View Full Version : Were the Allied bombings of civilian targets during WW2 a war crime?


Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 02:03 AM
What do you think about this topic? IMO according to todays standards, intentional bombing of civilian targets in order to kill enemy civilians to disrupt morale of the enemy is called terrorism.

These air raids killed more than 500,000 (real number is higher) people in German cities, with no effect on enemy morale.

In your opinion - was that justifiable?

EDIT: The same bombing took place also in Japan, including two nuclear attacks. The rough numbers are about 100,000 japanese civilians dead after conventional air raid on Tokyo, 275,000 dead after atomic bombing. I don't know the overall number of Japanese civilian casaulties caused by American air strikes.

allhailIndia
Apr 22, 2005, 02:17 AM
From a neutral, objective (whatever that means) point of view, probably yes.

Richard Cribb
Apr 22, 2005, 02:25 AM
What do you think about this topic? IMO according to todays standards, intentional bombing of civilian targets in order to kill enemy civilians to disrupt morale of the enemy is called terrorism.
For once we totally agree! :)

These air raids killed more than 500,000 (real number is higher) people in German cities, with no effect on enemy morale.

In your opinion - was that justifiable?
No. I can't see such killings of civilians justified in any case. It's just war crimes.

EDIT: The same bombing took place also in Japan, including two nuclear attacks. The rough numbers are about 100,000 japanese civilians dead after conventional air raid on Tokyo, 275,000 dead after atomic bmbing. I don't know the overall number of Japanese civilian casaulties caused by American air strikes.
I haven't seen any exact numbers myself, but they surely must be high. And again we are talking about war crimes.The nuclear bombs clearly comes in a cathegory of its own.

Drewcifer
Apr 22, 2005, 02:28 AM
Probably yes. On the other hand WWII was not a typical war, it was an all out struggle for the soul and the future direction of western civilization so to the people making the decisions at the time they probably didn't seem like warcrimes.

FearlessLeader2
Apr 22, 2005, 02:35 AM
Uh, the fire-bombing of Tokyo killed more people than either of the atomic bombs did.

And yes, the attacks on civilians were war crimes. 'Civilian targets' implies things like bridges and factories and crap. Infrastructure used to move or supply troops is a legitimate target, John Q. Public is not.

Reno
Apr 22, 2005, 02:36 AM
This should be in world history, and back there we have already had this discussion.

FriendlyFire
Apr 22, 2005, 02:50 AM
Remember the concept of TOTAL WAR
In that specific enviroment: yes

When you talk of war crimes Its also Noted that during the First world war. Unrestricted submerine warfare was also considered illegal and a war crime.

Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 02:54 AM
Another aspect of Allied bombing raids was a complete lack of any effort to spare civilian lives during attacks on industrial or military targets.

And not only German cities were damaged - in occupied Czechoslovakia, I know about three cases of air strikes, that were completely useless, but destroyed great parts of attacked cities or towns, namely Kralupy nad Vltavou (half of the town was leveled because of destruction of ONE fuel tank), Ústí nad Labem (one fifth of city destroyed for no clear reason - the railway traffic was stopped for only about 24 hours) and Plzeň (Pilsen - more than 700 dead civilians. The Skoda arms factories were destroyed, as well as some residental areas, with incendiary bombs. The reason for this air strike is unknown: the factories were destroyed on 25th April 1945, so the effect on Wehrmacht was insignificant. Some people speculate, that Allies just wanted to destroy modern arms plant before it falls into Soviet hands - ironically, Plzen was liberated by Americans).

In my city, Brno, entire streets were razed by the bombings, but only few factories were hit.

CruddyLeper
Apr 22, 2005, 03:30 AM
War is a crime. Those who believe civilians don't die in War are deluding themselves.

Knight-Dragon
Apr 22, 2005, 03:33 AM
You reap what you sow.

http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?p=1584401&highlight=bombing#post1584401

The difference between German and allied bombings is German bombings had as target (mostly, some exceptions like Rotterdam which was a tragical accident) industry.

I really didn't want to wade into this again, but this is a blatant falsehood. Sticking with Western Europe for a moment, as both Joe and Stapel pointed out it was the Germans who first introduced aerial bombing in World War I, and their targets were overwhelmingly civilian. The first use of an aerial bomb in war in fact was the German zeppelin attack on the Doplhin Tavern on Red Lion Street in London in 1915, killing 3 patrons and destroying the pub. (You can still see the original clock at the re-built pub today, stopped at 10.40.)

The Germans once again initiated aerial bombing in World War II, bombing targets all across Britain. In fact, a critical flaw in Hitler's strategy was exactly that he did concentrate on bombing civilian targets in Britain, leaving many military targets - especially the critical radar sites - unmolested.

In fact, before World War II the Germans also showed a willingness to target civilians; One word: Guernica.

Now let's move to my part of Europe. At 4.30 a.m. (15 minutes ahead of schedule, actually) on 01.September 1939, the Luftwaffe launched raids across Poland. From the very first hours of the German bombing campaign, civilian targets were included and after only a few days the Luftwaffe switched its focus from military to almost excuslively civilian targets. Poland brims with reports of German Stuka divebombers and various other aircraft bombing or strafing civilian buildings and structures, and most infamously long columns of very obviously civilian refugees in rural areas with their oxcarts. I already gave you the littany of how the Germans managed to kill almost a quarter of the Polish civilian population, but this was re-created all over Europe, especially (but not exclusively) Eastern Europe. Immediately after the coup in Yugoslavia that nullified the pact with Berlin, German Stuka bombers attacked residential areas of Belgrade (on Easter night, 1941) killing 17,000 civilians. The Luftwaffe committed similar attrocities in the German drive across the Soviet Union, restrained only by increasing pilot and aircraft shortages.

Perhaps as time goes on we can look back and wonder about some of the acts committed with more objectivity, and mourn the losses - but that is not to say they are regretted. I think there is wisdom is what Joe wrote:

I'm sorry to say this, but the Germans needed to be given a wake up call. They visited all these horrors onto other peoples, all the while sitting safely in their towns and cities untouched by the war they started.

Much like the Japanese, they finaly got a taste of the death and destruction they were dishing out and decided they didn't like it.

To the peoples of Eastern Europe, terrorized and slaughtered by the Germans in two World Wars, the only moral question about the Dresden bombing was "Why aren't there more like this?" Modern Germans pacifism was born of the horrors they experienced in the World War, so perhaps at least something good came of this.

Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 03:42 AM
I'm sorry to say this, but the Germans needed to be given a wake up call. They visited all these horrors onto other peoples, all the while sitting safely in their towns and cities untouched by the war they started.

The difference is, that "they" weren't German people, but Nazis - totalitarian regieme.

To the peoples of Eastern Europe, terrorized and slaughtered by the Germans in two World Wars, the only moral question about the Dresden bombing was "Why aren't there more like this?" Modern Germans pacifism was born of the horrors they experienced in the World War, so perhaps at least something good came of this.

This is absolutely disgusting! I see no diference between author of this post and some neo-nazi fools who are denying holocaust or other atrocities. Although we were invaded by both Germans and Russians, I would NEVER advocate killing of their civilians in order to take revenge on them. It's like if some murderer killed your brother and your revenge would be killing of his family.

Knight-Dragon
Apr 22, 2005, 03:46 AM
Moved to History.

Knight-Dragon
Apr 22, 2005, 03:52 AM
This is absolutely disgusting! I see no diference between author of this post and some neo-nazi fools who are denying holocaust or other atrocities. Although we were invaded by both Germans and Russians, I would NEVER advocate killing of their civilians in order to take revenge on them. It's like if some murderer killed your brother and your revenge would be killing of his family.Who cares what you think? :p I'll take Vry and Joe's words over yours any day of the week.

It's all so easy for you, in the comfort and safety of the present day, to holler and howl about the injustice of it all, but to those who lived thru the war, Germany and Japan were the very incarnations of Hell.

Reno
Apr 22, 2005, 03:55 AM
And about the allied bombing's of ww2 i think like i did before, that the German bombings and Allied bombings in both world wars were and still are war crimes.

Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 04:31 AM
Who cares what you think? :p I'll take Vry and Joe's words over yours any day of the week.

Oh how intelligent :rolleyes: Should I regret it?

It's all so easy for you, in the comfort and safety of the present day, to holler and howl about the injustice of it all, but to those who lived thru the war, Germany and Japan were the very incarnations of Hell.

Is it easy to condemn mass murder? Yeah, it is. I don't care about primitive revengefulness of some people. Not even mentioning the heroism of taking this revenge on innocent civilians :rolleyes:

carlosMM
Apr 22, 2005, 04:40 AM
What do you think about this topic? IMO according to todays standards, intentional bombing of civilian targets in order to kill enemy civilians to disrupt morale of the enemy is called terrorism.

These air raids killed more than 500,000 (real number is higher) people in German cities, with no effect on enemy morale.

In your opinion - was that justifiable?

EDIT: The same bombing took place also in Japan, including two nuclear attacks. The rough numbers are about 100,000 japanese civilians dead after conventional air raid on Tokyo, 275,000 dead after atomic bombing. I don't know the overall number of Japanese civilian casaulties caused by American air strikes.

Initially: no. It was thought that bombing would affect the moral of the civilian population.

When that was found to be ineffective: yes.

OTOH, 'back then' things were different - if repeated today the bombing would clearly be war crimes, but in WWII general opinion differed. And there was a very positive effect ot the bombing: at times when much more labor was done manually, ruining a city including the public transports etc. reduced its manufacuring capacity to almost zero. So there WAS a military aspect to the bombings, too.

FriendlyFire
Apr 22, 2005, 04:52 AM
You have no idea how effective those 1000 omber raids were do you ?

It was Gorbbels who said it best. If only the allies had repeated these raid several times more Germany would have been finnished. It puzzeled him why the Allies stopped there deverstating an effective raids.

To me it seems

1) Legitimate form of war in a total war enviroment
2) Germany no doubt would have done the same had she been capable.
3) there is respect in those words.

Verbose
Apr 22, 2005, 04:54 AM
I've done this a couple of times, but I again highly recomend anybody ineterested in the legal and moral problems of bombing to read Sven Lindqvist's "A History of Bombing".

From both a military, legal and moral point of view 'Bomber' Harris' and the doctrine of strategic bombing is in deep trouble.

The fact that the Nazi regime was brutal and culpable beyond belief isn't a sufficient excuse.
We should be able to discern shades of gray — not just assume that the blackness of one side makes the other white. Two wrongs don't make one right.

Etc. etc...:sad:

carlosMM
Apr 22, 2005, 05:02 AM
From both a military, legal and moral point of view 'Bomber' Harris' and the doctrine of strategic bombing is in deep trouble.


note that even the British military high command DISTANCED itself from Bomber Harris - but NOT from many other cases were civilians got hurt. It is the INTENT of Bomber Harris that made it so wrong. And which is to me pretty indistinguishable from the nazis: 'Kill as many as possible, totally indiscriminate'.

