5/18/2016 Tensions with military- Political Intrigue - History

5/18/2016 Tensions with military- Political Intrigue - History

5/18/2016 Lieberman Likely to be Defense Minister

Today was one of the wildest day in the history of Israeli politics. All of this took place against a larger story of continuing tensions between the military and the government.

Today’s saga began with members of the Israeli Labor party seemed to be conducting their own circular firing squad. After vehemently denying that he was negotiating to enter the Netanyahu government, head of the Labor party, MK Yitzchak “Buji” Herzog admitted he was in advanced negotiations to do so. The exact reasons why he is doing this now remain a bit of a mystery. Most observers believe that it is related to the Labor party’s steep drop in popularity in recent polls; polls which show Labor losing between a third and half of its seat in the parliament, if elections were held today. Yesh Atid party’s Yair Lapid has been the main beneficiary of the Labor’s projected loses, with Lapid’s party gaining almost all of the lost seats.

Herzog’s moves have not been appreciated by almost any of the other Parliament members of his party – with all but three declaring they oppose the move, and some maintaining further that there is no circumstance under which they would accept any position in a Netanyahu government. Opponents of the Labor party agreeing to enter into a Unity Coalition all claim that any government under Netanyahu will make no changes in policy, despite having the Labor party inside.

In his defense, Herzog asserts that there are extraordinary opportunities for negotiations with the Arab world at this moment; negotiations in which he alone would be able to engage. Yesterday Herzog cited a speech by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi calling for renewed talks under Egyptian auspices, between Israel and the Palestinians as one of those opportunities.

Today, the Leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that he would be willing to enter the government, if he was offered the post of Defense Minister, and if Netanyahu supported his bill to impose the death penalty for terrorist. This afternoon Netanyahu invited Lieberman to meet and Herzog announced that he was suspending his discussions with Netanyahu until Netanyahu decides what sort of government he wants – that is, according to Herzog, a government of fear and isolation, or a government of hope and possibilities. By this evening, it was announced that the Yisrael Beiteinu and the Likud had created a joint committee to negotiate their entry into the government. MK Stav Shafir, one of the most popular members of the Labor party called on Herzog to resign tonight, saying the only thing his negotiations brought was the possibility of Lieberman becoming Defense Minister.

These discussions were held in the shadow of rising tensions between the military and the political echelons that have been mounting over the past few months. This past month that strain reached a completely new level. Fairly, or not, in most of the world the military has the reputation of being the ones who take extreme actions – much more so than the political leadership. Traditionally, however, that has not been the case in Israel; where the senior leadership of the armed forces have been politically cautious and seemingly more aware of the limitations of power.

Such has been the position of the military during the last few Gaza wars – and even more so, over the past few months (during the sharp uptick in terror, primarily perpetrated by young Palestinians). Some members of the Netanyahu government have been calling for stronger military action. At the same time, many in the military have stated that there is no military solution to the current wave of hostilities. Over the course of the last month the different approaches between the military and the civilian government have become ever more apparent. After the shooting of a subdued attacker by an Israeli soldier, (an act that seemingly violated military rules of engagement) the soldier’s actions were immediately condemned by the top military leadership, including Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon. The soldier was promptly arrested.

At first, PM Netanyahu condemned the shooting. Shortly after, Netanyahu seemingly switched his position, when right-wing politicians (led by Minister of Education Naftali Bennet) came to the soldier shooter’s defense. The Prime Minister called the family of the accused soldier to express sympathy, leaving the top military brass exposed to further criticism.

Then, two weeks ago, a new controversy developed, when Army Deputy Chief of Staff, General Yair Golan gave a speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day warning of certain phenomena in Israeli society today that remind him of events in Europe 70, 80, and 90 years ago. Golan was met with a wave of attacks leveled at him by politicians from the right-wing, among them, the Prime Minister. These legislators chastised Golan for having the audacity to make any connection between the Holocaust and events taking place in Israel. Some called for Golan’s resignation. Minister of Defense Ya’alon was the only government minister who defended Golan. For his part, Golan clarified his remarks and said it was not his intention to compare Israel today to Nazi Germany in any way.

Over the weekend Ya’alon found himself in the eye of the storm, once again, when he gave a speech in which he called on senior IDF officers not to be afraid to speak their minds – even if their opinions differed from those of the political leadership. Ya’alon was immediately attacked by numerous politicians and was called to a meeting with the Prime Minister. At the end of the meeting a joint statement was issued, in which Ya’alon acknowledged the primacy of the political branch over the army; and Netanyahu stated he respects the right of the military to express their judgement in areas of professional concern.

This controversy, however, shows no sign of dying down. Last night, Israel’s Channel 10 showcased a secret recording of the commander of the Hebron area, Colonel Yariv Ben-Ezra, giving an orientation briefing to the officers of reserve battalion about to be deployed there. In the recording Ben-Ezra attacks the soldier who killed the subdued Palestinian, saying there was no danger to life in that case, and that that soldier’s actions is what has endangered his soldiers. On the tape, Ben-Ezra goes on to say that the army must resist the efforts of the politicians and rabbis to influence soldiers to develop their own code of conflict. Finally, Ben-Ezra contends that there is no real military means to end the current round of violence, which he predicts will get worse, unless there is an overall change in direction.

With the latest developments this evening there is a real chance that Ya’alon will find himself replaced by Lieberman, a politician who publicly leapt to the defense of the soldier who killed the attacker in Hebron.

Espionage and Intelligence, Early Historical Foundations

ancient civilizations, beginning 6,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, begat institutions and persons devoted to the security and preservation of their ruling regimes. Clandestine and covert operations garner the most intrigue, but the history of espionage is better described in terms of the evolution of its more mundane components of tradecraft. Throughout history, intelligence has been defined as the collection, culling, analysis, and dissemination of critical and strategic information. Its practice and implications, however, are widely diverse.

Political History: History of Politics

From the Ancient World to the End of the Middle Ages

Political history in the West begins with two masterpieces: Herodotus's history of the Persian Wars, written between 445 and 425 BC and Thucydides's history of the long conflict between Athens and Sparta, which he began in 424 BC and left unfinished when he died a quarter of a century later. Products of the extraordinary burst of cultural energy that transformed fifth- and fourth-century BC Greece, Herodotus and Thucydides combined a deep sense of the importance of their own age – Herodotus wrote about the recent past, Thucydides about events in which he himself had taken part – with an awareness of the historian's responsibility to establish the truth about the past. Both men reflected on the problems of historical research, the reliability of eye witnesses, and the necessity of critically analyzing source material. More than any particular way of writing history, this was their most significant legacy for future historians ( see Historical Thought and Historiography: Classical Period (Especially Greece and Rome) ).

The study of history was more important in Rome than it had been in Greece, perhaps because Romans were always conscious of their complex historical relationship to the Greek culture that they had both vanquished and absorbed. Roman historians examined the problem of politics from a variety of perspectives they wrote about leadership and institutions, military strategy and court intrigue, republican virtues, and imperial ambitions. But behind these disparate approaches was a common theme: the origins, triumph, and – eventually – the decline of the Roman state, which, as republic and empire, dominated the public life of the Mediterranean world for 700 years and then continued to haunt Europeans' historical imagination until well into the nineteenth century.

