, and mass disruption to supply lines (problems which the Germans also encountered, albeit to a slightly lesser degree) caused the Allied retreat to become a rout. Harrassed by the Luftwaffe, the Franco-British army headed for Paris but found itself trapped in a shrinking pocket around Dunkirk, with no knowledge of where and how strong the Germans actually were. At this point, the Germans were in a very vulnerable position. Their tank forces had pushed deep into France, but were far too far ahead of the German infantry and German fuel and ammo supplies; Hitler himself was screaming orders for his commanders to stop in case the French were luring the tanks into a trap. The Allies did indeed launch counteroffensives, but these were poorly co-ordinated and tactically inferior - the Allies had more troops and more tanks, but while the Germans riskily concentrated their forces to punch through lines, the Allies prudently spread theirs thinly to defend all fronts.
At this point - late May 1940 - the Allies encountered a series of disasters. The French government sacked Marshal Gamelin, France's best commander, for failing to contain the German breakout through the Ardennes. His replacement, Maxime Weygand, was a national hero but a bumbling and dithering old man who wasted time visiting government dignitaries while ignoring the worsening military situation. The Franco-British commander in the pocket, Marshal Billotte, was killed in a car crash and the Allies were leaderless for three days, while the Germans continued to push forward. Reserve forces to defend Paris were stuck up in Belgium, while the Franco-British mechanised forces and tank divisions were too thinly spread to be able to respond to German armoured advances to the English Channel. The British lacked sufficient anti-tank weapons and heavy artillery; the French had poor battlefield communications; and both sides had practically no air support. They retreated to Dunkirk as part of a confused plan: it appears that commanders weren't sure whether they were to make a stand at Dunkirk, or feign a retreat and so lure the Germans into making an foolish assault which the Allies could repulse, or be evacuated to another sector, or simply rally snd re-organise before striking out again. Eventually Churchill decided to evacuate the troops - largely because nobody else knew what to do - and by the time Operation Dynamo was finished, some 338,226 British and French troops had been evacuated. Nice of Andy to give us the statistic, but not the context. Also nice of him to neglect mentioning the ~50,000 French and British troops who were left behind.
Following Dunkirk, the French still fought very hard. But the new field commander, Marshal Weygand, had an uneviable task. With a badly depleted force, virtually no heavy weaponry or tanks, and a hideously overstretched front, Weygand had only 64 French divisions and one British division with which to hold off 142 German divisions. There was little hope of the Dunkirk evacuees coming back across the Channel as the Luftwaffe was busy patrolling the coast, and even if the evacuees had come back, they lacked tanks and heavy weapons. To make matters worse, on 10th June Mussolini, who had been happy to stay neutral in a trench war and then join in as one side was collapsing, saw his chance to seize territory and invaded southern France (however, the French easily held the Italians at bay).
Surprisingly, the French were able to hold the Germans back for a good three weeks in late May and early June. Over 100,000 French troops did nindeed make it back to France from Britain - via a long and circuitous route to avoid the Luftwaffe - while French commanders had by this point gained experience fighting the Nazis. French artillery, in particular, was able to keep the Germans at bay around Paris. But again, lack of Allied air support proved a weakness. German planes were able to destroy French artillery positions easily, allowing the German tanks breathing-space to advance faster than the French infantry could pull back. Meanwhile in the east, the Maginot Line was encirlced and fell, while the remaining British and British Imperial forces who had not made it to Dunkirk and were still fighting, were withdrawn along with several thousand French troops. With no forces left, Marshal Petaine, the new Head of the Government, surrendered on 25th June 1940.The myth of the "French capitulation" is precisely that; a myuth. We British are no better than you Americans in believing that the French of 1940 were bumbling morons who threw down their guns as soon as their foolish Maginot Line was breached. That was not the case at all. The Western Front in the Second World War was vicious and bloody in the extreme, with an immensely complicated conflict on and amongst all armies. Neither were the French, to use a phrase now regrettably popular, "cheese-eating surrender monkeys". Allied casualties by the time of the French surrender were 360,000 dead and some 2.2 million injured or captured, the overwhelming majority of whom were French soldiers. Over a quarter of a million Frenchmen died to defend their homeland from the Nazi hordes, while another 100,000 Dutch, Belgians, Luxembourgers, British, and Canadian troops, along with exiled Czech and Polish troops, died defending the West. So thanks, Andy, for bothering to mention all of this. Thanks for warbling on about George Patton and Uncle Sam for half the fucking lecture, while completely ignoring the Europeans' bravery in trying to defend their own nations against the Nazi scum. Brilliant work there.
|France fell to the Axis Powers on June 24, 1940, after Mussolini joined forces with Hitler and invaded France from the south. The Germans took control of northern France, and in Southern France the Germans installed a Nazi-controlled government (the Vichy government) under a “puppet” for the Germans, French Prime Minister Henri Petain. The real French government, led by French general Charles de Gaulle, was set up as government-in-exile in London. De Gaulle’s Free French armies continued to battle Germany until the Allied Forces liberated France in 1944.||It's surprising of Andy to mention Charles de Gaulle at all, and very strange for him to mention the man in such a flattering light. A minor tank commander at the outbreak of war, De Gaulle became the de facto commander of Free French forces in Britain as he was the highest-ranking survivor of the French campaign. It's remarkably decent of him to claim that De Gaulle headed the "real" French government, but unfortunately, the de jure and de facto government of France remained that of Petaine. The Vichy regime was a short-lived sop to the French people, in Hitler's hope that by giving them nominal independence, the French would quieten down and leave the Germans alone. It didn't work, particularly as France's overseas empire refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Vichy regime. Within a few months the Vichy government was dissolved in favour of outright German administration.|
|After France fell, the only remaining prize in Europe for the Germans to capture was Great Britain itself. (Switzerland, a small country protected by the Alps and a tremendous self-defense system that included gun ownership by nearly every family, was never invaded by the Germans.)||Again, Andy is mostly right here but is incorrect in ascribing to Hitler a grand, convoluted scheme for world domination. It didn't really work that way. Hitler made up his strategies as he went along, responding to developments as they occured. Indeed the common consensus among historians now is that Hitler didn't want a war with the West. He had remarkably little interest in the French, and in the late 1930s flited with the idea of an alliance with Britain - until it became clear that London wasn't interested. In fact, Hitler had made peace offers to London and Paris as far back as late 1939. We may never know what Hitler really wanted - he oscillated between the desire to ally with Britain and the desire to grind the British to dust, and everything in between - and his policies reflected this. But before moving onto Britain, let's take a moment to dismiss his piss-brained propaganda on gun control. There are many reasons why the Nazis didn't invade Switzerland: partly because the geography of Switzerland is not conducive to a tank invasion; partly because of widespread gun ownership (due to the stopped clock phenomenon, Andy is occassionally right); and partly because Hitler simply wasn't interested. He didn't care about Western Europe, so long as it didn't interfere with his plans for the East. When you're next on Amazon, buy a copy of Robert Harris' novel Fatherland. It's set in the 1960s following a Nazi victory, and paints a very plausible picture of how confusing and unplanned Nazi diplomacy and international policies were. Don't worry, I'm not so asinine as to get the information for these rebuttals from a bloody novel. Nor even the internet. I use these big heavy papery things that seem so unpopular these days. But it's a great story for portraying how confusing and self-contradictory Nazi policies were, and with these winter nights drawing in, it's not bad for a curl-up evening by the fire.|
|Great Britain’s new leader, Winston Churchill, refused to surrender to Hitler. Hitler began Operation Eagle to bomb London, using the powerful German air force (the Luftwaffe). From September 1940 to May 1941, “the Blitz” consisted of constant German bombing of British cities, especially London. There were more than 40,000 civilian casualties, and people would listen for air sirens as the signal to hide in underground shelters.||Aww Andy, no conservative intellectual masturbation over Churchill? Maybe Andy is coming to realise that the real Winston Churchill wasn't quite what people (especially American conservatives) think he was. Or maybe he just can't be bothered to do research. Anyway, pay attention to this paragraph as it's one of the few places where Andy actually admits he is wrong. Before his revamping of the World History Lectures on Conservapedia, Andy had initially written that the bombing campaign over London was "Operation Sealion". It wasn't, and when one of his students advised him of this, Andy quietly changed it to the correct name "Operation Eagle". As far as I can tell, that's the only time he did that. He certainly didn't do it over the Rex Banner debacle, even though Andy was badly wrong again. But hey, perhaps said student just got bored of baiting Andy and decided to go back to his barbells instead... Oh, and he buggers up the casualty rates. "Casualties" means both dead and injured. There were indeed around 40,000 deaths, but as many as 140,000 wounded. Yes Andy, in war people get wounded. Remember that next time you scream out for military action against the Middle East.|
|A new invention, radar, saved the British. The British Royal Air Force (RAF) began tracking incoming German airplanes and started shooting them down. Also, the will of the British to survive deprived the bombing campaign of victory. Hitler was forced to suspend the bombing in May 1941, and the Battle of Britain was over.||Andy has mentioned a "will to survive" without chucking in his usual claim that it involves eating rats. It's a strange claim to make anyway - willing to survive is not enough to protect you from bombs. You need these minor, peripheral things such as - oh, I don't know - food, and armaments factories, and allies, and such. Strangely, no mention - after the little Operation Eagle tangent earlier - that the Blitz was intended as a precursor to an amphibious invasion of Britain. In the summer of 1940 the British genuinely did fear a Nazi invasion and made frantic preprations for defence. Not easy, considering that virtually all of Britain's heavy weaponry had been abandoned at Dunkirk. However, the invasion never came. It is debatable whether or not Hitler actually wanted to invade, and was quite possibly just trying to scare the British into signing a ceasefire. Certainly, the German Navy and German Army would have had a very difficult time invading, even if the Luftwaffe had attained air supremacy. An attempted invasion would have been extremely risky, and British wargames in the 1970s repeatedly concluded that even if the Nazis had invaded, they would have been beaten back to a pocket just as happened at Dunkirk. But thank Christ we never had to find out for real.|
|Recall that Hitler was anti-communist, and even though he had a secret agreement with Stalin over Poland, Hitler long planned to defeat Stalin. He prepared to accomplish this by first conquering the Balkans in 1940, thereby persuading Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria to join the Axis Powers. When two countries refused to submit (Yugoslavia and Greece), Hitler simply invaded and conquered them in 1941.||The Nazi conquest of Yugoslavia and Greece was mostly in order to help Mussolini, whose invasions were catlysmic failures. For a variety of reasons - political, geopolitical, cultural, technological, strategic - which historians still debate, the Italian Army in the Second World War was shockingly bad. And we mean shockingly. Mussolini had intended to stay neutral in the inevitable war between Axis and Allies, with the intention of joining the winning side when one side or the other began to crumble. But it didn't work that way, and when - by the summer of 1940 - it appeared that Hitler was about to win and the war would be over, Mussolini threw in his lot with Hitler in order to grab some territory and secure a seat at the post-war bargaining table. But the Italian military was a hopeless failure and Hitler had to send troops to help. As for Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, their fascistic, dictatorial regimes had long been sympathetic to Hitler and, like Mussolini, joined largely to be on the winning side. And like Italy, their contribution to the Axis war effot for the remainder of the conflict was - aside from providing garrisons and connon-fodder - negligible. Again, Hitler's betrayal of Stalin was probably not part of some grand scheme. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. Let's see what Andy has to say about the most vicious conflict of recent times - the Eastern Front, 1941-1945.|
|Hitler was then ready to invade the Soviet Union, beginning on June 22, 1941 in Operation Barbarossa. The irresistible force had met the immovable object, as the Soviet Union had the largest and most vicious army in the world. The communists lacked the technology of the Germans, but the Soviet Union had more people and just as much industrial capacity. This invasion by Hitler caused the Soviet Union to join the Allied Powers.||
Fair start. By this point, Hitler had called off his invasion of Britain (if he had ever planned one in the first place) and had conquered the rest of Europe. Aside from bomber raids by the Royal Air Force and continued fighting in North Africa - fleabites and a sideshow to Hitler - there was no-one left to fight. Except the Soviets.
Stalin and Hitler seem, in retrospect, unlikely neighbours. Debate still rages over the motives behind the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, and over just how far either Hitler or Stalin intended to take their uneasy neutrality. Stalin was no fool - he knew the Nazis wanted lebensraum in the East, and had a history of breaking treaties and pacts with the other capitalist powers. Hitler was no fool - he knew Stalin wanted to isolate the USSR and focus on industrialisation, and was very, very wary about stirring up a giant like Russia. Whatever the two men planned or predicted, though, war did indeed come when, in June 1941, the Nazi war machine rolled across the border.Typically, Andy provides no context whatsoever, instead opting for sniping at the Soviets. Apparently the Soviets lacked technology - what, so they didn't have tanks? Right, right. Apparently they were "the most vicious army in the world" - so the inexperienced and unblooded Red Army, within the USSR's own borders, was more savage than the Nazi armies which had slaughtered hundreds of thousands in their conquest of an entire continent? Uh-huh. Get back to us when you've taken your brain medicine, Andy.
|Still, the Germans pushed the Soviets back, and the communists resorted to their “scorched-earth” policy of burning everything in sight as they retreated. A similar policy had been used by the Russians to survive Napoleon’s invasion over a century earlier. Then the harsh winter hit the German troops, and 500,000 German soldiers perished from the frigid temperatures. Hitler felt he could capture Leningrad, but Russians never surrender and they lived on rats rather than give their city to the Germans. That forced the Germans to remain outside the city, freezing to death. When the Germans proceeded to Moscow in December 1941, Soviet General Georgi Zhukov defeated them with Siberian troops. The Germans paid a heavy price for trying to defeat the Soviet Union.||Right. Fuck it, It's time to get back on the soapbox.
I read the remainder of this Lecture twice over, just to make sure, and this is the only mention of the USSR's role in the Second World War, barring a sentence about Stalingrad chucked in later. For the remainder of this textual diarrhoea Andy wanks himself into a frenzy over George Patton and how the sweet, perfect, divine, black-lynching, Jew-hating, Japan-vapourising cunts of the 1940s American right-wing movement saved the world from Hitler. Meanwhile the Soviet Union gets ONE FUCKING MENTION.
Nearly ten million Soviet troops - men and women - were killed in the war. Between 15-18 million Soviet civilians were killed. Over two million Soviet Jews were killed. When we include the death toll for Soviets killed by the Soviet state apparatus, we arrive at a figure close to thirty million deaths in the USSR, c.1941-1945. If we add the Axis casualties, the figure is horrifyingly high.
Now, we don't have to start singing the Soviet National Anthem and kneeling before the portraits of Comrade Stalin. Stalin was a fucking monster. Worse than Mussolini, worse than the bastards who ran Japan, worse - in most ways - than Hitler himself. But to reduce the role of the Soviet people in the war to this is an absolute disgrace, from both a scholarly and an ethical position. To ignore the sheer scale of combat on the Eastern Front - in a Lecture on the Second World War - is utterly ludicrous. And, whatever we may think of Stalin and the shits surrounding him in the Politburo, to ignore the sacrifice of thirty million people in the war against Hitler is disgusting. Simply disgusting. Thirty million people died, and God alone knows how many of those gave their lives so that people like you and me - and like Andrew Fucking Schlafly - might be free today. Were it not for their sacrifice, Christ knows what might have become of us. Andy doesn't have to support the Soviets, but this smug, self-satisfied c*nt could at least have acknowledged them. As Andy is such a fan of Churchill (or at least, what he thinks Churchill was like), let's chuck in a mention. When Members of Parliament publicly objected to Churchill's alliance with Stalin, he responded that "Were Hitler to invade Hell, I would at least give a favourable reference to the Devil". Andy could have followed Churchill by at least acknowledging that without the Soviets we all would have lost; but apparently he can't even do that.
As is always the case, there were factors on both sides. Let's take the Germans first. By the summer of 1941, the german Army had been toughened by fighting in Europe. Tactics and strategies had been worked out, logistics smoothed, and the blitzkrieg doctrine established. German armoured forces were now using much better tanks, and Germany's industrial production - boosted by captured resources and slaves from Europe (yes Andy, slaves) - was at peak capacity. Additionally, Germany could count on Italian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Croat, Finnish, and pro-Nazi units from across Europe, to act as garrison forces while German troops were freed up to form an attacking army. The German Army in the summer of 1941 was at its peak - never before had it been so strong and so well-organised. And thankfully, it never again would be.
Among the Soviets, by contrast, the situation was grim. Stalin's Purges of the late 1930s had liquidated most of the Red Army's command hierarchy, pushing inexperienced officers into jobs for which they were unsuited. The command structure was even more rigid than among the Nazis - while Nazi commanders were grudgingly encouraged to show tactical initiative, Soviet commanders weren't allowed to do anything until their suggestions and requests had been relayed back to HQ, granted or rejected by inexperienced commanders nervously trying to keep the Political Commissars happy, and then HQ's decisions relayed back. This was a highly complex and inefficient system, which broke down at the first failure of communications equipment or personal nerve. Inter-arm rivalries between the Red Army, Red Navy, and Red Air Force were encouraged by a paranoid Politburo, with the result that the Army and Air Force in particular were reluctant to co-operate unless explicitly ordered. Tactically, the Soviet military was becoming obsolete as resources were funnelled into Stalin's industrialisation plan and not the military, while Soviet strategy was underplanned and unco-ordinated. While the Germans were strong in 1941, the Red Army - although far, far larger than the Wehrmacht - was weak.
The initial German attack destroyed much of the Red Air Force on the ground, effectively granting the Germans air supremacy throughout late 1941. Army Group North pushed towards Leningrad, Army Group Centre pushed towards Moscow, while Army Group South headed into the Ukraine. The german advance was so rapid and so successful that it is remarkable the Germans didn't seize Moscow and Leningrad at the time. Indeed, the Politburo was terrified that if Moscow fell the whole country would fall - for who would support a regime which couldn't defend its own capital? Fortunately for the Soviets - and for us - the Germans were so busy bickering among themselves they were not able to overwhelm the Red Army. Hitler personally commanded operations, just as he had done (or so he claimed) in the West. But Hitler was a pretty piss-poor strategist; he only conquered Western Europe because the Allies fell before the Germans ground to a halt, and a similar chain of events unfolded in Russia. The Soviets were able to hold on in the Ukraine and around Leningrad, compelling Hitler to overrule his generals. While German generals advised a rapid push to seize Moscow, they squabbled among themselves over who should get reinforcements, who should seize what, and eventually Hitler diverted men and material into the Ukraine. When Army Group North reached Leningrad, they were unable to break into the city; when Army Group Centre reached the outskirts of Moscow, they were too weakened and overstretched to advance on the city; and when Army Group South took Kiev, they quickly discovered that, even with reinforcements, they could not control so vast an area as the Ukraine.
