Of Guns and the Holocaust

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An ongoing argument among pro-gun activists I’ve often heard is the Nazi Gun Control Argument, which claims that Third Reich gun regulations rendered victims of the Holocaust weaker to such an extent that they could’ve effectively resisted oppression if they had been armed or better armed. Gun rights proponents and organizations like the National Rifle Association use this notion as part of its “security against tyranny” argument. They’ve also cited other authoritarian regimes that committed atrocities like Khmer Rouge, Stalinist Russia, and whatever totalitarian regime. Since the Parkland students have called for gun control legislation after 17 of their classmates were killed, the argument that a “well-armed populace is the best defense against tyranny” has been proliferated with a vengeance. During a debate shortly after the February shooting, Alaska’s Rep. Don Young said, “How many millions were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia because their citizens were unarmed. How many Jews were put in ovens because they were unarmed?” During a Florida Senate debate over an assault weapons ban, Sen. David Simmons claimed, “Adolf Hitler confiscated all the weapons-took all the weapons, had a registry for everybody,” before murdering his political opponents. This week, Iowa Rep. Steve King posted a meme noting Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez’s Cuban heritage and attacking her for ignoring “the fact that your ancestors fled the island when the dictatorship turned Cuba into a prison camp, after removing all weapons from its citizens; hence, the right to self-defense.”

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Sorry, but Adolf Hitler and his Nazi friends weren’t exactly gun control fans. In fact, they loved their guns. They encouraged children as young as five to march with them and told them nursery rhymes that glorified weaponry. To them, as long as you were a member of the German Master Race, you can stockpile as many firearms as you wanted in order to terrorize all the undesirables at your pleasure. Wikipedia lists the Nazi gun control argument as counterfactual history because most scholars believe that the disarming and killing of Jews had nothing to do with Nazi gun control policy.

However, the very notion that a widespread genocide, totalitarian regime, and other human rights atrocities could’ve been prevented by more private gun ownership is completely wrong. Even today, there is little evidence to suggest that widespread private gun ownership leads to more to more democratic societies. According to the Small Arms Survey rankings from 2007, while the US leads the world in civilian gun ownership (88.8 firearms per 100), but it’s followed by Yemen (54.8). You can argue its well-armed population overthrew an authoritarian leader, but civil war and humanitarian catastrophe following that undermine the case. While Switzerland (45.7) and Finland (45.3) also make the top 10. But also does Saudi Arabia (35), the world’s largest absolute monarchy with rules derived from Wahabist Islamic fundamentalism. And, until recently, famously prohibited women from driving. Iraq is also up there (34.2) which had a well-established gun culture under Saddam Hussein’s rule, which didn’t prevent him from committing genocide and mass murder. Yet, it did contribute to the chaos that ensued after the US overthrew him. Another country with a high rate of gun ownership is Bahrain (24.8) which didn’t help the failed uprising against its autocratic government in 2011. Nor did high gun ownership rates prevent a string of military coups in Thailand (15.6) or keep Venezuela (10.7) from descending into authoritarianism and economic chaos. By contrast, while North Korea virtually has no guns in private hands, neither do South Korea and Japan. Then there’s the sub-Saharan Ghana, one of Africa’s most peaceful and democratic countries which has one of the lowest rates of gun ownership. Another is Tunisia who not only overthrew its dictator in 2011 (with military assistance), but is the only one of the Arab Spring countries that has remained relatively democratic and stable since then. From what the data shows, countries with lots of guns consist of democracies and dictatorships, peacefully orderly societies, and failed states. Same goes for nations with few guns. It shouldn’t even be a debate talking point.

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Here’s a picture from the Stroop Report during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Notice the Nazis basically forcing these people to put their hands up. Yes, it’s simply horrifying.

Furthermore, claiming that the Holocaust could’ve been prevented if more people were armed is misleading and offensive. Just ask the Jewish groups, Holocaust scholars, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum who have all repeatedly called for Nazi analogies to stay out of the gun control debate. Because no serious scholarship of the Holocaust points to the lack of guns as a serious factor. First, it ignores the Jews taking part in armed resistance efforts like the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Jewish partisans creating their own units after escaping the camps. In fact, the US Holocaust Museum has an entire page dedicated to other examples of armed resistance to the Holocaust while Wikipedia lists over 100 of them. But all had little chance of stopping the mass slaughter carried out by a major industrialized power like Nazi Germany since the odds were overwhelmingly. In the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, after the massive deportations to forced-labor camps and killing centers, people remaining in the ghetto organized and resisted with pistols, grenades, rifles, and automatic weapons. It was the largest Jewish armed revolt during WWII yet only managed to kill from 20 Germans. The Nazis quashed it in less than a month which resulted in 13,000 Jews killed and the remaining 50,000 sent off to concentration camps. Mostly because it was profound mismatch of manpower, the difficulties of smuggling weapons in the Ghetto confines, and a shortage of arms in Poland in general.

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And here’s what happened to some of the Polish Jews who took arms against the Nazis during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Notice how they’ll soon be shot at.

The German public was already disarmed in 1919 at the behest of Great Britain, France, and the United States due to a provision in the Treaty of Versailles which severely limited private firearm ownership to reduce Germany’s ability to re-arm itself. Though post-World War I Germany was awash with weapons. Many in the hands of the wrong people. Far-Right militias called the Freikorps stashed thousands of rifles and machine guns under the Allied Control Commission’s noses and used them in repeat armed attempts to overthrow the democratic Weimar Republic. And while mainstream scholars agree that a German gun registry law that created a permit system to own and sell firearms, it was established in 1928 under the Weimar. There were provisions that exempted “officials of the central government, the states, as well as the German Railways Company” and “community officials to whom the highest government authority has permitted acquisition without an acquisition permit.” This law was an attempt by the Weimar regime to disarm nascent private armies like the Nazi SA (a.k.a. Brownshirts) as an attempt to bring some stability to German society and politics. At the time, violent extremist movements were actively attacking the young and very fragile democratic state with the most prolific being the violent Beer Hall Putsch. So according to Dresden Technical University’s Dagmar Ellerbrock, “this order was followed quite rarely, so that largely, only newly bought weapons became registered. At that time, most men, and many women, still owned the weapons they acquired before or during the first World War.” A government that can’t maintain some degree of public order couldn’t sustain its legitimacy. Nor were the German people well-grounded in Constitutional, republican government as evidenced in their ballot box choices. Gun control wasn’t initiated to benefit the Nazis, but to prevent them and others of the same ilk from executing a revolution against a lawful government. In the strictest sense, the law succeeded since the Nazis didn’t stage a coup. But the 1928 provisions didn’t weaken the existing SA that pervaded German political life at the time. Ultimately, the Nazis ignored them with near impunity, engaging in terrorism on the streets as they expanded their political support. Eventually, they got elected in 1933 on promises to end economic poverty, reconquer “lost territories,” and end political paralysis at the Reichstag.

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Here are the 1938 Nazi gun laws, which actually expanded gun ownership to most Germans. As long as they weren’t foreign, Jewish, gay, gypsy, disabled, or left-wing, of course. Because the Nazis wanted them dead.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, the Nazis used whatever gun records they had to seize weapons from perceived enemies of the state like Jews, Communists, Social Democrats, union members, or anyone else refusing to affiliate with the Nazi Party. Because the Nazis were intent on killing them and used the existing gun laws and regulations to further the genocide. As SUNY-Cortland professor Robert Spitzer told Mother Jones, gun policy, “wasn’t the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group.” Yet, according to Ellerbrock, the files included very few guns in circulation and the registry was so incomplete that many Jews kept their guns well into the late 1930s. However, they also introduced a collective gun license for Nazi organization members whose main beneficiaries were the thuggish Brownshirts. After the German Parliament, the Reichstag gave Adolf Hitler emergency powers, he had a free hand. As Ellerbrock noted, “Under totalitarian rule, it took just a few weeks to drastically increase the number of Germans who held private weapons.” In other words, these looser gun rules were meant to encourage citizens to terrorize Nazi opponents and oppress minorities like Jews, gypsies, and gays. In 1938, the Nazis adopted a new law that loosened gun ownership rules by deregulating the buying and selling of shotguns, rifles, and ammunition. It made handguns easier to own by allowing anyone with a hunting license to buy, sell, or carry one at a time. Also, it extended the permit period from a year to 3, lowered the legal purchase age to 18, and gave local officials more discretion in letting people under 18 get a gun. Of course, there were exceptions such as Jews who weren’t allowed to own guns at all along with other dangerous weapons. But for everyone else, Hitler made it easier to get guns and used mass gun ownership for “Aryan” Germans to trash Jewish-owned businesses, rough up Jewish pedestrians on the street, and engage in what were called pogroms in Russia. As Ellerbrock told Politifact, “The gun policy of the Nazis can hardly be compared to the democratic procedures of gun regulations by law. It was a kind of special administrative practice (Sonderrecht), which treated people in different ways according to their political opinion or according to ‘racial identity’ in Nazi terms.” Therefore, disarming and killing Jews had nothing to do with Nazi gun control policy. Thus, during the Third Reich gun registration was spotty, confiscation was selective, and Nazis found it easier to get guns.

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Even if Germany’s Jews were well-armed, they couldn’t have stopped the Holocaust. Since they made up of less than 1% of its population and subject to systematic persecution implemented by a modern bureaucracy, enforced by police state, and supported by most of the population. In fact, armed revolt would’ve made the situation worse for Germany’s Jews by validating all the bad stuff the Nazis said about them. At least as far as its propaganda machine was concerned.

But if Germany’s Jews were well-armed, could they have stopped the Holocaust? The fact they constituted less than 1% of the country’s population makes it ridiculous to argue that private firearm possession would’ve enabled them to mount resistance against a systematic persecution program implemented by a modern bureaucracy, enforced by a well-armed police state, and either supported or tolerated by most of the German population. Its highly unlikely that armed Jews (or any other target group) would’ve weakened Nazi rule, let alone a full scale popular rebellion. In fact, it seems more likely to strengthen the Nazi support they already had. For such actions would’ve substantiated any foul Nazi lies about Jewish perfidy as well as hasten Jewish demise. The German Jews detained and deported after 1938 tended to be older and less well-off since most Jews with any resources left Germany much earlier. And the deportation took place with the open or tacit approval and complicity of most of the German people. Any act of armed resistance would’ve been completely futile.

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Here’s a Jewish business smashed on Kristallnacht, or “Night of the Broken Glass” from November 9-10, 1938 where Brownshirts and German civilians terrorized Jewish buildings, businesses, and synagogues while authorities looked on. It’s estimated that 91 Jews were murdered that night, though the death rate was much higher. Also, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Still, Germany’s Jews were in no way prepared for what awaited them. Nor could they imagine taking arms against their own country’s soldiers and police officers.

Even so, hypotheticals aside, gun ownership wasn’t widespread enough in Germany for a serious civilian resistance to the Nazis. Nor were Germans, particularly Jews, predisposed to violent resistance to their government. Anti-Semitism wasn’t new in Germany or anywhere else since they had been persecuted throughout history for centuries. Jews had survived previous pogroms before but not without suffering. They’d expect the barrage of anti-Jewish discrimination and violence would eventually subside and permit a return to normalcy like those in the past. Still, they considered themselves “patriotic Germans” for their World War I service who remained good citizens of the state they trusted beyond Hitler’s power seizure in 1933. As an overwhelmingly professional, urban and middle class, and strong in professions like law, medicine, and the arts, the notion these conscientiously law-abiding people would or could’ve taken to the streets and shoot down Hitler’s thugs is ludicrous. Those who didn’t flee into exile faced escalating barrage of discriminatory laws and were systematically dehumanized for years. Yet almost all obeyed to the letter. Even after their businesses, homes, schools, and hospitals were trashed and synagogues torched during Kristallnacht, and even when facing deportation and death, most Jews obediently reported to the holding centers with their suitcases as instructed, and were taken from there to the cattle trucks that hurried them to their deaths. They didn’t know the true horrors that awaited them in the concentration camps. In fact, as bad as things were for them in Nazi Germany, most Jews couldn’t imagine their fellow countrymen establishing an industrialized and scarily efficient mass murder system to kill them. The Nazis also used deception by telling their Jewish captives would be “resettled” for forced labor in the East. The death camp stops on railroads were disguised with signs showing they were regular train stations. The gas stations were referred to as “showers.” If they knew their fate, they probably wouldn’t have resisted. Since they’d be unable to bring themselves to fire upon their own nation’s soldiers or police officers. And what could they do about it. Though most of the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust came from Poland, the Soviet Union, and other conquered territories in Eastern and Central Europe. Yet, all were surrounded by an indifferent, hostile, or terrorized population. Other than a few exceptions, there was no place to run or hide.

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In Nazi Germany, propaganda was everywhere. Also, despite that they’d be forever remembered for committing genocide as a totalitarian regime, Adolf Hitler and his Nazis were genuinely popular among the German people. And that’s truly scary.

