1897 (Exact Date Unknown): Alois Hitler sells the infertile Hafeld property, as will a dozen future owners in the next twenty years. He moves his family temporarily (6 months) to the third floor of the Gastoff Leingartner in the small market town of Lambach, just across from the monastery.
Lambach is rich in medieval history and architecture, including the unique triangular-shaped Paura Church. The Hitlers' initial location at the intersection of Linzerstrasse and Kirchengasse overlooks the Lambach Abbey, a great Benedictine monastery founded in the eleventh century and adorned, curiously enough, by a half a dozen swastikas amidst the Byzantine frescoes.
The explanation for the presence of the swastikas lies in the delight in puns of a former abbot, Theodorich von Hagen. The German word for swastika is Hakenkreuz. Hagen — Haken. It is as simple as that.
Enrolled in the monastery's choir—under choir director Padre Bernhard Groener—and school, Adolf continues to do well, achieving the Austrian equivalent of straight A's. Frau Helene Hafstaengl, the wife of a future crony, will testify that Adolf once told her that "as a small boy it was his most ardent wish to become a priest. He often borrowed the large kitchen apron of the maid, draped it about his shoulders in vestment fashion, climbed on a kitchen chair and delivered long and fervent sermons." Hitler himself will later recall:
Since, in my free time, I received singing lessons in the cloister at Lambach, I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn splendor of the brilliant church festivals. It seemed to me perfectly natural to regard the abbot as the highest and most desirable ideal, just as my father regarded the village priest as his ideal. [For further details, Click here.]
1915 World War I: Germans surrender Southwest Africa to the Union of South Africa: With the Central Powers pressing their advantage on the Western Front, the Allies score a distant victory, when military forces of the Union of South Africa accept a German surrender in the territory of Southwest Africa.
The Union of South Africa, a united self-governing dominion of the British empire, was officially established by an act of the British Parliament in 1910. When World War I broke out in Europe in the summer of 1914, South African Prime Minister Louis Botha immediately pledged full support for Britain. Botha and Minister of Defense Jan Smuts, both generals and former Boer commanders, were looking to extend the Union's borders further on the continent. Invading German Southwest Africa would not only aid the British; it would also help to accomplish that goal. The plan angered a portion of South Africa s ruling Afrikaner (or Boer) population, who were still resentful of their defeat, at the hands of the British, in the Boer War of 1899-1902, and were angered by their government's support of Britain against Germany, which had been pro-Boer in the Boer War.
Several major military leaders resigned over their opposition to the invasion of the German territory, and open rebellion broke out in October 1914; it was quashed in December. The conquest of Southwest Africa, carried out by a South African Defense Force of nearly 50,000 men, was completed in only six months, culminating in the German surrender on July 9, 1915. Sixteen days later, South Africa annexed the territory.
1915 World War I: List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment continues to occupy a position at Fromelles—pictured above in a drawing by Hitler—on a level field with water channels, willow trees and willow stalks. In the distance towards the enemy lines lies an insignificant wood with barbed wire entanglements. Under the direction of their defense-minded commander, Lieutenant General Gustav Scanzoni von Lichtenfels, the regiment works ceaselessly day and night to further fortify their position at Fromelles while fighting off repeated assaults by the enemy. [For further details, Click here.]
1916 World War I: Various:
List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler endures trench warfare in Flanders (Artois) with 3 Company, 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment [List Regiment]. [For further details, Click here.]
The first cargo submarine—the Deutschland—commanded by Captain Paul Koenig, arrives in the US from Germany. Note: While the US government allowed merchant vessels from all warring nations to dock at US ports and to freely trade, in practice Britain's dominance of the seas ensured that Germany was effectively excluded from the US market. Thus the arrival of the Deutschland threatened to challenge Britain's naval blockade, at least so far as trade with the US was concerned. (For the Allied Protest click here.)
