halialkers: Angewomon. An angelic woman with six wings (Amber)
http://www.amazon.com/Path-Victory-Mediterranean-Theater-World/dp/0374205183

^This. It tries really, really hard to lay out a thesis that the sequence of bloody attrition battles in the Mediterranean really does deserve the emphasis accorded to it in traditional histories, attention far overshadowing the degeneration of the Wehrmacht in the bloodsoaked battles in the Axis-Soviet War. It really, really tries. Unfortunately it tries to lay out claims that are directly contradicted by the evidence. Such as the Mediterranean serving as a learning curve.....and then the Allied generals repeat the exact same mistake over and over again. Claiming that the generalship on the Western Front in Northwestern Europe was a higher order than that seen in the Mediterranean.....and ignoring that the Bocage, Aachen, the Huertgen Forest, Metz, the Scheldt.....all overqualify for the kind of foolish headlong attacks it says the generals learned against in the Mediterranean.

I give the writer props for trying to find the rose in the pile of bullshit. I really, really do. Unfortunately for it that rose simply put does not exist in anything like the term it says it does. Sure, it raises the point that much of the fighting here was politically motivated, but given the inelegant attrition war in the Western Front of WWII and two-thirds of the Eastern Front IOTL for much of *that* war I fail to see why or how I am to be convinced that the people repeating most of the same mistakes in 1944-5 somehow learned in 1939-43 what not to do, or why the argument that the Mediterranean was exaggerated in importance is discredited. The book contradicts itself.

halialkers: (Default)
A history of Ancient Egyptian warfare. This is part of a project I've set for myself of reading of the evolution of warfare in the ancient Mediterranean up to the period of the Eastern Roman Empire and the rise of Islam. The book on ancient Egypt was interesting as it notes that Egypt began as one of the Mediterranean centers of civilization in the Neolithic and it remained independent up to the defeat of the Ptolemies by the Roman legions (which I'd dispute by noting that the Greek dynasty in that case arose for reasons having precious little to do with Egypt itself and last Pharaoh would be Nectanebo II while Cleopatra VII would be the last ruler of independent Egypt due to backing the wrong side in a civil war). The Ancient Egyptian civilization had factors a lot of the others didn't, such as clear boundaries due to the growing Sahara and a very limited sector where civlization could grow and prosper, and this enabled it to create a precocious absolute monarchy and standing military machine that made it an enduring, formidable military power....so long as it was sufficiently isolated.

When it ran into the Achaemenid juggernaut it was all over but the shouting, and fighting against Greeks and Romans just confirmed that the Pharaonic concept of armies had been rendered obsolete for centuries, and Egyptians were to be subjects to new overlords who were rather contemptuous of present-day Egyptians and esteeming their centuries' old ancestors (rather like contemporary Europeans and modern-day Greeks).
halialkers: (Default)
A war of aggression launched against Russia by a fanatical Germanic man filled with a crazy and impossible-to-achieve dream of empire that ruined his country as a major power forever. This was a man who believed that he, despite a complete lack of military experience would be able to defeat backwards Russia and establish himself as leader of a major Empire led by a Germanic leader. He led some amazing initial strikes that dealt harsh blows but the Russian reformist autocrat ended his power in a succession of hammer-blow offensives, ending forever the dreams of an empire led by the Germanics in Eastern Europe.

Query: Who is the leader and what is the war?
halialkers: (Default)
China.

Yes, China. The existence of China itself is extremely implausible. This may come as a surprise to people who know that the PRC is a continuation of the old policy of a unified authoritarian regime in East Asia. But it is true nonetheless. China is not a "natural" entity, though if we are to be picky about it the only "natural" human method of society is hunting and gathering, and all states are various degrees of artificiality. That said, China has the distinction of being the oldest-unified state and also one of the most unique.

