auctions |  biography | message boards | faq | links | bibliography | multimedia | exclusives | gifts | home |
Hemingway Travel Stickers
 


got Papa? shirts, mugs and more!
Custom Euro Oval Stickers
Oval Stickers and Euro Stickers


      
  Active TopicsActive Topics  Display List of Forum MembersMemberlist  Search The ForumSearch  HelpHelp
  RegisterRegister  LoginLogin
General Questions (Forum Locked Forum Locked)
 Ernest Hemingway Message Boards : General Questions
Subject Topic: Hemingway the War Criminal ? Post ReplyPost New Topic
Author
Message << Prev Topic | Next Topic >>
hijo
Leader
Leader
Avatar


Joined: 14 August 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 547
Posted: 13 October 2006 at 10:11pm | IP Logged Quote hijo

Peter, Docnme, Bob, Don: Sorry to keep interrupting but it occurs to me the suggestion it has to do with "mis-" or "wrong-" reporting of events or history is a bit off the mark.

For one thing, despite most people's belief - similar to "documents don't lie" - history - the recording and telling of it, what is referred to while it is occurring as reporting - is overwhelmingly subjective.

As an example, look at the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. Their main objection appeared to be that John Kerry had been decorated and yet wound up suggesting during the Winter Soldier investigation and hearings that U.S. troops committed "attrocities," essentially defined as violations of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, in Vietnam. Rather than acknowledging the host of testimonials from veterans about their own actions as well as those they'd witnessed by others, they chose to deny categorically the suggestion, taking umbrage at it.

Yet it is now common knowledge this administration has a legal finding from the now Attorney General that suggested the Geneva Conventions were "quaint," relics of a different time. And now we're getting reports of attrocities.

Were societies - the victors as well as the vanquished - to admit they were aware of attrocities committed in their names, they would necessarily have to share in the guilt and shame, wouldn't they? Yet as "history" goes, only the vanquished ever commit attrocities, and any possibly proven to have been committed by the victors tend to be excused as over-zealousness.

Anyway, this thinking is what leads me to suspect EH was boasting, as at the time it seemed de-riguer to claim the number of enemy you killed - they were not, after all, fellow human beings.

Most guys I've known who have engaged in such activity tend not to place numbers, in fact, they tend not to want to discuss it. In the immortal words of one of my closest vet friends in Texas, when he was asked by a ridiculous reporting trainee upon discovering he'd served near Da Nang in the class of '69, if he'd "ever killed babies?" His response: "only when I had to." She was shocked and almost cried. He and I laughed. His answer was honest - what a stupid question she asked.

Too many safe people know war only from the movies, and from the television, and from books, and from "war stories," as something that happens to other people, that other people engage in, and that rarely affects them personally except as some sort of vague sense of anguish at the necessity of killing other humans for some declared need of survival.

In his heart, every boy wants to be a hero, wants to save the world, and wants recognition for having surmounted adversity and defied the odds and survived or better yet, rescued others. Those boys often must learn the hard way that the deck is stacked against surviving such activity, and that the true heroes are the ones engaging in such activity well aware the chances for survival are slim and do it anyway.

Anyone who puts on a uniform is a hero, regardless of their reasons, as they willingly sacrifice hot and cold running water, a safe home and warm bed just so the rest of us can sleep.

War correspondents are heros, as they willingly undergo the same deprivations to "get the story" and bring it home to their readers, their viewers, their hopefully interested employers. They are there to record history as it unfolds, not to look back and add perspective and context, as that is usually not something that can be done well from inside a transport vehicle.

I highly recommend reading Michael Weiskopff's book, and at minimum his excerpt of it in Time Magazine. Who is he? He's the reporter - accurate, who knows? - who lost his hand tossing a grenade out of a Humvee he was riding along in covering U.S. operations in Baghdad.

But for some, that isn't and will never be enough. I believe EH was such a man. He'd seen World War I, probably more raw dirty muddy bloody senseless death and destruction than most people alive even in his time. He saw Spain, a Civil War where former neighbors and relatives turned each other in for execution in the name of politics, and foreigners participated on both sides. Then in World War II, he became "embedded" with Col. Buck Lanham's troops, and as necessary shot in the general direction of the enemy. He may also have engaged in other combat, directing and perhaps shouldering and firing weapons with a group of Free French (many of whom were actually Spanish civil war refugees).

