Friday, January 18, 2013

A Few Black People in the 1960s Not Being Martyrized by White America

Last night (after much nail-biting), I posted a story on race relations in America, pre-1970s that suggested — based, no not on any pro-Southern, pro-white ideology (which I have none of — au contraire) but based on a certain amount of (ahem)… evidence — that members of the civil rights movement (white or black) perhaps did not always suffer as much at the hands of murderous Southern racists as some of them like to remember… (This coming from a blond male with blue eyes took some daring, you must admit…)

Might it be that the narrative, notably all the movies that we get from Hollywood, is slightly exaggerated?!

I have more than one reason to believe so, notably when I came upon a series of TV show excerpts from the 1960s. In "What's My Line?", part of the program was to have blindfolded jury try to figure out the identity of a given celebrity answering their yes-or-no questions. The mystery challenger therefore would necessary change his or her voice.

If you've never heard Sean Connery speak with the voice of a girl, you'll want to check it out…

But not just Sean Connery, also… Muhammad Ali.

And check out Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole: there is no way that they can change their voices to pretend to be a girl!

(But be forewarned, once you start watching the line-up of 20th century celebrities, it's hard to stop…)

In any case, check out how much fun the former Cassius Clay is having. Having with — white people!

Isn't this different from what we get from biopics of one civil rights martyr after another?

I have to admit I haven't seen Ali. But somehow I doubt that Michael Mann included the scene of Muhammad Ali as the mystery challenger on What's My Line.

Is It Possible?! What If All Southern Whites Weren't the Equals of Nazis and What If the South Had Not Been a Total Racialist Nightmare?!

It seems that nothing can happen on this planet without leftists the world over, and especially in America, immediately drawing a parallel with America itself (minus its leftist, progressive element, needless to say).

Thus, a decade after Germany murdered millions of people in concentration camps, and all the while the Soviet Union still was murdering millions of people in the Gulag, black Americans in the South were living the same type of horrifying circumstances.

Are we allowed to do the unthinkable and say the (painfully) obvious? Uh, actually, they were not?

Are we allowed to do so without immediately being accused of being racist, of defending Southern whites, and of being brainwashed simpletons and KKK sympathizers thinking that everything was hunky-dory for blacks in the old South?

From Ann Althouse — via Instapundit — we hear that the New York Times is again taking on the dark times of segregation. This, while we get "history" lessons from Oliver Stone on what a swell guy Stalin was, and how the Cold War was all America's fault…

What if the New York Times were told, what if you were told, that, generally speaking, the civil rights movement in the South of the 1950s and 1960s was met not by violence but by, if not respect, if not a lack of violence, certainly by a lack of generalized violence?!

And what if, alternatively, someone — a black leftist?! — were to cry out: "Thank God for Chief Bull Connor"?!

Wouldn't the New York Times, wouldn't you, wouldn't the black leftist, wouldn't leftists the world over, be offended? Shake your/their head? Guffaw? Shout racism?  Scream bloody murder?

And yet, that may be closer to the truth than to the it-was-all-so-horrible-and-invariably-akin-to-Mississippi Burning narrative…

I was as surprised as anyone when, some two decades ago, I read Let the Trumpet Sound (A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr) by Stephen B. Oates, obviously a (rightly) positive, indeed heroic, biography of MLK with a (correctly) sympathetic picture of the civil rights movement.  (Oates has written a myriad of books regarding champions of civil rights over more than a century in America — John Brown, Nat Turner, Clara Barton… — including my favorite biography of Abraham Lincoln, With Malice Toward None. And for the record, I've been working, with Dan Greenberg, on my own biography of Honest Abe.)

