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Three Years Behind The Curve Too Late Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Increases Target Federal Funds Rate to .75-1.0% — Financial Repression of Savers Slowly Continues — Videos

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Yellen Calms Fears Fed’s Policy Trigger Finger Is Getting Itchy

March 15, 2017, 1:00 PM CDT March 15, 2017, 5:02 PM CDT
  • Policy makers still project three total rate hikes for 2017
  • FOMC sticks with ‘gradual’ plan for removing accommodation

Fed Raises Benchmark Lending Rate a Quarter Point

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sought to reassure investors that the central bank’s latest interest-rate increase wasn’t a paradigm shift to a trigger-happy policy driven by fears of faster inflation.

Speaking to reporters after the Fed’s quarter percentage-point move on Wednesday, Yellen said the central bank was willing to tolerate inflation temporarily overshootingits 2 percent goal and that it intended to keep its policy accommodative for “some time.”

“The simple message is the economy’s doing well. We have confidence in the robustness of the economy and its resilience to shocks,” she said.

As a result, the Fed is sticking with its policy of gradually raising interest rates, Yellen said. In their first forecasts in three months, Fed policy makers penciled in two more quarter-point rate increases this year and three in 2018, unchanged from their projections in December.

Today’s decision “does not represent a reassessment of the economic outlook or of the appropriate course for monetary policy,” the Fed chief said.

Speculation of a more aggressive Fed had mounted in recent days after a host of central bank officials, including Yellen herself, went out of their way to telegraph to financial markets that a rate hike was imminent. The expectations were further fueled by news of rising inflation.

Stocks Advance

Stocks rose and bond yields fell as investors viewed the statement from the Federal Open Market Committee and Yellen’s remarks afterward as a sign that the Fed isn’t in a hurry to remove monetary stimulus. The FOMC raised the target range for the federal funds rate to 0.75 percent to 1 percent, as expected, but Yellen’s lack of urgency to snuff out inflation was a surprise.

R.J. Gallo, a fixed-income investment manager at Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, said the chorus of Fed speakers before this meeting led investors to expect a move up in the number of projected rate hikes this year, and even upgrades by Fed officials in the levels of inflation and growth they anticipated.

None of that materialized.

“You didn’t get any of those things,” Gallo said, which explains why Treasury yields quickly dropped after the Fed released the FOMC statement and a new set of economic projections. “The expectation that Fed was getting more hawkish had to come out of the market.”

The U.S. economy has mostly met the central bank’s goals of full employment and stable prices, and may get further support if President Donald Trump delivers promised fiscal stimulus. Investor and business confidence has soared since Trump won the presidency in November, buoyed by his vows to cut taxes, lift infrastructure spending and ease regulations.

Still, the data don’t show an economy that’s heating up rapidly — a point Yellen herself made after the third rate hike since the 2007-2009 recession ended. In fact, the economy may have “more room to run,” she said.

Stronger business and consumer confidence hasn’t yet translated into increased investment and spending, said Yellen.

“It’s uncertain just how much sentiment actually impacts spending decisions, and I wouldn’t say at this point that I have seen hard evidence of any change in spending decisions,” said the Fed Chair. “Most of the business people that we’ve talked to also have a wait-and-see attitude.”

Retail sales in February grew at the slowest pace since August, a government report showed earlier Wednesday. The Atlanta Fed’s model for GDP predicts an expansion of 0.9 percent in the first quarter, less than a third the pace Trump is aiming for.

Fiscal Stimulus

Asked about the potential for a fiscal boost, Yellen made clear the Fed is still waiting for more concrete policy plans to emerge from the Trump administration before adapting monetary policy in reaction.

“There is great uncertainty about the timing, the size and the character of policy changes that may be put in place,” Yellen said. “I don’t think that’s a decision or set of decisions that we need to make until we know more about what policy changes will go into effect.”

Yellen disputed suggestions that the Fed was on a collision course with the Trump administration over its plans to foster faster economic growth through tax cuts and deregulation. “We would welcome stronger economic growth in the context of price stability,” she said.

She said she had met Trump briefly and had gotten together a couple of times with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss the economy and financial regulation.

Further underscoring their lack of urgency, Fed officials repeated a commitment to maintain their balance-sheet reinvestment policy until rate increases were well under way. Yellen said officials had discussed the process of reducing the balance sheet gradually, but had made no decisions and would continue to debate the topic.

Policy makers forecast inflation will reach 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter this year, and 2 percent in both 2018 and 2019, according to quarterly median estimates released with the FOMC statement. The Fed’s preferred measure of inflation rose 1.9 percent in the 12 months through January, just shy of its target.

Yellen pointed out, though, that core inflation continues to run somewhat further below 2 percent. That rate, which strips out food and energy costs, stood at 1.7 percent in January. The Fed’s new forecast for the core rate at the end of this year edged up to 1.9 percent, from 1.8 percent in December.

“The committee will carefully monitor actual and expected inflation developments relative to its symmetric inflation goal,” the Fed said. Discussing the word symmetric in the statement, Yellen said during her press conference that the Fed was not shooting to push inflation over 2 percent but recognized that it could temporarily go above it. Two percent is a target, she reiterated, not a ceiling.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-15/fed-raises-benchmark-rate-as-inflation-approaches-2-target

Changes in the federal funds rate will always affect the U.S. dollar. When the Federal Reserve increases the federal funds rate, it normally reduces inflationary pressure and works to appreciate the dollar.

Since June 2006, however, the Fed has maintained a federal funds rate of close to 0%. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the federal funds rate fluctuated between 0-0.25%, and is now 0.75%.

The Fed used this monetary policy to help achieve maximum employment and stable prices. Now that the 2008 financial crisis has largely subsided, the Fed will look to increase interest rates to continue to achieve employment and to stabilize prices.

Inflation of the U.S. Dollar

The best way to achieve full employment and stable prices is to set the inflation rate of the dollar at 2%. In 2011, the Fed officially adopted a 2% annual increase in the price index for personal consumption expenditures as its target. When the economy is weak, inflation naturally falls; when the economy is strong, rising wages increase inflation. Keeping inflation at a growth rate of 2% helps the economy grow at a healthy rate.

Adjustments to the federal funds rate can also affect inflation in the United States. The Fed controls the economy by increasing interest rates when the economy is growing too fast. This encourages people to save more and spend less, reducing inflationary pressure. Conversely, when the economy is in a recession or growing too slowly, the Fed reduces interest rates to stimulate spending, which increases inflation.

During the 2008 financial crisis, the low federal funds rate should have increased inflation. Over this period, the federal funds rate was set near 0%, which encouraged spending and would normally increase inflation.

However, inflation is still well below the 2% target, which is contrary to the normal effects of low interest rates. The Fed cites one-off factors, such as falling oil prices and the strengthening dollar, as the reasons why inflation has remained low in a low interest environment.

The Fed believes that these factors will eventually fade and that inflation will increase above the target 2%. To prevent this eventual increase in inflation, hiking the federal funds rate reduces inflationary pressure and cause inflation of the dollar to remain around 2%.

Appreciation of the U.S. Dollar

Increases in the federal funds rate also result in a strengthening of the U.S. dollar. Other ways that the dollar can appreciate include increases in average wages and increases in overall consumption. However, although jobs are being created, wage rates are stagnant.

Without an increase in wage rates to go along with a strengthening job market, consumption won’t increase enough to sustain economic growth. Additionally, consumption remains subdued due to the fact that the labor force participation rate was close to its 35-year low in 2015. The Fed has kept interest rates low because a lower federal funds rate supports business expansions, which leads to more jobs and higher consumption. This has all worked to keep appreciation of the U.S. dollar low.

However, the U.S. is ahead of the other developed markets in terms of its economic recovery. Although the Fed raises rates cautiously, the U.S. could see higher interest rates before the other developed economies.

Overall, under normal economic conditions, increases in the federal funds rate reduce inflation and increase the appreciation of the U.S. dollar.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/101215/how-fed-fund-rate-hikes-affect-us-dollar.asp

Financial repression

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with economic repression, a type of political repression.

Financial repression refers to “policies that result in savers earning returns below the rate of inflation” in order to allow banks to “provide cheap loans to companies and governments, reducing the burden of repayments”.[1] It can be particularly effective at liquidating government debt denominated in domestic currency.[2] It can also lead to a large expansions in debt “to levels evoking comparisons with the excesses that generated Japan’s lost decade and the Asian financial crisis” in 1997.[1]

The term was introduced in 1973 by Stanford economists Edward S. Shaw and Ronald I. McKinnon[3][4] in order to “disparage growth-inhibiting policies in emerging markets“.

Mechanism

Financial repression consists of the following:[5]

  1. Explicit or indirect capping of interest rates, such as on government debt and deposit rates (e.g., Regulation Q).
  2. Government ownership or control of domestic banks and financial institutions with barriers that limit other institutions from entering the market.
  3. High reserve requirements.
  4. Creation or maintenance of a captive domestic market for government debt, achieved by requiring banks to hold government debt via capital requirements, or by prohibiting or disincentivising alternatives.
  5. Government restrictions on the transfer of assets abroad through the imposition of capital controls.

These measures allow governments to issue debt at lower interest rates. A low nominal interest rate can reduce debt servicing costs, while negative real interest rates erodes the real value of government debt.[5] Thus, financial repression is most successful in liquidating debts when accompanied by inflation and can be considered a form of taxation,[6] or alternatively a form of debasement.[7]

The size of the financial repression tax for 24 emerging markets from 1974 to 1987. Their results showed that financial repression exceeded 2% of GDP for seven countries, and greater than 3% for five countries. For five countries (India, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe) it represented approximately 20% of tax revenue. In the case of Mexico financial repression was 6% of GDP, or 40% of tax revenue.[8]

Financial repression is categorized as “macroprudential regulation“—i.e., government efforts to “ensure the health of an entire financial system.[2]

Examples

After World War II

Financial repression “played an important role in reducing debt-to-GDP ratios after World War II” by keeping real interest rates for government debt below 1% for two-thirds of the time between 1945 and 1980, the United States was able to “inflate away” the large debt (122% of GDP) left over from the Great Depression and World War II.[2] In the UK, government debt declined from 216% of GDP in 1945 to 138% ten years later in 1955.[9]

China

China‘s economic growth has been attributed to financial repression thanks to “low returns on savings and the cheap loans that it makes possible”. This has allowed China to rely on savings-financed investments for economic growth. However, because low returns also dampens consumer spending, household expenditures account for “a smaller share of GDP in China than in any other major economy”.[1] However, as of December 2014, the People’s Bank of China “started to undo decades of financial repression” and the government now allows Chinese savers to collect up to a 3.3% return on one-year deposits. At China’s 1.6% inflation rate, this is a “high real-interest rate compared to other major economies”.[1]

After the 2008 economic recession

In a 2011 NBER working paper, Carmen Reinhart and Maria Belen Sbrancia speculate on a possible return by governments to this form of debt reduction in order to deal with high debt levels following the 2008 economic crisis.[5]

“To get access to capital, Austria has restricted capital flows to foreign subsidiaries in central and eastern Europe. Select pension funds have also been transferred to governments in France, Portugal, Ireland and Hungary, enabling them to re-allocate toward sovereign bonds.”[10]

Criticism

Critics[who?] argue that if this view was true, investors (i.e., capital-seeking parties) would be inclined to demand capital in large quantities and would be buying capital goods from this capital. This high demand for capital goods would certainly lead to inflation and thus the central banks would be forced to raise interest rates again. As a boom pepped by low interest rates fails to appear these days in industrialized countries, this is a sign that the low interest rates seem to be necessary to ensure an equilibrium on the capital market, thus to balance capital-supply—i.e., savers—on one side and capital-demand—i.e., investors and the government—on the other. This view argues that interest rates would be even lower if it were not for the high government debt ratio (i.e., capital demand from the government).

Free-market economists argue that financial repression crowds out private-sector investment, thus undermining growth. On the other hand, “postwar politicians clearly decided this was a price worth paying to cut debt and avoid outright default or draconian spending cuts. And the longer the gridlock over fiscal reform rumbles on, the greater the chance that ‘repression’ comes to be seen as the least of all evils”.[11]

Also, financial repression has been called a “stealth tax” that “rewards debtors and punishes savers—especially retirees” because their investments will no longer generate the expected return, which is income for retirees.[10][12] “One of the main goals of financial repression is to keep nominal interest rates lower than they would be in more competitive markets. Other things equal, this reduces the government’s interest expenses for a given stock of debt and contributes to deficit reduction. However, when financial repression produces negative real interest rates (nominal rates below the inflation rate), it reduces or liquidates existing debts and becomes the equivalent of a tax—a transfer from creditors (savers) to borrowers, including the government.”[2]

See also

Reform:

General:

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “China Savers Prioritized Over Banks by PBOC”. Bloomberg. November 25, 2014.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Carmen M. Reinhart, Jacob F. Kirkegaard, and M. Belen Sbrancia, “Financial Repression Redux”, IMF Finance and Development, June 2011, p. 22-26
  3. Jump up^ Shaw, Edward S. Financial Deepening in Economic Development. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973
  4. Jump up^ McKinnon, Ronald I. Money and Capital in Economic Development. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1973
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c Carmen M. Reinhart and M. Belen Sbrancia, “The Liquidation of Government Debt”, IMF, 2011, p. 19
  6. Jump up^ Reinhart, Carmen M. and Rogoff, Kenneth S., This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2008, p. 143
  7. Jump up^ Bill Gross, “The Caine Mutiny Part 2”, PIMCO
  8. Jump up^ Giovannini, Alberto and de Melo, Martha, “Government Revenue from Financial Repression”, The American Economic Review, Vol. 83, No. 4 Sep. 1993 (pp. 953-963)
  9. Jump up^ “The great repression”. The Economist. 16 June 2011.
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b “Financial Repression 101”. Allianz Global Investors. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Gillian Tett, “Policymakers learn a new and alarming catchphrase”, Financial Times, May 9, 2011
  12. Jump up^ Amerman, Daniel (September 12, 2011). “The 2nd Edge of Modern Financial Repression: Manipulating Inflation Indexes to Steal from Retirees & Public Wor

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_repression

Federal funds rate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

10 year treasury compared to the Federal Funds Rate

Federal funds rate and capacity utilization in manufacturing.

In the United States, the federal funds rate is the interest rate at which depository institutions (banks and credit unions) lend reserve balances to other depository institutions overnight, on an uncollateralized basis. Reserve balances are amounts held at the Federal Reserve to maintain depository institutions’ reserve requirements. Institutions with surplus balances in their accounts lend those balances to institutions in need of larger balances. The federal funds rate is an important benchmark in financial markets.[1][2]

The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The federal funds target rate is determined by a meeting of the members of the Federal Open Market Committee which normally occurs eight times a year about seven weeks apart. The committee may also hold additional meetings and implement target rate changes outside of its normal schedule.

The Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence the supply of money in the U.S. economy[3] to make the federal funds effective rate follow the federal funds target rate.

Mechanism

Financial Institutions are obligated by law to maintain certain levels of reserves, either as reserves with the Fed or as vault cash. The level of these reserves is determined by the outstanding assets and liabilities of each depository institution, as well as by the Fed itself, but is typically 10%[4] of the total value of the bank’s demand accounts (depending on bank size). In the range of $9.3 million to $43.9 million, for transaction deposits (checking accounts, NOWs, and other deposits that can be used to make payments) the reserve requirement in 2007-2008 was 3 percent of the end-of-the-day daily average amount held over a two-week period. Transaction deposits over $43.9 million held at the same depository institution carried a 10 percent reserve requirement.

For example, assume a particular U.S. depository institution, in the normal course of business, issues a loan. This dispenses money and decreases the ratio of bank reserves to money loaned. If its reserve ratio drops below the legally required minimum, it must add to its reserves to remain compliant with Federal Reserve regulations. The bank can borrow the requisite funds from another bank that has a surplus in its account with the Fed. The interest rate that the borrowing bank pays to the lending bank to borrow the funds is negotiated between the two banks, and the weighted average of this rate across all such transactions is the federal funds effective rate.

The nominal rate is a target set by the governors of the Federal Reserve, which they enforce by open market operations and adjusting the interest paid on required and excess reserve balances. That nominal rate is almost always what is meant by the media referring to the Federal Reserve “changing interest rates.” The actual federal funds rate generally lies within a range of that target rate, as the Federal Reserve cannot set an exact value through open market operations.

Another way banks can borrow funds to keep up their required reserves is by taking a loan from the Federal Reserve itself at the discount window. These loans are subject to audit by the Fed, and the discount rate is usually higher than the federal funds rate. Confusion between these two kinds of loans often leads to confusion between the federal funds rate and the discount rate. Another difference is that while the Fed cannot set an exact federal funds rate, it does set the specific discount rate.

The federal funds rate target is decided by the governors at Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings. The FOMC members will either increase, decrease, or leave the rate unchanged depending on the meeting’s agenda and the economic conditions of the U.S. It is possible to infer the market expectations of the FOMC decisions at future meetings from the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Fed Funds futures contracts, and these probabilities are widely reported in the financial media.

Applications

Interbank borrowing is essentially a way for banks to quickly raise money. For example, a bank may want to finance a major industrial effort but may not have the time to wait for deposits or interest (on loan payments) to come in. In such cases the bank will quickly raise this amount from other banks at an interest rate equal to or higher than the Federal funds rate.

Raising the federal funds rate will dissuade banks from taking out such inter-bank loans, which in turn will make cash that much harder to procure. Conversely, dropping the interest rates will encourage banks to borrow money and therefore invest more freely.[5] This interest rate is used as a regulatory tool to control how freely the U.S. economy operates.

By setting a higher discount rate the Federal Bank discourages banks from requisitioning funds from the Federal Bank, yet positions itself as a lender of last resort.

Comparison with LIBOR

Though the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the federal funds rate are concerned with the same action, i.e. interbank loans, they are distinct from one another, as follows:

  • The target federal funds rate is a target interest rate that is set by the FOMC for implementing U.S. monetary policies.
  • The (effective) federal funds rate is achieved through open market operations at the Domestic Trading Desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York which deals primarily in domestic securities (U.S. Treasury and federal agencies’ securities).[6]
  • LIBOR is based on a questionnaire where a selection of banks guess the rates at which they could borrow money from other banks.
  • LIBOR may or may not be used to derive business terms. It is not fixed beforehand and is not meant to have macroeconomic ramifications.[7]

Predictions by the market

Considering the wide impact a change in the federal funds rate can have on the value of the dollar and the amount of lending going to new economic activity, the Federal Reserve is closely watched by the market. The prices of Option contracts on fed funds futures (traded on the Chicago Board of Trade) can be used to infer the market’s expectations of future Fed policy changes. Based on CME Group 30-Day Fed Fund futures prices, which have long been used to express the market’s views on the likelihood of changes in U.S. monetary policy, the CME Group FedWatch tool allows market participants to view the probability of an upcoming Fed Rate hike. One set of such implied probabilities is published by the Cleveland Fed.

Historical rates

As of December 16, 2008, the most recent change the FOMC has made to the funds target rate is a 75 to 100 basis point cut from 1.0% to a range of zero to 0.25%. According to Jack A. Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank, one reason for this unprecedented move of having a range, rather than a specific rate, was because a rate of 0% could have had problematic implications for money market funds, whose fees could then outpace yields.[8] This followed the 50 basis point cut on October 29, 2008, and the unusually large 75 basis point cut made during a special January 22, 2008 meeting, as well as a 50 basis point cut on January 30, 2008, a 75 basis point cut on March 18, 2008, and a 50 basis point cut on October 8, 2008.[9]

Federal funds rate history and recessions.png

Explanation of federal funds rate decisions

When the Federal Open Market Committee wishes to reduce interest rates they will increase the supply of money by buying government securities. When additional supply is added and everything else remains constant, price normally falls. The price here is the interest rate (cost of money) and specifically refers to the Federal Funds Rate. Conversely, when the Committee wishes to increase the Fed Funds Rate, they will instruct the Desk Manager to sell government securities, thereby taking the money they earn on the proceeds of those sales out of circulation and reducing the money supply. When supply is taken away and everything else remains constant, price (or in this case interest rates) will normally rise.[10]

The Federal Reserve has responded to a potential slow-down by lowering the target federal funds rate during recessions and other periods of lower growth. In fact, the Committee’s lowering has recently predated recessions,[9] in order to stimulate the economy and cushion the fall. Reducing the Fed Funds Rate makes money cheaper, allowing an influx of credit into the economy through all types of loans.

The charts linked below show the relation between S&P 500 and interest rates.

  • July 13, 1990 — Sept 4, 1992: 8.00%–3.00% (Includes 1990–1991 recession)[11][12]
  • Feb 1, 1995 — Nov 17, 1998: 6.00–4.75 [13][14][15]
  • May 16, 2000 — June 25, 2003: 6.50–1.00 (Includes 2001 recession)[16][17][18]
  • June 29, 2006 — (Oct. 29 2008): 5.25–1.00[19]
  • Dec 16, 2008 — 0.0–0.25[20]
  • Dec 16, 2015 — 0.25-0.50[21]
  • Dec 14, 2016 — 0.50-0.75[22]
  • Mar 15, 2017 — 0.75-1.00[23]

Bill Gross of PIMCO suggested that in the prior 15 years ending in 2007, in each instance where the fed funds rate was higher than the nominal GDP growth rate, assets such as stocks and/or housing fell.[24]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Fedpoints: Federal Funds”. Federal Reserve Bank of New York. August 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  2. Jump up^ “The Implementation of Monetary Policy”. The Federal Reserve System: Purposes & Functions (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Federal Reserve Board. 24 August 2011. p. 4. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  3. Jump up^ “Monetary Policy, Open Market Operations”. Federal Reserve Bank. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  4. Jump up^ “Reserve Requirements”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  5. Jump up^ “Fed funds rate”. Bankrate, Inc. March 2016.
  6. Jump up^ Cheryl L. Edwards (November 1997). Gerard Sinzdak. “Open Market Operations in the 1990s” (PDF). Federal Reserve Bulletin (PDF).
  7. Jump up^ “BBA LIBOR – Frequently asked questions”. British Bankers’ Association. March 21, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16.
  8. Jump up^ “4:56 p.m. US-Closing Stocks”. Associated Press. December 16, 2008.[dead link]
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b “Historical Changes of the Target Federal Funds and Discount Rates, 1971 to present”. New York Federal Reserve Branch. February 19, 2010. Archived from the original on December 21, 2008.
  10. Jump up^ David Waring (2008-02-19). “An Explanation of How The Fed Moves Interest Rates”. InformedTrades.com. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
  11. Jump up^ “$SPX 1990-06-12 1992-10-04 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  12. Jump up^ “$SPX 1992-08-04 1995-03-01 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  13. Jump up^ “$SPX 1995-01-01 1997-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  14. Jump up^ “$SPX 1996-12-01 1998-10-17 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  15. Jump up^ “$SPX 1998-09-17 2000-06-16 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  16. Jump up^ “$SPX 2000-04-16 2002-01-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  17. Jump up^ “$SPX 2002-01-01 2003-07-25 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  18. Jump up^ “$SPX 2003-06-25 2006-06-29 (rate rise chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  19. Jump up^ “$SPX 2006-06-29 2008-06-01 (rate drop chart)”. StockCharts.com.
  20. Jump up^ “Press Release”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2008.
  21. Jump up^ “Open Market Operations”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System. December 16, 2015.
  22. Jump up^ “Decisions Regarding Monetary Policy Implementation”. Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System.
  23. Jump up^ Cox, Jeff (2017-03-15). “Fed raises rates at March meeting”. CNBC. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  24. Jump up^ Shaw, Richard (January 7, 2007). “The Bond Yield Curve as an Economic Crystal Ball”. Retrieved 3 April 2011.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_funds_rate

Monetary policy of the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from U.S. monetary policy)
United States M2 money supply
% change in money supply
Money supply changes monthly basis

Monetary policy concerns the actions of a central bank or other regulatory authorities that determine the size and rate of growth of the money supply.

In the United States, the Federal Reserve is in charge of monetary policy, and implements it primarily by performing operations that influence short-term interest rates.

Money supply[edit]

Main article: Money supply

The money supply has different components, generally broken down into “narrow” and “broad” money, reflecting the different degrees of liquidity (‘spendability’) of each different type, as broader forms of money can be converted into narrow forms of money (or may be readily accepted as money by others, such as personal checks).[1]

For example, demand deposits are technically promises to pay on demand, while savings deposits are promises to pay subject to some withdrawal restrictions, and Certificates of Deposit are promises to pay only at certain specified dates; each can be converted into money, but “narrow” forms of money can be converted more readily. The Federal Reserve directly controls only the most narrow form of money, physical cash outstanding along with the reserves of banks throughout the country (known as M0 or the monetary base); the Federal Reserve indirectly influences the supply of other types of money.[1]

Broad money includes money held in deposit balances in banks and other forms created in the financial system. Basic economics also teaches that the money supply shrinks when loans are repaid;[2][3] however, the money supply will not necessarily decrease depending on the creation of new loans and other effects. Other than loans, investment activities of commercial banks and the Federal Reserve also increase and decrease the money supply.[4] Discussion of “money” often confuses the different measures and may lead to misguided commentary on monetary policy and misunderstandings of policy discussions.[5]

Structure of modern US institutions[edit]

Federal Reserve[edit]

Monetary policy in the US is determined and implemented by the US Federal Reserve System, commonly referred to as the Federal Reserve. Established in 1913 by the Federal Reserve Act to provide central banking functions,[6] the Federal Reserve System is a quasi-public institution. Ostensibly, the Federal Reserve Banks are 12 private banking corporations;[7][8][9] they are independent in their day-to-day operations, but legislatively accountable to Congress through the auspices of Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

The Board of Governors is an independent governmental agency consisting of seven officials and their support staff of over 1800 employees headquartered in Washington, D.C.[10] It is independent in the sense that the Board currently operates without official obligation to accept the requests or advice of any elected official with regard to actions on the money supply,[11]and its methods of funding also preserve independence. The Governors are nominated by the President of the United States, and nominations must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.[12]

The presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks are nominated by each bank’s respective Board of Directors, but must also be approved by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board is generally considered to have the most important position, followed by the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.[12] The Federal Reserve System is primarily funded by interest collected on their portfolio of securities from the US Treasury, and the Fed has broad discretion in drafting its own budget,[13] but, historically, nearly all the interest the Federal Reserve collects is rebated to the government each year.[14]

The Federal Reserve has three main mechanisms for manipulating the money supply. It can buy or sell treasury securities. Selling securities has the effect of reducing the monetary base (because it accepts money in return for purchase of securities), taking that money out of circulation. Purchasing treasury securities increases the monetary base (because it pays out hard currency in exchange for accepting securities). Secondly, the discount rate can be changed. And finally, the Federal Reserve can adjust the reserve requirement, which can affect the money multiplier; the reserve requirement is adjusted only infrequently, and was last adjusted in 1992.[15]

In practice, the Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence short-term interest rates, which is the primary tool of monetary policy. The federal funds rate, for which the Federal Open Market Committee announces a target on a regular basis, reflects one of the key rates for interbank lending. Open market operations change the supply of reserve balances, and the federal funds rate is sensitive to these operations.[16]

In theory, the Federal Reserve has unlimited capacity to influence this rate, and although the federal funds rate is set by banks borrowing and lending funds to each other, the federal funds rate generally stays within a limited range above and below the target (as participants are aware of the Fed’s power to influence this rate).

Assuming a closed economy, where foreign capital or trade does not affect the money supply, when money supply increases, interest rates go down. Businesses and consumers have a lower cost of capital and can increase spending and capital improvement projects. This encourages short-term growth. Conversely, when the money supply falls, interest rates go up, increasing the cost of capital and leading to more conservative spending and investment. The Federal reserve increases interest rates to combat Inflation.

U.S. Treasury[edit]

Private commercial banks[edit]

When money is deposited in a bank, it can then be lent out to another person. If the initial deposit was $100 and the bank lends out $100 to another customer the money supply has increased by $100. However, because the depositor can ask for the money back, banks have to maintain minimum reserves to service customer needs. If the reserve requirement is 10% then, in the earlier example, the bank can lend $90 and thus the money supply increases by only $90. The reserve requirement therefore acts as a limit on this multiplier effect. Because the reserve requirement only applies to the more narrow forms of money creation (corresponding to M1), but does not apply to certain types of deposits (such as time deposits), reserve requirements play a limited role in monetary policy.[17]

Money creation[edit]

Main article: Money creation

Currently, the US government maintains over US$800 billion in cash money (primarily Federal Reserve Notes) in circulation throughout the world,[18][19] up from a sum of less than $30 billion in 1959. Below is an outline of the process which is currently used to control the amount of money in the economy. The amount of money in circulation generally increases to accommodate money demanded by the growth of the country’s production. The process of money creation usually goes as follows:

  1. Banks go through their daily transactions. Of the total money deposited at banks, significant and predictable proportions often remain deposited, and may be referred to as “core deposits.” Banks use the bulk of “non-moving” money (their stable or “core” deposit base) by loaning it out.[20] Banks have a legal obligation to keep a certain fraction of bank deposit money on-hand at all times.[21]
  2. In order to raise additional money to cover excess spending, Congress increases the size of the National Debt by issuing securities typically in the form of a Treasury Bond[22] (see United States Treasury security). It offers the Treasury security for sale, and someone pays cash to the government in exchange. Banks are often the purchasers of these securities, and these securities currently play a crucial role in the process.
  3. The 12-person Federal Open Market Committee, which consists of the heads of the Federal Reserve System (the seven Federal governors and five bank presidents), meets eight times a year to determine how they would like to influence the economy.[23] They create a plan called the country’s “monetary policy” which sets targets for things such as interest rates.[24]
  4. Every business day, the Federal Reserve System engages in Open market operations.[25] If the Federal Reserve wants to increase the money supply, it will buy securities (such as U.S. Treasury Bonds) anonymously from banks in exchange for dollars. If the Federal Reserve wants to decrease the money supply, it will sell securities to the banks in exchange for dollars, taking those dollars out of circulation.[26][27] When the Federal Reserve makes a purchase, it credits the seller’s reserve account (with the Federal Reserve). The money that it deposits into the seller’s account is not transferred from any existing funds, therefore it is at this point that the Federal Reserve has created High-powered money.
  5. By means of open market operations, the Federal Reserve affects the free reserves of commercial banks in the country.[28] Anna Schwartz explains that “if the Federal Reserve increases reserves, a single bank can make loans up to the amount of its excess reserves, creating an equal amount of deposits”.[26][27][29]
  6. Since banks have more free reserves, they may loan out the money, because holding the money would amount to accepting the cost of foregone interest[28][30] When a loan is granted, a person is generally granted the money by adding to the balance on their bank account.[31]
  7. This is how the Federal Reserve’s high-powered money is multiplied into a larger amount of broad money, through bank loans; as written in a particular case study, “as banks increase or decrease loans, the nation’s (broad) money supply increases or decreases.”[3] Once granted these additional funds, the recipient has the option to withdraw physical currency (dollar bills and coins) from the bank, which will reduce the amount of money available for further on-lending (and money creation) in the banking system.[32]
  8. In many cases, account-holders will request cash withdrawals, so banks must keep a supply of cash handy. When they believe they need more cash than they have on hand, banks can make requests for cash with the Federal Reserve. In turn, the Federal Reserve examines these requests and places an order for printed money with the US Treasury Department.[33] The Treasury Department sends these requests to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (to make dollar bills) and the Bureau of the Mint (to stamp the coins).
  9. The U.S. Treasury sells this newly printed money to the Federal Reserve for the cost of printing.[citation needed] This is about 6 cents per bill for any denomination.[34] Aside from printing costs, the Federal Reserve must pledge collateral (typically government securities such as Treasury bonds) to put new money, which does not replace old notes, into circulation.[35]This printed cash can then be distributed to banks, as needed.

Though the Federal Reserve authorizes and distributes the currency printed by the Treasury (the primary component of the narrow monetary base), the broad money supply is primarily created by commercial banks through the money multiplier mechanism.[29][31][36][37] One textbook summarizes the process as follows:

“The Fed” controls the money supply in the United States by controlling the amount of loans made by commercial banks. New loans are usually in the form of increased checking account balances, and since checkable deposits are part of the money supply, the money supply increases when new loans are made …[38]

This type of money is convertible into cash when depositors request cash withdrawals, which will require banks to limit or reduce their lending.[39][32] The vast majority of the broad money supply throughout the world represents current outstanding loans of banks to various debtors.[38][40][41] A very small amount of U.S. currency still exists as “United States Notes“, which have no meaningful economic difference from Federal Reserve notes in their usage, although they departed significantly in their method of issuance into circulation. The currency distributed by the Federal Reserve has been given the official designation of “Federal Reserve Notes.”[42]

Significant effects[edit]

Main article: Monetary policy

In 2005, the Federal Reserve held approximately 9% of the national debt[43] as assets against the liability of printed money. In previous periods, the Federal Reserve has used other debt instruments, such as debt securities issued by private corporations. During periods when the national debt of the United States has declined significantly (such as happened in fiscal years 1999 and 2000), monetary policy and financial markets experts have studied the practical implications of having “too little” government debt: both the Federal Reserve and financial markets use the price information, yield curve and the so-called risk free rate extensively.[44]

Experts are hopeful that other assets could take the place of National Debt as the base asset to back Federal Reserve notes, and Alan Greenspan, long the head of the Federal Reserve, has been quoted as saying, “I am confident that U.S. financial markets, which are the most innovative and efficient in the world, can readily adapt to a paydown of Treasury debt by creating private alternatives with many of the attributes that market participants value in Treasury securities.”[45] In principle, the government could still issue debt securities in significant quantities while having no net debt, and significant quantities of government debt securities are also held by other government agencies.

Although the U.S. government receives income overall from seigniorage, there are costs associated with maintaining the money supply.[41][46] Leading ecological economist and steady-state theorist Herman Daly, claims that “over 95% of our [broad] money supply [in the United States] is created by the private banking system (demand deposits) and bears interest as a condition of its existence,”[41] a conclusion drawn from the Federal Reserve’s ultimate dependence on increased activity in fractional reserve lending when it exercises open market operations.[47]Economist Eric Miller criticizes Daly’s logic because money is created in the banking system in response to demand for the money,[48] which justifies cost.[citation needed]

Thus, use of expansionary open market operations typically generates more debt in the private sector of society (in the form of additional bank deposits).[49] The private banking system charges interest to borrowers as a cost to borrow the money.[3][31][50] The interest costs are borne by those that have borrowed,[3][31] and without this borrowing, open market operations would be unsuccessful in maintaining the broad money supply,[30] though alternative implementations of monetary policy could be used. Depositors of funds in the banking system are paid interest on their savings (or provided other services, such as checking account privileges or physical security for their “cash”), as compensation for “lending” their funds to the bank.

Increases (or contractions) of the money supply corresponds to growth (or contraction) in interest-bearing debt in the country.[3][30][41] The concepts involved in monetary policy may be widely misunderstood in the general public, as evidenced by the volume of literature on topics such as “Federal Reserve conspiracy” and “Federal Reserve fraud.”[51]

Uncertainties

A few of the uncertainties involved in monetary policy decision making are described by the federal reserve:[52]

  • While these policy choices seem reasonably straightforward, monetary policy makers routinely face certain notable uncertainties. First, the actual position of the economy and growth in aggregate demand at any time are only partially known, as key information on spending, production, and prices becomes available only with a lag. Therefore, policy makers must rely on estimates of these economic variables when assessing the appropriate course of policy, aware that they could act on the basis of misleading information. Second, exactly how a given adjustment in the federal funds rate will affect growth in aggregate demand—in terms of both the overall magnitude and the timing of its impact—is never certain. Economic models can provide rules of thumb for how the economy will respond, but these rules of thumb are subject to statistical error. Third, the growth in aggregate supply, often called the growth in potential output, cannot be measured with certainty.
  • In practice, as previously noted, monetary policy makers do not have up-to-the-minute information on the state of the economy and prices. Useful information is limited not only by lags in the collection and availability of key data but also by later revisions, which can alter the picture considerably. Therefore, although monetary policy makers will eventually be able to offset the effects that adverse demand shocks have on the economy, it will be some time before the shock is fully recognized and—given the lag between a policy action and the effect of the action on aggregate demand—an even longer time before it is countered. Add to this the uncertainty about how the economy will respond to an easing or tightening of policy of a given magnitude, and it is not hard to see how the economy and prices can depart from a desired path for a period of time.
  • The statutory goals of maximum employment and stable prices are easier to achieve if the public understands those goals and believes that the Federal Reserve will take effective measures to achieve them.
  • Although the goals of monetary policy are clearly spelled out in law, the means to achieve those goals are not. Changes in the FOMC’s target federal funds rate take some time to affect the economy and prices, and it is often far from obvious whether a selected level of the federal funds rate will achieve those goals.

