1917 German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg Resigns

On July 10, 1917, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, chancellor of Germany, resigns his position after failing to control the divided German Reichstag (government) as World War I threatened to stretch into its fourth agonizing year.

A former Prussian minister of the interior and state secretary in the Imperial German Office, Bethmann Hollweg was appointed German chancellor by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1909. Though of a relatively liberal bent, Bethmann Hollweg from the beginning strove to satisfy both the right and left extremes within the Reichstag, with varying results. His efforts to pursue diplomacy within Europe were often undermined by the strength of the German military establishment, supported by the kaiser. One outstanding example of this dynamic was Bethmann Hollweg’s unsuccessful efforts to scale back Germany’s aggressive naval build-up in the first decade of the 20th century, in accordance with negotiations he entered into with Britain. In the end, the kaiser weighed in on the side of Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, and the naval arms race continued.

Though Bethmann Hollweg personally expressed hopes of avoiding Germany’s going to war in the summer of 1914, he nonetheless played a central role in the machinations between Austria-Hungary and Germany that occurred in the wake of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo in late June. Once the war was underway, Bethmann Hollweg struggled to make his influence felt with the kaiser and the military leaders of Germany, who effectively dictated policy from the first year of war and whose power was formally consolidated with the creation of the Third Supreme Command—effectively a military dictatorship—in August 1916. The chancellor, echoing more liberal elements within the Reichstag, including the socialists, spoke out for peace more than once and argued for limitation of Germany’s policy of unrestricted submarine warfare, actions that earned him the contempt of the military and naval command, including Von Tirpitz and Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff.

The chancellor owed his final downfall, however, to his failure to manage the civil unrest within Germany, reflected in the feuding Reichstag. During the summer of 1917, as parliamentary debate raged over a proposed peace resolution, Bethmann Hollweg found himself unable to continue to balance the feuding elements of the German government, especially the majority Socialist Party—which was itself alienating its most radical leftist elements by aligning with a center-left coalition—and the conservative right, which predictably enjoyed the support of Hindenburg and Ludendorff. Having previously committed—reluctantly—to an unrestricted naval policy that had led the United States to declare war on Germany the previous April, Bethmann Hollweg was seen by the center-left, the authors of the Reichstag peace resolution, as a warmonger and by the right as a weakling for supporting the efforts to broker a peace.

Exhausted, Bethmann Hollweg rose in the Reichstag on July 9 to respond to his critics: “My position does not matter…I myself am convinced of my own limitations…I am considered weak because I seek to end the war. A leading statesman can receive support neither from the Left nor the Right in Germany.” The following day, he resigned as chancellor. He was replaced by Georg Michaelis, a relatively obscure undersecretary of state in the Finance Ministry who served for less than four months, only to be replaced by the equally unobtrusive Count Georg von Hertling, who served until the last month of the war and was, like Michaelis, basically a puppet premier subject to the authority of the kaiser and the military.

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1940 The Battle of Britain Begins

On this day in 1940, the Germans begin the first in a long series of bombing raids against Great Britain, as the Battle of Britain, which will last three and a half months, begins.

After the occupation of France by Germany, Britain knew it was only a matter of time before the Axis power turned its sights across the Channel. And on July 10, 120 German bombers and fighters struck a British shipping convoy in that very Channel, while 70 more bombers attacked dockyard installations in South Wales. Although Britain had far fewer fighters than the Germans–600 to 1,300–it had a few advantages, such as an effective radar system, which made the prospects of a German sneak attack unlikely. Britain also produced superior quality aircraft. Its Spitfires could turn tighter than Germany’s ME109s, enabling it to better elude pursuers; and its Hurricanes could carry 40mm cannon, and would shoot down, with its American Browning machine guns, over 1,500 Luftwaffe aircraft. The German single-engine fighters had a limited flight radius, and its bombers lacked the bomb-load capacity necessary to unleash permanent devastation on their targets. Britain also had the advantage of unified focus, while German infighting caused missteps in timing; they also suffered from poor intelligence.

But in the opening days of battle, Britain was in immediate need of two things: a collective stiff upper lip–and aluminum. A plea was made by the government to turn in all available aluminum to the Ministry of Aircraft Production. “We will turn your pots and pans into Spitfires and Hurricanes,” the ministry declared. And they did.

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Eastern Front: The Unpublished Photographs 1941-1945

Eastern Front: The Unpublished Photographs 1941-1945

by Will Fowler

After securing the rights to this amazing Ukrainian state photo archive, the author traveled to Kiev with a translator, a bodyguard and several thousand used American dollar bills, the negotiated cost for the collection. According to Fowler, the risk of carrying that kind of cash – or 15 years’ salary to the average Kiev worker – through a city with a staggering crime rate was well worth it. This photographic record of the war on the Eastern Front is composed entirely of imagery taken and captioned by Red Army photographers. None of the images have previously been seen in the West. The result, which offers the perspectives of Soviet soldiers, as well as those of ordinary men, women and children, is a visually stunning account covering every aspect of one of history’s bloodiest chapters and the epic battles waged in Stalingrad, Kursk, Kharkov, and Leningrad. Almost 30 million people died during the course of the four years of conflict during World War II. In the aftermath, the whole of Poland, European Russia, and Germany lay in ruins as a result of the fighting.

3 Iron Crosses only for this book due to the amount of Russian photos versus German photos. It is overwhelmingly a book for the Russian photo collector versus the German. Beyond that there is nothing to special about the information. Good for Eastern Front and some WW II readers.

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Album of the Damned: Snapshots From the Third Reich – Awful Garbage!

Album of the Damned: Snapshots From the Third Reich

by Paul Garson

The nearly 400 WWII photographs in this book were taken primarily by German soldiers; some by civilians; some by professionals embedded with the troops.

Consequently, many of them depict everyday life: jobs, weddings, dinners, musical and other social events—men and women at work and play as well as at war, a war that nearly consumed Europe.

The author acquired these photographs from some fifteen countries during a five-year research effort, reviewing more than 100,000 images from which he made his selection. He bid in auctions against museums and private collectors to create a WWII photo history unlike perhaps any other.

This book deserves one Iron Cross. I will give it 2 due to many people reading WW2 material never have seen pictures such as these from the personal collections of average German soldiers. But this book is all about trashing the reputation of the average German soldier and police officer. This book mostly features pictures of German Heer (Army) and the Ordnungspolizei (Unifomed Police) in their daily routines. No pictures of the SS camp guards or Einsatzgruppen SS units which did most of the killing of Jews, etc. Of course the Army and Waffen-SS did some killing initially on the Eastern Front, but large protests from German generals to Hitler made this come to an end. The Einsatzgruppen SS units did their dirty work once all the Wehrmacht units have moved on to the front lines.

The author will caption the pictures with awful titles (not all titles) then with mistaken and at times demeaning descriptions in which he does admit to this being only his opinion. From Cradle to Grave showing a picture of a baby wearing his dads officers cap, Trained for Pain, Calf Killers, Heartless Hunters showing a picture of German Army motorcyclists, Murder Practice, The Murder at the Desk showing Germans working in an office, etc.  The pictures will show the ordinary soldiers life at play while not in combat, and the soldiers will be demeaned.  Every 2-3 pages then he has a reading section that constantly reminds us of the Holocaust so the reader with consider every German soldier as being guilty. This is typical, pro-Jewish, pro-Holocaust guilter material to demean every German citizen of the Third Reich. This book has taken on good reviews from the Rolling Stone, New York Times, Publishers Weekly, etc. This trash would never sell or be welcomed to good reviews in Germany.

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