Plots to declare world leaders insane

It seems like every election cycle we see a news story about how this candidate, or that potential challenger is “mentally unfit for office.” This typically means that the opinion writer, or news host making the claim disagrees with that candidate, and nothing more. Everyone once in a while they will even find a psychologist as a guest who agrees with the host, but somehow has never met, nor examined the candidate in question. There have been times in history where it might have been true.

I have been reading this fascinating book by William Breuer about some of the previously Top Secret stories that went on during World War II. There was an instance before the war that several military leaders had an active plot to declare Hitler insane. I think we can all agree that in this case, the leader they worried about actually was completely nuts.

In November of 1937 there was a meeting of top General and Admirals with Hitler. Hitler had summoned them to discuss future plans.

It is an important historical note that Hitler was a corporal in the German Army during World War I. He had been in the trenches in France, which was the worst of the fighting. During his time there he had been gassed with chemical weapons, and earned the Iron Cross, First Class, for Valor. This is unique for an enlisted man.

Before the meeting began Hitler swore everyone in the room to secrecy. This might be a surprise for a group of General Officers who keep military secrets and know how to not disclose things publicly. However, this was not the only surprise of the day.

These men sat and listened as the madman announced his plan to gain more living space for the German people. It appears he was determined to annex or conquer, whatever was necessary, Austria, Czeckoslovakia, and Poland. Then, when Germany was powerful enough, he intended to invade the Soviet Union.

The officers in the room were certain that France and Great Britain would never stand for this. Hitler had an answer ready. These two nations would only launch a war of words, and would never do anything more than talk.

Hitler went on to describe how he would accept nothing less than absolute and total obedience from his officer corps. Then he said the operation was to be launched in 1938, then completed by 1943.

The men were surprised to say the least. Hitler was not even supposed to have much of a standing army as part of the agreement that ended World War I. That didn’t bother Hitler, he was getting ready to fight a war of conquest, and nothing would stop him.

At this point a group of these Generals, Admirals, some civilian leaders, and a few government officials created a conspiratorial group who would declare the man insane.

The leader of this group was General Ludwig Beck (I have written about him before, this isn’t his only disagreement with Hitler, Click here for previous article). Beck was regarded by other German Generals, and many world leaders as a man of honor and integrity.

Their plan was simple. Unfortunately, it was also known as coup d’état.

In their plan, Hitler would be arrested in Berlin, and great care would be taken to ensure he wasn’t killed. They needed him discredited so that none of his closest confidants would take power and make things worse.

He would then be put on trial. The claim that they intended to make was based on his medical history from the Great War. The had obtained former Corporal Hitler’s records which said that he had “gone mad” from being gassed.

Kicking off the plan would be simple.

At the right time, General Fellgiebel, the chief signals officer, would cut all communications throughout Germany. That would isolate Hitler in Berlin. At the same exact time, General Erwin von Witzleben, the commander of the military in Berlin, would rush his men into the capital and arrest Hitler along with his two top aids. These two men you may have heard of before: General Hermann Goering, and Heinrich Himmler.

Once on trial, according to their plan, Hitler was to be exposed as totally nutso. They would tell the world that his madness had caused him to put together a plan for world domination, and the execution of that plan would be the demise of Germany.

Once a judge declared Hitler to be nuts they would put him in an institution under constant armed guard.

The only question was when to strike because they had an issue. Hitler had the absolute love of most of the German military. He also had some of the biggest names in German industry on his side. It appears Hitler rebuilding the military was making them very rich. That, in turn, because of some of the higher salaries being paid made many of the German people really like Hitler, and they didn’t realize that he was crazy. So, these men had an issue.

They determined that they needed to time things just right. They could not launch the plan until Hitler did something to turn the German people against him. Unfortunately, by time that happened it was a little late.

If you enjoy history, like this, you may enjoy a Novel I had the pleasure of working on, which you can find by clicking on the title: China Bones.


Did Winston Churchill have ESP?

