Quotulatiousness

December 15, 2017

Jerusalem Surrenders – Bolsheviks Consolidate Control I THE GREAT WAR Week 177

Filed under: Britain, History, Middle East, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 14 Dec 2017

This week in the Great War, the British under Allenby capture the Holy City. Meanwhile the British War Cabinet beings to strategise for future offensives. In Russia, though the fighting may be over on the Eastern Front, the fight for control of the country is far from over. Before the Bolsheviks can negotiate peace with Germany, they need to establish peace within Russia’s own borders.

December 12, 2017

The Road to Independence – Finland in WW1 I THE GREAT WAR Special

Filed under: History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

The Great War
Published on 11 Dec 2017

The Grand Duchy of Finland was a largely autonomous part of the Russian Empire when the First World War broke out, but that would soon change. Rising nationalism in the country and chaos in Russia, among other things, helped Finland on its way to becoming an independent country.

December 1, 2017

All Quiet On The Eastern Front – Action in East Africa I THE GREAT WAR Week 175

Filed under: Africa, Germany, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 30 Nov 2017

This week in the Great War, the Battle of the Ngomano was fought in East Africa between the Germans and Portuguese, which was a decisive win for Lettow-Vorbeck’s men. On the Eastern Front, the fighting stops and Trotsky published the secret treaties that Russia and the other Allies had signed. The Battle of Cambrai continued, with attacks and counterattacks from both sides, including the implementation of the new Hutier assault tactics. Armando Diaz was making changes for the better on the Italian Front, with the express aim of improving the morale among his men.

November 17, 2017

The End Of Passchendaele – Fighting in Petrograd I THE GREAT WAR Week 173

Filed under: Europe, History, Middle East, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 16 Nov 2017

The Anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia are trying to fight back last week’s revolution. The Battle of Passchendaele ends after 3 months of fighting and at least 500,000 casualties on both sides. The British are still advancing on Jerusalem and the Italians set up defences behind the Piave river.

November 12, 2017

The Mad Baron – Roman von Ungern-Sternberg I WHO DID WHAT IN WWI?

Filed under: Asia, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

The Great War
Published on 11 Nov 2017

Check out Feature History’s video about the Polish-Soviet War: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJ3jQQ00pX0

Roman von Ungern-Sternberg was certainly one of the most interesting characters of the First World War. He was a military buddhist, loyal to the Tsar and enjoyed acts of foolish heroism and cruel violence in equal measure. From his Estonian beginnings to his Russian military service, and eventually running his own autocratic regime whilst the Bolsheviks and Whites engaged in Civil War, let’s take a look at the man behind the legends; the Bloody Baron.

November 10, 2017

The Russian October Revolution 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Week 172

Filed under: History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 9 Nov 2017

After the turmoil of the past weeks in Petrograd, the Soviets and the Red Guards seize the opportunity and topple the provisional government under Alexander Kerensky. Their first goal is to pull out of the war. The Italians were still in full retreat during the Battle of Caporetto and the British Army was still advancing in Palestine.

November 9, 2017

QotD: The reputation of Che Guevara proves “the triumph of marketing over truth and reality”

Filed under: Americas, History, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The Irish Post Office has issued a stamp to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Ernesto Guevara. This is, presumably, because he was both very famous and had some distant Irish ancestry. It is, however, a rather sinister philosophy that the worth of a man’s work or ideas, or his influence on the world, is much affected, either for the better or the worse, by his distant ancestry.

Guevara’s reputation is, of course, the triumph of marketing over truth and reality. There is probably no resort of mass tourism in the world where Guevara kitsch is not on sale and, one must presume, bought; and in an odd way this is only appropriate, for mass tourism makes lemmings seem like unreconstructed individualists, and Guevara was nothing if not an ardent promoter of mass conformity and unthinking obedience. Like many an adolescent psychopath, as he remained all his life, he dreamed of making mankind anew — not in his own image, exactly, for he thought of himself as a leader rather than a follower, but according to his own far-from-profound ideas of what mankind should be. The triumph of marketing is to have made this apostle of the most complete servitude into an apostle of the most complete freedom.

The triumph of marketing over truth and reality is nothing new, however. To expect people who are trying to sell you something also to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is to expect what never did happen and what never will happen. The buyer will always have to beware, no matter what legal protections are put in place for the unwary; the necessity is inscribed, as it were, in human nature itself.

Theodore Dalrymple, “The Way of Che”, Taki’s Magazine, 2017-10-28.

