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Old 04-08-2011, 06:24 AM   #76
Wamy Einehouse
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Re: The Second World War

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Originally Posted by Gullanian View Post
Are infants/children/teenagers also responsible? OK to bomb them?

Disabled people?

Where do you draw the line at who as responsible. Did they all share equal responsibilities?

It's absurd to hold the entire population accountable, and justify their violent ends by holding people responsible who are not even recognised in their society as fully independent entities.

It's also absurd to hold people accountable for the actions of one of the most evil men the world has ever seen, who used violent and repressive political tools to further his cause.#

I also completely understand and empathise with families who didn't want to sacrifice their lives by 'standing up against Nazism'. This does not mean they are accountable for Nazi actions through their inaction.

A lot of front line German troops were absolutely appalled when they learnt of what was happening to the Jewish population, this is well documented. This goes to show the Nazi motives were not transparent nor easy to determine from an individuals perspective.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:05 PM   #77
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Re: The Second World War

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Originally Posted by Oski View Post
The people of Germany are responsible for Hitler's rise to power. Even those who vote "no" consent to the result by consenting to the voting process.

In any event, the U.S.(for example) and its citizens certainly didn't allow Hitler to gain power and aid him in starting and continuing his war machine.

However U.S. civilians, as a result of the war, were forced to give up their civilian lives and fight to save the Allies. If not for the war, I am sure they would have chosen to do something else with their lives.
Did the Allies do all they could to stop the rise of Hitler? How complicit are the Allies and their civilians? Consider that the WWI Allies imposed extensive reparations on Germany after WWI which helped lead to the economic disaster and environment which lead to the rise in extremism and ultimately Hitler. Consider the passivity of the Allies during Hitlers buildup to the war. If Churchill were prime minister in the late 1930's, would Hitler have been stopped? How complicit is Chamberlain? How complicit are the voters who put Chamberlain in power? Could the United States have done anything?

I'm going to apply your logic further...
By applying your logic, I conclude that the people residing in the WWI Allied nations are responsible for Hitler's rise to power since they did nothing to prevent the conditions leading to extremism in Germany AND they did nothing to stop the late 1930's German aggression. Therefore, all of those people in the Allied nations are not civilians and their pain and suffering in WW2 is justified. All of the people in France and England are guilty due to not standing up and demanding correct political, economic, and military action in the late 1930's to stop Hitler.

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Meanwhile most of Germany is soaking up the propaganda and doing nothing to stop the war and the holocaust - far from it, most are contributing to the industrial machine and positioning themselves for when the war ended.
Do you realize that 3 million German people who spoke against the government were sent to concentration camps? Hitler had to kill his way to ultimate power. Freedom of speech was not allowed. Civil disobedience was not tolerated.

I don't agree with your views on civilians. If you want to justify the allied fire-bombings, I don't think claiming that people are not civilians is a valid argument.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:33 PM   #78
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Re: The Second World War

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Originally Posted by Gullanian View Post
Are infants/children/teenagers also responsible? OK to bomb them?

Disabled people?
I already discussed this. They are not responsible.

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Where do you draw the line at who as responsible. Did they all share equal responsibilities?
Geographical borders is a good start. I think it is much safer to assume that responsible parties are on one side of the border and non responsible parties are on the other. Of course, there will be "innocent" people within the borders, but I guess that is what the problem is all about. The events of the day did not leave us with much time to investigate the day-to-day events of each citizen. There was a war to fight.

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It's absurd to hold the entire population accountable, and justify their violent ends by holding people responsible who are not even recognised in their society as fully independent entities.

It's also absurd to hold people accountable for the actions of one of the most evil men the world has ever seen, who used violent and repressive political tools to further his cause.#
We are not talking about a court of law; we are talking about the extremely grey area that existed during a specific time period, during a specific war, in a specific theater of operation. The primary goal is the end the war. There has been 65 years to debate and reflect on events that took months. Within those few months, there were probably only days or even hours to debate the larger picture and such was done without the luxury of the information that is available to us today. A group of people responding to an atrocity started by another group of people and facing direct hostilities were forced to make decisions about how to end it. I am sure they were quite concerned with collateral damage issues, but at some point, such had to be less of a consideration compared to winning the war and protecting their own civilians.

