Headlines and Hostility

Does history repeat? It does if we keep trying to solve economic problems by letting politicians solve our problems by making promises which they fulfill by having their central bank print more and more money. Paying off war debts was the harbinger for post WWI Germany (Weimar Republic) and the fertile soil for tyrants to arrive as protection and leave with blood.

12 January 1922 Adolf Hitler sentenced to three months.
24 June 1922 Hitler Incarcerated. Also:
Walter Rathenau assassinated.
German mark was 272 to 1 American dollar
27 July 1922 Hitler released.
July 1922 670 marks = 1 US dollar
August 1922 2,000 marks = 1 US dollar
27 October 1922 Benito Mussolini establishes his Fascist dictatorship in Italy.
October 1922 45,000 marks = 1 US dollar
22 November 1922 Dr. Wirth leaves office
November 1922 100,000 marks = 1 US dollar
27 December 1922 France occupies the Ruhr to ensure payment of war reparations in kind. The Weimar government responds by funding ‘passive resistance’ of the workers through printing Papiermarks, further fueling hyperinflation.
30 December 1922 500,000 marks = 1 US dollar
1923[edit]
February 1923 Reichsbank buys back Papiermark; stabilizes value at 20,000 to 1 US dollar
May 4, 1923 ℳ 40,000 = 1 US dollar
May 27, 1923 Albert Leo Schlageter, a German freebooter and saboteur, was executed by a French firing squad in the Ruhr. Hitler declared him a hero that the German nation was not worthy to possess.
June 1, 1923 ℳ 70,000 =1 US dollar
June 30, 1923 ℳ 150,000 = 1 US dollar
August 1-August 7, 1923 ℳ 3,500,000 = 1 US Dollar
August 13, 1923 Dr. Wilhelm Cuno (No party affiliation) Leaves office
August 15, 1923 ℳ 4,000,000 = 1 US Dollar
September 1, 1923 ℳ 10,000,000 = 1 US Dollar
Around September 10 to September 25, 1923 Prices reportedly rise hourly in several German cities.
September 24, 1923 Chancellor Stresemann ends the passive resistance in the Ruhr; infuriates the nationalists.
September 30, 1923 Major Fedor von Bock crushes a coup attempt by the Black Reichswehr. Also:
ℳ 60,000,000 = 1 US Dollar
October 6, 1923 Dr. Gustav Stresemann (People’s) forms 2nd cabinet
October 20, 1923 General Alfred Mueller marches on Saxony to prevent a communist takeover. Also:
General Otto von Lossow in Bavaria is relieved of command by Berlin; he refuses.
October 23, 1923 Communist takeover of Hamburg
October 25, 1923 Hamburg uprising suppressed
November 8, 1923 Beer Hall Putsch
November 9, 1923 Beer Hall Putsch quelled.
November 12, 1923 Dr. Hjalmar Schacht was named ‘’Reichswaehrungskommissar’’.
November 15, 1923 Rentenmark issued, with value backed by mortgage payments on state property; Rentenmark 4.2 = 1 US dollar; at this time:
Papiermark 4,200,000,000 = 1 US dollar
November 30, 1923 Dr. Stresemann leaves office.

LoneStarFreedomPress

economic-collapse

A big part of writing is talking to readers about your book.  Actually, in my opinion, the most interesting part of writing is about talking to readers about what they think about the world.  As Phoenix Republic is a dystopian novel about a financial collapse of western culture, my discussions tend to be about what inspired me to write such a gloomy novel, or is something like what happened in Phoenix Republic really coming to America?  I often answer by asking people to scan the headlines and ask themselves if what they see gives them a feel for life in America today.  In the last couple of weeks we had some of the following headlines about stories that any one of which would have been earthshaking only a few years ago.  Today they are more or less all happening all at one time.  Here are just a few examples.

US…

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The Battle of Athens, Tenn. 1946 is the Origin of U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Report on Rightwing Extremist Slamming U.S. Veterans and Second Amendment Advocates!

After the recent events of Thad Conchran R Senator of Mississippi having two of his supporters being locked in the courthouse where votes were being conted in the Republican primary (2014) against Chris McDaniels and the sharriff passing the event off as inconsequential . . . the 1946 Battle of Athens comes to mind in dealing with the political machines. Overwhelming the voting booths is the best way and hopefully this will happen on June 24th for the run-off election of MS senator. However, this article is worth reading.

American Common Defence Review (TM)

Compare:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment

(U//FOUO) The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veteransfacing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks. [page 2]

(U//FOUO) Weapons rights and gun-control legislationare likely to be hotly contested subjects of political debate in light of the 2008 Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Hellerin which the Court reaffirmed an individual’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but left open to debate the precise contours of that right. Because debates over constitutional rights are intense, and parties on all sides have deeply held, sincere, but vastly divergent beliefs, violent extremists may attempt…

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Lightbulb 1st Public demo Dec. 30 Outlawed 2014 Jan 1st

In the first public demonstration of his incandescent lightbulb, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison lights up a street in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company ran special trains to Menlo Park on the day of the demonstration in response to public enthusiasm over the event.

Although the first incandescent lamp had been produced 40 years earlier, no inventor had been able to come up with a practical design until Edison embraced the challenge in the late 1870s. After countless tests, he developed a high-resistance carbon-thread filament that burned steadily for hours and an electric generator sophisticated enough to power a large lighting system.

Born in Milan, Ohio, in 1847, Edison received little formal schooling, which was customary for most Americans at the time. He developed serious hearing problems at an early age, and this disability provided the motivation for many of his inventions. At age 16, he found work as a telegraph operator and soon was devoting much of his energy and natural ingenuity toward improving the telegraph system itself. By 1869, he was pursuing invention full-time and in 1876 moved into a laboratory and machine shop in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Edison’s experiments were guided by his remarkable intuition, but he also took care to employ assistants who provided the mathematical and technical expertise he lacked. At Menlo Park, Edison continued his work on the telegraph, and in 1877 he stumbled on one of his great inventions–the phonograph–while working on a way to record telephone communication. Public demonstrations of the phonograph made the Yankee inventor world famous, and he was dubbed the "Wizard of Menlo Park."

Although the discovery of a way to record and play back sound ensured him a place in the annals of history, the phonograph was only the first of several Edison creations that would transform late 19th-century life. Among other notable inventions, Edison and his assistants developed the first practical incandescent lightbulb in 1879 and a forerunner of the movie camera and projector in the late 1880s. In 1887, he opened the world’s first industrial research laboratory at West Orange, New Jersey where he employed dozens of workers to investigate systematically a given subject.

