19 January 1983

Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie is arrested in Bolivia.

Klaus Barbie
Klaus Barbie.jpg
Nikolaus Barbie

(1913-10-25)25 October 1913
Died25 September 1991(1991-09-25) (aged 77)
Other names"Butcher of Lyon"
Political partyNSDAP (1937–1945)
Criminal chargeCrimes against humanity
PenaltyLife imprisonment
SS career
Allegiance Germany
Service/branchSchutzstaffel Abzeichen.svg Gestapo
Years of service1935–1945
UnitSicherheitsdienst (SD)
Regina Margaretta Willms (m. 1939)

Nikolaus Barbie (25 October 1913 – 25 September 1991) was an SS and Gestapo functionary during the Nazi era. He was known as the "Butcher of Lyon" for having personally tortured prisoners of the Gestapo – primarily Jews and members of La Résistance – while stationed in Lyon under the collaborationist Vichy regime. After the war, United States intelligence services employed him for his anti-Marxist efforts and also aided his escape to Bolivia.[2]

The West German Intelligence Service later recruited him. Barbie is suspected of having had a hand in the Bolivian coup d'état orchestrated by Luis García Meza in 1980. After the fall of the dictatorship, Barbie no longer had the protection of the government in La Paz and in 1983 was extradited to France, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity. He died of cancer in prison on 25 September 1991.

Early life and education

Nikolaus "Klaus" Barbie was born on 25 October 1913 in Godesberg, later renamed Bad Godesberg, which is today part of Bonn. The Barbie family came from Merzig, in the Saar near the French border. It is likely that his patrilineal ancestors were French Roman Catholics named Barbier who left France at the time of the French Revolution. In 1914, his father, also named Nikolaus, was conscripted to fight in the First World War. He returned an angry, bitter man. He was wounded in the neck at Verdun and captured by the French, whom he hated, and he never recovered his health. He became an alcoholic who abused his children. Until 1923, when he was 10, Klaus Barbie attended the local school where his father taught. Afterwards, he attended a boarding school in Trier, and was relieved to be away from his abusive father. In 1925, the entire Barbie family moved to Trier.[3]

In June 1933, Barbie's younger brother, Kurt, died at the age of 18 of chronic illness. Later that year, their father died. The death of his father derailed plans for the 20-year-old Barbie to study theology, or otherwise become an academic, as his peers had expected. While unemployed, Barbie was conscripted into the Nazi labour service, the Reichsarbeitsdienst. On 26 September 1935, aged 22, he joined the SS (member 272,284), and began working in the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the SS security service, which acted as the intelligence-gathering arm of the Nazi Party. On 1 May 1937, he became member 4,583,085 of the Nazi Party.

Second World War

After the German conquest and occupation of the Netherlands, Barbie was assigned to Amsterdam. He had been pre-assigned to Adolf Eichmann's Amt (Department) IV/B-4. This department was responsible for identification, roundup and deportation of Dutch Jews and Freemasons. On 11 October 1940, Barbie arrested Hermannus Van Tongeren, Grand Master of the Grand Orient of the Netherlands. In March 1941, Tongeren was transported to Sachsenhausen concentration camp where, in freezing conditions, he died two weeks later. On 1 April, Barbie summoned Tongeren's daughter, Charlotte, to SD headquarters and informed her that her father had died of an infection in both ears and had been cremated.[4]

In 1942, he was sent to Dijon, France, in the Occupied Zone. In November of the same year, at the age of 29, he was assigned to Lyon as the head of the local Gestapo. He established his headquarters at the Hôtel Terminus in Lyon, where he personally tortured adult and child prisoners.[2][5][6] He became known as the "Butcher of Lyon".[7] The daughter of a French Resistance leader based in Lyon said her father was beaten and skinned alive, and that his head was immersed in a bucket of ammonia; he died shortly afterwards.[5]

Historians estimate that Barbie was directly responsible for the deaths of up to 14,000 people,[8][9] personally participating in roundups such as the Rue Sainte-Catherine Roundup which saw 84 people arrested in a single day. He arrested Jean Moulin, a high-ranking member of the French Resistance and his most prominent captive. In 1943, he was awarded the Iron Cross (First Class) by Adolf Hitler for his campaign against the French Resistance and the capture of Moulin.[10]

