A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7000 images, 3 million hits| History of Science, Math & Tech | Press & appearances in The Times, Le Figaro, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places...
The first practical and public and successful demonstration of a working telephone occurred on 10 March 1876. Four years and five months later, after an explosion of interest and use and application of perhaps the greatest technical invention of the 19th century, after many lawsuits and many different interpretation of patents and additions to the field of telephony, an unusual note appeared in the pages of Nature. It is singular, I think--and I can say this after having read about the early years of the telephone for many years--that this article may contain the first conversations by a child on the new invention. The conversation was all one-sided, and mostly imaginary, but still it must count for a first-something in regards to children.
One of the great pleasures in the business of antiquarian science book selling is the Advanced Ability/Capacity to Browse the books. Or Graze. All in the semi-pursuit of an undefined goal that sometimes leads to something that leads to something else, and sometimes all of them get pulled together. And so this came to be last night, working my way through an issue of Nature, a Weekly Illustrated Journal of Science, for December 1878--and yes, this is the same Nature that we know today, begun in 1869. The modern Nature is massive and perhaps one of the world's foremost publications in the sciences--in 1878, the magazine was a semi-popular, quick-to-publication-and-print journal, usually less than two dozen pages long.
The magazine was short and to the point, and it packed an enormous amount of material on a limited amount of paper--two columns of print per page, 7-10 words per line, 70 lines per column, or about 1500 words per page. (An average novel has about 400 words per page.) It attracted the attention of everyone, and virtually every big name in the sciences in the 19th century seemed to find their way into this publication: Darwin, Huxley, von Helmholtz, Thomson, Maxwell, Hertz, and on and on.
I admit that I was attracted to this issue by the beautiful engraved ad ("Scientific Presents" (!)) for a graphoscope, sold by John Browning (63 Strand) of London. (The graphoscope was an entertainment device created around 1860 and was an elegant/extravagant magnifying glass for viewing photographs and prints and such. The base was lifted to meet the gaze of a seated viewer who would look through the large magnifying glass at an image that was placed on the theatrical/framework bit at the back of the device.)
The contents are terrific. The issue starts with a provocatively-titled work by James Clerk Maxwell, a review called "Paradoxical Philosophy", which I like quite a bit--and it is rather long for Nature, and it was a joy to make my way through Clerk Maxwell as he makes his way through the story.
And then: a short piece by E.D. Archibald on "Locusts and Sunspots", which fits nicely into the history of th esun and sunspots and cycles and weather, nicely into teh early-ish modern period. That also brought me to a fascinating book with this great graphic on the history of publications dealing with what I just mentioned.
[Source: The Role of the Sun in Climate Change, by Douglas V. Hoyt, Kenneth H. Schatten Program Director of the Solar Terrestrial Research National Science Foundation.]
The there is so much more, as we can see:
Tait on the Microphone, Dawkins on the range of the mammoth, Wild on the fossil floras of the Arctic, Carey-Hobson on equine sagacity, Pole on colour blindness, and a beautiful effort by Wilke on measuring the heights of clouds--all lovely efforts.
And then, at the very end, under the unlikely title of "Societies and Academies", emerged a magnificent effort by William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, another very major scientific name, and his effort at constructing a mechanical analog device, a very smart machine that wasn't built until 1932. His "On a Machine for the Solution of Simultaneous Linear Equations" is a remarkable effort, calculating its way through masses of numbers with pulleys and cords, as noted by Tom Woodfin of the MIT AI lab ( here):
"Lord Kelvin proposed one mechanical system in 1878. Designed to solve sets of linear equations, it operated on a tilling-plate mechanism—essentially a collection of pulleys spaced along balanced plates and connected with rope. Coefficients of the linear equations would correspond to pulley placements, and the ropes would be tugged to balance the beams and hence the equations. Results would be read off as the lengths of loose ends of rope."
"Kelvin’s scheme had several advantages. First, it was based on rudimentary technology—within the capabilities of 19th century craftsmanship. Second, it was possible to increase the precision of a calculation through successive applications of the device, taking advantage of the characteristics of the linear equations it was designed to solve. Third, its mechanical nature made it ideal for “tweaking”—slight adjustments in inputs could be made quickly, and results obtained rapidly, without substantially reconfiguring the device."
