Tag: WWII

Friday Digging (and Cooking) for Victory Post: V-E Day +75!

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of Ricochet, I bring you across-the-pond greetings from Auntie Pat (97 in July, may she live forever). She wishes you a very happy V-E day, thanks those of you with WWII service members in your families, hopes you are well, and that you have a very nice summer and Fourth of July. She’s currently locked down and holding her own in a facility in Birmingham in the UK.

National Former POW Recognition Day

 

Today, April 9, 2020, is National Former POW Recognition Day. President Trump issued the annual proclamation yesterday. This may seem like an odd day, disconnected from familiar weekends or events, but it is a very specific date, fraught with terrible significance.

March 28, 1988, President Reagan signed Public Law 100-269, “A joint resolution designating April 9, 1988, and April 9, 1989, as ‘National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day.’

Whereas the United States has fought in many wars;

History and the Vector of Shame

 

Perhaps you have seen the meme that shows WWII soldiers and says something along the lines of “they stormed the beaches for us, we’re just being asked to stay on our couches.” As far as exhortations to stay home go, I suppose it is one of the less annoying and more anodyne ones, but it’s still full of a smug, pompous, and scornful shame directed at us today, extolling the virtues of our honored ancestors over and against the alleged sins of our current generation.

It absolutely reeks of the sort of derision that says “not only are you no better than them, but you’re actually likely a great deal worse since we have to nanny you into staying in your own home.” It is an appeal to heroic nostalgia for a sepia-toned and non-existent past, where somehow the people were “more real,” more manly (or womanly) than today. Putting aside my general annoyance with such nannyism, as a perpetual student of history, I also have to cry foul over the comparison and call it what it is: bilge.

Member Post

 

SF authors are generally viewed as being mainly concerned with the future, but Connie Willis is more interested in the past…and, particularly, the way in which the past lives in the present. Her novels and short stories explore this connection using various hypothetical forms of time displacement. In Lincoln’s Dreams, a young woman starts having […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

John Garand: The Forgotten History of the Man Who Invented the Iconic M1 Garand Rifle

 

“In my opinion, the M1 rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised.” —  General George S. Patton

Today is John Garand’s Birthday! Any gun nut – er, “firearms enthusiast” – worth their salt has heard of the M1 Garand (it rhymes with “errand,” by the way). This .30-06 semi-automatic rifle is one of the most iconic American firearms of all time, and was the standard-issue weapon for American infantry troops during World War II and the Korean War. Drill teams and honor guards continue to use this in the present day, such is its role as a symbol of the American military.

Fewer, however, know about the life story of the man behind the weapon – John Garand, a Canadian-American engineer and weapons designer. Born one of a whopping 12 children on a Quebec farm, Garand’s father relocated the entire family to Connecticut following the untimely death of the clan’s mother in 1899. All six boys in the family had the official first name St. Jean le Baptiste, however, John Garand was the only one of them who used “Jean” as his first name. The other five used their middle names.

Book Review: British Intelligence Gathers Germany’s Secrets

 

When World War II started, British Intelligence embarked on one of the war’s most audacious information-gathering projects.

They outfitted cells in the Tower of London for prisoners of war to secretly eavesdrop on inhabitants’ conversations.

“The Walls Have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World War II” by Helen Fry, tells what happened.

Member Post

 

I don’t know the answer to the question and so I am asking it with the hope that there is someone here who knows the law governing the European Union. Boris Johnson has been “ordered” by a rump majority in Parliament to request an extension of Brexit in just over two weeks. He is to […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America reflect on the 75th anniversary of D-Day and applaud President Trump’s address at Normandy.  They also discuss Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden walking back his position change on the Hyde Amendment and facing criticism from his rivals for not backing  taxpayer-funded abortions. And they get a kick out of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly telling allies she would rather defeat President Trump and then see him prosecuted than have the House launch impeachment proceedings.

The Winds of War: Herman Wouk Dead at 103

 

He was many things. A gag writer, a sailor at war, a novelist, the grandson of a rabbi. But above everything else, he was a storyteller. Herman Wouk has died at age 103.

He is best remembered for his breakthrough novel, The Caine Mutiny, and an epic pair of television mini-series The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Caine won the 1951 Pulitzer and was made into a classic film starring Humphrey Bogart as the mentally unstable Captain Queeg.

His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants who settled in New York. When his maternal grandfather joined them he took over the boy’s education in the Talmud. Although he resented it at the time his faith would become an integral part of his writing. In an age when it was fashionable for writers to look skeptically at religion or dismiss it entirely, Wouk embraced it. He would later call his grandfather and the United States Navy the two most important influences in his life.

This Week’s Book Review – Code Name: Lise

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday.

Book Review

“Code Name: Lise” reads like a thriller and a romance, yet is solid history

By MARK LARDAS

Apr 9, 2019

A Family – A Life – A Republic

 

I started the New Year 2019, with goals — you know, the usual. Get in shape, eat better, exercise, and purge all the junk. By junk, I mean discarding old business info, tax returns, and loads of saved memorabilia. There is the dilemma. I have boxes and bags and volumes of family photos. I have the physical snapshots of a life. Mine. It will take time to sort through, and I am wondering how others deal with purging, organizing and passing on a lifetime of assorted collections?

I was looking at the photos I do have on display in my house. There’s my dad as an MP at a check post in occupied Japan. There’s two of my Uncle Al as a soldier before the ruins of a bombed out Germany. My aunt said my relatives went in later — they were young, when the war was wrapping up, as part of the rescue teams. My Uncle Bo was deployed to Italy during the reign of Mussolini – no pictures.

