Cargo Cults

One of the strangest and most fascinating occurrences to come out of the South Pacific in the aftermath of World War II was the appearance of so-called “cargo cults” among some of the Melanesian natives in New Guinea and nearby islands. During the war these remote island people had been exposed to American and Australian […]

Veteran’s Day

  On this Veteran’s Day it would be well to remember some brave Americans. Almost 90,000 American airmen died in World War II, either in military action or by other cause (usually accident). Approximately 40,000 of these men went down in flames during the air war over Europe.  Thousands more were lost in the Pacific.  […]

A Beloved Brother

As I have written on numerous occasions, I was blessed with a wonderful, loving family.  I had four half-brothers and three half-sisters, but I never thought of any of them being anything else but whole. The youngest, Harold Rives Fields, was eight and a half years my senior, and as a young boy I truly […]

When Hell Froze Over

Those of you who have lived by a large body of water know how incredibly cold it can be in mid-winter when the wind blows over the water.  It seems to penetrate to the very bone.  Many years ago I served briefly in the naval reserve, and I experienced a cruise in the North Atlantic.  […]

World War II Begins

Eighty years ago, on September 1, 1939, World War II began with the German attack on Poland.  I told the story of World Wars I & II in my post titled “War and Madness.”  Now, on the 80th anniversary of that event, I am publishing more details on World War II’s beginning. After World War […]

Hitler and Napoleon

Napoleon is recognized as a military genius.  Hitler probably thought of himself as his equal. In any analysis of World War II military campaigns, especially the Russian campaign, Hitler receives blame for many of the German military reverses.  Hitler was always interjecting himself into the strategic planning, often overruling the advice of his senior military […]

The Great War Begins

One hundred five years ago, on July 27, 1914, Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia.  During the week that followed, all major European powers slid into the maelstrom of a general war.  Last summer I described World Wars I and II in a post that I titled “War and Madness”. In this post I provide a […]

Dropping the Atomic Bomb

From time to time scholars question President Harry Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb in 1945. How easy it is to look backwards and see things so clearly.  There are those who maintain that Japan would have surrendered, without invasion and without the atomic bomb, prior to the end of 1945 — and probably […]

Remember Lidice

Evil exists.  Sometimes people say that all men are basically good, and that we do evil things only when there has been a bad environment, poverty, lack of education or some other unfortunate cause.  That is not true.  I tend to believe what Johannes Gossner, 19th century Lutheran pastor and philanthropist, once wrote, “The heart […]

D-Day, the Sixth of June

Tomorrow, June 6, we mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Nazi-held western Europe. Joseph Stalin had been pushing for this cross-channel assault since early 1942, and American military leaders were also eager to get our troops into action against the main German armies.  In 1942 we were not ready.  British strength was […]