Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

"I hope you live a life you're proud of." - F. Scott Fitzgerald 

Wishing everyone a great start into the New Year and the new decade! - Dominique Allmon


Image source: Creative Commons

Thursday, August 1, 2019

75th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising


August 1, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against the occupying German forces.  The Uprising was a major military operation organized by the Polish underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa.) It lasted sixty three days.

The revolt was led General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski who managed to mobilize army of 40,000 soldiers. Unfortunately they only had 2,500 weapons to their disposition.

Badly armed and hungry, fighting on their own, the Poles lost the fight. The Uprising was brutally crushed. The Germans executed more 150,000 civilians - men, women and children. Those who were not murdered on the spot were deported to the concentration camps. At the order of Waffen SS chief Heinrich Himmler, the city was completely destroyed and leveled to the ground never to rise again, like Carthage.

The Warsaw Uprising failed, but it become a great inspirational story to every fighting underground force all over the occupied Europe. 


Why the fiasco? In July 1944 the Russian Red Army was advancing on Eastern Poland. The Polish underground leaders speculated that the German forces would withdraw from Warsaw. Unfortunately, contrary to what the Poles expected, the Germans received an order to defend their positions against the Russians. There were to turn Warsaw into a fortress in fight against the Bolshevism.


Just like Germany, Russia was Poland's archenemy, so no help came from the Russian Army standing nearby and watching the destruction of Warsaw. 

The World War II could have ended much sooner if the Russians moved on and allowed the Allies to conduct a large scale offensive from their territory. Stalin  gave the orders not to interfere. The generals followed.

As the Poles commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Uprising today, they also celebrate the 30th year of free and sovereign Poland. August 1st is not only a symbol of the fight for freedom, it is also a day of remembrance for the historical events that took place in 1989.

By Dominique Allmon

P.S.

One of the most scandalous facts from the post-WWII history is the story of one of the "butchers" of Warsaw - the SS General Heinz Reinefarth. At his orders the troops under his command committed countless atrocities, including the mass murder of Polish civilians in Warsaw in 1944. For his actions during the Warsaw Uprising, on September 30, 1944, Reinefarth  received the Oak Leaves to his Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. After the war, this Nazi criminal settled down on the German isle of Sylt where he was elected a mayor of the town called Westerland. The Polish authorities demanded extradition, but Reinefarth was never extradited and went unpunished for his crimes. He died on Sylt in 1979.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

One Small Step For A Man...


"Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. 
July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." - 
text from a commemorative plaque on one of the Eagle's legs.

Fifty years ago, at 10: 56 EDT on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong was ready to step out of the "Eagle" and become the first human being in history to set his foot on the surface of the Moon. 

More than half a billion people all over the world were watching the first televised images. As Armstrong climbed down the ladder, the viewers could hear him say his famous words: 

"That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind."

A few minutes later, Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the Moon surface. For Aldrin the Moon was a "magnificent desolation." 

The two astronauts planted an American flag and spent the next two and a half hours exploring the surface of the Moon, collecting rock samples, and taking photographs. 

The mission was a success. It ended when the Columbia capsule carrying the astronauts splashed into the ocean off the coast of Hawaii on July 24, 1969. 

A new era has begun. New missions to the Moon followed over the next three and a half years. Some people, most notably Wernher von Braun, Vice President Spiro Agnew, and the Apollo 11 astronaut Mike Collins, were talking about mission to Mars that could be accomplished before the end of the 20th century. Kids like me hoped that by the year 2000 we would be spending our summer vacations on the Moon. In 1973 NASA abandoned its lunar program and all our dreams became science fiction once again. 

By Dominique Allmon