First, China itself managed to do what the Roman Empire never did, re-start itself repeatedly in successor empires. The Roman Empire's attempt to re-conquer Italy failed, and the Holy Roman Empire provides an admirable example of the state-that-is-not-a-state. The contemporary PRC is just a contemporary continuation of that, adopted to modern times and the challenges they face. It is perfectly plausible that the region called China today might have developed in the vein of Europe into an area composed of a single cultural history and metaculture, with the Han Empire becoming to that China what Rome has become to Europe. Instead, thanks to a ruthless and vicious Totalitarian policy followed by Qin Shi Huang, the first totalitarian back in the 3rd Century BC (China invents everything), Chinese societies were able to achieve something beyond the dreams of any other cultural region: create a unified imperial state.

Second, Chinese rule did something that Rome and Indian societies did not, as well as Muslim societies: they invented the concept, albeit in a Chinese form, of "the tree of liberty is fed by the blood of tyrants." They called it the Mandate of Heaven. The Chinese Empire in a paradoxical way was much freer than its Communist successor has ever been, as the concept existed that the Emperor's power relied on providing for the populace. If this provision became inadequate, off with the emperor's head. This also gave the Imperial Chinese system a flexibility that few other systems have ever truly possessed. Both the Euro-Christian and Islamic metacultures depended on single rulers who in the vein of Japanese Emperors gradually became attenuated in power to irrelevancy: the Caliph (which was still for all its nature as a universal leadership quite democratic, the only thing the Caliph got to show his election was a handshake). But in Europe and the expanding Islamic world, the concepts of the sovereign answering to the people in any real sense took much longer to evolve. In China it was inbuilt.

Third, China maintained for a long time the most stable and prosperous society on the planet. It was the superior of Europe for a very long time and remained equal to it up into the 19th Century. Unified rule under the Imperial structure permitted the growth of a stable system and provided a basis so that invasions of China ended up Sinifying with much less ruinous effects than invasions of Europe or the heartland of Medieval Islam. It is from this that the Chinese never really felt the need to adopt European ways, as they were equally prosperous as the richer corners of Europe until quite late. And while India itself fell into European colonial rule, China never fell completely into the orbit of Europe or Japan despite long attempts to create this effect by both powers.

Fourth, the Chinese have provided stable government that was democratic by the pre-Industrial age definition that was stable and more than equal to Europe, yet have been accused of being backward. If we are to use the term in a serious sense, Europe deserves it more as the largest European society in the overland sense was an authoritarian despotism while Europeans were not able to civilize themselves enough to divest themselves of conquering other people instead of using the more civilized method of hitting their pocketbooks. Hence I reject fully that one of the most stable societies on Earth is also one of the more backwards societies, China was no more authoritarian than most pre-Industrial states and less so than many. And China's prosperity was equal to Europe's for quite some time, even with Europe able to enrich itself from the conquest of two entire continents, which implies still more problems for the thesis that Europe was inherently superior to other societies.

This is your Implausible Histories update.
halialkers: (Default)
When I was still in high school and didn't have much else to do in my senior year, I checked a copy of Mein Kampf out and read it. First, even allowing for translation, the original language must have been the German version of Engrish. Taking it from Adolf Hitler's mastery of German, one would not have expected this to be the magnum opus of the leader of a large First-World country, one would have seen it instead as the type of literature one encounters among the various extremist movements today, overlong, meandering in a lot of points, and with a lot of grotesque metaphors even for the time (and not surprisingly der Fuhrer was a big porn connoisseur).

The idea seemed like a mirror version of What Is To Be Done, namely a view of the group to be killed in bloody red slaughter (pun half-intended) as various peoples Hitler didn't like, as opposed to parasitical imperialistic big business. The idea of the Ubermensch was to create by means of pre-Watson and Crick science a group of people who would be superior and establish a New Fascist Man. This, naturally, in the vein of Manifest Destiny, meant that the inferior Slavs would fade away and a German state would expand on a house of Slavic corpses. Oh, and let's not forget that in Hitlerland the Jews are all-powerful people out of a Dan Brown novel as opposed to the traditional whipping boy of Eurochristian culture. Half the book is his autobiography, in which he comes across as a self-adulating large ham like his predecessor the Kaiser (who said when told he had a small cold "No, no, it must be a big cold. Everything about me must be big.') , and a ham who hated the society he was born in but also hated Vienna, his one experience with big cities. The second half was this large-scale vision of his version of the Nazi Party, which didn't become final until the Night of the Long Knives. Even taking into account that for a few years Hitler ran a fairly large European Empire, I would rank this book and its author as a 3.5 on a 10-point scale.

halialkers: (Default)
The modern Right is more puritan than the Puritans.