All-in-all, the chance meeting with the graphoscope produced a number of very interesting finds, none of which really pulled themselves together in this context, but certainly could possibly play their role as missing pieces in some future puzzle--which is really what all of this is all about.
I was looking around for one of the original references to the earliest human-tech definition of "singularity" and found it in a roundabout way, a classic reference referenced in a classic paper on singularity. Vernor Vinge wrote a breakout paper in 1993 called “The Coming Technological Singularity: How to Survive in the Post-Human Era"1. Among many other things the San Diego State math prof quotes how the great Stan Ulam paraphrased John von Neumann saying: “One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity in the history of the race beyond which human affairs, as we know them, could not continue.” This was in 1958, and it appeared in Ulam's "Tribute to John von Neumann" in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, (volume 64, number 3, part 2, pp 1-49).
It struck me as ironic that the "singularity" would appear just at the time von Neumann2--perhaps without equal in this century in thinking in terms of the computer and its applications and overall sheer brain-power--died, Ulam surfacing the term in what was basically a memorial/obituary/celebration issue of the Bulletin, the carbon-based life-form container finally failing the great mind.
It was then that I came to realize how much biologicalization has taken place in compsci terminology--not the least of which is the self-replicating and damaging "virus", which itself of course is a massive biological deal, though in the digital world it is not its most abundant entity3. E-viriology is found just about everywhere, much like its bio counterpart, which is located in every ecosystem on Earth.
Even the word "computer" has an earlier biological counterpart--the "computer" was a human tabulator, a person grunting out figures into some sort of tabulating device. (Tracts for Computers, a series that began in 1919 and edited by Karl Pearson, is filled with statistical elements intended for the human computer...)
But what strikes me first are the bio references for the bad stuff. The viruses, and then later, the worms, and Trojan horses. (I should point out the "bug" enters the computer vernacular fairly early, in 1949, via (later Admiral) Grace Murray Hooper, though it doesn't get listed by her in her 1954 glossary of computer terms as published in two parts in Computers and Automation, volume 4, 1954. There's no "bug", though there is "de-bug".)
"Virus" emerges in a science fiction effort by Douglas Gerrold in 1972, a few years before they were artificially produced, which was a few years before a virus was released into the e-phere ("in the wild"). In 1975 John Bruner unleashes a "worm" in his Shockwave Rider.
Others early viruses have biological names: Creeper (1970), Rabbitt (1974), ANIMAL (by John Walker, though not created for being malicious, 1975), Top Cat (1980), Elk (1982), Whale (1990), Hare (1996), Blackworm (2006). There are of course many more names for viruses (and company) that are not biological, but it struck me of how many of the earliest examples do have animal names. I'm not sure that I have much to say about this presently, though I did want to put the general observation out there in this note.
1. The abstract of the paper begins: "The acceleration of technological progress has been the central feature of this century. I argue in this paper that we are on the edge of change comparable to the rise of human life on Earth. The precise cause of this change is the imminent creation by technology of entities with greater than human intelligence. There are several means by which science may achieve this breakthrough..."
2. Perhaps of most interest here is von Neumann's 1949 paper, "Theory and Organization of Complicated Automata", which looks as the logic required for the self-replicating machine, in A. W. Burks, ed., Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata [by] John von Neumann, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, pp. 29-87. This was based on transcripts of lectures delivered at the University of Illinois, in December 1949, and then edited for publication by A.W. Burks.
3. "Virus" is an old word, and is Latin for "poison" or "poisonous", and which first appeared in English in 1392. "Virulent" appears in English in 1728, "viral" in 1948, "virion" in 1958. "Virus" as we know it bioloigcally today has a somewhat complicated history, escaping Pasteur and his microscope until it emerges (again) with Martinus Beijernick in 1898.
I went searching in the 1896 issue of the Scientific American Supplement for early articles on Roentgen's x-rays (discovered just months earlier) when--flipping through the pages--I came upon this very impressive part of a score. But what is more impressive is that it sets to music the sound of Niagara Falls--the music of the falls.
At least music is what Mr. Eugene Thayer heard when he listened to the falls, and apparently he heard what few others did.
