History

“Do you know why we lost the war?” Peter asked.

“Why did you lose the war?”

“It was explained to me by an old man. We were hiking in the Alps. We were on a high meadow surrounded by wildflowers when we stopped to eat. The subject of the war came up. He said the Nazis had committed ‘excesses,’ but the real reason Germany lost the war was because of sabotage. There were workers in the munitions factories who deliberately degraded the gunpowder in the shells to make our weapons ineffective. Otherwise we would have been able to hold out for an honorable peace. He described the grandfathers and boys fighting in the ruins of Berlin, stabbed in the back by those saboteurs. It was years later when I learned that those saboteurs were Russians and Jews, slave labor being starved to death while they worked. I remembered the flowers, the wonderful view, the tears in his eyes.”

—Martin Cruz Smith, Red Square

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2 Responses to “History”


  1. 1 possum June 12, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Does the loser ever know just why they lost? Or are excuses being made? The story rings of truth but who can know?

  2. 2 C June 15, 2012 at 4:36 am

    Some might argue that the nazi exercise did not, if we survey the world scene today, lose the war; instead it’s mooted that they won. Yes, they say, the Germans may have lost, but the nazis did not.


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When I Worked

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