This has nothing to do with startups or technology, but it is a vital insight into our world, that makes us more aware of that world's terrible failings.
I am glad HN is still a place I can come to read about web deployment best practises, and find my self lost in near weeping horror about the wars I did not try hard enough to stop.
+1 from me and let's stop worrying we might be going downhill. Just push this uphill, Sisephyaen style.
Then again what makes HN special to me is that it is free of otherwise very popular and frequently also great topics I agree with. Exactly because they are popular. Why should they also be popular here as well as everywhere else?
This weekend the US will be awashed in Memorial day related content. Heck, I think this would fit better on HN if it was voted up on any other time of year.
The current top comment mentions Memorial day isn't about hotdogs. But seriously is there a major US holiday less commercialized? Christmas is a god damn consumer orgy. Memorial day in my experience is still quite the thoughtful and yes memory and appreciation full holiday.
If some people voted it up for Memorial Day, so much the better for an impassioned piece of good writing. Fussell obviously deserves to be better known.
> we do our remembering in November
[...] it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate
the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War [...] By the 20th
century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans
who have died in all wars.
There's a real question as to whether war ought to be shown in all its gory, butcher's window horror in the media. On the one hand, it's important people realise what war is actually like, on the other, it's easy to get desensitised to this stuff.
Personally, I've (regrettably) seen several images which indicate the reality of these things on shock sites, etc., and after a short while was rather desensitised. The images are so horrible that I just couldn't even begin to register the reality of it on any scale the way somebody who has actual experienced it would.
I really don't know whether showing these images would really get people to see the utter, utter insanity of war and the cost to these ordinary human beings, or whether people would just get desensitised.
It's an important question that ought to be explored.
Furthermore, it's pretty well-known among historians that in wars it is primarily the poor and the working middle-class, who die or suffer predominately, either as soldiers or civilians on the homefront, or as prisoners. The rich and their sons are disproportionately able to avoid harm, and especially in the case of weapons contractors or supply companies, oil suppliers, or banks, are often able to profit handsomely from wars and militarization. This is not controversial and is a repeated pattern going back at least a thousand years or so.
Also I looked at their report and it's cherry picked and very carefully worded, with several sloppy arguments, often contradicting themselves in the matter of a few sentences. Typical stuff for them.
I don't see anything wrong with their methodology, could point those out for me?
Great speech here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2SaM8RJ30c
If you want to understand the war, I can't recommend this book enough. It's not a history book like most of us are used to. It's more of a social history -- the way things were and the way people experienced them. I know it changed my view of WWII forever.
War is like death: when it comes we all must deal with it, and it is a great horror upon us and society. It changes the world and the way people think about things. When modern students look back at WWII, I don't think they have any idea what they're really looking at. I am reminded of a section in the book (not sure if it's in this essay, sorry, once I realized I already have read this I skipped ahead) where two soldiers are getting off the boat at the end of the war in New York. They were given cookies and candy. One remembers that here they were for all intents and purposes cold-blooded killers coming from hell, and civilians were treating them like kids home from summer camp. Even many of the people that lived through it didn't understand the true nature of the war.
Fussell did a great job with this article and the longer book. (side note: he also did a book on WWI. Been meaning to read that as well. I believe both of these books won some awards)
> The postwar result for the Allies, at least, is suggested by one returning Canadian soldier, wounded three times in Normandy and Holland, who recalls (in Six War Years 1939-1945, edited by Barry Broadfoot) disembarking with his buddies to find on the quay nice, smiling Red Cross or Salvation Army girls.
>> 'They give us a little bag and it has a couple of chocolate bars in it and a comic book. . . . We had gone overseas not much more than children but we were coming back, sure, let's face it, as killers. And they were still treating us as children. Candy and comic books.'
Max Marcus, (1923-1944), KIA, Battle of the Bulge.
George Weissman, (1925-1945), DOW, Germany.
To the uncles I never met and the cousins who never came to be.
If you were a combat theater of WWII, nothing was safe. In the air, in a sub, on the ground, in a civilian city under attack, on a ship, anything.
I recommend reading Stephen Ambrose's Wild Blue: http://www.amazon.com/The-Wild-Blue-Germany-1944-45/dp/07432... - it gives a realistic portrayal of the air combat facets of WWII and features a lot of George McGovern's personal experiences throughout.
Later, a couple men from the local resistance showed up at his house, having learned of his experience with explosives. They asked him to join, and he reluctantly agreed.