As all of you no doubt know Vincent van Gogh carried on a voluminous correspondence, mostly with his brother Theo. I sat down with the third (and final) volume of The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh (Bullfinch Press, 2001) and read through his letters from St. Remy (June 1889 to May 1890, two months before his death 29 July 1890), as well as those from Auvers-sur-Oise (the last of which is dated one week before his death). The letters are remarkable, and were written mostly to his brother, but also to his sister, and mother, and some few others.
The letters are filled with fantastic observations and captured vision, comments on his artwork, technical aspects of painting, philosophy, and daily life. And thinking. It has always been interesting to me how people slow down a letter so it can come to a halt, and Vincent--in addition to being an excellent observer and word curator--knew how to write a letter, and it is enjoyable to step back from them a bit to look at their mechanics, especially when it comes to this slowing-down section. So I've selected a few bits from what is usually the last part of the last sentence before the sign-off (hardly a rigorous process), just to see if there were the makings of a found-poem in them....and I believe there is.
"And believe me"
"I shake your hand, and your wife's too"
"Next drawings next week"
"And then it does one good to work for people who do not know what a picture is"
I've addressed the ideas of early mechanical men elsewhere in this blog (just enter "robot" in the site search box at left and you'll find two or three dozen related posts on the subject), but failed to include this very fine and early example by William Heath in his March of Intellect series (printed from 1825-1829).
He was particularly bitter about what he saw as an aristocracy of official ruination, and created an unusual steam-driven mechanical man with a book-driven intellect that swept up the great "rubbish" and "dust" of society. At the top of this early robot (preceding the invention of the term by about 100 years) was a pile of books with a "crown of many towers", which was London University, beneath which was a set of gas-light eyes, iron arms, and legs made of printer's tools, sweeping away useless and insulting lawyers and jurists and their legal wigs and obsolete and repetitive rules, medical quacks, and the dust of other official abuses, "sweeping rubbish from the land".
Another near-robotic image by Heath is his pre-Rube Goldberg automatic house, a central feature in the March of the Intellect No.2 (1829) which features fantastic flying machines hovering and screaming past the house.
[Source: Graphic Arts Collection, Princeton University libraries, here]
It isn't a robot unless you consider the entire house as a host for all of the things going on inside itself, and then you have something else entirely.
Johannes Gutenberg just couldn't last long enough to enjoy his vision. His venture--or at least his end of it--went bust after his business partner filed for teh return of his investment, and Gutenberg, not having the cash and with proceeds from the sale of his bible being slower than expected (and so on), was forced to pay off the debt with his business. He certainly got a lot of things right, and his vision was sound and accurate, but his financial planning was just not there. He need some more money-room, as the introduction of movable type printing did not take off as quickly as he would have liked. (THis is true even though it was widely recognized as a major achievement--it was just somewhat slow in taking footholds elsewhere.) Plus, the Gutenberg Bible was an expensive thing, equal to the yearly wages of a skilled mason--had he invested more effort (and paper) into publishing more popular titles, he may have been much better off, and wouldn't in the end wind up losing most everything, and broke.
[Source: Gustave Silbermann, Album typographique, Strassbourg, 1840]
He is hardly alone in the history of science and technology innovators/discoverers/inventors who thought that they could manage the business-end of their scientific/tech expertise. Edison, Ford, Tesla, De Forest, Farnsworth--and I suspect an alphabet of other famous examples--all thought that hey could handle the transaltion of their discovery into the marketplace, but they couldn't. (Edison and Ford had many more successes than failures, but they had a number of interesting/bizarre bad calls as well.)
Anyway, Gutenberg to me is a different case because he got almost everything correct, except for timing the money.
The animated human created by Victor Frankenstein in 20-year-old Mary Shelley's anonymously published Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus was a far more intelligent being than was ever portrayed in the many movies that made the novel famous in the 20th century. “Frankenstein” refers to Dr. Victor, not the creation, who refers to himself as the Adam of his maker's labors (and then later as Victor's Fallen Angel), while elsewhere in the book he is called “it”, as well as “being”, "creature", “daemon”, “Fiend, “monster”, “vile insect” and “wretch”, among other adjectival variants.
“Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous."
Mostly the creation is referred to as a “monster”--the word being used 35 times, mostly in reference to Victor's animated man.
It is difficult to refer to the creation as a “monster” once you get to know him a little—he is exceptionally smart, teaching himself to read, and then reading difficult and complex works with deep understanding, which is hardly something that is expected from what Boris Karloff gave to us.
