November 24th, 2012

“Great Escape” tunnel found

A reader has alerted me to the news that the tunnel “Harry” featured in the movie “The Great Escape” has been found (not the movie set tunnel; the real deal).

If you’ve loved that movie for many decades, as I have, this will bring back memories not only of the film, but of the courageous and resourceful real-life men who were interned in that camp and who managed to devise an ingenious way to escape.

If you’ve never seen the movie, you should do so. It takes a few liberties with historical fact (the Steve McQueen character is a fictional one, for example, but that can be forgiven because it gives us the opportunity to watch him on a motorcycle). But the gist of the plot is accurate, and you’ll be lost in admiration for these men who truly deserve the appellation “heroes.”

I somehow doubt that our current population could accomplish something similar, even if they had the guts to do so. People of earlier times were more likely to have varied skills at working with their hands, and to be more resourceful at devising clever mechanical fixes for problems they encountered along the way.

I pondered long and hard over what scene from the movie to feature here, but this one will have to do to whet your appetite. Note the use of German and French without a translation into English or the use of subtitles, which at the time was unusual and made a deep impression on me:

The entire film is available on YouTube, if you want to watch it that way. I saw it when it first came out, on a big screen in a movie theater, and that’s the best way to go. But since it’s almost never shown that way anymore, a small screen should suffice. And if you’re interested—as I am—in historic accuracy, here’s a documentary on the making of the film, and the interface between fact and fiction:

[NOTE: Bumped up.]

35 Responses to ““Great Escape” tunnel found”

  1. George Pal Says:

    They found “Harry”! Yet another testament to the past – built to last.

  2. holmes Says:

    We wouldn’t be able to build such a tunnel today without the appropriate environmental impact studies as well as unending comments from stakeholders and the community.

  3. Paul in Boston Says:

    I remember my father and uncle taking me to see this in a big downtown movie house when I was a teenager. They rarely spoke about their experiences during the war but that afternoon they opened up a bit because of a scene in the movie where the prisoners make bootleg hooch.

    After the Lodz ghetto was liquidated they were sent to a men’s work camp outside Berlin. Bomber Command, in one of its regular visits to the neighborhood, had blown up a train with some boxcars of sugar. They and several other prisoners were dragooned by the SS into getting the sugar and making it into vodka, with results similar to the scene in the movie.

  4. Charles Says:

    . . . People of earlier times were more likely to have varied skills at working with their hands, and to be more resourceful at devising clever mechanical fixes for problems they encountered along the way.”

    I agree with that statement, Neo; I’d be willing to bet that the difference is that men back then were more like to be of blue-collar or working class who worked with their hands on a regular basis.

    White-collar men, not so much. While there are plenty of white-collar men who have hobbies in which they work with their hand. Most white collar men do not today. They will hire other men to do their labor for them. (I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; just that is the way it is – If I had the money I would certainly hire someone else to rake and bag all those damned tree leaves – I don’t care if they are pretty to look at in the fall, they are a pain in the back!)

    It would be interesting to see what the pre-war occupations of most of these POWs were.

  5. Mike Lief Says:

    Paul Brickhill’s book — upon which the movie was based — was a favorite during my childhood (yes, I was and am a history geek). It’s still terrific, and worth reading.

    The biggest departure from reality was the addition of the Americans to the escape; there weren’t any in the camp, merely an indomitable bunch of His Majesty’s finest airmen. Boxoffice, however, required some bankable American stars, and what a cast it was!

    It’s more than a little sobering to those of us nearing 50 to realize that we’re quite a bit older than Steven McQueen, James Garner, Charles Bronson, James Coburn — hell, even Donald Pleasence! — were in ’62.

    A great film, featuring a marvelous score by Elmer Bernstein, who also wrote the iconic score for “The Magnificent Seven,” which also featured McQueen, Bronson and Coburn.

  6. Steve Says:

    The seals at Benghazi did not dig a tunnel but they showed unbelievable courage coming to the aid of the ambassador and fought against overwhelming odds killing dozens before they were killed. Frankly Obama does not deserve to lead such men. He is a piece of dirt.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    Mike Lief: I read the book when I was young, too, and it was excellent.

    And the film had one of the great movie scores of all time, adding greatly to the tension, excitement, and pathos.

    However, there actually were Americans at the camp when the plan was first hatched, and they helped with the initial stages of the operation. All the Americans were moved to another camp some time before the escape itself, so they weren’t part of the later preparations, nor did any of them actually escape. The documentary I posted at the end of the post goes into some of this history.

