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Old 05-03-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erasure View Post
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.)
Sorry, but you are now the one moving to rewrite history if you are denying the absolute brutality of the Russians in their occupation of Germany. The Russian soldiers were fueled by calls for vengeance against the fascist invaders. They largely turned a blind eye to rape and Stalin himself is quoted as saying that the "soldiers should be allowed to enjoy their frivolities". Through the summer of 1945 rape and murder of civilians was virtually ignored by the Russian commanders. After that some measures were taken to curtail the practice, but it didn't end until 1947-48 when Russian soldiers were finally moved to camps and billets outside the cities, largely because venerial diseases were running rampant in the Red Army diminishing its fighting capacity.

Girls as young as 6 were raped, pregnant women in hospitals, women who had just given birth, nuns, invalids, women liberated from concentration camps, entire groups rounded up and sent into a church only to be gang raped by hundreds of Russian soldiers. Anyone who resisted was killed on site. Women and children literally nailed to walls and tables, Russian soldiers playing soccer with girls heads, babies smashed against walls and floors, newborns bayonetted in their bassinets. Bayonetting pregnant women. The list goes on and on. These are not fabrications, several very prominent historians have written on the matter. The records of the DPRK, contained countless accounts. Even Russian veterans have begun to come forward and admit to what happened, some boasting that 2 million Russians were born in Germany in 1946.

For me, I know it happened because I knew two women who lived through it and eventually escaped to America and became German teachers that I had in high school. One fled from Hungary in front of the advancing Red Army and escaped with her family to Bavaria and the American occupation zone. The other spent weeks hiding in a water tower in Berlin to escape the rape gangs in the city. Her families salvation was when a Soviet officer took up residence in her house, only then did they leave them alone.

Some historians go as far as comparing the occupation of Berlin and Germany to the sack of Rome. Stalin imported his "eastern savages" and set them loose on the Germans in order to gain revenge for the crimes the Germans had committed.

Outside of all that, my guess is that being a German in a Soviet prison camp wasn't any better than being a Soviet prisoner in a German camp. Over a million German POW's were confirmed dead in Soviet camps with another 500,000 or so still unaccounted for and presumed killed in Soviet camps.

I'm sure we can go tit-for-tat on atrocities all day long, but what point would that serve. The scale of German crimes may have been greater, but Soviet atrocities were no less brutal.
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:24 AM
 
14,781 posts, read 38,510,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyT View Post
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.
TonyT, as always thank you for your contribution and detailed explanation. I think your summation is spot on and what we have all been going around in circles discussing.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyT View Post
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.
Thank you for reminding me that unlike Russia that shipped her war production behind the Ural Mountains, Germany's war machine was running at full force all over the place, at each and every city. So obviously we are not talking any longer about your mother-children-olderly civilian kind of population; we are talking about the factory workers in their midst. The very workers, who were essential for German war machine to keep it going. So not only those bombed cities were military target (as in for future infantry battles, where every street could have become a fortress,) but they served the purpose of supplying the ammunition that kept on killing Allies' soldiers.
Less then thirty years earlier Great Britain has already lost 1,5 million soldiers to Germany in ONE DAY, during the deadliest battles ever recorded in history, not mentioning the rest of their losses during the WWI, from which they didn't yet recover. Churchill happened to be an officer during that war. I'm pretty sure he didn't have intention to lose any of his men any longer out of desire to "follow the word of law" - at least not after his own civilian population has been destroyed by German bombs. Apparently Churchill ( out of all people) did understand the grave danger Hitler's Germany represented to his nation and to the rest of the humanity, so the gloves were off. Germany was lethal, Germany was deadly. There was no any "Generalplan" directed at extermination of German civil population per se, there was an intention to stop German war machine ticking, in order to prevent further loss of lives of the Allies. So in no way you can compare barbaric treatment of civil population by Germans and the reason behind it, with the bombardment of German cities by allies, with the purpose of stopping German war machine.
If you still insist on complexity of situation, and that there were no "pure good" and "pure evil" sides in World War II, and if you still feel for Germans, I'd advise you to look in different direction.
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Old 05-04-2011, 07:05 PM
 
19,138 posts, read 15,897,953 times
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"My first question at the Treasury of an international
character was our American debt. At the end of the war, the
European Allies owed the United States about ten thousand
million dollars, of which four thousand million were owed by
Britain. On the other hand, we were owed by the other
Allies, principally by Russia, seven thousand million dollars.
In 1920, Britain had proposed an all-round cancellation of
war debts. This involved, on paper at least, a sacrifice by us
of about seven hundred and fifty million pounds sterling. As
the value of money has halved since then, the figures could
in fact be doubled. No settlement was reached. On August
1, 1922, in Mr. Lloyd George’s day, the Balfour Note had
declared that Great Britain would collect no more from her
debtors, Ally or former enemy, than the United States
collected from her. This was a worthy statement. In
December of 1922, a British delegation, under Government,
visited Washington; and as the result Britain agreed to pay
the whole of her war debt to the United States at a rate of
interest reduced from five to three and one-half per cent,
irrespective of receipts from her debtors.