Ted Nelson had a lot of ideas about computers, though not that many are remembered today, in spite of a bunch of them being pretty smart. (He coined the words "hypertext" and maybe "hyperlink", for example.) In any event there's this little diagram of the possibilities of his "world wide network", which I think no doubt is one of the earliest "maps" of the yet-to-exist internet.
[Picture source: Ted Nelson, Dream Machines (1974) via Alex Wright, Glut, Mastering Information Through the Ages (2007), p 215.]
It is also interesting to see that the frontis illustration for his book uses Tik-tok, a metal/machine character from a series of books by (Oz) L. Frank Baum, this one Tik-tok of Oz (1914).
This cover illustration for Alte Welt und Neue Sterne ("Old World / New Star") really does break through the headlines and into its own space. It is a DDR publication and although my copy has two outer wrappers for decoration and title it has no title page--the celebration skips the necessaries and gets right into the forward and then the crux of the matter, most of which was a high-principled statement of accomplishment and a low-dark anti-American humor in having "lost" the space race. (While Eisenhower golfs, the Soviet Union has launches a new moon, losing not only the apce race but prestige as well--one cartoon places a joyous Khrushchev successfully courting a young woman labelled "Lesser Countries" with a beaming gesture to an orbiting Sputnik as Uncle Sam reels on his heels and drops his going-courtin' flowers in the process. "Wer sonst koennte dir einen Mond schenken" ("Who else can give you a moon?"), proudly offered as commentary that had appeared in the New York Times.
In any event, I just wanted to share the design, which is pretty strong. (The pamphlet is undated but I suspect it was in print immedaitely following the 4 October 1957 launch.)
Johannes Mueller (1801-1858), a heavyweight physiologist/anatomist and idea-adventuring-synthesizer, had the idea that the speed of nerve impulses in humans was about 11,000,000 mps—that's somewhat like the Enterprise's Warp 2, almost two orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light. At about the same time the remarkable and thorough Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894), a universal knowledge guy who knew pretty much everything, a polymath's polymath, had a different idea about this speed, performing a series of elegant experiments and showing the speed to be about 150-300mph.
[This is a detail from an image by the great Santiago Ramon y Cajal ( 1852-1934), who drew the first accurate picture of nerve cells in the cerebellum (found in one convolution of a mammalian cerebellum), which helped formulate his theory that the basic structural unit of the nervous system as the neuron.]
At the time of Mueller's appraisal the speed of the nerve impulse seemed an unknowable entity. I wonder about other unknowables like this and what their estimated speeds might be that might put us more in touch with the major domo Mueller's imaging the impossibility of knowing this reclusive and invisible speed?
What is the speed of attribution? The speed of recognition? Of growth? Of absent love resuscitated? The speed of caring and not so? The speed of being in a space that you want to be in? The speed of imagined motion, of a bending cane, of finding the perfect broken seashell?
Perhaps though the most interesting thing about the idea of speed is the speed of ideas.
An Alphabet of the Suggested Speed of Various Types of Ideas
Abstract idea: 35 mph
Bad ideas: 375 mph
Cryptic ideas: 50 mph
Dangerous ideas: 250 mph
Envious ideas: 350 mph
Fanciful and farcical ideas: 100 mph
Great ideas that are not Your's: 28 mph
Half-an-idea: 150 mph and a buck-two-eighty
Ideas that are not ideas: 200 mph
Jokingly-said ideas that are taken for real ideas: 200 mph
Knowledgeable but sniffily restrictive ideas: 30 mph
Lyrical ideas told in a non-lyrical way: 31.23 mph
Practical ideas that have no direct application: 45 mph
Quixotic, queenly-quizzical, and not understandable ideas: 125 mph
Random idea: 125 mph
Salacious ideas: 450 mph
Tiresome ideas that are really notions: 20 mph
Underthought and underwhelming ideas: 55 mph
Vexating, poorly-ventilated, porous ideas of multiple misunderstandings: 44 mph
Wonderful ideas that belong to someone else: 4 mph
Zealous and impudent ideas: 75mph
Of course I've had some fun with this idea—but it came to me in a flash (at 250 mph) so I went ahead with it. And possibly it delivers some sense of the impossibility of knowing something that even the leading lights of those fields sensed as being unknowable.
