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The Crusades in brief

Probably the best known of all the crusaders - Richard I 'Lionheart' /

Probably the best known of all the crusaders – Richard I ‘Lionheart’ /

They were a series of military expeditions ranging from the 11th to the 14th centuries, meant to secure Christian rule over the holy places of Palestine controlled by the Muslims. It would not be too much to say that Islam has never forgiven the European Christian kings for what is still seen as presumption. In modern times, the term is extensively used to describe any war encouraged by a moral, religious or political movement. There was a ‘crusade’ recently when the West decided to assist Iraquis in their successful move to dislodge Saddam Hussein. George Bush Senior thought his defence of Kuwait against the same man and country was a ‘crusade’. It seems likely that the woman C. Kirchner, installed as President of Argentina, will shortly embark on a ‘crusade’ firmly to replace the term ‘Falkland Islands’ with ‘Las Malvinas’. Equally, Mr David Cameron will resist this, and employ the word ‘crusade’ as he launches what is left of the British Army and Fleet towards the South Atlantic. (more…)

Nazis invade the Soviet Union: ‘Barbarossa’

Joaquim von Ribbentrop, architect of the Nazi/Soviet Pact

Joaquim von Ribbentrop, architect of the Nazi/Soviet Pact /

Contrary to all expectations, and especially remembering the previously signed Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 achieved by von Ribbentrop, Hitler’s armies invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, using the codename ‘Barbarossa’. Hitler had hinted in 1940 that his future plans would include such an invasion, in a top secret directive issued to the High Command in December of that year. (more…)


My inspiration to write more on this spiny subject came from one of the published Comments on this site. The Comment can easily be found under the subject heading Jewish History. One of my previous posts dealt with statistics connected with The Holocaust. The commentarist restricted himself to using American terminology inviting and requiring intimate oral relations. One assumes that the expression used – “Suck my dick” – indicates a certain disinclination to accept the usual 6-million-dead holocaust statistics. They were I admit wrong, because I had inadvertently left out figures of murdered Jews in Poland and many Soviet satellites, leaving a final figure that lacks substance and does not add up to 6 million. (more…)

Disadvantages of being English and old

One of these (there are many others) is the question of communication if you are British and over fifty-five, with someone equally British but under thirty-five. Multitudes of Brits visit the Atlantic island where I live, tourists mostly. On my ultimate expedition to a favourite seafront restaurant, where the Atlantic actually rolls up and crashes against the seawall below the place, the tables to my right and left were crowded with large English families, an encouraging concept. (more…)

By | 2012-01-01T11:31:48+00:00 January 1st, 2012|Humour, Jewish History, Philosophy, Today|0 Comments

The Olympic Games

Wrestling, one of the original Olympic games /

Wrestling, one of the original Olympic games /

The London 2012 Olympics draw nearer. Several private persons and many corporations will become infinitely richer by the no doubt spectacular ending. Others may well be filing for bankruptcy. Mayor of London Boris Johnson will achieve either more splendour or some derision depending on the results of his and Lord Sebastian Coe’s organisation.

The Olympics are supposed to be a world festival of sports inspired by the ancient Greek games held at Olympia in Greece until their prohibition in 393 AD. Our modern version owes its existence to a Frenchman, the Baron de Coubertin. He conceived a super-championship for amateur sportsmen and athletes to be held every four years. (more…)

Holy Roman Empire

Francis II, last Holy Roman Emperor /

Francis II, last Holy Roman Emperor /

Someone once said that the odd thing about the Holy Roman Empire is that it was not holy, Roman or an empire. This mostly Germanic and North Italian territory was organised under Otto I, who had been crowned by the Pope (holy) in the year 962. In what we call The Middle Ages the Emperor tried to represent an attempt to maintain ancient Roman traditions of European unity blessed by a purely Christian conept of authority ordained by God. Naturally this was resented and there was constant friction with several Popes, which led at the end of the 15th century to an ‘Empire’ which was little more than a legal term for an instituted trusteeship of the German or Teutonic States.


By | 2011-01-31T12:08:06+00:00 January 31st, 2011|German History, Italian History, Jewish History, World History|2 Comments

History of the Bible

The Bible is the sacred book of Christianity. There are many Christian churches, but all accept the two sections of it: the Hebrew scriptures, which we know as the Old Testament, and the Christian writings, known as the New Testament. Roman Catholics, among other Christian churches, accept a third section known as the Apocrypha. This was included in the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint).


The Battle of Arnhem 1944

General Browning, husband of novelist Daphne de Maurier / homeusers.brutele.b

Arnhem is the sixth largest city in the Netherlands. It was the scene of fierce and remorseless fighting between 17 and 26 September, 1944, following the successful invasion of Normandy in June, by allied troops, ships and airforces.

The idea for a parachute/glider-mounted attack in the Dutch Netherlands is said to have been General Montgomery’s, though it was backed by General Eisenhower, supreme commander of the allied forces, and Winston Churchill, Britain’s prime minister. The idea was a very good one, strategically speaking, but it failed to take heed of local advice about cleverly hidden German tank regiments between Nijmegen and Arnhem. In fact the allies decided to take no notice whatever of clear and accurate intelligence. Clearly, in the minds of the planners lay the idea that if Arnhem should prove successful, it would raise the morale of the inading allies tremendously – as indeed it would have – had the Arnhem plan worked.



Anti-clericalism is not the same as anti-Christian movements. Most Roman emperors tried to stamp out Christianity from the death of Christ under Tiberius until Constantine the Great decided to adopt Christianity as an official religion within the Empire, thus ceasing the practice of pitting Christians against lions and other wild animals, such as hyenas, in the ring.

The name anti-clericalism applies in modern times to any policy bent on destroying the moral and political power of the Christian Church, and subordinating its non-spiritual functions within the State. Though there have been many instances of anti-clericalism at the expense of the Orthodox Church (Russia and Turkey), and even now in Moslem countries (see recent massacres of Christians in Iraq and Afghanistan), the term is usually restricted to aggressive hostility towards the Roman Catholic Church, its Pope, bishops, priests, monks and nuns. (more…)

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