What Not to Get the Kids for Christmas

by: the Common Constitutionalist:

As Christmas draws near, I thought I might depart, if only for a day, from the political arena where I usually reside, and present something a little less controversial.

Did I say less controversial? Well, you be the judge.

A rare toy figure of Adolf Hitler made for German children  was revealed last year by the son of a World War II soldier for the first time.

The figure of the fascist dictator was part of a collection of toys U.S Private Jerome Beaulier bought at a toy shop in Germany at the end of the war in exchange for cigarettes and chocolate bars.

He mailed them back to his five-year-old son  Jerry, who received them in 1945 and has kept them ever since.

 The four-inch tall Hitler figure is seated in  the front passenger seat of a German army jeep alongside three soldiers.

Nothing Says Merry Christmas like a Tiny Hitler!

Other toys included in the set are an anti-aircraft gun, several field guns, another truck with a huge search light attached and a First World War German biplane. read more

The Alt-Right is Not Right – It’s Left

by: the Common Constitutionalist

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What exactly is the Alt-Right? We hear the term batted about a lot recently.

In November, 2016, USA Today, or McPaper (h/t: Jay Severin) attempted to explain the alt-right movement. “The alt-right — short for “alternative right” — is a movement that bucks mainstream conservatism,” writes USA Today. I guess it does!

They add that, “The Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-hate organization, says the group’s main focus is ‘white identity’ and to preserve ‘western civilization,’ but how they go about calling for that is broad.”

Allow me to more accurately phrase that last sentence. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a black separatist group with a butt-load of cash (an operating budget of $45 million and an endowment in excess of $300 million), who labels every group who doesn’t tow their radical line as a hate group, defines the alt-right as focusing on white identity, or white nationalism.”

If this is the case, and it appears to be, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has by its own definition, proven that the alt-right isn’t right at all. It also disproves the claim that the group could even be remotely tied to “conservatism.” One of the pillars of conservatism is “The Golden Rule,” which automatically precludes white nationalism or racial supremacy of any kind.

According to McPaper, the white nationalist/supremacist Richard Spencer coined the term in 2008. If he uses the term alt-right to identify himself and his fellow believers – this begs a question? read more

Tanks Alot

From The Stuff that Intrerests Me Blog:

A while back I posted a pic of an American Sherman tank that had been upended by an explosion. A point of interest was that the tank was in the service of the Russians and part of the massive lend-lease program where the US and Britain supplied massive quantities of arms and armaments to Soviet Russia. Approximately 2000 M4 Shermans (75 mm gun) were supplied to the Russians. Frankly, that’s a lot of tanks. If memory serves me right an American Armored Division had roughly 200 medium and light tanks. This means, just counting the Shermans alone the US gave the Soviets enough tanks to initially equip the equivalent of ten divisions!

Why so generous you may ask? Why be so generous to Soviet, Communist Russia under Stalin, a man whose crimes were rivalled only by Hitler.

Most folks do not know or remember that Soviet Russia fought a war of aggression against tiny Finland in 1940 and make a pact with Hitler to divide Poland in 1939. Britain and France declared war on Germany for the Polish invasion but not Soviet Russia who invaded that poor country almost at the same time the Germans did.

So, why help Soviet Russia in 1941 when it’s clear that Stalin was as bad as Hitler if not worse, if you can imagine what worse would look like.

On June 22nd the Germans did invade Russian occupied Poland and then Russia itself. It’s possible they simply beat the Russians to the first punch. Soviet Russia had concentrated massive armies in the Ukraine. They had many more men and tanks in that area than they had along the Minsk-Smolensk highway that led to Moscow. You’d think if they were thinking defensively that most of their armies would be along the more direct route to their capital. They were not.

Some historians believe the Soviet Armies were in the Ukraine because they had ambitions on Romania, a German ally, but also a nation that disputed Russia’s claim to Moldova and Bessarabia, areas that contained many ethnic Romanians.

In any event, the Germans struck first and within two months of fighting, much of it along the Minsk-Smolensk highway , the Germans had inflicted millions of casualties on the Russians and destroyed a significant part of the Soviet tank force. By the end of November 1941 the Germans were in sight of Moscow and the Soviet government was near collapse.

The US did not enter the war until December, 1941 but had been giving Great Britain lend-lease aid almost from the beginning of the war in 1939. When Germany invaded Russia in June, 1941 the US also began lend-lease to Russia although still not formally in the war. In another way this was odd. Roosevelt was committed to Britain and it was only a matter of time before the US formally joined the war. The attack on Pearl Harbor just hastened the decision. Therefore, prior to the formal declaration of war the US was in the process of equipping its own divisions. So, when it came to lend-lease the US was sending Russia equipment at the expense of our own forming divisions.

Which brings me back to the initial question. Why help Stalin?

It was a pragmatic decision along the lines of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.” War produces strange bed fellows that often get along well enough to defeat a common foe even though the reality is they hate their allies almost as much as their enemies.

Having said that there really was a better pragmatic reason to help Soviet Russia. The vast bulk of the German Army was in Russia. Should Russia surrender the bulk of the German Army could be transferred to the West. One American General remarked that if Russia failed it would debatable if the USA and GB could win. He didn’t think we’d lose. He just thought it would be difficult to win in a decisive way should Russia be taken out and the western allies had to face the bulk of the German Army. Fortress Europe just might have proven impossible to breach.

By December, 1941 it did look as if Russia just might collapse. It was around this time that Russia started to receive substantial numbers of American and British tanks.
Pictured left is an American light tank-the M3 Stuart and a medium tank-the M2 Lee in Russian service. The Stuart by all accounts was a great light tank. It was fast and it had a 37mm main gun which was not terrible in those early years of the war. The British loved their Stuarts and used them in North Africa against Rommel where they were called “Honeys.”

The M2 Lee was a different animal. It had the same 37mm gun the Stuart had but it was mounted on top of the turret. The Lee’s main weapon was a 75mm gun mounted in the hull which meant it had a limited traverse. At the time, it was the best the US had to offer since the Sherman had not yet produced in large numbers. The British used the Lee/Grant (M3) in North Africa too (as we did in late 1942 when we invaded N. Africa).

The LeeGrant was not popular and inferior to the German Pz IVf2 and upgraded PZ IIIm’s the Germans fielded in N. Africa. One officer complaining about the Lee’s very high-profile remarked that it looked like a cathedral coming down the road.

The Russians did not think much of them either but they were comparing them to their own excellent T-34. However, in the fall/winter of 1941-42 the Russians were desperate and they gladly received the Lee’s, the Stuarts and the British Matilda’s that were sent to them.

The Russians launched a winter offensive in December 1941 than continued through February, 1942. For much of the time the weather was blizzard or the temperature dropped to below 25 degrees Fahrenheit (or worse). The Germans planned to knock Russia out by the winter and were woefully unprepared for the Russian offensive and the weather and were pushed back a significant distance from Moscow. Stalin got the reprieve he needed to survive.

The lend-lease American and British tanks did not win the war for Soviet Russia but they did contribute in keeping Russia in the war and that’s what lend-lease was ultimately all about.