18
   

70 years ago, WWII started

 
 
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 12:44 am
On Friday, September 1, 1939, a global conflict started which was to claim 50 million lives, including more than six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.


That day was the beginning of the greatest tragedy of the recent history.


An endless suffering was sparked by the Nazis.


World War II was the culmination of a groundswell of conflict during the 1930s, from Japan's invasion of China to the Spanish civil war.

It remained a German-Polish affair until September 3, 1939 when Britain and France, bound to Poland by military pacts, declared war on Germany, pulling their vast empires into the war.

In Russia, meanwhile, what is known as the "Great Patriotic War" started on June 22, 1941. The Nazis turned on their erstwhile allies, launching a bloody invasion.

Around 8.6 million Soviet soldiers and 27-28 million civilians were killed in the conflict, which ended with Germany's crushing defeat in 1945.

For West Europeans, it remained the so-called "Phoney War" until 1940. That year, Nazis swept through Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Holland and attacked Britain from the air, and Germany's ally Fascist Italy entered the war.

The United States found itself at war on December 7, 1941, with the Japanese bombing of the US Navy's base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.


[With material from agencies.]
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 05:41 am
That's a rather Euro-centric view, Walter. I'm sure the Ethiopians and the Chinese might have something to say about that.
rexertea
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 05:51 am
@Setanta,
I do agree with you, Sedanta, people tend to forget other countries when they talk about world wars. They should be reminded it was not just a Euro-US war, they were few other countries who were influential in mapping out the war, and that's why it is known as world war.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 06:00 am
@Setanta,
Might be.

But
a) that war is generally called "World War 2"

b) it start on that day.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 06:30 am
@Walter Hinteler,
It started on that day, in Europe.
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 07:16 am
@Setanta,
Well, if you really want to narrow it down: in Poland.
dlowan
 
  6  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 07:24 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

That's a rather Euro-centric view, Walter. I'm sure the Ethiopians and the Chinese might have something to say about that.


It also started for Australia, Canada, and I would guess a number of other Commonwealth countries on that day.

Given that the Chinese had already been viciously and horrendously attacked by an Axis power, (though I am not sure that Japan was formally an Axis power at that point) and a number of countries nowhere near Europe decided that Hitler was worth fighting right there and then, I think your comment re Eurocentrism is quite misplaced.

My mother and uncle enlisted almost immediately, and my uncle was flying in the RAF, as were many Australians and Canadians, at the very least, as soon as they were trained, and until the bitter end.

The US was very late to the struggle...but many countries NOT anywhere near Europe were not.

My uncle killed himself as a result of PTSD he suffered because, after D Day, when he knew he was killing Allied troops in his bombing runs because Intelligence could not keep up with the frontline: and pondered what could have been so awful that he did not experience similar horror with this extraordinarily gentle and sensitive man's murder of German civilians during Bomber Harris's fearful attacks upon German civilians.

I find myself in tears at the anniversary, as I think of the horror and slaughter experienced by so many millions upon millions of people.

I grew up with the traumatised folk who fought from 1939 on.....I heard the stories of the terrible atrocities visited upon Australian, British and Asian captives and conquered victimsof the Japanese from those who experienced them and, against all the odds, lived....though forever with guilt.

I heard my mum describe the deaths of her dear friends in England and numerous other countries, and saw the photos of these men posed against their Spitfires, snow in Bethlehem, and other backgrounds for their untimely deaths.


I so do not generally do national pride and such crap...and I am aware of the awfulness of theWW I treaty of Versailles and all the other **** that led to this.....and all the other awfulnesses everywhere......

But I find your nit-picking quite untoward and distressingly inaccurate and USA-centric.


I think today of the millions who died, and the millions traumatised beyond belief.

And wish them peace.



Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 07:36 am
@rexertea,
rexertea wrote:

I do agree with you, Sedanta, people tend to forget other countries when they talk about world wars. They should be reminded it was not just a Euro-US war, they were few other countries who were influential in mapping out the war, and that's why it is known as world war.


The U.S. didn't get involved until much later. Britain, Canada, Australia and many others were already well entrenched by the time the U.S. went in.

To call it a Euro war is very narrow minded.

Funny thing is.... now they are usually the first Shocked
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 07:52 am
@Intrepid,
Quote:
Funny thing is.... now they are usually the first


And consider as enemies those who do not join them, whatever the reasonableness and sanity, immediately.

Mind you, dollink, your country and mine have a history of following the UK blindly into war....look at the Boer War, and WW I.

At least you guys have grown up the re the USA.

Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 07:57 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

I find myself in tears at the anniversary, as I think of the horror and slaughter experienced by so many millions upon millions of people.
[...]
I think today of the millions who died, and the millions traumatised beyond belief.

And wish them peace.



What could I add, especially as a German, besides that I feel more than just ashamed about what happened?


I've started today to (try to read) through the same letters and cards which my father wrote between 1941 (after he became mother's 'boyfriend') from Russia, France, Poland, various places Germany until 1948 (when he was released as POW (P.G. de l'Axe). (Got captured the two days after his marriages on March 30, 1945.)

http://i30.tinypic.com/2qd2x3n.jpg
0 Replies
 
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 07:59 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

Quote:
Funny thing is.... now they are usually the first


And consider as enemies those who do not join them, whatever the reasonableness and sanity, immediately.

Mind you, dollink, your country and mine have a history of following the UK blindly into war....look at the Boer War, and WW I.

At least you guys have grown up the re the USA.




Fools rush in where angels fear to tread Smile
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 09:38 am

I had little idea until reading this, of the desperate attempts of our then Prime Minister to avoid involving the country in another ruinous war: at first at the expense of the Poles and the Czechs, until other counsel prevailed.

