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06 июля, 01:30

FUNNY TO READ THIS IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: American Reds, Soviet Stooges. “From its founding in 191…

FUNNY TO READ THIS IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: American Reds, Soviet Stooges. “From its founding in 1919 in the wake of the Russian Revolution until the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Communist Party of the United States of America was an instrument of Soviet foreign policy. The Communist International, or Comintern, […]

27 июня, 17:45

Where to find the Amber Room, a cultural treasure stolen by the Nazis

Peter I, the first emperor of Russia — who reigned from 1682 to 1721 —  was well known for his love of curiosities. His collection of unusual and unique items, the Kuntskamera, is full of rarities ranging from mineral deposits to the fetuses of deformed still-born infants. His collection is still exhibited in St. Petersburg today. During his rule, every monarch in Europe knew that there was no better way to please the powerful Russian czar than to give him an unusual present. This is why Frederick William I of Prussia came up with an elaborate gift in his attempt to win Peter I’s favor. In 1716, he presented the Russian emperor with a chamber, designed by the finest Prussian baroque architects and sculptors, decorated with amber and gold. This was the famous Amber Room, which would later be called the Eighth Wonder of the World due to its astounding beauty. From Prussia to Russia Peter I’s descendants had the chamber remodeled and significantly expanded, turning it into a pearl of their prosperity. By the end of the 18th century, it had been transformed into a gorgeous room covering almost 100 square meters and decorated with six tons of amber, gold leaf and semi-precious stones. Historians and jewelers still argue over the approximate value of the Amber Room with estimates ranging from $142 million to over $500 million. Catherine the Great — who reigned from 1762 to 1796 — had the chamber placed in her summer residence, the Catherine Palace, which was located in Tsarskoye Selo (now the city of Pushkin, 30 km south of St. Petersburg). This unique piece of art was constantly maintained and remained in the Catherine Palace until 1941. Ironically, a large-scale restoration was scheduled to take place that year but, due to the war, this never happened. Amber Room, Catherine Palace, Tsarskoye Selo, near St. Petersburg. / Getty Images Devoured by war World War II broke out in June 1941. The fighting was very challenging for the USSR, especially during the first few months. By that September, the city of Pushkin had been occupied by the German army. By this time, many Soviet museum exhibits and priceless works of art had already been shipped to Siberia for safekeeping but the Amber Room was too fragile and heavy to transport. Under the reign of Adolf Hitler, numerous works of art from previous centuries, the Amber Room included, were officially viewed as property that had been stolen from the German people. The Nazis, therefore, reclaimed this treasure and sent the dismantled Amber Room to Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia, 1088 km east of Moscow). According to Alfred Rohde, the German art historian who supervised the collection at the Königsberg Castle from 1926-1945, the Germans took good care of the Amber Room. Rohde claims that it even survived the heavy bombing of Königsberg in 1944, when most of the city’s historic center was burnt down, because the chamber had been disassembled and stored in the castle’s basements. Nevertheless, when Soviet troops captured Königsberg in April 1945 they did not find any trace of the room or its contents. The Amber Room had disappeared. Gone for good? There are plenty of theories as to where the Amber Room went, the simplest being that Rohde lied and the collection had been completely destroyed during the intense fighting for Königsberg. Another theory claims that the chamber remains buried somewhere in the basements underneath the Königsberg Castle, which was demolished by the Soviets in 1969. Experts believe that if this is the case, the chamber would be as good as destroyed because amber requires certain temperatures and conditions to be preserved and is likely to decay underground. Lend-Lease: How American supplies aided the USSR in its darkest hour Other suggestions are more enticing to the adventurers who still hope to find the Amber Room. For example, the room could have been dismantled and shipped to Germany when the Nazis realized their defeat was inevitable. A Russian historian Andrei Przedomsky even believes that this piece of art is hidden in undisclosed German Secret Service bunkers outside of Kaliningrad. Some other researchers have posited that the chamber was secretly moved to South America, along with the several Nazi leaders who fled after 1945. One of the most exotic tales suggests that Germany never seized the Amber Room at all–at least not the real one. According to Fedor Morozov, a specialist from Pushkin, Soviet restorers had copied the decorations, and skillfully replaced the originals with duplicates, before moving the original Amber Room to a safe location prior to the war. Morozov is certain that the Soviet government shipped the contents to Armand Hammer, an American businessman and a close friend of the Soviet Union, as a reward for his support of the country’s Lend-Lease program. A flawless duplicate Several pieces from the original Amber Room did survive World War II. In 2000, Germany returned two pieces of the room’s decor to Russia, a Florentine mosaic and an amber bureau. However, it seems that the entirety of the contents will not be found so Russian scientists and sculptors have worked to reconstruct the lost masterpiece. Their meticulous work, which included the participation of German craftsmen, started in 1981 and lasted for more than 20 years, costing $11.35 million. The newly restored Amber Room was opened in 2003 at the Catherine Palace in Pushkin. The Catherine Palace in Pushkin ruined by German invaders, 1945. / Boris Kudoyarov/RIA Novosti Baron Eduard von Falz-Fein, a Russian-born businessman from Liechtenstein, has spent 30 years of his life searching for the Amber Room. In 2004 he said that while the original chamber appears to have been lost forever, the new version is a worthy substitute. “I saw the old Amber Room, when I was five years old, and I’ve seen the new one. The new one is even better,” von Falz-Fein told Argumenty i Fakty. Enthusiasts are still welcome to continue the hunt for the original Amber Room but it is far easier to go to Pushkin and enjoy the masterful recreation. This article is part of the Russian X-Files series in which RBTH explores Russia-related mysteries and paranormal phenomena. Read more: Russian jeweller recreates the Amber Room in his workshop

20 июня, 21:01

Текст: Ленд-лиз: только факты ( евгений спицин )

Ленд-лиз: только факты «Мало кто знает, что военные поставки по ленд-лизу (lend — lease), внаём вовсе не были бесплатны - Россия как правопреемница СССР заплатила последние долги по ним аж в 2006-м году», - пишет историк и публицист Евгений Спицын . В вопросе ленд-лиза (с английского lend — давать взаймы и lease — сдавать в аренду, внаём — ред.) для СССР существует много тонкостей, в которых неплохо было бы разобраться — на основе исторических документов. Часть I Не совсем безвозмездно Закон о ленд-лизе или «Закон по обеспечению защиты Соединенных Штат...

19 июня, 20:49

"A Conspiracy So Immense": Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy: Hoisted from the Archives:

**"A Conspiracy So Immense"**: Is the American right any crazier than it ever was? No. It was the submersion of the crazy right during the "end of ideology" age that was weird. Exhibit 1: William F. Buckley and Eliot Abrams. Buckley, remember, is the person whose reaction to Catholics being allowed into Yale on equal terms was: "let's be sure to keep the Jews down!" And Abrams... you will see... "A Conspiracy so Immense": Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy : William F. Buckley says: >McCarthy's record is... not only much better than his critics allege, but, given his metier, extremely good.... [he] should not be remembered as the man who didn't produce 57 Communist Party cards but as the man who brought public pressure to bear on the State Department to revise its practices and to eliminate from responsible positions flagrant security risks... Elliot Abrams says: >McCarthy did not need to show that specific employees were guilty of espionage; they needed only to show that there was some evidence that an employee was a security or loyalty risk, and that the State Department... had willfully overlooked it.... What were the charges? They ranged from accusations of actual espionage—handing secret documents over to...

08 июня, 17:54

Russia's Ultimate Military Dream: A Navy Armed with Big Battleships

Kyle Mizokami Security, Despite their success, Stalin disliked aircraft carriers and preferred battleships instead. At a September 1945 meeting of the Soviet leadership, Stalin overruled a proposal to build aircraft carriers and instead directed the Soviet Navy to complete construction of the battleship Sovetskaya Rossiya. The battleship had been laid down in 1940 and was still less than one percent complete by war’s end. He also directed the Navy to build two “Project 24” 75,000 ton battleships, and seven “Project 82” (Stalingrad-class) battlecruisers displacing 36,500 tons and equipped with nine twelve-inch guns. Stalin approved only two light carriers, a useless number considering the superiority of the American and British fleets. At the end of the Second World War, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin stood undisputed as the most powerful man in Eurasia. His Red Army had crushed Nazi Germany, repelling an invasion and going on to capture Berlin after a grueling, four year campaign. Stalin’s Red Army was arguably more powerful than the American, British, French and western European armies combined. Still, that was not enough. Stalin had long craved a strong navy that would extend Soviet influence far from Europe and Asia, and do it in a big way. The Soviet leader wanted battleships, and a lot of them. A fleet that simply was never meant to be, it existed largely on paper and even included some highly advanced ships that were flat-out hoaxes. The Idea: During World War II the Soviet Navy was a distant third in priorities. It was the Red Army that had fought the grueling ground battles and campaigns that defeated Germany. Supporting it was a Red Air Force optimized, like the Luftwaffe, on tactical battlefield support of ground forces. The Navy, on the other hand had played a very limited role, providing convoy protection for Lend-Lease equipment from the U.S and support for land operations and harassment of the German military in the Baltic and Black Sea regions. Still, by mid-1945 it was clear to Stalin that with Germany gone, his most powerful rivals—the United States and United Kingdom—lay across the water and out of his armies’ reach. So was Japan, which the USSR had been shut out of occupying, and many of the former European colonies that were ripe for revolution. Powerful army or not, if  Stalin wanted to remain a major military power, he was going to need a powerful navy. Why Battleships?: By the end of World War II it was clear that battleships were obsolete. Aircraft carriers had replaced them as the dominant naval platform, a fact made painfully clear to the Empire of Japan during literally dozens of sea battles in the Pacific Theater of Operations. After the war, the Western Allies mostly divested themselves of battleships, preserving their fleets of carriers instead. Despite their success, Stalin disliked aircraft carriers and preferred battleships instead. At a September 1945 meeting of the Soviet leadership, Stalin overruled a proposal to build aircraft carriers and instead directed the Soviet Navy to complete construction of the battleship Sovetskaya Rossiya. The battleship had been laid down in 1940 and was still less than one percent complete by war’s end. He also directed the Navy to build two “Project 24” 75,000 ton battleships, and seven “Project 82” (Stalingrad-class) battlecruisers displacing 36,500 tons and equipped with nine twelve-inch guns. Stalin approved only two light carriers, a useless number considering the superiority of the American and British fleets. A Bad Plan: The plan was doomed to failure. The Soviet Union never had much large-shipbuilding capacity, and developing such capability had been delayed by the Great Patriotic War. Furthermore, the war had done great damage to the country’s industrial capacity, which needed replacing. There were only so many resources to go around, and gradually the Soviet Union scaled back plans for a grand surface fleet. The 75,000 battleships were never constructed, and only two of the seven battlecruisers began construction—none were ever actually completed. The death of Stalin in 1953 ended the dream of a large fleet of battleships. Meanwhile, reports of a new class of Soviet super-battleships were percolating in the West. Several periodicals, including allegedly Jane’s Fighting Ships, spread the rumor of seven new super-battleships, nicknamed K-1000, under construction in Siberian shipyards. The seven super ships: Strana Sovetov, Sovetskaya Byelorossia, Krasnaya Bessarabiya, Krasnaya Sibir, Sovietskaya Konstitutsia, Lenin, and Sovetskiy Soyuz were said to be between 36,000 and 55,000 tons—ironically smaller than the ships Stalin had actually approved. They were variously reported as having a top speed of between 25 and 33 knots, and carried a battery of between nine to twelve 16-inch guns and twelve 18-inch guns. They were also supposed to have guided missiles as armament. The problem: they were a hoax. The rumor had spread in the Western press, but the Soviet Union, once it learned of them encouraged the rumors. Some of the names were retreads of the earlier, cancelled Sovetsky Soyuz class. The ships were just plausible enough to sound real, although the Soviet Union had not developed guided missiles capable of being fitted on ships. The rumors were advantageous to Moscow—if the NATO countries believed a fleet of super-battleships were on the way they would have to figure out a means to beat them, siphoning resources away from the ground forces that protected Western Europe. As predominantly land power, the Soviet Union was fated to spend most of its resources on land forces. Sea power by necessity came in at third place. While the USSR did manage to field four  Kirov-class battlecruisers in the 1980s, it never came anywhere near to realizing Stalin’s great red fleet. Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter:[email protected] This first appeared late last year and is being reposted due to reader interest. 

