Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “Nazis”

Can we stop with the Titanic stuff now?

Yes, yes, yes….I know it’s the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  I would have known that without all of the televised fanfare and the re-release of James Cameron’s movie in 3D.  You know how I would have known that?  Because I read!  Because I studied in history class!  Because my life isn’t so shallow that I only believe things shown to me on Twitter or Facebook as so many people over the past week have shown in their posts that they didn’t know the movie “Titanic” (1997) was based on an actual historical event!

And I make sure to put the year 1997 behind the title of the movie because, yes, there is more than one movie named “Titanic.”  In 1943 the Third Reich attempted to make a propaganda film espousing the positive reasons to invade Britain by using the Titanic disaster as the backstory.  “Titanic” (1943) showed Bruce Ismay, owner of the White Star Line, as an evil capitalist and all of the British as greedy while a lone German crew member who seemed to know that something bad was going to happen tried to warn everyone but was ignored.  This German officer was later the hero of the movie — even though “Titanic” (1943) never played in Germany until the 1950s.  It was deemed too controversial because of the passengers in Second and Third Class areas trying to scramble for safety and being locked-out or denied passage was too reminiscent of the Holocaust.  With Germany beginning to lose the war, no one in the Third Reich wanted anyone to recognize similar goings-on happening in Germany and other occupied areas where concentration camps were in operation.  A lot of that type of footage was removed before the movie ever played in Germany.

But “Titanic” (1943) wasn’t completely lost to history.  There were many scenes of the ship and people running to the lifeboats that came from “Titanic” (1943) and were used in “A Night to Remember” (1958).  “A Night to Remember” was considered one of the most accurate depictions of the sinking of the Titanic because a lot of the information used to write the movie came from interviews with survivors in the book by the same name.  It was the most accurate at that time because it did not show the Titanic breaking apart because no one had ever confirmed it and there were different memories of what exactly happened that night.

Not until Robert Ballard discovered the RMS Titanic on the ocean floor in 1985 was it confirmed that the ship had broken apart before it sank.  After his discovery, more movies were made.  “Titanica” (1995), narrated by Leonard Nimoy, was shown in IMAX theatres.  “Titanic” (1996), a two-part miniseries, was made for television and got a lot of facts wrong but somehow still pulled out an Emmy win.

Finally in 1997 the world was “graced” (and I use that term sarcastically here) with James Cameron’s version which was fictional but based on historical fact and recent discovery.  Even now he has said that there are parts he got wrong but he’s not going back to fix them all because “when would you know where to stop?”  And Celine Dion’s song and chest-thumping visage on every awards show and commercial hawking “authentic Titanic reproductions” became embedded in everyone’s subconscious.  And I do apologize to all of my readers who are now tortured with it running through their heads at the moment — I feel your pain ’cause it’s stuck in mine, too.

By the way, those “authentic Titanic reproductions” were usually of the blue diamond necklace Rose (not a real person on the RMS Titanic) wore while in the nude being sketched by Jack (another non-real person on the RMS Titanic).  The necklace never existed.  Actually, there is historical reference to a blue sapphire necklace similar to the one depicted in the movie, but it would have only been an inspiration for the one in the movie.  And, sadly, I’ve been seeing more and more replicas of the necklace, the gemstone, etc. being advertised late at night in “honor” of the 100th anniversary of the sinking.

The latest incantation of the story is “Titanic” (2012) and is a four-part television drama based on the sinking.  As if we needed another re-telling of the story.

And movies weren’t the only things created about the RMS Titanic!  Even if you don’t count all of the books and memoirs written or related by survivors and their relatives, along with historical accounts and fictional dramatizations, there’s still tons of stuff out there!  In 1997 there was a Broadway musical about the sinking — and it WON five Tony Awards!!

So, now that you’ve had your history lesson for today, can we please stop all the hoopla?

Don’t get me wrong, though.  It was an important event in history.  Seafaring changed forever after the RMS Titanic sank and the International Ice Patrol was created from this disaster.  Also, there now has to be 24-hour monitoring of communications channels, something that had the Marconi operators on the Californian not gone to bed, they would have received the Titanic’s distress signal and been able to render assistance.  And there are many who spent the last moments of their lives doing their jobs in the belly of the ship in order to keep it level and keep the lights on in order to help others escape, even though they knew they would be no way out for them.

Yes, remember and honor the memories of those who perished, etc., etc., etc.  But now that the official time and date of the sinking 100 years ago has passed, can I please stop being bashed about the head with shows, movies, posts, and documentaries about it all?  Just for a little while??

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70 years ago today, true evil was planned with drinks and laughter

Friday, Friday, Friday.  End of the “work week” for many.  Beginning of the weekend for others.  Me?  It’s just another cold, dreary day and I’m trying to think of something profound about which to blog.

