September 3, 2017

The Ukrainian Media Crisis Center on May 10, 2017 published important information about Moscow’s attempts to portray the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) which during World War II fought both Nazis and Communists. A leading provider of disinformation on UPA is a lecturer at the University of Lund in Sweden, who is presently teaching at a university in Singapore.

Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) was launched in March 2014 by efforts of leading Ukrainian experts in the sphere of international relations, communications and public relations to provide the world community with accurate and up-to-date information on the events in Ukraine, as well as challenges and threats to the national security, namely in military, political, economic, energy and humanitarian spheres.

UCMC hosts press briefings, discussions and round tables on a daily basis to communicate exhaustive information regarding events and developments in Ukraine and around. UCMC press center is the only press center in Ukraine provides full-circle support of press events – briefings, conferences, presentations, round table and panel discussions – gaining no commercial advantage and working for the public good. UCMC uses expertise of professionals cooperating with UCMC and makes every effort to provide all press events with comprehensive technical and communications support.

Myth 1: UPA are “Hitler’s henchmen” and did not fight against the Nazis

Quote-myth: “No document can prove that the UPA fought against the Germans. The Germans supplied the UPA units with weapons in 1942, 1943 and 1944,” stated Dmytro Tabachnyk, Ukrainian Minister of Education and Science (2010-2014).
The essence of the myth

The UPA was created by the Nazis. They closely cooperated in undertaking punitive operations against Soviet partisans, Ukrainian, Jewish and Polish population. There is no evidence of the UPA’s anti-Nazi fighting.


Extremely brutal occupation policies of the Nazis forced the OUN (b) Provid (the governing body of the organization) to take up arms and defend the population. The first UPA hundred (military unit) was formed on January 22, 1943. And on February 7 it already defeated the German commandant’s office in the district center Volodymyrets, Rivne region.

In the spring of 1943, the UPA constantly increases the extent of resistance. Their fiercest clashes with the Germans happened near Lutsk, Kovel, Horokhiv, Rivne, Kremenets, Kostopil, Sarny and Lanivtsi. During March 1943, the insurgents seized regional centers five times. At the end of the first spring month, the German officials reported to Reichskommissar Erich Koch that only two areas in Volyn were free of “gangs”.

The occupation administration began undertaking extensive anti-partisan operations involving armor and aircraft. At the end of April, a division for fighting the UPA was redeployed to Berezne, Lyudvypil, Mizoch, Ostroh, Shumsk, and Kremenets.

The Nazis counterinsurgency actions proved to have little effect. While in March the UPA units attacked the German economic targets only 8 times, in April there were already 57 attacks, and 70 in May.

Heinrich Schoene, General Commissar of Volyn-Podillya, reported at a meeting in Rivne June 5, 1943 to Reich Minister for the Occupied Eastern Territories Alfred Rosenberg that “Ukrainian nationalists cause more difficulties than the Bolshevik gangs” to his administration.

The Soviet partisans’ leadership also recognized this fact later. Petro Vershyhora, commander of Soviet partisans, reported to the Ukrainian Partisan Movement Headquarters on March 4, 1944, “We cannot make the same mistake in Poland as we did in Volyn by passing the leadership of a popular uprising against the Germans into the hands of counterrevolutionary groups of nationalists.”

The available Nazi forces were not enough to suppress resistance. Therefore, Erich von dem Bach, commander of anti-partisan forces in the East, took the struggle against the UPA in his hands in July 1943. He commanded the 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer (10,000 soldiers) and 10 mechanized infantry battalions with artillery. The grouping was covered by 27 aircraft from the air and 50 tanks and armored vehicles on the ground.

However, UPA units maneuvered and gave the enemy no chance to destroy them. Overall, in July the insurgents attacked German bases 295 times, and maintenance building 119 times.

In early August 1943, von dem Bach was sent to another area. The German pressure weakened, and the UPA intensified their anti-German operations: 391 assaults on garrisons and 151 attacks on enterprises.

But soon, Hans-Adolf Prützmann, Higher SS and Ukrainian Police Leader, organized a new attack on the UPA. This attack lasted from August 23 to September 9, 1943 in South Volyn. First, aircraft bombed the village of Antonivtsi, which was the headquarters of the Bohun group. Then the punitive expedition attacked the UPA camp in Kremenets forests. The Kurins(battalions) had to split into small units and break out of the encirclement.

In the summer of 1943 the insurgency anti-Nazi movement spread over Halychyna. On August 18, Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNS, the original name of UPA in Halychyna) attacked the German stone quarry in Skole, Lviv region. The nationalists freed 150 forced laborers and killed the camp security guards.

Autumn 1943 was the beginning of larger scale battles between the insurgents and the Nazis. On September 3, Ukrainian soldiers on commanding eminence executed a German battalion that was travelling by narrow-gauge rail in the mountains near the town of Dolyna. The invaders left about 200 soldiers on the battlefield. On September 25-29, the Trembita hundred repelled a punitive attack on their camp on Mount Stovba.

