‘The RAF commander who ordered the controversial fire-bombing of Dresden which killed an estimated 25,000 civilians during World War II said he would do it again in a long lost interview filmed 30 years after the end of the conflict.
Former marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris, gave the green light for the 1945 bombing which reduced the city in Saxony, Germany, to rubble.
The attack was widely criticised because of ‘blanket bombing’ which hit civilian areas as well as military targets – killing thousands of innocents.
But the newly-discovered interview with Sir Arthur, which was filmed in 1977 and will be aired for the first time on the BBC tonight, shows the RAF chief defending his decision.’
- Bomber Harris: ‘I would have destroyed Dresden again’
- Remembering Dresden: 70 Years After the Firebombing (Photos)
- Bombing of Dresden in World War II – Wikipedia
- Kurt Vonnegut on the Bombing Dresden and Slaughterhouse-Five
- Dresden survivor: ‘Everything was consumed by flames’
- How Dresden has recovered to become a German cultural centre
- At Auschwitz, a nightmare revisited
- Auschwitz 70th anniversary: Survivors warn of new crimes
- Auschwitz survivors determined that their tales of the Holocaust live on
- Auschwitz liberation ceremony will be the last for many survivors present
- Werner Coppel on Surviving Auschwitz
- WWII Veteran Recalls Liberation Of Buchenwald
- The Twins of Auchwitz
- Hollande: Nazi Germany Had Allies In Vichy France
- Attempts to rewrite Shoah history ‘unacceptable,’ says Putin
- Genocide: a term we use too often or not enough?
- Auschwitz: a short history of the largest mass murder site in human history
- The Holocaust – Wikipedia
- Shoah (Documentary)
‘World War Two was never as close to land in South America as on 13 December 1939, when three Royal Navy cruisers challenged Germany’s Admiral Graf Spee off the coast of Uruguay.
A battle still goes on 75 years later.
This time, however, the matter in dispute is not the control of the South Atlantic but rather a controversial four-tonne bronze eagle that could fetch millions of dollars at auction.’
‘Speaking at his country’s first state commemoration of the Nanjing massacre on Saturday, Xi Jinping criticized Japanese nationalists for denying the atrocity.
“Anyone who tries to deny the massacre will not be allowed by history, the souls of the 300,000 deceased victims, 1.3 billion Chinese people and all people loving peace and justice in the world,” Xi said, adding, “Forgetting history is a betrayal, and denying a crime is to repeat a crime.”
He, however, stated that while history must never be forgotten, China should not bear hatred against an entire region “just because a small minority of militarists set off an invasion and war.”’
‘A strange mix of dramatic styles, one part satiric morality play, one part science-fiction ghost story, The Twilight Zone challenged the sensibilities of both hardened skeptics and true believers. It was never a huge hit, but its stories resonated with an American public tenuously relearning moral ambiguity.
Creator Rod Serling was compelled by the need “not to just entertain but to enlighten.” He wrote 93 of the series’ 156 episodes over the course of its five-season run, which began on CBS in 1959. Most modern shows take an average of 7 seasons to produce as many episodes.
Serling, a veteran of World War II, used the show, and his writing, to deal with the untreated psychological trauma he suffered during his enlistment in the U.S. military. Rather than the glamorized affair the war was to become in subsequent retellings, Serling was intimately acquainted with the horrors of America’s attempt to reclaim its Pacific colonies.’
‘As an RAF veteran of the second world war I know that November is a cruel month for both remembering and forgetting the cost of armed conflict. During these past few days when the light grows dim, I have stumbled around London and remembered a time when, as a young man, I witnessed our capital face death from swarms of Nazi bomber planes.
In this day and age we like to impose uniformity on our past conflicts. We see them through a nostalgic lens of wartime propaganda films in which the hero gladly sacrifices his life for a green and pleasant land. But the past is not as simple or as clear-cut as our TV presenters like to suggest during Remembrance Sunday services. For every act of unique heroism we remember, we often forget or ignore all those who, because of post-traumatic stress disorder or moral or religious objections, were unwilling to put their lives on the line for king and country.’
- This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time
- The Tower of London poppies are fake, trite and inward-looking – a Ukip-style memorial
- How our governments use military charities to evade the real cost of their wars
- Does going to see the Tower of London poppies mean anything?