The emergence of Christianity and its adoption as the Roman Empire's official religion transformed all of Western culture, including both politics and history. Christianity's most immediate contribution to political historiography was to pose the problem of church and state, which would decisively shape the theory and practice of European politics from the end of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the twentieth century. Unlike the pagans whom they displaced or the Hebrew traditions upon which they built, Christians created religious institutions that were connected to, but not coincident with, the sources of political authority. “Spiritual and secular power,” Ranke (1962) wrote, “could approach one another and be intimately related, but they could be fused only under exceptional circumstances and for a brief period of time. Their relationships and conflicts provide one of history's most important themes.” From Eusebius's history of the church, which reflected the triumph of Constantine's conversion at the beginning of the fourth century, to Otto of Freising's twelfth-century chronicle, The Two Cities, which described the conflict between empire and papacy, to Ranke's own history of the popes, which bore the marks of nineteenth-century's struggles between church and state, historians searched the past for clues to the proper relationship between God and Caesar, pope and emperor, altar and throne, religious autonomy and secular authority (see Historiography and Historical Thought: Christian Tradition ).


German merchants established a trading post at Novgorod, which they called Peterhof. In 1229, German merchants at Novgorod were granted certain privileges that made their positions more secure. [11]

The earliest German settlement in Moscow dates to the reign of Vasili III, Grand Prince of Moscow, from 1505 to 1533. A handful of German and Dutch craftsmen and traders were allowed to settle in Moscow's German Quarter (Немецкая слобода, or Nemetskaya sloboda), as they provided essential technical skills in the capital. Gradually, this policy extended to a few other major cities. In 1682, Moscow had about 200,000 citizens some 18,000 were classified as Nemtsy, which means either "German" or "western foreigner".

The international community located in the German Quarter greatly influenced Peter the Great (reigned 1682-1725). His efforts to transform Russia into a more modern European state are believed to have derived in large part from his experiences among Russia's established Germans. [ citation needed ] By the late 17th-century, foreigners were no longer so rare in Russian cities, and Moscow's German Quarter had lost its ethnic character by the end of that century.

Vistula Germans (Poland) Edit

Through wars and the partitions of Poland, Prussia acquired an increasing amount of northern, western, and central Polish territory. The Vistula River flows south to north, with its mouth on the Baltic Sea near Danzig (now Gdańsk). Germans and Dutch settled its valley beginning at the sea coast and gradually moving further south to the interior. Eventually, Prussia acquired most of the Vistula's watershed, and the central portion of then-Poland became South Prussia. Its existence was brief - 1793 to 1806, but by its end many German settlers had established Protestant agricultural settlements within its earlier borders. By contrast, most Polish were Roman Catholics. Some German Roman Catholics also entered the region from the southwest, especially the area of Prussian Silesia. The 1935 "Breyer Map" shows the distribution of German settlements in what became central Poland.

Napoleon's victories ended the short existence of South Prussia. The French Emperor incorporated that and other territories into the Duchy of Warsaw. After Napoleon's defeat in 1815, however, the Duchy was divided. Prussia annexed the western Posen region, and what is now central Poland became the Russian client-state known as Congress Poland. Many Germans continued to live in this central region, maintaining their middle-German Prussian dialect, similar to the Silesian dialect, and their Protestant and Catholic religions. (The Russian population was primarily Russian Orthodox, which was the established national church.)

During World Wars I and II, the eastern front was fought over in this area. The Soviet government increased conscription of young men. The rate of Vistula Germans' migrations to this area from Congress Poland increased. Some became Polonized, however, and their descendants remain in Poland.

During the last year and after World War II, many ethnic Germans fled or were forcibly expelled by the Russians and the Poles from Eastern Europe, particularly those who had maintained their German language and separate religions. The Russians and Poles blamed them for being allies of the Nazis and the reason that Nazi Germany had invaded the East in its program of lebensraum. The Germans were also held to have abused the native populations in internal warfare, allied with the Germans during their occupation. Under the Potsdam Agreement, major population transfers were agreed to by the allies. The deportees generally lost all their property and were often attacked during their deportations. Those who survived joined millions of other displaced peoples on the road after the war.

Volga Germans (Russia) Edit

Czarina Catherine II was German, born in Stettin in Pomerania (now Szczecin in Poland). After gaining her power, she proclaimed open immigration for foreigners wishing to live in the Russian Empire on 22 July 1763, marking the beginning of a wave of German migration to the Empire. She wanted German farmers to redevelop farmland that had been fallow after conflict with the Ottomans. German colonies were founded in the lower Volga river area almost immediately afterward. These early colonies were attacked during the Pugachev uprising, which was centred on the Volga area, but they survived the rebellion.

German immigration was motivated in part by religious intolerance and warfare in central Europe, as well as by frequently difficult economic conditions, particularly among the southern principalities. Catherine II's declaration freed German immigrants from requirements for military service (which was imposed on native Russians) and from most taxes. It placed the new arrivals outside of Russia's feudal hierarchy and granted them considerable internal autonomy. Moving to Russia gave German immigrants political rights that they would not have possessed in their own lands. Religious minorities found these terms very agreeable, particularly Mennonites from the Vistula River valley. Their unwillingness to participate in military service, and their long tradition of dissent from mainstream Lutheranism and Calvinism, made life under the Prussians very difficult for them. Nearly all of the Prussian Mennonites emigrated to Russia over the following century, leaving no more than a handful in Prussia.

Other German minority churches took advantage of Catherine II's offer as well, particularly Evangelical Christians such as the Baptists. Although Catherine's declaration forbade them from proselytising among members of the Orthodox Church, they could evangelize Russia's Muslim and other non-Christian minorities.

German colonization was most intense in the Lower Volga, but other areas also received immigrants. Many settled in the area around the Black Sea, and the Mennonites favoured the lower Dnieper river area, around Ekaterinoslav (now Dnipro) and Aleksandrovsk (now Zaporizhia).

In 1803 Catherine II's grandson, Tsar Alexander I, reissued her proclamation. In the chaos of the Napoleonic wars, Germans responded in great number, fleeing their wartorn land. The Tsar's administration eventually imposed minimum financial requirements on new immigrants, requiring them to have either 300 gulden in cash or special skills in order to be accepted for entry to Russia.

The abolition of serfdom in the Russian Empire in 1863 created a shortage of labour in agriculture. The need for workers attracted new German immigration, particularly from the increasingly crowded central European states. There was no longer enough fertile land there for full employment in agriculture.

Furthermore, a sizable portion of Russia's ethnic Germans migrated into Russia from its Polish possessions. The 18th-century partitions of Poland (1772–1795) dismantled the Polish-Lithuanian state, dividing it between Austria, Prussia and Russia. Many Germans already living in those parts of Poland transferred to Russia, dating back to medieval and later migrations. Many Germans in Congress Poland migrated further east into Russia between then and World War I, particularly in the aftermath of the Polish insurrection of 1830. The Polish insurrection in 1863 added a new wave of German emigration from Poland to those who had already moved east, and led to the founding of extensive German colonies in Volhynia. When Poland reclaimed its independence in 1918 after World War I, it ceased to be a source of German emigration to Russia, but by then many hundreds of thousands of Germans had already settled in enclaves across the Russian Empire.

