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World War Two in HD

This is possibly one of my greatest possessions. I bought it 2 years ago, but haven’t watched it until recently. I was waiting for a moment when I had enough time as I knew it was something to be taken seriously and not just put on will I did other things.

Gary Sinise is the narrator for the general film and a number of other actors narrate the stories of the people who are highlighted in the film. The footage is all top class. Having seen a great many WWII documentaries I’ve seen countless hours of film over the years and yet much, if not all, of what is features here is new to me.

The film is an emotional roller coaster. You’ll feel pride in America, and the people who’s stories you hear, and you’ll feel sad and grossed-out at the scenes of death and wounding. There are a number of scenes that made me squirm just a bit. I dislike watching sports injuries because I can almost feel the pain(Joe Theismann), so seeing bandages removed and the burnt, mangled bodies beneath them is unpleasant, but something that should be seen. There is an interesting part in the film when Robert Sherrod, a reporter with the Marines at Tarawa, told FDR that a documentary on the events should be shown uncensored to show people the reality of the far off war. Roosevelt had to approve the documentary, which he did, because the material was to harsh for producers to release.

However don’t get the impression the film is all blood and guts. Most of the footage is nothing of the sort.

One of the more interesting things to see is the early training cuts. When draft reportees are being drilled and can barely march, let alone hold a rifle. They literally are a bunch of klutzes. Added to that many scenes with shirtless GI’s who cut an unimpressive figure and you wonder just how they managed to win on two fronts.  It says something about the world when millions and millions of uncoordinated and wimpy looking kids were each given a gun, tank, or airplane without any experience with such things and yet today kids who grow up with their hands on everything imaginable in the form of toys and videogames can’t be trusted with a slingshot. It’s not even just the kids, but all of society that apparently can’t be trusted. My how standards have fallen.

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Japs

Something I’ve noticed in history books before and also noticed on my WW2 in HD DVD, was the use of the term Japs. In the letters, and references from Americans about the Japanese it’s almost always Jap this and Jap that. Almost exclusively the use of the full term Japanese is limited to official government records, i.e. “the nation of japan”.

What’s interesting to remember is that Jap was a racist term. Maybe not so horribly racist consdiering the limited direct interaction americans had with the japanese but it was rascist nonetheless. One of many in an era of racist terms.

Sure the Germans were referred to as gerry, huns, boche, krauts, heines, and a great many more but the germans were more relatable. American and german businesses and people were intimately intwined. It’s interesting to see how people had to simply give that up during the 1930’s and also interesting to see how german-americans were so much more supportive of america than germany(as they were during ww1 as well).

back to the main point, the japs were bad, undeniably different people. Not just a nation, but different people in a way that race was more like a species than a distinction.

and here we are 68 years later and who has been one of our best friends in the internation community that whole time but Japan.  The was fought between the US and japan was brutal, racist, mean, and based on differences and almost as soon as it was over that was all forgotten. As if it was nothing more than a wrestling challenge between brothers or best friends.

It just goes to show what can be had for firmness. The united states was very generous in its treatment of the axis nations after the war, a credit that can be applied to it perhaps alone amonst nations. The united states was generous in rebuilding both germanty and japan yet it was also very frim. It had expectations in line with its own ideas though not immune to the specifics of each nation and it held ot those expectations and as a result succedded in building successful coutnries.

Maybe it has something to do with the national characterisitcs of germany and japan that they could rebuild so well, but it is in no small part that the united states had high expectations.

Still the united states and japan though friendly as friends can be are still different nations. The japanese today are just as different now as they were in 1941-45, but it doesnt matter. the caues for the racist ideas of the past are still there but they have been discarded because it has been realized that it is better to be successful friends than failing enemies. Again that is due to having high standards. If the united states treated the japanse as if they could never be part of the modern western world than they never would ahve been. think about that and how it affects are nations choice of actions in recent history.

Party Priority

There is a post at House of Eratosthenes about the liberal statement of, PASSED BY A MAJORITY IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, PASSED BY A SUPER MAJORITY IN THE SENATE, AND DECLARED CONSTITUTIONAL BY SCOTUS, as regards to a victory declaration of the validity of the ACA.

The post then goes to explain that while it may be legitimately legal, it does not pass the smell test.

Oh yes, the vote was valid. And legal. And the House of Representatives is charged by our Constitution with the obligation to represent the Will of the People, therefore, to bring that will to the decision-making process. The thing is, though, they fucked up when they did it. They did it wrong. Next time the real “People” had something to say about it, there was a bloodletting, because this isn’t what they wanted.

Supermajority in the Senate: Sixty to thirty-nine, with one abstention. Again, not a single Republican vote. But a supermajority is a supermajority, right? Two words: Cornhusker Kickback. And many other things. No representation of the true Will of the People in this chamber, either.

I then began the process of conjuring up my own thoughts on the matter and this it what it comes down to. The way ACA was passed and is being carried out is in effect similar to the way things were done in the Third Reich*.

During the latter half of World War Two, decisions were made by the leaders of the Third Reich to destroy Germany as they retreated. For a clear understanding of this read, Inside the Third Reich, By Albert Speer. As the situation got worse and worse for Germany the situation became more and more a matter of party loyalty. Those who demonstrated the highest commitment to party ideology were given the greatest platform, regardless of the sanity, truth, or reality of their plans or suggestions. There was no sense of loyalty beyond the National Socialist Party. Germany to them was nothing, the Nazi party was everything and the only thing.

That is similar to what we have with the insanity of Reid, Pelosi and Co. today with their insanity and foolishness. There is no need to consider America or Americans because the party and its belief system is all that matters and is all that is worth working for.

The ACA will have the equivalent of blowing up all the bridges and flooding all the mines of Germany but we do it anyway because it is an item on the list of goals anyway.

