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8nd October, 2020

There are young birds in the Illawarra. Here is a young magpie found in a school yard in Corrimal, NSW Australia on the long weekend. He’s a handsome fellow. I hope he grows up strong and well and not attack humans. His parents seem okay with us so I take it he’ll be okay with us too. Not all magpies are a problem but the ones that are make it bad for the rest of them.

I have recently been swooped by as noisy miner. It happened a few times indicating I was too close to a nest. Apparently even these birds can get agro this time of year.

In 2018 at Kiama there was Aboriginal style art on display, some of it quite good. It was also a time to reflect upon the First World War that ended in 1918. Now more than a hundred years have passed and yet we are still haunted by what was then referred to as the Great War.

In 1918 The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay was first published. In 2000 an animated version of The Magic Pudding that wasn’t very good was released. When I was at the Norman Lindsay estate in 2017 I was photographed with two representations of this oh so special pudding.

I read somewhere that Lindsay wrote and drew The Magic Pudding, this now famous children’s story, on a dare. He was told he couldn’t come up with a children’s story that would grab a young audience. Generations of Australian children have proven this not be the case.

The art that can be found at the Norman Lindsay estate is highly imaginative and yet gripping. For decades he was the artist of artists. Rosaleen Norton, who came later to be known as the witch of Kings Cross, was one of his models. Norman’s wife was also a model. I look forward to my next visit to Norman Lindsay’s estate in the Blue Mountains. Apart from the paintings and the sculptures there are the freshly baked scones with jam and cream to enjoy.

In 2017 I also visited Kangaroo Valley. There I found a lot of memorabilia that can take you back in time. This included old coins, hats, rustic furniture, and First World War magazines. I also came across Biggles novels and early issues of The Phantom. There a metallic sculpture of a mermaid. Since Kangaroo Valley is far from the sea, this is strange. Kangaroo Valley was hit hard by forest fires last year in summer. I hope it won’t happen again this summer.

From what I can gather, the 1920s was wild, especially in France, Germany and the USA. Jazz, as a distinct form of music, dates back to the 19th Century but it really took off in this period. In Australia we enjoyed it plus the cricket and the general return of an interest in Ancient Egyptian art and culture. Back in 2018 in Kiama, street artists nicely captured the feel of the 1920s.

In the 1920s in France there were black musicians and dancers from the USA. In Germany art that Adolf Hitler did not approve of was fashionable. German cinema flourished. Then German money became virtually worthless and this hurt the savings of a lot of Germans. It didn’t last. Even so, the extras on the German silent classic Metropolis were more impressed with the meals they were given than the money.

When the Great Depression occurred, it most of all harmed the Germans. They were heavily in debt to the Americans. Through offering bread and soup to the poor through his supporters, Hitler started his climb to power. An insignificant political party was no longer so insignificant.

The League of Nations came about after the Great War to see that a major war could never happen again. The league failed.

It has been theorized by science fiction and fantasy writers that going back in time and killing Adolf Hitler while he was an infant would be a good idea if only it were possible. In a short story I wrote for Barbara Custer’s Night to Dawn magazine I had Hitler vanish from history and the results were not good.

Hitler was a monster. He was also incompetent. In his lair in the mountains he often watched movies and had parties in which he gave lectures while he was desperately needed to make decisions of national importance. Every time he took direct charge of a German army the result was disaster for that army.

What’s more, Hitler was a hypochondriac with the belief he didn’t have long to live and therefore had to push hard to achieve his dreams for the Germanic peoples of the world. His physician was a quack who fed him a cocktail of pills and gave him injections that warped his mind more than it would normally have been warped.

In 1943 government officials in Washington wondered if assassinating Hitler would end the war in Europe the sooner. Psychiatrists who based their findings in part on Hitler’s family doctor’s opinions, a Jew who had fled Germany for the USA, reasoned that this would not be the case.

It seems to me that they were right. Hitler or no Hitler there would be some kind of political uprising in Germany in the 1920s and also in the 1930s countering a communist movement in those years. If Hitler wasn’t around, there could well have come to pass a Mein Fuhrer just as dead set against the Jews and communists as Hitler only smarter. Without Hitler, the Second World War might not have begun in 1939. When it did happen the results would have been different, perhaps more devastating and also long lasting.

An evil ruler with intelligence could well have seen our world divided in ways it has never been before. There could have been ethnic cleansing happening everywhere and on a grand scale. If there has to be a monster make sure he or she isn’t very clever.

What would of happened if the AXIS powers had won the Second World War? There has been much speculation on this. In 1962 Philip K. Dick wrote The Man in the High Castle about a USA divided up. Germany had the east coast, Japan had the west coast and, in between as a buffer, there was territory run by the Italians. In 2015 a television show based on this novel and set in Dick’s altered 1960s was launched. It is very entertaining.

In the science fiction television show Enterprise there is the glimpse of what life in the USA might have been like if aliens had aided the Germans during the Second World War.

The Second World War ended with two rather large bangs, two atomic bombs exploding on or just above Japanese soil to be exact. Two years later in 1947 the Cold War between the USA and allies and Russia and allies had begun.

In 1945, however, there was a scramble on by the British, the Americans and the Russians for German scientists and technology. Legend has it Ian Fleming was part of that scramble.

What could the Germans have that could possibly be of any interest to the British, the Americans and the Russians? There was advanced rocketry. Everyone knew about the buzz bomb and the V2 rocket. What was discovered after the war was the design for a V3 rocket capable of being launched from Germany and reaching Washington. It was never build. By the time it was ready to go into production the materials weren’t available, it was too late to save the Third Reich.

Late in the war there were German rocket planes. They were not very safe to fly and were more likely to kill Germans than Americans. The German jet fighters, however, brought on the jet age.

It’s true that the British had designed and built their own jet fighters but it was the Germans who had jet planes in service during the war but too late to save Hitler’s dreams of miracle weapons capable of stopping the British, Americans and Russians.

The Russians had also experimented with rocket planes during the war but, like the Germans, with limited success. During the Korean War there were MIG jet fighters more impressive with their swept back wings than what the British and the Americans had on hand in the early stages of that conflict.

In 1945 the Second World War ends and yet, only five years later, the Korean War starts up. Earlier on Australian and British soldiers had been involved in putting down communist inspired uprisings in Malaya (not yet the republic of Malaysia).

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