Opinions of the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve is lauded by some economists, while being the target of scathing criticism by other economists, legislators, and sometimes members of the general public. The former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, is one of the leading academic critics of the Federal Reserve’s policies during the Great Depression.[53]

Achievements

One of the functions of a central bank is to facilitate the transfer of funds through the economy, and the Federal Reserve System is largely responsible for the efficiency in the banking sector. There have also been specific instances which put the Federal Reserve in the spotlight of public attention. For instance, after the stock market crash in 1987, the actions of the Fed are generally believed to have aided in recovery. Also, the Federal Reserve is credited for easing tensions in the business sector with the reassurances given following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.[54]

Criticisms

The Federal Reserve has been the target of various criticisms, involving: accountability, effectiveness, opacity, inadequate banking regulation, and potential market distortion. Federal Reserve policy has also been criticized for directly and indirectly benefiting large banks instead of consumers. For example, regarding the Federal Reserve’s response to the 2007–2010 financial crisis, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz explained how the U.S. Federal Reserve was implementing another monetary policy —creating currency— as a method to combat the liquidity trap.[55]

By creating $600 billion and inserting this directly into banks the Federal Reserve intended to spur banks to finance more domestic loans and refinance mortgages. However, banks instead were spending the money in more profitable areas by investing internationally in emerging markets. Banks were also investing in foreign currencies which Stiglitz and others point out may lead to currency wars while China redirects its currency holdings away from the United States.[56]

Auditing

The Federal Reserve is subject to different requirements for transparency and audits than other government agencies, which its supporters claim is another element of the Fed’s independence. Although the Federal Reserve has been required by law to publish independently audited financial statements since 1999, the Federal Reserve is not audited in the same way as other government agencies. Some confusion can arise because there are many types of audits, including: investigative or fraud audits; and financial audits, which are audits of accounting statements; there are also compliance, operational, and information system audits.

The Federal Reserve’s annual financial statements are audited by an outside auditor. Similar to other government agencies, the Federal Reserve maintains an Office of the Inspector General, whose mandate includes conducting and supervising “independent and objective audits, investigations, inspections, evaluations, and other reviews of Board programs and operations.”[57] The Inspector General’s audits and reviews are available on the Federal Reserve’s website.[58][59]

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has the power to conduct audits, subject to certain areas of operations that are excluded from GAO audits; other areas may be audited at specific Congressional request, and have included bank supervision, government securities activities, and payment system activities.[60][61] The GAO is specifically restricted any authority over monetary policy transactions;[60] the New York Times reported in 1989 that “such transactions are now shielded from outside audit, although the Fed influences interest rates through the purchase of hundreds of billions of dollars in Treasury securities.”[62] As mentioned above, it was in 1999 that the law governing the Federal Reserve was amended to formalize the already-existing annual practice of ordering independent audits of financial statements for the Federal Reserve Banks and the Board;[63] the GAO’s restrictions on auditing monetary policy continued, however.[61]

Congressional oversight on monetary policy operations, foreign transactions, and the FOMC operations is exercised through the requirement for reports and through semi-annual monetary policy hearings.[61] Scholars have conceded that the hearings did not prove an effective means of increasing oversight of the Federal Reserve, perhaps because “Congresspersons prefer to bash an autonomous and secretive Fed for economic misfortune rather than to share the responsibility for that misfortune with a fully accountable Central Bank,” although the Federal Reserve has also consistently lobbied to maintain its independence and freedom of operation.[64]

Fulfillment of wider economic goals

By law, the goals of the Fed’s monetary policy are: high employment, sustainable growth, and stable prices.[65]

Critics say that monetary policy in the United States has not achieved consistent success in meeting the goals that have been delegated to the Federal Reserve System by Congress. Congress began to review more options with regard to macroeconomic influence beginning in 1946 (after World War II), with the Federal Reserve receiving specific mandates in 1977 (after the country suffered a period of stagflation).

Throughout the period of the Federal Reserve following the mandates, the relative weight given to each of these goals has changed, depending on political developments.[citation needed] In particular, the theories of Keynesianism and monetarism have had great influence on both the theory and implementation of monetary policy, and the “prevailing wisdom” or consensus view of the economic and financial communities has changed over the years.[66]

  • Elastic currency (magnitude of the money multiplier): the success of monetary policy is dependent on the ability to strongly influence the supply of money available to the citizens. If a currency is highly “elastic” (that is, has a higher money multiplier, corresponding to a tendency of the financial system to create more broad money for a given quantity of base money), plans to expand the money supply and accommodate growth are easier to implement. Low elasticity was one of many factors that contributed to the depth of the Great Depression: as banks cut lending, the money multiplier fell, and at the same time the Federal Reserve constricted the monetary base. The depression of the late 1920s is generally regarded as being the worst in the country’s history, and the Federal Reserve has been criticized for monetary policy which worsened the depression.[67] Partly to alleviate problems related to the depression, the United States transitioned from a gold standard and now uses a fiat currency; elasticity is believed to have been increased greatly.[68]

The value of $1 over time, in 1776 dollars.[70]

  • Stable prices – While some economists would regard any consistent inflation as a sign of unstable prices,[71] policymakers could be satisfied with 1 or 2%;[72] the consensus of “price stability” constituting long-run inflation of 1-2% is, however, a relatively recent development, and a change that has occurred at other central banks throughout the world. Inflation has averaged a 4.22% increase annually following the mandates applied in 1977; historic inflation since the establishment of the Federal Reserve in 1913 has averaged 3.4%.[73] In contrast, some research indicates that average inflation for the 250 years before the system was near zero percent, though there were likely sharper upward and downward spikes in that timeframe as compared with more recent times.[74] Central banks in some other countries, notably the German Bundesbank, had considerably better records of achieving price stability drawing on experience from the two episodes of hyperinflation and economic collapse under the country’s previous central bank.

Inflation worldwide has fallen significantly since former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker began his tenure in 1979, a period which has been called the Great Moderation; some commentators attribute this to improved monetary policy worldwide, particularly in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.[75][76]BusinessWeek notes that inflation has been relatively low since mid-1980s[77] and it was during this time that Volcker wrote (in 1995), “It is a sobering fact that the prominence of central banks [such as the Federal Reserve] in this century has coincided with a general tendency towards more inflation, not less. By and large, if the overriding objective is price stability, we did better with the nineteenth-century gold standard and passive central banks, with currency boards, or even with ‘free banking.'”.

  • Sustainable growth – The growth of the economy may not be sustainable as the ability for households to save money has been on an overall decline[78] and household debt is consistently rising.[79]

Cause of The Great Depression

Money supply decreased significantly between Black Tuesday and the Bank Holiday in March 1933 when there were massive bank runs

Monetarists who believe that the Great Depression started as an ordinary recession but significant policy mistakes by monetary authorities (especially the Federal Reserve) caused a shrinking of the money supply which greatly exacerbated the economic situation, causing a recession to descend into the Great Depression.

Public confusion

The Federal Reserve has established a library of information on their websites, however, many experts have spoken about the general level of public confusion that still exists on the subject of the economy; this lack of understanding of macroeconomic questions and monetary policy, however, exists in other countries as well. Critics of the Fed widely regard the system as being “opaque“, and one of the Fed’s most vehement opponents of his time, Congressman Louis T. McFadden, even went so far as to say that “Every effort has been made by the Federal Reserve Board to conceal its powers….”[80]

There are, on the other hand, many economists who support the need for an independent central banking authority, and some have established websites that aim to clear up confusion about the economy and the Federal Reserve’s operations. The Federal Reserve website itself publishes various information and instructional materials for a variety of audiences.

Criticism of government interference

Some economists, especially those belonging to the heterodox Austrian School, criticize the idea of even establishing monetary policy, believing that it distorts investment. Friedrich Hayek won the Nobel Prize for his elaboration of the Austrian business cycle theory.

Briefly, the theory holds that an artificial injection of credit, from a source such as a central bank like the Federal Reserve, sends false signals to entrepreneurs to engage in long-term investments due to a favorably low interest rate. However, the surge of investments undertaken represents an artificial boom, or bubble, because the low interest rate was achieved by an artificial expansion of the money supply and not by savings. Hence, the pool of real savings and resources have not increased and do not justify the investments undertaken.

These investments, which are more appropriately called “malinvestments”, are realized to be unsustainable when the artificial credit spigot is shut off and interest rates rise. The malinvestments and unsustainable projects are liquidated, which is the recession. The theory demonstrates that the problem is the artificial boom which causes the malinvestments in the first place, made possible by an artificial injection of credit not from savings.

According to Austrian economics, without government intervention, interest rates will always be an equilibrium between the time-preferences of borrowers and savers, and this equilibrium is simply distorted by government intervention. This distortion, in their view, is the cause of the business cycle. Some Austrian economists—but by no means all—also support full reserve banking, a hypothetical financial/banking system where banks may not lend deposits. Others may advocate free banking, whereby the government abstains from any interference in what individuals may choose to use as money or the extent to which banks create money through the deposit and lending cycle.

Reserve requirement

The Federal Reserve regulates banking, and one regulation under its direct control is the reserve requirement which dictates how much money banks must keep in reserves, as compared to its demand deposits. Banks use their observation that the majority of deposits are not requested by the account holders at the same time.

Currently, the Federal Reserve requires that banks keep 10% of their deposits on hand.[81] Some countries have no nationally mandated reserve requirements—banks use their own resources to determine what to hold in reserve, however their lending is typically constrained by other regulations.[82] Other factors being equal, lower reserve percentages increases the possibility of Bank runs, such as the widespread runs of 1931. Low reserve requirements also allow for larger expansions of the money supply by actions of commercial banks—currently the private banking system has created much of the broad money supply of US dollars through lending activity. Monetary policy reform calling for 100% reserves has been advocated by economists such as: Irving Fisher,[83] Frank Knight,[84] many ecological economists along with economists of the Chicago School and Austrian School. Despite calls for reform, the nearly universal practice of fractional-reserve banking has remained in the United States.

Criticism of private sector involvement

Historically and to the present day, various social and political movements (such as social credit) have criticized the involvement of the private sector in “creating money”, claiming that only the government should have the power to “make money”. Some proponents also support full reserve banking or other non-orthodox approaches to monetary policy. Various terminology may be used, including “debt money”, which may have emotive or political connotations. These are generally considered to be akin to conspiracy theories by mainstream economists and ignored in academic literature on monetary policy.

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monetary_policy_of_the_United_States

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George Orwell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
George Orwell
A photo showing the head and shoulders of a middle-aged man with black hair and a slim moustache.

Orwell’s press card portrait, 1943
Born Eric Arthur Blair
25 June 1903
Motihari, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now East Champaran, Bihar, India)
Died 21 January 1950 (aged 46)
University College Hospital, London, England, United Kingdom
Resting place Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Pen name George Orwell
Occupation Novelist, essayist, journalist, critic
Alma mater Eton College
Genre Dystopia, roman à clef, satire
Subject Anti-fascism, anti-Stalinism, democratic socialism, literary criticism, news, polemic
Notable works Animal Farm
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Years active 1928–1950
Spouse Eileen O’Shaughnessy
(m. 1935; her death 1945)
Sonia Brownell
(m. 1949; his death 1950)

Signature Eric Blair ("George Orwell")

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950),[1] better known by the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.[2][3]

Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism. He is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working class life in the north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, are widely acclaimed, as are his essays on politics, literature, language, and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.[4]

Orwell’s work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian – descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices – has entered the language together with many of his neologisms, including cold war, Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, memory hole, newspeak, doublethink, and thoughtcrime.[5]

Contents

 [show] 

Life

Early years

Blair family home at Shiplake, Oxfordshire

Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903, in Motihari, Bengal Presidency (present-day Bihar), in British India.[6] His great-grandfather Charles Blair was a wealthy country gentleman in Dorset who married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of the Earl of Westmorland, and had income as an absentee landlord of plantations in Jamaica.[7] His grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, was a clergyman.[8] Although the gentility passed down the generations, the prosperity did not; Eric Blair described his family as “lower-upper-middle class“.[9] His father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service.[10] His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (née Limouzin), grew up in Moulmein, Burma, where her French father was involved in speculative ventures.[7] Eric had two sisters: Marjorie, five years older, and Avril, five years younger. When Eric was one year old, his mother took him and his sister to England.[11][n 1] His birthplace and ancestral house in Motihari has been declared a protected monument of historical importance.[12]

In 1904, Ida Blair settled with her children at Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. Eric was brought up in the company of his mother and sisters, and apart from a brief visit in mid-1907,[13] they did not see the husband and father Richard Blair until 1912.[8] His mother’s diary from 1905 describes a lively round of social activity and artistic interests.

Before the First World War, the family moved to Shiplake, Oxfordshire where Eric became friendly with the Buddicom family, especially their daughter Jacintha. When they first met, he was standing on his head in a field. On being asked why, he said, “You are noticed more if you stand on your head than if you are right way up.”[14] Jacintha and Eric read and wrote poetry, and dreamed of becoming famous writers. He said that he might write a book in the style of H. G. Wells‘s A Modern Utopia. During this period, he also enjoyed shooting, fishing and birdwatching with Jacintha’s brother and sister.[14]

Playing fields at St. Cyprian’s. Blair’s time at the school inspired his essay “Such, Such Were the Joys“.

At the age of five, Eric was sent as a day-boy to a convent school in Henley-on-Thames, which Marjorie also attended. It was a Roman Catholic convent run by French Ursuline nuns, who had been exiled from France after religious education was banned in 1903.[15] His mother wanted him to have a public school education, but his family could not afford the fees, and he needed to earn a scholarship. Ida Blair’s brother Charles Limouzin recommended St Cyprian’s School, Eastbourne, East Sussex.[8] Limouzin, who was a proficient golfer, knew of the school and its headmaster through the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club, where he won several competitions in 1903 and 1904.[16] The headmaster undertook to help Blair to win a scholarship, and made a private financial arrangement that allowed Blair’s parents to pay only half the normal fees. In September 1911 Eric arrived at St Cyprian’s. He boarded at the school for the next five years, returning home only for school holidays. He knew nothing of the reduced fees, although he “soon recognised that he was from a poorer home”.[17] Blair hated the school[18] and many years later wrote an essay “Such, Such Were the Joys“, published posthumously, based on his time there. At St. Cyprian’s, Blair first met Cyril Connolly, who became a writer. Many years later, as the editor of Horizon, Connolly published several of Orwell’s essays.

While at St Cyprian’s, Blair wrote two poems that were published in the Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard.[19][20] He came second to Connolly in the Harrow History Prize, had his work praised by the school’s external examiner, and earned scholarships to Wellington and Eton. But inclusion on the Eton scholarship roll did not guarantee a place, and none was immediately available for Blair. He chose to stay at St Cyprian’s until December 1916, in case a place at Eton became available.[8]

In January, Blair took up the place at Wellington, where he spent the Spring term. In May 1917 a place became available as a King’s Scholar at Eton. He remained at Eton until December 1921, when he left midway between his 18th and 19th birthday. Wellington was “beastly”, Orwell told his childhood friend Jacintha Buddicom, but he said he was “interested and happy” at Eton.[21] His principal tutor was A. S. F. Gow, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who also gave him advice later in his career.[8] Blair was briefly taught French by Aldous Huxley. Stephen Runciman, who was at Eton with Blair, noted that he and his contemporaries appreciated Huxley’s linguistic flair.[22] Cyril Connolly followed Blair to Eton, but because they were in separate years, they did not associate with each other.[23]

Blair’s academic performance reports suggest that he neglected his academic studies,[22] but during his time at Eton he worked with Roger Mynors to produce a College magazine, The Election Times, joined in the production of other publications – College Days and Bubble and Squeak – and participated in the Eton Wall Game. His parents could not afford to send him to a university without another scholarship, and they concluded from his poor results that he would not be able to win one. Runciman noted that he had a romantic idea about the East,[22] and the family decided that Blair should join the Imperial Police, the precursor of the Indian Police Service. For this he had to pass an entrance examination. His father had retired to Southwold, Suffolk, by this time; Blair was enrolled at a crammer there called Craighurst, and brushed up on his Classics, English, and History. He passed the entrance exam, coming seventh out of the 26 candidates who exceeded the pass mark.[8][24]

Policing in Burma

Blair pictured in a passport photo during his Burma years

Blair’s maternal grandmother lived at Moulmein, so he chose a posting in Burma. In October 1922 he sailed on board SS Herefordshire via the Suez Canal and Ceylon to join the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. A month later, he arrived at Rangoon and travelled to the police training school in Mandalay. After a short posting at Maymyo, Burma’s principal hill station, he was posted to the frontier outpost of Myaungmya in the Irrawaddy Delta at the beginning of 1924.

Working as an imperial policeman gave him considerable responsibility while most of his contemporaries were still at university in England. When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200,000 people. At the end of 1924, he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam, closer to Rangoon. Syriam had the refinery of the Burmah Oil Company, “the surrounding land a barren waste, all vegetation killed off by the fumes of sulphur dioxide pouring out day and night from the stacks of the refinery.” But the town was near Rangoon, a cosmopolitan seaport, and Blair went into the city as often as he could, “to browse in a bookshop; to eat well-cooked food; to get away from the boring routine of police life”.[25] In September 1925 he went to Insein, the home of Insein Prison, the second largest jail in Burma. In Insein, he had “long talks on every conceivable subject” with Elisa Maria Langford-Rae (who later married Kazi Lhendup Dorjee). She noted his “sense of utter fairness in minutest details”.[26]

British Club in Katha (in Orwell’s time, it occupied only the ground floor)

In April 1926 he moved to Moulmein, where his maternal grandmother lived. At the end of that year, he was assigned to Katha in Upper Burma, where he contracted dengue fever in 1927. Entitled to a leave in England that year, he was allowed to return in July due to his illness. While on leave in England and on holiday with his family in Cornwall in September 1927, he reappraised his life. Deciding against returning to Burma, he resigned from the Indian Imperial Police to become a writer. He drew on his experiences in the Burma police for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the essays “A Hanging” (1931) and “Shooting an Elephant” (1936).

In Burma, Blair acquired a reputation as an outsider. He spent much of his time alone, reading or pursuing non-pukka activities, such as attending the churches of the Karen ethnic group. A colleague, Roger Beadon, recalled (in a 1969 recording for the BBC) that Blair was fast to learn the language and that before he left Burma, “was able to speak fluently with Burmese priests in ‘very high-flown Burmese.'”[27] Blair made changes to his appearance in Burma that remained for the rest of his life. “While in Burma, he acquired a moustache similar to those worn by officers of the British regiments stationed there. [He] also acquired some tattoos; on each knuckle he had a small untidy blue circle. Many Burmese living in rural areas still sport tattoos like this – they are believed to protect against bullets and snake bites.”[28] Later, he wrote that he felt guilty about his role in the work of empire and he “began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed …”

London and Paris

Blair’s 1927 lodgings in Portobello Road, London

In England, he settled back in the family home at Southwold, renewing acquaintance with local friends and attending an Old Etonian dinner. He visited his old tutor Gow at Cambridge for advice on becoming a writer.[29] In 1927 he moved to London.[30] Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, helped him find lodgings, and by the end of 1927 he had moved into rooms in Portobello Road;[31] a blue plaque commemorates his residence there.[32] Pitter’s involvement in the move “would have lent it a reassuring respectability in Mrs Blair’s eyes.” Pitter had a sympathetic interest in Blair’s writing, pointed out weaknesses in his poetry, and advised him to write about what he knew. In fact he decided to write of “certain aspects of the present that he set out to know” and “ventured into the East End of London – the first of the occasional sorties he would make to discover for himself the world of poverty and the down-and-outers who inhabit it. He had found a subject. These sorties, explorations, expeditions, tours or immersions were made intermittently over a period of five years.”[33]

In imitation of Jack London, whose writing he admired (particularly The People of the Abyss), Blair started to explore the poorer parts of London. On his first outing he set out to Limehouse Causeway, spending his first night in a common lodging house, possibly George Levy’s ‘kip’. For a while he “went native” in his own country, dressing like a tramp, adopting the name P. S. Burton and making no concessions to middle-class mores and expectations; he recorded his experiences of the low life for use in “The Spike“, his first published essay in English, and in the second half of his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933).

Rue du Pot de Fer, on the Left Bank, in the 5th arrondissement, where Blair lived in Paris

In early 1928 he moved to Paris. He lived in the rue du Pot de Fer, a working class district in the 5th Arrondissement.[8] His aunt Nellie Limouzin also lived in Paris and gave him social and, when necessary, financial support. He began to write novels, including an early version of Burmese Days, but nothing else survives from that period.[8] He was more successful as a journalist and published articles in Monde, a political/literary journal edited by Henri Barbusse (his first article as a professional writer, “La Censure en Angleterre”, appeared in that journal on 6 October 1928); G. K.’s Weekly, where his first article to appear in England, “A Farthing Newspaper”, was printed on 29 December 1928;[34] and Le Progrès Civique (founded by the left-wing coalition Le Cartel des Gauches). Three pieces appeared in successive weeks in Le Progrès Civique: discussing unemployment, a day in the life of a tramp, and the beggars of London, respectively. “In one or another of its destructive forms, poverty was to become his obsessive subject – at the heart of almost everything he wrote until Homage to Catalonia.”[35]

He fell seriously ill in February 1929 and was taken to the Hôpital Cochin in the 14th arrondissement, a free hospital where medical students were trained. His experiences there were the basis of his essay “How the Poor Die“, published in 1946. He chose not to identify the hospital, and indeed was deliberately misleading about its location. Shortly afterwards, he had all his money stolen from his lodging house. Whether through necessity or to collect material, he undertook menial jobs like dishwashing in a fashionable hotel on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in Down and Out in Paris and London. In August 1929, he sent a copy of “The Spike” to John Middleton Murry‘s New Adelphi magazine in London. The magazine was edited by Max Plowman and Sir Richard Rees, and Plowman accepted the work for publication.

Southwold

Southwold – North Parade

In December 1929, after nearly two years in Paris, Blair returned to England and went directly to his parents’ house in Southwold, which remained his base for the next five years. The family was well established in the town and his sister Avril was running a tea-house there. He became acquainted with many local people, including Brenda Salkeld, the clergyman’s daughter who worked as a gym-teacher at St Felix Girls’ School, Southwold. Although Salkeld rejected his offer of marriage, she remained a friend and regular correspondent for many years. He also renewed friendships with older friends, such as Dennis Collings, whose girlfriend Eleanor Jacques was also to play a part in his life.[8]

In early 1930 he stayed briefly in Bramley, Leeds, with his sister Marjorie and her husband Humphrey Dakin, who was as unappreciative of Blair as when they knew each other as children. Blair was writing reviews for Adelphi and acting as a private tutor to a disabled child at Southwold. He then became tutor to three young brothers, one of whom, Richard Peters, later became a distinguished academic.[36] “His history in these years is marked by dualities and contrasts. There is Blair leading a respectable, outwardly eventless life at his parents’ house in Southwold, writing; then in contrast, there is Blair as Burton (the name he used in his down-and-out episodes) in search of experience in the kips and spikes, in the East End, on the road, and in the hop fields of Kent.”[37] He went painting and bathing on the beach, and there he met Mabel and Francis Fierz, who later influenced his career. Over the next year he visited them in London, often meeting their friend Max Plowman. He also often stayed at the homes of Ruth Pitter and Richard Rees, where he could “change” for his sporadic tramping expeditions. One of his jobs was domestic work at a lodgings for half a crown (two shillings and sixpence, or one-eighth of a pound) a day.[38]

Blair now contributed regularly to Adelphi, with “A Hanging” appearing in August 1931. From August to September 1931 his explorations of poverty continued, and, like the protagonist of A Clergyman’s Daughter, he followed the East End tradition of working in the Kent hop fields. He kept a diary about his experiences there. Afterwards, he lodged in the Tooley Street kip, but could not stand it for long, and with financial help from his parents moved to Windsor Street, where he stayed until Christmas. “Hop Picking”, by Eric Blair, appeared in the October 1931 issue of New Statesman, whose editorial staff included his old friend Cyril Connolly. Mabel Fierz put him in contact with Leonard Moore, who became his literary agent.

At this time Jonathan Cape rejected A Scullion’s Diary, the first version of Down and Out. On the advice of Richard Rees, he offered it to Faber and Faber, but their editorial director, T. S. Eliot, also rejected it. Blair ended the year by deliberately getting himself arrested,[39] so that he could experience Christmas in prison, but the authorities did not regard his “drunk and disorderly” behaviour as imprisonable, and he returned home to Southwold after two days in a police cell.

Teaching career

In April 1932 Blair became a teacher at The Hawthorns High School, a school for boys in Hayes, West London. This was a small school offering private schooling for children of local tradesmen and shopkeepers, and had only 14 or 16 boys aged between ten and sixteen, and one other master.[40] While at the school he became friendly with the curate of the local parish church and became involved with activities there. Mabel Fierz had pursued matters with Moore, and at the end of June 1932, Moore told Blair that Victor Gollancz was prepared to publish A Scullion’s Diary for a £40 advance, through his recently founded publishing house, Victor Gollancz Ltd, which was an outlet for radical and socialist works.

At the end of the summer term in 1932, Blair returned to Southwold, where his parents had used a legacy to buy their own home. Blair and his sister Avril spent the holidays making the house habitable while he also worked on Burmese Days.[41] He was also spending time with Eleanor Jacques, but her attachment to Dennis Collings remained an obstacle to his hopes of a more serious relationship.

The pen name “George Orwell” was inspired by the River Orwell in the English county of Suffolk[42]

“Clink”, an essay describing his failed attempt to get sent to prison, appeared in the August 1932 number of Adelphi. He returned to teaching at Hayes and prepared for the publication of his book, now known as Down and Out in Paris and London. He wished to publish under a different name to avoid any embarrassment to his family over his time as a “tramp”.[43] In a letter to Moore (dated 15 November 1932), he left the choice of pseudonym to Moore and to Gollancz. Four days later, he wrote to Moore, suggesting the pseudonyms P. S. Burton (a name he used when tramping), Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways.[44] He finally adopted the nom de plume George Orwell because, as he told Eleanor Jacques, “It is a good round English name.” Down and Out in Paris and London was published on 9 January 1933, as Orwell continued to work on Burmese Days. Down and Out was successful and was next published by Harper & Brothers in New York.

In mid-1933 Blair left Hawthorns to become a teacher at Frays College, in Uxbridge, Middlesex. This was a much larger establishment with 200 pupils and a full complement of staff. He acquired a motorcycle and took trips through the surrounding countryside. On one of these expeditions he became soaked and caught a chill that developed into pneumonia. He was taken to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital, where for a time his life was believed to be in danger. When he was discharged in January 1934, he returned to Southwold to convalesce and, supported by his parents, never returned to teaching.

He was disappointed when Gollancz turned down Burmese Days, mainly on the grounds of potential suits for libel, but Harper were prepared to publish it in the United States. Meanwhile, Blair started work on the novel A Clergyman’s Daughter, drawing upon his life as a teacher and on life in Southwold. Eleanor Jacques was now married and had gone to Singapore and Brenda Salkield had left for Ireland, so Blair was relatively isolated in Southwold – working on the allotments, walking alone and spending time with his father. Eventually in October, after sending A Clergyman’s Daughter to Moore, he left for London to take a job that had been found for him by his aunt Nellie Limouzin.

Hampstead

Orwell’s former home at 77 Parliament Hill, Hampstead, London

This job was as a part-time assistant in Booklovers’ Corner, a second-hand bookshop in Hampstead run by Francis and Myfanwy Westrope, who were friends of Nellie Limouzin in the Esperanto movement. The Westropes were friendly and provided him with comfortable accommodation at Warwick Mansions, Pond Street. He was sharing the job with Jon Kimche, who also lived with the Westropes. Blair worked at the shop in the afternoons and had his mornings free to write and his evenings free to socialise. These experiences provided background for the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936). As well as the various guests of the Westropes, he was able to enjoy the company of Richard Rees and the Adelphi writers and Mabel Fierz. The Westropes and Kimche were members of the Independent Labour Party, although at this time Blair was not seriously politically active. He was writing for the Adelphi and preparing A Clergyman’s Daughter and Burmese Days for publication.

At the beginning of 1935 he had to move out of Warwick Mansions, and Mabel Fierz found him a flat in Parliament Hill. A Clergyman’s Daughter was published on 11 March 1935. In early 1935 Blair met his future wife Eileen O’Shaughnessy, when his landlady, Rosalind Obermeyer, who was studying for a master’s degree in psychology at University College London, invited some of her fellow students to a party. One of these students, Elizaveta Fen, a biographer and future translator of Chekhov, recalled Orwell and his friend Richard Rees “draped” at the fireplace, looking, she thought, “moth-eaten and prematurely aged.”[45] Around this time, Blair had started to write reviews for the New English Weekly.

Orwell’s time as a bookseller is commemorated with this plaque in Hampstead

In June, Burmese Days was published and Cyril Connolly’s review in the New Statesman prompted Orwell (as he then became known) to re-establish contact with his old friend. In August, he moved into a flat in Kentish Town, which he shared with Michael Sayers and Rayner Heppenstall. The relationship was sometimes awkward and Orwell and Heppenstall even came to blows, though they remained friends and later worked together on BBC broadcasts.[46] Orwell was now working on Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and also tried unsuccessfully to write a serial for the News Chronicle. By October 1935 his flatmates had moved out and he was struggling to pay the rent on his own. He remained until the end of January 1936, when he stopped working at Booklovers’ Corner.

The Road to Wigan Pier

At this time, Victor Gollancz suggested Orwell spend a short time investigating social conditions in economically depressed northern England.[n 2] Two years earlier J. B. Priestley had written about England north of the Trent, sparking an interest in reportage. The depression had also introduced a number of working-class writers from the North of England to the reading public.

On 31 January 1936, Orwell set out by public transport and on foot, reaching Manchester via Coventry, Stafford, the Potteries and Macclesfield. Arriving in Manchester after the banks had closed, he had to stay in a common lodging-house. The next day he picked up a list of contacts sent by Richard Rees. One of these, the trade union official Frank Meade, suggested Wigan, where Orwell spent February staying in dirty lodgings over a tripe shop. At Wigan, he visited many homes to see how people lived, took detailed notes of housing conditions and wages earned, went down Bryn Hall coal mine, and used the local public library to consult public health records and reports on working conditions in mines.

During this time, he was distracted by concerns about style and possible libel in Keep the Aspidistra Flying. He made a quick visit to Liverpool and during March, stayed in south Yorkshire, spending time in Sheffield and Barnsley. As well as visiting mines, including Grimethorpe, and observing social conditions, he attended meetings of the Communist Party and of Oswald Mosley – “his speech the usual claptrap – The blame for everything was put upon mysterious international gangs of Jews” – where he saw the tactics of the Blackshirts – “one is liable to get both a hammering and a fine for asking a question which Mosley finds it difficult to answer.”[48] He also made visits to his sister at Headingley, during which he visited the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, where he was “chiefly impressed by a pair of Charlotte Brontë‘s cloth-topped boots, very small, with square toes and lacing up at the sides.”[49]

A former warehouse at Wigan Pier is named after Orwell

No 2 Kits Lane, Wallington, Hertfordshire. Orwell’s residence c. 1936–1940

The result of his journeys through the north was The Road to Wigan Pier, published by Gollancz for the Left Book Club in 1937. The first half of the book documents his social investigations of Lancashire and Yorkshire, including an evocative description of working life in the coal mines. The second half is a long essay on his upbringing and the development of his political conscience, which includes an argument for Socialism (although he goes to lengths to balance the concerns and goals of Socialism with the barriers it faced from the movement’s own advocates at the time, such as ‘priggish’ and ‘dull’ Socialist intellectuals, and ‘proletarian’ Socialists with little grasp of the actual ideology). Gollancz feared the second half would offend readers and added a disculpatory preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain.

Orwell needed somewhere he could concentrate on writing his book, and once again help was provided by Aunt Nellie, who was living at Wallington, Hertfordshire in a very small 16th-century cottage called the “Stores”. Wallington was a tiny village 35 miles north of London, and the cottage had almost no modern facilities. Orwell took over the tenancy and moved in on 2 April 1936.[50] He started work on The Road to Wigan Pier by the end of April, but also spent hours working on the garden and testing the possibility of reopening the Stores as a village shop. Keep the Aspidistra Flying was published by Gollancz on 20 April 1936. On 4 August Orwell gave a talk at the Adelphi Summer School held at Langham, entitled An Outsider Sees the Distressed Areas; others who spoke at the school included John Strachey, Max Plowman, Karl Polanyi and Reinhold Niebuhr.

Orwell’s research for The Road to Wigan Pier led to him being placed under surveillance by the Special Branch from 1936, for 12 years, until one year before the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four.[51]

Orwell married Eileen O’Shaughnessy on 9 June 1936. Shortly afterwards, the political crisis began in Spain and Orwell followed developments there closely. At the end of the year, concerned by Francisco Franco‘s military uprising, (supported by Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and local groups such as Falange), Orwell decided to go to Spain to take part in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Under the erroneous impression that he needed papers from some left-wing organisation to cross the frontier, on John Strachey‘s recommendation he applied unsuccessfully to Harry Pollitt, leader of the British Communist Party. Pollitt was suspicious of Orwell’s political reliability; he asked him whether he would undertake to join the International Brigade and advised him to get a safe-conduct from the Spanish Embassy in Paris.[52] Not wishing to commit himself until he had seen the situation in situ, Orwell instead used his Independent Labour Party contacts to get a letter of introduction to John McNair in Barcelona.

The Spanish Civil War

The square in Barcelona renamed in Orwell’s honour

Orwell set out for Spain on about 23 December 1936, dining with Henry Miller in Paris on the way. The American writer told Orwell that going to fight in the Civil War out of some sense of obligation or guilt was ‘sheer stupidity,’ and that the Englishman’s ideas ‘about combating Fascism, defending democracy, etc., etc., were all baloney.’[53] A few days later, in Barcelona, Orwell met John McNair of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) Office who quoted him: “I’ve come to fight against Fascism”.[54] Orwell stepped into a complex political situation in Catalonia. The Republican government was supported by a number of factions with conflicting aims, including the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification (POUM – Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (a wing of the Spanish Communist Party, which was backed by Soviet arms and aid). The ILP was linked to the POUM so Orwell joined the POUM.

After a time at the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona he was sent to the relatively quiet Aragon Front under Georges Kopp. By January 1937 he was at Alcubierre 1,500 feet (460 m) above sea level, in the depth of winter. There was very little military action, and Orwell was shocked by the lack of munitions, food, and firewood, and other extreme deprivations.[55] Orwell, with his Cadet Corps and police training, was quickly made a corporal. On the arrival of a British ILP Contingent about three weeks later, Orwell and the other English militiaman, Williams, were sent with them to Monte Oscuro. The newly arrived ILP contingent included Bob Smillie, Bob Edwards, Stafford Cottman and Jack Branthwaite. The unit was then sent on to Huesca.

Meanwhile, back in England, Eileen had been handling the issues relating to the publication of The Road to Wigan Pier before setting out for Spain herself, leaving Nellie Limouzin to look after The Stores. Eileen volunteered for a post in John McNair’s office and with the help of Georges Kopp paid visits to her husband, bringing him English tea, chocolate, and cigars.[56] Orwell had to spend some days in hospital with a poisoned hand[57] and had most of his possessions stolen by the staff. He returned to the front and saw some action in a night attack on the Nationalist trenches where he chased an enemy soldier with a bayonet and bombed an enemy rifle position.

