What if the Nazis won? This is what American pop music would sound like

Sam Cohen

NEW YORK (JTA) — Let’s imagine, for a moment, that the Nazis won World War II and occupied the United States. If that had happened, what would postwar American pop music have sounded like? Would music have even been created in the forms we know today?

Those are just a few of the questions the indie rock veteran Sam Cohen contemplated while working with star producer Danger Mouse on “Resistance Radio: The Man in the High Castle Album” — a soundtrack of sorts for the second season of the popular Amazon Studios show that imagines a postwar America in which the West is occupied by Japan and the East is controlled by Nazi Germany.

Inspired by the series, which itself was inspired by a Philip K. Dick novel, the album imagines the kind of music that would be aired from a pirate radio station — briefly referenced in the series — that broadcasts from a neutral zone independent of German and Japanese control. An array of musicians, from Norah Jones to Beck to The Shins’ James Mercer, perform covers of 1950s and ’60s pop songs.

The project, which an Amazon executive pitched to Cohen and Danger Mouse (real name Brian Burton) around the week of President Donald Trump’s election, has taken on some unexpected political heft. After all, hashtags such as #Resist and #TheResistance have become the mantra of anti-Trump protesters.

Likely playing off this popularity, Amazon launched a promotional website for the series, set in the show’s universe, that plays “Resistance Radio” songs between rants from three fictional pirate radio hosts. One is a Jewish comedian named Jake Rumiel, who hosts a show called “Firing Squad” — a name that nods to his precarious existence as a Jew in the “Man in the High Castle” universe.

Cohen said he didn’t set out to create a contemporary political statement with “Resistance Radio.”

“When I make music, regardless of the context, I think about music and that’s essentially joyful,” Cohen, 37, told JTA. “I never really saw this record as a truly political thing. That was sort of placed on this.”

Nevertheless, while Cohen may not construe the album through a political lens, there is something inherently dark about rethinking American pop tunes in a Nazi-occupied country. The resulting songs are at times slower, sadder — and definitely creepier — than the original versions.

Take “Unchained Melody,” a 1955 song made famous 10 years later by the Righteous Brothers and sung by Norah Jones on the album. Cohen said he toiled to make the instrument arrangements and sounds feel “a little broken” and “injured.” A listener could imagine Jones singing with a frown on her face to a room full of Nazi officers.

“The sound is so soupy, it’s hard to decipher who’s doing what. And the whole thing seems to swing, but when you really dissect it, everyone’s playing it as straight as can be,” Cohen said. Picking those things apart, that plays the part of wiping that smile off, taking off the dimples.”

Those ambiguities apply to the other songs on the album, including “Who’s Lovin’ You,” a Jackson 5 tune sung by Kelis (of “Milkshake” fame); a haunting version of “The End of the World” sung by indie darling Sharon van Etten, and “Who’s Sorry Now,” a song first written in 1923 and sung here by folk rocker Angel Olsen. Cohen himself sings two songs on the record: a spare, acoustic rendition of “The House of the Rising Sun” and an ironically languid version of “Get Happy.”

Adding to the authentic vibe: Cohen and Burton recorded the project quickly, under tight deadlines — a very 1960s mindset — and using only techniques that would have been available at the time.

This kind of back-room manipulation takes years to perfect, and Cohen has put in his time. While growing up in a Jewish household in Houston (his family went to synagogue every week), he was drawn to blues guitar music and began playing shows at local bars at 16. After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, he played for nearly a decade in the psychedelic rock band Apollo Sunshine before forming as Yellowbirds. His fans likely know him best for these albums, in addition to his solo debut, “Cool It,” in 2015.

An accomplished producer as well, Cohen has played guitar on tracks for a wide range of artists, from Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead to pop star Cee-Lo Green.

Cohen noted he’s had a bit of experience with real-life Nazis as well. While playing in a bar in Houston in his teens, a group of neo-Nazis stormed the stage and attempted to sing racist songs. Luckily, Cohen said, he had an “enormous” friend there who quickly restored order.

While not religiously observant, Cohen calls his longtime friend and fellow musician Josh Kaufman, who played with him in Yellowbirds — and one of many Jewish indie rockers Cohen works with — “Rabbi Kaufman” (because “he has a beard and is wise,” he said).

Cohen is working on a new solo album, with Burton as a producer — that is, when he isn’t worrying about Trump and the political atmosphere. If “Resistance Radio” wasn’t meant as a cautionary take on the current president, Cohen isn’t shy about sharing his views of the white supremacists who embraced Trump.

“It’s so weird that these beer-bellied Americans are Nazis. When did that happen? It’s all about stripping rights from immigrants and women and gay people, but it’s all free speech for Nazis,” he said.

