world war two

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February 19th 1942: Japanese internment begins

On this day in 1942, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066 which allowed the military to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. A climate of paranoia descended on the US following the attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan, which prompted the US to join the Second World War. Americans of Japanese ancestry became targets for persecution, as there were fears that they would collude with Japan and pose a national security threat. This came to a head with FDR’s executive order, which led to 120,000 Japanese-Americans being rounded up and held in camps. The constitutionality of the controversial measure was upheld by the Supreme Court in Korematsu v. United States (1944). Interned Americans suffered great material and personal hardship, with most people losing their property and some losing their lives to illness or the violence of camp sentries. The victims of internment and their families eventually received an official government apology in 1988 and reparations began in the 1990s. This dark episode of American history is often forgotten in the narrative of US involvement in the Second World War, but Japanese internment poses a stark reminder of the dangers of paranoia and scapegoating.

Besides perhaps conspiracy theorists, who come to all the wrong conclusions, most people (including many witches and magicians) are unaware of the latent use of sigils in mass political movements and warfare. It is not impossible that some of the people who designed recognizable political symbols over the past hundred years have been occultists, but even if they weren’t, it is not unreasonable to recognize that such symbols often act as sigils regardless.

Many of us are likely familiar with the story of how Churchill’s famous “V for Victory” hand gesture may have a had an occult origin. Allegedly, Allied occultists (perhaps even Aleister Crowley) felt the Typhonian V symbol to be an effective counter to the forces represented by the swastika, which resembled the ritual sign known as the Mourning of Isis. This is an unconfirmed tale, naturally, but may well be true, even if only on the level of the collective unconscious. 

Born from roughly the same time period, the Kotwica (Polish for “anchor,” due to its shape), has a long and storied history. Not only was it used by those resisting the Nazis, but it also played a role amongst groups opposing the communist regime that followed. I personally believe that this is one of those symbols that acts as a latent sigil, and has been charged and cast millions of times in the cause of fighting tyranny and oppression.

The origins of the symbol resemble those of most sigils, to a degree. As one can probably see, it’s a combination of the Latin characters “P” and “W.” This is an abbreviation of the Polish phrase “Pomścimy Wawer,which means “Avenge Wawer,” and refers to the Wawer Massacre, where atrocities were committed against Polish civilians by the Nazis. A later association for the initials was “Polska Walcząca,” which means simply, “Fighting Poland.” It seems that the symbol has many different connotations. The majority, though, are centered around combating tyranny.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this story is the symbol’s initial dissemination. It was coined by Polish Boy Scouts who worked to sabotage Nazi efforts, and was summarily tagged everywhere. If you wander Warsaw today, you’ll find examples of it from that time period still relatively intact on walls and buildings. 

It is still used relatively frequently in a memorial sense, an thus, it is ubiquitous. Stories of early and later efforts to spread resistance via the symbol call to mind the 21st-century use of the LS linking sigil. Though some chaotes might find this disappointing, I would argue that the Kotwica is far more powerful than LS, mostly because of the sheer drive, emotion, and utter raw need behind it, both in its nascent forms and throughout the years.

In today’s world, I believe it is still useful, and likely just as effective as ever. The creators of this symbol may not have been occultists, but it is, in my mind, utterly a sigil against the rank forces of evil that infest this world.

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January 27th 1945: Liberation of Auschwitz

On this day in 1945, the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland was liberated by the Soviet Red Army. One of the most notorious camps of Nazi Germany, Jews and others persecuted by the Nazi regime were sent to Auschwitz from 1940 onwards. During its years in operation, over one million people died in Auschwitz, either from murder in the gas chambers or due to starvation and disease. As the war drew to a close and the Nazis steadily lost ground to the Allied forces, they began evacuating the camps and destroying evidence of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed there. The leader of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, ordered the evacuation of the remaining prisoners at the camp as the Soviet Red Army closed in on the area. Nearly 60,000 prisoners from Auschwitz were forced on a march toward Wodzisław Śląski (Loslau) where they would be sent to other camps; some 20,000 ended up in the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany. However, thousands died during the evacuation on the grueling marches, leading to them being called ‘death marches’. 7,500 weak and sick prisoners remained in Auschwitz, and they were liberated by the 322nd Rifle Division of the Soviet Red Army on January 27th 1945. Auschwitz remains one of the most powerful symbols of the Holocaust and the horrific crimes committed by the Nazi regime against Jews and numerous other groups.