In April, Orwell returned to Barcelona.[57] Wanting to be sent to the Madrid front, which meant he “must join the International Column”, he approached a Communist friend attached to the Spanish Medical Aid and explained his case. “Although he did not think much of the Communists, Orwell was still ready to treat them as friends and allies. That would soon change.”[58] This was the time of the Barcelona May Days and Orwell was caught up in the factional fighting. He spent much of the time on a roof, with a stack of novels, but encountered Jon Kimche from his Hampstead days during the stay. The subsequent campaign of lies and distortion carried out by the Communist press,[59] in which the POUM was accused of collaborating with the fascists, had a dramatic effect on Orwell. Instead of joining the International Brigades as he had intended, he decided to return to the Aragon Front. Once the May fighting was over, he was approached by a Communist friend who asked if he still intended transferring to the International Brigades. Orwell expressed surprise that they should still want him, because according to the Communist press he was a fascist.[60] “No one who was in Barcelona then, or for months later, will forget the horrible atmosphere produced by fear, suspicion, hatred, censored newspapers, crammed jails, enormous food queues and prowling gangs of armed men.”[61]

After his return to the front, he was wounded in the throat by a sniper’s bullet. At 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Orwell was considerably taller than the Spanish fighters[62] and had been warned against standing against the trench parapet. Unable to speak, and with blood pouring from his mouth, Orwell was carried on a stretcher to Siétamo, loaded on an ambulance and after a bumpy journey via Barbastro arrived at the hospital at Lérida. He recovered sufficiently to get up and on 27 May 1937 was sent on to Tarragona and two days later to a POUM sanatorium in the suburbs of Barcelona. The bullet had missed his main artery by the barest margin and his voice was barely audible. It had been such a clean shot that the wound immediately went through the process of cauterisation. He received electrotherapy treatment and was declared medically unfit for service.[63]

By the middle of June the political situation in Barcelona had deteriorated and the POUM – painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organisation – was outlawed and under attack. The Communist line was that the POUM were “objectively” Fascist, hindering the Republican cause. “A particularly nasty poster appeared, showing a head with a POUM mask being ripped off to reveal a Swastika-covered face beneath.”[64] Members, including Kopp, were arrested and others were in hiding. Orwell and his wife were under threat and had to lie low,[n 3] although they broke cover to try to help Kopp.

Finally with their passports in order, they escaped from Spain by train, diverting to Banyuls-sur-Mer for a short stay before returning to England. In the first week of July 1937 Orwell arrived back at Wallington; on 13 July 1937 a deposition was presented to the Tribunal for Espionage & High Treason, Valencia, charging the Orwells with “rabid Trotskyism“, and being agents of the POUM.[65] The trial of the leaders of the POUM and of Orwell (in his absence) took place in Barcelona in October and November 1938. Observing events from French Morocco, Orwell wrote that they were ” – only a by-product of the Russian Trotskyist trials and from the start every kind of lie, including flagrant absurdities, has been circulated in the Communist press.”[66] Orwell’s experiences in the Spanish Civil War gave rise to Homage to Catalonia (1938).

Rest and recuperation

Laurence O’Shaughnessy’s former home, the large house on the corner, 24 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London[67]

Orwell returned to England in June 1937, and stayed at the O’Shaughnessy home at Greenwich. He found his views on the Spanish Civil War out of favour. Kingsley Martin rejected two of his works and Gollancz was equally cautious. At the same time, the communist Daily Worker was running an attack on The Road to Wigan Pier, misquoting Orwell as saying “the working classes smell”; a letter to Gollancz from Orwell threatening libel action brought a stop to this. Orwell was also able to find a more sympathetic publisher for his views in Frederic Warburg of Secker & Warburg. Orwell returned to Wallington, which he found in disarray after his absence. He acquired goats, a rooster he called “Henry Ford”, and a poodle puppy he called “Marx”[68][69][70] and settled down to animal husbandry and writing Homage to Catalonia.

There were thoughts of going to India to work on the Pioneer, a newspaper in Lucknow, but by March 1938 Orwell’s health had deteriorated. He was admitted to Preston Hall Sanatorium at Aylesford, Kent, a British Legion hospital for ex-servicemen to which his brother-in-law Laurence O’Shaughnessy was attached. He was thought initially to be suffering from tuberculosis and stayed in the sanatorium until September. A stream of visitors came to see him including Common, Heppenstall, Plowman and Cyril Connolly. Connolly brought with him Stephen Spender, a cause of some embarrassment as Orwell had referred to Spender as a “pansy friend” some time earlier. Homage to Catalonia was published by Secker & Warburg and was a commercial flop. In the latter part of his stay at the clinic Orwell was able to go for walks in the countryside and study nature.

The novelist L. H. Myers secretly funded a trip to French Morocco for half a year for Orwell to avoid the English winter and recover his health. The Orwells set out in September 1938 via Gibraltar and Tangier to avoid Spanish Morocco and arrived at Marrakech. They rented a villa on the road to Casablanca and during that time Orwell wrote Coming Up for Air. They arrived back in England on 30 March 1939 and Coming Up for Air was published in June. Orwell spent time in Wallington and Southwold working on a Dickens essay and it was in July 1939 that Orwell’s father, Richard Blair, died.

Second World War and Animal Farm

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Orwell’s wife Eileen started working in the Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information in central London, staying during the week with her family in Greenwich. Orwell also submitted his name to the Central Register for war work, but nothing transpired. “They won’t have me in the army, at any rate at present, because of my lungs”, Orwell told Geoffrey Gorer. He returned to Wallington, and in late 1939 he wrote material for his first collection of essays, Inside the Whale. For the next year he was occupied writing reviews for plays, films and books for The Listener, Time and Tide and New Adelphi. On 29 March 1940 his long association with Tribune began[71] with a review of a sergeant’s account of Napoleon‘s retreat from Moscow. At the beginning of 1940, the first edition of Connolly’s Horizon appeared, and this provided a new outlet for Orwell’s work as well as new literary contacts. In May the Orwells took lease of a flat in London at Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, Marylebone. It was the time of the Dunkirk evacuation and the death in France of Eileen’s brother Lawrence caused her considerable grief and long-term depression. Throughout this period Orwell kept a wartime diary.

Orwell was declared “unfit for any kind of military service” by the Medical Board in June, but soon afterwards found an opportunity to become involved in war activities by joining the Home Guard. He shared Tom Wintringham‘s socialist vision for the Home Guard as a revolutionary People’s Militia. His lecture notes for instructing platoon members include advice on street fighting, field fortifications, and the use of mortars of various kinds. Sergeant Orwell managed to recruit Frederic Warburg to his unit. During the Battle of Britain he used to spend weekends with Warburg and his new Zionist friend, Tosco Fyvel, at Warburg’s house at Twyford, Berkshire. At Wallington he worked on “England Your England” and in London wrote reviews for various periodicals. Visiting Eileen’s family in Greenwich brought him face-to-face with the effects of the blitz on East London. In mid-1940, Warburg, Fyvel and Orwell planned Searchlight Books. Eleven volumes eventually appeared, of which Orwell’s The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius, published on 19 February 1941, was the first.[72]

Early in 1941 he started writing for the American Partisan Review which linked Orwell with The New York Intellectuals, like him anti-Stalinist, but committed to staying on the Left,[73] and contributed to Gollancz anthology The Betrayal of the Left, written in the light of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (although Orwell referred to it as the Russo-German Pact and the Hitler-Stalin Pact[74]). He also applied unsuccessfully for a job at the Air Ministry. Meanwhile, he was still writing reviews of books and plays and at this time met the novelist Anthony Powell. He also took part in a few radio broadcasts for the Eastern Service of the BBC. In March the Orwells moved to a seventh-floor flat at Langford Court, St John’s Wood, while at Wallington Orwell was “digging for victory” by planting potatoes.

One could not have a better example of the moral and emotional shallowness of our time, than the fact that we are now all more or less pro Stalin. This disgusting murderer is temporarily on our side, and so the purges, etc., are suddenly forgotten.

— George Orwell, in his war-time diary, 3 July 1941[75]

In August 1941, Orwell finally obtained “war work” when he was taken on full-time by the BBC’s Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links. This was Orwell’s first experience of the rigid conformity of life in an office, and it gave him an opportunity to create cultural programmes with contributions from T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, E. M. Forster, Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, and William Empson among others.

At the end of August he had a dinner with H. G. Wells which degenerated into a row because Wells had taken offence at observations Orwell made about him in a Horizon article. In October Orwell had a bout of bronchitis and the illness recurred frequently. David Astor was looking for a provocative contributor for The Observer and invited Orwell to write for him – the first article appearing in March 1942. In early 1942 Eileen changed jobs to work at the Ministry of Food and in mid-1942 the Orwells moved to a larger flat, a ground floor and basement, 10a Mortimer Crescent in Maida Vale/Kilburn – “the kind of lower-middle-class ambience that Orwell thought was London at its best.” Around the same time Orwell’s mother and sister Avril, who had found work in a sheet-metal factory behind Kings Cross Station, moved into a flat close to George and Eileen.[76]

Orwell at the BBC in 1941. Despite having spoken on many broadcasts, no recordings of Orwell’s voice are known to survive.[77][78][79]

At the BBC, Orwell introduced Voice, a literary programme for his Indian broadcasts, and by now was leading an active social life with literary friends, particularly on the political left. Late in 1942, he started writing regularly for the left-wing weekly Tribune[80]:306[81]:441 directed by Labour MPs Aneurin Bevan and George Strauss. In March 1943 Orwell’s mother died and around the same time he told Moore he was starting work on a new book, which turned out to be Animal Farm.

In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years.[82]:352 His resignation followed a report confirming his fears that few Indians listened to the broadcasts,[83] but he was also keen to concentrate on writing Animal Farm. Just six days before his last day of service, on 24 November 1943, his adaptation of the fairy tale, Hans Christian Andersen‘s The Emperor’s New Clothes was broadcast. It was a genre in which he was greatly interested and which appeared on Animal Farms title-page.[84] At this time he also resigned from the Home Guard on medical grounds.[85]

In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews[86] and on 3 December 1943 started his regular personal column, “As I Please“, usually addressing three or four subjects in each.[87] He was still writing reviews for other magazines, including Partisan Review, Horizon, and the New York Nation and becoming a respected pundit among left-wing circles but also a close friend of people on the right such as Powell, Astor and Malcolm Muggeridge. By April 1944 Animal Farm was ready for publication. Gollancz refused to publish it, considering it an attack on the Soviet regime which was a crucial ally in the war. A similar fate was met from other publishers (including T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber) until Jonathan Cape agreed to take it.

In May the Orwells had the opportunity to adopt a child, thanks to the contacts of Eileen’s sister Gwen O’Shaughnessy, then a doctor in Newcastle upon Tyne. In June a V-1 flying bomb struck Mortimer Crescent and the Orwells had to find somewhere else to live. Orwell had to scrabble around in the rubble for his collection of books, which he had finally managed to transfer from Wallington, carting them away in a wheelbarrow.

Another bombshell was Cape’s reversal of his plan to publish Animal Farm. The decision followed his personal visit to Peter Smollett, an official at the Ministry of Information. Smollett was later identified as a Soviet agent.[88][89]

The Orwells spent some time in the North East, near Carlton, County Durham, dealing with matters in the adoption of a boy whom they named Richard Horatio Blair.[90] By September 1944 they had set up home in Islington, at 27b Canonbury Square.[91] Baby Richard joined them there, and Eileen gave up her work at the Ministry of Food to look after her family. Secker & Warburg had agreed to publish Animal Farm, planned for the following March, although it did not appear in print until August 1945. By February 1945 David Astor had invited Orwell to become a war correspondent for the Observer. Orwell had been looking for the opportunity throughout the war, but his failed medical reports prevented him from being allowed anywhere near action. He went to Paris after the liberation of France and to Cologne once it had been occupied by the Allies.

It was while he was there that Eileen went into hospital for a hysterectomy and died under anaesthetic on 29 March 1945. She had not given Orwell much notice about this operation because of worries about the cost and because she expected to make a speedy recovery. Orwell returned home for a while and then went back to Europe. He returned finally to London to cover the 1945 general election at the beginning of July. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the US, on 26 August 1946.

Jura and Nineteen Eighty-Four

Animal Farm struck a particular resonance in the post-war climate and its worldwide success made Orwell a sought-after figure.

For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work – mainly for Tribune, The Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines – with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949.

Barnhill on the Isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland

In the year following Eileen’s death he published around 130 articles and a selection of his Critical Essays, while remaining active in various political lobbying campaigns. He employed a housekeeper, Susan Watson, to look after his adopted son at the Islington flat, which visitors now described as “bleak”. In September he spent a fortnight on the island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides and saw it as a place to escape from the hassle of London literary life. David Astor was instrumental in arranging a place for Orwell on Jura.[92] Astor’s family owned Scottish estates in the area and a fellow Old Etonian Robin Fletcher had a property on the island. In late 1945 and early 1946 Orwell made several hopeless and unwelcome marriage proposals to younger women, including Celia Kirwan (who was later to become Arthur Koestler‘s sister-in-law), Ann Popham who happened to live in the same block of flats and Sonia Brownell, one of Connolly’s coterie at the Horizon office. Orwell suffered a tubercular haemorrhage in February 1946 but disguised his illness. In 1945 or early 1946, while still living at Canonbury Square, Orwell wrote an article on “British Cookery”, complete with recipes, commissioned by the British Council. Given the post-war shortages, both parties agreed not to publish it.[93] His sister Marjorie died of kidney disease in May and shortly after, on 22 May 1946, Orwell set off to live on the Isle of Jura.

Barnhill[94] was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near the northern end of the island, situated at the end of a five-mile (8 km), heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the owners lived. Conditions at the farmhouse were primitive but the natural history and the challenge of improving the place appealed to Orwell. His sister Avril accompanied him there and young novelist Paul Potts made up the party. In July Susan Watson arrived with Orwell’s son Richard. Tensions developed and Potts departed after one of his manuscripts was used to light the fire. Orwell meanwhile set to work on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Later Susan Watson’s boyfriend David Holbrook arrived. A fan of Orwell since school days, he found the reality very different, with Orwell hostile and disagreeable probably because of Holbrook’s membership of the Communist Party.[95] Susan Watson could no longer stand being with Avril and she and her boyfriend left.

Orwell returned to London in late 1946 and picked up his literary journalism again. Now a well-known writer, he was swamped with work. Apart from a visit to Jura in the new year he stayed in London for one of the coldest British winters on record and with such a national shortage of fuel that he burnt his furniture and his child’s toys. The heavy smog in the days before the Clean Air Act 1956 did little to help his health about which he was reticent, keeping clear of medical attention. Meanwhile, he had to cope with rival claims of publishers Gollancz and Warburg for publishing rights. About this time he co-edited a collection titled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. As a result of the success of Animal Farm, Orwell was expecting a large bill from the Inland Revenue and he contacted a firm of accountants of which the senior partner was Jack Harrison. The firm advised Orwell to establish a company to own his copyright and to receive his royalties and set up a “service agreement” so that he could draw a salary. Such a company “George Orwell Productions Ltd” (GOP Ltd) was set up on 12 September 1947 although the service agreement was not then put into effect. Jack Harrison left the details at this stage to junior colleagues.[96]

Orwell left London for Jura on 10 April 1947.[8] In July he ended the lease on the Wallington cottage.[97] Back on Jura he worked on Nineteen Eighty-Four and made good progress. During that time his sister’s family visited, and Orwell led a disastrous boating expedition, on 19 August,[98] which nearly led to loss of life whilst trying to cross the notorious gulf of Corryvreckan and gave him a soaking which was not good for his health. In December a chest specialist was summoned from Glasgow who pronounced Orwell seriously ill and a week before Christmas 1947 he was in Hairmyres Hospital in East Kilbride, then a small village in the countryside, on the outskirts of Glasgow. Tuberculosis was diagnosed and the request for permission to import streptomycin to treat Orwell went as far as Aneurin Bevan, then Minister of Health. David Astor helped with supply and payment and Orwell began his course of streptomycin on 19 or 20 February 1948.[99] By the end of July 1948 Orwell was able to return to Jura and by December he had finished the manuscript of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In January 1949, in a very weak condition, he set off for a sanatorium at Cranham, Gloucestershire, escorted by Richard Rees.

The sanatorium at Cranham consisted of a series of small wooden chalets or huts in a remote part of the Cotswolds near Stroud. Visitors were shocked by Orwell’s appearance and concerned by the short-comings and ineffectiveness of the treatment. Friends were worried about his finances, but by now he was comparatively well-off. He was writing to many of his friends, including Jacintha Buddicom, who had “rediscovered” him, and in March 1949, was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell’s list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs.[88][100] Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim.

Final months and death

University College Hospital in London where Orwell died

Orwell’s health had continued to decline since the diagnosis of tuberculosis in December 1947. In mid-1949, he courted Sonia Brownell, and they announced their engagement in September, shortly before he was removed to University College Hospital in London. Sonia took charge of Orwell’s affairs and attended him diligently in the hospital, causing concern to some old friends such as Muggeridge. In September 1949, Orwell invited his accountant Harrison to visit him in hospital, and Harrison claimed that Orwell then asked him to become director of GOP Ltd and to manage the company, but there was no independent witness.[96] Orwell’s wedding took place in the hospital room on 13 October 1949, with David Astor as best man.[101] Orwell was in decline and visited by an assortment of visitors including Muggeridge, Connolly, Lucian Freud, Stephen Spender, Evelyn Waugh, Paul Potts, Anthony Powell, and his Eton tutor Anthony Gow.[8] Plans to go to the Swiss Alps were mooted. Further meetings were held with his accountant, at which Harrison and Mr and Mrs Blair were confirmed as directors of the company, and at which Harrison claimed that the “service agreement” was executed, giving copyright to the company.[96] Orwell’s health was in decline again by Christmas. On the evening of 20 January 1950, Potts visited Orwell and slipped away on finding him asleep. Jack Harrison visited later and claimed that Orwell gave him 25% of the company.[96] Early on the morning of 21 January, an artery burst in Orwell’s lungs, killing him at age 46.[102]

Orwell had requested to be buried in accordance with the Anglican rite in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die. The graveyards in central London had no space, and fearing that he might have to be cremated against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see whether any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard.

George Orwell’s grave in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire

David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, and arranged for Orwell to be interred in All Saints’ Churchyard there.[103] Orwell’s gravestone bears the simple epitaph: “Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born June 25th 1903, died January 21st 1950”; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen name.

Orwell’s son, Richard Horatio Blair, was brought up by Orwell’s sister Avril. He maintains a public profile as patron of the Orwell Society.[104] He gives interviews about the few memories he has of his father.

In 1979, Sonia Brownell brought a High Court action against Harrison, who had in the meantime transferred 75% of the company’s voting stock to himself and had dissipated much of the value of the company. She was considered to have a strong case, but was becoming increasingly ill and eventually was persuaded to settle out of court on 2 November 1980. She died on 11 December 1980, aged 62.[96]

Literary career and legacy

During most of his career, Orwell was best known for his journalism, in essays, reviews, columns in newspapers and magazines and in his books of reportage: Down and Out in Paris and London (describing a period of poverty in these cities), The Road to Wigan Pier (describing the living conditions of the poor in northern England, and class division generally) and Homage to Catalonia. According to Irving Howe, Orwell was “the best English essayist since Hazlitt, perhaps since Dr Johnson.”[105]

Modern readers are more often introduced to Orwell as a novelist, particularly through his enormously successful titles Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. The former is often thought to reflect degeneration in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution and the rise of Stalinism; the latter, life under totalitarian rule. Nineteen Eighty-Four is often compared to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; both are powerful dystopian novels warning of a future world where the state machine exerts complete control over social life. In 1984, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451 were honoured with the Prometheus Award for their contributions to dystopian literature. In 2011 he received it again for Animal Farm.

Coming Up for Air, his last novel before World War II is the most “English” of his novels; alarms of war mingle with images of idyllic Thames-side Edwardian childhood of protagonist George Bowling. The novel is pessimistic; industrialism and capitalism have killed the best of Old England, and there were great, new external threats. In homely terms, Bowling posits the totalitarian hypotheses of Borkenau, Orwell, Silone and Koestler: “Old Hitler’s something different. So’s Joe Stalin. They aren’t like these chaps in the old days who crucified people and chopped their heads off and so forth, just for the fun of it … They’re something quite new – something that’s never been heard of before”.

Literary influences

In an autobiographical piece that Orwell sent to the editors of Twentieth Century Authors in 1940, he wrote: “The writers I care about most and never grow tired of are: Shakespeare, Swift, Fielding, Dickens, Charles Reade, Flaubert and, among modern writers, James Joyce, T. S. Eliot and D. H. Lawrence. But I believe the modern writer who has influenced me most is W. Somerset Maugham, whom I admire immensely for his power of telling a story straightforwardly and without frills.” Elsewhere, Orwell strongly praised the works of Jack London, especially his book The Road. Orwell’s investigation of poverty in The Road to Wigan Pier strongly resembles that of Jack London’s The People of the Abyss, in which the American journalist disguises himself as an out-of-work sailor to investigate the lives of the poor in London. In his essay “Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels” (1946) Orwell wrote: “If I had to make a list of six books which were to be preserved when all others were destroyed, I would certainly put Gulliver’s Travels among them.”

Other writers admired by Orwell included: Ralph Waldo Emerson, George Gissing, Graham Greene, Herman Melville, Henry Miller, Tobias Smollett, Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and Yevgeny Zamyatin.[106] He was both an admirer and a critic of Rudyard Kipling,[107][108] praising Kipling as a gifted writer and a “good bad poet” whose work is “spurious” and “morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting,” but undeniably seductive and able to speak to certain aspects of reality more effectively than more enlightened authors.[109] He had a similarly ambivalent attitude to G. K. Chesterton, whom he regarded as a writer of considerable talent who had chosen to devote himself to “Roman Catholic propaganda”.[110]

Orwell as literary critic

Throughout his life Orwell continually supported himself as a book reviewer, writing works so long and sophisticated they have had an influence on literary criticism. He wrote in the conclusion to his 1940 essay on Charles Dickens,

When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with Fielding, Stendhal, Thackeray, Flaubert, though in several cases I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens’s photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry – in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.

George Woodcock suggested that the last two sentences characterised Orwell as much as his subject.[111]

Orwell wrote a critique of George Bernard Shaw‘s play Arms and the Man. He considered this Shaw’s best play and the most likely to remain socially relevant, because of its theme that war is not, generally speaking, a glorious romantic adventure. His 1945 essay In Defense of P.G. Wodehouse contains an amusing assessment of his writing and also argues that his broadcasts from Germany (during the war) did not really make him a traitor. He accused The Ministry of Information of exaggerating Wodehouse’s actions for propaganda purposes.

Reception and evaluations of Orwell’s works

Arthur Koestler mentioned Orwell’s “uncompromising intellectual honesty [which] made him appear almost inhuman at times.”[112] Ben Wattenberg stated: “Orwell’s writing pierced intellectual hypocrisy wherever he found it.”[113] According to historian Piers Brendon, “Orwell was the saint of common decency who would in earlier days, said his BBC boss Rushbrook Williams, ‘have been either canonised – or burnt at the stake'”.[114] Raymond Williams in Politics and Letters: Interviews with New Left Review describes Orwell as a “successful impersonation of a plain man who bumps into experience in an unmediated way and tells the truth about it.”[115] Christopher Norris declared that Orwell’s “homespun empiricist outlook – his assumption that the truth was just there to be told in a straightforward common-sense way – now seems not merely naïve but culpably self-deluding”.[116] The American scholar Scott Lucas has described Orwell[117] as an enemy of the Left. John Newsinger has argued[118] that Lucas could only do this by portraying “all of Orwell’s attacks on Stalinism [-] as if they were attacks on socialism, despite Orwell’s continued insistence that they were not.”

Orwell’s work has taken a prominent place in the school literature curriculum in England,[119] with Animal Farm a regular examination topic at the end of secondary education (GCSE), and Nineteen Eighty-Four a topic for subsequent examinations below university level (A Levels). Alan Brown noted that this brings to the forefront questions about the political content of teaching practices. Study aids, in particular with potted biographies, might be seen to help propagate the Orwell myth so that as an embodiment of human values he is presented as a “trustworthy guide”, while examination questions sometimes suggest a “right ways of answering” in line with the myth.[120][clarification needed]

Historian John Rodden stated: “John Podhoretz did claim that if Orwell were alive today, he’d be standing with the neo-conservatives and against the Left. And the question arises, to what extent can you even begin to predict the political positions of somebody who’s been dead three decades and more by that time?”[113]

In Orwell’s Victory, Christopher Hitchens argues, “In answer to the accusation of inconsistency Orwell as a writer was forever taking his own temperature. In other words, here was someone who never stopped testing and adjusting his intelligence”.[121]

John Rodden points out the “undeniable conservative features in the Orwell physiognomy” and remarks on how “to some extent Orwell facilitated the kinds of uses and abuses by the Right that his name has been put to. In other ways there has been the politics of selective quotation.”[113] Rodden refers to the essay “Why I Write“, in which Orwell refers to the Spanish Civil War as being his “watershed political experience”, saying “The Spanish War and other events in 1936–37, turned the scale. Thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism as I understand it.” (emphasis in original)[113] Rodden goes on to explain how, during the McCarthy era, the introduction to the Signet edition of Animal Farm, which sold more than 20 million copies, makes use of “the politics of ellipsis”:

If the book itself, Animal Farm, had left any doubt of the matter, Orwell dispelled it in his essay Why I Write: ‘Every line of serious work that I’ve written since 1936 has been written directly or indirectly against Totalitarianism … dot, dot, dot, dot.’ “For Democratic Socialism” is vaporised, just like Winston Smith did it at the Ministry of Truth, and that’s very much what happened at the beginning of the McCarthy era and just continued, Orwell being selectively quoted.[113]

Fyvel wrote about Orwell: “His crucial experience … was his struggle to turn himself into a writer, one which led through long periods of poverty, failure and humiliation, and about which he has written almost nothing directly. The sweat and agony was less in the slum-life than in the effort to turn the experience into literature.”[122][123]

In October 2015 Finlay Publisher, for the Orwell Society, published George Orwell ‘The Complete Poetry’, compiled and presented by Dione Venables.[124]

Influence on language and writing

In his essay “Politics and the English Language” (1946), Orwell wrote about the importance of precise and clear language, arguing that vague writing can be used as a powerful tool of political manipulation because it shapes the way we think. In that essay, Orwell provides six rules for writers:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.[125]

Andrew N. Rubin argues, “Orwell claimed that we should be attentive to how the use of language has limited our capacity for critical thought just as we should be equally concerned with the ways in which dominant modes of thinking have reshaped the very language that we use.”[126]

The adjective Orwellian connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, surveillance, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past. In Nineteen Eighty-Four Orwell described a totalitarian government that controlled thought by controlling language, making certain ideas literally unthinkable. Several words and phrases from Nineteen Eighty-Four have entered popular language. Newspeak is a simplified and obfuscatory language designed to make independent thought impossible. Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously. The Thought Police are those who suppress all dissenting opinion. Prolefeed is homogenised, manufactured superficial literature, film and music, used to control and indoctrinate the populace through docility. Big Brother is a supreme dictator who watches everyone.

Orwell may have been the first to use the term cold war to refer to the state of tension between powers in the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc that followed the Second World War, in his essay, “You and the Atom Bomb”, published in Tribune, 19 October 1945. He wrote:

We may be heading not for general breakdown but for an epoch as horribly stable as the slave empires of antiquity. James Burnham‘s theory has been much discussed, but few people have yet considered its ideological implications – this is, the kind of world-view, the kind of beliefs, and the social structure that would probably prevail in a State which was at once unconquerable and in a permanent state of ‘cold war’ with its neighbours.[127]

Museum

In 2014 it was announced that Orwell’s birthplace, a bungalow in Motihari, Bihar, in India would become the world’s first Orwell museum.[10][128]

Modern Culture

In 2014 a play written by playwright Joe Sutton titled Orwell in America was first performed. It is a fictitious account of Orwell doing a book tour in America (something he never did in his lifetime). It moved to Off-Broadway in 2016.[129]

Personal life

Childhood

Jacintha Buddicom‘s account Eric & Us provides an insight into Blair’s childhood.[130] She quoted his sister Avril that “he was essentially an aloof, undemonstrative person” and said herself of his friendship with the Buddicoms: “I do not think he needed any other friends beyond the schoolfriend he occasionally and appreciatively referred to as ‘CC'”. She could not recall his having schoolfriends to stay and exchange visits as her brother Prosper often did in holidays.[131] Cyril Connolly provides an account of Blair as a child in Enemies of Promise.[23] Years later, Blair mordantly recalled his prep school in the essay “Such, Such Were the Joys“, claiming among other things that he “was made to study like a dog” to earn a scholarship, which he alleged was solely to enhance the school’s prestige with parents. Jacintha Buddicom repudiated Orwell’s schoolboy misery described in the essay, stating that “he was a specially happy child”. She noted that he did not like his name, because it reminded him of a book he greatly disliked – Eric, or, Little by Little, a Victorian boys’ school story.[132]

Connolly remarked of him as a schoolboy, “The remarkable thing about Orwell was that alone among the boys he was an intellectual and not a parrot for he thought for himself”.[23] At Eton, John Vaughan Wilkes, his former headmaster’s son recalled, “… he was extremely argumentative – about anything – and criticising the masters and criticising the other boys … We enjoyed arguing with him. He would generally win the arguments – or think he had anyhow.”[133] Roger Mynors concurs: “Endless arguments about all sorts of things, in which he was one of the great leaders. He was one of those boys who thought for himself …”[134]

Blair liked to carry out practical jokes. Buddicom recalls him swinging from the luggage rack in a railway carriage like an orangutan to frighten a woman passenger out of the compartment.[14] At Eton he played tricks on John Crace, his Master in College, among which was to enter a spoof advertisement in a College magazine implying pederasty.[135] Gow, his tutor, said he “made himself as big a nuisance as he could” and “was a very unattractive boy”.[136] Later Blair was expelled from the crammer at Southwold for sending a dead rat as a birthday present to the town surveyor.[137] In one of his As I Please essays he refers to a protracted joke when he answered an advertisement for a woman who claimed a cure for obesity.[138]

Blair had an interest in natural history which stemmed from his childhood. In letters from school he wrote about caterpillars and butterflies,[139] and Buddicom recalls his keen interest in ornithology. He also enjoyed fishing and shooting rabbits, and conducting experiments as in cooking a hedgehog[14] or shooting down a jackdaw from the Eton roof to dissect it.[134] His zeal for scientific experiments extended to explosives – again Buddicom recalls a cook giving notice because of the noise. Later in Southwold his sister Avril recalled him blowing up the garden. When teaching he enthused his students with his nature-rambles both at Southwold[140] and Hayes.[141] His adult diaries are permeated with his observations on nature.

Relationships and marriage

Buddicom and Blair lost touch shortly after he went to Burma, and she became unsympathetic towards him. She wrote that it was because of the letters he wrote complaining about his life, but an addendum to Eric & Us by Venables reveals that he may have lost her sympathy through an incident which was, at best, a clumsy attempt at seduction.[14]

Mabel Fierz, who later became Blair’s confidante, said: “He used to say the one thing he wished in this world was that he’d been attractive to women. He liked women and had many girlfriends I think in Burma. He had a girl in Southwold and another girl in London. He was rather a womaniser, yet he was afraid he wasn’t attractive.”[142]

Brenda Salkield (Southwold) preferred friendship to any deeper relationship and maintained a correspondence with Blair for many years, particularly as a sounding board for his ideas. She wrote: “He was a great letter writer. Endless letters, and I mean when he wrote you a letter he wrote pages.”[22] His correspondence with Eleanor Jacques (London) was more prosaic, dwelling on a closer relationship and referring to past rendezvous or planning future ones in London and Burnham Beeches.[143]

When Orwell was in the sanatorium in Kent, his wife’s friend Lydia Jackson visited. He invited her for a walk and out of sight “an awkward situation arose.”[144] Jackson was to be the most critical of Orwell’s marriage to Eileen O’Shaughnessy, but their later correspondence hints at a complicity. Eileen at the time was more concerned about Orwell’s closeness to Brenda Salkield. Orwell had an affair with his secretary at Tribune which caused Eileen much distress, and others have been mooted. In a letter to Ann Popham he wrote: “I was sometimes unfaithful to Eileen, and I also treated her badly, and I think she treated me badly, too, at times, but it was a real marriage, in the sense that we had been through awful struggles together and she understood all about my work, etc.”[145]Similarly he suggested to Celia Kirwan that they had both been unfaithful.[146] There are several testaments that it was a well-matched and happy marriage.[147][148][149]

Blair was very lonely after Eileen’s death, and desperate for a wife, both as companion for himself and as mother for Richard. He proposed marriage to four women, including Celia Kirwan, and eventually Sonia Brownell accepted.[150] Orwell had met her when she was assistant to Cyril Connolly, at Horizon literary magazine.[151] They were married on 13 October 1949, only three months before Orwell’s death. Some maintain that Sonia was the model for Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Religious views

Orwell regularly participated in the social and civic life of the church, and yet was an atheist, both critical of religious doctrine and of religious organisations. He attended Holy Communion at the Church of England regularly,[152] and makes allusions to Anglican rites in his book A Clergyman’s Daughter. He was extremely well-read in Biblical literature and could quote lengthy passages from the Book of Common Prayer from memory.[153] However, his forensic knowledge of the Bible came coupled with unsparing criticism of its philosophy, and as an adult he could not bring himself to believe in its tenets. He said clearly in part V of his essay, “Such, Such Were the Joys“: “Till about the age of fourteen I believed in God, and believed that the accounts given of him were true. But I was well aware that I did not love him.”[154] Of his regular Church attendance, he said: “It seems rather mean to go to HC [Holy Communion] when one doesn’t believe, but I have passed myself off for pious & there is nothing for it but to keep up with the deception.”[155]Despite this, he had two Anglican marriages and left instructions for an Anglican funeral.[156] Orwell directly contrasted Christianity with secular humanism in his essay “Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool“, finding the latter philosophy more palatable and less “self-interested.” Literary critic James Wood wrote that in the struggle, as he saw it, between Christianity and humanism, “Orwell was on the humanist side, of course—basically an unmetaphysical, English version of Camus’s philosophy of perpetual godless struggle.”[157]

Orwell’s writing was often explicitly critical of religion, and Christianity in particular. He found the church to be a “selfish … church of the landed gentry” with its establishment “out of touch” with the majority of its communicants and altogether a pernicious influence on public life.[158] In their 1972 study, The Unknown Orwell, the writers Peter Stansky and William Abrahams noted that at Eton Blair displayed a “sceptical attitude” to Christian belief.[159] Crick observed that Orwell displayed “a pronounced anti-Catholicism”.[160] Evelyn Waugh, writing in 1946, acknowledged Orwell’s high moral sense and respect for justice but believed “he seems never to have been touched at any point by a conception of religious thought and life.”[161] His contradictory and sometimes ambiguous views about the social benefits of religious affiliation mirrored the dichotomies between his public and private lives: Stephen Ingle wrote that it was as if the writer George Orwell “vaunted” his unbelief while Eric Blair the individual retained “a deeply ingrained religiosity”. Ingle later noted that Orwell did not accept the existence of an afterlife, believing in the finality of death while living and advocating a moral code based on Judeo-Christian beliefs.[162][163]

Political views

Orwell liked to provoke arguments by challenging the status quo, but he was also a traditionalist with a love of old English values. He criticised and satirised, from the inside, the various social milieux in which he found himself – provincial town life in A Clergyman’s Daughter; middle-class pretension in Keep the Aspidistra Flying; preparatory schools in “Such, Such Were the Joys”; colonialism in Burmese Days, and some socialist groups in The Road to Wigan Pier. In his Adelphi days he described himself as a “Toryanarchist.”[164][165]

In 1928, Orwell began his career as a professional writer in Paris at a journal owned by the French Communist Henri Barbusse. His first article, “La Censure en Angleterre“, was an attempt to account for the ‘extraordinary and illogical’ moral censorship of plays and novels then practised in Britain. His own explanation was that the rise of the “puritan middle class,” who had stricter morals than the aristocracy, tightened the rules of censorship in the 19th century. Orwell’s first published article in his home country, “A Farthing Newspaper”, was a critique of the new French daily the Ami de Peuple. This paper was sold much more cheaply than most others, and was intended for ordinary people to read. Orwell pointed out that its proprietor François Coty also owned the right-wing dailies Le Figaro and Le Gaulois, which the Ami de Peuple was supposedly competing against. Orwell suggested that cheap newspapers were no more than a vehicle for advertising and anti-leftist propaganda, and predicted the world might soon see free newspapers which would drive legitimate dailies out of business.[166]

The Spanish Civil War played the most important part in defining Orwell’s socialism. He wrote to Cyril Connolly from Barcelona on 8 June 1937: “I have seen wonderful things and at last really believe in Socialism, which I never did before.”[167][168] Having witnessed the success of the anarcho-syndicalist communities, for example in Anarchist Catalonia, and the subsequent brutal suppression of the anarcho-syndicalists, anti-Stalin communist parties and revolutionaries by the Soviet Union-backed Communists, Orwell returned from Catalonia a staunch anti-Stalinist and joined the Independent Labour Party, his card being issued on 13 June 1938.[169] Although he was never a Trotskyist, he was strongly influenced by the Trotskyist and anarchist critiques of the Soviet regime, and by the anarchists’ emphasis on individual freedom. In Part 2 of The Road to Wigan Pier, published by the Left Book Club, Orwell stated: “a real Socialist is one who wishes – not merely conceives it as desirable, but actively wishes – to see tyranny overthrown.” Orwell stated in “Why I Write” (1946): “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.”[170] Orwell was a proponent of a federal socialist Europe, a position outlined in his 1947 essay “Toward European Unity,” which first appeared in Partisan Review. According to biographer John Newsinger,

the other crucial dimension to Orwell’s socialism was his recognition that the Soviet Union was not socialist. Unlike many on the left, instead of abandoning socialism once he discovered the full horror of Stalinist rule in the Soviet Union, Orwell abandoned the Soviet Union and instead remained a socialist – indeed he became more committed to the socialist cause than ever.”[60]

In his 1938 essay “Why I joined the Independent Labour Party,” published in the ILP-affiliated New Leader, Orwell wrote:

For some years past I have managed to make the capitalist class pay me several pounds a week for writing books against capitalism. But I do not delude myself that this state of affairs is going to last forever … the only régime which, in the long run, will dare to permit freedom of speech is a Socialist régime. If Fascism triumphs I am finished as a writer – that is to say, finished in my only effective capacity. That of itself would be a sufficient reason for joining a Socialist party.[171]

Towards the end of the essay, he wrote: “I do not mean I have lost all faith in the Labour Party. My most earnest hope is that the Labour Party will win a clear majority in the next General Election.”[172]

Orwell was opposed to rearmament against Nazi Germany – but he changed his view after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the outbreak of the war. He left the ILP because of its opposition to the war and adopted a political position of “revolutionary patriotism”. In December 1940 he wrote in Tribune (the Labour left’s weekly): “We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be a revolutionary.” During the war, Orwell was highly critical of the popular idea that an Anglo-Soviet alliance would be the basis of a post-war world of peace and prosperity. In 1942, commenting on journalist E. H. Carr‘s pro-Soviet views, Orwell stated: “all the appeasers, e.g. Professor E. H. Carr, have switched their allegiance from Hitler to Stalin.”[173]

On anarchism, Orwell wrote in The Road to Wigan Pier: “I worked out an anarchistic theory that all government is evil, that the punishment always does more harm than the crime and the people can be trusted to behave decently if you will only let them alone.” He continued and argued that “it is always necessary to protect peaceful people from violence. In any state of society where crime can be profitable you have got to have a harsh criminal law and administer it ruthlessly.”