After the Battle of Britain in 1940 air raids of England, especially London, became so common that when air raids sirens went off people would roll their eyes.

Winston Churchill was one individual who lived through these continuous raids. On May 10, 1940, the British Bulldog met with King George VI and was told he would be running the government from that point forward, replacing Neville Chamberlain.

The very next day Chamberlain resigned, and Churchill took over as Prime Minister. Part of his job was to direct the British war effort against the Nazis.

Churchill was a courageous leader, and decided it was not proper to lead from inside some deep bunker. He left the safety of the bomb shelters and traveled at night to anti-aircraft batteries to inspire the crews.

One night, during a bombing, he visited an anti-aircraft gun, and team and saw that the gun barrels were still red hot. He spoke to the crew, and made his way back to his car. His aide opened the door, he started to get in the car when he decided to make his way to the other side of the car and get in himself, instead of with the help of someone. The aid was used to Churchill doing odd things, and didn’t think anything of it.

The limo had been driving for a few minutes through the streets of London when a bomb exploded causing it to go up to two wheels for a few seconds before settling back down.

Churchill’s comment afterwards was “I must say, that was some ride!”

He also explained that, “my beef on the left hand side of the limo had caused it to pull down.” Basically he was saying that his weight kept the car from rolling over.

He was speaking to his wife about it and basically said he just felt like getting in the other side, which he almost never did. His wife, and he, commented on several future occasions that there was a higher power guiding him that night. Was that true? Was it just luck? Who knows, but it is an interesting bit of luck that he lived through what was a very close call.

Who the hell was that German Scientist that wanted to stop Hitler

As a Scientist, I love this story.

In 1939 War was looming on the German horizon. Everywhere in Europe people knew it was coming. The problem for Hitler was that the German Herrenvolk (people) really wanted to live in peace.

Late in August of that year there was an American correspondent wandering around Berlin interviewing citizens. Think of it like a late 30s “man on the street” style interview done by many of today’s news organizations. The reporter wrote in his diary one night the following: “Everybody here is against the war. How can a country get into a major war with a population so dead set against it?” Think the U.S. was the first to do such a thing? Think again.

Adolf Hitler had an answer to this question. He would use propaganda. In fact, he had a series of people whose job it was to spin the story in a way to make it look like Germany had no choice, or was doing it for the “good of the people.” Sound familiar?

Sept 1, 1939 five German armies, swarms of dive bombers poured into Poland. These soldiers converged on Warsaw from three sides. This attack was so deadly, and so precise, that they had to come up with a way to describe it. This attack was the origination of the term Blitzkrieg.

On Sept 3, 1939 Hitler received and ultimatum from the British Prime Minister that he must withdraw or the British would declare war.

England and France declared war, Germany did not withdraw, and Poland fell 27 days after that first invasion.

Here is where the story gets weird.

In October of 1939 Vice Admiral Hector Boyes, the Royal Navy attache to Norway was at the embassy in that nation and received a hand written, anonymous letter. The letter said that if the British wanted a load of German technical information on weapons development programs they should say the following words on a news broadcast: “Hellu, hier ist London,” which in English means Hello here is London.

MI-6 had to make a choice. Was this the letter of a crazy person? Those things happen in the intel business. Was this the German’s throwing some psychological warfare their direction? Was it someone who was going to reveal the secrets to German beer? It could have been anything.

They did as the letter requested.

On November 4, 1939, a guard at a British embassy in Norway found a package sitting on a stone ledge. The package contained 8 pages of notes and additional pages of technical drawings of some Top-Secret German programs. These were details of the V1 and V2 rockets. Well, most British experts were skeptical, until these weapons showed up on the battlefield.

These same experts started to work on countermeasures based on those drawings once they were known to be real.

Then starts the real debate on the British Engineering side of this situation. How could one person get so much data? Was it just one person? Was there a large scientific conspiracy? They couldn’t figure it out.

It was clear that who, or whatever group it was wanted to stop Hitler.

