All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players:
they have their exits and their entrances;
and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.

William Shakespeare

Nothing happens unless first a dream!
Carl Sandburg

3-15-08 - DREAM - The whole dream was set  up like a stage play or a movie set.  Everything was set up in grand scale.

A view from the sky showed all the farm fields ablaze with flowers blooming and even at a distance I could see they were carpets laid out on the ground like they had been newly purchased from a store.

The scene zoomed down into a large apartment building, but there were no walls inside the building. Where the hallways were supposed to be were wide walkways, and the furniture for each apartment was set up in squares and the sofas lined up against the walkways where the walls should have been.

There were people in each of these squares of furniture like they were living there and they were all actors in the play or movie.

Some of the people in their apartments were my relatives.  My cousin Judy and my cousin Shirley had speaking parts in the play.

I was dressed up fancy, had my hair done in curls, and wore 3 inch high heeled shoes with tight fitting spandex light blue pants and a frilly lazy white blouse. Compared to the others, I looked like the star of the play.

We were supposed to be acting like this was real life.

My husband and I were supposed to carry two laundry baskets down to the public laundry in the basement.

The laundry room had rules.  You couldn't start a load of wash after  10 p.m. and the place was packed at 6:00 a.m. starting time.

So we would fill the machines with our laundry at 10 p.m. and run down there again before 6 a.m. with our quarters and be first in line to start up the machines.  If someone yanked our laundry out of the machines so they could be fist, so be it.

So we were walking along the walkway with our laundry baskets and people spoke to us as we passed.

My cousin Judy said to me as I passed by, "I went to see Joyce today!"  (Joyce was her baby sister who contracted polio in the 1940's and was disabled all her life until her passing in the 90's.  She lived in a lovely self-care nursing home after her parents could no longer take care of her themselves.)

I said in return, "I spent all day having my hair done and having my photos taken."

I knew after I said it, that it was the wrong thing to say.  I should have asked how Joyce was doing to be polite.

We got down to the end of the walkway where it should have turned the corner before going down the stairs and the people in the end square expanded their living room into the walkway so I had to step over the end of their sofa and walk through their living room to get to the stairs.

On their sofa was lined up three coloring book pages - black and white - so someone could color them in.

There were three drawings facing me of soldiers in battle, one of each war.  WW I,  WW II, and WW III.

Across the top of each page, it said a title, "WE WERE TOO YOUNG TO GO TO WAR!"

I was stunned and shocked to see coloring books like that and I had to think about what might have happened to those boys.

We headed for the stairs with our laundry baskets and the scene ended.

The next scene took place in the afternoon of the next day.  My husband and I had a meeting to attend at 2:30 p.m.

At the same time, I had an appointment to talk to a man in our apartment at 2:30 p.m.  I was hoping he wouldn't show up so I could make my own appointment on time.  My husband left for the appointment and I'd get there when I could.

Exactly at 2:30 p.m. an old brown lumber truck pulled up along the road and into our driveway and the man walked up to our door for his appointment with me.

He looked and was dressed like a movie producer I've seen on the Academy awards shows.  A man in his 60's or 70's, big black mustache, black cap and coat.

Since there were no walls or doors inside our building, he could see me standing there.

Between him and me were standing laundry baskets piled high with various coats I had worn in the past.  (past lives? past plays? past movies?)

I didn't know what to say to the man.  I didn't have a script for this part.

Was he expecting me to hypnotize him, give him psychological therapy, heal him? I didn't have the formal training for any of that.

I would just have to talk to him like the actor I was, person to person.  Maybe I'd find out what the next scene would be in our movie/play!

end of dream

NOTE: I made an effort to figure out what the 2:30 p.m. appointment means.  It can't be a date because there isn't 30 days in February.  Perhaps it meant an actual time to go into meditation and talk to that person.  I was meditating every day but didn't see that person as I saw him in the dream.  I also tried to find him in images and didn't locate him there either.


Before and after Shakespeare, others had the same idea:

Life's like a play: it's not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The Comedian Mel Brooks said:  "Hope for the Best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We're unrehearsed."
  --  Mel Brooks

Life is a Stage.

Aug 25th, 2006 by Ian Gardner
"Life is a stage ..............." said Shakespeare. Well, it really is.

On a stage people get dressed up in costumes, change their appearance, suppress their true character and take on the part of another character. They then act the stage part using what they learned and practiced in preparation for the play.
So it is in spiritual life because each life is a play wherein we dress up as a character, change appearance, suppress our true character, take on the part of a new character and act out what we learned in the period/s between other lives.
Dan said
I fully agree that our life is a stage where we are acting the role of our life. The problem that we very often are forgeting this. We should remember that there is ‘someone’ behind this character, someone who is playing a specific role. And the purpose of this play is to enrish the soul of the actor, to expand our horizons without becoming one with our role.

Look behind the scenes…

So very true. Here's a quote from Carl Jung that you might appreciate as well. “This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.” 
Ian Gardner said
Dan, Exactly.
DreamWeaver, he was right of course, nothing can be separated from another thing.

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NOTE:  Is that a coincidence or not?

Israel Regardie

In consulting the works of the ancient Kabalists and Medieval Hermetic Philosophers, we find the phrase "The Microcosm of the Macrocosm" being applied continually to man. These spiritual scientists conceived man to be a smaller world, fashioned in miniature exactly along the lines of the greater world, the Universe, the Macrocosm. They further postulated that "That which is above is like unto that which is below." Consequently the laws that are seen and known to operate in the Universe, correspondingly must work in man. Therefore, in first considering this subject of Reincarnation, let us examine the world around us and endeavor to place it on the basis of one law, observed to prevail in Cosmos - the Great Law of Periodicity. Occult Philosophy lays down the postulate of the Eternity of the Universe in toto as a boundless plane, that is, as space, periodically the playground of numberless universes incessantly manifesting and disappearing. The Absolute Universality of this Law of cycles, of flux and reflux, of ebb and flow, which physical science has recorded in all department of nature, and alterations such as those of day and night, life and death, sleeping and waking, summer and winter, are facts so common, so perfectly Universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in then we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the Universe, for these two are the world's eternal ways.

Our earth in the spring discards its white blanket of snow and emerges forth from its period of rest - its winter sleep. All activities are exerted to bring forth new life everywhere. Time passes. The corn and vegetation are ripened and harvested, and again the busy summer fades gradually into the silence and inactivity of the winter; again the snowy coverlet enwraps the earth, but her sleep is not forever, for she will reawaken to the song of the new spring, which will mark for her a little further progress along the pathway of time. So with the life of man. Is it conceivable that this law, so perfectly universal, so cosmic in its scope should be inoperative in the life of Man? Shall the earth wake each year from its winter sleep; shall the tree and the flower live again; shall all these examples of this great law continue to be observed and man die? It is inconceivable and impossible. It cannot be. The same law that impels wakefulness in the plant, and stirs it to new growth will wake the human being to new experiences to the distant goal of perfection. Therefore under this same Universal and therefore Spiritual Law of Periodicity, operating on and through man, he faithfully follows the similar fluctuations of being, Birth, Youth, Maturity, Decadence, and Death, to enter Birth again, to be moulded to a better purpose, perhaps, than has been possible in the old one.

"If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time, will I wait until my change comes." This appeal was uttered by the Prophet Job of the Old Dispensation, and his very cry "If a man dies, shall he live again" is indicative of the dissatisfaction of mankind, then, as well as now, with the biblical allotment of three score years and ten for the expression of consciousness. To all appearances, man flits like a firefly out of an eternal past, only to be extinguished for an eternal future, after a life of expression that in comparison, in these latter days of science, with even our materialistic concepts of space and time, is actually of shorter duration than the spark of an electrical discharge.

Nature requires millions of years to produce a grain of sand - when we review all the processes that have lead up to its present state as such. The California Redwoods are silent but eloquent symbols of nature's creative handiwork, enduring for centuries and in the estimation of some of our modern biologists for even thousands of years. And yet Man, the epitome of all the creative forces in Nature is assumed in the cold estimate of materialistic science to be merely the evolution of a speck of protoplasm, growing like an artificial laboratory culture until after reaching maturity, it is annihilated - to be seen no more for ever. In the lifetime of a single man, thousands of animals, fowl and fish, hundreds of thousands of vegetables have given their lives in the support of his existence. Thousands of animals have given their lives in the work of experimental scientists in their endeavors to improve man's physical condition. Multiply this in the case of one man by the countless myriads of individuals that have trod the surface of this earth since the dawn of the human races. What a prodigious waste of energy? What a crime against the lower kingdoms? - if 35 to 65 years is to be the average life of an individual and the only expression that he is to be permitted to have after the whole earth has given of its best to train and to equip him for constructive work. It is unthinkable to those who stop to think of it at all. There must be some compensatory condition, and since the beginning of the human kingdom, its thinking members have sought that compensation. It is found in Reincarnation.

From the Totem Pole our American Indians to the hideous effigies of Deity in Asia; from the Chinese Joss to the beautiful Altar in the Christian Cathedral, the same fact is in evidence, that from somewhere down through the remote and obscure ages, humanity has been invested with the truth - the truth that there is another life, and another opportunity beyond this present life, and those millions who have delved deepest into truth have found beyond doubt this truth of reincarnation.

Now, being forced to admit that reincarnation is a necessity in nature, and granting we admit of the existence, and immortality of the human soul, we find that this doctrine of pre-existence and rebirth is the only one yielding a logical and self satisfying explanation of the phenomena of life. This doctrine, which is an extremely simple doctrine, rooted in the assurance of the soul's indestructibility and immortality, implies a persisting and expanding intelligence, through all changes of embodiment, the latter being but a means towards the great aim and purpose of the Intelligent man within, the gaining of what the ancients called All-Knowledge. It teaches that the soul enters this life, not as a flesh creation, but after a long course of previous existences on this earth, in which it acquired its present inhering peculiarities, and that it is on the way to future transformations, now being shaped by the soul. It claims that infancy brings to this earth, not a blank scroll for the beginning of an earthly record - nor a mere cohesion of atomic forces into a brief personality that is destined by its own nature to dissolve again into the elements - but a definite immortal character that is its own, due to long experiences, acquired through self induced and self devised efforts throughout long series of incarnations.

What is the Universe for, and for what final purpose is Man, the Immortal Thinker here in evolution? Centuries ago, the Fraters Rosae Crucis stated that it is all for the experience and emancipation of the Spirit, for the growth of the soul, as well as for the purpose of raising the entire mass of manifested matter up to the stature, dignity, and position of conscious godhood. The aim for present man, and also the three kingdoms below him, in his evolution and initiation into complete knowledge, and in this Rosicrucian concept is evolution carried to its highest power, and to its logical conclusion. It makes of man a God, and gives to every part of nature the possibility of being the same one day; there is strength and nobility in it, for by this scheme, no man is so originally sinful that he can not rise above all sin and attain to the highest.

Men, in general, accept evolution as a proven law of growth, the evidence being drawn solely from observed changes in physical forms and species, but this general view considers only external evidence of the operation without any understanding of the inner and actuating cause. The word "Evolution" really means an unfolding from within outwards, and had not our scientists been so materially inclined they might long ago have arrived at a knowledge of the truth. The Rosicrucian doctrines make clear the operation of evolution and carry it to its highest point of logic by showing that the impelling force is Intelligence, which itself at the same time is evolving to greater and greater heights by means of temporary forms of expression. Thus we find that Rosicrucianism postulates a dual evolution, a physical line - that of the evolution of form - and a spiritual line, that of the evolution of Intelligence and Consciousness, and from this, we have to admit that this double line of evolution can only be carried on through reincarnation, for what happens to the spiritual element in Man after death. To dwell in a monotonous heaven - as postulated by Theology - is illogical, therefore after a period of rest, in accordance with that law of Periodicity or Rhythm - previously mentioned - the Spirit returns to earth to resume its further progress.

The object of life, then, is the gaining of all knowledge, and the acquirement of experience, the scale of which we find to be enormous. Knowledge infinite in scope and diversity lies before us, and we have much more than a mere suspicion that the extent of the field of truth is vastly greater than the narrow circle in which we are confined. We also perceive that we have high aspirations with little or no time to reach up to their measure while the great troop of passions, desires and selfish motives war with us and even among themselves. All these have to be conquered, and subdued, and as we know that one life expression is insufficient to do this, and to acquire all that we know we must acquire, we must conclude then that a series of lives has led to our present condition, and that the process of coming here again and again must go on for the purpose of affording us the opportunities needed.

Through some process of reasoning, some persons have arrived at the conclusion that reincarnation is injust because we suffer for the wrong deeds performed by another in some previous incarnation. But this is based on the incorrect notion that the person in the other life was someone else, but in every life, it is the same person. When we return to earth life, we do not take up the body of someone else, nor another's deeds, but are like an actor who plays many parts, the same actor inside, though all the costumes and lines differ in each play. Shakespeare was correct in asserting that Life is a Play, for the great life of each Ego is an Immense Drama in the Scheme of Things, and Nature is the great stage on which this drama is played, and thus each new life and each new rebirth is but another act in which we assume our part and put on another dress, but through it all, we are still the self same, Immortal Ego.

While this doctrine - coupled with its twin - Karma - may seem stern and implacable to some, they are not really so, for they are essentially optimistic, and give us a great deal of encouragement. Reincarnation gives man an opportunity to try, try again with the assurance that each sincere and earnest attempt brings its reward in time. So those who sit despairing in the dark places may take courage. Those who are perplexed and filled with doubt may know that there is a solution to all their troubles and difficulties. The mother bereft of her child; the husband or wife left desolately alone, may find consolation for they will meet again to take up the broken threats of affection and weave them into new and fairer looms of progress. Thus the heart finds complete satisfaction and the intellect more than its fullest scope in these teachings of the Ancient Fraters of the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis.


But spiritual people say that Life is a Dream and the reason for that is that physical life ends like dreams do, thus we are not really living in reality.  To us, it seems real, but those of us who dream vividly swear that the dream was too real not to be real. Which is true?


“Life is a challenge, meet it! Life is a dream, realize it! Life is a game, play it!
Life is Love, enjoy it!”

 Sri Sathya Sai Baba quotes

The worst mistake you can make is to think you're alive
when you're really asleep in life's waiting room.
How do you know waking life isn't just a shared dream with 6 billion people? The only difference is that one person out of 6 billion people perceiving the same things has very little influence on reality. Whereas in a dream you are the only person perceiving it so you have total control over it.

just something to ponder....
If life is a dream, whose dream is it?  Will we awake when our life end?

"It would be easy to reduce 'Life Is a Dream' to its fatalism versus free will paradox, but Cruz's translation strikes the chord of an even more reverberant and often-ignored theme: in the spiritual battle between destiny and self-determination, forgiveness, not willfulness or witchery, is man's only hope.
       Mia Leonin, drama critic for the Miami Herald
Waking life is a dream controlled!
       George Satanyana

Dreams are true while they last , and do we not live in dreams?
          Alfred L. Tennyson

Dreams are the touchstone of our character...
            Henry D. Thoreau


The Art of Spiritual Dreaming
by The Spiritual Traveler

What is the art of spiritual dreaming? Is the experience of spiritual dreaming distinct from dreaming, in general?

