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A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism
A Threat from Within: A Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism
by Yakov Rabkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.53

1.0 out of 5 stars Rabkin's False Characterization of Zionism and Judaism, 7 Jun. 2015
Rabkin builds up a strawman that he calls "Zionism" in order to justify
his opposition to Israel. He posits a violently anti-religious movement that sought to rebel against G-d and which all the Rabbis opposed ideologically. Unfortunately, this is a very superficial description of the true historical record. It turns out that in reality, mass aliyah was first proposed by both the Hasidic followers of the Ba'al Shem Tov and the Vilna Gaon in the 18th century. True, there are those who claim, like the Satmar Rav, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum that mass aliyah is forbidden by the "3 oaths" mentioned in the Talmud, Tractate Ketubot, but we see that many, actually most scholars have refuted this. Regarding the supposedly
anti-religious nature of the Zionism, yes, there is a branch that was and is still militantly anti-religious, but there is on the other hand, a very religious element, too, and it has been there from the beginnings of modern political Zionism in the 19th century. The famous Netziv from Volozhin (one of the top leaders of the traditional Orthodox Jewish community in the late 19th century and head of the famed Volozhin Yeshiva) was a member of Hovevei Zion, a proto-Zionist movement that included non-religious people. A famous photograph of a meeting of the Mizrachi religious Zionist movement in Warsaw around the year 1900 shows rows of bearded, black-coated Rabbis. Thus it is UNTRUE to claim that ALL the traditional Orthodox rabbinical leadership was anti-Zionist. The fact of the matter is that most of this group (which later organized itself as the Agudat Israel movement) had mixed feelings, supporting building the Jewish community in Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) but worried about
the anti-religious nature of many of the leaders of the Zionist movement.
Agudat Israel later agreed, upon the establishment of the State of Israel,
to sit in its parliament and participate in national and social issues. The large majority of Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) Jews vote in the elections. This does not mean that they subscribe to all the values of the Zionist movement, there is a great debate going on as to how involved religious Jews of this type should get involved, but the large majority care about Israel, work for its security and support it in the international arena.

Rabkin claims that "really" these people are anti-Zionists (I would define them as non-Zionists since many don't believe the all Jews are REQUIRED to live in Israel and because they oppose military service for various reasons) but they have been "bought-off" by the Zionist establishment. Well, it has been discovered that the spokesman for a radical religious anti-Zionist movement was on Yasser Arafat's payroll for years, so we can just as easily claim that the anti-Zionists have been
paid off. In any event, this claim takes away any matter of choice from
people, claiming that there support for Israel is "really" from base motives, saying that the people really are "stupid". That is why I say to Rabkin and to the current post-Zionist leadership of Israel, that it was the JEWISH PEOPLE who built Israel, not the "Zionist Leadership" of the time, and it belongs to the Jewish people, not one particular political movement. After the Holocaust (which refutes Rabkin's claim that anti-Semitism is due to Israel's policies) the Jewish people voted with their feet that they wanted to return to their ancient homeland, Eretz Israel, and the built it and continue to build it today. Any Jew who goes to synagogue and listens to the weekly Torah portion sees that the Torah is enfused with love of Eretz Israel (e.g. the detailed description of Avraham buying the burial place in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron) so the Jewish people have been absorbing this for millenia, and the desire to return flows from this, not Rabkin's imaginary conspiracy of "anti-religious Zionist rebels". The large majority of Jews in Israel reject Rabkin's claim that "Zionism replaced Judaism with nationalism" and identify themselves as Jews, regardless of their level of religious observance, and the fact is that religious observance of the average Jew in Israel is much higher than those outside of Israel. Knowledge of Hebrew, the language of the Bible and Misha is univesal making these works accessible to everyone, unlike outside Israel and that Jewish religious life and intense Torah study are undergoing their greatest revival in 2000 years, IN SPITE of Rabkin's claim that the Zionist state is supposedly dedicated to eradicating these things.