The Allieds bombed day and night for months looking for military targets. Lo and behold! even after conducting such operations, the Nazi war machine was still operating and fighting. Where was the materiel coming from? I suppose Churchill should have sent Hitler a telegraph asking where they should send their bombs to that they could wipe out military production and not harm any civilians. Well, that didn't happen and the scope of bombing operations expanded.

Of course, one must not overlook the troubling issue of the Nazi rocket program and the promised destruction of greater London. Despite all the bombing, the Nazis were still able to unveil the V2 with more destructive weapons promised. You think that wasn't a big concern? Do you think it would have made a big difference in the war if the Nazi's perfected their missiles and developed nuclear weapons? Even on a lesser note, what if the Nazi jet-fighters had been completed as planned? The delay of this program associated with Allied bombing was very important as there was no real answer to what the Nazis could do with jet fighters. Fortunately, it was too late for them to do anything at that point.

At some point the question answered itself: this war was heading for an expansion to civilian targets as Hitler was obsessed with destroying London. The only way to prevent that is to end the war. If I had to choose between protecting my civilians as opposed to "theirs" its an easy choice. As far as who is responsible, the aggressor is. They held the keys to freedom the whole time if they would end the war.


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I also completely understand and empathise with families who didn't want to sacrifice their lives by 'standing up against Nazism'. This does not mean they are accountable for Nazi actions through their inaction.
But they are certainly less deserving of sympathy than Allied "civilians" that were forced to become soldiers to save the world (and I suppose the very people you are defending at the moment). Why should these civilians have to give up their lives to "stand up to Nazism" when its not even their own country or continent?

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A lot of front line German troops were absolutely appalled when they learnt of what was happening to the Jewish population, this is well documented. This goes to show the Nazi motives were not transparent nor easy to determine from an individuals perspective.
Isn't that nice? Appalled! I say Appalled! "Yeah, I'm a German front line soldier and I had no idea we were doing bad things back there! They told us we were only going to be destroying other countries and their civilians. I am shocked this is happening. I mean, yes, they aren't really people and they did ruin German until Hitler saved it, but isn't this a little much?"

By the way, I suppose front line troops were well out of the way of having ashes from the camp incenerators dumped on them day after day. German "civilians" had no idea what those layers of ash on their towns were. Probably just thought it was from a Polish volcano.

Last edited by Oski; 04-08-2011 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:43 PM   #79
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Re: The Second World War

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Originally Posted by donk007 View Post
Did the Allies do all they could to stop the rise of Hitler? How complicit are the Allies and their civilians? Consider that the WWI Allies imposed extensive reparations on Germany after WWI which helped lead to the economic disaster and environment which lead to the rise in extremism and ultimately Hitler. Consider the passivity of the Allies during Hitlers buildup to the war. If Churchill were prime minister in the late 1930's, would Hitler have been stopped? How complicit is Chamberlain? How complicit are the voters who put Chamberlain in power? Could the United States have done anything?

I'm going to apply your logic further...
By applying your logic, I conclude that the people residing in the WWI Allied nations are responsible for Hitler's rise to power since they did nothing to prevent the conditions leading to extremism in Germany AND they did nothing to stop the late 1930's German aggression. Therefore, all of those people in the Allied nations are not civilians and their pain and suffering in WW2 is justified. All of the people in France and England are guilty due to not standing up and demanding correct political, economic, and military action in the late 1930's to stop Hitler.



Do you realize that 3 million German people who spoke against the government were sent to concentration camps? Hitler had to kill his way to ultimate power. Freedom of speech was not allowed. Civil disobedience was not tolerated.

I don't agree with your views on civilians. If you want to justify the allied fire-bombings, I don't think claiming that people are not civilians is a valid argument.
I didn't say this. I said what consitutes a civilian for the purposes of WWII demands discussion. That is what I am doing. My position is that it is not such an easy distinction and decisions concerning "civilian targets" are therefore not cut-and-dried.

As far as where moral blame goes, if any, I am less inclined to be sympathetic to German "civilians" than those from other countries for the reasons I have stated before.

If we want to accept your point that the endless extension of my idea of responsibility means we are all responsible and therefore there are no civilians, then there was nothing wrong with firebombing as everything was military target. Of course, by that example, you can see that is obviously not what I was arguing.

As far as extending my sympathies to "victims" I have no problem ordering their importance. The citizens of Germany, as a whole, are far down my list. Of course, we like to look at war as it is fought in more recent times, where we can Google an address and sent a missile down the chimney within 30 seconds. Indeed, these days, we are more fighting certain people within other borders as opposed to the entire country.

