April 17

Eternity is really long, especially near the end.” -Woody Allen

...Lys: The German drive is halted after gaining only 10 miles including the Messines Ridge. Ludendorff achieves tactical success, but a strategic failure. There is no breakthrough, and the Channel ports are safe. List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16th RIR has been trapped, off and on, in a salient near Fountaine for the past few weeks. [For further details, Click here.] Justin Fleischmann writes: “Night of 16-17 April; terrible artillery fire. Heavy gas bombardment around morning. Severe losses. In the evening, we marched to the most forward line with only 40 men [left] . . . . We got lost and ran into heavy artillery fire...” April 17

...It has been my opinion from the outset that special conditions prevailing in the annexed eastern territories require special measures of penal law and penal procedure against Poles and Jews . . . . After I was informed of the express wish of the Fuehrer that, as a matter of principle, Poles and presumably the Jews, too, are to be treated differently from the Germans within this sphere of penal law, after preliminary discussions, etc., I draw up the enclosed draft concerning criminal law and procedure against Poles and Jews . . . . any Pole or Jew in the eastern territory can in future be prosecuted and any kind of punishment can be inflicted on him for any attitude or action which is considered punishable and is directed against Germans . . . . In accordance with the opinion of the Deputy of the Fuehrer, I started from the point of view that the Pole is less susceptible to the infliction of ordinary imprisonment . . . . Under these new kinds of punishment prisoners are to be lodged outside prisons in camps and are to be forced to do heavy and heaviest labor...” April 17

...representatives of Yugoslavia's various regions sign an armistice with Nazi Germany at Belgrade, ending 11 days of futile resistance against the invading German Wehrmacht. More than 300,000 Yugoslav officers and soldiers were taken prisoner. Only 200 Germans died in the conquest of Yugoslavia . . . . Yugoslavia surrendered and was divided, with the exception of the puppet state of Croatia, between the four invading Axis powers. The occupying troops aggravated the traditional religious and national differences in the region, and the Serbs were especially brutalized. However, by the end of the year, two separate effective resistance movements had sprung up, one led by Colonel Dragolyub Mihailovich, which was loyal to the Yugoslav government-in-exile, and another led by Josip Broz Tito, which was made up of members of the illegal Communist Party of Yugoslavia...” April 17

...French General Henri Giraud, who was captured in 1940, escapes from a castle prison at Konigstein by lowering himself down the castle wall and jumping on board a moving train, which takes him to the French border. Hitler, outraged, ordered Giraud's assassination upon being caught, but the French general was able to make it to North Africa via a British submarine. He joined the French Free Forces under General Charles de Gaulle and eventually helped to rebuild the French army...” April 17

Today's Featured Site: Henri Giraud

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Today Is: April 17

Today's Tweet: Mike Nemeth (@meekee66) Why Ukraine forces must act differently http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2014/0415/Why-Ukraine-forces-must-act-differently?cmpid=addthis_twitter#.U03glfpHLR0.twitter

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Today's Comic: Jerry Seinfeld: “I was the best man at a wedding. If I'm the best man, why is she marrying him?”

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Today's Insult: “I was so ugly my mother used to feed me with a sling shot.” -Rodney Dangerfield

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Meanwhile, during the Cold War: After months of negotiation, a Jewish scholar from Odessa was granted permission to visit Moscow. He boarded the train and found an empty seat. At the next stop a young man got on and sat next to him. The scholar looked at the young man and thought:

This fellow doesn't look like a peasant, and if he isn't a peasant he probably comes from this district. If he comes from this district, he must be Jewish because this is, after all, the Jewish district. On the other hand, if he is a Jew where could he be going? I'm the only one in our district who has permission to travel to Moscow.

Wait - just outside Moscow there is a little village called Samvet, and you don't need special permission to go there. But why would he be going to Samvet? He's probably going to visit one of the Jewish families there, but how many Jewish families are there in Samvet?

Only two - the Bernsteins and the Steinbergs. The Bernsteins are a terrible family, so he must be visiting the Steinbergs. But why is he going?

The Steinbergs have only girls, so maybe he's their son-in-law. But if he is, then which daughter did he marry? Sarah married that nice lawyer from Budapest and Esther married a businessman from Zhadomir,

so it must be Sarah's husband. 

Which means that his name is Alexander Cohen, if I'm not mistaken. But if he comes from Budapest, with all the anti-Semitism they have there, he must have changed his name. What's the Hungarian equivalent of Cohen? Kovacs. 

But if he changed his name he must have some special status. What could it be? A doctorate from the University.

At this point the scholar turned to the young man and said, "How do you do, Dr. Kovacs?"

