Any Cost for the Race to Victory

DATELINE: World War II & Big Three

Leave it to History Channel to bait and switch its viewers yet again.

It seems after weeks of calling Race to Victory  a three-part series, it now appears it is multi-part series. Worse yet, History Channel simply tagged on the nextepisode after the third (now penultimate episode). But, wait, there’s even more!

Events superseded individuals in the first two episodes, but we wanted to see more about the interpersonal and psychological ties between the Big Three. This is a glaring omission in an otherwise excellent series. Now it appears this may be coming in the unknown fourth and fifth episode of the show.

We still have no idea what the “race to victory” of the title means. No explanation seems to have been offered, and self-evident strikes us as ridiculous.

 

This is still fascinating stuff: starting with Germany trying to break up the new alliance of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt, by revealing mass graves of Stalin’s victims. It didn’t work because the Allies needed the lesser of the two evils.

The first meeting of the Big Three didn’t happen because Roosevelt was too sick to travel to Asia where Churchill and Stalin actually became friendly. Stalin wanted aid to Leningrad, but Churchill was set on fighting in Africa to protect the Suez Canal.

 

The States were also preparing to take on the Pacific campaign to regain Midway. Both Brits and Americans were breaking Axis codes—and that was the real turning point, but it didn’t hurt to have General Patton show up to give the Nazis a headache.

There are likely many tidbits in this series that only diehard buffs of World War II will know. For the rest of us, this is illuminating and intriguing.

 

 

 

WW2 Race to Victory: Second Episode

DATELINE: No Re-enactors!

 

  FDR & Winnie

History Channel’s new series Race to Victory  started off shakily in the second installment by suggesting that both Stalin and Roosevelt were surprised by the attacks on their countries. Putting the drunken bender of Stalin in line with philatelist FDR. It seemed bad taste, and outright preposterous.

The excellent photo footage is most remarkable in its selection and usage. The second episode began in early 1941 well before Pearl Harbor to show how much Churchill tried to entice FDR to give up isolationism and convince America to fight with the British Empire.

FDR was a capitalist against empires, and Churchill was the epitome of the colonial mentality. Though they met and personally liked each other, there was no agreement on this sticking point. And, both were reluctant to accept Stalin, but his massive country was important if they were to stop Hitler.

The series skips with balletic care the idea that Pearl Harbor was a deliberate set-up to bring America into the war. However, we know from our father, a Naval officer in the war, that he and others believed it firmly.

The end of 1941 was Hitler and Japan’s run to victory on both fronts. The Japanese immediately took hold of all the key ports of the Pacific, making America’s requirement for two fronts. It undercut Churchill’s plans for the US to fight strictly in Europe.

However, this compelling series manages to pull together extraordinary historical film and pictures to make this a a refreshing and powerful series that depicts the Big Three in ways you may not expect.

 

 

Race to Victory: History ‘s Honorable Series

 DATELINE: Original Big Three

  Winnie.

In an age of re-enactors playing historical figures and onerous narrators, History Channel has gone against its own monster: we have World War II: Race to Victory,  a three-part examination of the Big Three of the greatest war in history.

World War II: Race to Victoryis a throwback to the grand documentaries of CBS back in the 1950s and 1960s. It is purely informative and uses rare footage to enhance the lessons.

With a plethora of newsreels, photos, and historical documents, it seems that History is drawing on this goldmine of records, news films, and interviews. And, they are not colorizing the brilliant black and white footage.

The series starts with an examination of Winston Churchill and his nemesis Neville Chamberlain. On the same side, they were bitter opponents, but had to live with the other in their cabinets.

Churchill’s rhetoric still makes him transcend all others in the 20thcentury. His persuasive powers were made for an age when behind-the-scenes patricians ran the British government. And make no mistake, the Brits did not have a democracy in the American sense.

While Churchill uses his techniques to great advantage, he falls short with his counterparts: Franklin Roosevelt will not be drawn into the war before he was ready, and Josef Stalin didn’t believe anything Churchill told him.

If there is a revelation in the first episode, it is that Chamberlain’s appeasement was a misnomer. He was buying time for a country not ready for war; to Churchill, that meant nothing.