Yes, there is an ongoing debate in the religious world about the nature of the relationship of religious community of Israel to the (not yet religious) state apparatus, but reading this polemic is not going to give an accurate picture of this.


Iron Coffins: A U-boat Commander's War, 1939-45
Iron Coffins: A U-boat Commander's War, 1939-45
by Herbert Werner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Attempting To Sell The Idea of the "Basically Decent German Soldier" of the Second World War, 1 Jan. 2015
In the years after the Second World War two genres of memoirs by Germans who participated in the war attempted to sell the idea that (1) most Germans who fought were decent and all the horrific atrocities were due to a small coterie of Nazis at the top and
and (2) that if only Hitler had let the Generals run the war, the Germans would have won. This book belongs to the first category.
When I started the book I was hoping for descriptions of the training of the U-boat crews, the kind of men who served in that service and how the immense losses affected them and how they related to their senior officers, particularly "Onkle Karl" Doenitz who has developed a reputation among Germany's former opponents as something of a brilliant "noble warrior".. I also was looking for at least some technical descriptions of how the U-boat operated and how the crew interacted in the claustrophobic, filthy environment they lived in for such long periods. Finally, it would have been interesting to hear about the constant back-and-forth technological race between the two sides as each tried to overcome the war machines of the other side,
In reality there is little of these things in this book. All Werner tells us is that he liked the sea, he served for a while in the surface Kriegsmarine (Navy) and then somehow he ends up in the U-boats Most of the book consists of repetitions of descriptions of all the close calls his boats had and his amazing luck in surviving.
Werner emphasizes how patriotic and unquestioning of authority the men supposedly were and it doesn't seen to bother them, except towards the very end, that they were sent on missions in which they had little chance of surviving and how they were even ordered to carry out a kamikaze-like suicide mission where they were supposed to ram an enemy vessel. He says the German soldiers he encountered on leave, seeing the devastating losses they were facing on the various battle fronts and the destruction of their own country along with their friends and relatives weren't fazed by this and didn't seem to think that they would lose the war. This was certainly a change from the end of the First World War when a large part of the German military, particularly the Navy, mutinied even though the situation was not as desperate as it was towards the end of the Second War. Werner gives no real indication of why there was this change, other than they were supposed to carry out orders "without quesstion".
Werner also mentions that he had to get his father out of the clutches of the dreaded Gestapo when his father was arrested for having a Jewish lover and he does admit he was slightly uncomfortable when he saw the destroyed Jewish shops and synagogues after the pre-war Pogrom of November 9-10, 1938, but none of this really seems to have left much of an impression on him. Regarding the "decent German soldier" claim, he says that when they sank a merchant ship and they saw survivors in a life boat, his U-boat did them a favor and radioed an SOS distress call in order to get an Allied ship to pick them up. That is very nice, but on the classic BBC series "The World At War" a British merchant seaman who managed to get onto a life boat after his ship was sunk related how the U-Boat that torpedoed them surfaced, the "basically decent German seamen" laughed at them, refused to give them water and then sailed away. Many of the men on the lifeboat died before they were rescued. So we see that not necessarily all German soldiers were as decent as Werner claims he was.
Finally, near the end of the war, he is asked to come to Onkle Karl's headquarters and he is shocked to see how the beloved Doenitz, who was said to have loved his men as if they were his sons, was living in luxury along with the senior officers which the country was burning around them and his beloved U-boat crews had to make due with inferior equipment and how they they were sent out to die uselessly by their "Onkle". It should not be forgotton that Doenitz was so highly regarded by Hitler that he was chosen to be the second, and last Fuhrer of the Third Reich Finally, when all is lost, Werner decides to steal a U-boat and to head for safety but he doesn't make it,
At the end of the book we are given extensive descriptions of how badly he and other German soldiers who were now prisoners were treated by the victorious Allies. Perhaps he would have found it somewhat easier to understand if he thought about how HIS 'basically decent Germans' treated those in the occupied countries and the systematic dehumanization they perpetrated against the Slavs and Jews who were murdered in the millions.