Besides, the Nazis controlled the media during the Third Reich, they could censor and spin the news at their discretion. They were masters of propaganda which saturated every level of their society at every age stratum. Not surprisingly, the Jews were a primary target who were systemically demonized. If most German citizens didn’t come to Jewish defense to fight off Nazi tyranny, it was because they didn’t want to. For they had been persuaded that what was happening was best for their country, and that the Jews deserved what they got. Or at least didn’t want to lose their privilege, alienate their friends and family, or be carted off to a prison camp and executed. Because the Communists tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler several times before the Nazis stamped them out. Even if Europe’s Jews fought back, which they did several times over, it would’ve been almost impossible for them to attract the rest of the world’s attention, let alone draw sympathetic reinforcement that could’ve toppled Hitler. But the Jews didn’t need guns to draw attention or sympathy from people in other countries were concerned what was going on with them. After all, many Jewish Americans were refugees or had relatives in Europe at the time. And Kristallnacht sent shockwaves around the world with the British Times writing, “No foreign propagandist bent upon blackening Germany before the world could outdo the tale of burnings and beatings, of blackguardly assaults on defenseless and innocent people, which disgraced that country yesterday.” Yet, the Nazis also had financial or rhetorical support from numerous American tycoons and businesses like Henry Ford, William Randolph Hearst, Kodak, Coca Cola, Standard Oil, Chase Bank, Dow Chemical, Woolworth, Alcoa, Brown Brothers Harriman, General Motors, and IBM. Let us not forget the Nazi sympathizers on the America First Committee like Charles Lindbergh who didn’t want the US to welcome Jewish refugees. Across the pond, Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Windsor were also in the Hitler fan club along with Unity and Diana Mitford. French fashion designer Coco Chanel lived with a Nazi officer while WWI hero Marshal Philippe Petain led the collaborationist Vichy government during WWII. Norwegian politician Vidkun Quisling seized power in his country through a Nazi-backed coup and his regime contributed to the Final Solution. Let’s just say you had a lot of influential people outside Germany who didn’t want their countries to do anything about what was going on there.

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We must keep in mind that Nazi Germany managed to defeat armies from Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and France. And though they didn’t fare so well in Russia, they managed mow down 7 million Red Army soldiers.

As Warsaw Uprising illustrates, the notion that the Jews could’ve used rifles and handguns to stop the SS from herding them like cattle to their deaths is offensive. Inside Germany, only the army possessed the physical force necessary for defying and overthrowing the Nazis. But the generals already threw their support for Adolf Hitler early on. The Nazi Germany war machine was one of the most powerful military systems ever constructed, especially prior to and during the early years of World War II. The Nazi regime had managed to conquer all of France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Poland, along with huge swaths of the Soviet Union and northern Africa in the face of determined resistance by large, properly trained militaries equipped not just with handguns but also tanks, warships, airplanes, and other heavy superweapons. The Red Army lost 7 million fighting the Wehrmacht despite its tanks, planes, and artillery. Adolf Hitler deployed military-trained units to destroy Europe’s Jews so handguns and rifles wouldn’t have made a dent. Suggesting it would implies that the Jews had a path to resist the Nazis’ Final Solution when they didn’t. Arming every European Jew wouldn’t have made any difference.

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We must understand that atrocities like the Holocaust have happened not because of gun control or lack of guns. But when a large swath of the population doesn’t see them as a dealbreaker and are willing to embrace a totalitarian strongman in order to get what they want. The Holocaust was caused by anti-Semitism along with moral failure and indifference. To think it could’ve been avoided if people have been armed is a very offensive way to remember this unimaginable tragedy.

It’s all too easy to forget the allure that fascism presented to those in the West during times of social and economic upheaval. The Nazis were master manipulators of popular emotion and sentiment while disdainful of people thinking for themselves. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis came to power not through force of arms, but through success at the ballot box, propaganda, illegal violence, and Hitler’s political cunning. They didn’t just rise to power by intimidation and imposing totalitarianism, the Nazis were genuinely popular with enough of the population to prevent a coup. Nor did they need gun control to retain supreme and unlimited power. Shortly after being granted emergency powers, Hitler issued the Reichstag Fire Decree which suspended civil rights, banned the left-wing press, and authorized the mass arrest of Communists and Socialists (a move allowing Nazis to take seats of the arrested delegates and assume a Nazi majority). A month later, the Nazi majority Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, giving Hitler and the German Cabinet the power to enact laws without its involvement. These 2 acts transformed Hitler’s government into a legal dictatorship within 2 months. Within the next 6 months, the Nazis banned Jews, non-Germans, and political opponents from public service, outlawed trade unions, and barred all political parties aside from the Nazi Party. The success of Nazi programs like restoring the economy and dispelling socio-political chaos and the misappropriation of justice through terror assured the German people’s compliance. Else, they wouldn’t have loosened gun restrictions in 1938 as an effect a façade of legalism around exercising naked power like most of their actions. The 1938 weapons law wasn’t a part of normal governance since the Third Reich had demolished the rule of law. And while Jews were prohibited from owning guns, they weren’t allowed to many other things. They couldn’t vote, work in professions, attend school, go to the movies or theater, visit public parks or “Aryan” areas. In fact, Jews weren’t considered citizens of Nazi Germany or even human beings. To focus exclusively on gun control is to lose sight of the bigger picture. And suggesting that the only thing keeping Hitler in power was gun control only exonerates the many Germans who supported him.

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Here’s a cartoon depicting the Night of Long Knives where the Nazi regime killed their most prominent political enemies. Most were Brownshirt leaders. And yes, they were armed and the Nazis knew it. Most gave up without a fight.

Despite that while the Nazis confiscated weapons from people they didn’t like, Adolf Hitler didn’t need to seize weapons to get rid of perceived political enemies. Their gun laws weren’t the major part of the process to suppress political dissidents and round up German Jews for extermination. Take the Night of the Long Knives, for instance, which involved a series of extrajudicial executions to consolidate Hitler’s absolute hold on German power. Paramilitary organizations were part of the Nazi organization from its earliest days in the mid-1920s. A founding Nazi street fighting group were the Sturmabteilung or Brownshirts who were known for street violence tactics. Its leader Ernst Rohm was one of Hitler’s oldest allies and comrades. Another outfit called the Schutzstaffel or SS protected Nazi officials as they moved around the country. After Hitler won office, the SS under Henrich Himmler became part of Der Fuhrer’s inner circle. But Rohm was eager to consolidate his power, setting him on a collision course with established German military leaders and Hitler’s top advisers. They persuaded Der Fuhrer that the Brownshirts were difficult to control so he and that Rohm was plotting a coup. From June 30-July 2, 1934, the SS and Gestapo killed at least 85-200 Brownshirt leaders and other perceived enemies. Though the final death toll could be as many as 700-1,000 along with thousands of arrests. Most but not all were associated with Rohm. The incident had more to do with infighting among the Nazi community than with going after disarmed citizens. Quite the opposite for the Nazis knew full well they were going against a group with plenty of weapons. Hitler himself oversaw the Rohm’s arrest, which went down in the middle of the night with a truckload of armed Brownshirt troops driving up to a hotel. Not a shot was fired and Rohm complied. He was executed 3 days later. Those at the German Historical Institute wrote that with this operation, Hitler had managed to “legitimize outright murder on a large scale – without any legal proceedings whatsoever – and that the country largely accepted the Nazi propaganda that presented this strike as necessary.”

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Dictators don’t rise to power by taking away people’s guns. But rather through popular support and public purges to send a message to anyone who disagrees with them. If soldiers come to your door to kill you or take you away for speaking out against a Dear Leader, your private arsenal will not save you. In fact, it might even condemn you.

Nonetheless, the notion that if Jews were armed and could’ve prevented the Holocaust is ridiculous is an old claim the NRA and other gun rights people push to show that who are trying to show that when a civilian population is armed, it can prevent tyranny and that tyrants begin their rise to power by disarming the population. However, the fundamental problem with these claims is that they have no idea how and why dictators like Hitler and the Nazis come to power. Dictators come to power through a more gradual process aided by large swaths of citizens eagerly supporting the strongmen in charge and public purges of dissenters to send a message anyone still supporting the regime. By the time soldiers come marching to your door to kill or drag you away, it’s because they’ve been chosen and groomed for this task. And you’ve been demonized as a traitor who must be punished. Keeping a weapons stockpile will only be used to justify overwhelming force or murder. There’s a very long historical record of regimes hell-bent on crushing dissent seeing them as little more than nuisances which won’t even be recorded once the dark deed is done. If a military coup is involved, then it would’ve been made possible with the wide availability of guns along with widespread support for the insurgents from the people as was the case with the Communist takeovers of the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba. Tens of millions of people became victims in the 20th century because they were members of groups targeted for eradication over ethnicity, religion, or ideology by ruthless military dictatorships. While these massacres had concurrent efforts to disarm targeted populations thanks to gun registration requirements, to say those millions died because of gun control is bad history. It’s nothing short of delusional to think that small groups of untrained civilians could defeat some of the most powerful armies in the world. History shows that civilians are often powerless to militarily resist an oppressive dictator. We can only prevent genocide by strengthening democracy as well as supporting a free press and non-government organizations. Thinking gun control in the United States will lead to genocide abandons reality for a fantasy world.

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Blaming the Holocaust on the lack of guns allows people to ignore the real causes of the genocide like Nazism, Anti-Semitism, moral failing, and indifference. And it allows people to ignore how the Nazis stripped the Jews of more basic rights. Not to mention, it misrepresents history which isn’t just intellectually dishonest but also dangerous.

Blaming the Holocaust on the lack of guns allows people to ignore the Nazism and anti-Semitism along with the humanity’s moral failure and indifference that made its atrocities possible in the first place. The fact that gun culture considers the Jews’ lack of guns of more consequence than their lack of more basic rights says a great deal more about America’s gun culture than it does about the Nazis or the Jews. And even if they get it right about what the German gun laws did, they misrepresent the significance and consequences from those laws. Misreading history to suit one’s views is as intellectually dishonest as it’s dangerous. As Brown University historian Omer Bartov told Salon in 2013, “Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”

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Share a Toast This Ocktoberfest with These Wunderbar Bier Steins

Here's a picture of a collectible Budweiser Beer Stein in the basement of my house. It's been at my home for as long as I can remember. But it's always been used for decoration. Guess it something that belonged to my dad.

Here’s a picture of a collectible Budweiser Beer Stein in the basement of my house. It’s been at my home for as long as I can remember. But it’s always been used for decoration. Guess it something that belonged to my dad.

For fall, you might’ve heard about Ocktoberfest which to Americans seems like a German secular, Saint Patrick’s Day. You know, a kind of occasion that’s used to celebrate an ethnic culture as an excuse to get drunk. I mean in late September and early October, you tend to find a lot of local places hosting their own Ocktoberfest events usually consisting of people eating German food, men in lederhosen and women in skimpy German dresses, and everyone drinking lots of beer. But what you may not know is that Ocktoberfest is a real folk festival in Munich that spans from late September up to the first Sunday in October that attracts 6 million people from around the world annually. And aside from the traditional fare, it includes a lot of games and amusement rides. They have held this festival since the marriage of Bavaria’s future King Ludwig I (then crown prince) and Princess Therese Charlotte Luise of Saxony-Hildburghausen (try pronouncing that name) on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were all invited to attend the festivities on the fields of what is now Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s Meadow”) which lasted for 5 days. And to end the celebrations, there was major horse race. Of course, the citizens of Munich enjoyed the festivities so much that they decided to repeat the celebrations in order to promote agriculture. Thus, it has become an important cultural event in Bavaria ever since. Of course, since Ocktoberfest is known for people drinking beer, Germany is also known for its beer steins which are tall beer glasses. Many of them tend to have lids but not always. And they can be made of glass, ceramic, or pewter. Still, they’re all used to drink beer. And while I’ll show you some traditional beer steins, I’ll show some off-beat and pop culture ones as well. So in commemoration for Ocktoberfest, I bring you an assortment of all the different kinds of beer steins. Enjoy.

  1. Now this is a stein fit for our rescue heroes.
For some reason, this doesn't look like a traditional stein to me. More like a beer stein with a similar design you'd see on a plastic kids' mug.

For some reason, this doesn’t look like a traditional stein to me. More like a beer stein with a similar design you’d see on a plastic kids’ mug.

2. Of course, it sometimes pays to have one on the house, especially if it’s a castle.

Not sure if this is Neuschwanstein Castle or some other fairy tale palaces. Still, can't imagine drinking out of that thing.

Heard this is Falkenstein castle. But it kind of resembles Neuschwanstein to me for some reason. Then again, I’m more familiar with the latter.

3. Salute our canine heroes with this police dog beer stein.

Fittingly for Ocktoberfest, it's of a German Shepherd. And it's wearing its own little police outfit, too. Yeah, not sure what policemen would think about this.