This agreement caused deep concern in many instructed
quarters, and to no one more than the Prime Minister
quarters, and to no one more than the Prime Minister
himself. It imposed upon Great Britain, much impoverished
by the war in which, as she was to do once again, she had
fought from the first day to the last, the payment of thirty-
five millions sterling a year for sixty-two years. The basis of
this agreement was considered, not only in this island, but
by many disinterested financial authorities in America, to be
a severe and improvident condition for both borrower and
lender. “They hired the money, didn’t they?” said President
Coolidge. This laconic statement was true, but not
exhaustive. Payments between countries which take the
form of the transfer of goods and services, or still more of
their fruitful exchange, are not only just but beneficial.
Payments which are only the arbitrary, artificial transmission
across the exchange of such very large sums as arise in
war finance cannot fail to derange the whole process of
world economy. This is equally true whether the payments
are exacted from an ally who shared the victory and bore
much of the brunt or from a defeated enemy nation. The
enforcement of the Baldwin-Coolidge debt settlement is a
recognisable factor in the economic collapse which was
presently to overwhelm the world, to prevent its recovery
and inflame its hatreds.
The service of the American debt was particularly difficult to
render to a country which had newly raised its tariffs to
even higher limits, and had already buried in its vaults
nearly all the gold yet dug up. Similar but lighter settlements
were imposed upon the other European Allies. The first
result was that everyone put the screw on Germany. I was
in full accord with the policy of the Balfour Note of 1922,
and had argued for it at the time; and when I became
Chancellor of the Exchequer I reiterated it, and acted
accordingly. I thought that if Great Britain were thus made
not only the debtor, but the debt-collector of the United
States, the unwisdom of the debt collection would become
apparent at Washington. However, no such reaction
followed. Indeed the argument was resented. The United
States continued to insist upon its annual repayments from
Great Britain.
It, therefore, fell to me to make settlements with all our
Allies which, added to the German payments which we had
already scaled down, would enable us to produce the thirty-
five millions annually for the American Treasury. Severest
pressure was put upon Germany, and a vexatious régime
of international control of German internal affairs was
imposed. The United States received from England three
payments in full, and these were extorted from Germany by
indemnities on the modified Dawes scale."

W. Churchill "The Gathering Storm."
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:04 PM
 
19,138 posts, read 15,897,953 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Sorry, but you are now the one moving to rewrite history if you are denying the absolute brutality of the Russians in their occupation of Germany. The Russian soldiers were fueled by calls for vengeance against the fascist invaders. They largely turned a blind eye to rape and Stalin himself is quoted as saying that the "soldiers should be allowed to enjoy their frivolities". Through the summer of 1945 rape and murder of civilians was virtually ignored by the Russian commanders. After that some measures were taken to curtail the practice, but it didn't end until 1947-48 when Russian soldiers were finally moved to camps and billets outside the cities, largely because venerial diseases were running rampant in the Red Army diminishing its fighting capacity.

Girls as young as 6 were raped, pregnant women in hospitals, women who had just given birth, nuns, invalids, women liberated from concentration camps, entire groups rounded up and sent into a church only to be gang raped by hundreds of Russian soldiers. Anyone who resisted was killed on site. Women and children literally nailed to walls and tables, Russian soldiers playing soccer with girls heads, babies smashed against walls and floors, newborns bayonetted in their bassinets. Bayonetting pregnant women. The list goes on and on. These are not fabrications, several very prominent historians have written on the matter. The records of the DPRK, contained countless accounts. Even Russian veterans have begun to come forward and admit to what happened, some boasting that 2 million Russians were born in Germany in 1946.

For me, I know it happened because I knew two women who lived through it and eventually escaped to America and became German teachers that I had in high school. One fled from Hungary in front of the advancing Red Army and escaped with her family to Bavaria and the American occupation zone. The other spent weeks hiding in a water tower in Berlin to escape the rape gangs in the city. Her families salvation was when a Soviet officer took up residence in her house, only then did they leave them alone.