So, this was the situation in November 1941. The Nazis had seized an immense tract of land in Western Russia, including most of the USSR's major cities. The Red Army had retreated deep into Russia, causing a stalemate between overstretched Germans and undersupplied Soviets. At this point, the Soviet's greatest ally came along. "General Winter".
The German armies in 1941 were not prepared for a winter war. German military logistics were bad at the best of times, and when winter came the Soviet Union's war-damaged infrastructure broke down. Wehrmacht vehicles were designed for use on the paved roads of Europe, not the mud tracks of Russia. Wehrmacht uniforms were made for temperate European summers, not frozen Russian winters. Wehrmacht weapons were nicely-machined and delicate, and useless when clogged with Russian mud and dirt. German trains did not even fit on Russian tracks as the Soviets used a different railway gauge, and due to scorched-earth the Soviets had practically no trains behind for the Germans to capture. So food, ammunition, spare parts, new vehicles, reinforcements, winter clothing, medicine, commanders - all of these had to be brought in on trucks floundering through the mud, their engines coughing and stalling on low-benzine Russian petrol, while German engineers performed the backbreaking task of coverting thousands of kilometres of Russian railways to European gauge. And by the time the snow came and the ground started to freeze - trapping the tanks and trucks in the frozen earth and freezing the petrol tanks - the German advance was going no further. During the winter of 1941-1942 the Soviets pushed the Germans back in several sectors, most notably around Moscow and Kharkov. Meanwhile, partisan movements spread in German-occupied areas, with partisans attacking German supply and communications networks. At the same time the Politburo, having evacuated immense industrial facilities to the Ural Mountains and Central Asia, and having obtained a guarantee of neutrality from a Japanese government preparing to wake the American giant, were able to bring in fresh men and machinery while the Germans waited for the thaw.
The Eastern Front, 1941-1945, was one of the biggest and most bloodthirsty conflicts in human history. It was not simply a war or politics or ideas, it was a war of ideology, of race, or existence itself. We might compare it to the religious wars of the Early Modern Period - this was warfare at its most fanatical, with both sides committing extreme atrocities against each other and the trapped civilian populace, all in the name of political ideologies and frenzied demagogues. We should all know what it was about, as it is a stark and sobering reminder of what happens when people blindly follow political messiahs, of the consequences of politics gaining quasi-religious status. And whether those politics are communist, or conservative, or anything in between, we need to be reminded of what happens when people shout down from their tower about how the world should behave.We'll return to the Eastern Front throughout this torrent of bullshit at appropriate points. And each time we do, stick another pin in your voodoo doll of Andrew Schlafly. And as you do it, smile.
|Meanwhile, one of the shrewdest commanders in world history, the German field general Erwin Rommel, came to the aid of the Italians in northern Africa. In September 1940, Mussolini advanced towards the Suez Canal and the rich oil fields of the Middle East. The British woke up to this and defeated the Italians, capturing more than 100,000 prisoners in the process.||Andy makes it sound as though the British were all snoozing. Well, we do have a reputation for doing nothing until we've had a cup of tea, by which time it's too late. But that reputation is ill-deserved, especially in the context of the North Africa campaign.
The Italian invasion of British Egypt, from Italian Libya, was one of the worst-planned campaigns of the war. Marshal Graziani, the Italian commander in North Africa, was in no position to attack Egypt. He had a far larger army than the British in terms of troops, tanks, and aircraft, but his army was of inferior quality. Most notably, his vast infantry army lacked trucks, and were required to march from Tripoli to Cairo on foot, in the desert, harrassed by the British. The British, under Field Marshal Wavell, were aware that the desert offered the perfect opportunity for tank warfare. British tanks were better quality than Italian machines, and the British had learned their lesson fighting German tanks in France. Graziani had to deal with Mussolini constantly telegramming him to order him to hurry up, and when an irritated Mussolini threatened to sack Graziani unless he invaded Egypt more quickly, Graziani strung out his troops in a very long column that was hideously vulnerable to British attacks. While the Italian army staggered eastwards into Egypt, their advance creeping along at a snail's pace as they needed to build a water pipeline as they went, British tanks destroyed Italian trucks and armour to such a degree that thousands of Italian infantrymen, ravaged by marching through the desert, surrendered to tiny patrols of British troops just so they could get water and food, and sit out the war in a British prisoner-of-war camp.Not a bad idea, really.
|But the brilliant German Rommel, nicknamed “The Desert Fox,” brought a powerful German tank corps known as the Afrika Korps to the aid of the Italians. He routed the British in Libya, who were then forced to retreat to Tobruk.||
Whose side is Andy on? Yes, Rommel was a brilliant general - he was also a rather decent chap who loathed the Nazi Party's politics; that's what got him executed by Hitler in 1944 - but does Andy need to applaud him each time he gets a mention? And why does Andy end this segment with one of his trademark smug snipes at the British? As he doesn't return to the North Africa campaign in this diatribe which he laughingly titles a Lecture, he makes it sound as though the Germans won the North Africa war. They didn't. He gives no mention of what happened at Tobruk - namely that the British and Australians under Bernard Montgomery encircled the Axis army and forced a German retreat into Libya, alongside a massed Italian surrender.
The Holocaust and “Final Solution”
|Adolf Hitler blamed the Jewish people for Germany’s troubles. The Nuremburg Laws of 1935 prohibited Jewish people (and other groups) from holding official positions in government. Hitler found it useful for his goals to have a scapegoat, and the Nazis made the Jewish people the scapegoat. Other groups, such as gypsies, also became scapegoats. Nazis claimed to be returning to German tradition by excluding Jews. The Nuremberg Laws also prohibited Jewish people from owning property or even becoming German citizens. Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a bright yellow Star of David on their clothing, as a way of ostracizing them.||Adolf Hitler blamed everyone for Germany's troubles. He blamed the communists, the socialists, the homosexuals, the foreigners, the trade unionists, the artists, the intellectuals, the liberals, the gypsies, those who followed religions different to whatever warped, twisted version of faith he adhered (or at least claimed) to. See the connection Andy? They even agree that all of these movements are simply puppets of a larger force. For Hitler, that puppet-master was international Jewry (not that such a thing exists, or ever did) - for Andy, the puppet-master is a vacant seat filled by the scapegoat puppets themselves, who rotate according to whatever is going on in the world and who all appear to be manipulating each other. What a confused and ad hoc attempt at a Weltanschauung. Hitler's was evil, but at least it was consistent.
At least Andy is right in ascribing to Hitler the scapegoat mentality. Like so many right-wingers, Hitler found it inconvenient to face up to the complex social, economic, and political factors which cause problems in any society; and instead simply pointed fingers at whoever was conveniently close by. Another reason to read Fatherland - in Nazi Europe of the 1960s, Nazi society is breaking apart precisely because the Nazis have run out of scapegoats. Anyway, back to the paragraph.Anti-semitism has had a long and dirty history in Europe, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. During the Middle Ages, Christians blamed the Jews for everything from spoiled crops to military defeats, and backed up their ridiculous claims with confessions extracted from Jews languishing in torture chambers. By the early twentieth century this anti-semitism had cooled a little, but it was still there simmering beneath the placid veneer of industrial society. There's always a wellspring of hatred waiting to be tapped by political extremists - the scapegoat might be "traditional", such as Jews or blacks, or might be more "modern" like blaming everything on homosexuals. Oh yes, we'll be a scapegoat for centuries to come. Hooray. Hitler didn't invent anti-semitism; he simply manipulated something which already existed.
|Jewish people began to flee Germany, emigrating to other countries such as the United States and safer countries in Europe. But other countries, including the United States, had limits on immigration. The pogrom of the Kristallnacht in 1938, described earlier, increased the Jewish emigration from Germany.||People will often ask why the Jews didn't flee Germany. Simple. Many didn't have the resources to abandone everything and set up in a new country where they didn't speak the language and had no money; many didn't see why the hell they should - Germany was their country too; and many were prevented by the very immigration laws which Andrew "Fortify the Frontiers" Schlafly is now criticising. We'll all look forward to Andy's imminent proclamation on Conservapedia that the US-Mexico border fence should be torn down...|
|Many Jewish people remained in Germany and throughout Europe, and they became victimized by Hitler’s “Final Solution” (“Endlosung”), which was the systematic execution of the Jewish people in concentration camps. Other groups considered by Hitler to be inferior, such as gypsies and the disabled, were also targeted. In 1941, Hitler began rounding them up and forcing them into segregated communities called ghettos, surrounded by barbed wire. Concentration and extermination camps having gas chambers for mass executions were built to kill Jews. Of the 6 million Jews killed in these camps, 3 million were from Poland, 1.5 million from the Soviet Union, and 160,000 from Germany. This is known as the Holocaust, an extreme evil unlike anything else in history. It is difficult to understand why no one stopped it until the Allied forces liberated the concentration camps. Five million others, including millions of Christians, were also killed in these camps.||Christ on His Cross...
Historians debate - as you had guessed - the nature of the Holocaust. Was it always lurking in the back of Hitler's mind, or did he make it up as he went along? We don't even know how involved Hitler was in the whole thing. After the war, Hermann Goering claimed that Hitler did not even know the Holocaust was occuring - which is utter bollocks - but equally, it is likely that Hitler did not know the extent of the Holocaust. In the same way that he didn't know the extent of Germany's military problems, or the extent of Germany's industrial decline, or the extent to which his own top brass were trying to assassinate him. So, let's examine the Holocaust.
When war began in 1939, German Jews had essentially no rights. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 and the acts passed following Kristallnacht systematically deprived Jews of the right to work in public office, the right to own property, the right to conduct business with non-Jews, the right to marry non-Jews, and so on. And of course, who was and was not a Jew was decreed by the Party. When war broke out in 1939, the shepherding of Jews into ghettos in Germany and conquered territories was hastened. Around this time, the Reich Main Security Office began discussing proposals for the expulsion of the Jews to some hostile, inhospitable location. Various European colonies in Africa were considered, with Madagascar being the primary idea. But with the war, this obviously could not be done. So, camps were built.
Initially, these concentration camps were part prison, part slave-labour facility. Inmates were incarcerated and forced to work on industrial production for the German military - needless to say, under abysmal conditions - and while the death toll was horrifically high, an explicit policy of extermination was not pursued. Not yet. This policy was not uniform across Europe; on the Eastern Front, Jews were often shot on sight. Ghettoes continued to be run, pogroms were launched, and SS death squads were dispatched to slaughter the populations of entire villages and regions. The usual approach was to round up Jews, force them to dig a mass grave into which they would climb down, then shoot them.
This approach, though, could not work. By late 1941 the Nazi high command had to face reality - their soldiers were breaking down.
We need to make a distinction here between Nazis and Germans. It's important. Not all Germans were Nazis, and not all Nazis were Germans. More importantly, the distinction is between those who committed atrocities and those who didn't, or were forced against their will. After seventy years of Hollywood and video games, we have become accustomed to the idea that anyone in a German uniform in the 1940s was an evil man. That is not so. In the case of the SS, that was indeed the case. The SS and its organs, notably the Einsatzgruppen, were indeed evil people. The sort of men who shot Jews for fun, raped mothers in front of their children, and tortured prisoners for sport. Those sorts of people exist in any society, including 1940s Germany. Yet the SS, SA, Gestapo, and similar evil organisations aside, the average German soldier was not an evil man. Your average 1940s man who wore a grey uniform and spoke German was not a slavering, bloodthirsty demon. He was a man like you or me. A man with a wife and children, a mortgage, a home and family back in Germany which he missed and who he worried about. Maybe he had joined because of the massive unemployment in Hitler's early years. Maybe he had been conscripted by the state. Maybe he willingly joined up, and may or may not have thought he was doing the right thing by fighting for his country against the threats which his government assured him were real. The majority of German soldiers, sailors, and airmen - and their officers - were decent men. They were prepared to fight enemy troops, but not slaughter enemy civilians. We know from historical records that the leaders of the German military and the German political bodies (SS, SA, Einsatzgruppen, etc) hated one another and were in constant conflict. And we know that when otherwise ordinary men in military uniforms had a gun put to their head and were told to machine-gun women and children, they broke. Oh, and lest I be accused of being a Nazi sympathiser, just remember that under the Reich, I would have been - for many reasons - one of the first to be put up against the wall and shot. All I'm saying is there is a distinction between the sort of scum who ran Auschwitz or Abu Ghraib, and the footsloggers on the front lines who are sickened by what goes on in the name of their country.
Forced to execute civilians, German soldiers were committing suicide, or were becoming gibbering wrecks. Army officers were refusing to follow orders to execute non-combatants: they were soldiers, not butchers. At the same time, government leaders in Berlin wanted a clear order from Hitler on a uniform policy. Himmler, head of the SS, was annoyed at the slow pace of deaths - apparently machine-gunning toddlers in the Ukraine was not good enough. So in Decembr 1941, representatives of Germany's main administrative and bureaucratic divisions met at Wannsee to discuss a uniform policy. The result was the Final Solution.
Poison gas had been used by the Nazis before, mostly to murder the physically and mentally disabled. The extermination camp apparatus quickly developed whereby ghettoes would be emptied and the Jews taken on cattle trains to the camps. There, the physically fit men would be separated and marched off to work as slaves until worked to death. The rest - the majority; men, women, children of all ages - were coralled into what they were told were showers. Ordered to strip and enter the showers, they were locked in. And the poison dropped in.
The bodies, extracted by slaves, were pillaged for gold teeth and hair - which was used to stuff mattresses for German soldiers and make socks for submarine crews - before being burned.
Of course, it was not always this clinical. This says nothing of the prisoners who were starved and worked to death. The prisoners who were whipped to death. The prisoners who had starving dogs set on them. The children who were thrown alive into the cremators. The prisoners who died during medical experiments.
Next time you hear a political pundit point the finger at a group of people, remember all this. Remember what happens when you blame someone simply for who they are.
Yes, there were Christians in the death camps. But they were there as political prisoners who just so happened to be Christians. There were Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists; all of them political enemies murdered by the Nazis. There were Freemasons, trade unionists, communists, military prisoners. There were mentally and physically disabled, gypsies, intellectuals. And let's not forget that, in spite of the utter fucking shit which Andy proclaims about the Nazis pushing the homosexual agenda; there were homosexuals in the death camps. And blacks from Germany, Italy, and Occupied France. As you are reading this now, consider that you would most likely have ended up in the camps. I'd be wearing at least two patches on my chest - a red triangle as a socialist and a pink triangle as a homosexual, but odds are that as a black I'd have simply disappeared following a secret police visit in January 1933. What colour would you have been wearing? That's assuming that as a liberal, intellectual, or political opponent, you would have actually survived from 1933 to 1942.A lot of people died in the Holocaust, and for Andy to skim over them all in order to falsely insist that Christians were the target, I'd just like to say - fuck you, Andrew Schlafly. I mean it. On behalf of us all. Fuck you.
|The “Angel of Death” in one of the worst extermination (or death) camps, Auschwitz, was Dr. Josef Mengele. Mengele had obtained a Ph.D. based on Darwinian evolution, and had written his dissertation thesis on racial differences among humans. He supported and reinforced Nazi theories of racial superiority with phony research claims. He was an ardent supporter of “survival of the fittest” and he performed cruel experiments on humans at the concentration camp in furtherance of the theory of evolution. He attempted to prove that disease was the product of racial inferiority, and he would amputate healthy limbs and perform other cruel surgeries on prisoners. Today Mengele is criticized by everyone, but supporters of the theory of evolution omit mentioning how much Mengele’s work was based on that theory. Mengele was never punished for his crimes, and after the war he fled to Brazil, where decades later he drowned after suffering a stroke in his brain, while swimming.||Oh, fucking brilliant. Never mind the gas chambers. Never mind the torture camps. Never mind the mass graves,the beatings to death just for fun, the SS commanders' chairs made of human bones and upholstered in human skin, the prisoners tied together so the executioners could save bullets. All that matters is blaming Darwin. Jesus Fucking Crist.