  8. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    While it’s interesting in that it’s a true story, as WWII POW films go, it always stuck me as paling behind
    Stalag 17
    as well as
    Bridge On The River Kwai

    Both of which have sparkling casts anchored by William Holden at the peak of his career.

  9. Pils Says:

    I just finished the book “Sage” by Jerry Sage, one of the senior American officers in the camp. He was an OSS officer that somehow got himself placed in a camp for Air Corps officers. He has much in common with the Steve McQueen character. Multiple escape attempts, multiple trips to the cooler.

  10. George Says:

    Donald Pleasence served in the RAF. His bomber was shot down in 1944 and he spent over 8 months as a POW.

  11. Mac Says:

    Another vote for the movie as an all-time great. I saw it when it was new, too–guess I was in my early teens–and it made a huge, huge impression on me. I didn’t see it again until I was middle-aged, and wondered if it was as good as I remembered. I was pleased to find that it is. I think it ranks as one of the very best things Hollywood has ever done. I don’t think American filmmakers are often in the class with Europeans when they try to do Serious Film (please, spare me Robin Williams), but they have at times been able to make really fine art out of more straightforward material, as here.

    I’m hearing the main theme in my head now.

  12. kcom Says:

    The book was great. Since I read it before I ever saw the movie, of course, I think it’s better than the movie. Because it really is. I appreciated the greater attention to detail in the book. It was about the escape, not about the Hollywood stars.

    And, oh, for the want of the few more feet that would have put them in the woods instead of in the open. It’s one of those historical moments I wish we could re-run to see how it would have turned out differently with a change in circumstance.

  13. texexec Says:

    This movie is available on DVD from NetFlix. Should allow a fan to at least see it in a large TV screen.

  14. John Dough Says:

    ….”People of earlier times were more likely to have varied skills at working with their hands, and to be more resourceful at devising clever mechanical fixes for problems they encountered along the way”….

    Recently I was talking with a group my age (mid to late 60 year old men) One had a PhD in Philosophy who was raised on a farm, learned mechanics at a very early age, and still does light maintenance on his cars. Another was a retired senior executive with IBM who gained early skills from his building contractor father. While my career as a corporate executive, with an MBA, saw me start life driving buses (and mechanicing on the side) for my parents bus company. When my grandson was looking at a used car to buy, he consulted with me rather than his Accounting educated father.

    Who can point to people in today’s society that have any acquired skill sets other than the field they were educated in? Online gaming doesn’t count as another field of endeavor either.

  15. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Actually, there were three Americans in the Sagan North Camp compound, who worked on the tunnels – one of them was fighter pilot Robert Ingram, who now lives in San Antonio’s Air Force Village. He and the other two Americans were moved to the South compound before the last tunnel was finished and the escape launched.
    He is the only one of the American tunnel-diggers still living. He was interviewed for a collection of 21 WWII reminiscences called “A 21 Story Salute” – and last weekend, he and the writer who put the book together were signing autographs at a table across from mine at the New Braunfels Weihnachtsmarkt.

  16. Armchair pessimist Says:

    Isn’t this movie roughly of the same era as Hogan’s Heroes?, Which as I recall blithely avoided mentioning what precisely those whacky Yanks and Brits were doing up there over Germany. Maybe Great Escape is more self- aware, but I prefer the brutal honesty of “Bomber Harris” (commander of the RAF bomber fleets) who, when stopped for reckless driving, told the cop “young man, do you realize I kill thousands of people everyday?”

  17. Joe Garrett Says:

    It’s always been one of my favorite movies. For an interesting video, the Washington, DC Chapter of the Project Management Institute had a presentation on the Project Lessons of the Great Escape. It’s about an hour and very interesting. It was in 2008 so you’ll have to scroll down the page a bit. And it’s worth a PDU for any PMPs out there!

    http://tinyurl.com/9opss6l

  18. Al Reasin Says:

    John Dough on November 25th, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I am 67 and retired after being a manager on a 100 million energy project. I started off tearing things apart as a kid to see how it worked, obtained training in the Navy and then worked as a field engineer in construction. I went through the school of hard knocks having dropped out of college to join the Navy.

    General knowledge about how things work seems to elude our younger citizens. Admittedly, electronics has taken over products, such as vehicle engine controls, but there are still plenty of “things” that can be repaired like I do. But we are a throw away society now. We’ll see how that works out if the economy collapses or worse.