Germans settled in the Caucasus area from the beginning of the 19th century and in the 1850s expanded into the Crimea. In the 1890s new German colonies opened in the Altay mountain area in Russian Asia (see Mennonite settlements of Altai). German colonial areas continued to expand in Ukraine as late as the beginning of World War I.

According to the first census of the Russian Empire in 1897, about 1.8 million respondents reported German as their mother tongue.

Black Sea Germans (Moldova and Ukraine) Edit

The Black Sea Germans - including the Bessarabian Germans and the Dobrujan Germans - settled the territories of the northern bank of the Black Sea in present-day Ukraine in the late 18th and the 19th century. Catherine the Great had gained this land for Russia through her two wars with the Ottoman Empire (1768–1774) and from the annexation of the Crimean Khanates (1783).

The area of settlement did not develop as compact as that of the Volga territory, and a chain of ethnic German colonies resulted. The first German settlers arrived in 1787, first from West Prussia, followed by immigrants from Western and Southwestern Germany (including Roman Catholics), and from the Warsaw area. Also many Germans, beginning in 1803, immigrated from the northeastern area of Alsace west of the Rhine River. They settled roughly 30 miles northeast of Odessa (city) in Ukraine, forming several enclaves that quickly expanded, resulting in daughter colonies springing up nearby. [12]

From 1783 onward the Crown initiated a systematic settlement of Russians, Ukrainians, and Germans in the Crimean Peninsula (in what was then the Crimean Khanate) in order to dilute the native population of the Crimean Tatars.

In 1939, around 60,000 of the 1.1 million inhabitants of Crimea were ethnic German. Two years later, following the end of the alliance and the Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union, the government deported ethnic Germans from the Crimea to Central Asia in the Soviet Union's program of population transfers. Conditions were harsh and many of the deportees died. It was not until the period of Perestroika in the late 1980s that the government granted surviving ethnic Germans and their descendants the right to return from Central Asia to the peninsula.

Volhynian Germans (Poland and Ukraine) Edit

The migration of Germans into Volhynia (as of 2013 [update] covering northwestern Ukraine from a short distance west of Kiev to the border with Poland) occurred under significantly different conditions than those described above. By the end of the 19th century, Volhynia had more than 200,000 German settlers. [13] Their migration began as encouraged by local noblemen, often Polish landlords, who wanted to develop their significant land-holdings in the area for agricultural use. Probably 75% or more of the Germans came from Congress Poland, with the balance coming directly from other regions such as East and West Prussia, Pomerania, Posen, Württemberg, and Galicia, among others. Although the noblemen offered certain incentives for the relocations, the Germans of Volhynia received none of the government's special tax and military service freedoms granted to Germans in other areas.

Shortly after 1800, the first German families started moving into the area. A surge occurred after the first Polish rebellion of 1831 but by 1850, Germans still numbered only about 5000. The largest migration came after the second Polish rebellion of 1863, and Germans began to flood into the area by the thousands. By 1900 they numbered about 200,000. The vast majority of these Germans were Protestant Lutherans (in Europe they were referred to as Evangelicals). Limited numbers of Mennonites from the lower Vistula River region settled in the south part of Volhynia. Baptists and Moravian Brethren settled mostly northwest of Zhitomir. Another major difference between the Germans here and in other parts of Russia is that the other Germans tended to settle in larger communities. The Germans in Volhynia were scattered about in over 1400 villages. Though the population peaked in 1900, many Germans had already begun leaving Volhynia in the late 1880s for North and South America.

Between 1911 and 1915, a small group of Volhynian German farmers (36 families - more than 200 people) chose to move to Eastern Siberia, making use of the resettlement subsidies of the government's Stolypin reform of 1906–1911. They settled in three villages (Pikhtinsk, Sredne-Pikhtinsk, and Dagnik) in what is today Zalarinsky District of Irkutsk Oblast, where they became known as the "Bug Hollanders". They apparently were not using the German language any more, but rather spoke Ukrainian and Polish. They used Lutheran Bibles that had been printed in East Prussia, in the Polish form known as fraktur. Their descendants, many with German surnames, continue to live in the district into the 21st century. [14]

Caucasus Germans Edit

A German minority of about 100,000 people existed in the Caucasus region, in areas such as the North Caucasus, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. In 1941 Joseph Stalin ordered all inhabitants with a German father to be deported, mostly to Siberia or Kazakhstan.

Circassian genocide Edit

German general Grigory Zass who was an officer in the Russian army sent severed Circassian heads to his fellow Germans in Berlin who were professors and used them to study anatomy. [15] The Decembrist Nikolai Ivanovich Lorer (Лорер, Николай Иванович) said that Zass cleaned and boiled the flesh off the heads after storing them under his bed in his tent. He also had Circassian heads outside of his tent impaled on lances on a hill. Circassian men's corpses were decapitated by Russian-Cossack women on the battlefield after the battles were over for the heads to be sent to Zass for collection. [16] [17] [18] [19] Zass erected Circassian heads on poles outside of his tent and witnesses saw the wind blowing the beards of the heads. [20] Russian soldiers and Cossacks were paid for sending Circassian heads to General Zass. [21] [22] [23] [24] Besides cutting Circassian heads off and collecting them, Zass employed a deliberate strategy of annihilating Circassian en mass, burning entire Circassian villages with the people in it and encouraging violation of Circassian women and children. [25] [26] Zass' forces referred to all Circassian elderly, children women and men as "Bandits, "plunderers" or "thieves" and the Russian empire's forces were commanded by ferociously partholofical officers who commanded political dissidents and criminals. [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] Circassian children were scared of Zass and he was called the devil (Iblis) by the Circassians. [43]

Zass worked with another German officer in the Russian army named Georg Andreas von Rosen during the genocide against the Circassians. Zass wrote letters to Rosen proudly admitting he ordered Cossacks to slaughter Circassian civilians. [44] Russia was ruled by Tsars from the German House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov and military officer ranks were filled with Germans from the Baltic German nobility.

Nikolai Yevdokimov and Grigory Zass ordered their officers and soldiers to be allowed to rape 7 year old Circassian girls. [45] [46] [47] [48] [49] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56] [57] [58] [59] [60] [61] [62] [63] [64] Cossacks raped Circassian women and impregnated them with children. [65]

The decline of the Russian German community started with the reforms of Alexander II. In 1871, he repealed the open-door immigration policy of his ancestors, effectively ending any new German immigration into the Empire. Although the German colonies continued to expand, they were driven by natural growth and by the immigration of Germans from Poland.

The Russian nationalism that took root under Alexander II served as a justification for eliminating in 1871 the bulk of the tax privileges enjoyed by Russian Germans, and after 1874 they were subjected to military service. Only after long negotiations, Mennonites, traditionally a pacifist denomination, were allowed to serve alternative service in the form of work in forestry and the medical corps. The resulting disaffection motivated many Russian Germans, especially members of traditionally dissenting churches, to migrate to the United States and Canada, while many Catholics chose Brazil and Argentina. They moved primarily to the American Great Plains and western Canada, especially North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado to Canada Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and Alberta to Brazil, especially Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul and to Argentina, especially South of Buenos Aires Province, Entre Ríos Province and La Pampa Province. North Dakota and South Dakota attracted primarily Odessa (Black Sea area) Germans from Russia while Nebraska and Kansas attracted mainly Volga Germans from Russia. The majority of Volhynia Germans chose Canada as their destination with significant numbers later migrating to the United States. Smaller settlement pockets also occurred in other regions such as Volga and Volhynian Germans in southwestern Michigan, Volhynian Germans in Wisconsin, and Congress Poland and Volhynian Germans in Connecticut.

