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Perspectives . . .                                            80  Anniversary of Operation Barbarossa

                                                                      by Martin Ederer
      Are we there yet?                                               021 marks some big World War
         by Martin Ederer                                           2II anniversaries. Americans are
          s things begin to reopen and life seems to be gradually returning to  (or should be) aware that this year is
      Anormal, we all have begun to realize more fully what a bizarre 15  the 80th anniversary of the Japanese
      months we have been through.                                  attack  on  Pearl  Harbor  and  U.S.
         This  summer,  let’s  take  some  time  to  take  stock,  to  see  what  (and  military involvement in World War
      whom) we’ve lost…and to see what we have learned.  Hopefully things  II. 2021 also marks the 80th anni-
      will continue to move toward normalcy.                        versary of the debut of the German
         There’s  nothing  more  to  say  or  do  but  to  wish  all  of  our  readers  a  Afrikakorps  –  along  with  Irwin
      chance to reconnect with all that was good in our pre-COVID lives and to  Rommel – in what had been Italy’s
      enjoy a safer and more restful summer this year.              (struggling)  North  African  cam-
                                                                      This was good (if embarrassing)
      Famous quotes:                                                news  for  Mussolini.  It  was  also
                                                                    good  news  for  all  sorts  of  indige-
      Why are so many fake?                                         nous nationalist movements thrilled
                                                                    at  the  prospects  of  German  forces  Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hess, and Reinhard Heydrich listening to
    Popular quotes that                             making  life  miserable  for  French  Konrad Meyer at a Generalplan Ost exhibition, March 20, 1941.
             often  appear  in  speeches,                           and  British  colonial  governments                        CC BY-SA 3.0 de
      Dtweets  and  memes  are  of-                                 there.
      tentimes  fake.  But  how  did  they                            But far and away, the most fate- give up. While Hitler and Stalin had new  decisions.  The  halt  dithered
      enter  the  popular  lexicon,  and  can                       ful  80th  anniversary  is  Germany’s their  very  cynical  nonaggression away one month in prime fighting
      we find their true origins?                                   launch  of  its  epic  Operation  Bar- pact in place since 1939, it was ob- weather while generals and the Füh-
         "When the sun of culture is low,                           barossa  into  the  Soviet  Union  on vious  to  everyone  –  except  appar- rer argued over what to do. Finally
      even  dwarfs  cast  long  shadows."                           June 22, 1941. Up to this time Hit- ently Stalin – that Hitler’s grandiose Hitler decided to cut off and bypass
      This  is  one  of  the  most  famous                          ler’s  only  setback  was  Germany’s plans  to  expand  eastward  would Leningrad and concentrate on Mos-
      quotes attributed to Austrian writer                          inability to gain air superiority over eventually undo the deal.  cow before winter set in.
      and satirist Karl Kraus.                                      Great Britain and British refusal to  Despite a late start (thanks to a  Once  German  offensives  re-
         But  literary  scholar  and  quote colleagues.  "False  quotes  have  al-                late spring thaw in Russia and Ger- sumed, more easy success followed.
      researcher  Gerald  Krieghofer  says ways  existed,  and  people  have  al-                 man  bailouts  of  Italian  forces  in Dnepropetrovsk fell to the Germans
      that it wasn't even Kraus who said it: ways been upset about them."  like  politician  Alexander  Gauland  both the Balkans and North Africa), on August 25. Kiev fell on Septem-
      The  sentence  was  actually  uttered  This had also kept German phi- of  Germany's  far-right  Alternative  Operation  Barbarossa  –  some ber 17. Many Ukrainians viewed the
      by Kraus' employee.            lologist,  Georg  Büchmann,  busy for  Germany  (AfD)  party  'quote'  3,000,000-men  strong  –  still  took Germans as liberators after Stalin’s
         Krieghofer  has  so  far  collected back in the day. He gained fame for Bismarck instead. "Any saying that  Stalin’s  purged-out  Red  Army  by atrocities against them in the 1930s.