Interestingly, to this day, to the best of my knowledge…no one ever found out who it was.

I would really like to know who it was, but that information is lost to history.

Check out the books section of my website! Thanks for visiting.

Hitler had so many moles he should have not been able to start WWII

Recently I published a post about some early events in WWII that could have prevented the entire conflict. You can find them on my post titled A World War II Lesson, and Hitler’s Rise to Power Applied to Modern American Politics.” This article is all about the number of moles in his high command and how another opportunity was lost to stop the crazy man.

The situation concerns Switzerland. The Constitution governing Switzerland dictates absolute impartiality in any War around the world that is not taking place inside the Swiss border. In other words, if they haven’t been invaded, they aren’t fighting.

Because of this, and borders with Germany, France, and Italy the tiny nation quickly became a hot bed of spies starting in the late 1930s. This is the story of some of those spies.

The two German spy agencies, The Abwehr, and the Sicherheitsdienst had more spies inside the Swiss border than any other nation state. The entire German activity there was aimed at figuring out the plans of other nations, should Germany continue to re-arm.

There was another, not as well-known reason (at the time). The leadership of both these German agencies assumed, correctly, that any internal German opposition to Hitler would have activity in Switzerland. Perhaps being there would help that activity become known, and be prevented.

Around the same time the Soviet intelligence groups began activities there as well. They wanted to gain intel on German activities and capabilities. By the mid-1930s Germany was re-arming as quickly as they could. One of these Russian spies was Alexander Radolfi who was posing as a Hungarian geographer. Rado (as his friends called him) had a primary source early in his time in Switzerland starting in 1937 named Otto Punter. Otto had a network of Germans who did not like the Nazi regime and wanted to prevent them from staying in power. Otto, by profession, was a former Swiss journalist.

Right around that same point in time Alexander A. “Jim” Foote was recruited, and sent, to be a Soviet spy in Switzerland and was tasked to learn as much as possible about Germany and Hitler’s plans. When he arrived, he was to wait outside a post office in the Rue du Mont-Blanc in Geneva on October the 10th, 1938. If he were at the correct place at the correct time a woman, his contact, would approach him, which she did. His contact was the very attractive Ursula Schultz. She was a German Jew who had been running a spy network since 1936. She had been radioing information to Moscow at two week intervals her entire time running that spy ring. When she did so, the Soviet’s would radio back orders.

At that meeting outside the post office, Sonia gave Foote a large amount of cash (2,000 Swiss francs), and relayed some orders that he was to travel to Munich in Southern Germany and search for useful information then return to Geneva in 3 months-time.

He did as he was ordered, and when he returned he had a load of useful intelligence. He had discovered that when Adolf Hitler, the birthplace of the Nazi party, he would often dine at a very popular restaurant called Osteria Bavaria. Foote had this idea, he wanted to plant a bomb and blow the German leader to bits.

Sonia was shocked, and decided the plan would not succeed and cause issues. Hitler always traveled with a large number of bodyguards, and she assumed that anyone attempting to carry out the plan would be discovered and that Hitler would be alerted to people working to undermine him. Sonia sent him back to Munich, and promised to send more cash.

In August of 1939 Sonia ordered him to come back to Switzerland. Rumors were running wild that Germany was preparing for an active War.

Other spy activities continued in Switzerland. Two middle aged men in civilian clothes got off a train in Lucerne Switzerland, and they immediately went to the home of Rudolf Roessler. These visitors were German Generals who, with eight other high ranking officers in the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (high command) in Berlin. These men were operating together and engaging in a conspiracy to prevent Hitler from executing plans to conquer Europe.

Roessler was in interesting individual. He had fought in World War I, but now hated violence. One thing he did have were friends who were Generals. Roessler had made the decision to do all he could to awaken Herrnvolk (German people) about the dangers of the Nazis. Roessler took a job as a reporter and wrote articles about the dangers of the Nazi’s which made him a man who was marked for potential death. He was writing these articles expressing the concerns he and his ten friends (the Generals) all held.

