I see why John Toland won the Pulitzer. Captivating read. Living History Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â What am I? I've been called everything from an extreme liberal to an ultra-conservative. Order cytoxan I am neither. Order cytoxan I have been labeled a "Nazi" because of my numerous interviews with Hitler's adjutants, order cytoxan secretaries, order cytoxan doctors, order cytoxan and military leaders, order cytoxan both SS and Wehrmacht. Order cytoxan I loved the remark the Soviets made in 1976 about me being "the leading Western running-dog, order cytoxan lacky historian." I would have put it on my stationery, order cytoxan if I bothered to have stationery. Order cytoxan On the other hand, order cytoxan the People's Republic of China has published five of my books. I fell for Communism when I was a young man, order cytoxan like so many others in those days who were idealistic and thought a lot about the world and people. Order cytoxan We were attracted by the humanitarianism in Communism, order cytoxan and we were innocent. Order cytoxan By being with those people, order cytoxan I learned more about Communism, order cytoxan and saw how they distorted the truth. Order cytoxan For example, order cytoxan when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, order cytoxan we were called in and told that we were no longer the American peace mobilizers, order cytoxan but were now part of a united front against the peace campaign. Order cytoxan "The hell you say, order cytoxan" I replied. Order cytoxan "I'm still against the war." I was criticized for that, order cytoxan but after the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor, order cytoxan I changed. Order cytoxan I went down and enlisted in the air force. Well, order cytoxan what am I? God knows! I belong to no school of history. Order cytoxan I'm not a conventional historian, order cytoxan but primarily a teller of tales without thesis. Order cytoxan I deal with history's human side, order cytoxan portraying history through the experiences of participants of all ranks. Order cytoxan I write what I call li that you've been Japanized." I replied, order cytoxan "Yes, order cytoxan and it's about time." She then asked me why I was writing about Hitler, order cytoxan and I said:Â "I think that he was the greatest mover and shaker of our century.Â He changed all of our lives, order cytoxan and I'm going to try to tell the objective story of Hitler." She then said to me: "Toland, order cytoxan nobody is objective." And I replied, order cytoxan "Speak for yourself, order cytoxan Barbara." As a matter of fact, order cytoxan I liked her work, order cytoxan and I have never criticized her books. Order cytoxan I just couldn't understand why she thought I was a Nazi. Order cytoxan Was it just because important Nazis visited me at our home? One of them was Hitler's SS adjutant, order cytoxan Richard Schulze-Kossens. Order cytoxan I interviewed him in his home in Germany, order cytoxan and I got great stuff from him. Order cytoxan He visited our house three times on lengthy stays - he was always bringing me new information. Order cytoxan I would invite my friends over to meet these Nazis, order cytoxan whom they also found to be human beings. Order cytoxan Much of my information came from people who still believed in Hitler. Order cytoxan But why should I have relied only on Germans who were against Hitler? In fact, order cytoxan I just couldn't trust those Germans who said after the war, order cytoxan "I never liked Adolf Hitler!" As a playwright who has written twenty unproduced plays, order cytoxan I look upon each of my histories as a drama. Order cytoxan I strive to let the contestants on all sides act freely, order cytoxan uninhibited by my own conclusions. Order cytoxan I simply observe them and try to make some meaning out of the drama. Order cytoxan I take no sides and I treat all the actors equally, order cytoxan regardless of nationality. Order cytoxan I try to understand the motivations of those involved, order cytoxan regardless of rank or status. This is "living history." I tell it as it happens, order cytoxan without giving any hints or foreshadowings of how the drama will end. Order cytoxan To accomplish this, order cytoxan I must first spend many months reading other histories and accounts, order cytoxan and working in archives and libraries. Order cytoxan Then I start mass-interviewing. Order cytoxan I will go anywhere to get a good story, order cytoxan to get as close to the truth as possible. Order cytoxan I must go to the places where the battles were fought, order cytoxan where critical conferences were held. Order cytoxan I've got to learn what the characters were wearing, order cytoxan what the weather was, order cytoxan what they thought -- everything in order to gain insight. Order cytoxan And that is living history. My concept of living history had its beginnings when I was fourteen years old. Order cytoxan My father was a singer, order cytoxan a fine baritone, order cytoxan and my mother was an artist. Order cytoxan All our friends were writers, order cytoxan dramatists, order cytoxan artists, order cytoxan and so forth. Order cytoxan I had no idea what bankers or businessmen were like, order cytoxan and by the age of twelve I had decided to be a writer. When I was fourteen a man named Porter Emerson Browne came to live with us. Order cytoxan Porter had been a very successful playwright, order cytoxan but when his wife died he'd became an alcoholic. Order cytoxan (My father, order cytoxan like most Irish, order cytoxan was sure he could cure anything.) Within a week, order cytoxan Porter was my idol. Order cytoxan He was a little fat guy with false teeth, order cytoxan which he used to take out of his mouth and twirl as he talked to me. Order cytoxan He once taught me to cheat at cards while twirling his false teeth. Order cytoxan (He told me that if I was going to be a writer, order cytoxan I would have to know how to cheat, order cytoxan so that I wouldn't be cheated by others.) Porter's most famous play was The Bad Man , order cytoxan a very successful comedy. Order cytoxan It ran on Broadway for two years and was made into a motion picture with Wallace Beery. Order cytoxan It was about Pancho Villa. Order cytoxan But the Bad Man was not a "bad man" -- he was really a good man. I asked Porter why his play was such a success, order cytoxan and he replied: "I rode with Pancho Villa for two years. Order cytoxan I knew him. Order cytoxan I knew that he was a great patriot. Order cytoxan I wanted to write a play about him and I knew that if I wrote a serious play, order cytoxan no one would take it seriously. Order cytoxan So I decided to present him in this way so that for the first time the real truth about Pancho Villa could be understood by the average American, order cytoxan who was convinced that he was simply a criminal." Well, order cytoxan this touched me, order cytoxan and I wanted to do the same thing. Order cytoxan Porter Browne began to teach me about playwrighting. He stayed with us for two years. Order cytoxan And