The events of World War II, as said in the video, elude simple black and white logic. Not only does the scale of atrocities shock us until now, but also the usually clear figures of heroes and anti-heroes are blurred. Have you ever wondered if the Allies knew about the ongoing Holocaust? What did they do – and why so little – to stop the killing machine which, day by day, eradicated the existence of hundreds of victims? Some questions will never be answered. They will remain shrouded in doubt. However, in Part 5 of War Diaries, we intend to analyze the actions taken by the Allies to stop the Holocaust.
Most of us, when asked about the substance used for murdering people on an industrial scale, will mention Zyklon B as the chemical agent behind the death of masses. In fact, there is one more simple chemical responsible for mass extermination – carbon monoxide from exhaust fumes.
The Germans lost the 1941 campaign due to frosts, becoming another victim of the Russian winter which they had not prepared for, just like Napoleon's Great Army. Truth as old as the hills. However, it's not true.
The Germans understood the seasons. Although they hoped that the campaign would end before winter, they had to prepare equipment for the occupation forces. The first instructions regarding preparations for winter were issued as early as in August. When Operation Typhoon, aimed at conquering Moscow, gets bogged down after the first successes (in mud rather than snow), uniforms and equipment will be prepared in warehouses for at least several dozen divisions. However, only a small part will reach the front.
When on August 15 and 16, 1943, American-Canadian troops were landing on the island of Kiska in the Aleutian Islands in the North Pacific, people still remembered the fights from over two months before for the nearby island of Attu. Fortunately, Kiski's conquest was much less bloody. Only 313 people were wounded or killed. The result could have been much worse if only... there were Japanese on the island at all.
How many faces does war have? How many faces do its particular aspects have? In the latest episode of “War Diaries”, we are going to focus on the word “occupation”. As it turns out, one must not treat occupation in different parts of Europe during the Second World War in the same way. We tend to use the word “occupation” somewhat thoughtlessly, but it often results in bending the image of the war. For instance, it is utterly incorrect to see occupied Austria through the same prism as occupied France. Let us remember that a large number of Austrian citizens supported the Nazi rule and the process of annexation actually occurred quite naturally. In the case of France, the situation was just the opposite. If you wish to elaborate on the topic, make sure to watch the fourth episode of “War Diaries” in which we comprehensively explain the situation of occupied European states during the Second World War.
People often wonder what life was like in the 30s in terms of observing totalitarian parties rise to power. Were societies misinformed, or maybe unaware of the impending doom? Of course not. In response to abuse and harassment against Jews committed by the Nazis, an international boycott of German products was organized starting from March 24th, 1933, pursuant to Hitler being appointed the Chancellor of Germany on January 30th of the same year. What is interesting, some Jewish organizations supported the boycott, while some opposed it.
It is very easy to judge people and events from the Second World War, shooting your opinions from the comfortable position of our modern world. It is very easy to be a smart-ass right now, when all the information is in our reach, you just need to pull out your smartphone.
This wasn’t the case in the times of war. You knew only what you were told, or read in propaganda-driven newspapers, or heard on propaganda-driven radio. Collaboration with Germany was a very wide phenomenon, having all shades of grey.
On the one side we have these forcefully drafted men. Your choice was to go with Wehrmacht or get a bullet in the head. What would you do? I’d go. I wouldn’t be proud of it, but the will to live is somewhat stronger than anything else for some people. Imagine how much suffering these people had to sustain, on the Eastern Front, especially. Not for “their cause”. Not for their nation. Only for survival. Forced to do some really bad shit. Their tragedy is something indisputable for us.
The other side were collaborators who believed. Many believed in the idea of fighting against Bolshevism. That was the catchiest and probably the smartest thing that Nazi propaganda had to offer. Can we condemn them for getting into this? Of course, they could pull out their phones and check what is the truth, what kind of monsters their new “friends'' really are. Oh wait… they couldn’t. Yet, seeing how many people are ready to swallow any propaganda nowadays (being fanatically convinced that this is the truth), I doubt things changed with this “age of information”. Look how many people today are attracted to Communism, even if all the knowledge is right in their reach - ready to be grasped.
The last ones, who we really condemn, were those who sold their souls for selfish benefits. Traitors, opportunists and first of all - many politicians - they all deserved to be shot.
Now, let’s watch the third part of War Diaries, shall we?
This popular propaganda song was sung in various versions in Great Britain, at the very beginning of World War II, on the melody of the march "Colonel Bogey", more widely known from the movie "Bridge on the River Kwai". This is the best cultural evidence that the story of Hitler without one testicle has a long tradition. Did the leader of the Third Reich really have only one testicle and did he lose it during World War I?
The Austrian Gefreiter (often mistakenly translated as a corporal, in fact a degree without an equivalent in the Polish Army) was wounded in the thigh during the Battle of Somme, but the latest version, popularized by the testimony of Johann Jambor, who was to save the future Fuhrer, has not been confirmed. Also the results of the PM carried out by the Soviets, revealed in the 70s, in which the absence of the left testicle was noted, are doubtful, if only because of the condition of the corpse.
Light on the whole history can be shed by the recently discovered medical documents from the prison in Landsberg, where Hitler stayed after the Munich Putsch. They stated cryptorchidism on the right-hand side of the body. However, Hitler's personal physician, Theodor Morell, denied that Hitler suffered from this ailment. But these testimonies, of course, could have been to protect the image of the former patient. As a result, the mystery remains unsolved to this day. How many seemingly basic things we may not know about one of the most famous characters in history!
Here is our first episode of the short “War Diaries” documentary. Our goal here is not to educate you, there’s almost no “hard knowledge” in the video. We wish to give you some of the general emotions we feel about those times, to encourage you to dig deeper. Did you think the death toll in Western Europe was tremendous? Watch and think again.