Roessler didn’t seem to mind that he was now an enemy of the State, even though he knew it was one of the most dangerous government organizations ever. In the summer of 1934, eighteen months after Hitler had become Chancellor of Germany and began the crackdown on his enemies. It was a dangerous time for Roesller, so he and his wife fled to Switzerland.

Two of Roessler’s friends, the visiting Generals got to the point. They wanted Roessler to know that War was going to break out in a matter of weeks. The Generals urged their friend to spread word as much as they can of the dangers associated with the Nazis and to attempt to keep their power base from expanding.

The Generals explained that the ten conspirators would get all of Hitler’s strategies in advance. These men were among those that did the planning for the German high command. One General told Roessler that the Berlin moles would send him top secret information and he could give it away, sell it, whatever he chose, so long as it was used to slow Hitler down.

Roessler could not decide which Government should get the intelligence information. He argued with himself and eventually settled on Switzerland. The Swiss found a pathway to get the information to the British.

May of 1940 there was a large amount of intelligence about Hitler launching a massive invasion of France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Every warning he sent was ignored.

The Nazi’s rolled through these regions and appeared to be ready to invade Britain. At this point, Moscow ordered Foote to become a radio operator for their man Rado, the chief Soviet Spymaster in Switzerland.

Foote installed new radios for the job, but was also now able to send information to London. Foote didn’t like Communism and was, at this point, a double agent. He apparently wanted to be on the winning side, whichever side that was.

Just before Christmas 1940 Roessler received a complete copy of Operation Barbarossa, Hitler’s planning invasion of the Soviet Union. This attack was set to kick off in the spring of 1941.

Rado learned that Swiss intel was about to arrest him. He left the country with his family in tow, he wasn’t going to spend the rest of his life in jail, or more likely in front of a firing squad.

Suddenly, Jim Foote, the double agent, as a result of this, was being overwhelmed with intelligence from Berlin and the Soviet espionage networks in Switzerland.

Moscow didn’t fully trust him; especially given the voluminous information he was sending. The leadership in the Soviet Union demanded to know his sources, which he refused to reveal.

When he wouldn’t reveal where he got the large pile of data, his transmissions were ignored. Even his invasion warning was written off as garbage.

Once the invasion took place, exactly as described, he had instant credibility. If only they had listened sooner.

Roessler continued to supply intel that permitted Stalin to stay one step ahead of the Germans. Now, if only his superiors would have listened sooner.

This is the challenge with the intelligence organizations. Which information is good and which is junk? If they had realized how solid his intel was earlier, how many lives could have been saved?

Now, you may think these things never happen in the modern world with all of the information we have at our fingertips. But, look at all the warning signs for 9/11/2001. Had we connected those dots and believed the right sources we might have prevented that attack, and how many lives could have been saved?

As a P.S. to this post. I was researching this time in history for an idea I had for an Historic Thriller novel. If you are a history buff, like fiction novels, and want to know more about the WWII actions in the Pacific theatre, you may enjoy my book China Bones. It can be found on Amazon (click on the words China Bones).

A World War II Lesson, and Hitler’s Rise to Power Applied to Modern American Politics

In the United States politics has evolved into this sort of blood sport with people separating themselves by party. Once put into groups there are members of those groups who follow the various party leaders almost without question. I’m convinced that some people, if their party leadership said jump off a bridge, it would be helpful to our cause, there would be a few people doing exactly as ordered.

It is getting close to these “cults of personality” that have been discussed before in an older post you can find by clicking the words cult of personality. I am not saying we are Nazi Germany, but do we have the potential?

When we rally behind politicians because they are “the hope” or the one who will “make us great again” for no other reason than we like the buzz word, or worse, just hate that other person running for office so much we will go with anything to make sure they don’t win that we might be repeating some mid-20th century history.

Now for our applicable bit of History.

