Immemorial Day

One of the most engrossing bits of reading about this time 35 years ago was the speculative fictional history, The Third World War:  August, 1985 by General Sir John Hackett.

Hackett – a British Army hero from World War II who’d gone on to command all Brit forces in Europe in the seventies – wrote an engrossing story about a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, which followed on a growing series of wars around the world, in the Middle East and east Asia.  The book took the form of a series of third-party-omniscient diary entries, not much unlike my own book, Trulbert.  A series of flashpoints led to the Soviet forces which – most kids today couldn’t tell you – were stationed all over East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union to launch a full assault into Western Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia.  It ended with nuclear strikes on Manchester and Minsk, which led in turn to a coup in Moscow, ending the war in a tense stalemate.

It was intended as a cautionary tale – about the potential results of Carter-era western weakness and fecklessness, and the potential value of the investments that “hawks” in the West (including, to his credit, Carter, who had hardened up after realizing kittens and unicorns weren’t working with either the Iranians or Soviets) were asking to make in their national defense budgets.

I re-read the book a few years ago.  It’s obviously dated  – the USSR is long gone, and nobody under age 40 can tell you what the Warsaw Pact was anymore.  But it’s still a fascinating bit of history, much the same as The Great Pacific War by Hector Bywater (a book featuring Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, the Phillippines and Singapore, and resolved with massive American industrial, naval and air power – written in 1925).

At any rate – today, August 4, was the date of the fictional assault across the Inter-German Border, thirty years ago.

If you’ve read this blog, you know that I believe – correctly, along with most historians worthy of the term – that it was Ronald Reagan’s hard line that brought down the USSR and ended not only the threat of such an invasion, but potentially much worse).

What’s worse? A “warmonger” who scares all opponents into avoiding war, or a “peacemaker” who gets walked over with deadly force? Fortunately, the world will never need to know. Well, we didn’t until 2009…

At any rate –  I  think it’s high time we built a serious Cold War memorial.  Perhaps we need to buy an old B-52 from the “boneyard”, and install it on the Capitol Mall in Saint Paul.  Ideally, we could surround it with a model of a torn-down “Berlin” wall, and include a plaque with the names of the 6-7 million Minnesotans who weren’t killed in the Cold War.

For the naysayers?  We could include a plaque showing the economic analysis that indicates Reagan’s deficit spending on defense more than paid for itself during the ’90s, when America cashed in its “peace dividend”, putting all that military production to work building consumer goodies.  That smart phone you’re holding?  It navigates because of technology that was designed to ensure aircraft and submarines knew where they were; the internet itself started as Cold-War effort to harden the information infrastructure against a catastrophic attack.  The benefits go on and on.

Anyway, it’s time to cut the crap.  The time is right.  The price is right (old B-52s stored at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tuscon are going for about a buck a pop, you haul.   I bet we can find some people to donate time and effort to haul it and build a pedestal for it.

What say?  Isn’t it time for a memorial to the war that freed more people than all other American wars put together, and did it without a shot being (directly) fired?



7 thoughts on “Immemorial Day

  1. We really need to have a Ronald Reagan Parkway somewhere in the Twin Cities. If we can have a Floyd Olson Memorial Hwy, named after man whose party received funding from Stalin, we can have something named after Reagan.

  2. Tom Clancy – before he became a cloned entity – published a great book along about the same time, “Red Storm Rising” – about a similar war in Western Europe, sparked by a crucial oil shortage in the USSR after Muslim freedom fighters knocked out the Soviet Union’s largest oil refinery. It was basically a noveliztion of a war game scenario, but it was a fascinating look at the technology available at the time, in land, sea and air.

  3. We really need to have a Ronald Reagan Parkway somewhere in the Twin Cities.

    Wouldn’t it be a sweet jab in the sensitive eyes of Minneapolitans to somehow appropriate Victory Memorial Parkway and rename it Reagan Victory Memorial Parkway? But how to do that without taking away from the WWII honor. I’ll leave that up to people who are more astute than I.

    I’m sure the libs in DC are still pissed that Republicans managed to get Washington National named after Reagan.

  4. John – Yep, RSR was quite a book. I actually called Clancy when he was on the Larry King show back in the eighties, and got on the air – and asked him how much “3WW/8-85” influenced the writing of Red Storm.

    I don’t remember the exact quote – but the answer was “lots”. I believe the story was that a series of games of “Harpoon” (an eighties-era modern naval mapgame) with Clancy’s friend Larry Bond was the inspiration for the naval scenes – and 3WW started the framework for the land war story.

  5. Harpoon – that was it. It was hanging at the edge of my memory. Fascinating book with all the characters and different environments, but the submarine portions were very intense – enough to make you feel claustrophobic while sitting on your porch on a summer afternoon! I also came away from the book with a certain affection for the A-10 Warthog, and think of this story whenever the Pentagon talks about phasing it out.

  6. Mitch, there you go with the history lesson again. At least it will keep libturds from this thread – they have no use for history, at least not the one they did not invent or rewrite.

  7. Ha! I still have a copy of at least one of the Harpoon games on my shelf. At least I did a couple months ago. I wonder if it can install and play on Win7 …

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