Fittingly for Ocktoberfest, it’s of a German Shepherd. And it’s wearing its own little police outfit, too. Yeah, not sure what policemen would think about this.

4. Of course, even a monk has to take a swig of beer now and then.

Interestingly, the association with monks and beer goes way back to the Middle Ages. In fact, it's not unusual for German monks to brew beer. The Bavarian monks at my college Saint Vincent in Latrobe did at some point as well.

Interestingly, the association with monks and beer goes way back to the Middle Ages. In fact, it’s not unusual for German monks to brew beer. The Bavarian monks at my college Saint Vincent in Latrobe did at some point as well.

5. For Ocktoberfest, show your love for the U-S-of-A with this beer stein of a bald eagle on a motorcycle.

Seems like this eagle is too big for his ride. Also, he's not wearing a helmet. Besides, why ride a motorcycle when he could just fly? Then again, it's all about symbolism, is it?

Seems like this eagle is too big for his ride. Also, he’s not wearing a helmet. Besides, why ride a motorcycle when he could just fly? Then again, it’s all about symbolism, is it?

6. As they say, nobody is happier on Ocktoberfest than a pig in lederhosen.

A pig dancing in lederhosen. And it has big tusks, too. Still, this is pretty tacky if you ask me.

A pig dancing in lederhosen. And it has big tusks, too. Still, this is pretty tacky if you ask me.

7. If you like Hollywood glamour and think diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then these Marilyn Monroe beer steins are for you.

I don't know about these. Yes, Marilyn Monroe was an American icon. But does she really belong on a beer stein? At least a commemorative beer stein with Marlene Dietrich, Conrad Veidt, or Peter Lorre would be more understandable.

I don’t know about these. Yes, Marilyn Monroe was an American icon. But does she really belong on a beer stein? At least a commemorative beer stein with Marlene Dietrich, Conrad Veidt, or Peter Lorre would be more understandable.

8. Celebrate America this Ocktoberfest with a beer stein depicting Thomas Kinkade’s painting of the US Capitol.

Yes, Thomas Kinkade beer steins do exist unfortunately. For some reason a bad artist like Kinkade has his fans. Still, kill it, kill it with fire.

Yes, Thomas Kinkade beer steins do exist unfortunately. For some reason a bad artist like Kinkade has his fans. Still, kill it, kill it with fire.

9. In the future there will be portals, which will allow you to take your beer from the tap from anywhere.

Now this seems quite interesting. Some people might wish bars would operate like that all the time, especially waiters.

Now this seems quite interesting. Some people might wish bars would operate like that all the time, especially waiters.

10. Sometimes drinking on Ocktoberfest makes you feel like an old goat.

Ironically, he doesn't seem to be drinking from a stein here. Also, he's crouched over on a stump. Still, quite tacky.

Ironically, he doesn’t seem to be drinking from a stein here. Also, he’s crouched over on a stump. Still, quite tacky.

11. This card deck beer stein is perfect for any poker night.

Of course, not sure if drinking inhibits one's ability to play cards. Then again, it probably does. Still, drinking and gambling seem to go together hand in hand.

Of course, not sure if drinking inhibits one’s ability to play cards. Then again, it probably does. Still, drinking and gambling seem to go together hand in hand.

12. For those born to ride, this beer stein is for you.

Had no idea that motorcycle fans have their on beer steins. Of course, this one sports a handle in the shape of a beer tap.

Had no idea that motorcycle fans have their on beer steins. Of course, this one sports a handle in the shape of a beer tap.

13. Of course, you can’t go all out at the bar without a Moscow beer stein like this.

Now this is pretty elaborate. Hate to drink out of that thing. Wonder if Putin has a stein like this.

Now this is pretty elaborate. Hate to drink out of that thing. Wonder if Putin has a stein like this. Then again, this is probably something you could find in any Moscow souvenir store.

14. Celebrate the yuletide season with your very own Christmas beer stein.

Yes, Christmas steins do exist. However, isn't Santa supposed to have like 8-9 reindeer pulling his sleigh. Then again, it's supposed to depict Germany and they might have a different tradition.

Yes, Christmas steins do exist. However, isn’t Santa supposed to have like 8-9 reindeer pulling his sleigh. Then again, it’s supposed to depict Germany and they might have a different tradition.

15. A rustic stein like this might bring you back to nature.

Then again, perhaps boozing during hunting season isn't a good idea. I don't have to imagine what could happen. Might want to stick with something else instead.

Then again, perhaps boozing during hunting season isn’t a good idea. I don’t have to imagine what could happen. Might want to stick with something else instead.

16. Of course, a wild hog can’t go without a beer stein like this.

Wonder how he manages to fit all his animals on one motorcycle. Guess we'll never really know for sure.

Wonder how he manages to fit all his animals on one motorcycle. Guess we’ll never really know for sure.

17. Arr, drink your rum like a pirate with a stein like this.

Not sure if it's Blackbeard. But it does have a lot of nice colors. Still, we should remember that pirates during their heyday drank a lot of booze and didn't bathe or shave. Also, most of them didn't make it past 30.

Not sure if it’s Blackbeard. But it does have a lot of nice colors. Still, we should remember that pirates during their heyday drank a lot of booze and didn’t bathe or shave. Also, most of them didn’t make it past 30.

18. It’s always said that dem booze goes well with dem bones.

Well, not sure what's up with him being covered white stuff while he's sitting on a barrel. Still, this stein is more appropriate for a Halloween party.

Well, not sure what’s up with him being covered white stuff while he’s sitting on a barrel. Still, this stein is more appropriate for a Halloween party.

19. Nothing echoes the spirit of Ocktoberfest than a dachshund in lederhosen.

Now the dachshund is another German breed. You'd know that they're wiener dogs, but they can be quite aggressive. Still, I really don't see how anyone looks good in lederhosen. Really I don't.

Now the dachshund is another German breed. You’d know that they’re wiener dogs, but they can be quite aggressive. Still, I really don’t see how anyone looks good in lederhosen. Really I don’t.

20. Help yourself to the great taste of Coors Light with this Coors Light beer stein.

Actually don't. My dad says that it's like drinking soda water with alcohol. Yeah, not a great taste.

Actually don’t. My dad says that it’s like drinking soda water with alcohol. Yeah, not a great taste.

21. Spend Ocktoberfest at the beach with this Corona Extra Blue Parrot Club beer stein.

For some reason I don't see Corona having a beer stein. I mean they're Spanish in name and usually have their commercials on sunny beaches.

For some reason I don’t see Corona having a beer stein. I mean they’re Spanish in name and usually have their commercials on sunny, tropical beaches.

22. Of course, it ain’t Ocktoberfest without some cigars.

I'm sure there might be at least some bars in Munich with a no smoking policy. Then again, not sure what I think about smoking in bars because I never go to any.

I’m sure there might be at least some bars in Munich with a no smoking policy. Then again, not sure what I think about smoking in bars because I never go to any.

23. Celebrate Halloween with a beer stein of Frankenstein’s monster.

Then again, Ocktoberfest and Halloween are in the same month. Well, sort of. Still, this is quite funny and clever. Wouldn't mind having one like that.

Then again, Ocktoberfest and Halloween are in the same month. Well, sort of. Still, this is quite funny and clever. Wouldn’t mind having one like that.

24. Those who like busty German women might enjoy a stein like this.

Now this is in pretty poor taste. Like having a boob mug or boob anything. Seriously, if a guy had this, I'd question his taste in decorating.

Now this is in pretty poor taste. Like having a boob mug or boob anything. Seriously, if a guy had this, I’d question his taste in decorating.

25. Support your local sheriff with this canine sheriff beer stein.

Appropriately it's also a German Shepherd as well. Still, it can also count as a State Trooper beer stein. I mean stateys wear the same outfits.

Appropriately it’s also a German Shepherd as well. Still, it can also count as a State Trooper beer stein. I mean stateys wear the same outfits.

26. Honor your local firefighters for their service with a stein like this.

Of course, if you live in the US, it would be even better to write to your US Congressman to show support for policy supporting 9/11 first responders. Now those people need to be treated like the heroes they are.

Of course, if you live in the US, it would be even better to write to your US Congressman to show support for policy supporting 9/11 first responders. Now those people need to be treated like the heroes they are.

27. Support your WWII veterans with this commemorative D-Day beer stein.

Of course, this might get your WWII vet grandpa in a frenzy on how he whooped the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy. Or his complaints of how Saving Private Ryan isn't historically accurate in regards to swearing.

Of course, this might get your WWII vet grandpa in a frenzy on how he whooped the Nazis on the beaches of Normandy. Or his complaints of how Saving Private Ryan isn’t historically accurate in regards to swearing.

28. Fox hunters everywhere would enjoy their very own foxhound beer stein.

We should also not forget that it's not uncommon for some fox hunters to booze up before the hunt. Yeah, would you want to see a drunk person on a horse with a gun? Not if you're right next to them Or in front of them.

We should also not forget that it’s not uncommon for some fox hunters to booze up before the hunt. Yeah, would you want to see a drunk person on a horse with a gun? Not if you’re right next to them Or in front of them.

29. Enjoy a Corona this Ocktoberfest with this gecko beer stein.

First, blue parrots and now lizards. Not sure which one I'd prefer. Still, Corona's steins really don't have the Ocktoberfest spirit in my opinion.

First, blue parrots and now lizards. Not sure which one I’d prefer. Still, Corona’s steins really don’t have the Ocktoberfest spirit in my opinion.

30. Creep out your friends this Halloween by drinking out of your very own skull beer stein.

Heard that Lord Byron used to do this all the time. However, he'd drink from actual skulls. This one is ceramic, which is significantly less disgusting.

Heard that Lord Byron used to do this all the time. However, he’d drink from actual skulls. This one is ceramic, which is significantly less disgusting.

31. With this beer stein, your Ocktoberfest is sure to be elementary.

Of course, Sherlock Holmes didn't really wear a deerstalker outfit in the books on a regular basis. That was country attire and was the Victorian equivalent of wearing camo and bright orange.

Of course, Sherlock Holmes didn’t really wear a deerstalker outfit in the books on a regular basis. That was country attire and was the Victorian equivalent of wearing camo and bright orange.

32. Honor America’s Civil War heritages with these beer steins of Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses S. Grant.

Now why does Robert E. Lee's stein have a Capitol dome on it? The guy fought for the Confederacy. Guess the steins all had to match in form.

Now why does Robert E. Lee’s stein have a Capitol dome on it? The guy fought for the Confederacy. Guess the steins all had to match in form.

33. Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with your very own “Luck of the Irish” beer stein from Budweiser.

Nothing says Saint Patrick's Day than having a German-American beer brand commemorate an Irish Catholic holiday. Look, Bud, Saint Patrick's day is Guinness's turf here.

Nothing says Saint Patrick’s Day than having a German-American beer brand commemorate an Irish Catholic holiday. Look, Bud, Saint Patrick’s day is Guinness’s turf here.

34. Nothing shows the spirit of Bavaria than a beer stein of a monk making his own brew.

Yes, monks made their own beer at one point in history. And in Germany, nobody saw anything wrong with it. Not so in America as Bonifice Wimmer found out.

Yes, monks made their own beer at one point in history. And in Germany, nobody saw anything wrong with it. Not so in America as Bonifice Wimmer found out.

35. Show your high class snobbery with this Fabrege egg beer stein.

Of course, this one will probably cost an arm and a leg. Also, doesn't seem to hold a lot either. So probably not worth it.

Of course, this one will probably cost an arm and a leg. Also, doesn’t seem to hold a lot either. So probably not worth it.

36. Nothing shows the true Scottish spirit than a kilt wearing Scottie with bagpipes and golf clubs.

Don't see anything stereotypical about this one (sarcasm). Still, despite being a wee bit Scottish, I kind of find the sound of bagpipes annoying as hell.

Don’t see anything stereotypical about this one (sarcasm). Still, despite being a wee bit Scottish (well, 1/32 anyway), I find the sound of bagpipes annoying as hell.

37. Remember that all work and praying just wears a poor monk out before a beer.

Yes, I know people might think holy men shouldn't drink or make alcohol. However,  the German association with monks and beer is deeply rooted in historical fact. Monasteries made beer. Get used to it.

Yes, I know people might think holy men shouldn’t drink or make alcohol. However, the German association with monks and beer is deeply rooted in historical fact. Monasteries made beer. Get used to it.

38. Come to the farm with this Clydesdale stable beer stein, courtesy of Budweiser.

Love how the horses are sticking out the window of these. Also, always enjoyed the Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercials. Even on bad years, they weren't terrible to watch.

Love how the horses are sticking out the window of these. Also, always enjoyed the Budweiser Clydesdale Super Bowl commercials. Even on bad years, they weren’t terrible to watch.

39. Of course, I can’t do a post on beer steins for Ocktoberfest without including one with a pretzel handle.

Got to have one with a pretzel somehow. After all, pretzels are among the foods associated with Ocktoberfest. That and sausage.

