The Stasi Museum in Leipzig, Germany. For those who have never heard of it, the Stasi was the East German Little brother to the Russian NKVD internal security Secret Police. The Stasi maintained a network of informers within both East and West Germany during the Cold War and also maintained dossiers on almost every German, even many in the West. In East Germany (GDR) the Stasi was the government organ responsible for internal security and ferreting out dissidents to the regime. They did this by doing some things that made the Nazi Gestapo look like amateurs.
Below are some of the photos I took in our hasty tour of the museum before it closed.
The exterior of the former Stasi building as you approach it on the street.
Mural of the Coat of Arms of the (Minsitry for State Security) Stasi just inside the entrance to the building.
Machine used by the Stasi to steam open personal letters so their contents could be read in the search for dissidents.
Machine used to seal envelopes that had been opened. The goal was to make it so that people did not know, or at least were not sure, that their mail had been opened.
This machine was used to back-light letters. According to the plaques next to it, this method could sometimes catch microfilm that had been glued underneath the stamp.
Stasi officer’s Wall Locker with equipment.
Stool and camera used to take pictures of inmates held by the Stasi for questioning.
Holding Cell where Stasi detainees were kept, sometimes for months or years before their release.
Kit used by Stasi officers to disguise themselves when performing surveillance of citizens identified as possible regime enemies.
I read The Reagan Diaries when they first came out and had occasion to reread them not long ago when I had nothing better to do. I mainly read the book, not because I am a rabid Reagan conservative, although I have been so accused, but because Reagan was president when I was a kid in Junior and High School and he is also the first political figure who I really paid any attention to while they were in office. I vaguely remember Carter being president, but only because my dad got angry every time his name was mentioned. I learned some of my first curse words when Carter would come on TV.
Reagan was a pretty earth-shaking figure who broke America out of its post-Vietnam malaise and made us realize what a great country we are again. For that alone he should be on the list of great presidents. He is also an almost endless font of pithy quotations. But enough about the man and more about the book.
The book itself consists of Reagan’s entries into his personal diary while he was president. The thing that came through to me while reading the diary entries was the depth of sincerity in them. He truly believed he was doing what he did for the right reasons and his humanity, faith, and earnestness come through in his words. A person does not have to agree with him to realize that he was a selfless person who became president out of a desire to serve his nation instead of personal aggrandizement. The Reagan that you get to know through his diary entries is a man like the rest of us and not a conniving politician as he is often made out to be.
I found the Reagan Diaries to be enjoyable to read and the glimpse they provide into the Reagan administration is illuminating because he is writing for his own benefit and not that of posterity. A very good book that should be of interest to anybody who follows contemporary politics and wants to get to know the man behind so much rhetoric tossed around in the present.
I realized this morning that it has been a while since I posted a book review and I just finished re-reading this book yesterday and thought I would post a review of it.
This is a ghost-written account of Major Knappe’s time in the Wehrmacht between 1936 and his release from Russian captivity in 1949. I first read this book in the mid-90s when it was first released. At the time, I was very much into reading about World War II and thought that reading a book from the German perspective would be enlightening. I was not disappointed with this book. Continue reading →
This is a piece that talks about Marx, The Communist Manifesto, and how or even if, Marxism is still relevant in the contemporary world.
The verdict of history regarding Marxism would seem to be on the side of those who claim that the Marxist program has been a colossal failure. None of the predictions made by Marx in his manifesto have come true, certainly not his central theme in which the masses reap the benefits of an equalization of status in society. It is certain that everywhere Marxism has been tried it has failed China, Russia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Cuba among others. Marxism has failed and failed spectacularly. However, it continues to exert an attraction for those who felt that society should provide for all or that are disenchanted with the capitalist system and fell that there must be some better way of running the world.
David Horowitz made this point extremely well when he pointed out that: “since the ‘Manifesto’ was written… 100 million people have been killed in its name. Between 10 and 20 times that number have been condemned to lives of unnecessary misery and human squalor, deprived of the life chances afforded the most humble citizens of the industrial democracies that Marxists set out to destroy.”Apparently people are not willing to give up their economic autonomy as easily as Marx thought they would be and so they must be forced into doing what Marxists perceive as being in their best interests.
Intervention in Russia: 1918-1920, A Cautionary Tale
Intervention in Russia: 1918-1920, A Cautionary Tale, is a very well written account of a little known part of the First World War. Mr. Hudson writes in the style that I find to be the most readable and enjoyable. Perhaps it is because he is British. I have always found that British historians have a more lyrical and artistic writing style as compared to American historians. Most of my favorite historians are British, whereas Americans tend to make history books dry and boring; the British, and Australians for that matter, can make the most boring subject interesting simply by the style with which they write. Continue reading →