Saturday, January 2, 2016

1944 byJay Winik (FDR the year that changed history)

I highly recommend reading this book by anyone interested in American history. It is a well-researched book of 536 pages. I have read many books about WWII. This one filled in gapes. Although the title is 1944 the author keeps returning to earlier times when concentrating on a particular subject like the rise of Adolf Hitler from an aspiring painter to the position of Fuhrer over the Third Reich with total power over Germany. Other subjects include FDR, General Marshall, General Eisenhower and others. In this way he enhances the events of 1944 with information about the events preceding this historic year. While the book concentrates on 1944 it does lead up by starting with the Tehran Summit between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in November 1943. It was the first time the three had met and resulted in agreements on the next steps to take to defeat the Germany. Rather than repeat the battles fought I want to concentrate on what I believe to be the main reason the author wrote this book and that is the fate of the Jewish people who were slaughtered by the millions while the Allied nations took the position that winning the war was all important and that diverting resources towards saving Jews would not be of value. The really tragic issue is not just the killing but the indifference of the Allied nations and quite frankly the anti-Semitism that was predominate throughout the world. Before the war began in 1939 a boatload of Jews trying to escape Hiller was not allowed to embark in America supposedly based on immigration quotas but sold on the idea that some might be infiltrating to cause us harm. They were returned to Europe and consigned to the sure knowledge that death would soon be their plight. A second ship was also refused entry. There should have been no misunderstanding of the fate that awaited all Jews living in Europe. It began by burning synagogues and homes, shutting down their businesses and not allowing them to participate in normal living. This was followed after the war started by mass shooting and later on more sophisticated ways much faster and efficient. The gas chambers once started would kill thousands every day. There were U.S. leaders in the State Dept. that were alerted early on about the mass killing but the news was suppressed for any number of reasons, the foremost being indifference. Again that is the tragic part to me. At the time the immigrants were returned to Europe Hitler gloated “that see they don’t want them either”. To reduce the slaughter the request was made to bomb the rail roads leading to the death camps and bombing the gas chambers also. By the end of the war our bombers were targeting other sites near the camps but were not sent to destroy them. As I read the book and the allies were closing in from the East and the West amazingly the trains taking Jews to their deaths continued almost until the camps were overrun. No matter that the war was lost nor that Germany was destroyed as a nation, the drive to remove all Jews from Europe never stopped. It was even reported that Hitler had counted Jews living in America, England and all other countries as he looked to the future when no Jews would be left alive. I believe that Anti-Semitism exists today as it did then. Now it is driven by the Islamic sect in the Middle East but also around the world. Many Americans support groups that boycott products from Israel on behalf of the Palestinians. The goal of Islam has been to destroy Israel. At least the majority of Congress of both parties continues to support Israel as do I by contributing to AIPAC, the committee devoted to assuring Congress is informed on Israeli issues and thereby assuring their support. I should apologize for adding the last paragraph but don’t believe I will. Jack B. Walters January I, 2016

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