A Daily History of Holes, Dots, Lines, Science, History, Math, the Unintentional Absurd & Nothing |1.6 million words, 7500 images, 4 million hits| Press & appearances in The Times, Le Figaro, MENSA, The Economist, The Guardian, Discovery News, Slate, Le Monde, Sci American Blogs, Le Point, and many other places... 4,200+ total posts
This extraordinary image was found in the November 21, 1918 issue of Illustrated London News--a strong vision celebrating the newly-signed armistice ten days earlier ending WWI. It shows one of the statues at Tulieres--this at the entrance to the garden. Like many statues and buildings and churches, this structure was protected by sandbags--and in this case, the sandbags were decorated with war trophies of German helmets.
"From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose."--Randall Jarrell, formerly of the USAAF
Jarrell explains the poem so: "A ball turret was a plexiglas sphere set into the belly of a B-17 or B-24 and inhabited by two .50 caliber machine guns and one man, a short small man. When this gunner tracked with his machine guns a fighter attacking his bomber from below, he revolved with the turret; hunched upside-down in his little sphere, he looked like the fetus in the womb. The fighters which attacked him were armed with cannon firing explosive shells. The hose was a steam hose."--(Wiki)
I used to think that the belly gunner (in a ball turret) in a B-17 (or B-25, or PB4Y-1) was about the most dangerous/wrenching position to be in an aircraft--that is, until I saw this illustration in the January 1917 issue of Popular Mechanics:
This was just a bad place to be, in a 14'-long bomb-like aluminum casing, hanging from a 3000' 3/8" cable suspended from a Zeppelin, trying to relay the positions of whatever you could find, and with people shooting at you. At least, though, the observer had a woolen mattress on which to lie (so says the caption).
A Possible-reality from the visionary Robert Fludd
[Source: University of Utah, http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/naturae/id/1587/show/1265/rec/1]
Robert Fludd’s (1574-1637), title page for his Utriusque Cosmi . . . Historia (1617) features this complicated astrological wheel with a Vitruvian-man-like image at the vortex of the imaged pulls and pushes of the cosmos. In addition to everything else, real and imagined, Rosicrucianism and astrology and puffy-birds, Fludd, who was an English physician, delved deeply into the real stuff of the world in this book in addition to all of the other make-believe--optics, the musical intervals, perspective drawing, hydraulic engineering, construction of lifting machines, military engineering and many other interesting, physical science topics. But this drawing, right there on the title page, reveals Fludd’s real interests and shows what governs what he does. Everything else, the math and and the physics, services this need. Of course the image is beautiful, which is why it is here, but it is also a deeply personal, exploitative, cover-all for the things that Fludd wanted to find.
But there is a lot of other interesting, and potentially-applicable, real-world stuff and proposals in the book as we can see in the exotic and wonder-full image of the high-Renaissance "tank" that leads this short post. I'm not so sure that this thing would actually move--I assume that it has wheels or something in the front part to help it move along, otherwise that weapon would go nowhere. Even if it was assumed to be mobile, I wonder about whether four horses is enough to move along something that size plus six canon and at least three men. Even with 5'/6' wheels, it seems not so likely that this would roll across a battlefield. All that said, this did exist in the realm of possibility, and Fludd had much else. Since I've been doing research on the first battlefield appearances of tanks, this one particular image caught my attention.
Here's a map the meaning of which was destined to be understood by even the most casual observer. It appeared on a propaganda leaflet distributed by the U.S. 8th Army and shows the Allied bombing campaign against Germany from 29 March to 4 April, 1945. (Most of the action depicted here looks to be the U.S.A.A.F., though I haven't gone through each and every bombing location. I do know that in the last two weeks of the war that the Soviets used about as much bomb tonnage on Germany as was used by the Allies over the preceding two years.) The red lines show the destination of bombing raids, of which there are many for a seven day period, and for my reckoning this is not a complete listing.
Perhaps this leaflet would have been even more provocative if it represented the number of planes on average that would participate in one of these missions, which would of course would be in general hundreds of aircraft. For example, for the raid on Hamburg on March 30 there were over 530 aircraft involved; and for the same location on the next day, another 469. Also there were another five raids on Hamburg over the week following this one depicted, including one on April 8/9 with 440 aircraft. Also this week of raids takes place right after and before other series of massive raids, including a mission over Berlin on February 3 1945 involving 1000 B-17s and 575 Mustangs, followed 11 days later by the bombing of Dresden, which was followed three weeks later by incredible bombing of Tokyo. And later, on April 14, more than 2200 aircraft would take to the air. As impressive and scary as this leaflet looks, it doesn't really begin to approximate the amount of damage inflicted on Germany from the air. (One last example--the large raid on Crailsheim, where I happen to have been born, destroyed about 80% of the small city.)
