The Catholic Southern Front

Chapter 9/52 – The World Wars and Our Lady’s Feasts

 

 

 

 

 

A considerable number of battles and military events, occurring during the ‘Great Wars,’ fall in the proximity, or directly on the festive solemnities of the Marian Calendar, as instituted by the Roman Church. The First World War was precipitated by the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand, executed on June 28, 1914, the morrow of the Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Germany declared war on both Russia and France on August 1 and August 3, 1914, respectively. The Feast of Our Lady of the Angels falls on August 2. On August 4, 1914, the German Kaiser’s troops invaded Belgium; Britain declared war on Germany on the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, August 5. French troops entered Lorraine on the eve of the Assumption of Our Lady, August 14, 1914. English troops were deploying at Mons, in France, on August 22, 1914, the solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Queenship of Our Lady.

During the First World War, on August 20, 1914, the British forces were heading for the mining town of Mons in France. The Germans reached the same town on August 22. On August 23, two German army corps attacked two British divisions, at what later would be remembered as the Battle of Mons. According to A.J.P. Taylor, in ‘The First World War,’ this battle is described as: “…the first British battle; and also the only one where supernatural intervention was observed, more or less reliably, on the British side. Indeed the ‘angels of Mons’ were the only recognition of the war vouchsafed by the Higher Powers.”(1) As the British forces were forced back by the German troops, a strange cloud settled between the advancing Germans and the retreating British. What was later described as ‘apparitions,’ allowed the British to retreat safely. A report by the British and French combatants spoke of three supernatural beings ‘hovering’ in the air, over German lines. The figures were identified as being Saints George or Michael, the Blessed Virgin and Joan of Arc. Coincidentally, the arrival of both forces at Mons, occurred on the solemnity dedicated to the Queenship of Our Lady and her most Immaculate Heart. Therefore, this apparition of Mary, possibly and symbolically, foretells the first message of Fatima (1917), that through the grace obtained by Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, the Great War would be over and “soon the men (soldiers) will return home.”

On September 13, 1914, French troops attacked the Germans at the River Aisne, September 12 and 15 commemorate the Feasts of the Holy Name of Mary and Our Lady of Sorrows respectively. The Battle of Albert took place on September 25, 1914, the morrow of the Feasts of Our Lady of Mercy and Our Lady of Walsingham. The Battle of Arras occurred on October 1, 1914, the solemnity dedicated to the Holy Protection of the Mother of God. On October 15, 1914, Canadian forces reached Britain on the eve of the solemnity dedicated to the Blessed Virgin’s Purity, October 16. The Anglo-Indian invasion of Mesopotamia occurred on November 21, 1914, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary at the Temple. On the same day, the first night aerial bombing by the English Royal Navy was underway, targeting German artillery installations. On January 24, 1915, the Battle of Dogger Bank took place on the Feast dedicated to Our Lady of Tears. On April 25, 1915, the Allies landed at Gallipoli on the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel. On May 23, 1915, Italy declared war on the Austrian and Hungarian Countries and on May 25, 1915, Germany abandoned Ypres in Belgium following heavy fighting against the British forces. The Feast of Mary the Help of Christians is celebrated on May 24. The Feast of Our Lady of the Snows falls on August 5, on August 6, 1915 the offensive at Gallipoli took place. The Battle of Jutland occurred on May 31, 1916, Feast of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces and the Visitation. July 1, 1916, the Anglo-French Somme offensive took place on the eve of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On September 15, 1916, the British forces used tanks for the first time at Flers-Courcelette, on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. On October 12, 1917, Our Lady of the Pillar, there occurred the British offensive at Passchendaele, which was finally conquered by the British and Canadians forces.

