Saturday, February 18, 2006

Landscape with Girl Skipping Rope

Salvador Dali is to Spanish painting what his friend Garcia Lorca is to it's literature, (you could substitute 20th century). Their style of juxtaposing contradictory, sometimes startling images, their profound and beautiful appreciation and rendering of nature, make them giants in the annals of Art. "Landscape" was painted in 1936, the year of Lorca's death and, of course the onset of Civil War. The girl skipping rope alone in a vast near empty desert, I like to think, symbolizes his grief and loneliness at his friend's passing. The figure on the right, which is difficult to see at this size, some critics say is Dali walking in the embrace of his dead brother. Dali's brother died exactly nine months before his birth, and Dali believed for many years he was his brother's reincarnation. In the background, storm clouds menace an archetypical Spanish Town -representative of the political turmoil in Spain.

3 Comments:

Blogger durrati said...

Marks-O,

When I hear americans speak of "winning the war in Europe" I have trouble containing my laughter. Patton was a fine general I suppose but were his whole Third Army thrown into the battle of Kursk, they would been destroyed, or nearly destroyed in hours.
Stalin was a monster, but a historical imperative. It takes a monster to defeat one. And the achievments the Soviet people made under his leadership staggering. They transformed a predominately agricultural nation into the leading industrial nation on earth. And, then, when the Nazis took over an area of their country larger than the Europe, they moved and rebuilt their industrial base east of the Urals. I could go to Wikipedia for the numbers but I am sure you are aware of them. They outbuilt this country three times over in weapons of war.

And they educated themselves. Whatever else his evils, Stalin promoted literacy.

Of course I do not expect you sir to respond to my statements if you
have something else to say. Please write whatever, however you want. I think I will do better in response...

D.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Sgt Marks-a-lot said...

D.

We are on the same page. To quote Alan Clark (Author: Barbarossa), "This book is devoted to the greatest and longest land battle which mankind has ever fought."

I would like to think that we study military history so history doesn't repeat itself.

Oh well.

The Eastern front interests me because of the scale, duration, and complexity of operations. This is land war on an almost unimaginable scope conducted under difficult conditions, mainly with armor, mechanized infantry, non-mechanized infantry and artillery. The accomplishments of the USSR in this conflict have for the most part been discounted in the West. The USSR fought because there was no alternative and it fought with tenacity, savagery and brilliance. Stalin was a calculating SOB. I don't want do minimize his crimes because they are in a league only with Hitler and a select few. But the US and western Europe owe the USSR big time for absorbing the majority of Germany's economic & military power during WWII.

For the USSR to survive the disasters inflicted by the Wehrmacht in 1941 is a minor miracle. To go from defeat to defeat in 41 and 42 and yet to field the best mechanized army in the world in 1945 is a stunning accomplishment. I am in the "tin foil hat" crew that believe that the US used nuclear weapons on Japan as much to cow Stalin as to bring Japan to it's knees. We were allies but uneasy allies at best. This has as much to do with economic ideology as with respect for personal freedom. This same theme dogs us today.

I don't think any human conflict in history contains more cliff hangers than the Eastern front. Over and over, victory was certain but in the end, balanced on the razor, a little more, was not enough.

Stalingrad, a quote:
Hitler: The Russian is finished!
Halder: I must say, it is beginning to look uncommonly like it.
July 15, 1942

At Stalingrad, the Wehrmacht fed what they had into the fire, piece by piece. The Soviets responded with what was available and scratch units equipped with weapons scavenged from corpses. Germany slogged on, Krasny Oktyabr won, Barriakdy, half won, the Tractor Factory, every meter of rubble won then lost again. Chuikov hanging by a thread, driven back into the ravines of the Volga, Soviet Marines fighting for 3 days in burning grain elevators. Unseen, the Soviets were building reserves on the flanks.

From Clark, November 18, 1942: "During the night the crackle of small arm and the thud of mortars died down and each side began to take in its wounded. Then, as dawn came to lighten the smoke clouds, a new and terrible sound overlaid the dying embers of the battle in Stalingrad - the thunderous barrage of Voronov's two thousand guns to the north. Every German who heard this knew that it presaged something quite outside of his experience."

Durrati - I would like our world to be different. Alas we live in the world we have vs the world we wish we had (apologies to Von Rumfeld, he needs them).

Kindest regards,

Marks-a-lot

6:56 AM  
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