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Old 04-29-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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That doesn't exactly equal
Actually it does, Herr Streitlustig.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:03 PM
Status: "The Union forever! Down with the traitors." (set 19 days ago)
 
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Originally Posted by Moth View Post
Actually it does, Herr Streitlustig.
Wenn sie es sagen.
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Old 04-29-2011, 09:20 PM
 
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My regards to tony.

Whenever you read history it should remember it was written by the victors.

Interesting to the case is Alexander, Prince of Dohna-Schlobitten (11 December 1899 – 29 October 1997) was a German Junker, soldier, business man and author.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_zu_Dohna-Schlobitten_(1899%E2%80%931997)

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Even though these men were duly uniformed, Dohna was ordered to sign the execution orders. Dohna refused to do so as this would violate the Geneva convention and was dismissed from the Wehrmacht for insubordination. General Anton Dostler, who signed the execution order, was executed after the war.
I doubt Dohna would have refused had the men been caught in civilian clothes.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
The Sovet interpretation of a "trial" was to use their gathered evidence, parade the defendants in front of a judge who would then sentence them to death for their crimes, these trials would include thousands of people from the top to the bottom and the sentences were pre-ordained.
But that's Russian "Modus Operandi" through the centuries, so what was new about it? Russians hasn't been historically known for diligence, painstaking gathering of evidence or cold rational thinking for the most part. Judicial system is not their forte so to speak. Those are "things Western." Russians have tendency to act on impulses - good or bad, so of course "Nuremberg was American invention." And Russians couldn't not to understand that their Allies were going to take over, when they ( Russians) announced a preference for a judicial process. That tells you right there that they were damn sure about their day in court, no matter what.

Quote:
As for "Generalplan Ost" that was used as direct evidence of German crimes against humanity. However, that was only one of 4 charges at Nuremberg, but obviously the most serious.
You can stop right there. Because that's precisely what sets Germans apart from the rest of the war participants. As deadly as the carpet bombings of Dresden/Hamburg were for German civilians, it could still be justified by the fact that those cities were still military objects, and the Allies were trying to prevent the loss of lives of their own soldiers. But what on Earth could justify this kind of killing of civilians on the occupied territories, can you tell me?

http://markhumphrys.com/Bitmaps/ivangorod.jpg

That's precisely where Germans drew the line between themselves and the rest of the civilized world. The disaster that befall on them afterward was of their own making. Had they not acted in the barbaric way they did on the occupied territories of Eastern Europe, the allies would have been probably much more mindful about German civilians. I am pretty sure at least Great Britain would have made sure of that, since Churchill in particular always felt for Germans.

Last edited by erasure; 04-30-2011 at 11:05 AM..
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Old 05-01-2011, 09:08 PM
 
Location: Cupertino, CA
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The execution of General Dostler, December 1, 1945 in Aversa, Italy.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaRWnTRiICY
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:39 PM
 
Location: Turn right at the stop sign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicet4

Quote:

"Even though these men were duly uniformed, Dohna was ordered to sign the execution orders. Dohna refused to do so as this would violate the Geneva convention and was dismissed from the Wehrmacht for insubordination. General Anton Dostler, who signed the execution order, was executed after the war."

I doubt Dohna would have refused had the men been caught in civilian clothes.
Dohna’s role in the incident has always been somewhat puzzling to me given that he was serving as Dostler’s chief intelligence officer, and as such, it makes no real sense that he would be asked to sign an order of execution to begin with. This is not to say that I dispute the fact that Dohna had very strong objections to the executions or the implementation of the “Commando Order” itself, because he most definitely did. His attitude regarding the “Commando Order” was actually quite typical of many high ranking officers within the Wehrmacht, most of whom simply ignored the existence of the order. What made Dohna stand apart from the rest was his willingness to risk punishment by speaking so openly to a superior officer regarding the order.

