To The Last Man III- Three Brothers
(A 1936 USA AAR)
Heart of Iron 3
Semper Fi 2.03
DiDay's ICE Mod(2.1.4)
To The Last Man III- Three Brothers
(A 1936 USA AAR)
Heart of Iron 3
Semper Fi 2.03
DiDay's ICE Mod(2.1.4)
Part I: Distant Thunder
August 1929, South of Elkhart, Indiana
“Joshua. Billy”, shouted Helen Warner from the back porch of the farmhouse.
“You both come on in now. Supper’s ready and it’ll be dark soon.”
She stood, hands on hips for a moment, scanning the horizon, peering out across the flat carpet of Indiana cornfields that
rolled on forever, beyond which nothing may or may never have existed such was the family’s isolation. In the east the
encroaching darkness combined gloomily with developing thunderheads, tinged purple by the last rays of the sinking sun in
the west from where in the corner of her eye she saw two blonde mops of hair come out from behind the barn, to the rear of
which was a small copse of trees, a favorite play land of her twin boys, a wooded area that according to her sons was full of
‘injuns and dragons’, but which was never occupied by both at the same time.
She glanced again towards the east where a distant flash tore a bright jagged line through the dark center of the closing storm
before she instinctively looked over to the wash line that hung across the large well-kept lawn to be sure that none of the
family’s clothes would suffer in the certain deluge. Another look towards Joshua and Billy who were leisurely ambling
homeward, long sticks at their sides, she turned and went indoors.
“Storm’s a coming,” she said as she walked into the kitchen towards the oven.
“Perhaps it’ll rain down some money for us,” her husband Donald mumbled, sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by
papers and his ledger books.
“Jack. Help your mother now,” he said to his eldest son who was sat next to him at the table.
Jack put down the book he was reading and then went over to the kitchen sink where he picked up five plates from the
draining board. As he was setting the plates down on the table, Josh and Billy walked in.
“You shot many injuns today?” laughed Jack.
“Ain’t no Indians in those woods stupid,” replied Josh. “We killed a dragon.”
“And it was the largest, scariest dragon you’ve ever seen,” added Billy.
“So you were both scared?” asked Jack.
“We’re not scared of anything,” chimed the twins in perfect unison.
“We all get scared of something sometimes my dears,” their mother muttered while stirring a large casserole dish. “We all get
Last edited by IanClacher; 16-06-2010 at 16:51.
December 15th 1934, Chicago
“A young journalist should keep a diary or a journal.” That’s what my new boss told me today and I suppose that seems as good a place to start as any. So here I am. Jack Warner, twenty two years old, and now an official employee of The Chicago Tribune.And that was a long hesitant pause when I didn’t, or couldn’t, write anything. It sure is going to be hard to get used to writing with the distracting sounds of the city of Chicago drifting into my downtown apartment.At university I could only write in the quiet of the library. I suppose the years I spent writing short stories and poems in my bedroom back in Indiana were a great blessing, where the peaceful stillness that hung in the air was a silence that allowed the mind to wander the subterranean caverns of imagination without the disturbance of cars and people shouting on the sidewalk below my fifth floor window. Of course there were disruptions; usually my brothers who would anger me by running into my room shouting and laughing, sometimes cursing even, just as an idea was going from head to pen to paper. I will miss them though. And my folks. Especially my mother and the great apple pies she bakes that belong in the Kingdom of Divinity. Perhaps if I lie back and close my eyes for a second I’ll be able to smell them, just like the way the aroma used to waft up from the kitchen and through my open bedroom window in the summer months.
Josh and Billy are both seventeen now. They are both very different to me, but very much like each other. Adventurous and mischievous as kids, always rampaging around in the outdoors whereas I spent much of my childhood indoors reading and writing stories. I am in no way averse to the outdoors though, and it was outside in those long childhood summers that I developed and pursued what is now my obsession with photography. When I was just twelve years old I begged and pleaded with my folks for a camera and it was by far the happiest day of my life the day I got given my first, a Kodak No.2 Brownie.
Kodak No.2 Brownie c.1916-1926
I still have the Brownie, back in Indiana, but a few weeks ago I bought myself an Argus A 35mm. Of course I brought many of my photos of back home with me to Chicago, including one of the house that I took years ago with the old Brownie. The last photo was taken by Josh. I said my goodbye to him at his place of work, a gas station on the road to Elkhart. He took the picture and then told me that I was to think of him sitting inside, all bored and lonely, with nothing on his mind all day “except for the long legs of Jenny Turner, while I was living the high life here in the Windy City”.
