Friday, May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Two Recent Essays at LEW ROCKWELL and RECKONIN.com

Friends,

I offer two more recent essays published, respectively, by LewRockwell.com and Reckonin.com, and there are more coming soon. But today I send out from Lew Rockwell’s Web site a slightly edited version of a MY CORNER which originally showed up on May 7, and the Reckonin’ essay, a MY CORNER originally from April 18 of this year. The topics are very different, but both have suscitated a number of comments.

Here they are:

LewRockwell.com anti-stateanti-warpro-market

As I Viewed This I Was Shaken to My Core—You Will be Also

By Boyd D. Cathey   My Corner    May 8, 2020

It begins in muddied black and white, no voices over until about two minutes into the film. At first it may seem a bit unclear what is happening. But soon, with the first interview of a British officer, it becomes all too apparent—too graphic, too unsettling, too horrific for our minds so accustomed to the cushy prosperity and relative peace of contemporary America to fully grasp. And it is only the beginning. The online Youtube is titled “Forgotten History of World War II: Operation Keelhaul,” although the initial title in the film reads “Orders from Above.”
At the end of it we find in the credits that it was originally produced with much research by the BBC in 1975. To my knowledge it has never been screened on American television, never released in a VHS or DVD format of any kind. But it cries out, with the voices of millions of men, women and children cruelly and barbarously murdered, for acknowledgement…and for justice, even if seventy-five years too late.
It left a profound impression on me, as I think it will on you as you watch it.
1974-1975 many of the sealed World War II records and archives of the British Foreign Office were finally unsealed, and, in particular, the files of how our English allies forcibly shipped back to the Soviet Union and to our supposed friend in the war against Adolf Hitler, “Uncle” Joe Stalin (as he was affectionately called in the Anglo-American press), some two million plus Russians who existed within Western Europe at the end of the Second World War.

And if other nationalities that were sent to the Soviets are counted the figures mount to around five or six millions: all to become victims of Stalin’s revenge.
Not just the thousands Russians (mainly Cossacks) who had actually volunteered to fight with the Germans against Communism and for their homeland (which was their object, not really for Naziism), but hundreds of thousands of civilians, who had been forced at gunpoint to work for the Nazis as part of their war effort. And including thousands of innocent women and children, again many inducted forcibly into labor battalions. Not only that, Stalin also requested—and many times got—any Russians the Westerns powers could round up or find who had taken refuge in Western Europe prior to 1939…in other words, the many anti-Communist Russians who had left Russia after the Revolution of 1918-1920 and had been living peaceably in the West since then.

For Stalin there were no POWS: a Red Army soldier was either victorious or died for Communism (either at the hands of the enemy or by his own suicide!). Capture by the enemy was unacceptable, not acknowledged by the Soviet military. A Soviet POW was already sentenced to death if he was captured alive or surrendered. Almost certain execution, either immediately or in a gulag, lay ahead for any returned comrade.

All this—all of the forced and many times very brutal and inexpressibly horrific repatriation at the point of a bayonet or facing British machine guns took place in almost total secrecy. The English—Anthony Eden, Patrick Dean and, yes, Winston Churchill (and Franklin D. Roosevelt)—were eager to placate “Uncle Joe” and keep him happy, even if it meant the cruel death (or at the least a slow death in a gulag in Siberia) for more than two million living, breathing men and their families. “Collateral losses” was an antiseptic term used, “unfortunate necessities” is another fancy word expression…an expression to evoke just one aspect of official Allied policy at the end of the War, a policy that continued for several years, and then details about which were locked away for another thirty years.

For three decades the policy of Britain and America was to keep a rigid silence about these actions, mostly deny the existence of such incredible barbarity…at least until 1974-1975. Then English journalist, Nicholas Bethel (in his riveting volume The Last Secret: The Delivery to Stalin of Over Two Million Russians) and Count Nikolai Tolstoy in The Secret Betrayal, 1944-1947  tore back the curtain, employing the finally opened archives.  And later Tolstoy, a British citizen and distant cousin of the famous Russian novelist, authored a shattering sequel, The Minister and the Massacres (1985), which traces in a straight line who gave the orders, who were responsible for what in many ways rivalled in barbarity the crimes of our enemies in the late war.
Those millions of Russian victims of the war do not take into account  approximately maybe ten to fifteen million Eastern European German civilians (Volksdeutsche) living outside Germany forcibly moved back to the fatherland, with only clothes on their backs, as many as 2.5 million of whom perished during the frigid winter of 1945-1946, as Alfred de Zayas has documented in his scholarly yet stunning volume Nemesis at Potsdam: The Anglo-Americans and the Expulsion of the Germans: Background: Execution, Consequences (1979).

