Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

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Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Kazon Nystrøm » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:49 pm

Awesome!
starting with the brutal finished product (like Punic Nughtmares).

about 45 minutes in there were 2 obvious modern parallels that I wasn't even aware of in this period.

Although I disagree (sort of) that having the huge area of bones is a good thing (for the very reason that lessons don't get learnt anyway), I think Dan has a lot of guts to say it- I've said it before, the main reason I like Dan's shows is because he seems to be far more interested in being correct, rather than politically correct, which is aptly named for always being motivated so.

I hope Dan doesnt get any negative emails for sympathising with the footsoldiers in the Wermacht, after all could anyone with a cursory glance distinguish the German bones from the Russian? if not, is that a bad thing?

Dan! part 1 of 2? I've heard that before! :snicker: not that I ever complained :altwink:

And yes, invading Russia is never a good Idea. I think when Sarah Palin said "we might need to go to war with Russia" Hitler and Napoleon were probably sittin together on a couch in hell, slappin each other on the backs and laughing their bollocks off.
It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase.

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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Dan » Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:08 pm

Well, we will be sympathizing with a heck of a lot more people than just the Wehrmacht by the time this series is finished. There was terribleness and human suffering everywhere you looked in this story (heroism and nobility as well).

At the same time, the Wehrmacht was involved in truly awful stuff. We sure won't let them off the hook for that either. They were nowhere near as blameless for the actions of the Holocaust and other atrocities as their Generals after the war made them out to be.
But the reality is that most people (in ALL these armies, even, to a great extent, the partisans) had no choice about going. And all sides in the East managed to do their share of terrible deeds too (although, obviously, none of it ever occurs if the German army isn't unleashed in the East by Hitler...so the lion's share of blame for opening up the floodgates of evil has to be on him/them). I plan on some interesting "twists" in the next one(s) showing how many people who we think are otherwise decent, kind people could just as easily have been caught up in the same violent situation had they lived in a different time and place.

I am glad you liked it. I was quite worried that it was a bit too dry and information-oriented. We just couldn't figure out a way to tell this story though without explaining how it happened. You just can't start it on June 22, 1941 and have it make much sense. :wink:


And as for those bones and such being a "good" thing that they are where they are...well...what if that army had won instead of lost? Would THAT have been better? I sure understand what you mean though. What's tragic is that it had to happen at all. When asked what he would name that war (WW2) Churchill said "The unnecessary War". Pity it had to happen at all.
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Pete » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:46 pm

There was a famous cartoon by David Low about the non-aggression pact that summed things up rather nicely.

Image
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Vicarious » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:13 pm

Dan the Man... It may not be wise to praise a show before I listen to it, but I have to say this subject is a matter of perfect timing for me and I'm sure it's terrific, as they always are. I finally managed to watch the documentary The War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (which I loved) while finally reading Ernie Pyle's Brave Men in between episodes. While neither were overly concerned with the battle on the eastern front (understandably so) I was morbidly curious as to the details of what made this theatre as notorious is it was for being particularly bloody, not to mention profoundly important.

Thanks for giving me a reason to look forward to my Monday morning, really looking forward to this one with a few cups of strong joe.
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Cid » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:43 pm

It was very good Dan. I'm not sure it was 90 days good, but I'll reserve judgment until the second part comes out, average the time total, and then grade you on a curve based on the total effect.
:lol:

But no seriously, I was not looking forward to a WWII podcast. I'm not sure about previous generations, but I think mine has been inundated with WWII history, and so much of it is rehashed and lacking perspective.

This one will see quite a few replays. The production is quite nice, compared to your earliest HH shows like the shield of the west, you've refined your story telling. Where it used to sound a bit like your radio show tone (well from what I've heard of your radioshow) without as much inflection, I really enjoy the current presentation as forceful but not emotional. The subject is also great, because it once again is an area that I wasn't much interested in but now I am (unlike the Punic wars where I still enjoyed it, but it was a period I already liked) and the context you provide is in depth and very well rounded (so I guess I have to be happy you went through all those books and took all that damn time).

In short, looking forward to the conclusion. :)

Edit: Oh, and I guess when I'm commenting on the production I have Ben to thank. So good job Ben, go nurse your your cough syrup-antibiotic-chicken soup cocktail.
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Chris73 » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:48 am

Dan - I began listening to this latest episode on the way to work today and I am (as usual) already totally into it. The Eastern front in WWII has long fascinated me in its scope, brutality and significance.

In regards to the sources for the show I am reminded of why it takes so long to produce the HH episodes. I always appreciate the time you put into researching these shows and don't mind the wait. I was pleased that a couple of the books I've read on the topic showed up on your list, 'Russia's War' by Richard Overy. For those that want to read up on the topic I highly recommend it. I would also recommend a book I didn't see, Anthony Beevor's book 'Stalingrad'.

Can't wait to listen to the rest of this episode.

Thanks again Dan and Ben!
'Ares urged on the Trojans,
while bright-eyed Athena kept rousing the Achaeans.
With them came Terror, Fear, and tireless Strife,
sister and companion of man-destroying Ares—
at first small in stature, she later grows enormous,
head reaching heaven, as she strides across the earth.
Strife went through crowds of soldiers, casting hatred
on both sides equally, multiplying human miseries.' - Homer, Iliad 4.440

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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby bellatrix » Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:38 am

Wow what timing!!! I haven't listened yet (can't wait to) but I have been listening to Nicholson Bakers "Human Smoke" and am about halfway through that book. Baker offers a point of view I hadn't heard before but I'm going to have to read other writers about Baker's book to see what they thought.

