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Childress

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  1. Last month, February 6, was the birthday of Eva Braun; it passed unnoticed. The Braun family might have celebrated but their members are extinct; Eva's father died in 1964 and the final member, Gretl, died in 1987. She had named her daughter Eva, in honor of her sister, who was born on the very day of the Nazi capitulation. That Eva committed suicide in 1975 after her boyfriend was killed in a car accident. The star-crossed family leaves one with a sense of futility, all that drama and turbulence gone like a brief summer breeze.Eva Braun was born in 1912 into a lower-middle-class Bavarian fami
  2. You're right, not at all. I've posted, from time to time, several essays on the General Discussion forum (there's another?) without kickback; the goal is simply diversion, this is a well educated group here whose nicks are familiar- I'm an owner of CM1. These essays are derived on various history-themed sites where I post. Continue or not?
  3. I wrote my law dissertation on this case! What a coincidence! During the research, I seem to recall that the sailors did- briefly- consider drawing lots. Of course, there we no proof that they did. All in all, it's a fascinating case. When the time came to draw straws it was evident that young Richard Parker was close to death. The hard choice was made to kill Parker to eat his flesh. Rescued a few days later, the men did not hide the fact that they had eaten their comrade, thinking they were within the custom. When they reached England, however, they were tried for murder. By not dr
  4. A minor mystery remains with the three English sailors. Why not lie? Why not simply tell the authorities that they tossed the dead Parker over the starboard side intact and uneaten? With endless time on their hands, they could easily concoct a convincing scenario; there was, of course, no evidence. The men would clasp hands and make a solemn oath never to reveal to the truth. Would it work? Probably, but some inhibiting factors: 1- The sailors never expected prosecution having trusted- wrongly- in the 'custom of the sea'. 2- The strict, Victorian morality of the era 3- Their evident re
  5. The three English sailors were not alone in resorting to cannibalism by necessity. The Donner Party indulged as well.As their supplies dwindled, the Donner emigrants stranded at Truckee Lake resorted to eating increasingly grotesque meals. They slaughtered their pack animals, cooked their dogs, gnawed on leftover bones and even boiled the animal hide roofs of their cabins into a foul paste. Several people died from malnutrition, but the rest managed to subsist on morsels of boiled leather and tree bark until rescue parties arrived in February and March 1847. Not all of the settlers were strong
  6. In 1844, an Australian lawyer hired four Englishmen to sail his aging yacht, the Mignonette, back to his home in Sydney. That contract would inadvertently secure the fates of four men: Thomas Dudley, Edwin Stephens, Edmund Brooks, and Richard Parker. Dudley was the captain and an experienced seaman. Parker, the cabin boy, was an orphan of seventeen.The four sailed the yacht around the Cape of Good Hope without a hitch until, following a night storm, a rogue wave compromised the upper deck (the lee bulwark). Dudley instantly realized the 52-foot cruiser was doomed. Frantic, he and his crew were
  7. In the early 20th century German science was in full ebullition, notably in physics. The most famous among the gifted was, of course, Albert Einstein but other men were also collecting Nobels, notably among them Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg. These two altered our conception of the physical world and both would be inextricably tied to the 3rd Reich- with different outcomes.MAX PLANCK (1858-1947)In 1900, Planck shook the scientific world with his bold hypothesis that radiant energy (i.e., light waves) is not emitted in a continuous flow, but rather consists of small chunks, which he called q
  8. In the early 20th century German science was in full ebullition, notably in physics. The most famous among the gifted was, of course, Albert Einstein but other men were also collecting Nobels, notably among them Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg. These two altered our conception of the physical world and both would be inextricably tied to the 3rd Reich- with different outcomes.MAX PLANCK (1858-1947)In 1900, Planck shook the scientific world with his bold hypothesis that radiant energy (i.e., light waves) is not emitted in a continuous flow, but rather consists of small chunks, which he called q
  9. ...he was going to lose anyway.Yes. With a quarter-million Germans and Russians- and more to follow- closing in the writing was on the wall. In retrospect, Napoleon's (arguable) near-miss at Waterloo was the very best outcome for his legend. He can bid adieu to his weeping grognards while French historians sharpen their pens concocting their 'might-have-been' scenarios. If only....
  10. Napoleon fought more than 70 battles, winning all but only seven, mostly at the end.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_ ... ular%20War.First-hand descriptions of Napoleon by his contemporaries:https://www.napoleon-series.org/researc ... ption.htmlAn excerpt:He dictated while walking to and fro in his cabinet. When he grew angry he would use violent imprecations, which were suppressed in writing and which had, at least, the advantage of giving the writer time to catch up with him. He never repeated anything that he had once said, even if it had not been heard; and this was very hard on the
  11. Question: Who is being discussed? Napoleon or Hitler? Excellent point, Erwin. The coincidences are eerie, even including the prodigious powers of memory they shared.