On November 29-30, 1943, there was heavy fighting between 1.5-2 thousand Schutzmanns and the Kryvonis-II Kurin near the village of Nedilna, Sambir district. The insurgents retreated with considerable losses, almost the entire headquarters and the leader of the Kurin were killed on the battlefield.

Prützmann undertook the last major counterinsurgency action in Volyn in November 1943. On November 2-3, aircraft bombed the town of Stepan and ousted the units of Zahrava group to the north. Simultaneously, on November 3 German planes bombed and shelled the town of Kolky, where the UPA had formed the Kolky Republic. It should be noted that the Nazis could not seize the Republic from June to early November 1943, and then they carried out a clearance operation, killing 600 civilians.

In October-November 1943, the UPA-ONS conducted 47 fights against German occupiers, and the UPA village self-defense clashed with them 125 times. The Nazis lost more than 1,500 soldiers.

The Nazis failed to suppress the UPA resistance completely. The approaching Soviet-German front drained most part of military forces. Therefore, the German generals stopped undertaking actions against insurgents in Volyn. In Halychyna, the confrontation lasted until the end of summer 1944. Ukrainian People’s Self Defense (UNS) was re-formed into the UPA-West. In March-May 1944, the UPA defended Ukrainian villages against looting by the Germans. In May, the Wehrmacht defeated the Halaida and Siromantsi hundreds in Lviv region.

From May 31 to June 6, 1944, the units of the Wehrmacht’s 7th Armored Division fought against the UPA in the Chornyi Lis village. By mid-summer the confrontation in Halychyna peaked.

The biggest clashes of the UPA-West with the German-Hungarian troops took place around Mount Lopata on the boundary between Drohobych and Stanislav (now – Ivano-Frankivsk) regions. These events were also detailed in written reports of the Polish underground. From July 6 through July 16, 1944, heavy fighting took place – both with artillery engagement and close-handed fights. Insurgents under Vasyl Andrusyak’s command won. Fifty Ukrainians were killed. The invaders lost 200 soldiers and retreated.

Under pressure of the Red Army the Wehrmacht left Ukraine. The UPA continued to skirmish and disarm German units until early September.

There were episodes in the history of the Ukrainian insurgency movement when some commanders tried to illegally negotiate with the German command using the formula “neutrality in exchange for weapons” or “food in exchange for weapons.” Besides, several cases are known when from 80 to 100 small arms were handed over to the insurgents using the above formula. But the Ukrainian underground leadership did not welcome such arrangements. In some cases, it even led to severe punishment. In March 1944, the UPA field court martial sentenced Porphyriy Antoniuk, the first initiator of the unauthorized negotiations, to death. In April 1944, Mykola Oliynyk was sentenced to death by the UPA court.

However, the talks with the German occupation officials were subsequently held by the OUN (b) Provid. The occupiers wanted the OUN and UPA to stop fighting against them so that the Germans could focus on repelling the Soviet Army’s advance. The OUN members sought to secure the release of prisoners of concentration camps (Stepan Bandera, Yaroslav Stetsko and many others) as well as to obtain weapons, which they always lacked. Meetings between the Provid members and German authorities took place in March, April, June and July 1944. As a result of them, the insurgents received several hundred units of weapons, and in September – October 1944 Bandera and other Ukrainian nationalists were released, though they remained under the Gestapo supervision.

Instead, insurgents decreased intensity of their anti-Nazi actions (mainly in Volyn), but did not stop them. Major Müller, officer of the group of armies “South” reported: “While some Ukrainian nationalist gangs follow the orders of the German Wehrmacht or perform its task, others fight fiercely against the Wehrmacht.”

According to researchers, 12 thousand German invaders and their allies were killed by UPA members. The Ukrainian underground and insurgent units also lost 10-12 thousand people during the armed confrontation with the occupiers.

On August 25, 1943 Hans-Adolf Prützmann, Higher SS and Ukrainian Police Leader, sent the following telegram: “To the Commander of the group of armies ‘South’. Due to the fact that the Reichsführer-SS ordered to send strong teams of military units previously assigned to me to the front, I have to limit myself to the remnants of these units to suppress the Ukrainian national uprising in Volyn. Since this results in appearing of large uncontrolled areas in the north of Ukraine, in the near future there will be increased pressure from gangs in the south sector.”



September 3, 2017

Radio Ukraine International on February 13, 2017 reported that Ukraine in 2017 will celebrate the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). See text below:

The symbolic day of its creation is considered to be October 14, 1942. In February, a hundred of the UPA fighters under the command of 35-year-old Hrygoriy Perehynyak gave its first fight – it was an attack on Nazi garrison in the town of Volodymerets in Volyn. These days anti-Nazi actions of the UPA is the focus of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. Overall, during the year it is planned to cover information on the main fronts of the UPA struggle against – anti-Nazi and anti-Communist, that will be presented at the exhibitions and international conference. The Institute is also involved in the preparation of the new draft law on rehabilitation of victims of political repression.


