Author Topic: A discussion on WWII Germany  (Read 12929 times)

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Offline redbox

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #100 on: 12:46, 12 September 11 »
Incidentall, Libya and Iraq were the most progressive Arab countries. Figures about literacy, health and infrastructures speak for themselves.


Interesting and highly subjective definition of progressive there  ;)

Offline Gryzor

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #101 on: 13:45, 12 September 11 »

Interesting and highly subjective definition of progressive there  ;)

I don't quite see the issue :)

The fact that they seem to be decades back doesn't mean they're not more progressive, relative to the rest of the Arab world. I didn't say they're progressive - I said:

Quote
...progressive Arab countries...

Offline redbox

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #102 on: 13:50, 12 September 11 »
I don't quite see the issue :)

Fair enough, you did say Arab countries.

Your scope of literacy, health and infrastructure is still quite narrow to define progression in these cirumstances though.

You kind of answered your own question - any dictator can ensure their populous learns to read, gets medical treatment and build motorways.  Still doesn't mean the country has progressed at all, and in many cases whilst this has been going on they have actually turned their societies back 50 years.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #103 on: 14:09, 12 September 11 »
Well, those were the parameters that are easy to quantify. But they're very important, too. You can't argue that access to education or healthcare are not important? Also, women's rights were much more advanced in Libya and Iraq, another major indicator.

And, Saddam and Gaddafi (how the frak is that spelled anyway...) did push their countries forwards. Libya, before G, was a Bedouin country, centuries back. Iraw, much of the same. I think (without claiming the least of expertise on the matter) that the major breakthrough was their break from religion.

But indeed, and I insist on my initial point, having a dictator doing good things doesn't mean you're well-off. Ask the Kurds, for instance.

(However, there is the thing of historical necessity. In these two specific points you had  *even worse* regimes before. You can't expect from a society to jump from 500AD to 2000AD in a single step, like you didn't go from local warlords to "Democracy" in a single step in Western Europe. This doesn't mean that the intervening regimes were not better than before, even though they always included dictators, usurpers, kings and feud lords. But that's another discussion altogether).

Offline redbox

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #104 on: 14:16, 12 September 11 »
But indeed, and I insist on my initial point, having a dictator doing good things doesn't mean you're well-off. Ask the Kurds, for instance.


Yes, I see your point.


But I think what's sticking in my mind is that you were saying the countries progressed.  But in reality, probably a small proportion of the country actually did, and many others were left in the cold.


Maybe something like a facade (or Potemkin village) - you think it's progressed (due to the indications you've mentioned) but in reality it's gone very much backwards.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #105 on: 14:22, 12 September 11 »
Not really; those indicators are nation-wide.

My uncle was a navy officer; he was telling me how he had visited Libya first in the sixties (ended up as military attache in Egypt), and how he toured the country again in the early 90s - he said it was like visiting a different country. In the end, sure, some parts of the population (Bedouins, Kurds, rival religious groups...) suffered big inevitably (though not justifiably of course), but the countries as a whole made giant leaps forward.

You would be surprised at the progress those nations did. It's not the image we have in mind, and certainly not what's being portrayed in the media and movies, and of course now they're making big steps backwards.

Offline redbox

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #106 on: 14:25, 12 September 11 »
and of course now they're making big steps backwards.


By over-throwing their dictators...?

Offline Gryzor

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #107 on: 14:26, 12 September 11 »

By over-throwing their dictators...?

By overthrowing their own dictators and succumbing to foreign ones. Care to check the status in Iraq, or the credentials of the Libyan "revolutionaries"?

Heck, even Egypt overthrew the dictator to fall in the arms of the military...

Offline spybro

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #108 on: 18:23, 12 September 11 »

By over-throwing their dictators...?


You have to understand that libya among others is a theocratic entity/state
[/size]Their POV on authority/leadership  is totally different in comparison to europe[/color]

Offline Gryzor

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #109 on: 12:03, 18 September 11 »

You have to understand that libya among others is a theocratic entity/state
[/size]Their POV on authority/leadership  is totally different in comparison to europe[/color]


Actually Libya was not a theocratic state but a secular one.

*However*, just the other day the "leader" of the "revolution" announced that the new state will be based on the Sharia - the Islamic law. Now *that's* progress for you!!!