08 июня, 01:42

Midway: The Battle That Almost Lost the War

June 7 marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Midway. The books and movies about this battle have been legion. They focus on the long odds facing the Americans, the luck and breathtaking courage, and the brilliance of American codebreakers that led to victory. They assert that the American victory sealed Japan’s fate in World War II. But they rarely consider in detail the consequences if America had lost the battle, which it might easily have done. The Japanese were also extraordinarily courageous. Had they been luckier, and had they changed the Japanese code well before the battle as they should have, Midway could have ended in the destruction of three American carriers, with the Japanese navy intact. On this anniversary, I want to consider the war had the battle gone Japan’s way. The Pacific The immediate consequence of a defeat at Midway would, of course, have been in the Pacific. The Japanese plan appears to have been to follow Midway with an assault on strategic islands in the South Pacific. They would have faced light forces on the islands and no naval threat. They would have taken islands, built airfields and constructed overlapping areas of air power that would have prevented merchant shipping from entering. The flow of U.S. troops and materiel to Australia would have slowed to a trickle or dried up altogether. This would have meant that the U.S. would not have taken Guadalcanal and New Guinea until much later. It also would have given Japan much more time to consolidate a line, for example, from Samoa to Midway to the Aleutians, which was also part of Japan’s Midway strategy. The United States, lacking a sufficient carrier force, would not have been able to launch a Pacific offensive until mid-1943, and that offensive would have had to be focused on the South Pacific rather than the Gilberts, Marianas and Marshalls. The cost in time, men and materiel of bringing Japan into range of American bombers would have been substantial. Submarines would have had to launch from Pearl Harbor rather than Midway, which is 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometers) longer, and much of the time would have been spent on submarine operations to interdict supplies instead of attacking Japanese warships. Japan would have had time and materiel to increase its strength. The Americans’ problem in the Pacific would have been securing Hawaii as a forward base and maintaining the line of supply from the West Coast. The Japanese were unlikely to invade Hawaii, given that all operations there would take place within the range of U.S. air power. But the Japanese could have used submarines based in Midway to interdict supplies from the West Coast. If Hawaii ceased to be an effective base, then the Japanese would dominate the Western Pacific. They would have had options to strike the West Coast, and certainly to take Dutch Harbor in Alaska or even Anchorage. They already held the islands of Attu and Kiska. The Americans would have had to answer. In 1942, the Battle of the Atlantic was at its peak, and that summer and fall, an extraordinarily high 10 percent of all Allied shipping in the Atlantic was being sunk. It is at this point that the United States would have had to decide whether to risk the isolation of Hawaii or reduce the number of destroyers based in the Atlantic. It couldn’t do both – U.S. production of naval vessels wouldn’t really be able to surge until mid-1943. The shipping of supplies to Britain was meant to support Britain and the Soviet Union, an excellent long-term strategy for pursuing American interests. But this was a political problem. The immediate threat to the American homeland would likely trump long-term strategy. Given the stakes in the Pacific, the odds against U-boats in the Atlantic and the delay in increased production of naval vessels, the U.S. would have had little choice but to transfer destroyers to the Pacific. But that wouldn’t be enough. It would also greatly increase land-based aircraft on the West Coast. The aircraft production program was beginning to gain steam in 1942, but most of that at the time was being assigned to the Royal Air Force, the U.S. Air Force buildup in Britain or the Soviet Union. That would have changed. An Unthinkable Treaty We must consider the impact of all this on Allied powers. Australia would have depended on its own resources. The Japanese were unlikely to invade, but the Australians couldn’t be sure of that. For things to change, the U.S. would have to launch a new Navy, fight its way through the South Pacific and then launch operations northward to push the Japanese away from Australia. To that point, neither the British nor the Americans appeared very effective allies. At the very best, the U.S. was a year away from offensive operations, and opening the line of supply to Australia might not happen until 1944, if ever. Immediately upon the U.S. defeat at Midway, Australia would have had to demand that the last Australian forces in North Africa return home while the Suez Canal was still open. The battle of El Alamein was being fought from summer 1942 until the British victory in October. A British defeat would have enabled the Germans to take the Suez Canal and likely control the Mediterranean. Australian troops had been critical to this victory, and though the Australians had withdrawn many troops after Pearl Harbor, the 7th Division remained. The 7th Division proved to be the critical force in the final, victorious phase of El Alamein. Had the Australians withdrawn the 7th in summer 1942, which they would have had Midway been an American defeat, it is altogether possible that the British still would have won at El Alamein, but it would have been substantially less likely than with the Australians there. But the homeland would have to take precedent. The Australians wanted to be certain that Australia was not occupied by the Japanese, but they had no military way to prevent it and no reliable allies. Their national strategy was hoping the Japanese had other plans. The Japanese had no real interest in Australia except for making sure it didn’t become a base for the Americans. The Japanese also wanted Australia’s raw materials. A peace agreement was possible. Australia, isolated and with no options, would have done what was unthinkable before Midway: signed a friendship pact with Japan guaranteeing neutrality, with a mutually beneficial trade agreement included. Soviet Vulnerability At about the same time of Midway, the Germans launched an offensive in the south that would evolve into the Battle of Stalingrad. The offensive surprised the Soviets, who were expecting the assault to come on Moscow. The Soviets had also underestimated Germany’s strength. At the same time, the Soviets would have seen the American defeat at the Battle of Midway and understood that it would mean a decrease in lend-lease, if not its complete disruption. The British, who also depended on lend-lease, would be in no position to replace it, and Soviet industrial production was not yet capable of providing for a powerful defense at Stalingrad by itself. And the Soviets had a second problem. Prior to Pearl Harbor, the Soviets had feared, and the Japanese had considered, an alternative strike into Siberia. Russia’s maritime region had oil, and Japan needed oil. The Japanese attacked south toward the Dutch holdings instead, but the interest in Siberia was still there. With a victory at Midway, the Japanese could have halted operations in the Pacific and focused on building defenses on Pacific islands that would bog down the American counterattack in mid-1943 in island-to-island fighting, with a vast Japanese fleet to challenge the landing party. But Siberia was open. Right after Pearl Harbor, the Soviets shifted to Moscow the force that had been protecting Siberia from Japan. It was this force under Gen. Georgy Zhukov that stopped the Germans. A Japanese victory at Midway would have reopened the possibility of a Japanese invasion. But the Soviets would not have been able to send Zhukov back. Until the defeat of the German southern thrust, which would happen in early 1943, everything had to go there. The Soviet Union faced two problems. One was that it didn’t know that it could win at Stalingrad with the absence of lend-lease shipments. The other was that critical Soviet lands were at serious risk. If the Soviets couldn’t contain the Germans’ southern thrust, the best they could do was retain a rump state in the north. If they won but Japan attacked Siberia, they would still have lost the east, and the Japanese would control the Western Pacific, China and Siberia. In 1943 and 1944, there were discussions between Germany and the Soviets on a peace agreement that never worked out. I don’t know that either side took these talks seriously. The Germans certainly wouldn’t have considered talks had Japan won at Midway, forcing the U.S. to shift its grand strategy away from the Atlantic, putting lend-lease in jeopardy and exposing the eastern Soviet Union to Japanese attack. I think without the assistance of the Americans in 1942, the Soviets would have lost the war. In our alternate history, the Americans probably would have thought the Soviets were going to lose anyway, but history proved them wrong. Freak Outcomes It is true that in the years after Midway, American productivity would grow to be enormous, but the enemy doesn’t wait for production to rise. Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto’s intention was to destroy the U.S. naval force in the Pacific and to create an impregnable belt of islands to block American advances. That was the purpose of Midway, and had it worked, I think there would have been a different outcome in the global war. This is because the United States was the industrial foundation of the Allies, but in 1942, that production had not really gotten underway. A defeat at Midway would have forced a reallocation of industrial production and warships. This would have left key allies, Australia and the Soviet Union, in an impossible position. The U.S. would have had towering production by 1943 or 1944. But the Soviets would not be there anymore. Nor, I suspect, would Australia. Britain would have made it so long as it won at El Alamein without Australia’s help. The problem was that massive production without Allied forces and forward bases would have left the U.S. fighting alone. And given the distances and multiple enemies, that wasn’t possible. This all raises a serious question for me. My work is in finding the order and predictability in history. There was nothing predictable at Midway. The Japanese should have won even with the U.S. breaking their code. The numbers were so lopsided in their favor that their defeat was a freak. And that freak created the world we live in. The Japanese were as brave and as smart, their weapons as good if not better, and they had far greater numbers. They should have won, and the things I have described should have happened, and the history of the world should have been quite different. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

31 мая, 14:03

What Would Russia Look Like Today if World War II Never Happened?

Michael Peck Security, What if Hitler had remained a failed painter in Vienna, or had been blown up by an assassin’s bomb in a Munich beer hall? True, Operation Barbarossa devastated the industry and natural resources of Russia and Ukraine, a shortfall only part made up by Lend-Lease and postwar Soviet looting of Germany. Stalin’s ruthless push for industrialization in the 1930s had grown the Soviet economy at a remarkable rate, and transformed the Soviet Union from a Tsarist peasant state into a major industrial power capable of producing enough weapons to defeat Hitler’s panzers. Even with the economic contradictions of Communism, it would have been interesting to see how the Soviet economy would have compared to others in the long run if not for the war. However, there weren’t many others. Except for the United States, Hitler’s madness eliminated the USSR’s competition. The world of 1939 was multipolar, with multiple states competing for power. By 1945, there were just two superpowers: America and the Soviet Union. The other contenders were smashed, occupied or exhausted. After suffering more than twenty million military and civilian deaths in World War II, Russia has little cause to thank Hitler. But with Wednesday, June 22 marking the seventy-fifth anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, it is time to recall one of history’s greatest ironies. Adolf Hitler was obsessed with turning Russia into a vast German colony and the Russian people into slaves. Instead, half of Germany was occupied by the Red Army, its people subjects of the Russian empire. When four million Nazi soldiers crossed the Soviet border in the early hours of June 22, 1941, they dreamed of seeing the spires of the Kremlin. Instead they unleashed a chain of consequences that still shape the world today. To claim that Russia was not a great power before Hitler would be silly. Abundant in territory, resources and population, Russia has been a heavyweight since at least the eighteenth century, a behemoth strong enough to destroy the army of Napoleon (who also thought Russia would be easy prey). Yet three-quarters of a century later, it is hard to appreciate just how different the global balance of power was back then. Read full article

12 мая, 14:30

Russian top diplomats lay flowers at Lend-Lease Memorial in Alaska

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak and Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly have laid wreaths at the monument dedicated to heroes of the Alaska-Siberia (ALSIB) Lend-Lease air route, TASS reports. "It would be a shame to come here and not to visit this memorial," Russia’s top diplomat told reporters. "We appreciate the fact that Alaska residents honor the memory of our joint fight against Nazism during World War II," he added. Earlier in the day, Lavrov took part in the Arctic Council’s ministerial meeting held in Fairbanks. During World War II, Fairbanks, Alaska, was part of the air route along which aircraft were transported from the United States to the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease agreements. This year marks the 75th anniversary of that route. From 1942 to 1945, Soviet and U.S. pilots ferried about 8,000 warplanes, which had a meaningful effect on the course of the fighting on the Soviet-German front, from that city. In August 2006, a monument dedicated to Lend-Lease and the Soviet-American brotherhood-in-arms during World War II was unveiled in Fairbanks. The Lend-Lease program and the ALSIB air route went down in history as an outstanding example of the Soviet-U.S. cooperation for the sake of the common goal of defeating Nazism.

02 мая, 14:05

75 Years Under Water: M3 General Stuart Tank Was Found at the Bottom of the Don

Near Voronezh, Defense Ministry experts raised an American tank used during the World War II from the bottom of the Don. This fighting vehicle called "General Stuart" was supplied to the Red Army as part of US Lend-Lease program.