In WWII we were pretty much fighting the entire country. There was no time or resources to completely segregate the good with the bad.

Last edited by Oski; 04-08-2011 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:12 PM   #80
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Re: The Second World War

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Geographical borders is a good start.
It really isn't. It wasn't so easy to travel back then. There were also considerably strong economic and social influences that stopped migration. A mass exodus wouldn't have been tolerated by the Nazi regime either.

What about the Germans in the East? Do you expect them to migrate to Russia, where these two countries despised each other with a grossly violent hate fuelled by years of relentless propaganda and polarisation of political ideals? How about the West? What if these families couldn't afford to leave? Germany had recently had a huge recession. People didn't have money.

What about occupied countries? Poland was occupied, and some families existing in that country didn't put up a fight. Ok to bomb them? They are potential tools that could be utilised by the German war machine.

There might be a cottage industry of wives being forced to knit woolen socks for the German army in Poland perhaps. Knit those socks for our army or we shoot you. So they knit the socks. Now we can bomb them because they are helping the German army? What the hell are these people meant to do? If I was ordered to make bullets in a factory or my family would be executed, I can't really see any choice there for myself.

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We are not talking about a court of law; we are talking about the extremely grey area that existed during a specific time period, during a specific war, in a specific theater of operation. The primary goal is the end the war.
My favourite related quote is:

"War is the suspension of morality for the greater good".

Of course the primary objective is to win. No one is disputing that. But from what I've read, I don't think that it was a strategic necessity to do so at that stage in the war. In any case, not at the vast cost of entire populations.

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Originally Posted by Oski View Post
Of course, one must not overlook the troubling issue of the Nazi rocket program and the promised destruction of greater London. Despite all the bombing, the Nazis were still able to unveil the V2 with more destructive weapons promised. You think that wasn't a big concern? Do you think it would have made a big difference in the war if the Nazi's perfected their missiles and developed nuclear weapons?
I'm pretty sure the Allies knew that Germany had no Nuclear capability. There were a lot of special forces sabotage missions that attacked the hard water plants. I think the Allies were satisfied this was not a realistic threat at that stage and their intelligence was very well informed.

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Originally Posted by Oski View Post
At some point the question answered itself: this war was heading for an expansion to civilian targets as Hitler was obsessed with destroying London. The only way to prevent that is to end the war. If I had to choose between protecting my civilians as opposed to "theirs" its an easy choice.
But that wasn't a choice. If it was a forced choice, I agree. But, Germany had killed a lot of our civilian population, which had at that point pretty much ceased apart from sporadic long range rockets. Attacking their civilian population served very little purpose. It was not done to protect the Allied civilian populations.

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As far as who is responsible, the aggressor is. They held the keys to freedom the whole time if they would end the war.
You are definitely underestimating how hard it is for a civilian population to stop such a ravid aggressor as Hitler was. A lot of these civilians wanted the war to end. They held no such keys. They were trapped in it.

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Isn't that nice? Appalled! I say Appalled! "Yeah, I'm a German front line soldier and I had no idea we were doing bad things back there! They told us we were only going to be destroying other countries and their civilians. I am shocked this is happening. I mean, yes, they aren't really people and they did ruin German until Hitler saved it, but isn't this a little much?"
No not at all, I suggest you read some more books about front line combat from the German point of view. I can recommend you some books on this that articulate the sentiment a lot better than I if you wish. There was a strong sense of 'honest combat' and chivalry to some degree amongst a lot of front line German units. They truly were appalled and dismayed and ashamed when they learnt what had actually been going on in their country.

You are also underestimating the power of propaganda and economic/social influences on these people. You have also repeatedly generalised vast swathes of population without taking much else into account except blame.

Your posts were really difficult to respond to, you raised a ton of issues and it's running the risk of branching into too many threads to handle.
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Old 04-08-2011, 03:17 PM   #81
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Re: The Second World War

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Originally Posted by Gullanian View Post
It really isn't. It wasn't so easy to travel back then. There were also considerably strong economic and social influences that stopped migration. A mass exodus wouldn't have been tolerated by the Nazi regime either.

