The Duffel Blog: If you have ever been in the military, especially if you were an NCO, you will get some awesome belly laughs from the fictional but could be true satire on this site.
Last Spring I did a presentation to my local Military History group about the Crete Campaign of 1941 and figured that since I now have the time I would put something up here about it as well because I find the whole campaign to be a comedy of errors by both sides in this misguided, ill-conceived, and poorly executed excuse for a battle. First, we should examine the strategic situation in May of 1941.
In May 1941 England had been run out of Greece with its tail between its legs and was using Crete as both a staging ground for evacuation and they were hoping like hell they could hold it and stop the Mediterranean, or at least the eastern part from turning into a German Lake. For their part, Germany did not know what to do. They were in the last stages of planning the attack on Stalin’s Russia set to commence in June but in the meantime they had all these troops hanging out in Greece with nothing to do. The possession of Crete would have conferred no strategic or even operational advantage to the Germans as the British still controlled Malta and the British navy still controlled the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Continue reading
Obama: Nuclear deal blocks Iran’s path to bomb In an ironic twist showing that the 60+ years since World War II have only fostered institutional amnesia the US and five other powers buckled and agreed to appease Iran in talks about its nuclear program. Agreeing that sanctions will be eased in return for Iran behaving US Secretary of State John Kerry channeled former British Prime minister Neville Chamberlain by paraphrasing him and tweeting:
Agreement in Geneva: first step makes world safer. More work now. -JK #IranTalks
— Department of State (@StateDept) November 24, 2013
I just wonder if he is going to wave a piece of paper around when he gets home too?
Has the world really forgotten that appeasing tyrannical regimes is a recipe for getting heartbroken and sore? Why would any sane, rational person think for a minute that Iran would give up the nuclear program they have defended so fiercely over the past decade+ in return for access to less than $10 billion dollars of oil revenue? My guess is that Iran already has enough fissile material for at least one but probably more bombs and thus it suits them to play nice right now in return for concessions. Remember, Hitler agreed to only take the Sudetenland in September of 1938, because he was not quite ready for war. But then he turned around and occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in spring 1939 and kicked off World War II less than a year later.
Should I be worried about being recalled to active duty to go fight in the next world war?
[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own]
Smithsonian Civil War: Inside the National Collection is an amazing look at the Civil War Era holdings of what many people call America’s Attic.
The book itself is a large coffee-table glossy format and is 368 pages long with an object list and index. Each section starts with an explanatory note about the objects chosen to illuminate the theme. This is essentially a museum in a book.
The sheer variety of items presented in this volume is amazing. What makes it especially interesting is that many of these are items that are in storage because the Smithsonian simply does not have the display space for everything they hold. One of the best things about museums are the artifacts, which tell stories in themselves. I have always had a sense of wonder and awe when I visit museums and see items that were there when great events happened. This book is full of such items. The array of items shown in the book is amazing in itself from the Death Mask of Lincoln to a Union soldier’s picture frame made from a piece of the ubiquitous hardtack that soldiers lived on during campaigns.
This is not a book that you will pick up once, look through and then put down to never pick back up. This is a book that you will keep in your living room and pick up at random to look at pieces of American history. This book is not only worth buying for personal use, it would make an excellent gift for someone who has even a token interest in the Civil War. I highly recommend this book for both history buffs and those uninterested in history as it presents the opportunity to introduce people to a seminal period of American history and awakening an interest in not just American History but history in general.