The title Eine Woch ueber Deutschland ("One Week Over Germany") must have been disturbing for a soldier to read--particularly with the corollary at bottom, which stated that there was no German response so far as bombing England in retaliation was concerned. By this point, the German soldier knew the situation was FUBAR, though I do not know if there is a good German translation for that.
The Spanish Secret (Underground) Newspaper “Reconquest of Spain”, which is being Printed in Madrid, Has Arrived in Algiers and Publishes an Appeal of the Supreme Council of the National Union, Which Has Just been Received in Mexico, is a rare offset publication--five leaves long and approximately 1500 words--was which published in December 1943, and which seems to be a general call-to-arms to overthrow the Spanish right-wing leader Francisco Franco (still dead after all of these years). The Spanish Civil war was overwhelmingly over by 1939, though there was still considerable resistance to Franco--much of that at this point (1943) not in Spain. The Spanish government for their part were busy trying to keep their non-neutral neutrality at an optimum price and profit, selling material to the Nazis, and holding out for a more-beneficial payout to themselves from Hitler for joining the Axis outright, which never did happen. The publication refers to an underground secret newspaper called the "reconquest of Spain", which I guess would be simply called the Reconquista, which in recently history would have referred to the fight against Franco from 1936 to 1939, and also ()in the deeper past) the 700-year-long fight to establish a Christian kingdom in Spain free of Islamic occupation (ca. 700-1500). Unfortunately my knowledge of Spain during WWII regarding the Republican fight is extremely limited, and so I can't say anything further about the newspaper--I'm not even sure if this publication below is a reprint of the text of the newspaper (which it seems to be, perhaps) or not. In any event, here's some samples from the publication:
[Provenance: from the estate of Alexander Uhl, Associated Press reporter in Spain during the Revolution. WorldCat/OCLC locates 0 copies.]
“We are uniting to fight, to mobilize the Spanish people in the defense of its very life, to radically extirpate the foreign domination from the soil of Spain…”
“Franco in Power is the death of Spain…”
"This is a wartime call to Spaniards to honor their fatherland and overthrow the Nazis and Franco..."
“Spaniards! In criminal combination with the foreign master, the Cabinet of lackeys is killing Spain. It was promising great riches to the Fatherland and has subjected Spain to vassalage. It had claimed prosperity to the country and the country is in ruins… "
“The nation is groaning, gagged, deprived of liberty…”
“…the execution squads are irrigating with Spanish blood the sacred soil of the fatherland…”
“Over the gloomy background, while the victorious armies of the United Nations are opening for themselves a road to Berlin, a million Spaniards, following the footsteps of death and disgraceful infamy of the Blue Division, can be cast in the hecatomb by the criminal will which Franco has publicly invoked…”
“We are uniting to fight, to mobilize the Spanish people in the defense of its very life, to radically extirpate the foreign domination from the soil of Spain…”
“It is not a fight of internal tendencies, but a united attack of the entire nation in order to recover its independence and its sovereignty…”
“We are inviting publicly, solemnly, the Spaniards who profess other political creeds and most especially the Catholics of the two branches and the army, to participate with us in the Supreme Council of the National Union…to overthrow Franco and the Phalange…”
“No honorable Spaniard can fail the call of his Fatherland…and can honor themselves by taking part in this genuine crusade of liberation which today demands unanimous national effort. No desertion will make us lower the colors…”
S.H.A.E.F. Mission (Netherlands) Political Intelligence Report No. 5. For Fortnight ending 14 February 1945.
Intelligence from the Liberated Netherlands.
This is a situation report conducted for the Office of Strategic Services (the O.S.S.) on the social and economic conditions in the Netherlands, including the situations on food, fuel, living conditions, attitudes of the population towards U.S. soldiers, and so on. This is a fragile, offset production, and not at all found in the WorldCat/OCLC, which means that no copy of this exists in libraries around the world. The work is annotated "OSS", stamped "R & A Library" and also stamped on the verso of last sheet "received CID 1945 Mar 3 PM", which means that the paper was received by the Central Information Division of the Office of Strategic Services, the Research and Analysis Branch. The provenace of the paper therefore is the O.S.S. (the precursor to the C.I.A.), and then on to the Library of Congress. [13x8", 3 leaves/5pp.]
Given the rarity and its interesting nature, I've reproduced the document, below.
