The Great Pacific War

 

Nearly seven months after I uploaded Chapter 3 of my South Pacific history series, Chapter 4 is now up, too.  In composing this, the main issue was that since we only have 102 years to cover to get to the present (1914-), should it all be done in one chapter?  At first I thought so, but then this month it occurred to me that the part dealing with World War I & II in the South Pacific can stand by itself, and I am keeping you from seeing it if I wait until the postwar material is done before uploading everything.  Thus, the narrative now has Chapter 4 for the period between 1914 and 1945, and a future Chapter 5 will go from 1945 to the present.  Here is how the chapter is organized, and I hope you like it:

Chapter 4: The Great Pacific War

1914 to 1945
Part I

World War I: The Prologue

The Pacific Islands in the Interwar Period

The Interwar Years: Australia

The Cactus War and the Emu War

New Zealand: Between Liberal and Labour

"Under A Jarvis Moon"

The Flight of Amelia Earhart

 
Part II

The Pacific War Begins

From Pearl Harbor to the Coral Sea

The Battle of Midway: The Tide Turns

The New Guinea Campaign, Part 1

Guadalcanal

The New Guinea Campaign, Part 2

Climbing the Solomon Islands, and Part 3 of the New Guinea Campaign

The Pacific Drive

The Last Carrier vs. Carrier Battle

The End of the War is in Sight

Published in: on April 17, 2016 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  

The Xenophile Historian Sitemap, Revisited

 

It occurred to me that because this blog is now nine years old, most of those reading this have not seen the site map for The Xenophile Historian website, which I posted in the blog’s earliest days, back in January 2007.  Also, it is out of date because of all the content I have added since then.  Therefore, here is an updated site map.  It is not an XML site map, like the type Google prefers, but one with links to everything I want you to see.  Hopefully you will find something you will enjoy, that you didn’t know was there already!

 

THE XENOPHILE HISTORIAN SITE MAP



Main Folder

Index/main/front page.
FAQ.
 My Theory of History.
About us.



The Genesis Chronicles: A Proposed History Of The Morning Of The World

Index page.

Chapter 1: The Evolution Revolution
Chapter 2: "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God"
Chapter 3: Theories on the Origin and Development of Life
Chapter 4: Evolution and the Fossil Record
Chapter 5: The Truth About Cave Men
Chapter 6: Why God’s People Should Reject Evolution
Chapter 7: Creation
Chapter 8: Adam and Eve
Chapter 9: Ten Generations
Chapter 10: Noah’s Flood
Chapter 11: After the Deluge
Chapter 12: The Fall and Rise of Civilization
Bibliography
My Biblical Chronology, From Adam to the Exile



A Biblical Interpretation Of World History

Book page.

Chapter 1: Overview (sample chapter)
Map Gallery: The maps used in the text
Piclist: A list of the illustrations and maps used in the text



A General History Of The Middle East

Index page.

Chapter 1: The Land Between The Rivers (3000 to 1792 B.C.).
Chapter 2: The Chariot Age (1792 to 930 B.C.).
Chapter 3: The Early Iron Age (930 to 627 B.C.).
Chapter 4: The Neo-Babylonian Empire (627 to 539 B.C.).
Chapter 5: The Persian Empire (539 to 336 B.C.).
Chapter 6: The Age of Hellenism (336 to 63 B.C.).
Chapter 7: In The Shadow Of Rome (63 B.C. to 226 A.D.).
Chapter 8: Zoroastrians, Pagans, And Christians (226 to 570).
Chapter 9: The Islamic Explosion (570 to 750).
Chapter 10: The Arab Golden Age (750 to 1055).
Chapter 11: Saracen And Crusader (1055 to 1212).
Chapter 12: The Mongol Terror (1212 to 1405).
Chapter 13: The Ottoman Era (1405 to 1798).
Chapter 14: The Challenge From The West (1798 to 1914).
Chapter 15: Setting The Stage For Today’s Conflicts (1914 to 1948).
Chapter 16: The Arab-Israeli Conflict Since 1948
Chapter 17: The Mother Of All Trouble Spots, Iran And Iraq Since 1948
Chapter 18: The Rest of the Middle East Since 1948
Bibliography
A Timeline of the Ancient Near East



A Concise History Of India

Index page.