Got to have one with a pretzel somehow. After all, pretzels are among the foods associated with Ocktoberfest. That and sausage.

40. Of course, who says you can’t enjoy Ocktoberfest from the seat of your pants?

Yes, this is a beer stein depicting a pair of pants from Bavaria. No, I am not making this up. Believe me, I came across this on Pinterest.

Yes, this is a beer stein depicting a pair of pants from Bavaria. No, I am not making this up. Believe me, I came across this on Pinterest.

41. Goose step your way into a Third Reich Ocktoberfest with this Nazi beer stein.

Actually don't because Hitler and his Nazi thugs were very horrible people. However, I'm showing a picture of this Nazi beer stein for historical purposes. Yes, the Nazis did celebrate Ocktoberfest and they drank from Anti-Semitic steins like these. So to my viewers, do not, under any circumstances, buy or use this stein. I repeat do not buy or use this stein.

Actually don’t because Hitler and his Nazi thugs were very horrible people. And I’m just putting it mildly. However, I’m showing a picture of this Nazi beer stein for solely historical purposes. Yes, the Nazis did celebrate Ocktoberfest and they drank from Anti-Semitic steins like these. So to my viewers, do not, under any circumstances, buy or use this stein. I repeat do not buy or use this stein.

42. Of course, beware of the muscle monster from a beer stein like this.

Now this is so creepy, especially since the monster has absolutely no skin. Just seems like he's all muscle. Maybe I think you might want to stick with the beer stein depicting Frankenstein.

Now this is so creepy, especially since the monster has absolutely no skin. Just seems like he’s all muscle. Maybe I think you might want to stick with the beer stein depicting Frankenstein.

43. Of course, steins aren’t meant for milk, but this cow print one has a down home taste.

Now this looks quite tacky. Then again, I view all animal prints that way. Still, wouldn't want to be caught dead drinking from that.

Now this looks quite tacky. Then again, I view all animal prints that way. Still, wouldn’t want to be caught dead drinking from that.

44. Nothing shows German spirit than a beer stein of a crocodile playing golf?

Now I can understand if this was made in America since gators and crocs are plentiful in the South. And Florida isn't shy to admit that. But this was made in Germany. And Germany isn't known for its crocodile population. So seriously, why?

Now I can understand if this was made in America since gators and crocs are plentiful in the South. And Florida isn’t shy to admit that. But this was made in Germany. And Germany isn’t known for its crocodile population. So seriously, why?

45. Of course, you can’t have Ocktoberfest without a beer stein of a saxaphone playing bulldog.

Well, at least the bulldog has a cigar like Winston Churchill. Still, I have to confess that I really don't associate bulldogs with big band or jazz music.

Well, at least the bulldog has a cigar like Winston Churchill. Still, I have to confess that I really don’t associate bulldogs with big band or jazz music.

46. Salute the King of Rock n’ Roll this Ocktoberfest with your very own Elvis Presley Blue Suede Shoe beer stein.

Wouldn't imagine seeing a beer stein commemorating Elvis. Nor one as tacky as this. Still, a beer stein commemorating his Vegas years would've been more appropriate.

Wouldn’t imagine seeing a beer stein commemorating Elvis. Nor one as tacky as this. Still, a beer stein commemorating his Vegas years would’ve been more appropriate.

47. Celebrate this Ocktoberfest in Gotham City with your very own beer stein of its most famous Dark Knight.

Of course, it would be interesting to know how Batman would celebrate his Ocktoberfest. I mean it's seen as a happy fun time. Batman isn't known for his cheerfulness.

Of course, it would be interesting to know how Batman would celebrate his Ocktoberfest. I mean it’s seen as a happy fun time. Batman isn’t known for his cheerfulness.

48. Celebrate the holidays with your very own Budweiser Clydesdale beer stein.

Budweiser may not make the best beer. But they're pretty smart about promoting it with their Budweiser Clydesdale steins, especially around Christmas. Because everyone loves them.

Budweiser may not make the best beer. But they’re pretty smart about promoting it with their Budweiser Clydesdale steins, especially around Christmas. Because everyone loves them.

49. For those on Wall Street, a stein with a bull and wolf stockbrokers will do nicely.

Now I know the bull stands for Bull market. So does this mean that the wolf is "the Wolf of Wall Street"? Then again, I always wonder which people on Wall Street are trying to avoid a jail sentence.

Now I know the bull stands for Bull market. So does this mean that the wolf is “the Wolf of Wall Street”? Then again, I always wonder which people on Wall Street are trying to avoid a jail sentence.

50. Enjoy Ocktoberfest in the halls of Valhalla with your very own Viking helmet beer stein.

We should be aware that the Vikings never wore horned helmets in battle. That was Wagner's doing in his operas. Also, the lid might pose a safety hazard to others. Then again, it's probably a collectible anyway.

We should be aware that the Vikings never wore horned helmets in battle. That was Wagner’s doing in his operas. Also, the lid might pose a safety hazard to others. Then again, it’s probably a collectible anyway.

51. This beer stein gives you just what the doctor ordered.

I posted a similar one for my post on mugs but it was for coffee. But I'm sure anyone who drinks out of this is bound to be drunk off their ass. I wonder if I should get this for my Uncle Frank who's a doctor. Then again, I gave him a Steeler mug last year.

I posted a similar one for my post on mugs but it was for coffee. But I’m sure anyone who drinks out of this is bound to be drunk off their ass. I wonder if I should get this for my Uncle Frank who’s a doctor. Then again, I gave him a Steeler mug last year.

52. Now this stein shows that any man can be classy in a top hat and cane.

For some reason, this stein kind of reminds me of Sir Patrick Stewart. You know Professor X and Captain Picard. Not sure why.

For some reason, this stein kind of reminds me of Sir Patrick Stewart. You know Professor X and Captain Picard. Not sure why.

53. Feast like a Hobbit this Ocktoberfest with this commemorative beer stein.

Now if you drink beer in this stein before elevencies, you might need to go on the Middle Earth Twelve Step Program. Still, nice artwork by the way.

Now if you drink beer in this stein before elevencies, you might need to go on the Middle Earth Twelve Step Program. Still, nice artwork by the way.

54. Boldly go where no man has gone before this Ocktoberfest with this one of a kind Star Trek beer stein.

According to Mr. Spock, Ocktoberfest is one of those times of year when humanity is at its most illogical. This after Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, Saint Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, New Years, and 4th of July. Meanwhile who knows where and with whom Captain Kirk wakes up on board during the festivities.

According to Mr. Spock, Ocktoberfest is one of those times of year when humanity is at its most illogical. This after Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, New Years, and 4th of July. Meanwhile who knows where and with whom Captain Kirk wakes up on board during the festivities. And you have to feel for Dr. McCoy in sick bay.

55. Now this large stein is certainly fit for a king.

If you need a stein like this to hold your beer, I say you may need serious help, my friend. Yeah, definitely need to get to rehab or AA. Or as they say in the fairy tale world, "a Twelve-Step adventure."

If you need a stein like this to hold your beer, I say you may need serious help, my friend. Yeah, definitely need to get to rehab or AA. Or as they say in the fairy tale world, “a Twelve-Step adventure.”

56. Aristocrats in the 18th and 19th centuries preferred their steins gilded with Grecian figures.

Yes, this is an old beer stein. Unfortunately, for anyone who wants one like this, I'm afraid it's not for sale. And to quote the world's worst archaeologist, "It belongs in a museum."

Yes, this is an old beer stein. Unfortunately, for anyone who wants one like this, I’m afraid it’s not for sale. And to quote the world’s worst archaeologist, “It belongs in a museum.”

57. Commemorate Neil Armstrong’s one small step with this NASA beer stein.

Now this is the kind of stein I can imagine Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson drinking from this Ocktoberfest. Of course, if he doesn't have one like this, he'd certainly want one.

Now this is the kind of stein I can imagine Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson drinking from this Ocktoberfest. Of course, if he doesn’t have one like this, he’d certainly want one.

58. Celebrate German art with this beer stein commemorating Albrecht Durer.

Now Durer was a Renaissance painter in Germany known for his German humanist paintings and his association with the Reformation. This features some of his most famous works.

Now Durer was a Renaissance painter in Germany known for his German humanist paintings and his association with the Reformation. This features some of his most famous works.

59. Show your love for America with this commemorative beer stein of the United States Seal.

Now that's a nice beer stein. Sort of looks like a stein Obama would use. Kind of seems presidential for some reason. Yeah, probably due to the seal.

Now that’s a nice beer stein. Sort of looks like a stein Obama would use. Kind of seems presidential for some reason. Yeah, probably due to the seal. Still, like the eagle lid on it. Very majestic.

60. Celebrate Germany’s victory at the World Cup with this commemorative beer stein.

Yes, I know it's a year too late for this. But still, their men's team did win the World Cup in Rio de Janiero against Argentina.

Yes, I know it’s a year too late for this. But still, their men’s team did win the World Cup in Rio de Janiero against Argentina.

61. Celebrate the season with this beer stein depicting Santa Claus and the children.

Now I think Santa and the children are a bit creepy in this one. However, I love the Christmas tree lids though. Those are awesome.

Now I think Santa and the children are a bit creepy in this one. However, I love the Christmas tree lids though. Those are awesome.

62. Drink your beer like a Viking with this Viking beer stein horn.

Once again, Viking helmets didn't have horns, at least most of the time. Other than that, it's quite fitting. Yeah, can totally see Vikings boozing through drinking horns.

Once again, Viking helmets didn’t have horns, at least most of the time. Other than that, it’s quite fitting. Yeah, can totally see Vikings boozing through drinking horns.

63. Show off your German heritage with this badass beer stein.

Now this looks quite badass indeed. But I'm sure any German drinking with this stein is certainly having a good time this Ocktoberfest. This is especially in Munich.

Now this looks quite badass indeed. But I’m sure any German drinking with this stein is certainly having a good time this Ocktoberfest. This is especially in Munich.

64. Quench your thirst with a mason jar stein.

Now this is quite clever. And if you're not using it for boozing, you can use it for storage. Like any mason jar.

Now this is quite clever. And if you’re not using it for boozing, you can use it for storage. Like any mason jar.

65. Take a swig on the high seas with this maritime bear stein, lads.

Now this one includes a wooden ship as well as dolphins, whale, and a figurehead mermaid handle. Hope this isn't celebrating Moby Dick because we know what happened there.

Now this one includes a wooden ship as well as dolphins, whale, and a figurehead mermaid handle. Hope this isn’t celebrating Moby Dick because we know what happened there.

66. Celebrate the spirit of German engineering with this beer stein commemorating the zeppelin.

Okay, this beer stein actually commemorates the Hindenburg. Yeah, you know the one that burst into flames during the 1930s which led a radio broadcaster say, "Oh, the humanity." Then again, it could be worse. Could be Volkswagen.

Okay, this beer stein actually commemorates the Hindenburg. Yeah, you know the one that burst into flames during the 1930s which led a radio broadcaster say, “Oh, the humanity.” Then again, it could be worse. Could be Volkswagen.

67. Enjoy the city of lovers this Ocktoberfest with this beer stein of gay Paree.

Had this been in Midnight in Paris, the movie would've been way tackier than I remember it. Still, don't really think of beer steins when I think of Paris. Or France in that matter.

Had this been in Midnight in Paris, the movie would’ve been way tackier than I remember it. Still, don’t really think of beer steins when I think of Paris. Or France in that matter.

68. For those who love fire breathing dragons, this beer stein is for you.

Of course, this one is especially ferocious. Because she's a mom and you know what mother monsters are like toward their young. Still, these look very cool.

Of course, this one is especially ferocious. Because she’s a mom and you know what mother monsters are like toward their young. Still, these look very cool.

69. Celebrate the New York Giants Super Bowl win with this commemorative beer stein.

Yes, I know this happened years ago. But still, a NFL beer stein is more understandable. NFL lingerie, not so much.

Yes, I know this happened years ago. But still, a NFL beer stein is more understandable. NFL lingerie, not so much.

70. Seems like this pug is part of some barbershop quartet from what I can tell.

Yeah, I don't get the the association with beer steins and pugs. Still, like the snazzy suit, porkpie hat, and the barber pole handle.

Yeah, I don’t get the the association with beer steins and pugs. Still, like the snazzy suit, porkpie hat, and the barber pole handle.

71. For those who love death metal, this Slayer beer stein is for you.

Now even metal fans can enjoy Ocktoberfest in their own special way. Of course, there is a skull stein on this post if they have other ideas.

Now even metal fans can enjoy Ocktoberfest in their own special way. Of course, there is a skull stein on this post if they have other ideas.

72. Use the Force to celebrate this Ocktoberfest in a galaxy far, far away with your very own Star Wars beer stein.

Let's just say I'm sure celebrating Ocktoberfest at Mos Eisley might lead you to the Dark Side of the Force. Still, these include Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and Boba Fett. Well, at last as I can tell.