An inglorious episode.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/30/martin-gilbert-chamberlain-iraq
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 09:40 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Yes, the Poles were understandably unhappy about the event.
0 Replies
 
spendius
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 09:47 am
@dlowan,
Beautiful post dwollie.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 10:04 am
@Walter Hinteler,
German Chancellor Angela Merkel:
“I pay tribute to the 60 million people who lost their lives in this war unleashed by Germany. There are no words that could even remotely describe the suffering caused by this war and the Holocaust. I bow before the victims.”
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 10:23 am
@dlowan,
Quote:
Given that the Chinese had already been viciously and horrendously attacked by an Axis power, (though I am not sure that Japan was formally an Axis power at that point) and a number of countries nowhere near Europe decided that Hitler was worth fighting right there and then, I think your comment re Eurocentrism is quite misplaced.


I disagree (obviously). That it was the second world war was not contingent upon anyone being a paid-up member of Axis Powers, Inc. The Japanese Empire's goals were not substantially different than those of the NSDAP, with the exception that they hadn't the same attitude toward Jews. Basically, they considered anyone who were not Japanese to be inferior, but they weren't obsessed with exterminating the lower species.

In the 1890s, the Italians had attempted to invade and occupy Ethiopia, and they were humiliated by an army wielding spears. So in 1935, Mussolini decided to retrieve Italian military honor by invading and occupying Ethiopia, and this time, with machine guns, modern artillery and air craft, they succeeded. For the Ethiopians, i'm sure the question of whether or not the Axis existed was nugatory. The two Italian commanders, Graziani and Badoglio, had to be dealt with by the English when their war began in earnest. Italy occupied British Somaliland in August, 1940, and invaded Egypt in 1940. That they were able to do so was a direct result of having already deployed significant forces to Italian Somaliland and Abbysinia (Ethiopia) in 1935.

The "Manchurian Incident" of 1931 lead directly to the Second Sin0-Japanese War of 1937, which was the largest land war in Asia in the 20th century. Millions of Chinese lost their lives before Germany invaded Poland. In the entire course of the Sino-Japanese War, Chinese military losses were over two million, of which about a half million were killed outright or died of wounds. The number of civilians who were raped and killed is probably incalculable, but Chinese historians estimate that more than 9 million died directly as a result of Japanese attacks, and that more than 8 million more died as a result of displacement, disease and malnutrition. The Japanese had already occupied Formosa (Taiwan) in 1895, and annexed Korea in 1910. Formosan and Korean women were already being used as forced prostitutes by the Japanese army at the time that "formal" war broke out between China and Japan in 1937.

The first significant Canadian troop losses did not take place in Europe. They did not get in a real fight in Europe until Louis Mountbatten's idiotic Dieppe raid in 1942. The first significant Canadian losses came when the Japanese attacked Hong Kong in December, 1941. After 18 days, the British surrendered, and that surrender included two battalions from Canada. The largest Australian military losses in any single campaign in World War Two took place at Singapore, where more than 15,000 were killed, wounded or captured, the majority spending the rest of war as guests of the Japanese.

To ignore the scope of war in Asia, and its significance is foolish, in my never humble opinion, and the war in Asia beggars the claim that World War Two began in Poland in 1939.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 10:26 am
By the way, Miss Wabbit, i cannot for the life of me understand how you consider that pointing out that World War Two began in Africa in 1935, and in Asia in 1937 is "USA-centric." I have not alluded at all to the Americans' part in that war.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 10:29 am
@Intrepid,
Where the hell do you clowns come up with the notion that i am only interested in the American participation in this war. I was referring to the beginnings of the war in Africa and Asia. I didn't mention the United States at all. I didn't call it a "Euro-war," i was specifically pointing out that it began elsewhere than Europe.

But it's nice to think you value so little the efforts and sacrifices the United States did make once they were drawn into the war.
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 10:39 am
Walter... I think it's high time for people like you to stop feeling guilty for the crimes done by your country in days gone by. Nobody asks the Italians or Spanish to apologize or feel guilty for the atrocities done under their dictators.
The Holocaust was a terrible, terrible part of history. The people that caused this blight are mostly long gone. Sadly, there are nations where these horrors keep happening and we still don't do much to prevent or save the victims. Where is the collective guilt for ignoring the Sudan or Darfur, or the victims in Bosnia....

My father was born two years after the war started. His earliest memories are of the Canadian pilots camped on his English farm and watching them taxi out on the airstrip just behind his house. He remembers how many didn't return each day...
It was the influence from these boys that enticed my dad to emigrate to Canada.
My Mom remembers when the Yanks finally showed up... to train in Ireland. She surprised a group training in the fields behind her home. The black men with guns gave her the first piece of chocolate she'd ever eaten.


Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 10:42 am
@McTag,
When Daladier, the French "prime minister," returned from Munich in 1938, he didn't do any of that "peace in our time" BS. According to Daladier's aide, Leger, he was depressed and was sure that the surrender to Hitler would lead to war. When he saw cheering crowds at the airport, he turned to Leger and said: "Ah, les cons." (Meaning, "Oh, the turds." Most commentators politely translate it as "Oh, the fools.")

Daladier predicted the result of Munich in 1938. He told Chamberlain in early 1938: "Today it is the turn of Czechoslovakia. Tomorrow it will be the turn of Poland and Romania. When Germany has obtained the oil and wheat it needs, she will turn on the West. Certainly we must multiply our efforts to avoid war. But that will not be obtained unless Great Britain and France stick together, intervening in Prague for new concessions but declaring at the same time that they will safeguard the independence of Czechoslovakia. If, on the contrary, the Western Powers capitulate again they will only precipitate the war they wish to avoid."

To the shame of the French, many of the people who cheered Daladier on his return did so because they admired Hitler and the NSDAP, and because they hated Jews.
 

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