This rare report asserts and outlines all manner of Nazi war crimes committed against the Soviet Union to April 1943 and issues an official call to keep track of every horror in the form of the Extraordinary State Commission to Investigate Nazi Atrocities via a decree of the Supreme Soviet. At this point the German attack against the U.S.S.R. was nearly two years old and involved the majority of the German army; in April 1943 nearly 4 million German soldiers were waging war against about 10,000,000 Soviets in the largest military campaign in history, ultimately costing the lives of 10 million Soviets and 5 million Germans, with millions more on each side being MIA and captured--staggering numbers.In the midst of all of this the Germans flayed the Soviet Army, people, and land, and the Russians were very highly decided that now that the turning of the offensive was in sight (now just a few months after the great victory at Stalingrad),that they would absolutely not forget anything that the Germans did there. This fragile pamphlet was one announcement of this intention.
I've attached the full pamphlet, below, a text-only reproduction from the Internet Archive--I would reproduce my copy with the full flavor of the original except that it might not survive being opened and folded flat over the scanner.
Some of the prominent statements in the pamphlet include the murder of the civilian population as well as their enslavement. Lastly, at the end of this grim spectacle, there is a section naming the German officers responsible for the mass of killing and torture.
"the murder of peaceful citizens and the violation of defenceless citizens, women, children and old folk by the invaders, and also of facts relating to the exportation of Soviet people into German slavery"
"destroying monuments of art and culture of the plundering valuable artistic and historical documents, demolishing buildings and stealing the valuable property of various religious bodies."
"losses inflicted by the marauding and plundering activities of the German Fascist invaders on collective farms, co-operatives, trade union and other social organisations by the plunder and destruction of buildings, devices and equipment designed for production and cultural purposes, by the plunder or destruction of stores of raw and other materials, products and goods, agricultural crops, forests, fruit, vegetables, etc., and other collective farm and co-operative property"
"...torturing and murdering peaceful citizens. They are plundering wholesale the population of towns and villages and exporting the personal property of Soviet citizens, accumulated by their honest labour, to Germany, together with collective and State farm property."
And this incredible statement of truth:
"the German-Fascist Army mercilessly destroys Soviet towns and villages, engages in violence, torture and the tormenting and murder of non-combatant citizens as well as of Soviet war prisoners. History has never before witnessed such mass extermination of human beings as that perpetrated by the German-Fascist invaders. " There is a full section on the "Murder and Torture of Soviet Civilians".
There's much more if you give the work a full reading.
[Source: Internet Archive, https://archive.org/stream/investigationofn00unse/investigationofn00unse_djvu.txt]
This is another in this blog's reprint series of rare and semi-non-existent pamphlets. Although this pamphlet has a somewhat lazy title it does get the point of its contents across, which was mostly how to recognize and challenge Fifth Column work by the Nazis. It is only 15 pages long but there's actually a lot of good common sense on what to do with propaganda--it is really just an invitation to think for yourself. I couldn't find any reference to this online, and there are no copies of the work found in WorldCat/OCLC. Here it is, in full: Download Reprint series-- You Can Outwit Goebbels:
Today this document put the "living" into history--or at least it did for me. Given how much reading I've done in this area and the amount of exposure I've had to the literature, I knew a fair amount around the edges of this publication. I remember Myron Taylor--a major domo FDR fixit favorite, a wealthy industrial, who was sent on missions for Roosevelt through the mid-1930's and throughout the war. The "refugee problem" referred to in the title was not the internal U.S. dustbowler issue but the gigantic European refugee catastrophe that was very well established by the date of the publication of this paper for Taylor's address on November 25, 1938. I guess that "problem" was not incorrectly used in the title though by 1938 what was happening to stateless and endangered populations in Europe was far more than that, given what was happening in Germany in 1938, all of which was bad for the Jewish population there--and then in Austria, and then Czechoslovakia.
[Scroll down to the end for the rest of the report.]
I hadn't realized how close in time this was to the failed international conference at Evian, where Taylor was the U.S. representative. Evian was the 32-nation conference in which critical interest was expressed in the refugee disaster, but after a week spent on the topic, and in spite of a wide expression of sympathy for the situation of the Jews, there was hardly any actual movement to do anything about the crisis of saving those people--only two countries (Equador and Costa Rica, I think) agreed to expand their immigration quotas. This outcome of course was perfectly well designed for the Nazis, who made a large journalistic play of the affair, citing that national representatives got together and expressed some concern for the Jews but didn't care enough about them to actually do anything.