I doubt many modern fathers, for instance, would tolerate bundling.

So that makes the likes of the Purity Movement more Puritan than old Cotton Mather. O.o. Now that's something. O.o
halialkers: (Default)
My take on what would happen if the Atomic Bomb didn't go off for whatever reason it did IOTL (likely a delayed start to the Manhattan Project):

First, Operation Starvation would have seen an increasingly desperate situation in Japan. Allied POWs might become scapegoats here as the IJA raises them as the reason for desperate straits. Either way, Japanese are already dying like flies before the invasion goes in. This leads to an increasing number of volunteers for Kamikaze and Bakka Bombs, because Hell, they're already starving why not take Allied forces with them?

At the same time the Soviet August Storm Operation starts rolling up Imperial Japanese forces in Mainland Asia, the result in terms of the first wave of Downfall is a bloody Anzio-on-the-Kanto. Japanese resistance is so fanatical that Allied casualties are already atrocious. For bonus shits and giggles we'll say a few OTL people of signficance die in the battle and thus certain aspects of post-war culture will be very different. The Soviets begin to gather fleets for a land invasion of Hokkaido, which takes a bit more time because this POD doesn't change the basic inadequacy of the Soviet groundwater fleet.

The American invasion steadily pushes inland, meeting fierce invasion, and purple hearts are given out by the dozen. Use of biological warfare happens, and then the first atomic bombing (because the Bomb is only delayed by a few months, not never happening) precedes US landings followed by still more atomic bombings in preparation of a US landing. The battle continues and the Soviet occupation of Hokkaido sees some revenges exacted for how the battles prior to the beginning of the War in Europe were fought, by Marshal Zhukov.

By the end of the Battle, the Ainu are completely extinct as a people between Japanese repression and scapegoating and Soviet brutality. The Japanese themselves are reduced to a tiny proportion of what they once were, and the liberal use of atomic bombings has left entire parts of the country as future death traps. Good chunks of the USA are suffering the result of biological warfare, while in the future radiation poisoning is going to have a dramatic effect on American lives. The Soviet Union occupies Hokkaido and this is the world at the end of World War II at the beginning of 1947.

The butterfly effects that are obvious are: 1) Less swift and easy victory for Israel and possibly no Israel at all due to a greater World War II and less eyes on the Soviets. Massive butterflies, including a larger number of Christians in Palestine and very likely more Jews in the Arabic-speaking countries.

2) Japan as we know it is not a US ally. Presuming the ROC still goes down to defeat (which given Sovietist views of Maoists is not entirely likely), possible locations of Nationalists on the islands of Japan are quite possible indeed.

3) The Mushroom cloud lingers much heavier in US national consciousness due to the rate of radiation poisoning in American soldiers (which was actually the plan, at the time of the design of nuclear weapons none of the lingering effects of fission bombs were known).

4) A very different Cold War. The Soviets might well have a part of Tokyo, which gives the West its own Berlin to squeeze the balls of the Soviets like Berlin squeezed the balls of the West. The possiblity of no PRC has radically different effects on the shape of de-colonization, without a single great leading movement as such. Alt-McCarthyism will take a very different form.

5) Korea is a single nation, under a Soviet stooge, who may or may not be Kim Il-Sung.

6) World War II lasting longer would itself change the post-war landscape to a degree, the 1948 elections that saw men like Nixon, JFK, and LBJ get elected will, if those men survive Downfall, not see them elected as soon as OTL.