We have brought a most valuable cargo of dyestuffs to our American friends, dyestuffs which have been so much needed for months in America and which the ruler of the seas has not allowed the great American Republic to import. While England will not allow anybody the same right on the ocean because she rules the waves, we have, by means of the submarine, commenced to break this rule.
Great Britain cannot hinder boats such as ours to go and come as we please. Our trip passing Dover across the ocean was an uneventful one. When danger approached we went below the surface, and here we are, safely in an American port, ready to return in due course.
I am not in a position to give you full details regarding our trip across the ocean, in view of our enemies. Our boat has a displacement of about 2,000 tons and a speed of more than fourteen knots. Needless to say that we are quite unarmed and only a peaceful merchantman.
1917 World War I: Various:
List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16th RIR remain deployed for Phase 1 operations in Flanders, Belgium. [For further details, Click here.]
The British warship Vanguard explodes at Scapa Flow killing 800:
It was a magazine explosion in one of the two magazines which served the amidships turrets 'P' and 'Q'. She was a veteran of Jutland: an account by her Surgeon may be read by clicking here. A definitive reason for the cause of the cordite explosion has never been found. The possibilities: (1) spontaneous detonation of cordite, which had become unstable (2) the cordite having caught fire from heating in an adjacent compartment (3) sabotage. Of the three, sabotage is the least likely: no agency or individual has ever claimed responsibility; there has never been any evidence turn up in support of the theory; and just as important is the fact that when she was lost, Vanguard was one of the least modern ships in the Grand Fleet. The security measures for her were no different than for the more recent arrivals in Scapa Flow. It stands to reason that any 'agent' with the ability to destroy a Royal Navy capital ship would choose one of the more powerful ones.
The Distinguished Service Cross was established by order of President Woodrow Wilson and was born as part of the new Pyramid Of Honor that was established during the 1917 review of Medal of Honor awards. Prior to establishment of the D.S.C. by virtue of War Department General Orders Number 6 of January 12, 1918, and by Act of Congress on July 9, 1918 the Medal of Honor was the only American award for valor in combat available to American servicemen.
The Distinguished Service Cross has been in effect since April 6, 1917; however, under certain circumstances the Distinguished Service Cross may be awarded for services rendered prior to April 6, 1917. It is the highest U.S. Army award that can be awarded to civilians in service to the military or to foreign nationals. Even in these cases, the criteria for award are the same.
[It is awarded] to U.S. and Foreign military personnel and civilians who have displayed extraordinary heroism in one of the following situations:
1. While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States,
2. While engaged in military operations involving conflict with a foreign force, or
3. While serving with a friendly nation engaged in armed conflict against a force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
1932 Weimar: Goebbels speaks:
I am speaking as the representative of the greatest movement of millions ever seen on German soil. I am here not to beg for your vote, your favor or your forgiveness. I only want you to be just. Give your verdict on the past 14 years, on its shame, its disgrace, its collapse, and our growing national political humiliation. You must decide if the men and parties that are responsible for these past 14 years should have the right to continue to hold power in the government.
1933 Church and Reich: Adolf Hitler releases a public statement announcing that a Concordat has been initialed by Nazi Germany and the Holy See. Public opinion generally regards this as a great diplomatic victory for Hitler, but the Papal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, has himself worked toward this very goal since 1920, when he was first appointed Papal Nuncio in Germany. (Lewy) Note: The Vatican was not so much for what Hitler stood for, as what he stood against: Communism and Judaism. Not one of the church's finest moments.
1936 Holocaust: A halt ordered to anti-Jewish propaganda, until after the Berlin Olympics:
Soon after Hitler took power in 1933, observers in the United States and other western democracies questioned the morality of supporting Olympic Games hosted by the Nazi regime. Responding to reports of the persecution of Jewish athletes in 1933, Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee, stated: "The very foundation of the modern Olympic revival will be undermined if individual countries are allowed to restrict participation by reason of class, creed, or race." Brundage, like many others in the Olympics movement, initially considered moving the Games from Germany. After a brief and tightly managed inspection of German sports facilities in 1934, Brundage stated publicly that Jewish athletes were being treated fairly and that the Games should go on, as planned.[See: Olympic Boycott's: From Berlin to Bejing.]
