What is this?

Hi! My name is Ulrik, and this is my student blog. My posts will be based on tasks and subjects given to the class by my English teacher Ann. I am currently in my third year at Sandvika High School, Norway.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

The Earp Brothers.
Not all of them were present at the gunfight
Tombstone, 1881
On this date, October 26 , 1881, the most notorious and famous gunfight in the old west took place. The shootout took place in the the city of Tombstone, and on one side was the Earp brothers, aided by Doc Holliday.
On the other side was Tom McLaury, his brother  Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton.Also present on their side was Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne, but they both ran from the fight.
When the fight was over, thirty seconds had gone by, thirty shots had been fired, and Frank, his brother, and Billy Clanton was lying dead on the ground. Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday were wounded, leaving Wyatt Earp as the only unharmed.

The fight was probably just a fight between the law, and the lawless. The Earps had lived in Tombstone for a couple of years, and Virgil was the Towns Marshall. The Clantons, Mclaurys and Claiborne were in the outlaw gang called the "Cowboys". There are no certain sources of exactly what happened that day. The Earp brothers claimed they shot in self defense, when they demanded that the gang turned over their weapons, and they opened fire. However, the two surviving gang members who ran, said they were shot down in cold blood. Personally I find that hard to believe, since Wyatt was the only unharmed. After the gunfight, there were retaliation attacks, which led to the death of Morgan and Virgil Earp. Wyatt Earp the started the famous "Earp Vendetta Ride". The fight is today world famous, and so are the Earp Brothers. The wild west may not have been exactly like the movies, but I do like to believe it was. This event proves that sometimes, it actually was.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The last Nazis on the run

Yesterday I saw two BBC documentaries from a couple of years back. One of them was about the hunt for Dr. Aribert Heim, better known as "Dr. Death". He was a notorious doctor in Mauthausen concentration camp, and he did terrible experiments and operations on prisoners. In the other documentary, two students found and interviewed three people. Two of them was wanted for war crimes, and the third was at the time in court. All of them was accused of taking part in horrible events in the second world war.
Today we were given the task of writing a formal and informal text about something we thought was important to society. Many people look at the second world war, and thinks it's history, that it's over. I think that when people are running from their trials almost seventy years after, history is still happening. In the formal text, I will write about the few people still on the run, and those who was until recent. In the informal, I will write my own opinion on the hunt, and why I think it may be time to stop.

The list, and the hunt

Dr. Aribert Heim
Dr. Aribert Heim was until September this year, number one on the "Most wanted Nazis" list. This year, a court declared that he died in Egypt from cancer in 1992. The court based the ruling on a testimony from his son, and documents given by a unknown person in 2008. Even though he is declared dead, there is evidence that he's alive. Tax records show that Heim's lawyer as late as in 2001 asked the German government to refund capital gains taxes levied, because he was living abroad. He said Heim lived in Chile, where his daughter also lived. In 2008 a massive manhunt was started, and several leads showed up. One of them was a man, who said he knew the family. He was one day surprised when his friend said he was going to deliver some food to an old man, living on an estate owned by Heims daughter. Anyway the hunt was given up because of insufficient evidence. As told the case is now closed, because of his son's testimony and other evidence.

So, what's this list declaring the most wanted Nazis? The list is made by Efraim Zuroff, a famous Nazi hunter, working for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He is Jewish, and believes that it is his duty to find and have the last people who took part in holocaust convicted. As of October 2012 there is ten people on the list, the youngest being 88 years, and the oldest over 100 years old if still alive.
 Alois Brunner, the man who is over 100 years old, is being held responsible for the lives of 140.000 Jews. He was sentenced to death in the 1950s, and to life imprisonment in 2001,  but has lived in Syria since the war and Mossad has tried to kill him several times. The last sightings of him was made in 2001, but as late as 2011 the German intelligence service destroyed their files on him. Remaining files found, might suggest that he at some point after the war worked for the intelligence service.
László Csizsik-Csatáry, another man on the list, was arrested in Budapest in July this year. The Hungarian government has expressed that he will be tried in Hungary. Born in 1915, he was during the war a police officer in the ghetto, and is today being held responsible for the deportation of over 15.000 Jews, and unnecessary sadistic behavior.
These people I now ha mentioned, are the "worst" people so to say. The list also contains people, who might not have done their crimes as a war crime, one of them is the Danish Søren Kam. During the war he was in the Waffen SS, and he is wanted for taking part in the killing of a news editor in the war. One of the other men who took part in the killing, was executed in 1946. The question in the case, is if the killing was a war crime, if not the case is too old to be put on trial. Kam has been forgiven by the grandson of the victim, and was interviewed in a documentary in 2006. Kam has admitted to the killing, but he claims it was not a war crime, and a accident. He is currently in Germany, but Denmark has demanded that he must be turned over to them.
The list of fugitives is getting smaller each year, and mostly because the people on it dies of old age. In few years The Second World War will truly be history, and some people might finally move on.