Perhaps his greatest contribution to the modern industrial world came from his work in electricity. He developed a complete electrical distribution system for light and power, set up the world’s first power plant in New York City, and invented the alkaline battery, the first electric railroad, and a host of other inventions that laid the basis for the modern electrical world. One of the most prolific inventors in history, he continued to work into his 80s and acquired 1,093 patents in his lifetime. He died in 1931 at the age of 84.

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1775 : Benedict Arnold Defeated Quebec Canada

Arnold's column is shattered in fierce street ...

Arnold’s column is shattered in fierce street fighting during the Battle of Quebec. Français : La colonne de Benedict Arnold est brisée durant les féroces batatilles de rue de la Bataille de Québec. Italiano: Forze anglo-canadesi respingono gli americani a Québec. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the American Revolution, Patriot forces under generals Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery are defeated by the British defenders of the city of Quebec in Canada.

On December 2, Arnold and Montgomery met on the outskirts of Quebec and demanded the surrender of the city. Governor Sir Guy Carleton rejected their demand, and on December 9 the Patriots commenced a bombardment of Quebec, which was met by a counterbattery by the British defenders that disabled several of the Patriots’ guns. At approximately 4 a.m. on December 31, the Patriot forces advanced on the city under the cover of a blizzard. The British defenders were ready, however, and when Montgomery’s forces came within 50 yards of the fortified city they opened fire with a barrage of artillery and musket fire. Montgomery was killed in the first assault, and, after several more attempts at penetrating Quebec’s defenses, his men were forced into retreat.

Meanwhile, Arnold’s division suffered a similar fate during their attack of the northern wall of the city. A two-gun battery opened fire on the advancing Americans, killing a number of Americans and wounding Benedict Arnold in the leg. Patriot Daniel Morgan assumed command, made progress against the defenders, but halted at the second wall of fortifications to wait for reinforcements. By the time the rest of Arnold’s army finally arrived, the British had reorganized and the attack was called off. Of the 900 Americans who participated in the siege, 60 were killed and wounded and more than 400 were captured.

The remaining Patriot forces then retreated from the invasion of Canada. As the Americans crossed the St. Lawrence River to safety, Benedict Arnold remained in Canadian territory until the last of his soldiers had escaped. With the pursuing British forces almost in firing range, Arnold checked one last time to make sure all his men had escaped. He then shot his horse and fled down the St. Lawrence in a canoe.

Peggy_Shippen_and_daughter

Less than five years later, Benedict Arnold, as commander of West Point, famously became a traitor when he agreed to surrender the important Hudson River fort to the British for a bribe of $20,000. Some believe the social pressure of Benidict’s wife Peggy Shippen, contributed to Benedict’s depression over having been passed over for higher assignment and when he finally received his position he was still of lesser station than the 5 officers who were raised before him.

The plot was uncovered after British spy, John André, was captured with incriminating papers.  This turn of events  forced Arnold to flee to British protection and join in their fight against the country that he once so valiantly served.

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1787 Shays’ Rebellion

A Day That “Unexpectedly Changed America”Shays-rebellion-monument

Despite the corny animations, a video (44 mins) from History Channel’s ten-part miniseries “10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America” (aired 2006) provides a detailed overview of Shays’ Rebellion, complete with analysis and perspective from authors, historians and others. As with other links, I suggest you read or listen to the story about Shays’ Rebellion in Miracles and Massacres before watching this video.

Shays' RebellionA Loud and Solemn Lesson  

Shays’ Rebellion marked what was perhaps the first major populist uprising against the country’s "fat cat" elites. This is the story of a debtors’ revolt in rural Massachusetts that pitted the common farmer against the landed gentry, the outsiders against the establishment, and the tyranny of the mob against the rule of law. The rebellion, led by Daniel Shays, exposed the severe cracks that were forming in America as a result of the weak Articles of Confederation. This is the story of that uprising, how it was dealt with by the government, and how its consequences still resonate today.

 

ArticlesOfConfederationShays’ Rebellion and the Making of a Nation

For essential information on Shays’ Rebellion, including detailed biographies on its major players, historical artifacts and documents, maps, a comprehensive timeline and a treasure trove of other useful material, head on over to this great educational site run by Springfield Technical Community College.

Reagan Declares “Shays’ Day”

President Reagan recognized the significance of Shays’s Rebellion both from the perspective of the Federalist/Anti-Federalist debate and the broader liberty versus tyranny undertones of the historic event. Check out the text of Reagan’s 1987 proclamation of Shays’ Rebellion Week and Day.

Notes

  1. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 1–10
  2. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 10–15
  3. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 31
  4. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 25–31
  5. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 85
  6. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 29–34
  7. ^ Jump up to: a b Zinn, p. 91
  8. ^ Jump up to: a b c d Zinn, p. 93
  9. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 43
  10. Jump up ^ Bacon, p. 1:148
  11. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 38–42,45
  12. Jump up ^ G. North
  13. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 87–88
  14. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 88
  15. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 6–9
  16. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 38
  17. ^ Jump up to: a b c d Morse, p. 208
  18. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 56
  19. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 79–80
  20. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 80
  21. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 78–79
  22. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 84–87
  23. Jump up ^ Holland, pp. 245–247
  24. Jump up ^ Holland, p. 247
  25. Jump up ^ Manuel, p. 219
  26. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 84
  27. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 92
  28. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 92–93
  29. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 94
  30. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 97
  31. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 84–86
  32. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 86–89, 104
  33. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 98–99
  34. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 27–28
  35. Jump up ^ Holland, p. 261
  36. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 28
  37. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 101
  38. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 29
  39. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 102
  40. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 103
  41. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 103–104
  42. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 105
  43. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 31, 120
  44. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 108
  45. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 34
  46. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 32
  47. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 33
  48. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 35
  49. Jump up ^ Szatmary (p. 122) and Richards (p. 36) disagree on the casualty figures. Szatmary reports three government soldiers killed, Richards one.Richards does not report on the government wounded.
  50. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 36
  51. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 38–41
  52. ^ Jump up to: a b Zinn, p. 95
  53. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 117
  54. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 38–39
  55. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 119
  56. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 122
  57. Jump up ^ Foner, p. 219
  58. Jump up ^ Lodge, p. 2:26
  59. Jump up ^ Feer, p. 396
  60. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 120
  61. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 122
  62. Jump up ^ Feer, pp. 391–392
  63. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 123
  64. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 127
  65. Jump up ^ Feer, p. 393
  66. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 132
  67. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 134
  68. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 130
  69. Jump up ^ Milkis, S., Nelson, M., The American Presidency. Washington: CQPess, 2003. Fourth Edition. Print
  70. Jump up ^ Feer, p. 395
  71. Jump up ^ Szatmary, p. 133
  72. Jump up ^ Feer, p. 404
  73. Jump up ^ Richards, p. 139
  74. Jump up ^ Szatmary, pp. 128–132
  75. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 141–143
  76. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 135–136
  77. Jump up ^ Richards, pp. 117–118

