Archive | February, 2004
February 27, 2004

Rewriting the history of the Eastern Front


Although the Soviet Union reportedly lost over 25 million citizens in World War II, most Americans are unaware of the brutal fighting that occurred between the Soviets and Germans in the heart of the USSR. The NY Times has an interesting article about the opening of the Russian State Archives and some of the history that has come to light since researchers have been able to access Soviet documents:

[NOTE: These are excerpts from a NY Times article. I did not write them (although I wish I did, and someday perhaps I will). I am merely including them because I think they make some very important points about the Soviet effort in WWII.]

…military historians have always known that the main scene of the Nazis’ downfall was the Eastern Front, which claimed 80 percent of all German military casualties in the war.

The four-year conflict between the Wehrmacht and the Red Army remains the largest and possibly the most ferocious ever fought. The armies struggled over vast territory. The front extended 1,900 miles (greater than the distance from the northern border of Maine to the southern tip of Florida), and German troops advanced over 1,000 miles into Soviet territory (equivalent to the distance from the East Coast to Topeka, Kan.). And they clashed in a seemingly unrelenting series of military operations of unparalleled scale; the battle of Kursk alone, for instance, involved 3.5 million men.

In short, the war fought on the Eastern Front is arguably the single most important chapter in modern military history, but it is a chapter that in many essential ways is only now being written. From evidence released from Soviet archives since the mid-1980’s, scholars have learned, for example, that Soviet deaths numbered nearly 50 million, two and half times the original estimate; that the Red Army raped two million German women during their occupation to wreak revenge; and that an astonishing 40 percent of Soviet wartime battles were for decades lost to history.

[….]

Military historians like Williamson Murray, professor emeritus at Ohio State University and a defense consultant in Washington, hold that the Soviets probably documented their war more fully than any other of the combatant states. Yet the war on the Eastern Front is still obscure, largely because of the cold war. During that period, the U.S.S.R.’s immense archives concerning the conflict were essentially closed to Western scholars. At the same time, the decisive impact of America’s erstwhile ally was often deliberately underplayed in the West for political reasons.

[…]

…the Soviets’ brilliant use of encirclement and what they called “deep battle”, extremely rapid, far-reaching advances behind the enemy’s front lines, constituted the most innovative and devastating display of “operational art” in World War II. Soviet operations from the summer of 1944 to the winter of 1945, they conclude, were far superior to those of the German Army at its best.

One of the more surprising statements:

….specialists in the field say that what may turn out to be a bigger problem is the dearth of Russian military historians in the West who can take advantage of the documentary material already available

Send me! Send me! Send me!!!!!!! I would love to get my hands on those documents…I should probably start brushing up on my Russian, though.

February 26, 2004

How fitting…



You’re The Guns of August!
by Barbara Tuchman
Though you’re interested in war, what you really want to know is what causes war. You’re out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they really are. Nevertheless, you’re always living in the past and have a hard time dealing with what’s going on today. You’re also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can diplomats."

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

February 25, 2004

Weekend in Vegas

This past weekend I was in Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps (or is that New York? Uh, whatever). My family went because we got tickets to Elton John’s concert at Caesar’s Palace. He’s filling in for Celine Dion, who is usually the headliner at Caesar’s. I’m not really sure why anyone would want to see a Celine Dion concert, but apparently Caesar’s thought there would be a huge demand so they built the 4,000 seat Colosseum for her.

Anyways, Elton John’s concert was pretty cool. I only know a few of his songs…actually, I can only name three: Candle in the Wind, Rocket Man, and Circle of Life. The best part of the concert was all the props on stage and the videos in the background…they were crazy. This article sums it up pretty well.

I am not a very big gambler (plus, I have no money) so I just put a few bucks in the slot machines. Of course, I did not win anything, as usual. If you love gambling but you can’t fly to Vegas, you could always visit casinotop10.net, a website that offers online casino reviews so you can decide which is the best online site for gambling.