      more than 500 false quotes attribut- his  1864  book  "Geflügelte  Worte, fits into the political concept is sim-  surprise. In a matter of weeks, Hit- Still, Hitler’s racial policies eventu-
      ed to famous personalities to verify Der  Zitatenschatz  des  Deutschen ply said to be from Bismarck as it  ler’s  forces  had  clawed  easily ally ended up showing the Ukraini-
      their origins. He is not alone in his Volkes," which loosely translates as lends  more  authority,"  Krieghofer  through numerically superior Soviet ans that they actually had no friends
      endeavor. Across diverse European "Winged Words, a Treasury of Ger- said.                   forces. Minsk fell on June 28. Smo- at all.
      languages, internet sites are shining man Quotes."              Then,  there  is  "secondary  cita-  lensk fell on July 16. By September  In  October  1941,  autumn  rains
      a light on the phenomena via listi-  The  book  traced  the  origins  of tion."  For  example,  biographers  1941  there  were  only  45  Soviet turned the USSR’s mainly-unpaved
      cles  of  false  quotes,  or  by  poking sayings and literary quotes that had who  quote  a  famous  person  they  tanks  in  working  order  between roads into mud. Then in November
      fun at them.                   become part of common speech. It knew,  even  if  the  quotes  are  quite  Moscow and Germany.  the Russian winter set in and caught
         One  popular  meme  enjoying has since undergone numerous revi- possibly invented.          The  original  German  offensive the Wehrmacht unequipped for win-
      high circulation on Twitter features sions and updates, and it has been  Beethoven's  secretary  and  first  launched  in  three  prongs.  Army ter warfare. Army Group North had
      the photo of Abraham Lincoln with translated into various foreign lan- biographer Anton Schindler, for ex-  Group North was to head for Lenin- Leningrad  in  a  stranglehold  which
      a warning about quotes on the inter- guages.                  ample, claimed the composer said,  grad.  Army  Group  Center  was  to would  claim  1  million  civilian
      net  supposedly  pronounced  by  fa-  "What's new these days are pho- "Thus, fate knocks at the gate." Ap-  make  for  Moscow.  Army  group deaths by disease and starvation by
      mous people.                   tos with quotes on the internet. And parently Beethoven was referring to  South was to advance south through 1944. Army Group center was in the
         Krieghofer  says  that  Lincoln, I  bet  you  half  of  them  are  falsely the  famous  opening  motif  of  his  the  Caucasus  in  order  to  seize  the suburbs  of  Moscow,  but  failed  to
      Mark Twain and Winston Churchill attributed," Krieghofer said. "Where Fifth Symphony, which was conse-  valuable Caspian Sea oilfields. All deliver the decisive blow before the
      are  some  of  the  personalities  who right becomes wrong, resistance be- quently called the Fate Symphony.  offensives were doing nicely.  Soviets unleashed a ferocious win-
      are often misquoted.           comes duty" is often falsely attribut-  Krieghofer adds that almost ev-  There were, however, a number ter  counteroffensive  in  December.
         In the German-speaking world, ed to author Bertolt Brecht, he notes. ery famous person attracts hangers-  of  troubling  developments  for  the Army  Group  South  had  yet  to  se-
      this  'honor'  goes  to  writers  Bertolt  "It came up in the 70s during the on  who  try  and  capitalize  on  their  German general staff. The first was cure any oilfields.
      Brecht, Kurt Tucholsky, Karl Kraus anti-nuclear movement, and at some fame. This was the case with Franz  the vastness of the entire operation.  Bent-up German lines generally
      or the Prussian statesman Otto von point  was  simply  attributed  to Kafka  and  Gustav  Janouch,  who  This wasn’t France. The second was held  through  the  winter,  but  there
      Bismarck.                      Brecht," said Krieghofer.      published the book "Conversations  that the Germans faced huge logisti- would  be  no  easy  German  victory
         However, the world's most fre-  "Imagine there is a war, and no- with Kafka" in 1951.    cal problems just in the huge num- here as frostbite, dysentery and So-
      quently misquoted person is Albert body goes" is another slogan which  "Many  popular  Kafka  quota-  bers of Soviet prisoners – well over viet  partisans  began  to  all  exact  a
      Einstein, Krieghofer told DW.  he says originated in America but is tions  come  from  this  book,  but  1  million–  that  the  Germans  had terrible price. In the meantime, Sta-
         One doesn't have to look long on often attributed to Brecht.  Janouch only came up with them 20  taken. Even if the intent might have lin relocated whole industries out of
      Twitter  to  find  that  Ivanka  Trump  Why do we quote so much?  years  after  Kafka's  death,"  says  been to brutalize them and enslave harm’s way – at huge human cost.
