2018
Armistice Day
November 11, 2018
November 11, 1918: World War I Ends   Veterans Day is an official American holiday that originated after WWI as Armistice Day  and was originally intended as a remembrance of November 11, 1918 when major hostilities of World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918.  Commonwealth nations refer to it as Remembrance Day.     Here are some interesting pictures from November 11, 1918.   At the urging of major veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.   This grainy, vertiginous clip provides a dreamlike remembrance of the day in 1948.  
20th Century Korean Literature
March 26, 2018
Early 20th Century Korean literature The two most prominent Korean authors during the Japanese colonial rule of 1910-1945 were Choe Nam-seon and Yi Kwang-su.     "The modern age is the age of power in which the powerful survive while the weak perish. This competition continues until death. But why? Because the struggle to be a victor and a survivor never ends. But how? It is a competition of intelligence, physical fitness, material power, economic power, the power of idea and confidence, and of organizational power. Everywhere this competition is underway daily." Capital Gazette 1917   Choe Nam-seon (1890- 1957),  a prominent Korean historian, poet and publisher, was a leading member of the Korean independence movement. However, in 1937, Choe began writing articles in support of Japan's aggression against China in the Second Sino-Japanese War. In 1939 he became a professor at the Manchukuo Jianguo University. In 1943, attending the Greater East Asia Conference in Tokyo, he stated that Koreans were fortunate to be colonized by Japan, and could receive no higher honor than to die fighting in Imperial Japan's effort to create the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. ______________________________________________     Yi Kwang-su's (1892-1950) serialized novel Mujông (The Heartless), published in 1917, was extremely popular. The novel depicts a love triangle between three youths during the Japanese colonial rule of Korea. Yi Hyông-sik is a shy, young English teacher at a middle school in Seoul. Indecisive, he is torn between two women: Kim Sôn-hyông, a wealthy, educated Christian and Pak Yông-ch’ae, a musically gifted woman, raised in a traditional Confucian manner. Through the vehicle of romantic melodrama, the author depicts Korea’s struggles with modern culture and national identity. "Hyong-sik believed that while all human beings were the same by nature, an individual or society could be improved and uplifted with the effort of that society or individual.  The women, however, believed that humans had no responsibility for what happened in life.  Human beings just lived life as it happened, with no improvement or reform through human will.  This is how Koreans view life!"    - excerpt from The Heartlesss (Mujong)     Post-WWII Korean Literature In the early post-WWII years, most literature in South Korea  dealt with the daily struggles of ordinary citizens and the collapse of the traditional values. Some South Korean writers developed a traditionalist path, while others followed an experimentalist path. North Korea's post-WWII literature was controlled by the state. Emphasis was placed on the philosophy of self-reliance (Juche), described as Great Leader Kim Il-sung's "original, brilliant and revolutionary contribution to national and international thought."  Juche exhorts North Korean masses to master revolution and construction in order to achieve true socialism.   20th Century Korean Poetry   Beside a chrysanthemum To bring one chrysanthemum to flower, the cuckoo has cried since spring. To bring one chrysanthemum to bloom, thunder has rolled through the black clouds. Flower, like my sister returning from distant, youthful byways of throat-tight longing to stand by the mirror: for your yellow petals to open, last night such a frost fell, and...
2016
Veterans Day
November 11, 2016
2015
Ich Hatt’ Einen Kameraden
September 3, 2015
This stirring hymn to a fallen comrade, written by German poet Ludwig Uhland in 1809, is still used today by the German military. Original German Text English Translation Ich hatt' einen Kameraden, Einen bessern findst du nit. Die Trommel schlug zum Streite, Er ging an meiner Seite In gleichem Schritt und Tritt. Eine Kugel kam geflogen: Gilt’s mir oder gilt es dir? Ihn hat es weggerissen, Er liegt zu meinen Füßen Als wär's ein Stück von mir. Will mir die Hand noch reichen, Derweil ich eben lad. Kann dir die Hand nicht geben, Bleib du im ew'gen Leben Mein guter Kamerad! I once had a comrade, You will find no better. The drum called to battle, He walked at my side, In the same pace and step. A bullet came flying, Is my turn or yours? He was swept away, He lies at my feet, As if it was a part of me. He still reaches out his hand to me, While I am about to reload. I cannot hold onto your hand, Rest you in eternal life, My good comrade. Translation via: Wikimedia Commons
Flamethrower
June 8, 2015
The flamethrower has a long history of military use. - In the first century AD, the Greek navy developed a hand-pumped apparatus that shot bursts of fire at enemy ships. - In the 10th century AD, the Chinese employed a piston-driven weapon that sprayed “fierce fire oil.” - In 1915, Germany deployed a Flammenwerfer in a concerted action against British trenches, but most casualties were soldiers flushed into the open and shot. - In 1916, the British used a cumbersome experimental flame projector in the Battle of the Somme. It wasn’t until World War II that the flamethrower saw extensive use by both Allied and Axis powers. In the Pacific War, US Marines used the backpack-type M2A1-7 flamethrower and M2-2 flamethrowers to clear Japanese trenches, bunkers and caves. Sherman tanks, fitted with the "Ronson" system, were also deployed. Flamethrowers were used much less in the European campaign, although they were available for special deployments such as the Allied Normandy landings and the German response to the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
2014
HEIMAT
September 8, 2014
This excellent 11-part mini-series, filmed for German television in 1984, relates the stories of people living in a small village in the Hunsrück Rhineland-Palatinate region of  Germany through the years 1919-1982. The series follows the citizens of the fictional village Schabbach through the crises of the Weimar Republic, the rise and fall of Nazism, WWII and the rebuilding of Germany after the war. The word Heimat describes a German concept with no real English equivalent: People are bound to their Heimat by their birth, childhood, language, earliest experiences or acquired affinity.  Heimat is available on Netflix (I'm watching it for the 3rd time).    
A Child Dreams of Battle
January 8, 2014
  In this 1915 German children's book the child has just awakened. He tells his mother "I was just in the field and killed all the enemy in some great battle." She smiles and tells him it was just a dream. But he can hardly grasp that all that beauty was just a dream.    via: Rob Schä[email protected] Historian, Author, German military history 1848-1945, Historical Consultancy, Military Research & Genealogical Services. http://gmuhistoricalconsultancy.wordpress.com    
2012
Korea Under Japanese Rule
February 13, 2012
Unlike Taiwan's relatively passive acceptance of colonial rule, Korean resistance to Japan's takeover in 1910 was obstinate and strong. Imperial Japanese reforms, designed to eradicate Korean national identity, were often ruthlessly enforced. A more liberal Japanese government under Prime Minister Hara Takashi (1918-21) began to address civil rights in its colonies, but Hara was assassinated by a right wing extremist. By the mid-1920s rising ultranationalism reversed any liberal trend in policy toward the colonies.
2011
100 Percent Americanism
July 26, 2011
The American Legion prepares to hit a ball labeled "Bolshevism" with a rifle butt labeled "100 per cent Americanism." He stands above a quote from Theodore Roosevelt Jr.: "Don't argue with the reds; go to bat with them and go to the bat strong!" Many white Americans disapproved of the multicultural, consumer-oriented culture of the Roaring 20s and longed for a simpler Anglo-Saxon Protestant past.  IQ tests and eugenics became popular, and the congressional debate on immigration was renewed once again.

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