On June 29, 1934, the Chief of the German General Staff, (General Ludwig Beck) met with Adolf Hitler. Beck had recently taken this position, and had sought it out, because he had concerns about the man in question.

Remember that Hitler had been a Corporal (and not a good one) in World War I, which had ended in 1918. Doing the math that is only 16 years, and in 1924 Hitler had spent 9 months in prison.

Doing another bit of math, as we continue to watch people rise to prominence in the United States over night, at very young ages and inexperience levels, Hitler was born in 1889. That makes him 45 years of age at this point. Yet, 17 months prior to this meeting in 1934 Hitler had been appointed, not elected, as Chancellor of all of Germany by the elderly, and known to be senile President Paul von Hindenburg.

General Beck had requested his current assignment because as part of his job he would have to know what Hitler’s real plans for Germany were. He had a concern that the young leader would want to re-arm Germany that had disbanded most of its military after World War I, and then launch a war of expansion. Hitler denied these claims, but Beck wasn’t so sure. In that meeting, he warned Hitler that any war started by Germany would quickly become multi-front and that their beloved country would not survive.

There is a military lesson there. Never try to fight a war on more than one front. It never goes well. The US has a policy that we should be ready to do so, but in my opinion as a veteran, we should fight fewer wars. We should also never fight two at once. Sorry for the digression, back to my point.

After the meeting, General Beck returned to his office where that same afternoon he received a phone call from Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. The admiral had been a highly productive and especially talented spy in World War I. During that phone call Canaris expressed to the General that he held many of the same concerns about Hitler.

That information dump from Canaris had another, far more dangerous bit of information. If word leaked out that this was known, surely both of them would have been in danger. Canaris knew, and shared with General Beck, that Hitler was preparing to wipe out (sometimes with deadly action) anyone opposed to his Nazi regime, and intentions to take complete control of Germany.

First on the hit list were General Kurt von Schleicher, Hitler’s predecessor as Chancellor. Second was General Kurt von Bredow who was Schleicher’s friend and assistant.

General Beck was concerned. He was so against such action that at great personal risk he warned Schleicher who said he wasn’t worry.

At noon, June 30, 1934, the very next day after all this took place 5 men walked into Schleicher’s home, found him in his study hard at work, and shot him to death. The noise cause his wife to burst into the room to see what was going on, and she was also gunned down.

General Bredow was notified of this murder two hours later. He was concerned and told the man he was meeting with that “Schleicher was the only man who could save Germany.”

Bredow was in his home a little after 5pm that same day. Two men rang the bell, Bredow came to the door and was shot to death.

With this action, Hitler had set in motion a plan to annihilate anyone who opposed him. But this was about to become more political.

General Werner von Blomberg ordered that Schleicher and Bredow were to be regarded as traitors. He further ordered that no General or Admiral was to attend their funeral. These orders, of course, originated with nonother than Adolf Hitler.

In an act of opposition, General Beck and Admiral Canaris went to the funeral. Not only did they go, but they went in full uniform and participated. They were stopped at the gates to the cemetery by SS officers who were loyal to Hitler. So, the control freak was going to get what he wanted, one way or the other.

On August 2, 1934, the 87-year-old President Paul Ludwig von Hindenburg died. Prior to his death, Hitler had obtained a Political Testament from the man that Adolf should replace him. Recall that Hindenburg was known to be senile. Senility is a legitimate concern in political leaders, something the world should take pay attention to, and prevent. Looking at the members of the House and Senate in the United States, one can ask the question how many suffer from such issues.

Moments after Hindenburg’s deal Hitler declared himself the fuhrer (supreme leader).

Hitler’s next act was to order all of Germany’s Generals and Admirals to assemble. He made them swear an oath, not to Germany, but to Hitler. This same oath was then repeated by the military all over Germany:

“I swear by God the holy oath, that I will render to Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer of the German nation and people, supreme commander of the armed forces, unconditional obedience, and I am ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath.”