"Very well, thank you, sir" answered the startled passenger. "But how is it that you know my name?"

"Oh," replied the scholar, "it was obvious".

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Note: Images may or may not accurately represent the item adjacent to them. Also, please note that there is much, much, MUCH more detail available-and many, many, MANY more items as well-every day on the linked What Happened Today page. For the full story behind the events of this day, click the April 17 link. Really, April 17. Seriously, the April 17 link is the one to click. That's right, this one: April 17

Disclaimer: The selected Quotes, Jokes and Cartoons may or may not represent the views of the compiler of these daily posts. If they give you something to think about, they will have accomplished their task. Levi Bookin, Copy Editor, in particular bears no responsibility for any of them. He does, however, do a truly admirable job on the linked Daily pages, which everyone should peruse on a daily basis. It is WELL worth the small effort required. The Trick is to Click-> April 17

http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-News/Holocaust-survivor-and-renowned-historian-Israel-Gutman-dies-327574

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April 17

From Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914 -1918: The List Regiment, by John F. Williams: There can be no doubt how his Great War experiences influenced his military conduct and decisions in the subsequent war. Hitler's ambition, however, was not restricted to a place in history as the greatest military commander of all time. He saw himself as a new Alexander or Napoleon; as the creator and first ruler of an empire that would not founder as theirs had done, but would endure for a 1,000 years. This imperial vision was predicated on two interrelated assumptions: Germany's political and military hegemony over Europe (which would include the conquest of Lebensraum in the East) and the elimination of Jews from the European continent. Since either or both of the aims can be found in the pre-1914 writings of Class and Bemhardi (to name just two), how much his Great War experiences altered or added to Hitler's political attitudes and anti-Semitism is in question. Yet it does seem inconceivable that he was after 1918, as has been suggested, a political opportunist who flirted with Social Democracy and even Marxism. The idea appears based on a few quotes from his enemies. In 1941 a certain Captain Karl Mayr, with whom Hitler had collaborated immediately after the war, asserted:

After the Great War he [Hitler] was just one of many thousands of soldiers on the streets and were looking for work... At this time, Hitler was ready to accept a position from anyone who was disposed to be friendly towards him... He would have just as gladly worked for a French or Jewish client as for an Aryan. When I met him for the first time, he resembled a tired stray-dog looking for its master.”

In May 1919 Mayr, a confirmed anti-Semite and bitter opponent of the Weimar Republic, had taken over the leadership of a Bavarian army propaganda group and began a search for like-minded officers, NCOs and soldiers, Hitler among them. By 1941, Mayr had long fallen out with Hitler, and his criticisms of Hitler's political integrity and racist credentials would lead to Mayr's death in a concentration camp. Similar statements about Hitler's early post-war pragmatism also emerged at the opposite end of the political spectrum. A left-wing newspaper of 1932 claimed, 'Hitler did not identify Marxism as a false doctrine or the downfall of the German people as he would have us believe today. He was literally saying to his comrades: "I stand linked to the SPD Party Secretariat, in order to join the Propaganda Department.'"

Material of this kind also possibly motivated Guido Knopp (in a television series of the 1990s) to present Hitler as an opportunist seeking a party, any party, in which he could construct a political home base. Knopp even presented a grainy and fuzzy strip of film showing war veterans marching through Munich in 1919, Hitler supposedly among them, in which they appear to wear hammer and sickle armbands. The person singled out might be Hitler, and what appear as armbands might bear insignias. Yet even assuming Hitler was parading with left-wing veterans from his old regiment, what does this prove? At that time he was working for the Reichswehr and his 'presence' suggests no more than a fact-finding mission for his political and military masters. Almost as unthinkable as 'Red Hitler' is the idea that he was a passive anti-Semite, who embraced radical anti-Semitism after the Great War out of political expediency. The suggestion that the genocide of 6,000,000 Jews was initiated not by Hitler, but by someone else who was a true anti-Semite, is floated, not surprisingly perhaps, by David Irving. Thus, the real 'criminal behind the "final solution" or the "Holocaust," whatever it was [the] man who started it in motion [was] undoubtedly Dr. Goebbels'. Knopp is also among those who feel that evidence for 'whether [Hitler] was already a radical anti-Semite during the Great War' remains 'unconvincing'. To make his point, he notes that 'among his war comrades, none remember anti-Semitic tirades by Hitler'; these same comrades who tell us that, as early as 1915, Hitler was holding forth on Jewish-Marxist Masonic world plots in the house of Black Mary to anyone who would listen! Among former List Regiment veterans, Wiedemann is the only one to express surprise at Hitler's radical anti-Semitism. 'Where the source of Hitler's fanatical anti-Semitism lay I never found out. His experiences with Jewish officers in the World War could have contributed little to it.' In support, Wiedemann ignored the contempt Hitler displayed towards Gutmann and concentrated on the respect and kindness he allegedly showed, after the war, to former Jewish officers. Perhaps by the time of writing (1964) Wiedemann was keen to explain his own seduction. If Hitler could be shown as less an anti-Semite than history has demonstrated, then Wiedemann's errors of judgement might perhaps be excusable.

