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The Man Who Spared A Wounded Hitler’s Life In WWI – And Changed The World Forever

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H/T War History OnLine.

How much of this story is fact and how much of it is just a myth?

 

The History of War will always be about that which we know for certain, that which we have reason to believe, and that which will always be lost to myth and the passage of time.

It is certain that men of war take the most inexplicable stories with them when they fall in combat.  But from time to time, a story survives and persists that while unproven, would have literally altered the course of mankind were it true.

Thankfully for us today, such a dubious story is intertwined with a historically proven recipient of the Victoria Cross.  So let us take a journey into World War I heroism and you can decide where history ends and a drastically different alternative future begins.

The Facts and Nothing but the Facts

Henry Tandey

Pte Henry Tandey Victoria Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Victoria Cross recipient Henry Tandey is a legitimate hero of war and the most highly decorated British Private of the first World War. Born in 1891 and having spent some time growing up in an orphanage, Tandey would enlist in the Green Howards Regiment of the British Army in 1910.

Before the outbreak of World War I, Tandey would serve in Guernsey and South Africa with the Green Howard’s 2nd Battalion.  When war broke out in Europe, he would immediately find himself in the action.

He participated in the Battle of Ypres in 1914 and was subsequently wounded at the Battle of the Somme in 1916.  After a recovery in the hospital, we was later assigned to 3rdBattalion in May of 1917.  He was later wounded yet again during the Battle of Passchendaele in November of that year before returning to duty in January of 1918.

And while he undoubtedly fought honorably during the prior four years, it would seem that 1918 was the year he was marked for exceptional bravery and conspicuous gallantry.

via wikipedia.org
Going Over the Top

As the war entered its final months in August of 1918, he would see action at the 2nd Battle of Cambrai where he dashed across the dreaded no man’s land of World War 1 with two others to bomb a German trench.  He came back with 20 German prisoners and was awarded the Distinguished Combat Medal as a result.

Later in September, he participated in an attack at Havrincourt where he would once again brave heavy fire to bomb German trenches and return with more prisoners.  For this action, he was awarded the Military Medal.

On September 28th, he was involved in another action at a canal near Marcoing, France when his platoon began to receive heavy machine gun fire.  Tandey took a Lewis gun team, crawled forward under the fire and took out the German position.

Once he reached the canal, he helped restore a plank bridge under intense enemy fire.  Later that night, when he and his men were surrounded by the enemy, he led a bayonet charge that freed his men and sent the enemy running into the direction of the rest of his company.

For his actions that day, he was awarded the Victoria Cross and became Britain’s most decorated Private of World War 1.  And were the story to stop there, it would be enough to own its place in the halls of history.

A Wounded Hitler Walked in Front of Him

It is a documented fact that Adolf Hitler fought in World War 1 and was wounded on a couple of occasions.  With such a controversial and powerful figure who undoubtedly attempted to write his own narrative of his war experience, separating fact from fiction can be more difficult than it would seem.

But out of this historical chaos comes the inexplicable story that would have Adolf Hitler and Henry Tandey cross paths.  But more than cross paths, it would indicate that a wounded Hitler wandered in front of Tandey’s sights only for Tandey to spare the most evil man of the 20th century.

via wikipedia.org Hitler on the Far Right in WW1
Hitler on the Far Right in WW1 

As the story goes, in late 1918, after being wounded in battle, a young Hitler stumbled across the battlefield only to see a British soldier with every opportunity to kill him.  With the British soldier recognizing that the wounded man didn’t even raise his rifle, he let him pass.  The wounded Hitler waved at the British soldier and what seemed like a random act of compassion in the midst of a brutal war would be lost to history as one of the common untold stories.

As newspapers reported the historic exploits of Henry Tandey, it is reported that Adolf Hitler recognized him as the man who spared him on the battlefield on that fateful day.  Many years later as Hitler would rise to power in Germany, he came in possession of a painting that was reportedly of a Tandey carrying a wounded comrade.

When Neville Chamberlain visited Hitler in 1937 for the negotiations that led to the Munich Pact, he noticed the painting where Hitler mused that it was the man who had spared him so long ago.  He asked that Chamberlain pay his regards to Tandey and in an instant, a British Victoria Cross recipient would be forever tied to Hitler.

Myth and Fact

Further analysis of the report would prove the account unlikely.  However, the story simply will not go away and as the passage of time moves on it carries with it a more cemented place in history.  We know that Hitler served in World War 1 and was wounded on multiple occasions, the last of which was a gas attack.

The young Hitler was reportedly in a hospital recovering from his wounds when he was informed of the armistice and Germany’s surrender.

via wikipedia.org
Hitler in WWI, before he adopted his signature mustache

What is beyond a shadow of a doubt is that some British men had the opportunity to kill Hitler in World War 1 and for whatever reason, he survived. It may very well be that Hitler in his arrogance attempted to tie himself to one of Britain’s war heroes from the war by referencing Tandey.

Hitler would survive the Great War and then in a few short decades go on to set the entire world in flames. But for a well-placed shot or the random luck of an indiscriminate artillery shell, the future could have been much different.

So why is it so hard to believe that the man who spared Hitler was a British War hero?  Fact, fiction, and myth.  Perhaps the world will never fully know one of the great stories lost to the passage of time.

 

 

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10 Tragic Facts About Hitler’s Wife

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I learned dome things about Eva I did not know.

On April 30, 1945, hidden in an underground bunker and waiting for the armies of the Soviet Union to fall upon them, Adolf Hitler took his own life—and,

Source: 10 Tragic Facts About Hitler’s Wife – Listverse

How “Dr.” Morell Made Hitler A Drug Addict: Injecting Cocktails With Cocaine And Amphetamine

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This is from War History OnLine.

Paul Harvey has a segment in his “Rest Of The Story” book called Going To Hell with Dr.Morell.

Hitler’s Doctor – Killing the Fuhrer One Injection At a Time.

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At last, a reasonable explanation for dictator Adolf Hitler’s maniacal behavior. The Fuhrer was on drugs thanks to Dr. Theodor Morell. Plagued with intestinal distress for most of his life, when Hitler met the charismatic doctor at a party in 1936, he was promised instant relief.  Morell had a reputation of treating an upscale clientele and his unconventional attitudes toward medicine enthralled the Nazi leader. Hitler’s own personal photographer claimed to be cured by Morell and recommended him highly.

First the good doctor treated Hitler’s digestive system with his own company’s prescription called Mutaflor which contained bacteria from the fecal matter of “a Bulgarian peasant of the most vigorous stock.” As is usual with intestinal problems, those problems soon passed. But Hitler was sure the Mutaflor was a magical drug. Thus began his complete trust of Dr. Morell, and soon the injections began.

Morell

Dr Theodor Gilbert Morell, personal physician of Adolf Hitler.

During the late 1930’s Dr. Morell injected Hitler several times per day with a mysterious concoction he would not explain beyond claiming they contained glucose and vitamins. But when a haggard and exhausted Fuhrer would wake in the morning he could barely raise his head. The doctor’s injection instantly revived the Nazi leader and he would be fully awake, talking, and sitting up in bed. No time lag for the glucose to be absorbed. People in the room saw an immediate and profound reaction to the shot.

According to a 47 page dossier compiled by the United States after World War II from eyewitness accounts and Dr. Morell’s personal records, it is now clear those injections contained methamphetamine. That’s right; the same stuff which ruins lives and families in the present time was being injected into the German leader’s veins. In fact, over time the Fuhrer became rather immune to the effects, forcing Dr. Morell to increase the dosages. By late 1944 those injections contained upwards of 700 times more meth than the first doses. No wonder he was a raving maniac.

The report also stated Hitler was likely high on one of these injections during a filmed session with Mussolini in 1943 where he rambled and spoke gibberish while shaking almost uncontrollably. Sounds like a junkie, all right. And he was the leader of a country at war to take over the world.  Why not a little help through drugs? It is well known Herman Goering, the second in command of the Reich, was a morphine addict. Soldiers were given Pervitin, an amphetamine stimulant with the battlefield name of “Panzerschokolade” or “tank chocolate,” to boost their energy.