1938 Countdown to WWII: Thirty-five million gas masks are issued to Britain's civilian population in anticipation of war with Germany.
1939 Strange Bedfellows: Churchill urges a British military alliance with the Soviet Union.
1940 World War II: The German raider Komet leaves Bergen in Norway for operations in the Pacific via the Northwest Passage in the Arctic Ocean assisted by Soviet icebreakers:
The Soviet pilots were trying hard to pretend that they had failed to disclose a military character of the German ship. They managed to trick Eyssen who, in his book, published after the war, wrote: "We didn't try to conceal that we had a military crew onboard. The main point was not to let them (the Russians) know about our strong arms . . . . Only after the Russians had left the ship, I began to conduct drills and alarms in order to lift the battle readiness of the ship". An experienced sea wolf obviously underestimated military knowledge of the Russian seamen: they had understood very well the real assignment of the ship what was later reported in detail to Glavsevmorput department. Apart from it, the modern historians believe that the real mission of Komet was not a big secret for the all-pervading Soviet intelligence.
1941 World War II: Various:
Enigma key broken: British cryptologists break the secret code used by the German army to direct ground-to-air operations on the Eastern front :
British experts had already broken many of the Enigma codes for the Western front. Enigma was the Germans' most sophisticated coding machine, necessary to secretly transmitting information. The Enigma machine, invented in 1919 by Hugo Koch, a Dutchman, looked like a typewriter and was originally employed for business purposes. The Germany army adapted the machine for wartime use and considered its encoding system unbreakable. They were wrong. The Brits had broken their first Enigma code as early as the German invasion of Poland and had intercepted virtually every message sent through the occupation of Holland and France. Britain nicknamed the intercepted messages "Ultra".
Barbarossa: Battle of Smolensk: Vitebsk is captured by troops of Heeresgruppe Mitte (von Bock). To date, the Red Army has lost 2.500 tanks and 300,000 men as prisoners of war:
The main Panzer forces had been static for almost a week and now on the very day the general offensive was resumed, a sudden rainstorm typical of early July turned the roads into streaming rivers of mud, and advancing armies found themselves immobile for hours at a time. All the while the Russian defense became more determined. Many bridges were blown up and, for the first time, the Russians were laying mines to slow down the Germans, an easy task, as the Germans were confined to the very few roads. The delays gave the Soviets time to organize for a massive armored counter-blow.
1942 World War II: Various:
Foreign labor: From a decree issued by Fritz Sauckel; Die Beschaftigung von auslandischen Arbeitshraftenin Deutschland:
According to reports of transportation commanders (Transportleiter) presented to me, the special trains provided by the German railway have frequently been in a really broken down condition. Numerous windowpanes have been missing in the coaches. Old French coaches without lavatories have been partly employed so that the workers had to fit up an emptied compartment as a lavatory. In other cases, the coaches were not heated in winter so that the lavatories quickly became unusable because the water system was frozen and the flushing apparatus was therefore without water.
FDR to Stalin:
I am deeply appreciative of your telegram authorizing the transfer of forty bombers to Egypt. I have arranged for one hundred and fifteen medium tanks with ammunition and spare parts to be shipped to you in addition to all tanks being shipped in accordance with the terms of the July protocol.
North Africa: In Egypt, renewed attacks by the Afrikakorps against British defenses at El Alamein bog down in the face of stubborn British resistance.
The struggle for North Africa saw the pendulum swing sharply in favour of the Axis from January 1942. The Axis forces comprised German and Italian troops and were known as Panzerarmee Afrika, led by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, "The Desert Fox". Opposing him was the British Eighth Army commanded by General Claude Auchinleck. This army comprised British, Australian, New Zealand, South African, and Indian troops. By the end of June, Rommel had forced the Allies back deep into Egypt, and the capture of Cairo and the Suez Canal seemed a very real possibility.
