Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!
Goodbye, Blue Monday!

If the history of warfare has taught us anything, is that one can fight bravely and brilliantly for a bad cause.   One man who did so was Waffen-SS Standartenführer (Colonel) Otto Skorzeny, and the book I refer to is his WW2 memoirs, My Commando Operations.

Skorzeny
Otto Skorzeny

Skorzeny was an interesting character.  He could have easily been the inspiration for a dozen James Bond villains; ruthless, brilliant, scar-faced and unrepentant.  In his book he describes his operations all over Europe, in Iran, on the Eastern Front, rescuing Mussolini from Italy in 1943 (done, incidentally, without a shot fired) and his infiltration of SS operatives behind Allied lines in the Ardennes using English-speaking Germans in American uniforms.  It was for this last act that he was brought to trial at Dachau after the war – and acquitted.

Skorzeny BookSkorzeny, even though he fought for an out-of-control, evil regime, did so brilliantly, showing all the qualities of an outstanding military leader:  Audacity, intelligence, perspective, a capacity for taking in the big picture, and at the same time a scrupulous attention to detail.  Described during and after the war as “the most dangerous man in Europe,” he lived up to the title, and a legend rapidly grew up around him – including attribution of a plot to kidnap Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt at the 1943 Teheran Conference, a plot that Skorzeny himself insisted was a complete fabrication.

One wonders what a latter-day Skorzeny could accomplish if set against, say, Iran.