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  • Myths of Twentieth-Century History August 6, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Myths of Twentieth-Century History

    Seven twentieth century myths follow. Any other contributions or angry rebuttals, drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com Great War: A Disaster Waiting to Happen, 1914 The Great War was going to happen sooner or later because two countries, Germany and France, wanted it. However, the consensus that the Great War would have inevitably led to the ‘breaking […]

    The Raven Stone Spell February 10, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern
    The Raven Stone Spell

    Location: tradition found in the Germanic regions of Continental Europe and Scandinavia, and also in parts of Britain. Aim: The collection of the raven stone (korp-sten in Scandinavia, Lloyd 1854, 331) that will render the owner invisible, though note that the stone is also credited with bringing luck and curing humans and cattle of diseases: […]

    A Very Old Carp January 30, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    A Very Old Carp

    This is an uncommonly good fish story. It appears in a curious book entitled: Johann Heinrich Cohausen, Hermippus redivivus, or, The sage’s triumph over old age and the grave. If you want to achieve immortality you should probably give said book a read. In any case let’s move on to a centuries-old carp. It is not only the […]

    Mermaid Lies January 24, 2017

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaid Lies

    Thomas Crofton Croker was an early mid, nineteenth century Irish writer, most famous today for his Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, which appeared in three volumes between 1825 and 1828. Croker was not, in the modern sense, a folklorist. Some of the stories he wrote out he had heard as a […]

    Review: Hitler’s Forgotten Children December 5, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Hitler's Forgotten Children

    Lebensborn is a Nazi word to place side by side with such Teutonic charmers as Einsatzgruppen, Lebensraum and Endlösung. The Lebensborn or Life’s Fount was a scheme to breed a hundred million blond supermen and their hand maidens. It had various reflexes: sex between consenting Aryans was encouraged, against conventional Christian morality; Aryan women siring children […]

    Review: Postwar November 22, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Postwar

    Tony Judt is often touted as one of the great historians of the later twentieth century. Yet really his writings are, with one exception, not the stuff that world reputations are made on The Burden of Responsibility: Blum, Camus, Aron, and the French Twentieth Century or Socialism in Provence 1871–1914: A Study in the Origins […]

    Herman Göring in Plymouth November 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Herman Göring in Plymouth

    In Plymouth, in the Second World War, a strange idea evolved, among the bombed out population: Plymouth, as an important port, was all too frequently visited by the Luftwaffe. The population came to believe that Herman Göring, the head of his Luftwaffe, personally took part in the attacks on the city. Plymouth folk even claimed […]

    Napoleon and Hitler Coincidences October 14, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Napoleon and Hitler Coincidences

    Personally Beach has always found the ‘coincidences register’ the most irritating of all genres. Typically, an historically illiterate conspiracy freak, notices some interesting parallels between two different events or more usually individuals. He or she, then, sends out a communication pointing out the ‘striking’ parallels. Then, other readers note other parallels (occasionally making them up) […]

    Victorian Urban Legends: In Search of the Sewer Crocodile in Hamburg August 25, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Victorian Urban Legends: In Search of the Sewer Crocodile in Hamburg

    This story is quite exciting because it is a possible source for the famous crocodiles in the sewer tale. There are reports from the early 1870s about crocs associated with drainage in the US. However, they rarely involve danger or fun. We are in Hamburg, Germany: The police authorities of this city have issued a […]

    Foch and the Twenty Year Armistice: A Myth? July 11, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Foch and the Twenty Year Armistice: A Myth?

    It is one of the most famous sentences of the twentieth century. Marshal Foch on being told of the final conditions of the Paris Peace Conference stated: ‘This is not a peace treaty, it is an armistice for twenty years’ (Ce n’est pas une paix, c’est un armistice de vingt ans). The Oxford Dictionary of […]

    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans June 29, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Weird Wars: Lost Maps, Lost Plans

    You’ve all had that awful sinking feeling. You’ve prepared your masterful attack with a vast army across the entire front and then some fool goes and misplaces the map: and next thing you know the scrap of paper ends up in the hands of your opposite number, in the enemy  high command. There must be […]

    The Kaiser and the Crowned Prince June 20, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Kaiser and the Crowned Prince

    This story may or may not be true: but as all good Victorians would tell ‘it might as well have been’. The Emperor of Germany is, of course, that world destroyer Wilhelm II, and the tale is absolutely at one with his martinet, aggressive nature. It might be worth noting that at this date the […]

    The Earliest Broomstick Witch? May 27, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    The Earliest Broomstick Witch?

    Witches fly in many different cultures: the British anthropologist Needham argued that it was a way of expressing their power, their ability to bring maleficum to all who get in their way or on their nerves. But in the European tradition witches have been associated, above all, with broomsticks: though note that witches were also […]

    Snowball Atrocities #1: Snowball Bomb May 24, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Snowball Atrocities #1: Snowball Bomb

    Sometimes the blogger finds a newstory that he cannot let go. After a week of wrestling with his conscience Beach has decided that he simply has to give this particular incidence of love between the peoples of Europe wider coverage. We are in 1931. Prague. Thursday. Two schoolboys were killed in the course of a […]

    Surrender, Secret Weapons and the Nazis May 15, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Surrender, Secret Weapons and the Nazis

    Anyone but a fool or a wishful (?) thinker would have understood that the Third Reich was doomed by early 1945. Yet, as we all know, the Nazi high command kept shooting. Tanks were sent west for the Battle of the Bulge and German soldiers frequently fought to the last man a week after Hitler […]

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