Zardnaar
Apr 22, 2005, 06:37 AM
While criminal by todays standards in the 40's I don't think it was a crime as the German civilians directly or indirectly supported the war effort. Also by the time the Allied bombing campaign got into full swing numerous European cities had been bombed by the Germans 1st.

The Nazis got what they deserved.
The Germans got what they deserved.

In some ways it was a good thing as such tactics have never been repeated on that scale and German militarism has been a non issue for the last 60 odd years.

Ancient Grudge
Apr 22, 2005, 06:47 AM
This is absolutely disgusting! I see no diference between author of this post and some neo-nazi fools who are denying holocaust or other atrocities. Although we were invaded by both Germans and Russians, I would NEVER advocate killing of their civilians in order to take revenge on them. It's like if some murderer killed your brother and your revenge would be killing of his family.

That might be disgusting but its the truth, the Germans unleashed the horrors on the world so they should of expected retaliation.
And yes if my sibling was killed i would want the murderers family to suffer, its human nature.

While criminal by todays standards in the 40's I don't think it was a crime as the German civilians directly or indirectly supported the war effort. Also by the time the Allied bombing campaign got into full swing numerous European cities had been bombed by the Germans 1st.

The Nazis got what they deserved.
The Germans got what they deserved.

In some ways it was a good thing as such tactics have never been repeated on that scale and German militarism has been a non issue for the last 60 odd years.

Completely agree.

carlosMM
Apr 22, 2005, 06:58 AM
And yes if my sibling was killed i would want the murderers family to suffer, its human nature.


an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth...... I thought we had developed beyond that :rolleyes: Isn't that what people always brag about? Having left he OT behind?

Verbose
Apr 22, 2005, 08:05 AM
The logic seems to be:
'They got bombed, which proves it was necessary. They wouldn't have been bombed if it wasn't necessary in the first place, right?'

The question isn't if it was necessary to defeat Nazism, but what means were justified to use in the process.

Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 08:11 AM
That might be disgusting but its the truth, the Germans unleashed the horrors on the world so they should of expected retaliation.
And yes if my sibling was killed i would want the murderers family to suffer, its human nature.

So you would kill people who have nothing to do with the murder of your sibling.

That's completely beyond my understanding :rolleyes:

Panzerking
Apr 22, 2005, 08:35 AM
I don't think it is right to judge these events using the standards and liberalism of today. There has never been a war of the same magnitude since 1945. None of the Allies have ever been threatened in the same way since. After France fell the UK stood alone for a long time as Europe was conquered and the US was attacked and under threat from a huge expansionist Japanese Empire. The governments of Britain and America knew that if this war was not won then freedom, democracy and basic human morality was over. It is worth remembering that, with so many troops and resources involved, had the D-Day operation failed then Great Britain would have been totally unprotected and open to attack from Nazi Germany and the USA would exist in a world of Nazi German-Domination. The stakes were high and at the time it was viewed that anything that made the Allies stronger and their enemies weaker was acceptable. Now the war has been won it is very easy to question the methods employed and criticise the ferocity of the fighting.

Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 09:05 AM
I don't think it is right to judge these events using the standards and liberalism of today. There has never been a war of the same magnitude since 1945. None of the Allies have ever been threatened in the same way since. After France fell the UK stood alone for a long time as Europe was conquered and the US was attacked and under threat from a huge expansionist Japanese Empire. The governments of Britain and America knew that if this war was not won then freedom, democracy and basic human morality was over. It is worth remembering that, with so many troops and resources involved, had the D-Day operation failed then Great Britain would have been totally unprotected and open to attack from Nazi Germany and the USA would exist in a world of Nazi German-Domination. The stakes were high and at the time it was viewed that anything that made the Allies stronger and their enemies weaker was acceptable. Now the war has been won it is very easy to question the methods employed and criticise the ferocity of the fighting.

So the allies decided not to wait so long and buried the basic morality themselves.

WW2 ended 60 years ago, so now is the right time to face its legacy. We must admit, that the "good guys" also did pretty terrible things.

Panzerking
Apr 22, 2005, 09:20 AM
So the allies decided not to wait so long and buried the basic morality themselves.

WW2 ended 60 years ago, so now is the right time to face its legacy. We must admit, that the "good guys" also did pretty terrible things.

They most definitely did but as I said they were under immense pressure to win and the alternative was unthinkable. Very easy for us to sit around in peacetime and judge those fighting for what we take for granted. This particular conflict showed the horrors of war and IMO is a major factor in why there has been realtive peace among the major powers of the world since.

Verbose
Apr 22, 2005, 09:20 AM
I don't think it is right to judge these events using the standards and liberalism of today.
There have been plenty of treaties since the 19th c. regulating warfare. If anything we are more tolerant of the destructiveness of warfare today than they were back then. (Two world wars.)

The bombing campaigns that resulted in Dresden etc. were problematic according to the treatises and standards of the day. They can be judged according to these. (I'm no friend of anacronistically meeting out blame under ordinary circumstances.)

It still boils down to a question if Nazism was an ill that had to be cured by any means avilable, no matter how radical.

Nanocyborgasm
Apr 22, 2005, 09:42 AM
What do you think about this topic? IMO according to todays standards, intentional bombing of civilian targets in order to kill enemy civilians to disrupt morale of the enemy is called terrorism.

These air raids killed more than 500,000 (real number is higher) people in German cities, with no effect on enemy morale.

In your opinion - was that justifiable?

EDIT: The same bombing took place also in Japan, including two nuclear attacks. The rough numbers are about 100,000 japanese civilians dead after conventional air raid on Tokyo, 275,000 dead after atomic bombing. I don't know the overall number of Japanese civilian casaulties caused by American air strikes.

As far as I'm concerned, war is war. You can't fight a war half-assed and expect results. In fact, going out of one's way to avoid civilian targets only threatens the lives of your own soldiers. I believe it's a waste of time and resources to bombard civilian targets (it's the military ones that can wage war, after all), but sometimes desperate times call for desperate actions. I only consider civilian death during war a war crime when it's done for the expressed purpose of killing them, rather than for the war effort itself.

As far as the air raids of WW2 go, how do you know that they had no effect on German morale? Did you ask the people of Dresden how they felt before and after those bombings? Truthfully, I can't imagine that it did have much effect, because by the time they happened, German morale was already pretty low (they were losing). Your own statements betray that point. Obviously, the nuclear annihilation of Hiroshim and Nagasaki DID have an effect on morale. The Japanese were still ready to fight on, although they had almost no military force left, but the destruction of two of their cities convinced them to stop.

Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 10:58 AM
As far as I'm concerned, war is war. You can't fight a war half-assed and expect results. In fact, going out of one's way to avoid civilian targets only threatens the lives of your own soldiers. I believe it's a waste of time and resources to bombard civilian targets (it's the military ones that can wage war, after all), but sometimes desperate times call for desperate actions. I only consider civilian death during war a war crime when it's done for the expressed purpose of killing them, rather than for the war effort itself.

So do I, in this context.

As far as the air raids of WW2 go, how do you know that they had
no effect on German morale?

Well, actually they had - Germans were than much more willing to fight. They wanted "revenge" for this killing.

Did you ask the people of Dresden how they felt before and after those bombings?

That is pretty irrelevant, because in the times of Dresden raid, was was almost over. There was no need to break their morale.

Truthfully, I can't imagine that it did have much effect, because by the time they happened, German morale was already pretty low (they were losing).

I wouldn't say that. Germans kept fighting to the bitter end, even in encircled Berlin, without any chance, they fought (but I admit that was because they feared Russians much more than Allies).

Your own statements betray that point. Obviously, the nuclear annihilation of Hiroshim and Nagasaki DID have an effect on morale. The Japanese were still ready to fight on, although they had almost no military force left, but the destruction of two of their cities convinced them to stop.

This thread is supposed to be rather about the conventional raids. Nuclear bomb was a weapon nobody was prepared for, so it's obvious it caused a great shock. My question regarding nuclear bomb is - was it really necessary to drop a-bombs on densely populated cities, causing so much suffering and death?

Panzerking
Apr 22, 2005, 11:04 AM
That is pretty irrelevant, because in the times of Dresden raid, was was almost over. There was no need to break their morale.

Classic. How did the Allies know the war was nearly over????

They didn't, sure they had experienced some victorious battles but no-one could know it was almost over. This is what I meant by judging these events years after in peacetime.

Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 11:15 AM
That is pretty irrelevant, because in the times of Dresden raid, was was almost over. There was no need to break their morale.

Classic. How did the Allies know the war was nearly over????

Maybe because the frontlines collapsed and the Allied/Soviet troops were advancing into Germany almost unopposed? ;)

Terje
Apr 22, 2005, 11:17 AM
had the D-Day operation failed then Great Britain would have been totally unprotected and open to attack from Nazi Germany and the USA would exist in a world of Nazi German-Domination.
Uh, wasn't the Nazis being driven back in the east at the time of D-Day?


As for the topic, my opinion is that all killing of civilians is a war crime, no matter if the "civilians are aiding the war effort". If you look at a civilians role during war from several different perspectives, there's always a perspective where the civilian can be said to aid the war effort, no matter how indirectly.

Also, the commiting of a war crime must be percieved as a single event. If you burn 600,000 men, women, and children to death, it's a war crime, no matter what their government has done previous to the bombing. It must be seen as a separate event, because if you don't, you can always twist events into looking like they weren't war crimes, and then the concept no longer has any meaning, except as a tool for propagendists.

Winner
Apr 22, 2005, 11:18 AM
Also, the commiting of a war crime must be percieved as a single event. If you burn 600,000 men, women, and children to death, it's a war crime, no matter what their government has done previous to the bombing. It must be seen as a separate event, because if you don't, you can always twist events into looking like they weren't war crimes, and then the concept no longer has any meaning, except as a tool for propagendists.

That's exactly what I mean.

Ancient Grudge
Apr 22, 2005, 11:20 AM
Maybe because the frontlines collapsed and the Allied/Soviet troops were advancing into Germany almost unopposed? ;)

You're joking surely, the advance by the Soviets into Nazi Germany can hardly be called unopposed.

And yes i would actually, they bred the one that would of killed my sibling, socialised him, so yeah they have everythign to do with it.

Longasc
Apr 22, 2005, 11:26 AM
This is quite old! Even the arguments are the same.

I would simply dig up Hiroshima and Dresden Bombing threads.
A lot of persons posted their opinions, and I still think lowly of many posters.

They really need to experience some atomic bombs or level bombing, as a lot of these arseholes are again posting in this thread.

Zardnaar
Apr 22, 2005, 03:36 PM
This is quite old! Even the arguments are the same.

I would simply dig up Hiroshima and Dresden Bombing threads.
A lot of persons posted their opinions, and I still think lowly of many posters.

