Tag Archive | Britain

Anti-Communist Pact in Europe

November 25th Celebrates Anti-Communist Pact in Europe

Today on “Days to Remember,” we celebrate how on November 25th 1936 The Anti-Communist Pact an agreement between Japan and Germany was signed.

The origins of the Anti-Comintern Pact go back to the autumn of 1935, when various German officials both within and outside the Foreign Ministry were attempting to balance the competing demands upon the Reich’s foreign policy by its traditional alliance with China versus Hitler’s desire for friendship with China’s archenemy, Japan.

In October 1935, the idea was mooted that an anti-Communist alliance might be able to tie in the Kuomintang regime, Japan and Germany.

In particular, this idea appealed to Joachim von Ribbentrop, the Special Ambassador at Large and head of the Dienststelle Ribbentrop and the Japanese Military Attaché in Berlin, General Oshima Hiroshi, who hoped that such an alliance might lead to China’s subordination to Japan.

Lack of Chinese interest doomed the project’s original intention, but October–November 1935, Ribbentrop and Hiroshi worked out a treaty directed against the Comintern.

The Pact was to be originally introduced in late November 1935 with invitations for Britain, Italy, China and Poland to join.

However, concerns by the German Foreign Minister Baron Konstantin von Neurath and War Minister Field Marshal Werner von Blomberg that the pact might damage Chinese–German relations plus political disarray in Tokyo following the failed military coup of February 26, 1936 led to the Pact’s being shelved for a year.

By the summer of 1936, the increased influence of the military in the Japanese government, concerns in Berlin and Tokyo about the Franco-Soviet alliance, and Hitler’s desire for a dramatic anti-Communist foreign policy gesture that he believed might bring about an Anglo-German alliance led to the idea of the Anti-Comintern Pact being revived.

The Pact was initialed on October 23, 1936, and signed on November 25, 1936.

In order to avoid damaging relations with the Soviet Union, the Pact was supposedly directed only against the Comintern, but in fact contained a secret agreement that in the event of either signatory power becoming involved with a war with the Soviet Union, the other signatory power would maintain benevolent neutrality.

Why was the pact designed for?

In case of an attack by the Soviet Union against Germany or Japan, the two countries agreed to consult on what measures to take “to safeguard their common interests” the pact was designed to protect other European countries if Russia every got involved in the war.

Earlier, in June 1935, the surprise Anglo-German Naval Agreement was signed between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany. This marked the beginning of a series of attempts by Adolf Hitler to improve relations between the two countries, form a pact, and isolate the Soviet Union, while both the Soviet Union and Britain attempted to do the same and isolate Germany.

The Anti-Comintern Pact was revised in 1941, after Germany’s assault on the Soviet Union that commenced with Operation Barbarossa and on November 25 its renewal for another five years was celebrated. This time the signatories were for other countries such as Great Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell

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Happy Halloween

October 31st Celebrates Halloween

Today on “Days to Remember” we celebrate All Hallows Eve but how did this holiday tradition become what is known today as Halloween?

Halloween can be traced back more than 2,000 years to a Celtic festival known as Samhain (SAH-wen) that celebrated the end of the summer harvest season. The ancient Celts lived in Northern Europe, especially Ireland, Britain, and France. (The “C” in Celtic is pronounced with a “K” sound.)

The Celts believed that the spirits of the dead roamed the towns and villages on the night of October 31. Because the Celts were superstitious, they feared that these spirits could create havoc by damaging crops, creating sickness, and even taking over the bodies of the living. To ward off danger, the Celts made huge bonfires and dressed in animal hides to frighten away the evil spirits. Today people light up the night with creepy decorations, and Jack-o’-lanterns. And rather than parading around in animal hides, most kids prefer to wear spooky costumes.

The origin of trick-or-treating is not well understood. Some people think it began with a custom called souling, when the poor went to people’s homes begging for soul cakes, which were round pieces of bread with currants. In return for the treats, the beggars would pray to help the recently deceased enter heaven.

So how did Samhain turn into Halloween? Well, like all cultural changes, it didn’t happen overnight. Samhain was a pagan (nonreligious) celebration. As Christianity became the dominant religion in the world, the Catholic Church decided it didn’t like people celebrating a non-Christian holiday. Around the year 800 AD, the Church moved a spring holiday—All Saints’ Day—to November 1st. “Hallows” is another word for “saints,” so the night before All Saints’ Day became known as All Hallows’ Eve. From there, it was just a hop, skip, and a jump for All Hallows’ Eve to become Halloween.
So when you’re out Saturday night carrying a plastic pumpkin filled with Milky Ways, candy corn, and M&Ms, remember the ancient Celts whooping and hollering so keep safe from evil spirits.

One of my favorite songs on Halloween is called, “Monster Mash.”

Today’s YouTube presentation shared by user name Tamara Tenenbaum is today’s song called, “The Monster Mash,” as we celebrate Halloween today on October 31st.

Who wrote the song called The Monster Mash?

Pickett was an aspiring actor who sang with a band called the Cordials at night while going to auditions during the day. One night, while performing with his band, Pickett did a monologue in imitation of horror movie actor Boris Karloff while performing the Diamonds’ “Little Darlin'”. The audience loved it and fellow band member Lenny Capizzi encouraged Pickett to do more with the Karloff imitation.

Pickett and Capizzi composed “Monster Mash” and recorded it with Gary S. Paxton, pianist Leon Russell, Johnny MacRae, Rickie Page, and Terry Berg, credited as “The Crypt-Kickers”. (Mel Taylor, drummer for the Ventures, is sometimes credited with playing on the record as well, while Russell, who arrived late for the session, appears on the single’s B-side, “Monster Mash Party”) The song was partially inspired by Paxton’s earlier novelty hit “Alley Oop”, as well as by the Mashed Potato dance craze of the era.

A variation on the Mashed Potato was danced to “Monster Mash”, in which the footwork was the same but Frankenstein-style monster gestures were made with the arms and hands.

The song is narrated by a mad scientist whose monster, late one evening, rises from a slab to perform a new dance. The dance becomes “the hit of the land” when the scientist throws a party for other monsters.

The producers came up with several low-budget but effective sound effects for the recording. For example, the sound of a coffin opening was imitated by a rusty nail being pulled out of a board.

The sound of a cauldron bubbling was actually water being bubbled through a straw, and the chains rattling were simply chains being dropped on a tile floor. Pickett also impersonated horror film actor Bela Lugosi as Dracula with the lyric “Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?”

When black cats prowl, and pumpkins gleam, may luck be yours on Halloween!

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell
jdmitchelldesigns@gmail.com