17 апреля, 12:17

Michael Anton: The Full Transcript

Susan Glasser: I'm Susan Glasser, and welcome back to the Global POLITICO. We're here, once again, with Michael Anton, our guest for this week. He's the White House director of strategic communications at the National Security Council. I'm delighted to be with him here today. We're here in I believe what was the old State Department diplomatic reception room, at the Old Executive Office Building, back before the State Department moved to other quarters. Very grand circumstances. Subscribe to The Global POLITICO on iTunes here. | Subscribe via Stitcher.Michael Anton: Yes, this is the room where the Japanese ambassador and his delegation were held on December 7, 1941, while Cordell Hull was in the next room, learning about the Pearl Harbor attack. And they didn't know about it, that their government had done it, and Hull came in and yelled at them a little bit, and then kicked them out, and they didn't have their meeting. Glasser: Now, did they ever get to go home? I don't think they did, right? Anton: You know, I don't know. I should know that, and I don't know that. Glasser: Well, we'll go back and research it. It's funny, I wanted this to be a whole conversation about you in this fascinating role as sort of a public intellectual turned strategic communications guy/bureaucratic staffer. Anton: You can say flak, it's okay. Glasser: Flak, it's not the nicest word, but in Washington, it has an elevated stature maybe compared-but so I thought that's the conversation it would be. As you know, I've been trying to get you to do this almost since we launched The Global POLITICO, but I have to start really with the last week, and the news that's coming out of the Trump White House when it comes to foreign policy, and we're all-call it whiplash; Mike Allen called it 'Operation Normal' today, other people have a different point of view, but basically in the last week, we've seen an astonishing amount of news come out of President Trump when it comes to foreign policy. He has appeared to, or has in fact, changed his position on key foreign policy issues, whether it's NATO no longer being 'obsolete,' or whether he should use force in response to chemical weapons in Syria; whether China is a 'currency manipulator.' He said a week ago it was; yesterday, he said it wasn't. So, you guys have the foreign policy establishment cheering you on, when it comes to some of you foreign policy actions, and you have a lot of people, like you, who were supportive of President Trump when he was candidate Trump, wondering what's going on. So, how should we understand this? Is it a major change of course in the Trump foreign policy? Anton: No, I don't think so. I mean, we can go down issue by issue-the most notable thing that the president did, obviously, in the last week and a half, is ordering the strike on Syrian air base, and I think the extent to which that's being touted as some major change is really oversold. And the president actually clarified this pretty definitively in a subsequent interview in which he said, 'It's not going to be the policy of this administration.' His exact words were, 'I'm not going into Syria,' or, 'We're not going into Syria,' but the more fulsome statement of that is he doesn't intend to use the U.S. military to effect regime change in Syria, which is completely consistent with everything he said during the course of his campaign. Not just about Syria, but about other countries. He never ruled out strikes that he thinks are in U.S. interests. Keep in mind that this was a strike by Tomahawk missiles; there wasn't even a manned aircraft, much less boots on the ground. So, I don't see that in any way as an about-face from what the president promised during the campaign. It might be a little bit out of keeping with some of his rhetoric, but he addressed that when he spoke side by side with the king of Jordan; he said that he was very flexible, and he can be a very flexible person, and he responds to events. Famous politicians have said the same thing. Lincoln always said-Lincoln once wrote in a letter that he confessed that he had not controlled events, but that events had controlled him. That's not an exact quote, but it's something like it, and there's a famous line of Harold Macmillan's-what do you fear most? He said, 'Events.' Glasser: I believe that was when they asked him what his foreign policy doctrine was, and he said basically, I don't have one. It's events. Anton: I think this president has a foreign policy doctrine, but he's not rigid. I mean, I could quote Lincoln again; I wish I remembered these quotes exactly where Lincoln said something like-someone asked him, what do you do when the facts change? He says, 'Well, I change my response. What do you do?' In other words, you don't just hew to a rigid line, no matter what happens in the world. You've got to be prepared to respond and as the president said, he's flexible, and he responded in a way that he thought best. Glasser: He's flexible; is he also unpredictable by design? Anton: Oh, he definitely-the only thing maybe predictable about his foreign policy is that he says to the world, I'm going to be unpredictable. He's said many times-he said he thinks that America has been too predictable, and I think he relishes that, to keep adversaries, competitors alike, sort of off balance. Glasser: So, you said that he does have a foreign policy doctrine. What is the foreign policy doctrine? Anton: I don't know if there's a way you can state it, the way you could state in one sentence the Truman Doctrine or the Reagan Doctrine, or some famous doctrines of the past. His doctrine, I think, it's still emerging, it's still coming together, but the outlines of it were clear in the campaign. It was: there's an approach to the use of force, there's an approach to putting American interests first, an approach to putting especially the interest of American workers and the American economy first in trade negotiations. All these things, I think, have a coherence that unites them, and the NSC with our interagency partners are currently in the beginning stages of working on a document that's required by Congress, called the National Security Strategy, that when that is eventually published-probably in the fall-will be the Trump doctrine, but it won't be a sentence. It'll be-I don't know how many pages, but a number of-a couple dozen pages that explain this in some detail. Glasser: So, I want to back up to the question of how you personally got here, because it's a pretty interesting story, but let's first go through this dramatic last week. Syria, we all saw the picture of President Trump and his national security aides in the room, cramped quarters in Mar-a-Lago, making the final decision. You were in the room; you're in that picture. Anton: I'm going to dine out on that one for a long time, I think. Glasser: There's no signature moment like Hillary Clinton gasping with her sort of hand over her mouth in that bin Laden-Anton: A couple things to clarify: that picture was not-first of all, there wasn't a live video feed of the strike, and in fact, when the strike was occurring, the president was still at dinner. The picture was taken after the strike, when the president was receiving updates from his-Glasser: On how successful it was. Anton: On how it went, and it was very preliminary information because several of his top advisors made clear that it was going to be several hours-at least six hours or so before much more information came in, and we would have a fuller picture. Glasser: What was President Trump's decision-making process in terms of deciding to launch these strikes? Was there a lot of debate and back and forth? Was he clear from the beginning he wanted to do this after the reports and the pictures? Anton: I would say he was clear from the beginning that he wanted options, but that he wanted to have time to consider the options and really think about them. And be able to ask questions, and get answers. It took-the strike-I'm trying to do this from memory, but the strike happened very early Tuesday morning, and I think the president-Glasser: The chemical weapons attack, you mean? Anton: Yes, that's right-the chemical weapons attack, and the president learned about it in detail in the 10:00 hour or something, Tuesday morning, asked for options, options began being developed, he had a first very large meeting about it the following day-did not make a decision that day. Asked a lot of questions, wanted more information, and was briefed a couple subsequent times before making a decision Thursday afternoon. Glasser: Was there a lot of disagreement among advisors about how to proceed? Anton: I've got to be careful what I say here. I feel privileged to have been in the room. I wasn't in every single meeting but I was in most of the meetings, and these are highly classified, and I also don't want to get-undermine the confidentiality that presidents need and deserve in order to make decisions, so that when they have somebody in the room, they can trust that that person isn't going to go out and explain everything, and make further decision-making more difficult because they tell everybody who said what, and then nobody wants to speak up. I will just say that he was presented with, I think, sound options. He chose the one that he thought was the most-the best, the most sound, and he was very comfortable with this decision, and I think the team was comfortable with his decision, and the team executed it well. Glasser: What do you make of all this very-at times, even over the top praise that President Trump is receiving from groups of people who have not been supportive really of anything he's done up until now. You have a couple different groups-you have the more traditional Republican foreign policy hawks, who are cheering this, and people that you personally have been sort of taking on in a sort of intellectual war of ideas. Anton: Had been. I'm retired. Glasser: You're retired. Okay, well, we've got to get into that. And then you also have, of course, the former Obama aides who tried and failed to persuade their boss to do this. Anton: I mean, look, I think a lot of this comes down to people misinterpreting the president's campaign rhetoric. He never campaigned as someone who would not use military power in any circumstance-U.S. military power. In fact, he said quite the opposite. Glasser: No, that's right. Anton: He made it plain that he was willing to use U.S. military power in instances when he thought it was in the national interest. And this is an instance in which he determined it was in the national interest. So, the people who think that this was some-either a pleasant, or a disastrous surprise, I leave pleasant or disastrous to their own interpretation, but surprise, I have to say, is maybe a matter of fact, and it didn't surprise me. So, I don't know why it surprised so many others. Glasser: Well, that's right. He always had this very muscular-Anton: Well, let me put it this way: whether he did-maybe that's the wrong way to put it-it didn't surprise me. But I think it's completely in keeping with what he said he might do, and in that regard, I don't see it is in any way a contradiction of his campaign rhetoric or promises. Glasser: So, you came to this position as-you say you're retired now, but basically during the campaign-Anton: Well, I'm retired as an anonymous pundit, I think. I may be a pundit again someday, but I might as well write under my own name, even though I liked my fake name. I thought it was pretty clever. Glasser: So, our listeners might not all know yet about your career as an anonymous pamphleteer in the tradition of anonymous pamphleteers going back a long way. You adopted the name-Anton: Of Publius-well, in traditional Latin, it should be Decius, but it looks like Decius, and so I just always pronounced it Decius. So, Publius Decius Mus, known as Decius, who is a consul of the Roman republic in the 4th century BC, who died-it's a long story. I like the story, though, so I might as well tell it, and you can edit it out, if you think it's too much. So, there's always two consuls in a battle in the Roman republic, two generals, and they took the auguries, which is basically they cut open a chicken and they study its guts. And they, by studying the chicken's guts, the augurs, the priests, can predict what they think is going to happen. And they said, 'Well, the chicken guts say that one side is going to win the battle, and the other side is going to lose a general.' And so Decius said, 'I understand,' and when his wing of the battle was faltering, he dismounted his horse and rallied the troops and was killed in the process, but they won-the Romans won the battle. This is the Battle of Vesuvius. Glasser: So, instead of being killed, your team won, but you're here in the White House as your afterlife. Anton: Right, well, the reason I chose the name at the time is because I thought that I was putting at risk a corporate communications career, and if I had been found out, bad things might've happened. And there was also, I think, reputational risk, because it was just not-it was a very unpopular stance among any kind of mainstream Republican, and certainly among any kind of intellectual, even a conservative intellectual, to be pro-Trump. And I've taken a lot of ribbing, some of it good-natured, and so of it not so, just to say, well, that was the dumbest fake name-anonymous or pseudonym anyone has ever picked because it all worked out great for you. You didn't sacrifice anything. Well, yes, okay, that's basically true, but I think there's something to the fact that the reputational risk is there. I've been called a lot of bad names for what I wrote. A lot of conservatives who used to think reasonably well of me, or at least not hate me, they really don't like me now. And it's because of what I wrote and what I said, and the stance that I took. So, I think there's something to be said that Decius made a sacrifice. Glasser: Well, let's tell our listeners a little bit about what you wrote, for those who aren't familiar. Probably your best-known work as Decius was an article in the Claremont Review of books called 'The Flight 93 Election.' You wrote this under the pseudonym, it came out last fall, it's been taken as an intellectual statement of Trumpism. In effect, what you wrote was, 'you've got to charge the cockpit or you die.' And 'America is headed off a cliff.' Anton: And it wasn't-I mean, I don't mean to discount it, but it was like the least intellectual of a lot of stuff that I wrote in 2016. In fact, there's a follow-up piece to it called 'Restatement on Flight 93,' that's a lot denser and geekier than-'Flight 93' really is a kind of Thomas Paine-esque, you know, barbaric yawp, to add in a little Walt Whitman there. It's a yell. It's kind of a full-throated statement of-Glasser: Yes, basically, it's American carnage before President Trump gave us the 'American carnage' inaugural. That's your argument, was that basically we're screwed. Anton: My argument was and remains that the two-party system had kind of ossified into an almost de facto one-party system, where the letters after people's names changed, but the ideology didn't really change, the ideology didn't really change, and elections didn't do much to change the government. And then candidate, now-President Trump was the first to really challenge the system, which explains why there was so much opposition, even within his own party, because he was so different than the entire rest of his own party. He was-it was almost-I didn't use this, but it was almost reminded me of the Barry Goldwater slogan: A choice, not an echo. Glasser: But do you still stand behind some of the more controversial aspects of this, now that you're working in the Trump White House? I mean, this has not just been seen as a critique of the two-party system as its evolved, but also even many fellow Republicans have argued that it was 'racist' or 'authoritarian' or 'anti-Semitic' or all of the above. Anton: I deny all of that, every single charge, and I have rebutted it as extensively as I can, with a job like this that takes up a lot of time, but I don't hold any truck with that, and I can answer every single of one of those charges, and I find them frivolous. Glasser: You find them frivolous, but your identity was unmasked by The Weekly Standard in February when you had already taken up this job. Did you get any feedback from your colleagues here in the White House? Did they know that you were the author of this before they hired you? Anton: I don't think they were fans and readers in the sense that-'wow, that was you all along?' It was more like, 'hey, before you hire me, you need to know the following, because it'll come out. And I don't want you to be surprised in hiring somebody and then go, 'why didn't you tell us this in advance?'' And most of them were like, 'I never even heard of this, but okay, thanks for letting us know. 