Chapter 1: Ancient/Classical India (before 600).
Chapter 2: Medieval India (600 to 1500).
Chapter 3: The Mogul Empire and the British Raj (1500 to 1906).
Chapter 4: Recent South Asian History



A Concise History Of China

Index page.

Chapter 1: An Introduction to Chinese History
Chapter 2: The Development of Chinese Civilization (before 255 B.C.).
Chapter 3: The First Chinese Empire (255 B.C. to 220 A.D.). Chapter 4: The Zenith of Chinese Civilization (220 to 1279).
Chapter 5: Mongols, Mings and Manchus (1279 to 1911).
Chapter 6: The Nationalist Years (1911 to 1949).
Chapter 7: China Since 1949
A List of the Emperors of China



A Concise History Of Korea and Japan

Index page.

Chapter 1: The Formation of Korean and Japanese Civilizations (Korea Before 668, Japan Before 710).
Chapter 2: Medieval Korea and Japan (Korea from 668 to 1637, Japan from 710 to 1603).
Chapter 3: Closed and Open Societies (Korea from 1637 to 1910, Japan from 1603 to 1912).
Chapter 4: The War-Ravaged Years (Korea from 1910 to 1953, Japan from 1912 to 1945).
Chapter 5: Northeast Asia Today (Korea since 1953, Japan since 1945).



A Concise History Of Southeast Asia

Index page.

Chapter 1: God-Kings From the Far East (before 1500).
Chapter 2: The First Centuries of European Penetration (1500 to 1800).
Chapter 3: The West Takes Over (1800 to 1941).
Chapter 4: Nationalism Triumphant (1941 to 1957).
Chapter 5: The Second Indochina War (1957 to 1975).
Chapter 6: Southeast Asia Since 1975.



A History of Christianity

Index page.

Chapter 1: The Development of the Early Church (1 to 300). Chapter 2: Christ Conquers Caesar (300 to 600).
Chapter 3: Europe as a Christian Society (600 to 1000).
Chapter 4: The Age of Faith (1000 to 1500).
Chapter 5: The Reformation (1500 to 1648).
Chapter 6: The Church Goes Forth (1500 to 1725).
Chapter 7: New Denominations, New Opportunities (1600 to 1900).
Chapter 8: The Church in the Twentieth Century



A History Of Russia

Index page.

Chapter 1: Before the Russians (before 862).
Chapter 2: Medieval Russia (862 to 1682).
Chapter 3: Imperial Russia (1682 to 1917).
Chapter 4: Soviet Russia (1917 to 1985).
Chapter 5: Commonwealth Russia (1985 to 1999).



A History Of Europe

Index page.

Chapter 1: Pre-history and Forgotten History (before 200 B.C.).
Chapter 2: Classical Greece (1000 to 197 B.C.).
Chapter 3: The Rise of Rome (753 to 27 B.C.).
Chapter 4: The Pax Romana (27 B.C. to 180 A.D.).
Chapter 5: Decline and Fall (180 to 476).
Chapter 6: The West at its Lowest Ebb (476 to 741).
Chapter 7: The Viking Era (741 to 1000).
Chapter 8: The High Middle Ages (1000 to 1300).
Chapter 9: Transition and Turmoil (1300 to 1485).
Chapter 10: The Age When Europe Woke Up (1485 to 1618).
Chapter 11: The Game of Princes and Politics (1618 to 1772).
Chapter 12: A Generation of Revolution (1772 to 1815).
Chapter 13: The Age of Industry (1815 to 1914).
Chapter 14: The Great War (1914 to 1919).
Chapter 15: The Great Intermission (1919 to 1939).
Chapter 16: World War II (1939 to 1945).
Chapter 17: A Continent Divided (1945 to 1989).
Chapter 18: Europe Today (1989 to 2001).



