Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Rare Specimen of Nationalist Collaboration in Robert Brasillach

Paul Fischer
Professor Zdatny

Kaplan, Alice. The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach. Chicago and London, The University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Word Count: 708

A Rare Specimen of Nationalist Collaboration in Robert Brasillach

In 1942 in France there existed a certain writer devoid of integrity. Once a member of a politically diverse group of gifted academics, Robert Brasillach drifted into the sphere of a close family friend, Maurice Bardèche, and then through conservative society in France to Nazism. In The Collaborator by Alice Kaplan, two major implements of innocence are offered in addition to an intimate history of the writer’s career and trial. The career of the writer is difficult to reconstruct; even such important facts as the nature of his sexuality have been lost to history.
Apologizing for denouncers of the Resistance and anti semites is serious. By the millennium, the case of Robert Brasillach had attracted attention as a case in which French Justice was too harsh, and great in its reach (234). Enough stress cannot be placed on the seriousness of the actions of Brasillach that resulted in the death of writers. Facts have not changed since the event of the trial.
In the early moments, Brasillach appeared to be one of the greatest minds of France. Even in a POW camp, though his mind had begun to experience the creeping poison of anti semitic indoctrination, he demonstrated a genius intellectual prowess, writing novels in their entirety before other inmates without edits (40). The work of Alain-Fournier inspired him to write in “tight, voluptuous little paragraphs” in his early novels and essays (5). Sitting adorned with all of the splendor and “iron jewels” of a prisoner, he wished during his trial to appear a quiet and humble writer of novels and romantic work, and to shed the subsuming odor of collaborationist denunciation, murder, and pillage that his actions cloaked him in (190).
At that time, with a bleak outlook, the attorney of Brasillach, Jacques Isorni told him that they could only “remain steadfast and hope” (185). Unable to prove innocence of the crimes that resulted or contributed to the deaths of fellow Frenchmen, the legal case rested on the impropriety of the proceedings. With his offensive retaliation to the accusations of Marcel Reboul, the prosecuting attorney, Isorni subtly pointed to the Prosecution’s historical quest to convict black marketeers of the Resistance.  This fails exactly because the black market in occupied France was frequently run by Germans themselves, and many of the targets of Reboul’s court had been Germans through the war (102).
Isorni’s own work in the Special Committee defending Jews helped serve a contrast of collaborative administrative roles. It would not be until much later that speculation was offered that this was a trial about crimes against the “humanity of the pen” (218). At the time of the trial, concentration camps had shocked the nation, those defending in such cases as the Brasillach trial as well. In his last days the poetry he writes is despondent and both sexual and racial postures atypical of a racist denunciatory Nazi are presented (189). The guilt of the defendant can be supposed, and there seems to be an understanding of the justice in the verdict at the end of the war in this literary and social critic.
Brasillach himself had few pieces of credible defense. He quit his job at the denunciatory Je Suis Partout, but too late to be considered an act of resistance (152). His work selling classics may have been miscast in the trial, but a trial does not consist of the facts that fall, but those that stand. Brasillach is a man who sat up straight at the docket and defended collaborationist nationalism in the light of the holocaust and Nazi defeat.
Kaplan’s treatment of the life is light by necessity, and with about 100 pages devoted to the trial, she focuses on what is known rather than what is forgotten and lost of his life. As a historian, she exhibits a restraint in tackling a difficult case that has seduced many into sympathy for the Nazi at trial. This is not done by political maneuver or conjecture, but a simple and logical progression through the facts of the case that are known.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The French Beat: Love, Violence, and Rape of the American Liberation

Paul Fischer
Professor Zdatny

Word Count: 737

Roberts, Mary Louise. What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France. Chicago and London, The Chicago University Press, 2013.

