Time For The Fall Ball

It is October and Halloween approaches….some Americans use to have costume parties or as they were called masquerade balls.

It is the weekend and once again FYI will prevail….and in doing so I get to use some history to inform and entertain.

So just where did the idea of a “masquerade ball” come from and when?

Keep in mind they were not always the elegant matters that we see in the movies…..

Dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries, the Masquerade Ball began as part of Europe’s carnival season. Less high society and more cirque du célébration, villagers would gather in masks and costumes to take part in elaborate pageants and glamorous processions.

Quickly spreading across France like wildfire, some of the most notorious balls of the day would be held to celebrate Royal Entries: the grand occasion of welcoming kings and queens into their cities.

In fact, so audacious were the masked balls that in 1393, Charles VI of France held the first ever “Bal des Ardents”. Translated as “Burning Men’s Ball”, the event transformed the more orthodoxly decadent costume ball into a night of intrigue and risk.

In celebration of the marriage of the queen’s lady in waiting, King Charles and five of his bravest courtiers dressed in masks and flax costumes and danced the night away as wildsmen of the woods.

The only catch was that if your sashaying edged you too close to one of the many flaming torches that lined the dance floor, your look would be smoking–and not for the right reasons.

The Glamorous And Gruesome History Of The Masquerade Ball

This “Ball” season may not be all it should be thanks to the pandemic and people avoiding crowds to protect themselves and their families.

Now you know where this idea originated and when……

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Has The Amber Room Been Located?

I have watched about a ga-zillion TV docs that try to say they are on the track of the Russian Amber Room looted by the Nazis in 1942…..wait!

What the Hell is the Amber Room?

Construction of the Amber Room began in 1701. It was originally installed at Charlottenburg Palace, home of Friedrich I, the first King of Prussia. Truly an international collaboration, the room was designed by German baroque sculptor Andreas Schlüter and constructed by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram. Peter the Great admired the room on a visit, and in 1716 the King of Prussia—then Frederick William I—presented it to the Peter as a gift, cementing a Prussian-Russian alliance against Sweden.

The Amber Room was shipped to Russia in 18 large boxes and installed in the Winter House in St. Petersburg as a part of a European art collection. In 1755, Czarina Elizabeth ordered the room to be moved to the Catherine Palace in Pushkin, named Tsarskoye Selo, or “Czar’s Village.” Italian designer Bartolomeo Francesco Rastrelli redesigned the room to fit into its new, larger space using additional amber shipped from Berlin.

Now you know and there have been treasure hunters looking for it since the end of the war, that is WW2…..some say it was destroyed by Russian artillery barrage….others think it is somewhere in a cave in Western Poland….and others think it was shipped to Germany and stored for later plunder.

This last story that I recall was that it was in a cave and that some “hunters” using the top notch equipment have located it…..

Third Reich scientists used the cave complex during the war – but all records of just what went on there have mysteriously vanished from local archives.

Now homeopath Leonhard Blume, 73, scientist Günter Eckardt, 67, and georadar specialist Peter Lohr, 71, believe they know where the treasure lies.

Lohr used specialist radar imaging to detect underground booby traps and what appear to be bunkers under the soil.

He scanned the hill in September after Lohr claimed a “reliable source” told him of the missing treasure’s whereabouts in 2001.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4724263/amber-room-germany-mountains-nazi-loot/

That was three years ago and so far no news that the artifact has been located.

That is in a cave…but recently news has been leaking out that it may be located on a Nazi shipwreck……

Divers say they have found a shipwreck that could solve one of World War II’s most enduring mysteries: The fate of the dazzling Amber Room looted from a Russian palace by Nazi soldiers. The Polish divers say they have found the wreck of the Karlsruhe, a cargo steamer that was sunk with a heavy cargo in 1945 after leaving Koenigsberg, the last known location of the dismantled chamber, reports Reuters. Records show that the Karlsruhe left the port in a hurry during the evacuation of East Prussia. It was sunk by Soviet warplanes off the coast of what is now Poland. Diver Tomasz Stachura says the wreck is almost intact. “In its holds we discovered military vehicles, porcelain and many crates with contents still unknown,” he says.

