November 13, 2018




"The Heart of Darkness", was published on November 13, 1902. It was a novella written by Joseph Conrad, a Polish-British writer of great renown. The central theme of this work dealt with the premise that there is little difference between "so-called" civilised people,  and those described as savages.  Heart of Darkness posed questions concerning the essence of imperialism and racism.  The setting takes place aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames, in which  the narrator,  Charles Marlow tells his friends about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State in the heart of Africa. This provided the frame in which Marlow expressed his obsession with Kurtz, an ivory trader and demigod among the African natives.  In The Heart of Darkness, a parallel was created between what Conrad referred to as "the greatest town on earth" (ie London) and the continent of Africa as places of darkness.  The book did not receive any success during Conrad's lifetime.  Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, a French philosopher,  called Heart of Darkness "one of the greatest texts of Western literature" and used Conrad's tale for a reflection on "The Horror of the West".  Adam Hochschild wrote that literary scholars have made too much of the psychological aspects of Heart of Darkness, while paying scant attention to Conrad's accurate recounting of the horror arising from the methods and effects of colonialism in the Congo Free State.  Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian novelist, denounced the book during a 1975 public lecture  as "an offensive and deplorable book" that de-humanised Africans.  (Orson Welles adapted and starred in Heart of Darkness in a CBS Radio broadcast as part of his series, on November 6, 1938.)


The Union of Armed Struggle, also known as the ZWZ, the Association of Armed Struggle, was formed on November 13, 1939 following the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939.  Previously the ZWZ was known as the Service for Poland's Victory.  The ZWZ was an underground army that was in operation until February 14, 1942, when it was renamed into Armia Karjowa, Home Army.  Officially, the ZWZ was under the command of General Kazimierz Sosnkowski. (After Poland's defeat in the September Campaign, Polish leaders and military evacuated via Hungary, to France.)  However, Sosnkowski’s control of the ZWZ was very limited. The army was intended to be a national military underground force, without allegiance to any political differences or social ranks.  In January 1940, the ZWZ was divided into two sectors:  in areas under German occupation, the ZWZ was commanded by Colonel Stefan Rowecki, in Warsaw, and in areas under Soviet occupation, by General Michał Tokarzewski-Karaszewicz, in Lwów

HMS Blanche (H47) was sunk by a mine on November 13, 1939.  At the outbreak of WW2, the British destroyer was assigned to the 19th Destroyer Flotilla  and during the next two months escorted convoys, and patrolled the Channel and North Sea. The HMS Blanche and her sister ship the Basilisk were escorting the minelayer Adventure on the morning of November 13 in the Thames Estuary and had entered a minefield laid the night before by several German destroyers.  Both the Adventure and the Blanche struck mines, the latter lost all power and capsized at 09:50. Casualties were one man killed, and twelve wounded.  The Blanche was the first British destroyer sunk by the Germans during the war.

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