They really need to experience some atomic bombs or level bombing, as a lot of these arseholes are again posting in this thread.

I'm not an arsehole though right? The bombing sucked and I hope it never happens again (espicially with nukes) and I can understand how Addler and Longasc are angry at the way some posters respond- including me probably. A good arguement could be made the war could have been won without the bombing. However it I think it is beyond a doubt that:

1. The bombing shortened the war. Although German production rose they had massive shortages of fuel and other materials as they couldn't transport the reliably. How many lives were saved if the war had lasted another 6 months? The Holocaust could have been completed. In effect the German civilians died so that allied soldiers and occupied Europeans could live.

2. If Hitler had the capacity to carpet bomb Allied cities would he? The evidence suggests so- the Blitz 1940, Stalingrad 42, Warsaw 39 etc etc. These cities were also bombed before the allied bombing campaign was in full swing.

3. While an eye for an eye tooth for a tooth is a primitive idea how would any wartime leader be able to face his nation and say "They bombed us but we won't bomb them back because we're the nice guys". What was a realistic alternative?
While its easy to blame Hitler in 43 it was clear that Germany was either going to lose the war or pay a huge price- Stalingrad, Kursk, 1000 bomber raids. If they had surrendered then they would have avoided most of the bombing. Also the German population and Army for the most part supported Hitler up until the end. It may not be fair to blame the Germans as we don't know how hard(impossable?) it would have been to remove the Nazis from power and in war the population tends to rally around the flag no matter who is in charge. However its not really fair we judge the Allied bombing campaign by 2005 standards and technology. The didn't have the precision bombing technology to target railroads or refinerys etc and in alot of cases hitting the correct city was a challenge.

Even at the time I think they knew it was wrong- Bomber Harris for example had numerous falling outs with the higher ups. I don't think they had any realistic alternative- why not bomb back if they bomb you 1st? In war however the 1st casualty is truth the 2nd is probably morality.

If any posters can contradict my 3 ponts in a signifigant way I may reconsider. The Allies weren't angels by any stretch of the imagination but alot of the anti bombing arguements are also the same ones people like David Irving and other holocaust deniers/neo nazi groups use as well- Germany suffered, Churchill was evil etc.

Longasc
Apr 22, 2005, 04:19 PM
If you think you are an *******, you probably are.

And as you are an *******, you again start covering everything with **** and call this a discussion.

Feel free to look into the mirror if you want to talk with an arse.

Of course you were among the arseholes I mentioned, what did you think?

eyrei
Apr 22, 2005, 04:41 PM
Longasc. 3 days for flaming. Eyrei.

Verbose
Apr 22, 2005, 05:03 PM
1. The bombing shortened the war. [...] How many lives were saved if the war had lasted another 6 months? The Holocaust could have been completed. In effect the German civilians died so that allied soldiers and occupied Europeans could live.

2. If Hitler had the capacity to carpet bomb Allied cities would he? The evidence suggests so- the Blitz 1940, Stalingrad 42, Warsaw 39 etc etc. These cities were also bombed before the allied bombing campaign was in full swing.

3. While an eye for an eye tooth for a tooth is a primitive idea how would any wartime leader be able to face his nation and say "They bombed us but we won't bomb them back because we're the nice guys". What was a realistic alternative?
1. There were plenty of military targets to bomb in Germany. Harris 1000 bomb raids could have been used for other things than deep-frying civilians and for all we know, that might have shortened the war even more. He certainly had to fight other commanders who wanted the RAF to chuck high explosives at other stuff. And considering that his concept of breaking German civilian moral by bombing wasn't successful, well maybe his tactics even prolonged the war?

2. So Hitler wasn't worse than the Allies where bomb warfare is concerned? That's overwhelmingly likely, but hardly of an argument in defense of things like Dresden. No one would have disputed that it was a war crime if a Luftwaffe fleet of heavy bombers had incinerated Newcastle.

3. The realistic alternative was to use the bombers to hit other kinds of targets of course — military, industrial etc. As for the propaganda value of the raids, government controlled what the public was told. Not using the 1000 bombers at all might be hard to explain to them in the long run, but using them for other things than against civilians would hardly have needed an explanation in the first place.

Nothing forced the Allies to adopt the doctrine of carpet bombing urban population centres. They chose to do so. Which is partly why this is so problematic. There never was sufficient reason for it. Harris' ideas could perhaps have been justified if they had led to spectacular success, but they were failures.

Rik Meleet
Apr 22, 2005, 05:28 PM
Were the Allied bombings of civilian targets during WW2 a war crime?

Yes they were, as I see it. Even through my 2005-eyes in a 2005-world I can still judge 1940 - 1945 events, because there can never exist an excuse to kill civilians in a war. And there should never be attempts to excuse it. Especially if the killers (in this case bomber-crews) don't know personally who they've killed.

I have less dificulty with a soldier on the ground killing a civilian who attacks them. I do have huge problems with soldiers killing civilians through carpet bombing, "kill everything that moves"-tactics and "clear that area"-tactics. I also have huge problems with soldiers using civilian and/or civilian locations for military purposes. That is forcing the opponents to commit warcrimes and is a warcrime in itself. At least in my book.

You reap what you sow. It was the British who bombed Germany's civilian targets before the Germans bombed Britain's. During the "battle of Britain" Gemany exclusively bombed radar-station, airfields and other Military targets. Britain bombed Berlin and some days after that Germany bombed London.

So the "You reap what you sow" is not historically correct.

On 4 September Hitler lifted his restriction on bombing London, following RAF raids on Berlin on the night of 25 August/26 August, itself a reprisal for an accidental bombing of the British capital. The Berlin raid had hurt Göring's pride, as he had previously claimed the British would never be allowed to bomb the city. Kesselring seized his chance and proposed a strategy change. In the face of Sperrle's arguments that attacks on the airfields should continue, Kesselring persuaded the Reichsmarschall to attack London. The raids would either panic the British population into submission, or it would force the "last fifty Spitfires" into the sky where they could be annihilated. This attack was no longer seen as a prerequisite for Seelöwe, but was meant to be decisive in itself.

Zardnaar
Apr 22, 2005, 05:46 PM
Germany bombed other civilian cities before Britain bomber berlin. That raid was with Blenheim bombers and done no damage.

Interesting to say the Allies could have bombed other targets though- did they have the technology to do so ie the accuracy required, the range required etc. I read somewhere a bomb landing withen 5 miles of a target was considered a hit and there were several cities bombed by both side by mistake including Rotterdam and several Swiss cities.

What realistic options did the Allies have in 43. In 44 they bombed Ploesti as they finally had the range and airbases required and what other specific targets do the anti bombing crowd advocate bombing instead. Like any city most industrial targets are in built up areas and carpet bombing a city was usually required to hit the target- and often even this missed. The refineries were a good target but how do you hit rail road junctions, factories, research centres etc accurately with 40's technology without using low level daylight raids- AKA suicide for the bomber pilots..

pawpaw
Apr 22, 2005, 06:14 PM
Some info from an article on WW II bomb acuracey:

The U.S. airforce only had an accuracey of 7%

Example: It took 108 B-17 bombers dropping 648 bombs to get an 96% chance of 2 hits.

This was with the Norben precesion site which was 5 X's more acurate than the British MkXIV

It was impossable to do 1000 bomber raids and NOT destroy everything within several miles of the target.

And no I don't think killing women and children is a good thing

Terje
Apr 22, 2005, 06:15 PM
Sure, a bomb going out of course, missing the target and then kill civilians cannot be counted as a war crime (in most cases, anyway), but those were just accidents.

Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo (and possibly others - I do not know the full extent of this practice). Those were not "accidents". Those were intentional terror bombings, and thus war crimes.

Zardnaar
Apr 22, 2005, 06:38 PM
You could make the arguement that Dresden wasn't a terror bombing. Also some things to consider.

Germany started WW2 which resulted in 50-60 million dead. 6 million were murdered in the Holocaust, on third of Polands population died and the Russians lost around 20 million dead. The extinction or enslavement was the goal of the Nazi government and by extension the German people which supported that government. Millions of Germans served in the armed forces and enslaved millions to work in the factories.

In February 45 when Dresden happened it was clear that Germany was going to lose. However 2 months ago the Germans counter attacked in the Battle of the Bulge, and were fighting the USSR fiercely on the eastern front. V weapons were hittng England and Europe and a very real fear was of a last stand in the Alps while a projected 1 million casualties were anticipated for an invasion of Japan. The allies were also faced with 12 year olds with sub machine guns and the Mayor of Aachen had been killed in a werewolf operation. The German lines collapsing didn't happen until April 45. The official German policy was no surrender.

The Alies were faced with the prospect of 2 defeated enemies who wouldn't surrender and were willing to kill themselves and their own children. During this war with victory in sight those enemies had bombed, brutalised, subjugated and plain old murdered millions of civilians. They were faced with the prospect of having to kill every male in the country between the ages of 12-60.

While I don't agree with aspects of the bombing campaign I can understand the reasons for it and at the time it was believed it would win the war. We are judging them with todays morality and hindsight. The bombing campaign was a failure but only with hindsight. Comventional wisdom at the time would dictate an enemy would surrender rather than be bombed into oblivion and spare the lives of the soldiers at the front and the civilians in the frontline.

If I was in charge knowing whatn I know now theres a few raids I would have done and the bombing campaign would have been different but with the limitations of the technology you are still looking at hundreds of thousands dead. With the knowldge, technology and the context of the 40's I would have done the same thing. We're damned if we do damned if we don't really because heres the options the allies had.

1. Don't bomb. Germany may have won the war or at least held out for alot longer.

2.Bombs away- this is exactly what they done.

3. Different bombing strategy. Not really a viable option and even if it was the limitations of the technology involved probably would have been similar to option 2.

The alternative options aern't really very nice now are they. What would you have done? Remember sparing the enemys civilian population wasn't a high priority as they didn't spare yours. The Allies were damned if they do damned if they don't.

Dachs
Apr 22, 2005, 07:25 PM
Some info from an article on WW II bomb acuracey:

The U.S. airforce only had an accuracey of 7%

Example: It took 108 B-17 bombers dropping 648 bombs to get an 96% chance of 2 hits.

This was with the Norden precesion site which was 5 X's more acurate than the British MkXIV
The Brits had to do it in the nighttime, too. No wonder the Allies had such low accuracy...

YNCS
Apr 22, 2005, 08:21 PM
For those who think that killing large scale killing of civilians started in WW2, I would remind you of a few facts:
During the 30 Years War (1618-1648), approximately 1/3 of the population of modern Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia died.
In 1398, when Tamerlane invaded India, the entire population of Delhi, estimated at 40,000, were killed by the Mongols.
When the Persian Emperor, Xerxes, sacked Athens in 480 BC, over 10,000 Athenians were put to the sword.
Targetting civilians during wartime is not something new. More civilians died during WW2 that were previously killed, but that's because the technology was previously lacking.