Offline Gryzor

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #110 on: 20:19, 18 September 11 »
Right, here's a snippet that I read last night. It's an SD (Sicherheitsdienst - Security Service) report on the reactions of the populace on the printing, in the press, of photos of atrocities committed by the Russians in East Prussia. From early November, 1944:
Quote from: SD
Surely the Reich's leaders must realize that every thinking person, seeing these gory victims, will immediately contemplate the atrocities that we have perpetrated on enemy soil, and even in Germany. Have we not slaughtered Jews in their thousands? Don't soldiers tell over and again that Jews in Poland had to dig their own graves? And what did we do with th Jews who were in the concentration camp [Natzweiler] in Alsace? The Jews are also human beings. By acting in this way, we have shown the enemy what they mught do to us in the event of their victory.... We can't accuse the Russians of behaving just as gruesomely towards other peoples as our own people have done against their own Germans
(note: in the event, the reports were greatly exaggerated)
So much for "we didn't know". But of course it's absurd to claim that, when you see your neighbours being persecuted and vanishing for twelve years on, let alone the stories propagated by soldiers coming back from the East.

Offline MaV

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #111 on: 21:10, 18 September 11 »
So much for "we didn't know". But of course it's absurd to claim that, when you see your neighbours being persecuted and vanishing for twelve years on, let alone the stories propagated by soldiers coming back from the East.

You're mixing things up. "We didn't know" pertains to the concentration camps, not the front. I guess most have seen or heard enough up to 1944 to realize that once the war backlashes into German territory, the Russians would have their revenge.

But I wager most of all, only those actually at the front did know what happened exactly. I can't imagine soldiers having a few weeks off from the front talking to their families much about what has happened, and even if they did, they most probably just hinted at it or gave a generic insight to it. And letters and reports from the front were heavily censored, at least until it served the Nazis' purpose to instill fear of the Russians which was late in the war.

So, that such a report was in the papers in 1944 was mostly due to the Reich's leaders rallying the population through fear to protect Germany's own soil. In order to delay the inevitable I might add.
And that had exactly the effect the Nazis wished for; they knew how to handle the German people; propaganda is what enabled them to power, after all. It's been their "core business" in today's market speak.
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Offline deepfb

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #112 on: 23:41, 18 September 11 »
@robcfg:


(...)

Concerning Franco, I think you're making some mistakes here; in Greece, too, there are people saying "ooh, the junta build the university campus and did this and that, and (fascist dictator) Metaxas (who also said the famous "No!" to the Italians) built the social insurance program", but there are two problems with this line of argument.
-First, the fact that Franco did some things doesn't mean someone else wouldn't have done them
-Second, to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, those who value <whatever> more than freedom deserve nor freedom or <whatever>.  Your argument is an argument for a Benevolent Ruler (and Franco was anything but). And this is several steps backwards. Sometimes yes, it *is* black and white, as in Franco was a fascist dictator, period.
   
(...)



@Maceath: I don't think the thread is a flame, far from it; actually I'm really happy we're having a quite civilised discussion on *very* sensitive matters...


It's a pity I can't behave so civilized -and that's why I can't take part in this discussion, eventhough I would love to :-D


...Robcfg, you shouldn't make such an statement in front of me or any member of my family -unless you want to die, no matter how big is the power of Robzilla. Macdeath may tell you how dangerous is my mother when chatting on political issues :-D

Offline robcfg

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #113 on: 00:13, 19 September 11 »
We should discuss the matter in person while drinking a nice german beer  ;D

Offline TFM

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #114 on: 01:20, 19 September 11 »
You're mixing things up. "We didn't know" pertains to the concentration camps, not the front. I guess most have seen or heard enough up to 1944 to realize that once the war backlashes into German territory, the Russians would have their revenge.

I read you :-)))
You talk about an interresting point here. Let me add some points in addition.
 
Revenge? Well, when Hitler attacked Stalin, he was just two weeks more quick than Stalin.
Stalin had already 1.6 Million soldiers prepared to invade Germany. That was his plan from the beginning. First Poland, then Germany. So if Hitler would have been attacking three weeks later, than nobody could talk about Revenge at all.
 
Further, Stalin took Poland and he took a Part of Germany, Where is the Revenge of the Polish and Prussian people? Revenge is such a childish word! And I hate it, because its usage tells me how primitive the so called human race is! Just a shame!
 