What about the Germans in the East? Do you expect them to migrate to Russia, where these two countries despised each other with a grossly violent hate fuelled by years of relentless propaganda and polarisation of political ideals? How about the West? What if these families couldn't afford to leave? Germany had recently had a huge recession. People didn't have money.
You are missing my point. Almost entirely. If one were to task themselves for looking for responsible parties, they should start inside the borders of Germany, not outside. As I clearly stated after that, from this point forward is where the issue becomes complicated. As I said, that is a mere starting point. You are expanding the argument to something that is not being argued.

The issue I raise is that what constitutes a "civilian" in WWII is not so cut and dried, yet, you continue to argue bright-line definitions. Your statements are true in a vacume, but do not really hold up within the context of the broader issues posed by the war.

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What about occupied countries? Poland was occupied, and some families existing in that country didn't put up a fight. Ok to bomb them? They are potential tools that could be utilised by the German war machine.

There might be a cottage industry of wives being forced to knit woolen socks for the German army in Poland perhaps. Knit those socks for our army or we shoot you. So they knit the socks. Now we can bomb them because they are helping the German army? What the hell are these people meant to do? If I was ordered to make bullets in a factory or my family would be executed, I can't really see any choice there for myself.
What about them? Why do you think this is part of my argument? It's not. However, it is easy to provide such examples to avoid the difficult issue at hand.

To play along, I would submit that if bombing Poland would have been considered an expedient means to further the end of the war, I think it may be justified. However, that simply was not a consideration because it would not have had any such effect (which was obvious).


Quote:
My favourite related quote is:

"War is the suspension of morality for the greater good".

Of course the primary objective is to win. No one is disputing that. But from what I've read, I don't think that it was a strategic necessity to do so at that stage in the war. In any case, not at the vast cost of entire populations.
Again, the issue is motives and intent. It may be easy over time to build a case that bombing Dresden and other cities was not a "strategic necessity." Given what was known at the time and the situation thrust onto the Allies by the Germans, choices had to be made under duress and without perfect information. I think it was understood that a lot of innocent people would perish by these operations, but it was deemed a necessary cost to eradicating the non-innocent people.

My broader point is that assuming innnocent people were affected by this is that who is truely responsible. I put it on the Germans. Even if you draw the scope of "civilian" as broadly as the "simple" definition set forth above, I still order my sympathies for the German "civilian" much lower than that of non-aggressor countries.


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I'm pretty sure the Allies knew that Germany had no Nuclear capability. There were a lot of special forces sabotage missions that attacked the hard water plants. I think the Allies were satisfied this was not a realistic threat at that stage and their intelligence was very well informed.

But that wasn't a choice. If it was a forced choice, I agree. But, Germany had killed a lot of our civilian population, which had at that point pretty much ceased apart from sporadic long range rockets. Attacking their civilian population served very little purpose. It was not done to protect the Allied civilian populations.
The first point may be true (especially with hindsight) the second is most certainly not. Hilter was hell-bent on destroying London and was pouring resources in the V-2 rocket program. When these weapons were unleashed, it took terror to a new level. Fortunately for the Allieds, it was a case of too little to late. I don't suppose all those bombing raids had something to do with it,? In any event, the V-2 promised a new level of fighting that the Allieds were not presently equipped to handle.

The Nazi's didn't exactly issue a memo to everyone announcing that they didn't have more V-2's to fire at London.

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You are definitely underestimating how hard it is for a civilian population to stop such a ravid aggressor as Hitler was. A lot of these civilians wanted the war to end. They held no such keys. They were trapped in it.
No I'm not. My issue has to do with my ordering of sympathies and defiinition of "innocent civilians." I am certainly not going to assign my sympathies to the German civilians on the same level as those of other countries. What was and was not known about the sympathies of the general population towards its govenment and war was not such an easy issue. However, it wasn't as if the German people were making a concerted effort to reach out to the world asking them to "save us."

For some reason, you have ignored my question about what should be done once most of the "pure" military and industrial targets had been assailed and yet the hostilities continue and the materiel keeps being resupplied. Should the bombing stop even though the war continues? Should the Allies focus on bombing piles of rubble left over from their initial attacks? What is to be done? Is it not a logical conclusion that this "invisible" support of the Nazi army is thus coming from somewhere else? Where? Why didn't Hitler just tell everyone where this was coming from so we could bomb it?


