Friday, March 13, 2009

Today In History: Why wasn't I told of this?

On this date in 1921, an Austrian-born German noble who grew up in Estonia, served as an officer in the Czar's army, and led Cossack cavalry for the White army during the civil war, declared himself Khan of Mongolia. He made piles of skulls, acted suitably crazy, and was defeated and executed by the Bolsheviks.

Jeebus, does history get any better than this? Why has someone not made a movie?

13 comments:

staghounds said...

I have "Beasts, Men And Gods", if you'd care to borrow it?

Bram said...

What a kook! I love this guy.

staghounds said...

Hold hard, Gutenberg has it.

VFTP post will be temporarily interrupted during a temporary visit to Mongolia in 1921...

Anonymous said...

My professors in Uralic and Altaic Studies at IU used to wet themselves when von Sternberg was mentioned. Definitely faculty lounge kryptonite.

I'm guessing no movie because: 1. he was as mad as a hatter, 2. the whole killing Jews thing. Tough sell in Hollywood.

Shootin' Buddy

Tam said...

Yeah, but the commies win in the end. You'd think Hollywood would eat it up!

Chas S. Clifton said...

That guy ... and the Czech Legion's mad train trip across Siberia (including a naval battle on Lake Baikal) ... and the craziness with British spies and commissars down around the Caspian Sea ... and more led me to formulate a literary law, viz.: you cannot make up anything about the Russian Civil War that is crazier than what actually happened.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

"Setting the East Ablaze" by Peter Hopkirk has a lengthy section devoted to Ungern-Sternberg. A wonderful reminder that deep down we really are killer apes with a spark of the divine (my gloss on Heinlein).

Once he shipped a trainload of dead commissars to Moscow with a bill of lading labeled "Fresh Meat."

Vaarok said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Storm_(PC)

He was a badass enemy in 1964. I have fond memories of mowing down hordes of Russo-Mongolian storm-pioneers in the bombed-out ruins of the Wolfenburg Line...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9goE2G9dvw

bob said...

He looks a little like Vigo Mortensen, doesn't he?

Stretch said...

I second Cossack in a Kilt recommendation of Peter Hopkirk's books. Nothing Hollywood has ever devised could beat what The Great Game has given us. And Hopkirk tells those stories better than anyone (except George McDonald Fraser).

LabRat said...

This book was sitting on Steve's shelf when I went down to visit him: The Bloody White Baron

I read the synopsis- this story- but didn't ask him how the book was...

Timmeehh said...

That's NOTHING! On December 14th, 1997 Leonardo DiCaprio declared himself to be "King of the World".

He's been acting bat-shit crazy ever since :P

staghounds said...

"You cannot make up anything about the Russian Civil War that is crazier than what actually happened."

Like, finding the bodies of the Tsar and family 70 years after the event- and then balistically matching a specific gun to the bullets in them!

I also recommend "Kolchak's Gold", by Brian Garfield. A pretty good suspense novel, and very evocative of the Siberian madness.