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Posts Tagged ‘Germany

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A book arguing that Muslim immigrants are socially, culturally and intellectually inferior has sold more than a million copies.

I believe that Mr Sarrazin has a point and I sort of am happy to continue living in China where I can expect that sort of immigration issue will not arise!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/11/15 at 06:48

Background reading and viewing about Hitler-Stalin mutual support pact in 1939

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The first is a review of a recent book by Richard Overy, who is a recognized historical expert about Hitler and Stalin. And here is an excerpt from that review:

Poland is central to Overy’s analysis, which suggests he may not be offering anything very new. His preface outlines the role of Danzig after the Treaty of Versailles, the vital supply channel for Polish trade that ultimately provoked Hitler’s disquieting request for lebensraum. Danzig remains the fault-line for the declaration of war, although clearly there are other causes: pride and obstinacy, failed brinkmanship and both sides’ belief that they were the last true upholders of western values. Overy suggests that the sheer exhaustion of the antagonists, particularly Neville Chamberlain, also played a part. A week after the war began, the prime minister wrote to his sister that his days “of stress and strain” had made him lose all sense of time: “Life is just one long nightmare.”

Then there is this video of an interview with Overy about that very subject.

My own personal connection with this very sad part of WW2 history is that I was living in Paris with my birth family since my father had, since April 1939, taken up his posting with RBofC as manager of their 10, rue Scribe branch in Paris. By then I had lived in three countries, born in Barcelona in Oct 1935, in Montmagny QC with my mother and siblings in Aug 1936 till Oct 1937 and then Vernets-l-bains in the French Pyrenees. We had been unwillingly chased from Barcelona in mid-July 1936 by the outbreak of

The Eiffel Tower and La Défense business distr...
Image via Wikipedia

the Spanish Civil War, which happened with violent clashes in and around Barcelona, which was the industrial heartland of Spain then.

My mother and I were forced to leave Paris after the German Wehrmacht invaded Western Europe so successfully on May 10, 1940. After lots of scrambling we made our way with my father and all siblings, Helen, Jean-Paul and Annette the latest arrival (May 16, 1940) back to Canada via the south of France, Portsmouth UK, and convoy out of Greenock, Scotland to Halifax, where we finally landed on July 13, 1940.

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Seventy years ago on Sep 1, 1939

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An Arrow anti-ballistic missile interceptor
Image via Wikipedia

and as day broke on  the Polish-German border the armed forces of Germany invaded the sovereign territory of Poland in a full blooded invasion. On Sep 3, 1939 the British and French governments declared war on Germany after the latter failed to obey an ultimatum to stop its military operations in Poland and return to its own territory.

CBC Radio made this news announcement then:

Germany invades Poland

Broadcast Date: Sept. 1, 1939

“Germany has invaded Poland and has bombed many towns. General mobilization has been ordered in Britain and France.” The announcer in this BBC news report from Sept. 1, 1939 may sound calm and composed, but the news he’s delivering is deeply disturbing. With Germany’s attack on Poland, the Second World War has begun.

These actions followed several days after a pact of non-aggression and mutual military and economic support were signed in Moscow under the watchful eyes of Josef Stalin, the Soviet de facto dictator and head of state. The current Prime Minister of Russia, which is the main successor state after the disintegration of the USSR about 20 years ago, is now describing that pact as “immoral” and will be travelling to Poland to discuss several historical aspects of that sad time in Poland, the USSR and Germany.

It seems to be the view of Russia’s government that plans to install an American ABM system in Poland is as dangerous as conditions set in motion by the Hitler-Stalin pact of late August 1939.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/09/01 at 03:31

This is definitely the kind of apartment building I would love to live in

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Market place, Darmstadt, Germany, ca. 1895

Image by trialsanderrors via Flickr

but it’s unlikely I’ll ever have the chance because it’s in Darmstadt, Germany. But I can dream:

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Why can’t architects and developers in BC offer us such delights to the eye and spirit of whimsy?

The smaller image in the upper right is from a unique Flickr collection of photos from 1895 to the 1960s. It’s a dreamy collection that includes European scenery (Venice, England, Ireland, Germany) long gone and older Americana.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/10/08 at 09:12

On this day in 1940

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Hotel de ville de CognacImage via Wikipedia

my father finally ended his attempt to reopen the Paris branch of the RBC in Cognac. This brief episode began when he got there on or about June 16 after getting out of Paris just ahead of the German Wehrmacht by car on June 12/13.

This attempt ended on or about June 18. By that time, tank units of the German Wehrmact couldn’t have been hours or at most a day or so away. In fact, the ministries of the French Government had moved to Bordeaux from Tours on June 14. By the 18th they felt the angry presence of German troops and with Petain as Prime Minister they proposed and accepted armistice under terms dictated by the Germans under direct instructions from Adolf Hitler. The Armistice was signed on June 22.

It is a fact that by June 22 German control extended on a line from Angoulème to Bordeaux, putting Cognac under German control for the duration of the French Vichy government. If we hadn’t gotten out of Cognac on time or no later than June 20, it is likely that we could have ended up either in a German concentration camp or in some kind of French safe house on the French side of the Armistice line.

From Cognac, he must then have made his way by car to the southwest coast of France with my mother, two sisters, one a babe in arms, my brother and myself in tow. Sometime between the 18th and the 30th of June we managed to get aboard a ship, probably a Royal Navy ship off the beach in Biarritz, to end up in England, likely Portsmouth.

By the 7 of July we were all on board the M/S Batory in Greenoch, Scotland to leave with a convoy to return to Canada, arriving in Halifax on July 11.

In 1986 I visited Cognac on a short road trip from Bordeaux. It was quite easy to detect the aroma of cognac distillation on arrival in Cognac.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/06/18 at 16:15