Tuesday, April 30, 2013

“The Hollow Years”

After Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, France remained unsettled for the rest of the decade. The nation was deeply divided on a wide array of issues, foreign and domestic, and was unable to develop a national consensus—and take effective action—on any matter.

There were pro-Fascist and anti-Fascist factions (and everything in between) in France in the 1930s. Public rallies and public displays of political muscle were the order of the day. Placards were everywhere. Elections were constant, the results generally inconclusive.

It was a decade that was to grow increasingly uneasy—in France, the 1930s are often referred to as “The Hollow Years”—and end in war in late summer 1939.

When Money Dies (“Quantitative Easing”)

Children play with German currency in 1923.

At the time, building blocks for children were far more precious than paper money.


At the peak of Weimar’s hyperinflation crisis, prices doubled every 48 hours, forcing the introduction of the 50-million-mark note. It became more economical for Germans to heat their homes with currency rather than firewood.

At year-end 1923, one U.S. dollar bought 4.2 trillion German marks. American students studying in Germany were able to buy entire blocks of city real estate with their monthly allowances from home—and did so (until the German government put a stop to such transactions).


In October 1923, it was noted by the British Embassy in Berlin that the number of marks to the pound equaled the number of yards from the earth to the sun.

Dr. Schacht, Germany's National Currency Commissioner, explained that at the end of The Great War one could in theory have bought 500,000,000,000 eggs for the same price as that for which, five years later, only a single egg could be procured.

Adam Fergusson

Friday, April 19, 2013

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Does the old maxim apply only to rain showers? Or to snow showers, too?

Isn’t today April 19? And not January 19?

We had eight or nine inches of snow last night.

There were twelve inches of snow in the Western suburbs.

This is intolerable.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

January 2013: The Tuileries Garden

Not that I love snow . . . but it was a distinct pleasure to be able to experience Paris under snowfall. (Had the snow in Paris been twelve inches deep, it would have been another matter.) Paris was exceedingly beautiful with a cover of snow.

We are talking about going back to Paris next January (and not in hopes of catching more snow). In many ways, January is an ideal time to visit Paris: museums are not crowded; good restaurants are not overbooked; the main attractions are not overrun with hordes of tourists; and theaters and concert halls feature full schedules.

Springtime In Minneapolis

I am from Oklahoma. I neither want nor expect snow in April.

The snow is expected to continue into tomorrow—and start up again next week, if weather forecasts are accurate.

I’m ready to move. As far as I’m concerned, there’s something inherently amiss if snowfalls occur during Daylight Savings Time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Berlin: July 1945

Another rare color photograph of central Berlin in July 1945.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Berlin: July 1945

A rare color photograph of central Berlin in July 1945, two months after cessation of hostilities.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

22 June 1941: Operation Barbarossa Commences

22 June 1941: Operation Barbarossa commences.

I assume the staff cars were for generals and high-ranking officers.