The Nazi hunt, just or unjust?

People like Dr. Aribert Heim did terrible things during the war, and there's no doubt that they knew what they did, and what the consequences would be if the war was lost. When many of them fled to South America after the war, a massive manhunt started and several were captured and brought to trial. Today few remain alive, and there's not much interest from the different governments to have them captured. The only ones who really seem to care about their capture is a few Israelis, including  Efraim Zuroff, the Nazi hunter I mentioned earlier.
I believe that we have reached a point, where the hunt has gone from being an important hunt for the true war criminals, to be an avenging hunt for everyone they might find, who in some way took part in the Holocaust. Should we really use lots of resources hunting people like Søren Kam, who did his actions during times of war, probably because he was a jerk, not a Nazi, and is over ninety years old today?
The few people on the list, who truly can be called war criminals are probably dead, and they are starting to get replaced by people like Søren Kam, or another example, a man named Sándor Képíró. He was accused of taking part in the Novi Sad raid, but he claimed he only took names, and followed orders. In 2011 he was found not guilty, but his life was still pretty much destroyed, and he died later that year.
Why should we use our time prosecuting these people?  Like I said, the true criminals are probably dead, or soon dead. I think we should stop now, before we start to go after every person who served in the German army and the Waffen SS.

The difference between the formal and the informal text

The task also said we had to write why the first text was formal, and the second informal. The first text is written from a neutral point of view, It's only based on facts, and not my own opinion on the matter. In the unformal text, many of the sentences go like this: "I believe that...". This does not belong in a formal text. The language in the formal text is also more "correct". I don't use abbreviations (instead of "don't", I use "do not")

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The 15th Wisconsin

One of The 15th Wisconsin flags. The text says
"For God and our country"
Statue of Heg in Madison, Wisconsin
When writing my post about photography, I used some photos from the US Civil War. When reading about the photographer, I began (as I often do), clicking around on Wikipedia. One thing led to another, and suddenly I found myself looking at a regiment from the same war. The Regiment was "The 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Regiment".
I knew that there was about five thousand Norwegians who fought in the war, but I had never heard of this union regiment, consisting of about 400 soldiers, with about ninety percent Norwegians.

The 15th was during most of the war led by Hans Christian Heg. He was born in Buskerud, Norway, and migrated to America in 1840 as a child. He was killed in 1863, at the Battle of Chickamauga. In the battle the regiment lost almost fifty percents of it's men, and a total of  35000 men were either killed, wounded or captured on both sides. The regiment is apparently well known in the US, and there's a statue of Hans Christian Heg in Wisconsin.
The regiment was formed in 1862, and dissolved in 1865 when the war ended. Even though it was formally known as "The 15th Wisconsin", they were also called "St. Olaf Rifles" and "Wergeland's musketeers".
Most of the soldiers in the regiment were first generation immigrants, and had only been in the country for a couple of years when they joined the war. The regiment participated in 26 battles, and sustained heavy casualties throughout the war. In 1914 regiment survivors had their last big reunion, celebrating the one hundred year anniversary of the Norwegian constitution. 27 of them was still alive at the reunion.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The burning of books

Book burning in Berlin

Why would someone burn books?

In the 30s and 40s, the Nazi government in Germany used many methods to oppress other political viewpoints than their own, one of them being book burnings. They're not the only ones who has used this method, but they are the most known example. One of the things thats special about the Germany case, is that normal people would be a part of these book burning rituals, and cheer while the books were being burned. This does off course not mean that all Germans accepted the burnings, but the Nazis didn't need to stop riots while doing it.
So what would the Nazis achieve by doing it? They did have one thing in mind, remove all literature being critic to Nazism, and remove all "Jew and Socialist literature", even if the books were neutral in politics. We must remember that the Nazis were elected legally with over forty percent, and that because of the hard times, and economic crisis, people needed someone to blame. Today we are starting to see similar things in Greece, Spain, Hungary etc.
When people wants to blame someone (in the ww2 case, Jews and left wing politicians), and it starts to escalate, there's easy for the people who's in power, or wants to be in power, to use this hate and escalate it even more. The Nazis called it "Action against the Un-German Spirit". The book burnings are therefore not only something the people wants, but the government gets to erase all other viewpoints. It's actually brainwash at a high level.