'Glasser: Well, tell us how you did end up here, though. That seems interesting. Did you know Donald Trump before? Anton: No, I didn't. Glasser: When did you meet him? Anton: I only met him in the job, and I still haven't-I'm not one of the close aides who's around him all the time. Glasser: Has he read your 'Flight 93' article? Anton: I don't know. Glasser: He's never mentioned it to you? Anton: No. Glasser: So, how did you end up working at the National Security Council? Anton: I got involved in the transition because I had worked at the National Security Council before, and was asked to help out on the transition, and ended up being offered a job. Glasser: And I think you've told others that actually it was oddly enough the Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel who read your work. You didn't know him. Anton: No, I did know him. I actually have known him since we were both in college, going back a long, long, long way. Glasser: I see. Anton: And I had lost touch with him. We hadn't spoken in a while, and he found the work, and then found me, and we reconnected in 2016. Glasser: And he hooked you up with Michael Flynn. Anton: He hooked me up with the transition. Glasser: But it was Michael Flynn who hired you? Anton: Really, Keith Kellogg who's sort of the hiring authority, and still is as chief of staff of the National Security Council. Glasser: Okay. So, everybody now seems fascinated with the inner workings of the Trump White House, and there's certainly an interesting question as to who is guiding and shaping foreign policy. There's been nowhere more tumultuous, in some ways than the NSC; you had a national security advisor who lasted only 24 days. Should we feel sorry for you guys here? Anton: No. Glasser: Is it like Game of Thrones here? Anton: No. No, I mean, it's been very, very busy. You're right; that was an unprecedented situation, but I think we now have-the National Security Council staff is-it actually-I was impressed by how well it worked through such a difficult period. The professional staff, the people from various agencies, plus the direct hires that were brought in with this administration. The business of running the NSC went on and had to go on during that time, and foreign leader calls, and we're still being made visits, we're still coming in, interagency meetings were taking place, paperwork had to be prepared, and it all kept getting done very professionally, and well, and on time. Everybody worked through it almost as if none of that stuff was happening. It was pretty inspiring to see, to be honest. Glasser: Lot of questions about the role that the president's political strategist Steve Bannon has been playing on the National Security Council. Last week, in addition to all these other developments we talked about, he was also removed quietly from the Principals Committee of the National Security Council. What role was he playing, and is he still playing? Anton: He was removed simply from a memo that named him as a permanent member of the Principals Committee. But-Glasser: So, he's still going to the meetings. Anton: He still goes to the meetings. I mean, he doesn't go to every meeting. He goes to the meetings the president wants him in or that he ought to be in. As you know, the picture that you just referenced, he was in the room for that. The meeting-one of the meetings that I was in where the decision was discussed and debated when the president was in-he was in that. He's still a close advisor, has a broad portfolio, and it's appropriate for him to be in any meeting-the president's entitled to the advice he wants from any of his advisors, and they can be in any meeting that the president wants them in. Glasser: So, do you give any credence to the reports that the knives are out for him, or that he might not be long for the White House? Anton: I don't pay that much attention to it. It's just-there's too much to do in the day to day to day, and everything I 'know' -- and for listeners, I'm using my fingers here to do air quotes, so I'm putting 'know' in air quotes-everything I 'know' about this, I read in the papers, when I read those stories. So, I don't really know anything because the-I can tell you, it's not an issue in day-to-day work here. You don't see this stuff going on, you don't hear about it, it's not talked about, everybody gets along. You see people in meetings, they work together collegially, they contribute, they're doing their jobs. So, that's the way it looks to me from the inside, plus, I'll be perfectly honest, I've had to deal with a lot of reporting in my job that's reporting directly on things that I see firsthand, that I know is either wrong, or really shaded in a way that is sort of technically right in certain aspects but wrong in the macro. So, when I see stories like that, I have to take them with a big lump of salt. Glasser: Now, you have-Steve Bannon has been very publicly very complimentary of you, and your writings. He said that you're 'one of the most significant intellects in the nationalist movement'. You're seen as one of the staffers in the White House who most represents this kind of populist, nationalist strand of President Trump. Clearly, there are other viewpoints that are competing, whether how fiercely or not, we may not know, but there are different camps of thought about what Trumpism actually means. Other people have called Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, and some of the other advisors from Wall Street, representatives of a more globalist viewpoint. Do you see-walk us through the sort of different schools of thought about how Trump's foreign policy should play out? Anton: Well, again, I don't want to get into internal debates, because I think that deprives the president of the advice that he deserves to get, because without confidentiality, his advisors won't feel free to-Glasser: Sure, I understand that, but we need to try to understand these disparate events, which right now, are pretty confusing, as you can imagine. Anton: Like I said, though, I don't think they are that confusing. I'm not at all-if I were back out there writing as Decius, or even under my name and outside the administration, I would have no problem whatsoever understanding the Syria strike as completely consistent with my own-even my own vision of what the Trump foreign policy ought to be, and certainly with what the president said on the campaign trail. It doesn't confuse me a bit. Glasser: So, what is the Decius headline on the article about the last week in Trump foreign policy? My headline was President un-Obama, or President Not-Obama. Anton: Well, look, the president did deliberately contrast his actions with President Obama, which I think is fair. I think that's one of the reasons why he took the action he did. I think he felt that U.S. credibility had been undermined by the stating of a red line, and the refusal to act when that red line was crossed, even though he himself hadn't stated a similar red line. I think he thought that an assertion of American strength in the face of a clear provocation would be valuable to the restoration of American prestige, and American credibility and resolve in the war. Which might, in fact, deter future actions along these lines, and that would be in American interests, and in allied interests. Glasser: So, you think the President Not-Obama theory has a certain resonance, in terms of how he's making decisions right now? Anton: I think, yes, the president himself has made a contrast between himself and President Obama on many issues, foreign policy certainly among them. Glasser: So, tell us a little bit about your-your title is the sort of grand but amorphous director of strategic communications. Your predecessor in the job under President Obama, Ben Rhodes, ultimately had a pretty expansive role, and was seen as President Obama's mind meld when it came to foreign policy and communicating about it. What is your job description? Anton: I think mine is-I certainly wouldn't claim a mind meld with the president. I would say that there's an element of the very traditional running of a public affairs operation within the NSC. It helps support the White House communications office on foreign and defense policy, support the press secretary, especially; get out a positive message about the president's foreign policy; respond to media inquiries of which we get many hundreds a day, with as much factual information as we can give, keeping in mind that a lot of what we deal with is classified, so we have to be very careful about what we say and what we don't say. And just overall, helping the administration shape its message in the foreign policy and national security areas. Glasser: So, what does it mean to-in terms of the strategic piece of it, obviously this is a president who's best known for communicating about not just foreign policy but in general, in tweets. Can you be strategic in a tweet? Anton: A tweet can be part of a strategy. I don't know that it in itself is strategic. But that is-nothing-no single piece is. I mean, even the biggest communications tools that a president has-a speech to a joint session of Congress, for instance--is not in itself a strategy. A strategy is bigger than that, and involves many components. Glasser: So, are you saying these tweets that we see from the president early in the morning are strategic or are you as surprised as the rest of us when you see them? Anton: I think the president, as he said the other day, he's his own strategist, and I think he got second-guessed constantly throughout 2015 and 2016 by people-person after person, pundit after pundit, assuming that everything he did was off the cuff, seat of his pants, and he didn't have a plan. He seemed to outfox them all, time and time again, so I don't know why people still underestimate him so much, but I think it's risky to continually underestimate him, given what he's shown he can do. Glasser: So, in terms of going back to the strategy or the Trump doctrine or whatever it's going to ultimately end up being, you find a through line with him when it comes to unpredictability, which he's talked about; muscular responses; a different set of instincts than President Obama. Unlike a lot of other people, you actually spent a fair amount of time last year, though, also trying to construct Trumpism out of President Trump's statements. Tell us a little bit more on the substance of it. A lot of what we've talked about so far are his attributes of decision making or how he approaches a problem. But what about the world view of Trumpism? Anton: The world view of Trumpism-I think you could sum it up with this phrase that he's used many times: America First. He's been criticized for it because of the American First Committee, which opposed American entry into World War II, but the phrase itself is so tautologically sane, you wonder how anyone could object to it. The purpose of any government is to put its own citizen's interests first, and I think the president identified not just on the campaign trail, but long before he even took the campaign trail, that that had ceased really being the operative principle of the American government, and he was going to reorient every aspect of American policy-not just foreign policy, but of course, also foreign policy-back to that single standard: Is what we're doing in the interest of American citizens? Glasser: Do you regret now having gone back and tried to sort of resurrect or to reinterpret the reputation of the America First-Anton: I didn't really try to reinterpret-I mean, resurrect the…. People were outraged. 'Well, he can't use this phrase because it's affiliated with this group, with this disreputable group.' My view of the group is that they were wrong on a matter of a very important policy, to oppose entry into World War II. But if you actually take yourself back to 1939, 1940, it seems obvious now in hindsight why American interests were at stake, and why America should get involved in World War II, and why it turned out ultimately to be in America's interest to get in World War II. It wasn't obvious, really, necessarily, to the average person in 1939 or 1940, especially only less than 20 years after World War I, which was highly unpopular, until America got into World War I, and everybody rallied around the flag. But there's still a lot of questions about was that really the right thing to do? Do we need to get into yet another war in Europe? It's so far away. These dangers can't come to our shores. It took somebody very far-sighted like F.D.R. to realize that this ultimately is going to be a necessity, and the danger will come to our shores. Glasser: Right, but the critiques-Anton: F.D.R. himself had to deal with the public opinion that didn't want it. And it took Pearl Harbor to turn public opinion around, and even all the things he did to support England during 1940, '41, before Pearl Harbor, were-he almost had to pretend he wasn't doing them, in order to keep public opinion at bay. And it was very tricky to get Lend-Lease passed, and so on. Glasser: Right, but the argument that people have had with you is not trying to look back at the rational basis of isolationism before World War II; it's specifically the fact that people who were connected with the America First Committee, like Charles Lindbergh, had a strain of anti-Semitism that was part of the rationale, and that has been the critique, really, that aren't you just carrying water for both anti-Semitism, or-Anton: No. Of course I'm not. I mean, there were anti-Semites affiliated with the America First Committee, and supporting the America First Committee. But is there still a separate rationale, which is the America First Committee rationale for being was isolationism, not anti-Semitism. So, there were some isolationists who were anti-Semites, who affiliated with the America First Committee. And I'm not justifying that at all; I'm just saying when President Trump uses the phrase America First, the idea of delegitimizing America First by associating with the committee… it's a kind of faulty logic. You have anti-Semite here; you have the America First Committee here, and then you have President Trump use America First, and so the whole thing kind of comes under this one disreputable banner. And I think that's completely unfair, to him and to me. Glasser: Many people said, during the campaign last year, that the use of these phrases was sort of a dog whistle to the anti-Semitic world of the internet that's out there, to a lot of racists who are out there. Anton: I don't believe that at all. Glasser: Did it make you uncomfortable, that those people were cheering for President Trump? Anton: Sure. Definitely. I think it-and I know it made him uncomfortable. Glasser: What's your response to them? Did you criticize them? Anton: I think I did. I don't remember every single word that I wrote during the 2016 campaign, but I definitely criticized a lot of the disreputable stuff that people said during the time. Glasser: But being in an intellectual foxhole with people like that-Anton: No, I never thought of myself as being in any kind of an intellectual foxhole with people who hold those views. It's-the question reeks of a kind of-to be perfectly honest-a kind of guilt by association tactic that I find unfair. Glasser: Look, a lot of people on both right and left have weighed in, since you were publicly unmasked in February, on this subject, and I'm sure becoming public in this fashion has been a new phenomenon for you, right? Anton: Yes. Glasser: Well, let's go back here to where we're sitting in the National Security Council, and you worked in the Bush White House, there was also plenty of criticism of the policies of the Bush White House. How is working in the Trump White House different than working in the Bush White House? Anton: It's a little more freewheeling. That's the way to put it. It's a little more freewheeling. It's exciting, maybe because you really feel like things are changing here, things-there's a real possibility, like I say, of a real realignment, that history is being made. Obviously, history was made in the Bush administration, too, but I get the feeling that maybe history is really being made here in a way that it hasn't been made in a long time. Glasser: Yes, you had another very interesting article recently, about the liberal international order, and how the foreign policy 'priesthood' in both parties really had sort of-Anton: Yes, it gets back to what I was saying earlier about that there doesn't seem to be that much difference, especially on the foreign policy side. If there's bipartisan cooperation, that's honestly one of the striking facts of our time, is there's so much bitterness and division on the Hill, and you'd think the parties have never been further apart, but policy-wise over the last couple decades, they seem like they've never been closer together, and that's really been quite true on foreign policy above all. Glasser: Right, that there's a relatively narrow spectrum. Now, you have made your own journey from a more traditional Republican, when during the Bush White House years, you were in favor of the Iraq war, along with other people. You've since changed your mind about that, right? Anton: Yes. Glasser: Why? Anton: I think the facts just bear it out that it didn't work the way the administration wanted it to work, hoped it would work, thought it would work, and it just because plain for any eye to see. Like I said, I quoted Lincoln earlier when he says-when he was asked what do you do when the facts change? He says, 'I change my opinion. What do you do?' Glasser: As this new administration encounters the facts, a lot of people have the view that he will move away from revolutionary approaches, and more towards the way Washington really works. There's an old saying that Washington is like a casino; the house always wins, sooner or later. Do you take that view, having worked here before? Anton: I think to some extent-there's another saying that campaigning is poetry, governing is prose. There is some extent to which governing always involves compromise, as the president has often