After he and a colleague blew up a local bridge, the SS came into town and carried off an elderly business owner and respected member of the community. They publicly tortured him and threatened to kill him the following day unless those responsible turned themselves in. Allegedly, that night, my grandfather was forwarded a note smuggled from the captive elderly gentleman saying that he'd lived a full life, and to not under any circumstance surrender to the Germans. He stayed hidden, and the SS executed their hostage. He never shared the note with anyone, and for a long time felt the animosity of the people in his community who reproached his actions and their gruesome consequences.
The big lesson of WW2, though, was that in modern all-out warfare the quality of individual tanks didn't really matter. What mattered was the quantity those tanks could be turned out in. The Germans, stung by the unexpected quality of Russian tanks, had turned their efforts toward building absolute monsters like the Tiger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_I) and Panther (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panther_tank). Those tanks individually outclassed any Allied tank of the era, even the Russians'. But they were so complicated to build that the Germans could only turn out a few thousand of them, which was peanuts compared to the swarms of T-34s and Shermans the Allies were cranking out. The tactical doctrine in 1944 was that it would take five Shermans, acting together, to knock out a single Tiger; but US industry turned out 12,000+ Shermans that year, while German industry would only turn out around 1,000 Tigers, so five-to-one numerical superiority wasn't hard to put together. No matter how fearsome the German tanks became, they eventually got stung to death by swarms of less impressive enemies.
It beat panzers the same way American tanks beat panzers --by swarming them. It's not like Americans didn't know about sloped armor --they did. We even provided the Russians with armor --if I recall my history channel stuff. Also, the Russian tanks were prone to quality defects but they made that up with production numbers. Also their effective firing range was dismal --but again, in a swarming tactic, range is unimportant.
General Heinz Guderian's 2nd Panzer Army spearhead was ambushed near Mtensk on October 6, 1941, by a brigade of T-34s. In a brief action, T-34s under Colonel Mikhael Katukov destroyed ten Pz III and Pz IV tanks for the loss of only about five of their own. Guderian, creator of the German panzer force, was shocked. The German panzers, with their short 50mm and 75mm guns, could only penetrate the thick armor of the T-34 from point-blank range of 100m or less, but the T-34 could destroy the poorly armored Pz III and Pz IV from up to 1,000m. The T-34's mobility over muddy terrain and poor roads astonished the German tankers. Furthermore, the use of sloped armor on the T-34 and KV-1 tanks indicated that German tank design had fallen woefully behind.
Guderian came away from the battles of 1941 believing that Germany should just drop its own tank designs and straight-up copy the T-34. They didn't, of course; the Panther and Tiger were supposed to be T-34 killers, but they were too difficult to produce and maintain in the field to ever really live up to that role.
Anyhow, not sure the veracity of the following link, but it provides some different opinion: http://operationbarbarossa.net/Myth-Busters/MythBusters2.htm...
Essentially, with a production run in the 55,000 range, it's no wonder it has able to overwhelm the enemy. Not unlike when Russian generals sent barely armed men against the enemy to face automatic weapons. They had the numbers.
The Germans obviously had the upper hand in the beginning as Russia was unprepared and Stalin having purged Russia's (USSR's) most able commanders (due to paranoia) before the war didn't help things. Had they been prepared Germany would not have been within 20 miles of Moscow. Germany grew overconfident and was unprepared for a war in freezing climate, whereas the Russians at least didn't have supply line issues to contend with.
Unlike the Brits and Americans though, USSR didn't have have an advantage of natural geographic isolation. It's a bit unfair to pretend Russian case was somehow fundamentally different than the others.
Can you elaborate on that? I'm not sure I follow.
Never the less, I would say the Russian front was different in that the Winters imparted severe contraints and challenges on the invading army. Another thing is Russia had the population numbers. They could afford to "throw" a generation at the Germans.
"The best US industry could turn out in 1941"
Personally, I don't think I could handle multiple daily updates for the next six years, but it's fun to check in with now and again.
Thanks Wikipedia, that was easy!
"They knew that their automatic rifles (First World War vintage) were slower and clumsier..."
This implies that the Axis had a better automatic rifle, which wasn't the case at all. The Wermacht didn't deploy an automatic rifle until the Stug44 in the last year of the war. Instead, they relied upon their bolt action rifles to provide protection to the core of the infantry unit, the MG34 and MG44.
The Japanese as well didn't use an automatic rifle in their infantry units, relying on the Ariska bolt action. The Italians too didn't use an automatic rifle to any extent.
If he wants to criticize the Army for using the BAR that's fine; but to imply that US weapons (other than the atomic bomb) were inferior to their counterparts is specious. The B-24, B-29, A/B-26 were far superior to any bombers the Axis ever deployed. The P-51, P-47, and P-38 were outstanding fighters.
The deuce and a half truck (that probably won the war) was far superior to any truck the Germans had.
