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Post Thoughts on Europe's Defense; Mussolini's Brain
Created by John Eipper on 10/01/16 1:48 PM

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Thoughts on Europe's Defense; Mussolini's Brain (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 10/01/16 1:48 pm)

I read Anthony Candil's October 1st post with great interest, and was touched by his concern for the security of Europe.

Anthony is absolutely correct that Europe in spite of 60 years of talking, has never managed to achieve anything serious about collective security.

But, let's be brutal, any independent European security has been impossible for a simple reason: the Empire wants colonies in which maintain its military bases (going on for 71 years in Western Europe) and does not want a strong independent ally. Furthermore, Anthony rhetorically asks, what about NATO? Abolish it. This should have been done 25 years ago. An alliance among independent states is good while the status of colonies is self-defeating.

What about Anthony's claim that without the American contribution Europe is practically defenseless? But who really wants to invade/attack Europe? For sure not North Korea or Iran, nor Russia; they want to be left alone. China is too strong economically, even with its problems. It does not need to send its armies to conquer Rome. There are some disputes in the South China Sea, but this is another story.

The problems of Europe are mostly due to uncontrolled immigration. If the Empire had not disastrously meddled in the Middle East and North Africa since 1979 (or even before), we would not have such problems.

By the way, Italy was not so irrelevant during WWII. Consider that for about 2 years it could stand up against the power of almost the entire British Empire. The famous Deutsches Afrikacorps after all comprised only three divisions, of which two were armored.

During WWI, on 10 August 1918, the US troops arrived in Italy and had one casualty in the fighting. But then the US government gave itself the right/power to change Italy's boundaries!

Another topic we've discussed lately is the "psychotic" Hitler. Frankly I am not sure that psychologists may clarify the historical/political phenomenon of Hitler.

In Italy at the end of WWII the US General Director of Health Calvin S. Drayer requested (and obtained) a piece of Benito Mussolini's brain to be studied at the St Elizabeths Hospital of Washington. Ridiculous.

The piece of brain, however, following a request of Donna Rachele, Mussolini's wife, was returned on 8 April 1966. The corpse of Mussolini had already been returned to the family on 30 August 1957.

JE comments:  Several thoughts come to mind.  I understood that NATO was the collective security of Europe--although Eugenio Battaglia and others (such as John Heelan) have argued that the US has viewed the alliance as a means to keep the "killing fields" in Europe and away from North America.

North Korea wants to be left alone?  The Japanese and the South Koreans would not agree.  Russia?  The Ukrainians would not agree.

Further, is the "Empire" (the US) so hell-bent on maintaining its presence in Europe?  When France asked the US to leave in 1966, it did.

Finally, I have to ask:  did they discover anything in Mussolini's brain?

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  • Hitler's Brain (Leo Goldberger, USA 10/02/16 11:42 AM)
    A question for Eugenio Battaglia: In you view, is the Hitler phenomenon beyond explanation--by anyone? Forget about psychologists--but what about historians, political scientists or other wise folks?

    I am puzzled by your seemingly blanket dismissal of an explanation of Hitler's reign of terror.

    JE comments: Conversely, we might say there is too much information on Hitler, which leads to a "paradox of choice" à la Barry Schwartz:  The more we explain Hitler, the less we understand him.

    To my mind, the fundamental question is unanswerable:  Did Hitler cause WWII, or did the historical factors cause Hitler?  My tentative answer would be yes.  Imagine if Hitler had perished in the Great War trenches.  Then what?

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    • Hitler, the Nazis, and Methamphetamine (David A. Westbrook, USA 10/02/16 7:17 PM)

      I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this. The Guardian certainly believes that Norman Ohler has provided something new in our understanding of Hitler, and indeed of the Nazi machine. See Blitzed:


      I have to say I like Ohler's story--writer and Berlin club habitue rethinks Hitler in terms of, well, clubbing. Too perfect.

      JE comments:  Much food (and drugs) for thought.  The Wehrmacht's reliance on the methamphetamine Pervitin has always been known, but society in a sense has "caught up.":  With the current meth epidemic and shows like Breaking Bad, we now have a basis of comparison by which we can better understand what the Germans were up to in WWII.

      I Googled "High Hitler" and got 211,000 hits.

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      • Hitler and Amphetamines: Norman Ohler's "Blitzed" (Leo Goldberger, USA 10/06/16 11:20 AM)
        In my view the only new information in Norman Ohler's Blitzed is his revelation of the widespread use of methamphetamine throughout the Nazi regime--especially its administration to the troops as the war looked bleaker and bleaker near the end.

