Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What Were Hitler's Goals?

     Historians have been able to piece together an outline of Nazi war aims.

    Hitler wanted to create a great Empire in the East (lands conquered in Russia) where Germany's eighty million could grow to 250 million (Shirer, 83).  Hitler said, "The vast expanses of Russia literally cry out to be filled.  I'm not worried about that.  The German families who will live there in our new towns and villages will receive big homes with many rooms, and soon those rooms will be swarming with children.  In contrast to the English, we won't just exploit, we'll settle.  We are not a nation of shopkeepers, but a nation of peasants.  First we'll practice a systematic population policy.  The example of India and China shows how rapidly nations can multiply"(Speer, 51).     

     Initially, European Russia was to be divided into Reich's Commissariats.  After initial ethnic cleansing and colonization by Aryans, the Commissariats were to be annexed to the Greater German Reich.  The great cities of the East, Moscow, Leningrad and Warsaw, were to be erased.  Russian culture was to be stamped out and formal education denied all Slavs.  The industry of the Eastern countries was to be dismantled and shipped to Germany.  The people themselves were to be limited to growing food for Germany, being allowed only a subsistence ration for themselves (Shirer, 937).  

     The general pattern was to follow that established in the 1941 pacification of Poland, "Farm workers of Polish nationality no longer have the right to complain, and thus no complaints will be accepted by an official agency.  The visit of churches is strictly prohibited.  Visits in theaters, motion pictures or other cultural entertainment is strictly prohibited” (Shirer, 950).  “Poland can only be administered by utilizing the country through means of ruthless exploitation, deportation of all supplies, raw materials, machines, factory installations.  Reduction of the entire Polish economy to absolute minimum necessary to bare existence of the population, closing of all educational institutions, especially technical schools and colleges in order to prevent the growth of a new Polish intelligentsia.  Poland shall be treated as a colony.  The Poles shall be the slaves of the Greater German Reich" (Shirer, 944).  

     Colonies of German settlers were to be established in Poland and European Russia.  Each settlement was to be linked by a network of military roads and protected by garrisons set up at key points, whose task was to ensure good order among the native population.  The native population was to provide mandatory labor for German industry and agriculture and remain in a status of inferiority, without rights or education (Bullock, 626).           

     Policing the conquered people was seen as an ongoing problem.  Armored cars were to be used as was low level bombing and strafing (Shirer, 942).  

     New towns were to be established in the vicinity of existing Russian towns.  Towns in Germany were to be painstakingly copied so that, even in Russia, a feeling for the Homeland developed.  Buildings in the Ukraine, in White Russia, and as far east as the Urals were to be identifiable as products of German culture (Speer, 171).  One million Volkswagen automobiles were to be built after the war.  A German farmer from Kiev or Odessa would be able to reach Berlin in about thirty hours on the new Russian autobahns (Speer, 172).  A modern railroad system was also to be built.  Two east-west lines were to be built across all of Europe, one beginning north at the Urals, the southern line beginning at the Caspian Sea (Speer, 173).       

Harper & Row, New York: 1953

Shirer, William
Simon & Schuster, New York: 1960


Macmillan, New York: 1976

The Lost Confederate Treasury

Offices of the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury,
and the Treasurer of the Confederate Government. 

What happened to the Confederate Treasury and the gold of Richmond?  Here is the answer to at least part of the mystery:

THE LOST RICHMOND BANK LOOT: By May 24, 1865 Jefferson Davis was under arrest and the funds of the Richmond banks, some $345,000 in gold and silver was now deposited in a bank vault in Washington, Georgia, under the protection of the Union army.  Since the gold was private property and not that of the Confederate government, the local Union commander scrupulously protected it from seizure and, in fact, agreed to provide an armed escort to accompany the treasure back to Richmond.

Thus, on the night of May 25 five treasure laden wagons creaked out of Washington, Georgia, with a small guard of Union troops.  The word flashed across northern Georgia.  Rebel veterans, believing the money belonged to the official Confederate treasury, made plans to seize the wagons.

The small caravan camped that night at the home of a three hundred pound Methodist minister named Dionysisus Chenault, near the Savannah River.  The Union soldiers drew up the wagons in a defensive circle and posted a guard. After supper, as the night progressed, a lone horseman wearing a U.S. Army blouse appeared.  The rider did not approach the camp but circled wearily, studying the wagons and the small force of sentries.  Finally the rider disappeared and the camp settled into a nervous slumber.  Long after midnight, the camp was aroused by curses and shots coming from a large group of riders, thundering down on the wagons.  The guards surrendered without a shot.