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Beside the injections, the Nazi leader’s other doctors, who were suspicious of Dr. Morell providing over 100 pills to Hitler per week, picked one in particular to test. Perhaps it stood out being in a small tin container such as breath mints might be packaged and labeled. “Dr. Koester’s Anti-Gas Pills” displayed the ingredients gentian, belladonna, and extract of nux vomica. The real doctors knew what nux vomica was where Dr. Morell did not: a seed which contains a large amount of strychnine. The belladonna was known to cause excitement, confusion, hallucinations and even death if ingested in large amounts. Hitler’s surgeons were appalled and report their findings to the leader. He responded by firing them and defending Morell. He was known to have said, “I myself always thought they were just charcoal tablets for soaking up my intestinal gasses, and I always felt rather pleasant after taking them.” Hallucinations might actually feel good to a certifiable crazy person.

Toward the end of Hitler’s regime, Dr. Morell was still there, injecting and pumping into the Fuhrer a cocktail of over sixty different drugs including barbiturate tranquilizers, morphine and in combinations Dr. Morell always referred to as “What he needs.”  The aforementioned dossier stated Hitler was also injected with extracts from bull’s testicles to boost his libido and help create a more manly figure in public. What some men will do to get attention!

Dr. Morell, Hitler, and Mrs. Morell.
Dr. Morell, Hitler, and Mrs. Morell.

Dr. Morell himself wasn’t the picture of health. Morbidly obese, generally unkempt and dirty, the wafting of his revolting body odor and his own bad breath and flatulence problem cleared a path to Hitler. Even Eva Braun couldn’t stomach the Doctor and Hitler’s chief architect described Morell in this manner: “He has an appetite as big as his belly and gives not only visual but audible expression of it.” No wonder he had influence over Hitler, no one could stand being with Morell. The Nazi leader was quoted as saying, “I do not employ him for his fragrance, but to look after my health.”  So Dr. Morell stayed.

Toward the end of the war, Hitler demonstrated even more pronounced evidence of drug use. His stubborn decisions cost hundreds of thousands of lives in fighting the Russians. With trembling in his legs and tremors in his hands, Hitler also displayed other symptoms of prolonged use of amphetamines. His circulatory system and heart had deteriorated and probably experienced a heart attack in 1943.

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Dr. Morell remained at Hitler’s side in the fuhrerbunker below Berlin until almost the last days of the Fuhrer’s life. The Nazi leader seemed to accept his fate, sending his favorites out of Berlin to safety. Paranoid than Morell might inject something into him so his followers could spirit him away from the bunker, Hitler finally fired the doctor. Morell probably was fairly happy about that, as bombs were dropping on the city twenty-four hours per day.

The “Reich Injection Master,” as Herman Goering called Dr. Morell, escaped Berlin, but checked into a hospital with heart pains. It was there he was arrested by the Americans. He was not guilty of any war crimes, the investigators announced, and he was released. The unconventional doctor who punctured almost every inch of on the Adolf Hitler’s body died of a stroke in 1948.

Last Film Of Hitler

This propaganda footage, shot right before the fall of the Third Reich, was supposed to be destroyed. And for good reason – it reveals the medical condition Hitler tried to hide.

How Hitler’s Volkswagen Beetle Conquered America

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This is from Mental Floss.

I can remember the VW being called a beer can on wheels,  a pregnant roller skate and a Nazimobile.

I also heard how hard it was to drive after owning a 67 Beetle I fell in love with it.

I remember a VW commercial that had a Beetle floating the caption said if Ted Kennedy drove a Volkswagen, he’d be president today.

funnyjunk

Image Credit: ISteve

Helmut Krone left for vacation a very depressed man. A celebrated art director at the advertising firm of Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) since 1954, Krone had just been tasked with heading a campaign for the Volkswagen, an unusual little automobile with modest sales and a sordid history. Taking notice of the first models to roll off the assembly lines in Wolfsburg, Germany, in 1938, The New York Times referred to it as a “beetle.”

Less admiringly, they also called it “baby Hitler.”

The compact car was a product of Adolf Hitler’s wish for an affordable vehicle that would help ease Germany’s families into a future full of autobahns and technological innovation. He enlisted Ferdinand Porsche to design it. By 1938, a working model was ready. By 1939, the Wolfsburg factory was turned over to the military for wartime needs. Manufacturing for the Volkswagen (or “People’s Car”) went on hiatus.

After the war, British forces supervised the car’s renewed production at the plant they now controlled. Germans consumers loved the Beetle, which became so pervasive that, by the 1950s, they made up a third of all cars on the road.

Krone knew the market in America would be a different story. Exactly two Beetles had been sold in 1949, the first year the car was available in the States. By the time the account came to his ad agency in 1959, it had yet to make a dent in an auto market dominated by hulking vehicles and domestic manufacturers. It was small, odd, and had a heritage uncomfortably aligned with the Nazi regime.

Working with Bernbach and copywriter Julian Koenig, Krone conceptualized three print ads, sighed, and left for the Virgin Islands to clear his head. When he returned two weeks later, he was Madison Avenue’s biggest star. The Beetle would shortly become an iconic symbol of 1960s counterculture, embraced by a demographic that was exactly the opposite of Hitler’s homogenized ideal.

To make that impossible sale to the American public, Bernbach and his men had to first accomplish one thing: reinvent advertising.

Bernbach had always taken a unique view of the ad world. In the decades leading up to the 1950s, campaigns for consumer products were often stilted, relying heavily on illustrations and facts to send direct messages. There was little attention given to creativity, with executives steering concepts based on market research.

At DDB, Bernbach encouraged writers and art directors to collaborate rather than try to make art fit copy (or vice versa) after the fact. He embraced simplicity and charm rather than dry recitations of product features or endorsements. His famous 1950s ads for Ohrbach’s retail stores were some of the first to tease readers by leading with negativity: in one, a sorrowful-looking dog explains he “hates” the store because his owner is always shopping there.

Bernbach’s irreverent style caught the attention of Carl Hahn Jr., the president of Volkswagen America. His division had been allotted $800,000 to mount a major campaign in the States. While Detroit automakers dominated the industry, Hahn thought the Beetle—a car costing less than $2000 and known in other countries as the Flea, Mouse or Turtle—was so bizarre-looking it would prove disruptive. He wasn’t introducing another heavily-muscled American car: this was something almost abstract. It was distinctive enough to draw attention.

Hahn found a captive audience in Bernbach, who was eager to apply his unconventional methods to something as mainstream as the automotive market. Bernbach’s employees, however, weren’t so receptive. According to George Lois, a design director for DDB, Bernbach’s announcement in 1959 that they’d be taking on Volkswagen was met with irritation. World War II was a fresh wound, and Lois had no desire to promote what he called a “Nazi car.”

It was the Third Reich’s Kraft durch Fruede (Strength Through Joy) “leisure” division that had overseen Hitler’s wish for Germans to enjoy their free time on the coming autobahns. The Wolfsburg factory where the cars were made, however, was hardly a picnic. Slave labor was utilized; female workers who gave birth saw their children sent off to orphanages. To say the Beetle had baggage was an understatement.

But Bernbach couldn’t be dissuaded. He told Lois they’d work on Volkswagen for a year as a public audition in the hopes of securing a bigger account like General Motors. DDB was a tiny agency that needed to make waves.

Bernbach then pulled Krone into the mix. Born in Germany and raised in New York, he had one crucial asset: he was one of the few Americans who had actually bought a Volkswagen and had an understanding of it. The agency also enlisted the copywriter Koenig to come up with something that would capture the eye in the Bernbach tradition: minimalist and witty.

Out of Bernbach’s lighthearted atmosphere came the solution to being saddled with the Beetle’s goofy looks: make fun of it before anyone else could. Brainstorming, Koenig wrotethe phrase “think small.” DDB employee Rita Selden came up with a single word to compel magazine-flipping readers to stop: “lemon.”

Krone was initially resistant to the self-deprecating approach. He felt a car so foreign in design needed to be covered with a metaphorical coat of paint to hide its origins. But Bernbach pushed back: the humor was needed. When Koenig dropped “Think Small” on the table, Krone used white space to miniaturize the car even further.

