Tag Archives: Nazism

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge – and pray God we have not lost it – that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt… Ronald Reagan

Photo shows General Eisenhower talking with American paratroopers on the evening of June 5, 1944, as they prepared for the Battle of Normandy. The men are part of Company E, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, at the 101st Airborne Division's camp in Greenham Common, England.

Photo shows General Eisenhower talking with American paratroopers on the evening of June 5, 1944, as they prepared for the Battle of Normandy. The men are part of Company E, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, at the 101st Airborne Division’s camp in Greenham Common, England.

Normandy crucible : the decisive battle that shaped World War II in Europe  John Prados  New York : NAL Caliber, c 2011  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiii, 320 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm.  Includes bibliographical references (p. 297-307) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

dday002

Assault landing. One of the first waves at Omaha. The Coast Guard caption identifies the unit as Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division.

The Battle of Normandy was the greatest offensive campaign the world had ever seen. Millions of soldiers struggling for the control of Europe were thrust onto the front lines of a massive war unlike any experienced in history. But this greatest of clashes would prove to be the crucible in which the outcome of World War II would be decided.

FIRST WAVE AT OMAHA: THE ORDEAL OF THE BLUE AND GRAY Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944 Behind them was a great invasion armada and the powerful sinews of war. But in the first wave of assault troops of the 29th (Blue and Gray) Infantry Division, it was four rifle companies landing on a hostile shore at H-hour, D-Day - 6:30 a.m., on June 6, 1944. The long-awaited liberation of France was underway. After long months in England, National Guardsmen from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia found themselves in the vanguard of the Allied attack. In those early hours on the fire-swept beach the 116th Infantry Combat Team, the old Stonewall Brigade of Virginia, clawed its way through Les Moulins draw toward its objective, Vierville-sur-Mer. It was during the movement from Les Moulins that the battered but gallant 2d Battalion broke loose from the beach, clambered over the embankment, and a small party, led by the battalion commander, fought its way to a farmhouse which became its first Command Post in France. The 116th suffered monre than 800 casualties this day - a day which will long be remembered as the beginning of the Allies' "Great Crusade" to rekindle the lamp of liberty and freedom on the continent of Europe.

FIRST WAVE AT OMAHA: THE ORDEAL OF THE BLUE AND GRAY
Omaha Beach, D-Day, June 6, 1944 Behind them was a great invasion armada and the powerful sinews of war. But in the first wave of assault troops of the 29th (Blue and Gray) Infantry Division, it was four rifle companies landing on a hostile shore at H-hour, D-Day – 6:30 a.m., on June 6, 1944. The long-awaited liberation of France was underway. After long months in England, National Guardsmen from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia found themselves in the vanguard of the Allied attack. In those early hours on the fire-swept beach the 116th Infantry Combat Team, the old Stonewall Brigade of Virginia, clawed its way through Les Moulins draw toward its objective, Vierville-sur-Mer. It was during the movement from Les Moulins that the battered but gallant 2d Battalion broke loose from the beach, clambered over the embankment, and a small party, led by the battalion commander, fought its way to a farmhouse which became its first Command Post in France. The 116th suffered monre than 800 casualties this day – a day which will long be remembered as the beginning of the Allies’ “Great Crusade” to rekindle the lamp of liberty and freedom on the continent of Europe.

It began on D-Day. June 6, 1944 – the day that the Allied Forces launched Operation Overlord: the great crusade to free Europe from the iron grip of Nazi Germany. But only when the troops were ashore did the real battle begin.

dday004

Photo taken on D+2, after relief forces reached the Rangers at Point Du Hoc. The American flag had been spread out to stop fire of friendly tanks coming from inland. Some German prisoners are being moved in after capture by the relieving forces.

With Nazi defenders marshaling to stop the invaders, Hitler and his generals schemed to counterattack. Tightly constricted hedgerow country and bitter German resistance held the Allied advance to a crawl. Suddenly the Allies broke through and trapped the Nazi armies. Yet within weeks of this stunning disaster, the Germans smashed the most dangerous Allied offensive yet.

A group of paratroopers in a French village at St. Marcouf, Utah Beach, France. From here they will move on into the continent, accomplishing their assigned objectives. 8 June 1944.

A group of paratroopers in a French village at St. Marcouf, Utah Beach, France. From here they will move on into the continent, accomplishing their assigned objectives. 8 June 1944.