Let’s just say I’m sure celebrating Ocktoberfest at Mos Eisley might lead you to the Dark Side of the Force. Still, these include Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and Boba Fett. Well, at last as I can tell.

73. Celebrate Ocktoberfest in your own fantasy world, with a special World of Warcraft beer stein.

World of Warcraft is an MMO RPG on the internet. Still, why they have their own commemorative beer steins is beyond me.

World of Warcraft is an MMO RPG on the internet. Still, why they have their own commemorative beer steins is beyond me.

74. Danes, embrace your Viking heritage with this Denmark Viking beer stein.

Once again, real Vikings regularly didn't wear horns. Still, the ship really looks cool if you get my drift.

Once again, real Vikings regularly didn’t wear horns. Still, the ship really looks cool if you get my drift.

75. Those from Australia might delight in seeing a stein dedicated to the Land Down Under.

Of course, I'm not sure why Australia would want to have a stein for this country. Then again, Germany and Australia are known to be big beer drinking countries.

Of course, I’m not sure why Australia would want to have a stein for this country. Then again, Germany and Australia are known to be big beer drinking countries.

76. Show off your American pride this Ocktoberfest with this commemorative beer stein.

Now this one has a lid with the Liberty Bell, baby. Also has other stuff America's known for as well. Probably could be found in a lot of souvenir shops in the US during the 1970s.

Now this one has a lid with the Liberty Bell, baby. Also has other stuff America’s known for as well. Probably could be found in a lot of souvenir shops in the US during the 1970s.

77. For those who want to know the words of German folk song, look on this one.

This reminds me of a German song they sang on Animaniacs. Of course, they ended up taking the chef's clothes off and pissed him off. But, oh well. It was funny.

This reminds me of a German song they sang on Animaniacs. Of course, they ended up taking the chef’s clothes off and pissed him off. But, oh well. It was funny.

78. Drink like a warrior with these Warhammer beer steins.

Not sure what Warhammer is. Wonder if it's on the same level as World of Warcraft. Still, must be popular enough to have a line of beer steins.

Not sure what Warhammer is. Wonder if it’s on the same level as World of Warcraft. Still, must be popular enough to have a line of beer steins.

79. For those who love Theology on Tap, this papal beer stein is for you.

Yes, it commemorates the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Germany. However, it's the only papal stein I could find. Have to make do with what you got.

Yes, it commemorates the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Germany. However, it’s the only papal stein I could find. Have to make do with what you got.

80. Of course, nothing brings the spirit of Old Bavaria than a beer stein of Neuschwanstein.

Yes, this is a stein of Mad King Ludwig II's fairy tale castle itself. In it's day it drained the kingdom's finances in its construction. Today, it's now Bavaria's most popular tourist destination.

Yes, this is a stein of Mad King Ludwig II’s fairy tale castle itself. In it’s day it drained the kingdom’s finances in its construction. Today, it’s now Bavaria’s most popular tourist destination.

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 64 – World War II: Nazi Germany

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Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film The Great Dictator is a not so thinly veiled satire on Nazi Germany filmed while war was raging in Europe. Here Chaplin plays Adolf Hitler expy Adenoid Hynkel of Tomainia who’s a power hungry totalitarian despot with dreams of world domination. Chaplin hated the Nazis and made this movie specifically to reduce Hitler and his regime down to size. He also played on any similarities he had with Hitler such as the mustache as well as did thorough research for this comedy. For instance, Hitler actually did have a globe in his office and his public speech sequence looks like it was a parodied scene from Triumph of the Will. Though it was banned in Nazi Germany, it’s said that Hitler actually saw it twice. Chaplin would’ve given anything to know what Hitler thought of it. Still, this is truly one of the greats.

World War II is a common topic in a lot of historical films, wait a minute, more like a whole film genre. Not to mention, it’s such a popular history topic that most of what you saw on The History Channel consisted of World War II stuff during its Hitler Channel days, which will be sorely missed. Of course, it is one of those times in history that people most fondly remember. Many of us know and/or related to people who served in it and there are plenty of veterans still alive today though they’re dying off as we speak. Still, unless you live in Germany or Japan it’s a war many people remember fondly since it’s a time when we were fighting countries who either attacked us or that one of our enemies was a truly evil dictator known for committing great crimes against humanity. Nevertheless, many World War II movies usually have themes that pertain to love of country, courage, camaraderie, and all the things of how war can bring the best in us. They also show  awesome weaponry.

Of course, you couldn’t talk about World War II with Nazi Germany which lasted from 1933 to 1945. During this time Germany was ruled by a totalitarian dictator and the closest thing to the Anti-Christ Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party best known for being so fanatically racist that they’d commit genocide for it as well as having ambitions for world domination. Since they started things like World War II and the Holocaust, there could be not doubt that they were the bad guys and have been portrayed as convenient enemies in fiction. They are also known for their stylish uniforms, advanced weaponry, and other things. Yet, much of the bad things that happened in Nazi Germany at the time continue to haunt the German people to this day. Nevertheless, many WWII movies tend to have some misconceptions of Nazi Germany which I shall list accordingly.

Adolf Hitler:

Hitler had very good vision. (He was extremely far sighted that he couldn’t read without his glasses unless the text was very large. Yet, in most movies, he’s not wearing any when he’s in his headquarters.)

Hitler wore civilian clothes during World War II. (He actually didn’t wear civilian clothes during the war unless you count his pajamas. Also, it would’ve been unthinkable for him to receive an officer or approve a military plan while not in uniform.)

Adolf Hitler was an evil genius. (He was kind of an asshole who was kind of shitty at everything yet somehow unbelievably successful kind of like his Charlie Chaplin expy in The Great Dictator or if Forrest Gump was used as a Bond villain. Not to mention, he receives too much credit made by people around him and a lot of his own contributions to the German war effort {besides starting it} were failures. In short, he was an evil bastard with more luck than brains.)

Nazi Party:

All Germans were Nazis. (There were plenty of German civilians and soldiers who didn’t agree with Hitler and his policies, especially if they were Jewish or knew someone who was like Oskar Schindler. Most of the kids in the Hitler Youth had little choice of whether to join or not and much of the military consisted of conscripts as well.)

German aristocrats supported the Nazis. (Some did but a lot of them didn’t. Sure there were German noblemen who supported the Nazis like Herman Goering and there were sympathizers outside the country {like Charles Lindbergh before the war}. Many aristocrats in Germany weren’t too keen on the Nazi equality approach and sometimes saw the Nazis as a bunch of lower-class hicks since Nazism was a populist grassroots movement despite being anti-democratic and racist. Many aristocrats were also officers in the German army and Hitler hated officers. Also, some German nobles were sent to concentration camps themselves, many were involved in Hitler’s assassination plot, and some noble families were even notable for their Nazi opposition like the Hapsburgs. Still, you think noblemen would make ideal Nazi supporters but it really wasn’t the case. In fact, Anti-Nazi noblemen were disproportionately more common than the arrogant Nazi aristocrat you see in films.)

The SS and Gestapo were utterly evil.

The swastika has always been a symbol of racial and ethnic superiority. (This is only because the Nazis made the swastika their logo. It’s actually an ancient symbol from India and has a very different meaning. In Japan, a swastika is used to denote a Buddhist temple.)

Most Nazis had blond hair and blue eyes.

The Nazis had rediscovered the lost city of Tanis in 1936. (It was never lost in the first place and there have been numerous archaeological digs before the Nazis ever took power. Also, it was under British control.)

Nazi Germany had an efficiently run government and had a decent economy. (Actually the Nazi government was as inefficient as you’d expect most governments to be as well as full of internal corruption and egotistical rivalries. Also, prior to the war, the German economy was on the verge of collapse and might have been the reason why the Nazi Germany took Austria and Czechoslovakia before military conquest was the only thing to prevent economic meltdown because there weren’t free targets left to exploit.)

The Knights Cross was a Nazi decoration for actions in the Spanish Civil War. (It’s a World War II decoration.)

Popularity of the Nazi party was driven by racial superiority and the idea of a strong military. (Actually most of the core of the Nazi political machinery was the urban lower class consisting of impoverished skilled workers, intellectuals, and nationalistic military men. Your typical Nazi supporter would’ve been a recent lower class arrival particularly someone who was used to being relatively well-off and respected but had fallen on hard times as a result of the Depression. Mostly these people were angry for being “robbed of their rightful place” in the high status parts of society and wanted to get back up there to form a new ruling elite. Popularity of the Nazi party was driven more or less by envy, resentment, and fears of inferiority. You can see why the Nazis weren’t well liked by the Prussian aristocracy, the bourgeoisie, and the intellectuals of the Weimar Republic.

On the day of the July 20 plot, Otto Remer arrived at Josef Goebbels place unannounced. Goebbels placed a cyanide capsule in this mouth and handed the phone to Remer hoping he’d speak to Hitler to confirm that his Fuhrer was still alive. (Contrary to Valkyrie, the scene with Remer and Goebbels didn’t happen that way. From Imdb: “Remer issued the orders to secure Berlin as per the implementation of Operation Valkyrie but realized that something was wrong. Remer immediately telephoned Goebbels and discussed the matter with him. He was then invited to visit Goebbels whereupon Goebbels arranged telephone contact with the Wolfs Lair and Remer was allowed to confirm that Hitler was still alive.”)

The Wehrmacht:

The German Wehrmacht was capable of taking over most of Europe despite being rubbish shots.

German soldiers greeted each other by using the Hitler salute. (Actually the Wehrmacht only used the Hitler salute when they were greeted by Der Fuhrer himself. Yet, you see German officers Heil Hitlering each other in World War II movies all the time regardless of whether they’re in the Wehrmacht or the SS.)

The Wehrmacht was a much nobler than the SS. (Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean it was clean because it wasn’t. The rank and file of the German military was just as susceptible of Hitler’s race-hating propaganda as the rest of Germany. It also ran brutal POW camps for Soviet prisoners, enforced illegal Commissar and Commando Orders {instructions to enforce Soviet commissars and British special operations troops out of hand}, and helped the understaffed SS Einsatzgruppen transport and massacre Jews. By 1939, despite that their personnel weren’t technically Nazis {party membership was banned in the German military} the Wehrmacht was basically like any other branch of government in Nazi Germany, highly politicized, and constantly competing for Hitler’s attention and patronage. Besides, the Wehrmacht’s increasing politicization came at the expense of its military professionalism. By 1941, its operational plans had become seriously divorced from the reality as they based more of their planning upon racist assumptions about their enemies, which they didn’t attempt to redress. Still, the deeply perception of a “clean Wehrmacht” was promoted by the self-serving memoirs of the German brass who escaped execution after the war. The truth is that while the Wehrmacht wasn’t as evil as the SS, they still had a deep commitment to Nazism as well as a depressing litany of war crimes.)

The German officers who tried to kill Hitler were liberals who actually cared about the Jewish people as well as wished to close the concentration camps holding them. (While Valkyrie portrays the conspirators as democrats who believed in equality, most of the plotters were aristocrats who were primarily monarchist and extremely conservative with anti-Semitic and classist views. Their objections ranged from Hitler being too murderous toward the “gutter races,” to empowering the lower and middle classes or because he was simply losing the war. Many of them also had every intention of fighting on against the Soviet Union as well. Still, it would’ve been difficult for an audience to get behind protagonists who only disagreed with 40% of Hitler’s ideals.)

The Germans lost the Battle of the Bulge because they were running out of fuel. (They were running out of other supplies. Also, Eisenhower denounced this in a press conference.)

German weaponry was rather high tech. (Most German soldiers were armed with a Mauser bolt-action rifle, the Karabiner 98 Kurz which was a slight modernization of a weapon their grandfathers would’ve been familiar with, later they used any gun they could find. However, the Nazis did create a lot of military technology many armed forces still use today, particularly in the machine gun category. Still, their greatest wartime innovation actually isn’t a weapon at all but a “jerry can” that could be opened and closed without tools, was self-sealing without additional parts, included a spout rather than required a funnel, couldn’t be overfilled as a fail-safe against heat and vapor expansion, and was still cheap to manufacture despite being much more sturdy. It’s been used by both military and civilians to this day {so you’ve probably seen one or even own one} but you wouldn’t see it as part of the best in Nazi military technology. Sure a “jerry can” is just a container you may use to carry gas for your mower but it would something your Allied soldiers would’ve loved to get their hands on.)

German soldiers dropped leaflets to African Free French soldiers that they’d be treated well if they surrendered. (German soldiers may have stuck to the Geneva Convention when they captured British and French soldiers, but they’d occasionally massacre African prisoners of war.)

Germany conquered Turkey and Switzerland by 1942. (Does the person who made Enemy at the Gates know that these countries remained neutral and independent during World War II? Also, if Switzerland was already conquered by Germany at this point in the war, then why would Allied prisoners desperately want to escape there? )

German soldiers were allowed to wear beards. (German regulations prohibited the wearing of beards except in the front lines and in other situations shaving was impossible. Having German soldiers wearing beards in Stalingrad would make sense. Yet, a desk sergeant in Berlin wouldn’t have one.)