Asked to imagine a music business under a Nazi occupation in the 1960s, Cohen superimposes the past on the present — much like the “Castle” series.

“It would probably be like Woody Guthrie-type characters playing live from pirate radio stations,” he said. “I imagine jazz music would have continued to evolve, and live music would have continued to evolve, but I think the recording industry would’ve been dominated by Nazi songs or new Nazi Americans.

“Like it is now,” he adds with a laugh.

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Netanyahu: Allies could have saved 4 million Jews if they’d bombed death camps in 1942 (LOL…..)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-allies-could-have-saved-4-million-jews-if-theyd-bombed-death-camps-in-1942/

 

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday launched a blistering assault on Allied policy during World War II, saying world powers’ failure to bomb the Nazi concentration camps from 1942 cost the lives of four million Jews and millions of others.

Citing recently released UN documents that show the Allies were aware of the scale of the Holocaust in 1942, some two years earlier than previously assumed, Netanyahu said in a speech marking Holocaust Remembrance Day that this new research assumed “a terrible significance.”

“If the powers in 1942 had acted against the death camps — and all that was needed was repeated bombing of the camps — had they acted then, they could have saved 4 million Jews and millions of other people,” he said at the official state ceremony marking the start of the memorial day.

“The powers knew, and they did not act,” he told the audience at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

“When terrible crimes were being committed against the Jews, when our brothers and sisters were being sent to the furnaces,” he went on, “the powers knew and did not act.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, April 23, 2017 (Yad Vashem screenshot)

In a bleak and bitter address, the Israeli prime minister said that the Holocaust was enabled by three factors: the vast hatred of the Jews, global indifference to the horrors, and “the terrible weakness of our people in the Diaspora.”

Anti-Semitism had not disappeared, and “it would be naive to think” that it would do so in the foreseeable future, he said. It was being exacerbated by “hatred from the East,” led by Iran and the Islamic State, he added.

The speech marked a sharp contrast from that of President Reuven Rivlin, who spoke just before Netanyahu, and cautioned against seeing anti-Semitism where it does not exist.

President Reuven Rivlin delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 23, 2017 at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Jerusalem. (AFP/GALI TIBBON)

Global indifference persisted, too, Netanyahu said, as evidenced by the horrors in Biafra, Cambodia, Rwanda, Sudan and Syria. One “ray of light,” he noted, was US President Donald Trump’s determined response to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s gassing of his own people.

Chen and her 85-year-old grandfather Avraham, who is a Holocaust survivor, light candles next to a train wagon used in Nazi Germany to transport Jews to concentration camps, on April 23, 2017, in Netanya. (AFP/ JACK GUEZ)

What had changed, though, was that the Jewish nation now has a strong Israel to protect it. “The weak do not have much chance of survival,” he said. “The strong survive; the weak are wiped out…our people learned this in the Holocaust.”

The lesson for Israel, he said, “is that we have to be able to defend ourselves, by ourselves, against any threat, against any enemy.”

He warned that “those who seek to kill us put themselves in the line of fire.”

That stance, he said, was “not a provocation or an exaggeration; it’s the only way to truly ensure our future.”

And that imperative, Netanyahu stressed, “is the prime obligation… of all Israeli prime ministers.”

2015: WW2 Submarine Used by Top National Socialists Washes up on the Coast of Argentina

Something incredible has washed up on the coast of Argentina. Researchers believe it to be the remnants of a World War II German submarine or midget U-boat.

(War History Online)

What historians and researchers find most fascinating about this find is that this submarine makes it difficult to deny that that National Socialists did not leave Europe and fled to Argentina.

A historian in Buenos Aires, Fernando Martin Gomez, says that the submarine is a great discovery. The submarine has been hidden for 70 years but is in remarkable shape. Gomez stated that it is a particularly small submarine, which means it could have been used solely for National Socialists fleeing to South America. He claims that there were about 5,000 germans that fled to Argentina, but this submarine would have been reserved for higher-placed National Socialists.

 

What Gomez seems to miss is the fact that the Third Reich has produced a range of miniature submarines that were supposed to be used to counter an Allied invasion. One of these midget submarines was The Biber (German for “beaver”). These were armed with two externally mounted 21-inch torpedoes or mines, they were intended to attack coastal shipping and were the smallest submarines in the Kriegsmarine.

The Biber was hastily developed to help meet the threat of an Allied invasion of Europe. This resulted in basic technical flaws that, combined with the inadequate training of their operators, meant they never posed a real threat to Allied shipping, despite 324 submarines being delivered. One of the class’s few successes was the sinking of the cargo ship Alan A. Dale.

The fact that high-ranking Nazi’s escaped to South America has been known for decades, even during the war the first Nazi’s that saw the end was coming started to setup Ratlines, escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe.