None of this came out in the Taylor address (reproduced in full, below). In discussing the refugees he says "The victims of these developments are of many faiths,--Catholic, Jewish and Protestant" and mentions the "urgency" to find homes for hundreds of thousands of people.
He goes on to say that chances for helping the afflicted in Germany within Germany were "dimming"--and what he was talking about was the bettering treatment of these groups of people by the Nazis so that a more orderly multi-year emigration plan could be worked out.
Given that in March of 1938 the Nazis annexed Austrian and made another 200,000 Jews stateless by enacting the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, and that the Nazis seized the Sudetenland in August 1938 making another 120,000 Jews stateless, and that just weeks before this address the massive Kristallnacht Pogrom was initiated throughout Germany--that, yes, there was reason to believe that figuring out a four-year evacuation plan was "dimming". For whatever reason, Taylor mentions none of this in this speech.
On the immigration issue in general Taylor tells his audience not be afraid of a "flooding" of immigrants ("with aliens of any race or creed"), as he thinks that it is possible to work with the refugees within the existing highly restrictive quota State Department framework. Given the numbers of people in question and the relatively paltry numbers allowed by the quotas, I do not have any idea as to how Taylor at this point could hope to achieve any of his goals except by somehow cajoling Hitler into giving a suitable number of years allowance to the problem so that the rest of the world could work stuff out.
And even though Taylor was freshly returned from Evian and the issue of the Jewish plight in Germany and its conquered lands, there is only one mention of Jews in this address.
The response of the U.S. to the refugee problem and then to the Holocaust is Very Highly Problematic, or at least so until 1944, when the mass extermination of the Jews and other people was a know quantity for at least a full year, and the U.S. began to act with real urgency.
How Taylor spoke with such a vanilla nothingness at such a pivotal time is unknown to me.
My copy of this paper was in the White House library for a little while--it was sent from there to the Library of Congress after keeping it for four months or so--presumably the WH had another copy, or had absorbed it, or felt it not-useful, or something else. No one will ever know.
The marks in each of the squares below represents one aircraft--and as a matter of fact if you click on one of the 25-square squares you will be able to zoom in and see the detail, which is basically missing at this level. Germany lost (meaning destroyed or damaged beyond repair) "76,875 aircraft, of which 40,000 were total losses and the remainder significantly damaged. By type, losses totaled 21,452 fighters, 12,037 bombers, 15,428 trainers, 10,221 twin-engine fighters, 5,548 ground attack, 6,733 reconnaissance, and 6,141 transports" (According to the "Equipment Losses" for WWII on Wiki.) The aircraft graphic uses images of German aircraft--I would much rather have display U.S. and/or U.K. aircraft losses, but that could not be done using the German plane images. (The U.K. lost more than 42,000 planes, and the U.S. 95,000.) So for right now, we'll just have the German graphic, the source of which is the 7 September 1940 issue of the Illustrated London News, which displayed one thousand destroyed German aircraft brought down over Great Britain in 28 days (see here):
JF Ptak Science Books (Expanded version of Post 485 from 2008)
This photograph--a picture of hope soon dissipated--shows the 1918 portion of the Russian Revolutions of 1917 at just about the time of its, well, “completion”, beginning the period of the Russian Civil War, which would last until the creation of the USSR in 1922. (The photo is also part of a News Photo Service archive I purchased some years ago in, and was originally released by the Western Newspaper Union.) Alexander Kerensky, who according to the stamped caption of this photograph, was leading an army of “200,000 marching on Petrograd” in order to overthrow “Lenine [sic] and Trotsky” and the “Bolsheiki Revolution”. Kerensky (1881-1970) was elected second Prime Minister of the Russian Provisional Government under Lenin following the February (1917) Revolution. A complex of war (WWI) and domestic/social/political directed chaos led Kerensky and Lenin to opposing paths, and, following the October 1917 revolution, the winner was clear. Kerensky, according to the data on the photo, was a “David” leading an army in opposition deposed to toppling the Bolsheviks “next week”. Things did not go as planned, or almost nothing did, and Kerensky’s army drifted, walked and ran, via indifference, fear and belief to the side of the Bolsheviks. About the only soldiers who stayed loyal to Kerensky was the 1st Petrograd Women’s Battalion, a unit of the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death. (This was the first all-female combat unit in Russia, and although starting out with about a force of 2,000, quickly wasted away under the rigorous and harsh command of its commander, Maria Bochkareva*, down to about a fighting group of 300.) Kerensky fled the country and began a long series of travels, though ultimately settling in the United States, dying in NYC in 1970 (making him one of the longest surviving principal participants of the Revolutions).