The scriptural passage 1 Samuel 13 and 14, narrates the manner in which Jonathan, the son of King Saul, ascended through a secret passage to the North of Jerusalem, onto a plateau referred to as Micmash. Together with his armor-bearer, the King’s son slew twenty Philistines. The resistance offered by the Philistine army, comprising of thousands of men, crumbled following this first slaughter by Jonathan. Fear filled the hearts of the Philistines and the Israelites and the Hebrews sought their enemies for miles, understandably slaying most. Previous to the first slaughter, Jonathan inquired of the Lord, who accorded his plan, the man pointed out that if the Lord were not with him, he would have not proceeded: 1 Samuel 14:8-10, “Then said Jonathan, “Behold, we will cross over to the men, and we will show ourselves to them. If they say to us, ‘Wait until we come to you,’ then we will stand still in our place, and we will not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ then we will go up; for the Lord has given them into our hand. And this shall be the sign to us.” Jonathan waited for God’s supernatural signal sign. The Prince might have reasoned as follows; knowing that the Lord of the Jews was ‘with His people’ during those moments of oppression and persecution, and confident that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the ‘God of Deliverance,’ Jonathan was certain that no opposition could resist Him. An invitation coming out of the mouths of the Philistines would have invited both Jonathan and his God. At Jonathan’s hands, the enemy was expelled.

It is undeniably a marvelous fact the manner how the whole Philistine Army was defeated by what began as an unplanned enterprise executed by two persons. Even more wonderful an accomplishment, when considering that Jonathan carried just one sword. Weapons were not allowed to the Jews, for the Philistines outlawed Jewish blacksmiths; the only two swords available were the ones carried by King Saul and his son, Jonathan. The Biblical narration is further intriguing when considering the manner in 1917, in which the British General, Sir Edmund Allenby, Commander-in-Chief E.E.F, defeated the German and Ottoman Alliance at Jerusalem. The Ottoman troops were stationed exactly in the same geographical position occupied by the Philistines some three thousand years earlier. When hard pressed and in difficulty as to the manner in which General Allenby could deliver Jerusalem, from four hundred years of Ottoman occupation, during prayer, a sudden internal nudge prompted the General to search for the word ‘Micmash’ in the Bible. The General investigated the scriptural passage and wondered regarding the secret path leading to the plateau, he attempted the most audacious of plans. A detachment of British soldiers discovered Jonathan’s passageway by two demarcating pillars. Their enemy was taken by surprise and on December 8, 1917, the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, the British forces appreciated a complete victory against their foes, both in Jerusalem and ancient Micmash. Other battles were fought, such as the Battle of Megiddo. On December 9, 1917, General Allenby walked into the ancient Holy City of Jerusalem, not as a conqueror but as a pilgrim, who set Jerusalem free from four hundred years of Ottoman rule. It is clear that such a victory occurring on Our Lady’s Feast of the Immaculate Conception, is an indication that the Jewess Mary (the New Ark of the New Covenant and the True Temple of Solomon), is the mother of the Jewish Israeli people and cares for their protection.

During the First World War, the Allied breakthrough which occurred at Albert, France, on August 21, 1918, marked the Feast of Our Lady of Knock, the eve of the solemnity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and her most Holy Queenship. The St. Mihiel offensive, led by American troops, occurred on September 12, 1918, the solemnity of the Most Holy Name of Mary.

Our Lady of Fatima appeared for the last time on October 13, 1917; 70,000 people had witnessed the Miracle of the Sun. On October 13, 1918, Ottoman Turkey signed an Armistice, ending Ottoman participation in the First World War. Francisco, one of the three favored children of Fatima, beheld the apparition of Saint Joseph and the Christ Child. This was the much awaited signal, as confirmed by Lucia in Canon Formigao’s interrogations. The signal meant that the First World War would end within a year. In fact a year later in October 1918, following the American rapid assistance such as ‘the Archangel Expedition,’ the German Ludendorff accepted defeat as described in the private diary of Oberst Thaer of October 1, 1918. The Armistice occurred on November 11, 1918, on the Feast Day commemorating the Patronage of Our Lady. On May 7, 1919, negotiations for a peace treaty between the Allied and Associated Powers and the German Empire, commenced. Following six months of negotiations, on June 28, 1919, the Treaty at Versailles was signed on the morrow of the commemorative Feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and this brought an end to the First World War. Approximately 16,000,000 people were the victims of what Sir Winston Churchill described as the first global convulsion.