A History of Africa

Index page.

Chapter 1: The Original Africans.
Chapter 2: Valley of the Pharaohs (before 664 B.C.).
Chapter 3: Carthage (814 to 264 B.C.).
Chapter 4: Africa in the Classical Era (664 B.C. to 641 A.D.).
Chapter 5: The Trading Kingdoms (641 to 1415).
Chapter 6: The Forest Kingdoms (1415 to 1795).
Chapter 7: The Dark Continent Partitioned (1795 to 1914).
Chapter 8: "Wind of Change" (1914 to 1965).
Chapter 9: The Independence Era (1965 to 2005).
A List of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and the Kings of Ancient Nubia.
The Ipuwer Papyrus (Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage).
A Special Message for Cabinda.



The Anglo-American Adventure

Index page.

Chapter 1: Native America (before 1607).
Chapter 2: Colonial America (1607 to 1783).
Chapter 3: Pioneer America (1783 to 1861 [USA], to 1867 [Canada]).
Chapter 4: Industrial America (USA, 1861 to 1933).
Chapter 5: The American Superpower (USA, 1933 to 2008). Chapter 6: The USA Today.
Chapter 7: The Great White North: Canada Since 1867.
U.S. Presidential Elections.
The Black Muslims: A Special Feature.



A History of Latin America and the Caribbean

Index page.

Chapter 1: Ancient America (before 1492).
Chapter 2: The Age of the Conquistadors (1492 to 1650).
Chapter 3: A New World No More (1650 to 1830).
Chapter 4: Post-Colonial Blues (1830 to 1889).
Chapter 5: Uncle Sam’s Backyard (1889 to 1959).
Chapter 6: Contemporary Latin America (1959 to 2014).



A History of the South Pacific

Index page.

Chapter 1: Of Lands and Seas, A Prehistoric Age of Exploration (Before 1500 A.D.).
Chapter 2: Terra Australis Incognita (1500 to 1781).
Chapter 3: Pulled Into the Modern World (1781 to 1914).



Beyond History


The Holy Book of Universal Truths, K.U.P. (Kimball’s Unauthorized Perversion)

Index page.

Chapter 1: Words of Wisdom from Various Sources (smart quotes)
Chapter 2: Some of My Favorite Stories
Chapter 3: Political Commentaries
Chapter 4: Essays on Various Topics
Chapter 5: They Really Said It (dumb quotes)
Chapter 6: Stuff That Won’t Go Away
Chapter 7: Netiquette
Chapter 8: Observations on the War on Terror
Chapter 9: Just For Fun
Chapter 10: Secrets to Success

The Ever-Growing List of My Favorite Links.

My Download Center.

Published in: on March 1, 2016 at 1:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Xenophile Historian Newsletter, #26

The Xenophile Historian Newsletter, #26
( http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/ )

Greetings once again to all my loyal readers!  Charles Kimball is here again, to give you the latest news on my world history website.  It has been nine months since I wrote you, and I don’t know about you, but they have been difficult months for me.  I lost my job last spring, I haven’t found another one yet, and there have been two deaths in my family:  my father in July and my uncle in September.  Of course I’ve been hoping 2016 will go better, but look at the news; what a roller coaster ride this year has been so far!  But the main purpose of this newsletter is not to tell you about my troubles, it is to tell you what is new on the website, "my other child," so to speak.

Uh, maybe I should stop calling it that, since as of last December, The Xenophile Historian turned eighteen years old!  How long is that in Internet time, more than a century?  Anyway, I have continued to work on it, especially now during those winter days when my wife and I are snowed in.  Read on to find out what has been added.