Yes, there were medical experiments. Horrific experiments. Pressure, temperature, disease, starvation - all these and more were tested upon prisoners. Not as bad, though, as the Japanese Unit 731. In their time, 731 conducted such experiments as amputations, invasive surgery, and live dissections on conscious prisoners without anaesthetic.But hey, who gives a fuck, when you can just blame the entire Holocaust on people who have read Charles Darwin's book...
|In warfare, both sides use "ciphers" to encrypt their messages about troop movements and planned attacks in secret codes so that the enemy cannot eavesdrop and understand the communications. The National Security Agency is a super-secret branch of the U.S. Government staffed by mathematicians who seek better ways to protect American communications against enemy interception, and better ways to decode or decrypt the secret messages of the enemy to anticipate their next moves.||So, next in Andy's cavalcade of Random Historical Paraphernalia™, he gives us a seven paragraph digression about the Enigma machine. Bearing in mind that he devoted a mere two sentences to the role of the Soviet Union in the war, didn't bother explaining who Hitler was or how he came to power, and reduced the entire Western Front 1939-1941 to trite generalisations, it would be expected that he didn't even mention the Enigma. But no. Apparently it was seven times more important than the war between the Reich and the USSR. Wonderful. And what a great way to begin - by wandering off onto a tangent about the frigging NSA. Considering that that august body didn't bloody well exist at the time of the Second World War, why is it in here? Mentioning the Office of Strategic Services, or MI6, or the NKVD, or the Gestapo, or the Polish Cipher Bureau, might have been vaguely acceptable. But the NSA has no relevance whatsoever, and discussing the National Security Agency here is about as appropriate as a paragraph explaining where in FBI headquarters Mulder and Scully's office is. Come on, Andy!|
|As an NSA report explains about World War II: Two examples of famous ciphers from World War II are the Axis cipher machines, the German Enigma and the Japanese Purple (known to the Japanese as the 97-shiki O-bun In-ji-ki, or Alphabetical Typewriter ’97). Both machines substituted letters for plaintext elements according to daily settings (key) for each machine. Interestingly, most ciphers used by all sides during the war overwhelmingly were manual in nature. That is, they involved the use of paper charts and key. Such a manual cipher was the double transposition cipher used by German Police units to encrypt their reports about the massacres of Jews, partisans, prisoners, and Soviet commissars to Police headquarters in Berlin.||I had to go onto the Conservapedia page for this Lecture to find where this quote ends. It's confusing in the extreme - the actual NSA website gives thorough context and explains technical terminology before this quote appears, so the reader has an idea of what it all means. But Andy has just shoved it in here without any explanation whatsoever about the complex themes the quote brings up. Note Andy's inclusion of Soviet commissars being massacred; is this a tacit condemnation of the widespread execution of political officers? It appears that Comrade Schlafly is whole-heartedly in support of a political commissariat. Someone send him a commissar cap and oversized epaulettes, and he can play dress-up as Ciaphas Cain to his heart's content.|
|The Enigma was a portable cipher machine, roughly the size of a typewriter, which could encrypt and decrypt secret messages. It used electro-mechanical rotors to convert a message to a secret code, and then another machine could decode that same message and reveal the original message. This machine was commercially available beginning in the early 1920s. The Nazi German military version generated codes widely thought to be unbreakable.||Is this ever going to end? Andy's crude, catalogue-style description of the Enigma machine is admittedly vaguely accurate, but why does he feel the need to rabbit on and on and on about it? Couldn't he have at least mentioned Arthur Scherbius, who invented the first models back in the 1920s? It would look great on your historical grocery list, Andy.|
|The Enigma machine was equipped with a 26-letter keyboard, with one light per letter of the alphabet. Inside the machine was a set of wired drums for scrambling the input. To encipher or encrypt a letter, the operator pushed the relevant key and observed which of the lights lit. The communication between two operators required that each had an Enigma machine set up in the same way as each other. The large number of possibilities for setting the rotors (and a plugboard that could swap letters) made for an astronomical number of possible configurations, each producing a different cipher. The Germans changed the settings daily, such that the code had to be re-broken each day in order to decrypt the messages. For others to break (decrypt) the code, they had to figure out how the Enigma functioned, the wiring of its rotors and its daily settings (both rotors and plugboard).||Oh for God's sake. Let's come back to this when Andy has stopped drooling on his keyboard. Really, for someone who loathes scientists and mathematicians so much (at least the real ones), Andy has a weird fetish for machines. Wouldn't at all be surprising to see him describe the Enigma as an early version of the internet which facilitated homework exchanges between Nazi homeschoolers. Yes, the Enigma machine was a mind-bogglingly complex machine and an astonishing example of the limits of 1930s technology. Yet the Nazis knew - as Arthur Scherbius himself had repeatedly advised - that it was not unbreakable. In theory the Enigma code could be broken - all that was necessary to break the Enigma code was to sit down with a pen and paper and calculate all the possibilities. Eventually you would hit on the right one, and would be able to decode all intercepted messages. The problem was that there were so many hundreds of millions of permutations, it would take weeks for a team of codebreakers to work their way through enough permutations to find the right one; and the code changed every day. The Germans were perfectly aware that it could theoretically be broken, but thought that the practical aspects, namely the sheer number of codebreakers and amount of time necessary to break even one day's code, made Enigma secure. It was unbreakable only so far as humans were required to break the codes. But as we all know, the Allies didn't use humans...|
|Nazi Germany used the Enigma before and during World War II to send messages about its military maneuvers. But in 1932 a 27-year-old Polish mathematician (specifically, a cryptologist) named Marian Rejewski used advanced mathematics (permutation theory with some group theory) to secretly break (“crack”) the Enigma codes. He then helped design working “doubles” of the Enigmas that could find the keys necessary for decryption. By 1938 the Poles were decrypting most of the German messages, and the Poles shared their marvelous discovery with Great Britain and France.||
Oh great, a name at last. Points off for giving Rejewski's age when he was not a teenager. Nor a homeschooled one at that. Couldn't you have lied, Andy? The rest of this whole Lecture is nothing but lies. Anyway. Rejewski's work was indeed incredible. As I don't understand mathematics beyond the twelve times table - and unlike some, I don't claim to know science and mathematics - I won't attempt to describe what Rejewski actually did. You boffins can look into it yourself. French and British work on Enigma was far behind the Poles, and as the Western Allies and Poland were not exactly best friends at the time of Hitler's little romp across the continent, the information was not shared. It was only when Poland was close to military collapse that the Polish Cipher Bureau sent its data, prototype decryption machines, and available personnel to France. When France fell, they managed to escape to Britain.
In the meantime the Germans had coincidentally bought a load of new-model machines, and these new Enigmas had far more permutations. Rejewski saw this as a setback but, as in his own words it was a "quantitative change, not a qualitative one", all that was needed were more cryptanalysts to do the sums, not entirely new methods.
So before moving away from the Polish involvement, let's take a moment to reflect on poor Rejewski. When he arrived in Britain he was isolated from the Enigma project, as the extreme secrecy of the early decryption project and the takeover by British (and later American) cryptanalysts meant that by 1943, few people in the project - even those at the very top - knew that Rejewski had started the whole thing. After the war, Rejewski returend to Poland where the new communist regime had no knowledge of who he was, and he ended up as a salesman in a telegraph company. Due to the continuing secrecy of the project even after the war, Rejewski died never knowing how important his work had been to the British codebreakers.Rather sad.
|This breakthrough enabled the Allies to anticipate German military maneuvers, although sometimes the Allies would allow an attack to occur successfully in order to avoid signaling to the Germans that their code had been broken. The Allied code-breaking effort was known as “Ultra”, as in “ultra-secret”. At the end of the war, Allied General Dwight Eisenhower said that Ultra was “decisive” to the Allied victory over Germany. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill also declared, “It was thanks to Ultra that we won the war.” The breaking of the German codes prevented Germany from completely blockading Britain with U-boats and enabled the Allied forces to make key strategic decisions throughout the war.||But not as sad, evidently, as Andy's complete glossing-over of the Ultra Project and its head, Alan Turing. For fuck's sake Andy. This stuff has your favourite stuff - conspiracies, spies, big clunky machines. It's bad enough that he ignored the USSR, but why ignore this?
By the time the Polish Cipher Bureau staggered its way into Britain, the Ministry of Defence was already setting up its own team to break the Enigma codes. Headed by mathematician Alan Turing, among others, the team assembled at Bletchley Park, between Oxford, Cambridge, and London, where a gargantuan and immensely secret project was set up to break the ciphers. Intercepted radio signals from Germany and occupied countries were laboriously copied down in Morse code gibberish by thousands of secretaries, relayed by teleprinter to Bletchley Park, where a team of mathematicians, crossword afficionados, idiot savants, and professional cryptanalysts broke the codes using pen and paper.
At first, breaking the codes was near-impossible due to the problem outlined above - there were so many potential permutations of the machine that it would take weeks to work them out. But luckily for the Allies, the Nazi operators were just as human as they. And humans make mistakes.
The most common one was when Enigma operators signed off every message with "HH", for "Heil Hitler". This gave the codebreakers the details for the letter "H" that day. Using that as a base, they could narrow the probabilities for other commonly-used letters. Say for example, a tank brigade in the Ukraine used the radio callsign "HST". Knowing the value of "H", you would get all signals sent from that tank brigade, and be able to find out that day's code for the letters "S" and "T". Then you would look for another commonly-used callsign. Say for example, a railway station in Austria which has the callsign "TPE". Now you know the codes for the letters "P" and "E". And so forth. It was complex and laborious, but it could be done. There were other back doors into Enigma - Nazi operators were sometimes lazy, and kept the machines at the same settings for several days instead of changing them each morning. At the same time, the British acquired a tiny collection of Enigma machines seized during the Battle of France and in Norway, or taken in commando raids on isolated Nazi outposts. The most valuable haul was in October 1942, when two Royal Navy sailors - let's remember them; Seaman Colin Grazier and Lieutenant Francis Fasson - boarded a surrendered U-Boat and extracted the Enigma machine and its code-books and operator's manual. They went down with the sinking submarine to save those little books, which enabled the British codebreakers to decipher far, far more quickly.
But the time it took to break codes, and the sheer volume of intercepted signals, meant that this was untenable. So with growing American help after 1941, the codebreakers began construction of big, clunky, electro-mechanical computers which could work far, far faster and far more efficiently than huts full of tired human brains. These "bombes" allowed the Allies to translate Enigma settings for that day, on the day; allowing the Intelligence specialists at Bletchley Park to theoretically read every Nazi transmission across Europe, from laundry-lists among backwater garrisons, to tactical plans for troops on the Eastern Front, to top-secret messages sent from Gestapo headquarters. Of course not all information was acted upon, otherwise the Nazis would have got suspicious. Indeed this happened in late 1942, when ships carrying supplies for the Afrika Korps were sunk so frequently that the Nazis began to suspect that someone was reading their radio messages. But ultimately, the Nazis remained confident of Enigma's security right up until the very end. Out of interest, there are still many messages which have not yet been decrypted. You can have a go at: .
If you are interested in all this, and enjoy a good thriller too, I highly recommend that you go out and buy Robert Harris' novel "Enigma". It's got all the trappings of a classic spy story, set in the grim, ultra-secret world of Bletchley Park. Fantastic book. I'm not on the payroll of Robert Harris' literary agent, I assure you. Just trying to get you to switch off the telly and read more of those papery things...
Well, here's a thought. Turing was homosexual, which was still legally a crime in Britain until 1967. The government turned a blind eye to this during the war, but in the 1950s Turing had to deal with an attempted break-in at his house by an ex-lover. When he reported this to the police, not only was the break-in not investigated, but Turing himself was charged with indecent homosexual activity under a law from 188-bloody-5. The courts gave Turing a choice - go to jail, or accept chemical castration to "cure" him of homosexuality. Turing opted for the latter, but the physiological side-effects of chemical castration (weight gain, breast growth, and all sorts of other nasty things), along with the government's sheer ingratitude to him, made him so depressed that on 8th June 1954, Turing took his own life.So why Andy didn't mention him? Possibilities: (1) Andy didn't do his research. (2) He didn't want to write about gays. (3) He didn't want to gloat over a meaningless death. If it's the first answer, Andy's a moron. If it's the second, Andy's a twat. If it's the third, Andy might just - just - be demonstrating a shred of decency. But to be fair, after eleven and a half of these shit-packed diatribes, my money's on the first two.
America Enters the War
|Throughout the 1930s, there was ambivalence in England and the United States about Hitler and the Nazis. In America many people are of German descent, and Hitler was popular. Time Magazine named him as “Man of the Year.” On some college campuses, Hitler was voted the greatest leader.||Ahh, here it is. Uncle Sam to the Rescue!™. Cue Stewie Griffin:
"And now we come to the centre of the shrubbery maze!"Andy starts off by repeating his earlier snippet about Time magazine. IS he tacitly supporting Hitler by citing Time, or is he criticising the magazine itself? It's hard to tell. It's certainly not neutral, as it's not worth mentioning - twice - unless attached to some sort of political agenda. For the record, Time names "Man of the Year" not as an honour, but simply to write about very influential people, good or bad. Similarly, Andy's factoid about university campuses is not worth mentioning twice, and can only be a political statement. And we all know Andy's opinion of universities. Yes, Andy. We academics are evil people. That's why I'm a bodybuilder - you need a lot of bulk to muscle your way each morning through the slavering hordes of Commie-Nazi-Darwinist-Satanist-Lib'rul-Kitten Eaters savagely beating Christian students to bloodied pulps with copies of Origin of Species, Das Kapital, and Mein Kampf on the library steps. But on the bright side, we push the homosexual environmentalist agenda (and thereby save a fortune on heating bills) by just incinerating Bibles in the Faculty common room and humping animals in the lecture theatres. It's great!
|Some viewed Hitler as an answer to Joseph Stalin and communism in Russia (although some Americans had supported Stalin and communism). Others thought there was a “Jewish problem” in Europe. G.K. Chesterton, who favored creating a new state like Israel for the Jewish population, said this in 1934: “Today, although I still think there is a Jewish problem, I am appalled by the Hitlerite atrocities. They have absolutely no reason or logic behind them. It is quite obviously the expedient of a man who has been driven to seeking a scapegoat, and has found with relief the most famous scapegoat in European history, the Jewish people.”||Right. So the leader in one country is the answer to a leader in another country. Especially when the latter leader wants nothing to do with the outside world. So how would Hitler have been "an answer" to Stalin? With a war. Right, right. So Andy wants war. No surprises there... Christ on His Cross, how many times is GK bloody Chesterton going to be referenced? He's the most cited figure in this entire series. The best was when Andy refenced GK Chesterton's description of a hotel lobby in order to describe Ancient Babylon. That was fantastic. Remember? Go back to Lecture One if you don't believe it. Andy must sleep with a picture of Chesterton under his pillow. And considering it'll have to jostle for space with portraits of Ronald Reagan, Isaac Newton, Alexander the Great, and Charles Martel (remember the RexBanner incident?), poor Andy must be getting a terrible night's sleep. No wonder he talks shit, and looks as rough as a badger's arse. Points off, too, for not appropriately editing this Chesterton quote. Judging by the first line, Andy seems to be entirely in agreement with the notion of a "Jewish problem". Tsk tsk. Ought to have snipped that. It's what people like Andy excel at. Oh, and lest I be accused of misinterpreting Andy's quotation, all I have done is commit Argument by Association. Which Christoservatives love. Merely meeting them on their own level...|
|But most in America felt it was time to stay out of Europe and let Germany, France, England and Italy solve their own conflicts. No one in America expected the Holocaust, and Hitler kept it quiet even after it began in 1942. In the late 1930s, the debate over involvement by the United States in Europe had almost nothing to do with discrimination against Jewish people by the Nazis. Discrimination based on race was common throughout the world, and the United States herself had many laws or policies discriminating based on race.||This is true. After the First World War, Americans were largely hostile to the idea of getting dragged into another European war. Bear in mind that in the 1930s, there were far, far more Americans who were second-generation immigrants; their parents (or indeed, they themselves) had moved to America precisely because they wanted a fresh start free of Europe's squabbling. The last thing they wanted was to get dragged back into it. Before assessing his last sentence, take a moment to note the sudden re-appearance of the Pogo-Stick of History™, which has been sadly missing for a while but now happily makes its triumphant return to bounce us randomly from 1930 to 1942, than back to 1930. Now, as for the race issue. It's surprising that Andy mentions this at all. In his mind, the US of A is the most perfect society imaginable, especially back in the "Good Old Days" before gays, liberals, feminists, blacks, Hispanics, socialists, communists, and the literati buggered up his perfect all-white, all-male, god-fearing, collar-and-tie Utopia. Remarkable of him to acknowledge that things were worse back then. And not just for my race; for everyone. Except the rich bastards, of course. But of course, Andy only makes passing reference. He could have actually used the words "segregation" or "Jim Crow", but has opted not to. Using actual words to describe this ugliness somehow makes it more real. Far better to just make vague references which don't ripple his middle-class conservative pond. And we very much doubt that this material will be covered in later Lectures. Great work, Andy.|
|In an effort to remain neutral, Congress passed several laws between 1935 and 1937 making it illegal for Americans to lend money to a nation at war, or sell it weapons. But by 1941, President Roosevelt felt he needed to help England, and he persuaded Congress to pass the Lend-Lease Act to allow him to lend or lease weapons to any nation that he considered to be vital to the United States. As a practical matter, this meant that President Roosevelt could now help England. President Roosevelt ordered the U.S. Navy to begin escorting British ships that carried American arms, and Hitler predictably responded by commanding his U-boats (submarines) to sink cargo ships. When a U-boat shot torpedoes at a U.S. destroyer in the Atlantic in September 1941, President Roosevelt ordered the U.S. ships to fire back. An unofficial war had begun between the United States and Germany.||Andy paints a disconcertingly flattering portrait of Roosevelt. He was the best President you lot ever had (well, perhaps barring Grover Cleveland), yet Fundafascists despise him for his efforts to drag America out of the shit. So why is Andy being nice about him? He's up to something... Roosevelt indeed saved our arses in 1941. Were it not for Lend-Lease, it's more than likely that Britain would have been starved out in 1942 due to the U-Boat war in the Atlantic. The first stage of Lend-Lease - the "Destroyers for Bases Agreement" - involved the British allowing the US Navy full access to Royal Navy bases in the Caribbean in exchange for fifty old destroyer warships from the US Navy. This was merely the first, and very small, step; in the weeks and months to come, Congress started shipping us a shitload of food, munitions, raw materials, manufactured goods, industrial machinery, and - something the Nazis didn't have access to - mass-produced Penicillin. The convoys crossing the Atlantic, and the convoys to the USSR, ran a vicious gauntlet against Nazi submarines. Due to the aforementioned Enigma decrypts, and the sheer bravery of the merchant sailors, Britain stayed in the war. We always remember the soldiers, sailors, and airmen of the Allied war effort, but let's not forget those civilian sailors without whom we would have ended up crawling to Adolf with a begging-bowl.|
|President Roosevelt met secretly with Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, in August 1941 on a boat in the Atlantic. They agreed on a declaration for free trade and self-determination, disarmament of aggressor states (e.g., Japan and Germany) and freedom of the seas. This became known as the Atlantic Charter. The United States and Great Britain renounced any territorial ambitions, and expansion against the wishes of local populations was condemned. The Soviet Union soon endorsed the Atlantic Charter and the Charter later provided the ideological foundation for the United Nations.||The Atlantic Charter was indeed a precursor to the United Nations, but more immediately was the foundation of NATO. Strange of Andy to mention his favourite global bête noir without bitching chronically about the New World Order's imminent Satanic takeover of Earth in some sort of Kirk Cameron-inspired wankfest about the erosion of American sovereignty.|
|By late 1941 President Roosevelt wanted the United States in the war, mainly to save England but also to avert attention from his failure to end the Great Depression. But the American people were not in favor of another world war. Many prominent Americans, such as Charles Lindbergh, opposed American involvement in this war. Many felt that the communist threat to the world was greater than the Nazi threat. Roosevelt needed a way to turn public opinion in favor of war, and generate enough public support to win the war.||Oh go screw yourself, Andy. There were many reasons the New Deal wasn't a total success - including the fact that Republicans repeatedly blocked Roosevelt's policies at ever turn, happy to let people starve just in order to get one up on the Democrats - but by and large, it was a success. But aside from that, this paragraph is just confusing. Does Andy approve of American intervention in 1941, or not? I get the distinct impression that had Andy been alive in 1941, he would have merrily applauded Hitler's invasion and conquest of the United Kingdom, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and anyone else for the sole reason that intervention was advocated by the Democrats. If the Klingons were to invade tomorrow and Obama called for global defence, Andy would be the first one to eat gagh and carve ridges in his forehead, just to be a dick. There are times, Andy, when opposing political groups can have the same goal in mind. But all that is unimportant when Andy's goal is simply to set us up for conspiracy theory...|
|The Japanese did the trick. On Dec. 7, 1941, the “day that will live in infamy,” the Japanese launched a surprise attack on our navy fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, which was not yet a state. Some people believe that Roosevelt knew the Japanese would attack because American mathematicians had broken the Japanese code and intercepted and decoded the messages between Japanese officers. Also, the United States had a good radar system that should have been able to predict the attack an hour before it happened. But Roosevelt remained silent, allowing the American public to be outraged by this attack that sunk much of the U.S. Pacific fleet and killed 2,400 sailors. Congress declared war on Japan the next day, and then declared war on Germany (after Germany declared war on the U.S.). America thereby entered World War II.||Aaaaaand here we go. "Roosevelt allowed Pearl Harbour to happen". First of all, why is it important that Hawaii was not a state? Secondly, this conspiracy theory is, to use one of Andy's favourite words, "silly". Conspiracy theories have no place in a history Lecture, especially when he didn't even mention the Reichstag Fire of 1933; a far more plausible theory. So if he can't mention a half-decent one, Andy oughtn't be waxing lyrical about this.|
|By this time Japan had already taken over Manchuria in China and established a Japanese state there called Manchukuo. The Japanese viciously exploited and killed thousands of helpless Chinese in the Rape of Nanjing. Japan sought to establish a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, which was to be an Asia dominated by Japan and lacking in any western influence. Japan had also seized French Indochina (Southeast Asia, primarily Vietnam and Cambodia) in July 1941. Roosevelt had already suspended oil shipments to Japan, and blockaded Japan before it attacked Pearl Harbor. Japan’s attack was perhaps due to this blockade.||Now all of a sudden, Andy is attempting to unpick the complexities of 1940s geopolitics. Get back to us when you've read the work contemporary geopoliticians Halford Mackinder and Karl Haushofer, Andy. And when you've had some diction lessons. These staccato paragraphs of short, choppy sentences are getting tiresome.|
|But Japan did not stop with its success at Pearl Harbor. It captured Wake Island and Guam in the Pacific, and then invaded the Philippines. General Douglas MacArthur was stationed on the Philippines at the time, and American and Filipino soldiers fought valiantly on the Bataan Peninsula to defend the island against the Japanese. General MacArthur escaped on a small speedboat, and the Japanese conquered the islands, including the island of Corregidor. From there the Japanese also conquered Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Burma and the Burma Road. The Japanese seemed unstoppable.||Singapore was a classic example of military overconfidence. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, the British had turned Singapore into an impregnable fortress, defended by batteries of immense guns all pointing in the direction from which attackers were expected to come - the sea. The Malay Peninsula, the only land route to the city, was considered far too heavily forested for a ground invasion. But in the 1930s, the previously impassable jungle had been opened up by rubber plantations, all connected by roads. Roads for traders, roads for trucks - and roads for invaders. When the Japanese invaded Malaysia and began moving southwards towards Singapore, there was little the British could do. Their ground forces were badly outnumbered, the tiny RAF contingent was unable to prevent Japanese planes from bombing the city, and when Churchill sent out a battleship and a battlecruiser as reinforcements, the Japanese Imperial Air Force sunk them without breaking a sweat. The Fall of Singapore and the destruction of the American-British-Dutch-Australian naval force over a series of battles in early 1942 effectively ended European presence in the Far East: French colonies broke away from Vichy, while British and Dutch colonies (not forgetting independent Thailand) were swallowed by the Japanese, just as French Indochina had been in late 1941. And let's not forget that throughout this, the Japanese, Kuomintang, Communists, and warlords, were all still fighting each other in China. There was more to the Far East war than Douglas MacArthur pissing around in a speedboat.|
|It became clear that, for the first time in world history, air power would be decisive in battle. A college dropout named Colonel William "Billy" Mitchell had predicted this in the early 1920s, based in part on his personal experience in leading a large bombing attack on St. Mihiel near the end of World War I. Mitchell announced in the 1920s that Japan would attack us with aircraft and he felt American generals were incompetent and even treasonous in not guarding against this. In 1921 and 1923, Mitchell proved his point by personally flying over and bombing old American and captured German battleships to sink them easily.||
Hmm, the "Bomber Dream". How nice of Andy to mention this, and how unsurprising of him to get it so wrong. Why Andy feels the need to give us the life story of some random American pilot (interesting, considering he didn't bother to give us the life stories of Hitler or Stalin) is a mystery. At least he's vaguely right that the Bomber Dream was a product of the last days of World War One.