“The history and available documentation show that the Karlsruhe was leaving the port in a great hurry and with a large load,” says diver Tomasz Zwara, per UPI. “All this put together stimulates the imagination,” he says. “Finding the German steamer and the crates with contents as yet unknown resting on the bottom of the Baltic Sea may be significant for the whole story.” It’s not clear when divers plan to return to the site. The room, donated to Tsar Peter the Great by a Prussian king in 1716, was looted from St. Petersburg’s Catherine Palace in 1941. A reconstruction at the palace was completed in 2003.

For more info…..https://newseu.cgtn.com/news/2020-10-06/Could-Nazi-shipwreck-discovery-solve-World-War-II-mystery–UlIpFdVU9a/index.html

Still NO concrete evidence that it has been located….but these treasure hunters just want to keep hope alive.

As long as we are talking about “legend”….is it possible that Nessie has been located in the Loch?

The object picked up by sonar technology is said to be ‘solid and pretty big’ sonar contact.

It measures around 10m and was detected by a boat owned by Cruise Loch Ness, in Fort Augustus, Scottish Highlands.

The mystery creature is likely to feed on trout and eels at the bottom of the loch, which has the largest volume of freshwater in Britain.

Director Ronald Mackenzie, 48, said: “Who knows what it is, there is quite a lot of fish at the bottom of the loch, there is carnivorous trout and eels.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/loch-ness-monster-found-sonar-22801900

Whatcha think?

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Those Damn Crusades

There is lots of opinions about the Crusades…..BTW there were 8 total but there were many minor battles that some could call Crusades.

We in the West know mostly about those Crusades that were successful…..for no one here wants to admit failure…..

The Crusades were a series of military campaigns organised by Christian powers in order to retake Jerusalem and the Holy Land back from Muslim control. There would be eight officially sanctioned crusades between 1095 CE and 1270 CE and many more unofficial ones. Each campaign met with varying successes and failures but, ultimately, the wider objective of keeping Jerusalem and the Holy Land in Christian hands failed. Nevertheless, the appeal of the crusading ideal continued right up to the 16th century CE, and the purpose of this article is to consider what were the motivating factors for crusaders, from the Pope to the humblest warrior, especially for the very first campaign which established a model to be followed thereafter.

https://www.ancient.eu/article/1249/the-crusades-causes–goals/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades

https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/crus/hd_crus.htm

Can anyone name the first clash of Muslim-Christian forces in the First Crusade?

The Battle of Dorylaeum, fought on July 1, 1097, marked the first full-scale military clash between the Christian armies of the West and the Muslim armies of the East. As such, it would prove to be an educational experience for both armies, one whose final outcome would have an extreme influence on the course of the First Crusade.

Dorylaeum: The First Christian-Muslim Clash of the Crusades

All the blood and death….were the Crusades a success or not?

To answer the question is this link to a book…..https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/168393

For those allergic to the printed word and reading…I have a short video for your education….

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23 August 1939

On this day in history was a turning point for Europe only a mere 20 years after the end of the Great War (WW1)…..this situation is all but forgotten unless you watch the Hitler Channel….but most Americans have NO idea what this “Pact” actually meant or did……

On this day in 1939 Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact….called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact…..

On August 23, 1939, representatives from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union met and signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact (also called the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact), a mutual promise made by the two leaders guaranteeing that neither would attack the other.

With the imminence of World War II becoming ever clearer, signing the pact guaranteed Germany protection against the necessity of fighting a two-front war. The Soviet Union was awarded land in return, including parts of Poland and the Baltic States, as part of a secret addendum.

The pact was broken when Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union less than two years later, on June 22, 1941.

https://www.thoughtco.com/nazi-soviet-non-aggression-pact-1779994

Vyacheslav Molotov, Russian foreign minister, signs the non-aggression pact negotiated between Soviet Russia and Germany, at the Kremlin, Moscow. Standing behind him is his German counterpart Joachim von Ribbentrop (left), and Joseph Stalin (centre), 23 August 1939.

