Aug 16

1884 Birth: Walther von Reichenau: German field marshal. Unlike many German army commanders, who were preoccupied with their military careers and did not care for politics, von Reichenau was an active anti-Semite and supported the work of the SS Einsatzgruppen in exterminating the Jews in the occupied Soviet territories:

During the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, von Reichenau again commanded the 6th Army, which captured Kiev and Kharkov. Politically, von Reichenau was an active anti-Semite and supported the work of the Einsatzgruppen in exterminating the Jews in the occupied Soviet territories. He encouraged his soldiers to commit atrocities against the Jews, telling them: " . . . . In this eastern theatre, the soldier is not only a man fighting in accordance with the rules of the art of war . . . . For this reason the soldier must learn fully to appreciate the necessity for the severe but just retribution that must be meted out to the subhuman species of Jewry . . . . "

On 19 December 1941 Hitler sacked Walther von Brauchitsch as Commander-in-Chief and tried to appoint von Reichenau to the post. But again the senior Army leaders rejected von Reichenau as being "too political" and Hitler appointed himself instead.

In January 1942 von Reichenau suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, and it was decided to fly him from Poltava to a hospital in Leipzig, Germany. He is often said to have been killed in a plane crash in Russia, though Goerlitz writes that the plane merely made an emergency landing in a field, and that von Reichenau actually died of a heart attack.

1888 Birth: T.E. Lawrence: the British soldier who gained fame during WWI as "Lawrence of Arabia," is born in Tremadoc, Wales.

1913 Birth: Menachem Begin: Israeli Prime Minister. Begin will become a member of the extremist Irgun Tzvai Leumi, and later lead the right-wing Likud. He will be Prime Minister of Israel from 1977-83, during which time he will make peace with Egypt and become the joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (1978) with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

1914 World War I: Various:

Belgium: The last fortifications at Liege, pounded into submission by giant howitzers, surrenders. The German First Army under General Alexander von Kluck and the Second, commanded by General Karl von Bulow, pour through the Liege corridor and across the Meuse.

List Regiment: Adolf Hitler is enrolled as Number 148 in the 1st Company of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry, one of nearly 800 or so such German regiments to serve on the Western Front in the Great War.

From the Bavarian official history:

To the detriment of the Fatherland, the most extreme political conclusion—the need to conscript of the last man able to bear arms—was not drawn. While, shortly before the war in France, 80% of all able-bodied eligible men were enlisted, only 54% were taken in Germany; in 1913, for example, in Bavaria alone, 20,000 able-bodied and eligible young men remained surplus to requirements, and were required to refer themselves to the Landsturm [territorial reserves] or Ersatzreserve [substitute reserves], where they remained without instruction.

While accounts at the time claimed that the "flood" of volunteers was equal to around two million men, this, in reality, is a myth. Hitler was one of only approximately 185,000 volunteers, or less than one-third of one percent of the German population. In fact, owing to inefficient pre-war conscription policies—aggravated by the attrition rates attributable to the initial high-risk strategy of quickly mobilizing reserve units and throwing them into battle—German forces would begin to experience shortages of manpower by September.

The 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry, known as the List Regiment (16th RIR), is named after its first commander—Colonel Julius von List—and its new recruits are initially billeted in the Oberwiesenfeld Barracks, though much of their training will take place on the Exerzierplatz in Munich.

The regimental clerk is a Sergeant-major named Max Amann, who will later become business manager of the Nazi Party publishing house.

The regimental adjutant, Captain Frederick (Fritz) Wiedemann, will later be Hitler's personal adjutant. Rudolf Hess, later to be Deputy Fuehrer, is also a member of the List Regiment, though he and Hitler will not meet until after the war.

Throughout the length of the war, fifty-nine Jews will serve in the List Regiment, sixteen of these as officers. Thirty percent of the Jews in the List Regiment will be honored for bravery, and seventeen percent will be killed in action.

Battle of Cer: Austrian troops are driven back by the numerically superior Serbian army, commanded by the Marshal Radomir Putnik; inadequately equipped, but battle-wise from their Balkan Wars experience. [For further details, Click here.]

[See: When Did Hitler Become an Anti-Semite?]

1915 World War I: Various:

List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment continue 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.]