When the war ended in 1918, no-one wanted a repeat of what they had just endured. No-one. Yet it seemed inevitable to many that a future war would be fought somewhere, at some point, by someone. Not because of the specific circumstances of the 1920s, but because war is pretty much a constant among our species. Yet aeroplanes offered a hopeful solution to war. Long-gone would be the trenches, the mud, the machine-guns, the poison gas. Instead, bomber fleets could destroy the enemy's military infrastructure. It would no longer be necessary to defeat an army; you could defeat the enemy's very ability to make war. Fleets of self-defending bombers, it was anticipated, could fly over all the horror of the front lines and, with surgical precision, destroy munitions factories, docks, railway stations - all the infrastructure necessarey to wage war, and thus cripple the enemy very early on in the conflict. And with all sides having fleets of bombers, a very effective deterrent would exist and no country would dare go to war, for fear of its industrial capacity being destroyed on the first day.
Alas, the Bomber Dream did not work that way. The planes were not self-defending, and despite bristling with gun turrets, bombers were shot down in huge numbers. Surgical strikes were impossible with 1940s planes - and with so many being shot down and a subsequent shift to night-time bombing, any hope of accuracy was lost. So bombers started simply carpet-bombing enemy cities to simultaneously destroy manufacturing centres, kill workers, and demoralise the population. The result was that the Luftwaffe, the Royal Air Force, the Red Air Force, the Imperial Japanese Air Force, and the United States Air Force, all simply adopted carpet-bombing strategies which devastated the cities of Europe. And what's perhaps most tragic is that in spite of the immense destruction of cities and the horrific loss of life, bombing raids by both the Axis and the Allies had next to no impact upon either side's industrial output. It was all a huge waste, paid for by the charred bodies of children in Coventry, Dresden, and Hiroshima.So, unsurprisingly, a military philosophy this broad and this disastrous was not the product of one man. Not Arthur Harris, Chief of the RAF's Bomber Command. Not Hermann Goering, Marschall of the Luftwaffe. Not any single individual. And certainly not this one random man who Andy is simply parading in order to insist that dropping out of university will make you the most famous man in the world.
|In September 1925 a military airship crashed and killed many on board. Mitchell published a diatribe harshly criticizing his superiors, even accusing them of treason in ignoring the need for good military aviation. He was swiftly brought before a military court, known as a court-martial, for insubordination. He was tried for seven weeks, and convicted by a divided jury. One juror, widely thought to be the future General Douglas MacArthur, voted for acquittal. Mitchell was sentenced to a humiliating loss of rank and pay, and he quit. Only after he died and after World War II did President Truman honor him again.||Alright, alright. Whoever this Billy Mitchell was, we're sure he was a brave man. But for God's sake, do we really need this much information about him? Couldn't Andy have mentioned the Bomber Dream? Couldn't he have talked about the complex strategies for bombing cities? Couldn't he have given us the casualty figures? Anything would be more appropriate than rabbiting on about an obscure man, when Andy didn't even give us a single detail of Adolf Hitler's or Josef Stalin's lives.|
|But perhaps Billy Mitchell’s warnings did make a difference. In 1942 the United States sent Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle to bomb Tokyo and other Japanese cities, largely for symbolic purposes. In May 1942, a fleet of American and Australian ships intercepted a Japanese strike force and stopped Japanese advances at the Battle of Coral Sea. This was the first battle in world history in which both sides fought in aircraft based on aircraft carriers.||Andy must have done some research, as he is now able to trot out another random name, before making a quick and meaningless shift from failing to explain the complexities of aerial warfare to failing to explain the complexities of naval warfare. Great.|
|In June 1942, the Japanese brought together the largest naval force in the world near Midway Island in the Pacific. The American cryptographers had by this time deciphered enough of the Japanese messages to know that there was going to be an attack on Midway, and they knew roughly when the attack would occur. When the Japanese did attack, there was an American force waiting for them. On a reconnaissance mission an alert American pilot with superb eyesight spotted the Japanese fleet on the distant horizon. That gave the Americans the advantage of surprise, as the Japanese were not expecting the Americans to be ready. General Douglas MacArthur, commander of the Allied land forces in the Pacific, then embarked on a strategy of island-hopping to capture strategic islands surrounding Japanese positions. The Japanese, who were trained not to surrender, fought tenaciously for months before succumbing to American and Australian forces in the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.||"the largest naval force in the world"? Really? Sorry Andy, the Allied fleet at D-Day was bigger. So was the Holy Fleet at the 1571 Battle of Lepanto. So was the Spanish Armada in 1588. So was the Mongol fleet in... sod it, why bother? At least he gets the basic background information on Midway correct, but that nugget of truth is then lost in his fawning love-letter to Douglas MacArthur. It's only the "Dear Douglas" bit so far, but trust me, it just goes on from here.|
|With the help of Americans, the Allies began to win victories against the Axis Powers in Europe. In late 1942, the Allies won the Battle of El Alamein, and in May 1943 General Dwight Eisenhower led the Allies to a victory against the feared Afrika Korps. Russia continued to hold its own in Stalingrad against the German army.||Oh, would this be the El Alamein that was won by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, not the Americans? But never mind that, look at the last sentence - Andy's single fucking sentence about the Eastern Front, c.1941-1945.
Once you've finished poking pins into your Schlafly voodoo doll, we'll examine Stalingrad. Ready? Oh right, one more pin in the eye. Go on. There you go! Right. When we last discussed the USSR, it was the winter of 1941/42. The Nazi war machine was bogged down in the frozen mud of Russia. When spring came in 1942, Hitler went against his generals' advice to take Moscow, and instead directed his armies on a major southeastern push deep into the Ukraine, while his remaining armies held the line around Leningrad and west of Moscow. His target, nominally, was the oilfields of Baku, whence the Soviets got almost all of their fuel. Despite fierce resistance and great bravery on the part of the Soviets, the Nazis were able to seize most of the Ukraine, the Crimea, and pushed towards the River Volga. At the city of Stalingrad, the Red Army turned to make a stand at the last natural barrier separating the Nazi tanks from the Soviet oilwells.
In the autumn and winter of 1942, Stalingrad became a meat-grinder. Bombed and shelled to rubble and dust by both sides, the city was arguably the largest and worst battle of the war, perhaps of any war. Estimated casualties are over 800,000 for the Axis armies (mostly Germans, but also troops from all of Hitler's allies and satellite states), and over 1.2 million for the Red Army. The combined death toll, including civilians, may be as high as two and a half million. 2,500,000 deaths, and Andy considers one sentence to be sufficient. [Insert expletive here]
Stalingrad was pivotal not only for the sheer scale and destruction of the battle, but also as it marked the turn in Hitler's fortunes. When the Nazi army at Stalingrad surrendered in February 1943, the Reich would never again be as powerful as it had been. The Nazi armies were pushed back across the Eastern Front by a strengthening Red Army. By April 1943 the Soviets had retaken the Caucasus and the Crimea, along with most of the Ukraine. When the Germans counterattacked at Kursk in June 1943, the largest tank battle in history ensued, with a combined total of perhaps 6,000 tanks fighting over several days. The battle was a decisive victory for the Soviets, who also broke the German siege of Leningrad in early 1943 and forced Army Group Centre to withdraw far, far west from Moscow. Fighting between the two sides crept slowly westwards throughout 1943, with a few temporary German counter-offensives; but as the Nazis now had to deal with an Allied invasion of Italy, and as Germany's resources were not as great as those of the USSR for fighting a war of attrition, the Nazis were increasingly forced out of the USSR.
All together, now;
Союз нерушимый республик свободных
Сплотила навеки Великая Русь.
Да здравствует созданный волей народовЕдиный, могучий Советский Союз!
|From northern Africa the Allies were able to invade Sicily in southern Italy, and oust Mussolini from power. The Germans restored him to power, but on June 4, 1944 the Allies broke through to Rome and by April 1945 the Germans were evacuating Italy. Mussolini was then found hiding in a truck. He was promptly shot and hung in a public square in Milan.||Hey! Andy has actually mentioned this! Shame he couldn't make a more overt connection. The Allied invasion of Sicily, and thence of Italy, was largely a reaction to Stalin's demands for a second front. As far as Stalin was concerned, his country was doing all the fighting, losing millions of men, women and children to the Nazi hordes, while the British and Americans were pissing around in Britain or rounding up the pop-gun Italians in Libya. He demanded that the Allies do more. While the British pushed for a stronger naval blockade of the Axis combined with hit-and-run raids, the Americans pushed for an invasion of France, and other members of the fledgling United Nations called for an invasion of Franco's Spain. The final strategy focused on the Mediterranean and, in response to Stalin's not-unreasonable request, the Western Allies launched an invasion of Fascist Italy.
Perhaps the most overlooked theatre of the war, the Italian Front was a haemmorhage for both sides. The Allied army - mostly composed of Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, Indians, South Africans, North Africans, and East Africans alongside the British and Americans - quickly took Sicily and mounted an invasion of the Italian mainland in September 1943. On the same day as the Allied invasion, the Fascist party in Rome persuaded King Vittorio Emmanuel to sack Mussolini as Prime Minister. Mussolini was locked up and power transferred to Marshal Badoglio, who immediately requested an armistice with the Allies. The Allies, seeing an opportunity, agreed - the Germans held on to Italy, but most of their troops were required to disarm and demobilise the Italian Army. Mussolini was rescued by German commandos and installed as puppet ruler in northern Italy - not the whole of Italy, as Andy misrepresents - while the Allies advanced on Rome.The Advance on Rome was slowed to a snail's pace by the Nazi defenders, and it was not until June 1944 that the Allies reached the city. But before discussing that, we have to examine the broader picture in 1943. Will Andy show us that picture...?