In April 1944, Barbie ordered the deportation to Auschwitz of a group of 44 Jewish children from an orphanage at Izieu.[11] He then rejoined the SiPo-SD of Lyon in its retreat to Bruyères, where he led an anti-partisan attack in Rehaupal in September 1944.[12]

U.S. intelligence and Bolivia

In 1947, Barbie was recruited as an agent for the 66th Detachment of the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC).[13] The U.S. used Barbie and other Nazi Party members to further anti-communist efforts in Europe. Specifically, they were interested in British interrogation techniques which Barbie had experienced firsthand, and the identities of SS officers the British were using for their own ends. Later, the CIC housed him in a hotel in Memmingen, and he reported on French intelligence activities in the French zone of occupied Germany because they suspected that the French had been infiltrated by the KGB and GRU.[14]

The US Department of Justice report to the US Senate opens with the summary paragraph: [15]

As the investigation of Klaus Barbie has shown, officers of the United States government were directly responsible for protecting a person wanted by the government of France on criminal charges and in arranging his escape from the law. As a direct result of that action, Klaus Barbie did not stand trial in France in 1950; he spent 33 years as a free man and a fugitive from justice, and the fact that he is awaiting trial today in France is due entirely to the persistence of the government of France and the cooperation of the present government of Bolivia.

The French discovered that Barbie was in U.S. hands, and having sentenced him to death in absentia for war crimes, made a plea to John J. McCloy, U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, to hand him over for execution, but McCloy allegedly refused.[14] Instead, the CIC helped him flee to Bolivia assisted by "ratlines" organized by U.S. intelligence services,[16] and by Croatian Roman Catholic clergy, including Krunoslav Draganović. The CIC asserted that Barbie knew too much about the network of German spies the CIC had planted in various European communist organizations, and were suspicious of communist influence within the French government, but their protection of Barbie may have been as much to avoid the embarrassment of having recruited him in the first place.[13] Other authors have suggested that the anticommunist element of Italian fascism and the protection of the Vatican allowed Klaus Barbie and other Nazis to flee to Bolivia.[17]

In 1965, Barbie was recruited by the West German foreign intelligence agency Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), under the codename "Adler" (Eagle) and the registration number V-43118. His initial monthly salary of 500 Deutsche Mark was transferred in May 1966 to an account of the Chartered Bank of London in San Francisco. During his time with the BND, Barbie made at least 35 reports to the BND headquarters in Pullach.[18]

Barbie emigrated to Bolivia,[when?] where he lived well for 30 years in Cochabamba, under the alias Klaus Altmann. It was easier and less embarrassing for him to find employment there than in Europe, and he enjoyed excellent relations with high-ranking Bolivian officials, including Bolivian dictators Hugo Banzer and Luis García Meza Tejada. "Altmann" was known for his German nationalist and anti-communist stances.[19] While engaged in arms-trade operations in Bolivia, he was appointed to the rank of lieutenant colonel within the Bolivian Armed Forces.[20]

Barbie collaborated with General Barriento's regime, including teaching the general's private paramilitaries named "Furmont" how torture can best be used. The regime's political repression against leftist groups was helped by Barbie's knowledge about intelligence work, torture and interrogations. In 1972 under General Banzer (with whom Barbie collaborated even more openly), he assisted in illegal arrests, interrogations and murders of opposition and progressive groups. Journalists and activists who wrote or spoke about the regime's crimes against human rights were arrested and many fell victim to so-called "disappearances", the state's secret murders and abductions of leftists. Barbie actively participated in the regime's oppression of opponents.[21][22][23][24]