- The untold truth about WWII deserters the US Army tried to hide
- Memorial honours sacrifice of conscientious objectors
- Neville Chamberlain and appeasement
‘Say one thing about the British public, we will fill collecting tins for armed forces personnel. The Charities Directory lists 276 army, 188 Royal Marines and Navy, 70 RAF and 90 ex-services (military) charities in the UK, and those numbers are growing every year. The Royal British Legion is by far the biggest in terms of income, with over £100m in turnover, and shares the biggest profile with ‘Help for Heroes’. Almost all of these charities have come into existence since 1999, the majority in the past decade.
However, is the government avoiding the full cost of going to war by getting these charities to take care of soldiers after their return? If a fire-fighter, nurse or other government employee was killed or seriously injured in an industrial accident at work, the government would assume responsibility, rehabilitation and care would be provided and compensation would be paid. Surely, if a national decision is made to go to war then care for the people thrust into that war must be something that the government takes responsibility for.
Looking into some of the service personnel relief charities, their relationship to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) certainly raise some questions.’
- Gar Alperovitz: Nuclear Attack on Japan was Opposed by American Military Leadership
- If Hiroshima was unnecessary, how to justify Nagasaki?
- Photos: Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Anniversary
- “War Makes Everyone Crazy”: Hiroshima Survivor Reflects on 69th Anniversary of U.S. Atomic Bombing
- Japanese Newsreel Footage on Effects of A-Bomb Seized by U.S. 68 Years Ago
- Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm
- U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms
- John Oliver on America not taking very good care of its 4,800 nuclear weapons
- U.S. Says it Needs Nukes to Defend Against Asteroids
- The five biggest threats to human existence
‘In the decades after World War II, the C.I.A. and other United States agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as Cold War spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government’s ties to some still living in America, newly disclosed records and interviews show.
At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited one-time Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich.’
‘Dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards collected millions of dollars in U.S. Social Security benefits after being forced out of the United States, an Associated Press investigation has found.
The payments, underwritten by American taxpayers, flowed through a legal loophole that gave the U.S. Justice Department leverage to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. If they agreed to go, or simply fled before deportation, they could keep their Social Security, according to interviews and internal U.S. government records.
Among those receiving benefits were armed SS troops who guarded the network of Nazi camps where millions of Jews perished; a rocket scientist who used slave laborers to advance his research in the Third Reich; and a Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.’
‘An anti-Semitic beauty contest is currently underway on the Russian social networking website VKontakte, the local equivalent of Facebook.
Called Miss Ostland 2014 (Ostland was the name Nazi Germany gave to the occupied Baltic states and eastern Poland), the contest is hosted on the site’s Adolf Hitler group page, which has more than 7,000 followers, according to the vocative website.
Women interested in participating in the competition are asked to send in sexy photographs of themselves, as well as to write about their love for Hitler. The candidate who receives the most likes will be declared the winner.’
‘An unnamed Czech nurse has been honoured by her community for her radical method of bringing down the Nazis that invaded her town in the 1930s.
The ‘femme fatale’ divided the people of Trebon in what was then Czechoslovakia when she exacted revenge on Nazi invaders by sleeping with them to give them STDs such as syphilis that would kill them.’
‘Last year, newly published letters written by Nobel prize winner Heinrich Böll appeared to confirm that Nazi troops took crystal methamphetamines in order to stay awake and motivated, despite the desperate conditions they faced on the front line.
Now, new research has revealed that Adolf Hitler was himself a regular user of the drug, now a Class A, prized among addicts for its feeling of euphoria but feared for its mental destructiveness.
According to a 47-page wartime dossier compiled by American Military Intelligence, the Fuhrer was a famous hypochondriac and took over 74 different medications, including methamphetamines.’
‘Every meal could have been her last. And when she had finished eating the bland vegetarian dishes put before her, 25-year-old Margot Wölk and her young female colleagues would burst into tears and “cry like dogs” because they were grateful still to be alive.
Margot Wölk was no Nazi, but she was one of 15 young women who were employed at Adolf Hitler’s heavily guarded Prussian “Wolf’s Lair” headquarters during the Second World War. Her job was to taste the Nazi leader’s food before it reached his lips, to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.’
‘Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski has compared Russia’s incursions into Ukraine with 1930s-style nationalism in a speech in Berlin commemorating the beginning of World War Two, in which he urged the West to stand up to Moscow.
“We are witnessing the rebirth of nationalist ideology which violates human rights and international law under the cover of humanitarian slogans about protecting minorities,” Komorowski told the Bundestag lower house of parliament on Wednesday.