      also  misquoted  one  of  the  great  Krieghofer  has  found  false Krieghofer.  Furthermore,  Janouch  them, they still needed to be fed and U.S. and British supplies shipped in
      minds of the 20th century.     quotes everywhere: not only in the never kept a diary of those conver-  guarded.  That  required  resources through  Murmansk  and  through
         A phenomenon of our time    media, but also in introductions of sations,  prompting  researchers  to  and  personnel.  The  third  concern Iran kept the Soviets in the war until
         Krieghofer has spent many years dissertations or in speeches.  question their validity.  was that Soviet forces, though bat- they could – and did – ramp up their
      researching Karl Kraus for the Aus-  "A lot of them can be found in  How to recognize false quotes  tered and in disarray, had also not own production again.
      trian Academy of Sciences and has management guidebooks. Obvious-  By and large, the literary scholar  quit.  That,  combined  with  Germa-  Still, through much of 1942, Hit-
      collected over 50 false quotes attrib- ly, there is always a need for moti- has been praised for his enthusiasm  ny’s speed of conquest and the vast- ler’s  Wehrmacht  successfully  re-
      uted  to  Kraus  alone.  He  has  since vational   speeches   to   appear to get quotes and their sources right.  ness of the Soviet Union, raised the newed  offensives.  But  by  then  the
      expanded  his  collection  to  include educated. In my opinion, there are  "But  I  am  also  a  bit  hated  by  question  of  how  many  pockets  of conflict had become a war of attri-
      well-known personalities from poli- particularly  many  dubious  collec- neo-Nazis because I take away their  unsubdued and battleworthy Soviet tion for both sides, as this war com-
      tics, culture, and science.    tions there," he says.         beautiful  pseudo-quotations,"  he  elements could regroup behind Ger- manded  by  two  ideologically
         Their supposed quotes circulate  It  seems  people  are  drawn  to said.  Often  insulted  on  Twitter,  man lines.     opposed monsters ground on – and
      on the net or in the media and are utilizing foreign quotations to sug- Krieghofer is undaunted.  Accordingly the German gener- devoured tens of millions of lives on
      also  often  used  in  politicians' gest a certain worldliness, or to ap-  His current favorite misquote is:  al staff decided to halt to make some the Eastern Front.
      speeches. Krieghofer also receives a pear well-read. Krieghofer adds that "Tradition is not the worship of ash-
      lot of information from resourceful in the German-speaking world, hu- es,  but  the  preservation  of  fire."
                                                      morous quotes Over the last 30 years, it has been
                                                      are  often  at- falsely  credited  to  the  composer
                                                      tributed  to  ei- Gustav Mahler, with Pope John or
                                                      ther  German Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also
                                                      journalist  and sharing attribution.
                                                      satirist   Kurt  Krieghofer's research, however,
                                                      Tucholsky  or has  revealed  that  the  phrase  first
                                                      American  au- appeared  in  the  French  parliament
                                                      thor   Mark in  1910.  Another  small  victory  in
                                                      Twain.        unearthing the true roots of so many
                                                         Mean-      false quotes.
                                                      while,   neo-   This  article  has  been  adapted
                                                      Nazis or right- from German by Brenda Haas.
                                                      wing populists

                                                                                                   Soviet planes flying over German positions near Moscow.
                                                                                                                                                  CC BY-SA 3.0
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