These escape routes mainly led toward havens in South America, particularly Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Bolivia. Other destinations included the United States, Great Britain, Canada and the Middle East. There were two primary routes: the first went from Germany to Spain, then Argentina; the second from Germany to Rome to Genoa, then South America; the two routes “developed independently” but eventually came together to collaborate.

After the end of the war in Italy, Spiritual Director of the German People resident in Italy, Bishop Hudal became active in ministering to German-speaking prisoners of war and internees then held in camps throughout Italy. In December 1944 the Vatican Secretariat of State received permission to appoint a representative to “visit the German-speaking civil internees in Italy”, a job assigned to Hudal.

Hudal used this position to aid the escape of wanted National Socialists, including Franz Stangl, Gustav Wagner, Alois Brunner, and Adolf Eichmann — a fact about which he was later unashamedly open.

Some of these wanted men were being held in internment camps: generally without identity papers, they would be enroled in camp registers under false names.

According to Mark Aarons and John Loftus in their book Unholy Trinity, Hudal was the first Catholic priest to dedicate himself to establishing escape routes. Aarons and Loftus claim that Hudal provided the objects of his charity with money to help them escape, and more importantly with false papers including identity documents issued by the Vatican Refugee Organisation.

These Vatican papers were not full passports, and not in themselves enough to gain passage overseas. They were, rather, the first stop in a paper trail—they could be used to obtain a displaced person passport from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which in turn could be used to apply for visas.

In his 2002 book The Real Odessa Argentine researcher Uki Goñi used new access to the country’s archives to show that Argentine diplomats and intelligence officers had, on Perón’s instructions, vigorously encouraged Nazi and Fascist war criminals to make their home in Argentina. According to Goñi, the Argentines not only collaborated with Draganović’s ratline, they set up further ratlines of their own running through Scandinavia, Switzerland and Belgium.

The status of the National Socialists in Argentia became institutionalised, according to Goñi, when Perón’s new government of February 1946 appointed anthropologist Santiago Peralta as Immigration Commissioner and former Ribbentrop agent Ludwig Freude as his intelligence chief. Goñi argues that these two then set up a rescue team of secret service agents and immigration advisors, many of whom were themselves top National Socialists, with Argentine citizenship and employment.

The Italian and Argentine ratlines have only been confirmed relatively recently, mainly due to research in newly declassified archives. Until the work of Aarons and Loftus, and of Uki Goñi (2002), a common view was that National Socialists themselves, organised in secret networks, ran the escape routes alone.

The most famous such network is ODESSA (Organisation of former SS members), founded in 1946 and according to Paul Manning, “eventually, over 10,000 former German military made it to South America along escape routes ODESSA and Deutsche Hilfsverein …”

Simon Wiesenthal, who advised Frederick Forsyth on the novel/filmscript The Odessa File which brought the name to public attention, also names other NS escape organisations such as Spinne (“Spider”) and Sechsgestirn (“Constellation of Six”).

Some of the National Socialists who escaped using ratlines include:

Adolf Eichmann, fled to Argentina in 1950, captured 1960, executed by Jews in Israel on 1 June 1962

Franz Stangl, fled to Brazil in 1951, arrested in 1967 and extradited to West Germany, died in 1971 of natural causes

Gustav Wagner, fled to Brazil in 1950, arrested 1978, committed suicide 1980

Erich Priebke, fled to Argentina in 1949, arrested 1994, eventually died in 2013

Klaus Barbie, fled to Bolivia with help from the United States, captured in 1983, died in prison in France on 23 September 1991

Eduard Roschmann, escaped to Argentina in 1948, fled to Paraguay to avoid extradition and died there in 1977

Aribert Heim, disappeared in 1962, most likely died in Egypt in 1992

Andrija Artuković, escaped to the United States, arrested in 1984, died in prison in Croatia in 1988

Ante Pavelić, escaped to Argentina in 1948, initially survived an assassination attempt in 1957, but died of his wounds in Spain in 1959

Walter Rauff, escaped to Chile, never captured, died in 1984

Alois Brunner, fled to Syria in 1954, died around 2010

Josef Mengele, fled to Argentina in 1949, then to other countries, dying in Brazil in 1979. Remains exhumed in 1985 and probably destroyed.

Anti-fascists (Freemasons, Social Justice Warriors), Jews boycott Croatia memorial at WWII death camp

JASENOVAC, Croatia — Croatia honored on Sunday the victims of its most brutal World War II death camp, an event again snubbed by ethnic Serbs, Jews and anti-fascists who accuse authorities of tolerating a pro-Nazi ideology.

Conservative Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, several ministers and foreign diplomats attended a commemoration ceremony at the site of the Jasenovac camp which was dismantled 72 years ago.

