pbsthisdayinhistory:

December 11, 1941: Germany and Italy Declare War on the United States
On this day in 1941, Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Fascist Italy’s Benito Mussolini declared war on the United States in support of their ally, the Empire of Japan. The U.S. government responded by quickly passing resolutions of war against the two Axis powers. 
Although the United States had previously claimed neutrality in Europe, these declarations led America into the European conflict of World War II. Three days prior, President Franklin Roosevelt had declared war against the Empire of Japan, the third Axis power, following the surprise attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor. 
Explore Ken Burns’s timeline of World War II to discover the most important and consequential events of this global conflict.
Photo: President Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Germany, Dec. 11, 1941 (Library of Congress).

pbsthisdayinhistory:

December 11, 1941: Germany and Italy Declare War on the United States

On this day in 1941, Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Fascist Italy’s Benito Mussolini declared war on the United States in support of their ally, the Empire of Japan. The U.S. government responded by quickly passing resolutions of war against the two Axis powers. 

Although the United States had previously claimed neutrality in Europe, these declarations led America into the European conflict of World War II. Three days prior, President Franklin Roosevelt had declared war against the Empire of Japan, the third Axis power, following the surprise attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor. 

Explore Ken Burns’s timeline of World War II to discover the most important and consequential events of this global conflict.

Photo: President Roosevelt signing the declaration of war against Germany, Dec. 11, 1941 (Library of Congress).

Frankfurt Zoo.

At least he didn’t hear it coming.

(via discoverynews)

Today in history: Johann Georg Elser, a German national and opponent of Nazism, plants a bomb with the hopes of killing Hitler and prevent WWII from escalating further than it already had.

His plan fails. Hitler left the Bürgerbräukeller 13 minutes earlier than expected, but the bomb still detonated. Eight people were killed and sixty-three injured.

Elser was arrested at 20:45 local time, 35 minutes before the bomb detonated. He was quickly identified as the bomber and sent to Berlin, where he was tortured by the Gestapo. Elser was imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps.

On April 9, 1945, with the war nearly over, Elser is executed following an order given by Hitler and delivered by Heinrich Müller.

(Source: twitter.com)

ourpresidents:


“Things are going very, very well.  I am in Berlin.  There were one million people here last night at the very spot where the Wall used to stand -“
-Chancellor Kohl of Germany on the German Reunification Process

todaysdocument:


On October 3, 1990, East and West Germany were reunified, one year after  the fall of the Berlin Wall.  This memo transcribes the brief  conversation which occurred between President George Bush and German  Chancellor Helmut Kohl, describing the reunification celebration.

ourpresidents:

“Things are going very, very well.  I am in Berlin.  There were one million people here last night at the very spot where the Wall used to stand -“

-Chancellor Kohl of Germany on the German Reunification Process

todaysdocument:

On October 3, 1990, East and West Germany were reunified, one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This memo transcribes the brief conversation which occurred between President George Bush and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, describing the reunification celebration.

(via npr)

Jerks

Ambassador Philip D Murphy, September 8, 2011:

There are jerks everywhere.

There are jerks where I come from in America, and there are jerks in the heart of Europe, here in Berlin.

A jerk is someone who shows no respect for other people, because they dress differently, talk differently, or were born with skin darker or eyes shaped other than the local standard. 

Ultimately, jerks are people with such a deficit of character and self-respect that they feel a need to belittle and intimidate others to fend off feeling small, scared and insignificant themselves.  So we need to help them change the way they think and the way they feel about themselves.  But first of all we need to stand up to them.  Because words and deeds do have consequences.

I was painfully reminded of this recently.

A group of U.S. Embassy staff and friends attended the Hertha game on August 26th.  They had a great time during the game, and were pleased to cheer on the home team.  One of them was African-American.  After the game, as they were walking away from the stadium, two men came at them and accosted our African American colleague.  One jostled him and the other doused him with beer and directed a deeply offensive racial insult at him.  The Embassy group tried to calm the situation, but it became clear that these individuals, along with an approaching group of their friends, were bent on violence.   The police arrived quickly and confronted the thugs, and the Americans left the area. No one was left bleeding or bruised, but things might easily have ended differently.

You can’t just let these things go.  Regardless of where incidents like this happen, whether it’s in America or Germany or anywhere else in the world, we have to stand up and say it’s wrong.  