German vehicles were emblazoned with Nazi Party swastikas. (They were emblazoned with the Balkenkreuz a straight armed cross which was the emblem of the Wehrmacht.)

All German soldiers had buzz-cuts. (Most Wehrmacht haircuts were about 1-2 inches long.)

The Heer (German Army):

German panzer tanks closely resembled Sherman tanks with the exception of Nazi decoration.

The MP-40 sub-machine gun was a common weapon for the German military. (You see this German gun a lot in movies but it really wasn’t a very common weapon in real life and was only really useful in short range fire fights like in Stalingrad. It was issued to paratroopers, tank crews as well as platoon and squad leaders.)

Halftracks were the primary transport vehicles for the German Army. (Actually these vehicles you usually see in World War II movies only moved the heaviest German artillery pieces. Most German supplies including the majority of light and medium artillery was pulled by horse drawn limbers. Many suggest that the Germans didn’t resort to chemical warfare during World War II was due to their reliance on horse powered transport to support their mobile style of maneuver warfare. Still, if anyone saw a WWII movie in which most of the German Army’s supplies was moved by horses, they would probably complain that the filmmakers didn’t do their research {except maybe WWII veterans}. And yet, the German Army actually did rely on horse transport that many would consider obsolete by the 1940s.)

The Heer was composed mostly of panzer units. (Actually it was mostly composed of infantry units. In the German Army, pure infantry divisions outnumbered panzer divisions by at least 5 to 1.)

Most German Army units had mechanized equipment. (Actually the vast majority of mechanized equipment went to the panzer divisions while infantry divisions marched everywhere on foot relying almost exclusively on horses for logistical support. WWII Heer infantry divisions were almost identical to those in WWI in this respect. Still, even at the height of German motorization, it’s said that only 20% of German Army divisions were fully motorized. Rommel’s Army in North Africa was one of them yet only it was impossible to rely on horses in the desert. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from watching World War II films.)

Panzer tanks were reliable weapons. (I know that German tanks are seen as a marvel in military technology but Nazi tank technology wasn’t very good. Not to mention, German manufacturing wasn’t cranking out as many tanks as the US and Russia were. Until partway to the German campaign in Russia, the Germans were building fast and relatively light tanks, which were good against people but terrible against other tanks. Even Rommel could admit this. A single Russian KV-2 tank held up the elements of the 6th Panzer division for over a day. And in the ambush at Krasnogvardeysk, 5 KV-1 tanks destroyed 43 German tanks with no losses whatsoever. Their most reliable tank was the medium Panzer IV which had an equal armament and armor as a Sherman tank and the Russian T-34, which would soon outnumber the German tanks significantly. Besides, it was an infantry tank designed not to engage in armor but it was easy to accessorize. Then you have the late war heavy Tiger and Panther tanks which were fearsome opponents on paper but they also suffered from rushed development and were never as reliable in service as their American and Russian counterparts. They also couldn’t stay out in the open very long since they made easy targets for Allied planes. So much for German tank technology.)

The Panzerfaust was a rocket launcher. (It was a anti-tank weapon with a huge gun but it didn’t shoot up rockets.)

Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt:

Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt was a good friend to Erwin Rommel and supported the July 20 plot. (Unlike what The Desert Fox implies, Runstedt wasn’t the genial old man the movie makes him to be. In fact, Runstedt and Rommel had a contentious relationship at best. His disagreements with Hitler were purely tactical and he had no sympathy at all for the July 20 plotters in which he called their efforts, “base, bare-faced treachery.”)

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel:

Erwin Rommel was disgusted by Adolf Hitler’s command of the war. (He eventually did but not at first. He disagreed with Hitler’s tactics and brutality but he did fight for Hitler whether you like it or not. Yet, he was never a Nazi and there’s very little evidence he ever personally held any anti-Semitic beliefs. Still, while The Desert Fox doesn’t show it, Rommel sincerely admired Hitler and remained on good terms with him personally at least until the Second Battle of El Alamein when Hitler ordered “victory or death,” after Rommel requested permission to retreat and resupply. It was an order he’d promptly ignore with his faith in Der Fuhrer broken. As for looks, he bores a much closer resemblance to Daniel Craig than James Mason.)

When ordered to commit suicide, Erwin Rommel couldn’t bear to tell his fifteen-year-old son that he was being taken away to die. (Moving scene in The Desert Fox but it’s wrong. As his son Manfred remembers, Rommel just promptly told him, “I shall be dead in a quarter of an hour.”)

Erwin Rommel was involved with Claus von Stauffenberg’s plot to assassinate Hitler with a bomb planted in Der Fuhrer’s briefcase. (Well, it’s actually a bit complicated. Rommel did want peaceful negotiations with the Allies as well as Hitler removed and certainly knew about Stauffenberg’s plot as well as lent his support, but most historians doubt that he was involved with the July 20 plot. He just didn’t think assassinating him first was a good idea since he believed it would spark a civil war between Germany and Austria as well as make Hitler a martyr for a lasting cause. Instead, he wanted Hitler arrested and tried for his crimes, then executed like Saddam Hussein was. Still, evidence shows he couldn’t believe that Der Fuhrer was responsible for the Nazi regime’s crimes and ascribed the blame to various subordinates.)

Erwin Rommel had one child. (He actually had two. Aside from his son Manfred, he had a “niece” named Gertrud Stemmer he sired in an illicit affair with a local fruit seller named Wallburga {this happened before Rommel met his wife}. He continued to support her from the time she was 15 and they remained close for the rest of his life. He’d also wear a plaid scarf his daughter made for him during his African campaign. Gertrud was 30 when her “uncle” committed suicide.)

Erwin Rommel was in perfect health during the Normandy breakout. (He had his staff car shot up by R. A. F. fighter bombers over a week before Operation Cobra started that left him badly wounded. At the time of the Normandy breakout, he was in a French hospital.)

Erwin Rommel was a Field Marshal during the North Africa campaign. (He wouldn’t be promoted to Field Marshal until the war shifted to Western Europe. In North Africa, he was still a Lieutenant General.)

Colonel Count von Stauffenberg:

Count von Stauffenberg lost his right eye in North Africa. (He actually lost his left eye as well as his right hand, and two fingers on his left hand. He’d later joke that he never really knew what to do with so many fingers when he still had all of them.  He also had been treated for his wounds without morphine or any other anesthetic. Still, Stauffenberg did look a little bit like Tom Cruise, except that he was almost a head taller than the actor who portrayed him in Valkyrie.)

Count von Stauffenberg approached Erwin Rommel when the Allied armies were sweeping across the Rhine. (The Germans were still containing the Allies at Normandy at this time. The Allies wouldn’t break out until after the assassination attempt.)

Count von Stauffenberg was a fan of Richard Wagner. (He hated Wagner.)

Count von Stauffenberg was a decorated World War I veteran. (He would’ve been too young fight in that war.)

Count von Stauffenberg placed the briefcase bomb on a peg table leg during the July 20 plot. (Contrary to Valkyrie, Stauffenberg placed the bomb on a block table leg, which proved crucial in saving Hitler’s life. This is because a guy named Colonel Brandt moved the briefcase bomb to the other side of the block away from Hitler because he was trying to get a better view of the map. The blast blew away from Hitler and towards Brandt, ironically killing the latter.)

Captain Wilm Hosenfield:

Wilm Hosenfield was a high ranking senior combat officer in the German Army. (Contrary to The Pianist, He was only a captain and served as a “sports and culture officer” {activities director} in Warsaw.)

Wilm Hosenfield rescued Wladyslaw Szpilman on a personal whim. (Though suggested in The Pianist, Szpilman wasn’t the only one he rescued nor was his kindness towards him not on a whim {though the movie was told in his point of view so Hosenfield’s kindness would seem this way}. Hosenfield had used his position to save numerous Jews and Poles from death as far back as September of 1939. He even worshiped in the local Catholic churches as well as made an effort to learn Polish so he could talk to those he befriended. Unfortunately, he’d later die in a Soviet prison camp in 1952.)

General Henning von Tresckow:

During the attempt to blow up Hitler’s plane, General Henning von Tresckow delivered the bomb to Colonel Brandt at the aircraft and later retrieved it from Berlin. (Contrary to Valkyrie, Tresckow’s deputy Fabian von Schlabrendorff did both in real life in March of 1943 before Count von Stauffenberg was crippled in the P-40 attack that April. Oh, and he was still a Colonel at the time and wouldn’t be promoted until June 1944.)

General Karl Matzer:

General Karl Matzer was an impulsive and hardcore Nazi. (Contrary to Massacre in Rome, he was a reserved officer who was cautious in implementing harsh policies.)

General Ludwig Beck:

Ludwig Beck was in his civilian clothes during the July 20 plot and managed to commit suicide afterwards. (The day of the Hitler death attempt with the suitcase bomb was the first time Beck wore his military uniform in 6 years contrary to Valkyrie. Also, he failed to kill himself twice that another officer ended up finishing him off.)

The Kriegsmarine (German Navy):

German U-boats usually shot defenseless young sailors who were stranded from sunken enemy fleets. (Actually, though Hitler ordered them to do so, most German U-boat crews usually assisted the survivors of ships they sunk usually because the captain could be interrogated, used as a bargaining chip, or convinced to switch sides. Some stories have German U-boat crews giving survivors navigation aids and supplies. Most German U-boat captains were also afraid of how their crew would be treated in the event of captured so many conveniently ignored Hitler’s orders. The Allies, on the other hand, would attack German U-boats on sight regardless of whether or not there were rescued merchant men inside.)

In the spring of 1942, the U-571 was captured by an American submarine in which the crew went on board to steal its Enigma machine. (This is part of the plot to the movie U-571, which is seen as one of the most historically inaccurate movies of all time and for good reason. First, the real U-571 was never captured but was actually sunk by an Australian plane off the coast of Ireland in 1944. Second, by 1942 the Allies had several Enigma machines already many of them in England’s Bletchley Park. Not only that, but the Enigma had already been deciphered by this point, like 7 months before the US entered the war. Thus, such mission by an American submarine crew would’ve been an unnecessary waste of tax dollars by this point, just saying. Not to mention, Tony Blair actually condemned U-571 in Parliament as an insult to the Royal Navy {who basically captured the Enigma machines with no help from the US}. Even worse, the U-571’s director managed to dedicate the film to the real sailors who captured the Enigma machines whose memories he just desecrated in the most tasteless gesture a filmmaker could ever make. It would be as if the British made a movie about their soldiers defeating the Japanese at the Battle of Midway. Still, this movie was inspired by a real story of the U-110’s capture by the HMS Bulldog back in 1941. Yet, the Bulldog’s crew was just after the codebooks.)

Schnellboots were referred to as “E-boats” by the Germans. (The Germans referred to them as “S-boats.” “E-boat” is an Allied designation.)

Very few sailors on a German U-boat crew believed in Nazism. (The German Navy may have been the least political of the Wehrmacht services. Yet, the number of true believers among U-boat crews was among the highest at least later on in the war since U-boat crews experienced staggering casualties {30,000-40,000 U-boat sailors died in the war}. Not to mention, most military recruits by then would’ve come straight out of the Hitler Youth either heavily indoctrinated or more entrenched in Nazi ideology. Still, you wouldn’t know it from Das Boot which takes place early in the war.)

Admiral Lutjens was a fanatical Nazi supporter. (He’s depicted this way in Sink the Bismarck!, but his support was far from enthusiastic in real life. He greeted everyone up to and including Hitler himself with the traditional German naval salute instead of “Heil Hitler.” He’d also wear his Imperial navy dagger on his Kriegsmarine uniform. His crew weren’t diehard Nazis either.)

The Luftwaffe (German Air Force):

The Luftwaffe was a formidable foe against Allied planes in World War II. (Yes, they’re seen as a formidable foe in World War II but they mostly were committed to a tactical bombing role and their strength as a fighting force was significantly damaged by the Battle of Britain. Though Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to strategically bomb major cities, it wasn’t equipped to do this. Yet, it was the first Air Force to use paratroopers, which greatly impressed the Allies that they built their own airborne divisions for Normandy.)

Herman Goering was late to the conference with Hitler that took place before the July 20 assassination attempt. (Goering wasn’t at the conference at all that day.)

Messerschmitts had British engines. (They had German engines made by Daimler-Benz unlike in Valkyrie.)

German paratroopers descended with a kit bag attached by a line to one leg. (This is an an American and British technique, not used by the Germans.)

The SS:

The Waffen SS was an elite Special Forces organization. (The only extra training the SS received was purely ideological and functioned more like the Secret Service than the Green Berets and thought of as a little more than thugs, not front line soldiers, at least before they started to push their recruitment as front line units which was in 1943. Not to mention, it was said that some SS divisions received worse combat training and equipment as non-SS divisions. No Waffen-SS unit ever achieved a better kill ratio than the Heer’s best troops.)