Some historians go as far as comparing the occupation of Berlin and Germany to the sack of Rome. Stalin imported his "eastern savages" and set them loose on the Germans in order to gain revenge for the crimes the Germans had committed.

Outside of all that, my guess is that being a German in a Soviet prison camp wasn't any better than being a Soviet prisoner in a German camp. Over a million German POW's were confirmed dead in Soviet camps with another 500,000 or so still unaccounted for and presumed killed in Soviet camps.

I'm sure we can go tit-for-tat on atrocities all day long, but what point would that serve. The scale of German crimes may have been greater, but Soviet atrocities were no less brutal.
All right, let me start from the second part of your post - it will be easier.

Quote:
Outside of all that, my guess is that being a German in a Soviet prison camp wasn't any better than being a Soviet prisoner in a German camp. Over a million German POW's were confirmed dead in Soviet camps with another 500,000 or so still unaccounted for and presumed killed in Soviet camps.
Your guess is incorrect. Go over the the basic information on this subject in Wikipedia
Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
particularly paying attention at such facts as
Between 140,000 and 500,000 Soviet prisoners of war died or were executed in Nazi concentration camps,[11] most of them by shooting or gassing. Some were also experimented on; in one such case, a Dr. Heinrich Berning from Hamburg University starved prisoners to death while performing "famine experiments";[22][23] in another, prisoners were shot using dum-dum bullets.[24][25][26]

# Gross-Rosen concentration camp: 65,000 Soviet POWs were killed by feeding them only a thin soup of grass, water, and salt for six months.[11]

So no matter what destiny befall Germans in Russian camps, it was definitely nothing what's described here, for a simple reason that Russians DID NOT have any "GeneralWest" plan for Germans. They've used them for hard labor in the country that was laying in ruins and where population was often starving as well, hence such high number of deaths. I've heard a story when Soviet officer was sentenced to a prison term for directing a truckload of bread that was intended for German POW camp to a nearby village, where people were starving.
May be the author of this book who made it through Russian camps described it well enough.
Amazon.com: Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949 (9780440215264): Siegfried Knappe, Ted Brusaw: Books

Now about the first part of your post.

Quote:
The Russian soldiers were fueled by calls for vengeance against the fascist invaders. They largely turned a blind eye to rape and Stalin himself is quoted as saying that the "soldiers should be allowed to enjoy their frivolities". Through the summer of 1945 rape and murder of civilians was virtually ignored by the Russian commanders.
You are probably talking about Russian soldiers in terms of American Army, that never had occupation on its own land, or about some hypothetical army, that showed up out of nowhere, and needed to be "fueled by calls for vengeance." Remember that a lot of Russian soldiers that were marching on Berlin were passing through the former occupied territories of their country first. After everything they saw with their own eyes and heard from survivors of those occupied territories, they didn't need any "calls for vengeance." It was a human factor, that simply couldn't not to be taken in consideration and dealt with by Russian superiors. Since I don't quite believe your accounts, such as "Women and children literally nailed to walls and tables, Russian soldiers playing soccer with girls heads babies smashed against walls and floors," and so on, ( who knows - anyone can come up with stories 60 years later, plus it can be quoted material from some "Storm Front" site or other garbage,") so I'd rather deal with more reputable sources, may be something like this
Stalin's army of rapists: The brutal war crime that Russia and Germany tried to ignore | Mail Online
Even here it states very clearly:
"The historian Chris Bellamy believes that although there are no surviving written records to prove it, 'the hideous spectre of multiple rape was not only condoned, but, we can be pretty sure, legally sanctioned by the political officers speaking for the Soviet government'."

There are no proven records ( unlike in Russian case,) only someone's "memories" and "witnessing" and according to your own words ( quoting one of your acquaintances) "Her families salvation was when a Soviet officer took up residence in her house, only then did they leave them alone."
That should tell you right there, that initially it was not a desire of Russian higher echelon of commandment to "call for vengeance" on the occupied territories, but they rather understood the unavoidable, knowing the horrors their soldiers (many of them yesterday's villagers) saw in their own land.
And even though as I've said earlier that the disaster that befall Germans was of their own making, they still didn't get the worst, comparably to what they've put Russian civilians through. Only if for a simple reason that Russians with all their alleged brutality didn't have extermination of Germans in mind. The next 40 years of their co-existence with Eastern Germany proved just that.
So sorry, there is not much to blame Russians for during WWII, comparably to Germans; did I mention - disaster of their own making?
I think I did.
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Old 05-05-2011, 09:24 AM
 