Kind of frightening words if you think about it. Yet how many political parties are now demanding allegiance on every single issue in their platform. If you don’t agree leave the party is the general mantra these days.

Next up Hitler wasn’t done removing opposition. He had two more generals on his radar. First was General Werner von Blomberg, and the General Werner von Fritch. These two were to be the handy work of Hermann Goering. This time they weren’t killed, they were politically destroyed. Someone found dirt (of a sexual nature involving prostitutes) and used it to force them to “retire for health reasons.”

So, you see, Hitler new the game. Kill those you must to show you can, then destroy other opposition’s reputations. Whatever it takes to get to the top. Next time we have a campaign season, watch the number of negative ads and see if this one still takes place.

At this point the world had started to take note of Germany’s Generals having some kind of health epidemic. They also realized that Hitler had seized control of Germany with only a few shots being fired.

The moral of this story is several things.

First, appearances matter to the rest of the world. Our political leadership needs to know this, and realized their actions matter.

Second, blindly following a political leader because a large party of people said so, might not be a great idea. It is ok to question people of your own party, respectfully, and even disagree. Blindly following, well, is a really bad idea.

Third, could Hitler have been stopped by General Beck? Perhaps his spy friend? I think so. Had either one gone public, or just shot the man, the world might have been saved and 10s of millions of lives spared. The holocaust might not have happened.

Finally, these lessons show us we must question our leaders. We must hold them to their word. When they say things like “I will protect this group of citizens from that other evil group,” all of these things matter. Divisiveness is bad. The thought that we shouldn’t question a leader, even one we voted for, is ludicrous. The fact that citizens will cut friends from their life, or call each other names, or even get into fights for the mere act of giving or attending a speech…just silly.

We need to come together as a nation, learn from history, and move forward as a nation that can, and will lead the world into an era of peace.

As a P.S. to this post. I was researching this time in history for an idea I had for an Historic Thriller novel. If you are a history buff, like fiction novels, and want to know more about the WWII actions in the Pacific theatre, you may enjoy my book China Bones. It can be found on Amazon (click on the words China Bones).

Unexplained Mysteries of WW2 by William Breuer – Dress Rehearsal for Pearl Harbor?

William Breuer was a military historian with more than two dozen books to his credit. He passed away several years ago, but his work is still with us, and continues to fascinate readers.

He had a deeper knowledge base of the war than most writers, and it wasn’t just the big battles. He had details on little things that might have turned the tide on any given day than any other historian to the best of my knowledge.

He wrote a book called Unexplained Mysteries of World War 2 that contains a ton of stories about events that have not been fully explained across the intervening decades between that horrific period in history and now. One of those was about an event that occurred long before the war. It happened in China on December 12, 1937. This one, or so his theory says, could have been a test run for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

People tend to forget is that before the War the United States had troops in China. They had been there for a variety of reasons and pulled out before Pearl Harbor. Mostly we knew the position would be taken over, and the men killed or imprisoned if we left them in place.

On that fateful December day, a Lieutenant Mastake Okuyama led a squadron of Japanese Imperial Navy bombers flying up along the Yangtze River. That river is some 3,100 miles long that eventually empties into the Yellow Sea. At that point in time it was used primarily for transportation of goods and people to get out of a number of cities into the open ocean for movement to the rest of the world. At the same time the bombers were going up that river the USS Panay (a U.S. Navy gunship) was going down the river.

Normally the Panay had one job, protect US shipping on that river from pirates that tended to raid other vessels of anything valuable. On this day there was a Lieutenant Command James J Hughes serving as the Captain of the vessel which was equipped to fight pirates, not bombers. The ship was also transporting U.S. citizens out of Nanking which was under siege by the Japanese military. It had four U.S. Embassy officials, five refugees, and a number of western journalists on board. The picture of this boat going down the River was obviously one of U.S. activity given the giant US flags flapping in the wind off the bow.

