That’ll Show ‘Em

To the long list of stiff upper lip-wielding Brits, including the Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, Sir Francis Drake who defeated the Spanish Armada and Henry V, the king who defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt, we may add King George VI, father of the current Queen Elisabeth.

King George woke one desperate May morning in 1940 to a call from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who was just then desperately holed up in an air raid shelter in a palace garden against an ongoing assault from the Germans.

“She begged me to send aircraft for the defense of Holland. I passed this message on to everyone concerned & went back to bed.”

Attaboy.

Quoted in Last Hope Island by Lynne Olsen.

Quotes: On the Berlin Wall

Remarkable. According to Leonid Bershidsky writing on another matter at Bloomberg, the Berlin Wall has been down now for as long as it stood:

“The Berlin Wall divided the city for 28 years, two months and 28 days starting Aug. 13, 1961. It ended on Nov. 9, 1989, when Guenter Schabowski, a top East German official, erroneously announced that crossing into West Berlin was now permitted. Now that the same amount of time — 28 years, two months and 28 days — has passed, it’s fitting that the next German government is expected to end the solidarity tax created to even out economic differences between both sides.”

These photos are from a few weeks later, New Year’s Eve in 1989, the only time I’m pretty sure I was where the most important thing happening on earth was happening that day.

Just off to the left of the midnight photo, David Hasselhoff had been standing way up in a bucket raised above the crowd, singing all night. Okay, so there’s no accounting for taste.

Best Photos

This guy lives in the Munich zoo. He’s from my other web site, EarthPhotos.com, where there are some 20,000 photos from over 100 countries. Check it out.

Here are the four most viewed photos there, as of today:

Tree climbing lion, Ishasha, Uganda

Vegetable market alongside the huge fish market in Hoi An, Vietnam

Balloon ride over Cappadocia, Turkey

And here, masters of the(ir) universe, in an office block along Oxford Street, London at quitting time

Explore all 20,000 photos.

The European Question

In light of German politicians’ inability to form a government, the German Question has been turned on its head. Post-Cold War, the German Question asked how the unification of East and West Germany might be achieved without creating an economic and political juggernaut, with all the baggage that prospect carried.

Suddenly now, wonders Handelsblatt Global, is Germany “becoming incapable of assuming enough leadership to guide and champion Europe in a globalized world?” In the same week, Matthew Engel’s Travels in Belgium, the dysfunctional, fractured state at the heart of the EU reminds us that that country “went 589 days in 2010-11 without a fully-formed government.”

Meanwhile, Brexit still means Brexit and we can all see how that’s working out. Just ask, (among just about anybody else) anyone living along the once and future Republican/Northern Irish border.

Can European governments govern? That is the new European Question.

Quotes: The German East/West Divide

Every single one of the country’s 500 richest families is from West Germany. The 30 biggest publicly traded companies are managed by a total of 190 board members, and all but three of them are West Germans. Even in the hundred largest East German companies (not that they are very large), two thirds of the top management jobs are held by West Germans.

And so it continues: Out of 200 generals or admirals in the German army, two are East Germans. Out of 22 university directors in East Germany, three are East Germans. East Germany has 13 regional newspapers, yet West Germans manage all but two of them.

Remarkable numbers from Bettina Vestring in the Berlin Policy Journal.

Live Tweeting World War Two

A man who works at the Museum of London named Alwyn Collinson is live-Tweeting (for the next six years!) events as they happened on this date in 1939. Here is his Twitter feed.