The Greatest War Novel

I wrote this on January 3, 2021, days before the attack on The Capitol.

And of particular concern is that we see The Proud Boys attacking police, diminishing the “law and order” posture of Trump and Republicans. Mussolini came to power through men like that. “His attitudes were highly theatrical, his opinions were contradictory, his facts were often wrong, and his attacks were frequently malicious and misdirected; but his words were so dramatic, his metaphors so apt and striking, his vigorous, repetitive gestures so extraordinarily effective, that he rarely failed to impose his mood,” Britannica explains to US. Trump has had his most demonstrable training which is similar in the White House. During those days in Italy, left wing governments were prevented from taking power and there was broad support for nationalism and anti-Bolshevism (communism and socialism today). And this is what Mussolini declared in 1922 during a crisis “Either the government will be given to us, or we will seize it by marching on Rome.” Responding to his oratory the assembled Fascists excitedly took up the cry, shouting in unison “Roma! Roma! Roma!” All appeared eager to march. And now our eyes turn to Washington, C.! Washington, D.C.!, Washington, D.C.! in the next week or more before Inauguration Day. Italy was in crisis and about four days later King Victor Emmanuel III wrote to Mussolini and Mussolini was soon given dictatorial powers in 1922 and preceded Adolf Hitler’s taking over of Germany by about a decade.

With that said let me turn to new reading for me. I wish to take you back to a three-bedroom apartment in a NYC Public Housing on the Lower East Side. My mother had either purchased a book or got it in the Book of the Month Club and I may have started to read a page of it back the late 1950s. I just bought and read that novel, I believe (it could have been another title that will soon be listed) and I now know that I was too young and intellectually undeveloped to really understand such a complex novel.

I can now trace some of the “roots” of just why that book was in my home. The novel became a motion picture that was considered one of the great movies of its time. The author who was German and who had been a soldier fighting for Germany in World War I had his book banned and burned by Hitler and his supporters. He was considered a “traitor.” His sister who remained in Germany spoke out about how she felt that Germany would not win World War II and she was put on trial and beheaded in 1943. Being the sister of Erich Maria Remarque was already a major strike against her. Remarque was not aware, of course, about what his sister was going through.

His real name was Erich Paul Remark but he changed all that. He had been wounded 5 times during World War I. Later in life he was romantically involved with famous beautiful women including Hedy Lamar, Marlene Dietrich, Dolores Del Rio, and Paulette Goddard who he married. Goddard starred in The Great Dictator with Charlie Chaplin, the movie about Hitler.

I wrote about the influence of Hitler on Hollywood and its boards of directors in the past and after All Quiet on the Western Front was made, it had scenes that were changed according to the dictates of the German public. And this is from the United States Museum of the Holocaust “In December 1930, when the edited and dubbed version of the film was shown to the general public in Berlin, the Nazis sabotaged the event. The Party’s leader in Berlin and its propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, organized a riot to disrupt the showing. Outside, SA storm troopers intimidated movie goers, while inside they released stink bombs and mice and harangued the audience. At subsequent showings, the Nazis carried out violent protests. In response to these actions and conservative attacks on the film, the government banned the film. Liberals and socialists condemned the action, but the prohibition lasted until September 1931, when Laemmle produced a more censored version for German audiences.”

So my mother selected a great book to read but the timing wasn’t there. Now over 60 years later, I am happy to say that I have read the book and think of mom.

In such works as Der Funke Leben (Spark of Life) and Zeit zu leben und Zeit zu sterben (published in English as A Time to Love and A Time to Die), Remarque was one of the first to document the role that the German population played in mass killings under Hitler.

Emilio De Bono, Luciano Gottardi, Giovanni Marinelli, Carlo Pareschi, and Galeazzo Ciano were Italians that I have just read about. Ciano I had read about before. And here it was on the first page of history in the new book I picked up. Even before arriving at their names, there was this which reminded me of the book My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me, the book about a woman who learned that her roots included the commandant in Schindler’s List, an interracial woman. Quando il nonno fece fucilare papà  or When Grandpa Had Daddy Shot by Fabrizio Ciano. Those five men were not loyal to il Duce and met their fate with death. Ciano was the son-in-law of Mussolini. They wanted Mussolini out as the commander-in-chief of the Italian war effort. Here was an example of ruthless power designed to keep a man in power. Loyalty was expected. Italy like Germany after World War I had people who were feeding losses due to betrayal. In Germany it was the Jews and now near the end of World War II in Italy it was Rabbis, free masons, and women.”