Argus A 35mm
The Warner family farmhouse taken by Jack with his Kodak Brownie
The gas station taken by Josh Warner
Unlike myself, neither of my brothers went to university. They were never interested in studying, and anyway, our father never would have been able to afford it. I was lucky because when I came to study in Chicago my folks had savings, but that pot has since dwindled to almost nothing in the last couple of years due to the state of the economy, especially with the fall in crop prices. And coupled with the droughts, although they haven’t been as bad in Indiana as they have been further west, farmers have been among the worst affected. Still, things have improved just a little in recent months and everyone is praying for better times ahead.
My other brother Billy has been unable to find any meaningful work so he just helps out our father on the farm. There are so few jobs in northern Indiana, like just about everywhere else in the country.
Well this journal writing is going nowhere fast. All I have done so far is to think about my family and I have written nothing. I suppose I should wait and see what tomorrow brings. One thing is for sure, I have a lot of hard work ahead of me if I want to get where I want to be on the politics desk!
Really looking forward to this. Take the time now to make sure that it can keep flowing later.
I hope I won't disapoint you but I am afraid the next I.C.E. version won't be out before a month.
- Community Map Project (Asian and Pacific thread)
- Co-Author (with Danevang) of : Dies Irae: Götterdämmerung (Dev Diary : #1 | #2 | #3 | #4)
- Co-Author (with Danevang) of : Dies Irae: Stars and Stripes (Dev Diary : #1 | #2)
- Hearts of Iron III I.C.E. : Iron Cross Edition (download : Semper Fi version | HOI3 1.4 version)
- Common Weapons of WWII DLC (report thread)
Extracts from Jack Warner’s 1935 journal
I have been interested in political affairs for several years now. As a teenager I would scrutinize my father’s newspapers in an attempt to understand what was happening in the outside world. Perhaps it was the isolated location of our home, amplifying my wonderment at the evolution and complex nature of life in far-away places.
At university I worked on the student newspaper, The Daily Illini, an experience that firmly embedded my journalistic career ambitions. In fact, student newspapers have been a real breeding ground for career journalists and reporters in recent years, and many of the good friends I made in the three years I spent working at The Illini have since gone on to work for newspapers across the country. I still pick up a copy of The Illini three or four times a week, and as well as stirring many a pleasant memory, it remains a quality publication, despite the limitations it has in terms of budget and its part-time workforce.
A 1931 edition of The Daily Illini,the University of Illinois student newspaper
Like many people I have spent the last few years closely reading about the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party with much curious fascination and it seems the unfolding drama in Europe shows no sign of letting up in this new year. Yet while the world awaits the plebiscite vote in Saarland, it wasn't the German fascists that held the attention of the media in the first few days of the month, rather it was the fascist leader of Italy who flamboyantly welcomed Pierre Laval to Rome.The Franco-Italian agreement that was signed this week was somewhat surprising,given Il Duce's similar expansionist and ideological ambitions to Hitler's,but I suppose the African carrot that was dangled so tantalizingly in front of his eyes by the French was too great to turn down.I cannot help but feel though,that if push comes to shove,Gallic hopes of Italian support against possible future German aggression and that Hitler could back down from unilateral rearmament and rejoin the League of Nations might prove to be somewhat shortsighted.
A victory for Hitler and the Nazi's then.The voice of the Saarlander's was quite resounding,despite all the stories of intimidation that have been reported.The fear now though is what will happen to the thousands of people who cast anti-German votes,including 3,000 Jews.With hundreds of refugees already streaming into France it is certainly clear that fear of reprisal is at the forefront of many people's minds.Until the formal transfer of the region from the League of Nations happens in March,we have to hope that the Nazi thugs avoid any brutality,giving the chance for those most at risk to find a safe haven.
It can be truly disturbing and alarming how political rhetoric and action can see-saw so dramatically in the space of just a few days.Japan began the week with words of peace,then it stoked up tensions with the Soviets,and finished it by attacking China!The renewed hostilities come as no real surprise given the sporadic fighting that has occurred over the last few years,yet there does seem to be an organised intensity to this latest Japanese incursion into disputed border lands that could quite easily escalate into something much more horrific.
