Winston Spencer Churchill

February 3, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, POLITICS, Ulalume, WW2 |

Peerless self-confidence

(30 Nov. 1874 to 25 Jan. 1965) The 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death prompts us to recall a person the like of which we no longer see.  Whilst he was a giant even from early age, Churchill was wildly inconsistent in his politics and his professional allegiances.  He failed more often than he succeeded and a case can be made that he was a far better writer (and painter) than politician or military strategist.  Yet he completely embodies the heroic myth of ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man’.  Hard as it is to believe today, for a great deal of…

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The Wannsee Conference & the Final Solution

The Wannsee Conference & the Final Solution

(by Mark Roseman) 20 January 1942 – 15 government men, “fifteen serious, intelligent men” met at a villa on Lake Wannsee “to give their assent to genocide.” Roseman’s concise account is a superb reconstruction, amply supported by evidence.  Yet as he says, the Conference per se “was not the moment of decision.” We do not know just when Hitler set his hideous policy but Wannsee was clearly a watershed in the clearing of bureaucratic hurdles and articulation of logistics. Of course, Hitler had had the so-called ‘Jewish question’ in mind for a long time.  Mein Kampf drips with extermination babble –…

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Bertie

His Mutti Loved Him

(Jane Ridley) If, like my mother-in-law, you don’t enjoy books about the  generation of British and European royals who were Queen Victoria’s children because Queen Victoria was so “beastly” to them, stay away from this biography of Prince Albert Edward/King Edward VII.  Victoria is a mother who – knowing that her letters could well be preserved  for posterity and made public – wrote to her daughter Vicky, Bertie’s sister, “The nose…is becoming the true Coburg nose, and begins to hang a little, but there remains unfortunately the want of chin which with that very large nose and very large lips is no…

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World Order

(by H Kissinger) World Order is a knotty concept prone to interpretations of violent subjectivity.  On the one hand, we have the seers of doom, who see only a world in chaos and inevitable decline (e.g. Mark Steyn).  Farthest from this on the spectrum are the utopian promoters of one world governance (to whom one recommends an urgent reading of Thomas More). Along the way are those who deprecate the notion of order at all, preach heterogeneity and the cult of small-as-beautiful, the barrackers of old powers, cultists for the new such as the revived Middle Kingdom or ISIS, or…

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Nazi Philistines – Arthur Boyd – The Brians

November 24, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, Modern Music, MUSIC, POLITICS, Ulalume, WW2 |

Pyjamas

The Wall Street Journal reports that the art collection of Cornelius Gurlitt, who died on 6/5/14, has been bequeathed to a museum in Bern.  The collection included works looted by the Nazis and ‘assayed’ under the stewardship of Gurlitt’s father, Hildebrand: Matisse, Franz Marc, Monet and Renoir (which last perhaps suggests the basic philistine nature of the national socialists). German authorities famously carried out a home invasion of Gurlitt’s Augsburg home in 2012 and confiscated the art as, according to the WSJ, “Gurlitt sat shocked in a corner wearing his pyjamas.” This property was never returned to him but the…

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