Letters by survivors of the camp known as “Croatia’s Auschwitz” — a reference to the German World War II death camp in Poland — were read during a ceremony that concluded with a multi-denominational service and laying of wreaths.

The camp, some 60 miles southeast of Zagreb, was run by the country’s Nazi-allied Ustasha regime which persecuted and killed hundreds of thousands of ethnic Serbs, Jews, Roma and anti-fascist Croatians.

Activists hold a banner reading 'Remove the Plaque' as Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (C,R) walks during a ceremony honoring the victims of its most brutal World War II death camp in Jasenovac, on April, 23, 2017. (AFP/STRINGER)

But for a second straight year, representatives of those groups boycotted the official commemoration, denouncing what they see as a resurgence of pro-Ustasha sympathies and instead organized their own separate events.

On Saturday, several thousand people including survivors of the camp, victims’ relatives and foreign diplomats attended a ceremony organised by anti-fascists and ethnic Serbs.

“We cannot and will not accept the reluctance of authorities regarding…the Ustasha regime’s character and (the) policy of non-reaction to its symbols,” the head of an anti-fascist association Franjo Habulin said.

Anti-fascists, ethnic Serbs and Jews in particular are incensed by a plaque with the Ustasha slogan “For the Homeland Ready” unveiled at Jasenovac in November.

It was created as a memorial by former paramilitaries to honor fellow fighters killed in the region at the start of Croatia’s independence war in the 1990s.

Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic lay a wreath of flowers during a ceremony in honor of the victims of Croatia's most brutal World War II death camp in Jasenovac, on April 23, 2017. (Stringer/AFP)

Jews in Croatia are to hold their separate commemoration on Monday.

Plenkovic, who took power after snap elections in October, has pledged to move away from the climate of intolerance seen under his center-right predecessors.

But critics say his administration has not done enough to tamp down extremism and expressions of nostalgia for the country’s pro-Nazi past.

During Sunday’s ceremony at Jasenovac, a group of anti-fascist activists displayed a large banner that read “Remove the Ustasha Salute”.

Meanwhile, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic paid respect to the camp’s victims in neighboring Bosnia where part of the Jasenovac complex was located.

“The killings were official and welcomed, it was a state crime,” Vucic told a gathering that included other Serbian and Bosnian Serb officials, Serbian Orthodox Church Patriarch Irinej and camp survivors.

“We are witnessing attempts to resurrect the Ustasha ideology,” Vucic said.

Jasenovac was the largest and most notoriously brutal of Croatia’s death camps, where many inmates were killed by hammers, knives and stones.

The total number of people killed there remains disputed. It varies from tens of thousands to 700,000, according to Serbian figures.

Call Of Duty: WW2’s First (Very Small) Images Seemingly Revealed

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/call-of-duty-ww2s-first-very-small-images-seemingl/1100-6449531/

 

The first images from Call of Duty: WWII appear to have leaked, courtesy of an Activision website.

This year’s entry in the Call of Duty series was officially announced today, but it won’t be until next week that we learn any real details about it. Despite that, the Call of Duty website was briefly home to a few low-res images that look to be from the game.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2

As noticed by Reddit user braderz_12, the images above were located on the login page for Call of Duty profiles (and have seemingly now been replaced). There doesn’t appear to be anything particularly revealing in them, given that we already know the game is set during World War II, but it is nonetheless our first look at it.

We’ve also gotten a look at the game’s box art, which features the same soldier from the lone image shared as part of today’s announcement. We don’t know for sure at this point that it’s the final artwork that will be used, but you can check it out below, courtesy of Amazon.

No Caption Provided

A full reveal livestream is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET/6 PM BST.

NEW DOCUMENTS REVEAL ALLIES KNEW OF HOLOCAUST YEARS BEFORE PREVIOUSLY ASSUMED

 

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/New-documents-reveal-Allies-knew-of-Holocaust-years-before-previously-assumed-488233

 

Newly released documents provided by the United Nations revealed on Tuesday that the Allied Powers were well aware of the Jewish Holocaust at the hands of the Nazi regime at least two-and-a-half years earlier than commonly thought, according to The Independent.

The documents, not seen for more than 70 years, showed at the same time that the Allies, made up of the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom, had prepared war crime indictments against Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and his top subordinates.

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Never-before-seen document penned by Nazi leader Himmler uncovered in Israel

A full year before America entered World War II, the West knew that the Third Reich had already massacred two million European Jews and were planning to eliminate five million more in concentration camps spread throughout the continent, the records showed.

Despite this, the Allied Powers did little to stop the genocide, with one minister in the UK war department, Viscount Cranborne, commenting that Jews were not a special case and that Britain was burdened with too many refugees as it was.