After 1881, Russian Germans were required to study Russian in school and lost all their remaining special privileges. Many Germans remained in Russia, particularly those who had done well as Russia began to industrialise in the late 19th century. Russian Germans were disproportionately represented among Russia's engineers, technical tradesmen, industrialists, financiers and large land owners.

World War I was the first time Russia went to war against Germany since the Napoleonic era, and Russian Germans were quickly suspected of having enemy sympathies. The Germans living in the Volhynia area were deported to the German colonies in the lower Volga river in 1915 when Russia started losing the war. Many Russian Germans were exiled to Siberia by the Tsar's government as enemies of the state - generally without trial or evidence. In 1916, an order was issued to deport the Volga Germans to the east as well, but the Russian Revolution prevented this from being carried out.

The loyalties of Russian Germans during the revolution varied. While many supported the royalist forces and joined the White Army, others were committed to Alexander Kerensky's Provisional Government, to the Bolsheviks, and even to smaller forces like Nestor Makhno's. Russian Germans - including Mennonites and Evangelicals - fought on all sides in the Russian Revolution and Civil War. Although some Russian Germans were very wealthy, others were quite poor and sympathised strongly with their Slavic neighbours. Educated Russian Germans were just as likely to have leftist and revolutionary sympathies as the ethnically Russian intelligentsia.

In the chaos of the Russian Revolution and the civil war that followed it, many ethnic Germans were displaced within Russia or emigrated from Russia altogether. The chaos surrounding the Russian Civil War was devastating to many German communities, particularly to religious dissenters like the Mennonites. Many Mennonites hold the forces of Nestor Makhno in Ukraine particularly responsible for large-scale violence against their community.

This period was also one of regular food shortages, caused by famine and the lack of long-distance transportation of food during the fighting. Coupled with the typhus epidemic and famine of the early 1920s, [66] as many as a third of Russia's Germans may have perished. Russian German organisations in the Americas, particularly the Mennonite Central Committee, organised famine relief in Russia in the late 1920s. As the chaos faded and the Soviet Union's position became more secure, many Russian Germans simply took advantage of the end of the fighting to emigrate to the Americas. Emigration from the Soviet Union came to a halt in 1929 by Stalin's decree, leaving roughly one million Russian Germans within Soviet borders.

The Soviet Union seized the farms and businesses of Russian Germans, along with all other farms and businesses, when Stalin ended Vladimir Lenin's New Economic Policy in 1929 and began the forced collectivization of agriculture and liquidation of large land holdings.

Nonetheless, Soviet nationalities policy had, to some degree, restored the institutions of Russian Germans in some areas. In July 1924, the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was founded, giving the Volga Germans some autonomous German language institutions. The Lutheran church, like nearly all religious affiliations in Russia, was ruthlessly suppressed under Stalin. But, for the 600,000-odd Germans living in the Volga German ASSR, German was the language of local officials for the first time since 1881.

As a result of the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, Stalin decided to deport the German Russians to internal exile and forced labor in Siberia and Central Asia. It is evident that, at this point, the regime considered national minorities with ethnic ties to foreign states, such as Germans, potential fifth columnists. On 12 August 1941, the Central Committee of the Communist Party decreed the expulsion of the Volga Germans, allegedly for treasonous activity, from their autonomous republic on the lower Volga. On 7 September 1941, the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was abolished and about 438,000 Volga Germans were deported. In subsequent months, an additional 400,000 ethnic Germans were deported to Siberia from their other traditional settlements such as Ukraine and the Crimea.

The Soviets were not successful in expelling all German settlers living in the Western and Southern Ukraine, however, due to the rapid advance of the Wehrmacht (German Army). The secret police, the NKVD, was able to deport only 35% of the ethnic Germans from Ukraine. Thus in 1943, the Nazi German census registered 313,000 ethnic Germans living in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union. With the Soviet re-conquest, the Wehrmacht evacuated about 300,000 German Russians and brought them back to the Reich. Because of the provisions of the Yalta Agreement, all former Soviet citizens living in Germany at war's end had to be repatriated, most by force. More than 200,000 German Russians were deported, against their will, by the Allies and sent to the Gulag . Thus, shortly after the end of the war, more than one million ethnic Germans from Russia were in special settlements and labor camps in Siberia and Central Asia. It is estimated that 200,000 to 300,000 died of starvation, lack of shelter, over-work, and disease during the 1940s. [67]

On 26 November 1948, Stalin made the banishment permanent, declaring that Russia's Germans were permanently forbidden from returning to Europe, but this was rescinded after his death in 1953. Many Russian Germans returned to European Russia, but quite a few remained in Soviet Asia.

Although the post-Stalin Soviet state no longer persecuted ethnic Germans as a group, their Soviet republic was not re-founded. Many Germans in Russia largely assimilated and integrated into Russian society. There were some 2 million ethnic Germans in the Soviet Union in 1989. [68] Soviet Union census revealed in 1989 that 49% of the German minority named German their mother tongue. According to the 1989 Soviet census, 957,518 citizens of German origin, or 6% of total population, lived in Kazakhstan, [69] and 841,295 Germans lived in Russia including Siberia. [70]

Perestroika opened the Soviet borders and witnessed the beginnings of a massive emigration of Germans from the Soviet Union. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, large numbers of Russian Germans took advantage of Germany's liberal law of return to leave the harsh conditions of the Soviet successor states. [71] The German population of Kyrgyzstan has practically disappeared, and Kazakhstan has lost well over half of its roughly one million Germans. The drop in the Russian Federation's German population was smaller, but still significant. A very few Germans returned to one of their ancestral provinces: about 6,000 settled in Kaliningrad Oblast (former East Prussia).

Since migrating to Russia in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Germans had adopted many of the Slavic traits and cultures and formed a special group known as "rossiskie nemtsy", or Russian Germans. [72] Recently, Russian Germans have become of national interest to Germany and to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). [73] Although ethnic Germans were no longer persecuted, their pre-Bolshevik lives and villages were not re-founded. Many Germans integrated into Soviet society where they now continue to live. The displaced Germans are unable to return to their ancestral lands in the Volga River Valley or the Black Sea regions, because in many instances, those villages no longer exist after being destroyed during Stalin's regime. In 1990, approximately 45,000 Russian Germans, or 6% of the population, lived in the former German Volga Republic. [74] During the late twentieth century, three-quarters of Russian Germans were living in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tadzhikistan and Uzbekistan), South-West Siberia and Southern Urals. [75]

Starting in the 1970s, a push-pull effect began that would influence where Russian Germans would eventually live. Because of a bad economy, tensions increased between autochthonous groups and recently settled ethnic minorities living in Central Asia. [76] This strain worsened after the Afghanistan War began in 1979. [76] Germans and other Europeans felt culturally and economically pressured to leave these countries, and moved to the Russian Republic. This migration continued into the 1990s. [76]