Krone decided to use a specific template, “Layout A,” that consisted of two-thirds image, one-third copy, and a bold headline stuck in the middle of the two. While not new to advertising, it was a fresh approach in auto marketing. Most of the Volkswagen ads to come out of the campaign adhered to the format, which also mandated three blocks of text. Unlike most recurring ad series of the era, Bernbach opted not to have a slogan. Instead, the “VW” logo appeared as their way of branding.

Krone and Koenig’s early efforts with “Layout A” were nothing short of revolutionary. Car marketing at the time was almost interchangeable; Volkswagen’s had both a distinctive presentation—one that Krone believed could be identified from up to 30 feet away—and a winking approach to their inventory. The ads often acknowledged how absurd the Beetle looked with its rear-mounted engine and highlighted its shortcomings: there was no air conditioning, it was small, and it was slow.

Once hooked, the ads would go on to explain why a perceived weakness was actually a positive. Calling one a “lemon” drew attention to the fact that the company had a full-time inspector for each car that rolled off the lines. Small? Sure, the car was small. But it was also a gas-sipper. Other ads, in turn, called it a “joke,” implored readers to not laugh at it, and mentioned it was easy to push in case you ran out of gas. DDB even enlisted Wilt Chamberlain to demonstrate that the car was too compact for anyone over seven feet tall. it was one of the few celebrity endorsements for which the star had no use for the product.

Bernbach’s instincts couldn’t have been more on point. The culture of the 1960s was being created and informed by iconoclasts that were suspicious of conventional advertising techniques. Baby boomers growing into jobs were also distancing themselves from their parents—and by extension, their parents’ boat-sized sedans. The Beetle was everything the establishment wasn’t: trendy, exciting, and aesthetically daring. Bernbach’s ads captured its appeal perfectly. Krone was happy to be proven wrong.

By 1972, the Volkswagen Beetle had accomplished the impossible. With 15 million units produced, it had outpaced Ford’s Model T to become the most ubiquitous vehicle ever made. Sales had climbed from two in 1949 to 570,000 in 1970. Surfers and hippies piled in. Hitler’s car had successfully escaped its bleak history to become something almost huggable.

Its effect on advertising as a whole was even greater. DBB grew from $25 million in billings to $270 million annually by the end of the 1960s; Bernbach’s humor and stylized sales pitches became commonplace in everything from Avis (the number-two car rental company that promised to “try harder”) to Life cereal’s hard-to-please Mikey. Products began to have character, and agencies were now given more permission to exert creative control over ads instead of being forced to color inside the lines of company marketing departments. Advertising had become self-aware.

By the time Bernbach died in 1982, he was already considered the most important man in advertising. His stature hasn’t changed. Ad Age, considered the mainstay publication of the industry, voted the Beetle campaign the best of the century.

After spending 30 years at DDB, Krone passed away at age 70 in 1996. Koenig died in 2014 after some extended sparring sessions with Lois, who Koenig alleged took too much creditfor work done at the agency—though Koenig was fond of tall tales himself, like insisting he invented thumb wrestling in 1936. (Koenig was also name-dropped on Mad Men, a show Loisdespises for its depiction of 1960s office behavior.)

The Beetle did not go on to have as steady a career as the men who sold it to America. After the Toyota Corolla emerged as a promising alternative in 1968, sales began to plummet. By 1990, Volkswagen had just one percent of the U.S. auto market, down from five percent in 1970.

It wasn’t until the Beetle was reintroduced in 1998 that the company saw a reversal of fortunes. Capitalizing on nostalgia—the boomers were now middle-aged—and a relaxed car market, Volkswagen had to issue waiting lists for the vehicle.

Cars continue to be manufactured in Wolfsburg, Germany, a frequent European tourist destination. Volkwagen’s beginnings had always been a bit of an open secret, but due in large part to the disarming nature of Bernbach’s house style, the Beetle was never demonized in the way it could have been. While the Third Reich nudged the car into existence, it was the labor and imagination of others who later brought it notoriety. Hitler, after all, never even had a driver’s license.

Additional Sources:
Getting the Bugs Out: The Rise, Fall, and Comeback of Volkswagen in America; Thinking Small: The Long, Strange Trip of the Volkswagen Beetle.

 

10 Uncommon WWII Facts

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This is from War History OnLine.

I learned some new facts.

In honor of the Second World War, here are 10 uncommon WWII facts to take to heart. Some are simply brow-raising they do not merit even a small space in the books we have in the schools.

Which conflict is the Deadliest, WWI or WWII?

It is still up for debate – as some argue – but records show that WWII is the world’s bloodiest and most catastrophic conflict throughout world history. In comparison, while WWI resulted to over 37 million – a combination of the wounded and the dead – casualties, WWII ended with over 60 million dead in its trail.

WWII also had a wider scope compared to the Great War, which was mostly fought in Europe. Moreover, because of the advent of many new weapons, WWII left a far greater destruction than the war preceding it.

The Görings Divided

10 Uncommon WWII Facts 2

Hermann Göring, a leading member of the Nazi party and was, one time, named Hitler’s successor, had a younger brother who stood against the Nazis, particularly against his older brother. This brother’s name was Albert Göring.

The younger Göring was so outspoken about his anti-Nazi stand that the Gestapo had to arrest him countless of times. However, he was released later due to the intervention made by the Reich Marshal. Albert also helped a lot of Jews escaped while he worked in Czechoslovakia. He did so by forging his older brother’s signature on their documents.

Sadly though, he was greatly shunned by his fellow countrymen upon his return to Germany after the war because he bore the very notorious surname, Göring.

Poor Russia

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Russia had a total casualty toll of about 3.8 million (combination of killed and missing soldiers) during the Great War making it the country with the highest number of deaths during that said conflict. The country struck the same spot again in the Second World War.

It had the highest number of casualties at more than 21 million after the war. As a matter of fact, 80% of the male population within Russia who were born in 1923 did not survive WWII.

The Meaning of Holocaust

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The word Holocaust can be traced down to its Greek root word holokaustosmeaning, wholly burnt (holos meant whole and kaustos, sacrificial offering that was burnt by fire). In Middle English, the word meant burnt offering.

It seemed that the word was really an apt word to use with the annihilation of the Jews during Hitler’s reign as the concentration camps where the Jewish people were interred became notoriously known by their gas chambers (among many other grisly features).

Feline Dislike

Hitler-cat

Both the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, and the notorious German Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, had an intense dislike for cats.

Hitler was born an Austrian

10 Uncommon WWII Facts 6

We all know Hitler as the infamous dictator of Nazi Germany during the Second World War but only a handful knew he wasn’t naturally a German citizen.

Adolf Hitler was born in Austria making him an Austrian citizen. He, then, migrated to Munich. When the Great War broke out, Hitler fought in the German Army, but as an Austrian citizen.

That was one “but” during his long campaign to become Germany’s leader — his not being a citizen of the country he planned to dominate on. So, loyal Nazis who worked in different offices in the government offered him jobs as there was a standing rule in some German states saying that those working within the government would be automatically given a German citizenship.

Eventually, Hitler accepted a post as a land surveyor in Braunschweig. It officially made Adolf Hitler  a German citizen — in 1932. A year later, in 1933, he was elected German Chancellor.

Batman’s WWII “Origins”

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Fresh from the Pearl Harbor attack, when possible Japanese attacks loomed, California State Guard and Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson were among the individuals who had a curious means for fighting off the enemy — the creation ‘batman’ paratroopers.

The major’s notion was to fit these servicemen with jumpsuits that have modified bat-like wings. His thought was inspired by the diving trick he observed from American divers within the entertainment industry. He noticed that these men used these wings during their free fall and that the wings helped them maneuver more easily as well as control their speed and descent before they open up their parachutes.

Interestingly, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson had, in 1934, founded the National Allied Publications which later on evolved into DC, the home of Batman.

Thought Nicholson had already left the publishing house when Batman made his first debut in the comic books, still the connection between the man who set into motion his thought about ‘batmen’ paratroopers during WWII and the dark-caped crusader is very interesting.

Wood Oscars? Nope!

