Saturday, October 21, 2017

To keep up to date on my activities as the author of the Albert and Tillie Mystery series, check out my new website:
The first book in the series, The Spiral Bridge, has been edited, revised and made ready for re-publishing.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rudolf Hess, Hitler's Pawn

The top ten in the Nazi hierarchy from Hitler and down included: 
  • Martin Bormann, Private Secretary
  • Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer-SS
  • Hermann Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe, Head of the Reichswerke complex
  • Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Security Main Office
  • Ernst Kaltenbrünner, Rechtsberater of the SS division VIII
  • Paul Josef Goebbels, Propaganda minister
  • Albert Speer, Armaments Minister
  • Joachim Ribbentrop, Foreign Affairs Minister
  • Wilhem Frick, Reich Minister of the Interior
  • Rudolf Hess, Hitler's Private Secretary until May, 1941

Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987), was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s. In the early years he was named "Deputy to the Führer" and  third in authority, behind Hermann Göring. On the eve of war with the Soviet Union, he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom.  Arrested in the UK, he became a prisoner of war. Hess was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to life imprisonment, which he served at Spandau Prison, Berlin, where he died in 1987. After World War II Winston Churchill wrote of Hess, "He was a medical and not a criminal case, and should be so regarded."[1]

For further details of Hess' biography check out the Spartacus Educational article on Hess
Rudolf Hess, the son of a wealthy German merchant, was born in Alexandria, Egypt on 26th April, 1894. At the age of twelve Hess was sent back to Germany to be educated at Godesberg. He later joined his father's business in Hamburg. 
Hess joined the German Army in August, 1914, and served in the 1st Bavarian Infantry Regiment during the First World War. He was twice wounded and reached the rank of lieutenant. In 1918 became an officer pilot in the German Army Air Service. 
After the war Hess settled in Munich where he entered the university to study history and economics. During this period he was greatly influenced by the teachings of Karl Haushofer, who argued that the state is a biological organism which grows or contracts, and that in the struggle for space the strong countries take land from the weak. This inspired Hess to write a prize-winning essay: How Must the Man be Constructed who will lead Germany back to her Old Heights? It included the following passage: "When necessity commands, he does not shrink from bloodshed... In order to reach his goal, he is prepared to trample on his closest friends."
Did Hess fly to Scotland on May 10, 1941 to negotiate peace with Great Britain? The Spartacus site writes that both Hitler and Churchill ordered the cessation of air attacks upon Hess's arrival. His coming was part of the peace negotiations between Hitler and Churchill.
Is it possible that Hitler and Churchill had called off these air attacks as part of their peace negotiations? Is this the reason why Hess decided to come to Britain on 10th May, 1941? The date of this arrival is of prime importance. Hitler was no doubt concerned about the length of time these negotiations were taking. We now know that he was desperate to order the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) in early Spring. According to Richard Sorge of the Red Orchestra spy network, Hitler planned to launch this attack in May 1941. (Leopold Trepper, The Great Game, 1977, page 126) 
However, for some reason the invasion was delayed. Hitler eventually ordered the invasion of the Soviet Union on 22nd June, 1941. It would therefore seem that peace negotiations between Germany and Britain had come to an end. However, is this true? One would have expected Churchill to order to resume mass bombing of Germany. This was definitely the advice he was getting from Sir Charles Portal, Chief of the Air Staff. Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris also took a similar view. In June 1943, Harris was briefing American journalists about his disagreement with Churchill’s policy. 
Douglas Reed, a British journalist with a good relationship with Portal and Churchill, wrote in 1943: “The long delay in bombing Germany is already chief among the causes of the undue prolongation of the war.” (Douglas Reed, Lest We Regret, 1943, page 331). One senior army figure told a journalist after the war that Hess’s arrival brought about a “virtual armistice” between Germany and Britain.
Was Hess indeed sent by Hitler? Did Churchill really know of his coming? Was this part of the peace negotiations between the two nations? We cannot know with certainty the truth of these allegations. The History Place merely suggests that Hess came on his own and was later renounced by Hitler.
Hess wanted to convince the British Government that Hitler only wanted Lebensraum for the German people and had no wish to destroy a fellow 'Nordic' nation. He also knew of Hitler's plans to attack the Soviet Union and wanted to prevent Germany from getting involved in a two-front war, fighting the Soviets to the east of Germany, and Britain and its allies in the west. 
During interrogation in a British Army barracks, he proposed that if the British would allow Nazi Germany to dominate Europe, then the British Empire would not be further molested by Hitler. He insisted that German victory was inevitable and even threatened that the British people would be starved to death by a Nazi blockade around the British Isles unless they accepted his generous peace offer. But Hess also displayed signs of mental instability to his British captors and they concluded he was half mad and represented only himself. Churchill, realizing this, and somewhat infuriated by his statements, ordered Hess to be imprisoned for the duration and treated like any high ranking POW. 
Hess was declared insane by a bewildered Hitler, and effectively disowned by the Nazis. His flight ultimately caused Hitler and the Nazis huge embarrassment as they struggled to explain his actions.  
During his years of British imprisonment, Hess displayed increasingly unstable behavior and developed a paranoid obsession that his food was being poisoned. In 1945, Hess was returned to Germany to stand trial before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. 
As noted above, Hess died in Spandau Prison in Berlin, East Germany in 1987.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Propaganda Was Central To Nazi Germany

Propaganda was central to Nazi Germany. Some of the most effective pieces of propaganda were the newspapers. Prominent among them was Der Stürmer -The Stormer or Attacker.