Barbie was strongly linked to the neo-Nazi paramilitary , who was his personally hired bodyguard and the two participated in criminal actions and businesses together. De Castro had connections with powerful drugbarons and the illegal drug trade and, together with Barbie (under the name Altmann) and an Austrian company, sold weapons to the drug cartels, and when De Castro was arrested he admitted in interviews that he had earlier worked for drug lords in the country. Other sources say Barbie most likely also had connections with these organizations.[25] Initially, he worked for Roberto Suarez Gomez who eventually introduced him to Colombian traffickers. Barbie met with Pablo Escobar and several other high ranking members of the Medellin cartel in the late 1970s, and agreed to arrange for security of Escobar's raw coca supply, from its cultivation until it reached processing plants in Colombia. In exchange, Escobar agreed to fund Barbie's anti-communist activites.[26] De Castro continued to correspond with Barbie when Barbie was later under arrest.[27][21][22][23][24][25] Their connections did also provide intelligence information to US authorities at the US Embassy. A group called "The Fiancées of Death", which included German Nazis and Fascists, had links to some of Barbie's actions in Bolivia. Barbie earlier also carried out a large arms purchase of tanks from Austria to the Bolivian army. These were then used in a coup d'état.[21][22][23][25]

People who met Barbie during his time in Bolivia have told that he was a firm and fanatic believer in the Nazi ideology and an anti-Semite. Barbie and De Castro reportedly talked about the cases and searches for Josef Mengele and Eichmann, whom Barbie supported and wanted to assist in remaining on the run.[21][22][23][24][25]

Extradition, trial, and death

Barbie's Bolivian secret police ID card

Barbie was identified as being in Peru in 1971 by the Klarsfelds (Nazi hunters from France) who came across a secret document that revealed his alias. On 19 January 1972, this information was published in the French newspaper L'Aurore, along with a photograph of Altmann which the Klarsfelds obtained from a German expatriate living in Lima, Peru.

Led by Beate Klarsfeld, French journalist Ladislas de Hoyos and cameraman Christian van Ryswyck flew to La Paz in January 1972 in order to find and interview Klaus Barbie posing as his alias Klaus Altman. The interview took place on February 3, 1972 in the Department of the Interior building and the following day, in prison where Klaus was placed under protection by the Bolivian authorities.[28] In the videotape, and while the interview was conducted in Spanish, Ladislas de Hoyos steers away from the previously agreed upon questions by asking whether Barbie has ever been to Lyon in French, a language he isn't supposed to understand under his fake identity, to which Klaus Barbie automatically responds by the negative in German. Ladislas de Hoyos gave him photos of members of Resistance he had tortured, asking him if he recognized their faces, and while he returned them in denial, his fingerprints unmistakenly betrayed him. It was in this interview, later broadcast on French TV Channel Antenne 2 that he was recognized by French resistant Simone Lagrange who had been tortured by Klaus Barbie in 1944.[29]

Despite global outcry, Barbie was able to return to Bolivia where the government refused to extradite him, stating that France and Bolivia did not have an extradition treaty and that the statute of limitations on his crimes had expired.[citation needed] Barbie's close fascist friends knew who he was, but to the public Barbie denied being none other than his innocent alter-ego "Altmann" and in the videotaped interview conducted by Ladislas de Hoyos which he allowed, he continued to lie about never having been in Lyon, never knowing Moulin or having been in the Gestapo. However, in the 1970s, the community of refugee Jews who had survived or escaped the war, openly discussed the fact that Barbie was the war criminal from Lyon now living on the Calle Landaeta in La Paz and frequenting the Cafe de La Paz daily. It was no secret.

Journalist and reporter and a female journalist for The New York Times said that while they were outside Barbie's house in Bolivia in 1981, wanting to speak to him for an article, they saw Barbie in a window while they were taking photos at the place, and shortly thereafter they were taken away by twelve armed paramilitary men who had quickly arrived in a van and asked what they were doing there.

The testimony of Italian insurgent Stefano Delle Chiaie before the Italian Parliamentary Commission on Terrorism suggests that Barbie took part in the "cocaine coup" of Luis García Meza Tejada, when the regime forced its way to power in Bolivia in 1980.[30] In 1983, the newly elected democratic government of Hernán Siles Zuazo arrested Barbie in La Paz on the pretext of owing the government 10,000 dollars for goods he was supposed to have shipped but did not, and a few days later, the government delivered him to France to stand trial.[31]

In 1984, Barbie was indicted for crimes committed as Gestapo chief in Lyon between 1942 and 1944, chief among which was the Rue Sainte-Catherine Roundup. The jury trial started on 11 May 1987 in Lyon before the Rhône Cour d'Assises. Unusually, the court allowed the trial to be filmed because of its historical value. A special courtroom was constructed with seating for an audience of about 700.[32] The head prosecutor was Pierre Truche.