14,781 posts, read 38,510,710 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erasure View Post
Thank you for reminding me that unlike Russia that shipped her war production behind the Ural Mountains, Germany's war machine was running at full force all over the place, at each and every city. So obviously we are not talking any longer about your mother-children-olderly civilian kind of population; we are talking about the factory workers in their midst. The very workers, who were essential for German war machine to keep it going. So not only those bombed cities were military target (as in for future infantry battles, where every street could have become a fortress,) but they served the purpose of supplying the ammunition that kept on killing Allies' soldiers.
Less then thirty years earlier Great Britain has already lost 1,5 million soldiers to Germany in ONE DAY, during the deadliest battles ever recorded in history, not mentioning the rest of their losses during the WWI, from which they didn't yet recover. Churchill happened to be an officer during that war. I'm pretty sure he didn't have intention to lose any of his men any longer out of desire to "follow the word of law" - at least not after his own civilian population has been destroyed by German bombs. Apparently Churchill ( out of all people) did understand the grave danger Hitler's Germany represented to his nation and to the rest of the humanity, so the gloves were off. Germany was lethal, Germany was deadly. There was no any "Generalplan" directed at extermination of German civil population per se, there was an intention to stop German war machine ticking, in order to prevent further loss of lives of the Allies. So in no way you can compare barbaric treatment of civil population by Germans and the reason behind it, with the bombardment of German cities by allies, with the purpose of stopping German war machine.
If you still insist on complexity of situation, and that there were no "pure good" and "pure evil" sides in World War II, and if you still feel for Germans, I'd advise you to look in different direction.
I thought TonyT's summation gave pretty strong evidence that the Allied bombing did directly, by plan aka "Directive 22", target the destruction of the civilian population. You can't justify it through the lens that these people were all factory workers fueling the German war machine, anymore than someone could justify the extermination of civilian populations by Germany as "counter-partisan" efforts. Plain and simple, the Allies planned direct attacks against German civilians.

Based on your last sentence, I assume that you have no room for historical review and critique of what happened. For you there is only good and evil, black and white, no gray areas. That is counter to what any logical discussion of history warrants. History is nothing but gray.
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:06 AM
 
14,781 posts, read 38,510,710 times
Reputation: 14496
Quote:
Your guess is incorrect. Go over the the basic information on this subject in Wikipedia
Nazi crimes against Soviet POWs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
particularly paying attention at such facts as
Between 140,000 and 500,000 Soviet prisoners of war died or were executed in Nazi concentration camps,[11] most of them by shooting or gassing. Some were also experimented on; in one such case, a Dr. Heinrich Berning from Hamburg University starved prisoners to death while performing "famine experiments";[22][23] in another, prisoners were shot using dum-dum bullets.[24][25][26]

# Gross-Rosen concentration camp: 65,000 Soviet POWs were killed by feeding them only a thin soup of grass, water, and salt for six months.[11]

So no matter what destiny befall Germans in Russian camps, it was definitely nothing what's described here, for a simple reason that Russians DID NOT have any "GeneralWest" plan for Germans. They've used them for hard labor in the country that was laying in ruins and where population was often starving as well, hence such high number of deaths. I've heard a story when Soviet officer was sentenced to a prison term for directing a truckload of bread that was intended for German POW camp to a nearby village, where people were starving.
May be the author of this book who made it through Russian camps described it well enough.
Amazon.com: Soldat: Reflections of a German Soldier, 1936-1949 (9780440215264): Siegfried Knappe, Ted Brusaw: Books
Did I ever say that German treatment of Soviet POW's was good, or justified? No. I said that the conditions facing the German's in Soviet camps weren't exactly great either. Estimates state as many as 2.2 - 3.3 million German soldiers and over 341k civilians were taken as forced labor in the Soviet Union. Estimates for death range from 363k - 1.3 million soldiers plus 67k civilians. Being held as slave labor, starved and exposed to the elements isn't exactly a wonderful fate. Not that conditions in Western Allied camps, particularly French ones, were dramatically better in all cases.

Quote:
You are probably talking about Russian soldiers in terms of American Army, that never had occupation on its own land, or about some hypothetical army, that showed up out of nowhere, and needed to be "fueled by calls for vengeance." Remember that a lot of Russian soldiers that were marching on Berlin were passing through the former occupied territories of their country first. After everything they saw with their own eyes and heard from survivors of those occupied territories, they didn't need any "calls for vengeance." It was a human factor, that simply couldn't not to be taken in consideration and dealt with by Russian superiors. Since I don't quite believe your accounts, such as "Women and children literally nailed to walls and tables, Russian soldiers playing soccer with girls heads babies smashed against walls and floors," and so on, ( who knows - anyone can come up with stories 60 years later, plus it can be quoted material from some "Storm Front" site or other garbage,") so I'd rather deal with more reputable sources, may be something like this
Stalin's army of rapists: The brutal war crime that Russia and Germany tried to ignore | Mail Online
Even here it states very clearly:
"The historian Chris Bellamy believes that although there are no surviving written records to prove it, 'the hideous spectre of multiple rape was not only condoned, but, we can be pretty sure, legally sanctioned by the political officers speaking for the Soviet government'."