As a reader who saw you take Japan from the boundries on India, too the territories to the the US, I will most certainly be watching.
Extracts from Jack Warner’s 1935 journal
A great deal more political maneuvering over in European circles this week as the British and French discussed the ongoing security situation. It seems the British are being quite flexible, and somewhat accepting of Germany's desire to have its rearmament recognized provided it rejoins the League. There is also talk of a European air pact which seems to suggest that there is a good deal of concern as to the exact composition of Germany's air force. In other words, it seems there is a great gulf of inaccurate knowledge as to the pace of Germany's rearmament, and that the only way to find out, is to actually let Germany get on with it as long as they rearm openly, which begs the question of the purpose of arms limitation in the first place. I do understand the dilemma, and it is one that the British and the French may well have to continue to wrestle with for many months.
The situation in Ethiopia is becoming increasingly bleak, and conflict,be it small or large seems inevitable. The situation is far from clear, but reports of continual border clashes and now the news of mass Italian mobilization is worrying to say the least. The French and the British do not seem to be keen in making moves to calm down the situation, possibly due to the recent Franco-Italian agreement and also out of concern for stability in their own colonial outposts.
The first murmurings of another plebiscite vote in Europe, and not just a small valley region like Saarland but an entire nation, Austria. If the reports are indeed accurate, as nothing has been confirmed from London or Paris, it seems Hitler would only be willing to guarantee the independence of Austria if the Austrians voted against being swallowed up by what would then be an ever-expanding Reich.
Sunday 17th February.
I met George Tsangarakis two weeks ago. He is a freelance writer who spends most of his time writing for the Greek Star and the Greek Press while occasionally The Tribune acquires his services whenever they need additional information on a story emanating from Greektown, and sometimes even Athens, so far-reaching do his contacts and sources seem to be. I was covering the story of the shooting of a young man that occurred just off Harrison in the Greek Delta, the result of a family feud that at first I found impenetrable as I tried to discover its roots. Then I was told to "speak to Giorgos The Greek" whom I met the following day at a Greek coffee house in Near West Side.
A tall man, in his late twenties I suspect, with thick, wiry black hair and an equally thick curly moustache. I was astonished, in equal measure, at both his friendliness and speed of tongue, and not only did I learn every possible detail and more regarding the family feud, our two hour conversation finished with me feeling like I intimately knew every single Greek family in Chicago. Almost every day since, George has shown up unannounced at The Tribune, sprinting energetically towards my desk with what he regards as valuable information regarding my story. Not wanting to disappoint him I have listened intently, even taking notes, despite the fact that I had moved on to other things the day after we had first met.
Greek hospitality is, of course, as legendary as the myths that inhabit those distant sun-kissed shores and last night I took up an invitation from George to attend a family celebration at his father’s restaurant, The Gorgona, on Halsted Street. George’s father Manolis, now in his seventies, was a young man when he left the island of Crete over fifty years ago while it was still under Turkish control, and upon arriving in Athens he soon heard of the economic opportunities that could be had here and so he became one of the many thousands of young men who would ultimately find themselves in New York or here in Chicago, fostering the growth of these large Hellenic island communities surrounded by the seas of Americana.
I seemed to know all the details of George’s family even before I had stepped out of the bitter-cold February night and into the wood-stove warmth of his father’s restaurant, greeted by George’s firm handshake and unfamiliar both cheeks kissed welcome like I was some long lost relative, hurried towards the far-end of a long table that dominated the center of the restaurant where I was introduced to Manolis who remained seated and shook my hand while his other hand fumbled with some black beads, a word in Greek that I didn’t understand and a smile that furrowed further the crags of his weather-beaten face and into the kitchen to meet his mother, Despina, who was busying herself surrounded by mountains of delicious smelling food along with half a dozen other women, mainly George’s aunts, dressed in traditional Cretan black.
After I had met the most important people in George’s immediate family I was seated, somewhat importantly it seemed, in the middle of the long table in the main part of the restaurant, around which sat maybe another fifteen or sixteen people, the table so heavily laden with plates and bowls of all sizes and countless jugs of water and wine that I would spend much of the night half-expecting it to splinter and buckle under the weight of a feast that seemed fit for Zeus himself. Several smaller tables skirted around the edges of the restaurant, all occupied, the sound of laughter, smoke and exotic sounding music permeating the air.