August 28, 2017

Fox News on August 23, 2017, published an article on how the warming Arctic spurs hunt for riches. The opening of new shipping routes is important. Excerpts below:

From a distance, the northern shores of Baffin Island in the Arctic appear barren — a craggy world of snow-capped peaks and glaciers surrounded by a sea of floating ice even in the midst of summer.

Yet beneath the forbidding surface of the world’s fifth largest island lies a vast treasure in the shape of an exceptionally pure strain of iron ore. The Baffinland mine, part-owned by a local company and ArcelorMittal, one of the world’s biggest steel producers, is believed to hold enough ore to feed smelters for decades.

As climate change pushes the cold and ice a little farther north each year, it is spurring talk of a gold rush for the Arctic’s abundant natural resources, prized shipping routes and business opportunities in tourism and fishing. In April, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reverse Obama-era restrictions on oil drilling.

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that up to 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13 percent of oil waiting to be found are inside the Arctic Circle.

Coal, diamonds, uranium, phosphate, nickel, platinum and other precious minerals also slumber beneath the icy surface of the Arctic, according to Morten Smelror, director of the Geological Survey of Norway.

“The Arctic is certainly among the last frontiers with respect to undiscovered mineral resources, along with the deep oceans,” said Smelror.

Apart from natural resources, the geography of the Arctic also opens up new opportunities. Sailing through the Northwest Passage could potentially cut the distance from East Asia to Western Europe by more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles), compared with the traditional route through the Panama Canal, offering huge fuel savings for shipping companies.

In general, the United States is taking a back seat for now. Washington has yet to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea that would regulate territorial disputes, due to concerns among some senators that submitting to international treaties would impinge on U.S. sovereignty.

Despite competing claims and tough talk to home audiences, Arctic nations are cooperating well with each other, said Rachael Lorna Johnstone, a professor of law at the University of Akureyri in Iceland.

“Everyone is following the rulebook,” she said.

Some smaller firms are pressing ahead with business in the Arctic. The Alaska-based company Quintillion is laying a fiber optic cable through the Northwest Passage to provide high-speed Internet traffic to local communities. It would also establish an additional link between London and Tokyo — where two of the world’s main stock markets are located.

The growth in adventure tourism and the lengthening summer season have produced a surge of traffic over the past decade. Last year, the cruise ship Crystal Serenity with 500 crew and 1,100 passengers paying at least $22,000 each for a four-week journey sailed through the passage.

Climate change is even opening new avenues in agriculture. Mette Bendixen, a climate researcher at the University of Copenhagen, projects that global warming will continue into the 21st century, extending the growing season by two months.

“Not many people know that potatoes, strawberries are grown in southern Greenland,” he said.

Despite its promise, there are several challenges holding back the development of parts of the Arctic and the use of its resources.

While Russia and Norway are pressing ahead with new oil and gas projects along their coastlines, the seas off Alaska and northern Canada are much less accessible and any major spill would be difficult and costly to contain.

Shell relinquished most of its federal offshore leases in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea last year, after pouring billions of dollars into exploration efforts over the past decade. Former Shell leases in the neighboring Beaufort Sea have been taken over by an Alaska Native-owned company.

The rugged nature of the Arctic also slows development. Only 10 percent of the Northwest Passage is surveyed to the highest modern standards, meaning uncharted shallows could pose a serious risk to shipping.

Cargo hauls to the Baffinland iron ore mine are already restricted to August to mid-October, so as not to disrupt the Inuit’s ability to cross the ice to hunt, fish or trade. Such rules recognize the growing assertiveness of the region’s original inhabitants for a share of its riches, including the protection of local hunting grounds for seals and walruses.

Daria Gritsenko, a public policy researcher traveling on board the icebreaker Nordica, cautioned that any economic excitement about global warming opening up the Arctic needs to be tempered by an understanding of the risks.

BBC on August 24, 2017, reported that the first tanker had passed through the Northeast passage without aid of an icebreaker. Excerpts below:

The specially-built ship completed the crossing in just six-and-a-half days setting a new record, according to the tanker’s Russian owners.

The 300-metre-long Sovcomflot ship, the Christophe de Margerie, was carrying gas from Norway to South Korea.

Rising Arctic temperatures are boosting commercial shipping across this route.

The Christophe de Margerie is the world’s first and, at present, only ice-breaking LNG carrier.

The ship, which features a lightweight steel reinforced hull, is the largest commercial ship to receive Arc7 certification, which means it is capable of travelling through ice up to 2.1m thick.

On this trip it was able to keep up an average speed of 14 knots despite sailing through ice that was over one metre thick in places.

In 2016, the northern sea route saw 19 full transits from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

High insurance and large fees for Russian ice-breakers are still discouraging some ship owners from the riskier northern route. But the economic benefits are attractive – the Christophe de Margerie took just 19 days for the entire voyage, around 30% faster than going by Suez.

There has been an overall decline in Arctic sea ice over the past 30 years, linked by scientists to rising global temperatures. This year, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), the annual maximum extent of Arctic sea ice hit a record low for the third year in a row.