St. Petersburg/Petrograd has a long and important history in the formation of the Russian nation—established in 1703 as the capital of the Russian Empire and remaining so for more than 200 years, it was also the seat of the 1905 Revolution as well as the February and October revolutions of 1917. Another bit of full-circle was that Kerensky and Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) were both born in the not-large town of Simbirsk (now called Ulyanovsk). Kerensky’s father, as it turned out, taught Lenin at the Kazan State University, a great institution of higher learning featuring non-other than the principal founder of non-Euclidean geometry, Nikolai Lobachevsky, as its rector for almost twenty years (1827-1846).
[The text for the photo stamped on its back]
*This interesting, severe, passionate woman through intrigue and loss wound up fleeing the Soviet Union in 1918, winding up in NYC and ultimately meeting with Woodrow Wilson, appealing for American support and intervention to halt the Bolsheviks. She made the same appeal directly to George V, before winding up back in the Soviet Union, where, in 1918, she was captured. She was ultimately tried and convicted of being an enemy of the people, sentence to death, and then killed by the precursor to the KGB, the Chaka.
Henri de Kerillis, a French WWI hero and right-wing/nationalist politician, published this short screed on the failure of the four left-wing/radical/socialist governments that came and went in France over 18 months, beginning in June 1932. (That would be the failed governments of Herriot, Boncour, Daladier, and Sarrault.) de Kerillis states that there has been no government in France over the last 18 months and doesn't see that there will be any change to that, and given that (as he says) there is a possibility of financial collapse and the open preparations for war by Hitler, that the time was ripe for a different political direction. When the country votes left, he says, you can expect a disaster.
Kerillis was an ardent and vocal anti-Fascist, opposed to the Munich Agreement and always opposed to Hitler. He was forced to leave France in 1940, and was sentenced to death in abstentia by the Vichy government, which I take is a mark of high honor.
I haven't seen very many pro-Jewish soldiers printed during the war--especially one in which states that "Hitler's armies murdered five million civilians in Europe. They killed two million Jews", which is also unusual, especially in 1944. It seemed to me that since there are only six copies located in libraries worldwide (this via WorldCat/OCLC, with only two of those copies in the U.S.) I thought it might be useful to surface the pamphlet.
1,000,000 Jews in the Armies of Freedom. Printed in Melbourne, McLaren, Jewish Council to Combat Fascism and Anti-Semitism ca. 1944, my copy received by the Library of Congress in January 1945) 8x4”, 6pp, (tri-folded sheet of paper).
Here's a wonderful British-stiff-upper-lip poster, a play on the Alec Guinness The Mouse that Roared, replacing the "mouse " part, and winding up with The Lion That Roared.The poster comes from 1942 and for all intents and purposes is correct, except that the lion was roaring at least since 1940--the difference is that the lion got bigger and roar-ier. The British navy was always far and away more powerful than Germany's, and although out-numbered in aircraft for the first year and a half or so of the war, Germany was pretty much hopelessly behind by late 1941 and certainly 1942. In any event the poster tells a good and fairly accurate story to the passersby in London in 1942.
[Source: Z. Zeman, Selling the War, Art and Propaganda in World War II (1978).]
This is a detail of 10% or so of a document here, something that was printed regarding the socio-political temper of the liberated Netherlands in February 1945.
And so: "S.H.A.E.F. Mission (Netherlands) Political Intelligence Report No. 5. (For Fortnight ending 14 February 1945) Intelligence from the Liberated Netherlands" are the running headers. And of course there's the "S-E-C-R-E-T" part of it, no doubt necessary then but hardly now. The paper includes a report on food and fuel and living conditions, labour and employment, attitude of the population to the Netherlands government, attitude of the population to Allied troops, and so on. What I found very interesting besides the report are the trails of where the document has been.
First, here's the front page of the document in full:
To interpret, SHAEF was "Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces"--the hand annotations and stamps do say where the document has been. First off, we'll start with the stamp on the back, which may have been the first stamp overall:
The paper was received by the CID on 1945 Mar 3--now the CID could have been a number of things but when placed in context with the notes on the front, the CID becomes the "Central Information Division", which was the O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services, and the precursor to the C.I.A.) and the R & D ("Research and Analysis Branch"). Underneath the hand-written "O.S.S" is a most-erased name, a Lt. Col. ________. This is where the Found-Art comes in, because here I tried my trickery and foolery to pull out the name, but I failed, only being able to grab a couple of letters. The result though was interesting in itself, if not for who Lt. Col. ______ was. And so, there you have it, a little exercise that went off into the rabbit hole, producing something interesting but not useful. That happens a lot.