Race to Victory  plays on the rivalries and mistrust among the original Big Three, and we hope future episodes are of the same high quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Heart of Darkness

Behind Trump’s Hitler persona, there lurks the heart of Josef Stalin.

The POTUS called governors of the states “weak.”  He wants to crack down on protestors by putting them in jail for ten years so “we never see this stuff again.”

Now we know why he wanted to buy Greenland, he was planning on turning it into a gulag where all political dissidents would be housed.

It isn’t enough to round up illegal immigrants and throw them into prison without due process, he now wants to either shoot American citizens or lock them up. Oh, where have we heard that mantra before?

If anyone needs to be locked up in a looney bin, it is Trump.

Never mind the Constitutional guarantees of free assembly or speech. The only right he believes in is having a gun to shoot people on Fifth Avenue.

If the sociopathic nature of Trump were located in the heart of Jack the Ripper we would not be surprised. He is nothing short of a billionaire twin of Robert Durst. He is the emotional twin of Jeffrey Epstein. If it does not please him, he plucks it out.

He loves to quote racist rants of the 1950s and 1960s that is music to the ears of his racist supporters. We have never met a racist who knew what it was or thought it was all that important. Self-knowledge is impossible to an idiot.

He hunkers down in his bunker like Hitler during his last ten days. And he calls out to his vicious dogs and deadly weapons to smite his enemies.

Can it be that Trump’s insanity has grown worse? Those who defend racism as a minor infraction are quick to join the genocidal gang that want to unmask oldsters and give them coronavirus. The rest of the unwanted ranks can be killed in the streets.

Trump values the heart of the dollar more than the human heart.

Serge Lifar: A Life with Ego & Dance

 DATELINE: Collaborator

 Lifar with Diaghilev & Stravinsky.

The French documentary is entitled A Revolution in Dance, and that is applied to Serge Lifar, a danseur and ballet maître who went from the era of Diaghilev to the dawn of Nureyev.

With covert and sly methods, the teenage Lifar managed to put himself before the grand Maestro—and caught the eye of the aging powerbroker. It led to an education, seven years of stardom in the Ballets Russes, and a future however Lifar chose to go.

After Diaghilev’s death in Venice, Lifar went to the Paris Opera House and made himself a home for thirty years. Literally, a home. He was there day and night, choreographing and plotting.

His outrageous demeanor became the stuff of social life and gossip columns. It was only incidental that he made ballets—and innovative ones too, Icare, based on the Greek legend of Icarus.

For a dozen years, he was the staple of the Opera House and transformed the focus of the Paris scene on dance. Then, the roof fell in: sort of.

When the Nazis captured Paris in 1940, Lifar was a stateless person—and played ball with Joseph Goebbels. He even met Hitler, at least twice we know of, and he allegedly refused to go to Berlin to start a corps de ballet there. We suspect Lifar would never deny Hitler directly. It led to charges later that he was a Nazi collaborator. He was even seen parading around in a Nazi uniform and the theatre for his performances were Aryan Nazi officers who loved his shows.

After the war, a tribunal banned him from dancing in France—but he wheedled his way out of that guilty verdict and was back on stage by 1947. You could say he overstayed his welcome, remaining a principal danseur until his mid-50s when his bones creaked over the stage.

When he finally retired, he was still a tabloid sensation, a good headline and an outrageous media person until he was 81 and the new era had fairly forgotten this legend.

Hitler Steals the Beetle

DATELINE: Ganz & Losses 

 Photo of Hitler by Ganz.

Joseph Ganz never received the credit he deserved: as a Jew in Hitler’s 1930s Germany, he had his ideas stolen and barely escaped with his life.

Born in Vienna at the turn of the century, he likely walked the same streets in pre-World War I as Hitler. Both served in the German army, and Jew Ganz believed in his homeland, perhaps he was naïve.

By the 1920s he was a happy, creative engineer. As this documentary gathers together two young researchers: one a German journalist and the other a Ganz descendant. They share a love of the Beetle auto and a fascination with Ganz’s genius.

By 1923, Ganz became editor of an automobile magazine and advocated cars for the people. IN Europe of the age, cars were Mercedes, BMW, and Porsche, made for the elite. He wanted an economical car for the people.