“We recognize this all too well from the 1930s,” said the president, using a speech to mark the 75th anniversary of the start of the war following the Nazis’ invasion of Poland to criticize Russia’s actions in Ukraine.’
‘Photos of Mao’s archenemy Chiang Kai-shek adorn the walls of a Beijing restaurant, and his face looks up at diners from the menu. Online, the deposed Chinese leader’s image is used to sell the kinds of lamps and swords he might have used. A liquor brand has patterned its bottle on Chiang’s memorial in Taipei. Twenty years ago, Chiang was considered an enemy of the people on mainland China. Today, he has become part of mainstream culture — sort of.
There has been a grudging acceptance of Chiang’s historical role in fighting against Japan following its invasion in the lead-up to World War II. Chiang later lost to Mao Zedong’s Communists in the Chinese civil war and fled in 1949 to Taiwan, where he ruled until his death in 1975. His revival on the mainland points to how China’s Communist Party uses history to make points about present-day politics. Chiang is doubly useful in that sense because China’s relations with Taiwan have been warming, while those with Japan are in steep decline.’
Editor’s Note: You can also listen to a recent interview with the author of this piece here.
‘Of all the aspects of the current crisis over the NATO/Russia standoff in Ukraine, the determined intervention into Ukrainian political affairs by the United States has been the least reported, at least until recently. While new reports have appeared concerning CIA Director John Brennan’s mid-April trip to Kiev, and CIA/FBI sending “dozens” of advisers to the Ukrainian security services, very few reports mention that U.S. intervention in Ukraine affairs goes back to the end of World War II. It has hardly let up since then.
The fact of such intervention is not hard to find. Indeed, it’s hard to know where to start in documenting all this, there is so much out there if one is willing to look for it. But the mainstream U.S. press, and their blogger shadows, are ignoring this for the most part. Some exceptions at the larger alternative websites include Jeffrey St. Clair’s Counterpunch and Robert Parry’s Consortium News. Even these latter outlets have almost nothing to say about the approximately 70 year history of U.S. intervention in Ukraine.’
- Seven Decades of Nazi Collaboration: America’s Dirty Little Ukraine Secret
- The Return of the UkrainianFar Right: The Case of VO Svoboda
- To Catch A Nazi: 1986 Village Voice article on OUN leader Mykola Lebed
- Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence, and the Cold War (Book)
- U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis (Book)
- What Cold War CIA Interrogators Learned from the Nazis
- Just Stopping By: CIA Director John Brennan made a surprise visit to Kiev
- Dozens Of CIA, FBI Agents “Advising Ukraine Government”, German Press Reports
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine to fend off Putin-backed rebels
- NATO chief in Kiev discusses support for Ukraine’s defensive power
- Joe Biden tells Kiev US will support them
‘The rusting hulks of tanks and field artillery are a common sight in the jungles of Peleliu, but the fighting that scarred the Pacific island in WWII also left a more dangerous legacy — unexploded bombs. A Japanese airfield made the 10-kilometre (six-mile) long island a prized asset during the conflict, with the Americans determined to seize it at any cost.
The island — about an hour’s boat ride from the Palau capital Koror — underwent months of aerial and naval bombardment before US marines launched an amphibious invasion in September 1944 that was expected to take just three days. Instead, the assault dragged on for almost three months and became one of the bloodiest encounters in the Allied “island hopping” campaign, claiming about 13,000 Japanese and 3,000 American lives.’
‘If shame is the natural response to Hiroshima, how is one to respond to Nagasaki, especially in view of all the declassified government papers on the subject? According to Dr. Joseph Gerson’s With Hiroshima Eyes, some 74,000 were killed instantly at Nagasaki, another 75,000 were injured and 120,000 were poisoned.
If Hiroshima was unnecessary, how to justify Nagasaki?
The saving of thousands of US lives is held up as the official justification for the two atomic bombings. Leaving aside the ethical and legal question of slaughtering civilians to protect soldiers, what can be made of the Nagasaki bomb if Hiroshima’s incineration was not necessary?’
‘Sixty-nine years ago at 8:15 a.m., the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Destruction from the bomb was massive — shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people — nearly half of the town’s population. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese Nagasaki killing another 74,000. At Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, we hear from blast survivor Koji Hosokawa, who was 17 years old at the time. His 13-year-old sister, Yoko, died in the bombing. Hosokawa spoke to us next to the A-bomb Dome, one of the few structures in the city that survived the blast.’ (Democracy Now!)
