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The Freemasons

Masons hard at work / lessons-from-history.com

Masons hard at work / lessons-from-history.com

Even today, in predominantly Roman Catholic countries the word Mason, or Francmason or Masonería is taboo in polite society. Spanish people assure you that Masons are only one step better than the Devil, that they have been behind every evil conspiracy, that their presence among politicians spells disaster etc. But in protestant countries Masonry is as acceptable as Methodism, and in England, for example, the Masons finance and manage charitable organisations of the best kind, such as the Royal Masonic Hospitals, schools and universities.

   The origins of Freemasonry are mysterious; some kind of continuity exists between guilds of stonemasons, responsible for the building of most of the vast cathedrals to be found everywhere in Europe, and the Masonic lodges of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The process, and the order, continues to the present day, though not so openly in Catholic countries. (more…)

By | 2014-10-02T08:56:52+00:00 October 1st, 2014|Church history, German History, Philosophy, Today, US History|0 Comments

Colonization

/ from a painting by Angus McBride - posterlounge.co.uk

/ from a painting by Angus McBride – posterlounge.co.uk

These days the word strikes a sour note, arousing images of rough settlements, starving ‘piccaninies’, whips, shackles, thoughtless government from a distance of thousdands of miles etc. If there are any ‘colonies’ left after the post-war rush to be rid of them I think it is because the ‘colonists’ prefer it that way. 90% of colonies which achieved independence have suffered under bad or atrocious rule since being ‘freed’, with the possible exception of the United States, and even there half the settlers in the Thirteen Colonies claimed they did not wish for independence from British rule, and after 1776 sold up lock, stock and barrel and moved to Canada, where they were welcomed. (more…)

War in the air Part II: Per Ardua Ad Astra

 

 

A scene from the film The Battle of Britain / omfdb.org

A scene from the film The Battle of Britain / omfdb.org

  The Blizkrieg from Nazi Germany that opened the Second War in 1939 showed that apart from tank power, air power was a vital component of Hitler’s war efforts. Germany pounded the meagre defences of Poland from the air, breaking communications, causing death and chaos on a scale not known by the suffering Poles not even during their centuries of abuse by neighbours. Dive-bombers called Stukas were used by the Luftwaffe, and a malevolent touch was added by their fitted sirens, terrorizing populations as the bombers hurtled almost vertically down from brilliant blue skies, releasing their lethal cargo at the last moment before straightening out. Many pilots, very young and with very little experience, did not straighten out, with the result that the Stuka made a bigger hole in the earth than its bombs. The efficient and very fast Messerschmidt I09 and 110 fighters attacked the ramshackle Polish aircraft without mercy, destroying most of the aeroplanes on the ground even before the pilots could climb into them. Many of these young ill-disciplined but courageous young men escaped to England, and were to take an important part in the air Battle of Britain. Assault parachutists were dropped from heavier German aircraft – a new use of air power pioneered by the Germans and quickly copied by Germany’s enemies. Parachutists were extensively used in the attack and invasion of Crete in 1941. (more…)

The Inquisition

Popular conception of question time in the Spanish Inquisition / newsbiscuit.com

Popular conception of question time in the Spanish Inquisition / newsbiscuit.com

This was a Catholic tribunal founded on a temporary basis in France and Germany. Its purpose was to seek out heresy, prosecute and punish it. In the thirteenth and later centuries how you decided to worship God in Europe was not optional. Heretics were severely punished, often capitally, by burning alive. The latter is probably the most painful way to die, but the Church believed that only by burning could the non-conformist devil in a person be driven out and destroyed.

   The country of Spain, and later its empire, is chiefly associated by historical novelists with the Inquisition, also known as the ‘Holy Office’ or Santo Oficio. A medieval inquisition was set up in the kingdom of Aragon, with headquarters in Tarragona, but this was superceded in the late fifteenth century by the newly invented Castilian or Spanish Inquisition, founded by a papal bull by Sixtus VI in 1478. The branch was devoted first and foremost to investigating how converted Jews and Muslims were behaving now that they were Christian. The Spanish Jews and Muslims of Castilla had been forced to embrace Christianity in the stern form of Catholic Faith in 1492 and 1502 respectively. (more…)

Hohenstaufen (1138 – 1254) and Hohenzollern (1417 – 1918)

Brandenberg - old and new / en-wikipedia.org

Brandenberg – old and new / en-wikipedia.org

The Hohenstaufen dynasty was named after the castle of Staufen (long ruined) in north-eastern Swabia. From 1338 to 1254 its leader were crowned as Holy Roman Emperor, beginning with Conrad III and finishing with Conrad IV, but the dynasty reached its apogee with Frederick I known as Barbarossa (12th century) and Frederick II (13th century). They were kings of a small region then called Germany, and of Sicily as well. Their period is best known for developing courtly culture and some chivalry. (more…)