At the trial, Barbie's defense was funded by Swiss financier François Genoud and undertaken by attorney Jacques Vergès. He was tried on 41 separate counts of crimes against humanity, based on the depositions of 730 Jews and French Resistance survivors who described how he tortured and murdered prisoners.[33] The father of French Minister for Justice Robert Badinter had died in Sobibor after being deported from Lyon during Barbie's tenure.[34]

Barbie gave his name as Klaus Altmann, the name that he used while in Bolivia. He claimed that his extradition was technically illegal and asked to be excused from the trial and returned to his cell at Prison Saint-Paul. This was granted. He was brought back to court on 26 May 1987 to face some of his accusers, about whose testimony he had "nothing to say".[35]

Barbie's defense attorney, Vergès, had a reputation for attacking the French political system, particularly in the historic French colonial empire. His strategy was to use the trial to talk about war crimes committed by France since 1945. He got the prosecution to drop some of the charges against Barbie due to French legislation that had protected French citizens accused of the same crimes under the Vichy regime and in French Algeria. Vergès tried to argue that Barbie's actions were no worse than the supposedly ordinary actions of colonialists worldwide, and that his trial was tantamount to selective prosecution. During his trial, Barbie said "When I stand before the throne of God, I shall be judged innocent."[36]

The court rejected the defense's argument. On 4 July 1987, Barbie was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison in Lyon four years later of leukemia and spine and prostate cancer at the age of 77.[37]

Personal life

In April 1939, Barbie became engaged to Regina Margaretta Willms, the 23-year-old daughter of a postal clerk; they had two children, a son named Klaus-Georg Altmann and a daughter named Ute Messner.[3] In 1983, Françoise Croizier, Klaus Barbie's French daughter-in-law, said in an interview the CIA kidnapped Klaus-Georg in 1946 to make sure his father carried out intelligence missions for the agency. Croizier met Klaus-Georg while both were students in Paris; they married in 1968, had three children and lived in Europe and Bolivia using the surname Altmann. Croizier said when she married she did not know who her father-in-law was, but that she could guess the reasons for a German to settle in South America after the war. Klaus-Georg died in a hang-gliding accident in 1981.[38]

Barbie remained unto the end a politically fanatic and systematic Nazi, who defended Hitler's politics and racial theories, and Fascism, in any situation they were questioned or criticized.[citation needed] Historians[who?] have noted that Barbie never had to be part of anything doing with the army or police in Bolivia, but that he actively chose such positions as part of his constant and active support for Nazi ideology and would fight for that cause in all ways he deemed "effective".[citation needed]

In media

The french documentary film My Enemy's Enemy (Mon meilleur ennemi in french) is the story of Klaus Barbie through World War II and post-war hiding journey in Bolivia including his involvement in the assassination of Che Guevara before being tried in France for war crimes committed in Lyon and the assassination of Jean Moulin.