The Oppermanns: A Novel
The Oppermanns: A Novel
by Lion Feuchtwanger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.53

5.0 out of 5 stars This Is Not Just About a Terrible Past, But It Tells Us Much About The Present, 29 Dec. 2014
Feuchtwanger wrote an amazing book which came out just after the Nazis came to power in Germany, yet it very accurately shows how a modern, supposedly "civilized" society can practically overnight turn into a monstrous tyranny. I see some of the reviewers take exception to the translation but I thought it was very good. I thought the fact that he used the term "Nationalists" instead of "Nazi" and "Steel Helmets" instead of "Stahlhelm" actually contributed to the story in making it more universal because the word "Nazi" today evocates raw emotions in many people because we know what they did in the end, thus coloring our responses to what we are reading. In 1934 this was all in the future and many people felt that someone they could live with the new regime, or that it would shortly disappear or that it would become more moderate. Thus, this translation allows us to perceive events as they are unfolding at the time.
Another factor to consider regarding the translation is that German literature is very "wordy' compared to English writing styles yet this is not apparent in the translation and the story moves along without bogging us down with excess verbiage.

The mentality of victims, persecutors and bystanders presented to us in the story is tragically still present with us today. For instance in the former Yugoslavia, different ethnic groups that had problematic relationships prior to the creation of post-War Communist Yugoslavia had learned to live together in peace. However, when the country broke up in the 1990's, a few demagogic politicians were able , quite easily, to stir up atavistic ethnic feelings and these people who had been living together in peace began butchering each other.
Another, current example is the frightening rise of the so-called "Islamic State" which has been able to recruit highly educated, seemingly ordinary people, not only from the Middle East, but also from prosperous Western countries and get them to support a bloodthirsty, genocidal movement.
There is nothing new here. Many "idealistic" educated people from around the world joined Nazi Waffen SS for the same reasons. Feuchtwanger shows us how fragile the "civilized" front so many modern, advanced societies is and this should be a warning to everyone.


Gossip from the Forest
Gossip from the Forest
by Thomas Keneally
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Who Was Responsible For The "Stab in The Back" Lie?, 7 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Gossip from the Forest (Paperback)
In 1945, when the Second World War ended with the surrender of Germany and Japan, everyone remembered how the First World War Armistice was signed by a group of low-level politicians and functionaries, so the top German and Japanese commanders were made to sign the instruments of surrender, so that their military leaders couldn't claim that they "weren't really defeated but were betrayed", as was the case by the Germans in 1918. After the Armistice was signed, Field Marshal Hindenburg who was the nominal commander-in-chief claimed that Germany had been "stabbed in the back" and that its retreating, but undefeated army was forced to capitulate for no reason other than betrayal by disloyal elements in the home front.

This fine book deals with members of the German Armistice delegation and how they confronted the unbearably painful responsibility of agreeing in the name of the German Reich to the practical disarming of Germany, including the destruction of its Navy and Air Force and weakening of its economic base.

As interesting as the book is, reading it raises a lot of unanswered questions, for example,

exactly how was it that it came to be that such an undistinguished group of men were chosen for this job. Delegation Chief Matthias Erzberger was an important politician, but as a member of the liberal wing of the Catholic Zentrum (Center) party, he was not involved in the actual decision making of war policy. The other men were basically unknown to the public. There are two possible answers: (1) the book states that outgoing liberal Chancellor Prince Max von Baden wanted the delegation led by a politician who supported the Reichstag's 1917 peace declaration which called for reasonable

peace terms. The Allies had stated that they didn't want to deal with

the "militarists" and "autocrats" who had been running Germany during the War, thus Prince Max felt that keeping the well-known military figures out of the delegation might encourage the Allies to give better terms.