Due to WWI Germany was forced to enter WWII. Even the Americans know that, but in Europe there is still a lack in knowledge. And especially we face denial here (You disagree? Well, then I must talk to YOU about denial!).
 
Since so much people write about revenge here, let me ask a question please. Where is the revenge of the two millions civil Germans that have died, while beeing spaced (14 million all together have been spaced) from western purssia and that region? I learnt that first from some French historicans. French proffessors who are bold enought to talk about the truth!
 
And btw. I'm not answering to few other people here, who are 1. always right 2. don't listen to others and 3.  repeate their arguments like a praying-mill. Why? I we don't need a WWIII in the forum. But that I don't alswer to any post, doesn't mean that I would agree.
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Offline TFM

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #115 on: 01:28, 19 September 11 »
We should discuss the matter in person while drinking a nice german beer  ;D
The idea of discussing in person is always the best  :) :) :)  In a forum it happens very easy that things can really jump out of bounds. The topic is to be seen emotional and therefore logic will be missing in the discussion.
 
For example if somebody tells me, that I (born 1970) shall feel shame for thing other did in another time, and this person is not willing to take responsibilities for the present time and the own life, then I see: That's the end of logic and the end of any sense in a discussion. So finally as you said, one day - at a CPC meeting we can discuss all that in person, if people are still interrested.
This thread has by nature a very explosive potential. And people have also by nature very different POV's, mostly created by the different propaganda of their own counties. And especailly people who say that their historical sources are not biased, especially these people are pray of the propaganda.
The best is IMHO to have a broad variety of sources and - even better - to talk to pleople who have been whitnesses of time. And the latter one is getting harder and will be soon impossible.
 
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Offline redbox

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #116 on: 11:32, 19 September 11 »
@TF/M - some of your points are interesting... but you say them all as if you're desperately trying to find some good it a whole load of bad.


Germany was one hell of a messed up place and did some terrible, terrible things during WWII.  Why can't that just be accepted?




Offline robcfg

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #117 on: 12:52, 19 September 11 »
On my side it's absolutely accepted, I only like to remind that all the countries that fought in that war did terrible things, it's that simple.

Offline spybro

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #118 on: 12:57, 19 September 11 »

For example if somebody tells me, that I (born 1970) shall feel shame for thing other did in another time, and this person is not willing to take responsibilities for the present time and the own life, then I see:


the problem is that history is like a circle and repeats itself when we tend to forget :-\
WWII happened only 65 years ago
This time period is propably for you History but in Hellas 65 years is yesterday's news
Maybe its because our history/alphabet
goes all the way back to 6000 B.C


 



Offline MaV

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #119 on: 13:19, 19 September 11 »
Why can't that just be accepted?

I accept it as well.

Gryzor is trying to find an answer to what has happened. Sort of a clear picture of what was going on, and how one thing led to another, and likes to come to a conclusion that these points are the main reason that WWII Germany behaved the way it did.

In the last of Gryzor's posts, I reinstated my belief that the Nazi leaders' influence on the people must not be underestimated, and the cruelties happening can be mostly explained by these circumstances itself (keep in mind: we're talking about the war atrocities, not the concentration camps).

As usual things are more complicated. I dare say, if the conclusions have not been reached by now, I doubt the circumstances will every be satisfactorily explained. But one can try.
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #120 on: 21:05, 19 September 11 »
@Mav: actually this (whether they knew or not) has been the subject of much historical debate and research. But I'm afraid I'll disagree.

I remember some ten years ago reading a big review of the German press, and it was quite clear that, not only was knowledge about the concentration camps widely spread, but they were also openly reported -nay, boasted about in the papers.

On one hand, it's impossible NOT to have known about them: they were there, you could see them, ashes and burnt flesh smell covered entire areas -and, heck, Dachau was a big example inaugurated in a big press event by Himmler himself. Priests were openly talking about it in their sermons up until a certain point. Thousands upon thousands of people worked in those camps - and in the factories where slaves were used. Hell, the allies knew, and the Germans did not? Come on... Heck, the "up the chimney" threat was only too widespread!

What you say about soldiers and letters is partially true. Indeed, only too many would be too ashamed or afraid to write or tell about them, but there were some who did. Many accounts and letters survive to attest to that.