How was this possible? In Normandy Crucible, noted author John Prados offers a penetrating account that reframes the Normandy breakout to answer that question. For the first time he melds intelligence into the combat narrative. Shifting between battle action and command decisions on both sides, Normandy Crucible shows in fascinating detail how this campaign molded the climactic battle for Europe.

Evacuating Wounded Soldiers England, World War II Harrison Standley, 1944 Stretcher bearers of a medical battalion carry a casualty from the hold of an LST to a waiting ambulance which will take them to a nearby field hospital. The LST had just returned from Normandy bringing about 300 ambulatory casualties and about 30 stretcher cases. Seamen from the LST's and soldiers about to embark for France watch with interest. On board the evacuating LST's the cases are cared for by Navy medical personnel, June 1944.

Evacuating Wounded Soldiers England, World War II Harrison Standley, 1944 Stretcher bearers of a medical battalion carry a casualty from the hold of an LST to a waiting ambulance which will take them to a nearby field hospital. The LST had just returned from Normandy bringing about 300 ambulatory casualties and about 30 stretcher cases. Seamen from the LST’s and soldiers about to embark for France watch with interest. On board the evacuating LST’s the cases are cared for by Navy medical personnel, June 1944.

Advertisements

Comments Off on The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge – and pray God we have not lost it – that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt… Ronald Reagan

Filed under Book Reviews

If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast… Ernest Hemingway

Americans in Paris : life and death under Nazi occupation, 1940-1944  Charles Glass  London : HarperPress, 2009  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xvi, 524 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 495-500) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

amerparis001a

An elegantly written and highly informative account of a group of Americans living in Paris when the city fell to the Nazis in June 1940.When the German army occupied Paris in the early hours of 14 June 1940, a large American community awaited them. Although the US Ambassador had advised those without vital business to leave when war broke out in 1939, almost five thousand remained. Many had professional and family ties to Paris, and most had a peculiarly American love for the city that was rooted in the bravery of the thousands of Frenchmen who volunteered to help win American independence after 1776.

As citizens of a neutral nation, they believed they had little to fear. They were wrong. For four hard years, from the summer of 1940 until US troops occupied Paris in August 1944, Americans were intimately caught up in the city’s fate.

amerparis002

Those who stayed behind were an eccentric, original and disparate group. Charles Bedaux, a Frenchborn, naturalized American millionaire, had played host to the Duke of Windsor’s wedding in 1937 and went on throwing lavish parties for European royalty and high-ranking Nazi officials. Countess Clara Longworth de Chambrun, who accepted the legitimacy of the Vichy regime, dealt with anyone, including the Nazis, to keep her beloved American Library of Paris open. Sylvia Beach attempted to run her famous English-language bookshop, Shakespeare & Company, whilst providing help to her Jewish friends and her colleagues in the Resistance. Dr Sumner Jackson, wartime chief surgeon of the American Hospital in Paris, risked his life aiding Allied soldiers to escape to Britain and resisting the occupier from the first day.

amerparis003

Charles Glass has written an exciting, fast-paced and elegant account of the moral contradictions faced by Americans in Paris during France’s most dangerous years. His discovery of letters, diaries, war documents and police files reveals as never before how American expatriates were trapped in a web of intrigue, collaboration and courage. This is an unforgettable tale of treachery by some, cowardice by others and unparalleled bravery by a few.

amerparis004

Comments Off on If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a movable feast… Ernest Hemingway

Filed under Book Reviews

I’d rather save one old Jewish woman than kill ten Nazis… Tuva Bielski

The Bielski brothers : the true story of three men who defied the Nazis, saved 1,200 Jews, and built a village in the forest  Peter Duffy  New York : HarperCollins, c 2003  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiii, 302 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., map ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

bielski001

In 1941, three young men – brothers, sons of a miller – witnessed their parents and two other siblings being led away to their eventual murders. It was a grim scene that would, of course, be repeated endlessly throughout the war. What makes this particular story of interest is how the survivors responded. Instead of running or capitulating or giving in to despair, these brothers – Tuvia, Zus, and Asael Bielski – did something else entirely. They fought back, waging a guerrilla war of wits and cunning against both the Nazis and the pro-Nazi sympathizers. Along the way they saved well over a thousand Jewish lives.