Bibliography[edit ]

Further reading[edit ]

Additional scholarly sources
  • Beard, Charles (1935). An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. New York: Macmillan.
  • Gross, Robert A. "A Yankee Rebellion? The Regulators, New England, and the New Nation," New England Quarterly (2009) 82#1 pp. 112–135 in JSTOR
  • Gross, Robert A., ed. (1993). In Debt to Shays: The Bicentennial of an Agrarian Rebellion. University Press of Virginia. ISBN 978-0-8139-1354-4 .
  • Hale, Edward Everett (1891). The Story of Massachusetts. Boston: D. Lothrop Company .
  • Kaufman, Martin, ed. (1987). Shays’s Rebellion: Selected Essays. Westfield, MA: Westfield State College. OCLC 15339286 .
  • McCarthy, Timothy Patrick; McMillan, John (eds) (2011). The Radical Reader: A Documentary History of the American Radical Tradition. New York: New Press. ISBN 978-1-59558-742-8 . OCLC 741491899 . (Reprints a petition to the state legislature.)
  • Middleton, Lamar (1968) [1938]. Revolt, USA. Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries Press. OCLC 422400 .
  • Minot, George Richards (1788). History of the Insurrections in Massachusetts.Worcester, MA: Isaiah Thomas. OCLC 225355026 . (The earliest account of the rebellion. Although this account was deeply unsympathetic to the rural Regulators, it became the basis for most subsequent tellings, including the many mentions of the rebellion in Massachusetts town and state histories.)
  • Munroe, James Phinney (1915). New England Conscience: With Typical Examples. Boston: R. G. Badger. OCLC 1113783 .
  • Starkey, Marion Lena (1955). A Little Rebellion. New York: Knopf. OCLC 1513271 .
  • Wier, Robert (2007). "Shays’ Rebellion". In Wier, Robert. Class in America: Q-Z. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-34245-5 .OCLC 255745185 .
Fictional treatments
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1946 : Battle of Athens : Second Amendment Rights : WWII Veterans

jefferson_liberty_vs_tyrannyThe Battle of Athens, Tennessee is a little-known story about a citizen militia against a corrupt political machine. Athens was a small town inhabited by a number of GIs who returned home from World War II to find political bosses, including a corrupt sheriff, controlling the local government by rigging elections. The GIs, incensed at seeing the very freedoms they had fought for in World War II being trampled on upon their return home, countered the corruption by organizing a ticket to run against the sheriff and put him and his cronies out of business. When it became clear the ballots in the election would not be counted fairly, the GIs took matters into their own hands.The Battle of Athens is an extreme example of Americans invoking their Second Amendment rights in order to protect themselves against a tyrannical and oppressive government. [for a historical timeline view of this post click here.

Leading up to the Battle of Athens

The GIs came home to find that a political machine had taken over their Tennessee county. What they did about it astounded the nation.

In McMinn County, Tennessee, in the early 1940s, the question was not if you farmed, but where you farmed. Athens, the county seat, lay between Knoxville and Chattanooga along U.S. Highway 11, which wound its way through eastern Tennessee. This was the meeting place for farmers from all the surrounding communities. Traveling along narrow roads planted with signs urging them to "See Rock City" and "Get Right with God," they would gather on Saturdays beneath the courthouse elms to discuss politics and crops. There were barely seven thousand people in Athens, and many of its streets were still unpaved.The two "big" cities some fifty miles away had not yet begun their inevitable expansion, and the farmers’ lives were simple and essentially unaffected by what they would have called the "modern world." Many of them were without electricity. The land, their families, religion, politics, and the war dominated their talk and thoughts. They learned about God from the family Bible and in tiny chapels along yellow-dust roads. Their newspaper, the Daily Post-Athenian, told them something of politics and war, but since it chose to avoid intrigue or scandal, a story that smacked of both could be found only in the conversations of the folks who milled about the courthouse lawn on Saturdays.

Since the Civil War, political offices in McMinn County had gone to the Republicans, but in the 1930s Tennessee began to fall under the control of Democratic bosses. To the west, in Shelby County, E.H. Crump, the Memphis mayor who had been ousted during his term for failing to enforce Prohibition, fathered what would become the state’s most powerful political machine. Crump eventually controlled most of Tennessee along with the governor’s office and a United States senator. In eastern Tennessee local and regional machines developed, which, lacking the sophistication and power of a Crump, relied on intimidation and violence to control their constituents.

In 1936 the system descended upon McMinn County in the person of one Paul Cantrell, the Democratic candidate for sheriff. Cantrell, who came from a family of money and influence in nearby Etowah, tied his campaign closely to the popularity of the Roosevelt administration and rode FDR’s coat tails to victory over his Republican opponent.

Fraud was suspected—to this day many Athens citizens firmly believe that ballot boxes were swapped—but there was no proof. Over the following months and years, however, those who questioned the election would see their suspicions vindicated. The laws of Tennessee provided an opportunity for the unscrupulous to prosper. The sheriff and his deputies received a fee for every person they booked, incarcerated, and released; the more human transactions, the more money they got. A voucher signed by the sheriff was all that was needed to collect the money from the courthouse. Deputies routinely boarded buses passing through and dragged sleepy-eyed passengers to the jail to pay their $16.50 fine for drunkenness, whether they were guilty or not. Arrests ran as high as 115 per weekend. The fee system was profitable, but record-keeping was required, and the money could be traced. It was less troublesome to collect kickbacks for allowing roadhouses to operate openly. Cooperative owners would point out influential patrons. They were not bothered, but the rest were subject to shakedowns. Prostitution, liquor, and gambling grew so prevalent that it became common knowledge in Tennessee that Athens was “wide open.”

Encouraged by his initial success, Cantrell began what would become a tenyear reign as the king of McMinn politics. In subsequent elections, ballot boxes were collected from the precincts and the results tabulated in secret at McMinn County Jail in Athens. Opposition poll watchers were labeled as troublemakers and ejected from precinct houses.

The 1940 election sent George Woods, a plump and affable Etowah crony of Cantrell, to the state legislature. Woods promptly introduced “An Act to Redistrict McMinn County.” It reduced the number of voting precincts from twenty-three to twelve and cut down the number of justices of the peace from fourteen to seven. Of these seven, four were openly Cantrell men. When Gov.Prentice Cooper signed Woods’s bill into law on February 15, 1941, effective Republican opposition died in McMinn County.

McMinn County Court, which was still dominated by Republicans, directed the county to purchase voting machines. The Cantrell Democrats countered by having Woods get a bill passed in Nashville abolishing the court and then selling the machines to “save the county money.” Department of Justice records show investigations of electoral fraud in McMinn County in 1940, 1942, and 1944 —all without resolution.