The Allies pinned all their hopes on their new defensive position near the tiny railway stop of El Alamein. Here, the battlefield narrowed between the coast and the impassable Qattara Depression. Rommel, wanting to maintain the pressure made another thrust on 1 July, hoping to dislodge Eighth Army from the Alamein position and open the way to Cairo and Suez. The Allies however had regrouped sufficiently to repulse the attack and make some counterattacks of their own. In these first days of July, the fate of the whole campaign hung in the balance. Both sides by now critically weakened and disorganised, missed opportunities for decisive victories. Both now took time over the next few days to reorganise and lick their wounds. [See: The Mediterranean Strategy.]
1943 World War II: The British and Americans launch Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily:
After battling through the mountains of Sicily, the Allies succeeded in driving Axis forces back to the mainland. The fall of Palermo led to the collapse of Benito Mussolini's government in Rome. In the fighting, the Allies suffered 23,934 casualties, while Axis forces incurred 29,000 and 140,000 captured.
1944 World War II: Various:
Normandy: Hitler, a victim of Allied misinformation, rejects Rommel's urgent request to withdraw his troops in Normandy in order to regroup.
On 9 July Montgomery launched a massive air assault against Caen in hopes of clearing the way for an attack the following morning. Four hundred fifty heavy aircraft participated, dropping 2,500 tons of bombs, but the airmen negated most of the effect by releasing their loads well back from the forward line to avoid hitting their own troops. As a result, the city incurred heavy damage but German defenses went largely unscathed. In the two days of desperate fighting that followed, the Germans fought back viciously. Montgomery's forces entered Caen and took half the city but moved no farther. Casualty rates during the battle were appalling. Most infantry battalions sustained losses of 25 percent.
Eastern front: German Army Group North is cut off in the Baltic:
Between 1940 and 1944, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia were caught in a brutal tug of war between Hitler and Stalin, with successive occupations deepening the social and emotional mutilation inflicted by the previous one. Warfare, deportations, prison camps, mass executions, the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust, forced emigration and flight, the intimidation of survivors, all ravaged the some six million people living in this region. (Alfred Erich Senn)
Hitler returns to the Wolf's Lair from Obersalzberg.
War in the Pacific: American forces secure Saipan as the last Japanese defenses fall:
By the time the Americans reached the northern end of Saipan on July 9, thousands of the island's men, women, and children were at the top of the cliffs overlooking the shark-infested waters. And because of pre-invasion propaganda that had been distributed by the Japanese to citizens of the island, many natives were [terrified at the prospect] of being tortured and maimed if captured by the Americans.
Despite loud speaker efforts of Americans attempting to persuade the enemy away from the cliffs, reason would not come to be. Hundreds of natives and soldiers jumped from the cliffs of northern Saipan (some were thrown by Japanese soldiers), while others committed suicide by holding onto grenades in caves. All but 1,000 of the Japanese military soldiers were dead, along with 22,000 civilians . . . .
1944 Holocaust: Hungary: Raoul Wallenberg arrives in Budapest. His nominal role is as an attache for the Swedish legation, but he is in Budapest primarily at the instigation of the War Refugee Board, a new US government agency established to help Jewish victims. He quickly begins issuing safe conduct passes. (THP)
1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Defense summations continue in the Major War Criminals Trial. One point in common with nearly all of the arguments of the various Defense Counsel is that there is a major absence among the Defendants; Adolf Hitler himself.Counsel for General Keitel, Dr. Nelte, finishes his long summation:
This may be an hypothesis; but there are certain indications in the evidence which confirm it. The five attempts made by Keitel to leave his position, and the fact that he resolved to commit suicide, which General Jodl confirmed in his testimony, enable you to recognize the sincerity of Keitel's wish.
The fact that he did not succeed must be attributed to the circumstances which I have already presented: The unequivocal and, as Keitel says, unconditional duty of the soldier to do his duty obediently to the bitter end, true to his military oath.