Jorge Borges wrote a powerful and wonderful short story called The Library of Babel, where the universe is basically composed of books the center of which is an anti-black-book-hole. I was thinking about this in a waiting room a few hours ago, and thinking of the Infinite in general, all of which somehow led me to the Finite Library and Forgetting.
["The Librarian", is a 1566 work by Giueseppe Archimbaldo, 1526-1593, who painted incredible portraits such as this at a time when expressioin in this form would have been extremely uncommon--his semi-Boschian sense and image palette makes him the Vermeer of constructed object painting, I think.]
In a country set into thin mists, compulsive and repetitive feeding instruments were replaced with Ideaoterias. Rather than an endless maps of interwoven McDonald's restaurants set at predictable intervals, there are libraries.
Each library contains 10,000 books.
All 10,000 books are the same from library to library.
Each location must organize their 10,000 volumes differently, each grouping identifying ideas inherent in the contents of each volume, in support or negation of one another, arranged with other books that were complimentary, or supplementary, or antagonistic, or worse, or better.
4. The organization of thought contained in those 10,000 volumes would be different from location to location, the librarian-explorers having organized the library so that the books were freed into new spaces.
5. The number of books is finite; the infinite aspect is the continuous shifting of material and the expanding structure for the display of ideas. The simplest aspect of this arrangement makes it possible for every book to actually be seen. (Even in cursory browsing the mind has certain expectations of what-come-next when browsing a shelf, sweeping past things that have been swept-past before, rejected or unneeded for whatever reason. The deeper aspect is for the association of ideas by the placement of book, the arrangements suggesting themselves for the reader to have a new experience witn an old idea or book or set of books.
6. The McBorges' Library is a learning, memory, and forgetting experience.
7. Forgetting may be a key to making these libraries an infinite experience: re-re-re-etc.-learning does not imply necessarily that the learned bits will be cumulative, and useful. Maybe the best we can do is have learned and re-learned bits in a new context, making it possible to have more ideas; this means that a certain amount of forgetting is necessary, where that forgetting unleashes existing associations of ideas.
8. At McBorges', forgetting is an important aspect of learning, but really only in regard to what it would take to open the possibilities for new ideas by rearrangement of old relationships. The palaces of memory work hand-in-hand with the Palaces of Forgetting.
If you defined the internet as a transporting device for vast amounts of information and data then perhaps Abdul Kassem Ismael (938-995), the Grand Vizier of Persia, produced such a thing over one thousand years ago. I found the story in Albert Manguel's A History of Reading (a fabulous book published in 1996), who relates that when the Vizier traveled he did so with his library. That was an enormous effort, as ther were 117,000 volumes in the library, all of which were packed up onto 400 camels, and sent on their way.
That camel train--which I imagine must've been 1.5 miles long--was piloted by 400 drivers, and then attended to by an entirely different camel train of support of food and water for the perhaps other 400 people traveling in support, making the whole enterprise 2 miles long or more. The books were all arranged alphabetically, so the drovers maneuvered their camels in a certain way, making them mobile librarians in their way.
In any event, the whole movement of that vast library 1000 years ago can romantically be seen as a sort of internet--for one man.
It seems that this is a mostly not-true story/interpretation of a near-event, but I'm running with the interpretation.
I've come across two telling pieces of ephemera on the history of work, of women and working, and of labor unions, and they both address the textile strike in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1926.
The pamphlet was an appeal to like-minded people to contribute to a fund to help relieve the dire conditions of the textile worker strikers. There were more than 16,000 people involved in this sometimes-brutal strike, people who were trying to stay even in their lives, looking for a little more money and a little better working conditions than what they had. The Passiac (a working city just south of Patterson in an industrial triangle section of the state) strikers were moving against a number of textile (wool and silk) mills there, trying to force management to pay them something closer to the $1400 annual income for a family of four to survive.
Most workers there were making $1,000-$1,200 a year ($800-$1,000 if the worker was a woman, and about half of them were) for 50+ hours of labor per week. The result was that the workers could not afford good housing and food, and those disadvantages paid off in high rates of tuberculosis, very high incidence of child mortality, and a low average life expectancy. The strike began slowly in January 1926, with the mills responding with vicious attacks by paid thugs and by police. It was a long and involved process for the strikers, with the strike lasting its way for another 14 months, finally getting choked out in March 1927. It looks like there were some victories, but those seem mainly pyrrhic to me--at the end of the process many of the strikers were hired back but soon terminated, replaced by other workers who agreed to work for less.
