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14.01.2009 Feature Article

Legacy of 50 years, 1900-1950 AD

When you happen to open this page, try and forget about everything else, possibly for the entire length of the day, and just relax, whilst you read, entertaining yourself, whilst you reflect on mankind. Perhaps, you can.

Jean Henri Dunant, is awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, for having founded the “International Red Cross,” after witnessing the massacre in Solferino, concurrently with Konrad Rõntgen, who gets it for Physics, - discovering X-rays. The prizes, the firstever, were awarded in 1901. Madam Marie Curie would share with her spouse, the 1903 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, for their work in Physical Chemistry, and again in 1911, with Henri Bequerel, on their joint-work in Radioactivity. But, only one year later, on her maiden voyage to New York, “The Titanic” talked of as being unsinkable, would sink in mid-Atlantic, taking 1,750 gallivanting lives with her. In 1914, Crown Prince Ferdinand of Austria would be assassinated in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, and Europe would reply with war, engulfing the entire world, (World War I). Just before this war would end, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Illich Lenin, would dethrone Czar Nicolas II of Russia, and a year later, have him and his entire household executed in the city of Yekaterinburg. World War I ends in 1918.

Adolf Hitler, veteran of the same war, having fought for Germany, would attempt a military coupe d'etat in Munich in 1923. He would be arrested, tried and jailed. Mysteriously, he would be freed from prison, and remain master of machinations, capitalising on the circumstances of the depression years, which not even America was spared. Albert Einstein, (German Born Jewish Mathematician and Physicist) collects Nobel Price for Physics in 1922. He will subsequently immigrate to the United States. Hitler succeeds in scoring high points during the “Bierhalle Nocturnal Meetings” in Munich. Rudolf Hess, of German parentage but born and bred in Alexandra, Egypt, would meet Adolf Hitler. Both men, strong believers in the Horoscope, would share anti-Semitic sentiments. Hitler and henchmen form the NAZI Party, and on ascendancy to political power in 1933, Rudolf Hess rises to be Hitler's next in Command. It is in 1933 too, that the Polio Victim, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, gets elected into the White House, with Harry Truman as his Vice. The presence of two such politically strong men across the Atlantic would have consequences for the world, either way. Roosevelt proves he is “a Democrat to a fault”, whilst Hitler would leave no doubt of his being an absolute dictator. In England, Winston Spencer Churchill would ascend to Prime Minister, displacing the not-so-courageous Neville Chamberlain. Come to Germany again, and Hitler would annex Austria in 1938, distort order in the Sudetenland, and send elements of nervousness into the entire Balkan region. It is the same year, that the Italian-Born Atom Physicist, Enrico Fermi, gets awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, (for producing the first controlled nuclear chain-reaction). Meanwhile, Dr. Sun Yat Sen and his provocateurs have taken over the Monarchy in China, since the mid-twenties, and the revolutionary doctor of medicine would suffer an untimely death through illness. There would arise a lot of unrest in China, and the rivalry between Generalissimo Hsiang-kai Shek and Mao Tse Dong would escalate. Invading Japanese forces mete out untold atrocities on the civilian population of Nan-jing.

Pregnant women would have their lower limbs tied tight together, apparently after having first been raped. With their babies still in their wombs, they are left to die. The figure ranges between, 30,000 and 100,000 women. Korea loses her King, through Japanese external interference. Jews and non-Arians lose their jobs, properties, and human rights in Germany. They are deported in droves, and get summarily executed on arrival at Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Treblinka, on board cattle-trains. “Luckier” ones flee to America, and neighboring countries not yet overpowered by Germany, for sanctuary, but now and again, only temporarily. September 1939, Hitler invades Poland, and World War II is declared.