In his reply (dated 15 November 1943) to an invitation from the Duchess of Atholl to speak for the British League for European Freedom, he stated that he did not agree with their objectives. He admitted that what they said was “more truthful than the lying propaganda found in most of the press” but added that he could not “associate himself with an essentially Conservative body” that claimed to “defend democracy in Europe” but had “nothing to say about British imperialism.” His closing paragraph stated: “I belong to the Left and must work inside it, much as I hate Russian totalitarianism and its poisonous influence in this country.”[174]

Orwell joined the staff of Tribune as literary editor, and from then until his death, was a left-wing (though hardly orthodox) Labour-supporting democratic socialist.[175] On 1 September 1944, about the Warsaw uprising, Orwell expressed in Tribune his hostility against the influence of the alliance with the USSR over the allies: “Do remember that dishonesty and cowardice always have to be paid for. Do not imagine that for years on end you can make yourself the boot-licking propagandist of the sovietic regime, or any other regime, and then suddenly return to honesty and reason. Once a whore, always a whore.” According to Newsinger, although Orwell “was always critical of the 1945–51 Labour government’s moderation, his support for it began to pull him to the right politically. This did not lead him to embrace conservatism, imperialism or reaction, but to defend, albeit critically, Labour reformism.”[176] Between 1945 and 1947, with A. J. Ayer and Bertrand Russell, he contributed a series of articles and essays to Polemic, a short-lived British “Magazine of Philosophy, Psychology, and Aesthetics” edited by the ex-Communist Humphrey Slater.[177][178]

Writing in early 1945 a long essay titled “Antisemitism in Britain,” for the Contemporary Jewish Record, Orwell stated that anti-Semitism was on the increase in Britain, and that it was “irrational and will not yield to arguments.” He argued that it would be useful to discover why anti-Semites could “swallow such absurdities on one particular subject while remaining sane on others.”[179] He wrote: “For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. … Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own anti-Semitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness.”[180] In Nineteen Eighty-Four, written shortly after the war, Orwell portrayed the Party as enlisting anti-Semitic passions against their enemy, Goldstein.

Orwell publicly defended P.G. Wodehouse against charges of being a Nazi sympathiser – occasioned by his agreement to do some broadcasts over the German radio in 1941 – a defence based on Wodehouse’s lack of interest in and ignorance of politics.[181]

Special Branch, the intelligence division of the Metropolitan Police, maintained a file on Orwell for more than 20 years of his life. The dossier, published by The National Archives, states that, according to one investigator, Orwell had “advanced Communist views and several of his Indian friends say that they have often seen him at Communist meetings.” MI5, the intelligence department of the Home Office, noted: “It is evident from his recent writings – ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’ – and his contribution to Gollancz’s symposium The Betrayal of the Left that he does not hold with the Communist Party nor they with him.”[182]

Social interactions

Orwell was noted for very close and enduring friendships with a few friends, but these were generally people with a similar background or with a similar level of literary ability. Ungregarious, he was out of place in a crowd and his discomfort was exacerbated when he was outside his own class. Though representing himself as a spokesman for the common man, he often appeared out of place with real working people. His brother-in-law Humphrey Dakin, a “Hail fellow, well met” type, who took him to a local pub in Leeds, said that he was told by the landlord: “Don’t bring that bugger in here again.”[183] Adrian Fierz commented “He wasn’t interested in racing or greyhounds or pub crawling or shove ha’penny. He just did not have much in common with people who did not share his intellectual interests.”[184] Awkwardness attended many of his encounters with working-class representatives, as with Pollitt and McNair,[185] but his courtesy and good manners were often commented on. Jack Common observed on meeting him for the first time, “Right away manners, and more than manners – breeding – showed through.”[186]

In his tramping days, he did domestic work for a time. His extreme politeness was recalled by a member of the family he worked for; she declared that the family referred to him as “Laurel” after the film comedian.[38] With his gangling figure and awkwardness, Orwell’s friends often saw him as a figure of fun. Geoffrey Gorer commented “He was awfully likely to knock things off tables, trip over things. I mean, he was a gangling, physically badly co-ordinated young man. I think his feeling [was] that even the inanimate world was against him …”[187] When he shared a flat with Heppenstall and Sayer, he was treated in a patronising manner by the younger men.[188] At the BBC, in the 1940s, “everybody would pull his leg,”[189] and Spender described him as having real entertainment value “like, as I say, watching a Charlie Chaplin movie.”[190] A friend of Eileen’s reminisced about her tolerance and humour, often at Orwell’s expense.[148] Psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald has speculated that Orwell’s social and physical awkwardness, limited interests and monotone voice were the result of Asperger syndrome.[191]

One biography of Orwell accused him of having had an authoritarian streak.[192] In Burma, he struck out at a Burmese boy who, while “fooling around” with his friends, had “accidentally bumped into him” at a station, resulting in Orwell falling “heavily” down some stairs.[193] One of his former pupils recalled being beaten so hard he could not sit down for a week.[194] When sharing a flat with Orwell, Heppenstall came home late one night in an advanced stage of loud inebriation. The upshot was that Heppenstall ended up with a bloody nose and was locked in a room. When he complained, Orwell hit him across the legs with a shooting stick and Heppenstall then had to defend himself with a chair. Years later, after Orwell’s death, Heppenstall wrote a dramatic account of the incident called “The Shooting Stick”[195] and Mabel Fierz confirmed that Heppenstall came to her in a sorry state the following day.[196]

Orwell got on well with young people. The pupil he beat considered him the best of teachers, and the young recruits in Barcelona tried to drink him under the table – though without success. His nephew recalled Uncle Eric laughing louder than anyone in the cinema at a Charlie Chaplin film.[147]

In the wake of his most famous works, he attracted many uncritical hangers-on, but many others who sought him found him aloof and even dull. With his soft voice, he was sometimes shouted down or excluded from discussions.[197] At this time, he was severely ill; it was wartime or the austerity period after it; during the war his wife suffered from depression; and after her death he was lonely and unhappy. In addition to that, he always lived frugally and seemed unable to care for himself properly. As a result of all this, people found his circumstances bleak.[198] Some, like Michael Ayrton, called him “Gloomy George,” but others developed the idea that he was a “secular saint.”

Although Orwell was frequently heard on the BBC for panel discussion and one-man broadcasts, no recorded copy of his voice is known to exist.[199]

Lifestyle

“By putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk, whereas one is likely to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round”

– One of Orwell’s eleven rules for making tea from his essay “A Nice Cup of Tea“, appearing in the London Evening Standard, 12 January 1946.[200]

Orwell was a heavy smoker, who rolled his own cigarettes from strong shag tobacco, despite his bronchial condition. His penchant for the rugged life often took him to cold and damp situations, both in the long term, as in Catalonia and Jura, and short term, for example, motorcycling in the rain and suffering a shipwreck. Described by The Economist as “perhaps the 20th century’s best chronicler of English culture“,[201] Orwell considered fish and chips, association football, the pub, strong tea, cut price chocolate, the movies, and radio among the chief comforts for the working class.[202] Orwell enjoyed strong tea – he had Fortnum & Mason‘s tea brought to him in Catalonia.[8] His 1946 essay, “A Nice Cup of Tea“, appeared in the London Evening Standard article on how to make tea, with Orwell writing, “tea is one of the mainstays of civilisation in this country and causes violent disputes over how it should be made”, with the main issue being whether to put tea in the cup first and add the milk afterward, or the other way round, on which he states, “in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject”.[203] He appreciated English beer, taken regularly and moderately, despised drinkers of lager[204] and wrote about an imagined, ideal British pub in his 1946 English Standard article, “The Moon Under Water“.[205] Not as particular about food, he enjoyed the wartime “Victory Pie”[206] and extolled canteen food at the BBC.[189] He preferred traditional English dishes, such as roast beef and kippers.[207] Reports of his Islington days refer to the cosy afternoon tea table.[208]

His dress sense was unpredictable and usually casual.[209] In Southwold, he had the best cloth from the local tailor[210] but was equally happy in his tramping outfit. His attire in the Spanish Civil War, along with his size-12 boots, was a source of amusement.[211][212]David Astor described him as looking like a prep school master,[213] while according to the Special Branch dossier, Orwell’s tendency to dress “in Bohemian fashion” revealed that the author was “a Communist”.[214]

Orwell’s confusing approach to matters of social decorum – on the one hand expecting a working-class guest to dress for dinner,[215] and on the other, slurping tea out of a saucer at the BBC canteen[216] – helped stoke his reputation as an English eccentric.

Views on homosexuality

Orwell was openly homophobic, at a time when such prejudice was not uncommon. Speaking at the 2003 George Orwell Centenary Conference, Daphne Patai said: “Of course he was homophobic. That has nothing to do with his relations with his homosexual friends. Certainly he had a negative attitude and a certain kind of anxiety, a denigrating attitude towards homosexuality. That is definitely the case. I think his writing reflects that quite fully.”[217]

Orwell used the homophobic epithets “Nancy” and “pansy” as terms of abuse, notably in his expressions of contempt for what he called the “pansy Left”, and “nancy poets”, i.e. left-wing homosexual or bisexual writers and intellectuals such as Stephen Spender and W. H. Auden.[218] The protagonist of Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Gordon Comstock, conducts an internal critique of his customers when working in a bookshop, and there is an extended passage of several pages in which he concentrates on a homosexual male customer, and sneers at him for his “Nancy” characteristics, including a lisp, which he identifies in detail, with some disgust.[219] Dr Thomas S Veale, in The Banality of Virtue: A Multifaceted view of George Orwell as champion of the common man, refers to Orwell’s “homophobia most probably based on the perceived weakness of homosexuals and their preferences’ betrayal of the natural order”. Stephen Spender, however, “thought Orwell’s occasional homophobic outbursts were part of his rebellion against the public school”.[220]

Biographies of Orwell

Orwell’s will requested that no biography of him be written, and his widow Sonia Brownell repelled every attempt by those who tried to persuade her to let them write about him. Various recollections and interpretations were published in the 1950s and ’60s, but Sonia saw the 1968 Collected Works[138] as the record of his life. She did appoint Malcolm Muggeridge as official biographer, but later biographers have seen this as deliberate spoiling as Muggeridge eventually gave up the work.[221] In 1972, two American authors, Peter Stansky and William Abrahams,[222] produced The Unknown Orwell, an unauthorised account of his early years that lacked any support or contribution from Sonia Brownell.

Sonia Brownell then commissioned Bernard Crick, a left-wing professor of politics at the University of London, to complete a biography and asked Orwell’s friends to co-operate.[223] Crick collated a considerable amount of material in his work, which was published in 1980,[82] but his questioning of the factual accuracy of Orwell’s first-person writings led to conflict with Brownell, and she tried to suppress the book. Crick concentrated on the facts of Orwell’s life rather than his character, and presented primarily a political perspective on Orwell’s life and work.[224]

After Sonia Brownell’s death, other works on Orwell were published in the 1980s, with 1984 being a particularly fruitful year for Orwelliana. These included collections of reminiscences by Coppard and Crick[137] and Stephen Wadhams.[22]

In 1991, Michael Shelden, an American professor of literature, published a biography.[26] More concerned with the literary nature of Orwell’s work, he sought explanations for Orwell’s character and treated his first-person writings as autobiographical. Shelden introduced new information that sought to build on Crick’s work.[223] Shelden speculated that Orwell possessed an obsessive belief in his failure and inadequacy.

Peter Davison‘s publication of the Complete Works of George Orwell, completed in 2000,[225] made most of the Orwell Archive accessible to the public. Jeffrey Meyers, a prolific American biographer, was first to take advantage of this and published a book in 2001[226] that investigated the darker side of Orwell and questioned his saintly image.[223] Why Orwell Matters (released in the UK as Orwell’s Victory) was published by Christopher Hitchens in 2002.[227]

In 2003, the centenary of Orwell’s birth resulted in biographies by Gordon Bowker[228] and D. J. Taylor, both academics and writers in the United Kingdom. Taylor notes the stage management which surrounds much of Orwell’s behaviour,[8] and Bowker highlights the essential sense of decency which he considers to have been Orwell’s main motivation.[229][230]

Ancestry

Bibliography

Main article: George Orwell bibliography

Novels

Nonfiction

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell

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The Real Reason Hillary Clinton Lost — Adorable Deplorable Deviants (ADDs) Defeated Democrats — Narcissism Defeated Clinton — Videos

Posted on February 9, 2017. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Entertainment, Fraud, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Money, Movies, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Sociology, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Clinton: Trump supporters in ‘basket of deplorables…

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Comic Relief “John Lovitz” Stand Up Comedy

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Hillary Clinton lying for 13 minutes straight.

How to Identify a SOCIOPATH

7. Frequent and Compulsive Lying

Coming up:

10. Surface Charm and Glibness
9. Egoism and Grandiosity
8. High Sensation Seeker
7. Frequent and Compulsive Lying
6. No Guilt or Sense of Responsibility
5. Shallow Emotions
4. Empathy-free
3. Trivial Sexual Life
2. Conduct Problems Prior to Age 15
1. Sadism and Mind Games

The Sociopath

9 Ways Donald Trump Is A Sociopath

Hillary Clinton = Psychopath

Donald Trump = Sociopath

Is Donald Trump a Successful Psychopath?? (Use the Checklist!) The Psychopath Next Door

The Untruth About Donald Trump

The Truth About The Donald Trump Controversy

Why Donald Trump Won | Bill Mitchell and Stefan Molyneux

Victor Davis Hanson – The Mythologies of the 2016 Election

The language of lying — Noah Zandan

Psychopaths vs Sociopaths: What is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath?

The psychology of narcissism – W. Keith Campbell

Trump, Clinton – Narcissists? “Experts” Spew NONSENSE!

All Narcissists Are Pathological Liars

Trump: Narcissist in the White House?

Published on May 6, 2016

Full text: http://gulagbound.com/51301/how-bad-a…

Trump regards himself as omniscient, an authority on anything and everything, from aesthetics to ethics. He, therefore, lacks intellectual curiosity and regards outside advice as both superfluous and injurious (because it implies that he is less than perfect). He is likely to surround himself with timid yesmen and sycophantic acolytes and generate an impregnable echo chamber rather than a council of wise men and women.

Trump’s grasp of nuanced reality, weak as it already is, is likely to deteriorate further to the point of paranoid psychosis. Faced with opposition, however tenuous, he is likely to react by scapegoating and by inciting street or state violence against targeted groups. Trump is the state, so his enemies (anyone who as much as voices doubt or disagrees with him) is, by definition, an enemy of the state.

Owing to his self-perceived innate superiority, Trump regards himself as above and transcending laws made by lesser mortals. Laws are meant to trap and ensnare giants like him, to drag him down to the pedestrian level of mediocrity. He plays by the rules only when and if they accord with his predilections and self-interest.

Like all narcissists, Trump believes that he is universally loved, adored, and admired. He attributes this ostensible (and utterly delusional) blanket approbation to his effusive charm and irresistibility. He is firmly convinced that he can motivate people to transgress against their own moral convictions and to break the law, if necessary, just by the sheer force of his monumental personality. Trump idealizes and then rapidly devalues people, collectives, and institutions. Trump is in sempiternal flux: he is inconstant in his judgements, opinions, views, and fleeting attachments.

Trump is intellectually lazy, so he is a firm adherent of shortcuts and of “fake it till you make it”. It is a dangerous approach that led him to botch numerous business deals and inflict untold damage and suffering on thousands of people.

Trump is authoritarian in the worst sense of the word. In his disordered, chaotic mind, he is infallible (incapable of erring), omnipotent (can achieve anything if he just sets his mind to it), and omniscient (needs to learn nothing as he is the fount of all true, intuitive knowledge). This precludes any proper team work, orderly governance, institutional capacity, flow of authority and responsibility, and just plain structure. Trump is an artist, led by inconsistent and intermittent inspiration, not by reliable, old-fashioned perspiration. He is not a self-made man, but a self-conjured caricature of a self-made man. Trump is guided by his alleged inner divine wisdom. He is a malevolent guru and cult leader, not a politician or a statesman.

Ironically, Trump’s much trumpeted grandiosity is fragile because it is based on delusional and fantastic assumptions of perfection and intellectual brilliance which are hard to defend. Hence Trump’s relentless and compulsive pursuit of affirmation and adulation. He needs to be constantly idolized just to feel half human. Criticism and disagreement, however minor and well-intentioned, are perceived as unmitigated threats to the precarious house of cards that is Trump’s personality. Consequently, Trump is sadistically vindictive, aiming not just to counter such countervailing opinions regarding his Godlike status, but to deter and intimidate future critics.

Finally, aiming to disavow his own fragility and the indisputable fact that his public persona is nothing but a fabrication, Trump ostentatiously and volubly abhors and berates the weak, the meek, “losers”, “haters” (of which is a prime example), the disabled, women, minorities, and anyone else who might remind him by their very existence of how far from perfect and brilliant he is. The public Trump is about hatred, resentment, rage, envy, and other negative emotions because he is mercilessly driven by these very demons internally. Trump’s quotidien existence is a Kafkaesque trial in which he stands accused of being a mere, average, not-too-bright, mortal and is constantly found wanting and guilty as charged. His entire life is a desperate, last ditch attempt to prove wrong the prosecution in this never-ending courtroom drama.

How & Why Donald Trump Stole America. The Pathological / Malignant Narcissist. Expert

Donald Trump – Full Documentary of a Narcissistic Sociopath (Enhanced)

What is Deviance?

Deviance and Social Control YouTube

Perspectives on deviance: Differential association, labeling theory, and strain theory

Crime and Deviance: A Sociological Perspective

Introduction to Sociology – Deviance, Crime, and Social Control

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Rolling Back The 30-50 Million Illegal Alien Invasion of United States Will Be The Political Issue For Next Ten Years — Trump’s Trojan Horse — Republican Touch Back Amnesty or Citizenship For Illegal Aliens Will Lead To Rebellion By American People — Enforce Current Immigration Law (Deport All Illegal Aliens) or Face The Second American Revolution — Videos

Posted on December 31, 2016. Filed under: American History, Babies, Blogroll, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Demographics, Documentary, Economics, Faith, Family, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Homes, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Movies, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Press, Security, Speech, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , |

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Trump’s Touchback amnesty explained by Marc Thiessen

Donald Trump explains his immigration plan

Is Donald Trump changing his immigration vision?

Is Donald Trump Flip-Flopping on Immigration? A Closer Look

Immigration by the Numbers — Off the Charts

Immigration, World Poverty and Gumballs – NumbersUSA.com

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 1

How Many Illegal Aliens Are in the US? – Walsh – 2

The Truth About Immigration: What They Won’t Tell You!

WHO KNEW? TRUMP FAVORS AMNESTY FOR UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

This article first appeared on the American Enterprise Institute site.

Trump’s supporters loved his promise last week to create a “deportation force” to remove all 11 million illegal immigrants living in America, and his repeated declaration that everyone here illegally will “have to go.”

But his supporters tend to overlook his other promise—repeated in the Fox Business debate in Milwaukee on November 10—that under his immigration plan “they will come back.”

That’s right. Under Trump’s immigration plan, almost all of the 11 million illegal aliens (save for a small minority with criminal records) will get to return and get permanent legal status to stay here in America.

Trump supports amnesty.

On Fox News on November 12, Trump’s son Eric expressed frustration that the media overlooks this:

The point isn’t just deporting them, it’s deporting them and letting them back in legally. He’s been so clear about that and I know the liberal media wants to misconstrue it, but it’s deporting them and letting them back legally.

Eric Trump is right. His father has been crystal clear that he wants all the illegals to return and live in America.

Listen closely to what Trump is actually proposing. In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash earlier this year, Trump explained his plan this way:

I would get people out and then have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal…. A lot of these people are helping us … and sometimes it’s jobs a citizen of the United States doesn’t want to do. I want to move ’em out, and we’re going to move ’em back in and let them be legal.

This is a policy called “touchback” and it was first proposed in 2007 by moderate Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas). She offered a “touchback” amendment on the Senate floor that would have required illegal immigrants to return to their home countries to apply for a special “Z visa” that would allow them to re-enter the United States in an expedited fashion and work here indefinitely.

Her amendment lost by a relatively close margin, 53-45. It was supported by most Republicans and even got five Democratic votes—senators Claire McCaskill, Max Baucus, Jon Tester, Byron Dorgan and John Rockefeller all voted for it.

The idea was considered so reasonable that in an April 22, 2007, editorial entitled “Progress on Immigration,” The New York Times declared:

It’s not ideal, but if a touchback provision is manageable and reassures people that illegal immigrants are indeed going to the back of the line, then it will be defensible.

So what Trump is proposing today—sending illegal immigrants back to their home countries and then allowing the “good ones” to return in an “expedited” fashion—was endorsed by the liberal New York Times!

In fact, the idea even got the support of—wait for it—illegal immigrants.

In 2007, the Los Angeles Times did the first telephone poll of illegal immigrants and asked whether they would go home under a “touchback” law that allowed them to return with legal status. Sixty-three percent said yes, 27 percent said no and 10 percent were undecided. If they were promised a path to citizenship when they returned, the number who said they would leave and return legally grew to 85 percent.

Donald Trump’s detractors were aghast at his invocation during the Fox Business debate of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Operation Wetback,” which forcibly removed 1.5 million illegal immigrants, and his promise the following day to establish a “deportation force” to remove the 11 million illegal immigrants living in America today.

Never mind the fact that we already have a “deportation force”—it’s called U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The fact is, Trump won’t need a “deportation force” or an “Operation Wetback” to get illegal immigrants to go home—because he has promised that they can return quickly with legal status.

The vast majority of illegal immigrants say they would voluntarily cooperate with Trump’s plan.

If anything, the “touchback” plan Trump endorses was attacked by conservatives back in 2007. In an editorial, National Review called touchback a “fraud” that gives illegal aliens “their own privileged pathway” ahead of “applicants who have complied with US immigration laws.”

That is precisely what Trump is proposing. Under his plan, illegal aliens don’t have to go to the end of the line behind those who have complied with our immigration laws. They get an “expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal.” They get to cut the line and then stay in America.

So if you get past Trump’s bluster, the plan he is proposing is so liberal that it earned the support of The New York Times and the opposition of National Review.

The reason is simple: Trump’s plan is in fact a form of amnesty—you just have to leave the country briefly to get it.

So when Trump says of illegal immigrants “they all have to go,” don’t overlook the fact that under his plan almost all would be able to immediately return—and stay.

This means there is very little difference between his plan and what John Kasich and Jeb Bush are supporting.

And most of his supporters don’t even realize it.

Marc Thiessen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

 

Central Americans continue to surge across U.S. border, new DHS figures show

December 30 at 6:05 PM

U.S. officials are grappling with a 15 percent surge in illegal immigration, reflecting continued failures by the Obama administration to deter illegal immigration along the country’s southwestern border.

Homeland Security officials apprehended 530,250 illegal immigrants and sent 450,954 people back to their home countries over the 12-month period that ended in September, according to figures released Friday by the Department of Homeland Security.

The majority of those apprehended come from Central American countries and include 137,614 families and unaccompanied children, part of an ongoing flight from high crime and violence in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, which human rights advocates have urged the administration to treat as a refu­gee crisis.

The number of families and children in the past year also exceeded figures from 2015 and 2014, when illegal immigrants from Central America overwhelmed U.S. Border Patrol stations at the Mexican border and President Obama called the flow of children an “urgent humanitariansituation.”

Administration officials said Friday that the latest “removal” figures reflect a concerted policy shift to target convicted criminals over others.

“We continued to better focus our interior resources on removing individuals who may pose threats to public safety — specifically, convicted criminals and threats to national security,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement. “This prioritization is reflected in actual results.” More than 99 percent of those forcibly removed from the country over the most recent 12-month period fell into the administration’s three priority categories.

Overall deportations have dropped over the past few years, from a peak of more than 400,000 during Obama’s first term.

Immigration human rights advocates, including J. Kevin ­Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies, say the priorities were a good move — probably resulting in fewer deportations overall — but have come too late.

“In the end, the president will be remembered as a deporter, not a reformer. In the first four years, he set record numbers in removals, much to the dismay of the immigrant community,” Appleby said.

Immigration advocates have repeatedly criticized the Obama administration for its increased reliance on detention facilities, particularly for Central American families, who they argue should be treated as refugees fleeing violent home countries rather than as priorities for deportation.

They also say that the growing number of apprehended migrants on the border, as reflected in the new Homeland Security figures, indicate that home raids and detentions of families from Central America isn’t working as a deterrent.

Trump’s Transition: Who is Gen. John F. Kelly?

 

President-elect Donald Trump is nominating retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly for secretary of homeland security. Here’s what you need to know about him. (Video: Sarah Parnass, Osman Malik/Photo: Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

According to the Homeland Security report released Friday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed 352,882 people in detention facilities in fiscal 2016, a sharp rise from 193,951 people placed in detention last year.

Officials said Friday that the shifting demographic — from predominantly Mexican adults trying to cross the border 10 years ago to a larger proportion of Central Americans crossing today — has placed an added strain on Homeland Security resources due to the costs of sending people back to Central America and because of longer processes for people with security concerns.

Many of those arriving from Central America have applied for asylum with claims of “credible or reasonable fear of persecution” in their home countries, Homeland Security officials said.

After pressure from immigration rights advocates, the administration last summer announced plans to expand a State Department program to allow Central American minors to apply for refu­gee status.

But human rights activists ­expect detentions to increase under the administration of ­President-elect Donald Trump, who has vowed to step up the deportation of illegal immigrants and build a wall on the Mexican border.

Earlier this month, Trump said he would nominate retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, a border security hawk, to run the Department of Homeland Security. Kelly has warned about cross-border threats from Mexico and Central America.

Homeland Security figures released Friday showed that nearly 84 percent of the people removed from the United States in fiscal year 2016 were categorized as Priority 1, which includes ­“national security threats, convicted felons or ‘aggravated felons,’ criminal gang participants, and illegal entrants apprehended at the border,” according to the department’s report.

It was also unclear how many of those convicted were violent criminals or national security threats, as opposed to those whose offenses related only to crossing the border illegally. Twenty-two percent of those sent back to their countries also had no prior criminal convictions, the report said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/central-americans-continue-to-surge-across-us-border-new-dhs-figures-show/2016/12/30/ed28c0aa-cec7-11e6-b8a2-8c2a61b0436f_story.html?utm_term=.d32dda491561

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United States To Modernize Nuclear Weapons — Bombers, Missiles, Submarines — The U.S. Nuclear Triad — Better Late Than Never — A New Nuclear Arms Race To Modernize Weapon Systems — Trump Is Right — The Nuclear Weapons Are 40-60 Years Old! — The Lying Lunatic Left and Big Lie Media Goes Hysterical — Do Your Homework! — Videos

Posted on December 22, 2016. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Book, Books, College, Communications, Crisis, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Education, Elections, Energy, Fiction, Films, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, Movies, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Talk Radio, Television, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Trump doubles down on nuclear weapons

Trump says “let it be an arms race” when it comes to nuclear weapons

“Absolutely Frightening”: Greenpeace on Trump’s Call for a New Nuclear Arms Race

Trump, Putin both seek to boost their nuclear capability

Published on Dec 22, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump signaled Thursday that he will look to “strengthen and expand” the US’s nuclear capability hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to enhance his country’s nuclear forces.
The exchange appeared to raise the prospect of a new arms race between the two nuclear superpowers, which between them boast more than 14,000 nuclear warheads, the still deadly legacy of their four-decades long Cold War standoff.
But the comments by Putin, who is presiding over a project to restore Russia’s lost global power and influence, and Trump, who will shortly become the US commander-in-chief, did not spell out exactly what each side is proposing or whether a major change of nuclear doctrine is in the offing.
Trump weighed in with a tweet just hours after Putin spoke following a meeting with his military advisers to review the activity of the past year.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump wrote.
It was not immediately clear if the President-elect is proposing an entire new nuclear policy that he would begin to flesh out once he takes office next year.
Trump could also be referring to plans to modernize the current US nuclear arsenal that are currently underway and will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. The Obama administration has outlined a plan to modernize delivery systems, command and control systems and to refurbish warheads in the US nuclear triad — the US force of sea, airborne and missile delivered nuclear weapons.

Trump and nuclear fears

US Nuclear Weapons Systems Need an Upgrade. Here’s Why

America’s nuclear bomb gets a makeover

USA Dropped a Safe Nuclear Bomb in Nevada – F-15 Launching a Brand New B-61 Bomb

B61 US Nuclear Bomb Program

Nuclear Modernization: Is the United States Headed for a New Arms Race?

Stratcom Commander Emphasizes Need to Modernize Nuke “Russia is modernizing their nuclear triad”

Report on Russia’s Nuclear Triad Modernization

INSIDE VIEW !!! US Air Force Minuteman Strategic Missile Silo Mini Documentary

Published on Mar 10, 2016

The LGM-30 Minuteman is a US land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command. As of 2014, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version[a] is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.[citation needed]

Development of the Minuteman began in the mid-1950s as the outgrowth of basic research into solid fuel rocket motors which indicated an ICBM based on solids was possible. Such a missile could stand ready for extended periods of time with little maintenance, and then launch on command. In comparison, existing US missile designs using liquid fuels required a lengthy fueling process immediately before launch, which left them open to the possibility of surprise attack. This potential for immediate launch gave the missile its name; like the Revolutionary War’s Minutemen, the Minuteman was designed to be launched on a moment’s notice.[2][3]

Minuteman entered service in 1962 as a weapon tasked primarily with the deterrence role, threatening Soviet cities with a counterattack if the US was attacked. However, with the development of the US Navy’s Polaris which addressed the same role, the Air Force began to modify Minuteman into a weapon with much greater accuracy with the specific intent of allowing it to attack hardened military targets, including Soviet missile silos. The Minuteman-II entered service in 1965 with a host of upgrades to improve its accuracy and survivability in the face of an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system the Soviets were known to be developing. Minuteman-III followed in 1970, using three smaller warheads instead of one large one, which made it very difficult to attack by an anti-ballistic missile system which would have to hit all three widely separated warheads to be effective. Minuteman-III was the first multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV) ICBM to be deployed. Each missile can carry up to three nuclear warheads, which have a yield in the range of 300 to 500 kilotons.

Peaking at 1000 missiles in the 1970s, the current US force consists of 450 Minuteman-III missiles[4] in missile silos around Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.[1] By 2018 this will be reduced to 400 armed missiles, with 50 unarmed missiles in reserve, and four non-deployed test launchers to comply with the New START treaty.[5] The Air Force plans to keep the missile in service until at least 2030.[6][7] It is one component of the US nuclear triad—the other two parts of the triad being the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.

Type Intercontinental ballistic missile
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1962 (Minuteman-I)
1965 (Minuteman-II)
1970 (Minuteman-III)
Used by United States
Production history
Manufacturer Boeing
Unit cost $7,000,000
Specifications
Weight 78,000 lb (35,300 kg)
Length 59 ft 9.5 in (18.2 m)
Diameter 5 ft 6 in (1.7 m) (1st stage)
Warhead Nuclear: W62, W78, or (2006–) W87
Detonation
mechanism
Air Burst or Contact (Surface)
Engine Three-stage Solid-fuel rocket engines; first stage: Thiokol TU-122 (M-55); second stage: Aerojet-General SR-19-AJ-1; third stage: Aerojet/Thiokol SR73-AJ/TC-1
Operational
range
approx. 8,100 (exact is classified) miles (13,000 km)
Flight altitude 700 miles (1,120 kilometers)
Speed Approximately 17507 mph (Mach 23, or 28176 km/h, or 7 km/s) (terminal phase)
Guidance
system
Inertial
Accuracy 200 m CEP
Launch
platform
Missile Silo (MLCC)

Minuteman-III (LGM-30G): the current model [edit]

Side view of Minuteman-III ICBM

Airmen work on a Minuteman-III’s multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) system. Current missiles carry a single warhead.
The LGM-30G Minuteman-III program started in 1966, and included several improvements over the previous versions. It was first deployed in 1970. Most modifications related to the final stage and reentry system (RS). The final (third) stage was improved with a new fluid-injected motor, giving finer control than the previous four-nozzle system. Performance improvements realized in Minuteman-III include increased flexibility in reentry vehicle (RV) and penetration aids deployment, increased survivability after a nuclear attack, and increased payload capacity.[1] The missile retains a gimballed inertial guidance system.