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No not at all, I suggest you read some more books about front line combat from the German point of view. I can recommend you some books on this that articulate the sentiment a lot better than I if you wish. There was a strong sense of 'honest combat' and chivalry to some degree amongst a lot of front line German units. They truly were appalled and dismayed and ashamed when they learnt what had actually been going on in their country.
I suggest you read some books other than those about front line combat from the German point of view. I understand the need to "feel goot" about knowing that all the oppressors were not evil and that they were merely victims of circumstance. I am sure the German front line troops were very courteous as they invaded countries like Poland that had to fight back using calvary units. I am sure the Germans opened doors for the Jewish women as they led them out of their houses and once again as they boarded the train. Honest combat. You bet.

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You are also underestimating the power of propaganda and economic/social influences on these people. You have also repeatedly generalised vast swathes of population without taking much else into account except blame.
Not at all. the propaganda was so effective because they were being told just what they wanted to hear. They were ready for this and were quite receptive to it, or at least purposely ignorant. I believe you underestimate that a monster was created because it satiated what the people longed for. There were deep rooted issues within the German people, it was not all beer drinking and merriment.

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Your posts were really difficult to respond to, you raised a ton of issues and it's running the risk of branching into too many threads to handle.
Probably difficult because you don't really want to address a troubling issue. It is easy to point at a result like the Dresden bombings and say "bad, bad, bad. War atrocity, there was no justification for that. Someone has to answer for these Allied atrocities. On the other hand, please remember, the German people are people too, with feelings and dreams just like you and me ... they were so surprised when they found out about the Holocaust - It pretty much ruined their day."
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:20 PM   #82
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Re: The Second World War

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You're going to have to back that up with evidence as it's a very strong thing to say which I entirely don't believe.
What kind of evidence are you looking for? Incredibly high civilian loses in Russia and Germany? All out propaganda on both sides to "Kill xxxx!" as an oppose to "xxxx soldiers"? Using population on occupied territory for the needs of its own army? Extermination of male population on occupied territory?
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:35 PM   #83
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Re: The Second World War

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That's so wrong on so many levels I don't even know where to start.

First of all, the definition of a civilian is quite simple.
Someone who does not work in military service.




That is an original picture of the ballot paper as people got to vote if Austria will join the German Reich 1938 and means "Do you agree to the German reunification and to the help from our Führer".

The vote wasn't in closed cabins, but in front of armed soldiers who would shoot you on the spot if you voted "nein" which means no.
No wonder 99,73% voted yes. Jews weren't allowed to vote in the first place.

Do you even have the slightest clue about how many assassination attempts were made on Nazi officers, not only Adolf Hitler?
Do you have any idea about how many people were involved in underground movements against the Nazi regime all over Europe?

Obviously not, otherwise you wouldn't make such misanthropic comments.
Apparently, using Austria is a profoundly poor example for your purposes:

Quote:
It was an indescribable witches' sabbath - stormtroopers, lots of them barely out of the schoolroom, with cartridge belts and carbines, the only other evidence of authority being swastika brassards, were marching side by side with police turncoats, men and women shrieking or crying hysterically the name of their leader, embracing the police and dragging them along in the swirling stream of humanity, motor lorries filled with stormtroopers clutching their long-concealed weapons, hooting furiously, trying to make themselves heard above the din, men and women leaping, shouting, and dancing in the light of the smoking torches which soon began to make their appearance, the air filled with a pandemonium of sound in which intermingled screams of: "Down with the Jews! Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! Seig Heil! Perish the Jews!
G.E.R. Gedye describing the aftermath of the Germany/Austria union in Vienna, 1938.

I suppose these people all danced with joy at gunpoint.

As far as the German people proper:

Quote:
Hitler's power in Germany was now absolute; his popularity with the German people overwhelming. He had restored the confidence of a shaken and badly divided nation, wiped out the humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles, pulled Germany out of a paralysing economic depression, and won a succession of territorial conquests without shedding a drop of German blood. That this was accomplished by the complete suppression of civil liberties, the crushing of Leftist political parties, and a vicious policy of ethnic cleansing against the Jews, "was seen by most as at least a price worth paying - by many as positively welcome."
Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1936 - 45; Nemesis

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Old 04-08-2011, 05:31 PM   #84
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Re: The Second World War

