World War II Day by Day - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The Second World War (1939-1945).
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By Doug64
#15275685
So my years-long Civil War Day by Day thread is winding down as the effects of Appomattox work themselves out, and this year not only do the days of the week line up with 1939 but so do the leap years, making it the perfect year to start a World War II Day by Day thread. This one will be different than the Civil War, though, on average more content on the daily entries but none of the multi-page battle reports. One way that it will be the same as the Civil War is that, at least in the beginning, there won't be entries every day. The kick-off date will be in three months, September 1st.

One note on currency, that will look distinctly odd to US readers (and maybe British readers, I don't know the system stayed the same after the UK went decimal). With so much of the war being carried on by the British Empire in the beginning, naturally most of the reported costs will be in shillings/pence--3/2, for example, being three shillings and 2 pence.

So anyway, looking forward to September 1st and a new war!
#15275689
Doug64 wrote:This year not only do the days of the week line up with 1939 but so do the leap years, making it the perfect year to start a World War II Day by Day thread.


Only two years, one month and fifty-four days after the start date! :D

United Nations wrote:The United Nations Charter is the treaty that established the United Nations, it was ratified on 24 October 1945.

China, the first victim of aggression by an Axis power, was given the honor of signing first.
By Doug64
#15275694
Fasces wrote:Only two years, one month and fifty-four days after the start date! :D

True enough, but that's a bit long even for me! :eek: Six years will be bad enough, I'll have to settle for starting with the invasion of Poland.
#15275710
Fasces wrote:Only two years, one month and fifty-four days after the start date! :D

A case could be made that WWII was just a continuation of WWI, with a twenty-year time-out in the middle while the Germans caught their breath. Lol. :excited:
By Doug64
#15275722
Potemkin wrote:A case could be made that WWII was just a continuation of WWI, with a twenty-year time-out in the middle while the Germans caught their breath. Lol. :excited:

Also true enough, even standard. The way WWI ended made WWII almost inevitable, while leaving Germany in many ways in a better position than the beginning of the war.
By late
#15275731
“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the Universe than we do now.”

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By ingliz
#15275733
@Doug64

Why bother when you can listen to the dulcet tones of Laurence Olivier and be done in just over a day?



The 26-episode series can be found here
Last edited by ingliz on 02 Jun 2023 16:05, edited 1 time in total.
#15275734
ingliz wrote:@Doug64

Why bother when you can listen to the dulcet tones of Laurence Olivier and be all done in just over a day?



The whole 26-episode series can be found here

“SHTALIN!” :excited:
#15275741
I think the invasion of Abyssinia by Italy is a reasonable start for for World War II, as Italy's 1912 invasion of the Ottoman Empire is a reasonable start for World War I. Nazi Germany would change sides having supplied arms to Abyssinia. The Soviet Union would change sides twice. Resisting German and Italian power in the Spanish Civil War and fighting with Japan, then becoming a non belligerent ally of Germany in 1939 before switching back in 1941.

As to a longer view the 2nd World War was merely the final chapter in the 1100 year long Carolingian Civil War.
By Doug64
#15275918
ingliz wrote:@Doug64

Why bother when you can listen to the dulcet tones of Laurence Olivier and be done in just over a day?

That looks like an excellent series, thanks!

Rich wrote:I think the invasion of Abyssinia by Italy is a reasonable start for for World War II, as Italy's 1912 invasion of the Ottoman Empire is a reasonable start for World War I. Nazi Germany would change sides having supplied arms to Abyssinia. The Soviet Union would change sides twice. Resisting German and Italian power in the Spanish Civil War and fighting with Japan, then becoming a non belligerent ally of Germany in 1939 before switching back in 1941.

I’m not really sure you can make that claim, any more than you can claim that Bleeding Kansas was the beginning of the American civil War. Revelatory of the trends and attitudes that underlay the oncoming war, yes, but not the war itself.

As to a longer view the 2nd World War was merely the final chapter in the 1100 year long Carolingian Civil War.

Now that is a really long view! :eek:
#15275922
Doug64 wrote:That looks like an excellent series, thanks!


I’m not really sure you can make that claim, any more than you can claim that Bleeding Kansas was the beginning of the American civil War. Revelatory of the trends and attitudes that underlay the oncoming war, yes, but not the war itself.


