Friday, April 13, 2018

I Forgot! Please Forgive This Muddled Musician...

I should have acknowledged yesterday, April 12, as a date to be remembered, so do please forgive my forgetting that on  April 12 in 1945, arguably the most powerful American Head-of-State in our time, Franklin Delano Roosevelt , passed away at his retreat in Georgia.
There are no political attachments involved in my recognition of this man - it's all so simple, from my humble view. A number of his programs, right or wrong, divisive or not, were the propellants that served to begin the process of extrication from the Great Depression, which was completed on the day that the Japanese Empire attacked us on Dec. 7, 1941.
Sometimes, when I think of this day, along with other events which History judges as significant, I undergo a totally aimless, but sometimes rather delicious  bundle  of   thoughts of a modality we call Speculation; for instance, I sometimes ask myself if Roosevelt would have  become as powerful  had he been President at another time? How would he have  utilized and formulated  his position in these divisive times, as an example?
Then other beguiling questions would arise; such as
What if Mozart had lived until age 54, rather than 34? Would there have been the Beethoven we know today? - or,
What would the form of the  20th century, let alone the present century, be, had a teenager named Adolf Hitler been accepted as a full-time student in the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna?
What if George Gershwin had lived another twenty years(he  died in his late thirties)? Would we be hearing  the same Leonard Bernstein?
What if penicillin had been there for Alexander Scriabin in 1915?  Would the Russian Road have created a different direction?
What  would  a tortured man we call Van Gogh have given us, if  fifteen more years were given him?
And so on...
All unanswerable questions, of course. But speculation is a seducer of great minds as well - do allow me to relate  this event I experienced with a great mind:
Several years ago, I contacted the acclaimed historian Steven Ambrose, as I had a question for him, which he graciously and unhesitatingly  answered. Well, a correspondence of several letters  was established, and I proudly possess these letters as a fond remembrance.
I have a brief film clip of Ambrose speculating on the Battle of the Bulge, which began late in 1944.
Ambrose actually develops an argumentation that if Hitler had indeed won this battle and gotten to the port of Antwerp, splitting the Allies, Stalin might very well have become so disgusted with Britain and America, that he quite possibly  might  have thrown his towel in Hitler's direction and formed an alliance with  the  Nazi leader in order for the two tyrants  to become co-leaders in Europe, even with the devastation caused by the Nazis in Russia during the three preceding years. Ambrose actually speculated that this could have occurred had Hitler been  successful in the Battle of the Bulge.
And so I'm not alone in playing this game!...



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