======================================

Long-time readers will know that the main announcement in each of these newsletters is usually a new history paper on the site.  That is true here, but when it was completed, I did not send out this newsletter right away, because I did not want the new chapter to be the only item worth mentioning.  Anyway, over the course of 2015 I wrote a third chapter to the growing South Pacific history series, this time covering the years from 1781 to 1914.  I called it "Pulled Into the Modern World," because this was when Europe and the United States spread Western civilization to the South Pacific.  At the beginning of this period, the explorers of the Pacific Ocean were nearly finished with their work, so hunters, merchants and missionaries took their place.  Finally six nations (United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands) divided the lands and seas of this region between themselves.  In the first decade of the twentieth century, Australia and New Zealand went from being British colonies to independent members of the British Commonwealth of Nations, but the other islands of the South Pacific will not become independent until the final chapter of this work — if they become independent at all.

My oh my, I did not know what I was getting into when I began doing the research for Chapter 3!  Because Chapters 1 & 2 were not all that long, I expected Chapter 3 would be the same.  But when I hit the books and read up on this period, I found out how little I really knew, especially on the New Zealand wars between the Maori and the settlers, and the exploration of the Australian outback.  To do the subjects justice, what I ended up writing was nearly as long as the history papers I did in 2010-14 on my previous project, the history of Latin America.  And because I stopped with 1914, the year that World War I began, now I am wondering if it will be better to write one chapter or two, to cover the final century before the present.

Now here are the links to the four parts of Chapter 3, and lists of the topics covered:

Chapter 3: Pulled Into the Modern World

1781 to 1914

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/pacific/pacific3a.html

Part I

Botany Bay
Mutiny on the Bounty
New Holland Becomes Australia
The Impact of Western Contact
     The Traders and Whalers
     The Missionaries
Unrest In the Islands
     Tonga
     The Society Islands
     Fiji
Kamehameha the Great
Australia Developing
The Last of the Tasmanians

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/pacific/pacific3b.html

Part II

Britain Claims New Zealand
The Tahitian Kingdom
A French Foothold on New Caledonia
The Maori Wars
     The Wairau Massacre, the Bay of Islands War, and the Wellington/Whanganui Battles
     The Taranaki Wars
     Aftermath
The Kingdom of Hawaii
     Kamehameha II
     Kamehameha III
     Kamehameha IV
     Kamehameha V
     William Lunalilo and David Kalakaua
There’s Gold Down Under . . .
. . . And in New Zealand, Too

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/pacific/pacific3c.html

Part III

Tonga: The Restored Monarchy
Cakobau Unites and Delivers Fiji to Britain
The Unification and Division of Samoa
Taming the Outback
     Ludwig Leichhardt
     Edmund Kennedy
     The Gregory Brothers
     The Burke and Wills Expedition
     John Stuart
     And the Rest
     The Bush Culture

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/pacific/pacific3d.html

Part IV

Dividing What’s Left
Hawaii, USA
America’s Imperialist Adventure
Australia: Six Colonies = One Commonwealth
New Zealand Follows a Different Drummer

======================================
 
OK, what else is going on?  Well along with a big new chapter, there is also a big update.  In December I updated the Chinese history series, to include events that have happened in the People’s Republic and on Taiwan since 2000.  Even if you read Chapter 7 in the past, it would be worth your while to read it again; that many changes have been made in the rewrite.  Here is the URL and updated list of subheadings:

http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/china/ch07.html

The Establishment of the People’s Republic
The Great Leap Forward
"Women Hold Up half of the Heavens"
The Cultural Revolution
The Lifting of the Bamboo Curtain
After Mao
Tragedy at Tiananmen
The Rise of the Mainland Technocracy
China in the Twenty-First Century (so far)
Today’s China Syndrome
Taiwan: The Little Dragon

======================================

Meanwhile, with the already existing papers on the website, I am still finding new stuff to add, and I don’t mean new pictures or spelling corrections (pictures and corrections aren’t big enough to mention here).  I am talking about anecdotes that provide a whole paragraph of material, or even a whole section.  Stuff I did not know about when I composed those papers, but now is too good to leave out.  The material was also posted on my blog ( https://xenohistorian.wordpress.com ), so for the whole stories, you can go there, of click on the URLs below that interest you:

The Dahomey Amazons
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/africa/af06b.html#N_26_ and http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/africa/af07b.html#N_28_

Mt. Pelée Kills St. Pierre
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/latinam/la05a.html#Martinique

The South Sea Bubble
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/latinam/la03a.html#Darien

The Real Zorro Was a Woman
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/latinam/la04b.html#Mexico4

Two Slave Revolts in Colonial Latin America
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/latinam/la02b.html#N_52_ and http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/latinam/la04c.html#BH

Due to Lack of Interest, World War III was Canceled
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/europe/eu17.html#Unthinkable

How James Bond Got Started in Africa, During World War II
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/africa/af08.html#DeGaulle

======================================

In January, I added Paypal links to most of the pages on the website with the words “Support This Site!”, so that those who feel inclined can make financial contributions.  I got the idea from the podcasts I have been listening to lately; they are supported by either donations or advertising.  The donation buttons will serve the same reason as the Google ads on my webpages.  Don’t worry, I plan to keep the content on the website free, except for what goes into any future books I write.  You may consider the donation buttons the online version of the jar near a musician or sushi chef in a restaurant; if you like what you see and want to encourage me to produce more, feel free to leave a tip.

======================================

And finally, at the end of January, I discovered a new social network, Tsu.co, which shows promise.  While it works a lot like Facebook, they don’t allow the worst nonsense, like spam and chain letters.  Also, any original content you post there (messages, pictures, etc.) is yours to keep, and they pay you a little money for your postings.  Check out Tsu and see if it is for you.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Here is your Tsu invitation.

https://www.tsu.co/Berosus

======================================

So what am I planning for 2016?  Mainly completing as much as I can on the South Pacific history, of course.  With the Chinese pages updated, maybe I will update the Russian pages next, because Russia and neighbors like the Ukraine have been in the news so much.  And then maybe I will tackle Central Asia, and achieve my life goal of writing the history of just about everybody.  May 2016 be a better for you than 2015 was, and keep on reading!

======================================

If you missed older issues of this newsletter and want to see them, they can be downloaded in a zip file from http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/download/index.html

And the links below go to topics I mentioned in previous issues, that are still valid.  Please visit them, if you haven’t already:

The Xenohistorian Weblog, this site’s official blog.

https://xenohistorian.wordpress.com

My world history textbook, "A Biblical Interpretation of World History."

http://www.rosedogbookstore.com/biinofwohi.html
or
http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/worldhis/index.html

And my business website:

http://charlesskimball.legalshieldassociate.com/

Take Care and God Bless,

Charles Scott Kimball

Published in: on February 22, 2016 at 10:29 am  Leave a Comment  

The Emu War

 

Here is another preview from my next history paper, which will cover the South Pacific from 1914 to 1945:

What you read next will probably go down as the silliest story in this work. Elsewhere I have talked about stupid battles and wars; for the South Pacific, the stupidest conflict was the brief Emu War of 1932. Be warned, what you are about to read did not come from The Onion.

emuwarsummary

Here, in one picture, is everything you need to know.

During World War I, the Australian government was looking for a good way to reward the troops for their military service, and maybe provide jobs for them, since most were not likely to stay in the armed forces after the war ended. They decided to offer tracts of land and money to any ex-soldiers who wanted to become farmers, and 5,030 veterans accepted it. However, some of the land was in desolate Western Australia, where growing wheat and raising sheep is only barely possible. Besides the desert conditions, it was hard to turn a profit during the Great Depression, when a bad economy kept the prices of their crops down. And on top of that was the emu problem.