The French Beat: Love, Violence, and Rape of the American Liberation

There is a gritty progression as What Soldiers Do by Marie Louise Roberts digs into American activities in France during World War II without gloves. Early discussion of “cheesecake” and the mutual sexual identities of the two nations sets a broad foundation for the evidentiary analysis of the host of criminality espoused by prostitution and pimping. This evolves into an extended discussion of how rape helps define the stimulus relationship of libido-driven communications between victor and the liberated. That relationship is a curious one worthy of analysis because while similar to that of the victor and vanquished, there are notable differences.
What the German men had been commissioned to do, the French women did on accident or out of necessity. Droves of informal prostitutes and informally condoned American sexuality meant that by the time of the North African campaign venereal disease had become the most prevalent reason for hospitalization among soldiers (163). A trend had been established, and Roberts sets out to not only explores the causes but also the repercussions of an uncontrolled army in Europe in 1944 and 1945.
In order to create a setting of both national mindsets, the former occupation by Germany in France is historicized. While a tightly regulated prostitution ring and insistence on fellatio played some role in the relatively effective control of venereal disease among German soldiers and the French, it is likely the deportation of two million male POWs and tens of thousands of female prostitutes to labor camps in Germany was equally critical to the “success” of the repressive occupation (146). During the American occupation there is no corollary for these actions, though some individual officers did transfer infected prostitutes to refugee camps out of desperation at times (127).
French MPs provided some regulation but also frequently double timed as pimps, charging access fees to prostitutes, providing little help (180). Communications and pimping are two factors that may explain how the regulation of prostitution of 1941 did not produce problems in American bases such as Hawaii it did in France (184). Perhaps the strongest argument to look the other way for soldiers such as General Gerhardt lay in the homophobia and fear of what was believed to be perversion amongst the ranks without sanctioned outlets (175).
It is likely that the return of POWs created a mindset of intolerance that is shown in demonstrations such as the tonte, in which women who had loved Germans had their head shorn and were marched through the streets. The attitude was also directed at GIs: some French bristled at the sight of some “ex-gangster from Chicago” fornicating with foreign women in public (106). Ameri-Franco relations were complicated by the unique role of liberator, rather than victor. The French mindset was threatened by these factors, but rape played a sensationalist tune to the newly racialized ears of the liberated nation.
Most rape in France was attributed to blacks in the Army. While no distinctions were claimed between white and black soldiers in the US Army other than segregation at the time, these soldiers were also prohibited from combat duty (225). The reports of rape, which occurred in two waves, were frequently unsubstantiated or blatantly false. One official remarked that given the numbers of soldiers deployed in the greatest human movement of mankind the Army did well in control. French racism was not the only culprit; the American military hoped to engender a heterosexual romance that was “corrupted” by rape. Scapegoating black military service members turned out to be a step into a bear trap on the way to the Times Square kiss (257).

There are multiple factors making the sexual break of late-war France phenomenal and unique in nature. Firstly, the American libido had been primed by successful stories of the Expeditionary Force of World War One. Secondly, as French men returned from POW camps a crisis in manhood coupled with prostitution with a shortage of pimps  or rules to accelerate violence, though some women felt less exploited in this way. Finally, the same cold winter that drove the Germans out of Russia in 1944 and ‘45 also drove French women to a degraded status. This triplicate of factors meant that the actuality of a raped nation existed in duality with liberation.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Rags to Strikes to Blood: Confusions Coalesce in Liberation

Paul Fischer
Professor Zdatny

Gildea, Robert. Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance. Cambridge, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2015.