See also


  1. ^ "Klaus Barbie The Butcher of Lyon". Holocaust Research Project. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  2. ^ a b Bönisch, Georg; Wiegrefe, Klaus (20 January 2011). "From Nazi to criminal to post-war spy: German intelligence hired Klaus Barbie as agent". Der Spiegel.
  3. ^ a b Profile, jewishvirtuallibrary.org; accessed 29 September 2015.
  4. ^ The Red Triangle. 2011. Pp.95-97. ISBN 978-0-85318-332-7
  5. ^ a b Hôtel Terminus (Motion picture). 1988.
  6. ^ "Klaus Barbie: women testify of torture at his hands", upenn.edu; 23 March 1987.
  7. ^ "Ich bin gekommen, um zu töten". Der Spiegel. 2 July 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie gets life". BBC. 3 July 1987. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
  9. ^ "Klaus Barbie ausgeliefert". Der Spiegel. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  10. ^ "On behalf of his cruel crimes and specially for the Moulin case, Barbie was awarded, by Hitler, the First Class Iron Cross with Swords", jewishvirtuallibrary.org; accessed 29 September 2015.
  11. ^ On the deportation of the children of Izieu, at Yad Vashem website
  12. ^ "Klaus Barbie - The Butcher of Lyon". Dirkdeklein.net. 30 July 2016.
  13. ^ a b Wolfe, Robert (19 September 2001). "Analysis of the Investigative Records Repository file of Klaus Barbie". Interagency Working Group. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
  14. ^ a b Cockburn, Alexander; Clair, Jeffrey St. (1998). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press. Verso. pp. 167–70. ISBN 9781859841396. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  15. ^ "US Justice Dept report to Senate" (PDF).
  16. ^ Terkel, Studs (1985). The Good War. Ballantine. ISBN 978-0-345-32568-6.
  17. ^ Theroux, Paul (1995). The Pillars of Hercules: A Grand Tour of the Mediterranean. New York: Fawcett Columbine. p. 207. ISBN 0449910857.
  18. ^ "Vom Nazi-Verbrecher zum BND-Agenten". Der Spiegel (in German). 19 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
  19. ^ Hammerschmidt, Peter: "Die Tatsache allein, daß V-43 118 SS-Hauptsturmführer war, schließt nicht aus, ihn als Quelle zu verwenden". Der Bundesnachrichtendienst und sein Agent Klaus Barbie, Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft (ZfG), 59. Jahrgang, 4/2011. METROPOL Verlag. Berlin 2011, S. 333–349. (in German)
  20. ^ "In pursuit of Bolivia's secret Nazi". The Guardian. London. 10 September 2008.
  21. ^ a b c d "Ex-Gestapo-Chef von Lyon: Nazi-Verbrecher Barbie in Drogenhandel verstrickt?". Bild (in German). 27 July 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  22. ^ a b c d Winkler, Willi (10 March 2015). "Doku über Klaus Barbie: Zeit für die ganze Geschichte". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  23. ^ a b c d Strothmann, Dietrich (5 November 1982). "Der Fall Klaus Barbie: Den Diktatoren stets zu Diensten". Die Zeit. ISSN 0044-2070. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  24. ^ a b c "Nazistjakt i Bolivia". Latinamerika.nu. 5 December 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  25. ^ a b c d Smith, David (23 December 2007). "Barbie 'boasted of hunting down Che'". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  26. ^ "La increíble historia del "carnicero nazi" que ayudó a Pablo Escobar a forjar su imperio narco". Infobae.
  27. ^ "Letters that Nazi war criminal Barbie sent to Bolivia from prison revealed". San Diego Tribune (in Spanish). 5 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  28. ^ "TV: Ladislas de Hoyos est mort". Le Figaro. Le Figaro. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Dans les coulisses de l'interview qui fit tomber Klaus Barbie". telerama.fr. Télérama. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  30. ^ Laetitia Grevers (4 November 2012). "The Butcher of Bolivia". Bolivian Express Magazine. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  31. ^ "Klaus Barbie, The Butcher of Lyon". Holocaust Research Project. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  32. ^ L'avocat de la terreur [Terror's Advocate]. France: La Sofica Uni Etoile 3. 2007.
  33. ^ Finkielkraut, Alain (1992). Remembering in Vain: The Klaus Barbie Trial and Crimes Against Humanity. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-07464-3. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  34. ^ Beigbeder, Yves (2006). Judging War Crimes And Torture: French Justice And International Criminal Tribunals And Commissions (1940–2005). Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 204–. ISBN 978-90-04-15329-5. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
  35. ^ "Six Witnesses Identify Barbie, Who Was Ordered Back to Court". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 27 May 1987.
  36. ^ "Klaus Barbie profile". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  37. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (26 September 1991). "Klaus Barbie, 77, Lyons Gestapo Chief". The New York Times.
  38. ^ "The CIA kidnapped the young son of Klaus Barbie", UPI

Further reading

External links

19 January 1661

Thomas Venner is “hanged, drawn and quartered” in London, UK.

