war

#war

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Moshe Dayan: Jewish Contradiction
Michael B. Oren, the author of Six Days of War: "When Moshe Dayan first got appointed chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces [IDF] in November 1953, he traveled to the Pentagon in Washington, and they asked him, 'What is your assessment? What will happen if war breaks out in the Middle East?' And Moshe Dayan said, 'If war breaks out in the Middle East, Israel will be in danger of destruction—and our troops will be in Damascus [Syria] in eight days.' In the same breath... Israelis suffered from this bifurcation in worldview... It's the view that holds that 'We are invincible. Our army is the most powerful army on the block. But we're also on the verge of ...
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When John Paul Jones' Opponent Was Awarded A Knighthood
On September 23, 1779, off Flamborough Head in northeast England, John Paul Jones, sailing the ramshackle Le Bonhomme Richard, defeated a convoy of British merchantmen under the escort of the royal naval ship Serapis.When Richard Pearson, Serapis's commander, returned to England, criticism for his defeat was drowned by the enormous praise for his generally heroic conduct.John Paul Jones, however, was less impressed. Indeed, when he learned that his opponent had been awarded a knighthood, he was rather peeved indeed. "Should I have the good fortune to fall in with him again," he declared, "I'll make a lord of him!"
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Arc de Triomphe
James Joyce: How Long Will The Eternal Fire Burn?
"Joyce had no patience with monuments. Valery Larbaud said to him as they drove in a taxi in Paris past the Arc de Triomphe with its eternal fire, 'How long do you think that will burn?' Joyce answered, 'Until the Unknown Soldier gets up in disgust and blows it out.'" [The eternal flame was in fact later (briefly) extinguished, when a drunken American soldier urinated on it; and, on another occasion, in 1958, a Parisian named Claude Figus was charged with the violation of a sepulchre—after trying to fry eggs on it.]
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A French Ambassador Discusses Pacifism With An American
The French ambassador to Washington, Jean Jules Jusserand, once found himself discussing pacifism with Theodore Roosevelt's wife. "Why don't you learn from the United States and Canada?" she suggested. "We have a three-thousand-mile unfortified peaceful frontier. You people arm yourselves to the teeth." "Ah, madame," Jusserand replied. "Perhaps we could exchange neighbors."
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Kyösti Kallio Signs A Monstrous Treaty
Innnn the Winter War of 1939-40, nine divisions of the Finnish army, answering an unprovoked onslaught, held off forty-five Soviet divisions for 105 days. The Finns, ultimately crushed, were obliged to sign a punitive treaty in Moscow in March 1940. As President Kyösti Kallio signed, he exclaimed, "Let the hand wither that signs this monstrous treaty!" Incredibly, within a few months his arm had become paralyzed.
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Maurice Barrymore - England & America
An English friend once mocked Maurice Barrymore's enthusiasm for his adopted home: America. "Why," said the Englishman, "we could go over to America and beat the daylights out of it any day." Barrymore's reply? "Again?"
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Stanley Baldwin - war debt
As financial secretary to the treasury, Stanley Baldwin was alarmed by the size of the British debt arising from World War I. In 1919, he wrote an anonymous letter to The Times urging the wealthy to impose a voluntary tax upon themselves to help relieve the burden. Estimating the value of his own estate at some £580,000, Baldwin invested £150,000 in government war-loan stock—certificates which he then destroyed, thus rendering the purchase a gift to the treasury.[The rich, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not rush to follow Baldwin's noble example.]
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Philip Edward Thomas - What Are You Fighting For?
During World War I, the poet Philip Edward Thomas was asked what he thought he was fighting for. Without hesitation, he bent down and collected a handful of dirt. "Literally," he replied, crumbling it between his fingers, "for this." [Thomas was killed in action in 1917.]
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Special Delivery For P.O.W. Douglas Bader
In 1931, Douglas Bader lost his legs in a flying accident. Fitted with artificial limbs, Bader learned to walk again and resumed playing golf and tennis—and flying with the British Royal Air Force (RAF). During World War II, he registered twenty-two kills before colliding with another plane and crash-landing in France in 1942. The Germans, having captured Bader, informed the RAF that he was fine—apart from one small problem. An RAF plane was soon dispatched to fly over a German airfield and drop a parcel (by parachute) addressed to "The German flight commander of the Luftwaffe at St. Omer" (where Bader was being held as a prisoner of war in the hospital). The parcel's contents? One artificial leg, bandages, socks, ...
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John Sobieski reports a victory to the pope
In 1683, John Sobieski's military brilliance drove the invading Turks back from the walls of Vienna, altering forever the history of central Europe. He soon announced victory to the pope. "I came, I saw..." he declared. And? "God conquered."[A play, of course, on Caesar's famous remark: "I came, I saw, I conquered" (Veni, vidi, vici).]