View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Thursday 10 November

Sunshine and some cloud about today, as temperatures remain above average at around 12C / 54F. I have spent the day transcribing tributes to the Fallen from the Isle of Lewis who lost their lives in the last two years of the Second World War. I just need to link the transcribed newspaper articles to the listings of the Fallen on the WW2 tribute. The total number of tributes now stands at just shy of 300. I am rushing to complete this ahead of Armistice Day tomorrow. There is also a separate site with transcripts for the Fallen from WW1, from the years 1917 and 1918.

I was profoundly saddened to receive a message from one of my email and Facebook contacts in Texas. The cancer that had been diagnosed in the duodenum had spread to the stomach, and had progressed all the way to stage IV, terminal cancer. The person concerned does not keep a blog, but those of you who are Facebook contacts with me know who I am talking about.


9 November 1938 - an organised mob of Nazi forces and sympathisers go on the rampage in towns and cities across Germany, smashing and destroying Jewish-owned property and businesses. It was to be a marker, to what was to come during World War II - the extermination of anyone deemed sub-human by the warped mind of Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. Jews topped their league of the unfit, closely followed by gypsies, the mentally ill and many many others. The Reichskristallnacht was a night of infamy, and not just to Germany.

For Hitler was allowed to get away with literally murder for several years beforehand. In 1936, he occupied the Rhineland which had been ceded to France at the end of the First World War. The League of Nations, a toothless talkingshop, cried wolf but had no bite. In March 1938, Nazi forces marched into Austria to join that country to Germany, an event referred to as the Anschluss. Neville Chamberlain flew to Munich to meet with Adolf Hitler on 30 September 1938, returning with the infamous phrase: "Peace for our time". Six weeks later, the Reichskristallnacht took place, a sign of ill omen. Only a few months later, Germany invaded the Sudetenland area of Czecho-Slovakia, and again, nobody moved a finger to stop. In September 1939, Hitler thought he could get away with the invasion of Poland. But instead, it prompted the outbreak of the Second World War.

The lights have gone out in Europe, it was said at the time. The lights in Europe were extinguished in 1914, and had not been relit, not even at the end of the First World War. The Versailles Peace Treaty of June 1919 contained all the ingredients for another war, which duly materialised.