Die Juden sind unser Unglück! -The Jews are our misfortune
- tagline at the bottom of the newspaper - 

Der Stürmer was an anti-Semitic "tabloid style" newspaper first published by Julius Streicher in 1923 and almost continuously through to the end of World War II. Der Stürmer was viewed by Hitler as playing a significant role in the Nazi propaganda machinery and a useful tool in influencing the "common man on the street". The origin of the paper lies in conflict within the Nazi party at Nuremberg during attempts to establish power and control.
Scandal and sensationalism were the mainstay of the paper. As the Jews became more and more the primary focus, any scandal or crime that could be alleged would make its way into the paper. The tabloid focused particularly on tales of crimes against Aryan women and girls by the "evil, disgusting, no good Jews!"
Over the years distribution of Der Stürmer grew from 14,000 in 1927 to 473,000 om 1938. As Der Stürmer's circulation grew, it was distributed to any country with a large German population, including: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and the United States, among others.

Streicher's publishing house also created and sold children's books. Prominent among them was Der Giftpilz (The Poisonous Mushroom or Toadstool). One story in that book tells about a mysterious stranger who entices children to his home. Hans saves his little sister from the dreaded Jew by calling the police. The story ends with this poem shared with the children by their mother.

“A devil goes through the land, 
The Jew he is, known to us all 
As murderer of the peoples and polluter of the races, 
The terror of children in every country!

He wants to ruin the youth. 
He wants all peoples to die. 
Have nothing to do with a Jew 
Then you’ll be happy and gay!”

Randall L. Bytwerk published a 2004 book on Nazi propagandaBending Spines: The Propagandas of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic.  

Amazon's description of Bytwerk's book:
In many ways, modern totalitarian movements present worldviews that are religious in nature. Nazism and Marxism-Leninism presented themselves as explanations for all of life—culture, morality, science, history, and recreation. They provided people with reasons for accepting the status quo. Bending Spines examines the full range of persuasive techniques used by Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic, and concludes that both systems failed in part because they expected more of their propaganda than it was able to deliver. 
A similar book was published in 2008 by Jeffrey Herf: The Jewish Enemy: Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust

Book description in Amazon: 
In many ways, modern totalitarian movements present worldviews that are religious in nature. Nazism and Marxism-Leninism presented themselves as explanations for all of life—culture, morality, science, history, and recreation. They provided people with reasons for accepting the status quo. Bending Spines examines the full range of persuasive techniques used by Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic, and concludes that both systems failed in part because they expected more of their propaganda than it was able to deliver. 
From George Mason University we hear that propaganda was not an invention of the Nazis:
Modern propaganda is distinguished from other forms of communication by its deliberate and conscious use of false or misleading information to sway public opinion. The invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century gradually made it possible to reach large numbers of people. But it was not until the nineteenth century that state governments began to employ propaganda for political purposes to any wide degree deliberately aimed at influencing the masses. The invention of radio and television in the twentieth century made it possible to reach even more people. The development of modern media, global warfare, and the rise of extremist political parties provided growing importance to the use of propaganda.

The term propaganda began to be widely used to describe the persuasive tactics used by both sides during the world wars and by later tyrannical political regimes of the twentieth century. Propaganda was used as a psychological weapon against the enemy and to bolster morale at home. The British were the first to develop an extensive system of war propaganda. In the later part of World War One, the Department of Information was formed to coordinate the government's propaganda efforts. Articles were written and distributed both at home and abroad. Important members of the press and various foreign governments received advance press releases and special treatment in the hope that they would write and report favorably on the British war efforts and bolster morale at home. At a time when most news was transmitted by telegraph, advance access to news was advantageous to those who received it first; they were more likely to influence their audiences before those that received the news later. It is not surprising that the word "propaganda" appeared as a separate entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica for the first in 1922 right after the end of the World War One. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Antisemitism Background and History

Toward the end of 2011 Phyllis Goldstein published A Convenient Hatred: the history of antisemitism.  Ms. Goldstein writes about her motive for writing the book.
My hope is that this book will spark more insights, further conversation, and additional learning. Only by facing history and ourselves can we begin to meet the challenges of the present and build a more just and tolerant future.
Russia Exile detailForeword by Sir Harold Evans
Antisemitism is a very peculiar pathology that recognizes no national borders. It is a mental condition conducive to paranoia and impervious to truth. . . . Once an emotional stereotype has been created—of the Jews, of blacks, of Catholics, of Muslims—it is readily absorbed in the bones
like strontium 90, an enduring poison that distorts the perceptions of the victims.