He had the most powerful and rich people behind him.All factories supported him through the war, lots of weapons were sold.But i think the the german folks really hated him...he ruled with violence.it's quite interesting though where that hate to the jewish come...there are rumors that the 1 who taught him how to speak, act etc was jewish, who Hitler later killed.as far as i know, when hitler was about 18 yrs old, he drew and wanted to applicate to become an аrtist.and the guy who declined his application was jewish.i can tell it was a huge factor for that hate
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:16 AM   #85
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Re: The Second World War

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He had the most powerful and rich people behind him.All factories supported him through the war, lots of weapons were sold.But i think the the german folks really hated him...he ruled with violence.it's quite interesting though where that hate to the jewish come...there are rumors that the 1 who taught him how to speak, act etc was jewish, who Hitler later killed.as far as i know, when hitler was about 18 yrs old, he drew and wanted to applicate to become an аrtist.and the guy who declined his application was jewish.i can tell it was a huge factor for that hate
The officer who awarded Hitler his Iron Cross First Class in 1918, which he wore for the rest of his life and was awarded despite doubts being raised from other members of the company, was Jewish.
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Old 04-17-2011, 12:31 PM   #86
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Re: The Second World War

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Maybe so, maybe not. In any case, the definition of the term "civilian" for the purposes of a WWII discussion demands discussion. The citizens of Germany and Japan were complicit in starting and maintaining the war.
I'd like to point out that apart from the issues Oski is raising here re: definition of civilians in WWII the Geneva Convention during the war contained almost nothing regarding civilans (only that civilians helping wounded soldiers are not to be harmed, according to Wiki) and that the Convention was amended in 1949 as a direct consequence of the war to include statutes for the protection of civilian persons in time of war.

I also think there were no other treaties regarding this issue - apart from unofficial or implied agreements in the deterrence or mutually assured destruction mould as practised later in the Cold War; see for example the toxic gas discussion in this thread. Of course, apart from that specific case (the poison gas attacks) Germany did not adhere to those or unofficial or implied agreements when they had the air superiority early in the war and used the same tactics as later the Allied forces.
However that is not a sufficient reason for the bombing of german civilians to me but it's understandable and of course it's easy to say as an armchair general/idealist.


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The citizens of Germany were complicit, either directly or indirectly in allowing the holocaust.
Yes, they were - but the Allied commanders did not even know about the holocaust (as far as im aware). This is a poor justification for their actions. As a poker player I'd call it results oriented thinking while wiki says it's outcome bias or historian's fallacy.


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Unless the citizens of Germany and Japan were demonstrating in the streets demanding their governments' capitulation, I don't consider them civilians.

When you are partially responsible for putting a chain of events in motion and you do nothing to stop it once it gets going, you are not innocent. Any real innocent people adversely affected are their responsibility, not that of the parties fighting and losing their own people's lives in order to end the war.
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Not at all. the propaganda was so effective because they were being told just what they wanted to hear. They were ready for this and were quite receptive to it, or at least purposely ignorant. I believe you underestimate that a monster was created because it satiated what the people longed for.
I can't disagree with you on these parts but i'd give the people of Germany/Japan at least a little benefit of the doubt because i myself am pessimistic about what i'd do living under a totalitarian regime.
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Old 05-24-2011, 05:44 PM   #87
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Re: The Second World War

Why did Germany form an alliance with Italy? What was the relative strength of Italy militarily? Did Germany ally for purely geographical strategic reasons? Is there any indication that Germany intended to turn on Italy in the future if they conquered all the enemy Allied countries?
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:51 PM   #88
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Re: The Second World War

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clicked the spoiler to see if it was what i thought it was. when i realized it was just that i quickly scrolled down; that sequence plus some more before and after is on youtube and is still the most grueling thing i've ever seen (and it's only from a movie), no need to watch it or something worse ever again.
Yes; I'm not sqeemish but that scene is just so fukked up: To think it is based on reality makes it almost surreal to me.
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Old 05-24-2011, 08:33 PM   #89
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Re: The Second World War

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Why did Germany form an alliance with Italy? What was the relative strength of Italy militarily? Did Germany ally for purely geographical strategic reasons? Is there any indication that Germany intended to turn on Italy in the future if they conquered all the enemy Allied countries?
Historically, Italy had tried to orient itself more with Central European interests. Prior to WWI, Italy was part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. They decided not to take part in hostilities and then switch sides when it was clear the Entente could give them a better deal, but Britain and France promised more territory than they were willing to deliver after the war, so Italy naturally started gravitating back toward a pro-German stance.