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Many believe that during the Second World War, the statuettes of the Academy Awards were made of wood due to metals scarcity. However, that belief is false.

While it is true that metal was scarce during those times, the Academy Awards employed painted plaster to make the Oscar statuettes. These plaster Oscars were, then, used for three years. When the war ended, the award-giving body invited those who received the plaster Oscars to return their statuettes as they would be replaced with real metallic ones.

As for the wood Oscars, only one wooden statuette was, in fact, given out. It was handed to ventriloquist Edgar Bergen in 1938. Bergen had a wooden dummy named Charlie McCarthy.

Japanese Mass Jisatsu

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July 8, 1944 – There were about 25,000 Japanese civilians who lived in Saipan prior to the war. During WWII, the island became the site of the one of the war campaigns in the Pacific known as the Battle of Saipan.

According to accounts, the Allied troops were very shocked to find out during the final battle on the island that some 8,000 Japanese troops along with Saipan civilians committed suicide by throwing themselves into the jagged cliffs of the island down to the Pacific.

Some have blamed the mass suicide to a direct order made by Japanese Emperor Hirohito himself while other accounts put Japanese commander Lt. General Saito responsible for egging on the island’s population and his men to kill themselves. He said that when captured, they would be tortured and killed by the Americans. In the latter account, the Japanese general killed himself through hara-kiri (Japanese ritual suicide) after which his aides burned his remains.

WWII Is Still Going On — Between Japan and Russia

disputed islands russia and japan

Technically, these two countries have not ended the Second World War as both have not signed a peace treaty in between. This is due to the Kuril Islands, islands that remain an issue of conflict between the them.

However, recently, the two countries are in peace talking terms about what to do regarding this matter. They might sign that peace treaty after all!

10 Extraordinary Facts About History’s Deadliest Dictator

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This is from Mental Floss.

A strange and brutal man.

Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and other mass-murdering 20th-century dictators are considered to be some of the worst human beings who ever lived. Any supporters they have today are members of a fringe, dismissed by the rest of society as idiots or blind fanatics. Mao Tse-tung, however, is still respected in many quarters and even revered in his home country. His brutal rule over China from 1949–76 led to the deaths of an estimated 50–75 million people, making his reign the bloodiest in human history.

Mao was ruthless and tolerated no opposition, so few members of his government questioned his disastrous Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution programs. The policies of the Great Leap Forward, which ran from 1958–61, attempted to achieve rapid economic growth and industrialization, but it only ended up in widespread catastrophe, causing horrific violence and a famine that killed millions of people. The Cultural Revolution, which was Mao’s plan to purge the country of his enemies, caused millions more deaths from 1966 until Mao’s own death in 1976. Mao’s legacy has been very controversial. While some say he was a simplistic brute who cared only about holding onto power, others see him as a complicated visionary who ultimately transformed China for the better.

Featured image credit: Poco a poco

10 He Came from A Peasant Family

Mao's Childhood Home

Photo credit: Brucke-Osteuropa

For a man whose impact on the history of his country would be the greatest in centuries, Mao Tse-tung came from very humble and unremarkable origins. Mao was born on December 26, 1893, to a family of farmers in Shaoshan, a small village in the province of Hunan. His mother Wen Qimei was a kind and loving Buddhist, while his father Mao Yichang was a strict, hard-working Confucian. Although born poor and stuck with the debt that his own father Enpu had left after his death, Yichang had become a self-made man by lending money and buying the land of other impoverished peasants. The Maos were one of the richest families in the village, and they lived in luxury compared to their neighbors, who lived in a state of intense poverty and constant fear of starvation.

Unlike most peasant families, the Maos could afford to send their son to school, and the young boy dearly loved to read and learn. Although Mao was a sharp student, he was rude and hostile. He refused to obey the rules and was kicked out of school on three separate occasions by the time he was 13. He would go back to school when he was 16, this time in Xiangxiang, 27 kilometers (17 mi) away from his home village. Though he was made fun of for his battered peasant clothes, Mao made friends with a few other students and got along well with his teachers. Shaoshan was an extremely isolated, backward village that didn’t have a single newspaper, but Mao learned a heap of information at his new school, including that the emperor had died two years earlier and had been succeeded by a two-year-old relative named Puyi.

9 He Was First Married At Only 14 Years Old

Young Mao

Photo via Wikipedia

Mao Tse-tung was married four times through his life, and his first marriage took place when he was only 14 years old in 1908. The bride, an 18-year-old cousin named Luo Yigu, had been picked for Mao by his father and Luo’s father Helou. Mao didn’t meet Lou until the day of their wedding, and by all accounts, he wasn’t happy with the marriage. His granddaughter Kong Dongmei has said that Mao wanted to marry a different cousin, a girl named Wang Shigu. Mao’s proposal, however, was rejected because Wang’s horoscope didn’t match with his.

Mao regarded his new wife with disgust and, surprisingly for a teenage boy, refused to even sleep with her. Although she moved into his family’s house, he wouldn’t share a room with her, either. In the young man’s view, Luo would only get in the way of his studying. Shortly after the wedding, a disgruntled Mao left home to go live with his friend, a move which ended up causing a scandal in his village. Luo, disgraced and humiliated, continued to stay at the Maos’ home, supposedly as Yichang’s concubine. The poor woman ended up dying of dysentery shortly before her 20th birthday in February 1910. Mao showed no signs of regret or remorse and later told American journalist Edgar Snow in the 1930s that, “I do not consider her my wife.”

8 He Was An Accomplished Poet

Carved Mao Poetry

Photo credit: Deliberately

Although we normally wouldn’t expect a mass-murdering psychopath to have an artistic side, Mao Tse-tung is also well-remembered in his home country for his poetry and writing style. Even some Western scholars have been impressed with his poetry, although others, like the first English translator of Journey to the West, have said it was, “not as bad as Hitler’s painting, but not as good as Churchill’s.”

In contrast to his radical political views, Mao preferred classical literature and wrote his poetry only in classical styles. Mao began writing poetry when he was a child, but his first book of poems wasn’t published until January 1957. His poems became extraordinarily popular in the years that followed, no doubt because they were also taught and memorized in schools. Whether genuine or the result of propaganda, the fervor for his poetry during the Cultural Revolution inspired devotees to carve lines from his verses, or entire poems, onto everything from grains of rice to mountain walls.

7He Wrote The Second-Most-Printed Book Of All Time

Little Red Book

Photo credit: People’s Republic of China Printing Office

Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, better known in the West as The Little Red Book, is the most printed book in the world after the Bible. The book, designed with a simple red cover and small enough to fit inside a pocket, was initially printed in 1964 for the instruction of the People’s Liberation Army. It became a sort of holy text during the Cultural Revolution, and anybody who damaged or destroyed a copy could be given a long prison sentence. Soldiers, ordinary citizens, and even illiterate farmers were allforced to study the book and memorize passages by heart.

From 1966–71, over one billion official copies were published in addition to many pirated versions and unapproved reprints. The book’s influence wasn’t limited to just China, and copies were distributed to more than 100 countries in 1966 and translated into dozens of different languages. Innumerable packs of Western intellectuals and revolutionaries adored the book. Maoist groups were established across the globe, everywhere from poor countries like Peru to wealthy ones like the United States. Even the far right was infected with the craze; the Italian neo-fascist group The People’s Fight routinely praised him for his nationalism and opposition to the United States.

Mao-mania eventually wore off after reports of the many terrible atrocities committed by the chairman’s regime started leaking out of China. Following Mao’s death and the horrific violence that The Little Red Book inspired during the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government withdrew over 100 million copies from circulation, blaming it for “widespread and pernicious influence.”

6 He Allowed Intellectuals To Criticize His Government And Then Turned On Them

Barbed Wire
While dictators are notorious for their hatred of dissidents and intellectuals, few have ever pulled a stunt like Mao’s Hundred Flowers Campaign. The policy, announced by Mao in a February 1957 conference held in Beijing, would allow writers and intellectuals to freely criticize the government, so long as they offered ideas and solutions rather than mere criticism. Potential schools of thought were referred to as flowers, and Mao wanted “a hundred flowers” to bloom. Critics were originally skeptical, but after further reassurance, they started to speak out and call for reforms. By the time summer came around, the chairman’s premier, Zhou Enlai, was receiving millions of critical letters at his office. Mao then decided that enough was enough; “poisonous weeds” had ruined the program.