However the situation is not all similar. For if we look to Albert Speer again we can look to a statement of his from his Nuremberg trial.

In political life there is a responsibility for a man’s own sector, for that he is of course fully responsible. But beyond that there is a collective responsibility when he has been one of the leaders. Who else is to be held responsible for the course of events, if not the closest associates around the Chief of State? But this collective responsibility can only apply to fundamental matters and not to details….Even in the an authoritarian system this collective responsibility of the leaders must exist; there can be no attempting to withdraw from the collective responsibility after the catastrophe. For if the war had been won, the leadership would probably have raised the claim that it was collectively responsible….I have this obligation all the more since the chief of government has withdrawn from his responsibilities to the German people and to the world.

A great statement. Simple enough for any five year-old who has been properly raised could understand. And yet how many times do we hear excuses from the same people who have passed this disfigured excuse of a law? How many times do the people who passed this law with a supermajority in the Senate and a majority in the House now blame republicans for everything occurring which was entirely predicted? Weekly at least. For further examples we could extend the matter of responsibility to a number of other issues/scandals that have occurred and have received no further attention.

Of course the statement is also great because it brings up another point. What if it was working? Would they be willing to take all the credit? Certainly so, so why are they not willing to take the responsibility? Because the party comes first and last.

*I am not a person who invokes Godwins law as a moral trump card in argument but rather a historical enthusiast who draws similarities between situations.

Katyn

The Katyn massacre refers to events during World War Two in which the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics led by Joseph Stalin murdered approximately 22,000 Polish military officers, and intellectuals to prevent Poland from existing.

The crimes were covered up by the Soviets until the fall of the empire when the world was finally told the truth that the Poles knew since 1940.

Katyn is a movie about that event. The story follows the experiences of several characters in an intertwining way. The movie seems to start of rather slow, character development appears weak and any feelings of stress or angst aren’t readily apparent through the film but the struggles are still seen and understood. However at the end of the film, as the story is concluding and all the summaries are occurring is when the movie really shines.

Katyn is a good movie, but those who know or enjoy history will really appreciate it. Though it is entertainment it will make you feel but most of all it will make you think. As an American it is strange seeing how the Poles think as they do in the circumstances, it is largely concepts foreign to us that they accept their fate and yet still have pride. They are trapped with their dreams and nowhere to go. The Soviet Union did not want Poland to exist and for 50 years they succeeded.

French Profile

My love of history started in childhood. The US Civil War and World War Two were the two events that captivated my attention most of all. I was able to indulge my interest in the Civil War on family vacations but I had no opportunities to visit any WW2 sites. Still I enjoyed WW2 movies and books from childhood through to today when I have been able to visit a few sites though of a smaller nature.

However in my history studies I have had very little contact with French history. This likely has something to do with their limited involvement in WW2, though my lack of learning in 8th and 9th grade French class can be chalked up to not paying attention.(It was nice of my 9th grade French teacher to suggest I drop the class after the first semester with a C-, so I switched to Auto Shop).

I don’t really like France, but it;s an intriguing nation. The first ally of the United States after their assistance to our revolution they soon had their own revolution and have since been a very awkward country.

While the United States became a nation of self government and hard work, France has became a nation of repeated messes as the people asked for more and more while willing to contribute less. America has had the same government since it’s revolution, while France is on it’s 5th Republic.

While you can give the French credit for going to the barricades, literally, against the government, you can question their reasoning. Shorter work weeks usually being the main cause. A people willing to regularly riot and revolt, but not strong enough to work 40 hours for 40 hours worth of pay is strange.

In order to learn more about the French people I read Brian Moynahans The French Century. The book is a chronicle of France during the 20th century and is quite interesting. However it did not really answer any questions, though it did reaffirm the widely held belief of French people being whiny, effete, indolent, and arrogant.

Some say that it is Parisians who those generalities can be credited to more so than the provincials but I would say Paris is France just like London is England. Though there are other large cities none dominates the nation so wholly.

The book does have many interesting details and is indeed an informative history book. In particular there are two parts I would like to share here.

First is an excerpt from a paragraph on the takedown on the Church in French society following the first World War. The minister of work made a speech pronouncing his happiness at the fall of the Church, an idea the government supported. What was interesting is what Mr. Moynahan said;

The left thought that religion was no more than a material interest that could be bashed with impunity; they were blind to it as a faith “that is the lifeblood of half France – more than the lifeblood since eternal life in involved”.

That statement stood out because it applies to all countries. Religion is the meeting place for many communities and by taking that out the people are weakened to individual concerns.

The second part that stuck out for me concerned the Soviet Union.

When André Gide went to Russia in 1936 he was greeted by “spontaneous” crowds at every railway stop, and winsome young Red Army soldiers were thoughtfully provided in a swimming pool he visited. But Gide was not fooled. When he got back, he published Retour de l’URSS in November 1936, lashing the attempt to enforce “total unanimity of thought” through terror. Louis-Ferdinand Céline visited in 1936 to spend the rubles owed him in book royalties. He wrote Mea Culpa on his return, a forty page pamphlet that burned up Bolshevism with the incandescent rage he was soon to turn on the Jews. He found the Soviets foul and venomous. Prolovitch, as he called his proto-proletarian, had been promised paradise; instead, he was trapped behind “a hundred thousand barbed wires” by “the most suspicious, most vindictive, most sadistic police on this earth!” Only three things, Céline wrote, were doing well among the Soviets: “Army, police, propaganda.” They had “dressed up a turd as a caramel”.

That section is most interesting for its honesty about communism, but still its just as interesting to note that France would go on to do its own thing later and was closer to Russia than other Western nations.

There are many more interesting things in the book but those two stood out the most to me, and technically there not even about France.