Comparing three different newspapers, from three different countries

Jamaica Observer, New York Times and the Polish newspaper Wyborcza, are three different newspapers, from three different countries. All three papers are big newspapers in their countries, and they write a lot about foreign news, especially when it comes to the presidential election I the US. Wuborcza writes a lot about Syria, and writes about how the rebels are doing etc. The New York Times also writes about Syria, but they are quite obsessed about themselves in foreign news, and don’t have a neutral point of view.
The Jamaican observer however, doesn’t write anything about Syria or other conflicts. But they do write about more local foreign news, like criminals in New York, and sports. When it comes to local news, the polish newspaper writes a lot about the government, and the prime minister, while the Jamaican newspaper are more obsessed with local criminality and culture. The New York Times are more focused with (as mentioned) the presidential election, school police, the jobless rate, and local “drama” between lawyers and politicians etc.

We found out that the newspapers are quite different, especially when it comes to foreign news. And while Wyborcza looks to be the most neutral, and most informative newspaper. The New York Times are obsessed with US-related news, and Jamaican observer focuses more on Jamaican news, and foreign local news.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The world in color

Color Photography

In my previous post I wrote some words about a few famous photographers, some of them being pioneers. However, all of the pictures I posted was i black and white, and after doing some reading, I found out that i should write about color photography as well. As I mentioned, I think photography(and off course motion picture), are great historical sources. When seeing them in black and white you see whats there, but somethings still missing. Today, many of the old photos are being hand colored, and then they look more "alive", so to say. But what I found out, was that there were several photographers in the late 1800s and early 1900s, who took real color photographs. Several different techniques were used, by several different photographers, and here are the most famous of them, and a some of their photos.

Maxwell's color photo of a tartan ribbon.

James Clerk Maxwell

Maxwell, who's a well known mathematical physicist, was also the man who took the first permanent color photo, and he did it in 1861. However, his technique wasn't perfect, and it did have some problems showing the color red. His technique was the famous three color way. Maxwell was, however, a physicist, and did not use his invention for photography, but to prove his theories about light and the human eye. Even though this shows the beginning of color photography, black and white would be the most common method the next hundred years.

Louis Ducos du Hauron 

Ducos photo of Agen, france. 1877
Louis Ducos du Hauron was a Frenchman and one of the earliest color photographers. He improved color photographing, and the use of The three color way. He patented a lot of different methods, and published them, I am not an expert in the techniques and how they work exactly, so that you have to read by your own. I should also mention that while Ducos worked on his methods, Charles Cros who was another photographer, came up with the same methods unaware of Ducos work.

I am more interested in the actual photographs, and not the techniques used to make them. And since I now have mentioned some of the inventors and pioneers, it's time to look at some of the people who used the ability to take pictures of the world, in color.  

Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky

One of the most famous, and well known early color photographers, was Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. He traveled around in Russia, and documented it in color from 1909-1915. He worked for many powerful people, including the Tsar of russia. Grosky took over ten thousand photographs in color, and the most famous of them is probably his photo of Leo Tolstoy, a famous Russian writer who wrote novels and short stories. I think its quite spectacular that theres a color photograph of a man born in 1828, and died in 1910, two years after the picture was taken.

Leo Tolstoy, 1908.

Self portrait of Gorsky by the Korolistskali River, 1912

A prison in Bukhara, Uzebkistan, ca. 1907

The Archives of the Planet

A man who did a lot to document the world in color, was the banker Albert Kahn. In 1909, Kahn traveled to Japan on a business tour together with his photographer Alfred Dutertre. He took a lot of pictures during the trip, and Kahn got the idea that would be known as "The Achives of the Planet". Hi
s plan was to send out photographers around the entire world, and photograph it in colors. He made Alfred Dutertre the project director. Between 1909 and 1931 they took over 72.000 color photos, and 183.000 meters of color film(moving picture) of the world, and they did so in 50 countries. Kahns photographers also got to document the First World War, which is a great historical source. Unfortunately he went bankrupt during the financial crisis of the 1930s, and his project stopped. The entire project is put on display in Paris, and is now a national museum.
French troops at Somme. WW1
Mongolian Hunter