‘Sirens let out a long and mournful wail and people and traffic stood still on the streets of Warsaw on Friday as Poland commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, a revolt against Nazi Germany that ended tragically for the Poles.
On Aug. 1, 1944, thousands of poorly-armed young city residents rose up against the German forces to try to take control of Warsaw ahead of the advancing Soviet army. They held on for 63 days in the cut-off city before being forced to surrender. Almost 200,000 fighters and civilians were killed in street fights and in German bombings. The Nazis expelled the survivors and set the city ablaze.
President Bronislaw Komorowski joined hundreds of the surviving insurgents for a series of ceremonies that honored the heroic struggle that remains a source of pride for the Poles.’
‘World War II ended 69 years ago, but shells are still exploding off the coast of Okinawa. Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force explosive ordnance disposal technicians detonated two dozen U.S.-made munitions Wednesday morning about 800 yards from shore in Kadena town’s Mizugama district, an area known as the “sea wall,” close to Kadena Air Base.
Nineteen of the 24 rounds were 5-inch shells found near the mouth of Hija River in Kadena town along with an 81 mm mortar shell, according to Kadena Town official Nobukazu Kobashigawa. They were accompanied by four 5-inch shells found on the Yomitan Village side. “It is not surprising to find those shells because the beach is where the allied forces first landed during the Battle of Okinawa,” Kobashigawa said. “I am sure there are lots more.”’
‘Amid Adolf Hitler’s staggeringly horrific crimes against humanity, some pretty heavy-duty tax evasion appears to have been overlooked, a new British documentary set to air Friday finds. The Hunt for Hitler’s Missing Millions argues that the Fuhrer had plenty of money-making schemes, the Mirror reports: He copyrighted his own image, allowing him to rake in royalties from stamps sold bearing his image; was paid for public speeches; and made at least $1 million a year in royalties from Mein Kampf, thanks in part to the fact that a copy was given to all German couples on their wedding day. The documentary makers believe that Hitler owed at least $3 million in back taxes (in today’s dollars) by 1938—though tax authorities were presumably a little reluctant to launch an investigation.’
D-Day Set the Stage for the Rebirth and Reorganization of Global Capitalism: Interview with Leo Panitch
Editor’s Note: If you would like to learn more about the formation of the Atlantic capitalist elite after World War Two I would highly recommend two books. The first by Leo Panitch himself is “The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire“, and the other is by Kees van der Pijl, “The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class“. You can also download another of van der Pijl’s books for free here.
‘Today is the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings, an event that is rightly celebrated as a key moment in the defeat of Nazism and the liberation of Europe from fascist tyranny. Last year I visited the beaches at Omaha and Arromanches for the first time, and went to the American and British and Commonweath cemeteries. It was a moving and impressive sight, and anyone who has read accounts of the landings and the vicious hedgerow fighting that preceded the Bocage ‘breakout’ cannot but be impressed by the courage and resilience shown by the soldiers who waded ashore on 6 June, 1945.
D-Day belongs firmly to the ‘good war’ narrative of World War II, partly because the battles that followed are remembered as clashes between armies. In fact the landings had a catastrophic impact on French civilians, as a result of Allied bombing raids and artillery bombardments of German positions that made no distinction between civilians and soldiers, whether in the bombing of Caen that followed the landings,or the firebombing of the seaside town of Royan with napalm by the US Eighth Air Force on 15 April 1945 that preceded them. Events like these should not be forgotten. And the ‘good war’ historical remembrance of military heroism should never be allowed to obscure the fact that the Allied victory in World War II was not merely due to the heroism and self-sacrifice of soldiers, but was also the result of a new form of ‘total war’ that was directed not only at armies and military targets, but against the enemy society.’
‘Audi has been forced to re-think everything it knew about one of its founding heroes, Dr Richard Bruhn, after the study it commissioned into the company’s past revealed he had close ties with leading Nazis.
Bruhn, long celebrated as the “Father of the Auto Union”, which in the 1980s evolved into the modern Audi brand, exploited slave labour under the Nazi dictatorship on a massive scale, a newly-released historical investigation revealed on Monday.
Although the firm told Spiegel it would be changing online profiles of Bruhn, he is still credited on a number of Audi’s English-language websites worldwide as having “guided the company with great competence” before the war and securing a “high reputation” post-war which “made it possible to obtain the credit needed to re-establish the Auto Union”.’