Rags to Strikes to Blood: Confusions Coalesce in Liberation

Resistance had an unsure beginning in the humiliation of the defeat of 1940. False starts plagued a crisis in command and in terms of tangible resources to bog the French resistance to German occupation down. Fighters in the Shadows by Robert Gildea details the brave leaders in France and abroad who initiated and carried out the fight for liberation as well as the distinct sequence of events that brought many early Pétainists from Vichy collaborationist policies to outright guerilla warfare. Three critical developments through the war are discussed in the book that will be highlighted in this review. Together these describe how France fell out of favor with the occupying Fatherland and instead subsumed a sort of “shadowland fraught with danger and often reality struck back with brutal effect” (157).
Early in the war, a popular way of demonstrating opposition to the Germans was to publish “rags” or a newssheet such as Défense de la France (71). Among the dozen or so pictures in the book is a sequence of four pictures contrasting wartime and peacetime among the French, including the young flyboy Jean Cavailles. These are demonstrative of the progression of French resistance presented in the book.
“Resistance activity was structured, above all, through writing, printing and distribution of underground newspapers,” an undertaking that allowed greater involvement of French women in addition to increasing the breadth of appeal to the general public (143). A snapshot of the larger resistance is provided in the work of Sabine Zlatin, who saved over five hundred Jewish children from camps during the war through the organization of religious youth workers who stayed in camps, often only as teens, and offered services (203). Decades after the war, Serge Klarsfeld would challenge the resistance narrative by declaring during the Barbie trial of 1987, “the fact of being a Jewish child condemned you to death more surely than any act of resistance” (465). Ultimately, it would turn out, the fate of both were hand in hand.
While female involvement in the war took many forms, including extraction of both Protestants and Jews from internment camps once deportations began, one of the ubiquitous forms of heroism and sacrifice was in the common strikes undertaken, with encouragement of the Communist Party. The sources of such demonstrations of solidarity with the Allies were many, but all carried the similarity of virtually unprecedented brutality in official response. This in turn created a “cult of martyrs, which served the growing legend of communist heroism and self-sacrifice”; more importantly such strikes initiated the provocation of Germans to deport French men to work camps (175). This action of German belligerence, calling 75,000 young men to work and demanding three workers for every POW returned, did as much as, perhaps more than, any amount of propaganda or even antisemitic actions to stoke the flames of resistance (139).
Brutality and execution of striking workers were not the only reason the Germans failed, nor were they limited to France (428). Just as the Nazis spread across Europe, so too did the anti-fascist network of spies and fighters. With American entry in the war, Germany took another action to cement the opposition against them: the occupation of all of France in 1944 and disregard for the Armistice (262). Vichy was finally at war with the Nazis. Not all Vichy were united in resistance, nor were the resisters united. Two newly distinct forms of resistance emerged and were in competition.
While some officers in the 100,000 strong Armistice Army formed a secret society, French hopes for liberation lay in the arms of DeGaulle in London and General Giraud, the future commander-in- chief of the reformed French Army. Giraud’s motto: ‘A single goal, Victory’ was appealing to the United States, who did not see Vichy as an inoperable state as the British believed (277). Giraud’s Free French would come to a head when Moulin, who convened the National Council of Resistance in 1943, was arrested (286). Metropolitan resistance and the Free French Army would remain at conflict in interest throughout Operation African Torch, as European resisters felt abandoned.

Supply drops at the time were intermittent, and relief or escape infrequent, though groups such as the Shelburn Network did provide some avenues for both (312). One of the most visually gripping points in the book is the meeting of two very different types of guerrilla following the march across Tunisia. Paul’s plan, intended to slow German counter-movements, resulted in a maximum slow-down of guerrilla movements, and the Free-French army was dirty, disheveled and rugged upon meeting their Vichy counterparts who would now join them, even though they had previously fought one another. In a manner symbolic of the general resistance, however, that army had won the coherent respect of Allied commanders and their vanquished foes alike. The brutality of Nazism not only served to sharpen the Allied identity, but also forged new patriotism amongst Frenchmen from the ashes of humiliation.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

PHLOTE Mission

PHLOTE Mission
Kevin Kempton

Phobos as a captured asteroid, early in Mars’ formation, how did it form without having a rubble body surface?
Identifying if it has water etc in it?
There are grooves on it, is it starting to get pulled apart.
A lot of talk about a precursor mission to Phobos, thoughts to go to Phobos first.
Radiation environments, dust environments, oxygen as a consumable and 85% of propellant reactions. If we can stay there, it would be a nice thing to have.
Public interest, having an eye in the sky view decomposing of Phobos, with a precursor crew.

Small body with low gravity, very close to mars, a perfect playpen for preparing L1 operations. An extended mission could be useful

The Phlote spacecraft is compromised of the main spacecraft, with subsystems, … , and a sensor sytem attached with a tether system.