Spiritual dreaming can be defined as dreaming that has the effect of awakening the individual to his or her true nature. To ask whether spiritual dreaming is distinct from our normal dream experiences is really no different from asking whether any spiritual experience is different from all the other experiences we have in life. Life is a spiritual experience, and therefore all our experiences in life have something to teach us spiritually.

At the same time, we can distinguish between experiences in our lives that have uplifted us, or have taught us a lesson, or have jogged our memory of who and what we are, and more mundane experiences. And if we have whetted our spiritual appetites, and consider ourselves spiritual seekers, or ready for spiritual experiences, we will be hungry for those kinds of experiences -both in our waking life and in our dreams. So the art of spiritual dreaming simply reflects that hunger for spiritual experience.  



How can you determine whether at this moment we are sleeping and all our thoughts are dreams, or whether we are awake and talking to one another in the waking state....


In the allegory of the chariot and winged steeds, given in the Phaedrus, he represents the psychical nature as composite and two-fold; the thumos, or epithumetic part, formed from the substances of the world of phenomena; and the thumoeides, the essence of which is linked to the eternal world. The present earth-life is a fall and punishment. The soul dwells in "the grave which we call the body," and in its incorporate state, and previous to the discipline of education, the noetic or spiritual element is "asleep." Life is thus a dream, rather than a reality. Like the captives in the subterranean cave, described in The Republic, the back is turned to the light, we perceive only the shadows of objects, and think them the actual realities. Is not this the idea of Maya, or the illusion of the senses in physical life, which is so marked a feature in Buddhistical philosophy? But these shadows, if we have not given ourselves up absolutely to the sensuous nature, arouse in us the reminiscence of that higher world that we once inhabited. "The interior spirit has some dim and shadowy recollection of its ante-natal state of bliss, and some instinctive and proleptic yearnings for its return." It is the province of the discipline of philosophy to disinthrall it from the bondage of sense, and raise it into the empyrean of pure thought, to the vision of eternal truth, goodness, and beauty. "The soul," says Plato, in the Theaetetus, "cannot come into the form of a man if it has never seen the truth. This is a recollection of those things which our soul formerly saw when journeying with Deity, despising the things which we now say are, and looking up to that which REALLY is. Wherefore the nous, or spirit, of the philosopher (or student of the higher truth) alone is furnished with wings; because he, to the best of his ability, keeps these things in mind, of which the contemplation renders even Deity itself divine. By making the right use of these things remembered from the former life, by constantly perfecting himself in the perfect mysteries, a man becomes truly perfect -- an initiate into the diviner wisdom."

Hence we may understand why the sublimer scenes in the Mysteries were always in the night. The life of the interior spirit is the death of the external nature; and the night of the physical world denotes the day of the spiritual. Dionysus, the night-sun, is, therefore, worshipped rather than Helios, orb of day. In the Mysteries were symbolized the preexistent condition of the spirit and soul, and the lapse of the latter into earth-life and Hades, the miseries of that life, the purification of the soul, and its restoration to divine bliss, or reunion with spirit. Theon, of Smyrna, aptly compares the philosophical discipline to the mystic rites: "Philosophy," says he, "may be called the initiation into the true arcana, and the instruction in the genuine Mysteries. There are five parts of this initiation: I., the previous purification; II., the admission to participation in the arcane rites; III., the epoptic revelation; IV., the investiture or enthroning; V. -- the fifth, which is produced from all these, is friendship and interior communion with God, and the enjoyment of that felicity which arises from intimate converse with divine beings. . . . Plato denominates the epopteia, or personal view, the perfect contemplation of things which are apprehended intuitively, absolute truths and ideas. He also considers the binding of the head and crowning as analogous to the authority which any one receives from his instructors, of leading others into the same contemplation. The fifth gradation is the most perfect felicity arising from hence, and, according to Plato, an assimilation to divinity as far as is possible to human beings." (See Thomas Taylor: "Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries," p. 47. New York: J. W. Bouton, 1875.)

What appears to be external reality is really all in your head. Why, that sounds like a dream. 

While you're still reeling from that, think about this. Have you ever had a dream at night that seemed just as real or even more real than your daily experience?

If so, then you know the only way you could tell the difference was that this dream (or reality) had more memories you could hook into it.

However, from the shaman point of view, memories are only other dreams.
If you've not had such a realistic dream, you may have heard or read about people - mystics, drunks, schizophrenics, people taking drugs, who are sleep deprived, sick, the elderly, children, or shamans - who have had what psychologists and psychiatrists like to call "hallucinations" that for them were every bit as real, or more real, than the dream we call ordinary experience (hallucination means "your dream doesn't match my dream").

The Urban Shaman
Eastern philosophies have long taught that life is a dream, and Western esoteric wisdom has held that life is an illusion. Nevertheless, most of us go on living as if our life experiences were real. What good does it do us to know that life is a dream or an illusion?

Life As A Waking Dream is a unique method of uncovering the deeper meaning of life. Everyday experiences are viewed as messages from the real Self, giving instruction and guidance that tells us what life skills we need to develop, what qualities we need to cultivate in our self-expression, and what new choices we need to make to bring greater harmony to our lives. By studying our life experiences as if they had been dreams, we uncover the keys to more creative and powerful living. Some of those keys are identifying a clear purpose, developing a strong sense of self, learning to recognize and cooperate with the yin and yang polarities of energy, and interpreting symbols that appear in our waking dreams. With practice we can learn how to live more lucidly and even how to wake up to the reality behind the illusion. You don't have to remember your sleeping dreams to do this form of dream-work!!



The Yellow Emperor Learns How to Dream   
September 25, 2005

In The Book of Lieh-tzu - the third and least-known of the Taoist classics (with the Tao Te Ching and the book of Chuang-tzu) - dreaming is quite literally the royal road to knowledge of higher worlds, and the preferred path into the afterlife.

The most interesting material on dreams is a story of a dream journey by the Yellow Emperor and the collection of tales in the chapter titled "King Mu of Chou".

The Yellow Emperor found in a dream what he had been unable to find in meditation and ascetic practice - full access to a spiritual realm beyond the setting sun, whose inhabitants "ride space as though walking the solid earth". Winged by his knowledge, he reputedly "rose into the sky" at the end of his reign.

The story of King Mu is an interesting variant on the theme that "life is a dream". Holding on to the sleeve of a powerful magician, he travels to an amazing pleasure-palace above the clouds and enjoys himself there tremendously for "twenty or thirty years" before the magician invited him to go to a higher place, which he finds terrifying (because he is clearly not ready!). He is hurled back into his own palace to find only seconds of ordinary time have elapsed.

Instead of dismissing the dream journey as illusion, the author leads us to reflect that the dream world is no less real (or unreal) than the physical world and that for many of us the great game is to approach all experience as if it might be a dream - and have the malleability and magic of the dream world.



June 2006

Dream or Reality?

What’s the difference between dreams that give us fear, orgasmic passion, or joyful delight and reality when we are awake? Maybe the answer to the greatest questions about how we came to be can be most simply explained with a simple song. “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily life is but a dream.”

What is reality? Perhaps the grand massiveness of our universe is intertwined into what makes us alive and that the illusions we perceive as reality and dream are one in the same. One is merely longer, persistent and familiar.

This hypothesis causes us great concern if we are but merely dreaming while we think we are awake. If that is true, one day we will awaken. We might even wake up in another dream. If we awaken from what we have for so long perceived as reality and find that a perpetual state of misconception was our individual inference, will we be alive in a different dimension?