Where the order to execute the Americans originated was something that was a matter of dispute at Dostler’s trial. The decision to carry out the “Commando Order” was not something that someone in Dostler’s position (a corps commander) would have made on his own accord. Dostler insisted that he ordered his Chief of Staff, Colonel Horst Kraehe, to contact General von Zangen’s Chief of Staff, Colonel Walter Nagel, to determine whether the “Commando Order” was to be enforced in this situation or not. Von Zangen claimed he was not at his headquarters so Colonel Nagel likely contacted Field Marshal Kesselring’s Chief of Staff, General Siegfried Westphal to get further clarification. Again, a decision of this magnitude would not have been left up to a Chief of Staff, so Westphal must have brought it to the attention of Kesselring. Dostler stated that Colonel Kraehe received back confirmation from Colonel Nagel that the Americans were to be executed per the “Commando Order”. Dostler passed this information on to one of his subordinates, Colonel Kurt Almers of the 135th Fortress Brigade, with orders to make the preparations for the executions. Colonel Almers tasked Captain Wilhelm Rehfeld to organize a firing squad and locate an execution and burial site for the Americans.

Dostler attempted to call witnesses to bolster his claims. Unfortunately, those who were in a position to support his defense, either couldn’t or wouldn’t do so. Kesselring and von Zangen not only denied giving orders to execute the Americans, but stated they had no knowledge the event took place until after the fact. The two men who probably could have done the most for Dostler, Colonels Kraehe and Nagel, could not be found. Kraehe had managed to avoid being taken prisoner by the Allies and disappeared. Nagel had not been so lucky and initially found himself sitting in a POW camp. Fortunately for him, he was not correctly identified when he was interned and by the time the mistake was realized, he had escaped. Colonel Almers had also been captured, but after two unsuccessful attempts, he too escaped and was never returned to custody. Captain Rehfeld, the man who led the firing squad, was arrested but the Americans believed he was not the one they were after, so he was released and never charged. One can only wonder if Dostler’s fate would have been different had the witnesses and documents he needed been available to him.

In respect to your point about the issue of being in uniform, according to the Geneva Convention, to receive legal protection as a “prisoner of war”, the person or persons in question must be in a uniform which has “ a fixed distinctive emblem recognisable at a distance”. During Dostler’s trial, the U.S. military admitted that the OSS men were sent on their mission wearing U.S. Army field uniforms devoid of any insignia or markings. Also entered into evidence by his defense counsel were the statements made by the captured OSS men in which they admitted their purpose was to conduct a sabotage operation. The military never directly denied this was true, but would still only say the men were soldiers conducting a “legitimate military operation”.

Since the uniforms the Americans wore lacked “a fixed distinctive emblem recognisable at a distance”, the Germans were not obliged to treat them as prisoners of war and extend Geneva Convention protections to them. Further, their stated goal of sabotage could be construed as “illegitimate warfare” which would make them vulnerable to arbitrary punishment under the right to take reprisals. The Allies had a completely different interpretation of the Hague/Geneva Convention, and Dostler was tried for war crimes at least partially on that basis.
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:42 AM
 
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^^^^Common for experienced soldiers to wear no badges or insignia on the front lines. This is regarding U.S. troops were the rear stripe on the helmet denoted nco or officer and was the only telltale item. Only the shape of the helmet would give away the nationality in poor lighting. I recall readings patrols sent out at night to capture prisoners would discard as much gear as possible and even helmets to lessen movement noise.

Only the Germans still wore both decorations and insignia into battle.

I wonder how the U.S. party in question actually were dressed or was it the location of the capture and the mission confession which decided they were saboteurs which could be executed.

Last edited by Felix C; 05-02-2011 at 09:06 AM..
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:51 AM
Status: "The Union forever! Down with the traitors." (set 19 days ago)
 
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But that's Russian "Modus Operandi" through the centuries, so what was new about it? Russians hasn't been historically known for diligence, painstaking gathering of evidence or cold rational thinking for the most part. Judicial system is not their forte so to speak. Those are "things Western." Russians have tendency to act on impulses - good or bad, so of course "Nuremberg was American invention." And Russians couldn't not to understand that their Allies were going to take over, when they ( Russians) announced a preference for a judicial process. That tells you right there that they were damn sure about their day in court, no matter what.
The Russians in this case had actually done an exhaustive job doumenting the crimes of the Germans. Of course, they still weren't up for anything more than a show trial parading already condemned men in front of the court. As you pointed out "trial" meant something different to each side.