Nor do they measure the actions of us Americans after the war—documented by Canadian journalist, James Bacque in his book, Other Losses (1989). Bacque’s incredible, nearly unbelievable findings: that U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower intentionally caused the deaths by starvation or exposure of around a million German prisoners of war held in Western internment camps briefly after the Second World War.

How do victorious powers in a righteous war against an Evil Power responsible for immense cruelty and criminality, then establish peace, justice, and liberty after that war when they engage in similar practices of cruelty and criminality against that Evil Power, or more specifically against millions of subjects in occupied lands under that Power’s control forced into its service?
Do we not still suffer the effects of our, in many ways, continuing dalliance with Communism, and more so today, of its bastard step-children, the progressivist “woke” post-Marxist Left that so defiles and despoils our culture, denies our history, and despises and bans our heritage?
****
I pass on to you the Youtube, “Forgotten History of World War II: Operation Keelhaul.” It lasts for about one hour and a half, which I recognize is long for such a video. When I first began watching I thought only to view bits and small parts of it. But I could not stop—I could not stop listening to and seeing the still-shaken British soldiers and officers recounting how they had been ordered to bayonet soldiers and civilians and force them into blinded box cars or herded into over-crowded ships to Odessa, only to watch them brutally murdered dockside upon arrival. I could not stop viewing the searing images, the reminiscences of the few Russians who somehow managed to escape or survive.

If you don’t have a full hour and a half to watch this film immediately, just begin with a few excerpts—at about 23:00 into the film, then at about 56:00 for the next few minutes, and then finally at around 1:05:00 until the end when Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from his monumental Gulag Archipelago is quoted. Sadly, some of the books I’ve cited are now priced terribly high (and one must wonder why that is?), but I recommend also purchasing some of them and sharing them with your family and friends. In the scheme of eternity, it’s important.

Like the British officers and the clergyman interviewed, I too am haunted by all this, I am haunted by the complicity of “civilized” nations, by people raised and annealed in the principles of our Christian faith. This film makes it all too real.
If I had a time machine for our society and culture, I would immediately send us all back prior to the First World War (for that is where the Second originated)…and I would frantically warn the Archduke Franz Ferdinand not to go to Sarajevo. I would scream from the rooftops, as in Holy Writ, that irredentism and unbridled, headless nationalism could only lead to devastation. And I would plead that all men—English Victorians, the Russian tsarists, the French republicans, the Serbian extremists—spend more time in Church asking for God’s grace and forgiveness, than on the battlefield or hurtling blood-soaked threats at their neighbors….

Here we are now in 2020, after by far the bloodiest and most unimaginably vicious century—the 20th—in human history. And in our insouciance and worldliness we pretend that the most important things are material, and we act as if God does not exist. In fact, most people probably believe in Satan more, at least in the way they act, than in Our Heavenly Father.

It cannot last…indefinitely. And we should begin, we should prepare by arming ourselves with knowledge and Faith.
Please continue:
Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Copyright © Boyd D. Cathey 
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In Memory of a Special Friend and Mentor




by Boyd D. Cathey   4/19/2020

It came in the form of a letter; I could read from the return address who it was from. But the handwriting, so distinctive, was not his, and immediately I thought, was this news sad news, maybe of his death? After all I knew he was well into his 80s.

And when I opened the long envelope, there was the program for the memorial service and a short personal note from his wife, Barbara: my dear friend, former history professor, and actual first “mentor,” Eugene Earnhardt had passed away on February 4 of this year after battles with several insuperable illnesses, a few days shy of his 86th birthday.

Shocked—although I suppose I shouldn’t have been—I immediately telephoned Barbara who lives in a retirement cluster near Asheville. And we had a moving, emotional conversation that lasted for about an hour.

You see Gene Earnhardt was my first history professor in my freshman year for undergraduate studies at Pfeiffer University, and he was pivotal in how I would lead the rest of my life and the choices I would make. Not just that but he was an incredibly talented writer and writing stylist, for whom the written word was special: he could not abide what he called “purple prose,” pomposity, or literary laziness…or silly political correctness.