During Perestroika in the 1980s, the Soviet borders were opened and the beginnings of a massive migration of Germans from the Soviet Union occurred. Entire families, and even villages, would leave their homes and relocate together in Germany or Austria. [76] This was because they needed to show the German Embassy certain documents, such as a family Bible, as proof that their ancestors were originally from Germany. [77] This meant if a family member stayed in the Soviet Union, but then decided to leave later, they would be unable to because they would no longer have the necessary paperwork. Also, Russian German villages were pretty much self-sustaining so if an individual that was necessary for that community, such as a teacher, mechanic or blacksmith left, then the entire village might disappear because it was hard to find a replacement for these vital community members. [78]

Legal and economic pull factors contributed to Russian Germans decision to move to Germany. They were given special legal status of Aussiedler (exiles from former German territories or of German descent) which gave them instant German citizenship, the right to vote, unlimited work permit, the flight from Moscow to Frankfurt (with all of their personal belongings and household possessions), job training, and unemployment benefits for three years. [79]

Russian Germans from South-West Siberia received a completely different treatment than the Germans living in Central Asia. [ why? ] Local authorities were persuading Germans to stay by creating two self-governing districts. [73] [ dubious – discuss ]

The All-Union Society Wiedergeburt (Renaissance) was founded in 1989 to encourage Russian Germans to move back to, and restore the Volga Republic. [80] This plan was not successful because Germany interfered with the discussions and created diplomatic friction, which resulted in Russian opposition to this project. [ dubious – discuss ] [ citation needed ] A couple of those problems were the two sides could not put aside their differences and agree on certain principles such as the meaning of the word "rehabilitation". [81] They also neglected the economic reasons why Russia wanted to entice Russian Germans back to the Volga. In 1992, Russian Germans and Russian officials finally agreed on a plan, but Germany did not approve it. [82]

On 21 February 1992, Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian Federation, signed a German-Russian Federation agreement with Germany to restore citizenship to Russian Germans. [83] This Federal Program intended to gradually restore the homeland of Russian Germans, and their descendants, in the former Republic of Volga, thus encouraging Russian Germans to immigrate back to Russia. [84] It would also guarantee the national and cultural identity of Russian Germans would be preserved, such as their culture, language and religion. [85] At the same time, it would not block or regulate their right to leave if they decide to do so at a later point. [86]

Events for a separate territory proceeded differently in Siberia, because financially stable Russian German settlements already existed. Siberian officials were economically driven to keep their skilled Russian German citizens and not see them leave for other republics or countries. [82] In the late 1980s, 8.1% of Russian Germans lived in the county of Altay in South-West Siberia and they controlled one-third of profitable farms. [87]

In early 1990, a few ideas offered to the Officer of Exiles (the bureau in charge of emigrants after arriving in Germany) in order to retain Russian Germans, or to promote their return included the suggestion that the necessary important village specialists (mechanics, teachers, doctors, etc.) should be offered incentives such as Trade Associations and additional training in order to keep, or to attract them to Russia. Russian German schools and universities should also be reopened. A third idea is to establish a financial institution that would motivate individuals to buy homes, and start farms or small businesses. [88] Unfortunately, proposed initiatives have not gained traction and have not been instituted due to corruption, incompetency and inexperience. [89] The Association for Germans Abroad (VDA) contracted with the business Inkoplan, to move families from Central Asia at vastly inflated costs. This resulted in VDA and Inkoplan personnel pocketing the difference. [90] Examples of incompetency and inexperience included: VDA falsely projected the idea all Russian Germans wanted to leave their present homes and lives and move to the Volga region where they would start over. [90] The Home Office was not fluent in the Russian language or familiar with foreign cultures abroad and this created many misunderstandings between various groups. [91] Because of these actions by the Home Office, the migration back to Germany continues. Over 140,000 individuals migrated to Germany from CIS in 1990 and 1991, and almost 200,000 people migrated in 1992. [78]


Until the late 1920s Japanese leaders generally supported the ideal, if not the practice, of economic liberalism. Their attempts to integrate the Japanese economy into a liberal world order, however, became frustrated in the early 1930s when the depressed western economies placed barriers on Japanese trade to protect their own colonial markets.

Many Japanese believed that the structure of international peace embodied in the League of Nations favoured the western nations that controlled the world's resources. Moreover, the west had acted hypocritically by blocking Japanese emigration through anti-Asian immigration laws in the 1920s.

. the idea began to emerge in Japan of an East Asian federation or cooperative body .

As a result, the idea began to emerge in Japan of an East Asian federation or cooperative body, based on traditional pan-Asian ideals of universal brotherhood (hakko ichiu - eight corners of the world under one roof) and an 'Asia for Asians' liberationist rhetoric.

The Japanese aggression in Manchuria in 1931 was in this context, and was justified on the basis of the Manchurian-Mongolian seimeisen or 'lifeline' argument - the idea that Japan's economy was deadlocked. Three factors creating this deadlock loomed large - the shortage of raw materials in Japan, the rapidly expanding Japanese population, and the division of the world into economic blocs.

In Bradbury's classic dystopia, firemen don't put out fires. They burn books, which are illegal. And citizens are encouraged not to think or reflect, but instead "be happy."

Buy the 50th-anniversary edition for an interview with Bradbury on the book's classic status and contemporary relevance.