It also helped significantly that Mussolini and Hitler shared broadly similar ideological goals. That factor actually shouldn't be underestimated in this case, especially since both benefited from British and French colonial losses (and the elimination of the USSR), should a war bring that on.
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:16 AM   #90
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Re: The Second World War

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Historically, Italy had tried to orient itself more with Central European interests. Prior to WWI, Italy was part of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. They decided not to take part in hostilities and then switch sides when it was clear the Entente could give them a better deal, but Britain and France promised more territory than they were willing to deliver after the war, so Italy naturally started gravitating back toward a pro-German stance.

It also helped significantly that Mussolini and Hitler shared broadly similar ideological goals. That factor actually shouldn't be underestimated in this case, especially since both benefited from British and French colonial losses (and the elimination of the USSR), should a war bring that on.
Also, for military purposes, Italy provided a barrier from the South and also allowed the Nazis to have friendly ports in the Meditterranean. Italy ultimately helped unhinge Germany, especially when it made the boneheaded decision to invade Greece. This proved to be catestrophic as Germany had to divert troops earmarked for Barbarossa which was delayed by at least 3 months as a result.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:40 PM   #91
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Re: The Second World War

I was told by a man with a degree in history that the Germans executed more of their own men for mistreating(murder,robbery,rape) of civilians of other countries than all of the allies combined. This seems highly unlikely to me. Didn't the Germans encourage their soldiers to brutalize the people they conquered?
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:36 AM   #92
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Re: The Second World War

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I was told by a man with a degree in history that the Germans executed more of their own men for mistreating(murder,robbery,rape) of civilians of other countries than all of the allies combined. This seems highly unlikely to me. Didn't the Germans encourage their soldiers to brutalize the people they conquered?
I think his degree was in "the history of bull****"
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:54 AM   #93
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Re: The Second World War

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I'd like to point out that apart from the issues Oski is raising here re: definition of civilians in WWII the Geneva Convention during the war contained almost nothing regarding civilans (only that civilians helping wounded soldiers are not to be harmed, according to Wiki) and that the Convention was amended in 1949 as a direct consequence of the war to include statutes for the protection of civilian persons in time of war.

I also think there were no other treaties regarding this issue - apart from unofficial or implied agreements in the deterrence or mutually assured destruction mould as practised later in the Cold War; see for example the toxic gas discussion in this thread. Of course, apart from that specific case (the poison gas attacks) Germany did not adhere to those or unofficial or implied agreements when they had the air superiority early in the war and used the same tactics as later the Allied forces.
However that is not a sufficient reason for the bombing of german civilians to me but it's understandable and of course it's easy to say as an armchair general/idealist.


Yes, they were - but the Allied commanders did not even know about the holocaust (as far as im aware). This is a poor justification for their actions. As a poker player I'd call it results oriented thinking while wiki says it's outcome bias or historian's fallacy.


I can't disagree with you on these parts but i'd give the people of Germany/Japan at least a little benefit of the doubt because i myself am pessimistic about what i'd do living under a totalitarian regime.
For some reason, I never saw this post. Well done, and I think your points are compelling. I admit that I was addressing the topic in broad strokes just to draw attention to the issues. As much as my stance appears extreme, I was drawing against what I percieved to be sentiments set in the opposite extreme.

My main objective was to present the idea that a lot of these questions do not compel clear-cut answers. For example, most people are quick to overlook the Doolittle Raid when speaking of tragic WWII events. Indeed, the plan had a direct military objective (make Japan allocate at least some resources to defense) and it was designed to raise the American's spirits. However, as a direct involvement of China coming to the downed bomber crew's aid, Japan retaliated by killing 250,000 Chinese civilians. China's role in the entire event was forced upon them and indeed, it was kept secret from them until the last minute. China had no choice in the matter and was compelled to aid the American crews with disasterous results.

In some respects, that gets a pass because the of p.r. spin and that it seemed like a bona fide, justifiable war action. However, China was not a willing party and they had to suffer.

The fundamental problem is that war presents unique problems and often such problems differ dramatically from war to war, battle to battle. The stated objective is to take all measures to protect your own civilians and soldiers and to end the war as quickly as possible. Everything else flows from that, and often situations present themselves where innocent parties will have to suffer on one side, the other side, or even both sides.