Speaking with The Independent, Dan Plesch, a professor at the Center for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS University of London who analyzed the documents, said that “The major powers commented [on the mass murder of Jews] two-and-a-half years before it is generally assumed.”

“It was assumed they learned this when they discovered the concentration camps, but they made this public comment in December 1942,” he added.

Plesch discovered during his research that the testimonies of numerous camp prisoners were smuggled to Allied forces, prompting the triumvirate to make a joint deceleration on the Jewish slaughter to the British parliament.

“The German authorities, not content with denying to persons of Jewish race in all the territories over which their barbarous rule extends, the most elementary human rights, are now carrying into effect Hitler’s oft-repeated intention to exterminate the Jewish people,” UK Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told the legislative chamber.

Antisemitism in the US State Department, however, stopped efforts to help the Jewish victims, who were more concerned with preserving America’s economic ties with Germany after the war.

Former US president Franklin D Roosevelt’s envoy to the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), Herbert Pell, would later go public with the information, “embarrassing” the State Department to move forward with prosecutions against Nazi war criminals culminating into the Nuremberg trials.

“Among the reason given by the US and British policy makers for curtailing prosecutions of Nazis was the understanding that at least some of them would be needed to rebuild Germany and confront Communism, which at the time was seen as a greater danger,” Plesch said.

The documents were finally released after former US envoy to the UN, Samantha Power, lobbied for the archive to go public, according to The Independent.

Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum stated on its website that “information regarding mass murders of Jews began to reach the free world soon after these actions began in the Soviet Union in late June 1941, and the volume of such reports increased with time.”

“Notwithstanding this, it remains unclear to what extent Allied and neutral leaders understood the full import of their information,” it adds. “The utter shock of senior Allied commanders who liberated camps at the end of the war may indicate that this understanding was not complete.”

Six Nazi Super Weapons That Actually Saw Service During WWII

During WWII, the Germans were developing a wide range of superweapons that would turn the tide and ensure ultimate victory. Most of them never made it off the drawing boards and only a few saw active service but a number of them laid the foundation for weapons that are still being used today.

(War History Online)

We start off with the most famous trio, the V weapons.

V1 – The First Cruise Missile

 

The V-1 flying bomb (Vergeltungswaffe 1 – Vengeance Weapon 1) was known to the Allies as the buzz bomb, or doodlebug it was an early pulsejet-powered predecessor of the cruise missile.

The V1 was designed for terror bombing of London; it was fired from launch facilities along the French (Pas-de-Calais) and Dutch coasts. The first V-1 was launched at London on 13 June 1944, one week after the successful Allied landing in Europe.

At its peak, more than one hundred V-1s a day were fired at south-east England, 9,521 in total. This decreased in number as sites were overrun until October 1944 when the last V-1 site within range of Britain was overrun by Allied forces. After this, the V-1s were directed at the port of Antwerp and other targets in Belgium, with 2,448 V-1s being launched. The attacks stopped when the last launch site was overrun on 29 March 1945.

The British operated an arrangement of air defences (including anti-aircraft guns and fighter aircraft) to intercept the bombs before they reached their targets as part of Operation Crossbow while the launch sites and underground V-1 storage depots were targets of strategic bombing.

V2 – The First Ballistic Missile

The V-2, technical name Aggregat-4 (A4), was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile with liquid-propellant rocket engine was developed as a “vengeance weapon”, designed to attack Allied cities as retaliation for the Allied bombings against German cities. The V-2 rocket was also the first man-made object to cross the boundary of space.

Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets during the war, firstly London and later Antwerp and Liège. The attacks resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel while 12,000 forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners were killed producing the weapons.

V2 Rocket on its transport carriage (Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0)

As Germany collapsed, teams from the Allied forces—the U.S., Great Britain and the Soviet Union—raced to capture key German manufacturing sites and examples of German guided missiles, rocket and jet powered aircraft, and nuclear experiments. Wernher von Braun and over 100 key V-2 personnel surrendered to the Americans.

Through a lengthy sequence of events, a significant portion of the original V-2 team ended up working for the US Army at the Redstone Arsenal. The US also captured enough V-2 hardware to build approximately 80 of the missiles. The Soviets gained possession of the V-2 manufacturing facilities after the war and proceeded to re-establish V-2 production and move it to the Soviet Union.

V3 – The Nazi Super Gun

The prototype V-3 cannon at Laatzig, Germany (now Poland) in 1942 – Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1981-147-30A / CC-BY-SA 3.0

The weapon was planned to be used to bombard London from two large bunkers in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France, but they were rendered unusable by Allied bombing raids before completion. Two similar guns were used to bombard Luxembourg from December 1944 to February 1945.

Me 262 – The First Operational Jet Fighter

The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (English: “Swallow”) of Germany was the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. Design work started before World War II began, but engine problems and top-level interference kept the aircraft from operational status with the Luftwaffe until mid-1944.