Now that is a really long view! :eek:

But no less valid for that. The division of Charlemagne’s empire after his death was one of the greatest tragedies of European history, and laid the basis for the brutal struggle between France and Germany from 1870 to 1945. They were, in effect, trying to undo the breakup of the Carolingian Empire, 1100 years after the event. Dividing history up into neat little wars that last a few years only and then make way for the next little war is fundamentally artificial. History is a single thing, a single tapestry woven together. What happened 1100 years ago is still affecting what happens right now, for better or for worse….
#15275923
Doug64 wrote:I’m not really sure you can make that claim, any more than you can claim that Bleeding Kansas was the beginning of the American civil War. Revelatory of the trends and attitudes that underlay the oncoming war, yes, but not the war itself.

Don't get me wrong I'm very appreciative of you doing this thread and the effort you put into American Civil War, I won't be demanding a day by day up to the last Japanese surrender on 18th December 1974. ;) BTW Are you going to do a day by day for the Anglo-Zanzibar war, or have you already done it and I missed it?

However I do think its helpful to consider that WWII was a confluence of a whole number of conflicts
By Doug64
#15275945
Potemkin wrote:But no less valid for that. The division of Charlemagne’s empire after his death was one of the greatest tragedies of European history, and laid the basis for the brutal struggle between France and Germany from 1870 to 1945. They were, in effect, trying to undo the breakup of the Carolingian Empire, 1100 years after the event. Dividing history up into neat little wars that last a few years only and then make way for the next little war is fundamentally artificial. History is a single thing, a single tapestry woven together. What happened 1100 years ago is still affecting what happens right now, for better or for worse….

Why stop with the Carolingian Empire? Let's push it back another few centuries to when the German barbarians overran Rome! ;)

Rich wrote:Don't get me wrong I'm very appreciative of you doing this thread and the effort you put into American Civil War, I won't be demanding a day by day up to the last Japanese surrender on 18th December 1974. ;)

:D I do appreciate that! Though honestly, I'm glad you've enjoyed these.

BTW Are you going to do a day by day for the Anglo-Zanzibar war, or have you already done it and I missed it?

The what of which, now? :eh:

However I do think its helpful to consider that WWII was a confluence of a whole number of conflicts

I don't disagree, the American Civil War was the same. But we still need a (generally) standard rule for when a war starts and stops, and we generally use when governments start and stop shooting at each other on a large scale. Also, a (more or less) day by day reporting of events isn't the best format for in-depth analysis of root causes.
#15275994
Doug64 wrote:Why stop with the Carolingian Empire? Let's push it back another few centuries to when the German barbarians overran Rome! ;)

I agree that we have to stop somewhere, for practical purposes. But where we stop is fundamentally arbitrary, is the point I’m making.

:D I do appreciate that! Though honestly, I'm glad you've enjoyed these.

I’m grateful for these posts too. It gives a new perspective on familiar historical events, seeing them happen as they actually unfolded, day by day. History gets summarised and rewritten so it looks inevitable in hindsight. In reality, it’s profoundly contingent.

The what of which, now? :eh:

@Rich is being very British and having a joke at your expense. Read the Wikipedia page on the Anglo-Zanzibar War, and you’ll see what I mean. :)

I don't disagree, the American Civil War was the same. But we still need a (generally) standard rule for when a war starts and stops, and we generally use when governments start and stop shooting at each other on a large scale. Also, a (more or less) day by day reporting of events isn't the best format for in-depth analysis of root causes.

Granted, but it’s a lot of fun and it gives an important ground-level perspective to epic historical events.
#15275996
Potemkin wrote:I agree that we have to stop somewhere, for practical purposes. But where we stop is fundamentally arbitrary, is the point I’m making.

To be pedantic, I would suggest that while one can think in terms of arbitrary selection of influential events, that within Marx one finds a concrete historicism that isn’t merely an empirical description but is only found in the analysis of the empirical and the concepts used to grasp such details/facts.

It’s to find the true origins of a current situation like how Marx uses the germ cell of the commodity which becomes universal in its implications under capitalism. So too can one identify a basic observable fact that underpins the broader development and links to all other factors but in a logical way.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Ilyenkov-History.pdf
The study of history must be combined with a provisional analysis of the current state of affairs by means of a study of current literature, and then looking back in history to find the point of origin of what seems to be the germ cell of the existing regime, and then tracing this provisional germ-cell forwards. It is the forwards movement that allows analysis to confirm or disconfirm the provisional analysis. Ilyenkov quoted Marx: “it is not necessary to write the real history of the production relations.” What is required is a genealogy beginning with the development of the supposed germ cell, tracing the transformation of the entire formation into organs of itself – if this is indeed what is found ‒ in correlation with the conditions which enable that transformation. As Ilyenkov points out, it all hinges on the chosen starting point.