American Issues – Korematsu and the Manhattan Project
|In the United States there were some American citizens of Japanese descent, particularly in California. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, fear and distrust about Japanese Americans arose. Rumors of surprise Japanese attacks on the west coast of the United States became common, and some American officials feared spying by Japanese Americans. The loyalty of American citizens of Japanese descent was doubted.||Most of the time Andy annoys us by whitewashing history to suit his warped agenda, but there are rare occasions when he annoys us by actually getting things right - it's annoying because we can't criticise him. This is one of those cases. It's astonishing for Andy to acknowledge the USA's internment of Japanese civilians, and gobsmacking for him to discuss it at length. Dammit, Andy! We don't know whether to be impressed or irritated! In the America of the 1930s, Japanese citizens were indeed generally viewed with suspicion. The idea of the "Yellow Peril" was still very prevalent, and popular literature and cinema at the time frequently dealt with the theme of a future America overtaken by the East Asians. And let's not forget that in spite of being a melting-pot, America has a long and ugly history of racism. Although Victorian ideas about race were less popular in the 1940s than they had been a half-century before, the idea that whites were superior to all other races was still rather common in America, Europe, and Europe's white colonies. As Hermann Goering noted at the Nuremberg Trials after the war, the Americans didn't round up Americans of German or Italian descent (not quite true, but in far, far smaller numbers) - only Japanese. Historians still debate the reasons, but it would be bloody difficult to deny that simple race was not a prime issue.|
|President Roosevelt, with the support of California Governor Earl Warren (who was later appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the 1950s), ordered that Americans of Japanese descent be forced to live in internment camps where they could be watched 24 hours a day. These included American citizens who had been born in the United States (the “Nisei”). Their property was confiscated also. Many of the internment camps were located away from the coasts in unfamiliar territories, such as near Indian reservations. Overall, 110,000 Japanese Americans were forcibly moved to internment camps during the war.||Ooh, Andy makes his first reference in the entire World History series to the plight of the Native Americans. Kudos for not saying who put them in reservations, Mr Schlafly. Nice glossing-over there. We've established by now that Andrew Schlafly is a racist bastard (his particular favourite targets seem to be the Japanese, the Mongols, and the British), so for him to sympathise with the Japanese here is rather odd. Probably just a crude attempt to appear slightly less of a dick than he actually is. Well it's failed, as he doesn't bother to sympathise with the Cherokee...|
|This policy constituted racial discrimination and some of the victims sued to stop it. But the U.S. Supreme Court upheld this racial discrimination in Korematsu v. United States (1944). Three dissented from this decision, which is considered one of the Court’s most embarrassing rulings. In 1948 Congress enacted the Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act to compensate some of the victims for losing their homes and businesses. In 1980, Congress held hearings to review some of the personal hardships, and issued a report in 1983 condemning President Roosevelt’s removal order and the Supreme Court decision. But many Americans see nothing wrong with taking such measures in a time of crisis and war.||Oh Lord. The pogo-stick is making up for its long absence by bouncing violently around the twentieth century, from the Supreme Court to the House of Representatives, and back again. And Andy's weird descriptors return with gusto. Notice how he starts of criticising Internment as a racist violation of human rights (and a foil for him to bitch about Roosevelt), then does a 180-degree about-turn by suggesting that locking people up on the basis of race is perfectly acceptable. What a [four-letter expletive]. We all know how much he wants to see Arabs, Muslims, and Hispanics locked up. And blacks, just to be safe. And gays - we're considered a seperate race. And... well, scroll back up to re-read the words of Martin Niemoller to remind you why we should resist Andy's vision....|
|Beginning the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor, American scientists were worked on building an atomic bomb to help end the war. The code name for this project was the “Manhattan Project.”||We were starting to wonder why Internment and the Bomb were in the same paragraph. Now we see. Andy is either trying clumsily to construct a link between 1940s American racism and justification for vapourising Japanese babies, or else is setting us up for a justification of why America was right to nuke the Japanese - because the Japanese were fundamentally alien. Neither of those is very pretty.|
|Since 1900 scientists had known that the natural decay of radioactive elements produced large quantities of energy, much larger than the energy produced by chemical reactions. In 1914, a science-fiction writer named H.G. Wells described futuristic “atomic bombs” in a novel. In 1933, Hungarian-born physicist Leo Szilard had the idea that a nuclear chain reaction could make the rapid release of energy from the atom possible. Japan and Germany had projects to build a bomb too.||Either Andy hasn't done the research, or he can't bring himself to admit that the theory of atomic power is far, far, far older than 1900. The Ancient Greeks and Indians hypothesised that all matter is composed of indivisible atoms held together by an immense elemental force, and in the eighth century AD, the Arab scholar Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī suggested that if this force could be unleashed by breaking an atom open, an indescribably amount of power would be released. Of course, this had no bearing whatsoever on early twentieth-century particle physics, but as Andy is such a fan of factoids and such an opponent of non-Western and non-recent history, it seemed appropriate to mention.|
|Szilard immigrated to the United States and was determined to persuade President Roosevelt to fund the building of an atomic bomb. Szilard felt that a letter to the President by Albert Einstein would help. Einstein, a pacifist, was known better than most physicists. Einstein agreed to sign a letter written by Szilard, which was then taken to President Roosevelt in early August 1939. The letter explained the feasibility and importance of developing an atomic bomb.||Again, this is all true. Andyu can do proper research when it suits him. But again, it's disconcerting to see him not kicking the corpse of one of his historical nemeses. Come on Andy, surely Einstein's letter was in reality a political manifesto demanding the imposition of Cultural Relativity, the burning of Christians, and the mandatory eating of kittens...?|
|But President Roosevelt did little based on this letter, and instead allocated only a tiny $6,000 for such a project. Over two years passed, and no progress was made. It was not until Dec. 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor, that an all-out effort to build an atomic bomb began under the direction of General Leslie Groves. Building on work performed by the brilliant physicist Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago, a massive and top-secret team of scientists assembled in Los Alamos, New Mexico, to build an atomic bomb. Managers of this project included J. Robert Oppenheimer, who later accused of being a communist sympathizer.||In fairness to Roosevelt, he had a lot more important things to spend the money on. The British and the Soviets needed food, tanks, bullets, medicines; funding supply convoys and paying to build a gargantuan military-industrial infrastructure in America to defeat the rampaging fascist hordes was deemed a bit more urgent than a project which could take decades. Points off for getting Leslie Groves' rank wrong; he was a Colonel at the time of the Manhattan Project, not a General. I knew that from reading Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series. Surely Andy can do better research than that...? Oh, and who cares if Oppenheimer was later accused of being a commie? In the Red Scare under McCarthy, a lot of people were accused of such. But an accusation is not a conviction. Isn't Andy a lawyer? Shouldn't he know this?|
|The scientists eventually succeeded, and rushed a few prototype bombs to the military for potential use near the end of the war in 1945. By then, Americans had won many victories against the Japanese in the Pacific, including capturing the island of Leyte in the Philippines in October 1944, and then defeating the Japanese at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. The U.S. Marines defeated the Japanese at Iwo Jima, resulting in a famous picture of several Marines raising the American flag. But the American capture of Okinawa in June 1945 proved to be one of the bloodiest land battles of the war with Japan. It became clear that the Japanese would not agree to President Roosevelt’s demand for unconditional surrender, and that conquering Japan itself would cost the lives of perhaps a million American soldiers. (The Allied plan for possibly invading Japan was called Operation Downfall, and it was canceled once the atomic bomb attacks were successful.) The Japanese were ready to fight to the death for their country. Increasingly, Japanese fighter pilots became kamikazes by flying their planes in suicide missions directly into American ships.||Ah, here we go. Back in Lectures Five and Ten, Andy was unable to mention medieval or nineteenth-century Japan without repeatedly mentioning atom bombs. He alo claimed back there, that the Allies had attempted a seaborne invasion of Japan in 1945. Well he was wrong there, and finally - some seven hundred years of history later - corrects himself. Historians continue to debate why the Americans dropped the A-Bomb on Japan. Certainly, attempting an invasion would have been a complete disaster. The Japanese Home Islands were very heavily fortified, and the Japanese were indeed extremely tough fighters. Had the Allies managed to gain a foothold in Japan, it is almost certain that conquering Japan would have taken years. Japan by 1945 had lost its empire, but its industrial capacity was still at peak production, and the army could have fought on for a long time. The Allies would have lost a lot of troops. At the same time, the Allies feared that an invasion would so disrupt Japan's already-precarious food supply that a famine would ensue, and God knows how many civilians would have starved to death. These were factors in the atomic bombing - the grim calculation that it was better to drop the bomb, than lose far more lives in an invasion. Historians also point to the geopolitical element. By August 1945 the war was almost over, and the wartime alliance was breaking apart. Truman's decision to drop the bomb may have been influenced - in part - by a desire to scare the Russians. Surprisingly, Andy mentions this in the next paragraph. When this man can be arsed to do research, it's sometimes not that bad.|
|President Roosevelt, who knew he was dying but kept it from the American people in the election in November 1944, passed away on April 12, 1945. He thereby served less than three months of his new term. His vice president, Harry S Truman, became president despite not having been elected. Truman was a decent man from Missouri but was beyond his depth as the leader of the nation. He was not even aware that the Manhattan Project existed until late 1944. Joseph Stalin knew more about the progress of the Manhattan Project, through spies, than Truman did. Truman’s personality was to act impulsively, and he spent much of his spare time playing simple card games with friends.||Is Andy bitching about Roosevelt's health here? He sounds as though Roosevelt ought to have stood down in the 1944 elections. Thank Christ he didn't. But alas, poor Roosevelt was indeed very ill, and when he died America demonstrated more grief than any dead President before or since. He was a good man, FDR. Points off for bitching about Truman not being elected (cough**Dubya**cough) and for whining about him playing cards. Apparently politicians aren't allowed to relax from time to time.|
|He had never met Winston Churchill or other world leaders, and soon he began to meet with them as Americans were looking for ways to wrap up the war. In the summer of 1945 he received word from the Manhattan Project that the scientists had successfully built a few atomic bombs. It would be up to President Truman to decide if and how to use the atomic bomb.||So? Sarah Palin can't tell David Cameron from Dmitry Medvedev, but we don't hear Andy bitching about how her lack of contact with world leaders makes her unqualified to lead. Really, Andy. Try to stick to the war.|
|Just as the American soldiers had defeated Germany in World War I, the Americans did it again (this time with help from the Soviet Union). Operation Overlord was the code name for the massive challenge of invading Continental Europe, to enable liberating France from the Nazis and conquering Germany itself. It began on “D-Day”, June 6, 1944, with the largest invasion in the history of the world when the Allied forces staged a surprise landing at Normandy, France. There were so many ships and people in the ocean that it obscured the water below. German defense forces killed many of the initial soldiers who hit the beaches, but the Americans overpowered them and started moving through France. They were aided by the fact that Field Marshal Rommel was on leave on June 6. With America’s massive industrial capacity added to the Allies, they could now defeat the Axis Powers.||Oh for Christ's sake. And people like Andy wonder why the rest of the world despises American conservatives - and thereby, sadly, the United States - so much?
First off, the Americans did not win the First World War single-handedly. If Andy was capable of remembering his own previous Lecture, he'd recall that the USA didn't enter the Great War until three years after it had started. But then, in Andy's defence, he did reduce the period c.1914-1917 to a handful of shitty little paragraphs before his sinuses started filling with patriotic mucus at the thought of the Doughboys going Over There. Dick.
Secondly, the United States did not win the Second World War single-handedly. This is one of the most infuriating rewrites of history which right-wing pricks proclaim. They warble on and on about "the Greatest Generation", while completely overlooking the role of the other nations. People like this don't seem to understand that "Allies" is plural. Of course, it doesn't help that Hollywood happily plucks non-American Allied activities in the war - be it the submarine war, D-Day, Enigma, et cetera - and recasts the British, Canadians, Poles, or whoever else, as stereotypical gun-toting yee-ha-ing Americans. And as for reducing the Soviet Union's contribution to the war to a single sentence which makes Mother Russia sound like a clumsy shop assistant, Andy can go fuck himself.
Calculating casualties for the Second World War is tricky. Not only are so many records missing, but historians disagree over whether to include the Spanish Civil War, Ethiopia, and the Chinese Civil War as part of the broader conflict. Estimates, therefore, range from as low as 45 million dead to nearly 80 million dead. The current average estimate seems to be somewhere in the upper 60s, so let's take that. 60,000,000 dead. Now, how many of those were Americans?
Calculating the total Allied dead is no easier than the overall figure, but rough estimates are:
So, even taking a conservative estimate for 1935-1945, we see that the United States had the lowest casualty rate of the major Allied powers. When we include the figures for the other Allies - from big industrialised Dominions like Australia and Canada down to tiny colonies such as Rwanda and the Dutch East Indies, we arrive at a sickening total of over fifty million Allied deaths. The overwhelming majority of whom were Soviet civilians and Soviet troops. We haven't even examined the Axis casualties. And remember that that big statistic of 60-80 million people is not merely an abstract number. In our era we have become so used to big numbers that we are no longer shocked by them. But every single one of those people was a human being like you and me. And even like Andy. For him to completely ignore the other Allies and to disregard the USSR's twenty three million dead is an absolute disgrace. This man is no longer amusing. That's why I stopped taunting him with my fake Conservapedia homework. He's not even a clown anymore. He's just a cunt.
So, it's now early 1944. The war in North Africa is over, and the Allies are slowly creeping up Italy. In the Far East, the Allies' island-hopping strategy is liberating the Japanese-occupied Pacific islands one step at a time. In China, Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Zedong have formed an uneasy and mutually suspicious alliance which is simultaneously pushing the Japanese out of Manchukuo and China itself. On the Eastern Front, the Soviets have pushed the Nazis back to the borders of the USSR and have started creeping into Eastern Europe. However, the Nazis were still remarkably strong, while the Red Army was still dangerously low on supplies and munitions. This is the context of D-Day. The Allies are slowly, slowly winning, but they are a long way from victory yet.
Since 1941, Stalin had been calling for his Allies to open a Western Front, to relieve Nazi pressure on the Eastern Front. Italy had been invaded in order to achieve this, but German resistance in Italy was surprisingly strong, and didn't require that many troops to be diverted from fighting the Russians. So by early 1944, the Western Allies began reconsidering an earlier proposal - invading Occupied France. Doing so would open a large Western Front and force the Germans to redirect subtantial forces away from the Soviets, and the Allied armies in France could be kept supplied and receive constant air support from Great Britain. This was the political and strategic context, and when summer came and the beaches of France were no longer lashed by twenty-foot waves, the Allies landed.D-Day was largely a success because the Nazis didn't expect the invasion to happen in Normandy. They knew the Allies were preparing to invade - they weren't stupid - but British and Canadian deception had succeeded in convincing the Germans that the invasion would come at Calais. When the Allies landed at the Normandy beaches, the Germans' best troops, and tanks, were up near Calais. This gave the Allies time to establish beachheads and take the strategic port of St Malo, whence heavy Allied armour could be offloaded. Andy's little factoid - the suggestion that D-Day worked because Rommel was on leave - seems an extremely minor consideration. However, historians do indeed point to the fact that Rommel, who had sole authorisation to relocate the tanks, was unavailable that day. It also didn't help that Hitler, who could have personally redeployed the army, was in bed until the early afternoon and by the time he had finished screaming at people and sent orders to the tanks, the Allies were already fortifying their positions. Sometimes human folly is a factor in history, and it's surprising to see Andy include this. But after his earlier diarrhoea on Uncle Sam's sole triumph, Andy doesn't deserve the slightest praise.
|American General George Patton had perfected the art of lightning-fast tank maneuvers and unrestrained aggression, and he was the only Allied leader feared by the Germans. A few years earlier, Patton led his men in war games in Atlanta that were supposed to last for many days. Patton’s aggression and the enthusiasm of his men enabled him to win the games in just a day or two. Patton inspired a unique loyalty and spirit in his men that enabled his troops to win quicker and with fewer casualties than anyone else.||Andy must be getting a really bad night's sleep. Added to all those pictures under his pillow are now framed photographs of Douglas MacArthur and George Patton, covered in greasy lip marks and sycophantic drool. As for his claim that Patton was "the only Allied leader feared by the Germans", Andy can again go fuck himself. Apparently Dwight Eisenhower, Bernard Montgomery, Alan Brooke, Georgy Zukhov, Marshal Koniev, and Charles de Gaulle, didn't exist...|
|Patton’s Third Army rolled through France, Belgium, Luxembourg and much of the Netherlands, routing the Germans everywhere. The best the German army could do was turn and run. The French citizens lined the streets of Paris to cheer the Americans when they arrived and freed the city. One of Hitler’s last orders to his general in Paris was to detonate bombs to destroy great artworks at the Louvre Museum, which holds the Mona Lisa. The Nazi general received the order but courageously disobeyed it.||You can almost sense Andy's pain that Paris wasn't burned down. As for his ridiculous claim that the Germans could only turn and run, that it bullshit in its purest form. The Germans put up heavy resistance to the Allied advances, and defeated the Allies on occasion - Operation Market Garden, which Andy appears unaware of, was perhaps the most notorious Allied defeat in the West. Yet German resistance was severely hampered by the fact that Germany was now fighting on three fronts. Against the Soviets in Eastern Europe, and the Western Allies in Italy and France. German industry and civilian morale were also starting to be affected by the constant bombing raids on German cities, as the Allies acheived complete air supremacy. German High Command was also deeply divided by this point, with increasing numbers of generals starting to see the writing on the wall. They knew the war was a lost cause, and many began advocating the mass deployment of all forces to the East, so that the Reich could be conquered by the hated Allies instead of the really hated Soviets. Perhaps Andy isn't aware that the generals tried to assassinate Hitler in July 1944 in the hope that they could negotiate peace, with many of Germany's best generals - including Rommel - executed in the aftermath. The Nazis had by this point also lost the Battle of the Atlantic, with the remnants of the Kriegsmarine as useless as the Luftwaffe. By the autumn of 1944, the war had become one of mere attrition. Both sides trying to grind each other down. The Allies were weak, but the Germans were far weaker. And compared to the industrial output and populations of the Allies, Germany could not hope to win a war of attrition.|
|Hitler did not plan on surrendering. He launched a massive counterattack at the Battle of the Bulge (December 16-26, 1944), also known as the Ardennes Campaign. This was the last major German counteroffensive against advancing Allied troops during World War II. Hitler caught the Allied forces by surprise and inflicted heavy casualties on them in the bitterly cold Ardennes Forest.||Ahh, fan-bloody-tastic. Andrew "Patton's Bitch" Schlafly now gives us three paragraphs on the Battle of the Bulge - probably because it's the only one he knows about which involved American forces - and by the absence of any other battles fought on the Western, Italian, and Eastern Fronts, suggests that it was the only battle at the time. Apparently Monte Cassino, Kharkhov, Warsaw, Reims, and Market Garden never happened.|
|The German forces sneaked through wooded and hilly country in Luxembourg and Belgium with the goal of reaching Antwerp. The Nazis amassed three armies totaling 250,000 soldiers for a massive attack against the Allies in the Ardennes Forest. The Nazis surrounded the 101st Airborne Division in southern Belgium, and demanded their surrender. The Americans refused to surrender. This battle was the largest ever fought by the U.S. Army. Nearly 600,000 American soldiers fought in it.||The Battle of the Bulge was strongly urged against by Hitler's General Staff. It was a very risky gamble. If it worked, the Nazis would achieve a relatively minor victory against the Western Allies, who would be pushed back - but only temporarily. The chances of the Germans encircling the Allies, cutting their supply lines, and forcing the surrender of the Allied field armies, were negligible. And attempting such a strategy would use up Germany's last reserves of fuel, armour, and troops. Hitler's staff advocated either redeploying these forces to the East, or holding them in reserve to slow down the Allies, with the hope that Germany's new experimental Wunderwaffen, or Wonder Weapons, could frighten the British out of the war. But by this point Hitler - who had never been a good strategist - was a raging, paranoid, mentally ill maniac, and his generals dared not oppoe him for fear of being handed over to the Gestapo. When the Ardennes venture failed - as High Command had feared - Germany's last gamble was lost. There was nothing left to stop the Allied and Soviet advances.|
|Allied resistance, especially the heroic effort by the 101st Airborne division, slowed the German forces just enough to prevent the Germans from making it to Antwerp. General Patton directed the Third Army to pray, and then he counterattacked. He relieved the German pressure on the 101st Airborne Division and by February the Germans were in full retreat.||Oh for fucks sake...
So Andy's starry-eyed worship of Patton is all in vain. Because Patton, apparently, did sod all. Goddidit.
Oh and it's worth pointing out that while Patton may have prayed to God, it was the Wehrmacht soldiers, not the Americans, who apparently had God on their side. Their belt buckles proclaimed "Gott Mit Uns" (God With Us). You'd think that if you have God as an ally, you'd win the war. Seemingly not...And on a final note - isn't it funny how God listened to the Americans, but not to the rest of the Allies, the Spanish, the Chinese, the Ethiopians, or the Jews...
|General Patton could have taken all of Eastern Europe from the Germans, and the Russians. Patton planned to liberate Czechoslovakia but was told to stop in 1945. He was accused of insubordination as he pleaded with his superiors to allow him to free Eastern Europe from both Nazi and communist control. His superiors would not let Patton win more victories. The communist Soviet Union then acquired control of eastern Germany and much of Eastern Europe, placing it under communist rule for most of the remainder of the century. Soviet and American troops met at the Elbe River in Germany; Hitler and his wife, Eva Braun, committed suicide. Germany immediately surrendered on May 7, 1945, and V-E Day (Victory in Europe) was May 8, 1945.||What the bloody hell is this?? Andy is suggesting that the Western Allies should have gone to war with the Soviet Union in 19-fucking-45?? Jesus Christ. The further we plunge into this insane rant of a Lecture, the further Andy slips into Hitleresque psychosis. He's mouth-foamingly racist, fiercely xenophobic, eliminates anyone who disagrees with him, and has lost any connection with reality whatsoever. Bloody hell...