There are no proven records ( unlike in Russian case,) only someone's "memories" and "witnessing" and according to your own words ( quoting one of your acquaintances) "Her families salvation was when a Soviet officer took up residence in her house, only then did they leave them alone."
That should tell you right there, that initially it was not a desire of Russian higher echelon of commandment to "call for vengeance" on the occupied territories, but they rather understood the unavoidable, knowing the horrors their soldiers (many of them yesterday's villagers) saw in their own land.
And even though as I've said earlier that the disaster that befall Germans was of their own making, they still didn't get the worst, comparably to what they've put Russian civilians through. Only if for a simple reason that Russians with all their alleged brutality didn't have extermination of Germans in mind. The next 40 years of their co-existence with Eastern Germany proved just that.
So sorry, there is not much to blame Russians for during WWII, comparably to Germans; did I mention - disaster of their own making?
I think I did.
It is obvious that you don't care what the Soviets did to the Germans, it was justified in your eyes as the Germans "started it" and hence deserved whatever fate managed to befall them. It doesn't matter what the Soviet troops did. It doesn't matter that the political commissar's purposefully kept the troops whipped into a frenzy. It doesn't matter that the officers turned a blind eye until the drunken debauchery and slaughter of civilians by the troops began to compromise their fighting ability. All is justified, because the Soviets were the "good guys".

So, since Soviet actions against Germans were not crimes since it was simply reciprocating for the greater crimes committed by the Germans, why don't we indict the Soviets for the crimes they committed before a single shot was fired by the Germans against them? The four counts at Nuremberg were:

1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for a crime against peace.

Fact, the Soviet Union entered into an alliance with Nazi Germany to divide Poland and grant the Soviets a sphere of influence over the Baltic States.

2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression.

Fact, Soviet troops invaded Poland the same as the Germans did. The Soviets also invaded and occupied the Baltic States.

3. War crimes.

Fact, Soviet troops summarily executed 20,000 officers of the Polish army in the Katyn Forrest, one of the first massacres and war crimes of WW2.

4. Crimes against humanity.

Fact, following the invasion of Poland and the Baltic States the Soviets set out on an immediate program to execute, arrest and "re-educate" any "class enemies of the people", any government and military leaders of the occupied lands and anyone who resisted the occupation or did not accept the Soviet system. When German forces began to invade these territories, the NKVD summarily executed over 100,000 of these prisoners in Poland and the Baltic States and another 50k-100k in the Ukraine.

Forgetting anything the Soviets did to Germany, from 1939 - 1940 the Soviets engaged in behavior and acts that would have equalled a guilty sentence at Nuremberg.
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
I thought TonyT's summation gave pretty strong evidence that the Allied bombing did directly, by plan aka "Directive 22", target the destruction of the civilian population.
Yes, and I've already explained why under the circumstances the Allies were justified doing that, since they didn't have the luxury of separating civilians that were working directly for the war machine with those who did not. They were all living side by side in the same cities.
Churchill was not ready to lose another 1,500,000,000 of his troops as in WWI, after fascist Germany bombed BRITISH CIVILIANS in WWII.

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You can't justify it through the lens that these people were all factory workers fueling the German war machine, anymore than someone could justify the extermination of civilian populations by Germany as "counter-partisan" efforts.
Of course I can, for a simple reason that Generalplan Ost and extermination of civilian population in Russia came first, and partisans ( guerrilla war) came second, as a response to it. You seem to be constantly avoiding the cornerstone of it all - that very "Generalplan Ost," but that's precisely what sets Germans apart from the rest of participants in that war. Remove the "Generalplan Ost" - and yes, Germans wouldn't have been different from any other participants in WWII. There wouldn't have been much difference with WWI in this case - just another war for wealth, influence, and redrawing of the world's map.


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Based on your last sentence, I assume that you have no room for historical review and critique of what happened.
There is always a "room for historical review and critique of what happened," it just doesn't necessarily have to support your point of view.