BTW, the country that suffered the largest number of civilian dead in WW2 was the USSR, where over 15 million people died. The country that suffered most in proportion to its population was Poland, with 6,028,000 or 17% of its population of 35.1 million killed.

Verbose
Apr 22, 2005, 08:28 PM
3. Different bombing strategy. Not really a viable option and even if it was the limitations of the technology involved probably would have been similar to option 2.

The alternative options aern't really very nice now are they. What would you have done? Remember sparing the enemys civilian population wasn't a high priority as they didn't spare yours. The Allies were damned if they do damned if they don't.
Sure, precision was lousy. That's why you had to use huge bomber fleets to take out... whatever. No one is saying it had to be precision bombing, since it clearly wasn't feasible yet.
Besides, most of WWII bombing wasn't directed at civilian targets. It seems to have worked despite this. Things got blown up right and left. The Allies weren't bombing Hamburg and Dresden in the fashion they did out of desperation over their inability to hit bugger all. Bomber Harris had to fight his own people to get permission to test his ideas. There clearly were perfectly good alternative ways of using the bomber fleet.

Also no one has said sparing the enemy population needs to be a priority. Just don't make them the primary target and you'll be fine with posterity.

The intention behind the bombings matter here. What you seem to be saying is that since bombing military and industrial targets resulted in massive civilian casualties, it was just as well that they made the civilians their primary target.

FriendlyFire
Apr 22, 2005, 10:11 PM
It was the British who bombed Germany's civilian targets before the Germans bombed Britain's. During the "battle of Britain" Gemany exclusively bombed radar-station, airfields and other Military targets. Britain bombed Berlin and some days after that Germany bombed London.

So the "You reap what you sow" is not historically correct.

ROFLMAO

:D

How convient to forget to mention:

Warsaw bombing = warcrime ?
Rotterdam bombing = warcrime ?
Strafing of civlian refuguee column = warcrime ?
Bombing of Dover = warcrime ?

Heck The entire invasion of Poland = warcrime
The Invasion of neutral countries = warcrime

Drewcifer
Apr 22, 2005, 11:19 PM
You could make the arguement that Dresden wasn't a terror bombing. I don't see how one could make that argument. The entire point of the Dresden fire bombing was to destroy the city and it's population.

I also don't buy into the line of reasoning that the bad things done by one side justify bad things done by the other. It seems to be a popular line of reasoning and shows up in many arguments, not just about war.

I think the best defence for the firebombing of both Dresden and Tokyo and the A-bomb was that the allies cared only about their own casualties and not those of nations they were fighting against (and rightly so). They were looking to break the spirit of the enemy and thereby shorten the war and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of their own troops (perhaps millions in the case of invading Japan proper). Most of the troops involved on both sides were merely drafted civilians and the war was being won or lost in the factories as much as on the battlefield so the line between soldier and civilian was already blurred. The societies of all the participants were fully moblized at ever level with victory being the only possible (and in the case of the non-Communist allies, moral) objective. WWII was an existential struggle in the truest meaning of the word, not just a mere war. The strategy of high intensity bombing failed in Germany but was eminently sucessful in Japan. In the case of Japan allied decision making was strongly colored by the battles of Iwo Jima and other islands where the Japanese held out to the last man even after they had clearly been defeated, a large percentage of allied casualties in those battles came long after the outcome had been determined.

It needs to be understood that we are looking at this with the benefit of hindsight. The events that happened look predestined now but at the time they were not. Even after D-day the Germans broke through allied lines at the Battle of the Bulge and for a time put them in a state of extreme panic.

Adler17
Apr 23, 2005, 02:32 AM
So here it is again and like Longasc said before much rubbish is told here.
1. Targeting civilians is a warcrime. It was a cause of the 30 years war that civilians should be out of the target list. This resulted in the end in the Hague and Geneva conventions. So targeting civilians in ww2 was ever a war crime. So were Warsaw and Coventry as like Hamburg, Hiroshima, Tokyo and Dresden.
2. The "justification" is ever the Nazis did bad things. True! But this never leads to a justification of doing attrocities themselves. If you kill the children of a murderer you are a murderer yourself. There is nothing to debate about that. And although a time has to be judged after the time´s point of view it can´t be judged in another way. Killing civilians were bad in 1900 as well as in 1914, 1945 or 2005. The international law was and is protecting civilians. So the bombing was ever a warcrime.
3. The aim to break the German morale was never achieved. Infact the morale was boosted by the attacks. Hitler would have more likely put out of action without the bombings or if the bombers dropped papers with infos from the KZs. Also attacking other targets like the refineries or railway stations would have been much more effective. But this wasn´t done until the very end.
4. Also the neccessary means were never allowing killing so many civilians, especially in 1945 when the war was over. It was clear Germany was losing.

At last: Here is a thread we had already before. And again here some people argue indeed in the very same way like many other bad men before (Nazis e.g.). This attitude should never be supported! Nevertheless we had the thread before and I suggest to add all these threads to one and make it sticky for a year or so and then close it for this time. Otherwise I fear the climate in this forum is poisoned. Here some still thinks that the allies were the white knights fighting the Nazi devil and did never bad things. That is completely false.

Adler

Drewcifer
Apr 23, 2005, 02:41 AM
3. The aim to break the German morale was never achieved. Infact the morale was boosted by the attacks.

The one thing I can say in defence of the fire bombings was that this outcome was not known until it was tried.

I agree they were an atrocity. 1936 to 1945 was the darkest time in human history to date.

Kafka2
Apr 23, 2005, 02:53 AM
That is pretty irrelevant, because in the times of Dresden raid, was was almost over. There was no need to break their morale.


20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Meanwhile, from the perspective of the time, check out how many V1 and V2 rockets were hitting British cities around the time of the Dresden bombing.

Kafka2
Apr 23, 2005, 02:58 AM
Beats me why there's this desperate clamour to label Dresden a war crime, anyway. There's no real attempt to label the Blitz or the bombings of Coventry (or dozens of other British cities) as war crimes. It was a bombing war- people got killed. Deal with it.

FriendlyFire
Apr 23, 2005, 03:19 AM
At last: Here is a thread we had already before. And again here some people argue indeed in the very same way like many other bad men before (Nazis e.g.). This attitude should never be supported! Nevertheless we had the thread before and I suggest to add all these threads to one and make it sticky for a year or so and then close it for this time. Otherwise I fear the climate in this forum is poisoned. Here some still thinks that the allies were the white knights fighting the Nazi devil and did never bad things. That is completely false.

Adler

Of course but what are you going to do ?

i:e paris train marchalling yards 1944 was bombed the living daylights out of even though the Allies KNEW that almost all the casualties would be french civilians. They did so anyway inorder to paralysis the German logistics.

IIRC 40,000 French civilians died.

Verbose
Apr 23, 2005, 04:34 AM
Beats me why there's this desperate clamour to label Dresden a war crime, anyway. There's no real attempt to label the Blitz or the bombings of Coventry (or dozens of other British cities) as war crimes. It was a bombing war- people got killed. Deal with it.
A matter of setting the record straight in the face of some complex, but flawed reasoning?:)

No one has denied any Nazi war crimes so far. Or claimed that the sides were 'equally bad'.

Or we can just chalk it up to the odd little ways of 'furriners'. ;)

Verbose
Apr 23, 2005, 04:43 AM
Of course but what are you going to do ?

i:e paris train marchalling yards 1944 was bombed the living daylights out of even though the Allies KNEW that almost all the casualties would be french civilians. They did so anyway inorder to paralysis the German logistics.

IIRC 40,000 French civilians died.
They weren't made the specific targets. The intention was to disrupt German logistics, not to kill French civilians.

This would only be an argument if the rest of us were saying that causing any civilian casualties at all constitutes a war crime. We don't.

This was WWII. You don't even have to try to miss them, just aim for something legit in their vicinity and we will agree you were within your rights.

privatehudson
Apr 23, 2005, 06:31 AM
I agree to a degree with Kafka. We as countries can either spend decades arguing about what was and wasn't a warcrime (and the attendent tension that sometimes can cause) or we can simply admit that the desperation of the period caused some horrific events and get on with our lives.

I'm sad things like Dresden happened, but we're going to be here a damned long time if we're getting all the countries of the world to appologise for all the crimes they've committed. It's possible to argue that since it's more recent it would have more validity, but frankly there's no-one left alive (to my knowledge but given that they'd probably be 90+ by now...) who would have had a significant influence on making the decision to bomb Dresden in that fashion. Seems to me the appology would be pretty much about politics than actual sense of guilt or regret.

Call it a warcrime if it makes you feel better, the allies weren't perfect whether it's admitted to or not. I don't know many serious followers of that period of history who think that they were, so what's it going to prove? Let us just hope that in the future when they have less access to first hand accounts they don't loose sight of who did the worst warcrimes and assume both were as bad as the other.

Zardnaar
Apr 23, 2005, 07:57 AM
look at it this way. Some people here have got quite upset about this discussion. Imagine how upset the people in 1940 would have been when the bombs were falling. The Germans started the war and started bombing civilians 1st. The allies retalited. They are both guilty of warcrimes I suppose but I don't hold any grudges vs Germans for bombing London. Both sides used bombing population centers as a misguided in hindsight attempt to shorten the war. War sucks and civilians get targeted by military forces.

However theres a huge difference IMHO between bombing civilians and the Holocaust. Adlers arguement was the bombing was a warcrime by both sides which is technically correct I suppose. My main objection is however the Holocaust was a definate warcrime and by calling the Allies war criminals to me seems to be an attempt to whitewash the crimes of the 3rd Reich.

Nazis=Warcriminals
Allies = Warcriminals

Using this logic to me while technically true theres a huge difference between the 2 sides. I suspect most Germans wish Germany had fought and won WW2 under a different regime. To me any pride the Germans can feel from their nations battlefield achievements or technological achievements in WW2 will be forever tainted by the Nazi regime and the Holocaust.

Since at least the 60's "historians" like David Irving have been trying to minimise the crimes of Germany while arguing that the Allies were as bad or worse. I think we can agree an Allied victory was for the best. To me people arguing that the Allies were war criminals (while technically true) are trying to drag the Allies down to Nazi Germany's level. The Allies were no perfect little angels by any means though. Hitler was such a little turd look how we're still arguing about it today and obviously emotions can run high so I apologise to Longasc and Adler for any offense I have caused.

Its Anzac weekend here so on monday I'll drag my ass out of bed at 6am and attend the Anzac day service. My Great Granfather was a WW1 vet and as a child I remember him and he was gassed in the trenches so sometimes I'm not in the best of moods towards historical Germans. I in no way blame or hold modern day Germans responsable for the actions of their grandfathers although to her dying day my grandmother didn't like Germans or Japanese.