On the other hand, let's assume, for one moment, that all that evidence did not register, which is indeed true to a large extend; it's not like the Germans didn't know, they just "didn't know" - that is, they chose to not know. For me, this is not an excuse - and in some respects, it's even worse.

But, after all, they knew pretty well. That's what that SD report (not the news report) says and proves.

But, sure enough, (referring to your next post now), the rulers exerted a huge influence and vast control over the people, that cannot be denied (nor is). As for finding answers... well, the journey is as enlightening as the destination! As a final note, though: the control of a ruler cannot explain the extend to which a whole people went. What's more, don't forget that Hitler got a solid 30-something percent in 1932, and subsequently his popularity roared, *before* he was able to exert total control. But, important enough, *after* openly stating what he would do.
   
@TFM: I'm sorry, but I'm unsure what you're talking about.

To begin with, the theory about Stalin being two weeks away from an attack is laughable - the state of the border army during the invasion attested to that. The economy was not even on a war footing. Would it have happened eventually? Most probably, yes - it was a historical necessity. But:
a. Germany did it, not Russia, hence the moral burden lies with her
b. Germany did it NOT invade because the Russians would attack (this theory appeared afterwards) and who were sending goods trains across the border even as Germans were burning their first villages; Germany attacked because Hitler had been planning it for twenty years.
c. even if Russia had attacked first this still does not justify any of the attrocities.
   So the whole point is kinda moot.
The argument about Germany "being forced" to initiate WWII as a result of the Great War has no footing whatsoever. The Great War and its ending, with its harsh punishment for Germany, compounded to a great extend by the Great Recession lead to a problematic political system. It also kept animosity alive. This is a looooooong way from "forcing" Germany to try and take over the world. The only thing it could "force" it to do would be to merely repudiate the agreements and treaties (as indeed it did), but war? Come on, this is a joke. Claiming that the war was anything but an expansionist, fanatical dream is, again, revisionism.

As for the revenge issue, I frankly can't make out what you're trying to say. That Germans suffered in the hands of the allies? Sure, so? I really don't get you.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #121 on: 22:58, 19 September 11 »
A clarification on the SD report: those were not the sayings of the SD officer; he was reporting what the actual *people* were saying... Hence the proof.

Offline TFM

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #122 on: 00:10, 20 September 11 »
@TF/M - some of your points are interesting... but you say them all as if you're desperately trying to find some good it a whole load of bad.

Germany was one hell of a messed up place and did some terrible, terrible things during WWII.  Why can't that just be accepted?
That's the problem with a non-personal discussion. By using letters you can't transfer emotions (and smileys are no help). But I really don't want to talk things nice. Hitler was a demon, and things have happend, that a "regular" human being can't understand.
What I want to say is short is: It's to easy to devide everything in good and bad. And I want to say that things can be different in appearance depending on your POV.
And about Gemany. Well, it can't be accepted, because it was NOT Germany, it was the NAZIS - and that was never Germany, only a part of the country. But even before Hitler showed his true side, only 42% of the Germans voted for him. The majority was against him, therefore I just don't like to blame all Germans for the NAZIS cruel deeds. It's to easy to say: The French, The Greek, The British, The Germans. It always depends on the single person - this is my message. Or if you like: Dear world, open your eyes and judge the single person.
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Offline TFM

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #123 on: 00:15, 20 September 11 »

the problem is that history is like a circle and repeats itself when we tend to forget :-\
WWII happened only 65 years ago
This time period is propably for you History but in Hellas 65 years is yesterday's news
Maybe its because our history/alphabet
goes all the way back to 6000 B.C
Well, IMHO it depends if an epoche was part of your life or not. Let's say it that way "part of your life, in which you had influence". I guess nobody would blame a child of 10 years for something.
What I want to drive at is: We have hundreds of war's today on the planet. Wouldn't it make more sense to care about them? Because we have influence on the present, and even future, but not on the past.
 
People like to hide in the past, so they think that they are not responsible for things happening now.
There is a small country, their citicens like to talk the whole day about holocaust, but they do it to cover up their own sins, sins of the present day.
I don't want to paint the past in brighter colors that it has been, but living in the past can't be an excuse for not changing the present into something better.
 