Ganz studied car accidents, chasing them down, concluding where they tipped over, what broke or was inadequate. He incorporated all his findings into creating a small, lightweight car. He wanted an economical and streamlined.

His design and prototype model is clearly recognizable as a Volkswagen. It impressed Mercedes and BMW to hire him as a technical consultant. By 1932 his star was rising, but it may have been a fool’s world of success. He took on the rising Nazi who has libeled him in one of their magazines. He sued and won: it did not endear him after he won the lawsuit.

Hitler took power in 1933 and ordered a German car show in Berlin. He admired Ganz’s people’s car, and in fact, Ganz took photos of Hitler looking at the prototype. By March of 1934, he was fired by BMW, under government orders, and his name was erased from documents.

Hitler gave the ideas to Porsche who suddenly was designing Ganz’s Volkswagen. Ganz was arrested and held for a month. Upon release, he left for Switzerland and never returned to Germany.

How he ended up living in Australia after 1951 is both sad and infuriating. He saw his car start to become an icon of the hippie generation—and help Germany recover its post-war economy.  This documentary by Suzanne Raes is impressive.

 

 

 

 

Hindenburg Revisited

DATELINE: Disaster Cause

That marvelous PBS series, Secrets of the Dead, has a streaming episode called What Happened to the Hindenburg!

It takes a refreshing new look at the blame game that for sixty years or more has dismissed hydrogen as the culprit. Not only was the gas made to be considered unsafe, it ended the short reign of the airship, Zeppelin balloons, as a form of luxury transportation.

Most of us know the pompous and unprofessional radio broadcast that lamented the “humanity” of a disaster, but this documentary is far more horrific in giving us the details, and far more credible than the 1975 movie with George C. Scott and the Nazi conspiracy notion.

It certainly didn’t help the German mode of transportation in the years before the World War that it was a favorite project of Adolph Hitler. In fact, the Hindenburg was almost christened the Hitler, after the mad dictator. It was a ship that was an air version of Titanic, but with 35 deaths and fewer than 100 passengers, it measured up in microcosm.

Only years later when NASA used hydrogen in its space shuttle launches did a scientist named Dr. Addison Bain decide to take his free time to the archives. There, he found the dismissal of sabotage and the scapegoat of hydrogen somewhat unlike his own professional study of the gas.

When he began to investigate the conspiracy theories dismissed and the faulty investigation, partly the lack of sophistication in the era, that he saw new possibilities.

His clever detective work discovered the airship was painted with a highly flammable concoction that was an ingredient of solid rocket fuel! Powdered aluminum: Bingo!

Once again, the PBS series gives us something special in merging good science techniques with intelligent documentary filmmaking.

 

 

 

 

 

History Channel Plagarizes PBS

DATELINE: Nazis on Drugs!

Graham Demonstrates Technique Expert Lindsay Graham on TV!

History Channel will leave no stone unturned in its ever-continuing quest to steal ideas from reliable sources and make them into their own yellow journalist history lessons.

We had covered Secrets of the Dead, a PBS show on Nazi use of speed (amphetamines) that was so fascinating and shocking, that it was due to receive the more sensational coverage from History Channel.

Thus, we have Nazis on Drugs!  This one even goes a step beyond to claim Hitler was zonked out on drugs during D-Day. It isn’t plagiarism when no one will claim you took their ideas.

If you notice anything special about this two-hour documentary, it is that most of the colorized footage is of Germany. Churchill is in dank black and white natural film stock.

The inside joke here is that the blitz or speed of Nazi attacks was really due to their reliance on crystal meth!

The experts are an odd lot: authors of books never heard of, or from unknown colleges. They are for the most part, English-speaking Germans. And, the American experts include Sen. Lindsay Graham, whose expertise in anything might be questioned.

The film takes on some unsavory suggestions: that Hitler believed in 1936 that black Jesse Owens could not win the Olympic medals without being on drugs. It offended his purist notions: enough to set German pharmaceuticals to create Pervitin—the crystal-meth pill that became the favorite of a nation trying to show it could stay awake for days on end.

Hitler’s tie to a quack doctor becomes a central focus: showing the dictator growing from glucose injections to stronger stuff. He preferred injections for instant emotional strength: ultimately he went on to Oxycontin and cocaine.

Of course, the experts don’t want to excuse his genocidal attitudes on drugs—but it hangs there like a bad excuse.

Ultimately, it is shown that the American general Eisenhower ordered half-a-million packets of crystal-meth for the American boys to help with courage. The Germans discovered physical collapse and madness at the end of the road of drug use, and still experimented in brutal fashion on concentration camp victims.

Battle of Britain was flown by German pilots on drugs.

The final bombing of Berlin, according to this movie, is that of knocking out the drug manufacturers who supplied Hitler. It was a war-changer.

There may well be truth here and untruth. It is totally compelling to view.

 

 

Secrets of the Dead? WWII Pep Pills!

DATELINE: Deadline Pep!

james holland Holland Invades Germany!

We never heard of this PBS marvel of history documentaries. It sounds like a bad show from the History Channel, something morbid about ghosts or Egyptian mummies.  It is entitled Secrets of the Dead!

Of course, it is none of the above. It is an intelligent look at historical events, uncovering little known information and formulating new theory.

For this episode from Season 17, it is called World War Speed. It is about the shocking notion of amphetamine usage during the second World War!

Who knew?

What’s worse, who suspected that the governments of England, United States, and Nazi Germany, condone and required drugs to stimulate the soldiers.

We’d like to think that only craven Hitler demanded his soldiers take amphetamines to remain awake for days: like good Aryan supermen.

However, Generals Montgomery and Einsenhower learned of the practice and decided it was a good strategy. You see, not only did it keep men awake but made them act out in deranged, but heroic ways. Men would volunteer for death missions and do utterly suicidal actions.

Hitler had experimented on victims of concentration camps to see how the pep pills effected people who were starving to death. However, even Hitler decided the side-effects were too grave to continue on his army. Not so with the American and British.

They gave pep pills to men in tanks that were deathtraps. It gave them courage beyond logic. We are horrified to think that this show, hosted by James Holland who most recently worked on the History Channel “Hunting Hitler”—and he has not lost his yellow journalism style here.

It is appalling to think that innocent young men had no idea that “pep pills” drugged them out of their minds.

We may tune into this series again. It is a shocker and provides teachable moments.

 

 

 

Same Old? Ancient Astronauts Return!

 DATELINE: Colder Spots

Antarctica Portal of No Return?

Another batch of crypto-history with Giorgio, Nick Pope, David Childress, Linda Moulton Howe et al, awaits us, starting with “Return to Antarctica”. It only seems like a rerun, or a rehash, as the series is apt to do, ad nauseum.

The ice pack of the South Pole may be a good place to investigate for strange activities. And, with three miles of ice atop the ground, it provides a fertile area for speculation. And, Ancient Aliens is not shy about noting there are volcanic warm spots under the ice where military bases may be as a home for colonizing space creatures.

Linda Moulton Howe finds a retired military career soldier who volunteered for Antarctica duty and will speak only with facial and voice distortion. He saw plenty but is too afraid to talk in public—and only confides to Howe.

Satellite images indicate again that there are strange crashed spacecraft in the ice, and the government of the U.S. won’t allow people to fly over certain areas where they might see neighbors from another galaxy in residence.

The old chestnut of Hitler making a deal with space visitors before World War II and sending down a flotilla to make a Fourth Reich always seems to be too far-out for an advanced civilization. Yet, here it is again.

Filling vast empty spaces and unknown and unexplored territory is right down the pike for the series—and they make the most of what could be there and how explorers like Admiral Byrd have warned the world off the place.

We note during end credits that Bill Mumy, formerly of Lost in Space as Will Robinson, is still on board the space continuum as one of the producers of the series. The Robot is not around to tell us this does not compute.

It’s a good start for another round of speculative shows.

Hitler’s Concrete to Hide Lost Gold?

DATELINE: Lava Flows Over the Gold

HItler greets Yamashita Hitler Greets Yamashita, 1940.

The limited first season of this fascinating little reality treasure hunt show, Lost Gold of World War II, is moving to a climax that will make us yearn for the second season, if History Channel so agrees.

Like the Oak Island show, this one is driven by weather. Cold snow ends the season for Nova Scotia, and on Luzon Island, the monsoon season will bring this hunt to a finish for now.