And other than a crappy bunch of torpedoes throughout the war, the USN was equipped with excellent ships and aircraft. Sure in the beginning of the conflict there were issues with hardware (Brewster Buffalo, Devastator torpedo bomber, etc), but to make it as if the US equipment was trash is just mistaken.
I also think the concept of superior German technology is a tiresome and often unsupported one. At the outbreak of the war there tanks were outclassed by French tanks, they relied upon hundreds of thousands of horses, so on and so forth.
High tech was almost a curse for Germany; they could never build enough wonder weapons, and when one looks at the economic output of their opponents, the matter was really a foregone conclusion. Individually, the US, UK, USSR and even France before she capitulated had better economies than Germany. Now economics isn't the sole determinant when it comes to warfare, but when you're outproduced 3-1, and faced with opponents that are looking for unconditional surrender your chances are rather slim.
I can understand, as horse needs no gasoline, can move in snow, is small enough to go between trees and is more silent than most engines.
Is this referring to what I think it's referring to?
And TIL that between 500 000 and 3 000 000 Germans are estimated to have died in the subsequent forced relocation back to German territory.
A memoir of one soldier's experience in the Pacific which is along the same lines as the Atlantic article is Goodbye Darkness. It's a hell of a read.
quoting the whole thing...
"Franklin's mother Sara shared anti-Semitic attitudes common among Americans at the time. Although anti-Semitism was common during the era, it is argued that FDR was not anti-Semitic. Some of his closest political associates, such as Felix Frankfurter, Bernard Baruch and Samuel I. Rosenman, were Jewish, and he happily cultivated the important Jewish vote in New York City. He appointed Henry Morgenthau, Jr. as the first Jewish Secretary of the Treasury and appointed Frankfurter to the Supreme Court. Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin cites statistics showing that FDR’s high level executive appointments favored Jews (15% of his top appointments at a time when Jews represented 3% of the U.S. population) which subjected Roosevelt to frequent criticism. The August, 1936 edition of "The White Knight" published an article referring to the New Deal as the “Jew Deal.” Pamphlets appeared such as "What Every Congressman Should Know" in 1940 (featuring a sketch of the Capitol building with a Star of David atop its dome) that proclaimed that the Jews were in control of the American government. Financier and FDR confidant Bernard Baruch was called the “Unofficial President” in the anti-Semitic literature of the time. The periodical Liberation, for example, accused FDR of loading his government with Jews.
During his first term Roosevelt condemned Hitler's persecution of German Jews. As the Jewish exodus from Germany increased after 1937, Roosevelt was asked by American Jewish organizations and Congressmen to allow these refugees to settle in the U.S. At first he suggested that the Jewish refugees should be "resettled" elsewhere, and suggested Venezuela, Ethiopia or West Africa — anywhere but the U.S. Morgenthau, Ickes and Eleanor pressed him to adopt a more generous policy but he was afraid of provoking the men such as Charles Lindbergh who exploited anti-Semitism as a means of attacking Roosevelt's policies.
In practice very few Jewish refugees came to the U.S. — only 22,000 German refugees were admitted in 1940, not all of them Jewish. The State Department official in charge of refugee issues, Breckinridge Long, insisted on following the highly restrictive immigration laws to the letter. As one example, in 1939, the State Department under Roosevelt did not allow a boat of Jews fleeing from the Nazis into the United States. When the passenger ship St. Louis approached the coast of Florida with nearly a thousand German Jews fleeing persecution by Hitler, Roosevelt did not respond to telegrams from passengers requesting asylum, and the State Department refused entry to the ship. Forced to return to Antwerp, many of the passengers eventually died in concentration camps.
After 1942, when Roosevelt was made aware of the Nazi extermination of the Jews by Rabbi Stephen Wise, the Polish envoy Jan Karski and others, he told them that the best solution was to destroy Nazi Germany. At Casablanca in 1943 Roosevelt announced there would be no compromise whatever with Hitler. In May 1943 he wrote to Cordell Hull (whose wife was Jewish): "I do not think we can do other than strictly comply with the present immigration laws." In January 1944, however, Morgenthau succeeded in persuading Roosevelt to allow the creation of a War Refugee Board in the Treasury Department. This allowed an increasing number of Jews to enter the U.S. in 1944 and 1945. It also financed Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg's work in Budapest, where he and others helped to save 100,000+ Jews from deportation to death camps. By this time, however, the European Jewish communities had already been largely destroyed in Hitler's Holocaust.
In any case, after 1945 the focus of Jewish aspirations shifted from migration to the U.S. to settlement in British mandate of Palestine, where the Zionist movement hoped to create a Jewish state. Roosevelt was also opposed to this idea. When he met King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia in February 1945, he assured him he did not support a Jewish state in British mandate of Palestine."