And the “enemies” have grown exponentially in the United States as people around Trump hope to create a new party to fight America’s “enemies.” The die is cast. And all of the attempts by people to overthrow the election of Joe Biden are considered loyalty to Trump, with certain exceptions it seems. The reports keep coming in and keeping the American il Duce in power continues throughout our land.

So defeat was in the making in Italy (Germany too) and defeat was in the making in America as Trump lost important swing states and faced a rainy night in Georgia that lasted several weeks. His threats that are on tape preceded the all-important contests of January 5 and 6. The landslide that he was robbed of, so he says, did not result in victory for the Republicans as the vote was tallied in Georgia. If there had been real fraud on November 3, it would have shown its face on January 5th in Georgia. It didn’t. And then the contest in our nation’s capital and the arrests, arrests, arrests of Trump supporters all over America. And the first statement by Trump made it clear that his only concern was for the men in blue in The Capitol. The others were Galeazzo Cianos who were only related to Trump by their victories in the democratic processes over decades. American values were about to be overthrown by Trump values.

I read about the efforts of Mussolini to empower himself in Italy, but the war was heading quickly toward an end. We know that the fighting against the Germans remained tough and I have written about the importance of the resistance. There was finally a lot of resistance in Italy at that time and as Mussolini and his entourage tried their escape lots of them were easily recognized. Mussolini in German uniform pretended to be drunk and sleeping and given the fact that his cohorts had already been apprehended his attempt to protect himself lasted only seconds. The order soon came to shoot him.

Trump is on the run in another way and already I have read that the order has gone out for his tax consulting firm to hand over his taxes.

Mussolini had expected great support to form another government and that was not going to happen. Trump now wants to help keep Make America Great Again alive and there are millions who support him and his lack of EVIDENCE. There were about 400,000 deaths due to Mussolini and his administrative skills and there are over 400,000 deaths due to Trumpism. The electricity should have been turned off in the White House in early February 2020 and perhaps we could have kept deaths due to COVID-19 below 80,000. Trump is out and still on the run. He is safe for now, but who knows what the future will bring.

I have written about the racism that afflicted Spain during its Civil War in the 1930s, racism combined with anti-Semitism. Mussolini remember had great colonial ambitions to Make Italy Great Again.  In Ethiopia he wanted to expand Catholicism and Italian culture which makes us recall the imperialism of past eras of history. And the racism of his administration worsened after 1938. The Manafiesto of Race that year spelled out point number 7 which was “it is time that Italians proclaim themselves to be openly racist.” Racial laws against Jews were passed in November 1938. He had already begun telling people that the white race would be extinct as “yellow” and “black” races were progressing.

And finally we can return to news about Trump’s Proud Boys where some of them have been charged with conspiracy in the The Capitol rioting and violence. Enrico Tarrio was arrested days before the event, but information has surfaced that he has been a cooperating person in cases for the F.B.I. This does seem odd at first, but any good reading of history comes up with dual agents. I wrote about one recently who was working in occupied France for the Nazis providing information that was critical for defeating the Nazis. Could it be that his arrest was just a way of protecting him and trapping the other Proud Boys and if this is true does Tarrio have much more information to share about Trump-Roger Stone-and others? Could it be our boy has done something rash or is he just an informant?

And could it be that the Repugnicans will be facing the prospect of Donald Trump being revealed as a partial catalyst beyond what he has already been involved in?  What I am saying is that there could be more evidence but still insufficient evidence to overturn his reputation. I am not suggesting rallies to confront Republican Party offices throughout the United States with some unknown “Proud Boys” of the left. The important thing right now if for Repugnicans to tone it all down and step back. We have our own war which was only partially won with the election of Joe Biden.

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