Germany and the Soviet Union have agreed to conclude a pact of non-aggression. The surprising announcement was made in Berlin last night by the official German news agency. It was added that Herr von Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister, is flying to Moscow to-morrow to complete the negotiations. Early this morning the Russian Tass Agency issued a similar statement.

The news was completely unexpected. There had been rumours in Berlin of a meeting at Berchtesgaden yesterday between Herr Hitler, Herr von Ribbentrop, and Her von Papen, who had recently visited Moscow, but that was all.

The decision to sign the pact is announced only the day after the signing of a commercial treaty was made known. The Russian press yesterday, suddenly changing its tone towards Germany, warmly welcomed the commercial agreement as being likely to lead to better political relations – “eventually,” they said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/from-the-archive-blog/2019/jul/24/molotov-ribbentrop-pact-germany-russia-1939

Neither party had any intention of keeping this pact…Poland was the prize that both wanted in their spheres….

This was an important event that leads up to September 1939 and the invasion of Poland.

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The Paris Commune

No not the one in 1871….but rather the one that was formed shortly after the storming of the Bastille…..that date was 10 August 1792…

In case you are confused….this is the Paris Commune of 1871……

The Paris Commune was a popular-led democratic government that ruled Paris from March 18 to May 28, 1871. Inspired by the Marxist politics and revolutionary goals of the International Workingmen’s Organization (also known as the First International), workers of Paris united to overthrow the existing French regime which had failed to protect the city from Prussian siege, and formed the first truly democratic government in the city and in all of France. The elected council of the Commune passed socialist policies and oversaw city functions for just over two months, until the French army retook the city for the French government, slaughtering tens of thousands of working-class Parisians in order to do so.

https://www.thoughtco.com/paris-commune-4147849

As you would suspect…yes I have written about the Paris Commune of 1871 here on IST……..https://lobotero.com/2011/03/28/birth-of-the-paris-commune/

Now for the first and some say the most important of these “Communes”…..and the subject of today’s post……

The Paris Commune was the municipal government of Paris during the French Revolution. It was formed during the insurrection of July 1789. The Commune played an important role in the life of the capital. Not only did it provide civic functions like tax collection, services and public works, the Paris Commune was also a democratic assembly where the ordinary people of Paris were represented. This gave the Commune a great deal of sway.

Membership of the Commune council reflected the political will of the people of Paris – moderate from July 1789, radical from August 1792. In its first three years the Commune was dominated by the urban bourgeoisie and liberal-moderates like Jean-Sylvain Bailly. But after the journée of August 10th 1792, control of the Commune was seized by radical Jacobins like Georges Danton, Camille Desmoulins and Jacques Hébert.

From this point, the Commune became directly representative of the Paris sections and sans culottes. The actions of this radical Commune challenged the authority of the national government and shaped the violence of 1792-94.

The Paris Commune

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04 August 1914–Guns Of August–Part One

On this day in history…….Germany invades Belgium causing Great Britain to declare war on Germany. Germany had declared war on France the day before.

This became known as the Guns Of August……

What could drive a world mad to the point of wasting so many lives?

We’ll start with the facts and work back: it may make it all the easier to understand how World War One actually happened.  The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic case of “one thing led to another” – otherwise known as the treaty alliance system.

The explosive that was World War One had been long in the stockpiling; the spark was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.  (Click here to view film footage of Ferdinand arriving at Sarajevo’s Town Hall on 28 June 1914.)

Ferdinand’s death at the hands of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist secret society, set in train a mindlessly mechanical series of events that culminated in the world’s first global war.

Austria-Hungary’s Reaction

Austria-Hungary’s reaction to the death of their heir (who was in any case not greatly beloved by the Emperor, Franz Josef, or his government) was three weeks in coming.  Arguing that the Serbian government was implicated in the machinations of the Black Hand (whether she was or not remains unclear, but it appears unlikely), the Austro-Hungarians opted to take the opportunity to stamp its authority upon the Serbians, crushing the nationalist movement there and cementing Austria-Hungary’s influence in the Balkans.