Oh, as you may or may not have noticed, I’ve changed the look of the Blog.  I got tired of the “pink” theme.  When I started this thing I needed a layout that was simple and would help me ensure that every date had a prominent marker so I would know that I had remembered to keep up with my challenge.  However, I am not a “pink” person.  I hate pink.  Unless it’s a retina-burning flourescent pink, I don’t want it.  I can’t stand having to pass the Barbie aisles in stores because of all of the pink.  Even my dogs, both of whom are female, are like me — tomboyish and no “froo-froo bows or ribbons” in our hair, especially if they’re pink.

Since Friday itself doesn’t have much importance to me today (at least, not yet), I decided to try to find something interesting about today’s date — January 20th.  Usually people remember that it’s Inauguration Day after we elect (or re-elect) our President every four years.  It’s also a date that has had a lot of controversy — specifically in 1981 when just minutes after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as our 40th president the hostages in Iran were suddenly freed.  Debate still continues over who paid whom and how badly President Jimmy Carter had to be portrayed so that Reagan would win and the back-table dealings would get our people out of Iran.  It was all so scripted and choreographed that many realized that something was rotten, and it wasn’t in Denmark.

But if you want true evil at its utmost that occurred on January 20th, look back to 1942.  On that day, 15 officials sat around a large table while drinking wine, smoking cigars, and enjoying the finest food.  They were there to decide the fate of over six million lives and did so with such politeness and efficiency that was meticulously recorded, as only the Nazis could.

January 20, 1942 was the date of the Wannsee Conference.

Hitler’s armies were freezing on the Eastern Front.  He wanted his goal of a “true Aryan supremacy” to come to fruition, regardless of the cost.  American troops had begun to join the fight in the West with the Allies and Germany had too many “undesirables” in their way.  That’s always a problem when you invade a country — you have to do something with the population that was already there.  They have needs and those needs must be met.  But when your plan begins to suffer because of all the people standing in your way and you’re as bat-crap crazy as Hitler was over world domination, you get someone else to take care of it.

Herman Goering, under Hitler’s instructions, sent SS General Reinhard Heydrich to a manor house in a small suburb outside of Berlin to meet with SS Major Adolf Eichmann and other officials from Nazi ministries and organizations.  By the end of the day, they had decided the “final solution” and went off to continue their lives and careers.  The sole instruction given to them at that time was that a copy of the transcripts of the meeting (Nazis loved to keep notes about everything) would be distributed to each member present and that they were to be kept in the highest confidence.  Fortunately for the Allies and the rest of the world, their obsessive-compulsive need to have everything documented along with the arrogance of one of the members present resulted in a single copy surviving.  This copy of the minutes of the meeting and what was said and done in that room was used as key evidence during the Nazi war crimes trials.

If you’ve never seen the movie Conspiracy published by HBO Films and starring Kenneth Branagh, Stanley Tucci, and Colin Firth (among many other recognizable stars), then you should.  To watch a reconstruction of the events based upon the surviving copy of the transcripts and what each person had to say, their reasonings behind it, and even the casualness with which the participants spoke and joked about “evacuating” undesirable persons is truly shocking.  All of the ideas tossed around the table and debate between who should be the first to receive these “benefits” to their organization and seeing some having a moment of conscious realization about what they were actually discussing is very educational and disturbing.  Even more disturbing is at the end of the movie when they show what happened to all of the participants.  If I remember correctly, the last one to die did so in 1987 — having never been convicted in this plot.  As a matter of fact, you’ll be stunned how many were never associated with the plans written that day and what they went on to do with their lives.

I have a penchant for movies that are historically accurate yet morbid and I can’t quite explain why.  Conspiracy is in my DVD collection along with Downfall — the movie from which the Hitler rant that’s become an Internet meme showing him upset over everything from why the Star Wars prequels were so awful to when Twitter crashed and even to Hitler finding out he’s become an Internet meme and the decision by the corporation that owns the original film to remove all of the parodies from the Internet.  I still want to find a DVD copy (with English subtitles) of The Chekist.  I rented that movie once and watched it one evening with Husband.  Let’s just say it’s not a movie to which you can eat popcorn.  Or much of anything else.  Watching the Soviet purges over and over will definitely keep this from ever being a suitable “date” movie.

Heck, I’ve decided that if I’m ever truly suicidal that all I’ll need to do is watch The Chekist, Conspiracy, and Downfall in one sitting and I’ll be begging to slit my own wrists.

So, there’s your history lesson for the day.  There might be a pop-quiz in the middle or at the end of the blog, so be sure to keep your notes.  And definitely don’t ever let anyone forget what plans happened on this date 70 years ago.

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