Out of interest, why hasn't Andy mentioned a single Allied commander other than Patton? Alright, he hates us British and he despises the Soviets. But if he just wants to wave the Stars and Stripes, he could at least have mentioned Omar Bradley or the Allied Supreme Commander, Dwight Eisenhower. Why is he completely ignoring them?
Yet they are not the only facets of history to be overlooked. Andy has completely ignored the Soviet "liberation" of Eastern Europe (let's not get too starry-eyed about Comrade Stalin's intentions) and the Battle of Berlin. By early 1945 the Soviets had invaded Germany itself, and by the end of March were at the outskirts of Berlin. What Nazi forces remained in the area were the scrapings from the bottom of the proverbial barrel. Weak, badly undersupplied, and badly understrength - and these handfuls of frightened boys and old men, unsupported by tanks, artillery, or aircraft, were the best available to the Reich. German generals were by this point openly ignoring Hitler and sending the rag-tag remnants of their troops to the East, in the hope that most of Germany would come under Western rather than Soviet control at the end of the war. Throughout late April, the Soviets pushed into Berlin and by the time they had reached Hitler's underground bunker at the Reich Chancellery, a million people had died on both sides in the city. Hitler had refused to escape by plane to Bavaria and, having been informed that there were no troops left, that his closest subordinates had deserted him, and that Russian infantrymen were just a few streets away, ended it. He finally married his morbidly depressed girlfriend, Eva Braun, and committed suicide with a cyanide pill and a bullet. His body was burned in the garden and, as his staff tried to flee, the bones were found by the Soviets. His remains were utterly destroyed, although there is a persistent rumour that his skull was presented to Comrade Stalin, who used it as a chamber pot. I'd like that to be true.
Germany did not "immediately surrender", Andy. Hitler died on April 30th. The surrender was not signed until May 7th.
Following Hitler's suicide, his bunker communications officer radioed Hamburg. Hitler had named Grand Admiral Doenitz, in Hamburg, to be his successor as Führer. Under the short-lived "Flensburg Government", Doenitz tried negotiating with the Allies to request peace. The Allies told Doenitz that they would accept nothing short of total unconditional surrender and Doenitz, a relatively decent man (by the standards of his peers) surrendered to save as many lives as possible. On May 7th, the war in Europe ended.So thanks, Andy, for that version of events. If Andy had had his way, the war would have ground on for years to come as Zhukov and Patton brawled over the skull-filled ashes that used to be Europe.
|Two months later the leaders of the Allied powers traveled to Potsdam, Germany, to plan for a post-war Europe. At this Potsdam Conference were Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union, Prime Minister Winston Churchill (who was there replaced by Clement Attlee after Churchill lost reelection in Britain), and President Truman (who had succeeded Roosevelt after his death in April). They met from July 17 to August 2.||Either Andy can't do his research, or Stalin didn't have a job title (General Secretary) and Truman didn't have a first name (Harry). Consistency, Andy...|
|Truman was no match for Stalin. Truman’s greatest interest was in playing cards with his “advisers”, one of whom was the communist spy Alger Hiss. Truman’s biggest concern was how Stalin might react to America’s development of an atomic bomb. Why Truman was worried about that is a mystery, as the United States was far more powerful than the Soviet Union at this point. But Truman gingerly told Stalin that America had developed a vastly more powerful bomb. Stalin simply shrugged his shoulders and took an attitude of “so what?”. One explanation is that Stalin knew more from his spies about the atomic bomb than Truman did. Another explanation is that Stalin had just acquired control of half of Germany and all of Eastern Europe and did not fear the United States in the slightest.||Why is Andy so preoccupied by Truman's leisure activities? Does plaing cards automatically expose you to communist subversion? Maybe Andy just doesn't like gambling. Cue Homer Simpson and Ned Flanders at the Vegas roulette wheel:
Homer: "Flanders! What number you want?"
Ned: "Ohh leave me out of this, Homer. Games of chance are expressly forbidden by Deuteronomy 7."
Homer: "Seven!" (to croupier) "Put it all on seven!"Andy seems confused why the USSR's reaction to news of an atom bomb should concern Truman. Perhaps if he wasn't so busy kicking the corpses of Whistlin' Dixie and Uncle Joe, he could consider it. Put yourself in Truman's shoes. You have a new device that can evaporate an entire city in one go. You also have an uneasy alliance with a totalitarian dictator who commands a vast army in Europe, currently rubbing cold shoulders with your small army next door. The only reason you and Stalin have put up with each other is because Hitler was worse, but now that Hitler's gone, your old rivalries rear their heads again. If Stalin gets nervous about your new bomb, he may just snap his fingers and order his gargantuan and battle-hardened armies to roll on across the Elbe, push aside Patton's flimsy troops, and take the whole of war-weakened Europe. That way, you may have your shiny new toy, but your rival controls half the bloody planet. Suddenly that bomb doesn't seem quite as handy as you thought. So yes, Stalin did probably know more about the bomb than Truman thought. Or even more than Truman himself knew. But that was a minor factor. The geopolitical realities of the USA and the USSR in late 1945 were far more important, but unsurprisingly, Andy couldn't be bothered to give them more than a cursory glance.
|The big decision for Truman upon his return to the United States the first week of August 1945 was whether and how to use the atomic bomb against Japan. Historians say that Truman had already decided by late July, but had not yet given the orders. Truman was perhaps the most impulsive president in American history. He would make snap decisions and he bragged about how when he made a decision, he never second-guessed himself. Japan refused to agree to an unconditional surrender and it would have required 2 million American soldiers to invade and conquer the island. The Japanese soldiers fought to the death in hand-to-hand combat and were even engaging in suicide acts.||Well at least Andy didn't claim that the snap decisions were based on him playing cards... Whatever semblance of scholarly work was still remaining in this, after Andy's piss-brained version of Victory in Europe, has now disappeared. He appears to be throwing in random topics with little purpose. Here, he's trying to balance geopolitics, military strategy, psychoanalysis, and kamikaze pilots. Why, Andy? Why?|
|Some scientists (including Leo Szilard) asked Truman not to use the atomic bomb, but how else could the war be ended? Others suggested that Truman should warn the Japanese, and perhaps even display the awesome power of the bomb in a safe place to Japanese leaders before using it on cities. But for every compassionate approach, there was a counter-argument against it. Hawks (pro-war people) in America felt that if the Japanese leaders had prior warning, then they would put 100,000 of their American prisoners of war at risk and perhaps even place them in the cities we wanted to attack.||Biographers of Robert Oppenheimer (strange of Andy not to mention an American here, instead waving the flag of humanity for a dirty ferriner). He's halfway on the track to identifying what current historians are debating - whether or not it was possible to compel a Japanese surrender without resorting to unheard-of weapons. It was indeed suggested by some that Truman ought to warn the Japanese, but this brings up a curious cocktail of problems.
But of course, none of this matters for Andy, who instead simply parades Americans. The Japanese indeed treated their prisoners - Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Australian, British, American, French, Soviet, Mongolian, and all others; not forgetting of course those brave Japanese who dared to speak out against their ghastly government - horrifically. And we mean really horrific. You've heard of the Burma Railway and Unit 731. If not, research it. But for Andy, this doesn't matter. He is right to claim that the Japanese would probably have shunted their prisoners into the area. But as usual, he's given no context whatsoever.
|By August 1945 the mood in America was unsympathetic to the Japanese, perhaps even racist. But there is little or no evidence that racism played a role in Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb. All of Truman’s military advisers wanted to use the bomb. After the United States spent so much effort developing it, it was hard to imagine not using it. Also, Truman acted impulsively and decisively, and was not one to favor inaction over action. Cautious restraint was not part of Truman’s personality.||Yeah Andy. In the first half of the twentieth century there was no racism in the US of A. Jim Crow? A misunderstood capitalist benefit! Segregation? "Family values!!" Dropping a fission-based subatomic particle bomb on non-white foreign types? PATRIOTISM!!!|
|Truman and the Allied Powers had issued the Potsdam Proclamation on July 25th to the Japanese government warning of “prompt and utter destruction” if it did not surrender immediately. Afterward, Truman dropped 27 million leaflets over Japanese cities with the same warning. The Japanese ignored them and showed no interest in surrendering. If the Japanese had shown any interest in ending the war, then the atomic bomb may not have been dropped. But the Japanese wanted to keep fighting.||It irritates me when Andy is partially right. But let's not go down his road of slapping down opponents even when they are right. To be fair - albeit grudgingly - Andy is right here. The Americans did indeed drop leaflets and offer warning. But after so many years of government and foreign propaganda the Japanese public didn't believe it, and for the aforementioned reasons suggesting that atom bombs were years down the line, the Japanese military government didn't believe it. And as also mentioned, a conventional invasion of the Japanese Home Islands would have been a bloody disaster for everyone. Put yourself in Truman's shoes. Which is worse - 300,000 corpses under a mushroom cloud, or 1,000,000 corpses under the boots of an invasion? It's not a pretty choice. But it had to be made.|
|Truman approved the dropping of the atomic bomb, and a bomber named Enola Gay carried out the mission on August 6, 1945 on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Truman bragged that he did not lose a night’s sleep over the decision. Truman’s reaction to the news was troubling to some. He was crossing the Atlantic on a ship and when the news reached him, he reportedly declared, “This is the greatest thing in history.” According to a witness, Truman supposedly “raced about the ship to spread the news, insisting that he had never made a happier announcement. ‘We have won the gamble,’ he told the assembled and cheering crew.” Japan, stunned, did not immediately surrender and some wonder whether it was given enough time to do so. On August 9th, a second atomic bomb was dropped, this time on the city of Nagasaki. Japan surrendered the next day, and World War II was over.||It is creaking like a galleon at anchor, but bugger it, it's time to get on the soapbox again.
I have just played Devil's Advocate by stepping into Truman's shoes. Let's be realistic about nuclear conflict. Christ Almightly, the first time I taught an undergraduate module it was on Geopolitics, and I had to show and discuss the film Threads; without a doubt the most harrowing and depressing film I have seen. Watch it. Watch it. Just make sure you have time to go for last orders at your local pub - the only way I could handle it was to take my students out and get blind drunk afterwards. Atomic war is a fucking nightmare. We should get down on our knees and thank whatever politician, negotiator, prophet, or deity you want, that we managed to scrape through the Cold War without pressing the big red button and restoring Earth to factory settings - circa 10,000,000,000 BC - in a hail of agony and tears. We can sit here and be grateful for that. But for the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki from 6th to 9th August, 1945, that sheer fucking nightmare was perfectly real. And that's to say nothing for the survivors who became guinea pigs for studying radiation sickness.
We've examined here the circumstances of August 1945. Now, we might disagree on what the Americans should have done. No matter what we may think of individual politicians, we must concede that they can rarely do things according to plan - and this is especially so in the context of a world war. Whatever we think of Truman, we must admit that he was in an awkward position as he had to simultaneously deal with the death of European power, the sudden emergence of the Soviets as a global force, the continuing bitter war with Japan, and the fact that America, like it or not, had to react and respond to all of these issues. But Andy has utterly overlooked these in order to simply snipe at a Democrat.Yes, Truman did indeed state that splitting atoms over Japanese children was a great thing. Yes, he did jog happily round the ship while the Japanese died. Truman may have been an utter shit. Or he may have been an ordinary man forced into a horrid situation - kill half a million, or kill a million. Or he may have been misrepresented by history - I confess that I haven't read biographies of Truman. Or he may have been something that we don't know. But what we do know, is that Truman oughtn't be crucified by a racist c*nt like Andrew Schlafly simply for the purposes of playing one-up-manship over the contemporary Democratic Party.
|Ironically, the two Japanese cities hit by the atomic bomb, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were two of the most Christian cities in all of Japan.||Oh wonderful. Hey children! It's alright! The burned babies, the immolated skeletons in cinders, the sobbing mothers and weeping fathers and screaming children smouldering beneath the mushroom clouds - none of that matters! All that counts is that Andy's version of Christians died!
Claiming that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the "most Christian cities in all of Japan" is the absolute lowest that Andy has come to. He has no evidence for this at all. Instead, this is pulled out of his arse. And it's hard to pull things out of there, considering how far his head is inserted into his own rectal sphincter. He has casually ignored the hundreds of thousands of dead Japanese, and Allied prisoners caught in the blast, in order to simply whine about his brand of pseudoChristians being persecuted.
Calculating casualties for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagaskai is difficult, as is all casualty calculation of World War II. Taking even the conservative estimate, we get these figures:
These are the conservative estimates. It's unlikely we will ever know how many men, women, and children, of all nationalities, died.
But as Andy is so frequently reminding us - more than in his attempts at history on the Crusades - reality doesn't matter. All that matters is propaganda.The other week I had a couple of days off. Went to a museum. In one room there was a guillotine. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I would enjoy seeing Andrew Schlafly on it.
|With 60 million dead from the war and many cities destroyed, there was much work to do to rebuild. Famine and disease swept through the devastated areas of Europe. European dominance and hegemony in the world was over. Japan’s empire was conquered. There needed to be fundamental changes in both Germany and Japan.||Oh thank God. That's over. We get a glimpse of what it was like for people in August 1945; the sheer relief that that bloody thing has now finished. Note how Andy doesn't mention that at this point, fighting was still going on in China. Nice, Andy.|
|In Germany, the Nuremberg Trials in 1946 reviewed the most heinous acts of Germans during the war. Josef Mengele fled undetected to Brazil, but other war criminals were caught, tried, and executed. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson was appointed as the Chief Prosecutor. Jackson, who never attended college, was known to be a brilliant, conservative judge. Evidently he conducted the trial in a reasonably fair manner, as 3 persons were acquitted and a substantial percentage avoided the death penalty. Some of the Allies, perhaps fearing the release of embarrassing information, kept Rudolph Hess (a German who had mysteriously visited England during the war) from telling what he knew and he spent most of the trial drugged up by his captors. He was sentenced to life in jail and kept from the public until he died. Twelve were executed. There were more trials afterward, leading to the execution of 250 criminals. Ever since, the Nuremberg Trials have served as a precedent for future trials for misdeeds during war.||Again, Josef Mengele's flight to South America is brough up unnecessarily. One might almost think that Andy is a fan of him. But that's overshadowed by Andy's mental masturbation over the fact that Justice Jackson did not have a university degree. That's right, he didn't. He had experience, connections, and happened to be the right man in the right place at the right time. But instead of acknowledging this, Andy instead wheels out Jackson's Curriculum Vitae in what is blatantly a piss-poorly disguised attempt to dissuade his youngsters from attending college, and that by not having a university degree they will rise to the upmost echelons of international law. Sorry Andy, but the world doesn't work that way. And to suggest so to students is outrageous. Oh, and kudos for ignoring the other prosecutors (Sir Hartley Shawcross, General Roman Andreyevich Rudenko, and Francois de Monthon) and the actual judges (Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, Francis Biddle, General Iona Nitichenko, and Professor Henri de Varbes.) Just to correct another error - Hess had not "mysteriously visited England". He landed in Scotland, not England, and his intentions were perfectly clear to all sides - he had gone behind Hitler's back in 1941 to try and negotiate peace with the British.
It's odd of Andy to mention the Nuremberg Trials - the Trials laid the foundation of modern international criminal law and set the precedent that governments are responsible not only to their own populations, but to the global community. The modern International Criminal Court still prosecutes leaders who violate international standards and break international law. Alas, though, we're unlikely to see Dubya and his puppy Blair appearing before the ICC any time soon...
The defendents at Nuremberg were selected by the Allies to represent a broad cross-section of Nazi society, with the intention of putting not just the Nazi Party or the German military on trial, but the whole of Nazi society. The main defendents in the first trial, and their sentences, were:
So, a broad cross-section. And a broad range of punishments. The Allies could not simply execute all of their prisoners, for doing so would simply look like Victors' Justice. unlike the trials conducted by the Nazis (and the Soviets), this was not simply a show trial as justification for executing enemies, but a real, genuine courtroom drama with evidence, witnesses, hearings, and defence lawyers - many of whom were also Nazis. By allowing the Nazis to defend themselves, the Allies were able to let the Nazis simultaneously indict themselves. It's a very effective tactic, and far better than simply silencing your opponents - give your opponent a platform, and let him destroy himself. It worked for the Allies at Nuremberg. It worked for the BBC when they allowed Nick Griffin on Question Time. And it works for Fundamentalist Fascists on Conservapedia. Let them speak, and watch as they crumble. I'm not tearing down Andy here. He's doing it himself.Oh, and if you're looking for a really, really high-quality courtroom drama, I strongly recommend you watch the HBO mini-series "Nuremberg". It has Alec Baldwin. Really worth watching.
|After Japan surrendered, the United States forced it to adopt a new constitution, a parliamentary form of government, and an admission by Emperor Hirohito that he was not divine. All men and women over the age of 20 obtained the right to vote, and the emperor was reduced to the role of a figurehead, like the monarchy in England today. The new Japanese constitution prohibited Japan from declaring war. American troops occupied Japan, and General Douglas MacArthur moved there to rule over the country.||Why hasn't Andy mentioned the Japanese equivalent of the Nuremberg Trials; the International Military Tribunal for the Far East? The Japanese had committed war crimes too. Perhaps Andy doesn't care because most of their crimes were against non-whites and non-Americans, and the American CHief Prosecutor in Tokyo did have a college degree. Emperor Hirohito had always been a ceremonial figurehead, since the late nineteenth century. That's why the Imperial Family was not put on trial in Tokyo - they had had almost nothing to do with Japan's war effort and foreign policy, as the country was run by a military clique. All that the new constitution did was make de facto into de jure. Andy writes this segment from the viewpoint of not a liberator, but an imperial conqueror. Look at the wording he uses; "American troops occupied Japan, and General Douglas MacArthur moved there to rule over the country." Way to wasve the flag for liberty, Imperator Schlafly.|
|The United States helped rebuild Japan’s economy, giving it aid, loans and investments. Wartime reparations were not required. Soon Japan grew into an economy power and its goods flooded the American markets. By the spring of 1952 the formal occupation of Japan by the United States ended, and the two nations had become allies with a mutual defense treaty. However, they began competing economically instead of militarily. Later many Americans would become bitter at how much we helped Japan after the war, as competition by Japanese companies eventually caused American industries (like the car industry) to fire workers.||There we go. We just knew that Andy couldn't mention Japan without bitching. This time about cars. This is the third or fourth time that he has mentioned the American car industry, although here he's at least managed to avoid talking about Detroit. Why is Andy so preoccupied with this? Did he work in a car factory? Does he have shares in Ford?|
|The Philippines suffered from the war with Japan, and the Bell Trade Act of 1946 gave the Philippines $800 million in war damages in exchange for free trade provisions. These provisions included a waiver of all import duties on goods shipped by America to the Philippines and equal access by Americans to Filipino natural resources. The Act, which both Congress and the Philippines approved, also pegged the Filipino currency (the peso) to the American dollar and prohibited the Philippines from selling products that might "come into substantial competition" with U.S.-made goods. For those reasons Filipino nationalists criticized the law as American interference in their sovereignty. In 1955, the Laurel-Langley Agreement modified this law on terms more favorable to the Philippines.||Andy skims over America's imperial settlement of the Phillipines. It's still practically a colony now. He's quick to slag off the Europeans for colonialism, but... oh well. How dare - how very dare - the Filipinos object to becoming legally subordinated to another country. Especially one whose advocates pompously preach independence and equality, while enforcing the precise opposite.|
|Large amounts of economic aid flowed to Europe. The Marshall Plan (named after U.S. Secretary of State George Marshall) was passed by Congress in 1948 to offer money to European nations to rebuild. Western Europe and Yugoslavia received vast aid from the Marshall Plan.||Wow, Andy is able to mention foreign aid without whining about ungrateful non-Americans. The Marshall Plan was forced in 1948 due to a rapid economic downturn. Immediately after the war, Europe's economy was relatively stable as the cost of rebuilding, and the presence of Allied troops, ensured production and exchange. But as troops were withdrawn and immediate essential reconstruction ended, the continental economy began to stagnate. Badly. This meant that Europeans were increasingly unable to buy American goods, and as the economy faltered in a post-war society, leaders feared social unrest.