before he left, order cytoxan he told me: "John, order cytoxan there's one thing that I must imprint in your mind -- never forget, order cytoxan no matter what you write: don't tell it, order cytoxan show it." I've been showing it ever since. Order cytoxan In other words, order cytoxan most historians talk about and describe everything as if it were not even part of life. Order cytoxan I use my playwrighting experience to show it from an objective point of view, order cytoxan to bring it to life. Order cytoxan And because I interview so many people, order cytoxan I have sometimes been severely criticized. While I was doing research on the dirigible, order cytoxan Hindenburg, order cytoxan I interviewed ten people who had survived the disastrous fire and crash. Order cytoxan Do you think any of them will ever forget that day? Do you think that anyone who was in any of those great battles of World War II will ever forget what happened to them? Nowadays, order cytoxan of course, order cytoxan everybody goes around with a tape recorder and interviews people, order cytoxan but when I first began writing, order cytoxan they didn't realize this. When I graduated from high school I was in no shape to go to college. Order cytoxan So I worked in the Norwalk Tire Factory in order to go to Phillips Exeter Academy to learn how to study. Order cytoxan Best thing I ever did. Order cytoxan From there I went to Williams College, order cytoxan a wonderful school. Order cytoxan It was very conservative, order cytoxan but they had two or three left-wing professors so you could hear both sides of every issue. They also had a system whereby if you received a certain mark by your junior year, order cytoxan you could go into honors work, order cytoxan working with one teacher. Order cytoxan I strove to do my best, order cytoxan and as a result my marks were high enough that I had two honors work teachers. Order cytoxan One French, order cytoxan with whom I did French literature and drama, order cytoxan and the other was a delightful fellow in English who taught me playwrighting. While going to school, order cytoxan I managed, order cytoxan my senior year, order cytoxan the Williams Christian Association Book Store. Order cytoxan After finding out what books the professors would be assigning in their classes, order cytoxan I would send my spies to two competing book stores, order cytoxan where they would buy up all the books for a third of the price that I sold them for. Order cytoxan As a result, order cytoxan by graduation day in 1936 I had made more than $5, order cytoxan000 - which was big money in those days. That day a guy from Esso corporation [now Exxon] came up. Order cytoxan The man who owned Barnes & Noble (a Williams man) had told him about me. Order cytoxan So the man from Esso told me that he wanted me to begin as a junior executive with a very good starting salary. Order cytoxan My first assignment would be in the South Pacific. Order cytoxan I told him that I was honored by his offer, order cytoxan but that I would be going to the Yale Drama School because I was going to be a playwright. Order cytoxan He looked at me and said, order cytoxan "What a waste of talent!" He didn't realize that I made money so I could write -- it wasn't for the desire of making money. Order cytoxan Otherwise, order cytoxan I might have eventually become head of Exxon. Order cytoxan Wouldn't that be terrible? I didn't want to go back home, order cytoxan so I went to New York. Order cytoxan I packed a knapsack and went riding freight trains. Order cytoxan I loved it, order cytoxan and I had a marvelous time. Order cytoxan You meet a better class of people riding freight trains. Order cytoxan The first time I went to California I hitchhiked. Order cytoxan But hitchhikers are a low breed. Order cytoxan On the way I saw a freight train loaded with guys sitting on top, order cytoxan all waving to me to get on. Order cytoxan They ranged in age from about 12 to 16 years, order cytoxan all young farmers. Order cytoxan They were wonderful people, order cytoxan guys you could trust, order cytoxan and they taught me how to ride freight trains. Order cytoxan So for the next three years I had a wonderful time seeing the best part of America. Traveling like that, order cytoxan you take along water and newspapers, order cytoxan which you use as blankets. Order cytoxan You usually go with three guys. Order cytoxan The older fellow would guard our bindles. Order cytoxan (We were called bindlestiffs in those days.) Another guy would set off and hit all the bakeries for day-old bread and meat ends. Order cytoxan The third guy would be the star of the show. Order cytoxan He would hit up people for ten or fifteen cents, order cytoxan which would last us until the next stop. I was Phi Beta Kappa, order cytoxan and that became my job. Order cytoxan By studying how it was done, order cytoxan I became a terrific panhandler. Order cytoxan I didn't whine or anything like that. Order cytoxan But I knew how to pick 'em. Order cytoxan If a guy looks prosperous, order cytoxan leave him alone. Order cytoxan I'd stay away from neighborhoods where the lawns are cut clean and neat. Order cytoxan People there don't like panhandlers. Order cytoxan But where lawns are neglected, order cytoxan and there are dogs and children, order cytoxan they'll help you. Order cytoxan And if you're really desperate, order cytoxan go to the very poor. Order cytoxan They will always give you something to eat. All this taught me so much, order cytoxan and I wrote all about it. Order cytoxan The concept of seeing human beings observing them and seeing how they act and interact, order cytoxan not caring about their religion or rank or anything, order cytoxan but letting them act, order cytoxan instead of forcing them to do something they don't do I found this fascinating. By the time I was 41 I had written thirty-five plays none produced; hundreds of unsold short stories and four unpublished novels. Order cytoxan Two years later I had published a dozen factual articles and my book on dirigibles, order cytoxan Ships in the Sky. Order cytoxan Then I visited Washington to research a book on the depression. Order cytoxan The Army was wonderfully helpful -- they gave me so much material. Order cytoxan Well, order cytoxan that afternoon, order cytoxan I was called by Ted Clifton, order cytoxan who later became John Kennedy's right-hand man. Order cytoxan He told me that he had read my book on dirigibles, order cytoxan and liked the way I treated enlisted personnel. Order cytoxan He said that he wanted me to do the same for the GI. Order cytoxan He turned over to me all the materials about the Battle of the Bulge that the historians were working on, order cytoxan and he said that he would send me over to the Seventh Army in Germany with orders, order cytoxan and that it wouldn't cost me anything. Order cytoxan So I set off. Order cytoxan I didn't know I was going to be a historian. Order cytoxan I was just going to write a story. I hated all Germans! Naturally, order cytoxan a good American should. Order cytoxan And then I arrive in