On Friday night I went to the Red Square restaurant and bar in Mandalay Bay to have some vodka. Their claim to fame is that they have the largest vodka selection in Las Vegas, so I decided to try it out. My first request was Red Army Vodka, but the bartender told me they don’t carry it. My second request was Russian Standard (Russkii Standart), the preferred drink of last year’s July 4th gathering in Moscow. I figured they would have it in stock since it is considered by many Russians to be the “best” vodka, but the bartender informed me that it was not licensed for export to the United States, and thus the only way you could get it into the US would be to buy a bottle in Russia and stow it in your luggage. Oh well…so I ended up with some other brand whose name escapes me…it had the word “Queen” in the title…

Red Square itself is a sweet restaurant…the decor was awesome…huge propaganda posters, hammer and sickle crests, a bust of Lenin in the vodka freezer, chandeliers with onion domes, etc. The surface of the bar was a strip of ice, and there were also the traditional jars of pickled veggies and watermelon that you could dig into after taking a shot.

We didn’t eat dinner there…the next available seating would have been at 10:30pm (we got there at 8pm). The cuisine is “perestroika inspired” – whatever that is. They have the obligatory Chicken Kiev and Beef Stroganoff dishes, and if you want to pay $99 for an ounce of caviar and some blini to spread it on, then you can try that, too. (On a side note, Tracy told me that there is now a crepe stand at J Street…damn GW for putting it in after I left! Crepes = cousins of blini). So yeah, Red Square is cool…if you are in Las Vegas check it out. If I ever opened a restaurant (which, by the way, is never gonna happen) it would be like Red Square!

February 17, 2004

Out with the 56k modem

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We finally got DSL at my house. I setup a wireless network so now my brother and I no longer have to fight over the internet connection. Ahhhh fast internet is heavenly…it’s like being back at good ol’ GDub, minus all the work.

Remember, kids:

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February 7, 2004

Miracle

Today I saw the movie “Miracle”, the true story of the US hockey team’s victory over the Soviet team in the 1980 Winter Olympics. It was pretty good, but I am partial to any movie that has a) hockey, and b) the US vs USSR. Would “Mighty Ducks” have been as entertaining if it was about basketball? No. Would “Rocky IV” have been such a cinematic masterpiece if Rocky was boxing, say, a Frenchman or Canadian? No way. And oh yeah, I’m being sarcastic.

Anyways, it was a good movie. Go check it out if you have some free time.

There was a preview for David Duchovny’s new movie…I can’t recall the title, but that doesn’t matter because it looks absolutely terrible. David, where has your career gone?

There was also a preview for “Around the World in 80 Days,” which looks promising, except for the fact that my Governor – Arnold Schwarzenegger – is in it.

Let me repeat this…

MY GOVERNOR IS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER!

It’s kind of hard to believe he’s my governor…and then I see him on TV…oh, how sad this state really is! The voters of California put the world’s 5th largest economy in the hands of the Terminator…thanks, fellow citizens!

February 6, 2004

Photos, photos, and more photos

I installed Gallery on my server so now it’s a lot easier to manage my online photo album.

I finally uploaded all my photos from my summer 2003 trip to Russia, which you can view here.

I also have a few photos from my trip to New Hampshire. There should be more on the way, though…

February 3, 2004

Where in the world has Lindsay been?

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I was bored last night, so I made a map of places I have been (thanks to world66.com).

world_map_lindsay.gif

I’ve been to a grand total of three countries: Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Russia. I’m not really sure if Mexico even counts…I only went to Tijuana for a day when I was in the 6th grade.

So where do I want to go next? Would you be surprised if I told you I wanted to go back to Russia? I want to visit the areas of Russia that few tourists venture to…Lake Baikal, Yekaterinburg, Rostov on Don, Omsk, Yakutsk, Vladivostok…I want to ride the Trans-Siberian railway…how cool would that be?

Then I want to go to Georgia…Liz, Luke, and I are going out there together someday…then we’re going to visit Arshad and Amir in Pakistan.

I want to visit Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Croatia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Turkey, Tibet, Nepal, China, Mongolia, and Egypt.

I’d like to go to Cuba, but my government says that I can’t just go to Cuba whenever I feel like it. We are still fighting the evil Reds, you see…or at least that’s what the Cuban exiles in Miami would have you believe. You know what’s funny? The persecution of Americans that travel to Cuba and are subsequently fined by the U.S. Government could actually be a violation of several international agreements the U.S. has signed, namely the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Helsinki Final Act. But remember that those are international agreements, and we can pick and choose what we would like to abide by.

I want to visit Australia, Greece, Italy, Spain, and of course, “Old Europe” – France, Germany, Benelux…ohhh and Ireland…gotta see where my ancestors came from.

I think I need a career in the Foreign Service…