I'm probably older than most who post here. I don't know how many others who post here have parents who came of age during that era. I think Baker's book would drive my mother around the bend. I can't think what to say about Baker's book but he doesn't think much of Churchill. Dan, did you listen to or read Baker's book and if so, what do you think? At one point almost halfway through Baker's book, he seems to be implying that if England had not blockaded Germany in 1940, Germany would have let the Jews of Germany set sail and emigrate to Madigascar. It's partly the way Baker serves up incidents and dates without comment. I had certainly never heard that perspective before. I am not sure what Baker was trying to do with the book other than make people think about the perspectives they had been taught. It will be interesting to hear the podcast while in the middle of Baker's book. Because you don't think I'm going to postpone listening to the latest Hardcore History do you? Not even if Jane Austen came back to life and wrote another book featuring Mr. Darcy, and I was in the middle of it and a new Hardcore History came out! HH comes first!
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Dan » Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:39 am

:lol: Well, you all are great. Very tolerant too. I appreciate that. I get myself in hot water choosing topics that sound interesting to me...and then find too late that I am "in over my head". So I am always pleased you all are willing to cut me some slack.

And even with all the reading we do, remember that I don't choose topics that I am not already well versed in. That reading is necessary on TOP of what I already know about the subject (so yeah...the needs for this program have grown all out of proportion to what I had planned when I first started HH). That's normal though....shows evolve over time into what they are going to be.

On the Beevor book "Stalingrad"...well, don't worry. I have it here sitting on my desk even as I type this. There are several other books as well that I will need to read to get us through to the end of this conflict (you will see new ones added to the show notes for the next edition, etc.).

Like I said...we never know how they are going to sound to people that haven't already heard the show 100 times (our ears get numb to what the content actually sounds like by the time we release it). Nice to know you guys weren't bored to tears. :wink:

I am sure that we will ALL be quite tired of the Eastern Front by the time I am done with this. :lol:
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby John Galt » Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:26 am

Absolutely captivating, Mr. Carlin. You remind me why history is my passion; in high school, I sometimes forget.
A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. -Ayn Rand
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby SarcasmoBlaster » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:14 am

I recently read Ivan's War and found it totally captivating. I can't wait to listen to the show. Great choice as the invasion of Russia is a part of World War II that is rarely discussed (at least in the states).
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Vicarious » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:12 pm

Oustanding episode Dan. Is there any way you can light a fire under part2??

:P
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Dan » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:20 pm

Vicarious wrote:Oustanding episode Dan. Is there any way you can light a fire under part2??

:P


Well...wait 'till you hear what's ailing "Ben" this week. :althurl:

:lol:
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby Dan » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:11 pm

For those who wondered how the "bonefields" that Donovan Webster said he saw got to be, here's a post-action picture from that very area...before they were bones.

Image

Unbelievable, eh?

How about another? (hopefully you aren't eating)

Image

or this one

Image

The scope was simply unbelievable. The Soviets, for example, in some of the larger battles, lost as many people as some major allied nations lost in the whole war! One battle!

Just be glad you live when and where you do.
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby TalonWyrm » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:13 pm

I must join the chorus of congratulations on this episode, Dan. It's beautifully dark and haunting, and well-grounded, even in light of your passion for the subject.

I only have one complaint: I blasted through it (and it will see many replays on my iPod as well), but now I have to wait for more! You're evil in making us wait between parts. :twisted:

Ah, well. It was certainly worth the wait for the Punic Nightmares series, so I can't imagine it will be different with this one.

I'm glad you've made a return to the rise of the Soviet Union in your focus. It's always been a massive puzzle to me why Stalin would ever have chosen to trust Hitler as the one person to whom not to apply his paranoia. I also always thought how appropos it was that Lenin wanted to avoid Stalin as a successor, but got it - rather in a similar way to the prediction by Marx that Russia would be the last place on earth that Communism would take root.
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Re: Ghosts of the Ostfront Pt 1

Postby jam_mac_jam » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:39 pm

I loved this, this is a part of history that I am very interested in.

I particularly liked the opinion that this was not the good guys and bad guys but two "bad guy" regimes and all the people caught up in it. You do not have to agree with any of the opinions of Nazism to feel sorry for the normal soldier and what they went through, its a very sad story for both sides. I am from Ireland and this period of history is looked at through the eyes of the English to a certain degree, allowances were made for the soviets despite their system and issues where covered up,there was an excellent BBC documentary on that last year. How much the Soviets were changed to be our "friends". (well not "our" friends as the Irish didnt fight but the allies in general). So it was really interesting to hear that point.

The D day landings, causes of the war are much more widely known than the eastern front so it was an excellent, interesting part of the war to focus on and I think you got some idea of the scale in the program. I also really like that story about Koba when he was young from Ivan's War where he broke the legs of the calf, I remember how creepy I found that when I read it.

So thank you, you even had the 13 year old listening and asking questions this evening.
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