This week in Washington, D.C., a national memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King opened on the Mall where the famous freedom fighter spoke to hundreds of thousands at the height of our civil rights campaign – half a century ago.  Dr. King remains a wonderful example for all of us.  He saw things that weren’t right and he refused to remain silent.  He had the courage to take action to change things for the better.

For many Americans, regardless of their political views, the election of Barack Obama was a triumph over our own history, a victory over the petty hatreds of many generations of our own jerks.  It was a milestone, but it wasn’t the end of the story.  Racism is still present in America.  We still have our jerks, the small people who need to prove themselves by lashing out at people they perceive as different.  And so we Americans have to keep working to make thing better.   The same is true for Germany.  Society – whether American or German – cannot look the other way and hope that somehow magically bigotry and racism will disappear.  We have to speak out and we have to take action.

Racism is not a thing of the past, neither in Germany nor in the U.S.  It remains a very modern problem, and increasingly so as populations move around the world in search of better lives in these tough economic times. Racism must be confronted firmly wherever it rears its head – whether along a country lane in America or on a sidewalk outside the Olympia Stadium or anywhere else in the world where jerks think that they can hurt people and get away with it.

Business Insider:

Yes, the rest of the world is watching this embarrassing debt ceiling nonsense, and it is growing dismayed.

Der Spiegel has a roundup of commentary in German newspapers about the fight, and the universal message is this:

The US is holding the entire world hostage, and it’s the Republicans that are playing with fire.

Hard to accuse the Germans (who are no fans of fiscal profligacy) of being motivated by politics, or of having some inherent reason to attack Republicans. This is just the reality of what they’re doing.

Here’s the passage from Bild, the newspaper of the masses:

"Playing poker is part of politics, as is theatrical posturing. That’s fair enough. But what America is currently exhibiting is the worst kind of absurd theatrics. And the whole world is being held hostage.

"Irrespective of what the correct fiscal and economic policy should be for the most powerful country on earth, it’s simply not possible to stop taking on new debt overnight. Most importantly, the Republicans have turned a dispute over a technicality into a religious war, which no longer has any relation to a reasonable dispute between the elected government and the opposition."

"If it continues like this, the US will be bankrupt within a few days. It would cause a global shockwave like the one which followed the Lehman bankruptcy in 2008, which triggered the worst economic crisis since the war. Except it would be much worse than the Lehman bankruptcy. The political climate in the US has been poisoned to a degree that is hard for us (Germans) to imagine. But we should all fear the consequences."

U.N. to delink al Qaeda, Taliban sanctions

CBS News:

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council has decided to treat al Qaeda and the Taliban separately when it comes to U.N. sanctions in an attempt to more effectively fight terrorism and support the Afghan government’s reconciliation efforts.

The council scheduled a meeting Friday afternoon to vote on two new resolutions — one aimed at individuals and organizations on a sanctions blacklist because of links to al Qaeda and others on a blacklist because of links to the hardline Islamic Taliban regime.

The separate resolutions would symbolically delink al Qaeda and the Taliban and recognize their different agendas. While Al Qaeda is focused on worldwide jihad against the West and establishment of a religious state in the Muslim world, Taliban militants have focused on their own country and have shown little interest in attacking targets abroad.

Germany’s U.N. Ambassador Peter Wittig, who chairs the Security Council committee that currently monitors sanctions against the two groups, told reporters in Kabul earlier this month that separating the sanctions regimes would futher highlight “the significance of the political efforts that are ongoing in Afghanistan.”

 
First World War officially ends
The First World War will officially end on Sunday, 92 years after the guns fell silent, when Germany pays off the last chunk of reparations imposed on it by the Allies.

The bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not reneged on reparations during his reign.

First World War officially ends

The First World War will officially end on Sunday, 92 years after the guns fell silent, when Germany pays off the last chunk of reparations imposed on it by the Allies.

The bill would have been settled much earlier had Adolf Hitler not reneged on reparations during his reign.

As much as I want Spain to beat Germany, cause then I’ll be in second place for my office pool, if Germany advances it’d be even better; the combination of Operation Market Garden (indeed all of WWII), Afrikaners, and just plain old Germanic-ness would be amazing