7) Post-War politics will also differ as the potential fate of Japanese in Hawaii and the Mainland USA might have some impact on Post-War Japanese demographics, which if even a smaller number exit would see Native Hawaiians as a greater voice in Hawaiian affairs.

8) A radically different popular culture Post-War. Imagine, for just a brief moment, popular culture without the influence of anime, Godzilla (who has been influential to a degree), the influence of manga and other Japanese ideas.

9) I likely would not be here, but my aunt would still be living as she was born in World War II itself, which would be the minor and more personal effect. Effectively my father is never born if my grandfather dies in Operation Downfall, and if he is born, it's later, which has likely an impact of its own. I likely owe my very existence to Fat Man and Little Boy.

And last but not least..10) Japanese culture and Nihonjin are extinct. While Japanese would still be spoken, it would likely not receive the official sanction of the government, it would be at the most benevolent scenario like Bai in the PRC, and at the least benevolent like Breton in France.

So...yeah. Happy thoughts, eh?
halialkers: (Default)
In 1941 Hitler attempted to play Manifest Destiny with the Russians. Today, Russian is the largest language in terms of speakers in Europe and the Russians are the largest-single ethnic group there. Who says that God doesn't have a sense of humor? ;P
halialkers: (Default)
How the Hell did Woodrow Wilson become an icon of equal rights for everyone?

I mean, this is a guy that passed Sedition Acts (a time-honored American tradition), engaged in outrageous civil rights violations (interning one's political opponents like Eugene Victor Debs is a big no-no in any society that wants to pretend to be civilized), segregated a previously unsegregated environment (the Federal Government), triggered a Ku Klux Klan revival (his little "like watching history written in lightning" comment), targeted political minorities (his raids and launching the first Red Scare), targeting ethnic groups that were a bit slow in assimilating (the Germans and ensuring a law was passed that completely forbade teaching in any language other than English. Um....last I checked, Dobbs's ilk didn't quite get that far in the last eight years), engaged in some of the most outrageous colonial wars of an outrageous era (nearly starting a war with Mexico because he was pissed the wrong top banana came out of the Revolution, innumerous invasions of Latin America), and deliberately politicized the one treaty which if enforced would have ensured that Germany would at least have somewhat gotten on its feet slower, participated in two invasions of Russia during a civil war there, and lied us into one of the world wars.

And this guy's a hero? O.o

Maybe I should go into politics after all...heh, heh, heh. If he can get a good reputation....who wouldn't be able to?
halialkers: (Default)
The Bible is by no means really that female-friendly in a modern context. Guess what the oldest portion of the Bible in terms of its Hebrew content is? The Song of Deborah, written in Archaic Hebrew, instead of the more general Hebrew used to write most of the rest of the Tanach. That's right....the oldest document in the Abrahamic religious context was written about a Jewish Boudicca figure that was a wee bit more successful than Queen Boudicca.

Ah, history....you do throw the screwballs at us...
halialkers: (Default)
This one deals with religion, if you want to create a flamewar of atheist v. Christian, this is not the place to do so and any such comment threads will be frozen when they start.

Now....forward to the post:

I think one of the forgotten goods of history has been the actions of the Pope John XXIII during the Shoah. Pius XII was and is a bit controversial, but John XXIII should be one of the Righteous Among the nations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_XXIII

He was one of those who saved the honor of the Church.

Others who deserve mention are:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer

^This man was one of the leaders of the German resistance to the Nazis.

Then there's ol' Pius XII himself:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_XII#The_Holocaust

He hid Jews in the monasteries of the Church, saving them from Nazi evil.

And last but not least is the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_of_the_Danish_Jews where Denmark deliberately defied the Nazis and saved most of its Jewish population.

Even in the midst of darkness and evil, there was light. And the light was good.
halialkers: (Default)
Time for a good old school rant on Slobodan Milosevic:

My opinion on such men as Hitler and Stalin is that they are remembered for targeting white men with methods traditionally used on non-whites without anyone much giving a fuck at the time. Mr. Milosevic rose to power and committed horrific acts of ethnic cleansing, ending the 20th Century in Europe as it had begun, with trouble and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. However I think a good chunk of that is the Slavic double standard. It's been my experience that Slavic powers as a rule get called on things that evidently are just fine for Germanic or Romance-speaking nations to do.