But apparently that wasn't enough. Somewhere along the way he may have decided he needed a bigger, better story. He needed numbers - like Sen. Joe McCarthy's numbers, which kept changing with every statement until someone asked to finally look at the list he kept waving around and discovered it was a blank sheet of paper.

Look at the political heroes of that time - Eisenhower, McCarthy ("Tail Gunner" Joe, who wasn't a tail gunner but had someone take a picture of him in that position and used it as his campaign nickname), Kennedy (not only the survivor, but the hero of PT-109, rammed by a Japanese submarine), Bob Dole, etc, etc, etc. Hell, just about everyone had been in uniform at the time. You needed something more to set you apart.

I think he also - as some biographies, like Reynolds', have suggested - needed some sort of bolstering of his argument he was a true, patriotic, dyed-in-the-wool American, considering he had written about Spain, spoken about it, raised money for the International Brigades, and even (gasp) sat in on a meeting of alleged card-carrying Communists at Dorothy Parker's NY apartment. One meeting. Then again, he was living in Cuba, still paying U.S. taxes, and I think thought it best to let everyone know Hemingway the Hero still lived.

I could be wrong. It certainly calls for more research. The only way I know of anyone could claim and make verifiable the number of enemy killed personally at one time would be to line them all up and shoot them and then count the bodies. By yourself, with witnesses.

That's what the Nazis did in Warsaw, for example.

Best,
hijo
Back to Top View hijo's Profile Search for other posts by hijo
 
hijo
Leader
Leader
Avatar

Joined: 14 August 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 547
Posted: 13 October 2006 at 10:54pm | IP Logged Quote hijo

Oops. A bit carried away.

My point really boils down to this: if you were Triberg citizens, and you learned EH claimed to have killed 122 of your citizens - some of whom were parents, or at least relatives - you'd probably be a bit less thrilled about celebrating his legacy, right?

We like to note how well we get along with the Japanese, and the Germans. Not everyone in those countries supported their governments' policies, and not everyone felt capable of resisting them, either. So how would you feel, first having to admit your parents or other relatives were Nazis, perhaps active in the "final solution"? Or Japanese prison guards or Kamikazes etc?

In this country, we like to note our relatives who served as a sign of patriotic virtue. Those who have relatives (like me) who fought in the Revolutionary War like to mention it - without a clue as to what they actually did at any given time in it.

"I never owned slaves," is the usual white response when confronted with history of slavery. But "my grandfather/great-grandfather was a slave" is the reality for many of those wanting some sort of acknowledgment that someone in this country did.

On my history argument, what we know about the Pelaponesian Wars is thanks to Heroditus and Thucididies. What we know of the Trojan War is thanks to Homer, and others from Virgil (who apparently was a Persian). What we knew of the Korean War was from our historians - who, at least when I was in school, neglected to mention a little border village called No Gun Ri.

I have yet to hear of a U.S. celebration of Jose Marti, who fought Spain to liberate Cuba, and basically caught the interest of Theodore Roosevelt who was deputy secretary of the Navy at the time he issued orders to Commander Dewey to make haste to take Manila bay - on the one day Roosevelt's boss was out sick.

There's our history, and there's true history. Whose truth, Jedidiah?

Best,
hijo
Back to Top View hijo's Profile Search for other posts by hijo
 
Peter Krynicki
Leader
Leader
Avatar

Joined: 29 August 2005
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 433
Posted: 14 October 2006 at 10:14am | IP Logged Quote Peter Krynicki

The question of slavery is an intresting one. "My family never owned slaves." is probably correct for most people, but if your family line goes back to colonial America, just to use the US as an example, your family benefited from slavery, thus making it possible. Benefited because they would have made clothing out of cheap cotton, probably smoked a ceegar, a pipe or chewed cheap tobacco, and sweetened their coffee with cheap sugar. Cheap because one of the primary costs of and goods produced was missing; labor, material, and overhead. (Maybe two)