As it turns out, however — get ready for a shocker — MLK, blacks in general, the movement, and (in the final analysis) America itself were all lucky to get Chief Bull Connor (a Democrat) in Birmingham, Alabama — for what happened in Albany, Georgia, may have been more descriptive of the (white) Southern mentality and of how the movement was usually treated…

From Let the Trumpet Sound (A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr) by Stephen B. Oates:
[In 1962] King's movement, for all its fervor, [was going] nowhere.  As fast as his nonviolent columns reached their targets, [Albany's] Chief Pritchett put them in paddy wagons and dispatched them to jails in other counties.  Movement leaders could never muster enough recruits to fill all the jails at his disposal.  Then, too, Pritchett treated the marchers with unruffled decorum; he had done his homework on King, studied his Gandhian speeches, and planned to overcome nonviolent protest with nonviolent law enforcement

When demonstrators knelt in prayer, Pritchett bowed his head, then arrested them with a puckish smile.  He never clubbed anybody, never called anybody names, and never let his men do so either.  Consequently, reporters who covered the Albany campaign saw no brutality on the part of local police to photograph and report.  …

Pritchett also placed King under round-the-clock police protection, which irritated him and sent him complaining to the chief.  But Pritchett was taking no chances.  If King was attacked or killed, "the fires would never cease."  As the campaign progressed, King and Abernathy developed a grudging respect for him.  Once King even canceled a demonstration so that Pritchett could spend  the day with his wife.  It was their wedding anniversary.

 … King and Abernathy came to trial … and several associates, expecting them to be convicted and returned to jail, scheduled mass protest marches.  But the city wanted to get rid of King and Abernathy and ax the movement once and for all.  The court therefore suspended their sentences and ordered their release.  They were free, thrown out of jail again.

By now, King had lost all control of the Albany Movement. … it was no use.  The Albany Movement was over.  … "We ran out of people before he [Pritchett] ran out of jails."
 … [MLK] was steeped in anguish.  So many of his own people seemed not to care about the struggle; so many whites were hostile or indifferent.
Many readers, white or black, will scream bloody murder (and racism racism racism!) as they read this, but still, the conclusion is inescapable — over and over again, the civil rights movement went nowhere because many times, and in many places, demonstrators (white or black) were not harmed, because many times Southern whites (for reasons good or ill) did not overreact, and because authorities refrained from arresting members of the movement.

Needless to say, all of this is not to pretend, nor to imply, that everything was hunky-dory in the South, for blacks or for others, or that Southern whites were not hostile or indifferent to blacks and to their (very real) civil rights — they were — nor is it meant to pretend, or to imply, that all men, whatever the color of their skin, should not enjoy the same rights, civil, voting, or other — they should — nor is it meant to believe.  But it is to deflate the left's self-serving narrative of Americans, or at least Southerners, as incorrigible Nazis, and of the South, or of America in general, as a nightmarish hellhole of weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Members of the civil rights movement are invariably depicted as victims of such a nightmarish society, as are, say, the poor, women, Latinos, gays, etc, etc, as well as those who "fell afoul" of Senator McCarthy.

By contrast, what took place in the same years — the Soviet oppression of people (and peoples), the Soviet invasion of Eastern Europe and (attempted) takeover of China, and the communist assassination of millions and millions of citizens (all reasons, obviously, why McCarthyism arose in the first place) — is ignored or downplayed, or often accompanied by the words "Oh yes, terrible, terrible… But! But: we have to make an effort to understand the Soviets… Plus, you know, they had good intentions"!

Related: Is this sounding familiar? Obama's Predecessor of Sorts at the Helm of New York City
The Obama presidency has been like [New York's] David Dinkins mayoralty all over again, with utter incompetence being papered over with appeals to white guilt.
Update: A Few Black People in the 1960s Not Being Martyrized by White America

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Being there.....

One is tempted to throw a shoe at the monitor and exclaim, "Where have you been?!" when reading the following:

The world is headed for an environmental "catastrophe" if countries do not invest in renewable energy, François Hollande warned on Tuesday.
Speaking at a green energy conference in Abu Dhabi, the French president said that people had an obligation to protect the planet for future generations.
"If we don't act, if we don't do anything, if we don't invest anything, we can be sure that we will have a catastrophe very soon. We have to have confidence to invest in the new energy. We can act together to create this world of renewable energy," he told delegates at the World Future Energy Summit.
One would, of course, be wrong. This is the sort of pablum which elevates the nostalgia factor to say 2002 or 2003, those were the days! Anything was possible in those halcyon days, a mere 2m could become 1b, just like that.....
Life is indeed a state of mind.