    I am going back to work based on my personal concern for my and my countries future at a salary level above my pre-retirement earnings and was hired based on my experience and overall practical knowledge of many disciplines. Sadly it seems true what I have told many young people, “Remember you will be hired by old farts like me, and your modern ideas about work don’t fit well into their vision of what an employee should be.”

    My sons have learned that lesson and are doing pretty good in this horrible economy.

  19. T Says:

    As to the original book, I too, read it back in the 1960s, inspired mostly by the movie to do so. The memory that remains with me to this day is how sanitized the Nazi killing scenes of the escapees were in the movie (if one can “sanitize” murder) compared to the historical descriptions in the book.

    This brings up another thought. Many of us who comment here grew up in the recent shadow of WW II without understanding at the time that it had an impact on our life–even on our play (GI Joe, toy guns, playing soldier, nurse, etc.). Only as I age have I begun to profoundly internalize the sacrifice of my parents’ own generation. Only in my 60s do I begin to have even an inkling of what it must have been like for my father and father-in-law to be in life and death situations when they were only 18 or 19. years old.

    John Dough,

    I count myself among your group and I think there are many more of us around than one realizes. In fact, I find that the possession of varied skills is generally inversely proportional to education above (or at) a BA/BS level. I find my blue-collar neighbors much more flexible and accomplished that way than most (certainly not all) of the people I work with who have professional degrees. Perhaps some of that has to do with available time. If one is working 60 hours a week as an attorney, it leaves very little time or energy to engage in other activities.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    armchair pessimist: “The Great Escape” was made in 1963, but of course it was in production quite some time before that. “Hogan’s Heroes” was a TV comedy that ran from 1965-1971.

    Here are some interesting facts about the cast of “Hogan’s Heroes”:

    The actors who played the four major German roles—Werner Klemperer (Klink), John Banner (Schultz), Leon Askin (Burkhalter), and Howard Caine (Hochstetter)—were Jewish. Furthermore, Klemperer, Banner, Askin, and Robert Clary (LeBeau) were Jews who had fled the Nazis during World War II. Clary says in the recorded commentary on the DVD version of episode “Art for Hogan’s Sake” that he spent three years in a concentration camp, that his parents and other family members were killed there, and that he has an identity tattoo from the camp on his arm (“A-5714″). Likewise John Banner had been held in a (pre-war) concentration camp and his family was killed during the war. Leon Askin was also in a pre-war French internment camp and his parents were killed at Treblinka. Howard Caine (Hochstetter), who was also Jewish (his birth name was Cohen), was American, and Jewish actors Harold Gould and Harold J. Stone played German generals.

    As a teenager, Werner Klemperer (Klink) (son of the conductor Otto Klemperer) fled Hitler’s Germany with his family in 1933. During the show’s production, he insisted that Hogan always win over his Nazi captors or else he would not take the part of Klink. He defended his playing a Luftwaffe Officer by claiming, “I am an actor. If I can play Richard III, I can play a Nazi.” Banner attempted to sum up the paradox of his role by saying, “Who can play Nazis better than us Jews?” Ironically, although Klemperer, Banner, Caine, Gould, and Askin play typecast World War II German types, all had actually served in the US Armed Forces during World War II — Banner and Askin in the US Army Air Corps, Caine in the US Navy, Gould with the US Army, and Klemperer in a US Army Entertainment Unit.

  21. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    I’d be willing to bet that the difference is that men back then were more like to be of blue-collar or working class who worked with their hands on a regular basis.

    Granted, but…

    You HAD to do that kind of thing back then. People didn’t make enough on their primary skills to be able to afford to hire out the secondary stuff.

    Moreover, there is much more specialization, since then, and, as tech has gotten more sophisticated, it’s gotten much harder to actually learn the special skills needed to work with your hands unless you make it a serious hobby.

    Example — I got an MGB when I was 26, which allowed me to actually work on a car for the first time in my life, and I did most of the work on it below the level of removing the engine (I had no place to do that) — I’ve replaced the brakes in it more than once (front disk, rear drum), the master and slave brake and clutch cylinders, the front main seal, the fuel pump…

    You just can’t pick up and do that stuff with much more modern cars, you’re more likely to totally eph something up. Even brake work is a nightmare given modern ABS systems…. that is NOT something you want to mess up. It’s doable, but who really has someone that can guide them through that kind of thing the first time they do it nowadays? Even if you know someone who is older and has lots of tinkering experience, they can’t help you THAT much with modern tech stuff because most of it has specialty requirements in both tools and skill sets.

    This is an individual level of Comparative advantage at work. It makes far more sense to spend your time making money at what you do BEST and hire someone to do the same with your car. And unless you want to spend the time developing your expertise in a given sub-area it just makes vastly more sense.

  22. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    and was hired based on my experience and overall practical knowledge of many disciplines.

    Where the heck are you working? Near as I’ve found, every place wants to hire their own ex-employees back and no one else. If they use XYZ tracking tool, then you need to have experience with XYZ tracking tool and not ABC tracking system, HIJ tracking product, AND KLP tracking program. Experience with three similar products doesn’t translate into a working general knowledge of ALL similar products in the minds of all too many hiring managers these days. I am a 20+ year experienced programmer and QA Testing analyst, and just got turned down for a job at one place because they wanted someone who had experience testing WEB software. Yeesh. Like there’s ANY %#@^^%$@ difference.

    I’ve had headhunters tell me this is exactly true, too. Gone are the days when you create a resume and send it around. Now, if the job description says “AXY”, “PJW” and “EFP”, and your resume doesn’t also have “AXY”, “PJW” and “EFP”, then you aren’t even making it to the short list. So you virtually have to tailor your resume to match the job description.

  23. Armchair pessimist Says:

    Neo,
    All the more reason then that the actors who had seen hell themselves shouldn’t have cackled & giggled about meting out to others, even if richly entitled to. It is one thing to triumph over evil by any means necessary, quite another to airbrush from memory what those means were. To us conservatives it’s never as easy as “…and Dorothy killed the wicked witch and everybody lived happily ever after”

    Far off your original point about the loss of know-how, but interesting anyway.

  24. John McLachlan Says:

    Off topic, but I thought Neo-neocon may be interested in this:

    http://english.pravda.ru/news/society/20-11-2012/122860-Maya_Plisetskaya-0/

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    Armchair pessimist: I think I once watched the show for about 5 minutes, recognized it as a bizarro version of “The Great Escape,” and wasn’t interested.

  26. SteveH Says:

    “”People of earlier times were more likely to have varied skills at working with their hands, and to be more resourceful at devising clever mechanical fixes for problems they encountered along the way. “”
    Neo

    The problem we’re looking at is one of Madison Ave types informing society that industriousness itself is a lower class endeavor. So we have a society of people that profess to know everything and understand nothing.

    As a lifelong woodworker who is also interested in politics and current events, i can’t tell you the number of times i’ve sat across from college professors and discovered myself not only to be more well rounded as a person of experience, but more widely educated.

  27. blert Says:

    neo neocon:

    Hogan’s Heros is based hugely upon Stalag 17 — itself loaded with gags — not the Great Escape.

    In Stalag 17 you have Holden being the wise-guy American, working the system, and out thinking the enemy.

    In the pilot episode of HH, the water tower is a focal point of one gag — a homage, if you will.

    I don’t see any of the Great Escape themes in any of the HH farce.

  28. armchair pessimist Says:

    Neo,

    Talk about Bizarro Planet: Hogans Heroes was very popular in Germany. Ach, dose crrraaazzzzy guys who brought uns Dresden, Hamburg! Vot cards!

    A very weird reaction on the Germans’ part who had experienced the real thing, particularly when you recall that once the war was safely won, even Churchill, that man of teflon, distanced himself from the bombing campaign that had firebombed Germany’s cities to ashes. In fact, it was only a few years ago that the bomber crews were acknowledged with a war memorial in London.

    What did these men who had faithfully followed their country’s orders think of that? What did they think when as POWs en route to their camp they likely saw their smoldering handiwork? I’ll be very interested in rewatching Great Escape with this wider context in mind.

    Probably the film also suffers from historical amnesia here.

  29. Artfldgr Says:

    I somehow doubt that our current population could accomplish something similar, even if they had the guts to do so. People of earlier times were more likely to have varied skills at working with their hands, and to be more resourceful at devising clever mechanical fixes for problems they encountered along the way.

    so what your saying is that thanks to feminism the culture that was so key to our not losing is incapable of defending itself and winning?

    so i guess the denoument of defense that was invisioned by the socialists by destroying culture, masculinity, femininity, the births of the people who would be families, and school dumbing down, specialization, and domestication to artificial reality, has accomplished its goal.

    ie. when the war starts we have to fold…

    the children of the feminists cant pick their noses let alone be resourceful, and so on.

    in fact, as far as i can tell… and as i previously reported as a dire thing in combination with other things. back then the military could accept nearly 90% of all comers, today less than 25%.

    those purposeless males playing Nintendo, hooking up, partying, supporting socialism to get laid, and on and on…

    they are your defense against other nations who don’t allow any of that (despite being the place where those that DO want it ,and make it happen, worship)

    with obama care moving the last of the people (cortez burning the cultural ships that store the knowlege) out of the sphere of the living, the young spitting on experience, and so on.

    each area i constantly bring up is one piece in a chess board. the space here is way too small to lay out the game, as its too small to even lay out one piece in place.

    but each point is a piece int he play, and each piece is also protected as in chess by other things.

    ie. feminism is the point of cultural destruction and a culturation of the now domesticated kids come adults. its guarded by pieces called Ego, Vanity, etc.

    Abortion in vitro is isolated and discussed as a social good in that form, but it lives in vivo, with redistribution, economics, assistance programs, etc… which like Sodium and Water, dont mix to produce what it exists like in isolation. which is why in the past we could see it was eugenics, and now with a new name change, feminist destruction of past culture, and pushing the idea in isolation, eugenics is not eugenics as long as you dont call it that.

    same with the recent attacks on excellent schools by the NAACP as racist. yes, bronx science, styvesant, and brooklyn tech, are racist… as are many magnet schools, and junior high schools.

    why?

    because the tests prove we are not equal. they sort the kids by aptitude, and ability. and so far, despite claims outright the tests dont test for anything, the schools that have them outperform, and so the others who cant get in, want in.

    why?

    because its cargo cult. the kids there didn’t get their capacity from genetics, but from the school. somehow, they are once again being racist and providing better educations to Ashkenazim Jews, Chinese and other Asians, and Caucasians…

    so they want the tests removed, so that all can have an equal education and have the same resources.

    the problem is that thanks to feminism you cant make any arguments based on individual differences and desires… its VERBOTEN
    [edited for length by n=n]

  30. Artfldgr Says:

    Charles

    White-collar men, not so much. While there are plenty of white-collar men who have hobbies in which they work with their hand. Most white collar men do not today. They will hire other men to do their labor for them.

    this is the myth charles… the ‘story’ that is to hide the truth and make the current thing acceptable.

    ie. that the fat cats dont dirty their hands.

    that is a story that is only acceptable if you have no idea of how the great products and things of our age came to be!!!

    Edison… 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

    you may say… hey, he is too old..
    then what about Steve Jobs and Apple?
    Gordon Moore? Robert Noyce? (intel)
    Larry Page and Sergey Brin? (google)
    Curt Jones? (Dippin dots)

    All of them founded what they worked on…

    the people your describing are not men, they are feminized metrosexual pseudo men. they are the new men of business who are not allowed to be dynamic, and take control, and so on and so on…

    now why is that? who did that? who is mandating, or trying to mandate a 40% make up by gender sans qualifications?

    take a look and you will find that corporations dont innovate as they used to because the guys that did the innovation don’t get to commiserate as they used to. they get broken up by a party member of some sort… (and often just to get the numbers right or the state may be angry with the firm)

    the men your describing are ‘safe’ for women in business, and everywhere… where climbing and competing hard to win and do the best to win, has been negated for the superior other way of collusive and equality based leveling (with some less than level by definition for past crimes against humanity – like success, and civilization)

    they know that they will best climb if they are helpless and that they get cut down, and marginalized if they are a tall poppy that could compete and win rather than collude and organize.

    my prior boss called my efforts to get a raise an effort in making the others in the department look bad. ie. you cant fight for a raise by merit, it makes others look bad who may not be able to stay after, work harder, etc…

    vocational school replacing full education is another key thing… (but note who controls the teachers unions and what the ratio of teachers are like in which the kids are in a near 100% echo chamber of ideas from one side).

    vocational schooling is the idea of making workers from cradle to grave. its failing because it does not know what the future would hold. the people who made up the general curriculum in the past, thought manufacturing was it, but then it was service, then something else.

    ie. like bad generals they prepare for a repeat of the last war.