My much older cousin passed 19 months ago. My other cousin (her sister) and I speak regularly by phone now. Her voice has that melodic sound to me that is distinctive of a sweet memory — of a relative from childhood who when you hear it, reminds you of your heritage, your history. I love talking to her. Yet in our conversations, she tells me of things I did not know — disturbing things.

74 Years Ago Today

 

LST-460 at Guadalcanal.

My father lost two first cousins in the Second World War. One was lost in the sinking of the USS Indianapolis in July 1945. The other was killed in a Kamikaze attack on his ship, LST-460, 74 years ago today.

Member Post

 

This month of Thanksgiving was marked by the quiet passing from this world into the next, of someone who risked her life to save members of the Jewish Resistance during a time when pure evil threatened everyone in its path. With determination and courage to fight back, this small group of nuns stepped out to […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

The Phobia(s) That May Destroy America

 

I am continually dismayed by the level of fear, contempt, and anger that many educated/urban/upper-middle-class people demonstrate toward Christians and rural people (especially southerners). This complex of negative emotions often greatly exceeds anything that these same people feel toward radical Islamists or dangerous rogue-state governments. I’m not a Christian myself,  but I’d think that one would be a lot more worried about people who want to cut your head off, blow you up, or at a bare minimum shut down your freedom of speech than about people who want to talk to you about Jesus (or Nascar!)

It seems that there are quite a few people who vote Democratic, even when their domestic and foreign-policy views are not closely aligned with those of the Democratic Party, because they view the Republican Party and its candidates as being dominated by Christians and “rednecks.” This phenomenon has become even more noticeable of late, with the vitriolic attitude of certain prominent “conservatives” toward Trump supporters as a class.

What is the origin of this anti-Christian anti-“redneck” feeling? Some have suggested that it’s a matter of oikophobia … the aversion to the familiar, or “the repudiation of inheritance and home,” as philosopher Roger Scruton uses the term. I think this is doubtless true in some cases: the kid who grew up in a rural Christian home and wants to make a clean break with his family heritage, or the individual who grew up in an oppressively conformist Bible Belt community. But I think such cases represent a relatively small part of the category of people I’m talking about here. A fervently anti-Christian, anti-Southern individual who grew up in New York or Boston or San Francisco is unlikely to be motivated by oikophobia. Indeed, far from being excessively familiar, Christians and Southern people are likely as exotic to him as the most remote tribes of New Guinea.

Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review Biography offers intimate look at WWII fighter pilot By MARK LARDAS […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review ‘Persian Gulf Command’ shows WWII roots of state turmoil By MARK […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

Darkest Hour: Movie vs. War Cabinet Minutes

 

Winston Churchill once tossed off a line to the effect that history would be kind to him because he intended to write it. The prophecy has been largely borne out, due in no small part to those writings. Churchill’s six-volume history of World War II did much to create his reputation for defiant courage—but also the enduringly unflattering one of his immediate predecessor as Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain (nicknamed “Old Umbrella” by his colleagues).

The movie Darkest Hour, with Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Actor (Gary Oldman), is very much in the Churchillian tradition, with the protagonist presented as a lonely and unpopular voice for fighting on no matter what. Ironically, however, Churchill never publicly referred to the conflict in the War Cabinet that is at the heart of the movie—whether to carry on the war against Germany alone or seek terms for ending it.

Nonetheless, there certainly was such a conflict, which we know because detailed minutes of War Cabinet meetings were kept. The historian John Lukacs used them to write his fine book, Five Days in London: May 1940 (1999), and they can be found online (though not easily) in the United Kingdom National Archives. The minutes confirm the standard accounts of Churchill’s eloquence and courage, but they tell a story quite different from the movie, and more interesting. They show Churchill deftly maneuvering to avoid a breach in his government; and for another man, and an unlikely one at that, the minutes tell a tale of some redemption.

Quote of the Day: “They Can Kill You, But They Can’t Eat You…”

 

“They can kill you, but they can’t eat you…”

I have heard the above quote all my life. My father said it regularly, so did my grandfather. I will even say it myself from time to time. These types of quotes are in the ether, we inherit them from our forefathers, friends, family, acquaintances, and society at large. This one has something to do with living through tough times. It always sounded incomplete to me. Obviously, if they can kill you, what is stopping them from eating you? Manners? If they were impolite enough to kill you, I am sure that manners would not stop them from eating you if they were so inclined. There was obviously a second part of the quote, a rejoinder that would make the first part make sense. Something lost, something forgotten, something that when I asked around nobody knew.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

 

Doris “Dorie” Miller was a Mess Attendant working on the USS West Virginia. Like most mornings, he rose before dawn for a dreary day of hauling trash, scrubbing dishes and prepping food for the battleship’s cook. While collecting the crew’s laundry, the General Quarters alarm sounded. Ships have drills all the time — even on Sunday mornings — but a sailor still must answer the call.

However this time he couldn’t get to his designated battle station. The torpedo-twisted metal proved this alarm was for real.

With nowhere else to report, Dorie ran to the deck to see what was happening. Being a former fullback for his Waco, Texas high school, one of the officers told him to carry the wounded to safety. Soon he was told the ship’s captain was seriously wounded and trapped on the bridge. After bringing the mortally-wounded officer through the fire and blood to a safer place, Dorie saw a .50 caliber Browning without a gunner.