Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Victory in Europe

This week is the sixtieth anniversary of the defeat of Hitler's Third Reich and there's no dearth of TV programming about it. The History Channel is having VE Week and there's stuff on the end of WWII all over the place. If you're a military history buff like myself, this week's the tall cotton, boys.

Since the demise of the Soviet Union there seems to be a lot of new footage, no doubt due to the fact that the German film was warehoused in Berlin in East Germany and has just lately become available. The Germans are inveterate documentarians and fine camera makers, and they filmed everything. There's quite a bit of Soviet footage as well. A lot of it is propaganda of course, on both sides, but there's a lot that isn't, and it's fascinating.

Last night was a coupla hours of the German invasion of Russia and the ensuing battle that killed millions. There were accounts by vets and citizens from both sides. There was a lot of footage of General Winter and graveyards, mostly German, although in the early days, Russian casualties, military and civilian both, far outnumbered those of the Germans. The tide turned, however, and we've been living with the results ever since.

There's more of this stuff tonight and the rest of the week. It's fascinating to me, but absolutely chilling and horrible in the scope of the human suffering on both sides. It's damn sure something to think about, not only for history's sake but in light of the warlike nature of certain modern leaders (hint, hint...).

Also, I found an interview in The Guardian with a German nurse in the last days in the Fuhrerbunker. I wonder if she had to take Hitler's temperature? Shudder!

The History channel also has an encyclopedic short history of WWII that can get you up to speed on all this stuff.

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