US Navy Propaganda Poster: An Aid In Use Is Worth A Dozen of Storage

I would love to know more about the background of this US Navy propaganda poster. Was this a real problem? Did the Navy produce visual aids that sat in storerooms unused? If so, was there some legitimate reason that trainers did not want to use visual aids?

 

An Aid In Use Is Worth A Dozen In Storage

August Landmesser

I ran across this photo on Twitter the other day, without any caption or explanation. It turns out it was taken on June 13, 1936 at the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany. A newly completed training vessel was being launched that day and all of the workers assembled to witness the launch and give the Nazi salute.

And although there are a few people in the photo not giving the salute, the man in the middle of the circle is emphatically refusing to give the salute (click the photo for a larger version).

 

August Landmesser - Blohm + Voss Shipyard - 1936

 

The man is believed to be August Landmesser who originally joined the Nazi Party in 1931, but was expelled due to his relationship and subsequent attempt to marry a Jewish woman. According to Wikipedia’s summary of Landmesser’s life and death,

August Landmesser was the only child of August Franz Landmesser and Wilhelmine Magdalene (née Schmidtpott). In 1931, hoping it would help him get a job, he joined the Nazi Party. In 1935, when he became engaged to Irma Eckler (a Jewish woman), he was expelled from the party. They registered to be married in Hamburg, but the Nuremberg Laws enacted a month later prevented it. On 29 October 1935, Landmesser and Eckler’s first daughter, Ingrid, was born.

A now-famous photograph, in which a man identified as Landmesser refuses to give the Nazi salute, was taken on 13 June 1936.

In 1937, Landmesser and Eckler tried to flee to Denmark but were apprehended. She was again pregnant, and he was charged and found guilty in July 1937 of “dishonoring the race” under Nazi racial laws. He argued that neither he nor Eckler knew that she was fully Jewish, and was acquitted on 27 May 1938 for lack of evidence, with the warning that a repeat offense would result in a multi-year prison sentence. The couple publicly continued their relationship, and on 15 July 1938 he was arrested again and sentenced to two and a half years in the concentration camp Börgermoor.

Eckler was detained by the Gestapo and held at the prison Fuhlsbüttel, where she gave birth to a second daughter, Irene. From there she was sent to the Oranienburg concentration camp, the Lichtenburg concentration camp for women, and then the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück. A few letters came from Irma Eckler until January 1942. It is believed that she was taken to the Bernburg Euthanasia Centre in February 1942, where she was among the 14,000 killed; in the course of post-war documentation, in 1949 she was pronounced legally dead, with a date of 28 April 1942.

Meanwhile, Landmesser was discharged from prison on 19 January 1941. He worked as a foreman for the haulage company Püst. The company had a branch at the Heinkel-Werke (factory) in Warnemünde. In February 1944 he was drafted into a penal battalion, the 999th Fort Infantry Battalion. He was declared missing in action, after being killed during fighting in Croatia on 17 October 1944. Like Eckler, he was legally declared dead in 1949.

Trent Park: Killing Nazi Generals With Kindness

Trent Park is an English Country House (mansion) in north London.

Trent Park
During World War II, Trent Park was used to hold high-value German prisoners of war under unique conditions,

During the Second World War, Trent Park was used as a means to extract information from captured German officers. During the Battle of Britain in 1940, captured Luftwaffe pilots were held initially at Trent Park. The rooms at Trent Park had been equipped with hidden microphones that allowed the British to listen in to the pilots’ conversations. This provided information about the German pilots’ views on a number of matters, including the relative strengths and weaknesses of German aircraft.

Later in the war it was used as a special prisoner of war camp (the ‘Cockfosters Cage’) for captured German generals and staff officers. They were treated hospitably, provided with special rations of whisky and allowed regular walks on the grounds. The hidden microphones and listening devices allowed the British military (MI19) to gather important information and an intimate insight into the minds of the German military elite. An example of the intelligence gained from Trent Park includes the existence and location of the German rocket development at Peenemünde Army Research Center when General von Thoma discussed what he had seen there. This led to the area being targeted for a heavy bomber attack by the RAF. They also received information about war crimes, political views and a clearer picture of the resistance in Germany that led to the attempt to assassinate Hitler. Eighty-four generals and a number of lower ranking staff officers were brought to Trent Park.