When Michel Foucault regarded the current state of affairs from his own point of view, he saw modern society as an elaborate system of social control. Consequently he found its origins in the development of mass armies and the modern prison system in the early 19th century. This is an example of what Ilyenkov meant when he referred to “subjectivism and arbitrariness” in identifying the starting point.


So let’s look at the problem of finding the germ cell of the Islamic Republic, its origin and the conditions under which it appeared.

According to all the available literature the starting point of the current regime in Iran was the 1979 Revolution which created the Islamic Republic. And if you were to judge this revolution from press reports in the West you probably believe that this was a revolution led by clerics who roused the masses and imposed a conservative theocracy. But if you were there or if you looked more closely, you would know that the people who made the Revolution were an alliance of Marxists of various stripes and progressive Islamic students. What was meant by “Islamic Republic” at that time was what could be called the uniquely Persian road to socialism – neither Moscow nor Washington, if you will. It was an urban movement led by young people. But how could these urban intellectuals neutralise the rural poor, who had favoured the Shah and were reluctant to support the revolution? So delegates from the various revolutionary groups went to Paris and put Khomenei and his coterie on a plane and flew him back and used him to win the rural poor to the side of the Revolution.
Nowhere in this Revolution can we see a germ cell for the current regime in Iran. Having studied the political economy of Iran and its social structure and traditions through the literature of that time, we can then move forward.

The 1979 Revolution unleashed an uprising amongst the industrial working class in Iran; they formed shuras, traditional Islamic communes, and took control of their factories. But they lacked the cultural level to run the factories, so they allowed the bosses back, but under workers’ control. The capitalists appealed to the mullahs, and the mullahs mobilised terror groups, not only from rural Iran, but from the Ummat, the Shia empire outside of Iran, to terrorise the workers into submission and put the bosses back in control. But now the bourgeois also were at the mercy of the mullahs with their terror squads. This transition was complete by about 1981. And this is the germ cell of the present day Islamic Republic.

The Islamic Republic reproduces itself by the expropriation of the proceeds of industry, especially oil money, which is extorted from the industrial bourgeois of Iran and pocketed by the mullahs and used to establish a hegemony consolidated by terror. Economic factors have led to a decline in the economic efficiency of this system because of sanctions and because the clergy are merely parasites. They are no longer in a position to buy the support of the poor who had supported their coup d’état. They now mainly rely on their supporters in the surrounding Shia world. But as these countries gradually overcome the havoc of civil war foisted on them by the US and the Islamic Republic, the conditions for maintenance of this system is becoming exhausted. With the failure of the Islamic Republic to meet their needs, the poor in Iran, at this point, favour the return of the Shah ...

I will leave my analysis at this point. Analysis determined that the germ cell of the regime was not 1979, but 1981 – the defeat of the workers’ shuras by religious terror squads, providing the religious leaders with the proceeds of industry to purchase support from the poor. 1981 provided a self-reproducing formation because exploitation of wage labour had been given a specifically Iranian form. It is true that the 1979 Revolution, at a time when the industrial working class was too small and weak to run the country on its own behalf created the conditions for 1981. But it is not the same thing.

The essential task then in the study of history is to determine the germ cell of the present day, most advanced formation. It was in Evald Ilyenkov’s chapter on abstract and concrete in the same work I have referred to that we find an exposition of how once the germ cell is isolated, its further concretisation can be traced as it colonises, so to speak, all the other elements of the social formation, and in the process of merging with other relations the cell is itself modified, ultimately able to reproduce itself out of conditions which are its own creation.


The above is a brief summary of Ilyenkov’s summary of Marx’s concrete historicism in which what is iniitally accidental or peripheral becomes universal as it shapes all existing social formations to itself. Like how the commodity and markets were periphery but become the dominant form in society. So to in history there are appearances that must be sifted through for what is essential so that history also isn’t seen as purely arbitrary as if it was a series of natural disasters befalling humans rather than one in which humans are acting collectively in different groups for different reasons and changing our world. The emphasis being the aphorism about not choosing conditions but definitely acting within those conditions how we so choose, constrained but not necessarily out of necessity either.

It’s not that time and events are to be cut off from previous events as our abstraction can be arbitrary in that sense but our selection of where to cut things off need not be entirely arbitrary either with ad infintum casual chains which do not see anything as the essential basis but only a multitude of factors still yet to be properly related to one another.
#15276122
Potemkin wrote:I agree that we have to stop somewhere, for practical purposes. But where we stop is fundamentally arbitrary, is the point I’m making.