  12. A man does not have himself killed for a few halfpence a day or for a petty distinction. You must speak to the soul in order to electrify the man.- NapoleonEven after 200 years we still feel the reverberations of Napoleon’s personality. We identify with the Corsican; many of us glory in his triumphs and regret his downfall- it's personal. He left a lasting imprint upon his contemporaries who speak of his iron will, power of concentration, and near inhuman work ethic not to mention a charismatic charm that we still fell today. Napoleon’s soldiers adored him; at times it seemed they- both French
  13. Note: consider this essay as a diversion from the coronavirus. Some of our most notorious dictators have had, in addition to the usual depredations, a hobby in common: an infatuation with cinema. The mise en scene appears common to all; the leader invites his minions to see a movie, these, typically a dozen or two, are seated in his personal screening room. They watch a film (woe to the guest who nods off) and at the end- or during- the leader delivers pronouncements on its director and actors; he’s rarely contradicted. Frequently the attendees are forced to sit through multiple, and ofte
  14. California, where I live, and New York have applied the most stringent rules vi-a-vis the virus. Simply walking on the sidewalk here in LA- without serious purpose- risks a ticket. One notices that there are two opposing sides: those that wish to clamp down on nearly all economic activity in the interest of 'health' and those fearing a recession or worse, don't. Saving humanity or, borrowing from Tacitus, a case of leaving a desert and calling it peace. Maybe a compromise?
  15. Not all of Kepler’s siblings rushed to her side like he did — a sister pleaded hardship, a brother withdrew his support when he began to feel threatened, and another brother joined the prosecution. I’d like to meet that guy. Part 1: The Ancient Background: Burning at the stake- and its variations- is one of those most fearful modes of execution; the practice goes back to ancient Babylonia. It’s also mentioned in the book of Genesis, usually reserved for sexual crimes but that Hebraic custom eventually died out. Diodorus Siculus, a 1st century Greek historian, mentions the so-ca
  16. An interesting map of Vienna just prior to WW1. A single section of Vienna played host to Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Tito, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Stalin. The two revolutionaries, Stalin and Trotsky, were on the run while Sigmund Freud was already well established. Hitler was hawking his paintings and postcards. All men, for better or worse, would shape the 20th century. Although Karl Marx never lived in Vienna that city honored him with the Karl-Marx-Hof , the longest single residential building in the world. It was built between 1927 and 1930.
  17. THE ASTRONOMER Johannes Kepler, the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, was born 1571 in the town of Weil der Stadt, Germany; he received a master’s degree from the University of Tubingen in 1588. The great Polish astronomer Copernicus had, in 1533, proposed that the planets revolved in predictable cycles around the sun rather than the earth. For many Christian prelates of the day, this amounted to heresy; after all, the Old Testament tells us that Joshua defeated the Amorites by God’s intervention, halting the sun in its path and extending the daylight. As a student, Kepler becam
  18. Imagine yourself riding a noble steed, wearing a plumed hat and sitting athwart a a tiger's hide. Think of the babes you'd...
  19. During the Napoleonic era the paintings of soldiers may have represented the culmination of military plumage; many of the officers were veritable peacocks. The Emperor stressed, to an obsessional degree, the value of a well turned out soldier; he felt it was essential for morale. During a review in 1811 he grew furious over the uniforms issued to a newly created regiment: Too small, too short, too tight, badly cut, badly made, badly sewed; many of the buttonholes made only with a simple snip of the scissors … sleeves not lined … capotes so tight that they cannot be worn over the uniform c
  20. It's true that the Incas did not engage in cannibalism. But they had their quirks. Tamara Bray, an associate professor of anthropology, documents that the young boys and girls were killed during sacrificial ceremonies. A mummified Incan girl Bray says the state would issue a levy for all provinces within the empire to tribute young children. Girls generally came from the ranks of the acllakun, which means "chosen women." "They [the Inca leaders] went through communities on a regular basis and took young girls away to live in the acllawasi (houses of the chosen women) and becom
  21. This is probably your book: Voice of the Vanquished, the Story of the Slave Marina and Hernan Cortes https://www.amazon.com/Voice-Vanquished-Marina-Hernan-Cortes/dp/1560025301 4.5 Stars The blurb: They triumphed over youthful hardships -- hers in Aztec-ruled Mexico and his in rural Spain -- to become a team that changed two continents forever. Without his loyal slave and interpreter Marina, the conquistador Hernan Cortes could not have toppled the empire of Moctezuma II. Without Cortes, Marina would have been crushed by the treachery of her ruthless stepfather. Together, the
  22. Unlikely. The Europeans benefited from a degree of immunity, smallpox had been ravaging the continent from Roman times, or even earlier. The Spaniards also gifted the Indians with syphilis. Cortes allegedly acquired the disease in Hispaniola before sailing to Mexico, but that hasn't been proven.
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