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Old 01-13-2008, 10:58 AM
 
14,101 posts, read 20,348,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muffinman View Post
Do you have any sources you'd recommend to support what you've said? Thanks for posting.
After reading TonyT's excellent response I did some research on the internet. Apparantly their have been books written, etc. Do an internet search, there are several papers out there, but you should note it is an emotional subject with lots of authors taking on the "monday morning quarterback" perspective. That is, taking it out of the context and the realities of the time.

The fact that can be agreed is 1.) It was not a viable decision for the U.S. to enter the war or not because the "final solution" had not yet really been known about until about mid 1944. and 2.) The allies did not have the range to reach the death camps until about mid 1944.
Those are facts.

Now the contraversy, and it is a legitimate one, is should the allies have bombed Auschwitx in mid 1944 until the liberation of the death camps? What TonyT detailed is all true. And in an emotional moment apparantly Bush thought it was worthwile as well, also stating truthfully "it was complex".

It was complex, do you divert air resources from the D day landing planning to plan perhaps innefective sorties into far away Poland? Do you risk civilian casualties in the camps? Would the usage of military resources save more lives by ending the war quicker by choosing other targets?

My gut feeling is that bombing Auchwitz would not have accomplished much for these reasons? 1.) Bombing train tracks itself is not that effective, it's a tactical target, trains tracks are easily fixed, 2.) Bombing inside the camp would have incurred direct deaths or indirect deaths (ironically, by wiping out the death disposal facilites which stayed off disease) to jewish prisoners, 3.) I would be like "puting a finger in the dyke", Nazi's had dozens, up to a hundred, death camps, 4.) Again, it was far easier for Russian forces to reach these camps (and their treatment of the Warsaw jewish uprising showed how much they cared about the Holocaust). 5.) By mid and late1944 as I indicated, the Holocaust had sadly run it's course for the most part. It was winding down.

...but it's an excellent debate topic.
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Old 01-13-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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To say the world didn't know about Germany's final solution plan is just being naive I think. The world knew Hitler had an unpresidented hatred of the Jews and was obviously a mad man. I personally have seen all kinds of footage of Nazi speeches by Hitler talking about doing away with every last Jew in Europe. What do you honestly think that means?
I personally believe it would have been entirely within our capabilities to bomb the death camps and join the war much earlier. Why we didn't I'm just not sure of but I pray to G-d it has nothing to do with antisemitism on the part of our government but to some Jews that's honestly what it looks like.
It's a fair argument that train tracks could be easily fixed had we bombed them but so what? So that means you don't do anything? That's no excuse. This is honestly a very sore subject for me. The fact that we have people who know the horrors of the Holocaust who still think we shouldn't have bombed the tracks is just mind boggling.
Good article on the US and the Holocaust The United States and the Holocaust
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Old 01-13-2008, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Cali
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southernjewishgal View Post
To say the world didn't know about Germany's final solution plan is just being naive I think. The world knew Hitler had an unpresidented hatred of the Jews and was obviously a mad man. I personally have seen all kinds of footage of Nazi speeches by Hitler talking about doing away with every last Jew in Europe. What do you honestly think that means?
I personally believe it would have been entirely within our capabilities to bomb the death camps and join the war much earlier. Why we didn't I'm just not sure of but I pray to G-d it has nothing to do with antisemitism on the part of our government but to some Jews that's honestly what it looks like.
It's a fair argument that train tracks could be easily fixed had we bombed them but so what? So that means you don't do anything? That's no excuse. This is honestly a very sore subject for me. The fact that we have people who know the horrors of the Holocaust who still think we shouldn't have bombed the tracks is just mind boggling.
Good article on the US and the Holocaust The United States and the Holocaust
We in America should have seen the handwriting on the wall when Kristallnacht happenped in November of 1938! Had we started building up our military sooner we could have gotten into Europe sooner and saved so many lives!

Now we got the Persian version of Hitler in Iran now threatening to wipe Israel off the map. Fortunately, the Israelis have awesome weapons that will take care of any Iranian aggression.

They better not push the Israelis too far or otherwise they make awaken the ancient Jewish spirits from the book of Joshua. If that ever happens, God help the enemies of Israel!
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CamaroGuy View Post
We in America should have seen the handwriting on the wall when Kristallnacht happenped in November of 1938! Had we started building up our military sooner we could have gotten into Europe sooner and saved so many lives!
Yeah maybe, responding to you and southernjewishgal. But America at that time, in the late 30's, had an extreme isolationist policy. That and the great depression was at full swing. The will of the people just would not support a war, until of course after we were attacked by Japan.

