Context examined

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Mike Carlton boldly defends himself:

Quite a few people, some much aggrieved, wrote to question my assertion last week that King Christian X of Denmark had congratulated Hitler on the Wehrmacht’s invasion of his kingdom in 1940.

I stand by it. The Pulitzer prizewinner John Toland mentions it in his biography, Adolf Hitler, and William L. Shirer, in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, puts it in context. General Kurt Himer, commander of the attack on Denmark, recorded in his diary that the king had said: “General, may I, as an old soldier, tell you something? As soldier to soldier? You Germans have done the incredible again! One must admit that it is magnificent work.” A tribute to the Fuehrer’s vaunted military genius, I think.

Of course; it’s so obvious. King Christian—“May I, as an old soldier, tell you something? As soldier to soldier?”—was clearly not speaking to his fellow soldier, but to another man 200 miles away. May I, as an old journalist, tell you something, Mike? Journalist to journalist? You have done the incredible again! One must admit that it is magnificent work.

I’m actually congratulating Hitler. Meanwhile, on the issue of a certain 104-year-old non-deportee, Michael is strangely silent.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/18/2005 at 08:54 PM
    1. My letter to Mr Carlton:

      May I refer you to
      for more about what happened in Denmark during the German Occupation?

      Something worth researching and commenting on there, I think. There’s a few URLs in the article, but alas most of the data is from Dead Tree sources, more difficult to reference.

      BTW the congratulations you referred to were “soldier to soldier”, and IMHO it is drawing a very long bow to state that they were a tribute to the Grofaz*, or even the Wehrmacht not immediately involved. I suspect that you’ll get a bit of stick about this (minor) issue.

      * Groesste Fuehrer Alle Zeit – “greatest leader of all time” – as he was rather dismissively referred to by the professional officers of the Wehrmacht. An analogy: it would be a bit like Australian officers referring to Howard as “the Gloat”.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 03/18 at 09:55 PM • permalink


    1. Another reason why I dont read Carlton – what a dickhead!

      Denmark was known for its passive resistance, the cold shoulder, to the Nazi occupation in WW2.

      Whilst the story about the King wearing the Star of David may or may not be entirely true, he did make formal protest to German authorities over acts against Jews.

      Just what makes Carlton tick, unremitting hatred?

      Posted by rog2 on 03/18 at 09:56 PM • permalink


    1. Of course, this letter was actually a tribute to Tim.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 03/18 at 09:56 PM • permalink


    1. If the King had said, “You have done the incredible again,” then I’d agree with you, Tim. But he said “you Germans,” which implies that the compliment extends beyond the other soldier. How much further it extends is up for debate, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume he meant the whole military establishment, including Hitler.

      Posted by Robert Corr on 03/18 at 10:14 PM • permalink


    1. King Christian made a point of riding his white horse every morning so that he could be seen by his subjects as a symbol of silent resistance. He was. A pin was commissioned in celebration of his birthday during the war, and many if not all Danes wore theirs every day as a symbol of resistance, also. I own one.

      Posted by Glenn Bowen on 03/18 at 10:30 PM • permalink


    1. Glenn Bowen — There you go again, letting documented facts and material objects get in the way of agile semantics…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/18 at 10:43 PM • permalink


    1. You must admit that it is pretty weak to somehow draw from what was meant as an ex-soldier’s compliment to a fellow solidier, outright praise for Hitler and all he stood for.

      I feel that although it would have deeply pained him to come under german rule he may also have been somewhat relieved that the swiftness and efficiency with which it was carried out meant that his fellow countrymen had not needlessly fought and died against the unstoppable.

      Besides which the brave actions of the Danish people and their king during the occupation show clearly what they really thought of the Fuehrer. I think that this clearly shows that Carlton’s initial assertion is a load of rubbish.

      Posted by rbresca on 03/18 at 10:43 PM • permalink


    1. I’d interpret “You Germans” as meaning the army collectively, no special emphasis on Hitler, but that’s just me. Does anyone know how to find the original quote, and whether it was in Danish or German? A careless mistranslation can cause a lot of pointless debate. Not to mention that even as it stands, the quote makes it sound like the king was being drily humourous, not a flag-waving Fuehrer Fan.