The Waffen SS was the unit that massacred Jews during the Holocaust. (It was the Einsatzgruppen-SS that were death squads and they consisted of 15,000 members in 6 groups with 2 never seeing any action. Still, they were responsible for the death of more than 1.3 million people. Their most infamous was the massacre of 33, 771 near Babi Yar, a ditch near the capital of Ukraine.)

The Waffen SS consisted of only German members. (It was a mostly volunteer organization that consisted of many recruits across Europe ranging from Germans, Austrians, White Russians to French, Scandinavians to even Muslim Bosniaks and Indians. It was kind of like a Nazi French Foreign Legion that had around a million personnel at its height. The reason being that while the German Army could only recruit German citizens, the Waffen-SS didn’t have such restriction.)

The SS wore black uniforms. (A common mistake in many World War II movies. From Imdb: “The Black SS uniforms were discontinued at the start of the war in 1939 and replaced by the green/gray uniform. Only Waffen SS tank crews wore black uniforms in combat. This was not, however, the all-black uniform worn by the pre-war SS, but rather a short, black waist-cut coat similar in style to that worn by tank crews in the Wehrmacht. “)

Amon Goeth:

Amon Goeth was a recipient of the 2nd class Iron Cross, the Sudetenland Medal, and the Silesian Eagle. (He never actually won any of these. Also, his importance in the political machinery of the Holocaust is overplayed in Schindler’s List. He was never promoted above the rank of Captain and never had any sort of political or military power.)

Amon Goeth was a very sadistic Nazi commandant who loved murdering people during the Holocaust. (Some people criticized the Spielberg for including such a “blatantly evil” villain like Goeth in Schindler’s List, claiming Ralph Fiennes’ portrayal of him was too pointlessly cruel to be believable. However, unbeknownst to many viewers, Spielberg actually toned down the kind of monster Goeth was. Goeth was a guy who regularly tortured people in a special dungeon built under his villa for this specific purpose, fed prisoners alive to his starved dogs, shot playing children with his sniper rifle. He’s also believed to have personally murdered 500 people {amounting for a quarter of deaths that occurred in his camp} and much more. His camp had the highest death rate by far that didn’t include a gas chamber. And, yes, there are tons of evidence and documentation as well as countless witnesses for all of it. Not only that, but in September of 1944, Goeth would be relieved of his position as commandant at Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp as well as charged by the SS for failure to provide adequate food for prisoners under his charge, violation of concentration camp regulations regarding the treatment and punishment of prisoners, and others. However, the SS would commit him to a mental institution but would later be found by Polish and Amercian soldiers and executed not far from the site of his camp. Still, even toned down, he’s considered by AFI as the highest ranked non-fictional villain in movie history.)

The Gestapo:

The Gestapo wore those snazzy black outfits. (First, it was the SS who wore those. Second, since they were the secret police of the Third Reich, the Gestapo would either be wearing gray police uniforms or more often no uniforms at all. Actually, in Nazi Germany, you wouldn’t be able to recognize a member of the Gestapo.)

The Gestapo was ruthlessly efficient political police force in Nazi Germany. (They were also constantly understaffed and overworked and only counted on helpful German citizens or paid informers of occupied countries. Anne Frank and her family were turned in by an informer who worked for the Gestapo. Gestapo officers were selected primarily for their political reliability, rather than their professionalism {though there were effective agents who served there}. Yet, they weren’t as skillful with other espionage agencies as they were with sowing terror. The Third Reich’s truly scary counter-espionage agency had been the SD {security department within the SS} that were always driven to do their best, but even they weren’t that very effective. )

Gestapo Chief Herbert Kappler was a tired worn out man who’s disillusioned by the Nazi cause and thought that the fall of Nazi Germany was imminent. (Contrary to his Richard Burton portrayal in Massacre in Rome he was a zealous Nazi and was sent to Rome exactly for this reason. There, he organized round-ups of thousands of innocent victims, oversaw raids on Jewish homes for looted valuables, and was a key figure for transporting Italian Jews to Nazi death camps. Also, he was 37 years old. Oh, and the massacre was ordered by the SS and his superior was SS Captain Karl Wolff.)

The Hindenburg:

14 year old Werner Franz was doused with water once he escaped from the burning Hindenburg. (According to Wikipedia Franz: “escaped the flames after a water ballast tank overhead burst open and soaked him with water. He then made his way to the hatch and turned around and ran the other way, because the flames were being pushed by the wind towards the starboard side.” As of 2012, he’s still alive along with Werner Doehner who was 8 at the time.)

Circus performer Joseph Späh escaped by grabbing a landing rope from the Hindenburg. (There was no landing rope on the Hindenburg. According to Wikipedia he escaped by “smashing a window with his home movie camera (the film survived the disaster), and held on to the side of the window, jumping to the ground when the ship was low enough, surviving with only a broken ankle.”)
The Blutner baby grand piano was in the Hindenburg during its final season. (It was aboard during its 1936 season but not on its final flight in 1937.)

The Hindenburg’s crew repaired a tear in its cover as it drifted lower and lower in the Atlantic. (This happened but it was on the Great Zeppelin, not the Hindenburg.)

Captain Ernest Lehman and Dr. Hugo Eckener were very wary of the Nazi Party. (Contrary to the 1975 Hindenburg film, these two guys didn’t see eye to eye as far as the Nazis were concerned. Eckener hated the Nazis and made absolutely no secret about it while Lehman was very accommodating to the powers in Berlin to advance his career and the fortunes of the Zeppelin Company. Though the 1975 film has Lehman protesting using a ship to drop propaganda leaflets in 1936, he was perfectly eager to do this to the extent that he launched the ship in a dangerous wind condition, bashing its tail. Eckener actually lashed out against Lehman for endangering the ship to please the Nazis. Because of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels blacklisted Eckener in the press forever after despite him being a national {or international} hero.)

There was a conspiracy to destroy the Hindenburg airship. (Nope, the 1975 film gets this wrong. It was more or less due to a series of preventable events with the ignition coming out of nowhere.)

Miscellaneous:

No male spectator removed his hat and no military personnel saluted while a German national anthem was played by a military band. (This would simply not happen in Nazi Germany.)

Admiral Wilhelm Canaris was behind the plot to assassinate Winston Churchill. (This is the plot in The Eagle has Landed but the guy was a member of the German Resistance who was involved in several plots to kill Hitler and shared information with British intelligence. It’s very unlikely that he’d sign off on a plot particularly under orders from Heinrich Himmler and would’ve at least done something to sabotage it. He chose his agents on their Anti-Nazism as much as their competence. Still, there actually was an attempt to kill Churchill {which included assassinating FDR and Stalin as well}. Yet, it was headed by Otto Skorzeny, the man who rescued Mussolini but the plan foiled before they could get anywhere near the leaders. Also, they knew that Churchill was away at Tehran at the time and the assassins were sent there.)

Banners in Nazi Germany had inscriptions in Gothic type during World War II. (Hitler actually banned all Gothic types in 1941, saying that they were of Jewish origin.)

Urban German churches in World War II had stain glass windows in place. (Priests, nuns, and other clergymen had removed the stained glass windows from the churches and buried them outside the cities so they wouldn’t be destroyed if the Allies bombed Germany.)

The SA stormtroopers were around in 1936. (The Brown shirts ceased to exist after The Night of the Long Knives in 1934. Though they lingered, it was significantly weakened, almost pointless since the SS had taken over most of their duties by this point.)

The Germans used Scopolamine during their interrogations. (It wasn’t tested as a truth drug until the 1950s.)

Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and Henrich Himmler got a long great with each other. (They detested each other.)

Nazis enjoyed listening to Gustave Mahler. (Mahler’s music was banned in Nazi Germany because he was Jewish.)

Germany stood a chance of winning World War II. (Let’s just say Hitler was never really so close to winning World War II mostly because of his attempt to invade Russia. Let’s just say he should’ve learned from Napoleon that invading that country is never a good idea. Still, this resulted not only in utter disaster but also with Josef Stalin joining the Allies as he was going to be in the winner’s corner of the war no matter what.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 48 – The German-Speaking World of the 19th Century

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Here’s Gary Oldman as Ludwig van Beethoven in 1994’s Immortal Beloved which makes Amadeus look like a faithful biopic. Sure Oldman does look like Beethoven as you clearly see. Yet, let’s just say, he wouldn’t ask Metternich for favors, he didn’t love his sister-in-law Johanna, and he didn’t sire his own nephew Karl. Nor did he will his estate to his Immortal Beloved either.

The German speaking world of the 19th century was a key place during this time period. The Holy Roman Empire had collapsed in 1806 (partly thanks to Napoleon who probably had something to do with it) which left the Empire of Austria-Hungary which still had an Emperor that would last until World War I. Nevertheless, while Vienna was the home of the royal family as well as where the famous Clemmens von Metternich ran things from 1790 until he was forced to resign among the 1848 Revolutions. However, though many contemporaries think that the Austrian-Hungarian Empire was a backward, ignorant, and underdeveloped, they forget that this was Vienna was home to a lot of great 19th century German composers as well as Sigmund Freud. Then you have Germany which began the 19th century as a loose confederation of small entities until the Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck started a war with France in the 1870s and helped form these little countries into Germany which was ruled by the Kaisers. It was also a place for composers,  scientists, and other people of note. There aren’t a lot of movies made in this period save maybe a few Nazi propaganda films as well as those that take place in Vienna. Yet, there are plenty of inaccuracies in these films, nevertheless.

Austria:

Ludwig van Beethoven:

Ludwig van Beethoven’s will mentioned an “immortal beloved.” (She wasn’t mentioned in his will. Also, the mention of an “immortal beloved” was in a series of letters dating said to be written in 1812. Beethoven died in 1827 and probably wasn’t still hung up with her. Still, he had quite a lot of romances in his life so there are plenty of candidates. As to his will, he left the bulk of his estate to his nephew Karl who he loved with a sort of tormented horror in a parental fashion.)

Ludwig van Beethoven was deaf when he wrote the “Pathetique” sonata. (He wrote it in 1798 when he could still hear and was doing performances. He certainly heard it.)

Ludwig van Beethoven was a ladies man. (Contrary to what Immortal Beloved says, he was unlucky with women in general and often rejected by them. He also tended to form attachments with women who were unreachable {already married}.)

Ludwig van Beethoven stopped playing after his Eroica Symphony. (He stopped playing in 1814 due to his hearing loss. However, this was long after he wrote the Eroica {or Third Symphony} which was in 1805 and said to originally to be titled the Bonaparte Symphony. However, he changed it to Eroica when he found that Napoleon had declared himself Emperor according to one of his biographers. He was crushed and tore the title page in half.)

Ludwig van Beethoven died poor. (He may not have been a wealthy composer but he was a shrewd businessman and not above doing music commissions just for money. Still, he spent a lot of his money on his family, especially when it came to his brother Kaspar’s tuberculosis treatment and in a custody battle over his nephew. Not to mention, as a composer in his day, he was responsible for all the expenses in performing his work.)

Ludwig van Beethoven had an unkempt appearance, had terrible manners, and was emotionally unstable. (He had usually been a neat freak and was polite in public until his personal life and health problems began to take their toll in the 1810s. His hearing loss was also a factor. Still, he had a close circle of devoted friends all his life though there are accounts of him accusing them of cheating him only to later get over it and apologize to them the next day.)

Clemens Von Metternich and Ludwig van Beethoven met in person in which the latter offered to write an oratorio praising the former in return for the arch-conservative minister intervening on the composer’s custody dispute over his nephew. (For one, they didn’t meet in person. Second, to think Beethoven would propose such a thing to a guy who had secret police on him is not only absurd, it’s borderline slanderous because Beethoven was a passionate democrat who supported revolutions sweeping across Europe.)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s immortal beloved was his sister-in-law Johanna and was her son Karl’s real father. And the reason why he was so horrible and abusive to Johanna was that he was secretly crazy in love with her. (For fucking God’s sake, Immortal Beloved, Beethoven isn’t a sparkly vampire from Twilight! Besides, it’s highly unlikely that Johanna van Beethoven was the immortal beloved because he was completely awful to her, calling her a whore in public multiple times and questioning her fitness as a mother. It’s also likely that his nephew Karl had a lot of resentment for his uncle because of how he treated his mom. Not to mention, Karl wasn’t his son since Ludwig and Joanna were on bad terms from the start. His biographer Anton Schindler is said to allege that Giulietta Guicciardi was the most likely candidate who might’ve been engaged to Beethoven at one point but ended up dumping him for another guy mostly due to their different social standings. Nevertheless, if Johanna was the immortal beloved, Beethoven probably would’ve married her without a hitch which would’ve made things a lot easier for both of them as well as Karl.)