The next year, Mao launched the Anti-Rightist Campaign, which rounded up over 550,000 people suspected or known for criticizing the government. Far from allowing free political expression, the Hundred Flowers Campaign led to the exact opposite. Mao would later remark that it had “enticed the snakes out of their lairs.” Critics were banned from writing, exiled to remote reeducation and labor camps, and executed. The exact number of executions is unknown, but many people also died from being tortured, beaten, and overworked in the labor camps.

Some biographers and analysts of Mao’s life have speculated that his extreme hatred for intellectuals might have stemmed from the time he worked as a librarian. In 1919, after getting a teaching degree from Hunan Normal School, Mao got a job at the library of Beijing University. He made many attempts to befriend and chat with the university’s numerous great scholars and thinkers, but they ignored him due to his peasant origins and lowly position.

5 He Loved To Swim

Mao Tse-tung strongly encouraged physical education and exercise and was very fond of swimming. In one notable incident, just as the Cultural Revolution was about to erupt, the 72-year-old chairman joined 5,000 other swimmers for the Cross-Yangtze Competition, a race to cross the Yangtze River near Wuhan. Certainly helped along by the river’s strong currents, Mao was able to swim 16 kilometers (10 mi) in little more than an hour. The event was greatly celebrated in the media, and pictures taken of Mao’s swim were made to be a sign that the old man was still active and powerful, while his political opponents were pathetic and weak.

That wasn’t the first time Mao put his swimming skills to good use, either. In the summer of 1958, when relations between China and the Soviet Union were continually straining, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev paid a state visit to Mao in Beijing. He was given a harsh and cold reception at the airport, and Mao made sure that his visit was as humiliating and upsetting as possible. At one point, Mao invited Khrushchev to go for a swim with him in his personal pool. The point was to intimidate the Soviet leader; Khrushchev was short, fat, and unable to swim. As he nervously swam in the children’s side of the pool, Mao confidently stroked through the deep end. When Mao asked him to come over to the other end, Khrushchev was given a pair of water wings. Mao, as Khrushchev biographer William Taubman would remark, “watched Khrushchev’s clumsy efforts with obvious relish and then dived in the deep end and swam back and forth using several different strokes.”

4 He Was A Shameless Pervert

Asian Woman in Water
In 1994, Dr. Li Zhisui published The Private Life of Chairman Mao, a 663-page memoir that was immediately controversial. Li was Mao’s private doctorfrom April 25, 1955, until the chairman’s death on September 9, 1976. He took meticulous notes during this time but got rid of them during the Cultural Revolution, afraid that somebody would find them. In 1977, he decided to rewrite them as best as he could. He planned to publish them as a book after he moved to the United States in 1988. The book revealed many scandalous details about Mao’s life that were previously unknown to the public and press, and it was quickly banned in China.

According to Li, Mao never bathed, brushed his teeth, or washed his hands. One of his testicles had never descended, and although he occasionally suffered from impotency, he enjoyed a very active and reckless sex life. He stopped sleeping with his fourth and last wife Jiang Qing during the 1960s, instead preferring young women and underage teenagers. He would sleep with almost any attractive woman he could get his hands on—dancing partners, servants, or soldiers. He would even organize nude water ballets in his beloved swimming pool.

Later in life, he caught a sexually transmitted disease (caused by a parasite) called trichomoniasis. Male carriers of trichomoniasis often show no symptoms, but it can be quite painful for females, causing genital itching and painful urination. Mao knowingly spread this to dozens, possibly hundreds, of young women. Far from being disgusted, the women who became infected were proud. “The illness,” Li wrote, “transmitted by Mao, was a badge of honor, testimony to their close relations with the Chairman.” Mao seemed to show no signs of remorse for anything that happened to other people. “So far as I could tell, despite his initial friendliness at first meetings, Mao wasdevoid of human feeling, incapable of love, friendship, or warmth.”

3 He Was A Feminist

Mao and Jiang Qing

Photo via Wikimedia

Confusingly, in spite of Mao’s horrible treatment of his wives and lovers, he considered himself a champion of women’s rights. While his views might not be considered out of the ordinary today, they were very progressive for his time and place. His own arranged marriage made him feel very bitter toward the custom, and he wrote several passionate essays against it from 1919–20. The essays, inspired by a news story he heard about a young woman who slit her throat after being forced to marry a man she didn’t love, made his views very clear. Like many other Chinese radicals of the day, he argued for women to be given the same rights as men, including the rights to divorce, go to school, and inherit property.

After the People’s Republic of China was established, Mao and his government passed a sweeping series of reforms in the Marriage Law of 1950. Arranged marriage was now illegal, and the minimum age for women to marry was 18 (and 20 for men). Women could also divorce, remarry, and buy property as they pleased. China’s constitution promised women “equal rights with men in all spheres of life, in political, economic, cultural, social, and family life.” While it’s true that conditions did improve, many Chinese men resented these reforms, and women still suffered discrimination and lower pay throughout the Maoist Era.

2 His Son Died In The Korean War

Mao Anying

Photo via Wikimedia

The Korean War, the civil war that pitted South Korea and its anti-communist allies against North Korea and its communist allies from June 1950 to July 1953, is known in China as The War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea. Although the communist Chinese government was hesitant to intervene, Mao insisted that they send troops to help North Korea. He was afraid that the US and the UN forces might attack China, but he also thought that it was a good opportunity to show off to the communist world. The Chinese eventually entered the war in October, sending 1.2 million volunteers.

Although the war was short, the poorly equipped Chinese army suffered a shocking number of casualties. While the precise number of dead isn’t exactly known, the government itself has said that 114,084 soldiers were killed in military action, 25,621 soldiers were missing, and another 70,000 were lost to wounds or illness. Many families were affected by this devastating war, including the Maos.

Mao’s 28-year-old son, Anying, was one of its casualties. Other party leaders thought it was a bad idea for Anying to fight, but Mao had no problem with it. “Who will go if my son doesn’t?” he asked. Anying died in an American bombing raid only a month into the Chinese intervention. When Mao was informed of the news, he couldn’t eat or sleep for the rest of the day. “It was his misfortune to be Mao Tse-tung’s son,” he remarked and then spent the night doing nothing but sitting in grief and smoking.

1 He Dramatically Improved His People’s Well-Being

Mao Statue

Photo credit: Roy Niekerk

Ironically, for a monster who claimed the lives of millions of victims, Mao Tse-tung and his communist government also did a lot to improve the well-being of the average Chinese person. When Mao came to power in 1949, the average life expectancy for a Chinese citizen was only 36 years. Conditions for the poor in the cities were brutal, and they were even worse in the countryside. Medical treatment was nearly nonexistent for this segment of the population, so catching even a basic ailment could mean death. Under the communists, massive public health care and basic hygiene programs were launched, resulting in lower infant mortality rates and an increase of average life expectancy to 64 years by the late 1970s.

Mao and his policies were also responsible for increasing mass literacy. Historically, education, and even the abilities to read and write, were reserved exclusively for the Chinese elite. In 1949, out of a population of 540 million people, only 20 percent of the adult population were literate. New schools were set up all over the country, and thanks to the communists’ simplification of the Chinese writing system, the adult literacy rate had increased to 66 percent by 1979.

Mao is still very popular with the common people, and he has been deified in some quarters. Taxi drivers hang his picture up in their cars as a good luck charm, and peasants keep Mao Tse-tung statues in their ancestral shrines. According to an assessment of the modern Mao cult by The Guardian, “Mao’s admirers think that he stood for egalitarianism and righteousness, whereas the current elite looks greedy, corrupt, and contemptuous of the lower classes.”
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31 images of Rommel & some you wouldn’t have seen before?

1 Comment

This is from War History OnLine.

Forty one years after his death pictures of  Field Marshal Erwin Rommel are still being found.

I hope more pictures taken by Rommel surface.