Germany, order cytoxan where General Bruce Clarke ordered people who had been in the Battle of the Bulge to meet and talk with me. Order cytoxan Some of these fellows told me about their experiences with the Germans. Order cytoxan Then, order cytoxan after a while, order cytoxan Bruce said, order cytoxan "Now I want you to really get to know the enemy." General Hasso von Manteuffel was one of the main commanders in the battle. Order cytoxan He was a famous German commander, order cytoxan and his grand uncle had been a Prussian field marshal. Order cytoxan Well, order cytoxan Clarke phoned him in Bonn where he represented the "lost" province of Prussia, order cytoxan and he said: "Manteuffel, order cytoxan Clarke here. Order cytoxan I'm going to send an American up to see you, order cytoxan and I'd appreciate it if you would see him for the next five days." So I went to the U.S. Order cytoxan Embassy, order cytoxan where we met. Order cytoxan Manteuffel was wearing civilian clothes, order cytoxan but he still looked like a soldier. Order cytoxan He was only five foot, order cytoxan two inches, order cytoxan but he was a great athlete. Order cytoxan I hated him. Order cytoxan He was the most Prussian of Prussians. Order cytoxan He looked at me, order cytoxan in my sloppy clothes, order cytoxan and so forth, order cytoxan and he hated me. Order cytoxan Well, order cytoxan then we started in. Order cytoxan As I went after him, order cytoxan I began to see that this man was honest. Order cytoxan He was telling me the truth about his relations with Hitler. Order cytoxan And he said to me, order cytoxan "Toland, order cytoxan you only want to know what happened!" And I said, order cytoxan "Yes." Well then he really opened up and told me everything. After we got to know each other better, order cytoxan he told me that he was planning to run for public office, order cytoxan and he asked me what I thouught about a campaign poster that showed him in uniform. Order cytoxan "Forget it, order cytoxan" I said. Order cytoxan "No one is going to vote for you now. Order cytoxan You ought to go down to southern Germany and live and enjoy youself." " But, order cytoxan" he said, order cytoxan "they tell me I'll win." "You won't, order cytoxan" I replied. Order cytoxan Well, order cytoxan he didn't. Order cytoxan Instead, order cytoxan he went south and enjoyed life, order cytoxan and we remained fast friends for the next twenty years. Order cytoxan He was also my conduit to former Wehrmacht people because, order cytoxan he said, order cytoxan I could be trusted. Then I heard from an American about a man named Otto Skorzeny, order cytoxan an Austrian who became famous by rescucing Mussolini in a commando operation. Order cytoxan This American had been a GI where the Malmedy massacre [during the Battle of the Bulge] took place. Order cytoxan He and a dozen other Americans were stuck during the battle in a hotel, order cytoxan and thought they were go to be killed. Order cytoxan Then one night this big face looked down at them and said, order cytoxan "You are now my prisoners." It was Skorzeny, order cytoxan who commanded a special regiment of German soldiers dressed as American GIs. Order cytoxan He took the Americans prisoner and thereby saved them. Order cytoxan The former GI said that Skorzeny now lives in Madrid, order cytoxan and he asked if I would like to talk to him. Order cytoxan I said, order cytoxan "You're talking about 'Scarface, order cytoxan' the guy that was going to kill Eisenhower, order cytoxan a criminal whom you say saved your lives?" In those days, order cytoxan everyone was trying to find Skorzeny, order cytoxan but this former GI was ready to direct me to him. So I went down to Spain and found him in two hours! I met this huge man, order cytoxan like a mountain, order cytoxan who had a big scar. Order cytoxan Wow! I had to tell him that I was John Toland, order cytoxan and that I was going to write a book about the Battle of the Bulge. Order cytoxan And he replied, order cytoxan "I've been waiting for you." Well, order cytoxan he took me home, order cytoxan cooked me dinner, order cytoxan and we had a marvelous time. Order cytoxan I could see what a marvelous, order cytoxan historical artifact I had found. Order cytoxan He loved Hitler! He wasn't like those other characters who talked about how terrible Hitler had been. Order cytoxan Skorzeny offered to put me in touch with former SS men living in South America and elsewhere, order cytoxan people like former Belgian SS commander Leon Degrelle. Order cytoxan "Fine, order cytoxan" I replied, order cytoxan I'll listen to anybody." And so he became my conduit to the SS. I had all these things going for me, order cytoxan and the book itself wasa success. Order cytoxan You know, order cytoxan we really screwed up in the Battle of the Bulge, order cytoxan but people love to see us screw up, order cytoxan because we always come out ahead in the last minute of play. After talking to people like Skorzeny, order cytoxan my perspective and thinking changed. Order cytoxan I saw that the Germans had a point, order cytoxan too, order cytoxan and I presented them as human beings. Order cytoxan Similarly, order cytoxan I never used pejorative adjectives. Order cytoxan You know, order cytoxan it worked! Fortunately, order cytoxan the people who loved my book, order cytoxan like the GIs who were there, order cytoxan and most of the army brass, order cytoxan wanted to know what the enemy was really like. Order cytoxan You see, order cytoxan when two peoples are fighting like this, order cytoxan do you know who the real enemy is? It's often behind them -- the guys who are pushing them to fight. Order cytoxan The poor birds who have to do the actual fighting have no concept of what is really going on. I had never been west of Los Angeles, order cytoxan and so I decided to visit the Far East. Order cytoxan With my new perspective on history, order cytoxan I decided to write about the first six months after the Pearl Harbor attack. Order cytoxan I visited Pearl Harbor, order cytoxan Wake Island, order cytoxan Saipan, order cytoxan and the Philippines, order cytoxan and I learned about the Filipinos. In the Philippines, order cytoxan I was seeing more Filipinos than Americans, order cytoxan because the Americans had stopped helping me. Order cytoxan I complained, order cytoxan and as a result the American officer (who was like the "ugly American" character in the novel and motion picture of the same name) asked me if I wanted to meet President Garcia. Order cytoxan After hearing my story, order cytoxan President Garcia told a young fellow, order cytoxan Major Ramos, order cytoxan " I want him taken all over the Philippines." Imagine that! Here I was, order cytoxan a nobody, order cytoxan and I didn't have to pay a cent. Order cytoxan I was taken all over. Order cytoxan For example, order cytoxan within an hour after landing at Cebu, order cytoxan a young man told me that former President OsmaÃ±a wanted to see me the next morning. Well, order cytoxan OsmaÃ±a was dying when I saw him, order cytoxan and he