    so rather than bring up fully educated people whose children would come up with ideas, and build companies and challenge the older money… they moved them into schools, to get minimal education that made them equal at a low level and vocational training that was so narrow that they made the professional men your talking about.

    one vocation…. the job they were trained to do

    when they fall out of this, they cant even organize to put together a bunch of out of work men similar to them and do something with it. their vocational training did not include management, but only back end stuff. (the Harvard kids get management)

    this is why our economy has never been bouncing back. like a car with a loose linkage on its steering wheel, they cant swerve to keep up with reality (ergo their desire to stagnate it and not have to keep up with it, or regress it and use hindsight to work a simpler time)

    the vocationally trained require welfare when they are no longer useful. feminism keeps fathers from transferring the knowlege of the male do it culture to their children (women too).

    a father put out does not train his son in all that stuff that fathers taught their sons… which was more than what the school taught them. without that, you only have the narrow vocation of the schools… not the fuller education of family and school.

    you can see the next phase of this being pushed by progressive feminists in state. (a new bunch of them too!!!!). Equal pay for Equal work

    the idea is that the state will equalize work between things like secretaries and pipe fitters. ie. the state will set salaries for everyone along ideological lines of equality.
    [edited for length by n-n]

  31. Artfldgr Says:

    for fun, lookup
    Colditz Escape Glider

    there have been quite a number of great escapes and amazing ones too….

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    armchair pessimist:

    I can’t speak authoritatively for the WWII generation, but I believe they thought:

    (1) Germany brought on the war and the German people approved it. It was a war of aggression, in which (among many other things) they bombed civilian populations. Bringing the war back to them through bombing cities (with strategic targets) and causing civilian deaths was necessary part of this dreadful conflagration that Germany brought on itself.

    (2) The more suffering endured by the Germans, the faster the war would end, and more lives would be saved on the Allied side.

    (3) There was no precision bombing in WWII. Bombs were crude and firestorms were sometimes the result.

    Read another view of Dresden.

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    blert: you’re right. I think I once knew that, but had forgotten. But “Hogan’s Heroes” (which I saw only very briefly) also reminded me of “The Great Escape,” which I was far more familiar with than “Stalag 17,” (which I’d also seen, however). “The Great Escape” was one of my favorite movies from the time I first saw it when I was quite young.

  34. blert Says:

    Dresden was bombed because the Red Army and Stalin demanded it.

    It only became an agitprop meme after Kurt Vonnegut’s success with Slaughterhouse Five.

    As to why the Russians wanted Dresden bombed:

    It was the Critical Node in the Reichsbahn at that time. Being at the southern edged of Germany, it had not been interdicted before. By January 1945 it was the key transshipment point for synthetic gasoline to the Russian front.

    It was also the crossing point for the 6SS Panzer Army which was being redeployed from the Ardennes / Battle of the Bulge to Hungary / Lake Balaton.

    This movement started at the end of January, with the 1SS LAH receiving equipment as it transited southern Germany towards the east. Hitler gave it top priority.

    When he found out that Guderian had diverted new built Panthers from the 1SS LAH to Panzer-Grenadier-Division Großdeutschland — he fired him — after a huge row. It was a shame Adolf didn’t have a stroke on the spot.

    So while Kurt was oblivious, the Reichsbahn had prioritized shunting the bulk of Hitler’s mobile forces through Dresden.

    It was also via Dresden that the Allies feared that Hitler would reinforce his Alpenfestung. Indeed, OKW really DID intend to move Adolf south. This WAS a serious gambit.

    Only at the last moment did Hitler nix the whole idea.

    Later, Bradley (memoirs) writes as if the whole notion should’ve been discounted from the start. WRONG.

    His account was an attempt to deflect inspection into just how much German signals traffic the Allies were reading by that time. For if one looked — then questions would’ve been raised about just what a mistake Bradley made in December, 1944.

    So, it was NOT caprice that had the RAF bombing Dresden — with an assist from the USAAF. (Another fact that seems to keep falling off the table.)

    And, finally, by January, 1945 the Russians had shut down Auschwitz concentration camp. It quickly became known that Zyklon B was manufactured by I.G. Farben at Dresden. (It was the paperwork.) What a coincidence. (!)

    [ Previously, it had been made in Hamburg. (!) ]

    All of these factors bumped Dresden up from low priority to the top of the heap.

  35. Hankering for History Says:

    Gosh. What a great movie! I need to dust that one off and re-watch it.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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