Countess Anna Marie Erdody saved Ludwig van Beethoven from public humiliation, gave him a place to stay, and took up with him. (All that’s known about her in Beethoven’s life was that she paid to keep him in Vienna when he threatened to leave.)

Ludwig van Beethoven wrote the “Immortal Beloved” letter in Karlsbad. (It’s fairly certain he actually wrote it while at a spa in Teplitz. The person he wrote to was in Karlsbad or Prague as far as he knew.)

Ludwig van Beethoven met Giulietta Guicciardi in 1804. (He actually met her in 1800.)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s music was way for him to express himself during times in his life. (Actually he was a man dedicated to his craft who composed music for its own sake. Yet, he didn’t always compose music that was inspired from his life. He also said that it was his music that kept him from committing suicide since couldn’t bear to leave his music unwritten.)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s relationship with Giulietta Guicciardi fell apart over a bet to see on whether Beethoven still knew how to play the piano. Giulietta also betrayed Beethoven by testing his deafness. (Beethoven’s main instruments were the piano and violin since he wrote a lot of music for them. Still, they more or less broke up due to their different social standings and he knew they had no future together. Also, it’s very likely that Giulietta’s cousins didn’t tear up their dresses in a public place to have sex with him. Still, Beethoven’s love life was hampered by class issues since he was a commoner who kept falling for aristocratic women way out of his league. Maybe he should’ve just marry girls like his brothers did.)

Anton Schindler was Beethoven’s executor. (He was his first biographer, secretary, and friend. Yet, he’d probably be executor, too.)

Ludwig van Beethoven had a female copyist and co-conductor. (He had two and they were both male and neither contributed or altered the score. Also, the person who assisted him with conducting the 9th Symphony was Michael Umlauf though Beethoven was on stage but the orchestra had been told to ignore him. Also, one of the soloists by the name of Caroline Unger had to turn him around to see the enthusiastic applause of the audience.)

In 1824, Ludwig van Beethoven was hard of hearing but quite capable of understanding people who spoke loudly. (Though he had never experienced permanent deafness, his condition fluctuated between total silence and terrible tinnitus. Also, his hearing had deteriorated severely by the time he composed his 9th symphony. Still, unlike many popular portrayals of Beethoven today, he was able to carry on conversations as long as they were facilitated by notebooks and that the person he was talking to looked directly at him since he could read lips.)

Ludwig van Beethoven was deaf for most of his life even in his youth. (He could hear perfectly fine until he started to lose his hearing at 26 this was gradual process due to having a “distended inner ear” which developed lesions over time. By 1818 he was almost completely deaf. As to what caused it, his hearing loss has been attributed to typhus, aut0-immune disorders {like systemic lupus erythematosus}, or his habit of immersing cold water on his head to stay awake.)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony was an ode to himself escaping the oppression of his father. (Uh, Beethoven’s actual inspiration for his 9th Symphony was

Ludwig van Beethoven was private about his deafness. (His deafness wasn’t a secret and he was very public about it.)

Ludwig van Beethoven’s grave was an 8-foot obelisk. (His original grave was 2 feet tall and in a different Vienna cemetery. His body would later be moved next to Schubert in the 1880s at the site where the 8 foot obelisk in his memorial stands.)

Kaspar van Beethoven survived his famous brother Ludwig. (He died of tuberculosis in 1815 and was one of the reasons why Beethoven had a nasty custody battle with his widow. Heck, Beethoven had spent money for his care.)

Karl van Beethoven left his uncle Ludwig after he tried to commit suicide. (Yes, Beethoven did have a stormy relationship with his nephew who tried to kill himself. Yet, Karl didn’t leave his uncle until after finishing the metronome markings for his uncle’s 9th Symphony. And when he did, he left under his uncle’s permission {though reluctantly} to join the army.)

Sigmund Freud:

Sigmund Freud’s “Dora” case was in 1892, in which Freud had her strip naked for a back massage. (Freud had the “Dora” case for 11 weeks in 1900. Also, according to his published account of the whole thing, he never laid a hand on her. Not to mention, he never had his patients strip naked and never massaged anything other than their foreheads. Yet, there were some erotic undercurrents in Freud’s treatment of her. Still, Freud was a psychiatrist not a masseuse.)

Anna O. was Sigmund Freud’s patient. (She may have been the founding patient of psychoanalysis but she was the patient of Josef Breuer, Freud’s friend and patron. He reported the case to Freud in detail and often at his request. Yet, Freud never met this women, let alone treated her.)

Sigmund Freud hypnotized a female patient to get to the root of her traumatic experience in 1896. (He had given up using hypnotism by this time since he had discovered the value of sitting behind his patients instead. Though he did use both years earlier. Still, Freud didn’t pursue any of his female patients and was well known for being faithful to his wife.)

Signmund Freud’s theories of psychology revolved around sex. (Many did, but he also had theories on dreams. However, what cements Freud’s place in history is the use of his method of talking to people in order to cure their mental issues, his work concerning the subconscious, and his theory of the Id, Ego, and Superego were all considered groundbreaking and laid the foundations of what much is understood about psychology today.)

After discovering the Oedipus complex, Sigmund Freud felt horrendously guilty and was ready to abandon his practice because it revealed the latent hatred of his father. (There’s no evidence that his theory of the Oedipus complex depressed him. In fact, he was quite pleased with it saying that every man has been a little Oedipus at some time in his life. And, by Oedipus complex, he didn’t mean that guys are sexually attracted to their mothers, which it mostly implies in pop culture.)

Empress Elisabeth:

Empress consort Elisabeth was hated by her mother-in-law Dowager Sophie and brought the sun and love to everyone else by solving their problems with much class and sweetness. (She was more of a woman who was unable to withstand pressure coming from the Hapsburg Court and plagued by disgraces and mental illness. She never recovered from the loss of her son who died of a murder-suicide with his mistress at the Mayerling hunting lodge. Not to mention, in many ways, she was kind of strange to put it lightly. Also, Sophie was more of an ignored expert yet she was still a domineering woman who picked all grandchildren’s names. But she tried to make her daughter-in-law a good empress and was adamant about tradition. This clashed with Elisabeth’s free spirited nature. And though she was stern and strict, Sophie was very caring and actually worried about her daughter-in-law. Still, Empress Elisabeth was nowhere near the Disney princess mode a she’s depicted in the Sissi trilogy.)

Empress consort Elisabeth and Emperor Franz Josef were around the same age. (Well, they did have an eight year age difference like my grandparents. Yet, when they met Franz was 23 and Elisabeth was 15. Oh, and he met her while on a visit to meet her sister whom he was supposed to marry in the first place but fell for her instead.)

Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth had a fairytale relationship. (They had a rocky marriage. However, Elisabeth would undergo mercury treatments {which were commonly used for treating syphilis} and soon had her teeth rot. She also displayed erratic behavior. So somebody wasn’t being faithful here.)

The “Emperor’s Waltz” was played at Franz Joseph and Elisabeth’s wedding in 1854. (It was composed by Johann Strauss Jr. in 1889.)

Empress consort Elisabeth met Maria Vetsera. (She probably didn’t since she had been the wandering Empress who shunned Vienna, the Court, the etiquette, and even the politics. However, she was in Vienna when Crown Prince Rudolf died.)

Johann Strauss Jr.:

Johann Strauss Jr.’s first marriage was to a baker’s daughter. (It was to a singer named Henrietta Trefz, who wasn’t a baker’s daughter.)

Johann Strauss Jr. composed “The Blue Danube” during his dad’s lifetime. (“The Blue Danube” was composed in 1866. Johann Strauss Sr. died in 1849 so he probably wouldn’t have been able to hear it.)

The Mayerling Incident:

Maria Vetsera lived to be 20. (She died at 17 in a murder-suicide with her lover the Crown Prince Rudolf at the Mayerling hunting lodge. Pretty sad story. Still, this incident was one of the reasons why Archduke Ferdinand would be assassinated since it practically made him heir to the throne of Austria after his dad renounced his claim.)

Maria Vetsera refused to bow before Crown Princess Stephanie at the German Embassy ball. (Contrary to the movie Mayerling with Omar Sharif, this was never mentioned by anyone who attended the party. The only account that does mention this is from the Countess Marie Larish who wasn’t even invited because her mother was an actress. She was also kind of a shady and perverse character despite being Empress Elisabeth’s protege.)

Crown Prince Rudolf and Maria Vetsera made a suicide pact because they couldn’t live in a world without love or prospects for peace. (Most historians agree this wasn’t the case. Actually, contrast with the movie Mayerling, the incident isn’t as romantic as it implies. Many historians think that Rudolf’s murder-suicide had more to do with Rudolf being a desperate man too afraid to die alone {though official reports say that it was due to Franz Josef’s demand that the couple end their relationship}. Also, Maria Vetsera wasn’t his only mistress nor was she the only one Rudolf asked to die with him. Still, though Rudolf did at least play with the idea of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire having a federal parliamentary democracy {though there’s doubt whether he really believed them} and clashed with his father, he was a jaded alcoholic who was seriously ill with some STD and used morphine to relieve his suffering as well as a weak and unsound man. Also, unlike his Omar Sharif portrayal, Rudolf didn’t leave a good looking corpse. As for Maria she was just a 17 year old girl desperately in love with a troubled man and was too young to understand her lover was using her as a helping hand to die. Not to mention, Rudolf died six hours after his teenage mistress.)

Crown Prince Rudolf took part in student demonstrations. (This is implausible since his dad’s henchmen watched him like a hawk day and night. Also, he was more interested in partying than political protesting regardless of what his ideas were.)

Crown Prince Rudolf was drawn into a treasonable attempt to dethrone his father as the King of Hungary mostly because he wanted to put his liberal ideas into practice and that he could divorce his wife Stephanie and marry his mistress Maria Vetsera. (Unlike the Omar Sharif portrayal in Mayerling, the real Crown Prince Rudolf would’ve done no such thing. For one, while Hungary had the right to self-govern within the Empire, most Hungarians were perfectly fine with the Dual Monarchy and would’ve never wished to replace Emperor Franz Josef as their king, especially with a divorced man, something that would’ve been totally unacceptable in a predominantly Catholic nation. Second, Rudolf may have had liberal ideas{or at least played with them} and probably toyed with the idea of divorcing his wife {since it was an unhappy marriage and that his wife had failed to give him a son and may have been rendered infertile due to contracting VD from her husband. Not to mention, his father-in-law was Leopold II who was famous for his brutality in the Congo}. Third, he probably had no plans on marrying his teenage mistress and it’s very likely he didn’t love her anyway. Fourth, he wasn’t serious enough about politics to even consider overthrowing his old man over anything.)

Maria Vetsera was blond. (Photographs indicate that she had dark hair.)

Other:

Richard Wagner was responsible for Nazism. (No, he wasn’t. Sure he was anti-Semitic but he died six years before Hitler was born. Still, the Nazis were a fan of his music and he gets a bad rap for that.)

Germany:

Kasper Hauser was a young man when he appeared in Nuremberg. (He was said to be 17.)

Albert and his brother Ernest lived in Saxe-Coburg-Gotha around 1837. (They were attending the University of Bonn as residents.)
There was a Prince of Brunswick at the Duke of Richmond’s ball during the Napoleonic Wars. (There was never a prince of Brunswick but there was a Duke of Brunswick who was 43 at the time of Waterloo.)

The Brothers Grimm wrote “Jack and the Beanstalk.” (It’s an old English tale and not well-known in Germany so it’s not one of them.)
Prussian General Blücher ordered his army to leave no survivors. (He actually told them to pursue the French until their last breath. It’s just that his army was in no mood in taking prisoners at the time.)

The Prussians wore black military uniforms. (They were dark blue. Also, contrary to Waterloo, the black-clad Leibhusaren weren’t part of Blucher’s army. )

Otto von Bismarck challenged Kaiser Wilhelm I’s authority. (No, because Kaiser Wilhelm I let Bismarck do whatever he wanted. Still, Bismarck was one of the reasons why Kaiser Wilhem was able to rule Germany though it was the Kaiser who appointed him prime minister. Unfortunately Kaiser Wilhelm I died in 1888 and his son Frederich III died of cancer after ruling Germany for 99 days which paved the way for Kaiser Wilhelm II who eventually fired Bismarck from his job after unifying Germany and running it for nearly 20 years mostly because Wilhelm II was fed up with being Bismarck’s puppet.)

Otto von Bismarck was a proto-Hitler. (No, he wasn’t despite being portrayed like that in Nazi propaganda films. Still, Bismarck was a sneaky bastard who enacted social welfare policies to reduce worker support for the socialist parties he loathed and set the retirement age to 65 thinking that nobody would receive benefits since a lot of people didn’t live past 50 at the time. However, though he had few scruples he wasn’t willing to override, Bismarck was a pragmatist more willing to find more expedient and effective ways to get what he wanted and didn’t pursue aggressive foreign policy.)

Albert Einstein was a patent clerk in 1899. (He was still in school at this point and wouldn’t become one until 1902.)