A lot of people take issue with the bombing of Dresden; indeed, the decision to go forward was even much debated among the Allied leaders. In retrospect, the bombing did not achieve anything other than minimal destruction of military targets and considerable destruction of civilian property and lives. There is no getting around that. However, at the time the decision was made, the Allied's hoped it would yield results against military targets and that any collateral damage would force the Germans to realize that defeat was inevitable and to seriously consider alternative and expedient resolutions at least on their Western Front.

The thought that the Germans would succumb in the face of inevitable defeat was not an unsound notion. Indeed, had a number of German generals had their way, after the Allieds established their presence in France, they would have opened the door for a direct, unopposed "quick march" to Berlin. This would have likely kept the Russians out of Germany.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:15 AM   #94
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Re: The Second World War

Living in Canada I get to see a lot of US tv. US television tells the American side of the war. Here are a few interesting Canadian facts that Americans might find interesting. Sources are all Wikipedia.

"The Second World War officially began on September 1, 1939, with the German invasion of Poland. Britain and France declared war on the Nazi Third Reich on September 3, 1939. Seven days later, on September 10, 1939, the Parliament of Canada likewise declared war on Germany....."

The US did not declare war on Japan until Dec. 8,1941 after Pearl Harbor
The US did not declare war on Germany until Dec. 11, 1941 after germany had declare war on the US.

In august 1942 a mostly Canadian force invaded main land Europe (Occupied France) without the US. D day was 6 June 1944.

"The Dieppe Raid, also known as The Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied commanders had been forced to call a retreat. Over 6,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, were supported by large Royal Navy and Royal Air Force contingents...."
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:42 AM   #95
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Re: The Second World War

Dieppe Raid

Incorrect, the US lost 3 men in the Dieppe Raid.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:01 PM   #96
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Re: The Second World War

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Didn't the Germans encourage their soldiers to brutalize the people they conquered?
I think the Soviets were the masters of that.
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Old 07-08-2011, 02:49 PM   #97
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Re: The Second World War

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I think the Soviets were the masters of that.
Germany killed 25 million Soviets. Is a comparison very meaningful after say, 10 million?
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:11 PM   #98
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Re: The Second World War

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Germany killed 25 million Soviets. Is a comparison very meaningful after say, 10 million?
I actually was not referring to the murdering of people, but I accept your point. The Total War strategy was always going to be revenged by the Soviets, but they (Stalins army of rapists) picked on innocent women, young girls, children and elderly women throughout Eastern Europe, some of their victims were Russian women released from concentration camps.
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Old 07-10-2011, 08:27 AM   #99
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Re: The Second World War

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Originally Posted by powder_8s View Post
Living in Canada I get to see a lot of US tv. US television tells the American side of the war. Here are a few interesting Canadian facts that Americans might find interesting. Sources are all Wikipedia.

"The Second World War officially began on September 1, 1939, with the German invasion of Poland. Britain and France declared war on the Nazi Third Reich on September 3, 1939. Seven days later, on September 10, 1939, the Parliament of Canada likewise declared war on Germany....."

The US did not declare war on Japan until Dec. 8,1941 after Pearl Harbor
The US did not declare war on Germany until Dec. 11, 1941 after germany had declare war on the US.

In august 1942 a mostly Canadian force invaded main land Europe (Occupied France) without the US. D day was 6 June 1944.

"The Dieppe Raid, also known as The Battle of Dieppe, Operation Rutter or later on Operation Jubilee, during the Second World War, was an Allied attack on the German-occupied port of Dieppe on the northern coast of France on 19 August 1942. The assault began at 5:00 AM and by 10:50 AM the Allied commanders had been forced to call a retreat. Over 6,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, were supported by large Royal Navy and Royal Air Force contingents...."
Go Canada!!!!
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:58 PM   #100
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Re: The Second World War

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Why did Germany form an alliance with Italy? What was the relative strength of Italy militarily? Did Germany ally for purely geographical strategic reasons? Is there any indication that Germany intended to turn on Italy in the future if they conquered all the enemy Allied countries?
I think the main reasons were to deter Britain and France from preventing German expansionism and also in the event of a war Italy could tie up British and French forces in the Balkans.

This obviously failed. Mainly because Mussolini accepted the Pact Of Steel with little consultation with the Foreign office or the Fascist Grand Council and as a result, Italy was in no shape whatsoever to be waging war. They still had a large amount of soldiers still occupying Abyssinia from the 1935 invasion and some were still fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
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