One of the most advanced aviation designs in operational use during World War II, the Me 262 was used in a variety of roles, including light bomber, reconnaissance, and even experimental night fighter versions.

This airframe was surrendered to the RAF at Schleswig in May 1945 and taken to the UK for testing. Public Domain

Me 262 pilots claimed a total of 542 Allied kills, although higher claims are sometimes made. The Allies countered its potential effectiveness in the air by attacking the aircraft on the ground and during takeoff and landing. Engine reliability problems, from the pioneering nature of its Junkers turbojet engines—the first ones ever placed in mass production—and attacks by Allied forces on fuel supplies during the deteriorating late-war situation also reduced the effectiveness of the aircraft as a fighting force.

In the end, the Me 262 had a negligible impact on the course of the war as a result of its late introduction and the consequently small numbers put in operational service.

Fritz X – The First Guided Missile

Fritz-X being developed (Bundesarchiv – CC BY-SA 3.0)

Fritz X was the most common name for a German guided anti-ship glide bomb used during World War II. Fritz X was a nickname used both by Allied and Luftwaffe personnel.  It is one of the precursors of today’s anti-ship missiles and precision guided weapons.

The Fritz X was a further development of the high-explosive bomb SD 1400. It was a penetration weapon intended to be used against heavily protected targets such as heavy cruisers and battleships.

Fritz X (Air-to-Ship Wireless Guided Gliding Bomb) – By Kogo – Own work, GFDL

On 9 September 1943, the Luftwaffe achieved their greatest success with the Fritz X. After the Italian armistice with the Allies was announced on 8 September 1943, the Italian fleet had steamed out from La Spezia and headed to Malta. To prevent the ships from falling into Allied hands, six Do 217K-2s took off, each carrying a single Fritz X.

The Italian battleship Roma, flagship of the Italian fleet, received two hits and one near miss, and sank after her magazines exploded. 1,255 men, including Admiral Carlo Bergamini, died. Her sister ship, Italia, was also damaged but reached Malta.

ME 163 – The First Rocket Propelled Airplane

A ME 163 after landing, picture taken in the 1950s in Melbourne Australia / Public Domain

The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet, designed by Alexander Lippisch, was a German rocket-powered fighter aircraft. It is the only rocket-powered fighter aircraft ever to have been operational.

Its design was revolutionary, and the Me 163 was capable of performance unrivaled at the time. German test pilot Heini Dittmar in early July 1944 reached 1,130 km/h (700 mph), a flight airspeed record.

The first actions involving the Me 163 occurred on 28 July 1944 , when two USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress were attacked without confirmed kills. Combat operations continued from May 1944 to spring 1945. During this time, there were nine confirmed kills with 14 Me 163s lost.

A Me 163 being shot down, as seen from USAAF P-47 gun camera – Public Domain

Feldwebel Siegfried Schubert was the most successful pilot, with three bombers to his credit.[38] Allied fighter pilots soon noted the short duration of the powered flight. They would wait, and when the engine exhausted its propellant supply, pounce on the unpowered Komet.

However, the Komet was extremely manoeuvrable in gliding flight. Another Allied method was to attack the fields the Komets operated from and strafe them after the Me 163s landed.

Due to the skid-based landing gear system, the Komet was immobile until the tractor, could back the trailer up to the nose of the aircraft, place its two rear arms under the wing panels, and jack up the trailer’s arms to hoist the aircraft off the ground or place it back on its take-off dolly to tow it back to its maintenance area.

France’s Le Pen hits nerve over WWII roundup of Jews

PARIS (AFP) — Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has stirred up deep emotions just two weeks ahead of the election by saying that today’s France is not responsible for the rounding up of Jews during World War II.

Le Pen said Sunday that “I don’t think France is responsible for the Vel d’Hiv,” referring to the roundup and deportation of more than 13,000 Jews from a Paris cycling track ordered by Nazi officers in 1942.

For many — notably Le Pen’s chief rival for the presidency Emmanuel Macron — the remarks were an instant reminder of her anti-Semitic, Holocaust-revisionist father, while also pricking France’s fraught conscience over its wartime role.

The National Front (FN) leader “crossed a red line”, the Le Monde daily said in an editorial, while Jewish groups blasted the comments as an “insult to France (which has faced up to) its history without a selective memory.”

Israel also slammed Le Pen, with the foreign ministry saying “the declaration is contrary to the historical truth”.

French presidential candidate for the "En Marche" movement Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a meeting in Saint-Priest-Taurion, France, on February 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Pascal Lachenaud)

Macron said Monday: “It’s the true face of the French far right, the face that I am fighting. If anyone still doubted it, Marine Le Pen is indeed the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen.”