Verbose
Apr 23, 2005, 10:02 AM
Momentarily disregarding what has been said in the thread. (No single poster here needs to feel adressed by what follows.)

If one samples the general public image of WWII in the UK (+Commonwealth?) and the US, and compare it with the German one in particular, what is striking is how uncomplicated things seem in the English speaking world.

WWII is a very upebeat national myth (John Keegan has labeled it so for Britain) of overcoming great odds to emerge triumphant against and enemy seemingly Evil incarnate — 'the greatest generation', 'their finest hour' etc.

Obviously things have to be more complicated in Germany. And when comparing what the general public get in the UK/US etc. and in Germany, then the former does come across a little bit simple — at times it looks like a form of "Huzza, we won the war! How d'ye like them onions Fritz?!'

Compared to the utter seriousness with which most Germans have to eat, sleep and crap with WWII on their mind, they might as well be on different planets.

Doc Tsiolkovski
Apr 23, 2005, 11:25 AM
Verbose: Pretty good observation. That is also the main reason why some of the more containt German CFC members can become extremely upset about especially the British press, certain types of Hollywood movies and terms like 'Krauts'.
We do not consider WW2 'funny' in any way. Nothing wrong with satire, but we leave WW2 jokes to the Neonazis. And consider anyone making them or pledging for massive warfare as similarily minded.
Also, since we're about the least nation represented on CFC where military service is mandatory, and consciencious objection possible, some of us (me!) hade to made this choice already. I've been to one of Germany's elite units, and did quit halfway since I found that training to kill simply disgusting. I hate any First Person Shooter since that days, and I cannot understand how immature many posters here argue.

privatehudson
Apr 23, 2005, 02:04 PM
If one samples the general public image of WWII in the UK (+Commonwealth?) and the US, and compare it with the German one in particular, what is striking is how uncomplicated things seem in the English speaking world.

I'd certainly say that's true amongst the "uneducated" masses yes and personally consider it a damned shame. However just because those with little to no understanding of the war consider it in black and white terms does not explain those British or Americans who look at it in a more educated manner, yet support or excuse the bombings. So in terms of relevance to the posts here it is pretty removed.

As for humour about war, I don't mind it. There's serious discussions and there's humour, I like to be able to enjoy both without getting worked up about things. WW2 is a very serious subject, but that's no need to allow it to have a negative impact on the future.

FriendlyFire
Apr 23, 2005, 07:29 PM
We do not consider WW2 'funny' in any way

Hitler proud boast that whereever the Allies landed germany would be ready to meet them. Yes the vaunteed Atlantic wall and Hitlers deluded scheme.

During a commando raid. The British had succesfully blow up a radar installation, capture prisoners and were procceding to gather documents and intell. One "chap" a Lt had captured a German radio operator and at gun point forced him to send direct to berlin a message, "Iam here. stop where are the armies you promised would meet us ? stop"

Those crazy British are at it again.

Adler17
Apr 24, 2005, 03:26 AM
Concerning the British and their German bashing I think that is also a kind of racism but since they seem not to win again Germany in soccer in the final rounds of championships I am not so upset :p . We don´t only talk but act! ;)
Concerning the allied bombing war: Here it is said that the allies were in a bad situation and the German started and so on. If they were in this bad situation, as I agree they were, they had still to keep rules. Cicero wasn´t right when he said: Inter arma enim silent leges (Under arms the also the laws are silent). This opinion was to be banned by the reactions of the 30 years war which was kept mostly until 1939. The Nazis started the war. And it is in no way a whitewashing of the Nazis but to find the dirt in the Allied´s side. They commited war crimes. There is nothing to discuss. They are in no way justifieable. You can´t justify a crime with another. If you do so you´re on the very same level like the Nazis. Also the means the Allies, mostly the British, used in these terror attacks were in no way suitable to end the war. If you quote Goebbels and say he said these attacks should be more intensified to be successful you are just justifiying a genocide! So be careful.
A personal note: My grandma lived in Hamburg that time and was a teenager. She cycled an open street once when a Spitfire appeared behind her. The pilot shot at my grandma although it was clear that there was a teenie cycling. There was no other target. And only because she fell into the ditch of the street the MG salvos missed her. Since that day she was not very keen on the British until her last breath. I also don´t hate the British for that but wanted to show that innocent people were attacked!

Adler

Verbose
Apr 24, 2005, 05:02 AM
I just think it needs to be recognised that all European nations are more or less out of sync, where WWII is concerned. The British may actually have the healthiest attitude towards their war experience, with jokes and all, but it's still a very priviliged position. Seeing someone exercise that kind of privilige, taking it for granted, can be slightly upsetting.

The German way of dealing with WWII at times feels like a grueling slog compared to the British. My personal experience of discussing these things with Germans in Grmany, is that they can be so deadeningly serious about it. It's often a combination of utter sincerity and a form of ritualisation that compells any Germans present to categorically state his/her exact position, with no ambiguities.

It's not that hard to understand why and sympathise with it though.

The playing field is so obviously uneven when WWII is brought up. Considering what happened I neither think it could be even, nor do I want it to. I don't find it a gross injustice that the Germans don't get to deal with WWII on the same terms the British (or anybody else) do.

I am in favour of giving the Germans a bit of a break because of the way they have dealt with WWII, especially in the last 30 years. The post-war denazification wasn't that thorough. The real work Germany has done over this has occured recently. And if they have now come to the point where they think the suffering of German civilians deserve recognition, I think they have good reason.

privatehudson
Apr 24, 2005, 06:40 AM
To defend my fellow countrymen a little, that pretty much is the way we deal with war overall. The British do tend to have a habit of not entirely taking war seriously enough even during the conflict, so I don't think it's anything specific to WW2. I guess it's just part of how we deal with such things. Regretably many in the country are woefully ignorant of the period, but that's not something entirely specific to anglo-saxons to be fair.

Concerning the British and their German bashing I think that is also a kind of racism but since they seem not to win again Germany in soccer in the final rounds of championships I am not so upset

We won the one that mattered :mischief:

If you quote Goebbels and say he said these attacks should be more intensified to be successful you are just justifiying a genocide! So be careful.

:hmm: I vaguely recall various anti-bombing people suggesting this might have been a valid threat against Germany to attempt to stop the holocaust! You guys need to make your minds up ;)

A personal note: My grandma lived in Hamburg that time and was a teenager. She cycled an open street once when a Spitfire appeared behind her. The pilot shot at my grandma although it was clear that there was a teenie cycling. There was no other target. And only because she fell into the ditch of the street the MG salvos missed her. Since that day she was not very keen on the British until her last breath. I also don´t hate the British for that but wanted to show that innocent people were attacked!

My Grandfather saw Belsen, I'm going to argue he had more justification for disliking Germans if such an argument has any validity at all. Innocent people are always attacked in a war regreably, that specific event is less deliberate malice and probably more a mistake. Planes fly very fast, how certain are you the pilot knew she was a teenager given the amount of time he had to make such a judgement?

Finally I'm not seeking to justify the allies crimes (though some did have military reasoning despite your outcry I might add), I'm saying that we need to be careful that future generations do not to loose sight of who was the real evil in the war in our determination to get the allies to appologise and admit to every single last thing they did wrong. That's where the "germans did it too/first" is very relevant, because if we forget that we loose sight of who the real evil where.

So please quit acting like I'm excusing anything.

Doc Tsiolkovski
Apr 24, 2005, 07:24 AM
To defend my fellow countrymen a little, that pretty much is the way we deal with war overall. The British do tend to have a habit of not entirely taking war seriously
Sounds reasonable, and a pretty healthy attitude.
However, the problem is that while the Brits allow themselves to make jokes about everything, they refuse the same right to others...

Also, I for one do appreciate your personnal POV, and can fully accept it. I wouldn't even beat on the 'uneducated masses' btw; those are indeed identical in any given Western country.
The real oddity is the hatred against Germany preached by the British Mass media, plus the entirely wrong image they spread of today Germany. Something that has reached such an extent that our Foreign Secretary already needed to adress it.

A bit similar like the French bashing some time ago in the US. But, while France is halfway on the other side of the world for the average American, a ticket to Germany costs about as much as a lunch...

Another interesting thing is how the British and US forces acted during the time they had a significant presence in Germany:
The local US authorities treated their German neighbors pretty nicely, and indeed most Germans saw the GIs as allies and friends. I grew up in one of cities with the biggest US garrisons, and had some US friends at that time, and lots of contact.
The Brits acted like 'colonial occupators' (not in a way the Russians did in East Germany, more like you'd think they did in India some decades earlier). The officers participated in social events etc, but the common soldiers only got in contact with the Germans with the goal to get as drunk as fast as possible and than start some quarrels. I life near Herford today, so I know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, enough threadjacking (though I find this topic a lot more interesting as the original one, which has been discussed over and over again anyway :p ).

privatehudson
Apr 24, 2005, 07:40 AM
However, the problem is that while the Brits allow themselves to make jokes about everything, they refuse the same right to others...

I don't think that's true overall to be honest. Some of our best comedies send up the British a lot more than they do the Germans, French or Americans. Take Blackadder for example, most of that plays on the the British/English than forieigners. We tend to object to others humour because on the occasions they do make fun of us it's usually so boring, predictable and silly like Friends in London or whatever it was.

Given some educated and good comedy about the Brits I laugh as much as the next guy. ;)

The real oddity is the hatred against Germany preached by the British Mass media, plus the entirely wrong image they spread of today Germany. Something that has reached such an extent that our Foreign Secretary already needed to adress it.

I really wouldn't worry about it too much. The mass media like making sensational news stories or playing on people's ignorances. The majority of people with any brains think the likes of the Sun and Mirror are not even worthy of being used to line cat litter trays. The Mirror had the bright idea of putting "Atchung Surrender!" on their front page just before a world cup game with Germany.

They're as ignorant regarding British events as they are regarding Germans or French believe me. Have you ever heard of the Hillsborough disaster? Playing on the sterotypes of Liverpool people (the fans who died in the disaster being Liverpool FC fans) of being thieves, the Sun accused them of urinating on the dead and looting their wallets as they lay there. They even attacked them for vandalism when they ripped down some advertising hordings. What they were really doing it for was to create a makeshift stretcher. The accusations were plain ignorant, and since then the Sun has always been very unpopular on Merseyside. A short while ago (that would be 15 or so years later) they made a piss-poor appology on the issue but it was very weak to say the least.

That's the kind of paper you're referring to, so believe me it's not out of any dislike or ignorance of Germans specifically, it's just plain and simple ignorance. Regretably there's probably a million or so people who buy such tripe, but what can you do, millions of people watch Jerry Springer :D

The Brits acted like 'colonial occupators' (not in a way the Russians did in East Germany, more like you'd think they did in India some decades earlier). The officers participated in social events etc, but the common soldiers only got in contact with the Germans with the goal to get as drunk as fast as possible and than start some quarrels. I life near Herford today, so I know what I'm talking about.