        As for Hitler himself, the book by Leonard D. Heston, MD and Renata Heston, RN, entitled The Medical Casebook of Adolf Hitler, ought to be mentioned. It was published as far back as 1980--with a foreword by Albert Speer no less! (A revised version came out in 1999 as Adolf Hitler: A Medical Decent That Changed History--His Drug Abuse, Doctors, Illness.) Admittedly. their book is a rather dry, poorly written account--a far cry from the sort of spellbinding "docudrama" writing and frequent "it may have been" speculation to be found in Ohler's current bestseller in Germany! Nevertheless, as Ian Kershaw rightly states in his blurb, Blitzed is definitely a "very interesting book."

        Thanks to David Westbrook for bringing it to our attention.

        JE comments:  Might we have found the definitive new take on Hitler and the Nazis?  It's a story of many things, but it's also a story of addiction.

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    • Hitler's Brain...and Mussolini's Penis (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 10/03/16 4:02 AM)
      In response to Leo Goldberger (2 October), some episodes of history can only be related as fairly as possible and by mentioning all real facts. But discussing on how many testicles Hitler had...

      This reminds me of the director Sandro Boerio of the Italian magazine Focus Storia, who wrote that Mussolini had a cold penis. In fact, he supposedly used a rabbit skin around it.

      History quite often is a tragedy. BS is another matter altogether.

      JE comments: We're usually a family-friendly website, but I must ask: how does the rabbit skin thing work? With or without fur? I suppose it would bring good luck, although not so much for the rabbit.

      In reply to Eugenio, I don't see why discussing the sexual antics and hang-ups of historical figures is "BS." Such inquiries are not voyeurism, as they can lead to deep insight about psychology and behaviors. There are real-world implications here.

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      • Reflections on Hitler's Anatomy; from Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 10/06/16 3:58 AM)

        Gary Moore writes:

        Regarding Eugenio Battaglia's riposte (3 October) to Leo Goldberger on Hitler and the quantity and quality of
        what might be called totalitarian procreational ordnance, there is an arcane test of World War II-era
        street knowledge, resting on the movie Bridge over the River Kwai.

        Of course, everyone knows the
        tune whistled by the movie's stalwart British prisoners as they silently defy their Japanese captors.
        But in the movie the tune is only whistled, never sung--so we never hear its words--which could
        add a rich extra layer to the scene. Hence the test: What are the unsung words to the whistle-song
        of Bridge Over the River Kwai?

        For those left outside the barracks loop (get that whistling in your mind), it goes like this:

        Hitler--he had just one big ball.
        Goering--had two, but they were small.
        Himmler--well, he was simlar.
        But poor old Go-balls had no balls at all.

        JE comments:  Every British schoolboy knows that one--but there are variations.  "The other is in the Albert Hall" is one explanation for Hitler's lack of, ahem, symmetry.

        The original tune is the "Colonel Bogey March," which is of Great War vintage (1914).

        And don't forget "Comet," which makes your teeth turn green:


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        • Another Version of "Colonel Bogey" (Henry Levin, USA 10/07/16 1:21 AM)
          As a child during the war, we sang these words:

          Hitler has only got one ball,

          Goebbels has two, but very small.

          Himmler, has something simlar,

          But Mussolini has no balls at all.

          Perhaps the last line was because of the Italian reputation for retreat.

          JE comments: The tune has been in my head for the last 24 hours!  Nor have I been unable to shake the image of how Goebbels murdered all six of his children.

          Next up with a thought on Hitler's anatomy, Leo Goldberger.

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        • Ullrich's Biography of Hitler; Hitler's Sexuality (Leo Goldberger, USA 10/07/16 1:32 AM)
          Bringing to bear the factual history of Hitler's complex personality is actually the strength of the Ullrich biography. The prurient interest in Hitler's testicles (which the biopsy determined were in fact normal, according to Ulrich's evidential sources) is obviously as silly as the focus on the size of Trump's hands!

          In Ullrich's chapter 10 (pp. 267-280) you might find an impressive account of Hitler's manifold relationships with women, both sexual and non-sexual, that does cast an illuminating light on his being--beside simply calling him "psychotic," whatever that rather broad diagnostic term may mean to you.

          JE comments:  Perhaps these matters shed valuable light, perhaps not--but I recall it once being a commonly accepted historical fact that Hitler died a virgin.  This could be interpreted in two diametrically opposed ways:  either that he was completely dysfunctional in the sexual sense, which would explain his diabolical actions, or else he was so dedicated to the German nation that he had no use for distractions or pleasures of the flesh.

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