 

Pjk       

Back to Top View Peter Krynicki's Profile Search for other posts by Peter Krynicki
 
hijo
Leader
Leader
Avatar

Joined: 14 August 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 547
Posted: 14 October 2006 at 5:53pm | IP Logged Quote hijo

Peter: true to a degree. However, note that the families (many of them) that did own slaves often descended from families of colonial powers that frequently colonized particularly to exploit the resources of some foreign land and found it economically prudent to - as in the case of India - ship the raw materials back to the Mother Country (England), have them made into goods such as refined cotton or even salt, and sell it back to the colonies for cash.

In other words, while it probably is true for most people living in the U.S. today, as since at least the U.S. Civil War, it most certainly isn't true for those families that - as in the case with some parts of the U.S. South - came over having already run successful rice, sugar and cotton plantations in other parts of the world, such as the Bahamas or other islands or Colonial Africa.

England banned the slave trade in 1830. Spain didn't until I think around 1880... And the point here is that if - by all accounts, in fact - it is true that some Americans are descended from slaves, others are descended from the slave holders. And those facts appear to be more important to those descended from slaves than for those descended from slave holders. But they are irrefutable historic facts, nonetheless.

But again, we're digressing somewhat from the point I'm trying to make - that the sins of the fathers are in fact visited upon the sons, or at least the sons at times feel a sense of shame and guilt over their parents' perceived sins, while at the same time most descendents prefer to declare with pride their predecessors' accomplishments as opposed to offenses.

And that perception is often as powerful as actual verification; using the current example, if my father or grandfather had been one of the 122 allegedly killed by EH's own hand in some sort of prisoner massacre at Triberg, I would be inclined to hate the man, regardless of whether a) such a massacre actually occurred or b) it might have been an action taken as prisoners were rising up in coordinated fashion throughout the Allied line prompting the Battle of the Bulge.

Another prime example, perhaps more apt: I interviewed survivors of the Death Ships. One of the few guys I got to talk to me about them had described the horror of first trying to defend Clark Air Field, then the Bataan Death March, then waiting out exposed in the open wearing only underwear and shoes, to be loaded onto the cargo ships like Ichi Maru, then hearing allied aircraft outside of Luzon and praying they'd sink the ship he was on, then having to swim ashore with his shoes tied together and behind his neck and waiting on shore again for another ship that was supposed to take those prisoners surviving the ordeal to Japanese work camps from the Philippines. They were given no water on board the ships, packed like slaves in the cargo hold in the heat and humidity, and some to prevent dying of thirst actually drank others' blood.

This man hated Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and thought him a coward for "abandoning" the troops at Corregidor. He also wasn't too thrilled with how completely unprepared the troops at Clark Air Base were for the Japanese invasion of the Philippines.

And how many children were ever told that one of the "Greatest Generation" and most revered generals of World War II, as a Major fired on the bonus marchers with cannon to defend the Capitol from them? Then gave orders to burn the "Hooverville" shanty town that had sprung up outside of D.C., routing them with cavalry as Custer had often disrupted Sioux encampments?

I have been both blessed and cursed with a near-photographic memory (really), roughly since the age of 3. I think EH had some similar image machine in his head, capable of reliving up to the smell events that occurred long before. I cannot see him deliberately killing 122 innocents, then boasting about it, as something real. No doubt, it is easier to write as truth when you're cursed with such a memory than to write the truth of some far harder to describe and explain things you've seen or lived through.

But rage and revenge, a loss of emotional and physical control, are part of the mix always. EH had seen what the Austrians did to prisoners - cutting off what my father euphamistically described as their "dangly parts" and stuffing them in their deceased (likely wide-eyed) victims mouths, then sending the bodies back or leaving them somewhere to be discovered, as a message.

In World War I, the U.S. and other allies stopped the use of the Saw-Toothed Bayonette. Not because it had suddenly become ineffective - it apparently was perhaps the best instrument for effectively sawing immediately past ribcage and other bone to impale the enemy and then retrieve without as much difficulty as a standard bayonette - but because the Germans, upon finding troops with them, used them to stab the eyes out of those troops.

