Guernica Remembered

In 1936 the Spanish landscape erupted in a bloody civil war that lasted until 1939…..I know about this war because I lived in Spain and when I was there some of the scars from family against family still lingered……and my grandfather was fighting there as part of the International Brigades….(read more history)….

The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) broke out when the Spanish army in Morocco when a few of the most influent generals of the Spanish Army, led by General Francisco Franco, rose up against the democratically elected Republican government, presided over by Manuel Azaña. Allegiances were not always clear-cut during this conflict. Essentially, the ranks of the Left (also known as Loyalist and Republican) comprised workers, peasants and trade unions, but also the Spanish government, Socialists, Communists and Anarchists. The Right (also known as Nationalist), was supported by rebellious factions of the army, industry, landowners, the middle classes and the Catholic Church. For various and somewhat contradictory reasons, the Loyalists received the support of the Soviet Union and European democracies, while the Nationalists were armed and equipped by the Fascist governments of Germany and Italy.

The Spanish Civil War would prove to be both fierce and bloody. Although the resources of the two sides were not that unequal, the Nationalists were better organized and received extensive material aid from Germany. The Loyalists received very little assistance from the Soviet Union and, moreover, were divided by internal conflicts between Communist, Socialist and Anarchist factions.

While European and North American volunteers fought for the Republic in the framework of the International Brigades, and a number of foreign artists and intellectuals supported the Loyalist cause, including Ernest Hemingway (who was working as a reporter and photographer) and George Orwell (who fought on the Republican side only to be prosecuted later on and thus becoming profoundly disillusioned by the rivalry in the ranks of the Left), the Nationalists were finally triumphant.

General Franco’s victory marked the beginning of a forty-year dictatorship in Spain (1939-1975). In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Hitler sought Franco’s support for his own military campaign, but Spain was in no position to provide either financial or human aid. Although the Spanish Civil War had been a training field for the battles to be waged in the Second World War, Spain would play no part in the latter but agreed to sponsor a small army of volunteers known as La División Azul.

One of the worse airstrikes by the Nazi Condor Legion was in the attack on the  Basque town of Guernica……

The German bombers appeared in the skies over Guernica in the late afternoon of April 26, 1937 and immediately transformed the sleepy Spanish market town into an everlasting symbol of the atrocity of war. Unbeknownst to the residents of Guernica, they had been slated by their attackers to become guinea pigs in an experiment designed to determine just what it would take to bomb a city into oblivion.

Spain was embroiled in a convulsive civil war that had begun in July 1936 when the right-wing Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco sought to overthrow Spain’s left-wing Republican government. It did not take long before this bloody internal Spanish quarrel attracted the participation of forces beyond its borders – creating a lineup of opponents that foreshadowed the partnerships that would battle each other in World War II. Fascist Germany and Italy supported Franco while the Soviet Union backed the Republicans. A number of volunteers made their way to Spain to fight and die under the Republican banner including the Abraham Lincoln Brigade from the United States.

Source: The Bombing of Guernica, 1937

Today is the 80th anniversary of the attack……and a prelude to the death and destruction that would become World War Two…..and the only memory the world has of this attack is a painting by Picasso entitled “Guernica”……sad.

Did Wilson Beget Trump?

The old professor does enjoy helping his readers understand history and its results… from time to time a history lesson is called for…….at least here on IST.

You know there are many incidents where one thing leads to another and politics is no different….a kinda political theorem…..

For instance….there are some that say that Trump has racist tendencies and that he is making moves that can be seen as unconstitutional….and his persecution of the press (media)…….but you know that he is not the first president to be said to have such thoughts….

Yes, really…..I am serious!

Woodrow Wilson it is said that he was a racist (claims that he was even a member of the KKK) and that some of his policies were unconstitutional…..

The Washington Times has published a piece where a hard look was taken at the presidency of Wilson.  (take into consideration that the WT is a conservative media and will attack so-called “progressive” policies)

Wilson, the first college president to occupy the White House, banned blacks from government restrooms, was the first president to openly attack the U.S. Constitution and eagerly support laws to prosecute and imprison those who disagreed with his policies. His hostility to black Americans was matched only by his antipathy toward Italian, German and Irish Americans and his desire to rid the nation of those he referred to dismissively as “hyphenated Americans” and against who he railed incessantly.

