The high price of history forgotten

September 3, 2014

It was a gift from God morning. The smell of fresh rain was filtering through the screens on the porch and the feathered diners at the all you can eat sunflower seed buffet were playing a literal symphony for the ears. Even the usually grouchy, “outta my way I’m King here” Mr. Bluejay was playing nice.

It was a morning as far removed from as it could possibly be from another that dawned 75 years ago. And while September 1, 2014 brought me a memory that I shall always remember, it also found me reflecting upon the morning that brought forth the unleashing of a hell that the world of the time never imagined possible.

The world went to sleep the night of August 31st, 1939, and awoke the next morning with the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein firing a pre-dawn broadside on the Polish installation at Westerplatte, and 62 German divisions supported by Panzers and hundreds of Luftwaffe aircraft invading Poland.

After years of appeasement, Adolf Hitler had finally been emboldened enough to act militarily. With absolutely no respect for Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in the West and a freshly signed non-aggression pact with Stalin to the East, Hitler unleashed his“Blitzkrieg” (Lightning War) without fear. Nine months later he entered Paris and Britain stood alone.

Considering that America didn’t enter WWII until the attack on Pearl Harbor over two years later, I didn’t expect to see heavy coverage of that fateful day, but I certainly expected to see more than there was.

A scan of the website of hundreds of newspaper front pages across the country yielded not just scant coverage, but sadly no coverage at all.

The closest I found was The Cleveland Plain Dealer article “A flight back through time” on the WWII B 17 bomber Yankee Lady that had flown the day before at the Cleveland National Air show.

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Des Moines Register, Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press, Charlotte Observer, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, Washington Post, and dozens of others had not a mention, not a word, not a blurb about the day that 75 years ago started the worst carnage the world has ever seen.

I sent my disdain via twitter: “75 yrs ago Hitler invaded Poland & 6yrs later tens of millions lay dead. Yet NYTimes front page is an Obama deflection piece on Gitmo.” which got a reply telling me “To be fair, they are called NEWSpapers, not historypapers.”

A sentiment that seems reasonable, but with so much tension and turmoil roiling just under the surface today a sentiment with which I couldn’t disagree more.

Hitler was a despot emboldened by the West’s eagerness to appease rather than stop.

Vladimir Putin is a despot emboldened by the West’s eagerness to appease rather than stop.

75 years ago it was Japan running rampant in China, today it is China eying Japan.

Published reports reveal that the Obama administration has been briefed for over a year now on the growing strength and power of the evil known as ISIS. An evil that has publicly declared its intentions to attack us here in the states.

Too many today believe history irrelevant. That we’re just “smarter now. That the 21st century has moved beyond the flaws of the 20th. That we just need to be more “flexible” and all will be fine. And they couldn’t be more wrong.

Forgetting the mistakes of the past will not secure the peace in these days of now. And that, is news that should be printed over, and over, and over.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE:  A version of this column first appeared in the September 3, 2014 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.


September 2021
« Jul