August 27, 2017

The Post Eagle newspaper on August 24, 2017, reported that in the Estonian capital of Tallinn progress was reported on the progress of the CICROC initiative called for in the Tallinn Declaration of August 23, 2025. CICROC (Council for Investigation of Crimes of Communist regimes). Excerpts below:

Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have now confirmed their cooperation with Estonia toward the establishment of CICROC.

The occasion was the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarianism commemorated on the EU level in Tallinn.

The Platform of European Memory and Conscience, Prague, Czech Republic lauded the confirmation of the eight countries.

Information on the Platform

The platform is a non-profit international non-governmental organisation. It was established on 14 October 2011 in Prague by 20 founding Members from 12 EU Member States. The Platform currently brings together 55 public and private institutions and organisations from 19 countries – 13 EU Member States (Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria), Ukraine, Moldova, Iceland, Albania, Canada and the United States of America, active in research, documentation, awareness raising and education about the totalitarian regimes which befell Europe in the 20th century.

The establishment of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience was endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

Through its Members, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience represents at least 200,000 European citizens and over 1,100,000 North American citizens with European roots.

Identifying crimes and criminals

Since 2014, Platform researchers and lawyers have identified several types of crimes against humanity committed during Communism in Europe as well as over 200 potentially living responsible persons, including former members of the politburo of the Communist parties, from at least four countries, today’s Member States of the EU.

“The systematic work of the Platform – bringing to light unpunished international crimes committed during Communism, their surviving perpetrators and victims and asking the international community for prosecution, – is our best argument against those who try to deny today that Communism was a criminal totalitarian dictatorship,” says Platform Managing

Director Neela Winkelmann.


August 26, 2017

On August 24, 2017 The Diplomat published an article on the US Section 301 investigation into China’s intellectual properaty (IP). Excerpts below:

The typology of U.S. trade concerns regarding Chinese appropriation includes:

China encourages/requires joint ventures between U.S. and Chinese firms that include technology transfer, in order to give U.S. firms access to the Chinese market, and the Chinese workforce.

China’s new cybersecurity procedures force U.S. tech companies to turn over proprietary data and code to the Chinese government in order to operate within China.

China’s failure to enforce extant IP law enables theft of trade secrets.

Chinese investment in technology firms around the world gives it access to cutting edge technology.

Action against China is broadly popular in the United States [but]Washington has thus far hesitated out of a hope of gaining Beijing’s cooperation on North Korea…

There are however more concerns in the West than China stealing trade secrets as described above by The Diplomat. The regime in Beijing is actively seeking to dominate manufacturing and processing industries. In Canada and Africa there is concern over attempts of growing Chinese influence operations that sometimes look more like colonization efforts. Finally China is already dominationg global pricing in lithium, rare earths, copper, steel, nickel and iron.

In Waskington Free Beacon Bill Gertz commented on China’s theft of intellectual property on August 15, 2017. Excerpts below:

“We’re going to be fulfilling another campaign promise by taking firm steps to ensure that we protect the intellectual property of American companies and, very importantly, of American workers,” Trump said in signing a memorandum for U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer.

The directive will set the stage for an investigation into trade practices that require U.S. companies operating in China to provide intellectual property to the Chinese government.

If a formal investigation is launched, it could take several years and potentially result in the imposition of economic sanctions on China.

The president’s action on predatory Chinese trade practices follows the failure by Beijing to rein in its communist ally North Korea.

In July, Trump tweeted, “I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk.”

The memorandum calls on the USTR office to probe China’s policies, practices, and action regarding forced transfers of American technology and the theft of American intellectual property.

The inquiry could result in a formal 301 investigation, so called after Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act.

The law gives the president broad power, including retaliation, to punish foreign governments that violate international trade agreements or used unreasonable and discriminatory practices that restrict U.S. commerce.

Trump said Lighthizer was empowered to consider all available options in dealing with the problem.

“We will safeguard the copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and other intellectual property that is so vital to our security and to our prosperity,” the president said.

Trump then added: “And this is just the beginning. I want to tell you that. This is just the beginning.”

American firms in China have long complained that China requires all U.S. companies operating in the country to provide valuable information that is often then provided to Chinese competitors.

According to business people working in China, many of the Chinese regulations are selectively enforced and used to coerce companies into cooperating with Chinese firms.

Chinese intelligence services also employ hackers who have exploited the Chinese telecommunications system to steal technology in cyber attacks.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a science and technology think tank, praised the president’s action.

Robert D. Atkinson, the foundation’s president, said Chinese trade practices subvert global trade rules and harm the U.S. economy.

“Simply put, China is an innovation mercantilist,” he said. “It tries to gain advantage in strategically important industries by using dubious policies and practices such as coercing competitors into handing over proprietary technologies and intellectual property.”

Atkinson criticized the U.S. government for not doing more to help American businesses in China. “The U.S. response has been to engage in a seemingly endless cycle of ministerial dialogues that mostly have succeeded in eliciting empty promises that China will change its behavior,” he said.