(2) On the other hand, it could be argued that the military figures ruling Germany (Hindenburg, Ludendorff and the rest of the reactionary Prussian military aristocracy that had the real power) were already looking for a way out of having to take responsibility for the disaster they had brought on Germany, and so, using the excuse of the danger of a "Red" revolution, they jettisoned the Kaiser, who was a liability, and installed a Social Democratic goverment, led by incoming Chancellor Friedrich Ebert (whose Socialists they despised) and thrust upon them the onus of signing the Armistice,

and by leaving important military figures out of the delegation, they left the door open for the "stab-in-the-back" myth.

Another problem that I have with the book is that author doesn't give any reference to the sources he used, so the reader can't tell what personal observations and quotes are stated in the text are real and which are "extrapolations" of the author.

Yet another problem I have is that although the author does put us inside he "head" of delegation Chief Erzberger, we are told very little about the other members of the delegation, for example, how is that a "lowly" Captain (Vanselow) is chosed to represent the Germany Navy (at least the Army did send someone of the rank of General (von Winterfeld), but couldn't the Navy at least find an Admiral, even an unknown one?) and why they specifically were chosen.

At the end of the book, we are told how Erzberger came to be assassinated, something that he feared ever since the Armistice, but I would have like to have know if the stain of being a "November Criminal"

stuck to the others as well and what happened to them. The author does mention in passing that Erzberger's murderers were finally apprehended

and convicted after World War II, but I also would have liked to find out who they were and what their sentences were.

Finally, I detected an error in the book near the end where it states that Erzberger felt a sense of relief when he heard that Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau was assassinated, since Rathenau was a Jew, leading Erzberger to think that the right-wing extremists were now after Jews and not "the November Criminals". The only problem is that Rathenau was assassinated a year AFTER Erzberger.

In spite of these drawbacks, I still recommend the book, even though the question of whether it was the German's military's machinations that really led to the delegation's composition or Prince Max's sincere belief in the possibility of Allied leniency is not resolved by reading the book.


Witness to History: Photographs of Yevgeny Khaldei
Witness to History: Photographs of Yevgeny Khaldei
by Yevgeny Khaldei
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jewish War Photographer Who Saw It All, 10 Sept. 2013
It is fitting that two of the most iconic photographs of the Second World War, raising the flag on Iwo Jima and the triumphal flag waving on the Reichstag in Berlin were taken by Jewish photographers....the American Joe Rosenthal and the Soviet Yevgeny Khaldei. This is because the Jews had the most at stake in the war, being caught in the claws of Nazi murder machine, and depending on the antisemitic tyrant Josef Stalin for liberation from that threat. Many of Khaldei's photographs are now world famous, but Khaldei did not get public credit for them after the war, due to Stalin's paranoic antisemitic policies.
Khaldei was in the Soviet part of the war from start to finish, photographing a crowd of Soviet people listening to an official announcement of the German invasion of the USSR, all the way to the triumphal scene on the Reichstag, the liberation of Jews in Budapest from the Nazi terror and the post-war judgement at Nuremberg. He was a master composer of photograhs, as you can amply see in this book. The book is highly recommended for those who want to see the human side of the Second World War, particularly on the bloody Eastern Front, and the travails of the Jewish people in that horrific conflict.


