The First and The Last - A Must read for Students
I read Adolf Galland's memoirs of the second great conflict of the last century between England and Germany decades after it was written. To place the historic bibliographies on this conflict in context, the above referenced reading follows Sir Winston Churchill's account of that conflict, as well as the treatises written by William Shirer (The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich); the recent historical account of Mr. Patrick Buchanan (Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War), as well as Field Marshall Erich v. Manstein's account "Lost Victories" (in which references are made, independently of the Galland account, of the amazing incompetence and utter absence of any identifiable strategy of the German High Command - whatever that term "strategy" ultimately led to mean for the German side).
Adolf Galland has been shown by the German Propaganda Ministry in one or two newsreels (i.e. the so-called Wochenshaus now available in short YouTube streaming videos) as a "showcase" hero by Dr. Goebbels' organization. but it is only through a reading of Galland's account that one can appreciate distance between the political and the military in Germany, as well as the real forces and events behind the the eventual victory of the "Anglo-Saxon" (sic) island race against their German brothers across the channel. Galland provides one humorous insight (among many others) in which "the fat boy" (Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering) asks the assembled Luftwaffe Calais leadership, after a series of disasterous raids against England, what suppport he could give them, after first having berated them. Galland replied with his famous (but misassigned in the film "The Battle of Britain")..."a squadron of Spitfires". Galland is gallant! He unequivocally praises the combatants of "The Finest Hour", their chivalry and their bravery.
The First and The Last above all, for the serious student of that conflict, has to be one additional element sewn into the fabric of history, from which, as the distance and healing of time shows, a richer picture of the events and forces of that terrible conflict appears. I will leave it to those students to arrive at their own conclusions about the times and tides which have so scarred humanity both from their intended and unintended consequences.....