That's nothing unusual, British soldiers do that in Britain with the British :lol: Nothing to do with colonial attitudes ;)

Simon Darkshade
Apr 24, 2005, 02:29 PM
No, it was not a war crime, it was the only means of war at that stage.

After Dunkirk and until D-Day, the bomber provided the only effective weapon to hit Germany in its heartland, the centre of gravity where it was to be defeated. It provided a means of striking, and had the accompanying effect of destroying the Luftwaffe as a fighting force capable of challenging for air superiority.

That the Normandy landings could occur under a virtually completely Allied sky was due to the bombing campaign, and particularly the dominance of the P-51 as an escort fighter wearing down Luftwaffe fighter strength.

Some have previously stated that others are employing 20/20 hindsight, and that is quite correct in one's own view. It was a total war, at the apex of the industrial age. The actions of the Allies were justifiable in military terms; in strategic terms; and in moral terms. The genie had been let out of the bottle by the Axis, and it came back to visit them with a vengeance.

The RAF bombed at night, which made things even more difficult to avoid a wide dispersal of bombs. Deliberately hitting area targets was using the decisive weapon of the bomber in the best way it could. The Allied Strategic Bombing Survey does show that both the RAF and the USAAF did not achieve what they thought they could and what they thought they did, but this was after the fact.

The ends justified the means in this situation as from the Allied perspective, the ends and the struggle engaged in were of the utmost importance. The aim was total victory in total war, and this was achieved. The strategic bombing campaign of the Allies not a war crime, but rather a brilliant and terrible display of total war. Bomber Harris said on the wireless that they were coming, and they came.

As a side note, there is a frequent raising of this topic and the nuking of Japan as war crimes by the Allies, but there does not seem to be the same focus on the actions of the Soviet Union. As to why there seems to be this imbalance of outrage is an open question...

Doc Tsiolkovski
Apr 24, 2005, 02:45 PM
As a side note, there is a frequent raising of this topic and the nuking of Japan as war crimes by the Allies, but there does not seem to be the same focus on the actions of the Soviet Union. As to why there seems to be this imbalance of outrage is an open question...

Err...simply because Kattyn or the mass raping of German women in 1945 are an undisputed war crimes, as much as lots of things Germany or Japan did, or Italy in Ethopia?

kittenOFchaos
Apr 24, 2005, 03:16 PM
See my posts in the other threads, this invention that the bombing campaign was of little value against moral or material, or in tying down vast amounts of manpower, material and weaponary is laughable.

As for it being a crime, when one side has completely ignored the rules there is not obligation to stick to them yourself with regard to that combatant. Irregardless, in Modern War, the entire populace is part and parcel of supporting the military machine and is a valid military target. If you have the luxury of being merciful either granted by technology or that your nation hasn't suffered particularly, go for it. But the Germans had done so much to deserve all they got for forcing economic catastrophe upon Britain, killing and maiming so many of her citizens and ending her Empire, for inflicting terror and nearly achieving our subjugation - we/they had just cause. Both German and Japanese got their just desserts and were sent the clear message that they had been defeated and they had let their leaders take them to ruin by inflicting War on so many other countries and all the terrors that this brings even from merciful conquerors and the Nazis and Japanese weren't.

Why do Germans make such a big deal about it? Well, to try and tar the Allies and inparticular Britain with the same dirty brush of mass murder that the Germans of that era had got coated by.

As Simon said, this way of War was one in which Britain could hurt the Germans whilst for so long being off the continent, it was our early second front and it was one way of showing the Germans and our Russian Allies that we were still in it and causing the Germans alot of grief.

Simon Darkshade
Apr 24, 2005, 04:09 PM
Err...simply because Kattyn or the mass raping of German women in 1945 are an undisputed war crimes, as much as lots of things Germany or Japan did, or Italy in Ethopia?


They are rarely mentioned, certainly not in the same breath, were certainly not prosecuted (with good reason, given the notion of victor's justice) and are the real Allied war crimes to stand on the rooftops and shout about. They even put other allies in postwar gulags, with the Czechoslovak RAF blokes being held until 1951 in some cases.

But, Uncle Joe gets a free ride for various reasons, some from then, some from now. An example is a National Geographic article about the Soviet sinking of the large German freighter packed with East Prussian refugees in the Baltic. It briefly dallies with the idea of it being a naughty thing, but then floods this notion with hagiographic justification. A lonely footnote of history, left blowing in the wind.

If we are seeking blood on the paws of WW2 Allies, then the Evil Red Empire is the first place to look, and even now should be shouted about, given the nostalgia about Stalin that is kicking about.

Zardnaar
Apr 24, 2005, 04:53 PM
I suppose one would have to also look at the motivation behind aerial bombing as well. When Germany was bombing England the goal was to force England to surrender through the destruction of its industrial capacity, airforce and later to terrorise the civilians. More or less the same goals as bomber command although in 43 onwards the Allies had more resources and bigger planes than the Germans ever had.

Due to the war situation the Allies didn't have much choice in what to do. Sit there and do nothing or bombs away. One overlooked fact is the bombing campaign wore down the Liftwaffe and an interesting note is that while most of Germanys resources were directed to the eastern front around half of the Luftwaffes forces including their best pilots were used to defend the homeland. Without the bombing campaign all of those forces could have been used on the eastern front or at Normandy. Its hard to say if any of the close battles on Russia could have been decided with better air support.

The western Allies plan was to wear the Germans down with industrial attrition which in addition to disrupting the industrial base also included destroying the Luftwaffe as well. While technically a war crime I suppose the greater crime would have been letting Germany win the war. In a perfect world the war would have been won regardless but often leaders are faced with difficult decisions and often have to go with the lesser of two evils.

Perhaps the best example I can think of is in WW1. The Germans were the first to use gas on the western front. The English and French responded in kind. In WW2 the Germans were the first to use level bombing. The Allies responded in kind and then some. In war you don't fight with one hand tied behind your back and at the time it was believed they could win the war with minimal casualties required from a cross channel invasion and advance into Germany proper.

Doc Tsiolkovski
Apr 24, 2005, 05:25 PM
They are rarely mentioned, certainly not in the same breath, were certainly not prosecuted (with good reason, given the notion of victor's justice) and are the real Allied war crimes to stand on the rooftops and shout about. They even put other allies in postwar gulags, with the Czechoslovak RAF blokes being held until 1951 in some cases.

But, Uncle Joe gets a free ride for various reasons, some from then, some from now. An example is a National Geographic article about the Soviet sinking of the large German freighter packed with East Prussian refugees in the Baltic. It briefly dallies with the idea of it being a naughty thing, but then floods this notion with hagiographic justification. A lonely footnote of history, left blowing in the wind.

If we are seeking blood on the paws of WW2 Allies, then the Evil Red Empire is the first place to look, and even now should be shouted about, given the nostalgia about Stalin that is kicking about.

No question. Maybe the situation in Germany is indeed different; we have absolutely no doubt about Stalin's crimes, and they are very well known and frequently adressed. Literature Noble laureate Grass' 'Im Krebsgang' just brought this up again, as well as countless TV features currently running about the end of WW2 50 years ago.
But I admittedly do not know how present those are in the rest of the world (outside Germany and the former Warsaw Pact countries).

Kafka2
Apr 24, 2005, 05:28 PM
Sounds reasonable, and a pretty healthy attitude.
However, the problem is that while the Brits allow themselves to make jokes about everything, they refuse the same right to others...


Nonsense. I'm going to have to introduce you to Vincent at CG. Here's one of his quotes-

"When I get a few minutes spare, I'll upload the photos of Britain that my Grandfather took. They're a bit blurred because he had to take them through the canopy of his Stuka."

I laughed my arse off at that one.

Adler17
Apr 25, 2005, 02:00 AM
First here is something said the Germans did it first. Yes the Germans did use gas first in ww1 but only because their industry was a bit faster than the Entente, which also planned the use of gas. Otherwise they would not have been able to respond so fast. Yes the Germans bombed Guernica and Warsaw. Both war crimes. But the Brits under command of a certain Harris did this before in the Arab uprisings. There enemy towns and villages were bombed in the same way. The German Luftwaffe had as main target the British air industry and airfields. So legal targets- until a few bomber missed their target to drop accidentally some bombs over London. In the very following night the British bombed Berlin and the German target switched a bit. Because there were some revenge missions because of that. Mostly the Germans kept their aim of attacking factories but because of the fact that the worker houses were near to these factories many civilians were collateral damages. Also the British air force in contrast to the Luftwaffe had the plans to carry out terror bombardments. They wanted to use them. Therefore they had relied on heavy bombers. The Luftwaffe was designed to be used in a tactical way and lacked very much in strategical bombers. Only the He 177 Greif is to mention, a plane that was not operational before 1942/ 43. So the Luftwaffe was in trouble as she was ordered to do a job she was not able to do.
Civilians are said here are a valid target in a war. Fine! You just justified ALL terror bombings and the massacre on civilians on all sides. It is also against all international laws. Civilians are protected regardless what happens. Yes there is something called repressal which means if the enemy does something against the rules you are allowed to break the rules in another point. But this stops when civilians are the main target. Also when the enemy stops breaking the rules you are also not any more allowed to break the rules. So the extensive use of bombers against German civilians should also never used to be only repressals but to break the German morale and was still continued as terror bombing when it was clear that the aim was missed. Also we should not forget the fact Harris himself said that except Essen all bombardments were used to kill German civilians.
If you argue he is right you follow the argumentation of Nazis. Some here seem to do that...

Adler

P.S.: My Grandma drove an open way. She was alone and had long hair. So a pilot shich shoots at her must have recognized she was only a young woman, no legitime target at all. Otherwise he was blind.

Winner
Apr 25, 2005, 02:11 AM
If we are seeking blood on the paws of WW2 Allies, then the Evil Red Empire is the first place to look, and even now should be shouted about, given the nostalgia about Stalin that is kicking about.

I think all the people who post in this thread are perfectly aware of Soviet crimes. The view of the Second world war has shifted into "Evil Germans attacked good Allies, than they attacked also evil Soviets and than the good Allies used evil Soviets to help them in the defeating of Reich." But Allies are clearly percieved as the pure good.

I just want to get rid of that stupid thinking "we're the winners, so we're always right, no matter what we did".

privatehudson
Apr 25, 2005, 02:13 AM
P.S.: My Grandma drove an open way. She was alone and had long hair. So a pilot shich shoots at her must have recognized she was only a young woman, no legitime target at all. Otherwise he was blind.

I doubt he even noticed such things given the speed he was flying at. Calous perhaps but hardly crime of the century.

The Luftwaffe was designed to be used in a tactical way and lacked very much in strategical bombers

Precisely. The luftwaffe certainly did not lack the intention to attack civilian targets in a terror campaign, it proved quite willing to do so. It simply lacked the means to do so on anything like the same scale. It wasn't quite as easy bombing civilian targets when the enemy's air force had modern warplanes and a refusal to surrender.

