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Posts Tagged ‘Wars and Conflicts

Berlin 2010 and 1945 mixed in one image of the German Reichstag

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WW II German halftrack (Sd.Kfz251) at Reenactment
Image by NovaMan396 (walking wounded) via Flickr

Sergey Larenkov offers us a the result of “good Photoshop” work. In one image he neatly captures the present and past.

For me this brings back my short and tangential connection, in 1936 Spain and then 1939-40 France, with the Nazi war against civilization, or WW II in Europe and Greater Russia. It seems fitting that a Russian photograper would do this sort of remembrance of that awful time.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/08/20 at 13:24

My goodness, my wife was born in 1964 in Dalian, China

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President Truman signs the National Security A...

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Thx to Danwei, here is a link to a propaganda film that kinda puts the whole US – China situation today into backward looking context.

Oooooooooohhhhh! What scary pictures they drew in those grim Cold War days!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/11/28 at 05:20

Ben Weider, businessman, bodybuilder and Napoleon scholar, dies age 85

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Equestrian statue of Napoleon at Cherbourg

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He was best known as founder and owner of a global enterprise involved in body building that made Ahhnold S famous.

He was also founder and long time president of the International Napoleonic Society. Here is a part of his obituary from the Globe and Mail (Mop and Pail):

Mr. Weider also applied his powers of persuasion to get the French to revise their thinking about one of their most revered figures, Napoleon. Mr. Weider, regarded as a Napoleonic scholar, posited that Napoleon had been poisoned by one of his own countrymen rather than dying of stomach cancer as was widely believed.

He spent three decades trying to prove his theory. Instead of responding with outrage, France bestowed upon Mr. Weider its highest tribute, the Legion of Honour. His 1982 book, The Murder of Napoleon, co-authored with David Hapgood, became a bestseller and sold in 45 languages.

In a poignant twist, Mr. Weider will miss a moment in his hometown’s spotlight. This Thursday at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, he was to attend the unveiling of a priceless collection of rare Napoleon artifacts, including the emperor’s signature bicorn hat, that Mr. Weider donated from his personal collection. They will be on display free in the museum’s permanent collection.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/10/20 at 07:48

Juan Cole & his Napoleon connection

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Photo of Juan Cole

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Juan Cole has been and is recognized for the quality of his blogging about Iraq and the Middle East. Today I discovered that unsurprisingly he has a Napoleon connection. This is not surprising to me because Napoleon led an exceptional expedition to Egypt in the late 1790s.

A post of mine about a year ago still gets most daily views of any of my posts. So for all those Napoleon viewers here is another Internet connection which is clearly high quality for its content and suggested links to other Napoleon sites.

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Napoleon developed principles for industrial warfare and …

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German cavalry and motorized units entering Po...
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‘The Utility of Force’ – New York Times

My life till I was about 5 years old was dominated by two wars, the Spanish Civil War and WW II.

Later on at age 70some, I decided to read about how those wars got started and how they were fought. I recently learned that a few key principles about fighting industrial warfare were worked out by Napoleon more than 200 years ago. They are well described in the First Chapter piece linked to above.

I also realize that there is a big difference between a principle and how it is put into action. In the end mass, industrial mass, will win as long as effective leadership is provided on the battle and home fronts. Napoleon understood and practiced that well until he over-committed the resources and means of communication he commanded. The same happened to Hitler.

The Allies, especially the French and the English, couldn’t apply those principles when WW II began and suffered many quick and humiliating defeats. Hitler was winning until Stalin worked out how to find the resources and shape his armed forces to break the back of the Nazi military juggernaut on the eastern warfront in several epic battles, including Leningrad, Stalingrad and Kursk.

Eventually American industrial and manpower resources as well as battlefield leadership finally came to grips with and defeated the more efficient Wehrmacht in Western Europe and the Japanese Empire in the Pacific.

In the end mass should win any contest of industrial war. Today the US has undertaken a war on terrorism in which the principles of industrial war don’t work any longer since this seems to be more of a war of shadows.

The Spanish Civil War did have some characteristics of a war of shadows until intervention by German and Italian forces turned the force of superior firepower against the under-armed and splintered Republican armed forces, which were refused support by the Allied democracies.

Those leaders, including Churchill at that time, were unwilling to confront the threat of military force deployed by the Axis powers and manifested greater anxiety about the USSR.

The day after I posted the above, I found this text in a review by Niall Ferguson, which seems to me the best description of the Iraq quagmire:

Still, “The Utility of Force” remains an impressive and absorbing work of military analysis. At his best, Smith is the Clausewitz of low-intensity conflict and peacekeeping operations. If, in the end, he does not quite solve the riddle of how to win the small wars of our time, he brilliantly lays bare the newfound limits of Western military power. The more Iraq looks like Bosnia on the Tigris — as a war amongst the people becomes another bloody war between peoples — the more prescient his book will seem.

Update 2008-10-20:

Ben Weider, founder and president of the International Napoleonic Society died at 85 years of age.

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