I mentioned in Chapter 1 that flightless birds have a hard time surviving when humans move into their neighborhood. That is the case with the ostrich-like emu, and in most of Australia they are a protected species for that reason. But not in Western Australia; that state took emus off the protected list in 1922, after they developed a taste for wheat, and started eating up the crops of the farmers. They were also attracted by the water supplies set up for the farms. Finally, when the emus ravaged a crop, they left holes in the fences that let in the pesky rabbits. Being former soldiers, the farmers resorted to shooting the birds, killing 3,000 in 1928 alone. It wasn’t enough, and in 1932 an estimated 20,000 emus descended on the farming districts of Chandler and Walgoolan, a few miles inland from Perth.

Normally the Minister of Agriculture is expected to deal with a farm-related crisis, but the ex-soldiers did not trust him, and instead sent a delegation to the Minister of Defence for help. This gentleman provided two Lewis machine guns, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, and two soldiers to use them. Major G. P. W. Meredith would lead what was now a military expedition, and he would also bring a news journalist to film it. Against battle-hardened soldiers and up-to-date weapons, what could a flock of dumb birds do, even a very large flock of very large, dumb birds? Naturally everyone expected this war on emus would be a glorified turkey shoot.

They had underestimated their opponents. On the first day, November 2, the gunners shot at a group of fifty birds, but they dispersed, running off in different directions, and the few birds hit by bullets were only wounded, thanks to their thick skins. Two days later, they tried to ambush a thousand emus near a dam; this time they killed twelve of the enemy, the rest scattered again, and then the gun jammed.

Over the next few days the birds were so hard to locate and corner, that it seemed they knew the techniques of guerrilla warfare. One army observer on the fourth day sadly remarked:

"The emus have proved that they are not so stupid as they are usually considered to be. Each mob has its leader, always an enormous black-plumed bird standing fully six-feet high, who keeps watch while his fellows busy themselves with the wheat. At the first suspicious sign, he gives the signal, and dozens of heads stretch up out of the crop. A few birds will take fright, starting a headlong stampede for the scrub, the leader always remaining until his followers have reached safety.”[1]

Considered as on of the endangered species of birds in the world, Cassowaries live in the rain forests of Australia and New Guinea.

Horrors, does that mean the emu units had cassowary officers? Picture source: http://tvblogs.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/18/cassowary-the-worlds-deadliest-bird/

At one point it looks like Major Meredith couldn’t take any more humiliation from the birds, because he mounted one machine gun on the back of a truck so they could chase them. How did that work? Not too good! The emus could outrun the truck, the ride was so bumpy that the gunner couldn’t aim at anything, and the chase ended when the truck hit an emu and its body got tangled in the steering wheel, causing the truck to go off the road and crash into a fence.

After that there were no more spectacular showdowns between man and bird, just isolated skirmishes that yielded about 100 kills a week. One month after he started, Meredith reported that 986 birds had been killed, and 9,860 bullets had been expended – it took exactly ten shots to kill each emu. The government recalled Meredith on December 13, and the Emu War was over. Because of the bad press generated and the embarrassing shortage of dead birds, the government declared that the emus won; imagine how bad it would have looked if there had been any human casualties! Afterwards, Meredith expressed an admiration for his feathered enemies:

"If we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world. They can face machine-guns with the invulnerability of tanks. They are like Zulus whom even dum-dum bullets could not stop."[2]

Still, something had to be done about the emus. The government found it got better results when it just gave the farmers the bullets they needed to hunt the birds, and offered a bounty for each one shot. In 1934 the locals bagged 57,034 emus, and by 1960 the population had been culled to a point that the emu could become a protected species again.

P6rppwT

A Google search for “Emu War” will yield several funny pictures of how artists imagine the conflict, like this veteran emu saying, “We’ll get you next time!”


[1] From Scientific American, The Great Emu War: In which some large, flightless birds unwittingly foiled the Australian Army.

[2]New Strategy In A War On The Emu,” from The Sunday Herald, July 5, 1953.

