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Was Allied bombing of Germany Jan - April 1945 a war crime?

 
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jan, 2009 11:43 am
@McTag,
mctag wrote :

Quote:
In war, everybody does stuff to everybody else. Then, the victors get to write the history books.


to which i would add : the losers also write their own history books .

witnesss germany from 1933 to 1945 when the "official" history books proclaimed that germany had lost the war because the army "had been stabbed in the back " (der dolchstoss in den ruecken) .
(repeated by some americans after vietnam - and still alive today on a2k)
some might argue that those were not proper history books but propaganda , but for the youth of the day (and also many elders) it was THE HISTORY being taught and to believed in germany - and even some other countries .

imo no history book - or historic study - can posible give a full and completely unbiased account of what happened .
even participants on the ground don't see everything - and if they did , the recall might differ from the actual experience - memory is a tricky thing , as i've found out now that i'm getting older .
the experiences with eyewitnesses in court have often enough to be shown to be false - i'd say the same holds true when history is being "written" - even when based upon "eyewitness" accounts .
is it much different from the "history" of the bible ? it's an account gathered from and by many people and at a later time put in printed form .
[but some people will say that every last word in the bible is true (history) no matter what others may say or prove . somewhat like german history being taught from 1933 to 1945 .]

i like reading about history but would never assume that everything written in even the best history textbook is "the truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth " - i've been fooled too often .
let there be "historic research " , have history recorded and publish history books , but never assume that it's THE GOSPEL - see above re. german history . that's the way i approach history .
hbg

(footnote to mctag : we are getting old and cynical - but i like it this way) .

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jan, 2009 12:16 pm
@hamburger,
What is truly amazing, and pathetic, Hamburger, is that people, including instructors in history classes, continue to repeat the old canard that the terms of the Versailles Treaty lead to World War II, especially as it created the run-away inflation and the economic collapse which allowed the NSDAP to come to power.

There was a study done by a German economist in the 1980s, i don't remember the name (i don't do German names well) which showed that inflation started to rise in Germany in 1914, before the war began. After 1917 and the Verdun offensive, that rapidly rising inflation turned into "run-away" inflation, and it took it more than four years to calm down. Such an historical myth ignores, too, the very good job the Weimar Republic did to end that inflation, and the sacrifices ordinary Germans made in enduring the necessary austerity.

The claim is based on a contention that the reparations were punitive, revenge by the French for 1871, and that this wrecked the economy through that inflation. Well, it has been established by at least one (and i believe more than one) German economist that the inflation predated the war. But beyond that, Germany did not pay the reparations. Austria and Hungary were forgiven their reparations debt. One nation, and one nation only paid its reparations bill, and that was Bulgaria.

The final stroke in that myth is that the treaty required Germany to accept responsibility for a war it did not start. In the first place, the Austrians proceeded to put the screws to Serbia in the summer of 1914 precisely because the Germans had told them they would support them. But in the second place, all of the treaties which were signed by defeated nations had a clause admitting responsibility for the war, because that was the legal justification for imposing reparations. The Treaty of St. Germain signed by Austria, the Treaty of the Petit Trianon signed by Hungary, the Treaty of Neuilly signed by Bulgaria and the Treaty of Sèvres signed by Turkey all contained such a clause.

Germany simply defaulted on the reparations. Austria and Hungary had their debts forgiven them, in lieu of selling off the art treasures in their museums to pay the debt. Bulgaria paid the reparations imposed on her. Turkey didn't pay her reparations because in addition to the Greek invasion sponsored by France, she sank into civil war. When Mustafa Kemal took over after the "Turkish War of Independence," a new treaty was signed.

Nevertheless, schools, including high schools and universities in the United States, continue to perpetuate this myth, which was an essential part of right-wing propaganda in Germany in the 1920s and -30s.
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jan, 2009 02:09 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Germany simply defaulted on the reparations.
But then they negotiated the Dawes plan.
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jan, 2009 03:32 pm
@Steve 41oo,
as one says : let's go back to the beginning , that is december 10 , 1918

"knifed in the back" "DOLCHSTOSS LEGENDE"
..............................................................................
Quote:
Sozialdemokrat Friedrich Ebert empfing am 10. Dezember 1918 die nach Berlin zurückkehrenden Feldtruppen mit den Worten "kein Feind hat euch überwunden".

social democrat ebert greeted the army units returning to berlin on december 10 , 1918 with the words :
"no enemy was able to slay you ! "

...............................................................................
i understand that germany made an initial reparation payment 250 million in sept. 1921 and suspended further payments - the hyper-inflation had started .

france was unhappy about this (to put it mildly) and occupied the "rhineland" in june 1923 - apparently to have a "payment guarantee" .
no german government dared accept the occupation as legal .

the YOUNG PLAN of 1929 modified the reparation payments and germany made some payments until 1931 - when germany stopped payments for good .

the nazis pointed out that germans would be "slaves for three generations" under the reparation plan .


imo the reparation payments and the occupation of the rhineland might be compared to an ongoing toothache - the patient (germany) was not deathly sick but the pain was a constant reminder of the lost war - and fodder for the nazi party (they could not have wished for any better cause to exploit the german "toothache" ) .