Minuteman-III originally contained the following distinguishing features:

Armed with W62 warhead, having a yield of only 170 kilotons TNT, instead of previous W56’s yield of 1.2 megatons.[28]
It was the first[29] Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicles (MIRV) missile. A single missile was then able to target 3 separate locations. This was an improvement from the Minuteman-I and Minuteman-II models, which were only able to carry one large warhead.
An RS capable of deploying, in addition to the warheads, penetration aids such as chaff and decoys.
Minuteman-III introduced in the

Examining the U.S. Nuclear Spending Binge | Arms Control Association

Published on Jul 31, 2016

The Arms Control Association has for years raised warning sirens about the cost and necessity of the modernization plans and have suggested a number of steps that could be taken to put the plans on a more sustainable course. The Pentagon estimates that the proposed modernization effort of the U.S. nuclear triad and its supporting infrastructure over the next 25 years will cost between $350-$450 billion.

The remainder of the Obama administration and that of the next president will likely be faced with a number of increasingly urgent questions about America’s nuclear modernization project, including its affordability, opportunity costs, impacts on global stability and more.

Speakers on this panel addressed the scope of the current nuclear weapons spending plans, challenges and options available to the next president, and the feasibility of the modernization plans given the experience of previous administrations.

• Mark F. Cancian, Senior Advisor with the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
• Hans Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists
• Andrew Weber, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs
• Amy Woolf, Specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy at the Congressional Research Service
• Kingston Reif, Arms Control Association, Moderator

LGM-30 Minuteman Launch – ICBM

Published on May 31, 2016

The LGM-30 Minuteman is a U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command.

As of 2014, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States.

PONI Live Debate: Triad Modernization

Should the US Spend $1 Trillion on Nuclear Weapons?

Breaking down Russia and U.S. nuclear capabilities

China Nuclear Message to Donald Trump

Nuclear weapons… new Documentary BBC 2016

As Pentagon overhauls nuclear triad, critics advise caution

The Future of US Submarines: Ohio Replacement SSBN(X) Ballistic Missile Subs

Evaluating President-elect Trump so far

President Obama Is Modernizing Nuclear Weapons – Here’s Why You Should Care

Inside Aging American Nuke Base

Presidential Debate Highlights | Trump, Clinton Nuclear Weapons Policy

Donald Trump: Why Can’t We Use Nuclear Weapons If We Have Them?

#LoserDonald: Why Don’t We Use Nukes?

Nuclear weapon states continue to upgrade stockpiles: SIPRI

NEW USA Military Technology threats to Russia & China Navy (2016)

Obama Promised a “World Without Nuclear Weapons,” But May Now Spend $3 Trillion on Weapons Upgrades

This Russian Weapon Can Destroy an Entire Army | WORST NIGHTMARE for US Military

TOP 5 WEAPONS OF U.S.A.

US Military’s new $100 Billion WEAPONS will dominate the World

World Nuclear War scenario… how it would look like – Documentary

Nuclear Weapons (The History)

4th Generation Nuclear Weapons

Fail Safe – Movie (1964)

Fail-Safe, Conclusion

The Making of “Dr. Strangelove”

The Bomb Run Sequence from Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove Final Scene

Trump Said the U.S. Should Expand Nuclear Weapons. He’s Right.

America needs to bolster its deterrence not to start a war, but to prevent one.

December 23, 2016

On Thursday, Donald Trump created controversy when he tweeted, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” In case anyone was confused, he followed up Friday morning with an off-air remark to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that clarified his intentions: “Let it be an arms race,” he said. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

The backlash was swift and unanimous. Critics charged that there is no plausible reason to expand U.S. nuclear weapons, that Trump’s comments contradicted a decades-old bipartisan consensus on the need to reduce nuclear stockpiles, and that such reckless statements risk provoking a new nuclear arms race with Russia and China.

On this matter, however, Trump is right.

U.S. nuclear strategy cannot be static, but must take into account the nuclear strategy and capabilities of its adversaries. For decades, the United States was able to reduce its nuclear arsenal from Cold War highs because it did not face any plausible nuclear challengers. But great power political competition has returned and it has brought nuclear weapons, the ultimate instrument of military force, along for the ride.

In recent years, North Korea has continued to grow its nuclear arsenal and means of delivery and has issued chilling nuclear threats against the United States and its Asian allies. As recently as Thursday — before Trump’s offending tweet — Rodong Sinmum, the Pyongyang regime’s official newspaper, published an opinion article calling for bolstering North Korea’s “nuclear deterrence.”

The potential threats are everywhere. Washington faces an increasing risk of conflict with a newly assertive, nuclear-armed China in the South China Sea. Beijing is expanding its nuclear forces and it is estimated that the number of Chinese warheads capable of reaching the U.S. homeland has more than trebled in the past decade and continues to grow. And Russia has become more aggressive in Europe and the Middle East and has engaged in explicit nuclear saber rattling the likes of which we have not seen since the 1980s. At the height of the crisis over Crimea in 2014, for example, Russian President Vladimir Putin ominously declared, “It’s best not to mess with us … I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.” And on Tuesday, he vowed to “enhance the combat capability of strategic nuclear forces, primarily by strengthening missile complexes that will be guaranteed to penetrate existing and future missile defense systems.” As former Defense Secretary William Perry correctly notes, “Today, the danger of some sort of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than it was during the Cold War.”

The United States needs a robust nuclear force, therefore, not because anyone wants to fight a nuclear war, but rather, the opposite: to deter potential adversaries from attacking or coercing the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons of their own.

Under President Barack Obama, the United States mindlessly reduced its nuclear arsenal even as other nuclear powers went in the opposite direction, expanding and modernizing their nuclear forces. Such a path was unsustainable and Trump is correct to recognize that America’s aging nuclear arsenal is in need of some long overdue upgrades.

So, what would expanding and strengthening the nuclear arsenal look like?

First, the United States must modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad (submarines; long-range bombers, including a new cruise missile; and intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs). The Obama administration announced plans to modernize the triad under Republican pressure, but critics are already trying to kill off the ICBM and the cruise missile, and production timelines for these weapon systems keep slipping into the future. The Trump administration must make the timely modernization of all three legs of the triad a top priority.

Second, the United States should increase its deployment of nuclear warheads, consistent with its international obligations. According to New START, the treaty signed with Russia in 2011, each state will deploy no more than 1,550 strategic nuclear warheads, but those restrictions don’t kick in until February 2018. At present, according to the State Department, the United States is roughly 200 warheads below the limit while Russia is almost 250 warheads above it. Accordingly, Russia currently possesses a nuclear superiority of more than 400 warheads, which is worrisome in and of itself and also raises serious questions about whether Moscow intends to comply with this treaty at all. The United States, therefore, should expand its deployed arsenal up to the treaty limits and be fully prepared for further expansion should Russia break out — as Moscow has done with several other legacy arms control agreements.

Third, and finally, the United States and NATO need more flexible nuclear options in Europe. In the event of a losing war with NATO, Russian strategy calls for limited nuclear “de-escalation” strikes against European civilian and military targets. At present, NATO lacks an adequate response to this threat. As I explain in a new report, the United States must develop enhanced nuclear capabilities, including a tactical, air-to-surface cruise missile, in order to disabuse Putin of the notion that he can use nuclear weapons in Europe and get away with it.

These stubborn facts lay bare the ignorance or naivety of those fretting that Trump’s tweets risk starting a new nuclear arms race. It is U.S. adversaries, not Trump, who are moving first. It is a failure to respond that would be most reckless, signaling continued American weakness and only incentivizing further nuclear aggression.

The past eight years have been demoralizing for many in the defense policy community as Obama has consistently placed ideology over reality in the setting of U.S. nuclear policy. The results, an increasingly disordered world filled with intensifying nuclear dangers, speak for themselves.

Rather than express outrage over Trump’s tweet, therefore, we should take heart that we once again have a president who may be willing to do what it takes to defend the country against real, growing and truly existential threats.

Matthew Kroenig is associate professor in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and senior fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at The Atlantic Council. He is a former strategist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and is currently writing a book on U.S. nuclear strategy.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/trump-said-the-us-should-expand-nuclear-weapons-hes-right-214546

How the Pentagon Plans to Modernize the US Nuclear Arsenal

PHOTO: View of a Boeing LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM missile as it was launched in the 1970s.

President-elect Donald Trump’s tweets this week about strengthening and expanding America’s nuclear weapons capability are raising eyebrows, but they also highlight the Pentagon’s existing programs to update and modernize its nuclear arsenal.

The components of America’s nuclear triad of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM’s), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles are decades old. While the Pentagon has undergone a modernization process to keep these systems intact over that time, the Pentagon has plans to replace each leg of the triad in the coming decades.

But the Pentagon’s plans to update and modernize the nuclear triad will be a lengthy and costly enterprise. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told Congress earlier this year that it will cost $350 billion to $450 billion to update and modernize beginning in 2021. But there are some estimates that a 30-year modernization program could cost as much as $1 trillion.

And that process has gotten underway since the lifespan of the existing delivery systems ends in the next 15 to 20 years. Replacement systems are currently in the phase of research, development, testing and evaluation.

The U.S. Air Force maintains a fleet of 450 Minuteman III ICBM missiles located in underground silos across the plains states, each carrying multiple nuclear warheads. A key leg of the nuclear triad, the Minuteman III missiles went into service in the 1970’s and have been upgraded ever since to keep them mission ready. No new ICBM missiles have gone into service since the MX missile was deployed in the 1980’s, but those missiles were retired a decade ago.

This summer, the Air Force began the process of soliciting designs for a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III, with the first new missile scheduled to enter service by 2029.

The Air Force has already begun the process of replacing the 76 B-52 strategic bombers that have been flying since the 1960’s with the new B-21 “Raider” that will begin flying in 2025. Upgrades to the B-52, designed in the 1950’s, have allowed the aircraft to continue serving as a nuclear-capable aircraft and also allowed it to conduct airstrikes against ISIS.

PHOTO: Senior Airmen Mark Pacis, left, and Christopher Carver mount a refurbished nuclear warhead on to the top of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile inside an underground silo in Scottsbluff, Neb., April 15, 1997.Eric Draper/AP Photo
Senior Airmen Mark Pacis, left, and Christopher Carver mount a refurbished nuclear warhead on to the top of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile inside an underground silo in Scottsbluff, Neb., April 15, 1997.more +

The Navy has also begun the process to find a replacement for its 14 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine fleet that first went into service in the 1980’s. But the first Columbia Class submarine is not slated to enter service until 2031.

But it is important to point out that a replacement of these systems, while incredibly expensive, does not equate to an overall growth of the nuclear arsenal.

In other words, the U.S. is looking to become more efficient — it’s not looking for more nuclear weapons. As one defense official put it, with the cost of the new systems, the Pentagon is simply not able to do a one-to-one replacement.

As of September 2015, the United States has a total of 4,571 warheads in its nuclear weapons stockpile, according to a State Department official. The United States has retired thousands of nuclear warheads that are removed from their delivery platform that are not included in this total, the official said, noting those warheads are not functional and are in a queue for dismantlement.

The 2011 New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) nuclear weapons agreement limits to 1,550 the number of nuclear warheads that can be deployed on ICBMs, submarines or heavy bombers by the U.S. and Russia. Both countries have until February 2018 to meet the New START’s reduction target levels for deployed warheads.

The United States currently has 1,361 deployed nuclear weapons while Russia has 1,796. The larger Russian number is seen as a temporary increase as Russia replaces older warheads with new ones.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/pentagon-plans-modernize-us-nuclear-arsenal/story?id=44372054

Donald Trump says he wants to ‘greatly strengthen and expand’ U.S. nuclear capability, a radical break from U.S. foreign policy

Putin praises Russian military’s show of strength in Syria

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Russian President Vladimir Putin praised his country’s military on Dec. 22, saying its armed forces had performed well in the fight against “international terrorists” in Syria. (Reuters)

December 22 at 1:05 PM

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday called for the United States to expand its nuclear arsenal, after Russian President Vladi­mir Putin said his country’s nuclear potential needs fortifying, raising the specter of a new arms race that would reverse decades of efforts to reduce the number and size of the two countries’ nuclear weapons.In a tweet that offered no details, Trump said, “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”During the campaign, Trump talked in one debate about the need to modernize the country’s infrastructure of nuclear weaponry, saying the United States is falling behind. But it is not clear whether Trump is thinking of increasing the number of nuclear weapons the United States possesses, or updating the existing supply.

Trump’s tweet came shortly after Putin, during a defense ministry meeting, talked tough on Russia’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.

“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems,” Putin said.

Russia and the United States have worked for decades at first limiting, and then reducing, the number and strength of nuclear arms they produced and maintained under a Cold War strategy of deterrence known as “mutually assured destruction.” Both Republican and Democratic presidents have pursued a policy of nuclear arms reduction, said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

Currently, the United States has just under 5,000 warheads in its active arsenal, and more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads, a number that fluctuates, according to Kimball. In an October assessment by the State Department Bureau of Arms Control Verification and Compliance, Russia has about 400 more nuclear warheads than the United States does. But the United States has about 170 more delivery systems than Russia.

Under the New START Treaty, the main strategic arms treaty in place, both the U.S. and Russia must deploy no more than 1,550 strategic weapons by February of 2018. Kimball said both countries appear to be on track to meet that limit, which will remain in force until 2021, when they could decide to extend the agreement for another five years.

Since President George H.W. Bush’s administration, it has been U.S. policy not to build new nuclear warheads. Under President Obama, the policy has been not to pursue warheads with new military capabilities.

The U.S. military is in the beginning stages of updating its nuclear triad, which covers the delivery systems — bombers, submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Last year, the Pentagon estimated it must spend an average of $18 billion a year over 15 years starting in 2021, to replace weapons that already have been refurbished and upgraded beyond their original shelf life.

Trump’s history of discussing nuclear weapons

President-elect Donald Trump has called nuclear weapons “the single greatest problem the world has” – but he’s also made some controversial statements about them. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

But independent experts have estimated the total cost of modernizing the aging nuclear arsenal could reach $1 trillion over 30 years, according to the Arms Control Association.

“If Donald Trump is concerned about the rising costs of the F-35, he will be shocked by the skyrocketing costs of the current plan to modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal,” Kimball said. “Trump and his people need to explain the basis of his cryptic tweet. What does he mean by expand, and at what cost?”

But others argue that nuclear weapons and the principle of deterrence are essential components of national security, and the Obama administration’s efforts to further reduce its nuclear weapons have been just wishful thinking.

Michaela Dodge, a Heritage Foundation policy analyst specializing in nuclear weapons and missile defense policy, said that the White House in its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review made the erroneous assessment that there was little likelihood of conflict with Russia. Yet Moscow is in the midst of a large-scale nuclear weapons modernization program, and has violated many arms control treaties that it signed, she said.

“There is already an ongoing nuclear arms race, except now the United States isn’t racing,” she said in a telephone interview. “It’s mostly Russia and China.”

Dodge has called for the incoming Trump administration to request funding for nuclear warheads, delivery platforms and nuclear infrastructure. She also said the United States should withdraw from treaties that have eroded defense capabilities.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/donald-trump-says-he-wants-to-greatly-strengthen-and-expand-us-nuclear-capabilitiy-a-radical-break-from-us-foreign-policy/2016/12/22/52745c22-c86e-11e6-85b5-76616a33048d_story.html?utm_term=.1db715df6977

Nuclear triad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A nuclear triad refers to the nuclear weapons delivery of a strategic nuclear arsenal which consists of three basic components: land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), strategic bombers, and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). The purpose of having a three-branched nuclear capability is to significantly reduce the possibility that an enemy could destroy all of a nation’s nuclear forces in a first-strike attack; this, in turn, ensures a credible threat of a second strike, and thus increases a nation’s nuclear deterrence.[1][2][3]

Other methods of nuclear attacks are nuclear torpedos and the use of hypersonic glide vehicles.

Traditional components of a strategic nuclear triad

While traditional nuclear strategy holds that a nuclear triad provides the best level of deterrence from attack, in reality, most nuclear powers do not have the military budget to sustain a full triad. Only the United States and Russia have maintained nuclear triads for most of the nuclear age.[3] Both the US and the Soviet Union composed their triads along the same lines, including the following components:

  1. Bomber aircraft capable of delivering nuclear bombs (carrier-based or land-based; usually armed with long-range missiles).[1]
  2. Land-based missiles (MRBMs or ICBMs).[1][3]
  3. Ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). Nuclear missiles launched from ships or submarines.[1][3] Although in early years the US Navy sea leg was carrier aircraft based with a very short period using sub launched cruise missiles such as the Regulus before SLBMs were ready to be deployed.

The triad also gives the commander in chief the flexibility to use different types of weapons for the appropriate strike while also preserving a reserve of nuclear armaments theoretically safe from a counter-force strike:

  • ICBMs allow for a long-range strike launched from a controlled or friendly environment at a lower cost per delivered warhead and easiest targeting from a surveyed geographic location.[4] If launched from a fixed position, such as a missile silo, they are vulnerable to a first strike, though their interception once aloft is substantially difficult,[1][3] Some ICBMs are either rail or road mobile. Medium-range ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles were also assigned for strategic targets based in nations closer to the potential confrontation, but were eventually forbidden by arms control treaty to the US and Russia.
  • SLBMs, launched from submarines, allow for a greater chance of survival from a first strike, giving the commander a second-strike capability.[1][3] Some long-range submarine-launched cruise missiles are counted towards triad status; this was the first type of submarine-launched strategic second-strike nuclear weapon before ballistic missile submarines became available. A SLBM is the most difficult to get accurate targeting for as it requires obtaining an accurate geographical fix to program targeting data to the missile, the total cost of a SLBM is increased by the cost of the submarine force, large crews and deterrence patrols.[4]
  • Strategic bombers have greater flexibility in their deployment and weaponry. They can serve as both a first- and second-strike weapon. A bomber armed with AGM-129 ACM missiles, for example, could be classified as a first-strike weapon. A number of bombers often with aerial refueling aircraft kept at safe points would constitute a second-strike weapon.[1][3] In some strategic contexts either with nearby potential enemies or with forward basing lighter aircraft can be used on the strategic level as either a first-strike weapon or if dispersed at small airfields or aboard an aircraft carrier can reasonably avoid a counterstrike giving them regional second-strike capacity, aircraft such as the Mirage 2000, F-15E, A-5 Vigilante, Sea Harrier, or FB-111 are or were tasked part or full-time with land or sea-based strategic nuclear attack missions. An aerial refueling fleet supports intercontinental strategic operations both for heavy bombers and smaller aircraft; it also makes possible around the clock airborne standby of bombers and command aircraft making these airborne assets nearly impossible to eliminate in a first strike. Bomber airborne alert patrols are very expensive in terms of fuel and aircraft maintenance, even non-airborne alert basing requires both crew training hours and aircraft upkeep.[4]

Tactical nuclear weapons are used in air, land and sea warfare. Air-to-air missiles and rockets, surface-to-air missiles, and small air-to-ground rockets, bombs, and precision munitions have been developed and deployed with nuclear warheads. Ground forces have included tactical nuclear artillery shells, surface-to-surface rockets, land mines, medium and small man-packable nuclear engineering demolition charges, even man-carried or vehicle-mounted recoilless rifles. Naval forces have carried nuclear-armed naval rocket-assisted and standard depth charges and torpedoes, and naval gunnery shells. Tactical nuclear weapons and the doctrine for their use is primarily for use in a non-strategic warfighting role destroying military forces in the battle area; they are not counted toward triad status despite the possibility of many of these systems being usable as strategic weapons depending on the target.

Triad powers

The following nations are considered fully established triad nuclear powers, they have robust capability to launch a worldwide second strike in all three legs and can disperse their air forces and their sea forces on deterrent patrols. They possess nuclear forces consisting of land-based missiles, ballistic or long-range cruise missile submarines, and strategic bombers or long-range tactical aircraft.

China

Unlike the United States and Russia where strategic nuclear forces are enumerated by treaty limits and subject to verification, China, a nuclear power since 1964, is not subject to these requirements but currently has a triad structure smaller in size compared to Russia and the United States. China’s nuclear force is much smaller than the US or Russia and is closer in number and capability to that of France or the United Kingdom. This force is mainly land-based missiles including ICBMs, IRBMs, and tactical ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles. Unlike the US and Russia, China stores many of its missiles in huge underground tunnel complexes; U.S. Representative Michael Turner[5] referring to 2009 Chinese media reports said “This network of tunnels could be in excess of 5,000 kilometers (3,110 miles), and is used to transport nuclear weapons and forces,”[6] the Chinese Army newsletter calls this tunnel system an Underground Great Wall of China.[7]

Currently China has one Type 092 submarine that is currently active with JL-1 SLBM according to Office of Naval Intelligence.[8][9] In addition, the PLAN has deployed 4 newer Type 094 submarines and plan to deploy up to 8 of these Jin-class SSBN by the end of 2020.[10][11] The new Type 094 fleet uses the newer JL-2 SLBM. China carried out a series of successful JL-2 launches in 2009,[12] 2012[13][14] and 2015.[15] The United States expect the 094 SSBN to carry out its first deterrent patrol by 2015 with the JL-2 missile active.[10] There is an aged albeit upgraded bomber force consisting of Xian H-6s with an unclear nuclear delivery role. The PLAAF has a limited capability fleet of H-6 bombers modified for aerial refuelling as well as forthcoming Russian Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refuelling tankers.[16] China also introduced a newer and modernized H-6 variant the H-6K with enhanced capabilities such as launching long ranged cruise missile the CJ-10. In addition to the H-6 bomber, there are numerous tactical fighter and fighter bombers such as the: J-16, J-10, JH-7A and Su-30 which all capable of carrying nuclear weapons. China is also developing hypersonic glide vehicles.

India

India completed its nuclear triad with the commissioning of INS Arihant in August 2016.[17][18][19][20][21][22] INS Arihant is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine armed with 12 K-15 missiles with a range of 750 km,[23] which will later be upgraded K-4 missiles with an extended range of 3500 km.[24][25][26] India maintains a no first use nuclear policy and has been developing a nuclear triad capability as a part of its credible minimum deterrence doctrine.[27] India’s nuclear-weapons program possesses surface-to-surface missiles such as the Agni III and Agni IV. In addition, the 5,000–8000 km range Agni-V ICBM was also successfully tested for third time on 31 January 2015[28] and is expected to enter service by 2016.[29] India has nuclear-capable fighter aircraft such as the Dassault Mirage 2000H, Dassault Rafale, Sukhoi Su-30 MKI, MIG-29 and SEPECAT Jaguar. Land and air strike capabilities are under the control of Strategic Forces Command which is a part of Nuclear Command Authority.

Russian Federation

Also a nuclear power,[30] Russia inherited the arsenal of all of the former Soviet states; this consists of silo-based as well as rail and road mobile ICBMs, sea-based SLBMs, strategic bombers, strategic aerial refueling aircraft, and long-range tactical aircraft capable of carrying gravity bombs, standoff missiles, and cruise missiles. The Russian Strategic Rocket Forces have ICBMs capable of delivering nuclear warheads,[citation needed] silo-based R-36M2 (SS-18), silo-based UR-100N (SS-19), mobile RT-2PM “Topol” (SS-25), silo-based RT-2UTTH “Topol M” (SS-27), mobile RT-2UTTH “Topol M” (SS-27), mobile RS-24 “Yars” (SS-29) (Future replacement for R-36 & UR-100N missiles). Russian strategic nuclear submarine forces are equipped with the following SLBM’s, R-29R “Vysota”, NATO name SS-N-18 “Stingray”, RSM-54 R-29RMU “Sineva”, NATO name SS-N-23 “Skiff” and the R-29RMU2.1 “Liner” are in use with the Delta-class submarine, but the RSM-56 R-30 “Bulava”, NATO name SS-NX-32 is under development for the Borei-class submarine. The Russian Long Range Aviation operates supersonic Tupolev Tu-22M, and Tupolev Tu-160 bombers and the long range turboprop powered Tupolev Tu-95, they are all mostly armed with strategic stand off missiles or cruise missiles such as the KH-15 and the KH-55/Kh-102. These bombers and nuclear capable strike aircraft such as the Sukhoi Su-24 are supported by Ilyushin Il-78 aerial refuelling aircraft. The USSR was required to destroy its stock of IRBMs in accordance with the INF treaty. In addition to the nuclear triad Russia is also developing nuclear torpedos and hypersonic glide vehicles.

United States

The United States operates Minuteman ICBMs from underground hardened silos, Trident SLBMs carried by Ohio-class submarines, it also operates B-52, B-2 strategic bombers, as well as land-based tactical aircraft, some capable of carrying strategic and tactical B61 and large strategic B83 gravity bombs, and AGM-86 ALCMs. While the US no longer keeps nuclear armed bombers on airborne alert, it has the ability to do so, along with the airborne nuclear command and control aircraft with its fleet of KC-10 and KC-135 aerial refueling planes. Previous to development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, the US Navy strategic nuclear role was provided by aircraft carrier–based bombers and, for a short time, submarine-launched cruise missiles. With the end of the cold war, the US never deployed the rail-mobile version of the Peacekeeper ICBM or the road mobile Midgetman small ICBM. The US destroyed its stock of road-mobile Pershing II IRBMs and ground-launched cruise missiles in accordance with the INF treaty. The US also has shared strategic nuclear weapons and still deploys shared tactical nuclear weapons to some NATO countries.[1][3][31]

Former triad powers

France

A former triad power, the French Force de frappe possesses sea-based and air-based nuclear forces through the Triomphant-class ballistic missile submarines deployed with M45 intercontinental SLBMs armed with multiple warheads, nuclear capable Dassault Rafale F3 and Dassault Mirage 2000N fighter aircraft (armed with Air-Sol Moyenne Portée) which replaced the long-range Dassault Mirage IV supersonic nuclear bomber and KC-135 aerial refuelling tankers in its inventory. France had S2 and then S3 silo based strategic nuclear IRBMs, the S3 with a 3,500 km range, but these have been phased out of service since the dissolution of the USSR. France operates aircraft with a nuclear strike role from its aircraft carrier.

Non-triad powers

Non-triad powers are nuclear armed nations which have never developed a strategic nuclear delivery triad.

North Korea

North Korea has claimed to have indigenous nuclear weapons technology since a large underground explosion was detected in 2006. The DPRK has both aircraft and missiles which may be tasked to deliver nuclear weapons. The North Korean missile program is largely based on domestically produced variants of the Soviet Scud missile, some of which are sufficiently powerful to attempt satellite launch. The DPRK also has short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Western researchers believe the current generation of the DPRK’s suspected nuclear weapons are too large to be fitted to the country’s existing missile stock.[32]

Pakistan

Pakistan does not have an active nuclear triad. Its nuclear weapons are primarily land-based. The Minimum Credible Deterrence (MCD) is a defense and strategic principle on which the atomic weapons program of Pakistan is based.[33] This doctrine is not a part of the nuclear doctrine, which is designed for the use of the atomic weapons in a full-scale declared war if the conditions of the doctrine are surpassed.[34] Instead, the MCD policy falls under minimal deterrence as an inverse to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).[35] In August 2012, The Economist magazine wrote an article stating that Pakistan was an emerging nuclear triad state. Pakistani plans of responding to any capture or pre-emptive destruction of their nuclear defences seems to be one reason why they are determined to develop a third leg, after air- and land-based delivery systems, to Pakistan’s nuclear triad, consisting of nuclear-armed ships and submarines. As Iskander Rehman of the Carnegie Endowment, a think-tank, observes in a recent paper, Pakistani nuclear expansion and methods of delivery is drifting “from the dusty plains of the Punjab into the world’s most congested shipping lanes… It is only a matter of time before Pakistan formally brings nuclear weapons into its own fleet.”[36]

Pakistan possesses several ballistic missiles such as the Shaheen-1A and the Shaheen-II, missiles having ranges of 900 km and 2000 km respectively. They also contain systems said to be capable of carrying several nuclear warheads as well as being designed to evade missile-defense systems.[37][38] Pakistan also possesses the Babur cruise missile with a range up to 700 km. These land-based missiles are controlled by Army Strategic Forces Command of the Pakistan Army.

The PAF has two dedicated units (the No. 16 Black Panthers and the No. 26 Black Spiders) operating 18 aircraft in each squadron of the JF-17 Thunder, believed to be the preferred vehicle for delivery of nuclear weapons.[39] These units are a major part of the Air Force Strategic Command, a command responsible for nuclear response. The PAF also operates a fleet of F-16 fighters, of which 18 were delivered in 2012 and, as confirmed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, are capable of carrying nuclear weapons.[40] The PAF also possesses the Ra’ad air-launched cruise missile which has a range of 350 km and can carry a nuclear warhead with a yield of between 10 kilotons to 35 kilotons.[41]

In 2004, the Pakistan Navy established the Naval Strategic Forces Command and made it responsible for countering and battling naval-based weapons of mass destruction. It is believed by most experts that Pakistan is developing a sea-based variant of the Hatf VII Babur, which is a nuclear-capable ground-launched cruise missile.[42]

United Kingdom

The UK never rolled out its own land based missile nuclear delivery system. It only possesses sea-based nuclear forces through its Royal Navy Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines, deployed with Trident II intercontinental SLBMs armed with multiple warheads. The Royal Air Force used to operate V bomber strategic bombers throughout the Cold War and continued airborne delivery using Tornado and Jaguar aircraft until the late 1990s. The planned UK silo-based IRBM, the Blue Streak missile, was cancelled as it was not seen as a credible deterrent, considering the population density of areas in the UK geologically suited for missile silos. The tactical Corporal surface-to-surface missile was operated by the British Army. The American made intermediate range Thor missile aimed at Soviet targets was operated briefly by the RAF but before the arrival of the Polaris SLBM. Previously having a nuclear strike mission for carrier-based Buccaneer attack aircraft and later Sea Harriers, the UK no longer deploys nuclear weapons for delivery by carrier-based naval aircraft or any other means other than the Vanguard submarine-launched Trident SLBM.

Suspected triad powers

Main articles: Jericho (missile), Popeye Turbo, and F-15I

Israel has been reported in congressional testimony by the US Department of Defense of having aircraft-delivered nuclear weapons as early as the mid-1960s, a demonstrated missile-based force since the mid-1960s, an IRBM in the mid-1980s, an ICBM in the early 2000s[43] and the suspected second-strike capability arrived with the Dolphin-class submarine and Popeye Turbo submarine-launched cruise missile. Israel is suspected of using their inventory of nuclear-capable fighter aircraft such as the long-range F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 and formerly the F-4 Phantom, Dassault Mirage III, A-4 Skyhawk and Nesher. Israel has appreciable and growing numbers of long-range tanker aircraft and aerial refueling capacity on its long-range fighter-bomber aircraft, this capacity was used in the 1985 long-range conventional strike against the PLO in Tunisia.[44] Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that the Israeli Dolphin-class submarines are widely believed to be nuclear armed, offering Israel a second-strike capability with a demonstrated range of at least 1500 km in a 2002 test.[45][46] According to an official report which was submitted to the American congress in 2004,[43] it may be that with a payload of 1,000 kg the Jericho 3 gives Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as within large parts of South America and North Oceania, Israel also has the regional reach of its Jericho 2 IRBM force. The existence of a nuclear force is often hinted at blatantly and evidence of an advanced weapons program including miniaturized and thermonuclear devices has been presented, especially the extensive photographic evidence given by former Israeli nuclear weapons assembler Mordechai Vanunu. There have been incidents where Israel has been suspected of testing, but so far Israel for diplomatic reasons has not openly admitted to having operational nuclear weapons, and so is only a suspect triad state.

Other nuclear delivery systems

Air Mobile ICBM Feasibility Demonstration—24 October 1974

There is nothing in nuclear strategy to mandate only these three delivery systems. For example, orbital weapons or spacecraft for purposes of orbital bombardment using nuclear devices have been developed and silo deployed by the USSR from 1969 to 1983, these would not fit into the categories listed above. However, actual space-based weapon systems used for weapons of mass destruction have been banned under the Outer Space Treaty and launch ready deployment for the US and former USSR by the SALT II treaty. Another example is the US, UK, and France do or have previously included a strategic nuclear strike mission for carrier-based aircraft, which especially in the past were far harder to track and target with ICBMs or strategic nuclear bombers than fixed bomber or missile bases, permitting some second-strike flexibility; this was the first sea-based deterrent before the SLBM. The US and UK jointly explored an air-launched strategic ballistic nuclear missile, the Skybolt, but canceled the program in favor of submarine-based missiles. In 1974 a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy successfully tested an air launch of a Minuteman ICBM; this system was not deployed, but was used as a bargaining point in the SALT treaty negotiations with the USSR.

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_triad

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Tom Wolfe — The Right Stuff — Videos

Posted on December 10, 2016. Filed under: American History, Art, Articles, Blogroll, Book, Books, College, Comedy, Communications, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Fiction, Heroes, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Money, Movies, Movies, Music, People, Philosophy, Photos, Press, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Video, War, Wisdom, World War II, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

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The Right Stuff – The Bell X-1 (with Levon Helm as CPT Jack Ridley)

The Right Stuff (Part 2)

The Right Stuff (Part 3)

The Right Stuff (Part 4)

The Right Stuff (Part 5)

The Right Stuff (Part 6)

The Right Stuff (Part 7)

The Right Stuff (book)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff (book).jpg

First edition
Author Tom Wolfe
Country United States
Language English
Genre New Journalism
Non-fiction
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date
1979
Media type Print (hardcover & paperback)
Pages 436 pages
ISBN 0-374-25032-4
OCLC 5007334
629.4/0973 19
LC Class TL789.8.U5 W64 1979

The Right Stuff is a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe about the pilots engaged in U.S. postwar research with experimental rocket-powered, high-speed aircraft as well as documenting the stories of the first Project Mercury astronauts selected for the NASA space program. The Right Stuff is based on extensive research by Wolfe, who interviewed test pilots, the astronauts and their wives, among others. The story contrasts the “Mercury Seven[1] and their families with test pilots such as Chuck Yeager, who was considered by many contemporaries as the best of them all, but who was never selected as an astronaut.

Wolfe wrote that the book was inspired by the desire to find out why the astronauts accepted the danger of space flight. He recounts the enormous risks that test pilots were already taking, and the mental and physical characteristics—the titular “right stuff”—required for and reinforced by their jobs. Wolfe likens the astronauts to “single combat warriors” from an earlier era who received the honor and adoration of their people before going forth to fight on their behalf.

The 1983 film The Right Stuff is adapted from the book.

Writing and publication

First-state dust jacket, showing initial design never released in a public edition[2]

In 1972 Jann Wenner, the editor of Rolling Stone assigned Wolfe to cover the launch of NASA’s last moon mission, Apollo 17. Wolfe became fascinated with the astronauts, and his competitive spirit compelled him to try to outdo Norman Mailer‘s nonfiction book about the first moon mission, Of a Fire on the Moon. He published a four-part series for Rolling Stone in 1973 titled “Post-Orbital Remorse”, about the depression that some astronauts experienced after having been in space. After the series, Wolfe began researching the whole of the space program, in what became a seven-year project from which he took time to write The Painted Word, a book on art, and to complete Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine, a collection of shorter pieces.[3]

In 1977 he returned to his astronaut book full-time. Wolfe originally planned to write a complete history of the space program, though after writing through the Mercury program, he felt that his work was complete and that it captured the astronauts’ ethos — the “right stuff” that astronauts and test pilots of the 1940s and 1950s shared — the unspoken code of bravery and machismo that compelled these men to ride on top of dangerous rockets. While conducting research, he consulted with General Chuck Yeager and, after receiving a comprehensive review of his manuscript, was convinced that test pilots like Yeager should form the backdrop of the period. In the end, Yeager becomes a personification of the many postwar test pilots and their “right stuff.”[4] The phrase itself may have originated in the Joseph Conrad story “Youth”, where it was used.

The Right Stuff was published in 1979 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and became Wolfe’s best selling book yet.[citation needed] It was praised by most critics, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and won the National Book Award for Nonfiction.[5][6]

In the foreword to a new edition, published in 1983 when the film adaptation was released, Wolfe wrote that his “book grew out of some ordinary curiosity” about what “makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle… and wait for someone to light the fuse.”[7]

Book

The story is more about the space race than space exploration in general. The Soviet Union‘s early space efforts are mentioned only as background, focusing entirely on an early portion of the U.S. space program. Only Project Mercury, the first operational manned space-flight program, is covered. The Mercury Seven were Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton. Emphasis is given to the personal stories of the astronauts and their wives rather than the technical aspects of space travel and the flights themselves.