The book is also available in Kindle edition from Amazon.

Phyllis Goldstein is the senior writer for Facing History and Ourselves. Facing History and Ourselves is an international education organization that links history to the moral questions of our time. They claim over 150 staff members across the United States.
From the Wikipedia article on the history of antisemitism:

The history of antisemitism – defined as hostile actions or discrimination against Jews as a religious or ethnic group – goes back many centuries; antisemitism has been called "the longest hatred."[1] Jerome Chanes identifies six stages in the historical development of antisemitism:
  1. Pre-Christian anti-Judaism in ancient Greece and Rome which was primarily ethnic in nature
  2. Christian anti-semitism in antiquity and the Middle Ages which was religious in nature and has extended into modern times
  3. Traditional Muslim antisemitism which was—at least in its classical form—nuanced, in that Jews were a protected class
  4. Political, social and economic antisemitism of Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment Europe which laid the groundwork for racial antisemitism
  5. Racial antisemitism that arose in the 19th century and culminated in Nazism
  6. Contemporary antisemitism which has been labeled by some as the New Antisemitism[2]
In writing about contemporary antisemitism, which has been labeled by some as the New AntisemitismChanes suggests that these six stages could be merged into three categories: "ancient antisemitism, which was primarily ethnic in nature; Christian antisemitism, which was religious; and the racial antisemitism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries."[3] 
In practice, it is difficult to differentiate antisemitism from the general ill-treatment of nations by other nations before the Roman period, but since the adoption of Christianity in Europe, antisemitism has undoubtedly been present. The Islamic world has also seen the Jews historically as outsiders. The coming of the scientific and industrial revolution in 19th century Europe bred a new manifestation of antisemitism, based as much upon race as upon religion, culminating in the horrors of the Nazi extermination camps of World War II. The formation of the state of Israel in 1948 has created new antisemitic tensions in the Middle East.
Dr. Chanes dedicated his 2004 book, Antisemitism: A Reference Handbook, to his wife, Dr. Eva (Chaviva) Fogelman, for her "unflagging encouragement and support for her numerous helpful and practical suggestions at every stage."

Further information about the peculiar Nazi version of antisemitism, together with their claim to the superiority of the so-called Aryan race may be found by searching this blog using both race and Aryan as search words.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Did Hitler Have An Illegitimate Son?

Proof That Hitler Had An Illegitimate Son? : Discovery News

New evidence has emerged to support the controversial claim that Hitler had a son with a French teenager, the French magazine LePoint reported. . . Excerpts:
In 1981, the man, Jean-Marie Loret, claimed to be the Fuhrer's son when he published an autobiography called "Your Father's Name Was Hitler." He died four years later aged 67, not being able to prove his family line. 
According to Loret, Adolf Hitler met his mother, 16-year-old Charlotte Lobjoie in France in 1917 while on leave from the German front in Picardy. Lobjoie recalled meeting the German soldier while she was cutting hay with other women. 
“He had some kind of cardboard and seemed to be drawing. All of the women found this soldier interesting and wanted to know what he was drawing. They picked me to try to approach him,” she said, according to a HuffPost translation. 
The relationship reportedly developed, and Hitler took Lobjoie out for long walks.
“On the rare occasions your father was there he loved to take me on walks trough the countryside. But these walks generally ended rather bad. Your father, inspired by nature, undertook a discourse I didn’t really understand much. He didn’t speak French, and spoke in German, addressing an imaginary audience.”
One night, the couple allegedly took things a bit further, and in March 1918, Jean-Marie was born. The boy was later adopted  by the Loret family. His mother only revealed his father’s identity a few weeks before she died in the early fifties. 
Loret's Paris lawyer, François Gibault, told the French magazine that a number of photographs and documents can now support the claim. He also revealed how Loret got to know about his parentage. The new evidence would include official Wehrmacht, or German Army, documents which show that officers brought envelopes of cash to Lobjoie during the German occupation of France. 
Paintings signed "Adolf Hitler" were discovered in Miss Lobjoie's attic. In addition, a picture of a woman painted by Hitler "looked exactly like Loret's mother," wrote Le Point. 
In view of the new findings, a revised version of Loret's book will be published, and the new evidence detailed. According to Gibault, Loret's children could claim royalties from Hitler's Mein Kampf. 
Ironically, Jean-Marie Loret in 1939 enlisted in the corps who fought in front of the Maginot Line. The following year, his unit led a violent battle against German troops in the Ardennes in 1940. During the Occupation he was even contacted by the network of Resistance CMO (civil and military organization) in which he carried the name "Clement".
The dominant view, as represented by historians such as Anton Joachimsthaler,[1] Timothy Ryback, and Ian Kershaw,[2] is that Hitler's paternity is unlikely or impossible.

The story is widely reviewed and much discussed. No solid and indisputable evidence one way or the other has surfaced as of this date.