American Enterprise Institute expert Derek Scissors said a 301 investigation would be an important first step in countering predatory Chinese economic policies.

“The coercive transfer and theft of intellectual property may be the single biggest economic harm China inflicts on the U.S.,” Scissors said. “Beijing’s policy has been clear and sustained: acquire others’ innovation by all means available.”

China conducts intellectual property theft through a combination of legal purchase, coerced transfer of intellectual property, and outright theft, he added.

Former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander noted that five years ago he declared that the theft of American intellectual property was the greatest transfer of wealth in history.

“I believe that statement is even more true today,” Alexander said. “Protecting American innovators is essential to the United States’ economic and national security. This presidential action is an important step towards stopping the theft and forced transfers of American intellectual property, and I support the president in his actions today.”

Michael Pillsbury, director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at The Hudson Institute, also supported the action.

“China’s attack on U.S. intellectual property is a national security challenge of the first order, as well as a persistent check on our economic growth,” Pillsbury said.


August 24, 2017

The ongoing threats of North Korea against the West makes it clear how the US Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) has been neglected since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In his book ”We Must Defend America – A New Strategy for National Survival” (1983) Lt. General Daniel O. Graham wanted a spaceborne defense for the United States called for the development of a range of weapons. At the center of these proposals was the Global Ballistic Missile Defense I (GBMD I) with 200 – 300 satellites. Each satellite needed a frame, a computer, a sensor, a communications package, a rocket motor and 40-50 small rockets to intercept enemy missiles. The satellites could detect missiles about 1,000 miles ahead.

A GBMD II would be capable of destroying missiles from the first seven minutes of the launch.

Today, almost 30 years later, all thay exists to defend against North Korean and other long range missiles of other challengers to the West is 4 interceptors in California and 32 in Alaska. More of these GMD interceptors are needed as a first step.

A more effective defense than GMD would be a system to shoot down missiles in the initial ”boost” phase, when they move more slowly.

There are today more dangerous challengers to the West than North Korea namely Russia, China and Iran. The need for interceptors in Europe is greater than ever before. From Estonia at the Baltic Sea to Bulgaria at the Black Sea a line of defense against missiles and later more advanced systems should be created. This could be within the framework of NATO.

For European NATO countries the defense line must consist of systems capable of shooting down shorter-range missiles. Also the sea-based Aegis system is of interest .

In the case of China its maritime interests have in the latest decades been i nlocal waters. Now China is expanding into the Pacific Ocean. China’s ally has recently started to threaten Guam, one of the most important American bases in the Pacific.

Varldsinbordeskriget has earlier focused on the strategic importance of American bases in the Pacific. American policy in the Pacific must continue to be based on Alfred Thayer Mahan’s precepts: forward operation bases, positioning assets around choke- points and main sealanes, deploying a navy presence on all seas, and maintaining the capability to intervene at key geostrategic points.

American strategic thinking is further influenced by geopolitician Homer Lea. In his books The Valor of Ignorance and The Day of the Saxon, Lea regarded frontiers as mobile lines. Among these lines would be:

• Japan-Guam-Philippines-Australia.

• Alaska/Aleutian Islands-Hawaii-Samoa.

Lea insisted on the need to rely on forward operation bases in the form of a triangle. “Strategic geometry” was the key principle on which much of his work was based, a strategy that translates quite well into what is currently taking place in the Asia-Pacific region. His argument is that there is a need to take into account:

• The number of triangles the bases will form.

• The frequency with which the main base is at the intersection of these triangles.

• The presence or not of enemy bases inside this network.

• The increase of maritime power leading to an increase in the number of bases.

By forming numerous triangles with Guam as the potential center or node, the United States has actually executing the argument presented by Lea.

Guam as perhaps the most important staging post, allowing rapid access to potential flashpoints in the Koreas and in the Taiwan Strait.

Andersen Air Force Base on Guam was used by B-52 bombers during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. Nuclear attack submarines are based on the island.

The historic background is that Guam was ceded to the US in 1898 after the Spanish-American War.

The North Korean threat to Guam in 2017 show that the dictators in Beijing and Pyongyang are probing ways of expansion into the Pacific.

Preussisk renässans?

August 7, 2017

Tyskland har efter murens fall upplevt en renässans för den 1945 upplösta staten Preussen, dess historia och kultur. Redan 1986 förde den dåvarande östtyska regimen vid firandet av 200-årsminnet av Fredrik den stores död tillbaka hans ryttarstaty till Unter den Linden i Berlin. Den finns givetvis kvar nu och ser mycket bättre ut efter en grundlig renovering.

Det har skrivits en rad böcker om Preussen under de senaste årtiondena: Sebastian Haffners ”Preussen ohne Legende” (1978), Marion Gräfin Dönhoffs ”Preussen – Mass und Masslosigkeit”. Nya tjocka biografier om Preussenkungarna har kommit ut. Haffner skrev i sin bok att han med den ville befria Preussen från två legender: den ”svarta” legenden, som de allierade skapade 1947 då de upplöste staten Preussen och den ”gyllene”, att Preussen alltid sett som sin uppgift att ena Tyskland.