George sat down beside me and reached for one of the smaller jugs, that at first I thought contained water, and two shot glasses.
“Kanei krio exo,” he remarked as he filled the two glasses with the clear liquid. It wasn’t the first time he had spoken to me in Greek, but thankfully he would then always repeat himself in English.
“It’s very cold outside Jack,” he said. “You need tsikoudia to warm your soul”.
He passed me the glass before raising his to mine.
“Stin e yiamas. To our health,” he whooped enthusiastically before we both threw down our throats what was still at that point a complete mystery to me. George then went on to tell me that tsikoudia (or raki) was a Cretan firewater that was distilled from the stems and seeds of grapes and sure enough after two or three shots the icy-cold Illinois winter’s night had been driven firmly and decisively from every bone in my body.
I hadn’t even noticed for several minutes, such was George’s enthusiasm to push me quickly headlong down the road towards drunkenness, she was sitting opposite.
Now I can’t be sure how long she had been looking, but those few seconds of eye contact continue to roll around in my mind as I write. Straight, long, dark hair, the brownest eyes I ever did see, olive-skinned and more beautiful than I have seen or even imagined. And although it was a fleeting glance of seconds that will forever live in the eternal realm of memory, George was quick to notice, as fast and as sharp as everything that he seems to do, as though nothing could possibly slip his attention.
“Jack, this is my cousin Irini. Irini, avtos einai o Jack, o filos mou apo to Tribune, to ethimeritha.”
I stood and held out my hand across the table, almost clumsily toppling a jug of red wine in the process. She held out her hand, not to shake as I’m used to, but palm gently facing down, as if to be held, which I did briefly.
“I’m glad to meet you Jack,” she said and smiled and I sat down pleased in the knowledge that she spoke English and that I wouldn’t have to spend every waking moment of my life from then on learning modern Greek just so that I could find out every single thing about her that I possibly could.
“Irini in Greek, Jack, means peace,”said George. “And she is Princess Peace. Don’t you agree?”
I agreed with a smile. Peace. What a beautiful name. What a beautiful word.
“And there are my two sisters,” said Irini, pointing further down the table. “Agapi, which means love, and Elpida, which means hope.”
“They are three very popular names in Greece,” remarked George. “It is what is in the Greek heart, Jack. Peace, love and hope.”
The rest of the night sped by in a blur, most of it talking to George and Irini, other family members who would join us for a while, an endless banquet of Greek food, all coming with an accompanying lengthy description from George, a flowing stream of wine, tsikoudia, and the night culminating in rembetika, Cretan songs played by three of George’s male cousins, two playing the lyra and one the bouzouki and singing and people dancing in lines and in circles and I remember George dragging me into the melee, me on drunken legs and unfamiliar with the Greek way of dancing and I recall turning to see Irini singing and clapping along and she smiled and laughed as I kicked up my legs badly compared to the expertise of the other men and soon I was retreating back to the table for more tsikoudia but clapping along enthusiastically as if every song and every note was a part of me until some Godforsaken early morning hour when despite George’s attempt to make me stay in a room above the restaurant I opted to walk home, feet crunching ice underfoot and an unsure tsikoudia balance that failed several times my behind slamming onto the concrete sidewalk, laughter, marching on again with frosty breath and head swirling clear skies above to the most glittering and dizzying constellations guiding me homeward I believed, eventually stumbling into my apartment and with my clothes still wrapped around I fell into my bed with alcohol in my blood but peace in my heart.
Another great installment and I love the newspaper clippings. I am reading "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" and it is interesting to see the moves behind Hitler's travel down the road to war.
I thought the three brothers would quickly find themselves involved but this story is much more interesting. Is there a chance that Jack will be on assignment in Greece when it is invaded? It seems you have plenty of material before the game is started.
Extracts from Jack Warner’s 1935 journal
March (Part I)
Tuesday 5th March
It has been a strange few days, swept along on emotional waves that crest high but at times dragged under by the undercurrent into the cold dark, then pushed back to the surface for an almighty gasp and warmed once more by sunlight.