said, too, he's a deal-maker, and one of his tactics is to stake out a pretty ambitious goal or demand that it's not as real necessarily as a real demand. It's a negotiating demand and the deal gets worked out in the negotiating. I think you're probably going to see some of that, and you maybe have already seen some of that, and that, in one sense, that's no different than what's happened to other presidents, but in another sense, I think it will be different; the tactics and the way you're going to see it implemented will be different than what other presidents have done. Glasser: But so, you are familiar with how another White House has worked. What does that mean in practice? Are you seeing a lot of strategizing over deal-making and leverage and things like that? Give us some granularity. Anton: I'm not in any domestic policy discussions, so when it comes to negotiations with the Hill on the healthcare bill, I don't see any of that firsthand. I see mostly the interagency process of the formulation of foreign policy, which isn't deal-making. I do see the president interact with foreign leaders sometimes, so I see that, but it's early days, and most of these meetings are first meetings, and relationship-building meetings, and not meetings that take place months later when you're at the table, working on a specific deal. I think we're going to see that later in the year and throughout the rest of the administration, but in the first six months, the vast majority of these meetings are preliminary. They're people he's never met, or he's only talked to on the phone. Glasser: Right, these foreign leaders, he's spent a lot of time actually with-both in person and on the phone, although he doesn't seem to be traveling abroad. Are we going to see him travel more? Anton: Yes, he's already said that he will go to the NATO summit in Brussels in May, and to the G7 in May, and to the G20 in July, and I think you'll probably see other foreign travel, too, although we haven't announced anything. Glasser: But it's not going to be-President Obama, I think I looked this up, took ten trips his first year. It's not going to be at that level. Anton: I don't have any other trips than those to announce at this point. But I would say stay tuned. Glasser: Okay, so what has impressed you or what you have been surprised by if anything in all of those early calls and meetings. He's clearly spent a lot of time with leaders from the Middle East. Just last week, we had both the president of Egypt and the king of Jordan here. Anton: I guess one of the things is that he's really good at building a personal rapport with people who you think have just-are so different from him, and have such different experiences, backgrounds and cultures and religions and so on, that where's the bridge going to be? And he finds a way to do it, every time. Glasser: Who has he gotten along with best, personally? Anton: Best, personally? Oh, God, there have been so many great meetings. He got along tremendously with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, with [British Prime Minister] Theresa May, with [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi. Maybe the most surprising would have been [Chinese] President Xi. You'd think that there would be a big gulf between the two there, and they spent two days together-or maybe not quite. Over the course of two days, they spent a lot of time together, and really hit it off well. Glasser: What was the basis do you think-the commonality that made them hit it off? Anton: Hard to say exactly what the basis was. I think that they both recognized that they were trying to do the best for their individual countries. I think they both appreciated the tough stand that each took, in being-in trying to mix a friendly rapport and building a personal relationship, while still being very stalwart about what they were trying to accomplish for their own side. I think he saw in President Xi the kind of negotiator that he is, and that he respects. Glasser: So, what about Russia and Vladimir Putin. We haven't talked about this a lot, but obviously, it's been a huge question mark surrounding what does President Trump really think. He hasn't met Putin face to face yet in this new role. Obviously, Rex Tillerson was there this week. He said very admiring things publicly about Vladimir Putin, and even now, when there's much more perceived coldness towards Russia in the wake of Syria and it seems like we're no longer headed for Russia reset three, at least not now. How should we understand this, and what do you personally make of President Trump's statements that seem to be admiring of Putin's rule? Anton: Well, I would go by his most recent statements in particular, and what he said yesterday with the secretary-general of NATO standing by his side, that he acknowledged that relations seemed to be at a very low point right now, but he's still hopeful that the relationship can get better, and that he can even build a positive relationship with Vladimir Putin. Glasser: But even then, it was interesting, he didn't personally criticize Putin. Anton: No, but he acknowledged the currently poor state of U.S.-Russia relations, at a moment when his secretary of state was in Moscow, and had met with Putin. I think the meeting was already over by the time the president went out and spoke. I mean, it is a sign that Putin gave Secretary Tillerson two hours. Now, I'm not sure that they were the two most warm, cordial, friendly, fuzzy hours of all time, but if the Russians-Glasser: Words never associated with Vladimir Putin. Anton: Right, well, but if the Russians really wanted to snub the United States, there was a lot of things they could do, and one of them was don't give the secretary of state two hours of the president's time. And they did that. I think that shows, at least, some little opening to maybe further improvement, and Secretary Tillerson and the Russian foreign minister both acknowledged that things had to get better, and that they immediately-they recognized it, and they set in place some mechanisms to get that going as soon as possible. Glasser: So, you still think that President Trump is hopeful that there will be a moment in time at which there can be sort of a reset in relations? Anton: I don't know that I would use that word. That was a sort of Obama administration word. We've never used the 'reset,' except to criticize it as a failure, which I think is fair. What he's said is he wants better relations. He even said at his big press conference in the East Room now a month and a half ago or so, I'd like to make a deal with Russia. I don't know if I can, but I'd like to. I think that's a completely reasonable approach. Who wants bad relations with a country that big, with that large a role in the world, a nuclear arsenal and so on? Nobody should want poor relations with a country of that strategic importance. We should all want better relations. We just should want those better relations on terms that are favorable to U.S. interests, and that's the one thing I absolutely trust President Trump to do is not to make a bad deal for America, just for the sake of getting a deal. Glasser: So, a lot of people say, if you look at the history of the modern presidency, that the first year in office almost invariably there is a major crisis, a major foreign policy crisis that comes from nowhere, and really defines the administration, so we can talk about doctrine and strategy and all that kind of stuff, but in the end, it's the crisis that often dictates how we remember these presidents. That was certainly true for George W. Bush, who came in talking about a different kind of presidency than the one he ended up having. A lot of people think North Korea might be the big crisis for President Trump. Anton: Although I would immediately say you can't call North Korea a crisis that came out of nowhere. It's been brewing since the early 1990s, at the very least, and has caused problems for at least four, now five-I'm thinking-certainly for Clinton, W., Obama, so at least four, and at the tail end of the Bush 41 administration, although it wasn't yet quite what it became in '93, '94 for Bill Clinton. This is one of the world's most kind of obvious festering problems for two decades-two and a half decades now. Glasser: Is there now a linkage in our policy with China between trade and more cooperation on North Korea? Anton: Well, the president made such a link in a tweet-Glasser: Yes, that's what I'm referring to. Anton: And like I said, that's one of the-he chooses to reveal as much as he wants to reveal. I don't see it as my role to reveal more than he wants any of the staff to reveal, so I'm going to leave that one alone, but certainly one of the things that we're contemplating, we know-let me put it this way, the American administration knows that making progress on North Korea absolutely requires Chinese cooperation, because China alone among the nations of the world has real leverage over the North Korean regime, and if China agrees to use that leverage more fulsomely than they have hitherto, we think that can make real progress. And so we're exploring ways to persuade China to use the leverage that we think they have-that we know they have. Glasser: And if that doesn't work out, which is certainly possible, do you believe there is a real military option with North Korea? Anton: I would say the following about that, that the military-no U.S. president since North Korea emerged as a serious problem has ever taken military action off the table, but no U.S. president has hitherto used it, either. So, it's certainly not something anyone wants to elevate to option number one, and it's certainly not even something anyone wants to be forced to resort to. For reasons of prudence, it can't be taken off the table at a juncture like this, but every other option is going to be explored first because the consequences would be pretty dire, as we know for the region and for our allies, and for ourselves, and for a lot of the people. Glasser: So, one of the observations people have made about the Trump National Security Council, even compared with its predecessor, is that it's a pretty militarized group here. There's a lot of colonels; of course, you now have General McMaster as the new national security advisor. His predecessor General Flynn was also a general. You're kind of a civilian in-Anton: Retired. Glasser: Of course. But you're definitely a kind of a civilian intellectual type in their midst. How much do you think it's been a correct analysis to say this is a pretty militarized kind of foreign policy, that team that's being set up? Anton: I think the bulk of the National Security Council staff is typically made up-typically, by that I really mean always, because that's just the way it's structured. Career civil servants, military, and intelligence officers from within the government who served one- to two-year terms on detail and go back. And we have, just like any other NSC, a range of foreign service officers, some U.S.A.I.D. civilians, D.O.D. civilians, serving military, retired military, intelligence officers. We've got that mix. Typically, the single largest component of people-the single largest source-let me put it that way-of any-on the NSC staff, is the State Department. So, State Department civilians. I don't think this NSC is any different in that. I don't know the numbers off the top of my head and what the agency mix is. The fact that you haven't had a serving officer to head the NSC since Colin Powell-when the person at the top is an active duty, not even retired lieutenant general, that gives a certain appearance. But if you look below that, and you look at actually at the staff, I think you'll see, it's not radically different than it has been in prior administrations of both parties. Glasser: But have things changed a little bit around here, since General McMaster came in? There were a lot of reports of bad morale and concern that the professional staff felt they weren't being included in things? Did he make structural changes to address those complaints? Anton: He did make some changes. In fact, one of the first things he did was call an all-hands meeting, and asked for staff input. And people wrote down their ideas on cards, and he analyzed that entire package, and after some due deliberation, made changes based on staff input and then sent out a memo informing the staff, and then called the second all-hands meeting, in which he discussed those, and took further questions. So, he definitely put his own stamp on the institution, and he did that, in part, based on his own ideas, and in part based on the feedback that he got from the staff. Glasser: What do you feel like was a big thing that changed as a result of that? Anton: I don't think he did anything that was too radical. I think the main change between this and the prior administration was-and is ongoing-it's getting smaller. It had peaked, not-this is well before the end of the last president's last term, but the National Security Council staff had peaked at well over 400, and it's been in the process of coming back down ever since. And I think you've also seen a re-delegation of authorities back to agencies that should-that in General McMaster's view, and in the president's view, and in the principals' view, ought to reside at those agencies, and not be run through here in an operational manner. Glasser: Do you see this as a leakier White House than its predecessors? Anton: I don't-you know, it's a good-I mean, all White Houses leak. Otherwise, we wouldn't have anything to read in the papers every day, and since the papers have been publishing now for hundreds of years, I assume that this has been going on-Glasser: There seem to be extra stories, though. Anton: That could be. That could well be. I don't know how to measure it, though. Glasser: Fair enough. Well, you've been very generous with your time today. I thought we'd just close on this. We've talked a little bit about your untraditional background here, but you're certainly the only person in this White House who's written a whole book on fashion and Machiavelli, so two final questions. Number one, what do you think Machiavelli's advice would be for Donald Trump? And number two, on fashion, it's not a super fashionable place. Aside from you yourself, who would you say is the other best dressed staffer? Anton: I think it's sort of a skinny tie, skinny lapel era right now, which I've never been that into, but Jared Kushner clearly has very good taste, although he dresses very, very soberly. It's usually just some dark gray, white shirt, and a solid tie. I don't think I've ever seen him in anything else. And you know, skinny lapel, skinny ties are not kind of my things, but it works for him.Glasser: And I should note, you're wearing a very nice looking sort of black and white suit with a pale pink shirt, and a black and white tie, at the moment. Machiavelli, what's his advice to Donald Trump? Anton: As much as I know Nick, as well as I know Nick, and Nick and I have known each other for about 30 years, I always hesitate to say what he would say in a current circumstance. I think he would like the president's unpredictability. I think he certainly would like his focus on putting the citizens of his own country first; he would like his small r-republican spirit. I don't know exactly what he would say beyond maybe keep doing what you're doing. And I have to caveat that now, by saying that Nick has a bad reputation because of all these outrageous things that he said. This is one of the other things maybe that Decius has in common with him, and that's part of the reason that I chose the name. I think Machiavelli knew when he wrote his books that the things he was writing were going to give him a bad reputation, but he felt like the intellectual climate of his time required shock therapy. And if he just wrote a regular sort of sober treatise along scholastic lines, nobody would read it. It wouldn't have the effect that it had to have. And so, he needed to deliver some shocks to the system, which he did, in pungent language, and which have, for 500 years, given him the reputation that he has. And he was willing to accept that. He knew that would happen, and he thought it was the price he had to pay. But if you spend time with his books over a very long period, you realize how actually philosophic and humane he is underneath the outrageous surface. So, when I say that he might pleased with some of President Trump's actions, I hope no one interprets that as saying that the murderous Machiavelli, as Shakespeare's Richard III calls him, is the one I see approving of President Trump's actions, I mean Leo Strauss' Machiavelli, the great mind who revived Western philosophy in the 16th century. Glasser: That's a pretty nuanced view. Do you think President Trump has anything like that kind of a view of Machiavelli? Anton: I don't know. Glasser: Never discussed it with him? Anton: No. Glasser: All right. We're going to leave it at that. President Trump and Machiavelli. Thank you so much. My guest this week is Michael Anton at the National Security Council. I'm Susan Glasser at The Global POLITICO. I'm delighted that you joined us today, Michael, and also to our listeners, thank you again for joining us. I hope you'll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. I hope you'll give us feedback. You can email me any time at [email protected] Send me more suggestions for names of people to interview, as you already have, and thanks again to Michael and to you, the listeners.