Where will that state of awareness be? What will “reality” look like? Maybe we’ll be trees in a park with children climbing us. Maybe we’ll fly through the sky as birds with dinosaur below. Maybe we’ll be ten years old again. Maybe twelve. Maybe we’ll be an arousal before conception in someone’s mind.

Each individual’s perception of existence may not be what everyone sees. Perhaps life is a dream to some and reality to others. For whatever the purpose or design of this fantastic imagery, there is something in being said of each fanciful inhale of air and the sound we make when we exhale.

The experience of the dreams we have at night and the realities we believe we live in the day make us a part of a universe larger than anything we have yet measured. Somehow we fit into this divine structure, if only a molecule in relative size to only a diminutive portion of the universe.

Each individual being’s reality has a reason for that perception at that particular moment in whatever time relevant to the needs of the universe. For simplification, God. The titled that cannot be titled.

The purpose of this note for life’s thoughts is to stimulate a conscious reverence for being alive. Make this dream of reality good.

In dream, life or death, make good choices and awaken to Heaven.

 Today's thought:

               “Earth’s crammed with heaven,

                             And every common bush afire with God.”

                                                          Elizabeth Barrett Browning




Darius The Great ( Dariush I)

  Darius the Great (ca. 549 BC– 485/486 BC; Old Persian Dārayawuš: "He Who Holds Firm the Good"), was the son of Hystaspes and Persian Emperor from 521 BC to 485/486 BC. His name in Modern Persian is داریوش (Dariush), in Hebrew דַּרְיָוֵשׁ (Daryawesh) and the ancient Greek sources call him Δαρεος (Dareios).


The principal sources for the life of Darius are his own inscriptions, especially the great inscription of Behistun in which he explains how he gained the crown and put down many rebellions. There are also some informations related to his past, for example we know that his fathers name was Hystaspes. In modern times the veracity of Darius has often been doubted, but without any sufficient reason or suggestion of alternatives. The accounts given later by Herodotus and Ctesias of his accession are in many points evidently dependent on this official version, with many legendary stories interwoven, e.g. the tale that Darius and his allies left the question as to which of them should become king to the decision of their horses, and that Darius won the crown by a trick of his groom. Herodotus also informs us of Dariuse' past. He mentions that Hystaspes was a soldier in the Persian army during the last war of Cyrus the Great, which took place in 530. According to the story of Herodotus, Cyrus becomes suspicious of the son of Hystaspes, who was "about twenty at the time and had been left behind in Persia because he was too young for war". So he sent back Hystaspes to gain control over Darius. A few days later, Cyrus was killed in action. Cambyses was appointed as the new king and Hystaspes became the satrap ( governor) of Parthia.


The Battle at King's Mountain, South Carolina
Revolutionary War

The Battle of Kings Mountain, on 7th October 1780, was an important Patriot victory in the Southern campaign of the American Revolutionary War. Frontier militia overwhelmed the loyalist militia led by British Major Patrick Ferguson.

NOTE: This is an ancestor of Joe Mason of which we are very proud of his contribution to bring the United States into being. We had always been told that the Henry family line were descendants of Patrick Henry, but recent DNA testing of males in the family have proven that the rumour was always incorrect.

Robert Henry in the Revolutionary war

" July, 1802, on motion of Joseph Spencer and the production of his county court license, Robert Henry, Esq., became an attorney of the court. This singular, versatile and able man has left his impress upon Buncombe County and Western North Carolina.

Born in Tryon (afterward Lincoln) County, North Carolina on Feb. 10, 1765 in a rail pen, he was the son of Thomas Henry, an emigrant from the north of Ireland. When Robert was a school boy, at the age of 15, he fought on the American side at King's Mountain, and was badly wounded in the hand by a bayonet thrust. Later [Henry] was in the heat of the fight at Cowan's Ford, and was very near Gen. William Davidson when [Davidson] was killed.

After the war he removed to Buncombe County and on the Swannanoa taught the first school ever held in that county. He then became a surveyor, and after a long and extensive experience, in which he surveyed many of the large grants in all the counties of Western North Carolina, and even in Middle Tennessee, and participated in locating and marking the line between the State of North Carolina and the State of Tennessee, he turned his attention to the study of law. In 1806, he was made solicitor of Buncombe County. He it was who opened up and for years conducted as a public resort the Sulphur Springs, near Asheville, later known as Deaver's Spring and still more recently as Carriers' Springs. On Jan. 6, 1863 he died in Clay County, North Carolina as the age of 98 years, and was "undoubtedly one of the last of the heroes of Kings Mountain." To him we are indebted for the preservation, and in part, authorship of the most graphic and detailed accounts of the fights at Kings Mountain and Cowan's Ford which now exist. He was the first resident lawyer of Buncombe County. (1922. Sondley, F. A. Asheville and Buncombe County, pp. 124, 125.)

The last living survivor of the King's Mountain Battle was Isaac Thrasher.

"The late John P. Arthur, author of the History of Western North Carolina and the History of Watauga County, was a grandson of Robert Henry. (1922. Sondley, F. A. Asheville and Buncombe County, pp. 124, 125.)

The South Fork boys marched to their position with quick step, Major Chronicle ten paces in advance, and heading the column were Enock Gilmer, Hugh Ewin, Adam Barry, and Robert Henry. Arriving at the end of the mountain, Major Chronicle cried, "Face to the Hill!" The words were scarcely uttered when they were fired upon by the enemy's sharp-shooters, and Major Chronicle and William Rabb fell dead. But they pressed up the hill under the leadership of Lieutenant-Colonel Hambright, Maj. Jos. Dixon, Capts. James Johnson, Samuel Espy, Samuel Martin, and James White. Before they reached the crest, the enemy charged bayonets, first , however, discharging their guns, killing Captain Mattocks and John Boyd and wounding Gilmer and John Chittim. As Robert Henry, a lad of sixteen, raised his gun to fire, a bayonet glanced along the barrel, through his hand and into his thigh. Henry discharged his gun, killing the Briton and both fell to the ground.

Henry observed that many of his comrades were not more than a gun's length in front of the bayonets and the farthest not more than twenty feet. Reaching the foot of the hill, they reloaded, and fired with deadly effect upon their pursuers, in turn chasing their enemies up the mountain. William Caldwell, seeing Henry's condition, pulled the bayonet out of his thigh, kicked his hand from the bloody instrument and passed on. Thus the battle raged on all sides. No regiment, no man failed to do his duty. The unerring aim of the mountain men from behind every tree and every rock was rapidly diminishing the brave fighters under Ferguson, who began to despair. At the end of an hour Ferguson was killed and a white flag was hoisted in token of surrender. Three hundred of his men were dead and wounded, and six hundred prisoners. The Americans suffered a loss of twenty-eight killed and seventy-four wounded.

The Lincoln County men, considering their small number, suffered considerably in the engagement: Maj. William Chronicle, Capt. John Mattocks, William Rabb, John Boyd and Arthur Patterson were killed; Moses Henry died soon thereafter in the hospital at Charlotte of the wound he received in the battle; Capt. Samuel Espey, Robert Henry, William Gilmer, John Chittim, and William Bradley were wounded. The Tories, shooting down the steep mountain side, much of their aim was too high. Lieutenant-Colonel Hambright's hat was perforated with three bullet holes, and he received a shot through the thigh, his boot filled and ran over with blood, but he remained in the fight till the end, gallantly encouraging his men.