Obama's "Friendly" Russians: "Surging anti-American sentiment" in Moscow and its legislators' "unanimous pseudo-patriotic frenzy”

Within hours of Barack Obama's stating, during the third election debate, that we were no longer living in Cold War times — all the while accusing Mitt Romney of wanting to take us back to the 1980s (ah! the Reagan years!) in an era when everything is hunky-dory with the Russians — the New York Times publishes a report from Moscow that states, and indeed does so quite explicitly, that if anyone is living with a Cold War mentality, it is the Russians. 
That is how I started a post written within hours after the third presidential debate, during which that #%$&*&#$ to Mitt Romney refused to make any common-sense arguments against Obama's fairy-tale foreign policy and alleged smart diplomacy.

Excuse my French regarding Mitt, but I just listened to Mark Levin on Barack Obama's press conference — via Instapundit — and that has put me in a not-so-good mood.

Incidentally, another thing Romney should have said during the third debate (during either debate, really), when Obama referred to clueless Americans still thinking of "the Russians" as the enemy, is that Americans have nothing against the Russians, as in the Russian people, and never have had, it turns out, even — da, da, tovarich — during the Cold War. It is not splitting hairs to insist that what America has been on guard against before, and should be on guard against now, is the attitude of the Russian leaders, the attitude of the Kremlin — especially with both its foreign policy's anti-Western stance and its domestic policy's anti-democracy stance, presently as well as in Soviet times during the Cold War.

Why is that so hard for leftists like the Barack Obama to understand?!
And why is, why was, that so hard for conservatives like Romney to voice?!

(Of course, the answer to the first question is that the only enemy that the Apologizer-in-Chief recognizes in his leftist fairy tale world are conservative Americans, whose voices must be drowned out and who must be neutered.)

Now we have more — from Ellen Barry:
The members of Russia’s lower house of Parliament — which last year passed so many harsh new laws with so little debate that commentators compared it to a “rabid printer” — returned to work last week as the standard-bearers for President Vladimir V. Putin’s brand of patriotism.

Having captured the world’s attention in December by banning all adoptions of Russian children by American families, members of Parliament have dreamed up a variety of further proposals to purge Russian politics and civic life of foreign influences. 

Among them: A full ban on all foreign adoption. A requirement that the children of Russian officials return directly to Russia after studying abroad, lest their parent lose his or her post. A requirement that officials’ children be barred from studying abroad altogether. A requirement that movie theaters screen Russian-made films no less than 20 percent of the time, or face fines as high as 400,000 rubles, or about $13,000.

One group of legislators is working on a bill that would prevent anyone with foreign citizenship, including Russians, from criticizing the government on television. One proposal would ban the use of foreign driver’s licenses, another would require officials to drive Russian-made cars. One deputy has recommended strictly limiting marriages between Russian officials and foreigners, at least those from states that were not formerly Soviet.
So who is it who is adopting a hostile stance, Barack Obama?!
Who is it who is doing the flag-waving and being paranoid?!
Is it really Americans?! Really?!
Many of these ideas sound eccentric, in a capital city whose elite are well-traveled and integrated into the West, and are very unlikely to advance and become law. But they certainly will not hurt anyone’s career in the current political environment.
So who is it who is adopting a hostile stance, Barack Obama?!
Who is it who is doing the flag-waving and being paranoid?!
“You know, there is a principle in questions of patriotism or protecting the interests of the country, as the authorities see it, that it’s better to overdo it than to show weakness,” said Aleksei V. Makarkin, an analyst at the Center for Political Technologies in Moscow. “If you try too hard, and come up with some exotic, scandalous draft law, you are in any case one of us. Maybe you are too emotional — you’re a patriot.”
Since Mr. Putin’s inauguration, the Duma, the lower house of Parliament, has hurriedly passed a series of initiatives tightening the state’s control over dissent and political activism: it has steeply increased fines for Russians who take part in unauthorized protests; required nonprofit organizations to register as “foreign agents” if they receive money from overseas; reinstated criminal penalties for slander; and vastly expanded the definition of treason to include assisting international organizations.
When the adoption ban passed, cutting off all adoptions of Russian children by Americans, only four deputies out of 406 voted against it, with 400 voting for it and two abstaining. Grigory A. Yavlinsky, the founder of the liberal party Yabloko, described the vote on his blog as “a unanimous pseudo-patriotic frenzy.” 
 … Yevgeny N. Minchenko, director of the International Institute for Political Expertise, said the major pieces of legislation that passed through the Duma last year were produced by staff members in Mr. Putin’s administration. Last year, he said, demonstrated that the Parliament serves as an “instrument” of the Kremlin.
“Unfortunately, in my view, there is a dangerous trend that practically the only way to consolidate all the parliamentary factions is with various kinds of anti-Western initiatives,” Mr. Minchenko said.
So who is it who is adopting a hostile stance, Barack Obama?!
Who is it who is doing the flag-waving and being paranoid?!
Mr. Putin has made patriotism a central theme of his third presidential term, and Yevgeny A. Fyodorov, a United Russia deputy, said strengthening Russia’s sovereignty is now the Duma’s “most important direction.”
Mr. Fyodorov said he would like to see the Constitution amended to allow for a national ideology, something that is now explicitly excluded in the text, but concedes that this will take time. He said the adoption ban — or, as he called it, “the ban on the export of children” — signaled the beginning of a major effort to “strengthen Russia’s sovereignty” by purging foreign influences on civic life.
“You know the saying — we saddle up slowly, but we ride fast,” he said. “The U-turn has just begun, and the most radical steps, including the ones connected to the Constitution, will take place in three or four years.”
Mr. Fyodorov, whose proposal to bar government officials from keeping property overseas has won some support in the Kremlin, said any permanent ties between government officials and foreign countries — a child residing abroad, or a spouse with property outside Russia — constitute a “factor of distrust” that, according to legislation passed last year, can now serve as grounds for an official’s dismissal. The long-term task, he said, “is to gradually reformat the elite to fit the national mood.”
“The existence of a strong connection between an official and foreign countries — I formulate this broadly — is a factor of distrust,” Mr. Fyodorov said.
This mission is complicated by the fact that Moscow’s ruling class is, in fact, already deeply integrated into Western Europe. One leader of the legislative campaign, a United Russia deputy, Sergei Zheleznyak, was pilloried by a blogger, Aleksei Navalny, because his daughters study at exclusive institutions in Switzerland and Britain. Nevertheless, the Kremlin has determined that officials’ foreign holdings must be brought under control, because they are alienating the public, said Sergei A. Markov, a political analyst who served as a legislator with United Russia until last year.
“The population considers the elite to be half-foreign,” he said. “Their property is abroad, their houses are abroad, their wives are abroad, their children are abroad. Even Russian industrialists work through offshore companies. Why do these people run Russia, they say.”
The proposals are bound to raise eyebrows in the West [except in Barack Obama's White House], but they are actually driven by domestic politics, analysts said. Mr. Minchenko noted that even as anti-American sentiment surged in the Duma this fall, Mr. Putin has avoided damaging steps like closing the NATO transit point in Ulyanovsk. He called the legislative campaign “carefully dosed” to avoid permanently hurting bilateral relations.
His colleague, Mr. Makarkin, was less sanguine.
“Those initiatives which yesterday seemed exotic could become reality tomorrow; we saw this happen last year,” he said. “The most important thing is, there are practically no limitations.”
Purging Russian politics and civic life of foreign influences.

Various kinds of anti-Western initiatives.

Surging anti-American sentiment.

A "unanimous pseudo-patriotic frenzy."

So who is it who is adopting a hostile stance, Barack Obama?!
Who is it who is doing the flag-waving and being paranoid?!

See four years of NP posts on Obama caving in to the Kremlin (or to "the Russians",
people who obviously represent no danger to America and to the West at all)…

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Map of the Opposing Forces in Mali and the Strategic Portal in Central Konna

Le Monde has a map of the opposing forces in Mali — French troops versus Al Qaeda — and how the geography of the west African country makes the central part's Konna (a town recaptured from the rebels by the French) a strategic gatehouse (click on the map for a larger image thereof) to either the southwest or the northeast.

Related: French Strikes in Mali Supplant Caution of U.S.