16 апреля, 04:58

Operation Long Jump: The Nazi Assassination Attempt on the Big Three

Warfare History Network History, Middle East Elite German commando Otto Skorzeny was given the mission to eliminate Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt when they met together in Tehran. In German it was called Operation Rösselsprung, which translates to “Long Jump.” Its goal was to kill or kidnap the Allies’ “Big Three” leaders––Soviet Premier Josef Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt—when they met in Tehran, Iran, in November 1943. That the plan did not succeed is attributable to smart intelligence work, a drunken disclosure, and a bit of good luck. Perhaps no operation was more audacious or had greater consequences to the war’s outcome if it had succeeded than Long Jump. Former Soviet Lieutenant General and KGB intelligence officer Vadim Kirpichenko said, “The first secret report that this act was being planned came from Soviet intelligence officer Nikolai Kuznetsov, who learnt about it during a conversation with SS-Sturmbannführer Ulrich von Ortel. Ortel was the chief of the sabotage group in Copenhagen, which was preparing the operation. While drunk, the senior German counterintelligence officer blurted out that preparations were underway to assassinate the Big Three. Later the Soviet Union and Britain discovered other facts confirming that preparations had been made to assassinate Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt.” Soviet Counterintelligence in Iran The assassination was scheduled to take place in Tehran, the capital of Iran, after the three Allied leaders announced plans to meet there to hammer out the final strategy for the war against Nazi Germany and its Axis allies. Stalin, whose nation was then still bearing the brunt of the German onslaught, also wanted to know how and when Britain and the United States would open a second front in Western Europe (Churchill was still dead set against a direct assault on the continent, fearing it would lead to catastrophe). The momentous meeting, dubbed Eureka, would be held at the Soviet embassy in Tehran between November 28 and December 1, 1943. Iran was occupied by Soviet and British troops during the war and it was the “southern route” for Lend-Lease materials being shipped from the United States to the USSR. Although Iran had declared itself neutral on September 4, 1939, and despite the presence of Allied troops in the country, it continued to pursue an openly pro-German policy. Read full article

08 апреля, 14:20

Trump’s White House Is a Family Business. That’s Not a Bad Thing.

Critics complain about the presence of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in the White House. But it’s a more promising model than most people appreciate.

31 марта, 14:26

5 Super Weapons that Won World War II

Michael Peck Security, Europe They changed history--forever.  Including the A-bomb on a list that otherwise features conventional weapons seems out of place. That the atomic bomb was a weapon, there is no doubt. But it was a weapon of a different magnitude, a device that could pulverize an entire city more thoroughly than a raid by a thousand regular bombers. It also epitomized the ability of the United States to harness scientific and industrial resources on a single project, to a degree that no other nation could match. As a weapon of war in World War II, the A-bomb was of greater shock than practical value. They were too complex to mass produce in the late 1940s, and by 1945, American and British bombers had pretty much devastated every German and Japanese city worth bombing. There is still much debate over whether Hiroshima and Nagasaki convinced Japan to surrender, or whether the Soviet declaration of war was the final catalyst. The secret of American victory in World War II was quantity and quality. Copious amounts of weapons and equipment that not only overwhelmed and outmatched the Axis arsenal, but helped enable Lend-Lease allies like Britain and Russia to do the same. Not that every U.S. weapon was great. The ubiquitous M-4 Sherman tank was plentiful but mediocre. Early U.S. fighters like the P-40 and P-39 were nothing to brag about (except in the hands of the Flying Tigers), while U.S. submarine torpedoes had a bad habit of not exploding until late 1943. But utilizing its massive industrial and technological base, America was able to produce some excellent weapons, including: Proximity Fuzes: Shell fuzes aren't usually thought of as weapons. But Japanese pilots and German infantrymen learned otherwise. The issue was that in an era when most anti-aircraft guns lacked radar or sophisticated fire control computers, their chances of hitting a target were not great. So complex were the calculations required to compute where to intersect the path of shell and airplane two to five miles high that tens of thousands of rounds had to be fired on average to score a hit. The problem became really acute when American warships encountered Japanese kamikazes; destroying an aircraft hell-bent on crashing into your ship meant the suicide planes had to be shot down quickly. Read full article

23 марта, 16:18

Why did the Soviet Union develop its own atomic bomb?

Washington demonstrated the power of the devastating nuclear weapons when it dropped two bombs on Japan. Photo: View of the radioactive plume from the bomb dropped on Nagasaki City, as seen from 9.6 km away, in Koyagi-jima, Japan, August 9, 1945. Source: Getty Images Nuclear weapons are a serious concern for mankind today, but their creation brought the era of large-scale world wars to an end. Mutual assured destruction compelled the superpowers to effectively lay down their arms and seek dialogue, whereas before conflict may have prevailed. In the early years of the atomic era, the U.S. was leading the way. In August 1945 Washington demonstrated the power of the devastating nuclear weapons when it dropped two bombs on Japan, sending a warning to countries outside the Western bloc in the process. However, the situation changed on Aug. 29, 1949 when the Soviet Union tested its own nuclear weapon. The race begins Scientists and workmen rig the world's first atomic bomb to raise it up into a 100-foot tower at the Trinity bomb test site in the desert near Alamagordo, N.M. in July 1945. The first atomic bomb test, known as the Manhattan Project, took place on July 16. Source: AP The idea that the colossal energy released when the uranium atom was split could be used for military purposes was first mooted by physicists in the late 1930s. The pioneers were the Germans, who made more advances than other countries in developing the theoretical basis for the nuclear program. The German atomic project was already up and running in the summer of 1939. Physicists who fled Germany after the rise of Hitler quickly realized what the successful conclusion of the project could lead to. The Germans had to be pre-empted - and the sooner the better. In August 1939, U.S. President F.D. Roosevelt was handed a letter from the distinguished scientist Albert Einstein. The Nobel Prize laureate in physics drew the president's attention to the fact that the Nazis were conducting research to develop a nuclear weapon and proposed that implementation of a similar project should begin in the U.S. In the subsequent two years, large-scale work was launched in the U.S., significant funds were invested and some of the greatest minds of the time, including Niels Bohr and Edward Teller, were recruited The USSR knew full well about all of this. Soviet physicists were aware of the work of their foreign colleagues. Soviet intelligence did not sit idly by, either. In June 1940, they had a close eye on the American’s early research into uranium-235. A year and a half later, when the Great Patriotic War had already begun (following Germany’s invasion of Russia), even more alarming news arrived: Britain could develop a nuclear weapon as early as 1943. This meant that the Germans, whose troops were already nearing Moscow, must also be close to possessing a primed nuclear weapon. The Soviet Union was seriously lagging behind in the nuclear race. Physicists and spies at work Visitors at the presentation of a multimedia installation specially created by the Rosatom Corporation to mark the 65th anniversary of the RDS-1 Soviet atomic bomb. Source: Maksim Blinov/RIA Novosti Information about the successful advances of Western countries in the development of a nuclear weapon was pouring into the Kremlin. Joseph Stalin rapidly realized it was a vitally important issue for Russia. His verdict was unambiguous: "We don't have the bomb: we're working badly!" The Germans were halted outside Moscow, and a breakthrough in the war was soon to follow. But no one could guarantee the situation would not change if the Germans got their hands on the super-weapon. The achievements of the Americans and British were also viewed with alarm: having acquired the atomic bomb, they could overcome Hitler on their own and subsequently threaten the Soviet Union. In September 1942, the USSR leadership authorized the founding of a specialist laboratory to work on the nuclear project. It was effectively the start of the history of the Soviet atomic program. It was staffed by a small but highly accomplished group of physicists under the overall leadership of Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov, who is now regarded as the father of the Soviet atom bomb. The intelligence services cooperated closely with the scientists. The Soviet spy network in the U.S. had a complete picture of the progress of the American atomic project, and even knew the locations of the main research center. Significant assistance was also provided by American nuclear physicists sympathetic to the USSR. Thanks to them the blueprints for the American bomb were already on Kurchatov's desk two weeks after it was created in 1945. End of American atomic monopoly The American and British military drew up plans for a possible war against the USSR. Photo: Yuly Khariton, a Russian physicist working in the field of nuclear power. Source: Valentin Cheredintsev/TASS Germany was crushed without the use of nuclear weapons. The atom bombs the Americans dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 were by and large symbolic. It was Washington's way of proclaiming to the whole world that it had the super-bomb. The message was directed above all to Moscow. After the end of World War II, the former allies in the anti-Hitler coalition found themselves on different sides of the barricades. The American and British military drew up plans for a possible war against the USSR. They proposed the bombing of major Soviet cities using nuclear weapons. This could only be avoided through the elimination of the American nuclear monopoly. Two weeks after the destruction of Hiroshima a special committee was established on Stalin's orders to coordinate all the work on the atom bomb project. It effectively meant the creation of a super-ministry with enormous resources and emergency powers. It was headed by one of Stalin's closest associates, Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria. Under his direct leadership, a new industrial sector was born in the USSR in the space of a few years - the atomic industry. Uranium enrichment plants, reactors, centrifuges and factories to make bombs were set up in a short period of time. In Siberia and the Urals, new industrial complexes were built deep in the mountains, from which hundreds of tonnes of solid rock were extracted. Around them whole cities sprang up excluded from maps. Only people connected to the atomic program knew of their existence. The American leadership was convinced that the USSR would acquire nuclear weapons no sooner than 1954. A nuclear weapon test at the Semipalatinsk range in 1949 came as an unpleasant surprise for the U.S. The Soviet Union managed to destroy the U.S. nuclear monopoly, and in doing so laid the foundations  for the international security that the world order rests on to this day. Alexander Vershinin - doctor of historical sciences, lecturer in history at Moscow State University, senior research fellow at the Governance and Problem Analysis Center. Lend-Lease: How American supplies aided the USSR in its darkest hour>>>

25 января, 20:11

Trump hit with $2 million suit by contractor on D.C. hotel

Freestate says the Trump Organization has offered to pay only one-third of the project change and acceleration costs the contractor incurred.

