zenpundit.com » 2007 » April » 25

Archive for April 25th, 2007

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

WWII HISTORIOGRAPHY ON THE EASTERN FRONT IN THE ATLANTIC

“The war between Germany and Russia is not a war between he two states or two armies, but between two ideologies–namely, the National Socialist and the Bolshevist ideology. The Red Army must be looked upon not as a soldier in the sense of the word applying to our western opponents, but as an ideological enemy. He must be regarded as the archenemy of National Socialism and must be treated accordingly”

General Reinecke of OKW , on Hitler’s “Commisar Order”.

Benjamin Schwarz reviews the latest historical scholarship of the frozen meatgrinder called the Eastern Front, in ” Stalin’s Gift” in The Atlantic.

Historian Norman Davies is dead wrong on Soviet participation in Hitler’s defeat “tarnishing” the war. Ok, I’m understating. Frankly he’s a borderline idiot. What would he have prefered ? A Nazi empire from the Azores to the Urals ? The U.S. carpet bombing Europe with atom bombs in 1946? What ?

A great historiographic review that added a number of books to my reading list.

( Yes, hideous subscription wall. Yes, shortsighted on the editor’s part, I realize. Get a subscription, you cheap bastards, and you won’t be inconvenienced)

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

CHILDREN OF HURIN II: A SPENGLERIAN TAKE

I do not often link to the Asia Times anonymous essayist “Spengler” ( though I do read him on occasion) but who knew that the man ( assuming he is a man) was a fellow Tolkien fanatic ? He gets things mostly right in my view and I’m not inclined to nitpick tonight.

Tolkien’s Christianity and the pagan tragedy

“Tolkien’s popular Ring trilogy, I have attempted to show, sought to undermine and supplant Richard Wagner’s operatic Ring cycle, which had offered so much inspiration for Nazism. [1] With the reconstruction of the young Tolkien’s prehistory of Middle-earth, we discern a far broader purpose: to recast as tragedy the heroic myths of pre-Christian peoples, in which the tragic flaw is the pagan’s tribal identity. Tolkien saw his generation decimated, and his circle of friends exterminated, by the nationalist compulsions of World War I; he saw the cult of Siegfried replace the cult of Christ during World War II. His life’s work was to attack the pagan flaw at the foundation of the West.

It is too simple to consider Tolkien’s protagonist Turin as a conflation of Siegfried and Beowulf, but the defining moments in Turin’s bitter life refer clearly to the older myths, with a crucial difference: the same qualities that make Siegfried and Beowulf exemplars to the pagans instead make Turin a victim of dark forces, and a menace to all who love him. Tolkien was the anti-Wagner, and Turin is the anti-Siegfried, the anti-Beowulf. Tolkien reconstructed a mythology for the English not (as Wainwright and other suggest) because he thought it might make them proud of themselves, but rather because he believed that the actual pagan mythology was not good enough to be a predecessor to Christianity.

“Alone among 20th-century novelists, J R R Tolkien concerned himself with the mortality not of individuals but of peoples. The young soldier-scholar of World War I viewed the uncertain fate of European nations through the mirror of the Dark Ages, when the life of small peoples hung by a thread,” I wrote in an earlier essay. [2] Christianity demands of the Gentile that he reject his sinful flesh and be reborn into Israel; only through a new birth can the Gentile escape the death of his own body as well as the death of his hopes in the inevitable extinction of his people.”

Read the rest here.

(Hat tip to my friend Lexington Green)


Switch to our mobile site