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"You are loyal to everyone, aren't you?"

I recently came across a corner in WWII history that I had never heard about. Well, that's not too surprising considering there's so much learn about the second world war! But still, you'd think it would be a more well known fact that eight Nazi saboteurs landed on American soil with explosives.

Anyway, I ended up learning about this while getting sidetracked on research for my WIP. I think it may have been briefly mentioned in a book I was reading, which led me to research Hitler's plans for attacking America, which led to the sabotage plot. I checked out a book at the library called Saboteurs and finally got around to reading it.

There were eight Nazi agents sent by U-boat across the Atlantic with explosives in 1942. They were targeting American railroads and war factories that produced iron, aluminum, and steel. A few of these factories were in NY, IL, TN, and PA.Their plan was, if America didn't have the materials to build tanks, submarines, and airplanes to aid the allies, the Axis had a better chance of winning the war. Hitler hated America and American soldiers, but he did have great respect for the American war industry"The great success of the Americans consists essentially in the fact that they produce quantitatively as much as we do with two-thirds less labor..."

The Nazi and The Yank

by Emily Ann Putzke

Pepin saw him coming. The giant figure was coming for him, armed with a gun and dagger. His army boots thumped against the bristled grass, charred from the debris of bombings. He was speaking a mangle of foreign words—English—the devil’s own gibberish. A Yank was going to kill him and he wasn't ready to die. He swallowed down a lump in his throat and scooted back along the grass, wishing with all his might that a comrade would suddenly fabricate before this Yankee slit his throat or put a bullet through his chest. A shard of ridged glass sliced through Pepin’s forearm but he didn't cry out. He bit the inside of his cheek and cursed under his breath. What was a piece of glass in his arm compared to that hellish ditch of fighting he just came from? What was a shard of glass compared to the dark blood trickling down his hand and running off his knuckles in warm, sickening pools. How could it compare to the zig zagged slit across his leg from a barbed wire he tried jumping over to escape the shooting?

He glared at the America with all his might and spat at him. “Just try to kill me. Just try you stupid Yank!”

The America didn’t understand him, but continued walking. Thump, slush, thump, slush. The sound of death grew closer as the GI waded his way through the puddles of blood and piles of debris. Pepin dug his fingernails into the dirt and peered around for his comrades. They were gone, dead, or lying a few feet away in their own blood. He suppressed his screams, but couldn't stop a tear that trickled down his boyish face. Today was his eighteenth birthday, not that he even noticed. To him the days all ran into each other, and every day one more of his friends died. Now the Yanks were on European ground.

Dirty bastards.

The American was standing above him now, eyes dark and cold as steel. His jaw was sharp and he yelled something at Pepin. Pepin hacked up a glob of saliva and shot it on the American’s leg. The GI jerked back with another shout, then cast a chilling glare at Pepin. He raised his gun.

I knew it, Pepin felt numb and dazed. I knew the Yanks would kill me.


James cursed as he gained the ground between the German boy, Harry, and himself. He nearly tripped over the graveyard of bodies that lay like hurdles for an Olympic runner. He’d never seen anything like this before. Before he joined up, he naively pictured war to resemble cowboys and Indians. But the movies never showed the real scenes of warfare and James knew why. No human being could bear the reality of war, and no human being could be completely normal after seeing what he saw—bodies blown to bits all over the ground, men’s intestines bursting through the gaping hole in their stomachs, glassy eyes staring at nothing, blood, blood, blood. And now Harry was about to add another corpse the the growing pile. Was there no humanity left in this hell hole? Perhaps there wasn't, but James still had a bit left and he was going to use it.

“Don’t shoot that German,” James yelled, straining his voice to be heard over the rumble of distant gunfire.

“Why the hell not?” Harry hissed. “He’s as good as dead anyway.”

“Get lost,” James stood eye to eye with Harry, not flinching when the latter spit a wad of tobacco at his chest.

“Nazi lover,” Harry hissed, shoving James’ shoulder as he walked on. “Go ahead. Save the Nazi boy. But that don’t mean his kind will repay the favor when they find you.”

James breathed deeply, trying to keep his cool at all costs. It wouldn't be decent to beat the pulp out of his comrade. “I’m not a Nazi lover. You know that. But this boy is a human, just like you and me. I have to help him, Nazi or not.”

“Blah, blah, blah. Sentimental rot,” Harry called.

James knelt down beside the German who instinctively backed away. His face was ashen and his brown eyes were wide in fear.