The candidate’s father, now 88, who has described the Nazi gas chambers as a “detail” of history, has multiple convictions for inciting racial hatred and denying crimes against humanity.

After Le Pen took over leadership of the FN from her father in 2011, she worked to erase his anti-Semitic stamp in order to broaden the party’s appeal.

This file photo taken on September 28, 2016 shows French far-right National Front party founder and former leader Jean-Marie Le Pen delivering a speech during a press conference in Mormant, near Paris. (AFP Photo/Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt)

Sunday’s remarks “jeopardize years of efforts to soften her party’s image,” Le Monde wrote.

The party has steadily gained in strength, with Le Pen winning some 18 percent of the vote in the 2012 presidential election and the FN scoring 25 percent in the 2014 EU elections.

In this year’s presidential race, the centrist Macron and 48-year-old Le Pen are running neck-and-neck ahead of a first-round vote on April 23, each with around 23 percent.

In the runoff set for May 7, Macron, 39, would win handily if the election were held today.

The crimes of Vichy

Historian Laurent Joly said that in the French national psyche, the Vel d’Hiv deportation symbolizes the crimes of the wartime Vichy government.

“It was the most tragic consequence of the criminal policy of Vichy, of the collaboration with Germany,” Joly told AFP, noting that the operation was carried out by the French with no German officers present.

In 1995, more than 50 years after the fact, then president Jacques Chirac deemed that “the time had come to clearly recognize the fault of the collaborating French state, and no (subsequent leader) should contest it,” Le Monde said.

FILE - This Oct. 24, 1940 file photo shows German Chancellor Adolf Hitler, right, shaking hands with Head of State of Vichy France Marshall Philippe Petain, in occupied France. Behind center is Paul Schmidt, an interpreter, and right is German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim Von Ribbentrop. (AP Photo, File)

Le Pen’s comments went against a “national consensus on how to understand one of the most painful episodes of French history,” it added.

FN secretary-general Nicolas Bay on Monday rejected claims that Le Pen’s remarks could be associated with her father’s negationism.

She does not dispute “what was shocking and atrocious during this period, she is only saying that France was not to blame,” Bay said.

The FN’s position is the same as that of wartime leader-in-exile Charles de Gaulle, “which is that France was in London. France was not Vichy,” Bay said on French radio.

French resistance fighters held by Vichy regime militias during World War II. (Photo credit: CC-BY-SA German Federal Archive Wikimedia Commons)

De Gaulle, then the leader of the Free French forces, lived in London during World War II while the Vichy regime collaborated with Nazi Germany.

Self-flagellation

“We have to get out of the repentance business, the self-flagellation, as if we were ashamed of our French history,” Bay said. “It’s not against the rules.”

Nicolas Lebourg, a historian who specializes in the far right, said that with her comments Sunday, Le Pen “wanted to add fuel to the fire” after a debate that failed to move the needle for her campaign last week.

“And she succeeded,” said Lebourg, a professor at the University of Perpignan.

“The remarks were both intentional and ill-conceived at the same time,” he said. “They lacked finesse.”

Joly surmised that Le Pen could have been looking both to “reassure the classic far right (and) to woo somewhat old-fashioned Gaullists”.

Prominent right-wing politician Jean-Francois Cope went further, saying the remarks were “prepared, calculated and deliberate, not an uncontrolled slip”.

Bruno Jeanbart, of the OpinionWay polling institute, said Le Pen had taken a “risk” because the remarks could associate her with her father, even though they “were not ambiguous”.

“Most French people think… they should not have to apologize for the Vichy government.”

He said that when Macron traveled to Algeria in February and called France’s 150-year colonization of the country a crime against humanity, the reaction “was pretty strong”.

Le Pen: France not responsible for WWII round-up of Jews

PARIS — Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen denied Sunday that the French state was responsible for the wartime round-up of Jews at a Paris cycling track who were then sent to Nazi death camps.

Former President Jacques Chirac and current leader Francois Hollande have both apologized for the role French police played in the round-up of more than 13,000 Jews at the Vel d’Hiv cycling track which was ordered by Nazi officers in 1942.

But Le Pen told the LCI television channel on Sunday: “I don’t think France is responsible for the Vel d’Hiv.”

She added: “I think that generally speaking if there are people responsible, it’s those who were in power at the time. It’s not France.”

The leader of the National Front (FN) party said France had “taught our children that they have all the reasons to criticize (the country), and to only see, perhaps, the darkest aspects of our history.”

“So, I want them to be proud of being French again,” she said.

Ahead of the first round of France’s highly unpredictable presidential election on April 23, Le Pen’s centrist rival Emmanuel Macron said her comments were “a serious mistake.”

“Some had forgotten that Marine Le Pen is the daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen,” Macron told BFMTV.