Now it could be argued that German attrocities were not well publicized. I've read that The New York Times did a rather poor job of publicizing German attrocities. But we didn't have CNN then. Now it also could be said that the immigration policy of the U.S. did not allow alot of jews to migrate, basically due to the internal economic condition of the US at that time. Also, as I said, the death camps, wholesale slaughter, did not begin until after the U.S. entered the war. In the late 30's it was a horrific period - German were persecuting jews, but you didn't have the mass slaughter yet. At the same time the USSR were executing or starving to death millions of Lithuanians, Slav's, and their own people...Japan was executing Chinese on a mass basis. All of these at the time were at least as horrific as Germany's attrocities, before the death camps started operating. So who to choose to attack at a time when USSR would turn out to be an ally?

Now we still have this problem today and in the decades past - mass executions in Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime, in Africa under Idi Amin, Saddam gassing his own people, Ethnic cleansing in Serbia. In the U.S. a war is fought by the will of the people, and you can see the debate that Iraq had and still has.

So in summary, yes in hindsight of course U.S. should have joined the war sooner, but it just was not a political reality until we were attacked.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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Just to be practical about this.....

If they had bombed the tracks, it would have also cut off the means of supplying food to the camps. I doubt if the Germans would have wasted time and manpower to repair the tracks.

Then it would be the Allies fault if the prisoners died of starvation.
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Old 01-13-2008, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
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Bombing the train-tracks into and out of Auschwitz probably wouldn't have saved those in the camp, and if that was at issue, in hindsight, many other known camps could also have had their train-tracks bombed. And what would have resulted from these bombings is unclear, or as Padgett 2 suggests it may have lead to more immediate deaths to those interred.

But, if we are also discussing how and why we entered the war, and if the US is culpable in permitting the number of deaths of those in the camps, I'd say, we might just look at the record: The United States, vastly isolationist, did not permit the entry of those Jews and others who could have escaped concentration, before, during and after the War. While this may not be directly linked to anti-semitism, it certainly does not speak well for altruism on the part of the US. Government. I don't have access to my library, but I do believe several books and journal articles have been written about FDR's lack of initiative in changing this immigration policy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Yeah maybe, responding to you and southernjewishgal. But America at that time, in the late 30's, had an extreme isolationist policy. That and the great depression was at full swing. The will of the people just would not support a war, until of course after we were attacked by Japan.

Now it could be argued that German attrocities were not well publicized. I've read that The New York Times did a rather poor job of publicizing German attrocities. But we didn't have CNN then. Now it also could be said that the immigration policy of the U.S. did not allow alot of jews to migrate, basically due to the internal economic condition of the US at that time. Also, as I said, the death camps, wholesale slaughter, did not begin until after the U.S. entered the war. In the late 30's it was a horrific period - German were persecuting jews, but you didn't have the mass slaughter yet. At the same time the USSR were executing or starving to death millions of Lithuanians, Slav's, and their own people...Japan was executing Chinese on a mass basis. All of these at the time were at least as horrific as Germany's attrocities, before the death camps started operating. So who to choose to attack at a time when USSR would turn out to be an ally?

Now we still have this problem today and in the decades past - mass executions in Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime, in Africa under Idi Amin, Saddam gassing his own people, Ethnic cleansing in Serbia. In the U.S. a war is fought by the will of the people, and you can see the debate that Iraq had and still has.

So in summary, yes in hindsight of course U.S. should have joined the war sooner, but it just was not a political reality until we were attacked.
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Old 01-14-2008, 12:18 AM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
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I don't think bombing the rail lines would have accomplished much of anything (if anything at all). The real key to saving those folks was defeating Germany as quickly as possible so I find no fault in the fact the US didn't bomb the lines. I believe we were already trying to defeat Germany as fast as we could.

I also think that although there was clearly evidence of the Germans committing attrocities and rounding up the Jews, it seems to me that like common soldiers who would first come upon the camps, the reality of what the Germans were really doing was hard for the American leadership to grasp, and that had they truly known what was happening (in detail) they might have tried something like bombing the tracks etc - though I doubt that would have accomplished anything.

Now, on to the broader issue of anti-semitism in America. There is no doubt that anti-semitism was pretty common in the US at the time - but as mentioned, I don't think it played a part in the timing of the US forces reaching the camps. It DID however play a part in the pre-war politics and posturing that took place - particularly in the failure of the US to allow German Jewish refugees into the US during the pre-war period (for example the case of the St Louis - the basis for the film "Voyage of the Damned").

I do think the US entered the war as soon as it was really feasible to do so (that is, once we were forced into it). The fact is, the American public - despite having obvious sypathies with the Allies - didn't want to become directly involved.