Had Andy done his research, he would have been able to wax lyrical about the Reds. Marshall Aid was largely in response to a Red Scare. Politicians in America and Western Europe suspected that if their war-weary, shellshocked, desperate peoples of Europe were to suddenly plunge into an economic downturn so soon after the war, they would turn to the Communists. After all, Stalin's new empire in Eastern Europe may have been oppressive but at least it was economically surgent. As the Eastern Europeans started receiving aid from Moscow, NATO was obliged to buoy up the Western European economy in order to stave off the appeal of the Reds and enable Europeans to buy American goods. Hence some $13,000,000,000 flowed into European nations (all the non-Soviet nations of Europe barring Spain, where fascist Franco still ruled) and, combined with the earliest prototype of the European Union - the European Coal and Steel Community - Western Europe entered a boomtime period of great economic growth that lasted until the Oil Crisi of 1973. Never to be outdone, the Soviets matched Marshall Aid by corralling their loose aid into COMECON, the Communist Economic Programme. Together, the Marshall Plan and COMECON were highly instrumental into splitting Europe further along ideological lines, into two increasingly homogenous and mutually-suspicious camps.Would have been nice of Andy to mention all this...
|The “Cold War” began at the end of World War II. It was hostility between communism and capitalism, and between the Soviet Union and the United States. It was “cold” because no shots were fired between the two large nations. But it was very much a war.||Andrew Schlafly, Cold Warrior. He must be very excited about this segment. He'll get the chance to bitch about the Soviet Union and masturbate furiously over his photo-shrine to Ronald Reagan; laminated especially for such situations. Not how Andy completely ignores the exist of NATO, the Warsaw Pact, and the Non-Aligned Movement, instead reducing the Cold War to the USA and USSR. And considering how little Andy acknowledged the role of the Soviet Union in the Second World War, he gives no indication to his confused students as to how the USSR - apparently little more than a bumbling sidekick who occasionally raised a regiment or two against the Nazis - managed to become a global superpower. Nice oversight there, Comrade.|
|Even before World War II ended, the foundation was laid for the Cold War. At the conference among the Allied Powers at Yalta, a city on the Black Sea, a sick and dying President Roosevelt agreed to allow the Soviet Union to occupy eastern Germany after the war. Roosevelt also promised Stalin and the Soviet Union reparations from Germany, two warm-water ports, the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin, and railroad rights in Manchuria. What did the United States receive in return? Stalin made only two promises, neither of which was worth anything. First, the Soviet Union agreed to join the war against Japan. But the Soviet Union was no help in defeating the Japanese. Second, Stalin agreed to hold free elections in Eastern Europe. This was a complete lie and Stalin never kept that promise.||Andy gives us a pointlessly vague geographical location of Yalta, and either kicks the corpse of a dying man or else annoys his brethren by being sympathetic to FDR. It's evident by now that this moron doesn't understand geopolitics, and has no understanding of the delicate situation between the Allies and the USSR.
Recall that the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had not been best friends. The "Grand Alliance" which they formed was founded more upon the premise that my enemy's enemy is my friend; while Stalin and Roosevelt/Churchill were adversaries, Hitler was a bigger threat to both. The only reason they united was to crush a mutual enemy, and by the time of the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were close to total collapse. With their mutual enemy soon to be destroyed, old rivalries between the capitalists and the communists began to resurface. The Conference was mostly concerned with postwar Germany, and the Big Three (Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill) spent the overwhelming majority of the conference bickering on how to divide up Germany between them once the Third Reich finally surrendered. The issue of reparations was only briefly brought up and Stalin, being the bastard that he was, was content to take reparations in the form of forced labour from German civilians and German prisoners of war. Neither the Soviets nor the Western Allies, remembering what had happened in 1919, pushed for financial or industrial reparations. Particularly because, unlike Germany in 1918, Germany in 1945 was completely devastated.Andy then decides to spend the rest of the paragraph whining about the geopolitical hegemonic ambitions of Uncle Joe (fair enough), but doesn't seem to realise that the Allies were not supposed to be fighting in order to conquer the world. The war was meant to be one of liberation, not repression. It is true that Stalin reneged on his promise to hold free elections in Eastern Europe, but in this regard Roosevelt didn't bother to pressure Stalin as he knew that it would never happen. For the West to ask Stalin to hold free elections would be like Stalin demanding that Congress and Parliament were given communist majorities. It just wouldn't happen. If Andy is going to moan about something he doesn't understand, he could at least try to research these things...
|In utter disregard of his promise at Yalta, Stalin established communist governments controlled by the Soviet Union in all these eastern European countries: Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania. These became “satellite” countries of the Soviet Union, meaning their policies revolved around and were controlled by the Soviet Union.||Stalin had been perfectly happy, in 1944 and 1945, to allow the Nazis and anti-Nazi resistance forces fight one another, thus leaving a weak opponent for the Red Army to easily crush. Indeed when the Nazis destroyed Warsaw in early 1945 as part of an anti-resistance campaign, Stalin held back the Red Army to ensure the Nazis destroyed the Polish resistance movement - thus eliminating the force which could then turn round and agitate against the Soviets. He wasn't a very nice man, Uncle Joe. Andy is fair to bitch about him, but he could acknowledge the context. Oh, and Yugoslavia didn't side with the USSR. Marshal Tito broke away from Moscow and ran his own socialist regime independent of the USSR. And no mention of NATO setting up its own satellietes? Get it right, Andy...|
|Germany itself was divided between communist and free portions. The eastern side became the German Democratic Republic, which was merely a communist satellite of the Soviet Union and became known as “East Germany.” The western side in 1947 became the Federal Republic of Germany. As described in a memorable post-war speech by Winston Churchill in Missouri, the Soviet Union had dropped an “iron curtain” across Eastern Europe.||Why is it important that Churchill was in Missouri when he said this? If he had coined the phrase "Iron Curtain" in Manchester, would it have been less important? Andy's ability to mention pointless and obscure factoids, while ignoring vast swathes of history, is both annoying and bizarre.|
|Berlin, the historic capital city of Germany, was located in the eastern side and the Allied Powers agreed to split that city into free and communist parts. Stalin then showed his hatred of freedom by blockading the delivery of goods to the free part of Berlin, which was as easy as simply stopping the railroads from traveling to Berlin from the west. The Allies reacted by implementing a massive airlift of foods and supplies to West Berlin. Every day huge numbers of airplanes flew to and from West Berlin to carry enough cargo to support a large city. This Berlin Airlift lasted nearly 11 months, from June 1948 to May 1949, until the Soviet Union backed down and lifted the ground blockade.||Stalin's blockade of Berlin was not simple caused by his "hatred of freedom". History is a bit more complex than that...
By early 1948 the Western Allies who controlled West Germany - America, Britain, and France - along with other Western powers such as the Benelux and the emergent British Commonwealth, were pushing for the creation of a formal West German state, rather than a mere military occupation by the Allies. In March 1948 this was finalised, much to the anger of the Soviets. At the same time, an air accident between a British civilian plane and a Soviet fighter at the Berlin aerodrome raised tensions due to the reactions of both sides (notably, the British plane crashed on the Soviet side and British fire engines and ambulances were not allowed to attempt a rescue), while an impending economic crisis in East Germany caused by currency devaluation - in stark contrast to the economically ascendent West Germans - angered the Soviets. In particular, the Allies' flooding of Berlin with the new Deutsche Mark worried the Soviet leadership that Germany would woon become economically and militarily strong - this time, allied to the Western capitalists. As such, throughout late June 1948 the Soviets suspended Allied rail and road travel into the French, British, and American sectors of Berlin, leaving only the designated air corridors available. West Berlin was left with little over a month's worth of food and fuel, and with more than a million Soviet troops surrounding the Western sectors, the Western Allies decided not to give in. Rather, through the Berlin Airlift, they made a point of not bowing to Soviet aggression.
For the Soviets, though, it was a disaster. The Western Allies managed to keep the city supplied and as the world watched, the USSR found itself in an increasingly embarrassing position. Short of shooting at the Allied planes and thus provoking a potential war, which the Soviets didn't want, there was nothing they could do. In May 1949, the Soviets quietly lifted the blockade.
See, Andy could have told his students at least some of the historical context, but instead opted for generalisations and irrelevant factoids. So here's a version of the Berlin Blockade which should be more to his taste: the blockade was an embarrassment for the Russians, and throughout the blockade Allied pilots flew a combined distance of 149,600,000 kilometres - almost exactly the distance from Berlin, to the Sun.Happier now, Andy?
|A decade later, in 1961, the Soviet Union reacted to a different problem: huge numbers of refugees fleeing communism in East Berlin to live in the free West Berlin. While President Kennedy was enjoying a long, relaxing weekend, the communists built a concrete wall to separate East Berlin from West Berlin. Barbed wire was placed atop this “Berlin Wall,” and armed guards were posted along it to shoot and kill anyone trying to escape from the East into the West (no one would want to go in the opposite direction). Stories of daring and sometimes successful escapes are fascinating to read. This was the wall at which President Ronald Reagan stood in the late 1980s demanding that the head of the Soviet Union “tear down this wall!”||Here he is! Here he is!! Ladies and Gentlemen, please get down on all fours and kiss the dirt over which falls the shadow of God Almighty, Ronald Reagan!!! Cue tape recording of Conservapedian frenzied cheering...
Why is it important that John F. Kennedy was on holiday that weekend? And is Andy being nice to Kennedy, suggesting he needed a holiday, or being snarky in implying that Kennedy was just sitting on his arse while the Soviets were shitting concrete blocks all over Berlin? Given his bitchy comments earlier about Harry Truman playing cards, I'd go for the former. Andy doesn't think Heads of State should ever take five minutes off.Stories of escape attempts are indeed fascinating, and often tragic. Some 200 people died trying to escape to the West. But hey, know what else would be fascinating to read, Andy? A bloody history book.
|Back in 1945, the United Nations was set up by Soviet spy Alger Hiss, who was a confidant of Roosevelt, initially in San Francisco. The United Nations charter established a General Assembly on the principle of one vote per nation. There was an 11-member Security Council on which Great Britain, China, the United States, France and the Soviet Union had permanent seats. The other seats rotate and have representative nations from around the world. Today the Security Council has 15 seats, and communist Hugo Chavez from Venezuela seeks a seat on it. Any nation on the Security Council can veto any proposal. The United Nations moved to New York City where it sits today, and many feel it is ineffective or even counterproductive. Supporters of the United Nations say that it is important to promote peace and participate in peacekeeping operations.||Christ on His Cross, how many times is Andy going to mention Alger Hiss?!? The guy was fairly obscure at the time, but he's appeared in this lecture more than Hitler!
So, here is Andy's attempt to describe his favourite little bête noire, the United Nations. Sigh. For starters, the UN was not set up by a communist. Nor was it only established in 1945. The United Nations Organisation was born out of the remnants of the League of Nations, which had been officially suspended in 1939. Roosevelt appears to have coined the term "United Nations", and it appears in the Anglo-American Atlantic Charter of 1942. By 1943, "United Nations" had become a synonym for the Allies. It was officially commenced in 1945, but had roots preceding this. On 18th April 1946, the League officially dissolved itself and transferred all power to the UNO, as the sole international body granted legitimacy to arbitrate in global disputes. It was a complex process, and claiming that the entire organisation cwas established by one man is ridiculous. It doesn't help, of course, that Hiss had sweet sod-all to do with establishing the UN (he later worked for it, but didn't help found it) but hey, since when has Andy been one to let annoying little things like the truth get in the way of a good bit of propaganda...
|The United States had several reactions to the Cold War. One was a policy of “containment”, whereby America helped smaller countries seeking to resist the spread of communism to them. The Truman Doctrine was a statement of support to Greece and Turkey against communist advances, and Congress authorized military and economic aid.||Ok, so Andy is now warbling on about Cold War geopolitics without giving any indication that he actually knows what he is talking about.
NATO was born out of the Atlantic Charter in 1942, and while unofficial, there was a noticeable divide during the Second World War between the Western Allies (who would later make their alliance official as NATO), and the Soviets. The Warsaw Pact was indeed a response to this, but Andy then ignores two significant players. The first is China. By the early 1950s, Mao Zedong had gaind control of China but was a reluctant ally of the USSR. Indeed when Stalin died and was succeeded by Khrushchev, the Chinese formally broke away from the USSR. The second is the "Non-Aligned Movement", the origins of the modern Third World. Choosing to side with neither their old colonial masters or the Soviets, rightly seen as equally bad, the NAM was the dominant geopolitical stance of newly-independent nations in Africa, South Asia, Oceania, and - to a degree, sometimes in name only - the Middle East and South America. The NAM nations ended up becoming battlefields for proxy wars between the West and the East, as both NATO and the Warsaw pact accused each other of imperialist ambitions and claimed to be fighting for freedom.
When discussing the Cold War, we very frequently forget this aspect. Historian Niall Ferguson, for all his polarising views, is arguable right in saying that the Third World War has alread happened. It happened c.1945-1991, in the Third World. Just because we and the Russians didn't press the big red buttons doesn't mean that nobody died. A lot of people died in the various proxy wars as USSR-backed and NATO-backed factions fought in Latin America, Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Andy implies that this didn't happen at all. But it did.And finally - let's give Andy a point for mentioning other countries besides Uncle Sam. And an extra-special one for mentioning the United States as allied to Iran and Iraq! That put a smile on out faces :-)
|Technology played a key role in the Cold War. The United States developed the atomic bomb in 1945. Using secrets stolen from the United States, the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb in 1949. To stay one step ahead, the United States developed the far more powerful hydrogen bomb (H-bomb) in 1952. This used nuclear fusion and is called a “thermonuclear weapon.” The Soviet Union developed an H-bomb for itself nine months later. Both nations began to develop huge inventories of these bombs, and advocated a policy of “brinkmanship” or the willingness to do whatever was necessary to defend their interests.||No mention, then, of the fact that the Manhattan Project only worked because of knowledge gleaned from the British, the Hungarians, the French, and German scientists who fled Hitler. It was an international effort, not Americans only. While the Soviet Union did indeed conduct espionage and stole nuclear secrets from the Americans - notably through Klaus Fuchs, a Manhattan Project scientist who feared the only way to prevent American nuclear tyranny was for the Soviets to counterbalance the USA - historians still debate just how useful these secrets were. The NKVD kept most of the material from Soviet scientists, instead using the captured documents to spy on their own people and make sure that Igor Kurchatov's team was making progress. The Allies did the same with captured German scientists who had worked on the attempted Nazi atom bomb project; feeding them a collection of lies and truth, then spying on them, to see just how close the Nazis had been to developing an atomic bomb (the answer is that the Nazis were disturbingly close with the theory, but far behind with industrial capacity). One reason for the Soviets' slow progress which historians sometimes cite, is that the USSR had far, far greater industrial and logistical problems than the USA, and had more urgent needs for their resources.
Next, Andy ignores other nations which acquired the Bomb. The British developed their own atomic weapons in 1952, followed by the French in 1958 and the Chinese in 1964. And these were gained with little or no involvement from the Americans, who were by this point jealously guarding their particle secrets.Finally, Andy completely misunderstands "brinkmanship". It's not a policy for defending one's own interests, but instead for forcing your opponent to back down regardless of your policies. The whole point was to force the enemy - the USA or the USSR - to concede to the other in a grand public spectacle of who was right and who was wrong. If you could force your adversary to back down you would look strong, while if you were forced down it would make your nation look weak and feeble in the eyes of your coerced satellite states. And yet, unsurprisingly, historians disagree just how realistic this is. The Americans and the Soviets, for all their Dr Strangelove style posturing, were not fools. They knew that if they pushed brinkmanship too far, if they forced the other's hand just a fraction too much, we would all go up in a puff of radioactive smoke. Nobody - barring a young, Cold War-era Andrew Schlafly - wanted that. This renders the concept of brinkmanship dubious. It's also an error to assume that the West and East were bitter rivals from the moment the Nazis surrendered to the moment Gorbachev and Yeltsin clinked their vodka glasses in the name of the Soviet Union for the last time. Throughout the late 1950s, early 1970s, and late 1980s, there were noticeable periods of détente between capitalists and communists, and sometimes quite amicable relations. Even in the worst periods of tension, the two blocs still traded with each other, the Bolshoi Ballet still toured America, the ping-pong players still travelled to China, Khrushchev danced with thr Queen and American diplomats got drunk at Kremlin banquets. The Cold War was a complex time, and one which should not be viewed as an eternal, unchanging contest between two homogenous, mutually-hated opponents. But then, people like Andrew Schlafly seem to prefer to see the world in such a way...
|Spying between the nations took advantages of improvements in space technology. First both the United States and Soviet Union developed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to shoot each other with nuclear arms. Then the Soviet Union launched the first unmanned satellite, known as Sputnik I, into outer space in 1957. This greatly alarmed Americans, and the United States responded by launching its own satellite in 1958 and later initiating a mission to land on the Moon.||Remind us Andy, how do ICBMs facilitate spying? Not a very subtle way of spying...