This concept is false when it is exaggerated to the extent of leading to crime. It must be remembered, however, that a soldier is accustomed to measure by other standards in war. When all high-ranking officers, including Field Marshal Paulus, represent the same point of view, the honesty of their convictions cannot be denied, although it may not be understood. In reply to the questions asked so often during this Trial-why he did not revolt against Hitler or refuse to obey his orders-the Defendant Keitel stated that he did not consider these questions even for a moment. His words and behavior show him to be unconditionally a soldier.
Did he incriminate himself by such conduct? In general terms: May or must a general commit high treason if he realizes that by carrying out an order or measure he will be violating international law or the laws of humanity?
The solution of this problem depends on whether the preliminary question is answered as to who is the "authority" which "permits or orders" such criminal high treason. This question seems to me important because the source of the authority must be established-the authority which can permit or order the general to commit high treason; which can "bind and absolve."
Since the existing state power, which in this case was represented by the Chief of State, who was identical with the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, can certainly not be this authority, we merely have to decide whether an authority exists above or beyond the authority of the particular state, which could "bind or absolve." Since the struggle for power between Pope and Emperor, which dominated the Middle Ages, has no longer any significance in regard to constitutional law, such a power can only be impersonal and moral. The German poet Schiller expresses the supreme commandment of the unwritten eternal law in the words: "The tyrant's power yet one limit hath . . . " That is only one of the manifold poetical revelations in world literature, which express the deep yearning for freedom felt by all peoples.
If there is an unwritten law which indisputably expresses the conviction of all men, it is this, that with due consideration for the necessity of maintaining order in the state, there is a limit to the restriction of freedom. Where this is transgressed, a state of war will arise between the national order and the international power of world conscience.
It is important to state that no such statute of international law has hitherto existed. This is understandable, since freedom is a relative conception, and the different conceptions existing in various states and the anxiety of all states for their sovereignty are irreconcilable with recognition of an international authority. The authority which "binds and absolves"-which absolves us of guilt before God and the people-is the universal conscience which becomes alive in every individual. He must act accordingly. The Defendant Keitel did not hear the warning voice of the universal conscience. The principles of his soldierly life were so deeply rooted, and governed his thoughts and actions so exclusively, that he was deaf to all considerations which might deflect him from the path of obedience and faithfulness, as he understood them. This is the really tragic role played by the Defendant Keitel in this most terrible drama of all times.
Dr. Kurt Kauffmann (Counsel for Defendant Kaltenbrunner):
Hitler claimed for himself alone such far-reaching concepts as the powerful German diligence, austerity, family affection, willingness to make sacrifices, aristocracy of labor, and a hundred more. Millions believed in this; millions of others did not. The best of them did not lose hope of being able to avert the tragedy which they foresaw. They flung themselves into the stream of events, assembled the good, and fought, visibly or invisibly, against the evil. Can the man in the street be blamed for not immediately refusing to believe in Hitler, considering the latter's ability to pass as a seeker after the truth, and the fact that he constantly raised the palm of peace for the benefit of the peace lovers? Who knows whether he himself was not convinced at the outset that he could strengthen the Reich without going to war? After the assumption of power large sectors of the German people probably felt themselves to be at unison with many other peoples on earth. Therefore, it is not astonishing that gradually, and with the approval or tolerance of other countries, Hitler acquired the nimbus of a man unique in his century. Only a German who lived in Germany during the past few years and did not view Germany through a telescope from abroad, is competent to report on the historical facts of an almost impenetrable method of secrecy, the psychosis of fear, and the actual impossibility of changing the regime, and thus to comply with Ranke's demand of historians to establish "how it was."
Ought the artisans, peasants, merchants, or housewives categorically to have asked Hitler or Himmler for a change? I would be quite willing to let the Prosecution answer this, as I am of the opinion that there are living in my country no fewer idealistic and heroic people than in any other country.
It will never be possible to ascertain how large a number of Germans knew and approved of concentration camps, their terror and such like. Only if one could establish knowledge and approval in the soul of every individual German, considering general and particular conditions prevailing in the Germany of the last 12 years, which it is not now the moment to discuss, these, and only these, could be considered guilty.