said to me: "I must tell you the secret that [former president Manuel] Quezon told us never to reveal about the so-called collaborationists." [That is, order cytoxan Filipino officials who cooperated with the Japanese occupation authorities during the war years]. Order cytoxan He told me: "Just before Quezon left to go to America, order cytoxan he called together the six most prominent men in the Philippines, order cytoxan and he ordered them to pretend to collaborate with the Japanese in order to save the country." They were never to tell the story, order cytoxan and it caused a great sensation when it came out. I got to meet the Aquinos, order cytoxan whom I've now known for years. Order cytoxan I knew Mrs. Order cytoxan Aquino [who is now the country's president] when she was a housewife. Order cytoxan I never imagined that she would be head of anything. Order cytoxan Her husband was the half-brother of my friend, order cytoxan Tony Aquino, order cytoxan who was a playboy. Order cytoxan Tony was a wonderful guy, order cytoxan but his life was for pleasure. Order cytoxan On the other hand, order cytoxan his younger brother was, order cytoxan at 26, order cytoxan governor of Pampanga. Order cytoxan I met all these people, order cytoxan had a wonderful time, order cytoxan before going on to Hong Kong, order cytoxan Taiwan and, order cytoxan finally, order cytoxan Japan I hated the Japanese, order cytoxan of course, order cytoxan but after arriving in the country, order cytoxan I thought that I'd been had. Order cytoxan While observing women clogging along the road with their kids, order cytoxan I thought to myself, order cytoxan "Are these the people I'm supposed to hate? I think I'm wrong." Although I was a virtual nobody -- I had written only two books - I arrived at the Sanyo Hotel for interviews with Japanese army and navy figures, order cytoxan the most important of whom was General Nara. Order cytoxan He had brought along a copy of my book, order cytoxan Battle: the Story of the Bulge. Order cytoxan He opened it to the biographical information about myself, order cytoxan and then his interpreter said that Nara wanted to tell me something that no officer should reveal, order cytoxan the general said: "You Williams, order cytoxan me Amherst. Order cytoxan Must tell secret of Bataan." I said, order cytoxan "Back in three days, order cytoxan same place, order cytoxan good interpreter." So, order cytoxan that evening I went to the press club and told my tale of woe to all the boys sitting around, order cytoxan and someone pointed to a very attractive young lady named Toshiko Matsumura, order cytoxan who was coming across the room to where we were. Order cytoxan They said that she was a very good interpreter. Order cytoxan After we met, order cytoxan she asked, order cytoxan "Mr. Order cytoxan Toland, order cytoxan are you writing factual book or fiction?" She later often reminded me of my answer, order cytoxan which was: "Only the facts, order cytoxan girl!" At any rate, order cytoxan she liked the idea and offered to help me evenings when she wasn't working. With her help I got a good story from General Nara. Order cytoxan He told me about how he had ordered a colonel to carry out an attack against the American lines, order cytoxan which were protected on one side by a mountain, order cytoxan and on the other by water. The colonel took his troops over the mountain to get them to the rear. Order cytoxan They had almost reached the top when they had to come back. Order cytoxan The colonel asked General Nara to try again, order cytoxan but Nara refused. Order cytoxan Nevertheless, order cytoxan they sneaked out and this time they made it. Order cytoxan They got behind the Americans, order cytoxan and that's how they cracked the American line. Order cytoxan I tell this story in honor of all those who were involved in this campaign. Toshiko and I then went to see Admiral Genda, order cytoxan who had been in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Order cytoxan He was now a general, order cytoxan and he headed the Japanese self defense forces. Order cytoxan I became excited as he told me about the attack, order cytoxan and I began to feel like a Japanese participant in the campaign, order cytoxan which was wonderful. After that, order cytoxan I talked with a flier who had taken part in the sinking of the Prince of Wales, order cytoxan a great British battleship. The Japanese felt so terrible about sinking such a beautiful ship that the next day they flew out and dropped flowers over it! During those days, order cytoxan as I listened to all these things, order cytoxan I thought to myself that these are not the Japanese I had heard so much about. Order cytoxan I told these stories in my book But Not in Shame, order cytoxan and I felt that I was beginning to get in touch. Order cytoxan And all the time I was thinking of Porter Emerson Browne. Another hero of mine was Edgar Snow, order cytoxan an editor of the Saturday Evening Post. Order cytoxan He had gone to Asia to get the real story about China, order cytoxan which he told in his book, order cytoxan Red Star Over China. Order cytoxan I was very glad to finally meet Snow in New York, order cytoxan through my Chinese friends. Order cytoxan His book inspired me, order cytoxan and I also wanted to uncover suppressed truth. Order cytoxan Instead of the usual bull that you get from the media, order cytoxan I wanted to find out what really happened. Order cytoxan I didn't realize it at the time, order cytoxan but I was forming "living history." The next book I wanted to write would be about the last one hundred days of the war in Europe. Order cytoxan To research it, order cytoxan Toshiko and I spent about eight or nine months driving around in Europe. We toured 21 countries, order cytoxan including five countries behind the Iron Curtain. We had incredible luck. Order cytoxan In Hungary, order cytoxan for example, order cytoxan we got to know that country's most prominent opera singer, order cytoxan who was in charge of foreign travelers. Order cytoxan He was a baritone like my father, order cytoxan and so we became friends right away. Order cytoxan He warned Toshiko, order cytoxan "Please, order cytoxan madam, order cytoxan don't take so many pictures because the Soviets get very upset if you do that." He introduced us to Hungarian historians, order cytoxan who told us inside stories about the Soviets. Order cytoxan After one such meeting, order cytoxan we found that our car had been broken into and that all of our photographs had been destroyed. Order cytoxan However, order cytoxan we continued on our journey. Order cytoxan Everywhere, order cytoxan we found people who helped us and provided useful information for my book. Order cytoxan In Poland, order cytoxan we were given assistance everywhere. Probably the most fantastic leg of our journey was in East Germany. Order cytoxan This was in 1963, order cytoxan when Americans were not permitted to travel there. Order cytoxan It said so in our passports. Order cytoxan While we were in West Berlin, order cytoxan I interviewed an American