Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Night of the Long Knives

Night of the Long Knives

Night of the Long Knives (2002)

From anyone can conjecture about history at Wikipedia:

The Night of the Long Knives is the name Geoffrey of Monmouth gave to the (possibly apocryphal) slaughter of British chieftains by Jute, Angle and Saxon mercenaries at a monastery (or perhaps Stonehenge) on Salisbury Plain in ca. 460.


The Night of the Long Knives, according to Geoffery of Monmouth, took place at a banquet in modern-day Wiltshire ostensibly arranged to seal a peace treaty, which may have been the cession of Essex and Sussex in exchange for intermarriage between Rowena of Kent, the daughter of Saxon chieftain Hengest, and Vortigern. As told, the story claims that the "Saxons" -- which probably includes Angles and Jutes -- arrived at the banquet armed, surprising the British, who were slaughtered. Variously described as the only escapee are Vortigern himself, and St. Abbas.

The historical existence of any of these events or persons is conjectural. Textual evidence is weak and begins in the 7th century.

I love that last remark about the historical evidence of all of this being conjectural. Perhaps the Bush Administration can better catapult propgaganda by seizing the phrase and applying it (pardon the pun) liberally and with Orwellian effectiveness -- just as they have done with so many others like extraordinary rendition and enhanced interrogation techniques and healthy forests initiative. Soon, everything from missing WMDs to allegations of torture to unchecked domestic spying can be delegated to a conjectural status.

I think the title to today's image probably calls up a different event for most people. From could be true could be conjectural Wikipedia:

The Night of the Long Knives (June 30 and Sunday July 1, 1934) (German, Nacht der langen Messer), also known as Reichsmordwoche or "the Blood Purge", was a lethal purge of Adolf Hitler's potential political rivals in the Sturmabteilung (SA; also known as storm troopers or brownshirts). The SA was the paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party that had helped the Nazis rise to power in the Twenties, culminating with Hitler being named Chancellor of Germany in 1933.

Occurring over a weekend, the purge targeted SA leaders and members who were associated more with socialism than with nationalism, and hence were viewed as a threat to the continued support for Chancellor Adolf Hitler within the Army and conservative business community that had supported Hitler's rise to power.

Official records tally the dead at 77, though some 400 are believed to have been killed.

"They Salute with Both Hands Now" (1934) by David Low

[Image seen on Spartacus Educational]

The Night of the Long Knives represented a turning point in the conduct of German government. From that point on, a number of things were clear: The Nazi party was in unquestioned control of the state, Hitler was in control of the Nazi party, and both were fully prepared to use raw, brutal violence to accomplish their political objectives. In the post-war period, this first round of fratricidal bloodletting would be seen by some as a presage of the Holocaust.


And...in another tangent...in another time...in another nation...

There was this gathering yesterday on a beach at Santa Monica:

All we are saying...

"Our country's fortunes depend on us..."
--Aristophanes, Lysistrata

[Photograph seen on AfterDowningStreet.org]


Neil Shakespeare said...

"It's all conjecturable, you see. It's 'conjecturable'. That is, it's subject to conjecturableness. And you have to have conjecturability if yer gonna be conjecturable about this."

I would like to see the line in the history books: "The administration of George W. Bush is the subject of conjecture. There is some evidence to suggest that it didn't even exist."

cruelanimal said...

"There is some evidence to suggest that it didn't even exist."

If only. Perhaps like Dallas -- and those mythical WMDs -- our grandchildren will look back and say, "It was all just a bad dream..."

...as they continue to pay off BushCo's record deficits and sign up for forced conscription in New Iraqifornia.

vvoi said...

that's an amazing picture, a powerful happening.
i've allowed myself to post it on New Art.

cruelanimal said...

vvoi: Glad you decided to share the image. I also think it's terrific.

Something else that's terrific is your blog. I hope my readers will check it out by clicking the link above and discover exciting tangents in contemporary art.

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