Santa Fe railroad station:  A romantic touch from old movies

Built in 1915, the Amtrak and California commuter terminal, is a throwback to old movies and the romance of long distance trains  Note the arches, the ceilings, the tile, the sign for the women’s waiting room, and the magnificent view from the street.  The railroad station also contrasts with progress, as buses and all three lines of the San Diego “trolley” (really modern light rail) stop next to the station.

Beware the soft pretzels.  Unlike Philadelphians, San Diegans coat their pretzels with hot butter.  As with most foods in San Diego, you better yell NO butter before you order.

After five days in San Diego, still no sign of Che Guevara.

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A new look at Operation Barbarrosa.  The Nazi attack on the USSR was long in the planning.

Enemy in theEast, Hitler’s Secret Plans to Invade the Soviet Union,
(I.B. Tauris) is a valuable reappraisal of Germany’s march to war
with the Soviet Union.  German military historian Rolf-Dieter Muller
provides a detailed analysis of German military planning leading up
to Operation Barbarossa, the June 22, 1941 surprise attack on the
Soviet Union.

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This detailed book
leaves the following impressions:

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Marshal Tukhachevsky

1.  Red  Army
Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky, and much of the Red Army leadership,
were purged in what appeared to be Stalinist paranoia about alleged
German subversive plots.  Enemy in the East suggests that
Stalin’s fear of Germany was real, but the proof of German
infiltration was the result of German disinformation.  Simply put,
Germany eliminated the Soviet Union’s best military leaders by
planting false information with Soviet intelligence.

2.  I am amazed how
Hitler, with the experience of only a messenger in World War I, could
boss around the highly trained, and tradition minded, professional
German military.  How could they let Hitler call the shots?  In a
totalitarian state, there is no debate, no collective process in
making policy.

3.  Except for a few
of the highest ranking Generals, most of the German military were not
punished as war criminals.  Nevertheless, they drew up war plans and
conducted war games in preparation of the attack on the Soviet Union.
 Many of these German military leaders assumed positions of
leadership in or influence with to the reconstituted West German
military.   The author says that they rewrote history.  They
minimized their roles and shifted blame to Hitler alone.

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Marshal Pilsudski

4.  Throughout the
1930’s, Germany looked to Poland as an ally against Soviet Union.
The Polish hero Marshal Jozef Pilsudski was admired in high German
circles.  Only after Poland backed away from an alliance in 1939, and
reached out to Britain and France for support against German
expansion in Danzig and the Polish corridor, did Germany turn against
Poland, and invoke its racial hate and plan to annihilate non-Jewish
Poles.

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Rolf-Dieter Muller

Enemy in the East
is closely argued and gives a new view of the political and military
considerations of German policy towards the East.  A fine study for
War War II fans.