By | 2014-08-25T09:27:38+00:00 August 25th, 2014|German History|0 Comments

Augsberg (Interim, Confession, League of & Peace of)

Augsberg in 1550 / en-wikipedia.org

Augsberg in 1550 / en-wikipedia.org

On the northern tip of the Lechfeld plain in Bavaria, two rivers meet and conjoin – the Lech and the Wertach. Here an occupying Roman called Nero Claudius Drusus (a younger brother of Tiberius) founded a colony in 15 B.C. which eventually grew to become the impressive and ancient city of Augsberg.

   Banks and business houses such as the Fugger (q.v.) and Welser were responsible for its development in the 15th and 16th centuries. It became an important centre for banking and finance, as well as encouraging the arts and sciences. Both Holbein painters, father and son, came from Augsberg, but the city declined in importance in the 17th century and quietly became just another town in Bavaria in the nineteenth. (more…)

By | 2014-08-02T17:38:15+00:00 August 1st, 2014|German History|0 Comments

The War in the Pacific

/ pinterest.com

/ pinterest.com

Officially, this war lasted from December 1941,

/ ww2db.com

/ ww2db.com

when the United States entered the Second World War, until 1945. But the Pacific War really started with the Sino-Japanese War which began in 1937, when Japan’s concern was to defeat China. This was to be achieved by expanding in South-East Asia, so that Japan could control the raw materials on which she so much depended – oil from Dutch East Indies and Burma (now Myanmar); and tin and rubber from Malaya. She had to cut off China’s supply routes from the south, even if this involved friction with the United States. Moving further south involved risk of conflict with Russia in Manchuria (the Russians came off best after a battle with Japan’s army in 1939 at Nomonhan. Then a non-aggression pact was signed with Russia in April, 1941: thankfully, Adolf Hitler did the double-cross and invaded the Soviet Union in June with his Operation Barbarossa (q.v.) (more…)

‘Dr.’ Paul J. Goebbels

The Goebbels family / en.wikipedia.org

The Goebbels family / en.wikipedia.org

Born into a lower class Rhineland family in 1897, Goebbels was rejected for army service due to a crippled foot condition known as ‘club-foot’. As a child he had had a serious attack of polio which left him affected with a limp. He was by no means the ideal of a typical blond Aryan superman, being short, dark haired, with simian features. Psychologists say that these disadvanatges left him mentally unstable for life, but this is dubious, as he proved to have a sharp brain and a cutting wit. (more…)

By | 2014-07-12T12:04:56+00:00 July 10th, 2014|German History, World History|0 Comments

The Condor Squadron

/condorsquadron.org

/condorsquadron.org

This formed part of Adolf Hitler’s contribution to the Nationalist or rebel side during the Spanish Civil War (q.v.). The pilots came mostly from the German middle and upper classes, and their groundcrew, mechanics etc. were boys from the lower classes doing their military service. For both, flying missions in a foreign country whose government (the Second Spanish Republic) had hardly any aircraft to fight them was more like a youthful adventure than real war. The truth is that the young Germans met virtually no opposition during their lethal visits to bomb and strafe Republican Spanish towns, turning the towns into ruins and killing thousands, mostly civilians. (more…)

A brief history of France

Versailles, a possible cause of the Revolution? / britannica.com

Versailles, a possible cause of the Revolution? / britannica.com

This is one of the oldest established nations in the world, and probably the most individualistic. All Frenchmen are conscious of the superiority of their ancient language, and wearied by foreigners trying – usually failing – to speak it properly. France has enjoyed a hate/love relationship with England for a thousand years, unimproved by several dozen bloody wars, and ever since losing great parts of North America to the British, she has decided that both Canada and the United States are there, but must be ignored.

   France’s antique name was Gallia, and there is evidence of pre-historic settlement, shown by paleolithic carvings and rock painting, for example at Lascaux; there are neolithic megaliths at Carnac, and it is accepted that Celtic-speaking Gauls were dominant there by the fifth century B.C. The Romans added Gaul to the Empire in 125 B.C and in it she stayed, more or less protected, but still a Roman region, until successfully invaded and occupied by Germanic tribes in the third and fifth centuries A.D. The Merovingian epoch started with the domination of the Franks (fifth century A.D.) with Clovis I as king of extensive parts of Gaul. The last of the Merovingians was Dagobert I who died in 638, though the rival dynasty survived until the deposition of Childeric III 113 years later. (more…)

By | 2014-06-24T16:35:08+00:00 June 23rd, 2014|German History|0 Comments
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