23 января, 04:27

The M-3 Grant: America's Nazi Germany Tank-Killer

Michael Peck Security, Europe The weapon Britain needed in its most desperate hour. Why were Rommel's tanks blowing up? As the Desert Fox's panzers churned through the Libyan desert in May 1942, they were confident of victory. For more than a year, despite being outnumbered by the British Eighth Army, the German armor had time and again emerged victorious. Now the Afrika Korps was on the offensive against the British fortified line at Gazala, aiming to capture the vital port of Tobruk, and then move on to seize the Suez Canal and perhaps even the vital Middle East old fields. But on May 27, the Afrika Korps ran into a deadly surprise. Its tanks were being destroyed from long range, something that had never happened before. Until Gazala, the Afrika Korps had only faced the 2-pounder (40-millimeter) guns on British tanks and 37-millimeter cannon on American Lend-Lease Stuarts used by Britain, both of which frequently bounced off the frontal armor of German Mark III and Mark IV tanks. Yet now the panzers were being picked off by 75-millimeter cannon that outranged their own 50-millimeter tank guns. Rommel discovered the cause soon enough. It was the M-3 Grant, an American-made tank sent to the British under Lend-Lease. As Rommel wrote in “The Rommel Papers”, “Up to May of 1942, our tanks had in general been superior in quality to the corresponding British types. This was now no longer true, at least not to the same extent.” The M-3 (known as the Lee in American service, but called the Grant when used by the British) was as ugly a tank as ever rolled on treads. Vaguely resembling the Army Surplus Special in the 1960s cartoon “Wacky Races,” the 30-ton Grant stood an incredible 10 feet tall (compared to 9 feet for a Sherman and 8 feet for an M-1 Abrams). Read full article

05 января, 08:53

Американские мифы о Победе

По общему убеждению американцев, вступление США во Вторую мировую войну предопределило её окончательный исход. Многие американцы (вряд ли ошибусь, если скажу, что большинство) твёрдо уверены в том, что их страна внесла решающий вклад в победу над Германией и Японией во Второй мировой войне и что СССР был бы раздавлен Гитлером без американских поставок оружия. В интернете нередко можно наткнуться на искренние высказывания жителей США, вроде "мы спасли русских от Гитлера" в разных вариациях. Иногда утверждения, что "без американцев мы бы не выиграли войну", можно теперь услышать и от соотечественников. Автор не намерен отрицать значительную роль США в победе над странами агрессивного блока, особенно над Японией, существенную помощь Соединённых Штатов Советскому Союзу военными материалами в 1941-1945 гг. Речь идёт о том, чтобы точно обозначить величину этой роли. Без сомнения, американцы вправе гордиться тем, чтó совершила их страна в годы Второй мировой войны. США (в союзе со странами Британского Содружества) нанесли основные поражения военно-морским и военно-воздушным силам Японии, причинили серьёзный урон военной и промышленной машине нацистской Германии. Роль США в снабжении СССР оружием, транспортными средствами, ценным промышленным сырьём, медикаментами и продовольствием в ходе войны также немаловажна (о её величине - ниже). В результате Второй мировой войны США стали сверхдержавой, доминирующей на большей части земного шара. Этих выдающихся результатов США добились ценой сравнительно небольших потерь - погибло только 322 200 граждан США, почти исключительно военнослужащих, так как военные действия почти не затронули территорию самих США. При этом США избежали падения жизненного уровня своего населения. Наоборот, их экономика все годы войны испытывала интенсивный подъём. Приписывать США во Второй мировой войне заслуги сверх вышеперечисленных нет никаких оснований. Разберёмся теперь с этой ролью на конкретных примерах. 1. "Арсенал демократии" В марте 1941 конгресс США принял закон о предоставлении странам, "чья оборона представляет важность для интересов США", льготных целевых кредитов на закупку у США оружия и прочих военных материалов. Долг за оружие и материалы, которые были бы израсходованы в ходе войны, объявлялся списанным. Эта система получила общеизвестное название lend lease. Первым адресатом американской помощи стала Англия. Она же оставалась основным получателем поставок по ленд-лизу все годы Второй мировой войны (31,4 млрд $; СССР - 11,3 млрд $). Закон о ленд-лизе был распространён на СССР только 7 ноября 1941 года, но фактические поставки начались раньше - после того, как 30 сентября 1941 во время визита в Москву спецпредставителя президента США У. А. Гарримана и министра военной промышленности Англии У. Бивербрука был подписан первый протокол о поставках. Общий объём поставок по ленд-лизу в СССР оценивается обычно в 4% от общего объёма ВВП СССР за этот период. Однако это не показатель, так как помощь по ленд-лизу не имела целью заместить военное производство СССР. Более объективным, хотя и дифференцированным показателем является доля американских поставок по отдельным видам военного производства. Здесь необходимо также учесть, что основная помощь вооружением шла в СССР в 1941-1942 гг., затем главный упор в поставках был сделан на дефицитные в СССР военные материалы и на продовольствие. Значительна была помощь США нашей стране по таким видам продукции, например, как мясные консервы (480% от произведённого за эти годы в СССР), цветные металлы (от 76% до 223% по разным металлам), животные жиры (107%), шерсть (102%), автомобильные шины (92%), взрывчатка (53%). Существенными были поставки грузовых автомобилей (375 тыс), джипов (51,5 тыс), колючей проволоки (45 тыс т), телефонного кабеля (670 тыс миль), телефонных аппаратов (189 тыс штук). Поставки основных видов вооружения составили 12% от выпуска советскими заводами танков, 20% от выпуска бомбардировщиков, 16% от выпуска истребителей, 22% от выпуска боевых судов. Особо необходимо отметить поставки радиолокаторов (445 штук). Известна неофициальная оценка роли поставок по ленд-лизу для хода Великой Отечественной войны таким авторитетом, как маршал Г. К. Жуков (доложенная шефом КГБ В. Е. Семичастным Н. С. Хрущёву, она послужила одной из причин снятия Жукова с поста министра обороны в 1957 г.): "Сейчас говорят, что союзники никогда нам не помогали... Но ведь нельзя отрицать, что американцы нам гнали столько материалов, без которых мы бы не могли формировать свои резервы и не могли бы продолжать войну... Получили 350 тысяч автомашин, да каких машин!.. У нас не было взрывчатки, пороха. Не было чем снаряжать патроны. Американцы по-настоящему выручили нас с порохом, взрывчаткой. А сколько они нам гнали листовой стали. Разве мы могли бы быстро наладить производство танков, если бы не американская помощь сталью. А сейчас представляют дело так, что у нас всё это было своё в изобилии". Необходимо, однако, иметь в виду, что в данной цитате могли быть сознательно искажены многие высказывания, чтобы представить говорившего в невыгодном свете. Фактом останется то, что в самый тяжёлый для нашей страны период войны - летом и осенью 1941 года - никаких поставок по ленд-лизу в СССР ещё не было. Немецко-фашистские армии были остановлены на подступах к Ленинграду и Москве исключительно нашим оружием. Было бы правильно считать, что американская экономическая помощь советским вооружённым силам (развернувшаяся в широких объёмах только с 1943 года!) ускорила окончательный разгром немецко-фашистских войск на Восточном фронте. Но было бы ошибочно делать вывод, что без такой помощи эта победа не наступила бы вовсе. 2. "Высадка в Нормандии стала решающей битвой войны" Вторжению американских и британских войск в Северную Францию, начавшемуся 6 июня 1944 года, на Западе придают значение поворотного момента в ходе Второй мировой войны. Однако эта оценка игнорирует факт многочисленных поражений, которые вермахт к тому времени уже потерпел на Восточном фронте, начиная с декабря 1941 года. С ноября 1942 года, за исключением кратковременных эпизодов контрнаступления под Харьковом и начального этапа битвы под Курском, немецкие войска на Востоке находились в стратегической обороне. К лету 1944 года советские армии освободили уже бóльшую часть первоначально захваченной гитлеровцами территории СССР и в ряде мест вышли на госграницу СССР. Окончательный исход войны уже не вызывал сомнений, и этот исход определился именно на Восточном фронте. С учётом общей стратегической картины Второй мировой войны более обоснованной представляется традиционная точка зрения отечественной историографии, согласно которой сама высадка англо-американских войск в Нормандии была предпринята летом 1944 года с целью не допустить окончательного разгрома вермахта одними лишь советскими войсками. Размах и напряжённость сражений на Западноевропейском театре военных действий (ТВД) в 1944-1945 гг. ни разу не приблизились к тому, что имело место на Восточном фронте не только в 1941-1943 гг., но и в эти последние два года войны. Советско-германский фронт до самого 9 мая 1945 года оставался главным фронтом в Европе. К январю 1945, в момент максимального напряжения сил Германии на Западном фронте, вызванного попыткой наступления в Арденнах, части вермахта на Западе насчитывали всего 73 дивизии, в то время как на Востоке в это же время находилось 179 немецких дивизий. В целом же 80% личного состава действующей армии Германии, 68% её артиллерии, 64% её танков и 48% авиации люфтваффе в этот период использовались против советских войск. Таким образом, и в последний год войны основные силы немецкой сухопутной армии сражались не на Западе, а на Востоке. На Восточном фронте вермахт понёс решающие потери во Второй мировой войне. 70% от всех уничтоженных в ходе войны немецких самолётов, 75% потерянных танков и 74% потерь артиллерии Германии пришлись на войну с СССР. Более сложно всегда оценить количество людских потерь. Однако список соединений вермахта показывает, что всего за годы Второй мировой войны было полностью разгромлено на поле боя и вычеркнуто из этого списка 130 немецких сухопутных дивизий. Из них 104, то есть 80%, потерпели поражение именно от советских войск. 3. "США в одиночку разбили Германию на Западе и Японию" Миф о решающей роли США во Второй мировой войне направлен на принижение роли не только СССР, но и других участников антифашистской коалиции - стран Британского Содружества и Китая. Между тем, когда мы говорим о тех ТВД, где действовали американские войска, необходимо иметь в виду, что они всякий раз воевали в составе коалиционных сил, не всегда имея в них большинство. В войну к востоку от Атлантики США реально вступили только высадкой десанта в Северной Африке 8 ноября 1942 года. Причём это был удар даже не по Германии, а по Италии и вишистской Франции. В 1940-1942 гг. силы Британского Содружества сами отразили ряд наступлений "оси" в Северной Африке. Английская победа под Эль-Аламейном в октябре-ноябре 1942, в результате которой произошёл окончательный перелом в войне на Средиземноморском ТВД, была одержана до прибытия американских войск. Роль американских поставок в вооружении и оснащении британских войск была существенно выше, чем их роль для советских войск. Однако подданные Британской империи оплатили эти поставки своей кровью. Во Второй мировой войне погибло 364 тысячи жителей Соединённого Королевства (1/6 - мирное население) и 109 тысяч жителей британских доминионов и колоний, то есть в общей сложности больше, чем американцев. До лета 1944 года количество сухопутных войск Британской империи, воевавших с противниками на Западном и Азиатско-Тихоокеанском ТВД (и вместе, и на каждом в отдельности), неизменно превышало численность находившихся там американских войск. Только после высадки в Нормандии это соотношение стало медленно меняться. В "битве за Атлантику" решающей была роль британских ВМС, уничтоживших 525 немецких субмарин (в то время как американские ВМС - 174). В АТР американцы воевали совместно с австралийцами и британскими колониальными войсками в Индии. Кроме того, здесь нельзя сбрасывать со счетов постоянный (хотя и сам по себе пассивный) фактор Китая, постоянно отвлекавшего на себя больше половины японской сухопутной армии и значительные силы японской авиации. Эти силы в совокупности, а не одни лишь американцы, обеспечили союзникам победу над морской и воздушной мощью Японии. И, как уже неоднократно писалось, именно вступление СССР в войну против Японии, а не атомная бомбардировка, стало "последним ударом меча", заставившим Японию капитулировать. Таким образом, даже на тех ТВД Второй мировой, где решающая роль принадлежала западным союзникам, роль США в составе коалиционных сил не может расцениваться как абсолютно доминирующая. Михаил Загорский(http://www.nationaljourna...)