During the Civil War, deep from within secessionist territory, McMinn County had sided with the Union; in 1898 she had declared war on Spain two weeks before Washington got around to it. How could Cantrell have such undisputed control over a county noted for its independent and cantankerous spirit? One answer lies in the Second World War: 3,526 young men, or about 10 percent of McMinn’s population, went off to fight. Most of those left behind—older and perhaps more timid—contributed to the Cantrell machine’s growth by remaining silent. Still, as the war dragged on, people began to tell each other, “Wait until the GIs get back—things will be different.”

In the summer of 1945 veterans began returning home; by 1946 the streets of Athens overflowed with uniforms. The Cantrell forces were not worried.

The more GIs they arrested,” one vet recalled, “the more they beat up, the madder we got.”
Bill White recalled coming home from overseas with mustering-out pay in his pocket: “There were several beer joints and honky-tonks around Athens; we were pretty wild; we started having trouble with the law enforcement at that time because they started making a habit of picking up GIs and fining them heavily for most anything — they were kind of making a racket out of it.

“After long hard years of service—most of us were hard-core veterans of World War II—we were used to drinking our liquor and our beer without being molested. When these things happened, the GIs got madder—the more GIs they arrested, the more they beat up, the madder we got …”

At last the veterans chose to use the most basic right of the democracy for which they had gone to war: the right to vote. In the early months of 1946 they decided in secret meetings to field a slate of their own candidates for the August elections. In May they formed a nonpartisan political party.

As the election approached, there were few overt signs of impending trouble, although to the citizens of McMinn County it was apparent that something had to happen: there was too much at stake on both sides. The Daily Post-Athenian was characteristically silent. The most significant news item appeared on election eve, July 31,1946, at the bottom of page one: VFW members in neighboring Blount County said that four hundred and fifty veterans were ready to respond to any need in McMinn County. Above this was a report that Tony Pierce had killed a muskrat in his front yard.

The veterans fielded candidates for five offices, but interest centered on the race for sheriff between Knox Henry, who had served in the North African campaign, and Paul Cantrell. Since the 1936 election Cantrell had gone on to the legislature as state senator and installed Pat Mansfield as sheriff of McMinn County. A big, jovial sometime engineer for the Louisville & Nashville, Mansfield had done very nicely for himself during his term of office: his four years as sheriff had netted him an estimated $104,000. But now, in 1946, Cantrell was running for sheriff and Mansfield for state senator.

In the final week a flurry of advertisements appeared in the Post-Athenian; Cantrell enumerated the accomplishments of the Democratic party; Mansfield denied that two men arrested on July 30 with a shipment of liquor were deputies, even though they admitted they were and had been delivering “election whiskey”; downtown merchants announced that all stores would be closed on Election Day to give employees a chance to vote, although this had not been necessary in previous elections (the merchants were perhaps following the example of the mayor of Athens, Paul Walker, who would be vacationing on Election Day); Cantrell warned that the veterans had printed sample ballots with the intention of stuffing ballot boxes; the veterans offered a one-thousand-dollar reward for verifiable information about election fraud and repeated a slogan that for weeks had sounded again and again from their carmounted loudspeakers: YOUR VOTE WILL BE COUNTED AS CAST.

Two days before the election the GIs ran an advertisement in the Post-Athenian: “These young men fought and won a war for good government. They know what it takes and what it means to have a clean government—and they are energetic enough, honest enough and intelligent enough to give us good, clean government.” A couple of pages farther on, the Democrats had their say: “Look at the facts—and you will vote for the Democratic ticket. The campaign fight is as old as the hills—it is the story of the outs wanting back in.”

The next day, the paper reported that veterans from Blount County had offered to come help watch the polls. Mansfield began building an army of his own. “It has come to my attention,” he announced, “that certain elements intend to create a disturbance at and around the polls. … In order to see that law and order is maintained … I will have several hundred deputies patrolling the county.” He hired all of them from outside the county, some from out of state.They would crowd inside every voting precinct. And they would be armed.

August 1, 1946: Election Day found voters lined up early in the largest turnout in local history. Joining them were some three hundred of Sheriff Mansfield’s special deputies. Trouble began early. At 9:30 A.M. Walter Ellis, a legally appointed GI representative at the first precinct in the courthouse, was arrested and jailed for protesting irregularities.

2ndAmendmentSirens wailed throughout the morning, and police cruisers were seen speeding toward the jail. GIs began gathering on Washington Street outside L. L. Shaefer’s jewelry store, which served as an office for their campaign manager, Jim Buttram, who had seen action in Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Normandy. Above the door a sign read: “Phone 787, Jim Buttram,” the number to which voters were to report election fraud. Only after prolonged pounding did a harried Buttram cautiously open the door to his comrades. As more than two hundred GIs filled the small store, the somber mood of their leader told them they were in trouble. He showed them copies of two telegrams dated July 22: one he had addressed to Gov. Jim McCord, Nashville, Tennessee; the other to Att. Gen. Tom Clark, Washington, D.C. They requested assistance to ensure a fair election.Neither had been answered.

Otto Kennedy, not an ex-GI himself but a political adviser to the veterans, entered the office and announced that Cantrell had posted armed guards at each precinct. They all knew that this move was in preparation for the 4:00 P.M. poll closings when the ballot boxes would be moved to the jail for counting. A small group of the veterans demanded an armed mobilization and called for a leader. Buttram declined. So did Kennedy, but he offered the rear of his Essankay Garage and Tire Shop across the street as a meeting hall.

The group crossed the street, held a meeting, and agreed that those who did not have weapons should get them and return as quickly as possible.

The Chronology of The Battle of Athens

Election Day, August 1, 1946

9:00 am

Voting poles opened. Voter turn out was heavy.

The First Flare Up — Precinct 1 (Courthouse)

The Jailing of Walter Ellis

Shortly after 10:00 am

Conflicting reports as to when Walter Ellis, GI election judge was arrested, one account says 9:30, another says shortly after 10:00 am, but the overall details are consistent. Ellis was summarily arrested and hauled off to the county jail. He was replaced by Fred West. Dispute over who exactly Fred West was immediately erupted. The sheriff’s office described West as another GI; Jim Buttram, the GI ticket manager described him as a deputy sheriff and local bartender.

Ellis was held incommunicado at the county jail, and Sheriff Mansfield’s men flatly declined to permit either reporters or Buttram to see him. Magistrate Herman Moses, when asked what charges had been placed declared Ellis had "attempted to perpetrate a fraud" by marking ballots in Precinct 1, at the courthouse. Buttram admitted frankly he did not know what had happened in the voting precinct prior to Ellis’ arrest but said Sheriff Mansfield’s men refused to permit him to make bond for Ellis or to tell him what charges had been placed against the ex-GI.