Published in: on February 15, 2016 at 9:50 am  Comments (1)  

Meet Tsu

 

A week and a half ago, I discovered a new social network, Tsu.co, which shows promise.  While it works a lot like Facebook, they don’t allow the worst nonsense, like spam and chain letters.  Also, any original content you post there (messages, pictures, etc.) is yours to keep, and they pay you a little money for your postings.  Check out Tsu and see if it is for you.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Here is your invitation.

https://www.tsu.co/Berosus

Published in: on February 10, 2016 at 11:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

James Bond Got Started in Africa, During World War II

 

Today I added a story from World War II to Chapter 8 of the African history series.  It reads more like a spy story than a war story.  Here it is:

In the Gulf of Guinea, the Spanish-ruled island of Fernando Póo became the site for a secret mission. German submarines were refuelling somewhere in the rivers of the Vichy French-ruled colonies; the British Admiralty wanted to know where the sub base was, and what else the Axis was doing in West and Equatorial Africa. They figured the best way to get the intelligence they wanted was to steal the Axis ships currently anchored at Fernando Póo: an Italian merchant ship, the Duchessa d’Aosta, the German tugboat Likomba, and a yacht owned by a Spanish fascist, the Bibundi. To do this they sent a commando unit from the Special Operations Executive (SOE), an organization set up in 1940 to conduct espionage, sabotage and reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines. Few people at the time knew the SOE existed, and those who did gave it nicknames like "the Baker Street Irregulars," "Churchill’s Secret Army," and the "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." What made this mission tricky was that Spain was a neutral nation, and it might join the Axis if the agents committing the heist blew their cover.

The mission was called Operation Postmaster, and it began with the agents sailing from Lagos, Nigeria to Fernando Póo on two tugboats. On January 14, 1942, they sneaked into the Spanish harbor, making sure they arrived on a moonless night and that they came after the harbor lights were turned off. Other agents distracted the harbor guards and the officers of the ships by inviting them to a big party at the local casino, where lots of liquor was served. While the party went on, the commandoes boarded the ships, and surprised the crews so completely that they surrendered without a fight. Then they set off explosives to break the chains holding the ships to the docks, and the British tugboats took off, heading back to Lagos with their prizes in tow. Of course the folks at the party heard the explosions, but they were either too drunk or too shocked to keep the commandoes from escaping. The Spanish government was furious when Madrid got the news, and called it "an act of piracy," but there wasn’t enough evidence to prove that the British government had planned the caper — which is exactly how London wanted it.

For more on Operation Postmaster, here is a page about one of the agents involved. I wrote about it here in detail because this and other stories about the SOE inspired Ian Fleming, a British naval intelligence officer. After the war, when Fleming wrote his James Bond novels, he modeled the James Bond character after members of the SOE. A lot of today’s pop culture came from that, not to mention careers for actors like Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig.

Published in: on February 9, 2016 at 10:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

World War I in the Pacific

 

Since the latest comment sent this way asked how my current project is coming, here is a preview.  This will be the first section in the next (4th) chapter of my South Pacific history series:

(more…)

Published in: on February 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  

About Those Donation Buttons

 

If you have visited The Xenophile Historian during the past three weeks, you may have noticed a new feature — on nearly every page is a Paypal link with the words “Support This Site!”

In the past when you read my work, I said, “Thank you for your support.”  That is still true, but now there is a way to financially support the website as well, for those who feel inclined to do so.

I got the idea for the donation buttons from the podcasts I have been listening to lately; they are supported by either donations or advertising.  The donation buttons will thus serve the same reason as the Google ads on my webpages.  I have been paying for server space since 2001, but the employment in my chosen field of work hasn’t been steady; it alternates between feast and famine, depending on the state of the economy.  And while the Google ads have helped, I need at least one check from Google every year to break even, when paying for the server space.  With competition from other websites containing history, especially Wikipedia, The Xenophile Historian hasn’t always gotten enough visits to earn those checks.

Rest assured, I plan to keep the content on the website free, except for what goes into any future books I write.  You may consider the donation buttons the online version of the jar near a piano player or sushi chef in a restaurant; if you like what you see and want to encourage me to produce more, feel free to leave a tip.

Currently I am trying to figure out a way to put one more donation button in the right-hand margin of this blog.  In the meantime thanks again, and keep on reading!

Published in: on January 31, 2016 at 9:44 pm  Comments (3)  

The January 2016 Snowpocalypse

 

For the last few days, we’ve been digging ourselves out of the latest polar vortex to sweep the eastern US.  Because of it, I haven’t left the street I am living on since Thursday, January 21.

It started with an inch of snow on Wednesday.  My neighbors shoveled the snow out of their driveways , but I held off, knowing there was much more to come.  Besides, I was busy fixing a toilet in the house.  Because I’m no plumber, I got it to work eventually, but it took four days and six trips to Home Depot for parts – definitely a learning experience.

The main snowfall started around 7 AM on Friday, and lasted all day.  Here is the snow cake we got on our patio table.  When I stuck a tape measure in it, it went eleven inches, so I’m declaring that the amount of snow we got.  Elsewhere in the yard, measurements varied from 8 1/2 to 13 1/2 inches.  Notice also how the snow tapers on the railing as it piled up.

IMG_3631

And here is a video of how the rest of the city looked on Friday.  There wasn’t any curfew imposed; you don’t see many cars because the city government told everyone, “If you don’t have to be out, stay indoors.”  I stayed in because I remembered very well how I got stuck when I drove in snow like this last year, and apparently that happened to a lot of folks on Interstate 75.  Don’t worry, Lexington got enough snow cleared away from the downtown area for Saturday’s basketball game to go on; they know where their priorities are!

Late on Saturday I went out and shoveled the snow out of the driveway.  At noon on Sunday I called for a snowplow to come to my street, and it showed up at 5 PM, followed by three salt trucks.  Since we weren’t running out of anything yet, I stayed home one more day.  Tomorrow I have an appointment, and Leive wants me to get a few groceries, so then I will see how the rest of the town is recovering.

Published in: on January 25, 2016 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

China Since 1949, Updated

 

One of the older sections on The Xenophile Historian, the Chinese history, has now been updated. If you count from the rough draft, this work is really twenty-seven years old. I first composed it in 1988, right after The Last Emperor was in the theaters, and uploaded it to the young website in 1998. Then I might have tweaked the last chapter a bit in 2000, but it’s hard to remember now. What I do remember is that after the new century began, all I did was make additions to the earlier chapters, leaving the last one virtually untouched. Well, in November and December I finally got around to rewriting the chapter covering Recent Chinese history, making the updates it needed.

Here are the topics now covered in Chapter 7, China Since 1949:

clip_image001[24]

The Establishment of the People’s Republic

clip_image001[25]

The Great Leap Forward

clip_image001[26]

"Women Hold Up half of the Heavens"

clip_image001[27]

The Cultural Revolution

clip_image001[28]

The Lifting of the Bamboo Curtain

clip_image001[29]

After Mao

clip_image001[30]

Tragedy at Tiananmen

clip_image001[31]

The Rise of the Mainland Technocracy – New!

clip_image001[32]

China in the Twenty-First Century (so far) – New!

clip_image001[33]

Today’s China Syndrome – Updated!

clip_image001[34]

Taiwan: The Little Dragon – Updated!

To check it out, go to http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/china/ch07.html

Also, it occurred to me last week that The Xenophile Historian has just come of age. A visitor told me he enjoyed the site’s 1990s Geocities-type look, and I said that gives away the website’s age, because it spent its first two years hosted on Geocities, and in the name of keeping the HTML code and everything else simple (and accessible to all browsers), I haven’t radically changed the style since then. You can read the whole story here.

Since I started working on the site as soon as I had Internet access and had taught myself HTML, in December 1997, that means the site is now 18 years old. Congratulations, we now have a new adult in the family! Actually, it seems like more than that; in Internet time, 18 years is well over a century, right? And over the years, I have put enough work in the site to call it “my other child.”

Happy New Year and keep on reading!

Published in: on December 28, 2015 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.