I recall the first paper I wrote for him—I still have it somewhere stored away. It was a discussion of the old conservative movement of the 1950s, including writers and thinkers like Russell Kirk, Clinton Rossiter, and a few others. When I got my paper back, I got an A-, but the whole thing was marked up, bloodied in red, with comments like: “too many words to say what you mean,” “poorly phrased,” and “this paragraph should come later.” In conferences with Gene, he painstakingly gave me pointers on how better to express myself in writing, how better to make things flow and make better sense.

All that was really fundamental for a young 18 year old college freshman, and I like to think that it was his dedication to his art, to teaching and instruction, that was responsible. But I know now, after fifty years of friendship after those undergrad days, that it was also because he saw something in me worth cultivating and alimenting and assisting…and because of a natural bond of friendship and respect that began back then and continued on for five more decades.

But Gene was pivotal in another way, even more important and critical for me.

For back in my senior year of high school I had become acquainted with the works of conservative scholar, Dr. Russell Kirk, and for Christmas 1965 I asked my parents for a selection of books by him, including his seminal, The Conservative Mind. I was enthralled and much taken by “the Sage of Mecosta” Michigan (as he was known), by his elaborate detailing and defense of a usable Anglo-American past, of our Anglo-American heritage and constitutional traditions, which he termed “conservative.” Not only that, he seemed to comprehend and express eloquently the thinking of that tradition and its major figures, beginning with Edmund Burke and continuing on through men such as John Randolph, John C. Calhoun, Benjamin Disraeli, Robert H. Taft, and T. S. Eliot, among others.

So when I got to Pfeiffer and in one of my first meetings with Gene Earnhardt, I mentioned Kirk. And, amazingly, he replied: “A few years ago I sailed across the Atlantic to England, and he was on board, and we became friends.” Then, he suggested to abet my enthusiasm that I should write Kirk directly, which is exactly what I did that Fall in a long and rambling letter.


I then more or less forgot that…that is, until I received a response, postmarked Mecosta, Michigan, and from Dr. Kirk. I recall a phrase from that letter to this day. He wrote that Richard Nixon had requested to see him, and that “he has never listened much to what I have to say, and I doubt he will this time, either.”

You can imagine my sensation. That letter began a conversation—a correspondence—that lasted almost until Russell Kirk’s death in April 1994. But not just by mail: my senior year at Pfeiffer I was in charge of the visiting speakers program (can anyone imagine that now!?), and I was able to bring him down to the college for several days, including a speech and a round-table. Later, he invited me to be his personal assistant during the year 1971-1972, opening up undreamed of opportunities and introducing me to individuals who would exercise additional and significant influence in my formation and life.

After Pfeiffer I was off to the University of Virginia, awarded a Thomas Jefferson Fellowship to study under the late Jefferson biographer, Merrill Peterson. And, again, it was Gene Earnhardt who assisted me critically in preparing for that step. I took his American intellectual history course and a course in historiography, both of which were important as I went from a small college to a large university. Without his guidance, his advice, and his friendship, I doubt I would have done that or made those career changes.

And after grad school our friendship continued. Occasionally, I would stop by the little town of New London where Gene and Barbara lived and spend a night and rekindle our discussions and profound friendship. Sometimes when Gene and Barbara would come to the Raleigh area to visit Gene’s brother, we would have lunch together. In every meeting, it was like old and good friends joining together once again. But I was always the student, and he always the teacher.

Finally, about four or five months ago I telephoned Gene to see how he was doing. By then he and Barbara had settled into a retirement community. He had, I knew, some health issues. But I simply wanted to express to him, again, my continuous and unceasing appreciation and thanks for all he had done for me, the direction he had imparted, the patient and sage advice, and, perhaps now most of all, the deep and abiding friendship, the kind of bond and love that comes from God Himself and in which we also learn the best parts of our humanity.

I tried to express this, these thoughts, to Barbara when we talked; I am not sure that I was able…words are not always easily found in these situations. But somehow I think she knows. And my dear friend and first “mentor,” Eugene Earnhardt, now at rest and at peace in the fellowship of Our Lord, knows.

Old friend, teacher, exemplar, guide—thank you! Rest in peace.

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