Större delen av Preussen på Fredrik den stores tid ligger nu i Polen, Ryssland och Litauen. Kvar i Tyskland finns egentligen bara kärnlandet kring Berlin och den omgivande delstaten Brandenburg. Det finns få stater som satt känslorna så i svallning som Preussen. Samtidigt kan man inte jämföra Preussen med Bayern eller Sachsen. Det var i stället ett konglomerat av territorier.

Vilka var då de preussiska dygderna, det positiva: pliktuppfyllelse, lydnad, fromhet, tolerans, trofasthet, öppenhet mot flyktingar, enkelhet. Listan är lång och imponerande.

Fredrik den store var en liberal monark. Landet erkände som ett av de första Förenta Staterna. Ett år före sin död undertecknade Fredrik ett vänskapsfördrag med USA, som av George Washington betecknades som ”det mest liberala fördrag, som någonsin tecknats mellan två oavhängiga stater.” Brandenburg-Preussen tog 1685 emot tiotusentals franska hugenotter och gav dem fristad i Berlin, Stettin och Königsberg (nu ryska Kaliningrad). Från Schlesien, Österrike, Schweiz och Holland kom religionsförföljda till Brandenburg. I den preussiska landsrätten infördes tidigt en rättighetskatalog liknande den som finns i den amerikanska författningen. Likhet inför lagen var inte en tom fras i Preussen.

Preussen var inte heller krigshetsande. En genomgång av krig mellan 1680 och 1940 visar att Preussen-Tyskland förde mindre angreppskrig än England, Frankrike, Spanien och Ryssland. Landet var således inte någon barbarisk soldatstat utan centrum för kultur, litteratur och vetenskap.

Tysklands roll efter 1945 har varit att vårda det goda i det preussiska arvet. 2001 var det utställningen ”Preussen 2001 – en europeisk historia” (Charlottenburgs slott), ”Marksteine: Eine Entdeckungsreise durch Brandenburg-Preussen” (Kutschstall, Potsdam).

Sedan 2001 har det kommit en rad nya böcker om Preussen. En av de viktigaste var ”Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947” av Christopher Clark, ett massivt verk på 816 sidor, som utkom 2006. Den torde ha bidragit till att förändra den anglo-saxiska bilden av Preussen.

The English Protectorate and the Polish-Swedish War 1655-1660 

August 5, 2017

The Polish-Swedish war was to a great extent a war on credit by Stockholm. The number of indigenous officers and soldiers was around 40,000. They would have been no match for the Poles. Thus the Swedish government at the time had to rely on enlisting foreign troops. Gustavus borrowed from noblemen and financiers, Swedish and foreign. Often payment was not forthcoming so the rate of desertion was high. When Sweden was attacked by Denmark during the Polish-Swedish war he attempted to seize the so called Sound Duties collected by Denmark at Elsinore with its Gibraltar of the North, Kronborg Castle. At one point the king even offered Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in exchange for 20 English frigates to serve in the Baltic Sea both the castle and the Sound duties after having taken it and city of Elsinore in 1658.

Below a few notes on some of the English-Scottish regiments fighting for Sweden in the Polish-Swedish war:

Lord William Cranstone’s Infantry Regiment

Lord Cranstone was related to Field Marshal Alexander Leslie.

In the beginning of 1655 the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell gave permission for recruiting of 6,000 to 8,000 men for the Swedish Army. First recruitment did only reach 5,000 – 6,000 and in July 1655 was down to 2,000. In April 1656 the first Scottish recruits arrived in Bremen-Verden, Germany, a territory northwest of Hamburg, Germany, controlled by Sweden.

The first troops arrived in Bremen in April 1656 with 8 companies of 988 men with staff officers Rudwin, Michell, Arnott including the unit’s Lieutenant Colonel and Major. Half the regiment marched in the fall to Prussia. It was later transferred to Pernau in Livonia under Lt. Colonel J. Ogiluy (John Ogelvie?). The second half remained in garrison in Bremen-Verden commanded by Major Jakob (James) Mercer. It remained there in succession commanded by Majors W. Arnott and Patrik Johnston.

In July-August 1656 Cranstones second regiment of Scots arrived in Bremen with 9 companies of in all 832 men and staff (officers Alexander Drummond, Jacob (James) Robertson, George Grantt, Jacob (James) Fraser, Arsken, Ramsay, A. Scrymsner, Ortserston (Orterston), Asmuth (Achmuth). This unit left Bremen in the beginning of September 1656 and it is likely that the regiment was captured at Danzig. They were on a ship with Swedish General H.C. von Koenigsmarck from Wismar to Danzig, when a storm and mutiny forced the ships to land near the city. The Scottish soldiers then volunteered to serve the City of Danzig.