The storyline also involves the political reasons for putting people into space, asserting that the Mercury astronauts were actually a burden to the program and were only sent up for promotional reasons. Reasons for including living beings in spacecraft are barely touched upon, but the first option considered was to use a chimpanzee (and, indeed, chimpanzees were sent up first).

Another option considered were athletes already accustomed to physical stress, such as circus trapeze artists. Wolfe states that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, insisted on pilots, even though the first crew members would not actually fly the spacecraft. When Gus Grissom lands at sea and exits his space capsule, saving the capsule seems more important to the recovery team than saving the pilot because of the value of the data.

Wolfe contrasts the Seven with the Edwards AFB test pilots, among whom was Chuck Yeager, who was shut out of the astronaut program after NASA officials decided to use college-degreed pilots, not ones who gained their commissions as enlisted men, such as participants in the USAAF Flying Sergeants Program in World War II. Chuck Yeager spent time with Tom Wolfe explaining accident reports “that Wolfe kept getting all wrong.” Publishing insiders say these sessions between Wolfe and Yeager led Wolfe to highlight Yeager’s character, presence, thoughts, and anecdotes throughout the book. As an example, Yeager prides his speech to the Society of Test Pilots that the first rider in the Mercury development program would be a monkey, not a real test pilot, and Wolfe plays this drama out on the angst felt by the Mercury Astronauts over those remarks. Yeager himself downplayed the theory of “the right stuff,” attributing his survival of potential catastrophes to simply knowing his airplane thoroughly, along with some good luck.

Another test pilot highlighted in the book is Scott Crossfield. Crossfield and Yeager were fierce but friendly rivals for speed and altitude records.

Film adaptation

A 3-hour, 13-minute film stars Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Fred Ward, Barbara Hershey, Kim Stanley, Levon Helm, Veronica Cartwright, Pamela Reed, Lance Henriksen, and the real Chuck Yeager in a cameo appearance. NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz also has a small role, playing “Gonzalez”. It features a score by composer Bill Conti.

The screenplay was adapted by Philip Kaufman from the book, with some contributions from screenwriter William Goldman (Goldman dissociated himself with the film after quarrelling with Kaufman about the story). The film was also directed by Kaufman.

While the movie took liberties with certain historical facts as part of “dramatic license”, criticism focused on one: the portrayal of Gus Grissom panicking when his Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft sank following splashdown. Most historians, as well as engineers working for or with NASA and many of the related contractor agencies within the aerospace industry, are now convinced that the premature detonation of the spacecraft hatch’s explosive bolts was caused by failure not associated with direct human error or deliberate detonation at the hands of Grissom.[citation needed]

This determination had, in fact, been made long before the movie was filmed, and even Tom Wolfe‘s book only states that this possibility was considered, not that it was actually judged as being the cause of the accident. In fact, Grissom was assigned to command the first flights of both Gemini and Apollo. Ironically, Grissom died in the Apollo 1 fire because there was no quick-opening hatch on the Block 1 Apollo Command Module – a design choice made because NASA had determined that the explosion in the hatch on Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 had been most likely self-initiated.[citation needed]

Another fact that had been altered in the film was the statement by Trudy Cooper, who commented that she “wondered how they would’ve felt if every time their husband went in to make a deal, there was a one-in-four chance he wouldn’t come out of that meeting.” According to the book, this actually reflected the 23% chance of dying during a 20-year career as a normal pilot. For a test pilot, these odds were higher, at 53%, but were still considerably less than the movie implied. In addition, the movie merely used the fictional Mrs. Cooper as a vehicle for the statement; the real Mrs. Cooper is not known to have said this.[8]

Wolfe made no secret that he disliked the film, especially because of changes from his original book. William Goldman, involved in early drafts of the script, also disliked the choices made by Kaufman, saying in his book Adventures in the Screen Trade that “Phil [Kaufman]’s heart was with Yeager. And not only that, he felt the astronauts, rather than being heroic, were really minor leaguers, mechanical men of no particular quality, not great pilots at all, simply the product of hype.”[9] Critics, however, generally were favorable toward the film.

References

Citations

  1. Jump up^ Wolfe 2001, p. 143. Note: Wolfe uses this term exactly once.
  2. Jump up^ The Right Stuff.” ABE books. Retrieved: 3 November 2009.
  3. Jump up^ Ragen 2001, pp. 22–26.
  4. Jump up^ Wolfe 1979, p. 368.
  5. Jump up^ Ragen 2001, p. 26–28.
  6. Jump up^ “National Book Awards – 1980”. National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
    This was the award for General Nonfiction (hardcover) during a period in National Book Awards history when there were many nonfiction subcategories.
  7. Jump up^ Wolfe 2001, Foreword.
  8. Jump up^ Wolfe 1979, p. 22.
  9. Jump up^ Goldman 1983

Bibliography

  • Bryan, C.D.B. “The Right Stuff (review).” New York Times, 23 September 1979.
  • Charity, Tom. The Right Stuff (BFI Modern Classics). London: British Film Institute, 1991. ISBN 0-85170-624-X.
  • Goldman, William (1989). Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting (reissue ed.). Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-39117-4.
  • Ragen, Brian Abel, ed. Tom Wolfe: A Critical Companion. West Port, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2001. ISBN 0-313-31383-0.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979, ISBN 0-374-25032-4.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Bantam, 1979, ISBN 0-553-24063-3.
  • Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff. New York: Bantam, 2001, 1979, ISBN 0-553-38135-0.

External links

Tom Wolfe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Thomas Wolfe or Tom Wolf (politician).
Tom Wolfe
Wolfe at White House.jpg

Wolfe at the White House on March 22, 2004
Born Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Jr.
March 2, 1931 (age 85)
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Occupation Journalist, author
Language English
Nationality American
Period 1959–present
Literary movement New Journalism
Notable works The Painted Word, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, A Man in Full, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, The Bonfire of the Vanities, I Am Charlotte Simmons, Back to Blood
Spouse Sheila Wolfe
Children 2

Thomas KennerlyTomWolfe, Jr. (born March 2, 1931)[1] is an American author and journalist, best known for his association with and influence over the New Journalism literary movement, in which literary techniques are used extensively and traditional values of journalistic objectivity and evenhandedness are rejected. He began his career as a regional newspaper reporter in the 1950s, but achieved national prominence in the 1960s following the publication of such best-selling books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (a highly experimental account of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters), and two collections of articles and essays, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. His first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, published in 1987, was met with critical acclaim, became a commercial success, and was adapted as a major motion picture (directed by Brian De Palma).

Early life and education

Wolfe was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Louise (née Agnew), a landscape designer, and Thomas Kennerly Wolfe, Sr., an agronomist.[2][3]

Wolfe grew up on Gloucester Road in the historic Richmond North Side neighborhood of Sherwood Park. He recounts some of his childhood memories of growing up there in a foreword to a book about the nearby historic Ginter Park neighborhood.

Wolfe was student council president, editor of the school newspaper and a star baseball player at St. Christopher’s School, an Episcopalian all-boys school in Richmond, Virginia.

Upon graduation in 1947, he turned down admission to Princeton University to attend Washington and Lee University, both all-male schools at the time; at Washington and Lee, Wolfe was a member of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity. Wolfe majored in English and practiced his writing outside the classroom as well. He was the sports editor of the college newspaper and helped found a literary magazine, Shenandoah. Of particular influence was his professor Marshall Fishwick, a teacher of American studies educated at Yale. More in the tradition of anthropology than literary scholarship, Fishwick taught his classes to look at the whole of a culture, including those elements considered profane. The very title of Wolfe’s undergraduate thesis, “A Zoo Full of Zebras: Anti-Intellectualism in America,” evinced his fondness for words and aspirations toward cultural criticism. Wolfe graduated cum laude in 1951.

Wolfe had continued playing baseball as a pitcher and had begun to play semi-professionally while still in college. In 1952 he earned a tryout with the New York Giants but was cut after three days, which Wolfe blamed on his inability to throw good fastballs. Wolfe abandoned baseball and instead followed his professor Fishwick’s example, enrolling in Yale University‘s American studies doctoral program. His PhD thesis was titled The League of American Writers: Communist Organizational Activity Among American Writers, 1929–1942.[4] In the course of his research, Wolfe interviewed many writers, including Malcolm Cowley, Archibald MacLeish, and James T. Farrell.[5] A biographer remarked on the thesis: “Reading it, one sees what has been the most baleful influence of graduate education on many who have suffered through it: it deadens all sense of style.”[6] His thesis was originally rejected but he finally passed by rewriting it being objective instead of subjective. Upon leaving Yale he wrote a friend explaining through expletives his personal opinions about his thesis.

Journalism and New Journalism

Though Wolfe was offered teaching jobs in academia, he opted to work as a reporter. In 1956, while still preparing his thesis, Wolfe became a reporter for the Springfield Union in Springfield, Massachusetts. Wolfe finished his thesis in 1957 and in 1959 was hired by The Washington Post. Wolfe has said that part of the reason he was hired by the Post was his lack of interest in politics. The Post’s city editor was “amazed that Wolfe preferred cityside to Capitol Hill, the beat every reporter wanted.” He won an award from The Newspaper Guild for foreign reporting in Cuba in 1961 and also won the Guild’s award for humor. While there, he experimented with fiction-writing techniques in feature stories.[7]

In 1962, Wolfe left Washington for New York City, taking a position with the New York Herald Tribune as a general assignment reporter and feature writer. The editors of the Herald Tribune, including Clay Felker of the Sunday section supplement New York magazine, encouraged their writers to break the conventions of newspaper writing.[8] During the 1962 New York City newspaper strike, Wolfe approached Esquire magazine about an article on the hot rod and custom car culture of Southern California. He struggled with the article until finally a desperate editor, Byron Dobell, suggested that Wolfe send him his notes so they could piece the story together.

Wolfe procrastinated until, on the evening before the article was due, he typed a letter to Dobell explaining what he wanted to say on the subject, ignoring all journalistic conventions. Dobell’s response was to remove the salutation “Dear Byron” from the top of the letter and publish it intact as reportage. The result, published in 1963, was “There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby.” The article was widely discussed—loved by some, hated by others—and helped Wolfe publish his first book, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, a collection of his writings in the Herald-Tribune, Esquire, and other publications.[9]

This was what Wolfe called New Journalism, in which some journalists and essayists experimented with a variety of literary techniques, mixing them with the traditional ideal of dispassionate, even-handed reporting. More specifically, Wolfe experimented with four literary devices not normally associated with feature writing—scene-by-scene construction, extensive dialogue, multiple points of view, and detailed description of one’s status-life symbols (the materialistic choices one makes)—to produce this stylized form of journalism, which would later be commonly referred to as literary journalism.[10] Of status symbols, Wolfe has said, “I think every living moment of a human being’s life, unless the person is starving or in immediate danger of death in some other way, is controlled by a concern for status.”[11]

Wolfe also championed what he called “saturation reporting,” a reportorial approach where the journalist “shadows” and observes the subject over an extended period of time. “To pull it off,” says Wolfe, “you casually have to stay with the people you are writing about for long stretches . . . long enough so that you are actually there when revealing scenes take place in their lives.”[12] Saturation reporting differs from “in-depth” and “investigative” reporting, which involve the direct interviewing of numerous sources and/or the extensive analyzing of external documents relating to the story. Saturation reporting, according to communication professor Richard Kallan, “entails a more complex set of relationships wherein the journalist becomes an involved, more fully reactive witness, no longer distanced and detached from the people and events reported.”[13]

One of the most striking examples of New Journalism is Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The book, an account of the adventures of the Merry Pranksters, a famous sixties counter-culture group, was highly experimental in its use of onomatopoeia, free association, and eccentric punctuation—such as multiple exclamation marks and italics—to convey the manic ideas and personalities of Ken Kesey and his followers.

In addition to his own forays into this new style of journalism, Wolfe edited a collection of New Journalism with E.W. Johnson, published in 1973 and titled The New Journalism. This book brought together pieces from Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, Gay Talese, Joan Didion, and several other well-known writers with the common theme of journalism that incorporated literary techniques and that could be considered literature.[14]

Non-fiction books

In 1965, a collection of his articles in this style was published under the title The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, and Wolfe’s fame grew. A second volume of articles, The Pump House Gang, followed in 1968. Wolfe wrote on popular culture, architecture, politics, and other topics that underscored, among other things, how American life in the 1960s had been transformed by post-WWII economic prosperity. His defining work from this era is The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (published the same day as The Pump House Gang in 1968), which for many epitomized the 1960s. Although a conservative in many ways and certainly not a hippie (in 2008, he claimed never to have used LSD and to have tried marijuana only once[15]) Wolfe became one of the notable figures of the decade.

In 1970, he published two essays in book form as Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers: “Radical Chic,” a biting account of a party given by Leonard Bernstein to raise money for the Black Panther Party, and “Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers,” about the practice of using racial intimidation (“mau-mauing”) to extract funds from government welfare bureaucrats (“flak catchers”). The phrase “radical chic” soon became a popular derogatory term for upper-class leftism. Published in 1977, Mauve Gloves & Madmen, Clutter & Vine included one of Wolfe’s more famous essays, “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening.”

Back row – Shepard, Grissom, Cooper; Front row – Schirra, Slayton, Glenn, Carpenter.
The astronauts of the Mercury Seven were the subject of The Right Stuff.

In 1979, Wolfe published The Right Stuff, an account of the pilots who became America’s first astronauts. Famously following their training and unofficial, even foolhardy, exploits, he likened these heroes to “single combat champions” of a bygone era, going forth to battle in the space race on behalf of their country. In 1983, the book was adapted as a successful feature film.

In 2016 Wolfe published The Kingdom of Speech, which is a controversial[16] critique of Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky.[17]

Art critiques

Wolfe also wrote two highly skeptical social histories of modern art and modern architecture, The Painted Word and From Bauhaus to Our House, in 1975 and 1981, respectively. The Painted Word mocked the excessive insularity of the art world and its dependence on what he saw as faddish critical theory, while From Bauhaus to Our House explored the negative effects of the Bauhaus style on the evolution of modern architecture.[18]

Made for TV movie

A fictional television movie appeared on PBS in 1977, “Tom Wolfe’s Los Angeles”, a suitably satirical story set in Los Angeles. Wolfe appears in the movie himself.[19][20]

Novels

Throughout his early career, Wolfe had planned to write a novel that would capture the wide spectrum of American society. Among his models was William Makepeace Thackeray‘s Vanity Fair, which described the society of 19th century England. Wolfe remained occupied writing nonfiction books and contributing to Harper’s until 1981, when he ceased his other work to concentrate on the novel.

Wolfe began researching the novel by observing cases at the Manhattan Criminal Court and shadowing members of the Bronx homicide squad. While the research came easily, the writing did not immediately follow. To overcome his writer’s block, Wolfe wrote to Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone, to propose an idea drawn from Charles Dickens and Thackeray. The Victorian novelists that Wolfe viewed as his models had often written their novels in serial installments. Wenner offered Wolfe around $200,000 to serialize his work.[21] The deadline pressure gave him the motivation he had hoped for, and from July 1984 to August 1985 each biweekly issue of Rolling Stone contained a new installment. Wolfe was later not happy with his “very public first draft”[22] and thoroughly revised his work. Even Sherman McCoy, the novel’s central character, changed: originally a writer, the book version cast McCoy as a bond salesman. Wolfe researched and revised for two years, and his The Bonfire of the Vanities was published in 1987. The book was a commercial and critical success, spending weeks on bestseller lists and earning praise from much of the literary establishment on which Wolfe had long heaped scorn.[23]

Because of the success of Wolfe’s first novel, there was widespread interest in his second. This novel took him more than 11 years to complete; A Man in Full was published in 1998. The book’s reception was not universally favorable, though it received glowing reviews in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. An enormous initial printing of 1.2 million copies was announced and the book stayed at number one on the New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. John Updike wrote a critical review for The New Yorker complaining that the novel “amounts to entertainment, not literature, even literature in a modest aspirant form.” This touched off an intense war of words in the print and broadcast media between Wolfe and Updike, John Irving, and Norman Mailer. In 2001, Wolfe published an essay referring to these three authors as “My Three Stooges.”

After publishing Hooking Up (a collection of short pieces, including the 1997 novella Ambush at Fort Bragg) in 2001, he followed up with his third novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons (2004), which chronicles the decline of a poor, bright scholarship student from Alleghany County, North Carolina, in the context of snobbery, materialism, institutionalised anti-intellectualism and sexual promiscuity she finds at a prestigious contemporary American university. The novel met with a mostly tepid response by critics but won praise from many social conservatives, who saw the book’s account of college sexuality as revealing of a disturbing moral decline. The novel won a Bad Sex in Fiction Award from the London-based Literary Review, a prize established “to draw attention to the crude, tasteless, often perfunctory use of redundant passages of sexual description in the modern novel”. Wolfe later explained that such sexual references were deliberately clinical.

Wolfe has written that his goal in writing fiction is to document contemporary society in the tradition of John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens, and Émile Zola.

In early 2008, it was announced that Wolfe was leaving his longtime publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His fourth novel, Back to Blood, was published in October 2012 by Little, Brown. According to The New York Times, Wolfe was paid close to US$7 million for the book.[24] According to the publisher, Back to Blood is about “class, family, wealth, race, crime, sex, corruption and ambition in Miami, the city where America’s future has arrived first.”[25]

Recurring themes

Several themes are present in much of Wolfe’s writing, including his novels. One such theme is male power-jockeying, which is a major part of The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full, and I Am Charlotte Simmons as well as several of his journalistic pieces. Male characters in his fiction often suffer from feelings of extreme inadequacy or hugely inflated egos, sometimes alternating between both. He satirizes racial politics, most commonly between whites and blacks; he also highlights class divisions between characters. Men’s fashions often play a large part in his stories, being used to indicate economic status. Much of his recent work also addresses neuroscience, a subject which he admitted a fascination with in “Sorry, Your Soul Just Died,” one of the essays in Hooking Up, and which played a large role in I Am Charlotte Simmons—the title character being a student of neuroscience, and characters’ thought processes, such as fear, humiliation and lust, frequently being described in the terminology of brain chemistry. Wolfe also frequently gives detailed descriptions of various aspects of his characters’ anatomies.[26]

Two of his novels (A Man in Full and I Am Charlotte Simmons) feature major characters (Conrad Hensley and Jojo Johanssen, respectively) who are set on paths to self-discovery by reading classical Roman and Greek philosophy.

Law and banking firms in Wolfe’s writing often have satirical names formed by the surnames of the partners. “Dunning, Sponget and Leach” and “Curry, Goad and Pesterall” appear in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and “Wringer, Fleasom and Tick” in A Man in Full. Ambush at Fort Bragg contains a law firm called “Crotalus, Adder, Cobran and Krate” (all names or homophones of venomous snakes).

Some characters appear in multiple novels, creating a sense of a “universe” that is continuous throughout Wolfe’s fiction. The character of Freddy Button, a lawyer from Bonfire of the Vanities, is mentioned briefly in I Am Charlotte Simmons. A character named Ronald Vine, an interior decorator who is mentioned in The Bonfire of the Vanities, reappears in A Man in Full as the designer of Charlie Croker’s home.

A fictional sexual practice called “that thing with the cup” appears in several of his writings, including The Bonfire of the Vanities, A Man in Full and a (non-fiction) essay in Hooking Up.

The surname “Bolka” appears in three Wolfe novels—as the name of a rendering plant in A Man in Full, as a partner in an accounting firm in Bonfire of the Vanities, and as a college lacrosse player from the Balkans in I Am Charlotte Simmons.

The white suit

Wolfe adopted the white suit as a trademark in 1962. He bought his first white suit planning to wear it in the summer in the style of Southern gentlemen. However, he found that the suit he purchased was too heavy for summer use, so he wore it in winter, which created a sensation.[27] Wolfe has maintained this uniform ever since, sometimes worn with a matching white tie, white homburg hat, and two-tone shoes. Wolfe has said that the outfit disarms the people he observes, making him, in their eyes, “a man from Mars, the man who didn’t know anything and was eager to know.”[28]

Views

In 1989, Wolfe wrote an essay for Harper’s Magazine titled “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast“, which criticized modern American novelists for failing to engage fully with their subjects, and suggested that modern literature could be saved by a greater reliance on journalistic technique. This attack on the mainstream literary establishment was interpreted as a boast that Wolfe’s work was superior to more highly regarded authors.[29]

Wolfe was a supporter of George W. Bush and said he voted for him for president in 2004 because of what he called Bush’s “great decisiveness and willingness to fight.” (Bush apparently reciprocates the admiration, having read all of Wolfe’s books, according to friends in 2005.[30]) After this fact emerged in a New York Times interview, Wolfe said that the reaction in the literary world was as if he had said, “I forgot to tell you—I’m a child molester.” Because of this incident, he sometimes wears an American flag pin on his suit, which he compared to “holding up a cross to werewolves.”[31]

Wolfe’s views and choice of subject material, such as mocking left-wing intellectuals in Radical Chic and glorifying astronauts in The Right Stuff, have sometimes led to his being labeled conservative,[32] and his depiction of the Black Panther Party in Radical Chic led to a member of the party calling him a racist.[33] Wolfe rejects such labels; in a 2004 interview, he said that his “idol” in writing about society and culture is Émile Zola, who, in Wolfe’s words, was “a man of the left” but “went out, and found a lot of ambitious, drunk, slothful and mean people out there. Zola simply could not—and was not interested in—telling a lie.”[32]

Asked to comment by the Wall Street Journal on blogs in 2007 to mark the tenth anniversary of their advent, Wolfe wrote that “the universe of blogs is a universe of rumors” and that “blogs are an advance guard to the rear.” He also took the opportunity to criticize Wikipedia, saying that “only a primitive would believe a word of” it. He noted a story about him in his Wikipedia entry at the time, which he said had never happened.[34]

Personal life

Wolfe lives in New York City with his wife Sheila, who designs covers for Harper’s magazine. They have two children, a daughter, Alexandra, and a son, Tommy.[35]

A writer for Examiner Magazine who interviewed Wolfe in 1998 said, “He has no computer and does not surf, or even know how to use, the Internet”, adding, however, that Wolfe’s novel A Man in Full does have a subplot involving “a muckraking cyber-gossip site, à la the Drudge Report or Salon.”[35]

Influence

Wolfe is credited with introducing the terms “statusphere,” “the right stuff,” “radical chic,” “the Me Decade,” “social x-ray,” and “pushing the envelope” into the English lexicon.[36][dubious ] He is sometimes credited with inventing the term “trophy wife” as well, but this is incorrect: he described emaciated wives as “X-rays” in his novel The Bonfire of the Vanities but did not use the term “trophy wife”.[37] According to journalism professor Ben Yagoda, Wolfe is also responsible for the use of the present tense in magazine profile pieces; before he began doing so in the early 1960s, profile articles had always been written in the past tense.[38]

Terms coined by Wolfe

List of awards and nominations

Television appearances

  • Wolfe was featured as an interview subject in the 1987 PBS documentary series Space Flight.
  • In July 1975 Wolfe was interviewed on Firing Line by William F. Buckley, Jr., discussing “The Painted Word”.[44]
  • Wolfe was featured on the February 2006 episode “The White Stuff” of Speed Channel‘s Unique Whips, where his Cadillac‘s interior was customized to match his trademark white suit.[45]
  • Wolfe guest-starred alongside Jonathan Franzen, Gore Vidal and Michael Chabon in The Simpsons episode “Moe’N’a Lisa“, which aired November 19, 2006. He was originally slated to be killed by a giant boulder, but that ending was edited out.[46] Wolfe was also used as a sight gag on The Simpsons episode “Insane Clown Poppy“, which aired on November 12, 2000. Homer spills chocolate on Wolfe’s trademark white suit, and Wolfe rips it off in one swift motion, revealing an identical suit underneath.

Bibliograph

Non-fiction

Novels

Featured in

Notable articles

  • “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson. Yes!” Esquire, March 1965.
  • “Tiny Mummies! The True Story of the Ruler of 43rd Street’s Land of the Walking Dead!” New York Herald-Tribune supplement (April 11, 1965).
  • “Lost in the Whichy Thicket,” New York Herald-Tribune supplement (April 18, 1965).
  • “The Birth of the New Journalism: Eyewitness Report by Tom Wolfe.” New York, February 14, 1972.
  • “The New Journalism: A la Recherche des Whichy Thickets.” New York Magazine, February 21, 1972.
  • “Why They Aren’t Writing the Great American Novel Anymore.” Esquire, December 1972.
  • “The Me Decade and the Third Great Awakening” New York, August 23, 1976.
  • Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast“, Harper’s. November 1989.
  • “Sorry, but Your Soul Just Died.” Forbes 1996.
  • “Pell Mell.” The Atlantic Monthly (November 2007).
  • “The Rich Have Feelings, Too.” Vanity Fair (September 2009).

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ This was the award for hardcover “General Nonfiction”. From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Award history there were dual awards for hardcover and paperback books in many categories, including several nonfiction subcategories. Most of the paperback award-winners were reprints, including the 1980 General Nonfiction.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Wolfe

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Sink The Bismarck — Videos

Posted on July 7, 2016. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, British History, Communications, history, media, Movies, Newspapers, People, Radio, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom, Work, World War II | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


bismarckzz_bismarck_escortedbism00

german_battleship_bismarck_by_warship_gunner

Sink The Bismarck (1960)

Sink The Bismarck WW2 Classic

Mega Disasters – The Bismarck

Search for Battleship Bismarck – National Geographic

SINK THE BISMARCK ~ sung by Johnny Horton

Johnny Horton “Sink the Bismark”a

Sink The Bismarck – Johnny Horton

Johnny Horton – Whispering Pines

Johnny Horton – Johnny Reb

Johnny Horton – All For The Love of A Girl

Jim Bridger ~ Johnny Horton

North To Alaska ~ Johnny Horton

Johnny Horton In Concert ~ The Incredibly Rare Live Performances

21 songs, 55 minutes of rare, live Johnny Horton performances from the 1950s and 1960s. All the hits are here, North To Alaska, Battle Of New Orleans, Sink The Bismarck, Johnny Reb, Springtime In Alaska and early classics as well. Enjoy

German battleship Bismarck

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bundesarchiv Bild 193-04-1-26, Schlachtschiff Bismarck.jpg

Bismarck in 1940
History
Nazi Germany
Namesake: Otto von Bismarck
Builder: Blohm & Voss, Hamburg
Laid down: 1 July 1936
Launched: 14 February 1939
Commissioned: 24 August 1940
Honors and
awards:
3 times mentioned in theWehrmachtbericht
Fate:
  • Scuttled following incapacitating battle damage, 27 May 1941 in the North Atlantic
  • 48°10′N 16°12′W
General characteristics
Class and type: Bismarck-classbattleship
Displacement:
Length:
Beam: 36 m (118 ft 1 in)
Draft: 9.3 m (30 ft 6 in) standard[a]
Propulsion:
  • 12 Wagner superheated boilers;
  • 3 geared turbines;
  • 3 three-blade screws
  • 148,116 shp (110,450 kW)
Speed: 30.01 knots (55.58 km/h; 34.53 mph) during trials[1][b]
Range: 8,870 nmi (16,430 km; 10,210 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph)
Complement:
  • 103 officers
  • 1,962 enlisted men
Armament:
Armour:
  • Belt: 320 mm (12.6 in)
  • Turrets: 360 mm (14 in)
  • Main deck: 100 to 120 mm (3.9 to 4.7 in)
Aircraft carried: 4 × Arado Ar 196floatplanes
Aviation facilities: 1 double-ended catapult

Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-classbattleships built for Nazi Germany‘s Kriegsmarine. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the unification of Germany in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched in February 1939. Work was completed in August 1940, when she was commissioned into the German fleet. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power.

In the course of the warship’s eight-month career under its sole commanding officer, Capt. Ernst Lindemann, Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, in May 1941, codenamed Rheinübung. The ship, along with the heavy cruiserPrinz Eugen, was to break into the Atlantic Ocean and raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, and British naval units were deployed to block their route. At the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Bismarck engaged and destroyed the battlecruiserHMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat; Bismarck was hit three times and suffered an oil leak from a ruptured tank.

The destruction of Hood spurred a relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy involving dozens of warships. Two days later, heading for the relative safety of occupied France, Bismarck was attacked by obsolescentFairey Swordfishbiplanetorpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal; one scored a hit that rendered the battleship’s steering gear inoperable. In her final battle the following morning, Bismarck was neutralised by a sustained bombardment from a British fleet, was scuttled by her crew, and sank with heavy loss of life. Most experts agree that the battle damage would have caused her to sink eventually. The wreck was located in June 1989 by Robert Ballard, and has since been further surveyed by several other expeditions.

Construction and characteristics

Bismarck was ordered under the name Ersatz Hannover (“Hannover replacement”), a replacement for the old pre-dreadnoughtSMS Hannover, under contract “F”.[1] The contract was awarded to the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, where the keel was laid on 1 July 1936 at Helgen IX.[3][4] The ship was launched on 14 February 1939 and during the elaborate ceremonies was christened by Dorothee von Löwenfeld, granddaughter of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the ship’s namesake. Adolf Hitler made the christening speech.[4]Fitting-out work followed the launch, during which time the original straight stem was replaced with a raked “Atlantic bow” similar to those of the Scharnhorst-class battleships.[5]Bismarck was commissioned into the fleet on 24 August 1940 for sea trials,[6] which were conducted in the Baltic. Kapitän zur SeeErnst Lindemann took command of the ship at the time of commissioning.[7]

3D rendering of Bismarck duringOperation Rheinübung

Bismarck displaced 41,700 t (41,000 long tons) as built and 50,300 t (49,500 long tons) fully loaded, with an overall length of 251 m (823 ft 6 in), a beam of 36 m (118 ft 1 in) and a maximum draft of 9.9 m (32 ft 6 in).[1] The battleship was Germany’s largest warship,[8] and displaced more than any other European battleship, with the exception ofHMS Vanguard, commissioned after the end of the war.[9]Bismarck was powered by three Blohm & Voss geared steam turbines and twelve oil-fired Wagner superheatedboilers, which developed a total of 148,116 shp (110,450 kW) and yielded a maximum speed of 30.01 knots (55.58 km/h; 34.53 mph) on speed trials. The ship had a cruising range of 8,870 nautical miles (16,430 km; 10,210 mi) at 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph).[1]Bismarck was equipped with three FuMO 23 search radar sets, mounted on the forward and stern rangefinders and foretop.[10]

The standard crew numbered 103 officers and 1,962 enlisted men.[6] The crew was divided into twelve divisions of between 180 and 220 men. The first six divisions were assigned to the ship’s armament, divisions one to four for the main and secondary batteries and five and six manning anti-aircraft guns. The seventh division consisted of specialists, including cooks and carpenters, and the eighth division consisted of ammunition handlers. The radio operators, signalmen, and quartermasters were assigned to the ninth division. The last three divisions were the engine room personnel. When Bismarck left port, fleet staff, prize crews, and war correspondents increased the crew complement to over 2,200 men.[11] Roughly 200 of the engine room personnel came from the light cruiserKarlsruhe, which had been lost during Operation Weserübung, the German invasion of Norway.[12]Bismarcks crew published a ship’s newspaper titled Die Schiffsglocke (The Ship’s Bell);[13] this paper was only published once, on 23 April 1941, by the commander of the engineering department, Gerhard Junack.[14]

Bismarck was armed with eight 38 cm (15 in) SK C/34 guns arranged in four twin gun turrets: two super-firing turrets forward—”Anton” and “Bruno”—and two aft—”Caesar” and “Dora”.[c] Secondary armament consisted of twelve 15 cm (5.9 in) L/55 guns, sixteen 10.5 cm (4.1 in) L/65 and sixteen 3.7 cm (1.5 in) L/83, and twelve 2 cm (0.79 in) anti-aircraft guns. Bismarck also carried four Arado Ar 196 reconnaissancefloatplanes, with a single large hangar and a double-ended catapult.[6] The ship’s main belt was 320 mm (12.6 in) thick and was covered by a pair of upper and main armoured decks that were 50 mm (2.0 in) and 100 to 120 mm (3.9 to 4.7 in) thick, respectively. The 38 cm (15 in) turrets were protected by 360 mm (14.2 in) thick faces and 220 mm (8.7 in) thick sides.[1]

Service history

Bismarck in port in Hamburg

On 15 September 1940, three weeks after commissioning, Bismarck left Hamburg to begin sea trials in Kiel Bay.[16]Sperrbrecher 13 escorted the ship to Arcona on 28 September, and then on to Gotenhafen for trials in the Gulf of Danzig.[17] The ship’s power-plant was given a thorough workout; Bismarck made measured-mile and high speed runs. As the ship’s stability and manoeuvrability were being tested, a flaw in her design was discovered. When attempting to steer the ship solely through altering propeller revolutions, the crew learned that Bismarck could be kept on course only with great difficulty. Even with the outboard screws running at full power in opposite directions, they generated only a slight turning ability.[18]Bismarcks main battery guns were first test-fired in late November. The tests proved she was a very stable gun platform.[19] Trials lasted until December; Bismarckreturned to Hamburg, arriving on 9 December, for minor alterations and the completion of the fitting-out process.[16]

The ship was scheduled to return to Kiel on 24 January 1941, but a merchant vessel had been sunk in the Kiel Canal and prevented use of the waterway. Severe weather hampered efforts to remove the wreck, and Bismarckwas not able to reach Kiel until March.[16] The delay greatly frustrated Lindemann, who remarked that “[Bismarck] had been tied down at Hamburg for five weeks … the precious time at sea lost as a result cannot be made up, and a significant delay in the final war deployment of the ship thus is unavoidable.”[20] While waiting to reach Kiel, Bismarck hosted Captain Anders Forshell, the Swedish naval attaché to Berlin. He returned to Sweden with a detailed description of the ship, which was subsequently leaked to Britain by pro-British elements in the Swedish Navy. The information provided the Royal Navy with its first full description of the vessel, although it lacked important facts, including top speed, radius of action, and displacement.[21]

Bismarck on trials; the rangefinders had not yet been installed

On 6 March, Bismarck received the order to steam to Kiel. On the way, the ship was escorted by several Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters and a pair of armed merchant vessels, along with an icebreaker. At 08:45 on 8 March,Bismarck briefly ran aground on the southern shore of the Kiel Canal; she was freed within an hour. The ship reached Kiel the following day, where her crew stocked ammunition, fuel, and other supplies and applied a coat ofdazzle paint to camouflage her. British bombers attacked the harbour without success on 12 March.[22] On 17 March, the old battleship Schlesien, now used as an icebreaker, escorted Bismarck through the ice to Gotenhafen, where the latter continued combat readiness training.[23]

The Naval High Command (Oberkommando der Marine or OKM), commanded by Admiral Erich Raeder, intended to continue the practice of using heavy ships as surface raiders against Allied merchant traffic in the Atlantic Ocean. The two Scharnhorst-class battleships were based in Brest, France, at the time, having just completed Operation Berlin, a major raid into the Atlantic. Bismarcks sister shipTirpitz rapidly approached completion.Bismarck and Tirpitz were to sortie from the Baltic and rendezvous with the two Scharnhorst-class ships in the Atlantic; the operation was initially scheduled for around 25 April 1941, when a new moon period would make conditions more favourable.[24]

Work on Tirpitz was completed later than anticipated, and she was not commissioned until 25 February; the ship was not ready for combat until late in the year. To further complicate the situation, Gneisenau was torpedoed in Brest and damaged further by bombs when in drydock. Scharnhorst required a boiler overhaul following Operation Berlin; the workers discovered during the overhaul that the boilers were in worse condition than expected. She would also be unavailable for the planned sortie.[25] Attacks by British bombers on supply depots in Kiel delayed repairs to the heavy cruisers Admiral Scheer and Admiral Hipper. The two ships would not be ready for action until July or August.[26] Admiral Günther Lütjens, Flottenchef (Fleet Chief) of the Kriegsmarine, chosen to lead the operation, wished to delay the operation at least until either Scharnhorst or Tirpitz became available,[27] but the OKM decided to proceed with the operation, codenamed Operation Rheinübung, with a force consisting of onlyBismarck and the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen.[25] At a final meeting with Raeder in Paris on 26 April, Lütjens was encouraged by his commander-in-chief to proceed and he eventually decided that an operation should begin as soon as possible to prevent the enemy gaining any respite.[28]