If I am being too graphic, I appologize. But the reality of war is graphic. The images that burn themselves in peoples' brains - in survivors' brains, be they civilians or the instigator or the liberator - are more horrific and graphic than television or the movies can ever portray, until at least the technology evolves to the point where you can smell the sulfur of Mount Surabachi.

If the technology ever does evolve to that point, it will be interesting to observe how many people continue, and how many stop, going to see "war movies" in the theaters or at home.

Another example, and something (one of the many) I'll never forget about my dear, sweet, kind and tender hearted - he'd admit, "sentimental," or misty-eyed -father. I was watching a documentary at his home in Washington State overlooking Mount Baker's range. It was about Guadal Canal. My father, recall, had been in a "hunter-killer" squadron in the Atlantic, far from the Pacific Theater. But he'd had friends, and he was a radio man. The documentary was up a bit loud on the television in the living room, as my parents were preparing dinner in the kitchen, visible to me just past the television through an open archway.

Everything seemed fine, some 50 or so years since the war. Then I heard the narrator mention one name: Admiral Fletcher...

"That Bastard! That Bastard Fletcher!" my father came into the living room ranting, literally spitting the venom with the name, turning to see where the mention of the admiral's name came from. "That bastard! He left them there to die! He left every one of them there to die, that bastard!"

It was the U.S. Coast Guard that convinced the Navy, under whose command they ostensibly were operating, to return to Guadal Canal, where the Marines had been put to clear the island "or die trying." After softening up the island with the big guns from offshore, the Marines were put in, encountering resistance from the beach into the dug-in Japanese positions, where they learned the smell of burning flesh could be a good one when it's combined with the gasoline mix of a flame thrower and gets the Japanese soldiers out of their granite hideouts.

I don't remember how many days. My father, were he alive, I'm sure could tell you without even considering it. But I do know, from him, it was days before the ships returned to pick up any Marines - wounded or otherwise - and it had been Admiral Fletcher, for whom an entire class of battleship was named, who had commanded the ships to leave Guadal Canal to the Marines and the Japanese.

And it hadn't even been in my father's theater of operations.

But they were boys his age, turned to men in the time of a heartbeat, who lived and loved and danced and drank and sang and just wanted a decent job and a decent life, who went into that jungle with their M1s and their flame throwers and pineapple grenades, and returned to recount what happened, because no one else who had not been there knew. I'll bet most of them with the flame throwers maybe joked a bit about things they saw or did. But it would be a rare one who actually took pride in burning humans out of black volcanic soil and rock, if he actually considered them humans like him - unless they'd just killed the boy standing next to him, or he'd known someone elsewhere in the theater illtreated.

By most accounts, it was easier to kill enemies who looked less like us than those who, in the distant past, we might have been related to.

I just don't see EH, user though he was as Docnme accurately points out, massacring defenseless prisoners just to be able to boast about it.

What I'm saying still is more research is needed, like always with "historic" claims, and context is vitally important. In other words, if EH killed 122 Germans, or German prisoners, or civilians, at any point while supposedly acting as a non-combatant journalist, something in me just tells me he had to have a good reason for it. If we find he did it, we need to try and find out why and how.

But don't worry. I feel the same way about George A. Custer. I think I know why he went after the Sioux instead of waiting for Reno to arrive with reinforcements. Though "Suicide by Cop" is more common these days.

Where are the transcripts of EH's near-court-martial over Ramboullet? And is it related?

Best,
hijo
Back to Top View hijo's Profile Search for other posts by hijo
 
docnme
Leader
Leader
Avatar

Joined: 12 August 2005
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 103
Posted: 17 October 2006 at 10:45pm | IP Logged Quote docnme

Donmadge,Peter,Hijo,Bob: what a week of reading. Hijo, you are right, real war certainly is not like the movies or stories for the faint of heart. I read all of your responses back and forth on the board and it really keeps a person's eyes open. I don't know what to think about E. H. except, probably only did what  he had to too, even if it was lie. Ha

Also, I did a speed read on "The Nazis" by Laurence Rees, yes it is well worth the read. Although, for me I have read so many, I did not find anything new. In the bibliography is says: "There are more books on the Third Reich than any other subject in modern history. It is easy to be overwhelmed with material etc." BUT, no matter how many we read, the most important thing to focus on is:never forget, the same thing could happen again if we do, because Hitler did not do it alone.  Ordinary people put the power in his hands and did the dirty work for him.   