Also when the enemy stops breaking the rules you are also not any more allowed to break the rules

Between mass murder of Jews and undersirables, mass starvation of the Russian POWs, terror attacks using V1 an V2s, indiscriminate attacks on shipping and god knows what else, when did the Germans stop breaking the rules in WW2? I haven't personally used this form of argument so far, but it seems to me that it wouldn't be hard to continue to find german flouting of the rules.

Also we should not forget the fact Harris himself said that except Essen all bombardments were used to kill German civilians.

Well it seems Harris was ignorant of the use of the USAAF then.

And for the final time, I really don't see how people quite think that someone who killed civilians with the overall intent of shortening the war is quite on the same wavelegnth as a group of people who killed civilians because they were of a particular ethnic group and would have done so with or without a war going on. Harris and by extension Churchill may have been wrong, but at least Churchill wasn't seeking to kill every single German.

Drewcifer
Apr 25, 2005, 02:36 AM
The German way of dealing with WWII at times feels like a grueling slog compared to the British. My personal experience of discussing these things with Germans in Grmany, is that they can be so deadeningly serious about it. It's often a combination of utter sincerity and a form of ritualisation that compells any Germans present to categorically state his/her exact position, with no ambiguities.

An obvious observation, but one that is worth stating is that Germans obviously feel the weight of history when discussing the war in a way that people from other countries do not.

I don't think that anyone from Germany born after 1930 (at the latest) should have to answer for the actions of their country in the war unless they are skinheads who refuse to recognise the past, and not all citizens of the Axis supported their governments even in that era, a friend and former boss of mine's father spent much of the war under arrest for trying to protect the jews of Florence (he is Italian, his view of Germans is not as forgiving as mine, caused by his personal experience of the war). It was another era, the perpetraters of the sins of the past are mostly in their graves now. It is not like Germany has tried to airbrush this era out of their history (unlike Japan).

carlosMM
Apr 25, 2005, 07:09 AM
Beats me why there's this desperate clamour to label Dresden a war crime, anyway. There's no real attempt to label the Blitz or the bombings of Coventry (or dozens of other British cities) as war crimes. It was a bombing war- people got killed. Deal with it.

eh, everyone calls the bombings of Coventry and London and all otehr British cities hit 'war crimes' - so it is rather a question why Dresden, Hamburg, Pforzheim etc are NOT war crimes.


:rolleyes:

Kafka2
Apr 25, 2005, 11:23 AM
eh, everyone calls the bombings of Coventry and London and all otehr British cities hit 'war crimes' - so it is rather a question why Dresden, Hamburg, Pforzheim etc are NOT war crimes.


:rolleyes:

Keep rolling and rolling those eyes until you're really, really dizzy. Britons don't tend to call them "War crimes". I should know- I've been one for a very long time.

It's just "the war". That's how it was.

carlosMM
Apr 25, 2005, 11:43 AM
Keep rolling and rolling those eyes until you're really, really dizzy. Britons don't tend to call them "War crimes". I should know- I've been one for a very long time.

It's just "the war". That's how it was.

ah, the british art of understatement :p

Kafka2
Apr 25, 2005, 02:44 PM
It's just a fact of life. There were still bombsites around when I grew up.

There was a war. In war, bombs got dropped on cities. People got killed. What would be the point of prosecuting Luftwaffe survivors?

That's just how it was. We don't sit down and swoon, with the backs of our hands against our foreheads like the consumptive heroine of some Victorian melodrama. It was a war. There were bombings. Get over it.

luiz
Apr 25, 2005, 04:05 PM
Yes, targetting civilians is always a war crime, so the Allies did commit war crimes during WW2, which include Dresden and Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But we have some things to consider:

-Most of the civilians killed by allied bombing campaigns were actually killed by accident, as the accuracy was very low.
-It was politically impossible to sacrifice some of your soldiers to save enemy civilians. Look at the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for exemple. While they were both terror attacks, they forced the japanese to surrender and thus saved the lifes of countless americans soldiers. So while this does not in anyway make those bombings ethical, they sure make them understandable.

Hotpoint
Apr 25, 2005, 04:39 PM
Nonsense. I'm going to have to introduce you to Vincent at CG. Here's one of his quotes-

"When I get a few minutes spare, I'll upload the photos of Britain that my Grandfather took. They're a bit blurred because he had to take them through the canopy of his Stuka."

I laughed my arse off at that one.

At the risk of leading the thread astray this brings to mind something my uncle (by marriage) said at a job interview to be a delivery driver in London.

Interviewer "Do you know London very well?"
Uncle " Only from the Air"

The comedy value is that this was the 1960's and my uncle was former Luftwaffe with a strong German accent.

He got the job by the way. The interviewer thought it was hilarious.

Nanocyborgasm
Apr 25, 2005, 05:21 PM
So do I, in this context.



Well, actually they had - Germans were than much more willing to fight. They wanted "revenge" for this killing.



That is pretty irrelevant, because in the times of Dresden raid, was was almost over. There was no need to break their morale.



I wouldn't say that. Germans kept fighting to the bitter end, even in encircled Berlin, without any chance, they fought (but I admit that was because they feared Russians much more than Allies).



This thread is supposed to be rather about the conventional raids. Nuclear bomb was a weapon nobody was prepared for, so it's obvious it caused a great shock. My question regarding nuclear bomb is - was it really necessary to drop a-bombs on densely populated cities, causing so much suffering and death?

Apparently it was necessary, because it refused to surrender until it happened. Japan was given plenty of opportunity to do so. It even hesitated after the first bomb was dropped!

It's funny how you shrug off my question about whether you asked the Dresdners whether they felt lower morale after the bombing of their city. Obviously you don't know. I don't either. As far as the Germans fighting to the bitter end, they most certainly did. They did so because Hitler wouldn't allow for anything else, and the people worshipped him. They had no idea that he wanted them to go down in a blaze of glory.

Adler17
Apr 26, 2005, 02:49 AM
Most of the Germans wanted to surrender in winter 1944/ 54 at last. However this was not possible with Hitler. Nevertheless the war was over, these missions were only terror bombings. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are described in other threads (which were also war crimes).
Luiz, Harris targeted the civilians as main targets, not the industry! This makes him a war criminal. Also I never said the bomber pilots were the evil but their leaders. I know of many British pilots who changed their attitude towards the bombing war dramatically after Dresden...
@ Hotpoint: Did your uncle deliver the goods by a He 111? ;)

Adler

FriendlyFire
Apr 26, 2005, 03:53 AM
Oh on a side track here:

Heres a moral delema

Bombing of concentration camps.
During the last year of the war, detailed information was succesfully smuggled out pertaining to locations and operations of concentration camps. It was requested that the allies bomb them to halt to clockwork killing.

In fact Survivurs of the holocaust had expressed that they strongly hoped the camps and themselves be bombed.

yet the Allies believed it was a German trick in which to lure them into destroying "evidence" and passing the blame. As we all know the Allies did not bomb the camps.
In a strange way the concetration camps help win the war by diverting resourcse needed at the font. In fact it was Erichmen who was in fact "sabataging" the war effort by giving priorty to fullfilling hes "mission" instead of prioriting for the front.

carlosMM
Apr 26, 2005, 04:12 AM
It's just a fact of life. There were still bombsites around when I grew up. the same is true for my childhood neighbourhood.

There was a war. In war, bombs got dropped on cities. People got killed. Uh, yes, black is black and white is white and there's no need to differntiate further.
In fact, there is a HUGE difference between a bomb dropped accidently on a civilian house, by error when aiming for a building next to it, or with the SOLE intent to kill civilians.
What would be the point of prosecuting Luftwaffe survivors?
None - unless you prosecute the people who planned the bombings to hit civilians.
If we follow your attitude, then the Nuremberg trials would have been unnecessary and Göring should have gne free.

That's just how it was. We don't sit down and swoon, with the backs of our hands against our foreheads like the consumptive heroine of some Victorian melodrama. It was a war. There were bombings. Get over it.

:rolleyes:

Let's take you argument a bit further. 'There was a war and fascist racists in power. Jews got killed. Get over it.'

Does that sound right?

Kafka2
Apr 26, 2005, 11:26 AM
Uh, yes, black is black and white is white and there's no need to differntiate further.
In fact, there is a HUGE difference between a bomb dropped accidently on a civilian house, by error when aiming for a building next to it, or with the SOLE intent to kill civilians.


Oh come off it. The Blitz on London, the bombing on Coventry, and many others on both sides would satisfy the culpability tests for criminal guilt on the grounds of recklessness alone- and that's the most charitable interpretation,


None - unless you prosecute the people who planned the bombings to hit civilians.


Because the bombers were just obeying orders, right? That defence doesn't work, though- as numerous war crimes have established.


If we follow your attitude, then the Nuremberg trials would have been unnecessary and Göring should have gne free.

Let's take you argument a bit further. 'There was a war and fascist racists in power. Jews got killed. Get over it.'

Does that sound right?

Nope. It sounds utterly bizarre because, in case you missed the point, I'm arguing that by the standards of the time the bombing of cities was not a war crime. The attempted deliberate extermination of civilians in the camps was a war crime.

So what's it to be? Do we prosecute RAF and Luftwaffe bomber crews, or do we accept there is a difference?

Adler17
Apr 26, 2005, 12:13 PM
A crime can´t justify another. Also you will be condamned as murderer if you are objectively acting in self defense but you do not want to self defend, at leat in Germany (Clarification: If you kill a man who is attacking you, but you don´t know that, for example you are aiming at someone with a rifle and this one has a bomb laid near to you and you shoot him before he just can push the button without knowing the bomb).
So the bombings of the RAF are still war crimes, regardless what happened in the KZs or elsewhere.

Adler

Verbose
Apr 26, 2005, 12:59 PM
By 'the standards of the day' of most nations bombing civilians was a war crime according to international treaties.

The Nazis considered these treaties utter rubbish of course.

And at the same time the British had been very, very careful not to sign anything of that sort — knowing how they had used air power in their colonies.

So no, neither Nazi Germany nor the UK of the day considered exclusively targetting civilians a war crime.

Just about everybody else did though.

kittenOFchaos
Apr 26, 2005, 01:21 PM
eh, everyone calls the bombings of Coventry and London and all otehr British cities hit 'war crimes' - so it is rather a question why Dresden, Hamburg, Pforzheim etc are NOT war crimes.


:rolleyes:

Well, THOSE people who say that are poor, confused and mentally feeble individuals and I throw rocks at them...I for one did not argue along that rationale.

Kafka2
Apr 26, 2005, 01:32 PM
A crime can´t justify another. Also you will be condamned as murderer if you are objectively acting in self defense but you do not want to self defend, at leat in Germany (Clarification: If you kill a man who is attacking you, but you don´t know that, for example you are aiming at someone with a rifle and this one has a bomb laid near to you and you shoot him before he just can push the button without knowing the bomb).
So the bombings of the RAF are still war crimes, regardless what happened in the KZs or elsewhere.

