75 years ago-endgame in Europe-1

The Corona Virus pandemic may well be the worst disaster since World War 2. So it is useful to look back 75 years to the closing stages of the war in Europe.

28/04/1945: Mussolini, his mistress and other Fascist leaders killed by Italian partisans.

Hitler marries Eva Braun.

29/04: Hitler writes his will, designating Admiral Karl Donitz as his successor.

30/04: Hitler and Eva commit suicide.

01/05: Goebbels and his wife commit suicide. They also murder their 6 children.

02/05: The Battle of Berlin ends in a decisive Soviet victory.

04/05: The bulk of German armies surrender at Luneberg Heath in the Netherlands.



World War 2 snippets-Hitler’s personal train

A relatively unknown story from World War 2.

The basic information is here:


More details here, including a 50-minute documentary:



Celebrate Goebbels Jayanti on Oct 29

As students of Whatsapp University and Quora know, many people in India feel that the Nazi way of doing things is a good idea, starting with concentration camps.

Much of the success of the Nazi party was due to the well organized propaganda largely run by Joseph Goebbels. Thus, if you are going to celebrate Hitler Jayanti on April 20, you should also celebrate Goebbels Jayanti on October 29.

If you need to refresh your memory, see this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Goebbels

Some points of interest: He was indeed Hitler’s chosen successor, as he became Chancellor after Hitler’s death on April 30, 1945. This was only for about 24 hours as he committed suicide the next day.

More precisely, he and his wife Magda committed suicide after they had killed all their six children. Only one son of Magda by her previous husband survived, as he was in a POW camp at that time.

He was one of the better-educated Nazi leaders, with a PhD from the then famous University of Heidelberg.

The first few minutes of this video are interesting viewing:

Here he listens to a long question (in English) from an American journalist and immediately gives a long answer in German. Apparently he understood English quite well, like some of his colleagues (but not Hitler who knew only a little French apart from German).

Some of his “achievements” involved motivating film-makers like Leni Riefenstahl to produce films like “Triumph of the Will” and the documentaries about the 1936 Olympics, still recognized as trend-setters in propaganda and sports documentaries. They can be seen on Youtube.

Unlike her mentors, she led a long life and died in 2003 at the age of 101.

UK election trivia-2

In my schooldays a common insult was “Balls to you”. It is unclear whether this is pure Indian English or of British origin.

In later years I taught high school mathematics for some years. Many of the examples for probability in 11th/12th grade involved bags containing black,white and red balls. More about different kinds of balls here:

A major point of interest in the UK elections was the defeat of many stalwarts of the Labour and Lib-Dem party. One of them was former minister Ed Balls:


Anyway he is young enough and is likely to be a major figure in any Labour government in the distant future. But is the UK ready for a PM with the surname Balls? Probably Germany in the 1930s was not ready for a Fuhrer with the surname Schicklgruber either although it could be argued that this was Adolf Hitler’s actual surname. He was lucky as “Heil Hitler” sounds much snappier than “Heil Schicklgruber”. More on Hitler’s family name here:


However, the fact is that the UK did have a Prime Minister whose surname was originally Ball. More about John Major’s ancestry here:


and a shorter one here:


While on this topic, Bill Clinton’s surname came from his stepfather. His actual father was named Blythe, as we see from this extract:


Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, at Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, Arkansas. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr. (1918–1946), was a traveling salesman who died in an automobile accident three months before Bill was born. His mother, Virginia Dell (née Cassidy; 1923–1994), traveled to New Orleans to study nursing soon after he was born. She left Bill in Hope with her parents Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, who owned and ran a small grocery store. At a time when the Southern United States was segregated racially, Bill’s grandparents sold goods on credit to people of all races. In 1950, Bill’s mother returned from nursing school and married Roger Clinton, Sr., who owned an automobile dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas, with his brother and Earl T. Ricks. The family moved to Hot Springs in 1950.

Bill Clinton’s boyhood home in Hope, Arkansas

Although he immediately assumed use of his stepfather’s surname, it was not until Billy (as he was known then) turned fifteen that he formally adopted the surname Clinton as a gesture toward his stepfather.


Would he have had such an easy run in public life as Bill Blythe rather than Bill Clinton? Or would Hillary Blythe have a better shot at the White House than Hillary Clinton? After all, Clinton is a more “recognizable” American surname than Blythe.

Cricket fans may wonder if he had any connection with this prominent Test player of the 1900s:


Colin Blythe’s 15-wicket haul was one of the best match bowling figures of that period. He was one of several prominent cricketers who were killed in the Great War.