Deutschland 1980’s-the Music.

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I know what you are thinking “Didn’t he already do a piece on Deutschland ’83?” and you’d be right , but this blog is not about that show nor its follow up “Deutschland ’86”.

This piece is about the music in Germany in the 80’s. It always fascinated me that for this relatively short period of time the German music industry basically turned itself on its head. It went from the folky Schlager music to the NDW(Neue Deutsche Welle) German new wave and punk music,complemented with some rock acts.

Well at least for West Germany, East Germany was a different story altogether.

Below are some examples of that weird musical era in Germany. I do apologize for the first 2 songs but in order to get a feel for the paradox and to have a balance I felt compelled to put them in here.You can fast forward if you  so please.(I did)

Schlagers

 

Neue Deutsche Welle

The situation in the East

“Sonderzug nach Pankow” (Special Train to Pankow) is a song by the German rock singer Udo Lindenberg, released as a single on 2 February 1983.

It was a reaction to the refusal by the East German government to allow the West German singer perform a concert in East Germany .The text of this approximately three minutes long song is aimed  directly to East German leader Erich Honecker.

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The melody is based on the 1941 swing classic “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by Glenn Miller. It did eventually did lead to Udo Lindenberg being granted to do 1 concert in East Germany on 25 October 1983. The concert was part of the “Rock für den Frieden”(Rock for Peace) festival.

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German Rock

These guys must have listened to Led Zeppelin a lot.

Finishing up with the band that no one talks about anymore ,Milli Vanilli. Ironically the lip syncing scandal they were involved in has more or less become the standard in the Music industry nowadays.

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Terror Attacks

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Europe was hit by yet an awful terror attack and my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

It is only going to be a matter of time before the loony left,neo liberals  and the far right will be spouting their theories on who and what is to blame.On the one side we will have the claims of the ‘poor disenfranchised youth’ and the other side we’ll have ‘all muslims are terrorists’ and both will point the finger to the current refugee crisis.

But lets look at some facts.

Yes there is an issue with the management of the current refugee crisis.

The irony is that the one world leader who actually was willing to do something about this, inadvertently caused the opposite effect.I have great respect for Angela Merkel but in her naivety she has caused this crisis to happen. I know she did it with the best of intentions and it was very noble but it wasn’t thought through.

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It is a fact that when you invite everyone to come there is a big chance that that is exactly what will happen. Add the fact that Europe’s borders are a bit like an Emmenthal cheese,full of holes, you are inviting disaster.

This became very evident to me after watching an RTE documentary called ‘the Crossing’ about the refugee rescue efforts of the Irish Naval ship the LE Samuel Beckett in the the Mediterranean.

Most of the  rescued refugees said they wanted to go to Germany. In fact the smugglers had used Merkel’s open welcome, the smugglers had given some  of the refugees, the false promise  that once they got to Germany they would get free accommodation and a limitless credit card.

If you invite people to come without any proper vetting facilities being in place ,you take the risk that you also invite lunatics with a major chip on their shoulder.

On the other hand some of the worst terror attacks in the west were perpetrated long before the current refugee crisis.

New York 9/11-2001 -2,996 killed

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Madrid 3/11-2004 attack 192 Killed

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London 7/7 -2005 attack-52 killed

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Before people start blaming all religions of all evil ever committed in history,yes there are Muslim terrorists. But there are also Christian terrorist,Pagan Terrorist,Atheist terrorists and Animal Right terrorists, and even anti racism terrorists. Or as I like to call them “Lunatics with a warped sense of entitlement and disturbed political agendas”

Below are a few examples.

Anders Behring Breivik

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His religion is a Pagan religion called Odinism, although he had been a Christian before.He killed 77 in Norway on the 22nd of July 2011, this was also before the current refugee crisis.

Volkert van der Graaf

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is a Dutch convicted murderer who assassinated politician Pim Fortuyn, the leader of the Pim Fortuyn List (LPF), on 6 May 2002.

