My conversation with a Retired NFL Player

I had the chance yesterday to talk to a retired NFL player on a variety of topics.

In addition to writing books (which I very much enjoy) I am a scientist. As such I solve problems. That’s what is the most misunderstood thing about scientists. We aren’t magical, we don’t have some huge insight no one else has. We have a variety of problem solving tools and it is all a matter of what problem you focus on.

So, the problem in the back of my mind ever since my son broke his arm is protective equipment for sports.

Speaking on condition of anonymity the man I was talking to retired in the mid 80s and was on a team that won the Superbowl during his years (he was a starter).

He mentioned something multiple times that is kind of disturbing. Safety of players (down to high school) is not necessarily about keeping players safe and having a good time as a fan. It is about money.

How do I know?

Simple, I have been looking at injury statistics from an angle that I don’t suspect anyone has before. Head injuries are a real focus for the league, or so they claim. Why is it they are giving it lip service and perhaps not doing everything they can? Why do I believe that?

Turf.

Why do I say that?

Concussions happen more often on any other surface other than natural turf. On real grass the rate of head injuries does seem to go down, at least from what I can tell on publicly available injury data.

This was confirmed by the retired player.

He then explained to me why artificial turf got started. It had NOTHING to do with playing the game. It had everything to do with maintenance cost. It is cheaper for an owner to put in artificial turf than natural grass due to the maintenance. So, in other words, to squeeze out a slightly higher margin on their monthly profit statement, they put in turf that can and has been known to hurt the very players we all want to go watch.

I suspect I will be posting more on this subject soon. I’m not sure if this series will become a “how to fix injuries” series or a “NFL profit machine” series or a “players vs owners” series but one of those three is likely to happen as I dig into this.

Advertisements

Autistics as targets…scapegoats for others part 5 of 7

This is part 5 of a series. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so, and but if not, everything in italics is carry over from that post in case you have not seen it. If you have, skip past that part and move forward to the new information.

As some of you know I am on the autism spectrum. I am what is known as a highly functional autistic. Do I accomplish things? Sure. Do I have many of the traits autistics have, absolutely. Do I wish I didn’t? Well, I’d be lying if I didn’t say there are days…but then there are days I think I’m just who I am.

My case is a little different than most. I didn’t know I was on the spectrum until I was older (in my 40s). How could that have happened? Well I can sum it up quickly.

About ten years ago I got married to a wonderful, very understanding woman. We have three kids. About the time number two came along we had kids to pediatricians as every parent does. We answered all the questions about a variety of subjects, well our second son is on the spectrum. Then, I called my mother (the child’s grandmother) with a “kid update” and the subject came up. Low and behold, my mother said something along the lines of you were diagnosed with that as a kid and we never told you.

What?

You what?

First, how could you not tell someone. But that’s not the point here. If I had known that years prior it could have saved me from making some huge mistakes in life, or at least allowed me to arm myself appropriately. Am I still angry about this? Well, in some ways, but I can’t change the past, and I can’t change who I am so I’m moving on.

Why put all this on my website, especially when you can see at the top that I have written some books that I hope you read and enjoy? Well, I came across this blog on wordpress called askpergers (askpergers.wordpress.com) that is really well done. He deserves some thank you from me for helping me understand a few things.

The author had a post that deserves some attention. He listed out 7 different reasons for autistics being the targets of bullies, people who would take advantage of someone, or in general what I like to call assholes.

I will go into all 7 of his reasons and why I agree with him or can offer up some measure of personal example of how this happened and what might be possible to do to prevent it in the future.

Because sometimes autistic people struggle to understand how to fit in socially, they may do anything they feel necessary to fit in with peers.

First, let me say OMG this is so true. I have done things for people that no rational person would ever do. I have loaned money, I have done favors, I have massively inconvenienced myself and my family just to make one person happy more times than I care to admit.

If you know a person who is on the spectrum and you see them destroying certain parts of their life just for that “one new friend,” and they are doing so without any form of rational thought please talk to them.

Also, if you have employees who are on the spectrum, and see other employees asking “favors of a friend” and that one employee working their guts out to make everyone else happy…please…I beg you, pull that guy working himself to death just to make people like him and tell him to work differently. Someone did that for me and it changed my professional life. Now, if I am not sure if it is happening again I ask my sounding board (neurotypical wife) and she helps me sort through it. It has saved me a lot of time trouble and pain.

Why people do this to autistics, other than their own laziness, is beyond me. I wouldn’t do that to someone, and I now despise it when I see that it is happening to me. Someday I’ll figure out how to not hold a grudge, but I’m not there yet!