On this day in history, 1661, Thomas Venner was hanged, drawn, and quartered. Venner was originally a wine-cooper before taking over leadership of the radical group, The Fifth Monarchy Men, after General Thomas Harrison, the previous leader of the group, was hanged, drawn, and quartered for treason himself in 1660.

The Fifth Monarchy Men, also known as the Fifth Monarchists, were essentially an extremist group that believed the return of Christ was imminent. Their name was in reference to the fact that the book of Daniel speaks of four “monarchies” or empires that would more or less dominate the world. These are presumed in retrospect to have been Babylon, Persia, Macedonia, and Rome. Since all four had been accounted for, the Fifth Monarchists felt that Christ would soon return for his 1000 year reign as the fifth monarch. Particularly, they thought Christ would return shortly after the year 1666, due to the “666” in the year, which signified “the beast” They further thought that in order for his return to happen, the “Saints” needed to first overthrow the existing rulers to prepare the way for Jesus. The group was particularly active between 1649 and 1661, when their last leader and many others among them were executed for treason after attempting to lead a rebellion against the newly crowned Charles II, who had been restored to the throne after Oliver Cromwell’s rule.

The Fifth Monarchists had actually initially been great supporters of Cromwell, who helped lead the overthrowing of Charles I and established the UK, temporarily, as a commonwealth republic, until his death in 1658. The Fifth Monarchists even went so far as to declare Cromwell a second Moses, but later when he got rid of the Nominated Assembly and established himself as the Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland, they revolted against him, which Thomas Venner returned to England to take part in and was at one point arrested for this, but was soon released.

Once Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, the leader of the Fifth Monarchists, General Thomas Harrison, who had helped overthrow Charles I was arrested and tried and convicted of treason. Interestingly, Harrison had the opportunity to flee England before he was arrested but chose to remain, even though he knew he would be executed if he did so. Not only that, but on October the 13, 1660, when he was executed, eye witness accounts state that he was looking relatively cheerful as he was led to his execution with the brutal method of being hanged, drawn, and quartered.

This is in stark contrast to what people normally did when they were to be executed in this way. What actually happened to specific people while being hung, drawn, and quartered varied greatly depending on the individual and potentially their willingness to repent their crimes. It also changed somewhat with time. A typical execution of this type more or less went like so, though: first, an individual would be lashed to a board and then drawn through the streets to their execution location. During this time, the prisoner may or may not be accosted by people in the streets, depending on their popularity. Because of this, some wouldn’t actually survive to the more gruesome parts of this method of execution and many arrived near death. Once there, they would be hung, but not generally to the point that they’d die, though it did sometimes happen. If the executioner wanted to be particularly lenient, they tended to hang them for a long time so they might die or at the least not be conscious later on. If they wanted to be cruel, this portion of the punishment was typically very quick, to make sure the individual was conscious and alive for the next part.

After the hanging, they could be castrated and emasculated, disemboweled, forced to watch their entrails burn, and would sometimes have their heart removed. Again, if the executioner wanted to be merciful, they’d first behead the person before performing these gruesome acts. Their bodies would then be cut into four pieces, which would be displayed around the country. This method of execution was only for men, as it was deemed inappropriate to display a woman’s body in the way it would need to be at certain points of the execution. Instead, they were typically burned at the stake or beheaded when an extreme execution was required. The “hanged, drawn, and quartered” method of execution was ultimately abolished by the Forfeiture Act of 1870 and execution for any act of treason was abolished in the UK by the Crime and Disorder Act of 1998.

In any event, after Harrison’s execution, Thomas Venner took over leadership of the Fifth Monarchy Men and led a revolt against Charles II, that is today often known as “Venner’s Rising”. With this revolt, they were hoping to overthrow Charles II so that “King Jesus” could reign. The group managed a full four day rebellion lasting from January 1 to January 4, 1661. The members of this organization that took direct part in the rebellion numbered just fifty people, with several army veterans among them. They first took a cathedral and fortified themselves, shooting at passersby if they said they supported Charles II. Eventually, they had to retreat from the cathedral and the battle ensued in the streets. Although they numbered just 50, they put up a gallant fight, even at one point forcing a group of 1200 soldiers to have to retreat from them as they fought in the streets.