Terror Out of Zion: The Fight for Israeli Independence
Terror Out of Zion: The Fight for Israeli Independence
by Moshe Arens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £33.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Effective Anti-British Underground Of Them All, 19 Aug. 2013
For years, the Israeli Leftist Establishment strongly downplayed the role of the the pre-State Israeli Underground groups ETZEL (Irgun Zevai Leumi) of Menachem Begin and the LEHI (The Stern Group of Yitzhak Shamir and others) in the creation of the State of Israel. The Labor Party Establishment claimed it was only their efforts at political machination that worked and the violent efforts of the Underground groups were a hindrance. Bell, in this outstanding book, doesn't have an Israeli political axe to grind and he clearly shows instead that the efforts of the Underground were absolutely crucial in getting the British to finally throw in the towel and leave Mandatory Palestine to the UN Parttion Plan, allowing the creation of a Jewish State which the British opposed.
Bell shows that the ETZEL was the most effective anti-British group of all in the history of the British Empire. By 1947, NO British soldier was safe ANYWHERE in the country except in certain heavily fortified security zones such as the so-called "Bevingrad" zone in central Jerusalem which was surrounded by barbed wire, concrete barriers and constant army patrols. Soldiers could only move around the country in heavily armed large groups with armored vehicles. No where else in the British Empire had rebel groups caused such a situation of insecurity for the Occupation forces. Even in places where there were major uprisings against British Imperial rule, there were certain "no-go" areas but the rest of the occupied country was considered safe. By 1947, there were 100,000 (ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND) British troops and police in the country, including the elite 6th Airborne Division paratroopers to keep an eye on only 600,000 Jews, yet the British were completely unable to suppress the Jewish uprising and they failed to apprehend the leaders of the ETZEL and LEHI in order to attempt to break up their leadership. The British had lost control of the country almost completely.
After the Second World War, the British had intended to hand the country over to Arab rule, with the Jews having limited autonomy and with no further Jewish immigration or settlement to be allowed. The
problem was that Britain was bankrupt after the war and was forced to pay heed to American concern about Palestine in order to keep American money coming in to keep Britain financially afloat. By early 1947, the British admitted they were incapable of getting agreement between Jews and Arabs for a settlement which was designed to get the Americans off their back. Thus, in what they thought was a shrewd move, they announced they were handing the problem over to the UN. THEY WERE CERTAIN the UN would deadlock, counting on the fact that Stalin's virulent antisemitism and anti-Zionism would get the Soviet Bloc to oppose any partition proposal that the British didn't want even if the Ameircans did want one, and so, in frustration, the UN would then hand the whole mess back to the British and with the Americans thus neutralized, they could impose Arab rule on the entire country without any unpleasant American backlash. To the surprise of everyone, Stalin decided to back a Jewish state and partition. This directly lead to the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 29 November 1947.
This was not the end of British hopes though. It must be remembered that the British felt they needed military bases in Palestine because they knew they were going to forced to remove their military presence from the Suez Canal Zone due to Egyptian pressure and so they could manipulate the Arab-Jewish conflict ("we have to remain to prevent them from fighting each other") to enable them to keep the bases in nearby Palestine. Even if the UN supported partition, they assumed that the Arab onslaught against the Jews would force the Jews to come crawling on their knees back to the British, asking them to stay and protect the Jews IF they could get the Jews to give up their struggle against them. Bell shows that the British were sure this would happene and he points out that the British were recruiting for their Palestine Police Force right up to the time they were supposed to pack up and leave in May 1948. Thus, the effective attacks by the ETZEL and LEHI made immense pressure back home in Britain to bring their troops home in any event. As one British newspaper put in its headline "RULE OR GET OUT!". While it is true that the political efforts of the Establishment Jewish Left was important in creating the infrastructure of the state and the political atmosphere in the UN for the partition vote, the pressure applied by the ETZEL and LEHI was no less crucial in getting the British to finally throw in the towel. Bell's book is an important contribution to correcting the historical record.


Battlefield: The Battle For The Mediterranean [DVD]
Battlefield: The Battle For The Mediterranean [DVD]
Dvd ~ Battlefield
Offered by Not2day Media
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Overview of a Historically Neglected Part of World War II, 23 Nov. 2012
The "Battlefield" series is one of the most important television documentary series about the Second World War ever produced. Unlike other series, such as "The World at War", there are no interviews with either historians or participants and no descriptions of small-scale engagements, just the hard strategic facts of the engagement as seen by the top leaders. A considerable part of each film describes the run-up to the actual battle, with considerable use of maps, descriptions of the leaders, the commanders, the armies and the weapons that decided the engagement. What is emphasized is the importance of the battle within the whole strategic picture of the war. After this, a detailed presentation of how the battle played itself out is given. Finally, the strategic results of the engagement is described,
showing how the entire course of the war was affected.
This series is designed for someone who has more than just a casual interest in the history of the war, and I highly recommend it for this audience.