5/18/2016 Tensions with military- Political Intrigue - History


I Nature of the Security Threat

1. The primary security threat in Syria arises from inherent instability of the government, a characteristic of all governments holding office during the last eight years, and the thinly veiled intervention in her internal affairs by at least five states (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the Soviet Union and France. See section V.) Coups d’état, political assassinations, armed uprisings and threats of armed foreign intervention are characteristics of the existing situation. Another factor is apathy toward Communism on the part of politicians and army officers. There are no indications that this situation is likely to improve in the foreseeable future. 2. Against this background, the Arab Socialist Resurrectionist Party ( ASRP ) opportunist political leaders who hold key positions of power in the present government, and the Communist Party of Syria are capable of bringing about future deterioration of Syrian internal security. 3. The ASRP , a left wing party, currently possesses the greatest direct subversive strength in Syria because of its following within the Army, its strength in the Legislature (15%), and its relationships with independent political figures who hold key Ministries of the government. 4. A considerable number of officers in the Army support the ASRP , and the party has collaborated with senior army officers in protecting the strong position of the army in Syrian affairs. Through its strength in the armed forces the ASRP , with Communist support, is backing a campaign to suppress the political opposition, particularly the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), whose leaders are now in prison or in hiding. 5. The ASRP controls a bloc of seventeen seats plus five supporters out of 142 in the Chamber of Deputies and ranks second in strength among the organized parties. It advocates Syrian opposition to the international policies of the Western powers, nationalization of major economic enterprises, and sweeping social reforms for the benefit of worker and peasant. It opposes Syro-Iraqi union under Hashimite control. 6. The Communist Party, although declared illegal in December 1947, has nevertheless operated continuously with sporadic success to the present. Repressed during the Shishakli regime (1951–1954) it was forced to restrict its overt activities, but continued to work through front organizations and other clandestine media. Since mid-1945 it has operated in a near-overt manner with considerable success. At present it exercises political influence disproportionate to its actual strength through extensive propaganda activity, collaboration with other political parties (particularly the ASRP ) and leaders of the government, infiltration of the army, the security forces and other government offices. It supports and exploits for its own purposes anti-West, neutralist and ultranationalist elements, as well as minority groups. 7. The Communist Party of Syria is organically united with the Communist Party of Lebanon. It provides guidance as well as safe haven and other assistance to the Communist Parties of Iraq and Jordan, and some support for the Tudeh Party of Iran. It cooperates, both in Syria and Lebanon, with the USSR in the production and distribution of propaganda throughout the Middle East. Small in size and overcentralized in leadership, the Communist Party of Syria and Lebanon is nevertheless the largest, best organized and best led Communist Party of the Arab world. 8. Its Syrian membership is estimated at 10,000, of whom about 600 are considered “hard core” militants. Consistent collaborating non-members probably number at least 2,000 more. Party membership is largely drawn from the Armenian and Kurdish minorities, [Page 532] and the Orthodox Christian communities. Both the Christian and Moslem members of the Party come from intellectual, student and professional groups, in spite of repeated efforts of the leadership to recruit workers and peasants. 9. The Communist Party has significantly infiltrated the ASRP through efforts which began at least four years ago. In addition, the ASRP leadership as well as some independent candidates in the elections of September 1954 have consciously accepted Communist support even though they did not participate in the Communist dominated National Front. For example, Khalid Al Asm , most influential of individual political leaders and who aspires to the Presidency of Syria is an opportunist who has collaborated with the ASRP and the Communist Party both in electoral campaigns and in governmental matters. Communist collaboration with other parties has not given it control of any of those parties, but has served well the Communist aim of seriously weakening pro-Western forces and those most likely to oppose future Communist activities. 10. Through various front groups Communist influence on political parties of all complexions is being exerted both directly and indirectly. With more than 25 of these operating simultaneously in the confused Syrian scene, it is difficult if not impossible to assess accurately the full extent of the Communist assets and strength. Of the fronts, the Partisans of Peace are by far the most important. In addition, the Communist Party has secured control of several member unions in the largest labor federation and have undermined and demoralized the non-Communist leadership of the labor movement. Communist inroads amongst labor leaders in Syria are such that the Party threatens to effect control of the movement within two or three years. The Communists have also infiltrated Syria’s educational and religious institutions. The teaching profession is penetrated with sympathizers and student organizations are prime targets for activity. The largest Christian community, the Greek Orthodox, has been influenced by Soviet propaganda and even prominent Moslem leaders have been affected by the Communist appeal to xenophobic interests.

II Existing Internal Security Forces and National Military Forces

A. Primary Internal Security Forces

11. Syria’s 5,000 non-military internal security forces include a National Gendarmérie of 2800, a Desert Patrol of 400 and 1800 police. The gendarmérie and police are disposed in strategically located posts throughout the country. One desert patrol company is located in Central Syria and the other in Eastern Syria. Equipment is primarily small arms with very few crew-served weapons and no [Page 533] artillery or armored vehicles. The standard of training is very low and the police and gendarmérie are generally inefficient. 12. In addition to the uniformed police described above, the police services include the Sûreté–a plain-clothes service of 300 men having certain intelligence functions, such as collection of political intelligence, counter-espionage, and control of foreigners within Syria. The Sûreté, partly because of internal organizational difficulties and partly because of the mass use of untrained informers, does not produce high-quality, domestic intelligence. To some extent its counter-subversive activities clash with those of the Deuxieme Bureau (Intelligence Branch) of the Army General Staff. The Deuxieme Bureau also operates agent and informer nets which conduct espionage and counter-espionage operations, gather political information and conduct surveillance on foreigners. Both the positive and the counter-espionage activities of the Deuxieme Bureau suffer from lack of trained personnel and from frequent changes in leadership. Duplication, misplacement of effort and indiscriminate compiling of information of dubious value are the result. Both the Sûreté and the Deuxieme Bureau are believed to possess fairly comprehensive files on Communists, but the majority of these are out of date. Local security officers continue to utilize their agents and activities against the CPS and are believed to keep generally informed of the Communist Party membership, organization and activities.

13. Army: The Syrian Army of 35,200 is organized into six infantry brigades, 1 armored brigade, 5 artillery battalions and 1 commando battalion. Weapons and vehicles include 382 field artillery and heavy infantry weapons, 87 tanks and self-propelled weapons and 150 transport vehicles. 14. The Communist Party has made considerable progress in infiltrating the Army. Communist officers in the junior ranks are known to be spreading Party doctrine without effective interference from officers in staff positions, many of whom have leftist sympathies. Control of the important army information program, which includes publication of periodicals and conduct of orientation courses for the troops, is presently in the hands of a Communist. To some extent a pro-Iraqi element in the army tends to offset ASRP and Communist influence. 15. The Syrian Navy is an arm of the Syrian Army, and its combat effectiveness and capabilities are negligible. 16. The Syrian Air Force of 1,552 has about 100 aircraft and is capable of assisting the Army in maintaining internal security. [Page 534]

III Evaluation of the Internal Security Situation

17. In spite of weaknesses (Communist penetration, inefficiency, instability and lack of firm direction at the top) of Syria’s internal security and military forces, the Syrian Communist organization is not at present sufficiently strong to take over the government. In fact, the Communist Party does not appear to have as its immediate objective seizure of power. Rather it seeks to destroy national unity, to strengthen support for Soviet policies and opposition to Western policies and to exacerbate tensions in the Arab world. It has made significant progress towards these objectives. 18. Because of Communist penetration, factionalism and lack of active encouragement from those holding political power, the non-military security forces are unable to restrict the further expansion of Communist propaganda, agitation and penetration. However, it should be noted that under the government of Shishakli and with the direction of an experienced officer existing police resources were capable of controlling the Communist Party. 19. If properly led the police and gendarmérie have sufficient manpower and equipment to control Communist-inspired civil disturbances. The Army, however, would be required to assist in suppression of any Communist insurrection. 20. There would seem to be little question that the Syrian Army if properly led could maintain internal security in the foreseeable future, including the suppression of any Communist uprising, but continued Communist success among the junior officers in the Army, coupled with the existing influence of supporters of the Arab Socialist Resurrectionist Party, increases the danger that the Army will aid rather than oppose extreme left-wing elements. 21. Given a continuance of trends of the last year, there is real danger that Syria may fall largely under control of the ASRP either through a coup d’état on the part of elements of the army or a gradual increase of ASRP political strength. This would result in either case in increased Communist penetration of government and army and consequent extension of Communist influence. 22. It is not likely that … Iraq would allow in Syria establishment of an openly Communist regime. However, they would be less likely to intervene against an ASRP -dominated government.

IV Inventory of U.S. Programs Bearing on Internal Security

23. No military, economic or technical assistance is currently programmed for Syria, although $5.0 million in economic aid has been “promised” for FY 1956 if Syria cooperates with Mr. Eric Johnston 2 [Page 535] in working out a settlement of the Jordan River dispute. As for technical assistance, it cannot be said at this time whether there will be any program in FY 1956. The problem continues to be the unwillingness of the Syrian Government to conclude the basic agreement which the U.S. considers a condition precedent to assistance of any kind. 24. A small information program , conducted by USIA with five men and an annual budget of about $100,000, operates in what can only be described as a discouraging atmosphere. It is difficult at best to reach the government through this program and, as much of the press is bribed by … foreign countries, only partial success has been achieved in placing USIA material before the public. Syrian touchiness on their minority problems militates against any USIA effort to reach these groups (although much of the USIA material in the Kurdish vernacular originating from our Iraq information centers is believed to reach the Kurdish population living in Syria). 25. Through the Exchange Program ( PL 402) we have been able to send four or five men to Syria each year to lecture and tour the country, but Syrian hostility and xenophobia and administrative obstructions have reduced almost to nothing our efforts to bring qualified Syrians to the U.S. on Exchange fellowships under this program.