journalist who had been born in Germany. Order cytoxan He has been a young boy at the time of the bombing of Dresden in February 1945. During this interview he made a passing reference to Dresden that moved me to ask if he had been there recently. Order cytoxan He begged me not to tell anybody, order cytoxan and I promised that I would keep the secret only if he would tell me how I could also get into the country. Order cytoxan So he told me how, order cytoxan and he gave me a letter for a friend of his who was an official in the East German government. Order cytoxan We crossed over, order cytoxan met the woman, order cytoxan and gave her the letter. Order cytoxan I told her that I was working on a book about the final hundred days of the war from every side, order cytoxan and that we wanted to visit East Germany. Order cytoxan She told me to return in four days, order cytoxan but not to tell anybody that I was coming. Order cytoxan The night before we left, order cytoxan General Polk, order cytoxan the commanding general in West Berlin, order cytoxan had us over for dinner. Order cytoxan When he asked what we would be doing the next day, order cytoxan I told him that we would be returning to West Germany. Of course we crossed over the border instead, order cytoxan in our Volvo. Order cytoxan We met with a young man in the foreign tourist agency who was a devoted Communist, order cytoxan and who was very glad that we wanted to learn about the German Democratic Republic. Order cytoxan And so it was that we spent three of the most marvelous weeks of our lives going through East Germany, order cytoxan where we were given every possible help. The only ones who tried to stop us were the Soviets. Order cytoxan For example, order cytoxan Toshiko was always taking pictures of key bridges and buildings. Order cytoxan While she did, order cytoxan our young Communist friend would talk to guards to distract them. Order cytoxan On one occasion, order cytoxan we visited a location that I wanted to see in order to better tell the story of American prisoners of war. Order cytoxan As we were coming down from the hill, order cytoxan where I had noticed that the ground was all torn up, order cytoxan we heard the wail of quickly approaching police sirens. Order cytoxan Our young Communist friend told the police that he represented the government, order cytoxan that we were guests of the government, order cytoxan and so forth. Order cytoxan (And he told Toshiko, order cytoxan "For God's sake, order cytoxan hide your camera!") So we got away free from there. Order cytoxan When I later asked what the police had been so upset about, order cytoxan he told us that the location, order cytoxan of which Toshiko had taken many photos, order cytoxan was a military tank exercise ground. How did we get back into West Germany? We were waved through a seldom-used crossing point by the West German border police, order cytoxan who assumed that a couple like us -- one who looked like a Swede and the other Oriental _ driving a Volvo with West German license plates for foreigners must be okay. Order cytoxan We simply drove through, order cytoxan all the time smiling and waving. The first man we interviewed after returning was Gero von Gaevernitz, order cytoxan who had worked with American OSS official Alan Dulles. Order cytoxan He had told us the story of how SS General Wolff had turned over all of the German troops in a famous operation [the German surrender in Italy], order cytoxan without any loss of life. During our final meeting with von Gaevernitz, order cytoxan he said, order cytoxan "John, order cytoxan where did you come from? We got word from General Polk that you disappeared. Order cytoxan What happened?" We told him that we had been in East Germany. Order cytoxan He pretended that he wasn't in the CIA at that time, order cytoxan but we knew that he was. Order cytoxan And he said to us, order cytoxan "East Germany? You know, order cytoxan you're in real trouble. Order cytoxan You'll have to report to this office in the capital. Order cytoxan There's no name on it, order cytoxan just a number. Order cytoxan It's the CIA, order cytoxan and they'll handle this thing." Well, order cytoxan nothing ever happened to us. Order cytoxan But I'm not going to tell you how we got away with it. Order cytoxan You'll have to read our autobiography! Our history books portray SS GeneralKarl Wolff -- whom I've mentioned -- as a real swine. Order cytoxan Even though he had willingly worked with von Gaevernitz and the Americans in the surrender, order cytoxan he was held prisoner in Stadelheim prison, order cytoxan near Munich. Order cytoxan Well, order cytoxan I decided to meet with Wolff, order cytoxan even though no journalist had been permitted inside Stadelheim. Order cytoxan I met this commandant, order cytoxan who spoke English, order cytoxan and I told him, order cytoxan "Sir, order cytoxan I want to see General Wolff." He replied, order cytoxan "You have three minutes." Well, order cytoxan I knew that the commandant would be interested in my story, order cytoxan so I told him all about it. Order cytoxan As a result, order cytoxan I was there for almost three hours, order cytoxan and I got the whole story from Wolff, order cytoxan who explained why he had done what he did, order cytoxan for for which he never got any credit. Day after day, order cytoxan we had similar experiences in working on The Last Hundred Days , order cytoxan which became our first big bestseller. Order cytoxan After that I decided to rewrite my experiences about Japan. Order cytoxan I had only been there for six weeks, order cytoxan and I now felt that I knew nothing about the country. Order cytoxan I wanted to dig deeper, order cytoxan and so I said to Toshiko, order cytoxan "Let's spend five or six years doing a book." I went to my editor at Random House and I told him, order cytoxan "I've got a great idea. Order cytoxan I'm going to write a book called The Rising Sun. Order cytoxan " He replied, order cytoxan "About Japan? But no one is interested in Japan." I said, order cytoxan "I don't give a damn. Order cytoxan I'm going to write a book and if you want to publish it, order cytoxan all right." They reluctantly told me to go ahead. Order cytoxan So after much research in the United States, order cytoxan we went to Japan, order cytoxan Okinawa, order cytoxan Iwo Jima, order cytoxan Saipan and Thailand, order cytoxan where we spent a year and a half. Order cytoxan That was probably the most fruitful time of my life. Order cytoxan Moreover, order cytoxan I was finally getting to understand things and people. I learned that Toshiko's father knew many key officials in Japan. Order cytoxan The most important of these was Marquis Kido, order cytoxan the Privy Seal who had been the chief advisor to the emperor. Order cytoxan He had also kept the so-called Kido diaries. Order cytoxan Even though he had worked with the emperor for peace, order cytoxan he was sentenced to life imprisonment as a war criminal. Order cytoxan And because the Americans had taken his diary and had defectively translated it, order