Is it conceivable that for the first 30 years of his life Hitler might not have been an anti-Semite? Anti-Semitism provided cornerstones for both the Austro pan-Germanism of his youth and the Reich pan-Germanism to which he was exposed, after 1913, in Munich. To be a pan-German and not be anti-Semitic is hardly conceivable. The downtrodden lower working-class Ostjuden that Hitler was exposed to in Vienna, and regarded with apparent contempt, were scarcely present in Munich, though the tendency for Bavarian Jews to be middle class meant that they were highly likely to be officers. Anti-Semites like Hitler, Mend and Brandmayer - encouraged by parliamentary and military enquiries into Jewish participation in the war - saw this as sure evidence that the Jews knew how to look after one another and would further their interests at the expense of worthier Gentile soldiers. There were absolutely no grounds for such prejudice.

Jews were not numerically prominent in prewar Munich, yet those who did join the List Regiment fought bravely and more than pulled their weight. As well as Gutmann (who, Wiedemann attests, was a brave and capable officer), the regimental doctor Kohn won the highest Bavarian award for devotion to medical duties in the field, while a ferocious and much-decorated storm-troop leader, Lieutenant Kuh, an artist in civilian life, was also Jewish and credited with saying that there was nothing more beautiful than 'the night before an assault!' In this respect at least, Kuh was a man after Hitler's own heart. Whether he endorsed Hitler's brutal social-Darwinist view of war as racial hygiene is another question. Hitler, as late as 1941, was telling acolytes that a peace lasting 'more than twenty-five years is harmful to a nation. Peoples, like individuals, sometimes need regenerating by a little bloodletting.' For the good of the German people it was therefore necessary to have 'a war every fifteen or twenty years'.

Thinking of this kind had become unfashionable after the bloodbaths of the Great War, but before 1914, Class, Treitschke, Bemhardi and most social-Darwinists had argued similarly. Nor was the idea peculiarly German; in 1912 such diverse characters as Italian futurist poets and artists and Australia's future prime minister could all be found endorsing the idea that war alone provided the racial purification without which a people or nation must go under. Totalitarian rulers might also have the right to be anxious that an army without a war to fight might be tempted to organize coups d'etat, though Hitler in 1941 had little to fear. He still had worlds to conquer and racial projects to pursue, particularly in the East, which could keep an army busy for decades. As a true pan-German he claimed that even in 1914, while 'many people thought we ought to look towards the mineral riches of the West... I always thought that having the sun in the East was the essential thing for us.' Even then, he was responding to the pan-German idea that Russia was the main enemy of Germandom, its people Untermenschen, their lands German by right of future conquest. Such ideas, as Fritz Fischer confirms, 'whatever one might sometimes read to the contrary [were] by no means peculiar to Hitler'.

In this respect the latter was, in fact, very much a product of the pre-Great War era [for] the idea of the inevitable racial struggle between Slav and Teuton and the concept of Lebensraum [were] already in common use before the Great War. All these ideas had a currency that was by no means restricted to the Pan-German movement. Nevertheless, some historians still describe Hitler's Lebensraum 'conversion' as a 1920s phenomenon, Trevor-Roper being 'almost certain' that it was acquired under Hess's tutelage in Landsberg prison while Hitler dictated Mein Kampf. Otherwise, Hitler's 'grand design' for eastern Europe is well known. As his armies poured into the Soviet Union in July-August 1941, Hitler told his lackeys how he planned to 'take away' its character as an 'Asiatic steppe, we'll Europeanize it'. In 20 years the Ukraine would already be 'home for twenty million inhabitants besides the natives' and eventually 'a hundred million Germans [would be] settled in these territories'. Slavs were 'born slaves, who feel the need of a master'. Germans must 'Germanize this country by the immigration of Germans, and to look upon the natives as Redskins'. They would simply 'drive out' the Jew, 'that destroyer'.

http://www.amazon.com/Corporal-Hitler-Great-War-1914-1918/dp/0415358558

http://peace.maripo.com/x_scandinavia.htm

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