V Political Factors Bearing on Internal Security Programs and Feasibility of U.S. Assistance.

26. Of all the Arab states Syria is at the present time the most wholeheartedly devoted to a neutralist policy with strong anti-Western overtones. This appears to be due primarily to three factors: (1) extreme bitterness over Palestine, and hostility towards the Western powers (particularly the U.S. and the U.K.) who are regarded as the creators and supporters of Israel (2) the popular tendency among the Moslem Arabs to seek a neutral position (with an anti-“imperialist” flavor) between West and East (3) because of economic self-sufficiency and a feeling of geographic distance from the U.S.S.R. the Syrians, unlike the other Arabs, see no need to look to the West for support or help. 27. Moreover the growth of Soviet influence in Syria has definitely increased over the past year and a half, largely due to the Soviet tactic of backing Arab causes in the UN , further contributing to Syrian anti-Western sentiments. 28. The basic factors in the current political situation in Syria are: (1) the opportunism of the political figures who currently control the government: Foreign Minister Khalid Al Asm General Shuqayr , the Army Chief of Staff, and Prime Minister Sabri Al Asali . [Page 536] These men, though not themselves leftists, are cooperating with or accepting the support of the leftist, Communist-infiltrated Arab Socialist Resurrectionist Party and its army supporters in order to further their own personal, political interests (2) the disproportionate political influence of the aggressive, leftist anti-Western ASRP and allied army officer groups (3) the demoralization and fragmentation of Conservative and relatively pro-Western political elements such as the Populist Party, the bulk of the Nationalist Party and conservative independent politicians (4) Egyptian and Saudi Arabian intrigue and pressure to prevent closer Syria-Iraq relations and encourage Syrian hostility to the Turkey-Iraq pact and Iraqi intrigue and pressure in the opposite direction (5) French intrigue to maintain France’s “special position” in Syria (6) Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and French support of anti-Iraqi and anti-Western left-wing and opportunist elements (7) a tendency among politicians and the public to encourage and accept Soviet support on Arab-Israel issues and to stress the importance of good Soviet-Syrian relations. This tendency is an outgrowth of the resentment against Israel and against the U.S. as the power primarily responsible for Israel’s existence. 29. It is unlikely that the political situation in Syria or Syrian attitudes will change significantly in the near future in the absence of the development and successful execution by the U.S. of policies for the Near East designed to improve the situation in Syria. Such policies might, for example, include: (1) taking a firmer line with Israel, and insisting on an equitable settlement of the Jordan River water problem and the Syria-Israel boundary problem (2) bringing Lebanon and Jordan into the Turkey-Iraq Pact (this in the long run might tend to pull Syria in the same direction) action aimed at diminishing Egyptian, Saudi Arabian and French support of leftist, neutralist and anti-American elements in Syria. 30. If the present trend continues there is a strong possibility that a Communist-dominated Syria will result, threatening the peace and stability of the area and endangering the achievement of our objectives in the Near East.

31. Since neither the present Syrian Government nor any successor which the Syrians themselves are likely to install will take effective action against communist subversion and check the trend toward communist control, the strengthening of Syrian internal security forces will not in these circumstances prevent communist domination of Syria. In fact, strengthening these forces could simply serve to perpetuate the hold of an undesirable government on Syria. [Page 537] Therefore it is recommended that the United States not attempt to strengthen Syrian internal security forces. 32. In view of the foregoing and in view of the grave dangers presented to U.S. objectives in the area by the possibility of Syria’s coming under a communist-dominated regime, the OCB working group concerned ( NSC 5428, 3 Near East area) should give priority consideration to developing courses of action in the Near East designed to affect the situation in Syria and to recommending specific steps to combat communist subversion.

Responsible Agency: OCB Working Group on NSC 5428 Timing: To begin at once.

Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, Syria. Top Secret. On December 21, 1954, the National Security Council directed the Operations Coordinating Board to develop a program for providing assistance to countries considered vulnerable to Communist subversion. The program, brought into being by NSC Action No. 1290–d, was designed to assist those countries in developing indigenous forces adequate to combat any internal security threat. For text of NSC Action No. 1290–d, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. II, Part 1, p. 844.

An original version of this paper, dated June 27, was discussed at the July 6 OCB luncheon meeting, where it was decided that the paper ought to be withdrawn. The paper printed here is the revised version. (Annotated Agenda, OCB Meeting—July 13 Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430) No copy of the original paper has been found. The source text is attached to a covering memorandum from Executive Officer of the OCB , Elmer B. Staats , to the Operations Coordinating Board dated June 27.

Members of the OCB Working Group responsible for the preparation of the paper printed here included: Henry S. Villard (DOS), Major General Robert E. Hogaboom ( USMC ), Major General J.D. Balmer ( CIA ), Lieutenant Colonel Bergen B. Hovell ( FOA ), and Dr. H.S. Craig, substituting for Livingston Satterthwaite ( OCB ).

According to the minutes of the July 13 OCB meeting, the Board took note of the paper and held it for final action until all 1290–d country reports had been completed. ( Ibid., Syria) The Board finally approved the paper, with the exception of paragraph 33 which was deleted, on December 14. A copy of the final paper is ibid . See also Document 317.

The other players

The friction between Greece and Turkey affects many more countries than just the leading two players. For instance, the European Union as a whole is at risk of being drawn into a confrontation not only between an EU member and a powerful Asian nation but between two members of NATO.

While that might sound like bad news for Turkey, this puts the EU itself at risk of confrontation between member states in a coalition centered around whose interests lie with Turkey, Greece, or some other effected third-party nation.

World War II Database

ww2dbase On 11 Nov 1918, at the end of WW1, Poland returned to the map of Europe for the first time for 123 years. Józef Pilsudski, who ruled Poland from 1918 until his death in 1935, quickly established rather effective legal, transportation, administrative, and military systems under a dictatorial regime.

ww2dbase Economically, Poland had a relatively prosperous 1920s, but the global depression of the 1930s hit the country rather hard, especially considering the rapid population growth. The conservative government spending habits did little to increase the monetary supply in the Polish economy, though the Polish government did develop very advanced socialist programs.

ww2dbase During the inter-war years, Poland's greatest achievement was in the realm of foreign policy. Pilsudski laid out a careful circle of friends in the diplomatic arena, first allying with France to restrain Germany from the thought of invasion from the west, then allied with neighboring Hungary and Romania to discourage aggression from the Soviet Union in the east. In 1932, Poland signed a non-aggression treaty with the Soviet Union that calmed relations and reduced the incidents on the eastern border. In 1934, a similar treaty was signed with Germany to reduce tension and to normalize trade. On the surface, this seemed to have eased German's frustration with East Prussia having been separated from Germany Proper after the creation of Poland.

ww2dbase Militarily, the Polish Navy was small but strong enough to counter a modest attack from the Baltic Sea, the Polish Air Force was highly advanced with the world's only all-metal air fleet, and the Polish Army was unified and enjoyed high prestige. However, as the 1930s went on, politicians who controlled the armed forces, despite top leadership's military origins, did not effectively manage the build-up to its maximum potential during peace time, and the Polish military fell behind its neighboring counterparts as quickly as it had grown.