Lincoln County Pension Roll

On the pension roll as late as 1834, more than fifty years after the Revolution, the following is the Lincoln County list of soldiers yet living and drawing pension: Robert Abernathy, Vincent Allen, Christian Arny, Matthew Armstrong, Robert Berry, Jonas Bradshaw, Caspar Bolick, Alexander Brevard, Samuel Caldwell, William Carroll, John Chittim, Michael Cline, Samuel Collins, Martin Coulter, Thomas Costner, George Dameron, Joseph Dixon, Peter Eddlemon, William Elmore, Samuel Espey, James Farewell, Abraham Forney, Robinson Goodwin, Joseph Graham, William Gregory, Nathan Gwaltney, Nicholas Hafner, Simon Hager, John Harman, John Helm, James Henry, James Hill, John Kidd, John Kincaid, Robert Knox, Shadrack Lefcy, Tapley Mahannas, Marmaduke Maples, Samuel Martin, Thomas Mason, William Mayes, William McCarthy, William McLean, Nathan Mendenhall, Alexander Moore, John Moore, William Moore, Jeremiah Mundy, Humphrey Parker, Hiram Pendleton, Jacob Plonk, William Potter, William Rankin, Charlie Regan, Adam Reep, Joshua Roberts, James Robinson, Henry Rumfeldt, Peter Schrum, John Stamey, Bartholomew Thompson, Charles Thompson, Phillip Tillman, Conrad Tippong, Robert Tucker, John Turbyfill, Charles Whit, John Wilfong, Joseph Willis, James Wilkinson, and Elisha Withers.


P. 380 - Robert Henry

In July, 1802, on motion of Joseph Spencer, and the production of his county court license, Robert Henry, Esq. became an attorney of the court. This singular, versatile and able man has left his impress upon Buncombe county and Western North Carolina. Born in Tryon (afterward Lincoln) county, North Carolina, on February 10, 1765, in a rail pen, he was the sn of Thomas Henry, an emigrant from the north of Ireland. When Robert was a schoolboy, he fought on the American side of Kings Mountain and was badly wounded in the hand by a bayonet thrust. Later he was in the heat of the fight at Cowan's Ford and was very near Gen. William Davidson when the latter was killed. After the war he removed to Buncombe county and on the Swannanoa taught the first school ever held in that county. He then became a surveyor, and after a long and extensive experience,, in which he surveyed many of the large grants in all the counties of western North Carolina and even in middle Tennessee, and participated in 1799, as such, in locating and marking the line between the State of North Carolina and the State of Tennessee, he turned his attention to the study of law. In January, 1806, he was made solicitor of Buncombe county. He it was who opened up and for years conducted as a public resort the Sulphur Springs near Asheville, later known as Deaver's Springs and still more recently as Carrier's Springs. On January 6, 1863, he died in Clay County, N.C. at the age of 98 years, and undoubtedly the last of the heroes of Kings Mountain.  "To him we are indebted for the preservation and, in part, authorship of the most graphic and detailed accounts of the fights at Kings Mountain and Cowan's ford which now exist. He was the first resident lawher of Buncombe county."

Colonel Davidson's Recollections of Robert Henry.

"I must not omit ... to mention Robert Henry, who lived, owned and settled the Sulphur Springs. He was an old man when I first knew him, say fifty years ago (that as 1891); he had then retired from the profession of the law wihch he had practiced many years. This was before I knew him well. He was tedious and slow in conversation, but always interesting to the student. He had been a fine lawyer, and remarkable in criminal cases. He could recite his experiences of cases in most minute detail. He insisted that, underlying all, there was invariably a principle which settled every rule of evidence and point of law. I chanced to get some of his old criminal law books, such as Foster's Crown Law, Hale's Pleas of the Crown, etc. and I found them well annotated with accurate marginal notes, showing great industry and thought in their perusal. He had a grand history in our struggle for independence' was at Charlotte when the Declaration of Independence was made, but, being a boy at this time, he did not understand the character of the resolutions; but said he heard the crowd shout and declared themselves freed from the British government. He afterwards fought at the battle of Kings Mountain and was severely wounded in the hand and thigh, by a bayonet in the charge of Ferguson's men.

" being again found 'impracticable to take horses from this place [Nolichucky River] to the Bald mountain, Mr. Henry, the chain-bearers and markers, took provisions on their backs and proceeded on the line and the horses went round by the Greasy Cove and met the rest of the company on Sunday on the top of the Bald mountain where we tarried till Tuesday morning." (1914. Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina, A History...pp.44, 45.)

"The white occupation of North Carolina had extended only to the Blue Ridge when the Revolution began; but at its close Gen. Charles McDowell, Col. David Vance and Private Robert Henry were among the first to cross the Blue Ridge and settle in the new county of Buncombe. As a reward for their services...they were appointed to run and mark the line between North Carolina and Tennessee in 1799. While on this work they wrote and left in the care of Robert Henry their narratives of the battle of Kings Mountain and the fight at Cowan's ford. After his death Robert Henry's son, William...,furnished the manuscript to...Dr. Lyman C. Draper of Wisconsin. On it is largely based his 'King's Mountain and its Heroes' (1880) (1914. Arthur, John P. Western North Carolina, A History... p. 98.)

"From Robert Henry's diary we learn that 'in the summer of 1815 no rain fell from the 8th of July till the 8th of September. Trees died.' Also that, 'on the 28th day of Aug. 1830, Caney branch (which runs by Sulphur spring five miles west of Asheville) ceased to run. Tom Moore's creek and Ragsdale's creek had ceased to run some days before; the corn died from the drough {sic}. This has been the driest summer in sixty years to my knowledge. Our spring ceased to run for some weeks previous to the above date.' Again: 'The summer of 1836 was the wettest summer in seventy years in my remembrance.' This is the climax: 'Thursday, Friday and Saturday next before Christmas 1794, were the coldest days in seventy years,' though as he had been born in 1765 he could not then have been quite thirty years of age himself. (1914. Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina, A History...p.296.)

"Col. [Allen T.] Davidson's Recollections of Robert Henry. 'I must not mention Robert Henry, who lived, owned and settled the Sulphur springs. He was an old man when I first knew him, say fifty years ago [1891]; he had then retired from the profession of the law which he had practiced many years. This was before I knew him well. He was tedious and slow in conversation, but always interesting to the student. He had been a fine lawyer ,and remarkable in criminal cases. He could recite his experiences of cases in most minute detail. He insisted that, underlying all, there was invariably a principle which settled every rule of evidence and point of law. I chanced to get some of his old criminal law books, such as Foster's Crown Law, Hale's Pleas of the Crown, etc, and I found them well annotated with accurate marginal notes, showing great industry and thought in their perusal. He had a grand history in our struggle for independence; was at Charlotte when the declaration of Independence was made; but, being a boy at this time, he did not understand the character of the resolutions; but said he heard the corwd shout and declared themselves freed from the British government. He afterwards fought at the battle of Kings Mountain and was severely wounded in the and and thigh, by a bayonet in the charge of Ferguson's men. (1914. Arthur, John P. Western North Carolina, A History..,. p.381.)

"Soon after the Swannanoa settlement was established in 1782, a school was started in accordance with the principles of the Presbyterians. Robert Henry taught the first school in North Carolina west of the Blue Ridge.'" (1914. Arthur, John P. Western North Carolina, A History..., p. 421.)


WAR OF 1812

Bufford or Bluford Burks since the War of 1812. Buford was too young, six years old, for the army. His father, John Randolph Burks of Kentucky left him with some people and they moved before he could return. John Burks rode off on a black horse and spent 6 months looking for Buford after the Battle of New Orleans as told by Daniel Burks of Picayune. Anyone with information on Buford Burks, Please contact me. Tom Stevens 601 795 6773

Daniel Burks was one of eight sons born to John Randolph Burks and Margaret McNeill and they formerly lived in Virginia. The other sons were John, Joseph, Berryman, Roland, Randolph, Samuel and Buford all born in South Carolina. In Bowling Green Kentucky in late 1811, they constructed a flatboat, loaded their possessions and floated doun the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. While coming down the Mississippi, the big earthquake of December 16, 1811 occurred and they lost most of their belongings. The big depression north of Memphis in Tennessee filled with water and caused the Mississippi River to run backwards four days and filled what is now Reelfoot Lake. The family floated on down the Mississippi to Natchez. In 1812, John, Roland, and Daniel enlisted on September 16th. in the United States Army at Washington Mississippi, just north of Natchez. Daniel was eight years old and a drummer boy in the 2nd. Infantry. The other brothers Samuel, Randolph and Joseph also served in the army. Military Archives show some of the Burks marched with Jackson from Mobile to the Battle of New Orleans. Two of the brothers were captured by the British, put aboard a ship, and died of Yellow Fever in Mobile Bay.

Daniel was also captured and put aboard a schooner in Mobile Bay to be shipped as a prisoner of war to England. There was an old woman who was aboard ship visiting. When the visitors were ask to take their under aged children off the ship, she said, "Come on son," took Daniel's hand and walked him down ships gangplank.. He couldn't have been over ten years old. Later, Bill Burks observed, "We came a gnats behind of becoming Limey (a british seaman)."

The three Burks boys John, Roland and Daniel came to the Henleyfield - Bogalusa area and applied for land bounties in 1817 for their brothers who died in the War of 1812.




Not Too Young to Go to War

Published: May 19, 1991
RED CAP By G. Clifton Wisler. 176 pp. New York: Lodestar Books. THE GHOST CADET By Elaine Marie Alphin. 182 pp. New York: Henry Holt & Company.

Two new novels, "Red Cap" and "The Ghost Cadet," both inspired by real historical characters and events, do a fine job of re-creating the tumult of the Civil War era for young readers. To their credit, the books do not try to put a gloss over that heartbreaking conflict. The personal costs are left unvarnished, unambiguous and wholly instructive.

G. Clifton Wisler's "Red Cap" is narrated by Ransom J. Powell, a 13-year-old who lies about his age and leaves his home in hilly western Maryland to become a drummer with the Union's 10th Virginia Regiment. Ransom, barely four feet tall, is as spunky as he is likable. He inspires a fierce protectiveness in those around him.

This will stand him well in war and will allow him to survive it when nearly all of his comrades perish. In January 1864, nearly two years after his enlistment and after a series of skirmishes in various places in Virginia, Ransom's unit is captured by rebels led by Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. The young drummer suffers the same misfortune as his fellow soldiers. They are stripped of their valuables as well as their decent clothes and boots, and packed off by train to the Confederates' Libby Prison in Richmond. It is a nightmare of a place where the ragged prisoners are treated miserably, their only hope being a wholesale exchange of Union and Confederate prisoners.

They are even more crushed to learn that General Grant will countenance no such exchange as it can only aid the rebel cause. The prisoners' lives, too, are considerably worsened when they are moved farther South, to a raw new stockade near Andersonville, Ga., where life becomes unmitigated horror. With not enough food, with nonexistent sanitary facilities and with a heartless camp commander, the prisoners begin dying off. At the very least, nearly 13,000 prisoners will die.

Throughout the ordeal little R. J. Powell (nicknamed Red Cap for his distinctive hat), with his humor and spirit, becomes a beacon of inspiration. Again and again, his comrades deprive themselves of their meager rations to help him survive: for a time he is even granted privileges by his captors, whom he has also won over. But repeatedly, until his eventual release, young Ransom must beat out taps as his friends are buried.

In "Red Cap" Mr. Wisler has provided a well-researched and haunting account of Civil War prison life, always vividly illuminated by the peppery, good-hearted personality of the little drummer boy who survived to live out the century, always grateful to the departed friends who made that possible.

Set in the present day, "The Ghost Cadet" by Elaine Marie Alphin begins when 12-year-old Benjy Stark and his 16-year-old sister, Fran, are sent off to Virginia to visit a grandmother they have never met. The children normally live with their mother, and their parents' divorce has turned Benjy moody and Fran quarrelsome. Deserted by their father, they have no interest in going South to be confronted with reminders of him. Surprisingly, the children find things to occupy their minds; for Fran it is boys (cadets at the nearby Virginia Military Institute), but for Benjy, it is the rich local history in his grandmother's town of New Market.

Benjy can hardly help himself -- for he realizes he has somehow been chosen for a mission. Wandering alone over the old Civil War battlefield, he is confronted by the ghost of a teen-ager, Hugh McDowell, a Confederate soldier killed during the first wave of the fighting in 1864. Hugh enlists Benjy in his search for a family heirloom -- his grandfather's gold watch, which he had hidden from scavengers as he lay mortally wounded. Time has dramatically changed the terrain, and the boys' search finally takes them through a harrowing re-enactment of the battle.

Later there is still more high drama and some nicely surprising little twists. Out of solid research and a clear regard for Virginia's history and heritage, Ms. Alphin has written a fine novel that provides a sympathetic picture of a troubled, lonely boy who blames himself for his parents' divorce, but who finds redemption by discovering the true meaning of friendship.

David Haward Bain, author of "Sitting in Darkness: Americans in the Philippines," teaches writing at Middlebury College and often writes about the Civil War.



Mini biography
Born to Alice and 'Charles Cooper' (not in film business). Gary attended school at Dunstable school England, Helena Montana and Iowa College, Grinnell, Iowa. His first stage experience was during high school and college. Afterwards, he worked as an extra for one year before getting a part in a two reeler by Hans Tissler (an independent producer). Eileen Sedgwick was his first leading lady. He then appeared in Winning of Barbara Worth, The (1926) for United Artists before moving to Paramount. While there he appeared in a small part in Wings (1927), 0018033, and other films.

"Dad was a true Westerner, and I take after him", Gary Cooper told people who wanted to know more about his life before Hollywood. Dad was 'Charles Henry Cooper' who left his native England at 19, became a lawyer and later a Montana State Supreme Court justice. In 1906, when Gary was 5, his dad bought the Seven-Bar-Nine, a 600-acre ranch that had originally been a land grant to the builders of the railroad through that part of Montana. In 1910, Gary's mother who had been ill was advised to take a long sea voyage by her doctor. She went to England and stayed there until the United States entered World War I. Gary and his older brother Arthur stayed with their mother and went to school in England for seven years. Too young to go to war, Gary spent the war years working on his father's ranch. "Getting up at 5 o'clock in the morning in the dead of winter to feed 450 head of cattle and shoveling manure at 40 below ain't romantic", said the man who would take the Western to the top of its genre in "High Noon" (1952). So well liked was Cooper that he aroused little envy when, in 1939, the U.S. Treasury Department said that he was the nation's top wage earner. That year he earned $482,819. This tall, silent hero was the American ideal for many people of his generation. Ernest Hemingway who lived his novels before he wrote them, was happy to have Gary Cooper play his protagonists in Farewell to Arms, A (1932) and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943).

IMDb mini-biography by
Dale O'Connor <>



“Erich von Lewinski, called von Manstein: His Life, Character and Operations – A Reappraisal” by Jörg Muth

Posted by Yan Mann on July 28, 2007

Born a soldier?

Erich was born in Berlin on 24 November, 1887. On this day the parents Eduard and Helene von Lewinski Immediately sent a telegraph to the sister of Helene, Hedwig von Manstein and her husband Georg: ”Today a son was born to you”. Both families had a special agreement: The tenth son of the Lewinskis, Erich, would be given to the von Mansteins and raised as their son, because they had no children at all.

