Flying Tigers
revised and updated


Hunkering down for September

I was so depressed by our bungled exit from Aghanistan that I took refuge in the 1930s, which seem well-ordered in comparison. My guide was Hitler: A Global Biography by the Cambridge historian Brendan Simms. Read it! The man who led Germany for twelve awful years emerges from this book as far more interesting than the madman of conventional biographies. Yes, Hitler was obsessed with Jews; he was bitter about the First World War and the humiliation of the Versailles Treaty that the victors imposed upon Germany; and he believed that "Aryans" had a mission to dominate Europe and, better yet, the world. But much else that we believe about Hitler is wrong, Simms argues. Except for the leftists at home, he was never much worried about the Soviet Union or indeed communism. Rather, his big fear was Anglo-American capitalism. He very much admired -- and feared -- the Anglo-Saxons, as he called them, and he worried that, far from being the "master race," as wartime propganda had us believe, Germany was barely populated by true "Aryans" at all, because its best people had long since emigrated to North America, and a generation of brave young men had been sacrificed in the First World War. It would take generations, if not centuries, to rebuild the national character, a task that would not only require "positive eugenics" but also, and especially, "living space" in the east. For that reason, Russia was always his primary target. Poland was important only because it stood between Germany and the grainfields of the Soviet Union. Likewise for Britain, the British Empire, and the Anglo-Saxons (including millions of Germans) in the United States: they had merely to be fended off while Germany gained the eastern colonies that rightfully belonged to it. (Hitler's worry about German-Americans was certainly justified: Carl Spaatz, who headed the USAAF's strategic bombing campaign against Germany, and Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Anglo-British land forces, were both descended from German immigrants. And Hitler's godson. Egon Hanfstaengl, joined the US Army in 1941!)

Hitler: A Global Biography is a brilliant book, well written and well argued. Since it's a political history, not a military one, you won't find much in the way of battle scenes, and of photos and maps there are none at all. Just 555 pages of fascinating text. It was published two years ago, so the hardcover is available at fairly low prices from third-party vendors. (I got mine for $8.50.) Blue skies! — Daniel Ford

Welcome to the forum!

Here are a thousand or so files on airplanes, pilots, and the wars of the past hundred years, grouped under these headings:

Annals of the Flying Tigers
Annals of the Brewster Buffalo
Annals of Poland: war and exile, 1939-1948
Japan at War, 1931-1945
Annals of the Chinese Air Force
Glen Edwards and the Flying Wing
Remembering Bluie West One
Annals of Vietnam
War in the Modern World

Plus these excellent places to look for more:
The Warbird's Book Club
Daniel Ford’s books
The Piper Cub Forum

Cowboy: interpreter, warlord, one more casualty

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