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This occurred during the political campaign for the Dutch general elections of 2002. An environmental and animal rights activist,he said at his trial that he murdered Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting Muslims as “scapegoats” and targeting “the weak members of society” in seeking political power. I know some people will say he wasn’t a terrorist but a murderer, however when Theo van Gogh was murdered in a similar way, but by a Muslim,that crime was branded a terror attack . Even though both murders were nearly identical, therefore I will not cherry pick and will call Pim Fortuyn’s murder also a Terror attack.

Mohammed Bouyeri

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Mohammed Bouyeri (born 8 March 1978) is a Moroccan-Dutch radical Islamic terrorist and convicted murderer who is serving a life sentence without parole for the assassination of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. He holds both Dutch and Moroccan citizenship.

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Filmmaker Theo van Gogh was notorious for his insults to “everyone respected in postwar multicultural Dutch society, including Jews and Muslims” but who “also helped bring Muslim actors onto Dutch television.”In 2004, he and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who was a Dutch member of parliament at the time, directed a short film called Submission, Part I about Islam and violence against women.

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In the film women are shown wearing transparent clothes with verses of the Quran written on their bodies. The film aired in August 2004 on Dutch television in prime time, the ensuing outcry led the Dutch police to offer police protection for both directors, but van Gogh refused.

The 26-year-old Bouyeri assassinated van Gogh in the early morning of 2 November 2004, in Amsterdam, in front of the city’s East Borough office (stadsdeelkantoor) on the corner of the Linnaeusstraat and Tweede Oosterparkstraat, while he was bicycling to work.

Luigi Galleani

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An Italian atheist and anarchist active in the United States from 1901 to 1919, viewed by historians as an insurrectionary anarchist. He is best known for his enthusiastic advocacy of “propaganda of the deed”, i.e. the use of violence to eliminate tyrants and oppressors and to act as a catalyst to the overthrow of existing government institutions. From 1914 to 1932, Galleani’s followers in the United States (known as i Galleanisti), carried out a series of bombings and assassination attempts against institutions and persons they viewed as class enemies.After Galleani was deported from the United States to Italy in June 1919, his colleagues are alleged to have carried out the Wall Street bombing of 16 September 1920, which resulted in the deaths of 38 people.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/09/16/wall-street-bombing/

Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action(Revolutionaire Anti-Racistische Actie)

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Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action or Revolutionaire Anti-Racistische Actie, often abbreviated RaRa was a Dutch Revolutionary group, although in the Netherlands the group was called a ‘political violent activist’-group The name “RaRa” in Dutch means “Guess …” (who we are),

RaRa was active in the 1980s and 1990s within the Netherlands, bombing sites to express opposition to the apartheid policies of South Africa as well as to the Dutch asylum legislation.Their bombings caused a lot of material damage. Amazingly no one was killed but it could have easily resulted in a great number of fatalities.

Of course there have been other terrorists organizations who caused a great number of fatalities in Europe, UDA,UVF,RAF,ETA,IRA and Baader Meinhof group to name but a few.

 

Battle of Crucifix Hill & Captain Bobbie E.Brown

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Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the Battle of Crucifix Hill.The Battle of Crucifix Hill was a World War II battle that took place on 8 October 1944, on Crucifix Hill (Haarberg, Hill 239), next to the village of Haaren in Germany and was a part of the U.S. 1st Division’s campaign to seize Aachen, Germany. The Battle of Aachen was part of the drive to the Siegfried Line. The hill was named after a large crucifix mounted on the top of the hill. The objective of the battle was to gain control of the hill, which was laced with a maze of pillboxes and bunkers, so that the main objective of encircling Aachen could be completed. The hill was held by units of the German 246. Volksgrenadierdivision.