   French fighter jets struck deep inside Islamist strongholds in northern Mali on Sunday, shoving aside months of international hesitation about storming the region after every other effort by the United States and its allies to thwart the extremists had failed.

For years, the United States tried to stem the spread of Islamic militancy in the region by conducting its most ambitious counterterrorism program ever across these vast, turbulent stretches of the Sahara.
But as insurgents swept through the desert last year, commanders of this nation’s elite army units, the fruit of years of careful American training, defected when they were needed most — taking troops, guns, trucks and their newfound skills to the enemy in the heat of battle, according to senior Malian military officials. 

“It was a disaster,” said one of several senior Malian officers to confirm the defections.
Then an American-trained officer overthrew Mali’s elected government, setting the stage for more than half of the country to fall into the hands of Islamic extremists. American spy planes and surveillance drones have tried to make sense of the mess, but American officials and their allies are still scrambling even to get a detailed picture of who they are up against. 

Now, in the face of longstanding American warnings that a Western assault on the Islamist stronghold could rally jihadists around the world and prompt terrorist attacks as far away as Europe, the French have entered the war themselves.

First, they blunted an Islamist advance, saying the rest of Mali would have fallen into the hands of militants within days. Then on Sunday, French warplanes went on the offensive, going after training camps, depots and other militant positions far inside Islamist-held territory in an effort to uproot the militants, who have formed one of the largest havens for jihadists in the world. 

Some Defense Department officials, notably officers at the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, have pushed for a lethal campaign to kill senior operatives of two of the extremists groups holding northern Mali, Ansar Dine and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Killing the leadership, they argued, could lead to an internal collapse. 

But with its attention and resources so focused on other conflicts in places like Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, the Obama administration has rejected such strikes in favor of a more cautious, step-back strategy: helping African nations repel and contain the threat on their own. 

Over the last four years, the United States has spent between $520 million and $600 million in a sweeping effort to combat Islamist militancy in the region without fighting the kind of wars it has waged in the Middle East. The program stretched from Morocco to Nigeria, and American officials heralded the Malian military as an exemplary partner. American Special Forces trained its troops in marksmanship, border patrol, ambush drills and other counterterrorism skills. 

But all that deliberate planning collapsed swiftly when heavily armed, battle-hardened Islamist fighters returned from combat in Libya. They teamed up with jihadists like Ansar Dine, routed poorly equipped Malian forces and demoralized them so thoroughly that it set off a mutiny against the government in the capital, Bamako. 

A confidential internal review completed last July by the Pentagon’s Africa Command concluded that the coup had unfolded too quickly for American commanders or intelligence analysts to detect any clear warning signs. 

“The coup in Mali progressed very rapidly and with very little warning,” said Col. Tom Davis, a command spokesman. “The spark that ignited it occurred within their junior military ranks, who ultimately overthrew the government, not at the senior leadership level where warning signs might have been more easily noticed.”

 … “The aid of the Americans turned out not to be useful,” said another ranking Malian officer, now engaged in combat. “They made the wrong choice,” he said of relying on commanders from a group that had been conducting a 50-year rebellion against the Malian state. 

The virtual collapse of the Malian military, including units trained by United States Special Forces, followed by a coup led by an American-trained officer, Capt. Amadou Sanogo, astounded and embarrassed top American military commanders.

 … as Islamists pushed south toward the capital last week. With thousands of French citizens in Mali, its former colony, France decided it could not wait any longer, striking the militants at the front line and deep within their haven.
Some experts said that the foreign troops might easily retake the large towns in northern Mali, but that Islamist fighters have forced children to fight for them, a deterrent for any invading force, and would likely use bloody insurgency tactics.
“They have been preparing these towns to be a death trap,” said Rudy Atallah, the former director of African counterterrorism policy for the Pentagon. “If an intervention force goes in there, the militants will turn it into an insurgency war.”
Is that defeatism we see coming from the Pentagon in the Obama years in the final paragraph?

Costa Europa

On the one-year anniversary of the Costa Concordia entering world headlines, we present a Nicolas Vial cartoon from a few months back likening the doomed ship to the European Union.