This particular film was very enlightening because there aren't many other documentaries that cover the naval and air war in the Mediterranean which was critical in determining the outcome in North Africa and southern Europe. Whereas everyone who has studied about the campaign in North Africa has heard about how the British managed to intercept a large percentage of the supplies heading from Europe to Rommel's forces in Libya and Egypt, few details are provided in the other documentaries. From this film I learned much about the Italian navy which was highly respected by the British Royal Navy, the importance of Malta to the British, the unbelievably stupid decision by Hitler not to attempt to invade the island, satisfying himself with air attacks on the island and the British convoys bringing vital supplies, and the gallant Italians who in midget submarines and boats penetrated British bases at Malta and Alexandria, succeeding in sinking British ships, and the importance of the British attack using a handful of slow
Swordfish torpedo biplanes to sink Italian battleships at Taranto, which provided the inspiration to Japanese Admiral Yamamoto to plan the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I highly recommend this film, as well as the others in the "Battlefield" series for the serious student of World War II.


GOSSIP FROM THE FOREST
GOSSIP FROM THE FOREST
VHS

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Small Group of Men Make Fateful Decisions, 23 Nov. 2012
This review is from: GOSSIP FROM THE FOREST (VHS Tape)
I recall seeing this outstanding film more that 20 years ago. In the events of those few days, the German Armistice Delegation, led by the well-meaning liberal German politician Erzberger of the Catholic Zentrum (Center) Party, while intending to put an end to one human catastrophe, was unwittingly involved in creating an avalanche of events that led to an even greater catastrophe, the Second World War. The German High Command, led by Field Marshal Hindenburg and Quartermaster General Ludendorff, pushed off on the liberal, socialist government that replaced the Military Dictatorship nominally headed by Kaiser Wilhelm II the onus of agreeing to an Armistice with the Allies that severely damaged Germany's position. Unscupulous politicians (among them Hitler and the Nazis) falsely accused those in the Armistice Delegation and the new republican government of "stabbing Germany in the back". This film shows the events of those fateful days and how it affected those involved. Erzberger both wanted to end the slaughter, but at the same time was an ambitious politician who viewed the collapse of the monarchy as an opportunity for himself to get ahead. Tragically, his role as one of the so-called "November Criminals" caught up with him in the Black Forest where he was murdered.

I hope this film will be re-released on DVD---everyone interested in the critical events of the 20th century would be interested.


Bomber Harris BBC [DVD] [1989]
Bomber Harris BBC [DVD] [1989]
Dvd ~ John Thaw
Offered by dvdGOLD
Price: £4.73