America, We Have a Problem

America, we have a problem. Can we talk? I mean really?

Enough warfare glorification, drooling, and chomping at the bit to go back for more.

I get it, I write books about the military and their actions in war. I am a veteran, lots of my friends are but this is just one step over the damn line.

The tweet below, and my response, was earlier today (Nov 15).

 

Capture

Look, I know there are bad people in the world. Sometimes, those people need their ass handed to them. I get it.

However, this guy is a freaking FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR.

He is basically saying in, in three little words, that if we aren’t bombing the shit out of someone we aren’t “America” or we are “lessened” in some way.

Ever veteran I know is willing to do what they need to in order for the world to be safer. Rarely will you ever find one that says…yeah let’s go get shot at today, it’ll be fun. We have turned ourselves into a series of drooling junkyard dogs (with apology to the dog), if this is the way news contributors think.

Now, as to my books. Someone will read this and criticize me blah blah. I guarantee you they have never read my stuff. I don’t glorify anything, I show just how nasty it can be, and how hard it can be to cope once you come back to the “real world.”

This kind of crap…I think we all can see, must end.

This guy, and people like him, are a problem. Freedom of the press, I get it but this isn’t freedom of the press, this isn’t reporting news, this is spreading violent streaks. This kind of thinking is what gets people who are a little crazy to justify mass shootings.

Ok, end of rant. Someone put a muzzle on this guy, Fox someone have a talk with him, this isn’t news, this is a freaking problem.

Enigma Machines Still Giving us Trouble ENIGMA@HOME

When I was in my 20s, and studying Physics for my undergraduate degree I started looking into ways I could contribute to the basis of scientific knowledge in my spare time. I know…I know get out just a little more. Bear with me a moment.
Someone (probably one of my classmates) told me about this computer screensaver I could install called SETI@HOME. In other words, the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence at home. You could install it on your computer and use your unused CPU cycles to search through radio astronomy data for signs of aliens on other planets. It was run by some people at The University of California, Berkley, and was a really interesting idea.
No, I didn’t find anything but I found the concept interesting. Using unused computer cycles to do useful things. Over the years I have kept other types of these programs installed, and there are now a growing list you can participate in through BOINC (Berkley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing).
These guys now have dozens of things you can participate in yourself using your computers unused CPU cycles. If you are the one that finds something interesting they do alert you, and you will find some competitive people who want to be “the one” to find whatever it is that the particular project is chasing.
In recent years I have become really interested in World War 2, as well as Viet Nam History. This spawns from the work on two different historic fiction novels. The Forest of Assassins, and China Bones (both available on Amazon in print, kindle and audible versions).
That passion is now something I can devote my unused computer cycles to! Enigma machines were these little boxes that the German military used to code and decode messages that they didn’t want the Allies to intercept and use. In other words they carried some of the most secret stuff across the communications channels that the Germans had.
Well, the guys at BOINC now have Enigma@Home (http://www.enigmaathome.net/). As it turns out there are still 3 original Enigma messages that have never been decoded. Even all these decades later. I am personally using lots of my unused computer cycles to help and I encourage you, dear reader, to do the same.

If I can help decode one and there is something juicy in it, who knows maybe there will be a new historic fiction novel in the works. But, for now, enjoy China Bones if you like WW2 history. You will find it a nice read!

Writing the Apocalypse, it is harder than you think

Writing the apocalypse is a hard thing to do. Let’s assume you are a writer, storyteller, movie maker, or just someone who enjoys thinking about how YOU would tell a story instead of the way some other person has done it.

Now, let’s assume you want to write about the end of the world. Assuming your story is more complex than BOOM the world exploded (George Lucas pulled that one off) it is a hard thing to start. How do you want to destroy the world? Chemical? Biological? Aliens? Zombies…again?

Do you start with the world already destroyed and just live through the aftermath as one of those lucky survivors? What to do? There are endless choices.

I am in the middle of writing a series that will, ultimately, become one in that genre. It took me an entire book to open up that apocalyptic story line. It didn’t destroy just a ton of stuff, but I wanted to tell that story from the beginning. How would it begin?

In my case I chose political chaos. World leaders not getting along, someone taking advantage of a leadership shakeup in one nation, in this case one of the few remaining superpowers. That might do it?

That story thread turned into how would I do it? Well, in this case nuclear has to be the start. What has enough bang to get the U.S. to respond with the heat of 1,000 suns. Well, I’m not sure we can do more than we did in the Global War on Terror UNLESS we were responding to a nuclear attack.