Most of little Erich’s male ancestors - of both families - had been soldiers, both his fathers made the rank of General - Fieldmarshall and later Reichspräsident von Hindenburg was his uncle. In his autobiography Erich states that it was his wish also to become a soldier, but maybe he had simply no choice at all. By the age of 13 he went to the Kadettenanstalt in Berlin Lichterfelde. Erich liked the life there very much and stated that he was made a “Herr” by the education there. In contrast the captain of his class also wrote about the Kadettenanstalt in bitter words and called it a school for slaves.

On the 1st January in 1920 Erich went on a hunting holiday to Silesia, were he met the nineteen year old Jutta Sybille von Loesch. Nine days later they became en-gaged and six months later they married. Their daughter Gisela was born in 1921, the eldest son Gero one year later. He lived only 20 years and died on the eastern front. The youngest son Rüdiger was born in 1929 and so was barely too young to go to war.

After a brief time as company and battalion CO Erich rotated back to staff positions. In 1934, when von Manstein was Chief of Staff of the Wehrkreis III, the first cruel laws were passed which segregated and discriminated the Jews in Germany. Now every officer had to get a “Ariernachweis” (proof of Aryan origin) and those officers who had Jewish ancestors had to leave the Reichswehr. Much more important for all soldiers was the law which forbade all Jewish soldiers to wear their war decorations. Ten thousands of them had fought, bled and died bravely for Germany in WWI and now they would not even be allowed to display the proof of their service for their country. Even the dumbest racist must wonder about the accusations that the Jews wished harm to Germany but went to war and gave their lives to defend the same country. But incredibly no one wondered about or questioned this philosophy of hatred.

Because one of his friends discovered that his mother was half Jewish and he had to leave the Reichswehr, Erich wrote a letter to General Walther von Reichenau and asked to made exceptions for those officers whose parents were half Jewish and who were already in the Reichswehr. He did not oppose the exclusion of future aspirants with Jewish ancestors. In the years after the war the existence of the letter was often used to show von Manstein’s attitude against racism and even von Manstein mentions the letter in his autobiography to draw attention to his bravery. But only the second part of the letter was quoted. Here is the beginning:

“There is no doubt that we [meaning all officers] affirm the national socialism and the race thought [Rassegedanke, meaning the that there are differences in races and the German race is the superior and the Jewish race the inferior ]…

It should be mentioned first that of course the Aryan ancestry and marriage in the Wehrmacht are naturally since 30.01.1933…

No one denies that the occupations of judges, lawyers, doctors were flooded by Jews and Half-Jews…

There is no doubt that a rigorous cleansing was necessary…”

Only after writing this, and similar statements, did he try to convince von Reichenau that he should leave officers who have Half-Jews as parents at their positions. Von Manstein was mistaken in his assumptions that because he was a rising star in the staff officer corps and had relatives in high rank he would be untouchable. He did manage to preserve his military career, but very barely escaped a disciplinary rebuke, which would have seriously affected it.

In 1935 von Manstein received the Promotion to Generalmajor and became Chief of the 1st Operations Department in the General Staff (not to be confused with the Chief of Staff of Operations). He invented a plan to secretly triple the Infantry- Divisions in the Reichswehr – in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. His superior General von Hammerstein-Equord gave him the task of creating all the war games and exams for the staff officers.

In this position Erich von Manstein made some enemies. After the conclusion of the war games he insisted on his solution and refused to consider the different approaches of others, which had traditionally been common. When he explained his solution his comrades usually felt his arrogance hard to bear. Though his rank was not higher than theirs he acted as if that were the case. He always had the better position because his immediate superior gave the marks for the participants of the war-game and relied on his opinion.

One year later von Manstein became Quartermaster I and as such deputy of the Chief of Staff. He expected to become a very young Chief of Staff soon.

Unexpectedly for von Manstein, he was rotated to command the 18th ID in 1938 in the wake of the Blomberg/Fritsch crisis. He described himself as a martyr because of his loyalty to von Fritsch and named this as the reason for changing his assignment from General staff to the command of an Infantry-Division. The truth is he was over-due for a field command.

A year later von Manstein was informed that “Case White”, the invasion of Poland, would be imminent in the near future. Because of this he transferred as Chief of Staff to the Heeresgruppe Süd (Army Group South) ,commanded by Generalfeldmarschall Gerd von Rundstedt. Von Manstein had no problems with the attack on Poland be-cause he thought “the Polish mentality made us no hope to reverse the unreasonable borders drawn by the treaty of Versailles”. After the defeat of Poland, Hitler visited the HQ of the Heeresgruppe Süd. When he saw the pompous decorations and mass of food in the officers hall he turned around, sat outside with the troops and shared their field kitchen soup. As a former enlisted man Hitler gave a clear demonstration of his opinion that the higher staff members too often focused on their perks and privileges. In his book “Lost Victories” von Manstein in the typical staffer’s manner often describes his accommodations - usually castles or large mansions - in the smallest details. We rarely read the same level of detail from his visits of the front lines.

The Attack on the Soviet Union, the Holocaust and the Defense of the Kertsch Peninsula

For the invasion of the Soviet Union von Manstein got the 56th Panzer-Korps, which attacked north-east in the direction of Leningrad. When the CG of the Eleventh Army died in a plan crash in September, von Manstein went to command this army, which was tasked with the invasion of the Crimean peninsula. In the wake of this army the infamous Einsatzgruppe D killed 90.000 people, mostly Jews. The direct contact to the Einsatzgruppe was the Chief of Staff of the 11. Army, the operations officer pro-vided them with transport and supply and the intelligence officer with “targets”. Though Manstein of course denied having known what his staff knew, this is hardly possible. Otto Ohlendorf - leader of the Einsatzgruppe - confirmed during the war crime trials that the commanders of the armies and army groups where he operated were fully briefed on his actions and no one ever complained. The leader of the Einsatzgruppe was in regular contact with von Manstein’s staff. Today we know not only that Ohlendorf spoke the truth but there are numerous orders and documents that link the staff and CG of Eleventh Army directly and indirectly to the mass murder of Jews and other people.

The Eleventh Army was able to clear the peninsula, but many Red Army units escaped to the harbor of Sevastopol, a heavily fortified city. In the middle of the preparations for the attack of the city von Manstein got disturbing news. The Red Army was landing in strength on two places on the eastern part of the peninsula. The defense laid in the responsibility of General Count Sponeck. He had only one division at his disposal which was even understrength to boot. Threatened from two directions, Sponeck radioed to Army HQ that he had to withdraw or he would be cut off and annihilated. Von Manstein ordered him to stay put. In all his publications von Manstein has lamented that Hitler and his staffers would never listen to the commander on the spot and how much would have been different if they had; yet at this point Manstein didn’t listen to his commander on the spot. As an officer responsible for the welfare of his men, von Sponeck ordered the withdrawal against direct orders. Again von Manstein tried to countermand this action but the Division was already on its way back. Just in time the unit slipped away from two Red Army pincers. On his forced march to safety von Sponeck lost much of his remaining equipment. A reinforced regiment and a Romanian division, in addition to Sponeck’s division, were necessary to defend against the Russians at the bottleneck of the peninsula. Three and a half new divisions were necessary to clear them out. Von Manstein nevertheless immediately relieved Sponeck from his command. Not because he didn’t obey an order or because he withdrew, but because “he was not the man to hold out such a situation”. It sounds like a weak excuse for a fatal decision. Had Manstein allowed his subordinate to withdraw, when the first request came, the division might have come home with most of its badly needed equipment. Because of the withdrawal von Manstein had to call off the attack on Sevastopol - an attack eagerly awaited by the High Command. The anger about this might have led von Manstein to overreact in a dangerous way. He not only relieved Sponeck but informed his superior, the cruel Walther von Reichenau. He in turn informed the OKH and that put Sponeck in the deepest trouble. A seasoned field commander would never directly impose a public disciplinary measure. It would have been easy to relieve Sponeck because of an injury or illness, and deal with him without letting other commanders know. Hitler immediately demanded Sponeck should be shot. Sponeck asked for a trial to explain his decision and was backed by other field commanders. Judges could only be found who would take part in the trial if the death sentence was removed from the possible penalties. Hitler agreed and Sponeck was officially dishonored and got six years imprisonment. A year later, at the anniversary of the occupation of Sevastopol, Manstein made a half-hearted attempt to put forward a memorandum to Hitler asking for mercy regarding the prisoner. The memo never made it to Hitler but was caught by officers surrounding the Chief of OKW, or by Wilhelm Keitel himself.

