One of the greatest rewards of blogging is the people you meet and the stories they tell. Bringing exceptional people and their experiences to life. MB Henry is such a person, and Dan Wescott- On Another Battlefield is such a story. MB and her husband are special people. Please read this story. We must remember Dan Westcott and the other men of the 17th Airborne Division.
Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. (New York, NY: Doubleday, 2012).
Better works of history are crafted. They begin with a question. They are created through exhaustive research, editing, and organization. A better work of history answers the original question, creates new questions considers alternative interpretations, and provides overwhelming evidence in support of their answers. Doing so by creating a readable narrative. Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain is a better work of history. Applebaum’s original question: How did the Soviets and their allies transform well-meaning Eastern European social/ aid organizations created, or reconstituted, in the immediate aftermath of World War II into tools of oppression?1 In a chilling but necessary read Iron Curtain provides an answer.
Michael Korda, Journey to a Revolution: A Personal Memoir and History of The Hungarian Revolution of 1956. (New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2006).
In this instance Korda’s subtitle accurately captures the appeal of this work. Journey to a Revolution is both a memoir and a history, blended in a way that makes the narrative live. In a mere two hundred and five pages Korda retells an adventure in which four young Brits (author included) ran headlong into the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Squeezed into a VW, the four friends traveled from England to Budapest to deliver medical supplies to a Budapest hospital and to bear witness to a great event.
Budapest is a beautiful city. It was the first city on our tour and it did not disappoint. We loved it; the sites, the people, the culture. This group of photos are of Buda Castle. Unfortunately, we were not able to see the interior of St. Matthias Church because we visited on Sunday morning. We toured with Globus Tours and found them to be excellent. Our group had a great time.
Operation Finale. Directed by Chris Weitz. Produced by Automatik Entertainment, 2018.
It is a rare occasion when I truly enjoy a movie. Considering the cost associated with having a complete movie experience (buying a ticket, popcorn, and a drink), the reward generally falls short of the investment. Even more so for films based on historical events. Frequently, historically based films require a creative license to produce a story that can understood in a limited time frame and that is commercially viable. However. creative license often challenges historical accuracy. Operation Finale proved to be a movie I enjoyed. Creative license was taken, and the film is not accurate to history, but I enjoyed it because it delivered a few things I rarely experience with modern movies.
One of the “Little Stalins” installed to power in the wake of the Red Army’s march toward Germany during the closing months of World War II, Mátyás Rákosi certainly shared his sponsor’s brutality. Crude in his behavior, a trait he nurtured as a badge of his lower-class status, Rákosi helped fashion Hungary’s Socialist catastrophe. Employing identity politics and “salami tactics” Rákosi slowly sliced away all those opposed to collectivism. Fear, intimidation, and death were considered necessary tools in his effort to build a classless society. From his rise to leadership in 1945 to his forced exile in 1956 hundreds of thousands of Hungarians were either imprisoned or executed.
Roger Crowley, 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam and The West. (New York, NY: Hyperion, 2005).
There are events, history’s thunderclaps, that peal across time. Christian Europe’s resistance to Islam’s long campaign of expansion is punctuated by many significant events. Beginning with the Battle of Yarmouk in 636 to the Siege of Vienna in 1683, the forces of Islam proved nearly unstoppable as they wrested ever more territory, and people, from Christian realms. Perhaps the most significant event in this thousand-year drama, the Fall of Constantinople, occurred on May 29, 1453.
On the occasion of our Thirtieth Anniversary, Mrs. Present and I traveled to Europe. We visited Budapest, Vienna, and Prague. It was remarkable. I will be posting highlights from the trip. Most posts will consist of short histories and a lot of photos. I will go in depth on others.
First up: St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, CZ.
King Charles IV of Bohemia (later Holy Roman Emperor) began construction of St. Vitus Cathedral in 1344 AD. Two previous churches had existed on the site, the first being built in 925 AD. Construction of St. Vitus was lead by Matthias of Arras until he died in 1352. Peter Parler then assumed the role of head architect. Construction and restoration efforts continued until 1929, when the Cathedral was consecrated.
A remarkable story, a great blog that references other great blogs! A lot of history.
War creates some remarkable heroes. It makes people perform beyond the limits of normal human endurance; through immense pain and suffering, these heroes are able to perform duties beyond those expected or even believed possible.
There were many airmen who carried out these duties with little or no recognition for their actions, never to speak of them or be acknowledged for them.Georges Nadon, a French-Canadian Spitfire pilot, is one of them.
Georges had a long career, he fought both in the skies of Britain and Malta, and completed two ‘tours’ that amounted to an incredible 277 operations and more than 500 hours in the air.
Georges Nadon’s flying career began with 122 Squadron based at RAF Hornchurch, where he flew Spitfires. Of the 27 original pilots of 122 Sqn, only Georges and one other pilot survived. On Christmas Eve 1943 he sailed to Malta, where he would fly – on…
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