More than 1,300 protocols were written by the time the war ended; a selection of these was published in English in 2007 under the title Tapping Hitler’s Generals. Selected transcripts were dramatised in the 2008 History Channel 5-part series The Wehrmacht. In the episode The Crimes, General Dietrich von Choltitz is quoted as saying in October 1944: “We all share the guilt. We went along with everything, and we half-took the Nazis seriously, instead of saying ‘to hell with you and your stupid nonsense’. I misled my soldiers into believing this rubbish. I feel utterly ashamed of myself. Perhaps we bear even more guilt than these uneducated animals.” (This in apparent reference to Hitler and his supporting Nazi Party members.)

 

Aspidistra — World War II Disinformation at Its Finest

Bruce Schneier recently wrote a bit about the Aspidistra transmitter which the Allies used during World War II to spread disinformation in Nazi Germany.

During air raids, the Germans would turn off their radio transmitters so the Allies wouldn’t be able to use them for direction finding. As soon as the genuine German transmitters went off the air, the Allied deception would kick in. According to Wikipedia,

When a targeted transmitter switched off, Aspidistra began transmitting on their original frequency, initially retransmitting the German network broadcast as received from a still-active station. As a deception, false content and pro-Allied propaganda would be inserted into the broadcast. The first such “intrusion” was carried out on March 25, 1945, as shown in the operations order at the right.

On March 30, 1945, “Aspidistra” intruded into the Berlin and Hamburg frequencies warning that the Allies were trying to spread confusion by sending false telephone messages from occupied towns to unoccupied towns. On April 8, 1945, “Aspidistra” intruded into the Hamburg and Leipzig channels to warn of forged banknotes in circulation. On April 9, 1945, there were announcements encouraging people to evacuate to seven bomb-free zones in central and southern Germany. All these announcements were false.

The German radio network tried announcing “The enemy is broadcasting counterfeit instructions on our frequencies. Do not be misled by them. Here is an official announcement of the Reich authority.” The Aspidistra station made similar announcements, to cause confusion and make the official messages ineffective.

You have to love the sheer stupidity of the Nazis telling the German people the airwaves have been compromised by the enemy, but adding you can trust this broadcast. Maybe Hogan’s Heroes wasn’t all farce after all.

Nancy Pelosi Visits Hiroshima Memorial

On September 2, Nancy Pelosi became the highest-ranking U.S. politician to ever visit the Hiroshima memorial. According to the Associated Press,

The Democrat, who came to this western port city for a two-day annual gathering of Group of Eight legislative heads, joined other speakers in paying their respects at a memorial to the Hiroshima bombing. One by one, each bowed, then laid flowers at a white, arch-shaped monument containing the names of more than 200,000 victims of the nuclear blast.

No serving U.S. president or vice president has ever visited Hiroshima. As speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi is second in line to the presidency after U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Post notes that the nuclear weapons used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed 220,000 people within a few months and, of course, led to the quick surrender of Japan.

What goes missing from these figures, of course, is the sheer and unimaginable murder of civilians by the Japanese empire from its invasion of China in 1937 to its unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945.The death toll is staggering. The United States’ indiscriminate bombing of Japan killed an estimated 670,000 civilians; but the Japanese empire murdered several times more civilians than that just from their forced labor programs throughout Asia.

Ruddy Rummel, in his chapter on Japan’s democide from his excellent Power Kills notes that,

From the invasion of China in 1937 to the end of World War II, the Japanese military regime murdered near 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most probably almost 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture (such as the view that those enemy soldiers who surrender while still able to resist were criminals).

At the time of the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, World War II was still raging in many parts of Asia and some estimates put civilian casualties in Japanese-controlled territories as high as 8,000 per day in the time period shortly before the end of the war. Despite facing certain defeat, Japan was still engaged in wholesale murder in the parts of Asia it still controlled.

Pelosi’s visit to the Hiroshima memorial might be a bit easier to understand if Japan still was not engaged in wholesale denial of its role in World War II. In the United States, there is an ongoing debate over the morality of dropping nuclear weapons on Japanse cities. In Japan, however, history textbooks that whitewash imperial history are bestsellers.