Mars Observational Monitor (MOM) is the main spacecraft, mass allocation is 40kg
S-band patch antenna, tether reel and deployer, navigation lira, transceivers, solar array actuation, battery array…
Tangible launch vehicle to show a credible design. High inclination launch sight with a small bipropellant thruster to get PHLOTE past the majority of earths radiation belts.
When we do get to mars we will be going into a mapping orbit around phobos, we will need to get L1 and L2 locations identified quickly for lextended ops.
The spacecraft cannot fight periodic motion, but allowing it to go with periodic motion, and the tether system avoids use of propellant to stay in one place while mapping.
Description of drift rates
The tech making this possible are navigation doppler liar 
Op range: 6000 m 
Velocity error .2cm /sec
Range error: 23 cm.

Low gravity means low tension, like a dime on a 6m thread
How to avoid a ball of spaghetti on the tether: pretensionors.
Cold gas thrusters may minimize the impulse inanition to a spring mechanism.
Thermal expansion in the tether will also be a factor as the craft will be going into eclipse regularly

Precursor mission by 2023 for PDR, land 2026.
Data also provided for a similar application on Titan Operation Tether Experiment (TOTE), can be applicable to many others…

What are your rying to do with the tether?
Allows you to sample and do observations. Stability and control. 
But you are going to land anyway?
The tether will help with a low cost mission, including after landing, having the tether.
Does the tether provide any services to the landing op? MOM to POP?
Yeah, we thought about that first, but we are moving away from that, instead above the sensor platform we are going to have such a system that is conductive, but we have an abrasive tether, it will be noncontinuous to the main space craft, allowing the craft to be reeled in and out appropriately...
What about landing in multiple spots?
SDK did not like the rough surface, so the tether won out after such an orbital analysis.
I am glad to see attention given to PHLOBOS, as the Russians, I see it as among the most valuable locations in the solar system. Why have you not mentioned the elephant of the room, that if you can anchor with the tether? You would have a space elevator. The first space elevator dynamic testing as well as a counterweight.
We want to have a low-cost dynamic mission, and the scale cannot be increased.
If we are looking at ISRU from the moon, one thing we have done is boulder grabbing. I am intrigued by the use of the system to bring a boulder back to the processor, it could eliminate the heavy propellants.
I agree because the free end of a tether is a great place to put an American flag.

I know! I can tell the Russians we worked with and they will say, ‘Isn’t that great!”

Fusion Propulsion

Presentation by Jason Cassibry, PhD, prepared by Mike Lapointe, PhD, absent
Why the interest in fusion propulsion?
Going far, getting there fast and taking lots of stuff with you
Magnetoinertail fusion
electrothermal loss, introduction of a magneto inertial field cuts down on that loss

Paths to MIF compression:
Z-pinch azithumal field
Theta pinch linear field
Liner materiaal
Equivalent view - magnetic flux implodes target

Theta pinch:
Hooves on a cylindrical piston drive the reaction into a nozzle

Replace the time-varying magnetic field with a stationary field
Induce image currents equation for production
Two stage-like gas guns that can achieve the concept are extant
Ast the pellet runs through the magnetic fuel coil, heat expands the fuel to fusion levels

Accelerator >>> pellet >>>> electromagnetic field >>>> expanding pellet

Target can be accelerated to the required velocity, simplified system helps in many ways 

Phase 1 understand the dynamics between the rapidly moving target and the gradient field
Dynamics between target and gradient field
Fuel target design

Target fuels
Deuterium Tridium, seems to be the best route, but many choices to look at

Accelerator trades
Light gas, rail guns
Electro thermal acceleration
Laser acceleration

Reduce compression requirements
Higher initial temperature is positive to reduce field investment.

MATLAB modeling
Numerical modeling, includes high-temperature tabulations of state, resolving vacuum charging interface, electromagnetic equation solutions..