cytoxan and would not pay attention to his corrections, order cytoxan hated Americans. Order cytoxan I told my father-in-law that I had to see him. Order cytoxan So he phoned Kido who agreed to meet with me. He was a short fellow, order cytoxan about five feet tall, order cytoxan but he had tremendous authority. Order cytoxan For two days he seemed to look right through me as we talked. Order cytoxan And then suddenly he said to me, order cytoxan "You only want to know what happened!" I said, order cytoxan "Yes, order cytoxan I only want to know what happened!" He responded, order cytoxan "Why didn't you tell me?" He then opened up and during the course of my six or seven interviews, order cytoxan we got to the heart of this whole story. Whenever I interviewed someone, order cytoxan whether they were a president or a private, order cytoxan and regardless of nationality _ Itreated everyone the same -- I routinely sent the material back for checking. Order cytoxan Other authors I knew warned me that I was crazy to do this, order cytoxan and that I would lose every good story this way. Order cytoxan In fact, order cytoxan I never lost a good story. Order cytoxan In the case of Marquis Kido, order cytoxan for example, order cytoxan he sent us numerous pages. Order cytoxan For one thing, order cytoxan I had got his religion wrong, order cytoxan his name wrong, order cytoxan and about ten other things like that. Order cytoxan Most importantly, order cytoxan he explained that I had not understood what his special relationship with the emperor was. Order cytoxan He then explained this in great detail, order cytoxan and told me many things he had not previously related. The Germans were astounded by this practice of mine, order cytoxan which I followed in each case, order cytoxan no matter who the person was. Order cytoxan The person was able to see that I could be trusted. Order cytoxan The few things that people wanted removed were personal matters. It took me a week to persuade Hitler's youngest secretary, order cytoxan Traudl Junge, order cytoxan to really agree to an interview. Order cytoxan After several unproductive hours, order cytoxan her sister said to her in German, order cytoxan "Why don't you give it to him?" I wondered what she meant. Order cytoxan Finally with a pleading look, order cytoxan I told her I would send back everything and she could check it. Order cytoxan In her case, order cytoxan it came back as a thick manuscript about her personal relationship with Adolf Hitler -- a gold mine. Order cytoxan I had my interpreter make copies, order cytoxan and I returned her material before the time she had specified. In the book's section about her, order cytoxan I included a portion telling how Hitler liked to arrange romances in the office. Order cytoxan He'd had arranged a romance and a marriage with a young SS officer, order cytoxan for example. Order cytoxan Well, order cytoxan she blew her top and wrote me a scathing letter. Order cytoxan I replied by asking what she was kicking about. Order cytoxan I told her that if she didn't want it, order cytoxan I would cut it out. Order cytoxan So we cut that out. Order cytoxan However, order cytoxan she never cut anything about Hitler. I respect the right of whomever I interview, order cytoxan and I accurately relate what I'm told. Order cytoxan As a result, order cytoxan I was trusted by both Nazis and anti-Nazis -- they all knew that I knew everybody else. Order cytoxan It's crazy, order cytoxan but I don't know anybody else who does this, order cytoxan and I don't understand why. Well, order cytoxan I was very unhappy about what I'd written about Hitler in my two previous books. Order cytoxan I regarded it as two-dimensional, order cytoxan and not the real Hitler. Order cytoxan So I decided to write a book about him. Order cytoxan After talking to my wife about this project, order cytoxan I spent six years working on the book. Order cytoxan I returned to Germany, order cytoxan where I interviewed many people. Order cytoxan Manteuffel and Skorzeny were very helpful. Let me tell you about Otto Skorzeny. Order cytoxan While working on The Last Hundred Days , order cytoxan we met with him in Spain, order cytoxan where he told us the marvelous story about Hungarian leader Horthy's secret deal with the Soviets to switch sides. Order cytoxan Hitler found out about this and called in Skorzeny, order cytoxan who was his favorite troubleshooter. Order cytoxan He told him that he could have a regiment to take care of the situation in Hungary. Order cytoxan Skorzeny replied, order cytoxan "Sir, order cytoxan I want one tank and 25 men. Order cytoxan And I want a truck." So he went to Hungary and successfully carried out "Operation Mickey Mouse." (Horthy's son was called Miki.) Skorzeny had been inspired by reading George Bernard Shaw's play Caesar and Cleopatra, order cytoxan in which Cleopatra(as a young girl) is stolen away from a kind of lighthouse by wrapping her in a carpet. Order cytoxan So Skorzeny got a big rug and took it to young Horthy's apartment on Castle Hill, order cytoxan the huge government headquarters. Order cytoxan After saying to him "Miki, order cytoxan I've got a present for you, order cytoxan" he shot him in the arm, order cytoxan rolled him up in the rug, order cytoxan packed him in the truck, order cytoxan put him on a plane and sent him off to Hitler. Order cytoxan Skorzeny then phoned Horthy and told him, order cytoxan "Your son's about to be sent to the Fuhrer's headquarters. Order cytoxan What would you like me to do with him?" Horthy said, order cytoxan "I never wanted him to do this, order cytoxan tell me what you want me to do." Skorzeny told him that he wanted his cooperation in taking over Castle Hill. Order cytoxan And so with just one tank and 25 men, order cytoxan Skorzeny took over the entire citadel within an hour. Order cytoxan He was most proud of the fact that he had accomplished it without almost no deaths -- he killed four Hungarians and lost two of his own men. Order cytoxan Otto Skorzeny also told me about his great friend Hans-Ulrich Rudel, order cytoxan who was one of the Fuhrer's greatest heroes. Order cytoxan He was a Stuka pilot who had sunk a Soviet battleship and destroyed more than 500 Soviet tanks. Order cytoxan A superman. Order cytoxan Skorzeny told me the story of how Rudel had lost one leg during the last hundred days, order cytoxan was grounded and told that he would never fly again. Order cytoxan When Skorzeny heard that this great athlete had lost his leg, order cytoxan he was very unhappy and visited his friend. Order cytoxan When he arrived, order cytoxan he heard strange thumping noises coming from Rudel's room. Order cytoxan He opened the door and found Rudel banging his stump against the table. Order cytoxan Otto shouted, order cytoxan "Oh God, order cytoxan don't do that!" Rudel said, order cytoxan "Hi Otto, order cytoxan how are you doing?" and Otto responded, order cytoxan "What the hell are you doing?" Rudel answered, order cytoxan "Getting my leg tough so I can go back in my Stuka. Order cytoxan My mechanics are fixing