Thanks for all of the lessons.

Best, Docnme



__________________
docnme
Back to Top View docnme's Profile Search for other posts by docnme Visit docnme's Homepage
 
hijo
Leader
Leader
Avatar

Joined: 14 August 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 547
Posted: 20 October 2006 at 9:19pm | IP Logged Quote hijo

Docnme: as always, and I must admit more succinctly, you hit the nail on the head.

I'm fascinated somewhat by peoples' fascination with the Nazis, and the Reich, and all of that. Most of those reading the books written since the end of World War II, I'll wager, weren't around when the events were occurring (like myself), and may not have had parents or even grandparents who could or would give their views and insights into the period. Or they never thought to ask.

I'll also wager the same is true for the resurgence of Fascist and Nazi "ideology," like White Supremacy and xenophobia.

Anyway, my parents were often warning me such things could happen again and remained vigilant all their life lest it rise up without their knowing. They were the first to remind me that a) Adolf Hitler was legitimately elected Chancellor of the Weimar Republic of Germany and b) Mussolini was first a Communist before becoming a Fascist.

But again - it is, or should be in my opinion, more difficult to judge anyone's actions, or claims of actions, in the past based on only one account: their own. And in my business, actually my wife would say in my DNA, I suspect lies before I can see the truth. And the truth is, the folks at Triberg need to find out if a) 122 peaceful prisoners, or villagers, or whomever, were killed single-handedly by an internationally famous writer, as the writer apparently suggested in an off-hand claim in correspondence or b) such an incident never occurred, or c) if it is proven it did occur, who was responsible, and what were all of the circumstances? (such as the Battle of the Bulge).

It would be a shame to have called off an international festival based on the interpretation of a statement in correspondence by a man who more than once noted he made his living by lying.

Best,
hijo

Back to Top View hijo's Profile Search for other posts by hijo
 
donmadge
New Member
New Member
Avatar

Joined: 01 September 2005
Location: Canada
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 39
Posted: 21 October 2006 at 1:49pm | IP Logged Quote donmadge

Absolutely delightful commentary by all.  Yes indeed all writers aspire to make a living by lying.  However, the mystery of Hemingway's writing that so intrigues us all is that he gives us a sense of history by helping us to see through the veil of lies and deceptions that conceal the truth. 

I do not believe for a minute that he would do the thing we discuss.  Rather I think he offers the idea in a moment of selfless speculation.  "For if I do such then so could many." 

In trying to understand who George Worobes really was, I copied an extract from a book in which a Polish Army in Exile agent provocateur was trimming the penuses off Russian rapists to stop the raping of Polish women.  This revelation was intended to provoke understanding.  Naturally, my family did not take to well to the idea of such an horrific practice.  If not him, then one of his trainees, I did insist!

The book Nazis that I recently quoted is very important to me because it gives an insightful picture into the revelations of the recent Russian disclosures and causes me to realize that there was a lot more to history than the Normandy to River Elbe saga.  I marvel that it was completed before some of those incredible witnesses died.  Otherwise I agree that WWII history seems overworked, but I too am fearful we risk repetition if we ever forget what happened.

Don Madge

 



__________________
DNM
Back to Top View donmadge's Profile Search for other posts by donmadge
 
Paul Hammersten
Leader
Leader


Joined: 15 August 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 1220
Posted: 21 October 2006 at 6:48pm | IP Logged Quote Paul Hammersten

Don

I find what you write here important - " I do not believe for a minute that he would do the thing we discuss.  Rather I think he offers the idea in a moment of selfless speculation.  'For if I do such then so could many'. " 

I think of Colonel Cantwell in ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES concluding he just ' might ' become a Christian. It is as if Hemingway, most definitely a Christian, is humbling himself and saying he might... if only he were worthy.

