(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘World War Two

Playing golf while blitzed…

During World War II, German aircraft from Norway would fly on missions to northern England; because of the icy weather conditions, the barrels of their guns had a small dab of wax to protect them. As they crossed the coast, they would clear their guns by firing a few rounds at the golf courses there. Undaunted, the British played on…

There will always be an England…

From Doug Ross @ Journal, via Boing Boing. [TotH to Don Smith]

As rethink our aversion to bunkers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1805 that a force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries attacked the Tripolitan port city of Derna on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States.  Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in what one might now think of as “the first Libyan War” that Hamet Karamanli presented him with the elaborately-designed sword that serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers; the phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, is a reference to the Derna campaign.

Presley O’ Bannon (source)

Placebos for the drug-free…

From Futility Closet:

In most elevators installed since the early 1990s, the “close door” button has no effect. Otis Elevator engineers confirmed the fact to the Wall Street Journal in 2003.

Similarly, many office thermostats are dummies, designed to give workers the illusion of control. “You just get tired of dealing with them and you screw in a cheap thermostat,” said Illinois HVAC specialist Richard Dawson. “Guess what? They quit calling you.”

In 2004 the New York Times reported that more than 2,500 of the 3,250 “walk” buttons in New York intersections do nothing. “The city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, even as an unwitting public continued to push on.”

TotH to Slashdot (from whence, the photo above).

As we press ahead anyway, we might recall that it was on this date in 1918 that an Armistice was declared, ending World War One. The conflict, which was triggered by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand in 1914, had involved almost 70 million military personnel, and had direct economic costs estimated at $232 trillion.  8.5 million died during the conflict; 21 million were wounded; and there were 7.5 million prisoners & missing.  Aftereffects included the devastation of the European (especially the German) economy that contributed to the outbreak of the second round of the conflict (aka “World War Two”), and the creation of health problems that included the worldwide influenza epidemic that had killed 22 million by 1920.

A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench during the Battle of the Somme (source)

 

Putting the “bust-er” in filibuster…

The Taiwanese Parliament, upholding the tradition that won it the igNobel Peace Prize in 1995, when their citation read:

The Taiwan National Parliament, for demonstrating that politicians gain more by punching, kicking and gouging each other than by waging war against other nations.

As we prepare for the weigh-ins before the November elections, we might recall that it was on this date in in 1938 that Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, French Premier Edouard Daladier, and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact– and sealed the fate of Czechoslovakia, virtually handing it over to Germany.  Back in Britain, Chamberlain declared that the meeting had achieved “peace in our time.”

Rather, by formally ceding the Sudentenland, the Pact granted Hitler and the Nazi war machine 66 percent of Czechoslovakia’s coal, 70 percent of its iron and steel, and 70 percent of its electrical power, and thus, in short order, control of all of Czechoslovakia–  which, by the time Poland was invaded, a year later, had disappeared as an independent nation.

Chamberlain, who had thought Hitler’s territorial demands were “not unreasonable,” and Hitler, a “gentleman,” was ruined as a political leader.  He was hounded from office, to be replaced by Winston Churchill who later observed, relevantly to both subjects of this missive:

Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
- speech in the House of Commons (November 11, 1947)

source

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