 

1000509261001_1087718449001_Bio-Biography-Erwin-Rommel-LF

 

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was one of German’s most popular generals during World War II, and gained his enemies’ respect with his victories as commander of the Afrika Korps. Implicated in a plot to overthrow Hitler, Rommel took his life in 1944..

Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944) was born in Heidenheim in southern Germany. He grew up with a pronounced southern accent that differentiated him from the Prussian aristocracy of the time. His father had served briefly in the military, then become a schoolteacher. He was forward-thinking, building a flyable glider and buying a motorcycle at a young age. He matriculated at the Officer Cadet School in Danzig in 1910 and was commissioned a lieutenant in the local 124th Württemberg Infantry Regiment 1912.

1000509261001_1087718449001_Bio-Biography-Erwin-Rommel-LF

 

Nordafrika, von Bismarck, Bayerlein, Rommel

 

In February 1940, Rommel was named commander of the 7th Panzer division. The following year, he was appointed commander of German troops (the Afrika Korps) in North Africa.

Zentralbild II. Weltkrieg 1939 - 1945 Front in Nordafrika Generaloberst Erwin Rommel auf einer Inspektionsfahrt zu den neuen Stützpunkten der Verteidigungslinie in der Wüste im Januar 1942.

Zentralbild
II. Weltkrieg 1939 – 1945
Front in Nordafrika
Generaloberst Erwin Rommel auf einer Inspektionsfahrt zu den neuen Stützpunkten der Verteidigungslinie in der Wüste im Januar 1942.

Colonel General Rommel inspecting German defensive positions, North Africa, Jan 1942

rommel

 

rommel_at_cherbourg_1940

 

Nazis attempted to cover up the forced suicide of  Erwim Rommel with a “heart attack” after being implicated in a failed assassination of his master, Adolf Hitler.

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Rommel as a young man

Italian losses to the British in North Africa led Adolf Hitler to send Rommel to Libya, where he laid siege to the port city of Tobruk from April to December 1941. Repulsed by the British, he returned with the Afrika Korps in June 1942 and finally took the city; this attack became known as the Battle of Gazala. Not long after, Rommel was promoted to field marshal by Hitler.

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Rommel with his son Manfred and wife Lucie. Rommel’s son, Manfred, was 15 years old and served as part of an anti-aircraft crew near his home. On October 14th, 1944 Manfred was given leave to return to his home where his father continued to convalesce. The family was aware that Rommel was under suspicion and that his chief of staff and his commanding officer had both been executed. To protect his family and staff, Rommell would commit sucide and be given a hero’s burial.

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In 1915, after recovering from his first wound, Rommel returned to the trenches in France’s Argonne forest. During the war he won Germany’ highest decoration by capturing a mountain and thousands of Italians stationed there.

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Rommel during the 1930s

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Erwin Rommel, pictured with his Leica III rangefinder camera. Rommel is reported to have been given such a camera by his friend/patron, Joseph Goebbels, before the 1940 Western campaign; many ‘photos of his authorship or probable authorship survive, and crop up with a fair degree of frequency in propaganda/publicity contexts.

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A rare photo of General (later Field Marshal) Erwin Rommel wearing a forage cap. With men of the 7th Panzer Division, France 1940. Rommel almost always wore his peaked cap or Schirmmütze. This was a gesture of commonality that the men would understand, part of being an effective leader.

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Rommel and Hitler (Federal archive)

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Rommel’s handcrafted field marshal’s baton

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This is a rather rare photo of German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel carrying his Leica camera on the front (this photo was most likely shot during the campaign in France in the summer of 1940 when Rommel was still a genral). Rommel was an avid enthusiast photographer who must have amassed a significant number of WW2 photos, whose fate is still undetermined.

 

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Rommel with his Afrika Korps men in North Africa 1942. This picture was taken by Hitler’s personal photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann.
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Rommel and Kesselring

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Field Marshal Erwin Rommel with the 15th Panzer Div. in Libya, 24/11/41, probably with Rommel’s own camera

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Rommel, Libyan desert, spring 1942

 

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Colonel General Erwin Rommel and General Siegfried Westphal helping with pushing a stuck vehicle, North Africa, early 1941.

 

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Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, Lieutenant General Fritz Bayerlein, and Field Marshal Albert Kesselring in North Africa, Jan-Feb 1943.

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France – Just before the invasion, General Field Marshal Erwin Rommel with Field Marshal’s baton during an inspection of the coastal fortifications of the Atlantic Wall.; KBZ OB West. 1944 spring.

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Rommel’s Funeral

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Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

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Erwin Rommel inspects the 21st Panzer Division in May 1944.

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Frankreich, Rommel bei 21. Pz.Div.

 

Erwin Rommel inspects the 21st Panzer Division in May 1944.

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Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, commander of Army Group B in France

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Erwin Rommel, commander of the German Afrika Korps, drinks out of a cup with an unidentified German officer as they are seated in a car during inspection of German troops dispatched to aid the Italian army in Libya in 1941.

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Laying in state.

After the 1944 July Plot—an assassination attempt against Hitler that occurred on July 20, 1944—Rommel’s contact with the conspirators was revealed, thus implicating him in the plot to overthrow Hitler. Rommel was then offered the option of taking poison instead of going to trial, and Hitler’s generals brought him poison.

Rommel drank the poison, taking his own life, on October 14, 1944, at the age of 52, in Herrlingen, Germany. He was given a full military burial.

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Rommel’s simple grave in Herrlingen, Blaustein, Baden Wuerttemberg, Germany.

 

8 Historical Figures who were as crazy as Adolf Hitler

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This is from War History OnLine.

Some crazy SOB’s to be sure.

I could add one more name to the list, but that would be racist do not you know.

 

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Hitler has successfully made his way as a symbol of tyranny and illogical totalitarianism, but very few people know that he was not the worse among the lot. There are a number of other mad men and mass murderers in history.

Following is the list of 8 historical rulers who were as mad as Hitler and even more of a lunatic.

  1. Urban II

Adolf Hitler

[Via]

Nowadays a pope is associated with creation of harmony and divine spiritualism that is a based on peace and love preached by Jesus Christ. But like many other things, historically Popes in the past have been found influencing politics and causing  wars.

One such figure was Urban II, who orchestrated the most deadly religious conflict in the history of religion. . Taking the control in 1088, Urban II had to constantly compete with his rivals. Urban II started a war warmongering campaign to start a war in the Middle East. He used influence and propaganda to amass a massive Army that ended up mercilessly slaughtering 200,000 ,Muslims and Christians alike, in and around the Holy Land. This started a 200 years long war between Muslims and Christians known in the history as ‘The Crusades’.

  1. Pol Pot

Adolf Hitler

[Via]

In his 22 years of rule over Cambodia as a leader of Khmer Rogue Pol Pot had reportedly killed between 1 to 3 million Cambodians. This might seem low compared to others on this list, but if you consider that this constitutes almost 25% of Cambodia’s population, these numbers do seem pretty high.

Pol Pot banned any education, religion and finance under his rule. Any educators or educated people he could find were executed, since he thought that education and religion are the cause of the all the ill of the society, and that he wanted to make Cambodia a pure state. He constructed a policy to move people out of the cities and send them to countryside, where they were forced to work on farms. Pol Pot’s policies not only killed scores of his people with starvation and disease, he successfully isolated Cambodia from rest of the world and shattered the economy to its core.

  1. Robert Mugabe

Adolf Hitler

[Via]

Undoubtedly the ‘poster boy’ of 20th century corruption and manipulation, Robert Mugabe destroyed Zimbabwe economically and morally during his long reign. His hunger for power and money resulted in a large number of people drowning in poverty and deprivation. Land grabbing, destroying homes, violation of human rights, killing opponents, persecuting homosexuals are some of the crimes from a long list of atrocities Mugabe committed in Zimbabwe.

It is estimated that a third of Zimbabwe population was killed by Mugabe; a massive 6 million human beings.