Source: Woodrow Wilson legacy tainted by racism, attacks on Constitution – Washington Times

Amazing that all the policies of Wilson that are so “progressive” are very similar to those of our new president, Donald J. Trump.

The Battle Of The Somme

Just another history lesson of World War One…..a conflict that few Americans know anything about and even fewer care.

I read constantly….my library contains about 2000 books and not one of them is a work of fiction.  This is a review of the Battle of the Somme book…..

On 1 July 2016, a few Canadian Armed Forces personnel, mostly Newfoundlanders, journeyed to a monument in the north of France. They went to commemorate the centenary of Beaumont Hamel, one of many engagements which comprised the much larger World War I campaign known as the Battle of the Somme. As the padre intoned prayers in her lilting Newfoundland accent, the tone of the ceremony was sombre, even elegiac. On that same day in 1916, the infantry of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, a component of Britain’s imperial army, attacked German positions across open ground towards uncut barbed wire. The attack was a complete failure, the troops never breaching nor even reaching the German positions. Of this green regiment’s seven hundred and seventy officers and men, eighty percent were mown down in twenty minutes. Despite disasters of this nature all along the British line on 1 July, the Somme campaign persisted into November, and ended with over a million Anglo-French and German casualties.

Source: Somme: Into The Breach | RealClearDefense

The Battle of the Somme…..July 1916…..a conflict where many soldiers on both sides lost their lives….. By the end of the battle, the British Army had suffered 420,000 casualties including nearly 60,000 on the first day alone. The French lost 200,000 men and the Germans nearly 500,000.

Learn more of this horrific battle…..

Source: First World – Battles – The Battle of the Somme, 1916

I do this to keep the memory of these brave men and women alive….they should never slide from our memory.

Let’s Go To The Movies

Another beautiful Saturday and a day to kick back and enjoy some mental relief……

Movies.  What I will write about is the historical context of a new movie, The Promise….personally I NO longer make the trip to see movies in theaters…..I have a problem with the price and then there is the highway robbery from the “snack bar”…..These days I either rent or buy the movies I would like to watch……

I will probably get this movie simply because of the historic context……

“The Promise” is a movie about the Armenian Genocide of 1915 (World War 1)…..

In 1915, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Though reports vary, most sources agree that there were about 2 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire at the time of the massacre. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, some 1.5 million of Turkey’s Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. Today, most historians call this event a genocide–a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people. However, the Turkish government does not acknowledge the enormity or scope of these events. Despite pressure from Armenians and social justice advocates throughout the world, it is still illegal in Turkey to talk about what happened to Armenians during this era.

Source: Armenian Genocide – Facts & Summary –

I will not go see this I will wait….but if some of my readers are so inclined to view this then I want to help….and they could learn a little history that most of the world has tried to forget……

Source: The Promise Movie Review

Of course this will have the “Hollywood” spin to it… is done to make the audience more into the movie… story, armed conflict and dialog…..

The Genocide happened, even if the US refuses to acknowledge it, but that will be about as far as the “real” story will go….the rest will be “Hollywood” spin…..

Enjoy your day and get some rest and some fun into your life…..this is it for today my friends….I will be back tomorrow for more stuff… well, be safe…..chuq

What About The Korean War?

All the bravado surrounding the Korean incident got me to thinking about a war that many Americans know very little about…….it was the war between the end of World War Two and the mash up to Vietnam…..a war that has been all but forgotten bu many of our citizens.

I watched a documentary on the AHC about this war and it was entitled “America’s First War On Communism”….it was all about the start of the Korean War in 1950…although it is a lie…the first war on communism was in 1920’s….but I will let that go for now.

Anyway I got to thinking about the situation of the peninsula these days and how it relates to 1950……and I cam across this article from a couple of years ago…..