ww2dbase To bolster diplomatic and military efforts, the Polish dedicated many resources to the field of intelligence. As early as the early 1930s, Polish mathematicians from the University of Poznan cracked German and Soviet military codes, therefore the Polish military was able to monitor military deployments of the two neighboring powers.

ww2dbase As Europe moved toward war, Czechoslovakia and Poland drew closer in the face of the potential common enemy, Germany. The two countries negotiated toward an alliance where Poland would gain partial ownership of the Skoda weapons plants for the promise that Poland would come to the aid of Czechoslovakia should a German invasion take place. When Germany annexed Czechoslovakia, however, Poland turned on its ally and took part in the partition of the country, capturing a small piece of eastern Czechoslovakia (the territory of Treschen and the nearby Bohumin rail junction) in Mar 1939. Although Germany and Poland had been debating over the Danzig issue, Poland did not realize Germany would soon turn on Poland until it was too late.

ww2dbase On 1 Sep 1939, after a series of purposefully-made unacceptable ultimatums, German troops poured across the Polish border after staging a bogus border incident. The Polish forces fought back fiercely, outperforming the German Army in the few occasions where the two forces were evenly matched. The more modernized and mobile German military, with ample air support, made those situations rare, however, by simply out-maneuvering the Polish forces. On 5 Sep, Poland moved its military headquarters to southeastern Poland, with the intention of allowing its top generals to continue the fight while northern Poland was being overrun. This prolonged the war gave allied France and the United Kingdom more time to launch a counterattack against Germany (which would never happen), but it also created much confusion between the political and military leaders, making the defense effort uncoordinated. The prospect of French and British intervention and the Polish military's ability to inflict high casualties against the oncoming Germans gave Poland some hope, but the optimism took a decisive hit when the Soviet Union invaded from the east on 17 Sep 1939. Poland surrendered on 28 Sep, and coordinated military resistance ceased by the first week of Oct.

ww2dbase After the conquest, Eastern Poland was occupied by Soviet forces. Western Poland was annexed by Germany. Central Poland was governed by a German military government. Economically, the occupation forces looted Poland, with the Germans taking large portions of the produce without regard to the starvation of the people, while the Soviets uprooted Polish industries and relocated them to the east. Politically, the Soviets planted intrigue and fostered violence between Jews and ethnic Ukrainians, while the Germans did the same between Christians and Jews. Both sides created slave labor from the population, while leaving the conquered and dismembered country to suffer starvation and disease.

ww2dbase In Jun 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and eastern Poland became one of the first battlefields. As the Soviet occupiers fled east, the German Einsatzgruppen units moved in immediately after them. Polish towns and villages that had survived the Soviet NVKD now faced German mobile killing squads. These squads systematically rounded up Jews, potential political opponents, and even innocent civilians for detention or massacre. Throughout the WW2 period, German mass killings, particularly against Jews, increased in efficiency and ruthlessness. The most infamous was the use of gas chambers, which began at the Auschwitz Concentration camp in occupied Poland on 3 Sep 1941. Within months, entire trains were dedicated to bringing Jews and other unwanted peoples for extermination.

ww2dbase Many groups of armed Polish resistance existed during the war. The group that posed the greatest threat to the German and Soviet occupiers was the Home Army (Armia Krajowa). The AK, which absorbed smaller resistance groups, was more so a secret underground government than a mere guerrilla force. In addition to having a military chain-of-command, it also maintained schools, industries, radio stations, and publishing services for the Polish people. The military wing of the AK initially opposed frequent confrontations with German forces in order to preserve strength, particularly with the brutal retribution attacks on civilians in mind. That restraint was lifted on 1 Aug 1944 as Soviet troops neared Warsaw. Although the Polish still held the Soviets, the AK thought the Soviet troops would, at least temporarily, ally themselves with the Polish resistance fighters for the common goal of removing German forces from Warsaw. When Warsaw would become liberated, AK leaders would then be able to claim legitimacy for being those who liberated the capital. Resistance fighters rose up as ordered against great odds, destroying German armored vehicles and killing many occupation soldiers. Adolf Hitler, furious, ordered the occupation force to systematically level entire sections of Warsaw until the city was nothing more than a pile of rubble. As the fighting continued and Polish resistance strength slowly waned, Soviet forces stood by. Furthermore, the Soviet Union even refused the Western Allies from using Soviet air bases to mount supply operations for the Polish resistance. As the Germans brutally quelled the uprising, Joseph Stalin's intentions were, belatedly, crystal clear. Tactically, the Soviets were letting the Germans to expend ammunition and lives. Strategically, Stalin, who had a puppet regime for post-war Poland already in mind, saw this as an opportunity to remove future political opposition.

During the occupation between 1939 and 1945, an estimated 5,200,000 civilians died as a direct result that number alone was staggering without needing to stress the fact that it amounted to 15% of the 1939 population of Poland.

ww2dbase The liberation of Poland by the Soviet Union was a repeat of the 1939 conquest. The Soviets once again looted all they could from Poland, and the people starved. As the Western Allies turned a blind eye to the Soviet treatment of Poland, the AK fell apart without western support. Polish border was redrawn as Stalin pleased. Eastern Poland, conquered by the Soviets during the 1939 invasion, was annexed. To justify the territorial loss, the Allies granted Poland eastern portions of Germany. The border changes resulted in forced population relocations, which led to further human suffering. With a Moscow-backed puppet government in place in Warsaw, Poland remain independent in name only until the end of the Cold War.

ww2dbase Sources:
John Radzilowski, A Traveller's History of Poland
William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

Humility and Humour: Death of an Emperor and Vespasian’s Legacy

Head of a statue of Vespasian , 70-80 AD, British Museum

After ruling the empire for a decade, Vespasian contracted an illness whilst traveling through Campania. Returning at once to Rome, he promptly set out for his usual summer retreat at the thermal springs at Aquae Cutiliae . The natural springs could do little to avail his condition which worsened dramatically, however, and on 24 th June, Vespasian – the man who had restored order to the empire – died . In Rome, his reputation was suitably respected. He was deified, joining the ranks of the gods, and was thus honored with a cult of priests and worshipped by the populace of the empire as divi Vespasian . His cult – and later that of his son, Titus – was housed in the Templum divi Vespasiani , at the western end of the Roman Forum, between the Temple of Concordia and the Temple of Saturn. Quite what Vespasian would have made of this monument is anyone’s guess before he died, he is reported to have remarked, with tongue firmly in cheek: “ Oh no, I think I’m turning into a god ”!

Having risen from relative obscurity to become the Roman emperor, and as the man responsible for perhaps the most iconic of all Roman buildings, Vespasian nevertheless enjoys a reputation as a man of simple yet generous tastes and affable wit, alongside that of the authoritative general. Today, several modern languages derive their name for urinals from Vespasian – such as vespasiano in Italian . It’s tempting to ponder which legacy – in private at least – he would have been prouder of.

Watch the video: Βασίλειος Κολλάρος: Συγκλονιστικά στοιχεία από τα Αρχεία -Γιατί κατέρρευσε η Μικρασιατική Εκστρατεία