“I’m here to help. I see a medic hasn't arrived yet and you’re losing a ton of blood.”

The boy stared, his face blank.

“Oh. Duh. You can’t understand a thing I’m saying!” James laughed to himself as he pulled out his first aid kit. “I can just talk and talk and you’ll just think I’m talking real intellectual, philosophical things if I speak in this kind of voice,” he cleared his voice and lowered it an octave. “But in reality I can talk about chewing gum flavors. Do you like cherry or licorice? Me? Well, I prefer cherry.” He glanced up at the German who was still staring at him, speechless. The boy shook his head and inched back.

James held up the white bandage and motioned for the boy to hold up his mangled arm. The boy shook his head and yelled something at him. “I’m pretty sure you just swore … and called me something that would make my mama wash your mouth out with soap. Good thing I don’t understand you. I can pretend you said, ‘Hey, you’re a real swell guy. Thank you so much for saving my life. You’re a real chum.’ But I know you didn't say that.”

The German looked perplexed. He began to say something, then stopped.

“Hold out your arm,” James motioned again for the boy to come near.

As the boy glanced down at his arm, his face drained of any color it had left. He slowly scooted toward James and held out his arm.

“Good boy,” James wrapped the bandage around the wound and the boy groaned. “Uhhh,” James glanced at the boy. “I’m guessing this hurts. Sorry, kid.” Once he secured the bandage, he began on the leg wound. “This will stop the bleeding until the medic comes. You’ll live. Don’t worry,” he patted the boy on the shoulder. “All finished.”


Pepin didn't know what to make of his chatter box of a Yank. First he saved his life, then he stopped the bleeding that Pepin thought would never end. But weren't all Yanks killers? Wasn't that what he was always taught? The American smiled and held out a hand.

“James,” he said.

Pepin understood and took the large hand in his. They shook hands firmly. “Pepin.”

James nodded, then fished around in his pocket. He brought out a chocolate bar and placed it in Pepin’s hand with another string of words.

Pepin stared at the chocolate, then back at James. “Thanks.” He immediately ripped open a corner with his teeth and took a bite of the sweet, sugary treat. What could he give James in return for all he had done? Pepin’s good hand flew into his coat pocket where he kept a small pocketbook of German poems. The Yank wouldn't understand the words, but it would remind him of his act of humanity. He thrust it forward.

“Take this.” James slowly grasped the book with a big grin.“And … thanks, Yank.”

He watched as James stood up, still chattering on as he waved goodbye. Pepin waved back.

New Design + Blog Name


We still have lots of snow and temperatures are in the 30's today (which is a heat wave compared to -30), but I'm dreaming of spring. And spring means a new blog design!  You may have also noticed that I changed my blog name. I've been thinking about changing for a while and I finally came up with one that I'm very fond of. Taking Dictation. It's inspired by a C.S. Lewis quote:

"I never exactly made a book. It's rather like taking dictation. 
I was given things to say."


That's what it means to be an author.

I saw that there was a blog link up at The Circle and the subject this month is Blog Name Stories. Perfect timing!


In other news, I'm 50,000 words into my WIP, and I've also been writing short stories in the evenings. Here's a snippet from the WWII story I'll be posting here on Monday.


Literary Updates

Recent Reads:

Corral Nocturne - Elisabeth Grace Foley

Anon, Sir, Anon - Rachel Heffington

A Noble Treason - Richard Hanser

All Quiet on the Western Front - Enrich Maria Remarque
(Read My Review HERE)

"Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?"

This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war."
 -Enrich Maria Remarque 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Level: Best for young adults and up.

We are currently living the 100th anniversary of WWI. It was a horrible struggle of four long years – 1914-1918. The War to End All Wars seems to be overlooked, and I'll admit, I haven't learned as much about it as I should. However, I've been trying to learn more about it the last few years, and how it set the stage for WWII. It's all really fascinating, but I suppose you're not here for a history lesson. You're here for the book review of one of the most famous novels about WWI, All Quiet on the Western Front by Enrich Maria Remarque. (Fun fact...he changed his middle name, Paul, to Maria in memory of his mother.)

Let me start off by saying that this is not a feel good book. If you like to eat and read simultaneously, don't do it with this book unless you have a stomach of steel. Which I don't.

This book wasn't originally on my 2015 "to-read list" but I ended up wanting to read it for a couple reasons.

1. It was banned by the Nazis and destroyed in the book burning in Germany.The Nazis said it was a "betrayal of the German front-line soldier" and the Nazis took away Remarque's German citizenship. That piqued my interest.