Operation Rheinübung

Main article: Operation Rheinübung

Bismarck, photographed from Prinz Eugen, in the Baltic at the outset of Operation Rheinübung

On 5 May, Adolf Hitler and Wilhelm Keitel, with a large entourage, arrived to view Bismarck and Tirpitz in Gotenhafen. The men were given an extensive tour of the ships, after which Hitler met with Lütjens to discuss the upcoming mission.[29] On 16 May, Lütjens reported that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were fully prepared for Operation Rheinübung; he was therefore ordered to proceed with the mission on the evening of 19 May.[30] As part of the operational plans, a group of eighteen supply ships would be positioned to support Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Four U-boats would be placed along the convoy routes between Halifax and Britain to scout for the raiders.[31]

By the start of the operation, Bismarcks crew had increased to 2,221 officers and enlisted men. This included an admiral’s staff of nearly 65 and a prize crew of 80 sailors, who could be used to crew transports captured during the mission. At 02:00 on 19 May, Bismarck departed Gotenhafen and made for the Danish straits. She was joined at 11:25 by Prinz Eugen, which had departed the previous night at 21:18, off Cape Arkona.[32] The two ships were escorted by three destroyersZ10 Hans Lody, Z16 Friedrich Eckoldt, and Z23—and a flotilla of minesweepers.[33] The Luftwaffe provided air cover during the voyage out of German waters.[34] At around noon on 20 May, Lindemann informed the ship’s crew via loudspeaker of the ship’s mission. At approximately the same time, a group of ten or twelve Swedish aircraft flying reconnaissance encountered the German force and reported its composition and heading, though the Germans did not see the Swedes.[35]

An hour later, the German flotilla encountered the Swedish cruiserHSwMS Gotland; the cruiser shadowed the Germans for two hours in the Kattegat.[36]Gotland transmitted a report to naval headquarters, stating: “Two large ships, three destroyers, five escort vessels, and 10–12 aircraft passed Marstrand, course 205°/20′.”[34] The OKM was not concerned about the security risk posed by Gotland, though both Lütjens and Lindemann believed operational secrecy had been lost.[36] The report eventually made its way to Captain Henry Denham, the British naval attaché to Sweden, who transmitted the information to the Admiralty.[37] The code-breakers at Bletchley Park confirmed that an Atlantic raid was imminent, as they had decrypted reports that Bismarck and Prinz Eugen had taken on prize crews and requested additional navigational charts from headquarters. A pair of Supermarine Spitfires was ordered to search the Norwegian coast for the flotilla.[38]

German aerial reconnaissance confirmed that one aircraft carrier, three battleships, and four cruisers remained at anchor in the main British naval base at Scapa Flow, which confirmed to Lütjens that the British were unaware of his operation. On the evening of 20 May, Bismarck and the rest of the flotilla reached the Norwegian coast; the minesweepers were detached and the two raiders and their destroyer escorts continued north. The following morning, radio-intercept officers on board Prinz Eugen picked up a signal ordering British reconnaissance aircraft to search for two battleships and three destroyers northbound off the Norwegian coast.[39] At 7:00 on the 21st, the Germans spotted four unidentified aircraft, which quickly departed. Shortly after 12:00, the flotilla reachedBergen and anchored at Grimstadfjord, where the ships’ crews painted over the Baltic camouflage with the standard “outboard grey” worn by German warships operating in the Atlantic.[40]

Aerial reconnaissance photo taken by Flying Officer Michael Suckling shows Bismarck anchored in Norway

When Bismarck was in Norway, a pair of Bf 109 fighters circled overhead to protect her from British air attacks, but Flying Officer Michael Suckling managed to fly his Spitfire directly over the German flotilla at a height of 8,000 m (26,000 ft) and take photos of Bismarck and her escorts.[41] Upon receipt of the information, Admiral John Tovey ordered the battlecruiserHMS Hood, the newly commissioned battleship HMS Prince of Wales, and six destroyers to reinforce the pair of cruisers patrolling the Denmark Strait. The rest of the Home Fleet was placed on high alert in Scapa Flow. Eighteen bombers were dispatched to attack the Germans, but weather over the fjordhad worsened and they were unable to find the German warships.[42]

Bismarck did not replenish her fuel stores in Norway, as her operational orders did not require her to do so. She had left port 200 t (200 long tons) short of a full load, and had since expended another 1,000 t (980 long tons) on the voyage from Gotenhafen. Prinz Eugen took on 764 t (752 long tons) of fuel.[43] At 19:30 on 21 May, Bismarck, Prinz Eugen, and the three escorting destroyers left Bergen.[44] At midnight, when the force was in the open sea, heading towards the Arctic Ocean, Raeder disclosed the operation to Hitler, who reluctantly consented to the raid. The three escorting destroyers were detached at 04:14 on 22 May, while the force steamed off Trondheim. At around 12:00, Lütjens ordered his two ships to turn toward the Denmark Strait to attempt the break-out into the open Atlantic.[45]

By 04:00 on 23 May, Lütjens ordered Bismarck and Prinz Eugen to increase speed to 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph) to make the dash through the Denmark Strait.[46] Upon entering the Strait, both ships activated their FuMO radar detection equipment sets.[47]Bismarck led Prinz Eugen by about 700 m (770 yd); mist reduced visibility to 3,000 to 4,000 m (3,300 to 4,400 yd). The Germans encountered some ice at around 10:00, which necessitated a reduction in speed to 24 knots (44 km/h; 28 mph). Two hours later, the pair had reached a point north of Iceland. The ships were forced to zigzag to avoid ice floes. At 19:22, hydrophone and radar operators aboard the German warships detected the cruiser HMS Suffolk at a range of approximately 12,500 m (13,700 yd).[46]Prinz Eugens radio-intercept team decrypted the radio signals being sent by Suffolk and learned that their location had been reported.[48]

Lütjens gave permission for Prinz Eugen to engage Suffolk, but the captain of the German cruiser could not clearly make out his target and so held fire.[49]Suffolk quickly retreated to a safe distance and shadowed the German ships. At 20:30, the heavy cruiser HMS Norfolk joined Suffolk, but approached the German raiders too closely. Lütjens ordered his ships to engage the British cruiser; Bismarck fired five salvoes, three of which straddled Norfolk and rained shell splinters on her decks. The cruiser laid a smoke screen and fled into a fog bank, ending the brief engagement. The concussion from the 38 cm guns’ firing disabled Bismarcks FuMO 23 radar set; this prompted Lütjens to order Prinz Eugen to take station ahead so she could use her functioning radar to scout for the formation.[50]

At around 22:00, Lütjens ordered Bismarck to make a 180-degree turn in an effort to surprise the two heavy cruisers shadowing him. Although Bismarck was visually obscured in a rain squall, Suffolks radar quickly detected the manoeuvre, allowing the cruiser to evade.[51] The cruisers remained on station through the night, continually relaying the location and bearing of the German ships. The harsh weather broke on the morning of 24 May, revealing a clear sky. At 05:07, hydrophone operators aboard Prinz Eugen detected a pair of unidentified vessels approaching the German formation at a range of 20 nmi (37 km; 23 mi), reporting “Noise of two fast-moving turbine ships at 280° relative bearing!”[52]

Battle of the Denmark Strait

At 05:45, German lookouts spotted smoke on the horizon; this turned out to be from Hood and Prince of Wales, under the command of Vice AdmiralLancelot Holland. Lütjens ordered his ships’ crews to battle stations. By 05:52, the range had fallen to 26,000 m (28,000 yd) and Hood opened fire, followed by Prince of Wales a minute later.[53]Hood engaged Prinz Eugen, which the British thought to be Bismarck, while Prince of Wales fired on Bismarck.[d]Adalbert Schneider, the first gunnery officer aboard Bismarck, twice requested permission to return fire, but Lütjens hesitated.[55] Lindemann intervened, muttering “I will not let my ship be shot out from under my ass.”[56] He demanded permission to fire from Lütjens, who relented and at 05:55 ordered his ships to engage the British.[56]

Bismarck as seen from Prinz Eugenafter the Battle of the Denmark Strait

The British ships approached the German ships head on, which permitted them to use only their forward guns; Bismarck and Prinz Eugen could fire full broadsides. Several minutes after opening fire, Holland ordered a 20° turn to port, which would allow his ships to engage with their rear gun turrets. Both German ships concentrated their fire on Hood. About a minute after opening fire, Prinz Eugen scored a hit with a high-explosive 20.3 cm (8.0 in) shell; the explosion detonated unrotated projectile ammunition and started a large fire, which was quickly extinguished.[57] After firing three four-gun salvoes, Schneider had found the range to Hood; he immediately ordered rapid-fire salvoes from Bismarcks eight 38 cm guns. He also ordered the ship’s 15 cm secondary guns to engage Prince of Wales. Holland then ordered a second 20° turn to port, to bring his ships on a parallel course withBismarck and Prinz Eugen.[58] Lütjens ordered Prinz Eugen to shift fire and target Prince of Wales, to keep both of his opponents under fire. Within a few minutes, Prinz Eugen scored a pair of hits on the battleship that started a small fire.[59]

Lütjens then ordered Prinz Eugen to drop behind Bismarck, so she could continue to monitor the location of Norfolk and Suffolk, which were still some 10 to 12 nmi (19 to 22 km; 12 to 14 mi) to the east. At 06:00, Hood was completing the second turn to port when Bismarcks fifth salvo hit. Two of the shells landed short, striking the water close to the ship, but at least one of the 38 cm armour-piercing shells struck Hood and penetrated her thin deck armour. The shell reached Hoods rear ammunition magazine and detonated 112 t (110 long tons) of cordite propellant.[60] The massive explosion broke the back of the ship between the main mast and the rear funnel; the forward section continued to move forward briefly before the in-rushing water caused the bow to rise into the air at a steep angle. The stern also rose as water rushed into the ripped-open compartments.[61] Schneider exclaimed “He is sinking!” over the ship’s loudspeakers.[60] In only eight minutes of firing, Hood had disappeared, taking all but three of her crew of 1,419 men with her.[62]

Bismarck firing her main battery during the battle

Bismarck then shifted fire to Prince of Wales. The British battleship scored a hit on Bismarck with her sixth salvo, but the German ship found her mark with her first salvo. One of the shells struck the bridge on Prince of Wales, though it did not explode and instead exited the other side, killing everyone in the ship’s command centre, save Captain John Leach, the ship’s commanding officer, and one other.[63] The two German ships continued to fire upon Prince of Wales, causing serious damage. Guns malfunctioned on the recently commissioned British ship, which still had civilian technicians aboard.[64] Despite the technical faults in the main battery, Prince of Walesscored three hits on Bismarck in the engagement. The first struck her in the forecastle above the waterline but low enough to allow the crashing waves to enter the hull. The second shell struck below the armoured belt and exploded on contact with the torpedo bulkhead, inflicting minimal damage. The third shell passed through one of the boats carried aboard the ship and then went through the floatplanecatapult without exploding.[65]

At 06:13, Leach gave the order to retreat; only two of his ship’s ten 14 in (360 mm) guns were still firing and his ship had sustained significant damage. Prince of Wales made a 160° turn and laid a smoke screen to cover her withdrawal. The Germans ceased fire as the range widened. Though Lindemann strongly advocated chasing Prince of Wales and destroying her,[66] Lütjens obeyed operational orders to shun any avoidable engagement with enemy forces that were not protecting a convoy,[67] firmly rejecting the request, and instead ordered Bismarck and Prinz Eugen to head for the North Atlantic.[68] In the engagement, Bismarck had fired 93 armour-piercing shells and had been hit by three shells in return.[62] The forecastle hit allowed 1,000 to 2,000 t (980 to 1,970 long tons) of water to flood into the ship, which contaminated fuel oil stored in the bow. Lütjens refused to reduce speed to allow damage control teams to repair the shell hole which widened and allowed more water into the ship.[69] The second hit caused some additional flooding. Shell-splinters from the second hit also damaged a steam line in the turbo-generator room, but this was not serious, as Bismarck had sufficient other generator reserves. The combined flooding from these two hits caused a 9-degree list to port and a 3-degree trim by the bow.[70]

Chase

Map showing the course ofBismarck and the ships that pursued her

After the engagement, Lütjens reported, “Battlecruiser, probably Hood, sunk. Another battleship, King George V or Renown, turned away damaged. Two heavy cruisers maintain contact.”[71] At 08:01, he transmitted a damage report and his intentions to OKM, which were to detach Prinz Eugen for commerce raiding and to make for Saint-Nazaire for repairs.[72] Shortly after 10:00, Lütjens ordered Prinz Eugen to fall behind Bismarck to discern the severity of the oil leakage from the bow hit. After confirming “broad streams of oil on both sides of [Bismarcks] wake”,[73]Prinz Eugen returned to the forward position.[73] About an hour later, a British Short Sunderlandflying boat reported the oil slick to Suffolk and Norfolk, which had been joined by the damaged Prince of Wales. Rear Admiral Frederic Wake-Walker, the commander of the two cruisers, ordered Prince of Wales to remain behind his ships.[74]

The Royal Navy ordered all warships in the area to join the pursuit of Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. Tovey’s Home Fleet was steaming to intercept the German raiders, but on the morning of 24 May was still over 350 nmi (650 km; 400 mi) away. The Admiralty ordered the light cruisersManchester, Birmingham, and Arethusa to patrol the Denmark Strait in the event that Lütjens attempted to retrace his route. The battleship Rodney, which had been escorting RMS Britannic and was due for a refit in the Boston Navy Yard, joined Tovey. Two old Revenge-class battleships were ordered into the hunt: Revenge, from Halifax, and Ramillies, which was escorting Convoy HX 127.[75] In all, six battleships and battlecruisers, two aircraft carriers, thirteen cruisers, and twenty-one destroyers were committed to the chase.[76] By around 17:00, the crew aboard Prince of Wales restored nine of her ten main guns to working order, which permitted Wake-Walker to place her in the front of his formation to attack Bismarck if the opportunity arose.[77]

With the weather worsening, Lütjens attempted to detach Prinz Eugen at 16:40. The squall was not heavy enough to cover her withdrawal from Wake-Walker’s cruisers, which continued to maintain radar contact. Prinz Eugen was therefore recalled temporarily.[78]The cruiser was successfully detached at 18:14. Bismarck turned around to face Wake-Walker’s formation, forcing Suffolk to turn away at high speed. Prince of Wales fired twelve salvos at Bismarck, which responded with nine salvos, none of which hit. The action diverted British attention and permitted Prinz Eugen to slip away. After Bismarck resumed her previous heading, Wake-Walker’s three ships took up station on Bismarcks port side.[79]

Although Bismarck had been damaged in the engagement and forced to reduce speed, she was still capable of reaching 27 to 28 knots (50 to 52 km/h; 31 to 32 mph), the maximum speed of Tovey’s King George V. Unless Bismarck could be slowed, the British would be unable to prevent her from reaching Saint-Nazaire. Shortly before 16:00 on 25 May, Tovey detached the aircraft carrier Victorious and four light cruisers to shape a course that would position her to launch her torpedo bombers.[80] At 22:00, Victoriouslaunched the strike, which comprised six Fairey Fulmar fighters and nine Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers of 825 Naval Air Squadron, led by Lt Cdr Eugene Esmonde. The inexperienced aviators nearly attacked Norfolk on their approach; the confusion alertedBismarcks anti-aircraft gunners.[81]

Bismarck also used her main and secondary batteries to fire at maximum depression to create giant splashes in the paths of the incoming torpedo bombers.[82] None of the attacking aircraft were shot down. Bismarck evaded eight of the torpedoes launched at her, but the [81] ninth struck amidships on the main armoured belt, throwing one man into a bulkhead and killing him and injuring five others. [83] The explosion also caused minor damage to electrical equipment. The ship suffered more serious damage from manoeuvres to evade the torpedoes: rapid shifts in speed and course loosened collision mats, which increased the flooding from the forward shell hole and eventually forced abandonment of the port number 2 boiler room. This loss of a second boiler, combined with fuel losses and increasing bow trim, forced the ship to slow to 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph). Divers repaired the collision mats in the bow, after which speed increased to 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph), the speed that the command staff determined was the most economical for the voyage to occupied France.[84]

Shortly after the Swordfish departed the scene, Bismarck and Prince of Wales engaged in a brief artillery duel. Neither scored a hit.[85]Bismarcks damage control teams resumed work after the short engagement. The sea water that had flooded the number 2 port side boiler threatened to enter the number 4 turbo-generator feedwater system, which would have permitted saltwater to reach the turbines. The saltwater would have destroyed the turbine blades and thus greatly reduced the ship’s speed. By morning on 25 May, the danger had passed. The ship slowed to 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) to allow divers to pump fuel from the forward compartments to the rear tanks; two hoses were successfully connected and a few hundred tons of fuel were transferred.[86]

As the chase entered open waters, Wake-Walker’s ships were compelled to zig-zag to avoid German U-boats that might be in the area. This required the ships to steam for ten minutes to port, then ten minutes to starboard, to keep the ships on the same base course. For the last few minutes of the turn to port, Bismarck was out of range of Suffolks radar.[87] At 03:00 on 25 May, Lütjens ordered an increase to maximum speed, which at this point was 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph). He then ordered the ship to circle away to the west and then north. This manoeuvre coincided with the period during which his ship was out of radar range; Bismarck successfully broke radar contact and circled back behind her pursuers. Suffolks captain assumed that Bismarck had broken off to the west and attempted to find her by also steaming west. After half an hour, he informed Wake-Walker, who ordered the three ships to disperse at daylight to search visually.[88]

The Royal Navy search became frantic, as many of the British ships were low on fuel. Victorious and her escorting cruisers were sent west, Wake-Walker’s ships continued to the south and west, and Tovey continued to steam toward the mid-Atlantic. Force H, with the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and steaming up from Gibraltar, was still at least a day away.[89] Unaware that he had shaken off Wake-Walker, Lütjens sent long radio messages to Naval Group West headquarters in Paris. The signals were intercepted by the British, from which bearings were determined. They were wrongly plotted on board King George V, leading Tovey to believe that Bismarck was heading back to Germany through the Iceland-Faeroe gap, which kept his fleet on the wrong course for seven hours. By the time the mistake had been discovered, Bismarck had put a sizeable gap between herself and the British ships.[90]

The aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royalwith a flight of Swordfish overhead

British code-breakers were able to decrypt some of the German signals, including an order to the Luftwaffe to provide support for Bismarck making for Brest, decrypted by Jane Fawcett on 25 May 1941.[91] The French Resistance provided the British with confirmation that Luftwaffe units were relocating there. Tovey could now turn his forces toward France to converge in areas through which Bismarck would have to pass.[92] A squadron of Coastal Command PBY Catalinas based in Northern Ireland joined the search, covering areas where Bismarck might be headed in her attempt to reach occupied France. At 10:30 on 26 May, a Catalina piloted by EnsignLeonard B. Smith of the US Navy located her, some 690 nmi (1,280 km; 790 mi) northwest of Brest.[e] At her current speed, she would have been close enough to reach the protection of U-boats and the Luftwaffe in less than a day. Most British forces were not close enough to stop her.[94]

The only possibility for the Royal Navy was Ark Royal with Force H, under the command of Admiral James Somerville.[95]Victorious, Prince of Wales, Suffolk and Repulse were forced to break off the search due to fuel shortage; the only heavy ships remaining apart from Force H were King George V and Rodney, but they were too distant.[96]Ark Royals Swordfish were already searching nearby when the Catalina found her. Several torpedo bombers also located the battleship, about 60 nmi (110 km; 69 mi) away from Ark Royal. Somerville ordered an attack as soon as the Swordfish returned and were rearmed with torpedoes. He detached the cruiser Sheffield to shadow Bismarck, though Ark Royals aviators were not informed of this.[97] As a result, the Swordfish, which were armed with torpedoes equipped with new magnetic detonators, accidentally attacked Sheffield. The magnetic detonators failed to work properly and Sheffield emerged unscathed.[98]

A Swordfish returns to Ark Royalafter making the torpedo attack againstBismarck

Upon returning to Ark Royal, the Swordfish loaded torpedoes equipped with contact detonators. The second attack comprised fifteen aircraft and was launched at 19:10. At 20:47, the torpedo bombers began their attack descent through the clouds.[99] As the Swordfish approached, Bismarck fired her main battery at Sheffield, straddling the cruiser with her second salvo. Shell fragments rained down on Sheffield, killing three men and wounding several others.[100]Sheffield quickly retreated under cover of a smoke screen. The Swordfish then attacked; Bismarck began to turn violently as her anti-aircraft batteries engaged the bombers.[101] One torpedo hit amidships on the port side, just below the bottom edge of the main armour belt. The force of the explosion was largely contained by the underwater protection system and the belt armour but some structural damage caused minor flooding.[102]

The second torpedo—fired by pilot John Moffat—struck Bismarck in her stern on the port side, near the port rudder shaft. The coupling on the port rudder assembly was badly damaged and the rudder could not be disengaged, locked in a 12° turn to port. The explosion also caused much shock damage.[103] The crew eventually managed to repair the starboard rudder but the port rudder remained jammed. A suggestion to sever the port rudder with explosives was dismissed by Lütjens, as damage to the screws would have left the battleship helpless.[104][105] At 21:15, Lütjens reported that the ship was unmanoeuvrable.[106]

Sinking

With the port rudder jammed, Bismarck was now steaming in a large circle, unable to escape from Tovey’s forces. Though fuel shortages had reduced the number of ships available to the British, the battleships King George Vand Rodney were still available, along with the heavy cruisers Dorsetshire and Norfolk.[107] Lütjens signalled headquarters at 21:40 on the 26th: “Ship unmanoeuvrable. We will fight to the last shell. Long live the Führer.”[108] The mood of the crew became increasingly depressed, especially as messages from the naval command reached the ship. Intended to boost morale, the messages only highlighted the desperate situation in which the crew found itself.[109] As dark fell, Bismarck briefly fired on Sheffield, though the cruiser quickly fled. Sheffield lost contact in the low visibility and Captain Philip Vian‘s group of five destroyers was ordered to keep contact with Bismarck through the night.[110]

The ships encountered Bismarck at 22:38; the battleship quickly engaged them with her main battery. After firing three salvos, she straddled the Polish destroyer ORP Piorun. The destroyer continued to close the range until a near miss at around 12,000 m (39,000 ft) forced her to turn away.[106] Throughout the night and into the morning, Vian’s destroyers harried Bismarck, illuminating her with star shells and firing dozens of torpedoes, none of which hit. Between 05:00 and 06:00, Bismarcks crew attempted to launch one of the Arado 196 float planes to carry away the ship’s war diary, footage of the engagement with Hood, and other important documents. The third shell hit from Prince of Wales had damaged the steam line on the aircraft catapult, rendering it inoperative. As it was not possible to launch the aircraft it had become a fire hazard, and was pushed overboard.[111]

Rodney firing on Bismarck, which can be seen burning in the distance

After daybreak on 27 May, King George V led the attack. Rodney followed off her port quarter; Tovey intended to steam directly at Bismarck until he was about 8 nmi (15 km; 9.2 mi) away. At that point, he would turn south to put his ships parallel to his target.[112] At 08:43, lookouts on King George V spotted her, some 23,000 m (25,000 yd) away. Four minutes later, Rodneys two forward turrets, comprising six 16 in (406 mm) guns, opened fire, then King George Vs 14 in (356 mm) guns began firing. Bismarck returned fire at 08:50 with her forward guns; with her second salvo, she straddled Rodney.[113] Thereafter, Bismarcks gunnery became increasingly difficult as the ship moved erratically in the heavy seas, unable to steer, depriving Schneider of a predictable course for range calculations.[114]

As the range fell, the ships’ secondary batteries joined the battle. Norfolk and Dorsetshire closed and began firing with their 8 in (203 mm) guns. At 09:02, a 16-inch shell from Rodney struck Bismarcks forward superstructure, killing hundreds of men and severely damaging the two forward turrets. According to survivors, this salvo probably killed both Lindemann and Lütjens and the rest of the bridge staff.[115] The main fire control director was also destroyed by this hit, which probably also killed Schneider. A second shell from this salvo struck the forward main battery was disabled, though it would manage to fire one last salvo at 09:27.[116][117] Lieutenant von Müllenheim-Rechberg, in the rear control station, took over firing control for the rear turrets. He managed to fire three salvos before a shell destroyed the gun director, disabling his equipment. He gave the order for the guns to fire independently, but by 09:31, all four main battery turrets had been put out of action.[118] One of Bismarcks shells exploded 20 feet off Rodneys bow and damaged her starboard torpedo tube—the closest Bismarck came to a direct hit on her opponents.[119]

By 10:00, Tovey’s two battleships had fired over 700 main battery shells, many at very close range; Bismarck had been reduced to a shambles, aflame from stem to stern. She suffered from a 20° list to port and was low in the water by the stern. Rodney closed to 2,700 m (3,000 yd), point-blank range for guns of that size, and continued to fire. Tovey could not cease fire until the Germans struck their ensigns or it became clear they were abandoning ship.[120]Rodney fired two torpedoes from her port-side tube and claimed one hit.[121] According to Ludovic Kennedy, “if true, [this is] the only instance in history of one battleship torpedoing another”.[119]

HMS Dorsetshire picking up survivors

First Officer Hans Oels ordered the men below decks to abandon ship; he instructed the engine room crews to open the ship’s watertight doors and prepare scuttling charges.[122] Gerhard Junack, the chief engineering officer, ordered his men to set the demolition charges with a 9-minute fuse but the intercom system broke down and he sent a messenger to confirm the order to scuttle the ship. The messenger never returned and Junack primed the charges and ordered the crew to abandon the ship.[123] Junack and his comrades heard the demolition charges detonate as they made their way up through the various levels.[124] Oels rushed throughout the ship, ordering men to abandon their posts. After he reached the deck a huge explosion killed him and about a hundred others.[125]

The four British ships fired more than 2,800 shells at Bismarck, and scored more than 400 hits, but were unable to sink Bismarck by gunfire. At around 10:20, running low on fuel, Tovey ordered the cruiser Dorsetshire to sink Bismarckwith torpedoes and sent his battleships back to port.[126]Dorsetshire fired a pair of torpedoes into Bismarcks starboard side, one of which hit. Dorsetshire then moved around to her port side and fired another torpedo, which also hit. By the time these torpedo attacks took place, the ship was already listing so badly that the deck was partly awash.[124] It appears that the final torpedo may have detonated against Bismarcks port side superstructure, which was by then already underwater.[127] Around 10:35, Bismarck capsized to port and slowly sank by the stern, disappearing from the surface at 10:40.[128] Some survivors reported they saw Captain Lindemann standing at attention at the stem of the ship as she sank.[129]

Junack, who had abandoned ship by the time it capsized, observed no underwater damage to the ship’s starboard side.[123] Von Müllenheim-Rechberg reported the same but assumed that the port side, which was then under water, had been more significantly damaged.[129] Around 400 men were now in the water;[123]Dorsetshire and the destroyer Maori moved in and lowered ropes to pull the survivors aboard. At 11:40, Dorsetshires captain ordered the rescue effort abandoned after lookouts spotted what they thought was a U-boat. Dorsetshire had rescued 85 men and Maori had picked up 25 by the time they left the scene.[130] A U-boat later reached the survivors and found three men, and a German trawler rescued another two. One of the men picked up by the British died of his wounds the following day. Out of a crew of over 2,200 men, only 114 survived.[128]

Bismarck was mentioned in the Wehrmachtbericht (armed forces report) three times during Operation Rheinübung. The first was an account of the Battle of the Denmark Strait;[131] the second was a brief account of the ship’s destruction,[132] and the third was an exaggerated claim that Bismarck had sunk a British destroyer and shot down five aircraft.[133] In 1959, C. S. Forester published his novel Last Nine Days of the Bismarck. The book was adapted for the movie Sink the Bismarck!, released the following year. For dramatic effect the film showed Bismarck sinking a British destroyer and shooting down two aircraft, neither of which happened.[134] That same year, Johnny Horton released the song “Sink the Bismarck”.[135]

Wreckage

Discovery by Robert Ballard

Painting by Ken Marschalldepicting Argo exploring the wreck

The wreck of Bismarck was discovered on 8 June 1989 by Dr. Robert Ballard, the oceanographer responsible for finding RMS Titanic. Bismarck was found to be resting upright at a depth of approximately 4,791 m (15,719 ft),[136] about 650 km (400 mi) west of Brest. The ship struck an extinct underwater volcano, which rose some 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above the surrounding abyssal plain, triggering a 2 km (1.2 mi) landslide. Bismarck slid down the mountain, coming to a stop two-thirds down.[137]

Ballard’s survey found no underwater penetrations of the ship’s fully armoured citadel. Eight holes were found in the hull, one on the starboard side and seven on the port side, all above the waterline. One of the holes is in the deck, on the bow’s starboard side. The angle and shape indicates the shell that created the hole was fired from Bismarcks port side and struck the starboard anchor chain. The anchor chain has disappeared down this hole.[138] Six holes are amidships, three shell fragments pierced the upper splinter belt, and one made a hole in the main armour belt.[139] Further aft a huge hole is visible, parallel to the aircraft catapult, on the deck. The submersibles recorded no sign of a shell penetration through the main or side armour here, and it is likely that the shell penetrated the deck armour only.[140] Huge dents showed that many of the 14 inch shells fired by King George V bounced off the German belt armour.[141]

Ballard noted that he found no evidence of the internal implosions that occur when a hull that is not fully flooded sinks. The surrounding water, which has much greater pressure than the air in the hull, would crush the ship. Instead, Ballard points out that the hull is in relatively good condition; he states simply that “Bismarck did not implode.”[142] This suggests that Bismarcks compartments were flooded when the ship sank, supporting the scuttling theory.[143]Ballard added “we found a hull that appears whole and relatively undamaged by the descent and impact”. They concluded that the direct cause of sinking was scuttling: sabotage of engine-room valves by her crew, as claimed by German survivors.[144] Ballard kept the wreck’s exact location a secret to prevent other divers from taking artefacts from the ship, a practice he considered a form of grave robbing.[136]

The whole stern had broken away; as it was not near the main wreckage and has not yet been found, it can be assumed this did not occur on impact with the sea floor. The missing section came away roughly where the torpedo had hit, raising questions of possible structural failure.[145] The stern area had also received several hits, increasing the torpedo damage. This, coupled with the fact the ship sank “stern first” and had no structural support to hold it in place, suggests the stern detached at the surface. In 1942 Prinz Eugen was also torpedoed in the stern, which collapsed. This prompted a strengthening of the stern structures on all German capital ships.[144]

Subsequent expeditions

In June 2001, Deep Ocean Expeditions, partnered with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, conducted another investigation of the wreck. The researchers used Russian-built mini-subs. William N. Lange, a Woods Hole expert, stated, “You see a large number of shell holes in the superstructure and deck, but not that many along the side, and none below the waterline.”[146] The expedition found no penetrations in the main armoured belt, above or below the waterline. The examiners noted several long gashes in the hull, but attributed these to impact on the sea floor.[146]

An Anglo-American expedition in July 2001 was funded by a British TV channel. The team used the volcano—the only one in that area—to locate the wreck. Using ROVs to film the hull, the team concluded that the ship had sunk due to combat damage. Expedition leader David Mearns claimed significant gashes had been found in the hull: “My feeling is that those holes were probably lengthened by the slide, but initiated by torpedoes”.[146]

The 2002 documentary Expedition: Bismarck, directed by James Cameron and filmed in May–June 2002 using smaller and more agile Mir submersibles, reconstructed the events leading to the sinking. These provided the first interior shots. His findings were that there was not enough damage below the waterline to confirm that she had been sunk rather than scuttled. Close inspection of the wreckage confirmed that none of the torpedoes or shells had penetrated the second layer of the inner hull. Using small ROVs to examine the interior, Cameron discovered that the torpedo blasts had failed to shatter the torpedo bulkheads.[146]

Despite their sometimes differing viewpoints, these experts generally agree that Bismarck would have eventually foundered if the Germans had not scuttled her first. Ballard estimated that Bismarck could still have floated for at least a day when the British vessels ceased fire and could have been captured by the Royal Navy, a position supported by the historian Ludovic Kennedy (who was serving on the destroyer HMS Tartar at the time). Kennedy stated, “That she would have foundered eventually there can be little doubt; but the scuttling ensured that it was sooner rather than later.”[144] When asked whether Bismarck would have sunk if the Germans had not scuttled the ship, Cameron replied “Sure. But it might have taken half a day.”[146] In Mearns’ subsequent book Hood and Bismarck, he conceded that scuttling “may have hastened the inevitable, but only by a matter of minutes.”[146] Ballard later concluded that “As far as I was concerned, the British had sunk the ship regardless of who delivered the final blow.”[147]

See also

  • Unsinkable Sam – cat which is said to have survived the sinking of the Bismarck

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_battleship_Bismarck

Sink the Bismark

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Sink the Bismark (song))
This article is about the song by Johnny Horton. For the 1960 movie, see Sink the Bismarck!
“Sink the Bismark (Sink the Bismarck)”

The photo on the “45” Columbia record jacket is from the movie, but depicts the model of the HMS Prince Of Wales made for the movie. The models made for this movie are very accurate.
Single by Johnny Horton
B-side “The Same Old Tale the Crow Told Me”
Released 1960
Genre Country
Length 3:12
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Johnny Horton and Tilman Franks
Producer(s) Don Law[1]
Johnny Horton singles chronology
“Sal’s Got a Sugar Lip”
(1959)
Sink the Bismark
(1960)
“Johnny Freedom”
(1960)

Sink the Bismark” (later “Sink the Bismarck“) is a march song by country music singer Johnny Horton and songwriter Tillman Franks, based on the pursuit and eventual sinking of the GermanbattleshipBismarck in May 1941, during World War II. Horton released this song in 1960, when it reached #3 on the charts. As originally released, the record label used the common misspelling “Bismark”; this error was corrected for later releases of the song. It was inspired by the 1960 movie Sink the Bismarck! and was in fact (with the English producer John Brabourne’s approval) commissioned from Johnny Horton by 20th Century Fox who were worried about the subject’s relative obscurity. While the song was used in U.S. theater trailers for the film, it was not used in the film itself.

The song was later covered by The Blues Brothers for a scene in the movie, The Blues Brothers, but was cut out. [2]

Chart performance

Chart (1960) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 6
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 3
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1

See also

  • PT-109” Another song about a World War II ship

References

External links

Lyrics

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sink_the_BismarkJohnny Horton

 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Johnny Horton (disambiguation).
Johnny Horton
Johnny Horton.jpg
Background information
Birth name John Gale Horton
Also known as The Singing Fisherman
Born April 30, 1925
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died November 5, 1960 (aged 35)
Milano, Texas, U.S.
Genres Country music, folk music,rockabilly
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1950–1960

John GaleJohnnyHorton (April 30, 1925 – November 5, 1960) was an Americancountry music and rockabillysinger. Rising to fame slowly over the course of the 1950s, Horton earned great fame in 1959 performing historical ballads, beginning with the song “The Battle of New Orleans” (written by Jimmy Driftwood), which was awarded the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. The song was awarded theGrammy Hall of Fame Award and in 2001 ranked No. 333 of the Recording Industry Association of America‘s “Songs of the Century“. His first hit, a number 1 song in 1959, was “When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below)“.

During 1960, Horton had two other successes with “North to Alaska” for John Wayne‘s movie, North to Alaska and “Sink the Bismarck.” Horton died in November 1960 at the peak of his fame in an automobile accident, less than two years after his breakthrough. Horton is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Early life

Horton was born in Los Angeles, to John Loly Horton (1889–1959) and the former Ella Claudia Robinson (1892–1966), the youngest of five siblings, and reared in Rusk in Cherokee County in east Texas. His family often traveled to California to work as migrant fruit pickers. After graduation from high school in Gallatin, Texas, in 1944, Horton attended the Methodist-affiliated Lon Morris Junior College in Jacksonville, Texas, with a basketball scholarship. He later attended Seattle University and briefly Baylor University in Waco, although he did not graduate from any of these institutions.

Horton soon returned to California and found work in the mail room of Hollywood’s Selznick Studio. It was here that he met his future first wife, secretary Donna Cook.