Monday, January 14, 2013

When It's the French Military Intervening Abroad, French Cartoons Show a Valient Fire-Fighting Plane Dousing the Flame of a Timebomb

If he were to draw a cartoon of George W Bush intervening militarily in Iraq or Afghanistan — like François Hollande intervening militarily in Mali — do you think that Plantu would have put Dubya in the cockpit of a Canadair fire-fighting plane, dropping water on the flame burning the fuse of a terrorist/a totalitarian bomb?

By Intervening Militarily Against Islamists in West Africa, "Hollande of Mali" Earns Foreign Policy Kudos

By intervening militarily in Mali, reports Hélène Sallon in Le Monde, François Hollande has earned foreign policy kudos, including from numerous newspapers in western Africa. The French presence fighting the Al Qaeda group is slated to grow from the initial 550 soldiers to 2,500.
En lançant une intervention militaire largement attendue au Mali, le président François Hollande a gagné sur la scène internationale ses premiers galons de chef d'Etat et s'est attiré les éloges des éditorialistes des pays de l'ouest de l'Afrique. "Hollande le Malien", le gratifie ainsi dans son éditorial le site Internet Maliweb. Une distinction qui n'allait pas sans dire. "Si jusque-là pour sa sympathie jugée protubérante pour le Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad — MNLA,  la France n'était plus la tasse de thé des Maliens, l'action rapide et décisive de François Hollande à leurs côtés les réconcilie désormais", précise l'éditorial.

Désormais, aux yeux de tous, il est le "sauveur" face à "un péril qui n'avait jamais paru aussi global", poursuit Maliweb. Le quotidien électronique Le Journal du Mali salue également "la main tendue de la France à notre pays malmené depuis huit mois par les djihadistes et terroristes de tout bord, infiltrés au Nord et contre toute libertés individuelles et tolérance..." Il loue en François Hollande "la finesse politique" et la "prudence" d'"un homme d'Etat qui s'affirme de jour en jour".

More and More Frenchmen Heading North to Acquire a Belgian Passport

With the socialist government's intent to raise taxes to up to 75%, more and more French taxpayers want to escape North, warns Le Monde on its front page, and become Belgian citizens. In 2012, exactly twice as many French citizens sought to become Belgian as in 2011 — many of them after the May elections that brought socialists to power.

Belgian legislators, meanwhile, were hardly amused to learn of Gérard Depardieu's decision to accept a Russian passport from Vladimir Putin, are now hesitating whether to give the French movie star the Russian movie star a Belgian passport (should Nounours make the demand), and are debating whether to make it harder for foreigners to become Belgian.
Reminder: A few days after Vladimir Putin offered a Russian passport to Gégé, the (now ex-) French movie star, disgusted with French taxes and offended by his treatment from France's ruling socialists and cultural élites, accepted and, as related by the Kremlin, became a Russian citizen.

Related: Travel back to the 1770s:
Russia has always needed its Depardieus, just as much as they needed Russia

Additional: Check out the meaning of the last name Depardieu
and why it is particularly appropriate for the movie star 
Selon M. Dallemagne, les développements de l'"affaire Depardieu", avec l'octroi, par le président Vladimir Poutine, de la citoyenneté russe à l'acteur, devraient toutefois "changer la donne" en ce qui concerne ce dossier spécifique. "Les nationalités ne se collectionnent pas", souligne M. Dallemagne, même si l'on peut en posséder plusieurs.

… La lettre de l'acteur aux médias russes, dévoilée jeudi et se concluant par un "Merci !" à son nouveau pays d'adoption, devrait être d'autant moins appréciée par les élus belges qu'elle ne mentionne pas une seule fois leur pays. "De quoi confirmer que son installation à Néchin s'est faite sur un coup de tête et pourrait bien être très temporaire", explique un député qui préfère garder l'anonymat. Il confirme cependant que l'épisode sera sans conséquence pour les Français désireux de devenir belges. Ils seraient environ 500 à attendre une réponse. Un nombre qui s'est accru au cours du dernier trimestre 2012, quand la polémique sur les hausses d'impôts battait son plein en France tandis que la Belgique annonçait un changement de ses dispositions légales au 1er janvier 2013.
Plantu, bringing in the parallel issue of Gégé's court case for driving intoxicated on a motorcycle…
• Nounours: State of France…
State of Russia…
An' now:
State of inebriation…