It did so by issuing an ultimatum to Serbia which, in the extent of its demand that the assassins be brought to justice effectively nullified Serbia’s sovereignty.  Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, was moved to comment that he had “never before seen one State address to another independent State a document of so formidable a character.”

Austria-Hungary’s expectation was that Serbia would reject the remarkably severe terms of the ultimatum, thereby giving her a pretext for launching a limited war against Serbia.

https://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm

A war that cost so many lives and accomplished very little in the end.

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Passchendaele: A Worthless Exercise

On this day over 100 years ago the Third Battle For Ypres was commencing…..the date is 31July1917……this battle will go down in history as a massive waste of human life.

A description of the battle from the BBC…….

Officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, Passchendaele became infamous not only for the scale of casualties, but also for the mud.

Ypres was the principal town within a salient (or bulge) in the British lines and the site of two previous battles: First Ypres (October-November 1914) and Second Ypres (April-May 1915). Haig had long wanted a British offensive in Flanders and, following a warning that the German blockade would soon cripple the British war effort, wanted to reach the Belgian coast to destroy the German submarine bases there. On top of this, the possibility of a Russian withdrawal from the war threatened German redeployment from the Eastern front to increase their reserve strength dramatically.

The British were further encouraged by the success of the attack on Messines Ridge on 7 June 1917. Nineteen huge mines were exploded simultaneously after they had been placed at the end of long tunnels under the German front lines. The capture of the ridge inflated Haig’s confidence and preparations began. Yet the flatness of the plain made stealth impossible: as with the Somme, the Germans knew an attack was imminent and the initial bombardment served as final warning. It lasted two weeks, with 4.5 million shells fired from 3,000 guns, but again failed to destroy the heavily fortified German positions.

The infantry attack began on 31 July. Constant shelling had churned the clay soil and smashed the drainage systems. The left wing of the attack achieved its objectives but the right wing failed completely. Within a few days, the heaviest rain for 30 years had turned the soil into a quagmire, producing thick mud that clogged up rifles and immobilised tanks. It eventually became so deep that men and horses drowned in it.

On 16 August the attack was resumed, to little effect. Stalemate reigned for another month until an improvement in the weather prompted another attack on 20 September. The Battle of Menin Road Ridge, along with the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26 September and the Battle of Broodseinde on 4 October, established British possession of the ridge east of Ypres.

Further attacks in October failed to make much progress. The eventual capture of what little remained of Passchendaele village by British and Canadian forces on 6 November finally gave Haig an excuse to call off the offensive and claim success.

However, Passchendaele village lay barely five miles beyond the starting point of his offensive. Having prophesied a decisive success, it had taken over three months, 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German casualties to do little more than make the bump of the Ypres salient somewhat larger. In Haig’s defence, the rationale for an offensive was clear and many agreed that the Germans could afford the casualties less than the Allies, who were being reinforced by America’s entry into the war. Yet Haig’s decision to continue into November remains deeply controversial and the arguments, like the battle, seem destined to go on and on.

(BBC)

If graphs and such do more to inform you then maybe this article will be more along the lines that you need……https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/happened-battle-passchendaele/

Then there are those that have given up the power to read for those I have a short video that could assist in their knowledge…..

As I stated earlier….a worthless loss of human life that accomplished NOTHING.

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The One Eyed Warrior

I am in the process of eye surgeries and going on one eye until it is finished ….so when I saw something about an one eyed warrior I thought I would make myself feel a bit better…..

Image

It all takes place during the years of the monarchy of Bohemia….and the Hussite Wars.