Now, before we get into what happened there is something that must be revealed. In 1927, Japanese military leaders decided that armed conflict with the United States was inevitable. At that time they put together a top secret plan called the Tanaka Memorial which was their plan for military conquest of China and for that eventual war with the United States. Might that have had something to do with what comes next?

If you read our book called China Bones you can find a very dramatic telling of what happened to the Panay. The result was that it was sent to the bottom of that river.

Recall that there were reporters on the ship. They showed that the attacking aircraft came in so low that there was no way, based on the direction of their attack and the placement of the US flags that the Japanese pilots could have not known the Panay was a US ship.

As the Panay started to sink, to make matters a little more intriguing, a Japanese ship came up on the Panay and opened fire on the already doomed ship. Once the Panay was evacuated the Japanese sent several officers on board looking for equipment or top secret documents in a quick search of the bridge.

Over the next several days the survivors and wounded form that ship had to hide, and travel on foot across the Chinese countryside looking for safety. Again, this ordeal was shown in the historic fiction novel China Bones.

The day after the sinking of the Panay the Japanese military went into the city of Nanking and launch a barbaric bloodbath the likes of which had not been seen on the planet for hundreds of years. Even German military who witnessed it were shocked in their reports back to Berlin. In that attack more than 250,000 Chinese men, women, and children perished. It was an attack that came to be known as the Rape of Nanking.

To make matters worse, a number of days later, a Japanese officer was quoted in the news as saying he had orders to open fire on the Panay.

Was the attack really an accident? Was the attack planned?

Well, William Breuer offers up an alternative theory.

Perhaps this event was a test. Perhaps, just perhaps, it was a trial run for Pearl Harbor. Ok, now we know, Pearl Harbor had much larger Navy vessels, and a lot greater ability to respond but the ability of our military to fight isn’t the theory.

Perhaps the axis powers wanted a way to see what the US would do IF the US was attacked. Perhaps they wanted to be able to attack our forces and take out large amounts of equipment and the result would be public condemnation of the attack, and not a counter attack as we did not counter the attack on the Panay.

Maybe that was the idea, but history knows that we did indeed respond to Pearl Harbor and the rest, as they say, is history.

Vietnam War Magazine – Cover Story – Trapped at Loc Ninh

As a guy who writes, reads and enjoys historic fiction novels I commonly read magazines that target different historic events. I was reading a current copy of one that targets the Viet Nam War. The cover story is an interesting event about a group of surrounded and outgunned soldiers.

Being a curious guy I picked it up, and realized that the cover story was indeed about an event in the war that was worth a cover story. When I started reading I became frightened. The first two to three pages were dates, locations, distances, unit numbers, and of course the obligatory facts and figures about armaments.

I kept thinking to myself, wow this is really getting painful, and should have been done in power point, not in paragraph form. Then, I continued to read. It did get better. It put me in the middle of the battle. I was right alongside the men as tracers filled the sky and trees exploded from RPG hits.

The article touched on something that I don’t see often enough.

When the concept of War or battles comes up there is a part of the population that likes to glorify these things, and there is a good reason to do so, to a certain limit.

In a modern sense, there are also those who are very quick to claim we should “send troops,” or “put boots on the ground,” whenever a world event happens.

As a military veteran, I always roll my eyes when I hear this. Typically, it comes from someone who hasn’t served, hasn’t been overseas, and whose involvement with the military involves sharing pictures of flags on their social media pages.

The article touches, specifically and well, on the fact that when soldiers see things that happen on the battle field it sticks with them forever. It is not normal to see someone blown to pieces before your eyes. It is not a normal behavior to throw rounds down range and kill people. These are things then men and women do, but it isn’t something we should rush into. It sticks with them an impacts the rest of their lives.

We should honor veterans for their sacrifices, we should thank them, and we should ensure that far fewer people ever must see combat.

Several of my books (click books at the top of this page) are about different military actions (some historic fiction, some pure fiction), but I try to give combat as it is, not as it is typically glorified to be. Thankfully multiple combat vets have left reviews that said, “you got it right.”