The Courthouse (Precinct 1)

11:00 am-2:00 pm

The corridor of the courthouse was crowded with voters, both men and women.Ellis already had been removed, but evidently in fear of some disorder, about 20 deputies, hands on pistols, and blackjacks ready, pushed through the crowd to the voting precinct.

This overgrown combat squad was reinforced by several uniformed and armed city policemen and a state highway patrolman with his hand fingering a heavy revolver.

The deputies ranged themselves around the voting precinct and several, including one dressed like a character from a western movie, placed themselves on the steps where they could watch the entire corridor. Ex-servicemen regard the day’s proceedings with varying attitudes but most of them displayed a bitterness seldom seen in the fighting lines. One ex-soldier watching the guarded vote counting before it was moved to the county jail said: "Over there we had something to fight back with." Another remarked, "We just aren’t well enough organized and we haven’t got guns. We haven’t got a chance with this gestapo."

"This is causing a lot of bitterness, and a lot of it will come later today," a man remarked.

The Shooting of Tom Gillespie

Precinct 11, Athens Water Company Building

2:45 pm

Tom Gillespie, a [black] farmer came into the Athens Water Company building, which was serving as the 11th Precinct, to vote. It is not clear which of Cantrell’s men positioned himself behind Gillespie to observe his vote but when he was observed to be preparing to vote "the wrong way" the Cantrell man told Gillespie, "You’ll have to get out of here. You’re voting in the wrong precinct."

3:00 pm

Gillespie protested to Deputy Windy Wise, "I’ve always voted here before."

For this monumental impertinence, Wise slugged Gillespie with brass knuckles and shot him with what was said to be a U.S. Army .45 as he stumbled out the door. Gillespie suffered a flesh wound in the small of the back and was taken off by deputy sheriffs for what they said would be treatment.

Just to show that the racial question didn’t enter into this travesty-on-an-election, the gold starred deputies directed their attention to the GI election clerks and women who were witnessing the count.

Apparently, their presence was embarrassing to the professional election thieves. Election Judge (and deputy sheriff) Karl Neil, pistol on hip, ordered Mrs H. A. Vestal and five other women to leave the polls. "Get out!" said Neil.

The women stood their ground. "We have a right to watch you count the ballots," one said.

Go on, get out of here!" shouted Neil, and the women filed out, protesting.

This wasn’t enough. Four GI’s remained to keep the ballot thieves in line. They were James Edward Vestal (Mrs. Vestal’s son), Charles Scott, Jr., Charley Hyde, and J. P. Cartwright.

The [Cantrell] machine had six of its bigger bicep boys there, three wearing sidearms. Deputy Neil then ordered Cartwright and Hyde to "go up in the front and sit down." They said they couldn’t see the count from there. "Go on up front and sit down, you don’t have to see us count ’em." snarled a muscular thug.

Cartwright said he wouldn’t stay if he couldn’t witness the count, so he and Hyde left. This left Vestal and Scott as the only GI watchers for Precinct 11.

When Cartwright and Hyde emerged, a roar of anger went up from the hundreds of citizens across the street. The eight or nine deputies in front of the waterworks office fingered their weapons. Charles Scott, Sr. sent word in to his son and Vestal to "come on out. We don’t want you boys alone in there with those gangsters."

GI Judge Bob Hairrell Beaten 3:15 pm

Bob Hairrell, GI judge, beaten by Minis Wilburn, officer of the election, 12 precinct, North White Street, Athens.

The First Poll Closing (Illegally)

12th Precinct, Dixie Café

3:55 pm

The first closing come at the 12th Precinct, back of the Dixie Café and next to the county jail. The legal closing time was 4 pm. The door was locked and Sheriff Mansfield’s men lifted an automobile to the sidewalk, placed it directly in front of the precinct door. Two other cars were placed across the narrow alley to block access to the area of the voting place, and sheriff’s deputies, hands on their pistols, guard against entry into the area.

4:15 pm?

While GIs watched with a scowl Sheriff Mansfield and a dozen of his deputies piled into two cars and drove off to the 11th Precinct at the Water Commission office. There, deputies, with guns ready, kept all observers away from the sidewalk in front of the office, and a throng of several hundred watched silently from across the street.

Vote Counting

11th Precinct, Water Commission Office

4:20 pm?

Inside, according to stories the GIs told later, Charles Scott, Jr., and James Howard Vestal, watchers for the GI ticket, were ordered to take seats in front of the room, while the vote counting, by Cantrell men, went on at the rear. Vestal and Scott demanded that they either be permitted to see the ballots or be allowed to leave the area. The sheriff’s men refused and ordered them to, "Sit down, you’re staying right here." They sat down. A few minutes later, Scott told the machine politicians again that they were leaving. At this, the machine men barricaded the ex-GIs behind a counter and locked the door.

4:45 pm.

"We jumped on the counter, climbed over it and tried to get out. The door was locked," Vestal said "and Charlie hit it with his shoulder. They were right at us and trying to slug us with knuckles and their guns. He broke the glass and we stumbled through. Charlie was cut around the shoulders. I got cut a little too, and fell down coming through the door." The door was a plate glass set in a wood frame.

A Sickening Sight

Then over a thousand people witnessed a sickening sight. Vestal who was until January of this year a first lieutenant in the army engineers corps and twice wounded in the Pacific, scrambled to his feet, blood dripping from a gash in his left hand. Scott too, picked himself up. Through the broken glass, immediately on their heels squirmed Deputy Sheriff Wendy Wise, a shiny .38 revolver poked out in front of his nose. He shouted something which was lost in the moan which went through the crowd. Women screamed; one shouted, "Oh, god, here it comes." From a long line of ex-soldiers on the sidewalk across the street came gasp’s, then cries "let’s go get ’em!"; "No, we got no guns, stay away from them .45s." Vestal and Scott, whether heeding Wise’s orders or through quick instinct, threw their hands high above their heads and walked slowly and alone across the empty street to the refuge of the crowd. Wise leveled his revolver at their backs, then whirled with the instinct of the gunman to one side and then the other to insure against a potshot at himself from the crowd — then aimed again at the backs of the veterans. George Spurling, another deputy, popped up at Wise’s side and slowly brought his pistol down in the direction of the retreating boys, aiming either at them or some of the jeering GIs on the sidewalk to which they were going. He and Wise for a few seconds gave every appearance of being trigger happy. It seemed to us, standing just across the street, that Spurling was in the act of pressing his trigger when another deputy half grabbed his arm, gave him a half-dozen swift slaps in the ribs as a signal not to fire. As Vestal and Scott completed their long, measured march, their GI comrades, boiling mad by now, cried to Wise and other deputies, "Throw down your guns and come out in the street and we’ll fight you man for man.