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For you there is only good and evil, black and white, no gray areas. That is counter to what any logical discussion of history warrants. History is nothing but gray.
Sure there are "gray areas" in history.There is a reason why I've quoted Churchill on Great Britain's debt to the United States and what consequences it had for Germany. You might also find an interesting read about lavish US loans to Germany that followed afterwords - the very loans that built German superb army and military machine. The machine whose destructive power has been unleashed on somewhere else. So speaking about "gray areas" in history - there are plenty of them of course, you are just looking for them in the wrong places.

Last edited by erasure; 05-06-2011 at 10:15 PM..
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:30 AM
 
19,138 posts, read 15,897,953 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
Did I ever say that German treatment of Soviet POW's was good, or justified? No. I said that the conditions facing the German's in Soviet camps weren't exactly great either. Estimates state as many as 2.2 - 3.3 million German soldiers and over 341k civilians were taken as forced labor in the Soviet Union. Estimates for death range from 363k - 1.3 million soldiers plus 67k civilians. Being held as slave labor, starved and exposed to the elements isn't exactly a wonderful fate. Not that conditions in Western Allied camps, particularly French ones, were dramatically better in all cases.



It is obvious that you don't care what the Soviets did to the Germans, it was justified in your eyes as the Germans "started it" and hence deserved whatever fate managed to befall them. It doesn't matter what the Soviet troops did. It doesn't matter that the political commissar's purposefully kept the troops whipped into a frenzy. It doesn't matter that the officers turned a blind eye until the drunken debauchery and slaughter of civilians by the troops began to compromise their fighting ability. All is justified, because the Soviets were the "good guys".

So, since Soviet actions against Germans were not crimes since it was simply reciprocating for the greater crimes committed by the Germans, why don't we indict the Soviets for the crimes they committed before a single shot was fired by the Germans against them? The four counts at Nuremberg were:

1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for a crime against peace.

Fact, the Soviet Union entered into an alliance with Nazi Germany to divide Poland and grant the Soviets a sphere of influence over the Baltic States.

2. Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression.

Fact, Soviet troops invaded Poland the same as the Germans did. The Soviets also invaded and occupied the Baltic States.

3. War crimes.

Fact, Soviet troops summarily executed 20,000 officers of the Polish army in the Katyn Forrest, one of the first massacres and war crimes of WW2.

4. Crimes against humanity.

Fact, following the invasion of Poland and the Baltic States the Soviets set out on an immediate program to execute, arrest and "re-educate" any "class enemies of the people", any government and military leaders of the occupied lands and anyone who resisted the occupation or did not accept the Soviet system. When German forces began to invade these territories, the NKVD summarily executed over 100,000 of these prisoners in Poland and the Baltic States and another 50k-100k in the Ukraine.

Forgetting anything the Soviets did to Germany, from 1939 - 1940 the Soviets engaged in behavior and acts that would have equalled a guilty sentence at Nuremberg.
Nope, they wouldn't. Your logic here is obviously faulty, and I'll explain to you why.
The modern history of human kind is based on conquering, killing, acquiring of the new territories/colonies, redrawing of the world's map and growing wealth of empires. What happens to the indigenous population of the conquered land is a matter of luck; sometimes they are left alone\ become absorbed by the conquerors ( as it was a case in Russia) or they can be exterminated on a great scale, as it was a case, say....with Indians and certain English settlers. ( Now how would that come across at the Nuremberg process, if we keep in mind those "crimes against humanity?") The same question can be asked regarding practically any war that has been waged in Europe through Middle Ages, colonial wars and what's not - practically all of them were "crimes against humanity," no matter what slogans they've used. So going back to the Soviet Union - it was first of all the successor of the Russian Empire. The lands that you've mentioned here - Poland, Baltic States, Ukraine ( and Finland) - all of them were former territories of the Russian Empire, that were lost after the WWI under the treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germans in 1918. So Germans out of all people knew what they were offering back to Russians in exchange for a deal they were interested to strike with them. And there was a damn good reason for Russians to accept it, if you carefully read about Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.
This is what is says:
"Starting in mid-March 1939, the Soviet Union, Britain and France traded a flurry of suggestions and counter-plans regarding a potential political and military agreement.[35] Although informal consultations commenced in April, the main negotiations began only in May.[35] At the same time, throughout the early 1939,Germany and the Soviet Union had discussed a possibility of an economic deal involving industrial equipment and armament for the USSR in exchange for raw materials needed for German war production.[36] German war planners had estimated massive raw materials shortfalls if Germany entered a war without Soviet supply.[37] For months, Germany had secretly hinted to Soviet diplomats that it could offer better terms for a political agreement than Britain and France.[38][39][40]
The Soviet Union feared Western powers and the possibility of "capitalist encirclements", had little faith either that war could be avoided, or faith in the Polish army, and wanted nothing less than an ironclad military alliance[41] that would provide a guaranteed support for a two-pronged attack on Germany.[42][43] Britain and France believed that war could still be avoided, and that the Soviet Union, weakened by the Great Purge,[44] could not be a main military participant,[42] a point that many military sources were at variance with, especially after the sound thrashing administered to the Japanese Kwantung army on the Manchurian frontier.[41] France was more anxious to find an agreement with the USSR than was Britain; as a continental power, it was more willing to make concessions, more fearful of the dangers of an agreement between the USSR and Germany.[42] These contrasting attitudes partly explain why the USSR has often been charged with playing a double game in 1939: carrying on open negotiations for an alliance with Britain and France while secretly considering propositions from Germany.[42]
By the end of May drafts were formally presented.[35] In mid-June the main Tripartite negotiations started.[45] The discussion was focused on potential guarantees to central and east European countries should a German aggression arise.[41] The USSR proposed to consider that a political turn towards Germany by the Baltic states would constitute an "indirect aggression" towards the Soviet Union.[46] Britain opposed such proposals, because they feared the Soviets' proposed language could justify a Soviet intervention in Finland and the Baltic states, or push those countries to seek closer relations with Germany.[47][48] The discussion about a definition of "indirect aggression" became one of the sticking points between the parties, and by mid-July the tripartite political negotiations effectively stalled, while the parties agreed to start negotiations on a military agreement, which the Soviets insisted must be entered into simultaneously with any political agreement.[49]
Polish officials refused to allow Soviet troops on to Polish territory if Germans attacked; as Polish foreign minister Józef Beck pointed out, they feared that once the Red Army entered their territories, it might never leave.[65][66] While Britain and France refused to allow Soviet Union to impinge on the sovereignty of its neighbors, Germany possessed no such reservations.[67]