Three companies of the second regiment had remained in Bremen-Verden and 50-60 of Cranstone’s Scots were with the main Swedish army in Denmark (Fredriksodde). Lt. Colonel Ogiluy resigned in November 1657 to return to recruit another regiment. Major Ludvig Lesle (Leslie) on November 30, 1657, received patent to recruit yet an additional regiment of 8 companies with 800 men in England and Scotland. The regiment was to be delivered in Jutland, Denmark. Colonel Cranstone resigned on January 3, 1658 and returned home.

Mentioned 3 times in the muster rolls in 1656-1657 (1656: Vol. 8 and 10, 1657: Vol. 6) in the National War Archive, Stockholm, as “William Cranstones infanteriregemente”.

James Sinclair’s Regiment

Sinclair had been in Sweden for six years and was in May 1655 given permission to recruit an infantry regiment in Scotland of five companies with 100 men each within three months. An English ship arrived in April 1656 with 250 men. In November 1657 they seem to have been in Pomerania and were ordered to march to Lauenburg. The regiment served in Prussia in 1657 and 1658 with what seems to have been 5 companies.

This regiment is not mentioned in the Swedish National War Archive.

David Sinclair’s Combined Cavalry Regiment

Mentioned 6 times in the muster rolls 1655-1661 in the National War Archive as “David Sinclairs sammansatta kavalleriregemente”. No further information on this regiment at this time.

Robert Douglas Cavalry Regiment

This regiment was not Scottish but had a Scottish commander.

Mentioned 4 times in the muster rolls 1659-1660 in the National War Archive as “Robert Douglas’ kavalleriregemente”.

William Vavas(s)ours Infantry Regiment

The Swedish representatives in London (Georg Fleetwood, P.J. Coyet, Krister Bonde and J.F. von Friesendorff) were ordered to recruit 4,000 men in England and Scotland. According to a royal assignment of February 8, 1655, no less that 6-8 regiments of Scots were to be recruited. Fleetwood came to London in June 1655 and the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in 1656 gave permission for recruitment of 2,000 men. The Swedish representatives also conferred with Alexander Leslie, who had been Swedish Field Marshal during the Thirty Years’ War. In October that year 6 companies with 425 men arrived in Bremen with staff Colonel Vavasour in command with Lieutenant Colonel Richard Bohhott (Bolholt), Major Edward Chester. Captains were Bethell, W. Chester and Cotton. The regiment never rose above 500 officers and men. The unit remained in the west (partly in Stade and partly in Buxtehude). Some of Vavasours Englishmen took part in the crossing of the Great Belt in 1658.

A second regiment during the spring of 1657 called for additionally 2,000 Scots and Englismen to be recruited. Vavasour was promoted to major general. In 1657 he travelled to England in March but the ship was captured by Spanish pirates and he was imprisoned in the Netherlands for a while. In November-December he retrurned to Bremen with 300 new recruits. Major was Lesle (Leslie?). This unit later marched to Kiel to strengthen other regiments. Additional 500-600 were to arrive in the beginning of 1658, if ships could be secured in Newcastle.

Mentioned twice in in the muster rolls 1656-1657 in the National War Archive as “William Vavassours infanteriregemente”.

John Lothrop Motley and the Prose Epic of the Reformation

August 1, 2017

Celebrating German founder of Protestantism, Martin Luther, in 2017 is cause for reflection. There is reason to remember the book that is the epic of the Reformation by John Lothrop Motley (1814 – 1877), American diplomat and author.

Motley’s “The Rise of the Dutch Republic” (1900), the prose epic of the Reformation. Motley described the heroic resistance of the Gothic people. It was ethnically closely related to the Anglo-Saxons, against tyranny. The history of the later forming of the Republic of Holland was closely related to the Germanic early history. Although the Germanic system of government was nominally regal, it was in reality democratic. Sovereignty resided in the great assembly of the people. The early Germanics preferred gaining wealth by conquest: “Germanic”, Germann, Herr-mann, War-man. Conquest was the only useful occupation. Agriculture was despised as enervating and ignoble. The Germanics were more fitted for the roaming and conquering life which Providence was to assign to them for ages. The Germanics built his solitary hut where inclination prompted. Close neighborhood was not to his taste. These were the ancestors of Daniel Boone of the American West. Civilized by Christianity this independence was to become the virtue of the hero of liberty. It is part of the mystique of the frontiersman, who carried axe and the ark of religious-political liberty ever westward. He secured the American continent as the homeland of the chosen nation.

It is important to note that the early Germanic had a pure belief. He believed in a single, supreme, almighty God, All-Vater or All-father. This Divinity was too sublime to be incarnated or imaged, too infinite to be enclosed in temples. The Germanic is the embryonic Protestant. The Germanic was loyal. He contented himself with a single wife. The Germanic burial was simple. He was not ambitious at the grave. Only arms and the war-horse of the departed were burned and buried with him. Sometimes the war-horse equipment was buried. The turf was his only sepulcher. The memory of his valor is his only monument. It was a purely spiritual cast of mind and a brave humility. According to Motley the Germanic Batavians of Holland had disappeared but they lived a renovated existence as the free Frisians, whose name is synonymous with liberty and the nearest relation to the Anglo-Saxon. In the Batavian ashes the people developed together a fixed type of character. The great elements were love of freedom, indomitable valor, steadiness, sobriety, industry, receptivity of culture and sagacious intellectuality.