On Saturday morning I hopped on a tram and went up to Near West Side. I hadn’t seen Irini since the party but I had seen George a couple of times and I had inquired as to her ‘availability’. He seemed rather keen on my pursuit of his most beautiful cousin, telling me that I should go to see her where she worked, a Greek market close to Harrison and Racine, while at the same time warning me of the potential pitfalls that can result when a Greek girl, albeit an American Greek girl, forms a relationship with a non-Greek American, especially a non-Greek Orthodox American. Apparently such relationships can quite easily result in family disharmony, especially between parents and daughter, and possibly even between the girl’s brothers and the American. Luckily, George told me, Irini has no brothers and he tried to reassure me that in his estimation, his Aunt and Uncle, who I had briefly met at the party, though I cannot remember, would be quite accommodating if such a scenario should unfold.
I felt buoyed by George’s positive outlook as I got off the tram on Halsted and walked west down Harrison towards the market where I wandered through the crowded maze of wooden tables eventually seeing Irini standing, cold looking in the weak early March sunlight, behind the rows of fruit and vegetables of the stall, one of several around the Greek districts of northern Chicago that her father owns, and with heart racing I walked over with a well-rehearsed greeting and she was more stunning than I remembered and cheerful words were shared for several minutes and she agreed to meet that night, 8pm outside The Gorgona, and I walked away with a spring in my step and two bags of fruit in my hands back down Harrison where I saw two Greek men who were shouting loudly outside a Greek coffee house, then hands at each others throats and three other men rushing in to try and separate them and I didn’t think anything of it until almost the exact same thing happened again three blocks down except this time it took four to break up the quarrel but I reasoned coincidence or perhaps just over-indulgence of mid-morning tsikoudia.
That evening, just before eight, I stood outside The Gorgona waiting for Irini. She hadn’t wanted me to meet her at her house, as she was unsure of her parent’s reaction, not that I thought outside her uncle’s restaurant was the wisest choice of place for our clandestine rendezvous. It seemed very busy in the restaurant, and I heard loud voices, shouting, arguing, heated exchanges that I couldn’t understand and when Irini arrived and as we left Greektown and headed uptown she told me about an attempted coup d’etat in Greece and the possibility that the country was sliding into that most tragic and depressing of circumstances, civil war. It had been one of those rare days when I actually hadn’t bought a newspaper, other things on my mind, and unfortunately she couldn’t tell me much about it; the news had only broken the previous night and so I resolved that the following day I would find George, knowing that there was nobody better to talk to about such a situation.
Whatever was happening in Greece, it hadn’t done anything to dampen Irini’s spirits, nineteen year old youthful innocence perhaps. We went to the Riviera on Lawrence and Broadway, watched The Little Colonel , and after to Via Lago on Wilson Avenue for a little food and drink and it was a splendid night indeed that ended with the sweet head-rush of a gentle kiss on the front steps of her house back in Greektown and I wheeled away jubilantly into the early morning mist that had blown in off the lake.
On Sunday morning, after a hearty breakfast of pancakes, sausages and mugs of freshly brewed coffee I ventured back up to Near West Side to find George. The doors to The Gorgona were shut but sure enough I found George in a coffee house right opposite.
As I walked into the smoke filled kafeneon I was met with a cacophony of raised voices. The Greeks are extremely passionate about politics at the best of the times, and at the worst of times this seems to boil into an atmosphere that is tense and highly charged, and I felt it as soon as I was inside. George had seen me enter and stood up from the table where he was sat with several other men.
“Jack. Ela Jack. Ela,” he called with one hand waving me over.
It was the first greeting that I had received from him that hadn’t been accompanied by a great wide welcoming smile, instead a troubled, solemn face that openly displayed the grave concern that everyone in the coffee shop was feeling.
For the next hour I sat and listened to George as he described the situation in great detail. The rebel forces, led by the great Cretan, the aging Eleftherios Venizelos, who had once unified the nation, have risen up against the pro-royalist government of Tsaldaris. By all accounts the government had squashed the initial coup d’etat attempt and had vowed to crush the rebellion, with heavy fighting having broken out between the Greek Army and the rebels. Unfortunately for George and his fellow Cretans, it seems the majority of the Greek population, and certainly the army, are supportive of Tsaldaris and as George explained to me “the people of Crete are Cretans first, and Greeks second” , and their support for Venizelos, who had won Cretan independence and unification with the mainland, was unshakeable. The country was split, but not in favor of the rebels, nor the Cretans for that matter, and this was the cause of the tension and the fighting that I had seen the day before. There was talk of Venizelos and his supporters declaring an independent Crete, and the bloodshed that could result amongst the friends and relatives of the people that sat around me left me feeling depressed as I departed the coffee shop in the early afternoon. Just before I left I had very nearly reminded George of what he had said to me three weeks ago; “it what is in the Greek heart, Jack. Peace, love and hope.” But thankfully I refrained from uttering what was probably a badly ill-judged comment. On my way home I decided to take a detour past Irini’s home with the intention of seeing how she was. As I got closer though, I thought of her parents; it probably wasn’t the best of times.