bielski002

Using their intimate knowledge of the dense forests surrounding the Belorussian towns of Novogrudek and Lida, the Bielskis evaded the Nazis and established a hidden base camp, then set about convincing other Jews to join their ranks. When the Nazis began systematically eliminating the local Jewish populations – more than ten thousand were killed in the first year of the Nazi occupation alone – the Bielskis intensified their efforts, often sending fighting men into the ghettos to escort Jews to safety. As more and more Jews arrived each day, a robust community began to emerge, a “Jerusalem in the woods.” They slept in camouflaged dugouts built into the ground. Lovers met, were married, and conceived children. The community boasted a synagogue, a bathhouse, a theater, and cobblers so skilled that Russian officers would wait in line to have their boots reshod.

bielski003

But as its notoriety grew, so too did the Nazi efforts to capture the rugged brothers and on several occasions they came so near to succeeding that the Bielskis had to abandon the camp and lead their massive entourage to newer, safer locations. And while some argued in favor of a smaller, more mobile unit, focused strictly on waging battle against the Germans, Tuvia Bielski was firm in his commitment to all Jews. “I’d rather save one old Jewish woman,” he said, “than kill ten Nazis.”

bielski004

In July 1944, after two and a half years in the woods, the Bielskis learned that the Germans, overrun by the Red Army, were retreating back toward Berlin. More than one thousand Bielski Jews emerged – alive – on that final, triumphant exit from the woods.

Comments Off on I’d rather save one old Jewish woman than kill ten Nazis… Tuva Bielski

Filed under Book Reviews

Gemeinschaft für ein sozialistisches Leben

In a story that is replete with irony the daughter of one of the richest families in Essen was saved from the Holocaust by a Jewish socialist organization. Even more astounding is her own account that she travelled across Germany in trains with Gestapo officers and looked very German and brazenly replied, if they asked what she was doing,  that she couldn’t tell them because she was under direct command from the Führer, Adolf Hitler.

A past in hiding : memory and survival in Nazi Germany  Mark Roseman  New York : Metropolitan Books, 2001  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiii, 491 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [467]-475) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

At the outbreak of WWII, Marianne Strauss, the sheltered daughter of well-to-do German Jews, was an ordinary girl, concerned with studies, friends, and romance. Almost overnight she was transformed into a woman of spirit and defiance, a fighter who, when the Gestapo came for her family, seized the moment and went underground. On the run for two years, Marianne traveled across Nazi Germany without papers, aided by a remarkable resistance organization, previously unknown and unsung.

Drawing on an astonishing cache of documents as well as interviews on three continents, historian Mark Roseman reconstructs Marianne’s odyssey and reveals aspects of life in the Third Reich long hidden from view. As Roseman excavates the past, he also puts forward a new and sympathetic interpretation of the troubling discrepancies between fact and recollection that so often cloud survivors’ accounts.

Comments Off on Gemeinschaft für ein sozialistisches Leben

Filed under Book Reviews

The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself… Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Look at the typical picture of Adolf Hitler. You see a scowling man with a gas pipe fitter’s moustache – or worse – always seeming to personify the evil that emanated from his regime. Yet, as the photos printed with this entry demonstrate, this is not the universally accurate portrait of the man. He was an accomplished politician who held and promoted many ideas in the mainstream – his pathology was not apparent in his every glance and utterance – and because of this he was able to rise to power in a relatively legitimate way and once at the apex seize the reins of government. The story has been too often repeated, and will be again, but the lessons have not been learned and if history really is a race between learning and catastrophe this is one of the most important books of the last decade.

ahlib001

Living with Hitler : liberal Democrats in the Third Reich  Eric Kurlander  New Haven, Conn. : Yale University Press, c 2009  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xi, 292 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [255]-283) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

ahlib002

This book addresses key questions about liberal democrats and their activities in Germany from 1933 to the end of the Nazi regime. While it is commonly assumed that liberals fled their homeland at the first sign of jackboots, in reality most stayed. Some even thrived under Hitler, personally as well as professionally. Historian Eric Kurlander examines the motivations, hopes, and fears of liberal democrats — Germans who best exemplified the middle-class progressivism of the Weimar Republic — to discover why so few resisted and so many embraced elements of the Third Reich.

ahlib003

German liberalism was not only the opponent and victim of National Socialism, Kurlander suggests, but in some ways its ideological and sociological antecedent. That liberalism could be both has crucial implications for understanding the genesis of authoritarian regimes everywhere. Indeed, Weimar democrats’ prolonged reluctance to oppose the regime demonstrates how easily a liberal democracy may gradually succumb to fascism.

Comments Off on The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself… Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Filed under Book Reviews