As those that know me will attest, I am a voracious reader. Books, knowledge in particular, are important to understanding our world, it’s history and future. My reading often provides me with quotes and interesting bits of history, perhaps sharing a few here will be entertaining and maybe even educational.
I will quote and give brief snippets of history from various sources and individuals, this does not mean that I agree, idolize or sympathize but rather that I find it of interest from an intellectual standpoint. Enjoy.
My latest reading has covered everything from Chairman Mao to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to Rommel and everything in between. One of the books I am reading right now is ‘The Last 100 Days’ by John Toland. Written in 1965 this is an account of the last 100 days of WWII and one of the most enlightening books I have read in some time. This is a must read and if you are as lucky as I am you might just find it in a used book store as I did for $1.00!
During the conference of the ‘Big 3’ (Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin) in Yalta, Roosevelt and Stalin had a brief encounter before the official meetings that evening when Stalin, having just arrived, stopped by Roosevelt’s quarters (more like a castle) to pay his respects and visit.
One of the major items to be discussed in this summit was the inevitable defeat of Germany and the subsequent division and occupation thereafter. Churchill was adamant that France have a ‘slice’ of Germany and invisioned France playing a major role in European politics for years to come. Chruchill also knew that Russia was a great threat and wanted France to stand with them in the battle to keep Communism from spreading west. Stalin was, for obvious reasons, opposed to this, history would show us why Churchill has good reason to fear what the Russians might do in Germany. Roosevelt actually got along quite well with Stalin, perhaps naively so, during this visit they discussed the prospect of a French section in occupied Germany (which Roosevelt had his own misgivings about, but for other reasons than Stalin had) and asked Stalin what he thought about General de Gaulle from their December meeting in Moscow. Stalin’s remarks were as follows:
“I didn’t find de Gaulle a very complicated person,” Stalin replied. “But I feel he’s unrealistic in the sense that France hasn’t done very much fighting in this war and yet demands full rights with the Americans, British and Russians, who’ve carried the burden of the fighting.”
Roosevelt sincerely disliked de Gaulle and regarded him only as a necesary nuisance, went on to reveal with a grin that at Casablanca, de Gaulle had compared himself with Joan of Arc. This got a rare grin out of ‘Uncle Joe’.
I think this has relevance to today’s happenings as France (Germany & Belgium as well) are attempting to play a trump card in the Iraqi conflict yet have done so very little to bring Hussein to heel. It could even be argued that the French have only made things worse and even contributed over the years to the Iraqi ‘problem’ with military and infrastructure assistance. Now France wants to force herself into a position that solves no problems but makes France look as if they are doing something of substance on the global political stage. Will France want another ‘piece of the pie’ and have their way AFTER we defeat Iraq despite their obstructions today?
History repeats itself again.
Little Known Fact: Did you know that Stalin was only 5’6″ tall?
Brad G. ~ Patriot