Molotov


So here it is, in the nutshell; Russians believed that the war with Germany was unavoidable, they were trying to get "iron-clad" assurance from potential allies ( Britain and France.) They obviously didn't receive it, and under the circumstances they did what was best for the interests of their empire; they bought time from Germans and they were trying to create a buffer zone before this unavoidable war as much as possible. When Russians were asking Britain and France to consider the political turn of Baltic countries towards Germany as "indirect aggression" towards Russia, they knew again very well what they were talking about. Indeed part of Baltic men were fighting Russians later on in Hitler's uniforms and their territories were used for concentration camps, including the infamous Salaspils, where Jewish children were used as blood donors for wounded German soldiers. So whatever Russians did ( meaning their occupation of Ukraine, Baltic countries,) - they did it as preventive measures, before the war with Germany began. They knew all too well former *outskirts* of their empire; German influence was always strong there, since Balts were former members of Hanseatic League.
The fact that Soviet authorities did kill a lot of local population in order to subdue it - it's all true, although the number of killed you are citing here is grossly exaggerated, as usual. Soviet Union didn't like to kill as many people as you are led to believe; they kept on shipping people to Siberia and Far East in order to populate it and to keep cheap labor for their enormous projects.
Balts and Ukranians were not exception; Russians did what they saw the best under the circumstances for their own survival. I'm sure they were aware of the "Generalplan Ost," as much as they knew that they didn't have any reliable allies against German invasion. So sorry, no Nuremberg here, although killing of 20,000 Polish officers comes as close to it as it gets.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:02 PM
 
Location: Turn right at the stop sign
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Originally Posted by erasure
Yes, and I've already explained why under the circumstances the Allies were justified doing that, since they didn't have the luxury of separating civilians that were working directly for the war machine with those who did not. They were all living side by side in the same cities. Churchill was not ready to lose another 1,500,000,000 of his troops as in WWI, after fascist Germany bombed BRITISH CIVILIANS in WWII.
The guiding documents for the conduct of warfare during the time period we are discussing were the Hague Conference of 1899 & 1907, along with the supplemental Geneva Conventions of 1928 & 1929. To start, Section II, Chapter I, Article 22, of the Hague states “The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited”. Article 23 lists activities which are “especially forbidden”. Two of those are “to employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering” and “to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war”. Lastly, Article 27 says “In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes”.

