Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mission vollendete

I'm currently reading Siege: A Novel of the Eastern Front, 1942 by Russ Schneider, written in approximately 1999 (Schneider died in 2000, or year 1 BB--before Bush). In the section I just read, Schneider described conditions in the German homeland in the spring of 1942, while the Wehrmacht was stalled in brutal combat in Russia:
The civilians seemed strangely unconcerned, almost as if there were no war. It was as if war and the fear of war had ended with the conquest of France and the expulsion of the British back to their miserable pigheaded island, two years before, and the feeling of relief and gratitude this had produced seemed still to persist. What was happening in Russia was an enormous and barely comprehensible thing that seemed as far away as the Pacific Ocean, which they read about in newspapers.

Deep down they might have worried, but this was too abstract and their worries were more mundane affairs related to their jobs and families, drinking and eating, going about their daily business.

Hitler--even while consumed with bringing war to distant regions of the earth--paradoxically fostered the notion that the war was essentially over, so that the German people might feel tranquility and also gratitude for his endeavors; and his people tended to believe this because they wanted to believe it, even amidst their own doubts.
("Mission vollendete" is German for "Mission accomplished.")

I was having lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant today, overhearing snippets of conversations:
  • "How are you surviving without air conditioning?" "Oh, I bought two window units."
  • "'Batman Begins' is the best of all of the Batman movies."
  • "There's this steakhouse downtown--it costs like $70 per person, but man is it worth it!"
Oh well, there were probably people who danced on the Titanic until their feet got wet. And having lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant may well be an unaffordable luxury in the near future.