For that, thank you, and to our combat vets for their service, and sacrifice, thank you. I hope we are in a position to have fewer combat veterans in the future.

Degrees – A random reader review from Goodreads

Like most authors I do like to look at feedback from various readers. It helps form concepts and styles for future works. I found this review of a book I worked on with Devon Crowe just sitting there on and I am glad that this person noted all the hard work put into this novel.

The book is called Degrees and can be found on Amazon in Print, Kindle, and Audiobook.

“Earth is currently the only place we have to call home. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to take care of our home not only for ourselves but for future generations. Our consumption rate is out of control with no end in sight. The consequences of our daily actions are beginning to rear their ugly heads and we must find suitable, and sometimes drastic, solutions for the betterment of the entire planet. This behavior cannot go on forever. Although the book is written in a fictional format, the issues are not fictional. This book addresses very real problems and issues we are now facing. There will always be naysayer in our world no matter what the issue. Finding real, workable solutions so that we can live to debate other issues is what I hope we can achieve. I congratulate the authors on the extensive research and work in these areas of science and being able to bring the information to the masses in such a way to be understandable and thought-provoking. I truly look forward to the next installment.”

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I have always enjoyed Edgar Rice Burroughs writing. The challenge of today is that some of his earlier work is so old that it uses some language that is a bit archaic. I recently finished up a project that resulted in an annotated (footnoted) version of this book to help readers with the language that can be found on Amazon in kindle and print forms.

This book is really interesting, even today. First published in 1912, more than a hundred years ago, doesn’t stop it from containing themes that make you think about the society we are faced with even today.

First, let’s just say this up front, his information about Mars is a bit old. He did base the descriptions of Mars based on an 1895 work by Percival Lowell who speculated that the red planet was an arid and dying landscape. Percival went on to say that the inhabitants of that planet had been forced to build canals so that they could bring water from the polar caps to the usable land more near the equator. In the early 20th century Lowell published two more times developing the concept of a dying planet, and Burroughs used those ideas in this science fiction novel very well.

The book starts out as a western, but rapidly turns science fiction when John Carter, our hero, is transported to Mars through an ancient Indian cave out in Arizona. The book then touches on race, race relations, and even brings up population control with a strange form of abortion of babies that just weren’t quite perfect (post birth). He then weaves in narratives of love, dominance of the greater warrior, and even fairness in warfare. He seemed to be a real believer that in order for warfare to “count” it would only be honorable if both sides used similar weapons.

Those are all certainly topics that apply to the world in the early 21st century. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science fiction, and also just to kick off some philosophical thoughts of any number of inter-human (or Martian?) relationships.


How would Aliens view us? Edgar Rice Burroughs told us a century ago

I was recently taking some time to read for pleasure. That is something that I don’t get a chance to do often because, well, work, kids, and I’m sure I can come up with a dozen more excuses, but they are just excuses.

When I was a kid there were loads of UFO stories that flew around. Now, they don’t happen as often thanks to modern technology. People understand what is flying around above them.

However, that doesn’t stop me from thinking about what any alien race who landed on (or observed) Earth would think about us tiny little humans.

So, there I was, reading a very old Edgar Rice Burroughs Novel and footnoting it thanks to some of the archaic language (I know, I’m a nerd).

Mr. Burroughs said the following: “human life has come to be considered but lightly on Mars, as is evidenced by their dangerous sports and the almost continual warfare between the various communities.”

In full context, the Martians tend to live for around 1,000 years. They were able to do so because they had wonderful medical care, and never fought wars. They viewed us as more than a little strange because we had a tendency to do these things, and as a result, kill off the strongest, smartest, and youngest members of our species. As a result, we were basically considered a lesser species.

Looking at our news lately I see much of this. We have wars, we have people saying bomb those people over there, kill these people over here. It is just something we have grown used to. Let’s not worry about it anymore, it’s only some missiles or a drone!

Yes, we should be concerned. We should consider ways to have men stop killing each other.