I believe that one can make the case that the indiscriminate bombing of civilians crosses the line as to the means a belligerent can adopt to “injure the enemy”. Dropping incendiary bombs on cities to burn people alive or drive them out of their homes seems to qualify as using “material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering”. When the British bombed Lubeck, a city which Air Marshal Harris himself said “was not a vital target”, then obviously its’ destruction was not “imperatively demanded by the necessities of war”. Finally, by bombing in the manner they did, the British made no attempt to “spare” any type of buildings at all. In fact, the aim point for British bombers was always the center of a city and the tallest structure located there, which was usually a church. And while even today people try to maintain that every action taken against Germany during the war was completely justified, curiously, after the Nuremberg trials, one of the acts that all members of the UN agreed constituted a war crime was the “wanton destruction of cities, towns, villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity ”. Can that fact alone not taken as acknowledgment by the Allied nations that the area bombing campaign against German cities of no vital interest in fact amounted to a war crime?

The point is, neither then nor now has it not been a war crime to bomb cities for the very reason you brought up in your post; that being, the impossibility of selectively targeting only the dwellings of factory workers so as to spare those who live around them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erasure
Of course I can, for a simple reason that Generalplan Ost and extermination of civilian population in Russia came first, and partisans ( guerrilla war) came second, as a response to it. You seem to be constantly avoiding the cornerstone of it all - that very "Generalplan Ost," but that's precisely what sets Germans apart from the rest of participants in that war. Remove the "Generalplan Ost" - and yes, Germans wouldn't have been different from any other participants in WWII. There wouldn't have been much difference with WWI in this case - just another war for wealth, influence, and redrawing of the world's map.
It’s interesting that you rest so much of your argument on “Generalplan Ost” yet you studiously avoid mentioning that the term “Generalplan Ost” refers to at least six different plans drawn up that dealt primarily with the question of administration and resettlement in the Eastern Territories. And in each case, the plans were slated to go into effect after Germany won the war. The first two versions had nothing to do with Russia at all but were instead aimed solely at those areas of Poland which had been incorporated into the Reich. The third, prepared at some point between June 24th and July 15th of 1941 by Professor Konrad Meyer of the “Reich Commissariat for the Strengthening of the German People” on orders from Himmler, is the first to address what possible steps might be taken with respect to Soviet territory that was expected to soon be under occupation by Germany.

An update of this plan that took into account land in Russia that was now firmly in German hands was presented to Himmler in January of 1942. Meyer’s plan called for the expulsion of thirty-one of the approximately forty-five million native inhabitants of the designated territories to Western Siberia over a period of 30 years, with these areas to be resettled by ten million Germans. A critique of this plan written on April 27, 1942 by Dr. Erhard Wetzel of the “Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories” made clear that not only was it overly ambitious, but it was simply not possible to deport such a large number of people. And unlike with the Jews, exterminating them was not deemed feasible either. Wetzel’s counterproposal envisioned deportation of only those who were openly hostile to German settlement and leaving the remainder of the native population in place to be “Germanized” over a 25 year period.

Another version of “Generalplan Ost” authored by Professor Meyer appeared in May of 1942 and which incorporated some of the ideas put forth by Dr. Wetzel. Complete expulsion of the native population was dropped in favor of leaving them in place to co-exist on the land with the new German settlers, albeit not side by side. Himmler seems to have also been persuaded to this way of thinking because he no longer advocated expulsion to clear the land but instead said the population should be “subjugated and preserved”. In the sixth rewrite of “Generalplan Ost”, that designation was dropped entirely and changed to “Generalsiedlungsplan” or “General Settlement Plan”. This was done to reflect the fact that Himmler now wished to assemble a document which would provide guidelines for future German settlement in both the East and the West. On January 12, 1943, again at Himmler’s request, Professor Meyer was tasked with fine tuning the “Generalsiedlungsplan” by adding a few more areas of Russia to it. On February 15th, Meyer contacted Himmler to say that the basics of the plan were now in place and also to ask whether, in light of the disaster at Stalingrad, Himmler wished him to continue with his work. Himmler did not give Meyer either a “yes” or “no” answer. But it is known that after January 13, 1943 when the declaration was made that Germany was now in a state of “total war” against the Allies, Hitler ordered all work on resettlement plans for the East to be stopped indefinitely.

So, while a “Generalplan Ost” did exist, none of the six versions can be said to represent the final version of it because none of them ever received approval for implementation by Himmler. Since the first version was not drawn up until after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and no version of “Generalplan Ost” was ever adopted as official Reich policy with respect to the East, it is simply not true to say the Germans marched into Russia with a specific, clearly defined plan to systematically “exterminate” the civilian population.

With, to use your own words, “the cornerstone of it all” effectively “removed”, would it not be fair to say that the whole basis of your argument that the Germans were worse than the other belligerents in the war, is now completely without foundation?
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