The second item is a broadside--it was the communal effort involved with keeping the strikers (and the strike) going in the face of hunger and goons and police. The strikers needed money to live, as there was certainly no money coming in, and since there was obviously no union, there was no general fund from which any of these families could draw food money from). they needed money just to buy food and pay for housing. So the call for "Give all you can!" and "Give right away!" were as desperate as they sounded. My guess is that there would be a representative of the International Workers Aid society national office going from factory to factory, or door-to-door, soliciting for money for the Passaic workers' relief. The strike was no doubt a very nasty business, with a victory only a victory once there was more food on the table, less illness, and far fewer babies dying from preventable causes. Probably this looked like a victory to others so far as the future of fair labor/pay was concerned, but not so much for the strikers who brought this about.
There's quite a bit written on this strike, and most seem to say that it was an important event in the history of "labor relations", and that it was the first time that a Communist-led strike succeeded in the United States, (There is a complex legacy as to who the leadership was for this strike, but the end result is that, at the end, the Communists were in charge.)
It is also interesting to note that both of these items were given at some point to H.L. Mencken, who gave it right away to the Library of Congress, where it wound up in a forgotten "Pamphlet Collection", and then sold to me (years afterwards).
Eric Mann, a professor at NYU, wrote this unusual pamphlet towards the end of WWII, in the summer of 1944--the end was near but still there was the Ardennes to come and much more fighting, much more bombing, much more of everything. He wrote for the Society for the Prevention of World War III--which caused me to think of when it was that I first remember seeing a reference to "World War III/WWIII", and then the first use of World War II/Second World War, and World War I.
The first mention of the term "World War II" in non-fiction literature/reporting appeared not much earlier than this WWIII term, really--according to Scott Kaufman in The Chronicle,"World War II" appeared in the 31 December 1939 issue of the L.A. Times--just four years before this mention of the third world war. The Oxford English Dictionary locates another source that is slightly earlier; the first use in general is found in the sci-fi novel City of Endless Night in 1920. The term "First World War" predates the conflict itself (OED as 1909) but World War I seems to come into existence about half-way through the war. (The histories of these terms is a little complicated and deserving of their won post, but I think this gets the point across for now.)
This may be an extremely early use of the term "World War III". The term evidently comes up in the British contingency plans for the U.K. and U.S.A. to overtake the Soviet Union at the end of WWII in its Operation Unthinkable, but as that was a, well, secret plan, the WWIII stuff didn't seep out into public very much. "The Society for the Prevention of World War III" began in 1944, and launched its magazine in May of that year, so the seat if the term may actually come about at about that point.
The odd bit about WWIII in this case is that it is in context to the devastated Germany, and not with regard to the Soviet Union, the usual culprit for the initiator of the next Great War. The Society was voraciously opposed to very much leniency in the treatment of Germany post-war, wanting to dismantle the country stick-by-stick, so that it would be impossible for the Germans to launch any wars in the future.
Of course people would have had a difficult time seeing Germany in a Second World War just following the end of the First, that country badly tottering and chained out with reparations and stripped of major industries. But here we are with Mr. Mann foretelling a future war--another World War--begun by Germany while Germany was still very busily involved in destroying itself and millions of others in dragging out the war it was fighting in 1944.
There are reasons many and few and large and small supplied by Mr. Mann in support of his theory--one set of which, though, deserves some special attention. It was his contention that Hitler was seeding "German concentration camps" with "thousands of his most ardent followers" to infiltrate the Allied ranks with Sub Rosa agents taken in with camp survivors. HE maintained that there were dozens of thousands of young women being sexually trained for underground warfare; 60,000 young men being trained for underground warfare based largely on what occupied Allied countries were doing. And so on. These small bits--true or not--were certainly worth thinking about in terms of securing a lasting peace, but the Society's plans were overtaken nearly from the beginning of the end of the war, and then mostly abandoned following the introduction of the Marshall Plan in 1948.
I guess it would be worthwhile to look at the origin of "the war to end all wars", though I expect it to be of great antiquity--the idea if not the actual phrase.