  1. The Kim dynasty

Adolf Hitler

[Via]

At the heights of tyranny, manipulation and corruption the ‘Kim dynasty’ have enjoyed power over North Korea for almost 70 years now. Few things never change, every ruler in the Kim dynasty was worse then his predecessor. The tyranny started when Kim Il Sung took to throne after successfully killing 2.8 million people during the Korean war. Under the disguise of progress and restoring country’s pride, the ‘first Kim’ (some people get confuse between the Kims so it is sometime convenient to refer to them as that) killed scores of his fellow countrymen. His son Kim Jung il, the ‘second Kim’ managed to slaughter more then 3 million Koreans including his opposition, party members and some of his family relatives as well. In the 90’s under Kim Jung il 3.5 million people died due to a famine created by the policies of Kim Jung il. He successfully manipulated the situation and blamed US and other western countries for the killing. The current leader ‘Kim Jung Un’ is following in the footsteps of the other Kims by adopting the same iron fist ideology. Recently he killed his uncle with a huge anti aircraft gun, suspecting that he was conspiring against him.

  1. Hong Xiuquan
Adolf Hitler

[Via]

The story of Hong is the textbook case of how a single traumatic incident could transform someone forever. Hong Xiuquan had very humble beginnings and grew up as a very bright young man. He was regarded as most respected provincial scholar in North China in 19th century. But after failing an Imperial exam he went through a nervous breakdown and started claiming that he was the son of God, the younger brother of Jesus Christ. He started a rebellion against Buddhism, Confucianism, and mainstream Christianity. He fought a number of battles with groups of various religious and political affiliations. After winning a decisive battle in 1853 he started ruling the city of Nanjing. He established his own rules and laws in the city. During his rule a large number of people were killed, some merely because they did not agree with Hong’s doctrine. He banned polygamy while keeping scores of concubines for himself and controlled his subject by fear and death.

  1. Josef Stalin

Adolf Hitler

[Via]

In our imaginary class of most ruthless, bloodthirsty tyrants, Stalin sits next to Adolf Hitler. Undoubtedly, Hitler massacred scores of Jewish and non-Germans around Europe, but most of Stalin’s’ victims were his own countrymen, people he ruled over. Starting from 20’s all the way to 50’s, Josef Stalin ruled soviet Union with an iron fist. For a brief period of time during the WWII Stalin sided with Europe but for a major chunk of his rule he stood against west. Stalin kick started the cold War with west that lasted almost half a century. During his reign Stalin had massacred from 10 to 30 million Russians. He carried out a purge multiple times against any opposition to keep the power over Russia. The highlight of Stalin’s atrocities is ‘Hunger Extermination’; an artificial famine that resulted in 8 million deaths in Ukraine alone.

  1. Mao Zedong

Adolf Hitler

[Via]

Known to the world as ‘Chairman Mao’, Mao Zedong ruled People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 1976. Mao took to reign after winning the Chinese Civil War and vowed to bring China to the World stage as a developed nation. His first step toward his goal was the wide scale encouragement of economic growth and increase in population. He was succeeded in achieving both, but at very high ‘human’ cost.

 

In the first three years of his ambitious plan that he dubbed as ‘The Great Leap Forward’ in 1958 an estimated 45 million died due to famine and starvation. Mao’s policies also contributed heavily in encouraging an unstable society from within. The instigation of one child law alone caused the death and abandonment of an estimated 100 million infant girls, since most of the Chinese wanted boys as their only kid, the What Culture reports.

  1. Genghis Khan

Adolf Hitler

[Via]

The opinion about Genghis Khan vary in nature and tone a great deal, depending upon who you ask. For most of Asians and Chinese Khan is a cultural hero who brought freedom and prosperity for his people. While for the Iranians and people of the Middle East Khan was the most ruthless murderer world had ever seen. Historically Khan slaughtered a close to 15 million inhabitants of Persian plateau. As compared to Mao’s killing figures these numbers seem a fraction but on percentage scale it was a great chunk of Iranian population. Iran could not get to that level until the middle of the last century. Another rather daunting fact about Khan is that 8% of Chinese men are descendants of Genghis Khan; this means 0.5% of World’s population has Genghis Khan’s blood in their veins.

 

Hitler’s Aircraft Carrier

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This is from Instapinch.com.

I was not aware of a Nazi Aircraft Carrier.

HITLER’S AIRCRAFT CARRIER

A scarcely known story:
Hitler’s heavy aircraft carrier
By NÚRIA PUYUELO GISPERT | Bank of Bermuda Fundation | December 2012

 

The German Kriegsmarine never really embraced the use of aircraft carriers in WW2. Hitler showed little interest in this type of Naval vessel and its operation. The chief of the Luftwaffe, Herman Goering, was always jealous of his command over all forms of aircraft, and did all in his considerable power to stymie Admiral Raeder’s plan to build up to four aircraft carriers.



In 1935, Hitler announced a plan for the Navy to acquire aircraft carriers. Two keels were laid down in 1936, and in 1938, Grand Admiral Erich Raeder produced his Plan Z, a grand scheme to build four Carriers and complete them by 1945, but in 1939 this was scaled back to just two.



It was Naval policy to not actually name a ship until it was launched. The first laid down Carrier was designated Aircraft Carrier A, to be named Graf Zeppelin at her launch in 1938. The second, Aircraft Carrier B, was never launched.


Come May in 1941, Raeder informed Hitler that Graf Zeppelin, about 85% completed, would be finally finished the next year. But Herman Goering was no help, he told both Hitler and Raeder he was unable to supply the Navy with aircraft for Graf Zeppelin until the end of 1944.



His delaying tactics worked: Aircraft Carrier B was abandoned, and broken up.



By 1943 Adolf Hitler was not too interested in anything Navy, and the frustrated Raeder asked to be relieved, he was accommodated by Hitler, and Karl Donitz, the Submarine chief took charge. He was not at all interested in seeing an aircraft carrier gaining more focus than his beloved U-Boat arm, and all work stopped on Graf Zeppelin, notwithstanding she was 95% completed. The ship had her armament stripped out of her, and sent off to Norway for coastal battery use.

At war’s end in 1945, to ensure this ship did not fall into Russian hands, Graf Zeppelin was scuttled in shallow water at Stettin in Poland , on April 25th. 1945.

Under the terms of the Allied Tripartite Commission, Graf Zeppelin should have been destroyed or scuttled in deep water by August 15th. 1946. But not so: the Russians decided to repair the Carrier and she was refloated in March 1946, no doubt loaded with loot from the conquered Poland.

It was unsure post WW2 what had been the fate of Graf Zeppelin until the Soviet archives were opened up.


It appears the carrier was towed from Poland to Leningrad , unloaded and designated PO-101 ( ie. floating base Number 101 ) the Russians wanted to repair the ship at Leningrad as all the repair facilities at Stettin had been destroyed. But this did not happen, and again Graf Zeppelin was towed off to the Polish coast.


On the Polish coast on August 16th 1947 the ill fated carrier was used as target practice for both Soviet aircraft and Naval ships. After taking 24 bombs and projectiles the ship was still afloat. Finally two torpedoes did the job, and the carrier sank.



The actual position of her sinking was unknown for many years, but in 2006, a Polish Oil Company ship Petrobaltic found a 265 metre long wreck close to the port of Leba . On July 27th. 2006, the Polish Navy survey ship ORP Arctowski confirmed the find was indeed the wreck of Graf Zeppelin, sitting at 264 feet below the surface.



Crew from Polish Survey vessel ORP Arctowski identified the wreck of Graf Zeppelin July 27th 2006.


The grand plan of Grand Admiral Erich Raeder never ever came to fruition, Germany did not produce a completed Aircraft Carrier in WW2.



A proud ship, never destined to be commissioned, post WW2, was merely used as target practice by a previous enemy.



A sad end for such a ship, once part of a scheme for the German Navy to get its wings.

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10 Surprising Quotes From Famous People

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This is from ListVerse. 

A little break from the usual stuff.

 

If you’re remotely familiar with Facebook or inspirational wall posters, then odds are you’ve occasionally come across an image of a famous person with a quote superimposed on it. But it’s hard to reduce a major historical figure to a simple quote—especially when their truly surprising lines tend to get left out. With that in mind we present 10 quotes that show rather different sides of some familiar figures.