Hemingway knew well that a Christain is known by his/her ' fruits '.

He also knew that many who boasted they were Christians, like some of those tongue talking Pentecostals on the hilltop in ISLANDS IN THE STREAM ,were not ' in the Spirit '.

Best

Paul

 



__________________
Paul D. Hammersten
Back to Top View Paul Hammersten's Profile Search for other posts by Paul Hammersten Visit Paul Hammersten's Homepage
 
hijo
Leader
Leader
Avatar

Joined: 14 August 2005
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 547
Posted: 21 October 2006 at 8:08pm | IP Logged Quote hijo

All: the problem is, like CNN, we spend more time speculating on what we do not know (they fill 99.9% of their air time doing the same) than delving in to find the answer.

I agree with you, Don. I cannot see for a moment EH doing such a thing - and certainly not boasting of it afterwards if he had. Which is why I think it merits further investigation, if nothing else to a) clear his name so the Triberg festival can resume or b) providing more information to the Triberg folks from which they can decide the appropriate course of action.

In extreme circumstances, I believe it's human, it's natural, perhaps preturnatural, to regress to our origins - animals scouring for food, besting preditors with our cunning and our intelligence. It's also natural, as males of the nearest like species, to beat our chests and demand attention for our prowess at varous things, primarily among them perhaps being able to protect our families, or extended families - the social group of a Silverback gorilla.

Such behavior is not only tolerated, it is encouraged, often, as perhaps attention would not be paid, credit would not be given, acknowledgment would not exist, without the sound of fists-on-chests occasionally interrupting the peaceful jungle.

But, despite being a "user" of friends, a boaster and a slightly attention-starved adolescent-like adult after drink and with encouragement, my guess is EH, had he killed so many people in such a callous manner, taken the lives of so many fellow humans, stolen the power that most faiths leave to deities to determine who lives and who dies and for no reason much other than spite, would never have made reference to it, ever, anywhere.

Some men - especially those practiced at revealing others' secrets - are perfectly capable of taking their own secrets to the grave, though those secrets may actually be part of the cause of their eventual demise. Just look, for instance, at how long some of the Nazi war criminals managed to avoid detection, prosecution, and human "justice."

I'll bet there isn't a soul among us on these boards who doesn't hold certain events, certain facts, certain experiences they may or may not be so proud of, tightly, if not fearing their discovery then at least hoping that, with time, bad memories will fade into something that can be explained away as a `bad dream,' and good memories will be just what you need to make you smile - or, as EH was fond of suggesting, will become "the place where you go when you are tortured."

As you know, Don, I wish you all the best of luck. I know how important your research is to you.

The answer to whether EH was a war criminal isn't even that relevent to me, for instance. Unless I was confronted by irrefutible evidence, I doubt I will ever believe it.

But I believe someone needs to get an answer, if only to help the next generation of Triberg on their path to a greater understanding of their town's own past and its role in that past, and EH's role, if any, in its current existence.

The good folks of the town, however, should also be aware that EH claimed to have at one point been with Mata Hari, though she apparently wasn't where he was when he would have been there with her; he had been engaged to Sarah Bernhart (the original, not the current comedian with a similar name but no other resemblance); he had "served" with the Arditi (though it seems this would have been rather difficult between the time of his wounding, when he was with the Red Cross, and his recovery in Milan, and his return to Oak Park), and even argued with someone who shot a more impressive Kudu.

Best,
hijo
Back to Top View hijo's Profile Search for other posts by hijo
 

Sorry, you can NOT post a reply.
This forum has been locked by a forum administrator.

<< Prev Page of 2
  Post ReplyPost New Topic
Printable version Printable version

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot create polls in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by Web Wiz Forums version 7.92
Copyright ©2001-2004 Web Wiz Guide





biography | message boards | faq | links | bibliography | multimedia | exclusives | gifts | home

All pages copyright 1996-2017 The Hemingway Resource Center & www.lostgeneration.com
A MouseClickMedia.com, LLC Website
 

Custom Euro Oval Stickers
Oval Stickers and Euro Stickers