      Of course to go from this quote to “congratulated Hitler on the invasion” is another logical leap altogether. The way Carlton phrases out, it sounds like the king had invited the guy in and was petitioning for a job in the new government with a little well-placed sycophantic action. Not quite.

      Posted by Sonetka on 03/18 at 11:06 PM • permalink


    1. I am an old soldier also, so ipso facto, to wit and in absentia I take that as a compliment to me.

      Posted by Wallace-Midland Texas on 03/18 at 11:15 PM • permalink


    1. OK heres some cut-and-paste;

      The invasion into Denmark took as planned not too much time.  Only one ship moored on the Langelinie Pier in the harbor of Copenhagen.  One single battalion – the Germans didn’t needed more to occupy Copenhagen – soon occupied the military Headquarters and the Royal Palace.  The Germans didn’t met strong resistance.  “Did our soldiers fought enough?” the Danish King asked his cabinet.  All ministers agreed to him that they had to capitulate as quickly as possible.  Only the Danish General Pryor hesitated a little.  It was wartime and he couldn’t even fight.

      The German High Commander, General Kurt Himer, attended on April 9th at 2.00 pm paid a visit to the Danish King Christiaan X.  In some secret army achieves a report of this meeting is kept: “The 70 year old King was inwardly deeply shocked although he managed to hide this.  During the audience he acted very bravely.  He later explained that he and his government did their utmost to keep peace and some rest in Denmark and tried to avoid all kinds of frictions between the German soldiers and the Danish population.  The king tried to spare Danish from even more disasters and misery.  I replied I personally regretted to be send to the king with this message.  I was just doing my duty as a soldier.  We came as friends.  When the king asked if he was allowed to maintain his royal guards I answered that the Führer would allow him this with no doubt.  The king was obvious relieved as he heard this.  During the course of the audience the king more and more felt one his ease and finally he spoke to me: “General, please allow me to tell you something a former soldier?  As a soldier to a soldier?  The Germans did something incredible again!  It’s a remarkable effort people have to admit!”

      Posted by rog2 on 03/18 at 11:50 PM • permalink


    1. I dont see why this is such a big deal, Carlton has made a small error of interpretation. Why do we care?

      I dont think it matters anyway as it doesnt really change Carltons point. If any ememy did something well, as the Germans did, then Id be congratulating them too – on their achievement, not necessarily because Im a big fan of them personally.

      Posted by Nic White on 03/19 at 12:02 AM • permalink


    1. One can only assume that the King was referring to Himers’ civilian disguise and capture of Radio Copenhagen airwaves using an imported transmitter from where bogus repeated announcements of the King’s surrender were made.

      Posted by rog2 on 03/19 at 12:11 AM • permalink


    1. The Germans did something incredible again!  It’s a remarkable effort people have to admit!

      Not necessarily a compliment. If I were to tell Maureen Dowd that “You’ve written a really incredible column, again!”, most of you would get my meaning, even if Ms. Dowd didn’t.

      Many remarkable efforts have not been praiseworthy.

      Posted by nofixedabode on 03/19 at 12:11 AM • permalink


    1. Well, Nic White, maybe Carlton is slamming a dead man who made a vague comment under extreme distress in a war, using Carlton’s own interpretation?  You know, kicking someone who can’t kick back?  Especially since subsequent events demonstrate the contrary?

      From what I read, that’s Cartlon’s normal behavior.  Seems to me that the tosser doesn’t get all the flack he deserves

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/19 at 01:31 AM • permalink


    1. Nice of Nic White to be so generous and allow Carlton a small error of interpretation, something that would normally provoke Carlton/Kingston/Ramsey and other pompous parsimonious pedants into a screeching sanctimonious self righteous spray.

      Posted by rog2 on 03/19 at 02:03 AM • permalink


    1. Similarly, whay are those ALP hounds criticising Ross Lightfoot for being part of a team effort to fund a hospital?
      It’s a remarkable effort people have to admit!�?

      Posted by blogstrop on 03/19 at 03:01 AM • permalink


    1. Heh, Id allow Andrew Bolt a small error of interpretation.

      Posted by Nic White on 03/19 at 12:11 PM • permalink


  1. Hey, c’mon, Hitler’s name probably just slipped His Majesty’s mind, he had a lot on his plate that day…

    Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/20 at 11:22 AM • permalink