Dividing the spoils: Should victory be achieved over the Central Powers, the Triple Entente promises the Kingdom of Serbia: the Austro-Hungarian territories of Baranja, Srem, Slavonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina; and the Eastern Dalmatia (from the river of Krka to the city of Bar).

1916 World War I: List Regiment: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler endures trench warfare in Flanders (Artois) with 3 Company, 16 Reserve Infantry Regiment. [For further details, Click here.]

1917 World War I Various:

List Regiment (July 22-September 8): Dispatch Runner Gefreiter Adolf Hitler serves at the front with 3 Company, 16 Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment during Phase 2 operations in Flanders. Most of their time in the trenches gas masks are worn, while English bombers attack, and tanks—a new terror witnessed for the very first time by most—attempt to advance over a long front through seas of mud. [For further details, Click here.]

Battle of Langemarck:

On August 16, 1917, in a renewed thrust of the Allied offensive launched at the end of July in the Flanders region of Belgium—known as the Third Battle of Ypres, or simply as Passchendaele, for the village that saw the heaviest fighting—British troops capture the village of Langemarck from the Germans. [For further details, Click here.]

1918 World War I: List Regiment (July 20-August 21): Gefreiter Adolf Hitler's 16th RIR is tasked with building a new line of defenses on the site of the failed Second Battle of the Marne. [For further details, Click here.]

1919 The Protocols of the Elders of Zion begin circulating in Germany, Europe and America:

Intellectual cornerstone of the white power movement, The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion serves a crucial role in the personal growth of any heartfelt anti-semite. The book is a long diatribe, exposing the nefarious tactics and goals of a clandestine multinational Jewish cabal that secretly rules the world (in partnership with the Freemasons). It's a must-read for any self-respecting opponent of Zionism.

The document purports to be the collected notes from an 1897 conference in Switzerland, surreptitiously convened by this shadowy Hebrew organization. So a better translation of the title would be Minutes from the Meetings of the Zionist Chieftains. The book outlines an insidious Jewish plot for global conquest, which involves subverting whole cultures, manipulating world economic markets, instigating wars . . . . pretty much your run-of-the-mill supervillainy. Precisely why we should believe that a group unable to control the distribution of their own meeting minutes would be capable of controlling international affairs, simply defies reason.

1921 Protocols: The Times of London in a lead article entitled "The End of the Protocols," written by correspondent Philip Graves, debunks The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a forgery. Graves establishes a connection between the Protocols and what is said to be its major source, a satire of Napoleon III, entitled Dialogue between Machiavelli and Montesquieu in Hell, written by a Frenchman named Maurice Joly (Brussels, 1864). (THP)

1924 Former Allies and Germany reach agreement in London on the Dawes Reparation Plan:

Charles G. Dawes, an American banker, was asked by the Allied Reparations Committee to investigate the problem. His report, published in April, 1924, proposed a plan for instituting annual payments of reparations on a fixed scale. He also recommended the reorganization of the German State Bank and increased foreign loans. German politicians like Adolf Hitler and Alfred Hugenberg attacked the Dawes Plan because it did not reduce the reparations total. They also disliked the idea that foreigners would have control over the German economy.

The Dawes Plan was initially a great success. The currency was stabilized and inflation was brought under control. Large loans were raised in the United States and this investment resulted in a fall in unemployment. Germany was also able to meet her obligations under the Treaty of Versailles for the next five years.

1933 The American Jewish Congress sends an open letter to President von Hindenburg urging him to dismiss Hitler as Chancellor.

1934 Concentration camps: The first mention of the existence of concentration camps is made in the Golden Age magazine (now Awake!), published internationally by the Jehovah's Witnesses.

History recognizes that only a few groups courageously stood up and spoke out against Nazi terror. Among them were Jehovah's Witnesses, described as "a tiny island of unflagging [moral] resistance existing in the bosom of a terrorized nation." Their courageous stand is well documented by respected historians.