The Confederate veterans tied up the guards and then broke open the boxes and bags in the wagons.  Coins spilled to the ground and men waded ankle deep in gold and silver.  The raiders filled their pockets and haversacks.  The veterans tied the booty to their saddles and rode off heavily laden.

When news of the raid reached Washington, Georgia, a well known Confederate general, Edward Porter Alexander, rounded up another group of Confederate veterans and rode out to rescue the stolen treasure.  General Alexander reasoned that since the treasure belonged to the Richmond banks and was private property he had a duty, as a man of honor, to protect law and order and recover the treasure for the banks.  Alexander's men rode in hot pursuit, explaining to the raiders they caught that these were private funds and not Confederate property, and should, therefore, be returned.  Alexander recovered $95,000 in this way without firing a shot.  The lion's share of the treasure, however, was never recovered.  Chenault's daughter, Mary Anne Shumate, later told a colorful story of the missing money.  "There were oceans of money scattered all over Wilkes and Lincoln counties, besides what was carried off.  Some of it was hid about in swamps and woods, some was buried in the ground, and there is no telling how much has been forgotten and not found again."

Legends persist that much of the loot taken by the raiders is buried near the Chenault home, since the raiders were so burdened down with the heavy metal that they had to hurriedly stop to conceal their ill‑gotten gains in order to elude their pursuers.  Since Federal soldiers were everywhere, it is doubtful if they returned for their loot.

Dr. A.S. Furcron, in a 1949 article written for the Georgia Mineral Newsletter, asserts some of the gold was buried at Big Buffalo Lick, Public Square (now called Sunshine), north of Union Point.

Most legends suggest that the treasure is buried in numerous small hoards around Washington, or between Abbeville, South Carolina and Washington.  Some of the treasure may be hidden along the banks of the Savannah River.

Despite General Alexander's best efforts very little of the treasure ever made it back to the Richmond banks.  The $95,000 recovered by Alexander was seized by Federal army officials and became the subject of controversy and litigation for almost thirty years.  In 1893 a U.S. Court of Claims finally awarded the Richmond banks $17,000, declaring $78,000 subject to confiscation as Confederate property.

Who Was The Most Famous Woman Pirate?

              The best known woman pirate was Anne Bonny, considered one of the most famous pirates of the Caribbean.  Anne Bonny was born in Ireland.  Moving to Charleston with her father, Anne always proved to be difficult to get along with.  As a child she stabbed a serving girl with a table knife, and as a young woman she beat up a young suitor so badly that he was in the hospital for a month.

     Anne married the penniless Jack Bonny and was disowned by her father.  She and Bonny moved to the pirate haven of New Providence, in the Bahamas.  She soon met a dashing pirate named Calico Jack Rackam, for whom she left her husband.  She joined Calico Jack plying the pirate trade.  Aboard ship Anne wore men's clothes and kept her gender a secret from all.

     As she and Rackam plundered coastal traders, Anne proved that not only could she dress like a pirate but that she could fight like one as well, raging out of the cannon smoke, flashing her cutlass and singeing the air with shrill curses.

     The end of Anne Bonny's pirate career came suddenly when a British Navy sloop swept down upon the pirates as they were getting riotously drunk off the coast of Jamaica.  Calico Jack and his crew were too drunk to fight and hid in the hold.  Captured and tried, most of the pirates ended on the end of a rope, but not Anne.  Anne Bonny's pardon was based not on any hope of rehabilitation but on the fact that she was pregnant.  No record of Anne's execution has ever been found, and there is some reason to belief that her wealthy father bought her release after the birth of her child.

     Anne Bonny buried a cache of gold and silver in the vicinity of Fort Caswell at the mouth of Cape Fear.  Other pirates also used this area.

Eight Hours for What We Will by Roy Rosenzweig

The values of nineteenth century America were largely white Anglo-Saxon values that stressed Protestant self-reliance and Victorian respectability. Men worked and subdued the frontier (both literally and figuratively), while the woman’s domain was religion (moral uplift) and the home. Education, self-cultivation and upward mobility were the hallmarks of Anglo Saxon values. The central theme of this value system was Progress (expressed in terms of material progress) versus primitivism.

According to Larry May in his book Screening Out the Past, immigrants presented a disorganizing element into American society because they brought with them other (less restrictive) value systems. In the view of the white Anglo-Saxon majority, immigrants needed to be Americanized in order to, “make no trouble for the right minded” (May, 15). The workplace was one area in which the immigrant must be bent to (industrial) discipline. The other area was leisure. The middle class wanted to control immigrant leisure, and as Roy Rosenzweig points out in Eight Hours for What We Will leisure became a battleground between groups with different value systems. 