Vodka for everybody!
A look back (merci à LE): already in 1976,
Gégé was thinking mostly about eating and about motorcycles

Gérard Depardieu (1976) par ina

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Worshipping Little Else But the Aryan Race, Hitler Abhorred the Christian Faith and Wanted to Replace Christmas with the Pagans' Yuletide

The images are chilling, bordering on surreal: On December 18, 1941, as World War II rages and the horrors of the Third Reich’s “final solution” grow ever clearer — killing operations at the Chełmno death camp, for instance, began less than two weeks earlier — Adolf Hitler presides over a Christmas party in Munich. Stark swastika armbands jarringly offset the glint of ornaments and tinsel dangling from a giant Tannenbaum; candles illuminate the festive scene. Confronted with the scene, a viewer might reasonably ask, How could Nazi leaders reconcile an ideology of hatred and conquest with the peaceful, joyous spirit of the holiday — much less its celebration of the birth of the Jewish Christ?

Thus reads the introductory paragraph to the Life Magazine website portfolio of A Nazi Christmas Party, 1941. In that perspective, readers of this blog will remember a Christmas post detailing the Führer's attempts to replace Christianity with the "religion" of National Socialism. Those readers may also remember a couple of readers' protest pointing to (rare) photos of Hitler in the presence of churchmen or exiting a church, protests which I examined carefully and dispassionately, responding thereto in detail. Now — if need be — comes confirmation in a story from Time-Life, which can hardly be called a website of rabid right-wing rants.
We cannot accept that a German Christmas tree has anything to do with a crib in a manger in Bethlehem. It is inconceivable for us that Christmas and all its deep soulful content is the product of an oriental religion.
 Those were words of Nazi propagandist Friedrich Rehm in 1937, in pre-war attempts to take “oriental” religion out of the holiday by harking back to the pagan Yule, an ancient Northern European festival of the winter solstice. (An eye-opening 2009 exhibit at Cologne’s National Socialism Documentation Centre featured early Nazi propaganda employed to make over the holidays: swastika-shaped cookie-cutters; sunburst tree-toppers, to replace the traditional ornament Nazis feared looked too much like the Star of David; and rewritten lyrics to carols that excised all references to Christ.)

But by the time of the 1941 Christmas party featured in this gallery, with World War II at its height — America had officially entered the fray just weeks earlier, after Pearl Harbor — the focus shifted to more practical matters. Rather than trying to dissuade millions of Germans from celebrating Christmas the way they had for generations, the Reich instead encouraged them to send cards and care packages to the troops.

The photos published here were part of an enormous stash of color transparencies made by Hitler’s personal photographer, Hugo Jaeger, and buried in glass jars on the outskirts of Munich in 1945, near the war’s end. Advancing Allied forces had almost discovered the pictures during an earlier search of a house where Jaeger was staying (a bottle of cognac on top of the transparencies distracted the troops), and Jaeger — justifiably terrified that the photos would serve as evidence of his own ardent Nazism — cached them in the ground. A decade later, he exhumed the pictures; 10 years after that, he sold them to LIFE, which published a handful in 1970.

In fact, the caption accompanying the one frame from the Christmas party that was published by LIFE in April 1970 offers a possible explanation for Hitler’s glum expression in that photo (slide #3):
“In 1941, Hitler gave this Christmas party for his generals. Though he dominated his officers and came to despise them, Hitler never felt socially at ease with them — they had better backgrounds and education. He never invited them to dinner, aware that they looked down on the old comrades he liked to have around.”
As for the religious views of Hitler himself, the evidence is conflicting: In public statements he sometimes praised Christianity (once calling it “the foundation of our national morality”), but in private conversations — including one recalled by the Third Reich’s official architect, Albert Speer — the Führer is said to have abhorred the faith for what he deemed its “meekness and flabbiness.” Hitler did, however, fervently worship one thing above all else: the so-called Aryan race. And by the time Hugo Jaeger took the photos seen here, Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, commanding general of the SS, had articulated and launched their plan for creating a “master” race — via, in large part, the mass murder of Europe’s Jews and other “undesirables.”