1938 Austria: The German Ministry of Justice orders an increase in the Gestapo's power in Austria:

A clear policy with regard to the Jewish problem in Austria has neither been announced in public, nor was it conveyed to us in the few interviews we succeeded in having. One cannot, however, avoid the impression that this policy will be essentially different from that adopted in Germany and that it may aim at a complete annihilation of Austrian Jewry. To all appearances, it is intended to eliminate them from economic life, to deprive them of all their financial resources, and to compel them either to starve or to leave the country without means, at the expense of the great Jewish organizations abroad and with the help of such countries as may be willing to receive them. For reasons of their own the authorities seem to wish to deal with Austrian Jews without any interference by the Jews in Germany. One cannot help feeling that, after the protracted campaign of intimidation, the Jews of Austria have become a pliable instrument in the hands of their oppressors, who may think that they will achieve their ends more easily if they deal directly with people whose moral backbone has been broken.

1939 Various:

German Ambassador in the USSR (Schulenburg) to German Foreign Office:

Molotov received with greatest interest the information I had been authorized to convey, designated it as extremely important, and declared that he would report it to his Government at once and give me an answer shortly. He could already state that the Soviet Government warmly welcomed German intentions of improving relations with the Soviet Union and in view of my communication of today now believed in the sincerity of these intentions. In the matter of the Reich Foreign Minister coming here, he wanted to state tentatively, as his own opinion, that such a trip required adequate preparation in order that the exchange of opinions might lead to results. In this connection, he was interested in the question of how the German Government was disposed to the idea of concluding a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, and further, whether the German Government was prepared to influence Japan for the purpose of improvement in Soviet-Japanese relations and settlement of border conflicts and whether a possible joint guarantee of the Baltic States was contemplated by Germany.

Captain Karl Doenitz arrives at Kiel—the main U-boat base—and begins to implement plans for Fall Weiss (Case White) the projected attack on Poland.

Doenitz was no plain sailor, playing the part of a service officer; loyally obedient to the orders of the government of the day. He's an extreme Nazi who did his utmost to indoctrinate the Navy and the German people with the Nazi creed. It is no coincidence that it was he: not Goering, not Ribbentrop, not Goebbels, not Himmler, who was chosen to succeed Hitler. He played a large part in fashioning the U-boat fleet, one of the most deadly weapons of aggressive war. He helped to plan and execute aggressive wars, which he knew well were in deliberate violation of treaties.

The Twenty-first World Zionist Congress meets in Geneva. It strongly opposes the British White Paper and expresses concern for the fate of Jews in Germany, Poland and the rest of eastern Europe.

1942 World War II: Disappearance of crew:

As training airships these blimps operated mainly from the two major lighter-than-air bases, Lakehurst and Moffett Field. While too small for any extensive operational use, they were used on some coastal patrols. In this role, L-8, of Blimp Squadron ZP-32 was involved in an incident where in the airship came drifting in from the Pacific Ocean over southern San Francisco at Daly City on August 16, 1942, without either of the crewmen, Lt. E. D. Cody and Ensign C. Adams, onboard.

1943 World War II: Various:

Start of a Soviet offensive against the Mius line toward Stalino:

Present reports from all parts of the Reich indicate that the people at present feel their powers of emotional resistance are being strained to the breaking-point . . . . The reports emphasize that the broad mass of the population are not convinced that we have in our hands all the requirements of victory. Instead they see the war situation approximately as follows: We are on the defensive, trying to ward off overwhelming odds; we are unable to prevent local breaches in Festung Europa; Italy will defect as soon as the other side makes her some definite concessions . . . the Balkans are under threat, and with them our supply of oil; the huge materiel deployment and seemingly inexhaustible manpower reserves of the Soviets may lead to a new catastrophe in the East this winter. Those wearing Party insignia have frequently been addressed by other Germans who say: 'What, are you still wearing that thing?' There have also been numerous reports of the following joke: Anyone who recruits five new members into the Party gets to leave it. Anyone who recruits ten new members gets a certificate testifying that he was never in the Party.

Holocaust: A Jewish revolt at Bialystok is crushed by the Germans with tanks and artillery (to August 23).

In August 1943, the Germans mounted an operation to destroy the Bialystok ghetto. German forces and local police auxiliaries surrounded the ghetto and began to round up Jews systematically for deportation to the Treblinka extermination camp. Approximately 7,600 Jews were held in a central transit camp in the city before deportation to Treblinka. Those deemed fit to work were sent to the Majdanek camp. In Majdanek, after another screening for ability to work, they were transported to the Poniatowa, Blizyn, or Auschwitz camps. Those deemed too weak to work were murdered at Majdanek. More than 1,000 Jewish children were sent first to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Bohemia, and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they were killed.