Horton and his older brother, Frank, briefly pursued the study of geology at Seattle, Washington, in 1948 but both ended after a few weeks. He went to Florida, then back to California before leaving for Alaska to look for gold. It was during this period that he began writing songs. He joined Frank in Seattle, went south to Los Angeles, then after Frank married, left for Texas. After much prodding from his sister Marie, he entered a talent contest at the Reo Palm Isle club in Longview, Texas, sponsored by radio station KGRI inHenderson and hosted by station radio announcer and future country music star Jim Reeves. Horton won first prize—an ashtray on a pedestal. Encouraged by the contest, he returned to California, bought some Western-style clothes and entered talent contests.

Horton came to the attention of entrepreneur Fabor Robison, whose first job as manager was to give him a job with Cliffie Stone‘s Hometown Jamboree on KXLA-TV in Pasadena, California. During his early guest performances he worked with musicians such asMerle Travis and Tennessee Ernie Ford. The station then gave him a regular half-hour Saturday night program billed as The Singing Fisherman, during which he sang and displayed his casting skills with a fishing rod. Around this time he also hosted the radio program Hacienda Party Time for KLAC-TV in Los Angeles.

A mixture of Horton’s television performances and Robison’s acquaintances earned him a couple of singles with the minor Cormac recording company. The first single coupled “Plaid And Calico” with “Done Rovin'” and the second “Coal Smoke, Valve Oil and Steam” with “Birds and Butterflies”. After the Cormac label ceased operation, Robinson acquired the masters and started his own company named Abbott Records. By mid-1952, ten Horton singles had been issued but none was successful. They were, for the most part, ordinary western-style songs.

After marriage to Donna and a honeymoon in Palm Springs, he relocated to Shreveport to be near the Louisiana Hayride, on which he appeared on a regular basis. Robison persuaded Mercury Records A&R man Walter Kilpatrick to hire Horton, who began with his songs “First Train Headin’ South” b/w “(I Wished for an Angel) The Devil Sent Me You” (Mercury 6412), with good reviews by the trade newspapers.

Horton was married twice. His first marriage, to Donna Cook, ended with a divorce granted in Rusk, Texas. In September 1953, he married Billie Jean Jones, the widow of country music singer Hank Williams. (She was Williams’ second wife.) With Billie Jean, Horton had two daughters, Yanina (Nina) and Melody. Billie Jean’s daughter, Jeri Lynn, was also legally adopted by Johnny.

Louisiana Hayride

In September 1952, Horton acquired a full-time band, the Rowley Trio, from Nederland, Texas. Featuring Jerry Rowley playing fiddle, his wife Evelyn playing piano and sister Vera (Dido) playing bass or guitar, they were working at KFDM in Beaumont following some gigs backing Lefty Frizzell. While playing in Beaumont, Horton and Robison heard the Rowley Trio and were sufficiently impressed to offer them a job touring. They started driving Horton to their engagements, but he kept stopping to fish and hunt, so they soon bought him his own car with which he met them at the various venues. The new foursome recruited Bob Stegall but still termed themselves The Singing Fisherman and the Rowley Trio, before changing the name to Johnny Horton and the Roadrunners.

Louisiana Hayride had been playing for more than four years when Horton joined its cast, and during this time it helped many careers, including those of Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Webb Pierce and Bob Luman.

Horton was, by now, a Shreveport resident. His marriage didn’t survive the increasing touring and Donna relocated back to Los Angeles. He was amenable to a reconciliation, but was unwilling to go back to the West Coast. In August, Louisiana Hayride welcomed back Hank Williams, only twenty-eight years old, but banished from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry for what some considered his drunkenness and unreliability. On October 19, Williams married Billie Jean Jones, the daughter of a local policeman, in front of a paying audience at New Orleans Municipal Auditorium. On one occasion during the time Billie Jean and Hank were married, Horton talked to the couple backstage, and at that meeting, Hank predicted that Billie Jean would one day marry Horton. He remained a Hayridemember until his death.

Hank Williams died on New Year’s Day 1953. He died in the back seat of a Cadillac traveling to a show in Canton, Ohio. Horton and the Rowleys were driving home from an engagement when they heard the news by radio. They were in Milano, Texas and it was there after a show at the Skyline Club in Austin (the same venue as Williams’ last show) that Horton was killed seven years later in a car accident.

Marriage to Billie Jean

Horton and Billie Jean married on September 26, 1953. They lived on Horton’s performance money, his newly established writing contract with American Music of Los Angeles and the settlement that Billie Jean had received from the Williams estate. Horton and Robison had by now parted company, after a disagreement partially about Horton’s frustration at the amount of time Robison was spending with Jim Reeves. Stegall had left, to be replaced by Richard and Betty Lou Spears, but soon the Rowleys left. Horton started using pick-up bands together with Billie Jean’s brothers, Alton and Sonny Jones. His career had stalled and he became so disillusioned that he got a job working in a fishing tackle shop, playing only weekends for Hayride. Even this ceased in November 1954. His last session for Mercury on September 23 did not generate a single album, and the two-year hiatus had been a strange period with songs ranging from answer songs like “Back to My Back Street” and “Train With a Rhumba Beat”. The best seller was “All for the Love of a Girl” (Mercury 70227) which sold about 35,000 to 45,000 copies.

During this time, country music was changing due to the influence of the new rock music. With the example of Elvis Presley, rockabilly was becoming more common both on records and on country music bills, with Louisiana Hayride one of the most progressive in this respect. It was during that program that Horton first saw Presley and apparently he immediately liked the singer and the style.

Horton then asked Hayride stalwart Tillman Franks of Shreveport for some advice. Five years older than Horton, Franks had played bass for Webb Pierce, managed the Carlisles and Jimmy & Johnny, worked as a booking agent, a car salesman in Houston and served on the police force. He, too, was unemployed. “I hadn’t worked in four or five weeks when Johnny Horton come to the door. He was broke too. He and Billie Jean had spent the money they got after Hank died, and she’d told him to get his ass out and make some more. He said, ‘If I can get Tillman Franks to manage me, I’ll get to number one.’ He came to my house on Summer Street and I told him that I just didn’t like the way he sang. He said, ‘No problem. I’ll sing any way you want me to.’ And he was serious!”[this quote needs a citation]

Horton and Tillman Franks had met in Mississippi, when Horton had toured with the Carlisles. By mid-1955, Franks had assumed control of the[clarification needed] management, and after the end of the Mercury contract, his first job was to find a new company. After communicating with Webb Pierce, who in turn talked to Jim Denny at Cedarwood and Troy Martin at Golden West Melodies, a one-year contract with Columbia was forthcoming. Cedarwood and Golden Melodies would both get publishing on two songs per session as part of the deal. With no advance and a session due in Nasvhille, Tennessee, the duo had to borrow the car owned by the father of David Houston for the journey, with the promise that they would try to get Houston a contract while they were in Nashville.

First big hit

On the way to the session, Horton and Franks stopped in Memphis to see Elvis Presley and left with ten dollars (they were too poor to buy gasoline) and the loan of Bill Black on slap bass. Franks had reservations about his own playing and he wanted the sound to be special. On January 11, 1956, Horton entered the Bradley Film and Recording Studios in Nashville, with Bill Black and two of the industry’s major talents, Grady Martin and producer Owen Bradley‘s brother, Harold. The first song played was the mid-tempo rockabilly “I’m a One Woman Man”, composed by Horton and Franks. Howard Crockett (Hausey) had played “Honky Tonk Man” to Horton and Franks and after a quick rewriting of the tune, they split the credits three ways. It was the second song cut that day. By midnight, Don Law and Franks had completed two more songs, “I’m Ready if You’re Willing” and “I Got a Hole in My Pirogue”. Horton and Franks wanted “Honky Tonk Man” as the lead-off single, but Don Law disliked the song. It was only after the intervention of Jim Denny that Law relented and issued “Honky Tonk Man” on the flip side of “I’m Ready if You’re Willing”. Live shows were arranged to advertise the single with the band featuring Tillman Franks on bass and Tommy Tomlinson on guitar. A native of Hampton, Arkansas, Tomlinson had relocated with his family in 1940 to Minden, Louisiana, east of Shreveport.[1]

The single was reviewed by the March 10 issue of Billboard, which said of “Honky Tonk Man”, “The wine women and song attractions exert a powerful hold on the singer, he admits. The funky sound and pounding beat in the backing suggest the kind of atmosphere he describes. A very good jukebox record.” Of the B-side, it read “Horton sings out this cheerful material with amiable personality. This ever more popular stylist ought to expand his circle of fans with this one.” By May the record had scored No. 9 on the C&W Jockey chart, as well as No. 14 on the Best Seller chart.

Franks assumed control of the Hayride bookings, organizing performances in the South. Horton was contracted for his Monday night performances on KLTV-TV in Tyler, Texas, which restricted how far away he could tour. He wanted to end the contract, so on one of the shows, when it was time to read a commercial for Hol-Sum Bread, a product of Cotton Brothers Bakery in Alexandria, Louisiana, he announced “Friends, we are proud to be here, and proud to be sponsored by Hol-Sum Bread. Tillman Franks my manager eats Hol-Sum Bread, and I eat it too. What I like about Hol-Sum Bread is that it’s never touched by hand. That’s right, they mix it with their feet”. After the show, the station owner called him and said she’d be happier if he stopped working for the station. Now he was free to travel, and he started earning as much as $500 a night.

Further recordings and singles

On May 23 they went back to Music City for a second session. Grady Martin again led the proceedings with Ray Edenton replacing Harold Bradley and Floyd “Lightnin'” Chance standing in on double bass. They began at 7 p.m. with “Take Me Like I Am” before doing the Horton-Hausey composition, “Sugar-Coated Baby”. It was one of those mid-tempo tracks at which Horton was to excel, with playful vocals and Martin’s bass string guitaring. Claude King‘s “I Don’t Like I Did” was another such song. The fourth cut was Autry Inman’s ode to women, “Hooray For That Little Difference”.

The next single (Columbia 21538) had “I Don’t Like I Did” on the B-side but the header was “I’m a One Woman Man” from the January session. Billboard enthused that “One Woman” was a “Smart and polished job,” adding that Horton was “singing with a light, airy touch. Guitar work is just as convincing, adding up to listenable, commercial stuff”.

By August, Columbia and Franks ran an advertisement in Billboard claiming their “Sensational New Artist goes on a spree with his newest two-sided hit”. The accompanying photo did nothing for the image of a rocker, showing him looking middle-aged with a cowboy hat to hide his receding hair. The campaign continued with a tour of western Texas starting in El Paso with Johnny Cash, Faron Young and Roy Orbison. Booked by Bob Neal Stars Inc. of Memphis, the group moved to Ontario, Canada for six dates commencing on the 18th, culminating in Detroit.

Billboard‘s first issue in September noted that

Somewhat like his last hit—’Honky Tonk Man’—this release (I’m A One Woman Man) started off rather quietly, but has gradually become a powerful chart contender. This week it made an appearance on the Houston territorial chart and was selling well in Nashville, Dallas, Durham and Birmingham

Within a week or so he was rewarded with a second country hit, this time maximizing at No. 7 on the Jockey chart and No. 9 on both the Best Seller and Jukebox charts.

On October 14, after shows throughout Florida, Horton played in Memphis again for Bob Neal, this time with Johnny Cash, Faron Young, Sonny James, Roy Orbison and the Teen-Kings and Charlene Arthur. They continued around Tennessee until October 23, before continuing to New Mexico and West Texas. It must have been a confident crowd that arrived at Bradley’s Barn on November 12. Only two songs were produced, the unissued “Over Loving You” and the rockabilly “I’m Coming Home”, composed by Horton and Franks.

“I’m Coming Home” was released with “I Got A Hole In My Pirogue” on the flip side (Columbia 40813). Released as the same time as the Johnny Burnette Trio’s “Lonesome Train” (Coral 61758) and Rosco Gordon‘s “Cheese and Crackers” (Sun 257), Billboardpredicted that “the singer, has material in I’m Coming Home that could give him his biggest record to date”. Horton’s vocal against this twangy backing makes a terrific impression. “Pirogue” is a rockabilly type novelty song of great appeal. It’s hard to see how this can miss becoming a gold mine”. On February 9, Billboard noted that “not only Southern markets are doing good business with this, but Northern cities report that both country and pop customers are going for this in a big way”. It was again a success on the country charts (No. 11 Jockey, No. 15 Best Seller) but it failed to score the popular music charts.

Horton, “The Singing Fisherman” had favorite fishing holes in the Piney Woods of East Texas and in northern Louisiana. He and outdoors writer Grits Gresham of Shreveport and later Natchitoches, Louisiana (the “Famous Fisherman” on Miller Lite 1978 commercial, and co host with Curt Gowdy of ABC‘s The American Sportsmantelevision series), enjoyed sharing a bass boat and fishing stories. Horton was also passionate about the writings of the spiritualistEdgar Cayce.[according to whom?]

Death

Johnny Horton bench at Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton, Louisiana

Horton’s grave marker

Another Horton grave inscription

Tommy Tomlinson (c. 1930–1982), Horton’s guitar player from Minden, Louisiana,[2] flew in from Nashville, where he was producing a duet album with Jerry Kennedy (Tom and Jerry). Horton used the morning to make arrangements to go duck hunting with Claude King of Shreveport once King had returned from Austin and he also telephoned Johnny Cash for a chat. Cash declined to accept the call, an omission he regretted for the rest of his life. Against his wife’s wishes, Franks arose from his sickbed, and they began traveling to Austin.

When they got to the Skyline club, Horton stayed in his dressing room, saying that a drunk would kill him if he went near the bar. After the show, they started the 220-mile journey back to Shreveport. Tomlinson was in the back, observing that Horton was driving too fast—Franks was asleep in the front. About 2 a.m., near Milano, Texas, Horton was crossing a bridge when a truck came at them, hitting both sides of the bridge before plunging into Horton’s Cadillac. Horton had in the past avoided head-on collisions by driving into ditches, but on the narrow bridge he had no such opportunity. He was still breathing when he was pulled from the car but died en route to the hospital. The 19-year-old truck driver, James Davis, a student at Texas A&M University in College Station en route to his family residence in Brady in Central Texas, was intoxicated. Franks suffered head injuries, and young Tomlinson had multiple leg fractures, which nine months later required amputation of his left leg. Davis only suffered a broken ankle with other cuts and bruises.

Tillman Franks’ younger brother, William D. “Billy” Franks, a Church of God minister in Shreveport, preached Horton’s funeral on November 8, 1960, the day John F. Kennedy defeated Richard M. Nixon in the race for U.S. President to succeed Dwight D. Eisenhower. Billie Jean Horton hence became a widow for the second time at the age of twenty-eight. Johnny Cash read Chapter 20 from the Book of John, having flown in on a chartered airplane for Horton’s services. Fifty-three years later in 2013, Billy Franks officiated at the funeral in Shreveport of Horton’s friend, Claude King.[3][4][5]

Columbia released various singles and a greatest successes album and on October 5, 1964, Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three overdubbed “Rock Island Line” and “I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Livin'” to Horton’s demos. Other such sessions were held throughout the sixties for album release. “Sleepy-Eyed John” scored the country charts in April 1961, scoring No. 9 and a year later “Honky Tonk Man” was reissued, scoring No. 11. In February 1963 he made his last appearance in the charts (to date) with “All Grown Up”, which reached No. 26.

Horton is interred, with a cemetery bench in his honor, at the Hillcrest Memorial Park and Mausoleum in Haughton, east of Bossier City in northwestern Louisiana.

Legacy

Horton will be remembered for his major contribution to both country and rockabilly music. When Johnny Cash, a good friend of Horton’s, learned about the accident he said, “[I] locked myself in one of the hotel’s barrooms and cried.”[6] Cash also dedicated his rendition of “When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below)” to Horton on his album Personal File: “Johnny Horton was a good old friend of mine.”

Horton was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and posthumously inducted into the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday, Louisiana.

Some racist songs have sometimes been incorrectly associated with Horton. These songs are by a singer calling himself “Johnny Rebel,” who did not begin recording until after Horton’s death. The mistake is apparently because Horton recorded the historical song “Johnny Reb.”[7][8]

Discography

Albums

Year Single Chart Positions RIAA Label
US Country US
1959 The Spectacular Johnny Horton Columbia
1960 Johnny Horton Makes History
1961 Greatest Hits 8 Platinum
1962 Honky Tonk Man 104
1965 I Can’t Forget You
1967 Johnny Horton On Stage 37
1968 The Unforgettable Johnny Horton
1970 On the Road
The Legendary Johnny Horton
1971 The Battle of New Orleans
The World of Johnny Horton

Singles

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
[9]
1953 “Tennessee Jive” single only
1956 Honky-Tonk Man 9 singles only
I’m a One-Woman Man 7
1957 “I’m Coming Home” 11
“The Woman I Need” 9
1958 “All Grown Up” 8
1959 When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below) 1 The Spectacular Johnny Horton
The Battle of New Orleans 1 1
“Johnny Reb” 10 54 Johnny Horton Makes History
“Sal’s Got a Sugar Lip” 19 81 single only
1960 Sink the Bismarck 6 3 Johnny Horton Makes History
“Johnny Freedom” 69
North to Alaska 1 4 Greatest Hits
1961 “Sleepy-Eyed John” 9 54 Honky-Tonk Man
“Ole Slew-Foot” 28 110
1962 “Honky-Tonk Man” (re-release) 11 96
1963 “All Grown Up” (re-release) 26 single only

As per a box set of his work, here is a complete singles discography.

  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 01: “I’m a One Woman Man”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 02: “Honky-Tonk Man”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 03: “I’m Ready If You’re Willing”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 04: “I Got a Hole in My Pirogue”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 05: “Take Me Like I Am”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 06: “Sugar-Coated Baby”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 07: “I Don’t Like I Did”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 08: “Hooray For That Little Difference”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 09: “I’m Coming Home”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 10: “Over-Loving You”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 11: “She Knows Why”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 12: “Honky Tonk Mind (The Woman I Need)”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 13: “Tell My Baby I Love Her”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 14: “Goodbye Lonesome, Hello Baby Doll”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 15: “I’ll Do It Everytime”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 16: “You’re My Baby”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 17: “Let’s Take the Long Way Home”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 18: “Lover’s Rock”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 19: “Honky-Tonk Hardwood Floor”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 20: “The Wild One”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 21: “Everytime I’m Kissng You”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 22: “Hot in the Sugarcane Field”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 23: “Lonesome and Heartbroken”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 24: “Seven Come Eleven”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 25: “I Can’t Forget You”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 26: “Wise to the Ways of a Woman”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 27: “Out in New Mexico”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 28: “Tetched in the Head”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 29: “Just Walk a Little Closer”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 30: “Don’t Use My Heart for a Stepping Stone”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 31: “I Love You Baby”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 1 / 32: “Wise to the Ways of a Woman”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 01: “Counterfeit Love”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 02: “Mister Moonlight”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 03: “All Grown Up”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 04: “Got the Bull by the Horns”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 05: “When It’s Springtime in Alaska”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 06: “Whispering Pines”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 07: “The Battle of New Orleans”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 08: “All For the Love of a Girl”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 09: “Lost Highway”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 10: “Sam Magee”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 11: “Cherokee Boogie”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 12: “The Golden Rocket”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 13: “The Battle of New Orleans (British Version)”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 14: “Joe’s Been A-Gittin’ There”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 15: “The First Train Headin’ South”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 16: “Got the Bull by the Horns”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 17: “Sal’s Got a Sugerlip”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 18: “Words”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 19: “Johnny Reb”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 20: “Sal’s Got a Sugarlip”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 21: “Ole Slew Foot”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 22: “I’m Ready If Your Willing”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 23: “Take Me Like I Am”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 24: “They Shined Up Rudolph’s Nose”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 25: “The Electrified Donkey”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 26: “The Same Old Tale the Crow Told Me”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 27: “Sink the Bismarck”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 28: “Sink the Bismarck”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 29: “The Same Old Tale the Crow Told Me”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 30: “All Grown Up”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 2 / 31: “Got the Bull by the Horns”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 01: “Ole Slew Foot”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 02: “Miss Marcy”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 03: “Sleepy Eyed John”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 04: “The Mansion You Stole”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 05: “They’ll Never Take Her Love From Me”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 06: “The Sinking of Reuben James”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 07: “Jim Bridger”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 08: “The Battle of Bull Run”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 09: “Snow-Shoe Thompson”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 10: “John Paul Jones”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 11: “Comanche (The Brave Horse)”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 12: “Young Abe Lincoln”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 13: “O’Leary’s Cow”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 14: “Johnny Freedom”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 15: “Go North!”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 16: “North to Alaska”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 17: “North to Alaska”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 18: “I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Livin'”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 19: “Rock Island Line”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 20: “Hank and Joe and Me”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 21: “The Golden Rocket”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 22: “A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 23: “I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Livin'”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 24: “Old Blind Barnabas”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 25: “Evil Hearted Me”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 26: “Hot in the Sugarcane Field”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 27: “You Don’t Move Me Baby Anymore”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 28: “The Gosh-Darn Wheel”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 29: “Broken Hearted Gypsy”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 3 / 30: “The Church by the Side of the Road”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 01: “The Vanishing Race”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 02: “Broken Hearted Gypsy”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 03: “That Boy Got the Habit”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 04: “Hot in the Sugarcane Field”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 05: “You Don’t Move Me Baby Anymore”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 06: “The Church by the Side of the Road”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 07: “I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Livin'”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 08: “Take It Like a Man”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 09: “Hank and Joe and Me”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 10: “The Golden Rocket”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 11: “Old Blind Barnabas”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 12: “Empty Bed Blues”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 13: “Rock Island Line”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 14: “Shake, Rattle and Roll”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 15: “A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 16: “Old Dan Tucker”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 17: “The Gosh Darn Wheel”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 18: “From Memphis to Mobile”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 19: “Back Up Train”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 20: “Schottische in Texas”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 21: “Take It LIke a Man”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 22: “That Boy Got the Habit”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 23: “My Heart Stopped, Trembled and Died”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 24: “Alley Girl Ways”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 25: “How You Gonna Make It”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 26: “Witch Walking Baby”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 27: “Down That River Road”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 28: “Big Wheels Rollin'”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 29: “I Got a Slow Leak in My Heart”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 30: “You Don’t Move Me Baby Anymore”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 31: “What Will I Do Without You”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 32: “Janey”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 33: “Streets of Dodge”
  • Johnny Horton 1956–1960 Vol. 4 / 34: “Give Me Back My Picture and You Can Keep the Frame”

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up^ “Tommy Tomlinson”. hillbilly-music.com. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  2. Jump up^ “Tommy Tomlinson”. Minden Press-Herald. April 12, 1982. p. 4.
  3. Jump up^ “Claude King obituary”. Shreveport Times. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
  4. Jump up^ Reverend William D. “Billy” Franks (born 1925) is the younger brother of Tillman Franks and the retired founding pastor of the Oakmont Church of God in the Cedar Grove section of Shreveport.
  5. Jump up^ “Lottie Mae Hood Franks”. Find a Grave. Retrieved August 9, 2015.
  6. Jump up^ Cash, Johnny (2003). Cash: The Autobiography. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0060727536.
  7. Jump up^ Adams, Greg (December 6, 2014). “Did Johnny Horton record racist songs? A history of racist country music”. http://musicweird.blogspot.com/. Retrieved August 17, 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  8. Jump up^ “Is Johnny Horton Racist?”. http://www.spasticmonkeys.com/. February 19, 2004. Retrieved August 17, 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  9. Jump up^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 413. ISBN 0-89820-188-8.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Horton

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Fire Birds — Videos

Posted on July 2, 2016. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, media, Movies, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Technology, Video, War, Weapons, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

Nicolas Cage/Tommy Lee Jones/Sean Young (Fire Birds) Full Movie Action Military Thriller

Fire Birds

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fire Birds
Firebirdsposter.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Green
Produced by Bill Badalato
Screenplay by Nick Thiel
Paul F. Edwards
Story by Step Tyner
John K. Swensson
Dale Dye
Starring
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Tony Imi
Edited by Norman Buckley
Dennis M. O’Connor
Jon Poll
Production
company
Touchstone Pictures
Nova International Films
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • May 25, 1990
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $22 million
Box office $14,760,451[1]

Fire Birds (originally titled Wings of the Apache and released internationally under that name) is a 1990 actionthriller film directed by David Green and produced by William Badalato, Keith Barish and Arnold Kopelson. The storyline was conceived by retired Lt. Colonels Step Tyner and John K. Swensson and retired Marine Capt. Dale Dye[2] and developed into a screenplay written by Paul F. Edwards, Nick Thiel and uncredited David Taylor. The film stars Nicolas Cage, Tommy Lee Jones and Sean Young. Cage is cast as a helicopter pilot attempting to help dismantle a drug cartel in South America. Jones plays his pilot instructor and senior ranked military officer during his flight training, while Young portrays his love interest.

Production of the film was a co-production between the Walt Disney Studios and Nova International Films. It was commercially released under Disney’s Touchstone Pictures label. The movie featured elaborate aerial stunt sequences, involving combat helicopters.

Fire Birds premiered in theaters nationwide in the United States on May 25, 1990 grossing a modest $14,760,451 in domestic ticket receipts. The film was met with negative critical reviews before its initial screening in cinemas; generally due to its melancholy dialogue and striking plot similarities to the more popular 1986 action film Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis.[3]

Plot

A joint task force operation between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Army has been formed to dismantle one of the largest drug cartels operating in South America. Multiple attempts to assault the cartel’s mountainous compound have been thwarted by a (fictional) Scorpion-attack helicopter piloted by a mercenary pilot, Eric Stoller (Bert Rhine). After having several aircraft shot down, most notably a pair of UH–60 Black Hawks and their AH–1 Cobra escorts, the army turns to the new AH–64 Apache attack helicopter, which can match its enemies’ maneuverability and firepower.

Pilot Jake Preston (Nicolas Cage) is subsequently enlisted in the Apache air-to-air combat training program. Earlier, Preston was the sole survivor of a previous air-attack by Stoller. Upon his arrival at the training course, he encounters his ex-girlfriend Billie Lee Guthrie (Sean Young), who broke off their relationship to pursue a separate career flying OH–58 Kiowa scout helicopters which often work alongside the Apache as target identifiers and designators. Jake’s arrogance and loose improvised style quickly earn him the mixed respect and chagrin of veteran pilot and flight instructor Brad Little (Tommy Lee Jones). During the training schedule, Preston is revealed to be suffering from an eye dominance disability, which makes it difficult for him to utilize the Apache’s visual input. Using an unconventional but effective training method, Little helps Preston deal with his handicap.

A formation of military aircraft consisting of four Apaches and Guthrie’s Kiowa, flies down to South America to provide air support for a DEA mission to hunt down and arrest drug cartel leaders. However, they are soon attacked at their base camp, and one Apache is destroyed. With another Apache left to protect the DEA personnel, Preston, Little and Guthrie attempt to seek out Stoller. They soon locate his position, as well as a pair ofDraken jet fighter aircraft who are also protecting the cartel. Little destroys one aircraft, but is shot down in aerial combat by Stoller. He survives, but his Apache is disabled. Stoller later targets Guthrie, but Preston reaches their coordinates and engages him in a fierce dogfight. Using the Apache’s maneuverability near a mountainous peak, Preston manages to trick Stoller into flying past him; then attacks and destroys his helicopter. Meanwhile, Guthrie uses one of the Stinger missiles onboard Little’s downed Apache to destroy the remaining enemy aircraft. With no air support, the cartel’s defenses cease, and their leaders are later apprehended. As an injured Little is loaded onto a Medevac helicopter, he expresses pride in both Preston and Guthrie.

Cast

Actor Nicolas Cage (l) portrayed pilot Jake Preston, and Tommy Lee Jones (r) played Brad Little

Production

Sets and equipment

Filming for Fire Birds was shot primarily on location in Arizona as well as at Fort Hood, Texas army base, home of the Army’s Apache Training Brigade (21st Cavalry Brigade (AIR COMBAT)[4]) .[5] Extensive aerial stunt sequences were coordinated with the National Guard of the United States, the United States Army and the United States Air Force.[6] Between technical advisers, stuntmen, and pilots, over 100 personnel were directly involved in the production aspects of the film.[6] AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Blackhawk, AH-1 Cobra, MD Helicopters MD 500 and OH-58 Kiowa rotorcraft, as well as Saab 35 Draken aircraft were employed during filming. Technical assistance from McDonnell Douglas service representatives was also utilized during production.[6] The helicopter training aerial stunt sequences were designed by Richard T. Stevens who also coordinated visuals for the film, Top Gun.[7] Scenes from the movie, also features as static shots from MicroProse Gunship 2000computer game.

Soundtrack

The original motion picture soundtrack for Fire Birds, composed and conducted by David Newman, was not officially released to the public when the movie was released, however Intrada has released a special collection of the soundtrack.[8]

Reception

Critical Response

Among mainstream critics in the U.S., the film received mostly negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 10% of 21 sampled critics gave the film a positive review, with an average score of 3 out of 10.[9]

Hal Hinson, writing in The Washington Post said, “Fire Birds is a primitive dogfight movie, with Nicolas Cage and Sean Young as its stars, that serves as a kind of extended commercial for the U.S. Army and its AH-64 Gunship helicopter”. He bluntly noted that “it would be hard to reduce filmmaking to its basics more than Fire Birds does. It’s more video game than motion picture – the first coin-operated movie.”[10] Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times offered a negative review; commenting: “It was tempting to say that I might have liked this movie more if I’d never seen Top Gun; but the fact is, if Top Gun had never been made, Fire Birds would still have seemed like a completely ordinary movie.” He continued, “the aerial sequences in Top Gun are so superior to the confusing helicopter battles in this film, there’s no contest there”. He concluded: “I was really left unmoved by it.”[11] In the Deseret News, critic Chris Hicks wrote that the film’s “predictability isn’t the worst of Fire Birds’ problems. The dialogue is so hokey you’ll have a hard time not laughing out loud. Did I say dialogue? Make that pontificating soundbites.” He further expanded on his viewpoint saying, “the most obnoxious aspect of Fire Birds, however, is how everybody tells Cage’s character how wonderful he is at every opportunity — including Cage himself, who has a big scene in a chopper simulator where he screams “I am the greatest!” after every target he hits.”[12]

“the movie plays as if it had been patched together between midnight and 3 A.M. One might go along with the suggestion that the Arizona desert and the Catamarca Desert, South America, look alike, but would they really have the exact same rocks?”
—Vincent Canby, writing in The New York Times[7]

Vincent Canby writing in The New York Times saw the film as having “many laughs, all of them unintentional” while pointing out that actor Cage “plays the sort of B-picture role that might once have suited William Gargan. Unlike Mr. Gargan, though, Mr. Cage insists on acting. Mr. Cage simply won’t quit. He never listens to or sees anybody else in a scene, being too busy monitoring his own utterly mysterious, attention-getting responses.” He did though compliment Jones and Young on their performances saying, “Mr. Jones and Miss Young are somewhat better. He has a secure, cool manner that registers well on the screen, and she can seem to be intelligent”.[7] The Variety Staff, felt Fire Birds had a “tongue-in-cheek aspect” and that “Camaraderie and rat-a-tat-tat dialog may have started out as fun a la Howard Hawks’ classic Only Angels Have Wings but emerges at times as a satire of the genre.” On Jones’s performance, they noticed how he was “dead-on as the taskmaster instructor who cornily singles out Cage for rough treatment”.[13] Film critic Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film a thumbs down review gruffly saying, “this movie had nothing to do with the drug wars at all” and that “they could have been having a competition for the olympics”. In reference to the drug wars, he openly wondered–why couldn’t the movie have been “written at that hard level?”[11] Similarly, Owen Gleibermanwriting for Entertainment Weekly viewed Fire Birds as “a third-rate knockoff of Top Gun and Blue Thunder“. Not impressed with the overall acting, he noted how Cage gave “a dull, one-note performance.” He did however, reserve praise for the stunts and visuals in the film saying, “the climactic air battle is well staged, though without the edge-of-the-envelope dread that made theTop Gun dogfights genuinely thrilling.” But in summing up his overall negativity for the movie, he expressed his dissatisfaction by lamenting, “the film practically pats itself on the back for featuring villains that have been in the news recently. Yet, with the exception of one anonymous enemy pilot, we never even get to see the bad guys. And so it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm for their destruction.”[14] Film critic Leonard Maltin‘s review was similar: “…Standard military issue with a ruptured-duck script and a complete lack of romantic chemistry between professional rivals Cage and Young. Jones doesn’t exactly evoke memories of Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High when he pep-talks Cage into a ‘full-tilt boogie for freedom and justice’.”[15]

Box office

Fire Birds premiered in cinemas on May 25, 1990 in wide release throughout the U.S.. During its opening weekend, the film opened in a distant 5th place and grossed $6,358,761 in business showing at 2,006 theaters.[16] The film Back to the Future Part III opened in first place with $23,703,060.[17] The film’s revenue dropped by 58.9% in its second week of release, earning $2,611,812. For that particular weekend, the film fell one spot to 6th place still showing in 2,006 theaters. The film Total Recall, unseated Back to the Future Part III to open in first place.[18][19]For its final weekend in release, the film opened in 8th place showing at 1,539 theaters grossing $1,246,590 in box office business. The film went on to top out domestically at $14,760,451 in total ticket sales through an 3-week theatrical run.[1] For 1990 as a whole, the film would cumulatively rank at a box office performance position of 83.[1]

Home media

Following its cinematic release in theaters, the film was released in VHS video format on September 26, 1990.[20] The Region 1 Code widescreen edition of the film was released on DVD in the United States on February 3, 2004. Special features for the DVD include, a closed captioned French language track, Dolby Digital Surround Sound, and a Widescreen (1.85:1) enhanced feature for 16×9 televisions.[21] The film was released on Blu-ray by Mill Creek Entertainment on July 7, 2015.

References

Notes

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Fire Birds”. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  2. Jump up^ Liner notes, Fire Birds soundtrack album, Intrada RecordsSpecial Collection No. 241
  3. Jump up^ Pym, John. “Review: Firebirds” (aka Wings of the Apache).” TimeOut London. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  4. Jump up^ http://www.hood.army.mil/21cav/
  5. Jump up^ Green, David (Director). Fire Birds [Motion picture]. Hollywood, California: Touchstone Pictures, 1990.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Fire Birds.” Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b c Canby, Vincent. “Mpvie Review: ‘Fire Birds’ (1990).”The New York Times, May 25, 1990. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  8. Jump up^ Special collection of the soundtrack for ‘Fire Birds’.”intrada.com. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  9. Jump up^ “Review: ‘Fire Birds’ (1990).” Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  10. Jump up^ Hinson, Hal. “Review: ‘Fire Birds’.” The Washington Post, May 25, 1990. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b Siskel, Gene and Roger Ebert. “Review: ‘Fire Birds’.” At the Movies, May 25, 1990. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  12. Jump up^ Hicks, Chris. “Review: ‘Fire Birds’.” Deseret News, June 1, 1990. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  13. Jump up^ Variety Staff. “Review: ‘Fire Birds’.”. Variety, January 1, 1990. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  14. Jump up^ Gleiberman, Owen. “Review: ‘Fire Birds’ (1990).”Entertainment Weekly, June 1, 1990. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  15. Jump up^ Maltin 2009, p. 456.
  16. Jump up^ “The Top Movies, Weekend of May 25, 1990.” The Numbers. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  17. Jump up^ “Weekend Box Office Results for May 25–28, 1990.” Box Office Mojo. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  18. Jump up^ “Weekend Box Office Results for June 1–3, 1990.” Box Office Mojo. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  19. Jump up^ “The Top Movies, Weekend of June 1, 1990.” The Numbers. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  20. Jump up^ “Fire Birds VHS Format.” Amazon.com. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.
  21. Jump up^ “Fire Birds: On DVD.” MSN Movies.. Retrieved: July 18, 2015.

Bibliography

  • Maltin, Leonard. Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide 2009. New York: New American Library, 2009 (originally published as TV Movies, then Leonard Maltin’s Movie & Video Guide), First edition 1969, published annually since 1988. ISBN 978-0-451-22468-2.

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_Birds

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