While Russia and Serbia behaved monstrously to their subjects, it bothers me that the ethnic cleansing and expulsion of Germans from places they had lived in for centuries was perfectly kosher. Milosevic in the 1990s did precious little different from the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War II, which were quite content to expel any and all ethnicities deemed "hostile" to the future peace of Europe in order to redraw the map. Yet somehow one is acceptable and the other isn't.....

While Milosevic did evil, and was responsible for one of the last of the 20th Century massacres, I do wonder why the expulsion of the Germans a time ago was considered acceptable then by the very powers that deigned to lecture the Slavs...
halialkers: (Default)
If the Nazis and the Soviets had been dictatorships with non-white victims, nobody would have really given a crap here in the Anglosphere. It's only because their victims were white that anything negative is said about them at all. It's why you never hear of Imperial Japan and what it did, or Mao's evils, or Pol Pot and the most evil dictatorship in all of history, or Idi Amin Dada or Bokassa or any such non-whites who did horrifically evil and barbaric acts.

But because the Nazis and Soviets treated white men as white men were accustomed to treating non-whites, Anglosphere media cryeth "Oh, how totally dreadful and horrible!" "Pol Pot who?"

....

>.
halialkers: (Default)
Big image under cut... )

One thing that is forgotten about the severity of the Nazi-Soviet War is the USSR's use of female soldiers in both aerial and ground combat, which was seldom if ever done in the West. Soviet women, such as this sniper here, did many acts of heroism against a great evil. The Soviet Union itself was never a pleasant society from start to end, but the heroism of its people and its soldiers during the Axis-Soviet War should be more remembered than it is.

halialkers: (Default)
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I would live right here and right now. Why?

For the First World, this is as good as it's going to get. And unlike the Classical world, we don't depend on slavery to make our living. Unlike the Medieval world, the Church is not the only thing left to rebuild us. And unlike the Pre-Poleis world, we're not a bunch of tribal savages, either.

:)
halialkers: (Default)
To the military forces of the United States and Australia who beginning on this day handed the first defeat in many, many a year to the forces of the Empire of Greater Japan.

To the victory:Under a cut because these are damn big images: )

And a great thanks to the generation that triumphed over Tojo, Mussolini, and Hitler.

halialkers: (Default)
"Why Prime Minister, you're drunk,"-Lady Astor.

"And you my dear are ugly. The difference is that in them morning I'll be sober."-Winston Churchill.
halialkers: (Default)
Why is it that back in Aboriginal times the South was the most advanced part of the country, with the only thing able to be properly called a civilization.....and now we're the retrogrades who are pissed that we gambled on treason and lost? The Mississippians showed that a powerful civilization could be built in this region....and then the Confederacy emerges and fucks all that up. Jefferson Davis? I hope you and yours are enjoying being burned to a crisp for doing that to the South. And the Klan of the 70s that ensured a good chunk of the population would have its minds censored? Same to you.
halialkers: (Default)
http://www.michaelparenti.org/Caesar.html

OK....now I know that Marxists have some real problems with dictatorships, but a yahoo like this who can't see the elementary connection between the dictatorship of Gaius Julius Caesar and that of Gaius Octavius Thurinus is not to be trusted. On anything. Caesar was no reformer, he was a member of the Roman aristocracy, a power-mad general who became despot of Rome, and an overrated military leader whose major accomplishment was the genocide by means of selling 1 million people into slavery and killing 1/3 of Gaul. And this Marxist shithead thinks that Caesar was a reformer and he actually gave a fuck about the Roman Populus. OK....you no know history. You fail history. Ug displeased. Ug....SMASH!

I don't get it. I thought Liberal Fascism was the essence of stupidity. Then I see this shit? WTF?

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