4:50 pm

Wise ducked back into the Water Commission Office.

4:55 pm

But further activity was forestalled when Chief Deputy Boe Dunn drove up in a blue sedan, with two ex-soldiers, Felix Harrod, election clerk, and Tom Dooley, election judge, for the all GI ticket were, being forcibly held and transported by Dunn’s group, as six men piled out. The deputies formed a cordon from the precinct to the car and Dunn himself went in and stole the ballot box. At least 15 pistols were trained on the citizens of Athens as the deputies rolled away with the ballot box. They went straight to the county jail. Several citizens broke from the crowd, shouting, "Get your guns, boys, get your guns!"

Vestal and Scott Taken To The Hospital

Vestal’s wounds were treated by Dr. C.O. Foree in the physician’s clinic. Two stitches were required to close the slash on his ankle. He also suffered a cut hand. Vestal was a first lieutenant in the 3rd Combat Engineers, 24th Division.He was overseas 30 months, was hit by a Jap hand grenade once and wounded by artillery fire once. "How did today compare to fighting overseas?" he was asked. He was quiet for a moment. "Well, today it made you madder than it did over there. And it was closer range."

First Violent Incident in McMinn County

Kennedy’s Essankay Tire Company

5:10 pm

W. O. Kennedy, Republican election commissioner and crowd of veterans walked to Kennedy’s garage and tire shop near the center of town. Two deputies, with badges and sidearms walked toward the crowd. This was a mistake as this was most assuredly seen in the abstract a representation of a decade of tyranny and oppression of a despotic government, the Cantrell political machine. The crowd was quickly inflamed at the arrogance of the two deputies and suddenly there were yells of "Kill them, kill them" sounded in the streets. The deputies drew their guns and prepared to shoot down anyone who came near.

It is the trained and instinctive nature of veterans of war to react offensively at such an oppressive act committed by the deputies. Otto Kennedy and his civilian task force accepted the challenge. They rushed across the street and overwhelmed the two deputies before the pair could choose a target for their fire.

W. O. Kennedy, his two brothers and several other furious vets attacked the deputies with a proper assault and battery upon their faces and ripping their clothes.

The crowds packing the main square heard of an impending attack by the sheriff’s force and rushed to the scene.

First False Alarm

Cries of "here they come" sent the onlookers scattering wildly for shelter but the garage garrison stood firm and waited for the assault. When no more gunmen appeared alter five minutes the crowd came out from the hedges, homes and parked cars.

By now there were literally thousands of people — mostly men — strung along a three-block area. They were frightened people, and people who were ashamed of their town’s politics, but something in the attitude of these embattled veterans held them.

Second Alarm Netted Two More Deputies

The veterans waited. The mob huddled back against the store as soon as the shot came. Another thunderous warning, "Here they come," emptied the streets.It was an anti-climax. There were no onrush carloads of deputies. Only two deputies appeared.

They had guns of course. But the group at the garage had two guns now. Kennedy’s rangers made short work of them as they had the first two. The second pair were marched into the garage to join the first pair. Chattanooga Times reporter Richard Rogers attempted to mingle among the crowd when he was spotted as an unrecognizable intruder by a veteran and that veteran challenged him for his business being there. The reporter identified himself and was promptly escorted into the garage were the captured deputies were. In any act of revolt there is the human nature to extract the same king of punishment upon the tyrannical proponents that they had inflicted upon the citizenry. The veteran guards over the four deputies, in using intimidation and humiliation tactics common in any war goaded any one or all the deputies to attempt anything to give justification in the veteran’s desire to shoot them, saying "Go ahead, you sons of ——–. I’d love to kill every ——— one of you. The reporter’s escort pushed him closer to the deputies quite possibly to provide the reporter the opportunity to interview the prisoners, saying to the deputies, "Here’s a reporter."

Third Alarm Nets Three More Deputies

This interview arrangement was interrupted with another alarm warning from outside. "Here they come!" The reporter’s escort spun around, and ran outside again. One guard ran after him. This left the four deputies with one veteran guard and the reporter. The lone guard threatened the prisoners saying, "If those guys get in here and get me, I’ll kill you first." Another yell bellowed from the street. A veteran stuck his head through the door and shouted "Watch out! They’re going to rush us." The reporter ducked behind a stack of tires.

Just then there came the loudest most frightening, skin crawling roar of voices those people could emit. The reporter saw the lone guard waving one gun in his direction and upon seeing its muzzle, comparing it to the size of Chattanooga’s Braided Tunnel, he jumped through the window which was behind him and the stack of tires. AthensBattle

Now out on the street the reporter had seen that the crowd had grown and saw one carrying a 12-gauge shotgun and another had a repeating rifle. Unexpectedly, three deputies appeared on the street. Two were overcome immediately. The third was overpowered by Otto Kennedy, throwing himself upon the larger man, shoved his own .45 against the fellow’s face and the fight went out of the deputy. That was the last capture of the engagement.

Transport Seven Captured Deputies Out of Town

5:30 p.m.

The crowd remained in the streets. The veterans pleaded for volunteers to haul the deputies out of town, and one by one, citizens came forward with automobiles.

One of these was an aged gentleman who operates a hardware store near the Essankay garage. He introduced himself as Emmett Johnson. "Do you live in Athens, sir?"

"I do. And today I’m ashamed of my home. These gangsters have disgraced us. If the boys want my car they can have it. They can have anything. They should have started cleaning up on those crooks a long time ago." As the deputies lives were in grave danger they were put into cars and driven out of town. Then the crowd was told to scatter. The crowd reluctantly dispersed.

W. O. Kennedy Interviewed By Five Chattanooga Times Staff Reporters Kennedy agreed to an interview with the Chattanooga Times. Five of the Times staff drove a mile into the country to Kennedy’s home. At the Kennedy home were Otto Kennedy introducing his brothers J.P. and C.O.; J.B. Adams, his son-in-law, and Frank McCracken.

Otto Kennedy revealed the deputies were out-of-towners. And one claimed he got arrested this morning on a traffic charge and instead of paying the fine they made him a deputy and gave him a gun.

Second Ballot Box Taken To Jail

6:35 pm

The sheriff’s men, assisted by state highway patrolmen and city policemen removed the automobile from in front of Precinct 12 (Dixie Café) and carried the ballot box into the McMinn County bastille, where presumably, Ellis and several other GIs still were being held incommunicado. As the sheriff’s men carried the box across the jailhouse lawn, they were preceded by two men armed with shotguns and followed by four more equipped with heavy-gauge shotguns and high-powered rifles. Apparently pistols, of which several hundred were on display, were not longer considered to handle the occasion.

GI’s Gather At GI Headquarters

7:30 p.m.