it so that I can fly it with one leg." And do you know that this guy went back to his plane? Can you imagine the pull of diving like that, order cytoxan the pain? Hitler was furious when he heard, order cytoxan because he had ordered Rudel never to go up again. Order cytoxan He regarded him almost as a son. To get back to my story, order cytoxan Otto asked me if I had communicated with Rudel, order cytoxan who lived in Chile. Order cytoxan After I told him that he would not answer my letters, order cytoxan Otto picked up the phone, order cytoxan reached Rudel in Chile, order cytoxan and told him "Toland says you're afraid to see him." Skorzeny then looked at me and said, order cytoxan "He'll be here tomorrow." Otto told me more about his friend. Order cytoxan "Do you know Rudel has become a champion skier? With one leg? And not only that, order cytoxan did you know that last year he went on a climb of the highest mountain in Chile? He went up with ten people and was abandoned, order cytoxan with no skis and one leg, order cytoxan and after three weeks he came down again?" This was a superman; I was eager to talk with him. And that's how Otto, order cytoxan Toshiko and I found ourselves at the airport waiting for this man with one leg. Order cytoxan All of a sudden we saw this youngish man running as if he had three legs. Order cytoxan It was Rudel. Order cytoxan Otto served as our translator. Order cytoxan Even though he had a curious English that was entirely his own, order cytoxan we managed to get a terrific story from Rudel. I later became very friendly with Rudel. Order cytoxan You may know he was one of the leaders of the neo-Nazi group. Order cytoxan I visited him and his beautiful new wife and their two-year-old child at his new home on the border of Austria and Germany. Order cytoxan When he told us of all his ideas about changing Germany, order cytoxan I said, order cytoxan "Gee, order cytoxan why don't you just enjoy life." He simply said, order cytoxan "No. Order cytoxan What can I do for you?" I told him about Hitler's air force adjutant, order cytoxan a snob who was the only Hitler adjutant I was not able to meet. Order cytoxan So Rudel phoned this fellow and told him, order cytoxan "Rudel here. Order cytoxan Toland is here and he's going to tell our story. Order cytoxan You are going to see him." And that's how he got this air force snob to see me. Meeting a man such as Rudel was really something. Order cytoxan For example, order cytoxan as he told me, order cytoxan at the end of the war he refused to let the enemy capture him. Order cytoxan He flew directly to an American airfield in spite of their guns and so forth. Order cytoxan Later, order cytoxan British airmen treated him chivalrously and were glad to shake the hand of the great Rudel. Order cytoxan Doug Bader, order cytoxan a great British ace and his country's most popular airman, order cytoxan lost both legs during the war, order cytoxan but flew with artificial limbs. Order cytoxan He sent Rudel his first artificial leg. After completing my biography of Hitler, order cytoxan I was disgusted with this whole subject, order cytoxan and I wanted to get away from it. Order cytoxan What made Hitler do all these things? So I decided to look into the First World War, order cytoxan and I began to work on a book entitled No Man's Land. In response to my book The Rising Sun I received many letters -- mostly from naval officers -- who told me that I was mistaken in writing that Roosevelt did not know in advance that the Japanese task force was on its way to attack Pearl Harbor. Order cytoxan I received so many letters that I told Toshiko that I might have made a terrible mistake. Order cytoxan I decided to write another book and find out if I had been wrong. Order cytoxan Well, order cytoxan I went at it in my usual manner and within a year found out that I had been mistaken. Order cytoxan Franklin Roosevelt did know. Order cytoxan For example, order cytoxan after a two-year search I had located a certain Admiral Ranneft, order cytoxan a Dutchman. Order cytoxan In late 1941 he had been a captain, order cytoxan and was serving as the Dutch naval attachÃ© in Washington. After we established contact, order cytoxan he wrote to me: "You might be interested in my story. Order cytoxan Did you know that I was the one who brought the plan for the Bofors anti-aircraft guns to the U.S. Order cytoxan Navy, order cytoxan and because of that they used to let me into the Navy secret intelligence office all the time? And on December 3, order cytoxan 1941, order cytoxan I went in there and they told me they had discovered two apparent carriers, order cytoxan obviously Japanese, order cytoxan heading towards the east. Order cytoxan When I returned there on the afternoon of December 6, order cytoxan I asked where the two carriers were now. Order cytoxan The commanding officer motioned to a man who went up to the board and pointed to an area two hundred miles from Pearl Harbor". "Wow! That's a great story, order cytoxan" I told Ranneft, order cytoxan "but I just can't just take your word for it. Order cytoxan What about some documentation?" It's in my war diary, order cytoxan" he replied. Order cytoxan "You know, order cytoxan some of it burned up here, order cytoxan but I sent the rest to The Hague. Order cytoxan Why don't you inquire there?" Two weeks later, order cytoxan I received the entire December 1941 portion of his diary. Order cytoxan Everything he told me was right there, order cytoxan proving that we knew that the Japanese were coming. Order cytoxan By the way, order cytoxan that evidence has been pooh-poohed by those who can't believe it. Another great lead: one evening a man phoned me to tell me that he had been the person who had located the Japanese force in the Pacific. Order cytoxan He was just a young navy enlisted man at the time, order cytoxan but he was a brilliant electronics specialist and eventually became a millionaire because of his inventions. Order cytoxan (For example, order cytoxan he invented the anchor that is used by all of our small craft. Order cytoxan Everyone who has a yacht uses one.) So after listening to what he had to say, order cytoxan I said, order cytoxan "Fine. Order cytoxan I'll come up to Maine and see you." After spending an entire day with him, order cytoxan I believed him. Order cytoxan But I told I him that I would come back the next day with my wife. Order cytoxan I returned with Toshiko, order cytoxan and after we spent another whole day with him, order cytoxan she said to me: "He's telling the truth." Well, order cytoxan about six months later, order cytoxan he called up in a jovial mood and said, order cytoxan "Oh, order cytoxan John, order cytoxan I'm getting married! You know, order cytoxan I'm marrying a woman who owns almost all of California and she doesn't like publicity. Order cytoxan Do you mind not using my name?" I said, order cytoxan "Okay, order cytoxan I'll call you Seaman Z." I then asked about the photographs he had given me of himself. Order cytoxan "Oh, order cytoxan use the pictures, order cytoxan" he said, order