African youth, as soldiers, are marched to Burma, and die aplenty for the British Crown. America stays strongly opposed to joining the war that she sees as “an European war” and a déjà vu did not seem enticing. December 2nd, 1941 changes everything, as Japan bombs American ships at Pearl Harbour. (Japan was allied to Germany in World War II). In Europe, German submarines had begun “harassing” American ships, delivering “lend-lease” hardware to British forces. President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill get drawn closer to becoming “personal friends” through joint war efforts to defeat the common enemy, Nazism. Stalin leads the Soviet Union, as Lenin dies in 1924. He stands on the side of forces fighting the “Hitlerites.” Soon, American forces would pour into Europe in their hundreds of thousands, until at every front; America has both hardware and men, who had come, once again, like in its predecessor, World War I, to die for Europe, and for Democracy. Their bodies would be sent home, when found and identified. In Britain, American service men dated the dainties. American soldiers were said with envy to be overpaid, overfed, and oversexed. In this connection, justice would not be seen to have been done, until one young man is mentioned, whose life was cut short whilst flying from American bases in England, in bombing missions on Germany for his country, America! The young man was called Joseph Patrick Kennedy, who was born in 1919. He was Joseph P. Kennedy's eldest son. Joe Jr. had come to fly missions for the US Air Force until 1942, and he was said to have finished his mission, and was to return home. Just then, something was announced, which if even was a bait, seemed to have worked magic, but sadly so. Joe, as he was popularly called by his friends and lovers, had sold some of his personal items he didn't need badly back home in America. Other items, he had given out to friends, and charity. Just be reminded that at the time of World War II, Joe's father, who was Ambassador to the St. James Court, (the US Embassy in London at the time), was one of the richest men in America. He was a close associate to President Franklin Roosevelt, and he, Ambassador Kennedy is said to have financed largely the campaign of Franklin Roosevelt's Presidency. It was tradition then, that whoever made the biggest donations, would be rewarded with such a position, after a successful campaign.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the elections in 1933, but it took some time, till 1937, before Mr. Kennedy was sent to England, and he would return four years later, after having fallen out with the President, over ideological differences.

Whereas Ambassador Kennedy, like British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, thought appeasement with Hitler was the best way forward. Mr. Roosevelt from the White House, just like Sir Winston Churchill, later from Number 10 Downing Street, was of the opinion the allies should not concede an inch to Hitler, and that they would fight, (to the last drop of their blood), if that was what Adolf Hitler wanted. The mission though, which attracted the young Kennedy's interest, was this: There was to be a top-secret bombing mission over Germany, and they needed “experienced pilots” to do just that, and Joseph Jr. loved adventures, from childhood. Indeed, he had volunteered and fought in the Spanish Civil War. It was obvious the young man would feel honoured, to be approached to undertake the mission. So, he volunteered to fly the super-bomber. The super-aircraft, however, was with some electrical problem, which according to the Swedish American aircraft electrician, had been difficult to trace and therefore fix. He tried to talk Joe Jr. into giving them time to look for, and fix the fault. Time was one item Joseph Patrick Jr. had so little of. He was not to be persuaded. Somehow, the Aircraft was fixed in a hurry, and Joseph Jr., the Master-Pilot, took off one day, against all odds. Minutes into the take-off, whilst the staff on the ground still watched on, the Super-Bomber came down in the “biggest fireball” anybody could claim to have seen before. Nothing was found of Joe, no remains what-so-ever. The presidential ambition disappeared with the inferno. It is rumoured that this event snapped the friendship between Mr. President and Joe the Ambassador, and his aide with plenty of Dollars. It is further rumoured in Washington, until today, that the whole “top-secret saga”, could have been a bait from Uncle Sam to cut off the young man's presidential ambition. President Roosevelt died in Office in 1945, in his unprecedented third term. India gets Independence from Britain in 1947, but divides into a Moslem Pakistan, and Hindu India, (they would later fight bitter wars against one another).

Alexander Fleming, a British Surgeon turned Bacteriologist, who in 1928 was instrumental in the discovery of Penicillin, would be awarded the Nobel Prize for that discovery in 1945. America was busy with the Manhattan Project, which eminent scientists, among whom were such names like Albert Einstein, Enrico Fremi, and others, had convinced the late President, was good for the survival of America, The Atomic Bomb! Germany was to be blasted with it, but Hitler had committed suicide early in May, 1945, and Germany had surrendered. America would lose 500,000 men in uniform, if they went to conventional war against The Chrysanthemum Crown, said Truman's Generals. “What, if we go with the Atomic Bomb?” asked the President. Hiroshima and Nagasaki get the Atomic bomb, each of them, in July and August, 1945, and Japan capitulates. Half-a-million dead and the effects linger on till today. World War II over, and only 50 thousand refugees, to be taken care of by the newly-formed UN. How many millions of refugees do we have today? Man is ingenious, and you have seen it at the number of Nobel Prize awards, enumerated in this text. But, what else is he???!

_anonymous Columnist
_anonymous Columnist, © 2009

This author has authored 86 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: AnonymousColumnist

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