Their ultimate defeat came when they tried to storm a prison and free the inmates so that they could increase their numbers. They were unsuccessful in this attempt and they slowly lost ground as the fighting drug on. They made their last stand in a tavern where most of the remaining members of the group were killed on the spot. Venner and a few others were finally taken and shortly thereafter were hung, drawn, and quartered. Given that they were unrepentant during these executions, it is thought that their executions were likely to have included the full brutality of this particularly method men had devised to murder one another legally. From here, the group known as the Fifth Monarchy Men soon faded from history, despite once being a very popular and politically influential group.

19 January 1942

The Japanese conquest of Burma during World War II begins.

The BIA formed a provisional government in some areas of the country in the spring of 1942, but there were differences within the Japanese leadership over the future of Burma. While Colonel Suzuki encouraged the Thirty Comrades to form a provisional government, the Japanese military leadership had never formally accepted such a plan. Eventually, the Japanese Army turned to Ba Maw to form a government.

During the war in 1942, the BIA had grown in an uncontrolled manner, and in many districts officials and even criminals appointed themselves to the BIA. It was reorganised as the Burma Defence Army under the Japanese but still headed by Aung San. While the BIA had been an irregular force, the BDA was recruited by selection and trained as a conventional army by Japanese instructors.

Ba Maw was afterwards declared head of state, and his cabinet included both Aung San as War Minister and the Communist leader Thakin Than Tun as Minister of Land and Agriculture as well as the Socialist leaders Thakins Nu and Mya. When the Japanese declared Burma, in theory, independent in 1943, the Burma Defence Army was renamed the Burma National Army.

The flag of the State of Burma, used 1943-5.
It soon became apparent that Japanese promises of independence were merely a sham and that Ba Maw was deceived. As the war turned against the Japanese, they declared Burma a fully sovereign state on 1 August 1943, but this was just another façade. Disillusioned, Aung San began negotiations with Communist leaders Thakin Than Tun and Thakin Soe, and Socialist leaders Ba Swe and Kyaw Nyein which led to the formation of the Anti-Fascist Organisation in August 1944 at a secret meeting of the CPB, the PRP and the BNA in Pegu. The AFO was later renamed the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League, and roundly opposed the Japanese fascism, proposing a fairer and more equal society.

Thakins Than Tun and Soe, while in Insein prison in July 1941, had co-authored the Insein Manifesto which, against the prevailing opinion in the Dobama movement, identified world fascism as the main enemy in the coming war and called for temporary co-operation with the British in a broad allied coalition which should include the Soviet Union. Soe had already gone underground to organise resistance against the Japanese occupation, and Than Tun was able to pass on Japanese intelligence to Soe, while other Communist leaders Thakins Thein Pe and Tin Shwe made contact with the exiled colonial government in Simla, India.

19 January 1977

Tokyo Rose is pardoned by President Gerald Ford.

On this day in 1977, President Gerald Ford pardoned “Tokyo Rose,” who had broadcast pop tunes during World War II. Although the nickname was a catchall for propaganda broadcasts, it became synonymous with Iva Toguri, an American-born citizen of Japanese descent.

Toguri graduated from UCLA in 1940. When an elderly aunt fell ill, she went to Japan to help care for her, leaving Los Angeles with only an identification card. When war threatened, Toguri sought a passport from the U.S. vice counsel in Japan, but the State Department had not acted on her request by the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.
After the Japanese surrendered in 1945, Toguri asserted that she was forced into her role by the authorities. She said she broadcast only light musical fare even as she smuggled food and medicine to the Allied prisoners of war. Nevertheless, Toguri was branded as a traitor for having aired such songs as “My Resistance Is Low.”

Toguri was detained for a year by the U.S. military occupiers before being released for lack of evidence. In 1948, however, she was charged by federal prosecutors with having committed treason for “adhering to, and giving aid and comfort to, the Imperial Government of Japan.” After a long trial, a San Francisco jury found her guilty of “speak into a microphone concerning the loss of ships.” She was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and fined $10,000.
She was released early in 1956 for good behavior.