The sixtieth anniversary of the “end” of the Korean war saw President Obama attempt to rescue that classic example of interventionist failure from history’s dustbin. Addressing veterans of that conflict, he declared:

“That war was no tie. Korea was a victory. When 50 million South Koreans live in freedom, a vibrant democracy…a stark contrast to the repression and poverty of the North, that is a victory and that is your legacy.”

This is a fairytale: it wasn’t a victory, or even a tie: the US public was disenchanted with the war long before the armistice, and Truman was under considerable pressure at home to conclude an increasingly unpopular conflict. As for this guff about “democracy”: whatever the US was fighting for, from 1950, when the war broke out, to 1953, when it ground to a halt, democracy hardly described the American cause.

Source: Who Really Started the Korean War? by —

The US hides behind the guise of “democracy” too often.

Your history lesson has concluded……

Populist Under Every Rock

I do so enjoy my little history lessons from time to time….Americans seem to think that history has nothing to do with anything…..politicians have worked hard to make the uninformed voter as ignorant as possible on history.

The election of 2016 was one where the media made lots of ratings with the rise of populist thought in our politics.  But this past election was actually nothing new…there is always a populist line of campaign just it does not get the attention it should and our history has a rich heritage of populist thought.

There 5 major ventures into populism in our election process……

The 2016 election constituted one of the great populist uprisings of American history. A large segment of the electorate rose up against American elites and many of their underlying governing nostrums—globalism, lax border control, free trade, American military adventurism, a wariness toward nationalism, the cozy relationship between Big Government and Big Finance. It’s an open question whether President Trump, who ran against those nostrums, will govern as he campaigned. There are sound reasons to believe he will abandon many of his campaign pronouncements and meld his populist rhetoric with more establishmentarian actions. If so, his political story could become one of the great sleight-of-hand perpetrations of the American experience.

It may be instructive, in any event, to look at the other great populist uprisings of our history by way of a comparative analysis. Herewith then is a list of the country’s five most powerful waves of populism.

Source: The Five Most Powerful Populist Uprisings in U.S. History | The American Conservative

There you have your electoral history lesson….we will thank me later.

Class dismissed!

What World War I Unleashed In America

One hundred years ago the US was preparing to send its forces to Europe to join in the fighting to save the world….from what most are not sure….but save it nonetheless….Dough boys are on their way.

I have been saying for a long time that World War One was the event that shaped the world we live in today….it all began on the fields of Belgium and France in 1914.

A new PBS documentary recalls the bloody battles, the social turbulence and the nation-changing legacy of the terrible conflict.

One hundred years ago, two events three days apart set the 20th century’s trajectory. On April 9, 1917, in Zurich, Vladimir Lenin boarded a train. Germany expedited its passage en route to St. Petersburg — known as Leningrad from 1924 to 1991 — expecting him to exacerbate Russia’s convulsions, causing Russia’s withdrawal from World War I, allowing Germany to shift forces to the Western Front. Lenin boarded the train three days after the United States, responding to Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare and other provocations, declared war. Soon 2 million Americans would be in Europe. They, and the promise of many more, compelled Germany to accept an armistice at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Source: What World War I unleashed in America

Then there are all sorts of stories told about WW1….some are true and some are myths….and let us look at some of the myths from that war.

One hundred years ago, on April 6, 1917, Congress voted to declare war on imperial Germany. The First World War was the pivot of the 20th century: It took the lives of 17 million people and resulted in the collapse of three major empires (the German, the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian). In the aftermath, totalitarian regimes both right and left came to power, leading to a second, far bloodier global conflict. Alas, for most Americans, the “Great War” holds little interest, particularly compared with the Civil War, World War II and Vietnam — all conflicts remembered as titanic moral struggles that transformed the nation. This neglect has given rise to some serious misconceptions about the war in which more than 116,000 Americans died.

Source: Five myths about World War I – The Washington Post

This war was important in so many ways and yet we try to block it out as best we can……why?

We must never forget or ignore the wars that our soldiers were asked to fight.  This country already does a disservice to the vets let us not compound the disrespect.