Holocaust History: A Sinister Organization

By the time Operation Barbarossa kicked off in June 1941 and rolled across the East, Heinrich Himmler’s Schutzstaffel, or SS for short, controlled law and order in the police state that was the Third Reich. It all began in 1936 when Hitler appointed Himmler Chief of the German Police; he also retained his position as head of the SS. Himmler immediately set about creating new ministries under the umbrella of the SS that eventually controlled all aspects of policing in the Reich.… Read More Holocaust History: A Sinister Organization

Stalin, FDR, and the Truth about U.S. Lend Lease Aid to the USSR

U.S.-Soviet relations prior to U.S. involvement in World War II, in particular the relationship between President Franklin Roosevelt and Stalin, are often overlooked. FDR proposed the idea of assisting the Soviet Union a full nine months before Pearl Harbor after he received intelligence that a German attack on the USSR was imminent. After Operation Barbarossa began, there were many in the President’s administration and Congress who thought it a big gamble to aid the Russians with one Soviet city after another falling to the Wehrmacht during the summer 1941. Ultimately the President was able to convince Congress that it was worth the risk… Read More Stalin, FDR, and the Truth about U.S. Lend Lease Aid to the USSR

Unsung Heroes: The 81st Infantry Division “Wildcats” at Angaur and Peleliu

Operation Stalemate II has gone down in history as one of the bloodiest and most controversial American actions in the Pacific during World War II. The fighting on Peleliu is enshrined in Marine Corps history as one of its most difficult and savage battles. Today Peleliu rightly holds a place alongside Iwo Jima and Tarawa in Corps lore. The taking of “Bloody Peleliu” is inexorably associated with the 1st Marine Division. Contemporary film productions, such as the HBO miniseries The Pacific, as well as History Channel programs and others have highlighted the efforts and losses of the Marines on Peleliu. The campaign, while joint service in nature, was planned and commanded primarily by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Consequently, the first widely read narratives on the subject were those produced by Navy and Marine Corps commanders, whose works were naturally tainted by their own bias, perspective, and experiences. These factors have cemented the role of the Corps in the campaign in the minds of many lay historians. While the Marine Corps has received well deserved acclaim for its performance in the Palau Islands operations, the equally significant contributions of the U.S. Army in the same campaign have on the contrary been relegated to almost anecdotal status. Without the often ignored yet significant contributions of Army units, specifically the 81st Infantry Division, success in Operation Stalemate II would have been impossible.… Read More Unsung Heroes: The 81st Infantry Division “Wildcats” at Angaur and Peleliu

Book Review: Ostkrieg

In the words of Stephen Fritz, the author of Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East, his work is “a synthesis, an integrated narrative based primarily on exhaustive research by German, British, and American historians over the past two or three decades.”[1] I found this to be case as Fritz drew heavily from the work of well-established World War II historians such as Antony Beevor, Robert Citino, Adam Tooze, Karl-Heinz Frieser, and David Glantz (whose work the author referenced 191 times, mainly Barbarossa). The aim of the author, again in his own words, was to “provide a deeper understanding of the complexity and immensity of the Ostkrieg by… Read More Book Review: Ostkrieg

Air Power: 21st Century Evolution – Russia Left Behind

As an Air Force veteran this post topic is especially interesting. I will start by committing what some of my airmen colleagues might consider heresy – conventional strategic air power has never won a war on its own and is not likely to do so in the future. I recall discussing the subject with my late grandfather, who served a total of 20 years as a USAAF pilot during WWII and in the USAF Reserve. He was schooled in the doctrines of Billy Mitchell and firmly believed that Strategic Air Power could bring just about any enemy to its knees. I recall him telling me in 2003 that we should have leveled every city in Iraq including all major infrastructure before a single U.S. soldier set foot in the country. He also pointed to the fact that it was the Operation Linebacker I and II bombing campaigns during Vietnam that brought the communists to the negotiating table. A look at history, however, is enough to dispel the myth of a quick and decisive victory won by air power.… Read More Air Power: 21st Century Evolution – Russia Left Behind

Carl von Clausewitz and National Socialist Germany

Carl von Clausewitz is quite possibly the most significant military theorist in modern history, to the point that he has developed something of a cult following. His theories are mandatory study material in every major military academy from West Point to the Frunze and have even found their way into contemporary film, most notably in the Crimson Tide (1995, staring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington). Often overlooked is the fact that Clausewitz’s most important work, Vom Krieg, was never finished – he died during the global cholera pandemic of 1826-1837. Consequently, his conclusions are left to speculation and open to wide interpretation. This was certainly the case in Nazi Germany.… Read More Carl von Clausewitz and National Socialist Germany

History Repeated – Russian Servicemen Commit Wholesale Rape in Eastern Ukraine

The atrocities that Russian soldiers and militia are committing in occupied areas of eastern Ukraine are reminiscent of those perpetrated by Red Army soldiers during World War II. In addition to mass murder of Ukrainian civilians discovered in liberated areas around Kyiv, there is now evidence that Russian men are raping women and children in occupied territory. It is estimated that during the Second World War Red Army soldiers raped approximately two million German women. It is also common knowledge that Soviet servicemen committed similar acts in Poland and other areas of Eastern Europe during their 1944-1945 march to Berlin. Soviet propagandists at the time vociferously encouraged Soviet soldiers to exact revenge on the German population, including rape and murder. When Stalin received reports of widespread theft, destruction, wanton murder, and rape in Germany, he and other high-level Soviet authorities tacitly condoned these actions.

Russian state-controlled media today is rife with similar inflammatory anti-Ukraine propaganda which falsely promotes the idea that Ukrainians are all Nazis. One political commentator has gone so far as to… Read More History Repeated – Russian Servicemen Commit Wholesale Rape in Eastern Ukraine

Book Review: Stumbling Colossus

In the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union a treasure trove of previously inaccessible information became available from state archives. Examination of this information led some historians to question the traditional narrative of the Great Patriotic War (what Russians call WWII). The new data gave birth to various new theories that attempt to justify the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in June of 1941 and which portray the Red Army as a powerful military force that was planning preemptive war against Germany. In his 1998 work Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of World War historian David Glantz set out to determine whether or not, and to what extent these new theories are correct. In response to his own questions Glantz suggests that based on the evidence it is “totally unfounded” to suppose that the Red Army was ready for, and capable of waging offensive war against Nazi Germany in 1941. In this work Glantz makes a powerful, factual, black and white examination of a trove of sources which speak for themself.… Read More Book Review: Stumbling Colossus