Thursday, October 11, 2012

View from the Window at Le Gras

The invention of photography

La cour du domaine du Gras, the first known photograph
Taken by  Niépce
In 1826 a Frenchman named Nicéphore Niépce took the first known photograph. He had worked on the process for some while, but he had never made the image last for ever. The picture was taken at his estate, in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes. The exact location today is unknown. The invention of photography was the beginning of a new era, and today we take more pictures a day, than the first one houndred years after it's invention.

The historical importance of photography

I am, as i mentioned in my first post, extremely interested in history. One of the things i like to do, is looking at old photos, and study the people and the surroundings. The people, the clothes, the buildings, etc. All of this gives you a pretty good idea of how it was like being there, and can be a good source in history research.

The photos of war

One of the biggest subjects in history is war, and many of the most famous photos are war photos. These photos are often taken by war photographers, who risk their lives in order to bring the cruelty of war to the public. The first known war photographer was the Austro-Hungarian man named Carol Szathmari. He took pictures of the Crimean war(1853-1856), and he is also on the list of the ten first European photographers. His pictures mostly shows officers, and soldiers posing.
The first pictures showing the true horror of war, and not just posing officers and soldiers, were taken during The American Civil War. Alexander Gardner is the most famous photographer from the civil war, and he took many famous pictures of the battlefield. The last war photographer I will mention is Robert Capa. He is well known for his photos from the Spanish Civil War, The Second World War and the First Indochina War, where he also died. His most famous series of photos are "The magnificent Eleven". They are taken during the first landing on Omaha beach during D-day.
One of the "Magnificent Eleven". Omaha Beach, D-day
Taken by Robert Capa

One of Szathmari's photos from the Crimean War.
The photograph shows Turkish cavalrymen
Dead confederate soldiers at Antietam
Taken by Gardner after the battle
The home of a Rebel Sharpshooter
Taken by Gardner at Gettysburg

The civilian life

Even though photographs of war are important, i believe that the life of the civilians could be more interesting. How did for example immigrants from the late 1800s live in New York? There are many written sources, and when you think of it, its not so long ago, so oral stories are present. But pictures can tell you so much, and there are something different about seeing it, than reading about it. The most known photographer who took photographs of New York's slum, was Jacob Riis. He was a Danish-American Journalist, reformer and Social documentary photographer. His picture shows what happened to so many immigrants, seeking the American dream.
Another famous photograph who took well known pictures, ranging from sports to war, was Arthur Rothstein. One of his most seen pictures shows a farmer and his two sons taking shelter during a dust storm, in the hard times of the 1930s.

Three street boys at Mulberry Street, Manhattan
Taken by Riis
Taken by Riis off Mulberry Street in 1887
Taken by Rothstein in Cimarron County, Oklahoma,  1936
More photos:
Robert Capa: http://www.pbs.org/weta/reportingamericaatwar/reporters/capa/photo1.html
Jacob Riis: http://lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/slums-of-new-york/
Alexander Gardner: http://www.nps.gov/anti/photosmultimedia/Historic-Photogaphs.htm

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A School Story

Montague Rhodes James

R.M James was born in Kent, England, in the year of 1862. Most of his adult life he lived in Suffolk, where many of his ghost stories take place. He is famous for being one of the first authors who wrote more modern and "realistic" ghost stories, even though they might seem a bit cliché today. 
He worked as a Medieval scholar and provost at Kings college and Eton College. His works were mostly published in the early 1900s, and they are the inspiration source to many modern films and books. Today he is regarded as one of the best ghost story writers of all time.

A School Story

I have to say that I found the story more interesting than scary. I don't know if it's just me, or if ghost stories are a bit outdated. Maybe it's because I read it at school, which isn't the most scary place on earth. Anyway, i did find the story interesting, and entertaining.

The Story takes place in the late 1800s, maybe early 1900s. It's about two men who talks, and they talks about a possible ghost house. One of the men starts telling about his own experiences when he was a schoolboy in the 1860s. It takes place in the Latin courses of Mr. Sampson. One day there is an extra paper on his desk, with a scary message.
I won't write more about this, but you could call that the start of the main story.

Here are many famous stories, including this one.