..........................................................................................
1923 - the inflation at its peak

an EMERGENCY banknote - usually only printed on one side - obsolete in a few days

http://www.mahnung-gegen-rechts.de/pages/staedte/Zittau/pics/Zittau-Notgeld-04-2.jpg

...............................................................................................
a poster (1929) delared that germans would be "slaves for three generations
under the YOUNG PLAN .

http://www.dhm.de/lemo/objekte/pict/p74-3797/index.jpg
....................................................................................................
a leaflet from 1930 : CITIZENS ! OPEN YOUR EYES ! this concerns YOU !
showing how much germany OWED under the plan .

a clever sentence - the finger pointing to it :
Quote:
and you , the citizen , must pay ! capital gains are almost taxfree !

meaning that "boersen-schweine" = "capitalist pigs" pay few taxes !


http://www.dhm.de/lemo/objekte/pict/d2b04920/index.jpg

i'd have to say that they did pretty convincing "advertising" .
..............................................................................

i may come back to this later - perhaps we need a separate topic if we want to discuss this some more .
hbg
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Jan, 2009 03:51 pm
@hamburger,
Quote:
imo the reparation payments and the occupation of the rhineland might be compared to an ongoing toothache - the patient (germany) was not deathly sick but the pain was a constant reminder of the lost war - and fodder for the nazi party (they could not have wished for any better cause to exploit the german "toothache" ) .


That's a g0od way to put it.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Jan, 2009 12:35 pm
@hamburger,
hamburger wrote:

as one says : let's go back to the beginning , that is december 10 , 1918

"knifed in the back" "DOLCHSTOSS LEGENDE"
..............................................................................
Quote:
Sozialdemokrat Friedrich Ebert empfing am 10. Dezember 1918 die nach Berlin zurückkehrenden Feldtruppen mit den Worten "kein Feind hat euch überwunden".

social democrat ebert greeted the army units returning to berlin on december 10 , 1918 with the words :
"no enemy was able to slay you ! "

...............................................................................
i understand that germany made an initial reparation payment 250 million in sept. 1921 and suspended further payments - the hyper-inflation had started .

france was unhappy about this (to put it mildly) and occupied the "rhineland" in june 1923 - apparently to have a "payment guarantee" .
no german government dared accept the occupation as legal .

the YOUNG PLAN of 1929 modified the reparation payments and germany made some payments until 1931 - when germany stopped payments for good .

the nazis pointed out that germans would be "slaves for three generations" under the reparation plan .


imo the reparation payments and the occupation of the rhineland might be compared to an ongoing toothache - the patient (germany) was not deathly sick but the pain was a constant reminder of the lost war - and fodder for the nazi party (they could not have wished for any better cause to exploit the german "toothache" ) .

..........................................................................................
1923 - the inflation at its peak

an EMERGENCY banknote - usually only printed on one side - obsolete in a few days

http://www.mahnung-gegen-rechts.de/pages/staedte/Zittau/pics/Zittau-Notgeld-04-2.jpg

...............................................................................................
a poster (1929) delared that germans would be "slaves for three generations
under the YOUNG PLAN .

http://www.dhm.de/lemo/objekte/pict/p74-3797/index.jpg
....................................................................................................
a leaflet from 1930 : CITIZENS ! OPEN YOUR EYES ! this concerns YOU !
showing how much germany OWED under the plan .

a clever sentence - the finger pointing to it :
Quote:
and you , the citizen , must pay ! capital gains are almost taxfree !

meaning that "boersen-schweine" = "capitalist pigs" pay few taxes !


http://www.dhm.de/lemo/objekte/pict/d2b04920/index.jpg

i'd have to say that they did pretty convincing "advertising" .
..............................................................................

i may come back to this later - perhaps we need a separate topic if we want to discuss this some more .
hbg
Interesting documents thanks, I know something about notgeld, thanks to our friend Walter! Its no co incidence that in the current financial crisis the Germans are very wary about printing money!

