German story (of extreme determination) from NAZI times became a Hollywood movie – Leiningen Versus the Ants


[This is quite a heck of a story that was authored in Germany at the time of Hitler's rule. And its a fictional story of incredible, insane determination. It's quite a strange concept. Jan]

This attractive actress Eleanor Parker started in the movie – from a time when men were men and women were women!!!

Here’s a summary of the story:

Leiningen, the owner of a plantation in the Brazilian rainforest, is warned by the district commissioner that a swarm of ferocious and organised soldier ants is approaching and that he must flee. Unlike his neighbours, Leiningen is not about to give up years of hard work and planning to "an act of God", as he believes in the superiority of the human brain and has already made preparations. He convinces his workers to stay and fight with him.

When the ants reach his estate, Leiningen seals it by filling a moat that surrounds it on three sides, the fourth being a river. The ants attempt to cross over by covering the waters with tree leaves, but he thwarts them repeatedly by emptying then flooding the moat. Eventually, the ants breach that line of defence and the men retreat behind a second moat, this time filled with petrol. Leiningen is able to incinerate several waves of attack, but runs out of petrol when the pumps malfunction.

After days of hard fighting, the ants breach the last defenses, and all seems lost. However, Leiningen realizes that his original principle of canals and damming can be put to use: if he dams the main river itself, the whole plantation will flood, drowning all the ants. He and his men can take refuge in the heights of the manor house on a hill. However, this plan requires reaching the dam, long overrun by the ants.

Leiningen puts on a makeshift protective suit, douses himself with petrol, picks up two spray cans of petrol and runs for the dam — through the ants. He reaches the dam controls and floods the plantation; this means the destruction of his year’s crop, but it will save his men, preserve the contents of his granaries and destroy the menace of the ants. The climax of the story occurs on the return journey when he is knocked down by the ants and almost devoured. Thinking about a stag he had seen the ants devour to the bones, he forces himself to get up. Despite suffering horrible injuries, including ant bites to the inside of his nose and directly below his eyes, Leiningen continues running, reaches the concrete ditch with the blazing petrol and survives. At the story’s end, Leiningen awakes while recovering from his injuries; his final words before going to sleep are: "I told you I would come back, even if I am a bit streamlined."


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