Generalfeldmarschall (Fieldmarshall) and awarded to all soldiers who took part at the siege the Krim-Shield which they wore now as a badge on their sleeves.

After that von Manstein was tasked with the siege of Leningrad which was bypassed in the first weeks of the war and never taken thereafter – one of the many great strategic mistakes on the German side. The big city with its weapons industry posed a constant threat to the left flank of the Wehrmacht in Russia. Von Manstein battled various relieving forces around Leningrad, but before he was able to attempt to take the city – a task much more difficult than Sevastopol – the crisis around Stalingrad developed. The Sixth Army had advanced too far with insufficient supplies. Its units were stretched too thin to defend its lines. As former Quartermaster I of the General Staff of the Army Generaloberst Friedrich Paulus was perfectly aware of this, but had advanced nevertheless. The setting resembled an invitation for the Red Army to en-circle the Sixth Army. In November the Red Army broke through the Romanian Divisions - which had pleaded for anti-tank weapons and artillery but never got them - and isolated the Sixth Army in Stalingrad. At this time von Manstein got command of Heeresgruppe Don, which now included the encircled Army. Despite the claims in his book “Verlorene Siege” (Lost Victories) von Manstein never ordered Paulus to break out. Paulus himself was a typical staffer all his life, possessed a weak personality and had never led large units in battle. He waited so long with his decision to break out that the Sixth Army became immobile because of lack of gas and death of horses. The later half-hearted attempt to break through from the outside with the Fourth Panzer-Army can be described as too little too late.

On a rare occasion when Hitler visited von Manstein’s HQ in February, he became so frightened by a Russian spearhead which advanced on the town where he stayed that he gave von Manstein a free hand for his plans. The CG of army group south evacuated the southern bulge of his front line and used the freed units for a devastating counterattack to the north that not only shattered the Russian advance but also recaptured the city of Charkov.

Erich von Manstein, however, saw the only future solution in further “operating” and since Hitler did not permit him “to strike from the back hand” he supported the ill conceived Operation Zitadelle (discussed below), which ended in a disaster. The men and tanks lost in this operation would be bitterly needed in the weeks to come when the whole eastern front struggled for survival.

Like many of his comrades von Manstein dreamed that when the situation became even more desperate Hitler would listen to them and hand them sole power to lead the Wehrmacht as they wanted. The commanders of the Heeresgruppen however quarreled with each other about the best conduct of the war, while their soldiers where beaten back by the Read Army, step by step.

After repeatedly getting on Hitler’s nerves by writing letters and stating during briefings that his units needed to withdraw, von Manstein was relieved by the dictator. Von Manstein apparently welcomed that decision and was awarded with the swords to the Knight’s Cross at the end of March 1944. Seeing himself as the only possible savior of the Reich, von Manstein expected to be recalled and still dreamed of a military remiss that would allow a political solution. Both dreams were impossible to come true; the former because the Wehrmacht was already ruined and the latter because of the Holocaust.

End of active Duty, Trial and Rearmament

When the few German officers who conspired against Hitler got closer to an attempt at his assassination, many of the highest ranking commanders were informed. Like his fellow commanders von Manstein adopted a “wait and see” attitude and did not support the overthrow.

During the Nuremberg Trials von Manstein together with the lawyers devised a strategy that the officers would volunteer no information and only admit actions that were clearly proven, declare evident crimes as misdeeds of single persons, and in general display very poor memories. They got away with that strategy which laid the foundation for the myth of the clean General Staff that persists until to the present.

Great Britain intended to have her own major war crimes trial and as von Manstein was the only POW in good health in her possession, the ‘Manstein-Trial” began in 1949. By that time the political landscape had already changed, Berlin was under siege and many people did not think that a man who had portrayed himself as the savior of the civilization from the Bolshevik hordes should then stand trial. Even Winston Churchill contributed money to his defense. Von Manstein expected to get away as easy as the first time, but was to be disappointed. The prosecution was much better prepared than the first time, because there were more documents and eyewitness accounts available. His British defense attorney Lord Paget, who despite the fact that he had a Jewish assistant harbored racist sentiments, could apparently not believe that a fellow nobleman could possibly be involved in crimes of that extent. He had also not the faintest idea about the internal structure of the Wehrmacht and thus portrayed von Manstein as a heroic figure. The prosecution listed one and half dozen crimes with various sub topics ranging from ‘General Violation of the Rules of War’ to ‘Murder of Jews by the Einsatzgruppen‘. During the trials von Manstein re-vealed his true face. He was very eloquent when reading prepared statements, but - not at all accustomed to being questioned – lost his wit when the prosecutor interrogated him. After simple questions like “Did you know about the crimes committed by the Einsatzgruppen in the wake of your Army?”, von Manstein’s otherwise erect body would slump forward, his eyebrows began to fight each other and he would stutter a monologue of contradictions in a squeaky voice. To any onlooker, even without considering the evidence, it was clear: here is someone obviously telling lies.

The presentation of von Manstein’s secret army order issued at the end of 1941 in which he calls for the “atonement on the Jews”, the “rooting out of Jewish-Bolshevism” and similar phrases of hatred and racism caught him off guard. He claimed never to have seen it before. When the prosecutor revealed von Manstein’s signature under the order, the former commander of Eleventh Army stuck to his tale and speculated that his Ic (Intelligence Officer) might have drawn up the paper and he might simply have signed it without reading; this would have been an unprecedented action on his part.

There are two possible solutions which might have motivated von Manstein to issue such an order. From his earliest days as an officer he always had his eyes on the position of Chief of Staff. At the end of 1941 the Wehrmacht experienced the ‘winter crisis’ and von Manstein sensed that there would soon be scapegoats and open slots. The highest positions, however, would only be filled with people who were thought as being firm in their belief in National Socialism. With this secret army order he intended to demonstrate his devotion.

Of course, the other possible reason might have been that he simply believed what he wrote.

Von Manstein was found guilty in about half of the 17 charges against him and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment. Had today’s research been available to the judges, the sentence might well have been harsher.

The sentence was reduced to 12 years and Erich von Manstein was paroled in 1953, when the German Rearmament was already planned. By that time any eastern front expert was urgently needed and the past easily forgotten.

Only two years later von Manstein published his “Verlorene Siege” (Lost Victories), which would become one of the most influential books about the war and established with enormous eloquence the “Manstein-Myth” of the great captain who could have saved Germany if he only had gotten a free hand. Many outright lies and falsehoods in this book haven already been uncovered and a critical approach is called for when using it.

Erich von Manstein wrote various papers and memorandums for the German Department of Defense and was especially courted by the new Secretary of Defense Franz Josef Strauß. At von Manstein’s 80th and 85th birthdays the Inspector General and a formation of the Bundeswehr showed up to honor him, actions that rest heavily on the young army ever since. Only in recent years has the Bundeswehr been able to successfully claim a tradition of its own without referring to the Wehrmacht.

In the night of June 9, 1973, Erich von Manstein, called von Lewinski, died age 85 by a cerebral apoplexy. He was buried with military honors.




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note to self

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