05 января, 08:53

Американские мифы о Победе

По общему убеждению американцев, вступление США во Вторую мировую войну предопределило её окончательный исход. Многие американцы (вряд ли ошибусь, если скажу, что большинство) твёрдо уверены в том, что их страна внесла решающий вклад в победу над Германией и Японией во Второй мировой войне и что СССР был бы раздавлен Гитлером без американских поставок оружия. В интернете нередко можно наткнуться на искренние высказывания жителей США, вроде "мы спасли русских от Гитлера" в разных вариациях. Иногда утверждения, что "без американцев мы бы не выиграли войну", можно теперь услышать и от соотечественников. Автор не намерен отрицать значительную роль США в победе над странами агрессивного блока, особенно над Японией, существенную помощь Соединённых Штатов Советскому Союзу военными материалами в 1941-1945 гг. Речь идёт о том, чтобы точно обозначить величину этой роли. Без сомнения, американцы вправе гордиться тем, чтó совершила их страна в годы Второй мировой войны. США (в союзе со странами Британского Содружества) нанесли основные поражения военно-морским и военно-воздушным силам Японии, причинили серьёзный урон военной и промышленной машине нацистской Германии. Роль США в снабжении СССР оружием, транспортными средствами, ценным промышленным сырьём, медикаментами и продовольствием в ходе войны также немаловажна (о её величине - ниже). В результате Второй мировой войны США стали сверхдержавой, доминирующей на большей части земного шара. Этих выдающихся результатов США добились ценой сравнительно небольших потерь - погибло только 322 200 граждан США, почти исключительно военнослужащих, так как военные действия почти не затронули территорию самих США. При этом США избежали падения жизненного уровня своего населения. Наоборот, их экономика все годы войны испытывала интенсивный подъём. Приписывать США во Второй мировой войне заслуги сверх вышеперечисленных нет никаких оснований. Разберёмся теперь с этой ролью на конкретных примерах. 1. "Арсенал демократии" В марте 1941 конгресс США принял закон о предоставлении странам, "чья оборона представляет важность для интересов США", льготных целевых кредитов на закупку у США оружия и прочих военных материалов. Долг за оружие и материалы, которые были бы израсходованы в ходе войны, объявлялся списанным. Эта система получила общеизвестное название lend lease. Первым адресатом американской помощи стала Англия. Она же оставалась основным получателем поставок по ленд-лизу все годы Второй мировой войны (31,4 млрд $; СССР - 11,3 млрд $). Закон о ленд-лизе был распространён на СССР только 7 ноября 1941 года, но фактические поставки начались раньше - после того, как 30 сентября 1941 во время визита в Москву спецпредставителя президента США У. А. Гарримана и министра военной промышленности Англии У. Бивербрука был подписан первый протокол о поставках. Общий объём поставок по ленд-лизу в СССР оценивается обычно в 4% от общего объёма ВВП СССР за этот период. Однако это не показатель, так как помощь по ленд-лизу не имела целью заместить военное производство СССР. Более объективным, хотя и дифференцированным показателем является доля американских поставок по отдельным видам военного производства. Здесь необходимо также учесть, что основная помощь вооружением шла в СССР в 1941-1942 гг., затем главный упор в поставках был сделан на дефицитные в СССР военные материалы и на продовольствие. Значительна была помощь США нашей стране по таким видам продукции, например, как мясные консервы (480% от произведённого за эти годы в СССР), цветные металлы (от 76% до 223% по разным металлам), животные жиры (107%), шерсть (102%), автомобильные шины (92%), взрывчатка (53%). Существенными были поставки грузовых автомобилей (375 тыс), джипов (51,5 тыс), колючей проволоки (45 тыс т), телефонного кабеля (670 тыс миль), телефонных аппаратов (189 тыс штук). Поставки основных видов вооружения составили 12% от выпуска советскими заводами танков, 20% от выпуска бомбардировщиков, 16% от выпуска истребителей, 22% от выпуска боевых судов. Особо необходимо отметить поставки радиолокаторов (445 штук). Известна неофициальная оценка роли поставок по ленд-лизу для хода Великой Отечественной войны таким авторитетом, как маршал Г. К. Жуков (доложенная шефом КГБ В. Е. Семичастным Н. С. Хрущёву, она послужила одной из причин снятия Жукова с поста министра обороны в 1957 г.): "Сейчас говорят, что союзники никогда нам не помогали... Но ведь нельзя отрицать, что американцы нам гнали столько материалов, без которых мы бы не могли формировать свои резервы и не могли бы продолжать войну... Получили 350 тысяч автомашин, да каких машин!.. У нас не было взрывчатки, пороха. Не было чем снаряжать патроны. Американцы по-настоящему выручили нас с порохом, взрывчаткой. А сколько они нам гнали листовой стали. Разве мы могли бы быстро наладить производство танков, если бы не американская помощь сталью. А сейчас представляют дело так, что у нас всё это было своё в изобилии". Необходимо, однако, иметь в виду, что в данной цитате могли быть сознательно искажены многие высказывания, чтобы представить говорившего в невыгодном свете. Фактом останется то, что в самый тяжёлый для нашей страны период войны - летом и осенью 1941 года - никаких поставок по ленд-лизу в СССР ещё не было. Немецко-фашистские армии были остановлены на подступах к Ленинграду и Москве исключительно нашим оружием. Было бы правильно считать, что американская экономическая помощь советским вооружённым силам (развернувшаяся в широких объёмах только с 1943 года!) ускорила окончательный разгром немецко-фашистских войск на Восточном фронте. Но было бы ошибочно делать вывод, что без такой помощи эта победа не наступила бы вовсе. 2. "Высадка в Нормандии стала решающей битвой войны" Вторжению американских и британских войск в Северную Францию, начавшемуся 6 июня 1944 года, на Западе придают значение поворотного момента в ходе Второй мировой войны. Однако эта оценка игнорирует факт многочисленных поражений, которые вермахт к тому времени уже потерпел на Восточном фронте, начиная с декабря 1941 года. С ноября 1942 года, за исключением кратковременных эпизодов контрнаступления под Харьковом и начального этапа битвы под Курском, немецкие войска на Востоке находились в стратегической обороне. К лету 1944 года советские армии освободили уже бóльшую часть первоначально захваченной гитлеровцами территории СССР и в ряде мест вышли на госграницу СССР. Окончательный исход войны уже не вызывал сомнений, и этот исход определился именно на Восточном фронте. С учётом общей стратегической картины Второй мировой войны более обоснованной представляется традиционная точка зрения отечественной историографии, согласно которой сама высадка англо-американских войск в Нормандии была предпринята летом 1944 года с целью не допустить окончательного разгрома вермахта одними лишь советскими войсками. Размах и напряжённость сражений на Западноевропейском театре военных действий (ТВД) в 1944-1945 гг. ни разу не приблизились к тому, что имело место на Восточном фронте не только в 1941-1943 гг., но и в эти последние два года войны. Советско-германский фронт до самого 9 мая 1945 года оставался главным фронтом в Европе. К январю 1945, в момент максимального напряжения сил Германии на Западном фронте, вызванного попыткой наступления в Арденнах, части вермахта на Западе насчитывали всего 73 дивизии, в то время как на Востоке в это же время находилось 179 немецких дивизий. В целом же 80% личного состава действующей армии Германии, 68% её артиллерии, 64% её танков и 48% авиации люфтваффе в этот период использовались против советских войск. Таким образом, и в последний год войны основные силы немецкой сухопутной армии сражались не на Западе, а на Востоке. На Восточном фронте вермахт понёс решающие потери во Второй мировой войне. 70% от всех уничтоженных в ходе войны немецких самолётов, 75% потерянных танков и 74% потерь артиллерии Германии пришлись на войну с СССР. Более сложно всегда оценить количество людских потерь. Однако список соединений вермахта показывает, что всего за годы Второй мировой войны было полностью разгромлено на поле боя и вычеркнуто из этого списка 130 немецких сухопутных дивизий. Из них 104, то есть 80%, потерпели поражение именно от советских войск. 3. "США в одиночку разбили Германию на Западе и Японию" Миф о решающей роли США во Второй мировой войне направлен на принижение роли не только СССР, но и других участников антифашистской коалиции - стран Британского Содружества и Китая. Между тем, когда мы говорим о тех ТВД, где действовали американские войска, необходимо иметь в виду, что они всякий раз воевали в составе коалиционных сил, не всегда имея в них большинство. В войну к востоку от Атлантики США реально вступили только высадкой десанта в Северной Африке 8 ноября 1942 года. Причём это был удар даже не по Германии, а по Италии и вишистской Франции. В 1940-1942 гг. силы Британского Содружества сами отразили ряд наступлений "оси" в Северной Африке. Английская победа под Эль-Аламейном в октябре-ноябре 1942, в результате которой произошёл окончательный перелом в войне на Средиземноморском ТВД, была одержана до прибытия американских войск. Роль американских поставок в вооружении и оснащении британских войск была существенно выше, чем их роль для советских войск. Однако подданные Британской империи оплатили эти поставки своей кровью. Во Второй мировой войне погибло 364 тысячи жителей Соединённого Королевства (1/6 - мирное население) и 109 тысяч жителей британских доминионов и колоний, то есть в общей сложности больше, чем американцев. До лета 1944 года количество сухопутных войск Британской империи, воевавших с противниками на Западном и Азиатско-Тихоокеанском ТВД (и вместе, и на каждом в отдельности), неизменно превышало численность находившихся там американских войск. Только после высадки в Нормандии это соотношение стало медленно меняться. В "битве за Атлантику" решающей была роль британских ВМС, уничтоживших 525 немецких субмарин (в то время как американские ВМС - 174). В АТР американцы воевали совместно с австралийцами и британскими колониальными войсками в Индии. Кроме того, здесь нельзя сбрасывать со счетов постоянный (хотя и сам по себе пассивный) фактор Китая, постоянно отвлекавшего на себя больше половины японской сухопутной армии и значительные силы японской авиации. Эти силы в совокупности, а не одни лишь американцы, обеспечили союзникам победу над морской и воздушной мощью Японии. И, как уже неоднократно писалось, именно вступление СССР в войну против Японии, а не атомная бомбардировка, стало "последним ударом меча", заставившим Японию капитулировать. Таким образом, даже на тех ТВД Второй мировой, где решающая роль принадлежала западным союзникам, роль США в составе коалиционных сил не может расцениваться как абсолютно доминирующая. Михаил Загорский(http://www.nationaljourna...)

26 декабря 2016, 17:15

Russia Had Big Plans to Build a Massive Super Battleship Fleet

Kyle Mizokami Security, Europe Stalin had a big idea...but it never happenned.  At the end of the Second World War, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin stood undisputed as the most powerful man in Eurasia. His Red Army had crushed Nazi Germany, repelling an invasion and going on to capture Berlin after a grueling, four year campaign. Stalin’s Red Army was arguably more powerful than the American, British, French and western European armies combined. Still, that was not enough. Stalin had long craved a strong navy that would extend Soviet influence far from Europe and Asia, and do it in a big way. The Soviet leader wanted battleships, and a lot of them. A fleet that simply was never meant to be, it existed largely on paper and even included some highly advanced ships that were flat-out hoaxes. The Idea: During World War II the Soviet Navy was a distant third in priorities. It was the Red Army that had fought the grueling ground battles and campaigns that defeated Germany. Supporting it was a Red Air Force optimized, like the Luftwaffe, on tactical battlefield support of ground forces. The Navy, on the other hand had played a very limited role, providing convoy protection for Lend-Lease equipment from the U.S and support for land operations and harassment of the German military in the Baltic and Black Sea regions. Still, by mid-1945 it was clear to Stalin that with Germany gone, his most powerful rivals—the United States and United Kingdom—lay across the water and out of his armies’ reach. So was Japan, which the USSR had been shut out of occupying, and many of the former European colonies that were ripe for revolution. Powerful army or not, if  Stalin wanted to remain a major military power, he was going to need a powerful navy. Why Battleships?: By the end of World War II it was clear that battleships were obsolete. Aircraft carriers had replaced them as the dominant naval platform, a fact made painfully clear to the Empire of Japan during literally dozens of sea battles in the Pacific Theater of Operations. After the war, the Western Allies mostly divested themselves of battleships, preserving their fleets of carriers instead. Read full article

13 ноября 2016, 05:23

Britain's Centurion: The Best Cold War Tank?

Michael Peck Security, Europe And it's not American. When someone mentions a list of the best tanks in history, the names are always the same: Tiger, T-34, M-1 Abrams. And always from the same nations: Germany, Russia, America. But great tanks from Great Britain? Though the British were the ones to develop armored fighting vehicles in World War I, British tanks of the Second World War can generally be described in one word: awful. There were tanks that could barely move without breaking down. Tanks that were fast but too thinly armored, or heavily armored but too slow. Tanks with radios that didn’t work. Tanks with guns that could shoot armor-piercing shells at other tanks, but not high-explosive rounds at infantry and antitank guns. The British had some successes here and there: the heavy Matildas that tore through lighter Italian armor in 1940, the Crocodile flamethrower tanks whose very presence terrified German troops into surrendering, or the “Funny” engineering tanks that proved invaluable at D-Day. But on the whole, British tanks like the Crusader proved a disappointment. There were reasons behind the failure. British railroads were too narrow to transport big vehicles the size of the German Tiger. British tactics were faulty, favoring gallant charges by tanks acting without infantry or artillery support. The British tank corps of World War II was schizophrenic, caught between those who wanted fast, light cruiser tanks that were essentially cavalry horses on treads, and those who wanted heavy, slow infantry tanks to help the foot soldiers breach enemy trenches. In the end, many British units were equipped with Lend-Lease American Shermans, a mediocre vehicle that at least was reliable. British armor had been roughly handled in North Africa, yet the Normandy campaign in the summer of 1944 was the real nightmare. British and American crews dreaded coming to grips with the heavily armored German Panthers and Tigers, whose powerful cannons inflicted huge losses on Allied armor. And then in 1945, the British got it right. The Centurion may have been the best tank overall during the 1950s and 1960s. Though fielded just a few months after World War II ended, the Centurion proved such a good design that it is still in service today with the Israeli and other armies. Read full article