The Hussite Wars, also called the Bohemian Wars, involved the military actions against and amongst the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia in the period 1420 to c. 1434. The Hussite Wars were arguably the first European war in which hand-held gunpowder weapons such as muskets made a decisive contribution. The Hussite warriors were basically infantry, and their many defeats of larger armies with heavily armored knights helped effect the infantry revolution. In the end, it was an inconclusive war. Some Hussites embraced pacifism and were not involved in the wars, which they denounced. These Hussites taught that Christians should separate themselves from the state and refuse to fight even for secular rulers, since Christians must always practice love.

https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hussite_Wars

Christians that practice love?  There is an extinct beast!

For those that are too lazy to read……a short video……

The Hussite Wars is where we enter the character known as the One Eyed Warrior……

Jan Zizka was a talented and successful military tactician as well as a statesman without equal. He led the Hussites in the turbulent 14th century while remaining grounded with the moral principles that supplied his motivation and guidance.

Zizka never lost a battle during his entire leadership of the Hussite Revolution, a feat that is even more impressive when one takes into account the disparity in forces between the untrained Hussite peasant militias he led and the professional armies of armored German knights that he faced.

Zizka also was nearly blind for his entire career. To understand Zizka`s abilities as a leader, one must first look at the history of his exploits and then to the personal traits that made him great.

https://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/the-hussite-jan-zizka.html

This made me feel a bit better about having only one eye….at least for awhile….and in two weeks I will have to go through it all again.

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Bastille Day

Today, 14 July, is when the French celebrate their revolution that overthrew the corrupt monarchy…..lead by the slogan….Liberty, Equality, Fraternity…..but was it all that equal and what about liberty……

The American attitude toward the French Revolution has been generally favorable—naturally enough for a nation itself born in revolution. But as revolutions go, the French one in 1789 was among the worst. True, in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity, it overthrew a corrupt regime. Yet what these fine ideals led to was, first, the Terror and mass murder in France, and then Napoleon and his wars, which took hundreds of thousands of lives in Europe and Russia. After this pointless slaughter came the restoration of the same corrupt regime that the Revolution overthrew. Aside from immense suffering, the upheaval achieved nothing.

Leading the betrayal of the Revolution’s initial ideals and its transformation into a murderous ideological tyranny was Maximilien Robespierre, a monster who set up a system expressly aimed at killing thousands of innocents. He knew exactly what he was doing, meant to do it, and believed he was right to do it. He is the prototype of a particularly odious kind of evildoer: the ideologue who believes that reason and morality are on the side of his butcheries. Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot are of the same mold. They are the characteristic scourges of humanity in modern times, but Robespierre has a good claim to being the first. Understanding his motives and rationale deepens our understanding of the worst horrors of the recent past and those that may lurk in the future.

Historians distinguish three phases of the French Revolution. The last, the Terror, ran roughly during 1793–94. It began with the fall of the moderate Girondins and the radical Jacobins’ accession to power. As the Jacobins gained control of the Committee of Public Safety, which in turn controlled the legislature (the Convention), the disputes among their factions sharpened. After an interregnum of shared power, Robespierre became dictator, and the Terror started in earnest. It took the form of the arrest, show trial, and execution of thousands of people, including the leaders of the Girondins and the opposing Jacobin factions, who were suspected of opposing—actively or passively, actually or potentially—the policies Robespierre dictated.

https://www.city-journal.org/html/why-robespierre-chose-terror-12935.html

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Class Dismissed!

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The Myths Of D-Day

There were many myths swirling around the invasion of Normandy….most were to confuse and frustrate the Nazis……but others were just misunderstandings of what the invasion  and who was carrying it out.

This article was first published in 2014…..6 years ago……

Anniversaries are useful moments to pause and reflect. For the 70th anniversary of D-Day and subsequent campaign in northern France, it is also an opportunity to look at the past in detail and ask how much of what we think we know is true and how much is well-entrenched myth. Not only is it more interesting, it is also of greater worth as we plan for the future and pray there will never be a conflict like World War II again.

1. MYTH: D-Day was predominantly an American operation

https://www.cnn.com/2014/06/05/opinion/opinion-d-day-myth-reality/index.html


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Be thankful the the Greatest Generation stepped jup and did there part to keep democracy safe from tyranny.

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