During the August 1943 deportations, when all hope for survival within the ghetto was abandoned, the Bialystok ghetto underground staged an uprising against the Germans. In an unsuccessful attempt to break out of the ghetto and join partisans in the nearby forests, armed Jews attacked German forces near the ghetto fence along Smolna Street. The fighting in the northeastern section of the ghetto lasted for five days; hundreds of Jews died in this battle. Seventy-one Jewish fighters were killed after being discovered in a bunker and captured by the Germans. More than a hundred Jews managed to escape from the ghetto and join partisan groups in the Bialystok area.

1944 World War II: Various:

Stalin to Churchill:

[Having] familiarized myself more closely with the Warsaw affair, I am convinced that the Warsaw action represents a reckless and terrible adventure which is costing the population large sacrifices. This would not have been if the Soviet Command had been informed before the beginning of the Warsaw action and if the Poles had maintained contact with it. In the situation which has arisen the Soviet command has come to the conclusion that it must disassociate itself from the Warsaw adventure, as it cannot take either direct or indirect responsibility for the Warsaw action.

Churchill to Eden:

Regarding our expedition to Greece...I have strongly emphasized that the operation must be regarded as one of reinforced diplomacy and policy rather than an actual campaign, and that is to be confined to Athens . . . . the Greek Government would follow almost immediately, and within a few hours should be functioning in Athens, where the people would probably receive the British parachutists with rapture. The arrival of the parachutists in the neighborhood of Athens could be effected with complete surprise, and might well be effected before EAM had taken any steps to seize the capital . . . . It is of course necessary in an integrated Anglo-American Staff that the Americans should share in planning such a movement. They have up to now shared fully in postwar planning for Greece in common with the rest of the Mediterranean. American carrying aircraft will be needed for the operation.

Hitler orders the withdrawal of all German forces in southern France:

By mid August, additional landings in southern France made Hitler realize further resistance was useless and that his Army had to retreat in order to stabilize their lines. On August 16, he ordered a retreat and it was carried out with great skill, despite the blown bridges and shattered roadways. Since the Allies had command of the air, movement was often by night. 250,000 men, with little equipment got across the Seine. But almost as many were caught near the town of Falaise.

1945 Various:

The USSR and Poland sign a treaty delimiting the Soviet-Polish frontier and agree on Curzon Line. Poland is shifted westward. In the east it loses 69,860 square miles; in the west it gains (subject to final peace-conference approval) 38,986 square miles. Massive population displacements follow as 3.5 million Germans are removed and their homes taken over by 2.2 million Poles returning from German concentration camps and slave labor, and 1.5 million Poles ousted from areas taken by the USSR.

Japan: Prince Norukiko Higashi-Kuni forms a new government and Emperor Hirohito orders all Japanese troops to observe a cease-fire.

Senior U.S. POW is released:

On this day in 1945, Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, (captured by the Japanese on the island of Corregidor, in the Philippines), is freed by Russian forces from a POW camp in Manchuria, China.

When President Franklin Roosevelt transferred Gen. Douglas MacArthur from his command in the Philippines to Australia in March 1942, Maj. Gen. Wainwright, until then under MacArthur's command, was promoted to temporary lieutenant general and given command of all Philippine forces. His first major strategic decision was to move his troops to the fortified garrison at Corregidor. When Bataan was taken by the Japanese, and the infamous Bataan "Death March" of captured Allies was underway, Corredigor became the next battle ground. Wainwright and his 13,000 troops held out for a month despite heavy artillery fire. Finally, Wainwright and his troops, already exhausted, surrendered on May 6.

The irony of Wainwright's promotion was that as commander of all Allied forces in the Philippines, his surrender meant the surrender of troops still holding out against the Japanese in other parts of the Philippines. Wainwright was taken prisoner, spending the next three and a half years as a POW in Luzon, Philippines, Formosa (now Taiwan), and Manchuria, China. Upon Japan's surrender, Russian forces in Manchuria liberated the POW camp in which Wainwright was being held.