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cologne..Tonight!...Hamburg...Tonight!...BERLIN...TONIGHT!, 23 Aug. 2012
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris was the commander of RAF Bomber Command from 1942 to the end of the War. He was in charge of the British strategic bombing campaign which brought the war into the heart of Germany at a time when the German Wehrmacht controlled almost all of Europe. After the fall of France in 1940 there was no way the British, isolated on their island, could confront Germany except by bombing from the air. Thus, due to the fact that losses were unacceptably high and bombing accuracy unacceptabley low in the original program of daylight bombing of "precision targets" like munitions and aircraft factories, it was decided to carry out "area bombing" tactics which meant bombing of the German cities in order to disrupt the life of the cities and the economic and military production that went on there. It must be emphasized that although Harris is criticized for this policy HE DID NOT INITIATE IT. It was a government decision made before he took charge of Bomber Command. One major problem was that this decision was hidden from the public which was lead to believe that "precision targets" were being hit, although anyone who thought about it would realize that would be very difficult at night.
This film shows Harris as he took command and his persistence in keeping the Command going against criticisms that its "area bombing" policy was ineffective, too costly or immoral. The actor portraying Harris does a good job in showing his dogged determination and brusque manner in dealing with those around him. It also shows his concern for those working for him and how they should be properly treated regarding supplies and working conditions. It must be remembered that all the Bomber Command aircrews were volunteers and even during the worst periods when losses were at the highest, such as during the so-called Battle of Berlin in 1943-4, there was no lack of new volunteers . Harris had a "can-do" attitude that inspired his men to keep going no matter what.
The film deals largely with Harris' "political" problems in dealing with the Air Ministry and the government, including Churchill. Unfortunately, the film does not show how the airmen under him reacted to him and he to them and the immense pressures they were under. The fact that they did not call him "Bomber Harris", but rather "Butcher Harris" does show some sort of ambivalence, but they stuck with him in the end.
At the end of the war and after, the British government changed its view of Harris and the bombing campaign and a negative view of Harris became popular. This film, to its credit, shows that Harris was carrying out goverment policy, and in particular, the controversial Dresden firestorm raid in February 1945 is shown clearly to have been carried out under direct orders from Churchill and Eisenhower at the behest of Joseph Stalin who wanted German military and civilian activity in eastern Germany facing the advancing Red Army disrupted. To this day people ask "Germany was on the verge of defeat at this point and did surrender several weeks later, so this raid was unnecessary". A statement like that is make with 20/20 hindsight. As the Allies closed in on Germany, Germany resistance, particularly against the Russians was stiffening. Allied casualties were continually increasing. No one knew how much longer Germany would hold out and every day the war was continued meant thousands of casualties on both sides. The Dresden attack, in addition to disrupting the German eastern front, showed the Germans that continued resistance was futile and they would pay a high price for it. In the end, 100,000 Soviet soldiers died in the final battle for Berlin.

Harris did make many mistakes and they are shown. He fervently believed that massive area bombing would cause Germany to collapse WITHOUT the need for an Operation Overlord-like ground invasion. Although there was some reason to believe that this might happen, due to the fact that the German's collapsed with their armies still outside their borders in 1918 at the end of the First World War, but the Nazi regime was different and used mass coercion and terror to keep the population fighting.
Harris was badly wrong about his offensive called "the Battle of Berlin" in late 1943-early 1944. Casualties were very high and the amount of damage done to Berlin did not justify the efforts and losses, especially considering there were other targets that were easier to hit at a lower cost. Still, Harris carried on when others were not willing to.

Historians in the last 20 years have re-evaluated the rold of Bomber Command and the US 8th Air Force which carried out daylight raids. They have reviewed the data and found that the bombing was far more effective in disrupting German arms production and it did have a major effect on the morale of the German population. It is true that the German people did not turn on the Nazi regime, but the massive bombing made it clear to them that they were going to lose the war and that their leaders lead them into a catastrophe. Germany lost World War I decisively, but the war never touched the German homeland, so 20 years later, they were ready for another round. After the Second World War, the Germans felt on their own persons the horrors of war and this finally convinced them to turn away from the Prussian militarists who had dominated them for so long and they embraced democracy and peace, which has held in Western Europe since 1945. This is the true legacy of Bomber Harris and his valiant aircrews who sacrificed so much to bring the victory.


