Thursday, March 26, 2015

Red right returning

Many years ago, my daughter, the one who asked the question “How did Hitler come to power,” asked me what the saying “Red right returning” meant.
What an old convention. The saying was a way of giving a mnemonic device to the way the running lights were arranged on vessels--boats and airplanes.
There are several: the shorter words, red, left and port refer to the left side of a vessel or airplane. The longer words, green, right and starboard refer to the right side of a vessel when viewed from the perspective of the tiller, pilot or the driver.
So, if you see a boat or an airplane coming toward you, it is “red right returning.” Can be valuable to a mariner or aviator.
Pretty valuable if you are in the driver’s seat.
The answer to the first question starting with the Treaty of Versailles and the Weimar Republic is more difficult.
There are a lot of difficult questions, and like so many, the more difficult questions have fewer specific answers.

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