Convergence divergence modeling to find fuel gradients.
Looking at 100 microseconds where the target comes in, you can see the density contours as the expansion occurs
Note: not a fusion model, that tried first, code-blue right away.

Payload mass delivered to Mars, preliminary field modeling of both NIAC PUFF …

Initial vehicle concept with Orion.
Developing the tools to evaluate the concept in a mission context
Analytic models to provide initial performance estimates.
Updating fusion vehicle analysis with new engine design and performance parameters…

How will it be kept cold?
We are still working on getting a target to ignite and burn, that will be phase 2
What are the power requirements and what is the power source?
For any. System we will need a battery, this has a 100 Mw nuclear reactor, especially for deep space missions.
What is the density times time target?
Looking at solid density targets, we have not settled in a loss in criteria , still working with basic models.
 Competing with laser confinement fusion?
Partially, but those need a large initial, 3 football field, power and energy requirement… we look to reduce that.
If you strip your system down and compute the energy efficiency, what fractional efficiency do you have?
We look at the kinetic energy invested into the nozzle, vs. the energy returned, but that is not what you are asking for.
It seems asymetric to use Copernicus? High-fidelity tool for a low-fidelity outcome?
That is putting the cart before the horse. Hard to do insertion with a low thrust system. Straight-liine trajectories etc… injection delta v is equal to the velocity at the destination.
What is the jet power? Specific impulse and dry mass?
10k to 30000 for the specific impulse. 200 to 300 metric tonnes. Jet power would be in the order of maybe 100 Mw but probably not that big.
How much of the fusion power hits the plume?
Temperatures get hot, and radiate in the X-ray, but 25-50% depending how large the system
OK so 20 MW of jet power in 100 tonnes?
Yes, but not certain of the number.
What is the liner made of?

We are exploring that as a parameter. This is a derivative of the PUFF concept, so a layer of uranium would give exothermic reactions and an additional boost. Other heavier elements such as lead have been considered.

Continuous electrode inertial electrostatic confinement fusion

Ray Sedwick 

Continuous electrode inertial electrostatic confinement fusion

Power availability as limiter to space exploration

No pressure vessel. Fusion not fission
Aneutronic shielding: no shielding
DEC direct energy conversion

Reduce mass by 4x
Fusers of the 60s
Radian acceeration of furl lions. T center, most unfortunately lost to cathode good.

The idea is to use a multi grid device, greater survivability of ions

Continuous electrode IEC
Simultaneous impact to the cathode, sloth thermalization process and this is important for aneutronic fuel.
System is highly transparent to the fusion products
Waste heat generated as a result of impact of ions and no additional radiators are necessitated forthesystem(radiators make a substantial mass of projected finished product)

C60 buckyball, each of the vertices from icosahedral, yield irregular hexagons and regular pentagons with roughly the same area
The center is where the fusion occurs… 32 channels, 16 beam lines

Aneutronic fuel
D-T lowest hanging fruit in terms of fuel
17..6 MeV >> 14.1 MeV neurtrons (low efficiency of the heat source)

So we focus on  p11 B 
Still poor thermal plasma performance, 175% bremsstrahlung losses
Possible to produce more fusion power, and is produced as alpha particles, @4MeV apiece and one around 1 MeV
Standing Wave Direct energy Converter:
Up to 90% energy extracted. Spread of energy loses more in alphas we will see.
It has become clear that within the next 5-10 years something big will happen in fusion.
When will this move to phase 2?
Experimental confinement fusion elsewhere?
Ions are primarily radially, hence the icasehedral design of the cofinemnet, it is a sort of geometry game to avoid some issues
A little curious if the 80% conversion efficiency is not that good? Also what about the 20% of alphas that can be very damaging floating around to existing structures?

We are perhaps naively hopeful that all alphas will leave the system, there is no entrapment in the system.

NIAC Projects 2017

Using a rover to collect nitrogen from Pluto to manufacture fuel onsite to return home:

Bioengineering a soft robot rover based on eels to explore underneath the icy surface of Europa:

A baby toy inspires a resistant and flexible rover design: