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Events superseded individuals in the first two episodes, but we wanted to see more about the interpersonal and psychological ties between the Big Three.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.

 

 

 

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.