So, they are racing like old race horses. Indeed, when they bring in a machine to dig down 40 feet, the old leader Struzzieri notes that the equipment is older than he—and nearly as shaky. We’re talking 70 years or more.

We wonder why they would guarantee problems with faulty equipment. Of course, the ground penetrating radar spares no expense—with an expert flown in from the States to find a void or tunnel.

Then, they hit a snag: not the old drill bit, but the old typhoon, Category 5, second worst in history.  Peter Struzzieri assures us that Grandpa is okay after the storm, though they never really go to check on their key witness.

It is a mere one-day delay.

About 40 feet down, they hit what they theorize is Nazi concrete, bunker strength. They even have old colorized newsreel footage of Hitler and Yamashita shaking hands. We cannot imagine that pure racist Fuhrer would give the inferior Japanese anything.

Indeed, when Bingo travels to Minnesota for a concrete expert, he blows up the theory by stating they hit lava, rather common in the Philippines.

Our intrepid American hunters disbelieve this, and they drill down harder than the Lagina brothers—and we are left with a draining hole leading to—you guessed it—a tunnel.

Hmmm. And only one episode left for the first season….

Demise of TV Satire?

DATELINE:  Trump’s Attack on Humor

trumpet the New Archie Bunker?

President Trump wants to shut down Saturday Night Live because it is an “Enemy of the People.”

In his view, no views should be expressed on TV unless they are kind, balanced, and fair to him.

Of course, television has a long history of unpopular, brutal satire. The shows include That Was the Week That Was. TWTWTW, as it was known, or TW3 in some circles, was half-an hour of unremitting political jokes that skewed Republican Barry Goldwater during 1964. It was on in prime-time and was pre-empted every week, almost, by paid TV commercials from the GOP. They eventually saw it canceled.

The other shocker was The Smothers Brothers Hour, on Sunday nights that was sixty minutes of unremitting anti-Nixon, anti-Watergate cronies in the Roger Stone archetype.

It was so virulently anti-Nixon and his dirty-tricks-team that Nixon put it on the Enemies List and had his influential friends at the network cancel the show.

All in the Family started out as a brutal satire of crypto-Nazi bigotry in the Queens suburbs of New York. It was enormously popular during the 1970s, but its satiric bite was lessened sharply when Archie Bunker, the bigot, became a lovable American hero. Embraced as a delightful example of American parochialism, he flourished, a fan favorite of conservative America.

During the same years came SNL.  It was out of prime time, even reveling in the idea with the Not Ready for Prime Time players, a group of future movie stars who did satiric barbs.

SNL still lives, over forty years later, and has become nastier in its attacks on Trump, which incenses the President. He wants it investigated and stopped.

If there had been a radio show in Germany in the 1930s, Hitler would have had it raided and had its comedians sent to a concentration camp. Indeed, Jack Benny made a comedy movie about such an idea in his greatest film called To Be or Not To Be. ICE may yet raid SNL.

So Trump is in fine company as he awaits impeachment and prison for his dubious unconstitutional, uneducated, and anti-satire demands to close down freedom of speech.

How Far Lifar Travelled

 DATELINE:  Male as Diva

Lifar with Daddy Diaghilev Lifar & Daddiaghilev!

Today he is barely recalled, except by balletomanes.

Serge Lifar was a name in Jeté sets and Monaco parties from the 1920s to the 1950s. He was a principal dancer for Serge Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. He was a sort of sub for Nijinsky on stage, in bed, and off kilter.

Lifar was ambitious, and his tale is fascinating to see played out in a documentary called Serge Lifar: Revolution in Dance. Interestingly enough, the word gay is never spoken.

Considered pale in comparison to Nijinsky, olive-skinned Lifar played the same roles for Diaghilev who tutored him and turned him from a late-blooming peasant boy into a stunning aesthete. He became friends with Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, and a raft of Paris artists around the era.

Life was dramatic for Lifar. He was the epitome of a drama queen before the term took hold. He was a social media star when there was no such thing: he had a nose job to lessen shadows on his face when he danced.

As catty serious as this film is, it avoids tales of bedtime trysts, a fight with Boris Kochno (Diaghilev’s secretary) over the Maestro’s dead body (literally) in 1929. It details Lifar’s alleged collaboration with Nazis and handsome officers he needed to cultivate. He twice met with Hitler, and his Paris Opera House was always filled with front-row SS officers.