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Offline MaV

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Re: A discussion on WWII Germany
« Reply #124 on: 00:45, 20 September 11 »
@Mav: actually this (whether they knew or not) has been the subject of much historical debate and research. But I'm afraid I'll disagree.

I remember some ten years ago reading a big review of the German press, and it was quite clear that, not only was knowledge about the concentration camps widely spread, but they were also openly reported -nay, boasted about in the papers.

I wasn't talking about concentration camps at all. I thought I had made that clear. I'd like to separate the topic concentration camps from atrocities at the front (which I was talking about).


Quote
On the other hand, let's assume, for one moment, that all that evidence did not register, which is indeed true to a large extend; it's not like the Germans didn't know, they just "didn't know" - that is, they chose to not know. For me, this is not an excuse - and in some respects, it's even worse.

What's the point of your argument here? This never was a secret. Concentration camps were known long before the war. They were set up with the excuse that people can be "re-educated" there to live up to the Nazis standards, when they're finished with them. And it turned out not to be so. At the beginning the population for sure did not conceive them as death camps.
Yes, shootings and burnings in the camps were known for sure at least in the sorrounding villages themselves, as time went on.
Please, Gryzor, put the facts in a very strict yearly context. The Nazis were masters at manipulation, what was sold as a good idea to the population at first (re-education - which by today's standards is appalling) was later put to another use.

I'm beginning to suspect that you're taking the high moral standpoint and judge history by today's standards. That's ok, but in the end it won't lead you anywhere.

It is extremely difficult even for Germans to get the gist of the situation that the population was in before, during and after the Nazis. It may be even more difficult for people who are not raised in this culture, albeit a good sixty years later.
As so many have told since then, it's not perceivable today how the infamous speeches of Hitler and the festivities of the Nazis exerted influence on the people. There's reports even of jews who were carried away by that pompous presentations and rhetoric. The recordings of these can't convey that feeling, and comtemporary witnesses have made that point clear as well.

The best thing you can do, beyond reading history books about the era, is learning German, living a few years in a German-speaking country, and trying to befriend people from every social class there.
Since today is a culmination of things past, you'll still find a lot of "references" (for lack of a word) which you'll be able to put into context, perhaps even easier than the Germans themselves, since you've been raised in a different context.

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But, sure enough, (referring to your next post now), the rulers exerted a huge influence and vast control over the people, that cannot be denied (nor is). As for finding answers... well, the journey is as enlightening as the destination! As a final note, though: the control of a ruler cannot explain the extend to which a whole people went. What's more, don't forget that Hitler got a solid 30-something percent in 1932, and subsequently his popularity roared, *before* he was able to exert total control. But, important enough, *after* openly stating what he would do.

I remember a present-day philosopher - was it Slavoj Zizek? - stating that 15% of any population tends towards the extreme right. So while the 30% is still way too high, I might add that they Nazis knew even then how to kindle certain sentiments in the population, some of them problems of their day and age, some of them pointing back to WWI.
There's a lot of evidence of manipulation during the elections. And even with this in mind it took the decision of one Alfred Hugenberg - IIRC - to let the Nazis to power (yes, a conservative business tycoon who would not want socialists in the lead, tipped the scales in favour of the Nazis!).
I  personally find that much more important to remind than deliberately recounting endless tales of the atrocities and daily life in concentration camps. There's only so much you can take of that in the end, and you're none the wiser because of it. You can't imagine the death of a few relatives, much less those of millions; or the nightmares of the survivors. Or do we really need to get into the details of what it looks like when a body of a human being is burned in a furnace? I've read and heard those countless times as well.

Let me quote Ian Kershaw from his book Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich. It's in German, but I guess you'll get it: "[Es ist] für den Außenstehenden, den Nichtdeutschen, der den Nationalsozialismus nicht erlebt hat, ... möglicherweise zu leicht, zu kritisieren und Verhaltensmaßstäbe anzulegen, deren Einhaltung unter den gegebenen Umständen nahezu unmöglich war."

Since we're beginning to go in circles with our arguments, I see no real point going into any more detail. Partly because that's about as much as I can remember from my readings, of which I've forgotten a lot, and partly because I do not have enough time to catch up to your reading list.
Also, my current spleen is WWI which is where the catastrophes of the 20th (and 21st) centuries took it's start. So when I have time, I prefer to read about this period.
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