During the Second World War, many prominent instances occurred coinciding with the Marian Feasts of Our Lady. On the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13, 1940, a newly elected British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, promised in the House of Commons nothing but: “Blood, toil, tears and sweat” for the British and Allied forces in their pursuit against the Nazis. On May 13, 1943, as all German and Italian forces (130,000 soldiers) surrendered in Tunisia, the Nazi North African campaign came to an official end. On May 13, 1944, the Nazis completely evacuated the Crimea in the Black Sea. Once again on May 13, 1945, the United States of America issued the proclamation that this day, would be remembered as a day of thanksgiving to the Christian God, for granting victory in Europe. On October 13, 1943, the date commemorating the last apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, the Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio, declared war on Germany. Italy joined the Allies against Axis powers, on this same day General Mark Clark of the 5th Army captured Naples. The Germans evacuated Riga and the British forces occupied Corfu and Athens in Greece.

May 31 is the Catholic Feast dedicated to Our Lady of the Visitation and Mary, Mediatrix of all Graces. May 31, 1943, marked ‘Black May’ for the Nazi Germans who due to improvements in American tactics and techniques, lost many submarine U-boats in the Atlantic. May is the month dedicated to Our Lady. This ended the German U-boat campaign of the Second World War, which was effective in its scope at starving out Britain in the attempt at forcing her to come to terms with Nazi Germany. On the same day a victory for the US 15th Air Force was welcomed, the force destroyed enemy aircraft at Axis airfields in Foggia, Italy. The Feast Day dedicated to Our Lady of the Snows, the official Feast of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, falls on August 5. On this day in 1941, the Nazi troops of Heeresgruppe Mitte were victorious at Smolensk and captured 310,000 Soviet prisoners. However, on the same day in 1943, the Red Soviet Army retook the towns of Orel and Belgorod and on the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29, 1944. The Soviets encircled and defeated the German troops of Heeresgruppe Mitte at Bobruisk, capturing 70,000 Nazi troops. On the same day in the West, the US VII Corps captured Cherbourg.

On the solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, August 15, 1940, an air battle over London witnessed 27 British squadrons shooting down 187 Nazi Luftwaffe planes, ending the secret codes operation ‘Sea Lion,’ initiated by Hitler on September 21, 1940. In 1942, during one single month, in an attempt to stem out the attacks on their supply lines to Africa, the Luftwaffe dropped 6,500,000 Kilos of bombs upon the Maltese Islands. If the Maltese Islands were to serve as a British base, food supplies were badly needed for the survival of the starving population. On August 15, 1942, the American Texaco Tanker ‘Ohio’ entered the port of Malta, the event was seen as a grace obtained by Our Lady and the starvation on the Islands was averted. ‘Operation Pedastal’ referred to by the Maltese as ‘Il-Convoy ta Santa Maria’ or ‘Saint Mary’s Convoy,’ initially consisted of two battleships, four aircraft carriers, seven cruisers, sixteen destroyers, and fourteen Merchant ships. By the time this convoy reached the Islands of Malta, off Southern Sicily, fifteen ships were destroyed; many were damaged and left for Gibraltar. Into the Maltese port entered the Tanker SS-Ohio, HMS Penn, HMS Ledbury, HMS Branham, MV Melbourne Star, MV Brisbane Star, Aircraft Carrier Furious, MV Port Chalmers and MV Rochester Castle. The SS-Ohio was towed into port; the convoy brought fifty-five tonnes of supplies, including ammunition and aviation oil. The significance and success of this Allied mission was greater than initially observed. Apart from restocking the garrison of Malta and disrupting the usual supply lines to Africa, the spitfire fighters from the aircraft carrier ‘Furious,’ were transferred onto the Island. These planes were instrumental at blocking Axis supplies to Africa before the second Battle of El Alamein (October 23 – November 3, 1942) which success was a turning point for the Allied forces in the Western Desert Campaign. During the first centuries of Christianity, November 3, was one of the calendar dates reserved for the commemoration of Saint George of Lydda, (Georgian writer George Zosimo also indicates April 23 and November 23 as dedicated to this saint). On September 19, 1946, the SS-Ohio was towed ten miles from shore and sunk by gunfire, Captain Dudley Mason of the Ohio was later awarded the George Cross. So was Malta awarded the George Cross, which is proudly incorporated within the Maltese flag. On August 14 and 15, 1944, the Feast dedicated to the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven, the US Seventh Army in collaboration with the French resistance, achieved an amphibious landing between Cannes and Toulon in Southern France. On August 15, 1945, following the catastrophic results of the Atomic bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Japanese Emperor broadcasted via radio the surrender, the Allies celebrated VJ-Day, victory-in-Japan Day, as Japan surrendered after six years of war on the solemnity dedicated to Our lady’s Assumption.