Yes and no. Yes, that the cut-off point of any analysis of causes and effects of events is going to be at least somewhat arbitrary, but not so much for the event itself.

I’m grateful for these posts too. It gives a new perspective on familiar historical events, seeing them happen as they actually unfolded, day by day. History gets summarised and rewritten so it looks inevitable in hindsight. In reality, it’s profoundly contingent.

Granted, but it’s a lot of fun and it gives an important ground-level perspective to epic historical events.

Agreed. We can never quite forget how things turned out, but we can see what people knew at the time as events unfolded. Not to mention a certain amount of minutia and irrelevancies that are just plain fun!
#15281743
I'm pretty busy right now so this is a belated and rather inadequate post for 25th July to note,

The breaking off of the Japanese offensive at Khalkhin Gol. The events at Khalkhin Gol arguably had quite a profound effect on the course of World War II. Not only do these events get little mention, but even less mentioned is the contribution of the forces of the Mongolian Peoples Republic. Even at the end of the 1930s, Mongolian cavalry was a still a force to be reckoned with.
By Doug64
#15281828
Rich wrote:I'm pretty busy right now so this is a belated and rather inadequate post for 25th July to note,

The breaking off of the Japanese offensive at Khalkhin Gol. The events at Khalkhin Gol arguably had quite a profound effect on the course of World War II. Not only do these events get little mention, but even less mentioned is the contribution of the forces of the Mongolian Peoples Republic. Even at the end of the 1930s, Mongolian cavalry was a still a force to be reckoned with.

Ah, yes, Khalkhin Gol, the fight that possibly put the Japanese on the road to the Southern Resource Zone and Pearl Harbor! Not to mention let Stalin know where to find a real fighting general once the Nazis invaded.... Definitely one of the less well known important battles of the era.
By Rich
#15282587
So just some things that I've lifted from Wikipedia, but I think are worthy of note.

August 1st. Nazi Germany forbade the sale of lottery tickets to Jews.

Funny but not funny. Gives a bit of insight into Nazi bigotry. Personally I don't like massive social state control. But if you are going to control people for their good then gambling is surely a social negative that should be banned for all people. Notably the Soviet Union had state lotteries.

August 2nd. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain introduced a motion to adjourn the House of Commons until October 3. The motion passed 250-132, and an attempted amendment by the opposition to shorten the length of adjournment to August 21 was defeated. More than 30 Conservatives supported the shorter recess and expressed their displeasure by abstaining from voting. One of them was Winston Churchill, and another was Ronald Cartland, who during a speech prophetically said, "We are in the situation that within a month we may be going to fight, and we may be going to die."

August 3rd. The medical licenses of all Jewish doctors in Nazi Germany were nullified.

Again more bureaucratically applied Nazi bigotry.

August 4th A Chinese mob in Tientsin attacked offices of the British International Export Corporation, smashing furniture and other equipment and throwing it into the Hai River. The British said the attack was instigated by the Australians.

Anyone got any insight into this? :eh:

August 5th The 76th United States Congress adjourned for the rest of the summer.

Poland sent Danzig a note demanding that interference with Polish customs guards on the border with East Prussia cease.

History is just not neat. When it comes to Danzig, it seems pretty clear that it was the Poles that were the bad guys. The demands to join Germany from the people of Danzig were not unreasonable. One thing I don't think is explored enough is alternative history, alternative history. If the allies had intervened early to stop German and keep Danzig and the Sudetenland under Slavic domination, would people be thanking our leaders. It was only by experiencing the full horror of World War II that we were able to discern how bad it could be and that the Germans had the capability of rolling up the western front. If Churchill had been successful in getting his way in 1938 I can well imagine him being remembered with the same fondness as W Bush.

August 7th Danzig rejected the Polish demand of August 5, refusing to recognize untrained Polish officials as supervisors of Danzig customs.

August 9th Italy published a law introducing fines for anyone moving from the country to a city of 25,000 people or more unless they already had work there. Mussolini had recently advised moving out of the cities if possible to avoid potential bombing in event of war.

I thought this was notable, not to take a cheap shot at Mussolini, but just to emphasise how no one really knew what the coming war was going to be like. Its so difficult to divest ourselves of hindsight to enter the minds of the participants at the time.
By Doug64
#15282610
Rich wrote:August 4th A Chinese mob in Tientsin attacked offices of the British International Export Corporation, smashing furniture and other equipment and throwing it into the Hai River. The British said the attack was instigated by the Australians.

Anyone got any insight into this? :eh:

At a guess, I'd say it was a part of the Tientsin incident.
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