10Napoleon Bonaparte

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Napoleon has been so demonized or so lionized that he hardly comes across as a human being anymore—the Napoleonic Wars were one of the few events in world history named after a single person. He was a conqueror, a commander of armies that numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and you’d be forgiven for assuming that he must have become at least a little jaded to the sight of his soldiers’ suffering. One quote attributed to him that seems characteristic of his presumed attitude is: “A soldier will fight long and hard for a piece of ribbon.” However, in his memoirs, the great general told of one incident in the aftermath of the Battle of Castiliogne, when he came across a dog standing over its departed owner:

“Tearless, I had given orders which brought death to thousands. Yet, here I was stirred, profoundly stirred, stirred to tears. And by what? By the grief of one dog.”

Notably, it seems that Napoleon was surprised by his own emotional response. Presumably the sentiment was sincere, since he was a prisoner on the island of St. Helena at the time. Who would he have been hoping to impress with such an anecdote in those days? At most, it would appeal to a few dog lovers, and they’re hardly the ones that get to rewrite history.

9Martin Luther

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Despite eventually developing a nasty anti-semitic streak, Luther still gets respectful acknowledgement even from atheists like Christopher Hitchensfor his stand against Vatican corruption (“he set a standard for intellectual and moral courage”). We expect a man so devoted to biblical study to be sanctimonious, deeply dignified, and more than a little staid. Than you learn how he referred to his conflict with the Vatican in a letter to a friend:

“If I break wind in Wittenberg, they smell it in Rome.”

It’s certainly a vivid quote. It simultaneously brings Luther crudely down to earth and illustrates the power of the enemies he was choosing to make. In fact, Luther was full of such charming vulgarities. For example, speaking of how the desire to be chaste and holy would be overwhelmed by natural impulses, Luther said, “to put it crudely but honestly, if it doesn’t go into a woman, it goes into your shirt.” Say what you will about the guy, he knew how to speak the language of the common man.

8Harriet Tubman

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Generations of Americans have grown up hearing of the heroic struggles of Harriet Tubman. They’ve heard how she went on 19 missions to the slave-holding South, bringing 300 people to freedom between 1849 and 1860. Less well-known, but perhaps more significant, was that during the American Civil War she lead an assault into Confederate territory that freed 700 slaves. Naturally, it’s a rather sanitized version of her heroic acts that gets taught in elementary schools, as a single quote hints:

“Dead negroes tell no tales—You go on or you die.”

The unpretty truth about some slaves’ journey to freedom along the Underground Railroad was that they went part of the way looking down the barrel of Tubman’s gun. Being a hero can be a horribly gritty business—when her “passengers” became overwhelmed with nerves, Tubman had no time to talk them through it sympathetically. Sadly, Tubman’s statement was made in the days before tape recorders, preventing it from becoming one of the most sampled recordings in all of hip-hop.

7Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler und Eva Braun auf dem Berghof

As the official face of racism, it’s almost impossible for us, in our comparatively stable and enlightened times, to believe we could relate to Adolf Hitler. But there are some interesting comments in his 1925 memoirMein Kampf, where Hitler comments on his early exposure to anti-Semitism while in Vienna:

“The tone, particularly that of the Viennese anti-Semitic press, seemed to me unworthy of the cultural tradition of a great nation.”

Later in the frequently banned book, he gives his early opinion on Dr. Karl Lueger, a figure who would play a key role in his transition to fanatical anti-Semitism.

“Dr. Karl Lueger and the Christian Social Party. When I came to Vienna, I stood opposed to both. The man and his movement seemed ‘reactionary’ in my eyes.”

To hear one of worst zealots in history admit that he initially stood opposed to his later convictions actually makes them slightly more frightening. Who knows, under the right circumstances, even those of us firmly opposed to that kind of bigotry could be swayed during a credulous moment.

6Penn Jillette

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Photo credit: Michael Williams

 

 

Admittedly not as famous as Hitler or Napoleon, Penn Jillette, with his partner Teller, has been featured on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, written multiple bestselling books, and hosted Peabody Award-winning shows like “Bullshit!” Through much of it, he has been a strong advocate for atheism, as you might expect of a guy who entitled his autobiography God No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist. Clips of him denouncing the bible’s teachings have already gone viral online.

“I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize…How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

That’s not a quote from his childhood, before he read the bible and the experience turned him against Christianity—it’s from 2008. In context though, it becomes clear that Jillette’s point is that he believes people should openly express their beliefs, even if they’re ones he disagrees with. Still, this even-handed opinion led to one of the most famous atheists in America being broadcast in churches, including those involved in the Campus Crusade for Christ, the largest religious charity in America. It’s doubtful Richard Dawkins will ever manage that.

5Abraham Lincoln

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Listverse has had some choice statements to make about the Great Emancipator in the past. But we still wouldn’t expect a direct quote from him that appears to completely undermine his image. But on September 18, 1858, you’d better believe he said something that any politician would eventually come to regret:

“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races…I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

So was Honest Abe a white supremacist? That quote sure makes it sounds like he was, which has led quite a few scholars to debate the subject. Their consensus? It’s a bit tricky, since that quote comes from the crucial 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates, when Lincoln would have been wise to say anything to get the approval of the crowd. As for what Lincoln truly thought about the “superior position assigned to the white race,” let’s put it this way: It’s still a hard sell that anyone who supported the Emancipation Proclamation and voting rights for black people would have made a good skinhead today.

4Mother Teresa

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For those of you who unfortunately missed out on the 90s, it wasn’t not only a grand era for summer blockbusters and video games, but for little old ladies as well. Standing head and shoulders above the rest was an Albanian-born, Indian nun known as Mother Teresa, who not only has a Nobel Peace Prize to her name, but is only one miracle away from being recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.

That is, unless the following quote gets her into hot water:

“Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”

So…how do we put this? The endless poverty she faced meant Mother Teresa kinda lost her faith during the last years of her life. And by “kinda,” we mean all the way. Here, check this out as well:

“What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”

Well, on the positive side, if there’s any Pope who sounds like he’d be cool with making an agnostic a saint, we gotta go with the guy the Roman Catholic Church has now.

3Benjamin Franklin

Portrait Of Benjamin Franklin

Fox News loves to preach about what the Founding Fathers “intended” on every subject from prayer in schools to owning weapons that weren’t even invented during their lifetimes. As such, you’d expect a Founding Father like Benjamin Franklin to be at least somewhat in tune with some of Glenn Beck’s crazier statements, like how 10 percent of all Muslims are terrorists. After all, it’s hard to argue that any American grew up in a more racist time than Ben Franklin, the oldest person to sign the Declaration of Independence.And yet…

“Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”

It almost sounds like Franklin is talking about, you know, freedom of religion, and speech, and to peacefully assemble—all in the same sentence—for a guy who wasn’t even a US citizen. That’s pretty progressive coming from a man whose newly-minted country still imported human cargo.

2Mahatma Gandhi

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If there’s one thing that doesn’t usually come to mind when picturing Gandhi, it’s knee-slapping hilarity. Sure he came up with the occasional zinger, like his famous quip that Western civilization “sounds like a very interesting idea,” but they were the exception rather than the rule. However, according to the Mahatma himself, humor kept him sane:

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”

Well, one one thing is for sure: If Gandhi opened a stand-up routine with that line, he would undoubtedly have had everyone’s full attention. What type of humor? We need to know, since we don’t want any future Gandhis killing themselves.

1Joseph Stalin

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Photo credit: Wojsyl

 

For this last entry, we decided to go with someone whose motivational quotes instantly become demotivators once you realize the name attached to them. After all, how can anything inspirational be drawn from Joseph Stalin, the Soviet mega-tyrant whose horrific reign resulted in the death of tens of millions of his own people? Well, apparently one interviewer managed to push his philosophical buttons by asking how much of his career he owed to good luck. Stalin’s answer was equally introspective and terrifying:

“I believe in one thing only, the power of the human will.”

Is it our imagination, or does that quote actually make perfect sense within the context of a Soviet megalomaniac who started his own personality cult? Besides, if Stalin really wanted nothing more than to be the world’s greatest super-villain when he grew up, he sure gave Hitler a run for his money. If that’s not determination, we don’t know what is.

 

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