ICBMs belong to the back end of the Cold War. For most of the period, both sides planned that if the red telephones rang, they would use aeroplanes to drop bombs. Missile technology was simply not up to the task. Soviet missiles were shockingly crude, taking hours to fuel up and prepare (by which time the USSR would have been evaporated) and unlikely to hit their targets. British, French, and Chinese missiles were little better, and even the Americans, who had the best missile technology, still could not hope to supplant their air force. Maybe Andy ought to watch Dr Strangelove. I always did like Peter Sellers...Points to Andy for acknowledging that the Soviets beat the Americans at something. If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of teeth grinding in New Jersey. And surprisingly, he devotes a mere half-sentence to the Moon Landing. I haven't checked Conservapedia on this, but it really wouldn't be surprising to see a lot of the "Moon landing hoax" shit on there. It's the sort of paranoid crap Conservapedians seem to enjoy.
|Americans developed a spy plane that could fly undetected at very high altitudes, called the “U-2”. When one fell to the earth in Soviet territory in 1960, President Eisenhower arranged for his Administration official to deny that America was spying. But the pilot disobeyed his orders to kill himself before being captured, and he was produced live in the Soviet Union for the television cameras! The Soviets then put him on a phony trial (known as a “show trial” because its real purpose is to humiliate an enemy), and an embarrassed United States had to beg for his return, to which the Soviets ultimately agreed in a prisoner exchange. It was never fully understood how the plane could have landed safely, and the pilot (Francis Gary Powers) died two decades later while operating a traffic helicopter. The U-2 incident forced cancellation of a meeting between President Eisenhower and the aggressive Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev.||Oh God!!
The U-2 plane in May 1960 did not crash, and there was never any question of "It was never fully understood how the plane could have landed safely". The plane was shot down by the Soviet Union and the pilot, Gary Powers, ejected and parachuted down. Simple. Why is Andy claiming otherwise? Note, again, the total lack of context.
Following Stalin's death in 1953, there was something of a scramble among the members of the Politburo. Initially the Head of the NKVD, Lavrenty Beria, became top dog, until he was overthrown in a military coup and disappeared. We can only hope, as the records suggest, that that bastard ended his life somewhere down in his oen torture chambers in NKVD headquarters. Following the coup, Marshal Zhukov temporarily acted as Head of State while the Secretary of the Ukraine, Nikita Khrushchev, simultaneously assembled allies and sacked rivals in the Politburo. By 1955 Khrushchev - an energetic, down-to-earth man popular with the people - had marshalled enough power to gradually acquire the top jobs in the USSR. Among his early acts, alongside promoting job-creating, consumer goods-producing light industries; increasing food production; freeing most of the gulag prisoners; a campaign of "deStalinisation"; and taking a softer approach with the USSR's Eastern European "allies"; was a desire for détente with the West. Throughout the late 1950s Khrushchev visited several Western countries and Heads of State, and encouraged others to visit the Soviet Union. Relations were good, but by early 1960 American foreign policy was angering Khrushchev.
This came to a head when, on 1st May 1960, the Red Air Force shot down an American spyplane. Such missions were prohibited by international treaties and at first the Americans publicly denied such a mission had existed. Until - as Andy (perhaps rightly) feels the need to add an exclamation mark to - the Soviets produced the American pilot, Gary Powers, on television. This was a severe embarrassment for the USA, who were now forced to admit they had been conducting illegal spying missions. Khrushchev, perhaps rightly feeling betrayed that his desire for peace had been met with illegal spying, walked out on international conferences and refused to meet with Eisenhower again, or have him in the USSR, until after the US Presidential Election.
Khrushchev expected John F Kennedy to be far more approachable that Eisenhower and a similar advocate of peace, and was taken aback upon finding that Kennedy - contrary to our modern opinion of him - was something of a warmongerer. The USA's disastrous attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro, the Bay of Pigs invasion, convinced Khrushchev that the Americans did not want peace. At the same time the Americans, backed by the rest of NATO, had recently started the construction of missile and air force bases in Turkey. From these bases, the West could strike deep into the heart of the USSR. Khrushchev vitriolically opposed this in diplomacy and at the UN, but the west refused to back down. So, to demonstrate that communism would not be so easily crushed, Khrushchev starting shipping Soviet missiles to recently-allied Cuba. From Cuba, Soviet missiles could reach American cities in precisely the same way as American missiles in Turkey could reach the USSR. But NATO was not having this - apparently it's fine for the Americans to stick missiles wherever they want, but not for anywhere else. Kennedy responded by blockading Cuba, prompting Andy's beloved brinkmanship between the two superpowers. And while there is disagreement among historians, it genuinely does seem that both sides considered dropping the bomb.
Eventually - thank Christ - they didn't. Khrushchev knew that the USA was in a stronger nuclear position than the USSR. The British, French, and Americans could bomb most Soviet cities within a few hours, while the USSR would be lucky to drop two or three bombs on the Europeans and none on the Americans. So, knowing his weak position, Khrushchev backed down, stopped shipping munitions, and the Cuban Missile Crisis ended.
The Cuban Missile Crisis, and indeed the nature of the Cold War in its early phases, is critical to understanding twentieth-century history. Andy could have - should have - explained all this. But instead, he has completely ignored one of the most important events of the last century, and indeed the moment when the mushrooms could have sprouted, in favour of telling a trivial little anecdote about a helicopter.Why does he even bother...
|The Japanese devastated China during World War II. The Nationalist Chinese led by Chiang Kai-shek received aid from the United States to fight against the Japanese, but in reality they needed that money to prepare for civil war against the communists led by Mao Zedong. After the war, the communists attempted to conquer the Nationalists. Civil war raged from 1946 to 1949. Due to many desertions by soldiers from the Nationalist army to the communists, Mao prevailed by October 1949. Mao had promised land for the peasants and renamed the country the People’s Republic of China. Chiang fled with Nationalists to the island of Formosa, and renamed it the Republic of China (Taiwan), which the United States supported. By February 1950, the communists in the Soviet Union signed a friendship pact with the Chinese communists. Fear gripped the free world.||In typical fashion, Andy starts a section on China by bitching about the Japanese. He's really got his knife into them. Why? Has Andy been wronged, or emotionally hurt, by a Japanese person? Has his income declined as a consequence of Japan's economy? Does he hate the fact he can't read their language and therefore can't spout bullshit to all and sundry about his precious Linguistic Determinism and the supposed "conservatism" of languages? Or does he just really, really hate everyone except himself and Glenn Beck?
Note, again, the appearance of "Uncle Sam to the Rescue!"™. Apparently the Kuomintang was completely incapable of fighting anyone without American support. And apparently Kai-Shek and Zedong did not call an uneasy truce in order to fight the Japanese. Damned lib'rul historians lying to us again, spreading lies about 1940s China in order to promote abortion today."Fear gripped the free world." Yeah, the war-ravaged and economically devastated PRC really frightened a United States with half the world allied to its cause, and an arsenal of nuclear bombs...
|Chairman Mao quickly extended communist control to Inner Mongolia and Tibet in 1950-51, causing the Dalai Lama to flee to India in 1959. Tibet attempted a revolution that year, but the Chinese brutally repressed the revolution and Buddhism. India received many refugees and, after a 1962 border dispute, has been on tense terms with China ever since.||Points off for not mentioning exactly who the Dalai Lama is - he's a Buddhist spiritual figurehead considered to be the incarnation of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteśvara. But of course, Andy daren't mention this as it buggers up his belief that there are only two "religions" in the world - Fundamentalist "Christianity", and militant atheism.|
|Life under Chairman Mao included an Agrarian Land Reform Law of 1950, when Mao seized property and distributed it to peasants, and a policy of forcing peasants to work on collective farms from 1952 to 1957. Women were treated like men. Mao imitated the five-year plans of the communist Soviet Union.||Yes, Mao was a bastard. Like all dictators communist, capitalist, or fascist, he believed that he had the sole monopoly on right and wrong and expected everyone to follow his own principles. No different to Stalin. But instead of discussing Mao's role in the Chinese Communist Party or the broader context of 1950s China, Andy instead plumps for telling us that "women were treated like men". It's been a while since dear old Andy's misogyny shone through. Really, does the man want women to be cringeing subordinates, or dainty damsels locked away in towers awaiting knights in shining armour? He seems to want both, but the two are mutually exclusive. Like his hatred of foreigners, Andy's hatred of women is a curious phenomenon. I'd love to be a fly on the wall during a psychotherapy session of his. Maybe he just hasn't got laid in the last twenty-odd years. Not surprising, really. Or maybe he's gay!! A self-hating gay! Ooh. Now that would explain a lot...|
|From 1958 to 1961, Mao implemented the misnamed “Great Leap Forward,” where he established large collective farms composed of 25,000 people working on thousands of acres per farm. These communes prohibited private possessions and everyone lived in communal housing. Predictably, people worked less and less because there was no private property as an incentive. A great famine resulted and nearly 30 million Chinese died.||Oh for crying out loud. Private possessions were not prohibited. Private property, i.e: land and structures, were confiscated, but it's not as though Beijing sent out armies of commissars to take away peoples' spoons and underwear. And as for the profit motive being the only incentive to work, Andy really ought to pull his head out of his arse. Cue Quark and the Bajoran Prophets from Deep Space Nine:
Prophet: "Your argument is specious."
Still, he'd look great with a set of Ferengi ears.
|Mao had a disagreement with the communists in the Soviet Union known as the “Sino-Soviet rift,” and he started to allow other communists in China to make policy. They began to use capitalist principles such as allowing people to own their land and profit from sales. In 1966, Mao reacted to this with the Cultural Revolution, where everyone intelligent or artistic was imprisoned or killed. Schools and universities were closed. Mao’s “Red Guards” (high school and college students who were militant communists) enforced the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping was imprisoned, and Zhou Enlai was placed in seclusion. Chaos reigned.||"Chaos reigned". "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!!" Christ, Andy. These dichotomies are getting really, really tiresome. In his world, as usual, things are either entirely black or entirely white. There's either perfect Order under Reaganomics (imprisoning gays, disenfranchising women, pumping chemicals into the rivers), or there's abject Chaos under lib'rulism (which is conveniently also Socialism, Communism, and Libertarianism - their purported differences are truthfully just a plot to lull us all into a false sense of secuity). Well, Andy, the world doesn't work that way. Anyway, why is he bitching about the Cultural Revolution? Universities and public schools closed? The liberal intelligentsia imprisoned or executed? Use of capitalist principles to generate profit from land? Doesn't sound like Chaos. Sounds more like Andy's wet dream.|
|Finally Mao Zedong died in 1976, and Deng Xiaoping gained control over the radicals and ended the Cultural Revolution.||Oh great. So apparently between 1966 and 1976, Mao didn't do anything. Jesus Wept...|
|The Cold War broke out into a real war in 1950 between communist North Korea and free South Korea. The North Koreans invaded across the 38th parallel into South Korea, which petitioned the United Nations for help. The Soviet Union at the time was boycotting its seat in the Security Council due to a decision to seat Taiwan, and thus it lacked a veto for the decision by the United Nations to send an international force to South Korea under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. But the international force was ineffective in blocking the advancing, well-trained communist soldiers from North Korea.||Doesn't Andy loathe the UN? Funny of him to suddenly mention it as a guardian of freedom. And look - Douglas MacArthur crops up. AGAIN. Keep your eyes peeled for Patton...|
|In September 1950, General MacArthur used an idea he had months earlier, but which all his advisers had rejected as too risky: an amphibious maneuver known as the “Inchon landing.” He turned North Korean aggression against itself by having his soldiers secretly flee on boats and then land, with reinforcements from other sources, north of the enemy to cut off their supply lines on a peninsula (see map).||As a cartographer I am very pleased to see that Andy's map has not made it onto RationalWiki. No map should have to live out its days in the aether on a Conservapedian attempt at world history.
Andy has got the Inchon Landing correct, but it would have been nice to get some context of the war. Korea had been ruled by the Japanese until 1945, whereupon the northern half of Korea was occupied by the USSR as part of the USSR's war against Japan (contrary to Andy's earlier claim that the Soviets did nothing against the Japanese). The Americans, still fighting Japan, occupied the southern half. This was meant to be a temporary arrangement for both sides, but the emergent North Korea became more communist as a result for support of Mao's faction in the Chinese Civil War. By 1949 the Americans and Soviets had withdrawn from South and North Korea respectively, but by this time North Korea was convinced that the Allied-affiliated South was a serious threat to its sovereignty. Kim Il-Sung, Chairman of the North Korean Communist Party, sought support from Moscow and Beijing but both Stalin and Mao refused to give anything more than vague pleasantries. Nevertheless, seeing this as his only chance to seize South Korea before it became too strong, Il-Sung launched the invasion of South Korea in June 1950.
The North Korean Army, many of them veteran volunteers from the Chinese Civil War, were far more powerful than the small South Korean force. Within weeks, the North Koreans had seized most of the country. America, fearing the geopolitical and ideological consequences of a communist power in East Asia, called for United Nations support. As South Korea was a sovereign state unlawfully attacked by an aggressor, the Security Council was compelled to respond. An international force arrived in South Korea but the North Koreans were significantly stronger, pushing the UN troops back until by September 1950, only the area around the city of Pusan was still in UN hands. At this point MacArthur was granted authority to commence the Inchon Landing, cutting North Korean supply lines and forcing a general retreat to the North. By late October the UN force had crossed into North Korea and at this point, China intervened on the side of the North Koreans.Context, Andy. Context...
|That single maneuver turned certain defeat into certain victory, as the North Korean army was then stuck without supplies. But a month later communist Chinese began flooding into North Korea by the hundreds of thousands to help the fellow communists. General MacArthur wanted to defeat them also, but President Truman refused and fired MacArthur for his subordination. MacArthur had disobeyed orders from his commander-in-chief, and faced consequences for that. In July 1953, a ceasefire was signed reestablishing the 38th parallel as the dividing line. A demilitarized zone on both sides exists to this day.||Just say it, Andy. Just say the words "Yellow Peril". Or "Asiatic Hordes". You know you want to.
Andy's now pulling the same trick as he did with his discussion of Patton earlier. He claimed that Patton wanted to drive the Red Army out of Europe, but was held back by Truman. Now he is claiming that MacArthur wanted to drive the Chinese out of Korea, but was held back by Whistlin' Dixie again. In both cases, he's talking shit. There is no way that the United Nations forces could have defeated the Chinese Army. MacArthur himself knew that engaging the Chinese with his badly outnumbered forces would be suicide, so his plan to "liberate" North Korea involved proposals for nuking Chinese cities. He repeatedly harangued Truman about this, sending him lists of Chinese cities which he thought should be evaporated with the Americans' new toys. But Truman flatly refused, horrified by the prospect of repeating Hiroshima and Nagasaki another twenty times, and fearful of the Soviets retaliating with their own nuclear arsenal.With the maniacal MacArthur sacked (for "subordination", according to Andy. Curious...) the UN and Chinese began a stalemate war around the frontier which dragged on until July 1953. But the battles of 1951-53 took a heavy toll on the Chinese, whose forces were badly undersupplied and overstretched, and constantly attacked by United Nations air forces. The Chinese Politburo, unsupported by an increasingly angry Stalin, their forces unable to hold more than a stalemate against the UN which was far more damaging for the Chinese forces, entered negotiations and the war ended with a division in November 1954 (not July 1953, Andy - that was the ceasefire, not the peace treaty) with a frontier along the 38th Parallel, just as it had been at the start.
|The North Korean dictator, Kim Il Sung, ruled the country for decades and was succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Il, who recently alarmed the world by saying he has nuclear weapons. South Korea, meanwhile, has grown, with capitalism, far stronger than North Korea. South Korea had its first free elections in 1987.||Oh no, North Korea has one or two bombs? America has ten thousand bombs, Andy. And given the IQ and religious politics of the President before Obama, Kim Jong-Il isn't the only statesman we don't trust with that sort of firepower.|
|Repeated attempts to reunite North and South Korea have been total failures, as North Korea remains completely communist (like China and Cuba) while South Korea is one of the most Christian and free enterprise nations in the world. The South Korean electronics company Samsung has risen to dominance in the computer video market (it makes remarkable computer and television screens), and the South Korean car company Hyundai has also been successful in competing against the Japanese and American companies.||So South Korea is one of the most Christian nations in the world? But back in Lecture One, Andy insisted that people who don't use the Latin alphabet are incapable of understanding Christian concepts. And given the apparent "liberal creep" into all languages except his weird version of Umerikon Newspeak, only those who speak English and attend Fundamentalist megachurches (or creepy basements in New Jersey) are real Christians. Shot yourself in the foot there, Andy. And what's this? Praising foreign manufacturers? But Andy, don't Samsung and Hyundai take jobs away from American workers and put American businesses out of work?
And there it ends. Andy's little romp through the first half of the twentieth century began with a contradictory paragraph on how communism and fascism are very different but the same thing, and ends in an electronics shop. As for the shit shovelled in between, it is the absolute worst crap that Andy has vomited forth yet. We're used to him skimming over themes, getting facts wrong, kicking corpses, and rewriting history to make it seem that American Christians are the most persecuted people in the history of our species. But here he takes it to a whole new level. From not explaining who Hitler was, to ignoring the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, to pissing all over Franklin Roosevelt, to claiming that most of the dead in the Holocaust were Christians, Andy has trul surpassed himself in showing us what a racist, sexist, amoral, deceitful, clueless piece of shit he is. And he spouts this bullshit to his students. I briefly enjoyed taunting him with fake Conservapedia history homework, but gave up when it became clear just how arrogant, self-assured, and bloody awful this man is. We can but take solace in the thought that if the Bible is real and Hell exists, there is a special corner in the darkest, most horrid pit of Hades reserved specially for Andrew Layton Schlafly.
In the next Lecture we'll examine Andy's version of the late twentieth century, in which he recycles themes and materials from this class, wanders off onto political tangents, and attempts his final sop of throwing a bone to the non-white world before Lecture Fourteen, wherein he is free to drop his britches, squat, and shit all over professional history. We'll all look forward to that...