November 5, 2017

Breakthroughs and Setbacks – Fall 1917 I THE GREAT WAR Summary Part 11

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

The Great War
Published on 4 Nov 2017

The Battle of Passchendaele begins on the Western Front, whilst the climate grows steadily more unstable in Russia, where General Kornilov hopes to seize power. Operation Albion is launched by Germany in the Northeast, and the French enjoy some successes, including at Malmaison. The tide is turned in the Battle of Caporetto. The death toll climbs ever higher, in yet another dark period of the Great War. We cover all this and more in our recap of Fall 1917.

November 4, 2017

The death toll of a century of Communism

Filed under: China, History, Politics, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Yuri Maltsev on the human cost of the Russian Revolution and its follow-on upheavals worldwide:

The horrors of twentieth-century socialism — of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, and Pol Pot — were the offspring of 1917. Seventy years earlier, Marx and Engels predicted the overthrow of bourgeois rule would require violence and “a dictatorship of the proletariat … to weed out remaining capitalist elements.” Lenin conducted this “weeding out” using indiscriminate terror, as Russian socialists before him had done and others would continue to do after his death.

The late Rudolph Rummel, the demographer of government mass murder, estimated the human toll of twentieth-century socialism to be about 61 million in the Soviet Union, 78 million in China, and roughly 200 million worldwide. These victims perished during state-organized famines, collectivization, cultural revolutions, purges, campaigns against “unearned” income, and other devilish experiments in social engineering.

In its monstrosity, this terror is unrivaled in the course of human history.

Lenin’s coup on November 7, 1917, the day Kerensky’s provisional government fell to Bolshevik forces, opened a new stage in human history: a regime of public slavery. Collectivist economic planning led to coercion, violence, and mass murder. Marx and Engels had defined socialism as “the abolition of private property.” The most fundamental component of private property, self-ownership, was abolished first.

[…]

The Marxists’ biggest targets have always been the family, religion, and civil society — institutional obstacles to the imposition of the omnipotent state. With the Bolsheviks in power, Lenin set out to destroy them.

Murder of children became a norm after he ordered the extermination of Czar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their five children. Millions of families were rounded up and forcibly relocated to remote and uninhabited regions in Siberia and Kazakhstan. Hundreds of thousands of children died of starvation or disease during their journey into exile and were buried in mass unmarked graves.

In 1935, Stalin introduced Article 12 of the USSR Criminal Code, which permitted that children age twelve and older be sentenced to death or imprisonment as adults. This “law” was directed at the orphans of victims of the regime, based on the belief that an apple never falls far from the tree. Many of these kids, whose parents had been jailed or executed, were commonly known as bezprizorni, street children. They found themselves living in bare, dirty cells in a savagely violent gulag, where they were mixed with dangerous criminals and were brutalized and raped by guards and common criminals.

On a lighter note, here’s a review of The Death of Stalin from Samizdata:

The Death of Stalin opened recently across the UK. It is an excellent black comedy, 5 stars. The film opens with a musical performance for Radio Moscow, Stalin likes it, and asks for the recording. There is none, so, in true Soviet style, the recording is ‘faked’ by the terrified producer, who resorts to desperate measures. The backdrop to this is nightly NKVD raids, roaming through apartment blocks with the citizenry knowing what to expect, Beria adds his own touches to the minutiae of the raids. We see Stalin’s inner circle, all desperately keeping track of what they have said, and striving to please their master.

Then Stalin collapses, with a little sub-plot device thrown in. Beria is the first to find him, and gets his head start on the race for power. The others in the Praesidium arrive, and the plotting begins. Efforts to get a doctor for Stalin are complicated by the consequences of the Doctors’ Plot, with the NKVD rounding up whoever they can find instead. But it becomes clear that Stalin is in a terminal condition and he then dies.

It should be noted that the film is by the writers of The Thick of It, something, not having a TV, I have never seen, but it has the flavour of a much coarser version of an Ealing Comedy. Beria’s raping and torturing is a major theme, and anyone who sits through the first 15 minutes should by then be under no illusion about the nature of the Soviet Union and socialism. Another excellent aspect of the film is the use of various accents, Stalin is a cockney (perhaps he should have been Welsh, an outsider, emphasising his Georgian origins). Zhukov a bluff Lancastrian (or Northerner), Malenkov and Khrushchev have American accents.