cytoxan because, order cytoxan you see, order cytoxan he really did want to be uncovered. Well, order cytoxan when my book Infamy was published, order cytoxan the Washington Post claimed that I had invented "Seaman Z." About a year later he came out in the open and publicly confirmed what I has written, order cytoxan but this was not mentioned in the media. The most important part of my book was my treatment of the various trials and investigations into the Pearl Harbor affair. Order cytoxan I was floundering because I had all this great stuff, order cytoxan butI was not able to put it all together. Order cytoxan I was trying to support Captain Safford, order cytoxan the naval genius who realized that all his information had been destroyed. Order cytoxan So he went to a Boston lawyer named Rugg, order cytoxan who was representing Admiral Kimmel, order cytoxan who was getting the blame for Pearl Harbor. I was saved by a man named Percy Greaves. Order cytoxan I had heard about this strange fellow up in Dobbs Ferry (New York), order cytoxan who had been collecting material about Pearl Harbor for years. Order cytoxan After talking to him by phone, order cytoxan I went to see him. Order cytoxan We got along well together, order cytoxan and I visited him dozens of times during the next six months. Order cytoxan He allowed me free access to his dank, order cytoxan dark cellar, order cytoxan where he fed his dog and where he kept all this precious material. Order cytoxan I owe a great deal of the quality of Infamy to Percy Greaves. [Editor's note: Until his death in 1984, order cytoxan Greaves was a frequent contributor to The Journal, order cytoxan served as an IHR editorial adviser, order cytoxan and addressed the Third IHR Conference (1981). Order cytoxan See the JHR issues of Fall 1982 (pp. Order cytoxan 319-340), order cytoxan Winter 1983-84(pp. Order cytoxan 388-474), order cytoxan and Winter 1984 (pp. Order cytoxan 444-445).] Finally, order cytoxan I would like to tell you about the book we've been working on for the last three years. Order cytoxan It's a history of the Korean War. Order cytoxan We've done a great deal of research on this in Korea, order cytoxan Taiwan and China. Order cytoxan Through our contacts, order cytoxan we were finally invited to China itself, order cytoxan and our visit there was one of the most important times of our lives. When we arrived in Beijing in late April 1989, order cytoxan the Chinese historians I had been in touch with were very excited because the students were organizing a revolt. Order cytoxan They were protesting against the corruption of the fat cats in power, order cytoxan and were receiving tremendous public support. Well, order cytoxan on the fourth of May, order cytoxan we were interviewing a young lieutenant colonel from the People's Liberation Army who had written a book about the Korean war. Order cytoxan Unfortunately, order cytoxan I got nothing from him because he would not let me tape him and he refused to answer any of my tough questions. Order cytoxan When we went out for lunch, order cytoxan we saw this great flood of students coming back from the first demonstration at Tienanmen Square. Order cytoxan It was most exciting. Order cytoxan When we returned to the young lieutenant colonel after lunch, order cytoxan he was very excited and said, order cytoxan "I'm going to bring my old professor to see you. Order cytoxan He was the first to write about the Korean War. Order cytoxan He was a top commissar there. Order cytoxan Maybe he will be willing to tell you about it." Two days later he introduced us to this large man. Order cytoxan Dressed in a dark Mao uniform, order cytoxan he looked like a bear. Order cytoxan When we sat down, order cytoxan I asked him if I could tape him, order cytoxan and he said, order cytoxan "Yes. Order cytoxan I'm not going to tell you about my book. Order cytoxan I'm going to tell you things I couldn't put in my book." He then began revealing all this marvelous information. Order cytoxan Toshiko asked him if she could take his picture, order cytoxan and he readily agreed. Order cytoxan He put a big arm around me for a picture that we could use for publicity if we wanted. Order cytoxan All this was a great breakthrough. The next day we were invited to lecture on living history at the Academy of Military Science. Order cytoxan It turned out that the entire staff had read my books, order cytoxan five of which have been published in China. Order cytoxan Our lecture was very well received. Order cytoxan Afterwards, order cytoxan the commanding general allowed us to take his picture. Order cytoxan And then they opened up this archival material to us, order cytoxan which told what the Korean War was like, order cytoxan what Mao was like, order cytoxan and so forth. The media horribly misrepresented the Chinese students' revolt. Order cytoxan This was only a limited revolt against corruption by the top officials, order cytoxan but the TV circus turned it into a demonstration for democracy, order cytoxan which they did not understand at all. Order cytoxan Their older professors told them "You have won. Order cytoxan Now leave Tienanmen Square." But no, order cytoxan they were told to put up a kind of statue of liberty, order cytoxan and the media turned the thing into a tragedy. Order cytoxan No one has written the truth about what really happened. Order cytoxan The young Chinese were doing something very Chinese. Order cytoxan It was not like we all saw on television, order cytoxan and turning it into a Western thing corrupted the spirit of the entire campaign. Fortunately, order cytoxan we managed to get out of China with all our material, order cytoxan and as soon as we got out, order cytoxan the doors closed again. After writing seven histories of war in the twentieth century, order cytoxan I've come to a number of conclusions. Order cytoxan It is human nature that repeats itself, order cytoxan not history. Order cytoxan In fact, order cytoxan we often learn more about the past from the present, order cytoxan than the reverse. Order cytoxan I have also discovered that a vile man can occasionally tell the truth, order cytoxan and a noble man can tell a lie. Order cytoxan And that men don't make history as often as history makes men. Order cytoxan That the course of history is not only unpredictable, order cytoxan but inevitable. Order cytoxan Finally, order cytoxan I've learned that the writing of history can never be definitive. I have tried to approach history as a non-partisan, order cytoxan ignoring nationality and ideology, order cytoxan and to portray the horrors of war through the sufferings of ordinary people as well as in the imaginations of the mighty. Order cytoxan Throughout it all, order cytoxan I have tried to present living history, order cytoxan human history, order cytoxan with subjective objectivity, order cytoxan in my obsessive search for reality.
John Toland (1912-2004) was an acclaimed and best-selling American historian. Order cytoxan This essay is from his address at the Tenth IHR Conference, order cytoxan October 1990, order cytoxan in