Therefore I do not think it just to put, to a larger or smaller extent, the principle of collective guilt in the place of individual responsibility, as it is held valid in all civilized nations; it was unfortunately similarly applied by the National Socialist regime to a whole people, and almost led to its complete extermination.
In the presence of Rosenberg, Lammers, Keitel, and Bormann, Hitler said at that time that the real aims of the war against Russia should not be made known to the whole world, that those present should understand clearly that "we will never withdraw from the new Eastern Territories; whatever opposition appears will be exterminated; never again must a military power develop west of the Urals; nobody but a German shall ever bear a weapon." Hitler proclaimed the subjection and the exploitation of the Eastern Territories, and in making these statements he placed himself in opposition to what Rosenberg had told him before-without being contradicted by Hitler-concerning his own plans for the East.
Thus Hitler probably had a program of enslavement and exploitation. Nothing is so natural, and nothing easier than to say: Even before Rosenberg took over his ministry he knew Hitler's aims for the East; namely, to rule it, to administer it, to exploit it. Therefore he is not only an accomplice in a crime of conspiracy against peace; he is also jointly responsible for the Crimes against Humanity perpetrated in the Eastern Territories, since Rosenberg held the complete power, the highest authority in the East.
1947 Death: Lucjan Zeligowski: Polish general, veteran of the Great War, Polish-Bolshevik War and the World War II. He is best known as the head of a short-lived Republic of Central Lithuania. During the Polish Defence War of 1939, Zeligowski volunteered for the Polish Army, but was not accepted due to his old age (he was 74 at that time) and poor health. Nevertheless, he served as an advisor to the command of the Polish southern front. After the Polish defeat, he evaded being captured by the Germans and the Soviets and managed to reach France, where he joined the Polish Government in Exile.
1960 Cold War: Khrushchev and Eisenhower trade threats over Cuba: In the following years, Cuba became a dangerous focus in the Cold War competition between the United States and Russia.
In January 1959, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro overthrew the long-time dictator Fulgencio Batista. Although the United States recognized the new Castro regime, many members of the Eisenhower administration harbored deep suspicions concerning the political orientation of the charismatic new Cuban leader. For his part, Castro was careful to avoid concretely defining his political beliefs during his first months in power. Castro's actions, however, soon convinced U.S. officials that he was moving to establish a communist regime in Cuba. Castro pushed through land reform that hit hard at U.S. investors, expelled the U.S. military missions to Cuba, and, in early 1960, announced that Cuba would trade its sugar to Russia in exchange for oil. In March 1960, Eisenhower gave the CIA the go-ahead to arm and train a group of Cuban refugees to overthrow the Castro regime. It was in this atmosphere that Eisenhower and Khrushchev engaged in some verbal sparring in July 1960.
Khrushchev fired the first shots during a speech in Moscow. He warned that the Soviet Union was prepared to use its missiles to protect Cuba from U.S. intervention. "One should not forget," the Soviet leader declared, "that now the United States is no longer at an unreachable distance from the Soviet Union as it was before." He charged that the United States was "plotting insidious and criminal steps" against Cuba. In a statement issued to the press, Eisenhower responded to Khrushchev's speech, warning that the United States would not countenance the "establishment of a regime dominated by international communism in the Western Hemisphere." The Soviet Premier's threat of retaliation demonstrated "the clear intention to establish Cuba in a role serving Soviet purposes in this hemisphere."
The relationship between the United States and Cuba deteriorated rapidly after the Eisenhower-Khrushchev exchange. The Castro regime accelerated its program of expropriating American-owned property. In response, the Eisenhower administration severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1960. A little more than a year later, in April 1961, the CIA-trained force of Cuban refugees launched an assault on Cuba in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion. The invaders were killed or captured, the Castro government cemented its control in Cuba, and the Soviet Union became Cuba's main source of economic and military assistance.
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