November 3, 2017

Battle of Beersheba – Canadian Frustration – Balfour Declaration I THE GREAT WAR Week 171

The Great War
Published on 2 Nov 2017

On the Western Front this week, the Canadians under Sir Arthur Currie attempt to advance once more, whilst Haig remains optimistic about an imminent breakthrough. Following Caporetto, the Italian retreat continues, whilst the British Army enjoys success on the Palestine Front, with a little help from mounted ANZAC troops. With Lenin’s return, the revolution looms over the Russian capital, whilst the Balfour Declaration is issued in Britain.

October 22, 2017

Otto von Bismarck – II: A Man of Great Ideas – Extra History

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Extra Credits
Published on 21 Oct 2017

1848. Revolution swept Europe as the working class rose up to claim their freedoms from an oppressive ruling class. But as a member of that ruling class, Bismarck had some resistance to this movement. He channeled his wild energy into productive avenues, gradually becoming the man of realpolitik that we know today.

October 10, 2017

QotD: The base conditions for democratic society

Filed under: Government, Law, Liberty, Middle East, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The absolutely vital elements of a successful democratic component of government (note – component of a system, not the entire system): is that there be a literate population; a free and enquiring press; a well developed and just rule of law; and a tradition of give and take being acceptable to the society.

Tribal societies have none of these things. That is why democracies have consistently failed in African countries where tribalism is still the most important element. (In fact politics in some of these places is still largely a competition between which tribal groups served in the imperial militaries, versus which served in the imperial civil services. With very bloody competition between the two.) The fact that illiteracy is rampant; free presses almost non-existent; and the rule of law where judges are not beholden to tribal interests, or simply threats, doesn’t exist: makes democracy impossible to sustain.

Muslim culture has none of these things. A system where a woman’s evidence in court is one third of a man’s – and dhimmitude is recognized even if slavery officially isn’t – is unlikely to have these things. And for literacy, free press, or rule of law, see Africa, but doubled.

It is also possible to suggest that without a clear understanding of the logic of natural laws, you can’t have a democracy. The fact that Muslim scholarship specifically rejects natural law on the basis that Allah can cause anything, so there are no ‘natural laws’, means you cannot have these things. The reason the Muslim world lost its scientific supremacy of the 11th and 12th centuries relates specifically to their decision to turn their back on empirical evidence. Without that basic understanding, I do not believe democracy is possible. (In fact that basic approach helps explain why democracy is actually anathema to good Muslims, and why Boko Haram literally means ‘Western education is evil’!)

So the concept that an ‘Arab Spring’ could work in the Middle East is a sad indictment on the Western media and ‘intelligentsia’s’ failed understanding about how democracy works.

In fact the entire deluded Western project of attempting to impose ‘republics’ on tribal societies as part of post-colonialism, is an indictment on the western fantasy that republics are workable, let alone good things.

Let’s face it, no western republic, even in the most educated, literate, and rule of law-abiding parts of the Anglosphere, has survived a first century without a collapse and or bloody civil war. The most ‘successful’ Western republics have included the American (see above), French (see above), Weimar (heard of the popularly elected Adolf Hitler?), Italian (50 governments in 50 years), Greek (how’s that brilliant financial planning going?) and Polish (are they on their 3rd, 4th, or 5th?). Those are the good ones. 90% of all republics ever founded in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, or the Middle East, have collapsed into dictatorship, civil war, mass murder, or ethnic cleansing, within 20 years of being set up.

And that’s what we thought would work in the Middle East?

Nigel Davies, “The ‘Arab Spring’, 1848, and the 30 Years War/s”, Rethinking History, 2015-09-19.

September 22, 2017

British Advance At Passchendaele I THE GREAT WAR Week 165

Filed under: Britain, Europe, Germany, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 21 Sep 2017

Herbert Plumer had a cunning plan to crack the German defences at Passchendaele, he would “bite and hold” only small pieces of the German Hindenburg Line instead of aiming for the big breakthrough. It was still a costly tactic but it achieved results and the Germans under Ruprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria, were worried.

September 15, 2017

Attempted Military Coup in Russia – The Kornilov Affair I THE GREAT WAR Week 164

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 14 Sep 2017

The situation in Russia further escalates as Lavr Kornilov attempts to gain complete power with a military coup. The result is a disaster for him and thousands of armed Bolsheviks in the streets of Petrograd.

September 8, 2017

Attempted Military Coup in Russia – The Kornilov Affair I THE GREAT WAR Week 163

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, Russia — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 7 Sep 2017

The situation in Russia further escalates as Lavr Kornilov attempts to gain complete power with a military coup. The result is a disaster for him and thousands of armed Bolsheviks in the streets of Petrograd.

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