The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from September 2016

Play as though your life depends on it

September 30th, 2016 · No Comments

“On the evening of 12 April [1945], the Berlin Philharmonic gave its last performance. Albert Speer, who organized it, had invited Grand Admiral Dönitz and also Hitler’s adjutant, Colonel von Below. The hall was properly lit for the occasion, despite the electricity cuts. ‘The concert took us back to another world,’ wrote Below. The programme […]

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Tags: Antony Beevor · The Second World War

Babes in warland

September 29th, 2016 · No Comments

“Berlin’s population in early April [1945] stood at anything between 3 and 3.5 million people, including around 120,000 infants. When General Reymann raised the problem of feeding these children at a meeting in the Reich Chancellery bunker, Hitler stared at him. ‘There are no children of that age left in Berlin,’ he said. Reymann finally […]

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Tags: Antony Beevor · The Second World War

The flower of the nation

September 28th, 2016 · No Comments

“The Führer’s response to the onrush of Soviet tank brigades towards Berlin had been to order the establishment of a Panzerjagd Division, but in typical Nazi style, this impressive-sounding organization for destroying tanks failed to live up to its title. It consisted of bicycle companies mainly from the Hitler Youth. Each bicyclist was to carry […]

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Tags: Antony Beevor · The Second World War

Jornada del muerto

September 27th, 2016 · No Comments

“The snow was deep on the roads and eventually most women had to abandon their prams and carry the youngest children. In the icy wind they also found that their thermoses had cooled. There was only one way to feed a hungry infant, but they could not find any shelter in which to breast-feed. All […]

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Tags: Antony Beevor · The Second World War

Scourged

September 26th, 2016 · No Comments

“Although the Soviet authorities were well aware of the terrible retribution being exacted in East Prussia, they seemed angered, in fact almost offended, to find that German civilians were fleeing. Countryside and town were virtually depopulated. The NKVD chief of the 2nd Belorussian Front reported to G. F. Aleksandrov, the chief ideologist on the central […]

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Tags: Antony Beevor · The Second World War

Revelations

September 25th, 2016 · No Comments

“Few things reveal more about political leaders and their systems than the manner of their downfall.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945

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Tags: Antony Beevor · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Take it now and make payments

September 24th, 2016 · No Comments

“The deepest determinant of contemporary social psychology is not mass unbelief but mass production. Industrialism has decisively undermined the republican ideals of independence, self-sufficiency, and proprietorship—the ‘modest competence’ postulated by early democratic theorists as the basis of civic virtue and civil equality. It is the practice of demanding skills, rather than fragmented and routinized drudgery, […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Storm force 7

September 23rd, 2016 · No Comments

“What can motivate ordinary men and women to behave decently most of the time and heroically in emergencies? Perhaps it might help to reduce the many temptations to behave otherwise. Chief among these in twenty-first-century America are the relentless sexualization of advertising and entertainment, the pervasive economic insecurity engineered by business and government (especially Republican) […]

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Tags: Economics · George Scialabba · Politics & Law

Something to believe in

September 22nd, 2016 · No Comments

“Prescribing religion in its generic form has become commonplace among social critics, particularly communitarians. They have a point. No society—for that matter, no individual—can flourish without a great deal of trust, devotion, solidarity, and self-discipline. Religion often fosters these things, and not only among co-religionists. But although untrammeled sexual freedom is not a requirement of […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Politics & Law

The bossings

September 21st, 2016 · No Comments

“[Max] Weber conceived charisma as one of three kinds of authority—traditional, charismatic, and bureaucratic—that characterize all organizations, including religious ones. Traditional authority, typical of primitive societies, derives from inertia and aims at continuity. Bureaucratic authority, typical of modern societies, derives from methodical reasoning and aims at efficiency. Charismatic authority is untypical and unpredictable; it derives […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Politics & Law

The popular magic

September 20th, 2016 · No Comments

“The assumption that one cannot be reliably good without God persists in the United States, explicitly or implicitly, to the extent that a declared unbeliever almost certainly cannot be elected to national office. Around half the population identify themselves as born-again Christians and believe in angels, miracles, the inerrancy of the Bible, and the special […]

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Tags: George Scialabba · Politics & Law

She might have brought something to study

September 19th, 2016 · No Comments

“A skilled professional I know had to turn down an important freelance assignment because of a recurring commitment to chauffeur her son to a resumé-building ‘social action’ assignment required by his high school. This involved driving the boy for 45 minutes to a community center, cooling her heels while he sorted used clothing for charity, […]

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Tags: Economics · Stephen Pinker

Civilization comes to Hooterville

September 18th, 2016 · No Comments

“Educated people should know something about the 13-billion-year prehistory of our species and the basic laws governing the physical and living world, including our bodies and brains. They should grasp the timeline of human history from the dawn of agriculture to the present. They should be exposed to the diversity of human cultures, and the […]

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Tags: Other Stuff · Stephen Pinker

The Project

September 17th, 2016 · No Comments

Twenty-seven months ago, around the time of the centenary of the the start of the First World War, I began a reading project, setting myself to read about the twentieth century’s wars, the political and economic and ideological struggles, and the people caught up in them. I knew a fair amount about the subject already, […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law · The Forever War · The Great War · The Korean War · The Second World War

Reaping the whirlwind

September 17th, 2016 · No Comments

“Any civilized person must react with horror to the human consequences of the catastrophe that befell the German people in the last months of the war. The battle for the Third Reich cost the lives of something like 400,000 Germans killed in ground fighting and by aerial bombardment in 1945 alone, together with anything up […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War

Blood and family

September 16th, 2016 · No Comments

“Lieutenant Dorothy Beavers was one of a U.S. Army medical team dispatched to Ebensee. ‘Nothing had prepared us for the camps,’ she said. To their amazement, many of the inmates spoke English. These were highly educated Hungarian Jewish girls, reduced by lice and starvation to the last waystation before death. . . . As the […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

What happened

September 15th, 2016 · No Comments

“Fourteen-year-old Erich Pusch, a fugitive who had lost his parents on the ice of the Frisches Haff, lay in a cellar in Danzig with his young brother and a dozen or so other terrified people, mostly women and children. The first Russian entered their refuge early on the morning of 31 March [1945]. The man […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Dead men tell no tales

September 14th, 2016 · No Comments

“The testimony of Wehrmacht soldiers who survived the war is unrepresentative of the experience of Hitler’s forces fighting the Russians in the last weeks, because so many such men perished. The fate of some units, especially those of the Waffen SS, is lost in fire and smoke, because no witnesses remained to record their destruction. […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Throw the little ones back

September 13th, 2016 · No Comments

“At Rathau on the Aller, the CO of the 5th Royal Tanks advanced on foot to take a cautious look into the town before his tanks moved in. He encountered one of his own officers, a huge Welshman named John Gwilliam who later captained his country’s rugby team, ‘carrying a small German soldier by the […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

The diminishment

September 12th, 2016 · No Comments

“Medical research suggested that children aged between ten and fourteen suffered most from hunger. The average Dutch fourteen-year-old boy weighed forty-one kilos in 1940, but only thirty-seven kilos in 1945, and had become two centimetres shorter. Girls of the same age were a frightening seven kilos lighter and six centimetres shorter.” – Max Hastings, Armageddon

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Appearances and disappearances

September 11th, 2016 · No Comments

“The courage of the Resisters was extraordinary. One day in January [1945], a Jewish mother and her two sons, desperate for food, went foraging from the house in Zeist where they had lived in precarious obscurity. They were detained by Germans who thought they appeared Jewish, and locked up in the local police station along […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

The land of nightmares and death

September 10th, 2016 · No Comments

“Gross Rosen was not a designated mass-murder establishment. Like many Nazi concentration camps, it was simply a place where people died, usually within six months. It was not a site for sophisticated medical experiments, but prisoners were sometimes used for cruder research, such as testing army boots by marching interminably around the compounds while carrying […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Teachable moment

September 9th, 2016 · No Comments

“I was standing in the ruins of my house. My heart stood still. It was here that I lived with my wife and children in peace and comfort. Who is to blame for all this? The English? The Americans? Or the Nazis? Had a Hitler not come, there would have been no war. If the […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Clarification

September 8th, 2016 · No Comments

“Supreme court rules are neither aspirational nor are they suggestions; they have the force of law, and the presumption must be that they will be obeyed and enforced as written.” – Justice Mary Ann McMorrow, Robidoux v. Oliphant

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Tags: Politics & Law

The nuisance value of truth

September 7th, 2016 · No Comments

“Every era has its dangerous ideas. For millennia, the monotheistic religions have persecuted countless heresies, together with nuisances from science such as geocentrism, biblical archeology, and the theory of evolution. We can be thankful that the punishments have changed from torture and mutilation to the canceling of grants and the writing of vituperative reviews. But […]

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Tags: Other Stuff · Stephen Pinker

Ain’t fakin’

September 6th, 2016 · No Comments

“A British medical report concluded that ‘the act of going sick, of giving in, is an all-or-nothing phenomenon, and is damaging to the personality.’ Most men, it concluded, were less effective soldiers after returning to duty, as did more than 50 per cent. The same report observed the paradox that a soldier who ran away […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Grim reapers reaping and reaped

September 5th, 2016 · No Comments

“Posterity is bemused by the banality of Hitler and the coterie of gangsters who formed the leadership of the Third Reich. It is scarcely surprising that during the 1944-45 campaign they sought refuge in military and political fantasies, and committed themselves to a struggle to the end. Most tacitly acknowledged that their own lives were […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

Eradicated

September 4th, 2016 · No Comments

“Many [German] civilians, even in areas such as East Prussia and Silesia, which now [October 1944] lay close to the Red Army, found it difficult to comprehend the notion that their entire world was on the verge of extinction, that the streets in which they shopped, the farms on which they milked cows, the communities […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · The Second World War

First things first

September 3rd, 2016 · No Comments

“When front-line soldiers escaped from imminent peril for a few hours, their desires were usually pathetically simple. Soldiers talk much about women, but on the battlefield their private cravings are seldom sexual. A British officer described his men’s priorities as ‘char, wad, flick and kip’—tea, food, a movie and sleep.” – Max Hastings, Armageddon

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Tags: Economics · Max Hastings · The Second World War

Potemkin empire

September 2nd, 2016 · No Comments

“It is remarkable that the Soviet command system functioned as well as it did, given the ideological resistance to truth which was fundamental to the Stalinist system. In war, telling the truth is essential not for moral reasons, but because no commander can direct a battle effectively unless his subordinates tell him what is happening: […]

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Tags: Max Hastings · Politics & Law · The Second World War