I have a feeling that you wrote about your experience with Greek banquets, IanThe rest of the night sped by in a blur, most of it talking to George and Irini, other family members who would join us for a while, an endless banquet of Greek food, all coming with an accompanying lengthy description from George, a flowing stream of wine, tsikoudia, and the night culminating in rembetika, Cretan songs played by three of George’s male cousins, two playing the lyra and one the bouzouki and singing and people dancing in lines and in circles and I remember George dragging me into the melee, me on drunken legs and unfamiliar with the Greek way of dancing and I recall turning to see Irini singing and clapping along and she smiled and laughed as I kicked up my legs badly compared to the expertise of the other men and soon I was retreating back to the table for more tsikoudia but clapping along enthusiastically as if every song and every note was a part of me until some Godforsaken early morning hour when despite George’s attempt to make me stay in a room above the restaurant I opted to walk home, feet crunching ice underfoot and an unsure tsikoudia balance that failed several times my behind slamming onto the concrete sidewalk, laughter, marching on again with frosty breath and head swirling clear skies above to the most glittering and dizzying constellations guiding me homeward I believed, eventually stumbling into my apartment and with my clothes still wrapped around I fell into my bed with alcohol in my blood but peace in my heart.
Extracts from Jack Warner's 1935 Journal
March (Part II)
Sunday 17th March
That's what it’s all about. The splendid and frenzied activity of journalists as dispatches come flying in from New York and the great cities of Europe; London, Paris, Berlin, Rome. And there I was standing on the periphery of it all, green-eyed, having spent the last few days writing a bunch of unrelated stories ranging from freak storms and scarlet fever outbreaks to a seventy year old woman who armed herself with a pickaxe and a butcher’s cleaver to confront builders opposite her house who were, in her elderly opinion, creating far too much noise. Some of my colleagues on the other hand get the big ones, the stories that send political shockwaves reverberating around the world, and Hitler's announcement yesterday that Germany no longer stands by the Treaty of Versailles sure is one of them.
During the afternoon as the wildfire of developments continued to blaze around the newsroom, a friend of mine, John Randall, pulled out a large brown envelope from his desk drawer and handed it to me. And I have just spent the last hour or so lying on my bed reading the contents; a fascinating and thoroughly engaging, as well as frequently disturbing, series of articles written by an acquaintance of John's, a former European correspondent for the Tribune called William Shirer who is now working in Berlin for the Universal News Service. Only a handful of them have been published here in the US, others have only surfaced in newspapers and magazines in England while several apparently haven't seen the light of day. In one of the clippings he writes about when he attended the Nazi Party’s rally in Nuremberg last September, describing the opening ceremony, held inside a large hall on the outskirts of Nuremberg. "I am beginning to comprehend," he writes, "some of the reasons for Hitler's astounding success. Borrowing a chapter from the Roman church, he is restoring pageantry and color and mysticism to the drab lives of 20th Century Germans. This morning's opening meeting...was more than a gorgeous show; it also had something of the mysticism and religious fervor of an Easter or Christmas Mass in a great Gothic cathedral. The hall was a sea of brightly colored flags. Even Hitler's arrival was made dramatic. The band stopped playing. There was a hush over the thirty thousand people packed in the hall. Then the band struck up the Badenweiler March...Hitler appeared in the back of the auditorium and followed by his aides, Göring, Goebbels, Hess, Himmler and the others, he slowly strode down the long center aisle while thirty thousand hands were raised in salute." *
He also describes how the night before he had got caught up in a crowd of thousands in front of Hitler’s hotel. The most striking part of the article tells how “the crowd had looked as if he were a Messiah, their faces transformed into something positively inhuman," after Hitler had appeared on his balcony.
I wish I could have been there.