GI’s Converge On The Jail

8:45 p.m.

A crowd of about 500 armed with pistols and light rifles moved on the jail.

Battle Begins

9:00 pm

Ralph Duggan, a former Navy lieutenant commander and a leader of the ex-GI’s GIsandBattleofAthenssaid the crowd was "met by gun fire" and because they had "promised that the ballots would be counted as cast," they had "no choice but to meet fire with fire." Violence flared anew with GIs reported firing on the county jail. Shooting began around 9:00 pm for the first time. Sheriff Pat Mansfield Interviewed By Chattanooga Daily Times Via Telephone

10:00 pm

Sheriff Pat Mansfield breaks off telephone conversations to Chattanooga Daily Times, stating "I can’t talk anymore — there’s mob violence at the County Jail right now. Things are too hot here now. I haven’t got time to talk to you — I’m standing in front of the door." he said hurriedly as he hung up the telephone.

Sheriff Pat Mansfield and Deputies Threaten Hostages

11:00 pm

Sheriff Pan Mansfield and deputies threatened to kill three GI hostages held within the jailhouse. The three GI hostages are Felix Harrod, Tom Dooley and Walter Ellis.

Thousands of Rounds Exchanged

11:35 pm-12:40 am

Thousands of rounds of shots were exchanged between ex-GIs and an estimated 75 deputies barricaded in the McMinn County jail. No state guardsman had arrived at 12:40. Former soldiers were pouring lead into every opening in the brick jail. The officers’ returning fire was weakening. Some GIs were firing from ground level across White Street. Others were on roofs on the Power Company Building and other near-by structures.

Tennessee State Guard Mobilized?

12:00 am (midnight)

State Adj.-Gen. Hilton Butler announced that he was mobilizing the Sixth Regiment of the State Guard in connection with election violence in McMinn County. This report was later proven untrue.

GIs Cut Telephone Lines To The Jail

1:00 am

GIs cut telephone lines to the jail. The officers, inside the jail, were out of ammunition or running extremely low. Firing of the GIs included rapid bursts of 10 or more shots. Apparently they were using some automatic rifles.

Last Warning! Deputies Threaten Hostages’ Lives

2:00 am

Deputies sent out last warning that they would kill three GI hostages within the jail immediately if the firing did not end.

GIs Replied With Ultimatum Of Their Own

2:20 am

GIs issued an ultimatum to the deputies to come out with hands upraised or the crowd would rush the jail.

GIs Escalate The Fight With Use of Dynamite

2:59 am

The ex-GIs went into action with demolition charges — home made, but effective. After a fourth blast had rocked the jail one of the deputies leaned from the building and shouted "Stop that blasting. We’ll give up — we’re dying in here. Firing continued a few moments then stopped.

The Deputies Surrendered

3:02-3:30 a.m.

The officers began filing out of the battered building. They were searched, and roughly, by the attackers and marched back into the building to be locked in cells under guard of the ex-GIs. When Wyse came out, several in the crowd surged forward and mauled him with fists and elbows before he could be returned to comparative safety of the bullet scarred jail.

Riots & Destruction Begin

3:45 a.m.

Automobiles belonging to deputy sheriffs overturned in streets, smashed and burned.

4:00 a.m. Sunrise.

Battle over. The veterans armed with rifles were patrolling the streets to maintain order by sunrise.

George Woods Concedes

5:00 a.m.

By telephone George Woods concedes GI victory.

Paul Cantrell Concedes Defeat

7:05 am

Frank Cantrell, Mayor of Etowah issued the following statement: "In behalf of my brother Paul Cantrell, I wish to concede the election to the G.I. candidates in order to prevent further shooting. (Signed) Frank Cantrell.

Deputies Released From Jail 9:00 a.m.

GIs Disperse 10:00 a.m.

Three-man Commission Elected

4:00 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3

Three man commission chosen as governing body by mass meeting at Court House. Volunteers by hundreds offer assistance in setting up government framework.

Cleansing & Restoration

4:00 p.m. Friday to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3

Curious crowds mill streets as the new government cleans up "hot-spots." Beer sales banned. Town is orderly.

Rumored Biggs-Mansfield Invasion Sets GIs On Alert

9:00 p.m. Saturday

Rumor and newspaper story from Knoxville sets off high strung nerves with the report that Biggs and Mansfield will attempt to storm Athens.

1,500 Citizens Converge On Athens

9:00 pm

Fifteen hundred citizens pour into Athens with firearms to back the new government. Telephone calls from neighboring cities pledge aid if needed in defense of the town.

GIs on Patrol

7:00 p.m. Saturday Aug. 3 to Sunrise Sunday, Aug. 4

Athens is patrolled by GIs and citizens.

George Woods Returns to McMinn County Under GI Escort

4:00 p.m. Sunday, August 4

G-I CLAIM ELECTION TO OFFICE — ISSUE STATEMENT

This special announcement was hand to the Daily Post-Athenian and Radio Station WLAR at 3:02 A.M. by the Non-Partisan Candidates for immediate release shortly before the exodus of imprisoned officials in the county jail:

"The G-I election officials went to the polls unarmed to have a fair election, as Pat Mansfield promised. They were met with black-jacks and pistols.

"Several G-I officials were beaten and the ballot boxes were moved to the jail.The G-I supporters went to the jail to get these ballot boxes and were met by gunfire.

"The G-I candidates had promised that the votes would be counted as cast. They had no choice but to meet fire with fire.

"In the precincts where the G-I candidates were allowed watchers they led by three to one majorities.

"THE G-Is ARE ELECTED AND WILL SERVE AS YOUR COUNTY OFFICIALS BEGINNING SEPT. 1st, 1946."

BattleofAthensTheVetsThe G-I Candidates, thus claiming election to officer are:
Knox Henry — Sheriff
Frank Carmichael — Trustee
Bill Hamby — Circuit Court Clerk
Charlie Pickle — Register of Deeds
Campaign Manager for the G-Is was Jim Buttram.

George Woods returns to McMinn County under protection by the GI-Citizens Government.

Sheriff Mansfield Resigned

5:00 p.m. Sunday

Word is received from Nashville that Mansfield had resigned as sheriff.

George Woods Declares GI’s Elected

10:00 a.m. Monday, August 5

George Woods signs election certificate declaring GIs officially McMinn County Officers.

 

We may deplore the use of force but we must also recognize the lesson which this incident points for us all. When the majority of the people know what they want, they will obtain it.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt wife of  FDR

Youtube:

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1932 – 1938 : Gun Control–Kristallnacht-Holocaust Begins

HitlerGunControlRaiseRtHand

 First: 1932 Registering All Firearms : Weimar Republic

Second: 1933  Nazi’s use registration to track down ‘Enemies of the State’ Jews and collect their guns

Third: 1938 November 9th – 10th: Having confiscated Jewish guns  Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) begins

Fourth: 2013 Will history repeat in America for the Tea Party by the O administration?

