In honor of Battle of Britain Day

 

The above is a montage of aerial combat scenes from the movie “Battle of Britain“, set to the Iron Maiden song “Aces High” (lyrics). Churchill’s immortal words form the intro.

Also in observance of the day, here is an interesting documentary on the Polish RAF squadron during the Battle of Britain.

“The few, the proud…”

 

 

Today in history: April 19, 1943: start of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Passover is the day when Jews celebrate their release from Pharaoh’s bondage in Egypt. There have been many more Pharaohs in later history, and the most infamous of them had a habit of carrying out “Aktione” on Jewish holidays in order to capture the maximum number of Jews at synagogue or the home (out of hiding).

Today is the 1st day of Passover (15 Nisan on the Jewish calendar). Exactly 67 years ago on the secular calendar (19 April 1943), and exactly as many years plus one day ago on the Hebrew calendar (14 Nisan 5703), the Nazis (y”sh) has planned a major “Aktion” to empty out what was left of the Warsaw Ghetto. To their surprise, they were suddenly faced with an armed revolt: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had begun. Below are two videoclips about it:

As we face new Pharaohs — aided and abetted by self-described “progressives” who seem to find common cause with the most reactionary forces imaginable — let me share with you a song by David Draiman (the Jewish frontman of heavy metal band Disturbed) about precisely this.

Have a wonderful Passover. And NEVER AGAIN indeed.

Today in History: Operation Valkyrie (July 20, 1944)

66 years ago to the day, a group of German military officers and civilians lead by Col. Klaus Schenk, Count Stauffenberg tried to put an end to the Hitler (y”sh) regime. In a unique example in modern history, the leader of the coup attempted the assassination with his own hand. Due to a quirk of fate, their target survived the bomb meant for him. Stauffenberg soldiered on regardless, to no avail: eventually, many conspirators paid the ultimate price, Stauffenberg among the first.

Here is the closing scene of the movie “Valkyrie”. Despite my apprehension about anything coming out of Hollywood, and about Tom Cruise (who does have a vague physical resemblance to the historic Stauffenberg), I can only say that the movie displays an almost astonishing level of historical accuracy (at least by Hollywood standards).

By a quirk of the calendar, July 20 this year falls on Tisha Be-Av, the day Jews commemorate a long litany of calamities that befell the Jewish people on or around that day. Had the assassination succeeded, it is quite likely that the “Final Solution” machinery would have ground to a halt and that a large part of the Jews of Hungary would have escaped its mauls.

Some historians have tried to make Stauffenberg into something he wasn’t. He was an unapologetic German imperialist and militarist, an elitist with little use for democracy as we understand it, and approved to some degree of Nazi racial doctrines even though he considered their implementation “exaggerated” and “excessive”.  In short, he was not a saint. But let us honor his memory for what he really was: somebody who, in a place where there were no men, strove to be one (במקום שאין בו אנשים השטדל להיות איש). And let us likewise honor those who stood and fell with him.

70 years ago: Nazi Germany invades the Benelux countries on the way to France

Exactly 70 year ago to the day, the military forces of Nazi Germany invaded the neutral countries of Holland and Belgium (as well as Luxembourg). In these countries, May 10, 1940 is marked as the beginning of World War Two.

For the French and British, it also marked the transition to “hot” warfare from the phase of “drôle-de-guerre”/”Phoney War” that followed the declaration of hostilities on September 3, 1939.

Holland fell after just four days of resistance, while Belgium hung on for a total of 18 days. The supposedly impregnable French fixed border fortifications (the Maginot Line) did not extend along the French border with Belgium, and after reducing the Eben-Emael fortress in Belgium the Wehrmacht was easily able to flank the Maginot line and invade France.

Four (for Holland: five) long years of occupation awaited, until the Western Allies were able to effect liberation.

Today 65 years ago: VE Day 1945

65 years ago to the day (“threescore and five years ago”, in English of a bygone era), the forces of a blood-soaked totalitarian collectivist tyranny officially laid down their arms, without any conditions. This marked the end of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II in the European theatre. Upon Soviet insistence, the capitulation ceremony was repeated the next day with a more prominent Soviet role: in countries of the former (thank G-d) Soviet Union, VE-day (Victory in Europe Day) is marked on May 9 to this day, while Western countries mark it on May 8 (i.e., today).

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Wb1ViP3QMY]

Happy VE-day!