Yet, there is plenty of dirt to go around, even when spread nicely thin. Lifar refused to go to Berlin and start a ballet school, creating an epic ballet for the Third Reich. He was still convicted of collaborating by a French tribunal.

He regarded himself as homeless, a displaced person, a refuge from Russia who made a home for 30 years in France. He was an autocrat who saved the arts from Nazis, according to friends. He is often credited with “firsts” in ballet that rightly belonged to Diaghilev and Nijinsky.

He couldn’t give up the fame or infamy, having ridiculous duels and carrying on as a diva long after he should have retired. His greatest ballet creation was Icare, about the handsome young man who flew too close to the sun with wax wings. Delusions take many forms. How appropriate.

 

Springtime for Trump

DATELINE:  Trump Sings & Dances!

springtime for trump

In the classic Ponzi comedy The Producers, the big Broadway musical number that did in the crooks was called “Springtime for Hitler”. They oversold the show, hoping it would flop and they’d walk away with tons of money. Manafort and Cohen are the new producers. They oversold Trump to the gullible public.

In Springtime for Trump, his investors (all Russian mobster types) expected him to lose—and make a big profit. Alas, he won—and the undoing of these producers is now unfolding. May they all wind up in federal prison where they can put on a show.

In Mel Brooks’ original version of The Producers, Zero Mostel was the overweight man with the appalling comb-over. In the White House today is an overweight man with an appalling comb-over. He is a bigger crook than Zero’s character.

Mostel’s producer would sleep with dozens of women to procure their investments in his musical. In Trump’s world, he pays off dozens of women with campaign funds and a crooked lawyer to guarantee his tenure in office.

The big musical number was meant to shock people: goose-stepping showgirls in formation, a la Busby Berkley, dancing in a swastika conga lines. Trump’s conga lines include words like “dog”, “lowlife”, and “rat.”

Alas, they all apply to the biggest shyster ever to sully the white White House where Nixon claimed there would never be a white wash.

After Trump is impeached, we may need to fumigate the place.

We laughed uproariously at Zero’s crook, and we fumed at Nixon’s crook. Trump’s crook is still lining up the chorus.

Cue the dancing girls: we are about to sing the refrain from Springtime for Trump.

 

Creepy Nazi Creatures: Documentary

DATELINE: Animals as Pawns of Nazi Germany

 Nazi creatures

Nazi Creatures, a recent documentary, may seem like a stretch on a topic of Nazi history—reaching the most banal and silly lengths. However, you would be foolish to ignore this examination of the psychology of those who believed in a “Master Race.” Its first application was breeding animals.

From the earliest Nazi actions, which included Hitler’s laws to protect horses and dogs, the brilliant propaganda moves of the Nazis brought together horse lovers and dog lovers to their side.

The United States even gave plaudits for this first Nazi law in 1933 to protect dumb animals. It was, however, a clever and snide way to attack Jews and their treatment of animals for “kosher” meats. Nothing was pure about vegetarian Hitler.

Dog parades might seem ridiculous as a means to create national spirit, but the Nazis were prolific breeders of the “German” shepherd: a dog that was aggressive and became a symbol of ferocious police action.

Indeed, Hitler felt to breed a better version of Doberman and sheepdog would be perfect to herd members of concentration camps whom he regarded as sub-human.

Hitler kidnapped all the pure-breed horses of Europe to his own reservations where they could be turned into a master race of animals; it was a precursor to breeding humans to a pure level.

Twisting the science of Darwin, the Nazis were proponents of animal hypocrisy: their Berlin zoo was a place to laud “Germanic” animals and create preserves and reservations for restoring the extinct species of aggressive cows as big as elephants.

Ultimately, you have more questions than the documentary raises about the twisted logic of Nazis (that wanted to save their pure-bred horses from the Russians who would use them for horse-meat to feed starving people). The Americans were more sympathetic to  animals and fell for the propaganda.

This documentary raises issues about whether Hitler would ever leave his beloved dog, Blondi, if he were to escape the bunker. Instead, he experimented by killing the dog with cyanide. That’s the ultimate consideration of Nazi creatures.