Rhodes [2008] [DVD]
Rhodes [2008] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Martin Shaw

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Olodzi and the Mute Black South Africans, 8 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rhodes [2008] [DVD] (DVD)
This series is certainly remarkable and well worth watching, but it does have flaws.
First I will mention its good points:
(1) The fine acting by Martin Shaw and his son. Shaw had previously played another late 19th century arrogant British figure, the tragic explorer Robert Scott in "The Last Place on Earth", so he certainly had this type of role down pat when "Rhodes" came along (the Matabele called him "Olodzi" because they have no "R" in their language).
(2) The series was filmed in South Africa and the vast landscapes we see are breathtaking.
(3) Rhodes was typical of many tycoons of the era in both Britain in the United States who came not from old-line wealth or the aristocracy and using newly evolving technologies in communications, mining, manufacturing, banking and transportation, were able to amass immense fortunes while changing everyone's lives...sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Other examples are Rockefeller, Carnegie, J P Morgan. The film shows how Rhodes always felt he had to prove something to everyone and it finally came to culmination in the founding of what he called "MY country"....Rhodesia which was named for him (BTW-other reviewers have incorrectly stated that Rhodes is the only man ever to have a country named for him. Actually there is Colombia and Bolivia, both in South America, named for Christopher Columbus and Simon Bolivar).
(4) The series also points out how these late 19th century tycoons used also sorts of dirty tricks to get political support by buying up newspapers that could be critical of them and, worse than this, paying off politicians to support them. Rhodes was not alone in this...at the same time in the United States, there was the so-called post-Civil War "Gilded Age" when the politicians, particularly the US Senate, were in the pockets of these Robber Barons. This power was reduced around the turn of the century by introduction of anti-trust legislation and having the US Senate elected directly by the voters and not by the State Legislatures which were easier to buy off than the masses of the electorate.
(5) The most interesting performance by an actor in the series is that of Ken Stott who played Rhodes' rival-and-partner Barney Barnato who came out of the slums of London's East End spouting Yiddish phrases and built a huge fortune in South Africa. He states how his Jewish roots prevented him from using his better judgement and blocking Rhodes's more megalomaniacal schemes because he felt if he didn't, antisemites in Britain would accuse him of sabotaging the expansion of the British Empire.

Now, the negative aspects of the series:
(1) The Boer War, such a major event in determining the future of South Africa, is glossed over. It primarily focusses on how Rhodes was in Kimberely during the siege there and his conflicts with the British military commanders, but hardly anything else is mentioned.
(2) The biggest flaw of he series is that the blacks who work for Rhodes and other whites are completely mute. The only blacks who say anything in practically the entire series are Lobengula, the king of the Matabele and some of the members of his court. At the very beginning, we see the young Rhodes has a close relationship with his black assistant, Mr Christmas, and he does a little talking, but after they arrive in Kimberely he never says anything. There are several scenes where black miners who owned claims are being pushed out by racist whites who insult them and attack them yet they never say anything...they simply suffer in silence. After defeating Lobengula, he "graciously" agrees to have Lobengula's sons work for him but he says "there will be no 'princes' here...they will wash the dishes". They apparently stayed with Rhodes for years but, again, they never say anything and we wonder what they were thinking about their situation. Late in the seriess we see liberal whites like John Merriman try to amerliorate the situation of the blacks and the creeping spread of early forms of aparatheid, but no blacks around him say anything. I really don't know why the writers wrote the blacks out of the story. It must be kept in mind that the wealth of South Africa was based on the expoitation of cheap black labor and that many blacks were willing, at least up until the 1970's, to go along with the system that exploited them so much. I would like to have known more about what they thought about this and why they put up with it for so long.
(3) We see Rhodes start out with relatively liberal ideas about race relations, but when he gets himself elected as a member of Parliament in a majority Boer constituency, he becomes an arch racist, but at the end he calls himself a "Progressive" and campaigns for black votes. No explanation is given as to whether this is pure cynicism or evolving political thinking by Rhodes.
(4) Dr Leander Starr Jameson is a major figure in the series and he comes across basically as a pirate with no morals. After the bungled Jameson Raid against the Boer Transvaal republic he barely escapes with his neck and he is sentenced to prison in England, yet somehow he gets out and eventually becomes Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. No explanation of how he moved up so far in politics is given, despite the fact that the Boers must have really despised him.

The bottom line is that the series is a pleasure to watch, but it could have been better and more informative.


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