For immigrants, amusements constituted an important counterweight to the rigors of industrial discipline. Movies were particularly appealing to multi-lingual immigrants. Because movies were silent, they were universally available as an outlet for romance and adventure and formed the ground pattern of social life for the young (May, 38). The movies provided immigrants with a form of acculturation into American life. Although the middle class frowned on the low themes of the earliest movies, in general movies were much less of a threat to industrial discipline than were other amusements such as drinking in saloons. Immigrants carved out leisure (and especially movies) as a public space apart from work where they could indulge hopes, dreams and aspirations. In embracing the culture of the movies (and its concomitant consumerism) so enthusiastically, the immigrant movie go-er accelerated the breakdown of old ethnic norms and the development of a more homogeneous society based on mass culture and consumerism. Consumerism offered the image of a homogenous population pursuing the same goals of living well and accumulating goods. The emergence of consumerism served to mask the transformation of the immigrant from person to commodity and tempered resistance to labor discipline.

The development of the movie industry itself was a tremendous social safety valve. The movie industry, in which immigrants were heavily represented, demonstrated that success could be had without a long laborious submission to the Anglo Saxon value system (May, 196). Success was democratized in the persona of the movie star who by talent and imagination could become an overnight success (May, 233).

In Eight Hours for What We Will, Roy Rosenzweig talks about alternative ethnic worker cultures as opposed to oppositional cultures. Rather than directly challenging the economic elite, the alternative culture passively resists. Initially immigrants found strength to passively resist industrial discipline within the traditions and norms of their ethnic communities, to paraphrase Rosenzweig’s book, “they found a different way to live and wished to be left alone with it” (Rozenzweig, 64). Mass culture appears to have taken the place of the immigrant neighborhood. The modern American citizen passively resists labor discipline by immersing in consumerism and the products of mass culture. Meaning is found in conspicuous consumption.

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Alexandria, Virginia in the Civil War (1861 – 1865)

     The book begins with a look at pre-Civil War Alexandria, the city where Robert E. Lee received orders to suppress John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. An old and prosperous colonial town, Alexandria had a rich a vibrant social and cultural life stretching back to 1742.  Alexandria was both a major hub of the intra-state slave trade and, ironically a major center of free African American population and culture.

     War clouds thickened over Alexandria during the early spring of 1861.  The states of the Deep South had voted for secession, and in May, 1861, Virginia was poised to follow.  Alexandria, the “hometown” of George Washington, with its strong Federalist heritage was initially opposed to disunion.  However, when South Carolina fired on Fort Sumter and President Lincoln called for troops to crush the rebellion, the town’s sentiments radically changed.
     As war fever swept the city, militia units drilled.  On May 23, 1861, Virginians voted for secession.  In the early morning hours of the next day, the muffled oars of long boats brought Federal troops down the Potomac River from Washington City.  Union troops proceeded up King Street, where Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth, friend and confidant of Abraham Lincoln, noticed the Confederate flag fluttering above the Marshall House hotel.  The colonel and his troops entered the hotel, raced to the roof and seized the flag of rebellion.  Descending the stairs, Ellsworth was met by the hotel’s owner, James Jackson, who fired a shotgun blast into his chest.  Ellsworth died on the sport and Jackson was bayoneted on the spot by enraged Union soldiers.  As the blood of the two men mingled on the steps, each became a martyr to his cause.

    Alexandria, Virginia the “hometown” of George Washington and boyhood home of Robert E. Lee became the first city in the Confederacy to be occupied by Federal troops.         
The invasion of Alexandria would forever change the fabric of the old seaport community.  After order was restored Alexandrians literally walked the streets as strangers.  They were not permitted out at night, their mail was intercepted, and passes were required to travel.  Alexandria itself was transformed into a huge supply center for Union armies fighting farther south in Virginia.  Homes, churches, and local public buildings were commandeered by the military.  Alexandria became the great warehouse of the Army of the Potomac, and the anchor for the defensive forts surrounding Washington.

     Meanwhile, native Alexandrians served in the 17th Virginia Infantry and other units fighting in the major battles of the War.

     By 1864 Alexandria had also become the great haven for freed ex-slaves.  Little neighborhoods of shanties huddled together with no conveniences called Petersburg, Contraband Valley, Pump Town and twenty other names existed within the midst of the city.
    When General Grant launched his 1864-65 offensive against Richmond, thousands of wounded Union soldiers poured into Alexandria.  With mounting casualties, a mortuary industry soon flourished in town.

     The killing and suffering came to an end on April 9, 1865, when General Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House.