246-_inf_divThe 18th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 1st Infantry Division, commanded by Col. George A. Smith Jr., directed its 1st Battalion (commanded by Lt. Col. Henry G. Leonard, Jr.) to take the hill employing special pillbox assault teams equipped with flamethrowers, Bangalore torpedoes, and demolition charges.

 

A battery of tank destroyers and self-propelled guns were to provide supporting direct fire at the pillboxes. As the leading rifle platoon of C Company assaulted the first pillbox, flanking fire from a nearby pillbox gun emplacement took the platoon in crossfire. The pinned-down soldiers also experienced an intense artillery barrage on their exposed positions.

Capt. Bobbie E. Brown

When World War II began he was the First Sergeant in the Headquarters Company of Patton’s 2nd Armored Division. After fighting across North Africa, he received battlefield promotion to Second Lieutenant and transferred to the 1st Infantry Division. He led a platoon of Company C up Omaha Beach on D-Day.

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While fighting across France he assumed command of his unit when his Company Commander was killed.

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A few days later the promotion became official. At 04:00, October 8, 1944, he received orders for an attack on Crucifix Hill. Of 43 known pillboxes and bunkers, his company was responsible for numbers 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 29, and 30. After a formation of P-47 Thunderbolts finished an air strike at 13:15, he led his company out of positions in a graveyard at the foot of the hill.

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They made it about 150 yards (140 m) to an antitank ditch in front of pillbox 18 before heavy German fire forced them to seek cover. He turned to his platoon Sergeant, “Get me a couple of flamethrowers, some pole and satchel charges.” Once armed with those, he had his riflemen lay down a base of fire, then started crawling alone toward the pillbox. A bomb had earlier blown a hole near the pillbox, which he jumped into and dropped a satchel charge through an aperture by a door. The pillbox erupted, clouds of smoke billowing from its rifle ports.

He wriggled his way back to his men to pick up more charges and went back uphill 35 yards (32 m) past the still smoking bunker and toward pillbox 19 while under heavy machine-gun fire. Several mortar rounds fell nearby, slamming his body to the ground. Once in range, he dropped a pole charge through a 12-inch (300 mm) opening, blowing a hole in the pillbox, followed with a satchel charge. On his way back downhill for more charges, he noticed blood covering one knee. Then his Sergeant told him, “Sir, there’s bullet holes in your canteen.” He had no idea when he’d been hit.

Pillbox 20 was perhaps the largest and most heavily armed fortification on the hill. A turret, mounting a cut-down 88 mm cannon, revolved 360 degrees on the top, while the concrete walls were 6 feet (1.8 m) thick. The structure was manned by 45 soldiers with no less than 6 machine-guns. Following a communications trench 20 yards (18 m) from number 19 to 20, he threw 2 satchel charges through a steel door that an ammunition-laden soldier was entering through. With the destruction of pillbox 20, enemy resistance on Crucifix Hill soon crumbled, allowing allied forces to mop up, and securing the 1st Division’s flank.

He was wounded during street fighting in Aachen when an artillery shell landed practically beside him. Numb, blood streaming from his nose, ears, and mouth, he headed for an aid station. He spent several months in a hospital in Belgium, then went home on a 30-day leave. He rejoined Company C in Germany and fought with it into Czechoslovakia. After the war ended, he flew home to receive his Medal of Honor on August 23, 1945.

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Medal of Honor citation:

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“He commanded Company C, 18th Infantry Regiment, on October 8, 1944, when it, with the Ranger Platoon of the 1st Battalion, attacked Crucifix Hill, a key point in the enemy’s defense of Aachen, Germany. As the leading rifle platoon assaulted the first of many pillboxes studding the rising ground, heavy fire from a flanking emplacement raked it. An intense artillery barrage fell on the American troops which had been pinned down in an exposed position. Seeing that the pillboxes must be neutralized to prevent the slaughter of his men, Capt. Brown obtained a pole charge and started forward alone toward the first pillbox, about 100 yards away. Hugging the ground while enemy bullets whipped around him, he crawled and then ran toward the aperture of the fortification, rammed his explosive inside and jumped back as the pillbox and its occupants were blown up. He rejoined the assault platoon, secured another pole charge, and led the way toward the next pillbox under continuous artillery mortar, automatic, and small-arms fire. He again ran forward and placed his charge in the enemy fortification, knocking it out. He then found that fire from a third pillbox was pinning down his company; so he returned to his men, secured another charge, and began to creep and crawl toward the hostile emplacement. With heroic bravery he disregarded opposing fire and worked ahead in the face of bullets streaming from the pillbox. Finally reaching his objective, he stood up and inserted his explosive, silencing the enemy. He was wounded by a mortar shell but refused medical attention and, despite heavy hostile fire, moved swiftly among his troops exhorting and instructing them in subduing powerful opposition. Later, realizing the need for information of enemy activity beyond the hill, Capt. Brown went out alone to reconnoiter. He observed possible routes of enemy approach and several times deliberately drew enemy fire to locate gun emplacements. Twice more, on this self-imposed mission, he was wounded; but he succeeded in securing information which led to the destruction of several enemy guns and enabled his company to throw back 2 powerful counterattacks with heavy losses. Only when Company C’s position was completely secure did he permit treatment of his 3 wounds. By his indomitable courage, fearless leadership, and outstanding skill as a soldier, Capt. Brown contributed in great measure to the taking of Crucifix Hill, a vital link in the American line encircling Aachen”

After the war ended, Brown spent the next two years in and out of hospitals, as army doctors tried to repair the physical damage inflicted by 13 war wounds. He completed his 30 years of service to his country in 1952.

Like so many men who had experienced intense combat, Brown was tormented by traumatic memories of his experiences during the war. Unable to find a good civilian job, he became a janitor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Haunted by unhappy memories of combat and in constant pain from war-related injuries, he committed suicide, by a self-inflicted gunshot to his chest, on November 8, 1971. He was subsequently buried in section 46, site 1021-17 of Arlington National Cemetery.

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Deutschland 83

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One of my favourite TV shows and I was delighted to find out there will be a second season called Deutschland 86, because it is set 3 years later.

I only lived literally a walking distance from Germany in 1983 and in fact most of my life. Growing up as a kid I didn’t really think anything of it but in hindsight it was kinda bizarre.

Little did I know then, that we were really not that far away from the ‘battlegrounds’ of the cold war, even though the fact there were plenty of staff of the AFCENT (Allied Forces Central Europe Netherlands) in town and surrounding cities. One of the former coal mines was actually used as part of their HQ.

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And surely the AWACS planes (a Boeing 707 type plane with a radar dish on top of it) should have been a give away.

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Oblivious I just went about my business without a care in the world. Naively I felt quite safe where I lived, because often I had seen American Marines marching between Geleen and Heerlen(two municipalities in the south of the Netherlands), chanting stuff like “I like working for Uncle Sam” In fact I thought it was cool, and in a way it was I suppose.

Not realizing those very soldiers were there to assist the Dutch army in case of a potetntial WW3 breaking out.

The Germans though were a funny bunch particularly when it came to their music. From the 50’s to the early 80’s there music was really Schlagers, it can only be described as German folk music I suppose, I would call it crap but it is still very popular with some people who I don’t want to offend.

At the start of the 80’s though a new direction of German music emerged, it was called ‘die Neue Deutsche Welle, New German wave and it brought a few great bands and songs to the front. Bands like Nena,Trio,Bap and indeed Peter Schilling whose song Major Tom is used as the theme for Deutschland 83

 

One of my favorites of the NDW is a Cologne band called BAP , the song is about the Kristal Nacht (in english known as the night of broken glass) from a dark period in German history. The band sings in the local Cologne dialect which is very similar to the Limburg dialect. I will leave it with that. I hope you enjoy this little peace of history. Enjoy the song.