BY HALBROOK in the Washington Times : What made the Nazi Holocaust possible? Gun control

gun_control_Enemies-of-the-state

This week marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, the Nazi pogrom against Germany ’s Jews on Nov. 9-10, 1938. Historians have documented most everything about it except what made it so easy to attack the defenseless Jews without fear of resistance. Their guns were registered and thus easily confiscated.

To illustrate, turn the clock back further and focus on just one victim, a renowned German athlete. Alfred Flatow won first place in gymnastics at the 1896 Olympics . In 1932, he dutifully registered three handguns, as required by a decree of the liberal Weimar Republic. The decree also provided that in times of unrest, the guns could be confiscated. The government gullibly neglected to consider that only law-abiding citizens would register, while political extremists and criminals would not. However, it did warn that the gun-registration records must be carefully stored so they would not fall into the hands of extremists.

The ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler , seized power just a year later, in 1933. The Nazis immediately used the firearms-registration records to identify, disarm and attack “enemies of the state,” a euphemism for Social Democrats and other political opponents of all types. Police conducted search-and-seizure operations for guns and “subversive” literature in Jewish communities and working-class neighborhoods.

Jews were increasingly deprived of more and more rights of citizenship in the coming years. The Gestapo cautioned the police that it would endanger public safety to issue gun permits to Jews . Hitler faked a show of tolerance for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but Flatow refused to attend the reunion there of former champions. He was Jewish and would not endorse the farce.

By fall of 1938, the Nazis were ratcheting up measures to expropriate the assets of Jews . To ensure that they had no means of resistance, the Jews were ordered to surrender their firearms.

AlfredflatowFlatow walked into a Berlin police station to comply with the command and was arrested on the spot, as were other Jews standing in line. The arrest report confirmed that his pistols were duly registered, which was obviously how the police knew he had them. While no law prohibited a Jew from owning guns, the report recited the Nazi mantra: “Jews in possession of weapons are a danger to the German people.” Despite his compliance, Flatow was turned over to the Gestapo and died later in the Theresienstadt concentration camp,

People aware of this history are concerned about the public pronouncements by the 2008-2016 United States Administration, saying that ‘Tea Party’ people are Bible waving, intolerant Christian, gun toting terrorists.

This scenario took place all over Germany — firearms were confiscated from all Jews registered as gun owners. As this was occurring, a wholly irrelevant event provided just the excuse needed to launch a violent attack on the Jewish community: A Polish teenager who was Jewish shot a German diplomat in Paris.The stage was set to instigate Kristallnacht, a carefully orchestrated Nazi onslaught against the entire Jewish community in Germany that horrified the world and even the German public.

Under the pretense of searching for weapons, Jewish homes were vandalized, businesses ransacked and synagogues burned. Jews were terrorized, beaten and killed. Orders were sent to shoot anyone who resisted.

SS head Heinrich Himmler decreed that possession of a gun by a Jew was punishable by 20 years in a concentration camp. An estimated 20,000 Jewish men were thrown into such camps for this reason or just for being Jewish. The Jewish community was then held at ransom to pay for the damage done by the Nazis.

These horrific events were widely reported in the American media, such as The New York Times. After Hitler launched World War II, the United States made preparations in case it was dragged into the conflict. Just before the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress passed a law noting the Gestapo methods and declaring that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms may not be infringed by such measures as registration of firearms.

rows_of_bodies_of_dead_inmates_Gestapo_concentration_campJudenstern_JMWKristallnacht has been called “the day the Holocaust began.Flatow ’s footsteps can be followed to see why. He would be required to wear the Star of David. In 1942, he was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he starved to death.

  • Works about Theresienstadt

    Documentary films:

    Drama films/TV movies: (featured in particular episodes of the series)

    Plays:

    • Way To Heaven (Himmelweg) (2005), by Juan Mayorga, an award-winning Spanish playwright, inspired by the visit of the Red Cross to Theresienstadt. The play has been produced world-wide, including London, Paris, Madrid, Buenos Aires and, in 2009, 2010-2011, New York City and Sydney.
    • Dreams of Beating Time 1994 by Roy Kift. A play about the classical musicians in Terezin, most especially the conductor Kurt Singer, and the parallel career of Wilhelm Fürtwängler in Germany.
    • Camp Comedy 1998 by Roy Kift. The play deals with the dilemma of the German cabaret start Kurt Gerron when he was "requested" by the Nazis to make a documentary film about the "sweet lives" of the Jewish inmates in the camp. It contains original songs and texts from the Karussell cabaret. The play is published by the University of Wisconsin Press in "The Theatre of the Holocaust. Vol 2". It was premiered in Legnica (Liegnitz) Poland in September 2012 under the title "Komedia Obozowa" and subsequently invited to the annual Warsaw Theatre Meeting in April 2013. It won the "Broken Barrier" award as the best play at the 24th "Without Borders" Theatre Festival in Cieszyn (Poland) and Cieszyn (Czech Republic) in June 2013.

    Music:

    • Canadian musician Ruth Fazal has composed Oratorio Terezin, a full-length production scored for orchestra, children’s choir, adult choir, and three vocal soloists. The oratorio is based on children’s poetry from Terezín combined with passages from the Hebrew scriptures. It premiered in Toronto in November 2003, and subsequently visited concert halls in Prague, Brno, Vienna and Bratislava during March 2004. In May 2005 a tour of Israel included Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Karmiel, and it was the main cultural event of Holocaust Memorial Day in Tel Aviv on May 5, 2005. The US premiere took place in February 2007 at the Tilles Centre on Long Island, and at Carnegie Hall, New York City.[43]

One wonders what thoughts may have occurred to Flatow in his last days. Perhaps memories of the Olympics and of a better Germany flashed before his eyes. Did he have second thoughts about whether he should have registered his guns in 1932? Or whether he should have obediently surrendered his firearms at a Berlin police station in 1938 as ordered by Nazi decree, only to be taken into Gestapo custody? Did he fantasize about shooting Nazis? We will never know, but it is difficult to imagine that he had no regrets over his act of compliance.  Note: Alred Flatow died inTheresienstadt concentration camp.

Today, gun control, registration and prohibition are depicted as benign and progressive.

Government should register gun owners and ban any guns it wishes, Americans are told, because government is inherently good and trustworthy. The experiences of Hitler ’s Germany and, for that matter, Stalin’s Russia and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, are beneath the realm of possibility in exceptional America. Let’s hope so.

Still, be careful what you wish for.

Stephen Halbrook is research fellow with the Independent Institute and author “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and ‘Enemies of the State’” (Independent Institute, 2013).

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