Quote:
You can stop right there. Because that's precisely what sets Germans apart from the rest of the war participants. As deadly as the carpet bombings of Dresden/Hamburg were for German civilians, it could still be justified by the fact that those cities were still military objects, and the Allies were trying to prevent the loss of lives of their own soldiers. But what on Earth could justify this kind of killing of civilians on the occupied territories, can you tell me?

http://markhumphrys.com/Bitmaps/ivangorod.jpg

That's precisely where Germans drew the line between themselves and the rest of the civilized world. The disaster that befall on them afterward was of their own making. Had they not acted in the barbaric way they did on the occupied territories of Eastern Europe, the allies would have been probably much more mindful about German civilians. I am pretty sure at least Great Britain would have made sure of that, since Churchill in particular always felt for Germans.
The acts were certainly barbaric and inexcusable, but similar atrocities happened throughout the war on both sides, the Allies may not have approached the systematic methods used by the Germans (the Soviets certainly did before the war on their own people, but that's a different story), but that doesn't change the fact that bad things were done by both sides. The Russian occupation of Germany was particularly brutal with millions of women gang raped. There are accounts in Dresden that show the Soviets systematically went door-to-door drug the women out to the street, raped them in front of the men in the household and then shot the men before moving on to the next house and repeating. Entire neighbrohoods were wiped out this way. Is the systematic rape and murder of civilians by the Soviets somehow less of a crime than what was done by the Germans?

However, that afterall has been the point all along. Not that the trials were unnecessary or that the Germans are innocent, but that there was an air of hypocrisy surrounding the trial. The Germans were made to pay for their crimes, while the crimes committed by the Allies were ignored or covered up, but such is victor's justice.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:48 PM
 
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The Russians in this case had actually done an exhaustive job documenting the crimes of the Germans. Of course, they still weren't up for anything more than a show trial parading already condemned men in front of the court. As you pointed out "trial" meant something different to each side.
Nevertheless as I've said Russians have agreed on American version of the court and that means they were sure about their case no matter what.

The acts were certainly barbaric and inexcusable, but similar atrocities happened throughout the war on both sides,

See, that's exactly where the history falsification begins.
The atrocities simply couldn't be SIMILAR in their nature, because the Generalplan Ost was the one and only plan, directed at systematic extermination of civil population on occupied land. Russians didn't have such plan - period, therefore they didn't hurdle German women and children in houses, setting them on fire.
As for "millions of women gang raped" by Russians - this is yet another hysteria that has been unleashed lately, 60-something years after the war. (Based on someone's *memories* I assume, and with the same idea of shifting the blame and tweaking the picture, for God knows what purpose, one can only guess.) Of course rapes took place, but not in "millions" because Russian officers had an order to shoot their own marauders at the spot. ( Stalin et al were not fools - they knew they've had to have something more then "warning" to maintain the discipline within their army.)
Treatment of GERMAN POWs in Russia was as well more merciful then treatment that Russian POWs received in the hands of Germans ( this was yet another page of Hitler's crimes.)
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:15 AM
 
Location: Turn right at the stop sign
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Originally Posted by erasure
You can stop right there. Because that's precisely what sets Germans apart from the rest of the war participants. As deadly as the carpet bombings of Dresden/Hamburg were for German civilians, it could still be justified by the fact that those cities were still military objects, and the Allies were trying to prevent the loss of lives of their own soldiers.
In 1942, with Churchill’s approval, British Bomber Command was issued “Directive 22” which called for them to deliberately bomb the residential neighborhoods of at least fifty-eight cities across Germany. As per the directive, the aim was erosion of “the morale of enemy civilian population, in particular industrial workers” and the target of the bombers was to be “built up areas, not for instance, the dockyards or aircraft factories”. Dubbed “de-housing” by British government officials, Churchill told President Roosevelt that the new policy would potentially result in “nine hundred thousand civilians dead, one million seriously injured, and twenty-five million homeless”. This was in keeping with what Churchill had been advocating since July of 1940, which was to launch “absolutely devastating exterminating attack[s] by heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland”. One of the first tests of the strategy took place on March 28/29, 1942 when the RAF launched a largely incendiary bomb attack on the city of Lubeck. This target was chosen specifically because the city center was filled with old, timber framed buildings. British Air Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris stated “The main object of the RAF attack on Lubeck was to learn to what extent a first wave of aircraft could guide a second wave to the aiming point by starting a conflagration….Lubeck was not a vital target”.