The mission of the Germanic peoples is obvious. Providence has chosen them to prepare the way for their redemptive work among the undeveloped peoples that surround them.

In 1868 Motley spoke on America’s future history (in Motley, Historic Progress and American Democracy, 1869). The determinant is destiny, a secularized term for Providence. The United States appears as the chosen nation:

“This nation stands on the point towards which other peoples are moving – the starting-point, not the goal. It has put itself – or rather destiny has put it – more immediately than other nations in subordination to the law governing all bodies political as inexorably as Kepler’s laws control the motions of the planets…The orbit of civilization seems preordained from East to West…China, India, Palestine, Egypt, Greece, Rome, are successively lighted up as the majestic orb of day moves over them; and as he advances still further through his storied and mysterious Zodiac, we behold the shadows of evening as surely falling on the lands which he leaves behind him.”.

Liberation and Reformation could only go so far in the Old World. To a new and uncorrupted nation was to be given the complete emancipation of mankind. Geography, date of discovery, the origin of the settlers, all have been destined to accomplish the result. How is world liberation to be completed? England at the time was becoming a partner of its old colony in the liberation of humanity. After all their peoples were children of the ancient Germanic mother. American democracy, American inventiveness and initiative are the main influences. The steam engine, telegraph, the free school and the daily press had been waiting to appear until the new nation could show its value on an immense scale. Improvements of technology and institutions were effective means of destroying the superstition on which the mystical Babylon rested. “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge will be increased” (Daniel 12:4).

Heinrich von Kleist’s essay ”On the Marionette Theater” – Predicting the Robot Revolution?

July 30, 2017

Von Kleist’s brilliant essay (1810) is about a philosophical dialogue in three parts. Herr C. is a dancer with interest in forms of graceful movement. His view is that full automatism is superior to human dancers:
He…replied that he dared to venture that a marionette constructed by a craftsman…could perform a dance that neither he nor any other outstanding dancer of his time…could equal.

One could argue that the meaning is that a machine could do better that a human being. Also it could possibly mean that a human being with mechanical parts could be superior to biological humans:
…it would be almost impossible for a man to attain even an approximation of a mechanical being.

Of course von Kleist could not have intentionally commented on AI 200 years before the emergence of mechanical intelligence. We now know that it is possible to get close to smart or even superior behavior without the need for any human intelligence or consciousness. Biotechnology will probably someday make humans both stronger, smarter and longer-lived as well as more graceful.

The so called Robot Revolution is also in full swing not only in the United States when this is written in 2017. Japan and South Korea have both come a long way. It is however doubtful if the term robot will be used in the future. New machines will be so specialized that they are not the two-legged automatons envisioned by for example science fiction writers.

South Korea

Grosse Mischkonzerne in Südkorea (sogenannte Chaebols) wie SK, LG, POSCO, Hanwha, ILJIN, Hyundai and Samsung sind vorreiter der Industrie 4.0. 1)

The goal of South Korea is to provide one robot to every home by 2020. KAIST (Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) has developed Hubo II, a 1,5 meter tall robot that can run. Robots are being developed to serve as prison wardens.


In Japan robots are already serving customers in Japanese department stores and banks. In 2015 the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened the Robot Revolution Initiative Council. Members of that council are 200 companies and universities. The council did not mention graceful dancing robots when giving examples of what of what challenges could be solved in the future by robots: labor shortages, less overwork, and improving productivity in manufacturing, medical services and nursing care. Other fields could be agriculture, construction and maintenance of infrastructure. Japan is already a world leader in factory robots with such industries as Fanuc, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Yaskawa Electric. 2)

The American “National Robotics Initiative” has put the United States in a leading position. Companies such as Google are presently investing in driverless cars and there are other initiatives. To mention a few there are Starship Technologies with robots that can deliver packages, dodge objects and cross roads. The Pepper robot by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank Mobile are able to interact with humans by analyzing face expressions, voice tone and body language. Prospero is a farming robot that can patrol farmland as well as planting seed and cover it with fertilizer. 3)

Europe is seeking to catch up but so far is lagging behind.


Predictions in the field of AI include bots being able to have real-time smartphone conversations, algorithms that can predict how voters will act at the polls and computers being able to ingest data and write 2,000 news stories per second. Algorithms will be used to assess personalities and predict behavior.

It is quite possible that the marionette envisioned by von Kleist will be become reality making the German 19th century author a visionary. He would not be the first, however. In 1495 Leonardo da Vinci sketched a mechanical knight.

The knight could sit up and move arms and legs being the first plan for a humanoid robot.


1) Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften. Projektgruppe “Industrie 4.0 im globalen Kontext”.
2) Anthony Fensom, “Japan’s Robot Revolution”, The Diplomat, July 10, 2015.
3) Tom Vanderbilt, “Here Comes the (Mundane) Robot Uprising”, Wire, June 2016.