0 Replies
 
cave030
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 05:01 pm
@Steve 41oo,
I'd point out that it was a fairly common tactic in WWII. The Germans bombed London pretty heavily throughout the war, for instance. America was actually one of the few nations that selectively targeted industrial centers during WWII; carpet bombing of major cities was pretty much a standard tactic for the rest of the world. Different kind of war, and less accurate munitions meant that civilian casualties were more acceptable.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 26 Jun, 2009 05:39 am
@cave030,
To whom are any number of civilian casualties acceptable, one wonders. For a review of your claim about American bombing techniques, i suggest you study Curtis LeMay's firebombing of more than 60 Japanese cities. Oh . . . that's right, they weren't white folks, so that hardly counts. While it is true that the United States operational doctrine was for high-altitude, daylight "precision" bombing, it is less than truthful to attempt to whitewash the bombing actually carried out by the USAAF. The standard for operational success on any specific raid was 10% of bombs within 1000 feet of ground zero. One always wonders where the other 90% of the bomb load landed.
0 Replies
 
marsz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Aug, 2009 01:00 pm
Setanta's analysis of Military Tactics is so interesting. I wonder if he was a high ranking officer in a past war?
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 2 Aug, 2009 01:20 pm
@marsz,
Yes. He he defended Ulster single-handedly against the armies of queen Medb of Connacht. Wink
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Aug, 2009 02:44 pm
@cave030,
Those V2 rockets were pretty effective too! When in London, visit the Imperial War Museum. They have a lot of stuff from WWII.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Aug, 2009 10:22 am
An interesting phenomenon about the dropping of atom bombs in Japan may be a clue to what people think about the allied bombing of Germany. During WWII, 85% of Americans felt the dropping of the atom bomb was justified, but by 2005, that number dropped to 57%. It seems that the drop in favor of the atom bomb reflects how the younger generation (born after the war) views warfare.

Something to think about.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Aug, 2009 11:33 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Yeah . . . but it damned near killed me . . .
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Aug, 2009 12:08 pm
@marsz,
Set is a historian.
0 Replies
 
blackwidow
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 03:37 pm
No mention as far as I can see regarding the amount of Jews slaughtered by the nazi's, or polish, french and hungarian girls and women raped by the Russian and German soldiers
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 03:41 pm
@blackwidow,
That should pretty much be common knowledge by now; most reports say six million Jews were killed by the Nazis.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 10 Aug, 2009 04:56 pm
@blackwidow,
Most estimates put the number of German women and girls raped by the Russians in the millions.

No, we haven't much discussed those subjects, in a thread which concerns itself with strategic bombing, it's effects, the policies by which it was employed, and whether or not these were war crimes.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Aug, 2009 04:51 am
@Setanta,
Besides that, a lot of "crimes" by e.g. Russian (and other) 'interened' (= "Fremdarbeiter") happened after March 1945.

(It's really not the topic of this thread, but I suppose that most German refugees from the east left their homes due to fear of e.g. what the Russian soldiers were said to do with females.)
0 Replies
 
philmarsh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 05:33 pm
Douharts theory written in his book the war in the air claimed that bombing major cities in a given country would demoralise the enemy and would make the people force that government to sue for peace. This was proven contradictary to every country bombed during ww 2 in fact it united the people in their hatred of the unseen enemy whether it was Guencia, Rotterdam, Coventry or Dresden. As to whether allied bombing was a war crime let me put it like this; there was world wide outrage over the bombing of Rotterdam by the Germans yet full support by many of those people over the destruction of Hamburg, therfore we can consider those people to be at least hypocrites. Cities such as Dresden were of no strategic value so like the German bombing of Warsaw it can be seen as pre-meditated murder though one has to understand the desperate situation we were involved in at that time and certainly no blame can be placed on the airmen who took part in these actions. In fact two of the biggest war crimes outside of the horrors that we know took place eg the holocaust were committed by our American allies. For most of 1941 America was supposedly neutral yet it bailed out the British with its lend lease policy which contravened the Geneva convention declaring its support towards Britain, America also did its best to provoke Germany by extending the protection zone of British ships carrying supplies back to Britain and engaging German U boats, the Germans in fairness did their best not to fire back yet America was virtually at war with Germany until Germany had to declare war on America due to its pact with Japan. If Germany had won the war an American Nuremburg would definitely have included the above two examples
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Aug, 2009 12:24 pm
@philmarsh,
philmarsh wrote:

............ yet America was virtually at war with Germany until Germany had to declare war on America due to its pact with Japan. ................

That part is wrong. The Nazi government declared war on the United States, yes, but was under no treaty obligation to do so; it's not even clear from the terms of the German-Japanese accords whether Germany would have such an obligation if Japan herself had been attacked directly.

However the analysis on the effects of "strategic" bombing is perfectly correct: ineffective at best, grossly counterproductive at worse.
0 Replies
 
 

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