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February 2nd 1943: Battle of Stalingrad ends

On this day in 19423 during the Second World War, German troops surrendered to the Soviet Red Army in Stalingrad, thus ending five months of fighting. The battle began in August 1942 during the Nazi invasion of Russia - codenamed Operation Barbarossa - and Adolf Hitler ordered an attack on the major city of Stalingrad. Stalingrad became a major playing field of the war, as Soviet leader Stalin was determined to save the city which bore his name. Under the leadership of General Paulus, German bombing destroyed much of the city and troops captured areas through hand-to-hand urban warfare. In November, Marshal Zhukov assembled six Russian armies to surround Stalingrad and trap the Germans in the city, barring provisions and troops from reaching them. Many German soldiers died of starvation and frostbite following the onset of the harsh Russian winter, with temperatures down to -30°C, but Hitler insisted they fight until the last man. After five months, the Russian Red Army claimed victory when the remaining German troops surrendered in February 1943. 91,000 Germans were taken prisoner, including twenty-two generals; this was all that remained of the 330,000 strong German force who arrived at Stalingrad. The Battle of Stalingrad is among the bloodiest battles of the Second World War, causing nearly two million casualties. The disaster depleted the German army’s supply of men and equipment, allowing the Allies to gain the advantage, which enabled them to invade Germany and win the war.

“The God of war has gone over to the other side”
- Adolf Hitler upon hearing of the German surrender at Stalingrad

A picture of Freddie Oversteegen, a Dutch girl who was the unsuspecting killer of dozens of Nazis. Along with her friend Hannie and her sister Truus, the girls worked with a team from the Dutch Resistance to lure men into the woods for a promised kiss. Once they reached a remote location, the men got a bullet to the head instead.

I feel a little apprehensive to post this but damn, I’m tired of Poland during WWII being mentioned only in the context of “Hitler invaded it first” (which is not technically accurate anyway).

SO:

  • during WWII, around 6 000 000 Polish people were killed, over 3 000 000 of it were Jewish. The vast majority were civilians. To give you the perspective on those numbers, 35 000 000 people lived in Poland before the war. That means that over 22% of all Polish people were killed in WWII.
  • The first actual report of the scope of Holocaust was conducted by the Polish Underground State. Jan Karski gathered a detailed account of the mass murders that were being committed and presented it to the Allies on the West as early as 1942, asking for help. USA and UK did nothing.
  • (by the way, while giving Jan Karski posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Barack Obama used the very loaded phrase “Polish concentration camps” - which were, you know Nazi Germany concentration camps where Polish citizens were killed. Not to rag on Obama personally but this goes to show what’s the general American attitude towards this)
  • Speaking of the Polish Underground State - did you know that it was the biggest resistance movement under the Nazi Germany? And it was an actual underground state, with underground cabinet, diplomatic channels, education, judiciary system, the press, etc. There was a branch called “Żegota” that provided help for Jewish people in gettos and accomodated their hiding on the “Aryan side”. (You should consider that in Poland only the punishment for helping Jewish people was death).
  • Don’t forget too that Hitler first offered Poland a deal and the Polish response was “We in Poland don’t know the notion of peace at any cost. There is only one thing in the lives of people, nations and states which is priceless: that thing is honor”.
  • (that probably wasn’t very smart but you have to admit it’s pretty badass)
  • Subsequently, both Nazi Germany and USSR invaded Poland while France and Britain (who formally “declared war” on Germany) did nothing.
  • Also don’t forget that Polish Underground State was forced to work with Stalin even though USSR invaded Poland and committed terrible war crimes. For our troubles, we got sold to the Soviets after WWII. By the way, NKWD (secret police) was actively arresting Polish freedom fighters and Jewish people even BEFORE the war was done (sometimes those “freed” from the concertration camps were transferred directly to the Soviet prisons). USA knew about this.

There’s more but I wrote this off the top of my head and I’m tired.

American followers, be aware of this.