On August 22, 1944, the Feast dedicated to the Queenship of Mary and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the American forces reached the towns of Troyes and Reims in France, while the Russians recaptured Jassy on the Dnestr River in Southern Ukraine. On September 3, 1939, the commemorative Feast dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd, following the ultimatum of Britain and France for the German troops to evacuate Poland, war was declared on Hitler’s Germany. On September 3, 1943 British forces crossed the straight of Messina and landed in Italy, encountering no resistance from the Italians. On this same solemnity in 1944, Brussels in Belgium was freed from Nazi rule by British forces and the US captured Lyon in France. On the same day in 1944, in Sicily, Italy signed an agreement with American Allied forces to: “…cease all acts of hostilities against the Anglo-American forces, wherever they may be… and oppose attacks of any other forces.”(2)

On September 8, the Catholic solemnity celebrating Our Lady’s Nativity, Our Lady of Charity, Our Lady of Meritxell, Our Lady of Covadonga and Our Lady of Pochaev and Our Lady of Kursk (Russian Orthodox), many events occurred. Chronologically, from the start to the end of the war, this date represented initial Nazi successes and subsequent total devastating defeats. On September 8, 1939, the Polish defenders at Danzig or Gdansk surrendered, the Polish government left Warsaw and the Nazis defeated Polish forces at Radom. In 1941, Leningrad or Saint Petersburg was completely surrounded by German troops. In 1944, German V-2 rockets were launched at London, from Holland. However, on September 8, 1943, as Benito Mussolini was murdered, Italy officially proclaimed a cease-fire against the Allied forces. The BBC announced that Italy is at war with Germany. General Eisenhower’s voice was broadcasted from the Algiers: “All Italians who now act to help eject the German aggressor from Italian soil will have the assistance and support of the United Nations.” On the same day and the morrow, British and American forces landed on Italian shores and drove the Nazi Germans Northwards. The Canadian forces defeated German resistance at Mesima River in Italy, the Canadians advanced unopposed. On the eve of Our Lady of Mercy and of Walsingham (September 24) General Pietro Badoglio signed an Armistice with the Allied Forces. On September 8, 1944, Bulgaria declared war on Germany. Again, on September 8, 1945, the last Allied troops officially left Germany and the Second World War was officially concluded, in Japan the first American flag was hoisted. On September 8, 1951, the ‘Treaty of Peace with Japan’ or the Treaty of San Francisco was signed between the Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshida Shigeru, and forty-eight nations; this treaty entered into force on April 28, 1952.

On September 12, 1944, the solemnity of the Most Holy Name of Mary, Nazi troops evacuated Rhodes and other Greek Islands in the Eastern Mediterranean. On September 11, 1944, Allied troops entered Nazi Germany and Romania, signed an Armistice with the USA, Russia and UK. On September 15, 1940, the Feast commemorating Our Lady of Sorrows, British fighters destroyed one quarter or fifty-seven Luftwaffe aircraft over London, this day is remembered, as the ‘Battle of Britain Day.’ On the same Feast Day in 1944, the Russians were victorious at Narva and the US First Army (Hodges) occupied Nancy. In 1945, American troops marched across the German border. On October 11, 1944, the Russian Army captured Klausenburg in Rumania and Hungary; Russia began negotiations for a cease-fire. October 11, is the solemnity of the anniversary of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On April 23, 1945, the Feast dedicated to Saint George the Roman Tribune; Count Bernadotte the head of the Swedish Red Cross (St George’s banner) conducted secret negotiations with Reichsfuhrer-SS Himmler. On this same solemnity, the Soviets reached Berlin, eliminating the defending SS units.

The Hill of Monte Cassino, consecrated to Saint John the Baptist by Saint Benedict of Nursia, traditionally had distinguished personalities within the monastery. In 718, there lived the monk Carloman, the son of Charles Martel, brother of consecrated King Pepin the Short and Charlemagne’s uncle. This beautiful monastery was destroyed and leveled to the ground by the Anglo-American forces. In 1944, two German officers by name of Lt. Colonel Julius Schlegel, (a Catholic), and Captain Maximilian Becker, (a Protestant), of the Herman Goering Division, convinced the Abbot to remove the library and other works to Castel Sant’ Angelo in Rome. They also advised the monks to leave. On the German officers’ advice, 70,000 books and 80,000 works of great value, (amongst which were the hand written works of Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Thomas Aquinas), were saved from the Anglo-American ruthless and unnecessary bombardment. Out of eighty monks, eleven remained at the monastery. On February 14, 1944, the Fifth Army dropped leaflets warning the civilians to leave the area: “Italian friends, ATTENTION! Up until now we have tried to avoid bombing the monastery of Monte Cassino. The Germans have taken advantage of this. But now the fighting has gotten even closer to this Holy area. The time has come where, unfortunately, we have to position our arms against the Monastery itself. We are telling you this so that you have the possibility of saving yourselves. Our warning is urgent: Leave the Monastery. Go away immediately. Respect this warning. It is being given to you for your own good. THE FIFTH ARMY.”(3)

According to the diary kept by the monks Dom Eusebio and Dom Martino, on Tuesday February 15, 1944, following the celebration of Mass and while the monks prayed the last antiphon of Our Lady, they heard a horrendous explosion. Other explosions followed. The Abbot gave absolution to the monks, who placed cotton wool in their ears for the noise was deafening, the walls shook and dust covered the whole room. While the bombs were striking the monastery, a deaf civilian entered their room. He kneeled beside the monks and showed them the medal of Our Lady around his neck; the Blessed Virgin had just saved him from sure death while seeking refuge in the church. He explained that he escaped unharmed and the church was completely destroyed. Following the bombing, other civilians fled, the monastery now held six monks and forty villagers consisting of many wounded, abandoned children and orphans.

A German officer handed a note to the Abbot Dom Gregorio. The note stated: “At the Pope’s request (auf Wunsch des Papstes), the German Fuhrer, A. Hitler asks for a cease-fire from the Americans so that the Abbot, his monks and all the civilians may leave Monte Cassino. The Abbot, monks, wounded and children will be taken by car via Cassino, but they must make their way to the cars on foot as the vehicles can’t reach the monastery, the roads being badly damaged. The others, also on foot, will leave the line of fire as best they can. The Pope wants the Abbot and monks to be brought to the Vatican. We will wait until tomorrow or the day after for an answer. Tonight Field Marshal Kesselring will ask for the cease-fire. We hope that the Americans will give it, otherwise it will fall back on them.”(4) The Abbot was asked to sign a written declaration that during the time of the bombings, the Abbey was unoccupied by the Germans. The declaration was signed on the altar of the Chapel of the Pieta. During this harrowing episode, the villagers huddled beneath the altar of Saint Benedict and one of the monks wrote in his diary that: “The artillery fire gets worse. Shells landing all around us. It is hell. The most cruel of generals would not have attacked the strongest of fortresses with such ferocity as the Anglo-Americans have done in the last couple of days against such a holy place!”

On February 17 the monks left, abandoning the monastery together with the surviving civilians, the Abbot held a large wooden crucifix in hand led the group down a mule path, towards the Liri Valley. The group constantly recited the Holy Rosary. Before arriving at Saint Rachisio, a bomb exploded ahead of the party on the side of the road. The party obstinately moved on, the Abbot invoked the power of Jesus Christ, with the sign of the Cross: ‘Ecce lignum crucis, fugite partes adversae’ or ‘Behold the wood of the Cross, may the evil ones disperse.’ The children were crying, but they were instructed to pray. On arriving at Castelmassino near Veroli, at the German headquarters an unusually kind German, greeted the survivors with coffee and food. The German official recounted the manner how 120 American bombers arrived in waves of five to bomb Monte Cassino’s Monastery. In the meantime the German officers took the survivors to Sant’ Anselmo Monastery and these people were saved. However, one monk by the name of Carloman Pellagalli returned to the ruins and was last seen by the German paratroopers and taken for a ghost. He died amongst the abbey’s ruins. This monk had the same name as the ancient Carloman, Charles Martel’s son.

On May 18, the Polish 12th Podolian Uhlans Regiment raised an improvised regimental pennant over the ruins. As the supply lines were threatened, the Germans left without a fight and were commanded to carry their defense elsewhere. The destruction of the Monastery of Monte Cassino could have been avoided and was deemed as a useless and unnecessary target. No German soldiers were killed in the bombings. The truth could possibly be that the Germans allowed the Americans to annihilate Monte Cassino, for themselves not to be blamed for the destruction of such a holy site. On the other hand, the Americans were nervous about the fact, that in Nazi hands, the monastery could be both a potential headquarters and a resistance point. Therefore, the inevitable was decided and the possibility of a Nazi stronghold eliminated. However, had the Anglo-Americans waited for the monastery to be turned into a Nazi resistance point and bombed their target, the destruction would have at least served at eliminating a large number of the enemy and the headache of not being blamed for the useless destruction of such a holy site. This was not taken into consideration and the whole episode of bombing the beautiful monastery was strategically and tactically a waste of time and a most terrible episode indeed. The monk ended his diary note: “We are reunited with our Community, thanking God that through the intercession of our Holy Patriarch we have been miraculously protected. Amen.” Admirable was the gesture of the German officers who saved the priceless documents from Monte Cassino, if the Third Reich had not taken over Italy in the first place, things would have been evidently been different.

On the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, on December 8, 1939, the Italian Fascist Council confirmed the new Italian alliance with Nazi Germany. On the same day in 1941, following the bombardment of Pearl Harbor, the United States of America and Great Britain declared war on Japan. The Russians defeated the Heeresgruppe Mitte before reaching Moscow; they caused the German forces to withdraw hastily. The British 8th Army succeeded in lifting the German siege at Tobruk. On December 7, 1943, President D. Roosevelt in Malta commemorated the second anniversary of the entry in the war of the American People: “In the name of the people of the United States of America I salute the Island of Malta, its People and defenders, who in the cause of freedom and justice and decency throughout the world have rendered valorous services far above and beyond the call of duty. Under repeated fire from the skies, Malta stood alone but unafraid in the center of the sea, one tiny bright flame in the darkness, a beacon of hope for the clearer days which have come. Malta’s bright story of human fortitude and courage will be read by posterity with wonder and gratitude throughout all the ages. What was done in this Island maintains all highest traditions of gallant men and women who from the beginning of time have lived and died to preserve civilization for all mankind.”(5) The following day on December 8, 1943, the Feast commemorating the Immaculate Conception was celebrated throughout the Christian world. A votive procession of the Icon of Our Lady of Carafa was organized in Malta; the procession exited Saint John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta and passed through the city streets. The Archbishop and Bishop of Malta solemnly read the Act of Consecration by His Holiness Pope Pius XII (October 30, 1942). The telegrams exchanged between the Vatican and the Maltese Curia read as follows: “Cardinal Maglione – Vatican City – Occasion Consecration of Malta and Gozo Immaculate Heart Mary we beg assure HH filial devotion Clergy and Laity two Dioceses fervent prayers His August Person and Peace He desires – Archbishop Caruana, Bishop Gonzi.” The reply, “Archbishop Caruana – Malta – Holy Father acknowledging kind message paternally blesses Pastors Clergy Faithful Dioceses Malta and Gozo – Cardinal Maglione.”(6)

In December 8, 1944, the Russians began their offensive against Budapest and the Germans evacuated the towns of Julich and other towns around the Roer River. On the Feast commemorating Our Lady of Guadeloupe, December 12, 1943, Eduard Benes, the Czech leader and Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, signed a peace treaty in Moscow, Russia. On May 8, 1945, the Feast Day of the Argentine Lady of Lujan, and ancient solemnity of Saint Michael the Archangel and the Roman Centurion Saint Acathius, the Wehrmacht and the Allied forces in Europe brought hostilities to an end. On May 7, Generaloberst Jodl pledged the unconditional surrender of all enemy forces, which took effect at noon on May 8. The last Nazi submarines were scuttled near Bergen, Norway. May 8, 1945, commemorates VE-Day, Victory-in-Europe Day. On the Feast commemorating Our Lady of Good Counsel at Genazzano, on April 25, 1945, the liberation of the concentration camp of Dachau in Germany occurred. A few days before the Festivity of Our Lady of Fatima, on May 13, 1945, the Great War was over in Europe. Approximately 60,000,000 people fell victim to this second global convulsion!

The inevitable questions arise; should the events falling on Our Lady’s solemnities be regarded as mere coincidence? Does Our Lady play an important role at chastising and protecting her Christian children? Could it be that crafty military planners use Catholic public devotions for their own ends? Surely, this psychological-devotional aspect was manipulated during the First World War. Hoax apparitions could send an army into panic or stimulate acts of bravery in the devout soldiery. Planning battle operations on Catholic solemnities would serve as; a genuine supplication for Our Lady’s aid, increase the courage of Catholic/Orthodox devout soldiery and in case of a victory, rally support from the Faithful worldwide. On February 17, 1930, the newspaper the ‘Daily News’ published an interview with the First World War Colonel, Friedrich Herzenwirth, and a member of the Imperial German Intelligence Service. Colonel Herzenwirth divulged the plans to: “…create motion pictures thrown upon ’screens’ of foggy white cloudbanks by high-powered Zeiss lenses mounted on German airplanes.”(7) The aim to: “…create superstitious terror in the allied ranks, calculated to produce panic and a refusal to fight an enemy, which appeared to enjoy special supernatural protection.” Evidence suggests that during a Russian battle, against the Germans in 1915, the Virgin was seen with uplifted hands as though cautioning the Russians to halt their attacks. Colonel Friedrich Herzenwirth said: “We knew from prisoners we took that in some cases companies actually killed their officers and flung their rifles away, shouting that they would not be guilty of firing upon an army over which the Mother of God hovered in protection.” Whether this event was actually a calculated hoax or a real apparition is hard to confirm. However, the element of confusion and quarrelling within the enemy ranks, had similarly occurred many times in the past.

The whole matter can be further complicated when demonic activity is engaged. The Romans regularly consulted their pagan gods and priests, they employed augers and diviners who invoked the spirits of their gods so as to aid their combatants, and the Visigoths invoked demons to destroy their enemies with poisonous gas. During the siege of Chestochowa, the Swedish army employed the use of satanic witchcraft to create a cloud to keep their soldiery concealed. The American Mayas always waged war after having invoked their war spirits by way of their adoration of the star ‘Venus’ (the serpent or the dragon). The Aztecs sent the terrifying visions of zombies and moving body parts after the Christian Spaniards. The Russian monk Rasputin, who claimed of having been given powers by the Blessed Virgin, was in fact demon possessed. In more recent times Hitler regularly consulted his augers and Arian Theosophists/Ariosophists. His high-ranking SS Waffen/Gestapo Nazis were accused of forming the magical part of the Third Reich, of occult indulgence and mass demonic possession. The SS (Schutzstaffel) were organized in secret occult orders adoring either the Black Sun (Satan) or the Golden Sun (Lucifer). Incredibly, these occult groups competed between themselves on who served best the Dragon/Devil!

 

 

 

 

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