Find the last world war on Amazon by clicking here!!!

I took some criticism for that first book. People thought (and told me loudly) YOU ARE SO WRONG. If someone nukes the US we would turn them to glass. I’m not so sure. First, I’ve met a lot of DC based politicians. I’m not sure we would take that retaliatory nuclear strike so lightly, especially if the nation that nuked us used up their entire arsenal in the attack (limited to five) and we could still crush them conventionally.

Then, I thought about it. And I think I am right. The US if attacked with a very small number of nuclear weapons (two in my story) would not respond nuclear. We would handle it conventionally. I’m almost certain of it.

But what happens on round two of a nuclear strike? Or a nuclear strike with a follow on invasion? What do we do then?

Can the world be turned into something where humans really do struggle for survival? Well, yes we can. In the series The Last World War, that is exactly what happens. Book 2 is almost complete, I thank you for your patience, and that series will live up to the phrase…Go big or go home!

Thanks to everyone who has enjoyed my writing! I will keep putting it on the page, if you keep turning those pages.

Megadeth, The Symphony of Destruction explains corrupt leaders perfectly

If you have been alive in the last few years you have turned on the news and seen a story about corruption, corruption in search of power, abuse of power, or just plain abuse (involving someone in a position of you guessed it….power).
For a long time it was politician a accusing politician b of being whatever or calluding with whoever. Now it is wall to wall Hollywood heavyweights (male) behaving badly. What we are discovering is this has gone on for decades without being reported. The skeptic in me says people will do anything, no matter how demeaning for…you guess it, access to power (in this case I equate fame and fortune to power).
So, what the hell does this have to do with the Megadeath tune Symphony of Destruction, released way back in June of 1992?
Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics and dissect it a little bit.

You take a mortal man
And put him in control
Watch him become a god
Watch people’s heads a’roll
A’roll, a’ roll

There is an old saying that goes “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Well, Megadeath merely modernized this saying, perhaps explaining it a little bit. We have to look societally at how we treat politicians and celebrities. We hang on their every word, we hope that the President will say something just the way we want, we look to movie producers for directions that pop culture will go (in other words what will be and what won’t be popular). We do this instead of decided all for ourselves, we look to these famous people for what we should think, thus treating them like a god (small g on purpose).
Should we do this? Why are some of the people we look up to even famous? I mean, seriously there are a few I see on magazine covers that are famous for not a whole lot other than nudity stunts (let’s face it, that’s all it is in some cases).
For others, *cough* Weistein, it is because he can MAKE you famous, and for that we love(d) him. Does that make his behavior ok? Well, no, it doesn’t but remember what we learned in that paragraph or phrase. We gave him the power to make gods. We allowed that corruption to go on for years without saying anything.
Let’s look at the refrain from Symphony of Destruction.

Just like the Pied Piper
Led rats through the streets
We dance like marionettes
Swaying to the symphony
Of destruction

Are we the rats? Are we dancing like marionettes? Ask yourself, do you vote for a politician because of the letter after their name without thinking about their policies? Do you go into a movie or TV show with preconieved notions of good or bad based on who directed or stars in it? Let’s face it we do that. Let me be the first to say I’m a huge Tom Hanks fan, but I have seen Joe Versus the Volcano and wow was that a stinker. He isn’t perfect.
Essentially, what I am saying is do not be a rat, or for that matter do not dance like a marionette because someone in a position of power told you to do so.

Acting like a robot
Its metal brain corrodes
You try to take its pulse
Before the head explodes
Explodes, explodes

Does the general population of the country act like a robot? Do we all wear the same clothing styles? Perhaps hair style? Cars, watches? Do we do what we are told (generally speaking)? Answer that question for yourself but from time to time trying to conform to what people think I should do does make my head want to explode. Maybe it’s that I’m on the autism spectrum, or perhaps it is because I like thinking for myself and hate being told what I should do, or (this is a pet peeve) “what I want.” On that last note, how many friends have you talked to about something, say a new car, and said “I want ___.” What you hear in response is, “oh no, what you want is _____.” Who is the robot there?

The earth starts to rumble
World powers fall
A’warring for the heavens
A peaceful man stands tall
Tall, tall

Have we been on the brink of war for a long time? Some would argue we have been in a war for more than a decade. Is this World War 3 and we just don’t want to admit it yet?
Don’t be a marionette. Think for yourself. Enjoy the books you want to enjoy (hopefully one of those is mine), see the movies you want and ignore those you find predictable, and more importantly, if you take part in the political process, that is where it is vital to think for yourself.

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.

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).