Ken
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:12 AM
 
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Quote:
I do think the US entered the war as soon as it was really feasible to do so (that is, once we were forced into it). The fact is, the American public - despite having obvious sypathies with the Allies - didn't want to become directly involved
Nor did anyone else. The British and the French went so far as to sell the Czecks off to the Germans to avoid fighting. The Czecks mobilized and wanted to fight. I have read that if CZ, the UK, France and Poland had all attacked together, Germany would have been crushed.

As for Aushwitz, you are correct. They were determined to carry out extermination and would have returned to the ditches and machine guns in the woods.

And true, we did not let in alot of Jews. But we let more in than Switzerland, Sweden, Ireland and the UK which were actually in Europe. Still, they really were abandoned to their fate.
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Old 01-15-2008, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Minnysoda
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I concur with Dd and LordB.
Also Many people tend to look at the history of WW2 (or any for history for that matter) through 21st century eyes. Americans of the 20's and 30's didn't have the instant knowledge that we have today. Remember a very large portion of the USA was predominantly rural My GG's didn't get a radio until 1941. The Goverment may have know what was going on in Germany but lots of regular folks did not. Also remember that untill 1940 US companies were still carryng on a lucretive trade with Germany as well as the UK, Ford and GM in particular. Sorry If i got off track....
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:01 PM
 
Location: SE Arizona - FINALLY! :D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moth View Post
Nor did anyone else. The British and the French went so far as to sell the Czecks off to the Germans to avoid fighting. The Czecks mobilized and wanted to fight. I have read that if CZ, the UK, France and Poland had all attacked together, Germany would have been crushed.
Yup.

There is a natural tendency now for people to look back and criticise the Allies in general and America in particular for not dealing with Hitler earlier. Such criticisms - while having some validity in hindsight - are just that - hindsight. It's very easy to look back now and say "we should have done this, or we should have done that" and even easier to say "THEY should have done this or THEY should have done that". One must keep in mind however, two critical points:

1) While things are now obvious to us, they were hardly obvious to folks at the time. Nowadays, with our instant communications, we take for granted that information is readily available to everyone. This was NOT the case back then. By our standards, ordinary people - and even governmental leaders - were incredibly ignorant about what was going on in the world. It's really hard to fathom just how MUCH the world has changed in this regard. There is little doubt that anyone reading this post right now knows more (and and in a faster manner) about international events than the President of the United States knew in 1939-1945. Something happens half a world away nowadays and folks all over the globe know about it in minutes. Don't believe me? Think about the events of 9-11. It was breaking news on TV stations as far away as Nepal. And lets not even talk about the affect of the internet. The fact is, it's a totally different world today than it was back then, and to understand why things happened the way they did, and why decisions were made the way they were, one must totally divorce oneself from the present and truly step back over half a century.

2) When criticising the Allies (or America's) reluctance to enter into war, you need to keep in mind that the leaders (and people) of countries back then were desperate to avoid war at almost ANY cost. A mere 20 years earlier the most destructive war in history had just been concluded, effectively destroying nearly an entire generation of young men throughout Europe. It had been a truly horrifying experience that no one in his right mind would want to repeat. Folks nowadays (especially in America) really have NO IDEA of just how horrible WW I was. For the soldiers caught up in the conflict it was in many ways far more horrid than WW II would be (though - in part because of it's fluid nature and world-wide scope - WW II would exact a much higher cost in lives). Think of how much WE would dread the prospect of a nuclear war. It's not TOO much of an exageration to say that that's the same kind of dread most of Europe (and the US) had when they considered the prospect of another World War. They simply did NOT want to go to war - and in truth, why should they be blamed for that? War is a terrible, terrible experience and their experience with the last one (WW I) left pretty much everyone with a major reluctance to repeat that experience.

Ken

PS - As young kid I lived for a while near the battlefields of Verdun, and let me tell you, it made a HUGE impression on me. If you really want to understand just how much of a horror warfare can be, just visit a WW I battle site. French casualities in this ONE drawn-out engagement were over half a million, while the Germans had a half-million casualties of their own - that's nearly a million casualties in one single (though admittedly lengthy) battle, without either side accomplishing ANYTHING of importance - and the front line hardly moving AT ALL. WW I was literally nothing more than a meatgrinder. Young men from both sides were fed in one end and the dead and maimed oozed out the other. Who in their right mind would be in any kind of hurry to repeat that? Hitler - who was not really in his "right mind" had a natural advantage over the allies in the pre-war posturing because he was more than willing to spill whatever blood was necessary to achieve his goals. The Allied leaders were not nearly that cavalier.
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