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Military History - Aug/Sept 2009 - Letters from Readers

Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: July 03, 2009 
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What the writer omits is that the so-called 'duly elected Republican government' was supported—if not controlled—by the communist front, funded by the Soviet Union. Don't take my word for it: Read George Orwell's writings

In Defense of Drake the Sea Dog
Regarding Wade G. Dudley's fine June-July 2009 article "Sir Francis Drake: Pirate To Admiral": I applaud Dudley for capturing Francis Drake's brilliance and his achievements along with his faults—not in a revisionist sense, where you go back and dig up things that you might not know about the person. It's one thing to be factual about a person, but it's another thing to imply or assume in order to denigrate their contributions. It's very important to look at the whole, but we should be confident enough about our nation and what we stand for not to denigrate achievement. Kids need to see that success is possible. Children learning history have to say, "Gosh, maybe I can do that too!" People need to aspire to an ideal without being Pollyannaish about the life of the person.

Evan Dale Santos
Adelanto, Calif.

Bulletproof Ghost
[Re. "The Bulletproof Ghost," by Jim Motavalli, April/May:] One use of the Rolls-Royce armored vehicle not included in the article was the rescue of the crew of HMS Tara. On Nov. 5, 1915, U-35 torpedoed Tara in the Mediterranean. The German submarine then took the mainly Welsh crew in tow and left them at Port Suliman in Libya with Senussi Arabs, who were allies of Turkey, which in turn was allied with Germany.

The prisoners were held in very bad conditions, and several of them died in captivity. The Second Duke of Westminster, when his armored cars were no longer of use on the Western Front, took his vehicles to Egypt and used them to rescue the Tara survivors by sweeping across the desert and killing several of the Senussi holding the crew captive, unfortunately killing several Senussi women and children in the process.

The rescued crew confirmed that most of the neglect they had suffered was due to lack of resources rather than brutality. They were rescued on March 17, 1916. The Rolls-Royce armored cars then went east to assist the attacks in Palestine.

Anthony James
Llandrindod Wells, Wales

Israeli Warning
In David Zabecki's excellent article "Is the IDF Invincible?" (February/March), he either did not know or left out that 30 minutes prior to the bomb exploding (which was in a milk can) at the Jerusalem's King David Hotel, a warning was phoned in to evacuate the hotel, which was British military headquarters. The British ignored the warning.

Jerald C. Newman
North Woodmere, N.Y.

David Zabecki responds: In an article of such broad scope as the one on the Israel Defense Forces, there were many interesting points that simply could not be fit in because of space restrictions. As Newman notes, it is a fairly well-established fact that the Irgun telephoned a warning to British headquarters some time before the blast occurred, and for whatever reason the warning was ignored. It is also an irrelevant fact that in no way transfers the blame for the deaths that resulted in that blast from the Irgun to the victims themselves. The commanders that ordered the bombing and the Irgun fighters that carried out the attack committed an act of murder to advance a political agenda, which is by definition a terrorist act.

Question of Loyalty
About the American ambulance driver who participated in the Spanish Civil War ["For Whom the Ambulance Rolls," by James Neugass, February/March]: The opening line is what I find so insidiously misleading: "[Neugass] joined thousands of other young Americans who traveled to Spain to help that nation's duly-elected Republican government confront a fascist rebellion."

I am amazed that this propaganda is still being touted as true after all these years. What the writer omits is that the so-called "duly elected Republican government" was supported—if not controlled—by the communist front, funded by the Soviet Union. Don't take my word for it: Read George Orwell's writings of his experiences with the so-called "Loyalists."

Orwell was immersed in the communist movement, which was then in the process of advancing on economically vulnerable nations like Spain and Germany to subvert them into communist-dominated states. Orwell confirmed that the Loyalists were supported by the Soviet Union.

German involvement in the Spanish Civil War evinced fascism's struggle against communism at home. This was Hitler's selling point for being elected chancellor. He used communism's insurgencies as proof that only he and his Nazi party could save the Fatherland. The people were desperate and believed him. They regretted it later. Would communism have been any better for Spain?

Donald E. Casey
Chicago, Ill.

Remember Iwo
[Re. "Tarawa: Central Pacific," by Nick Cariello Hallowed Ground, November/December]: You did the story of Tarawa and the 2nd Marine Division with no mention of the Iwo Jima landing, which was far more devastating and much better known by the American public than Tarawa, which took just 76 hours to secure. Iwo Jima took approximately 26 days to secure.

I was there: Company A, 1st Battalion, 23rd Regiment. I went in on the first wave of replacements, crossing Airfield 2, and fought the Japanese on Hill 382, called Radar Hill. It took a week to secure that hill alone.

Many men gave their lives for that rock. I was one of the lucky ones to get off. I have shrapnel in my right leg and am completely blind in my right eye, but otherwise, I'm in good condition.

The Marines who were on Iwo Jima would very much appreciate your magazine printing their story as you did the Tarawa story.

Jim S. Keller
Apache Junction, Ariz.

The editor responds: Thank you for sharing your memories of Iwo Jima. Military History most recently referred to that battle in the September/October 2008 cover story, "Hit the Beach," by Colonel Joseph H. Alexander. However, each month in Hallowed Ground we recall a historic battle, giving an account of the fighting and describing the battleground as it appears today (see P. 76). Nick Cariello's account of Tarawa was a personal remembrance, from a Marine who also saw combat at Tulagi and Guadalcanal. An enemy hand grenade ended Cariello's war at Tarawa. Like you, he is grateful to have made it home and thankful for the sacrifice of his fellow Marines who did not.

Send letters to Editor, Military History, Weider History Group, 19300 Promenade Dr., Leesburg, VA 20176, or via e-mail to militaryhistory@weiderhistorygroup.com. Please include name, address and telephone number.


2 Responses to “Military History - Aug/Sept 2009 - Letters from Readers”


  1. 1
    john harrison says:

    In the article Indomitable Afghanistan the author states, ". . . failed would-be conquerors have included Alexander the Great, . . ." however my understanding is that Alexander the Great did in fact conqueror Afghanistan. Although it did take him three years to do it, and although it did require a considerable portion of his small army to garrison it after he moved on to India, he left a stable province, through which he received reinforcements, and communications while he was in India. Almost alone among his conquered provinces Afghanistan never rose in revolt while he was alive. True by marrying the fabled Roxanne Alexander in effect allied himself with a local power, but it was one he had first defeated.
    Thus, I think it would be much more accurate to state that Alexander stands alone as a success as a conqueror of Afghanistan. Other than this not at all small quibble I throughly enjoyed the extremely well written, and very topical article.

  2. 2

    [...] Indomitable Afghanistan: why no one has conquered it; Military History, Aug/Sept 2009 issue. Possibly related [...]



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