The years of captivity took its toll on the general. The man who had been nicknamed "Skinny" was now emaciated. His hair had turned white, and his skin was cracked and fragile. He was also depressed, believing he would be blamed for the loss of the Philippines to the Japanese.

When Wainwright arrived in Yokohama, Japan, to attend the formal surrender ceremony, Gen. MacArthur, his former commander, was stunned at his appearance--literally unable to eat and sleep for a day.

Wainwright was given a hero's welcome upon returning to America, promoted to full general, and awarded the Medal of Honor.

1946 Nuremberg Tribunal: Defendant Walter Funk, the former president of the Reichsbank, is cross-examined:

Mr Dodd: You also told us, on that same day, and in the next answer to the very next question you made this statement before the Tribunal, "And I personally assumed, since they were always speaking about a gold deposit, that this gold consisted of coins or other foreign currency or possibly small bars of gold or something similar which had been brought in from the inmates of the concentration camps." Well then, you had some knowledge of the source and the origin of these deposits, didn't you? You knew where they were coming from, and that is all we want to establish here, and you had a pretty good idea, to put it mildly.

Funk: That didn't necessarily come from the concentration camps only. But that the inmates of the concentration camps . . . . 

Mr Dodd: Now, just a moment. There is no sense in arguing about it at all. All I am trying to clear up here is the fact that you told the Tribunal yourself that you assumed it came from the inmates of the concentration camps. Now, this is your own testimony of 7 May.

Funk: Not only the gold, but also the foreign exchange, the bank notes, and everything which would come under the heading of legal transactions of the Reichsbank. That these things could come from the concentration camps as well was quite clear to me, for these things had to be collected from the inmates of the concentration camps just as from every other person. That was clear to me. It was about the other things that I did not know anything.

[For the full text of today's proceedings, Click here.]

1948 The FBI opens a file on Werner von Braun—Hitler's former chief rocket scientist who is now working for the US—for the purpose of evaluating "the internal security aspects of the immigration of von Braun into the United States for permanent residence." They begin the investigation by examining the JIOA files that were recently purged (February 26, 1948) of any suggestion that von Braun is a security risk. While the file still contains some negative comments on von Braun's character, the FBU will ultimately conclude that he should be allowed to legally immigrate to the US.

[See: Wunderwaffen: Hitler's Deception and the History of Rocketry.]

1950 Otto Dietrich is released from Landsberg prison, for good behavior: In 1949, Dietrich had been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Dietrich: He was the conscience of the nation. He expressed the sorrow and the resistance of an enslaved people, and in him the life will of all Germany, in the midst of its deepest need, found its expression. Adolf Hitler never said anything but what the people itself felt in the depths of its soul. He never did anything but what the entirety of the people wanted to do. He was not, is not, and never will be a dictator who forces the people to accept his personal wishes. He is a Fuehrer, and that is the highest thing that can be said of any human being. That is why the people loves him, trusts him, rejoices in him. This man for the first time in history has allowed them to fully express themselves.

This is secret of the immortality of Adolf Hitler and his work, the certainty of the path he has chosen: It is not longer only he himself, or his work, or his path, rather the entire German people itself finds its expression in him. It loves him because it loves itself, in following him it follows its own most secret wishes, in him its best thoughts find expression. Everyone senses this, and therefore no one is a stranger to Adolf Hitler, and the Fuehrer is not a stranger to anyone. Workers and farmers, Nobel Prize winners and artists, fighters and dreamers, the happy and the desperate, each speaks with him in his own language, understands and is understood. Everything is clear and plain, no one is nervous in the presence of this great man. No one is ordered, no one recruited, but each is called, following his own conscience, and has no choice but to follow lest he be convicted by his own heart. People voluntarily do what must be done, and no people on the earth is freer than the Germans. (Otto Dietrich, "Der Fuehrer und das deutsche Volk,"Adolf Hitler. Bilder aus dem Leben des Fuehrers (Hamburg: Cigaretten/Bilderdienst Hamburg/Bahrenfeld, 1936, pp. 19-26.)

1955 Paul Robeson loses appeal over his passport: Famous entertainer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson loses his court appeal to try to force the Department of State to grant him a passport. The continued government persecution of Robeson illustrated several interesting points about Cold War America. [For further details, Click here.]

Edited by Levi Bookin (Copy editor)

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