French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen gestures as she speaks during a rally in Monswiller, north-eastern France, on April 5, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Sebastien Bozon)

Le Pen Senior, who founded the FN in 1972 and is estranged from his daughter, has been convicted repeatedly for anti-Semitic and racist comments such as calling the Holocaust a “detail of history.”

“We must not be complacent or minimize what the National Front is today,” Macron said.

The CRIF umbrella grouping of French Jewish organizations and the Jewish students’ union (UEJF) both blasted Le Pen for the comments, describing them as “revisionist.”

“These remarks are an insult to France, which honored itself in 1995 by recognizing its responsibility in the deportation of France’s Jews and facing its history without a selective memory,” the CRIF said.

Chirac’s Socialist predecessor Francois Mitterand had refused to acknowledge responsibility for the deportations, saying in 1994: “The republic had nothing to do with that. France is not responsible.”

Le Pen defended her broadcast comments in a statement issued late Sunday.

“I consider that France and the Republic were based in London during the (Nazi) occupation,” she said.

The British capital was where Charles de Gaulle, the leader of the free French forces, lived in exile during World War II while France’s Vichy regime collaborated with Nazi Germany.

“The Vichy regime was not France,” Le Pen said in her statement, describing the wartime authority as “illegal.”

She added that this in no way exonerated those who participated in “the vile roundup of Vel d’Hiv and all the atrocities committed during that period.”

French, British and American Soldiers Raped almost One Million German Women after World War II

A German historian estimates in her book that French, British and American soldiers raped 860,000 Germans at and after the end of the WW2, including 190,000 sexual assaults by American soldiers.

(The Local)

Professor Miriam Gebhardt’s book When the Soldiers Came includes interviews with victims, stories of the children of rape and research that she conducted over the course of a year and a half into birth records in Allied-occupied West Germany and West Berlin.

“Now, 70 years after the war, it’s long past the time when one could be suspected of dealing with German victimhood,” Gebhardt, an author and lecturer at the University of Konstanz, told The Local.

 

“There is no longer the question that one might want to relativize the responsibility of the Germans for the Second World War and the Holocaust.”

Gebhardt said she arrived at that number of sexual assaults by estimating that of the so-called ‘war-children’ born to unmarried German women by the 1950s, five percent were products of rape.

She also estimates that for each birth, there were 100 rapes, including of men and boys.

Gebhardt’s numbers are higher than previous estimates. A well-received 2003 book by American professor of criminology J. Robert Lilly, Taken by Force, estimated that American soldiers committed around 11,000 rapes in Germany.

While an article published by Der Spiegel on Monday raised questions about whether Gebhardt’s figures accurately reflected the incidence of sexual assault in post-war Germany, Lilly told The Local that her estimates were certainly reasonable.

“Gebhardt’s numbers are plausible, but her work is not a definitive account,” said Lilly in an interview with The Local, explaining that no exact number could ever be known because of a lack of records.

“It is confirmation of research that I have done and it adds to this ongoing discussion of what happens in the underbelly of war – What goes on that we haven’t talked about.”

Much of the discussion of sexual assaults against Germans has focused on the Soviet troops in east Germany, who are estimated to have committed between one to two million rapes during the time.

Gebhardt said she wanted to challenge the assumption that it was only the Red Army that was responsible for such acts.

“Goebbels warned that the Red Army would rampage through Germany, would rape German women and commit atrocities against civilians… People hoped that they would be occupied by Western troops and not the Soviets,” she said.

“But the course of events was the same. Both sides plundered valuables and mementoes, and soldiers often committed gang rapes against women.”

Gebhardt’s research also included records from Bavarian priests recording the Allied advance in 1945, including one description that reads “the saddest event during the advance were three rapes, one on a married woman, one on a single woman and one on a spotless girl of 16-and-a-half. They were committed by heavily drunken Americans.”

The book paints a much darker picture than what is often seen in cinema and literature of the Allied troops who liberated Germans from the Nazi regime and thus could take time for people to fully absorb, Lilly said.

“It will be resisted to some extent. There are American scholars who will not like it because they may think it will make the war crimes committed by the Germans less bad,” Lilly said.

“I don’t think it will minimize what the Germans did at all. It will add another dimension to what war is like and it will not diminish that the Allies won.”

That chimes with Gebhardt’s attitude to her work, which she says aims simply to expose the horror of such actions in war.

“War actions that led to the defeat of Germany, the defeat of the Nazi regime, are a different question than the rapes, which were more personal and served no military purpose,” Gebhardt said. “Rapes can’t decide a war.

The rapes “lasted for years, not just at the moment of the conquest,” she added.

“They weren’t just part of the violence that took place in the last weeks and days of the war, but continued for years.”