The bombing of Hamburg (Operation Gomorrah) from July 24th to August 3rd of 1943 was the first coordinated, joint operation undertaken by the RAF and the U.S. Air Force. The U.S. was to fly daylight, precision bombing raids on industrial targets, while the British conducted “area bombing” of Hamburg at night. As with Lubeck the previous year, the payload of British bombers was weighted heavily on the incendiary side, and the target was the center of the city and the densest areas of population. The resulting firestorm, the first man made one in history, led to the deaths of at least 45,000 people and left approximately 400,000 residents without homes. To put that into perspective, the number of civilians killed in ten days of Allied air raids on Hamburg exceeded the total number of civilians killed in Britain during the course of the entire war.

An analysis undertaken by the United States military to judge the success of the attack on Hamburg, concluded that “neither the area raids directed against entire sections of the city, nor the precision attacks on specific industrial targets, were as effective in disrupting the enemy’s ability to wage war as the destruction of transportation facilities in general throughout the industrial regions of the country”. This finding was bolstered after the war when the Allies were able to research German documents and interview individuals about the impact of Allied bombing on Germany. With the instance of Hamburg, it was discovered that in five months time, industrial output had returned to 80% of its’ pre-bombing levels. As to Germany overall, they learned that instead of breaking the public’s morale, the raids actually stiffened their resolve to fight on. If a worker was “de-housed” or left unemployed by the destruction of his workplace, he did not just stop working, he merely relocated to other cities and other factories. Albert Speer stated that the deliberate nighttime bombing of cities instead of an all out assault on German industry, actually prolonged the war. As he told his interrogators “a bomb load is more effective if it is dropped upon economic targets than if it is expended upon towns and cities”. When the British were finally persuaded to this way of thinking in August 1944 and concentrated more effort on bombing manufacturing and transportation targets, Speer freely admitted the effects on German industrial output were nearly immediate and ultimately crippled the war effort.

Yet even after the British ostensibly switched strategies in August 1944, by November of that same year, 60% of the total tonnage of bombs being dropped by the RAF were falling on German cities. By the end of 1944, nearly every major center of industry in Germany had been destroyed, yet the bombing continued. As 1944 turned into 1945, the target lists for bombers no longer contained the names of cities that were vital to the Germans, but rather just places that the bombers could easily locate and destroy. Wurzburg and Pforzheim are prime examples of this, being that, like Lubeck, they contained a high concentration of medieval structures made chiefly out of wood which would make them perfect targets for incendiary attack.

With respect to Dresden, Winston Churchill is the person that selected it as a target of a critical nature, citing it as a “communication centre” whose destruction would disrupt German operations against the Soviets advancing from the East. The actual orders issued to Bomber Command stated the purpose of the raid was to “cause confusion in the evacuation from the East” and “hamper the movement of troops from the West”. To be clear, the “evacuation” to which the order referred was the thousands of German civilians fleeing from the Russian advance, not retreating German troops. The point was that the bombing would undoubtedly create a panic among the refugees. The sheer mass of people fleeing Dresden would clog the roads to the point where German troops in the West would be unable to move forward to reinforce those fighting in the East. And it was for that exact reason that the British classified these non-combatant refugees as “legitimate military targets” and launched the attack on Dresden.

Given what is known, I don’t think it can honestly be said that the bombing campaign against Germany, at least as far as the British are concerned, was really aimed at only military targets so as to shorten the war and save lives. Rather, it was exactly what the Germans labeled it at the time; “terror bombing”. And should anyone doubt that, they need only look at a statement made by Churchill in the aftermath of the Dresden bombing: “It seems to me that the moment has come when the bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed…The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing”.

When discussing World War Two, many seem tempted to try and make the argument that one side was clearly “good” while the other was “pure evil”, so whatever measures were undertaken to defeat them were wholly justified. Unfortunately, the subject matter is far too complex and layered to approach in such a simplistic, “black and white” manner. But more to the point, in order to stake out the moral high ground with regard to what is and isn’t acceptable when conducting warfare, one really needs to have clean hands in the matter themselves. And I think it is fair to say that in the final analysis, some actions taken by both sides don’t even come close to passing any sort of “white glove” inspection.
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