* from The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer
Very nice to see this perspective, Ian. Thank you for the time and effort that has gone into producing this.
Extracts from Jack Warner's 1935 journal
Tuesday 9th April
The whirlwind of news from Europe continues to blow fiercely and after the developments surrounding the announcement of Germany's rearmament, we are all waiting patiently to see what will result from the conference at Stresa in a few days, a meeting that many are calling the most important since the World War. And although I don't have to work this weekend, I have a feeling that in fact I will be spending most of my time shifting silently amongst the political and international correspondents as the wires and dispatches begin to flow.It promises to be quite an exciting time for a novice reporter like myself.The British seem to know what Hitler desires.The questions that remain are what will Britain,France and Italy be able to agree to,if anything considering the latest news of disharmony between the three nations. And how exactly will Germany respond if an agreement is in fact reached? With reports of France bolstering its border defenses, we can only hope that what happens at Stresa allows those French soldiers, sat in their border bunkers with their rifles pointed east, to go home to their families never having fired a single shot.
Monday 22nd April
It was just after midnight as I was standing on the corner of South Ashland and West Polk that the large crowd began to stream out of St Basil’s, it’s light blue domed roof under pale moonlight. It was as though numerous fireflies were escaping through a narrow crack in a box, everyone with candles, the lights of Christ, slowly descending down the steps in front of the church before the flickering glowing rivers forked off into three; left, right and straight across Ashland. It was the first time I had witnessed a Greek Orthodox midnight mass procession and despite an absence of religion in my own life, I found it to be both a moving and fascinating experience. Whole families then headed homeward, children’s faces transfixed by the Holy flames that would soon take pride of place amongst the icons in their houses.
I saw Irini, her parents and two sisters amid the crowd turning left and I caught up with them as they began to walk down West Polk. I had researched my words carefully, with a little help from George, and greeted them with “Christos anesti” (Christ has risen) and I was rewarded with smiles and the same words in return from Irini’s parents and sisters, and a pleasing smile from my love, silently telling me that I had done good.
On Easter Sunday I took up my invitation from Irini to attend what I will call ‘the great feast’; the Easter Day celebration in Greektown where the roads and sidewalks had literally become extensions of restaurants, coffee shops and even houses. The whole neighborhood, bathed in warm Spring sunshine, was vibrant and pulsating with celebratory activities.
I met Irini at The Gorgona, where tables had been placed outside and two spits of lamb were slowly turning above a large brick fireplace that had been temporarily constructed on the roadside. The air played fiddle to a swirling, tantalizing symphony of scents; sizzling meats, spices, herbs, honey, nuts and much more besides; orchestral music to the olfactory sense. The two month fast that the Greeks had just endured was about to be spectacularly dismantled and while my own stomach was in no need of such gargantuan fulfillment, it was to receive a kingly meat feast that could quite easily have satisfied a famished pride of lions.
No sooner had I sat down, the carnival of food began. Large plates of lamb, adorned with rosemary, roasted potatoes swimming in oil and herbs, green beans, salad, olives, cheese pies, spinach pies, pastry desserts called baklava, Easter bread, eat and repeat, and George arrived with a great jug of raki, drunk between glasses of wine, two young children dressed in the colorful multi-layered traditional costume approached me holding dyed-red eggs, a game of crack egg, that I lost, and they ran off onto the crowded Halsted with cries of “Kalo paska”, late afternoon, weighed down like a trans-Atlantic anchor, out came the bouzouki’s and lyra’s, and homespun music, born somewhere in distant mountains and whitewashed coastal villages that perch above a sparkling crystal sea, lines of people stretched out across the street, arms linked and thoughts of “how can they dance after such a hearty intake?”, Irini’s suggestion to ‘walk it off a little’, and we did, a long late afternoon walk, east down Harrison, over the river to Grant Park, laid down on soft grass under the shade of willow, countless couples doing likewise, children running to and fro, the lake stretched out in the distance, inviting looking under the clear blue sky, Irini’s head and arm across my chest, we lay in a perfect moment for over an hour before walking back to Greektown where it seemed the party was only just beginning as the sun began to set and the streetlights blinked and George came out from inside the restaurant with two more jugs of tsikoudia and from then on memories are lost in a drunken fog.
This morning I coined a new phrase; raki regret.
Ian this is Awesome! I'm guessing the guy will join the American army or go to Greece and fight for them.