Adler

We have exactly the same concept in English criminal law- it's the test of Mens Rea. However it's pretty pointless applying it to soldiers in wartime because a totally different set of rules apply.

"Sorry Mr Smith. We cannot be held responsible for the accidental death of your family, because the 500 pounds of TNT was actually dropped on the ball-bearings factory next door."

You see? Wars, as we know it, would be prosecuted out of existance. That's probably not a bad thing, but I doubt our governments would agree.

carlosMM
Apr 27, 2005, 01:25 AM
We have exactly the same concept in English criminal law- it's the test of Mens Rea. However it's pretty pointless applying it to soldiers in wartime because a totally different set of rules apply.

"Sorry Mr Smith. We cannot be held responsible for the accidental death of your family, because the 500 pounds of TNT was actually dropped on the ball-bearings factory next door."

You see? Wars, as we know it, would be prosecuted out of existance. That's probably not a bad thing, but I doubt our governments would agree.

bolding by me

Again: it is not the SOLDIER, but rather the general who orders the bombing.

And yes, if the TNT is dropped on a factory, intentionally, then it is not a war crime if a civilian gets killed. If it is dropped on the civilian, intenteded, then it is. MHO.

Adler17
Apr 27, 2005, 02:14 AM
bolding by me

Again: it is not the SOLDIER, but rather the general who orders the bombing.

And yes, if the TNT is dropped on a factory, intentionally, then it is not a war crime if a civilian gets killed. If it is dropped on the civilian, intenteded, then it is. MHO.

Nothing to add here.

On the Hague conventions: Both Britain and Germany were member states of these conventions damning the intentional killing of civilians! And even if they would have been not in these treaties there was a common usage not to target civilians so both sides commited war crimes by bombing civilians intentionally.

Adler

privatehudson
Apr 27, 2005, 06:35 AM
And even if they would have been not in these treaties there was a common usage not to target civilians so both sides commited war crimes by bombing civilians intentionally.

Oh but I beg to differ. The history of the Boer war for example and many campaigns in Africa, or North America are filled with deliberate attacks/actions on civilians.

Kafka2
Apr 27, 2005, 12:20 PM
bolding by me

Again: it is not the SOLDIER, but rather the general who orders the bombing.


Again: the "I was just obeying orders" defence is not accepted. As demonstrated by the penalties faced by those acting in the Einsatzgruppen. Fail to pursue the perpetrator, and you play into the General's hands.


And yes, if the TNT is dropped on a factory, intentionally, then it is not a war crime if a civilian gets killed. If it is dropped on the civilian, intenteded, then it is. MHO.

It's a crime under normal criminal law, however. Hence my utterly correct point about the uselessness of applying the normal Criminal Law stipulations. And that's not MHO- it's a fact.

Adler17
Apr 28, 2005, 01:04 AM
In a war you have to differ: Warcrimes which are obvious then the soldiers are guilty, despite the fact that the order has to be recognized in the punishment. This means if you have the order to shoot civilians with MGs. On the other hand there are warcrimes which are not able to be seen or when it is very difficult to recognize by the average soldier. Then these soldiers are indeed only acting after orders. They are tools. If they recognized this however they are also guilty. IMO the bomber crews of ww2, except the B 29 bomber crews of the nuclear bombers, were only tools. However the general who orders to bomb is in all cases guilty, either because of instigation of a warcrime or because of being an indirect perpetrator. So Harris is guilty where it is doubtful by the crews.
PH, I meant generally it was kept. However there were exceptions. Also colonial warfare is a whole exception. But in normal wars generally these laws were kept.

Adler

carlosMM
Apr 28, 2005, 02:00 AM
Again: the "I was just obeying orders" defence is not accepted. As demonstrated by the penalties faced by those acting in the Einsatzgruppen. Fail to pursue the perpetrator, and you play into the General's hands.

That is true - when the individual soldier KNOWINGLY commits a crime.
Which does not really apply to Dresden.

privatehudson
Apr 28, 2005, 02:58 AM
PH, I meant generally it was kept. However there were exceptions. Also colonial warfare is a whole exception. But in normal wars generally these laws were kept.

Which only goes to prove that in each war during history countries will attack civilians if they feel under severe pressure or in a particularly desperate situation. Examples like Murat in Madrid spring to mind, though why we should feel obliged to ignore colonial examples when the demonstrate the point quite aptly is... well anyway.

Verbose
Apr 28, 2005, 07:12 AM
I think what Adler meant was that there have been attempts to regulate warfare between western nations, but historically these attempts have usually not been extended to colonial wars. Not that he thinks there are good reasons for this.

(The doctine of 'Small Wars' stated that the primitive societies were so primitive it made any distinction between combatant and non-combatant impossible, hence all were legal targets.)

privatehudson
Apr 28, 2005, 07:24 AM
Good point. That doesn't mean though that there are not enough examples from pre WW2 though in "regular" warfare, even during the more "enlightened" times ;)

Kafka2
Apr 28, 2005, 02:01 PM
That is true - when the individual soldier KNOWINGLY commits a crime.
Which does not really apply to Dresden.

Excellent. So we agree the bombing of Dresden was not a war crime.

Anyone else?

Verbose
Apr 28, 2005, 03:22 PM
Good point. That doesn't mean though that there are not enough examples from pre WW2 though in "regular" warfare, even during the more "enlightened" times ;)
And that's why people started signing conventions to check the worst forms of abuse of civilians in the 19th c. in the first place.

They were still under the assumption that humanity was 'progressing', and that things like that should stop.;)

Verbose
Apr 28, 2005, 03:30 PM
Excellent. So we agree the bombing of Dresden was not a war crime.

Anyone else?
Laws are made by human beings. Legality depends on agreement. If the British decide that bombing civilians is legal, then it is to them. It doesn't mean anybody else must agree though. Question is if they will seriously try to impose their defintion of legality on the British.
Since no one has been indicted, much less convicted, that wouldn't seem to be the case.

Had the Nazis won WWII gasing Jews would have been perfectly legal. From that perspective, the Brits considering all their actions (well, everything gran'dad did in the war) justified is certainly a lesser evil.
:coffee:

privatehudson
Apr 28, 2005, 03:41 PM
And that's why people started signing conventions to check the worst forms of abuse of civilians in the 19th c. in the first place.

Based on outdated expectations of warfare and situations nowhere as extreme as would be seen and experienced in WW2 yes.

They were still under the assumption that humanity was 'progressing', and that things like that should stop

*shrugs* They couldn't appreciate how desperate things would get.

amadeus
Apr 28, 2005, 05:48 PM
The difference is, that "they" weren't German people, but Nazis - totalitarian regieme.
You gonna tell me that the Germans didn't support Hitler?

Volstag
Apr 28, 2005, 09:40 PM
If the Wallies had lost the war, they most certainly would have been tried for warcrimes (Dresden springs to mind). Wallied strategic planners have even admitted as much.

-V

Volstag
Apr 28, 2005, 09:42 PM
You gonna tell me that the Germans didn't support Hitler?

Not all Germans supported the Nazi regime. In fact, many historians decry the fact that the anti-Nazi movement in Germany wasn't strongly supported by the Allies.

-V

kittenOFchaos
Apr 29, 2005, 07:20 PM
If the Wallies had lost the war, they most certainly would have been tried for warcrimes (Dresden springs to mind). Wallied strategic planners have even admitted as much.

-V

But, luckily for us, your the side you cheerlead via your use of the term "Wallies" for the Allies lost.

Adler17
Apr 30, 2005, 03:48 AM
Luckily the Allies won indeed. But is the winning of a war a justification of warcrimes? Highly questionable. Also this should not prevent the allied war criminals from a trial.

Adler

privatehudson
Apr 30, 2005, 07:10 AM
Also this should not prevent the allied war criminals from a trial.

Common sense prevented that :)

MadScot
Apr 30, 2005, 08:07 AM
What do you think about this topic? IMO according to todays standards, intentional bombing of civilian targets in order to kill enemy civilians to disrupt morale of the enemy is called terrorism.

These air raids killed more than 500,000 (real number is higher) people in German cities, with no effect on enemy morale.

In your opinion - was that justifiable?

Let's get one thing clear. By a reasonable interpretation of the current status of the Geneva Conventions, the atomic bomb attacks on Japan neither are, nor were, a war crime. In fact, there is nothing in the Geneva Conventions now, or then, which makes it so.

And on a personal level, my degree of sympathy for the vicitims of these attacks is somewhat muted by the barbaric behaviour of the relevant governments, which the bombed populations continued to enthusiastically support to the death. My degree of sympathy for their modern day apologists is somewhere closer to utter contempt.

Dresden would obviously fail the test of the relevant parts of the 1949 convention, as would, I suspect, the atmoic bomb attacks, or the firebombing of e.g. Tokyo. There are, however, caveats in the Conventions regarding non-signatory nations, and it may well be that neither Nazi Germany nor Imperial Japan were entitled to protection under the conventions on strict legal grounds. Which would, i suppose, make the above noted actions immoral but not necessarily criminal.

Actually, I think I need to revise my conclusions, based upon the following (and especially Art 51.5(b) ):


PART IV: CIVILIAN POPULATION
Section 1: General Protection Against Effects of Hostilities

Article 51: Protection of the Civilian Population

1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules, which are additional to other applicable rules of international law, shall be observed in all circumstances.

4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited....

5. Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:

a. an attack by bombardment by any methods or means which treats as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects; and
b. an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

If one were to assume that the demands of the Conventions upon combatant countries have become more stringent with time, rather than less (as I think they have) then clearly any act which could be found acceptable by the current standards is also permissible by any earlier standard (at least in the absence of proof that the standard was stronger in the past).

51.5(b) appears to imply that the end does in fact justify the means. If one were to accept the rationale that the atomic bomb attacks were launched with the intent of causing a Japanese surrender (pretty reasonable statement) and that they did cause such (again, a reasonable statement) then the anticipated and actual military advantage obtained by the bombings (total victory) would appear to justify the large civilian loss of life associated with the attacks.

By a same rationale, the utter absence of any demonstrable link between the bombing of Dresden and any military advantage gained would push it very much towards the war crimes side of the ledger. Tokyo would seem to be somewhere between them.

(I am conscious that this is an argument that terror bombing is acceptable; however, that does seem to be the actual implication of the current wording of the Conventions - provided the terror is in fact induced to the extent that a significant or very significant advantage is gained. This would actually also appear to exonerate the bombing attack on Rotterdam in 1940.....)

Two questions of relevance:

(a) Was any German officier charged post-war in connection with the Rotterdam attack (which would tend to confirm or deny the thesis that it was 'acceptable' by the standards of the time)

(b) What, if any, conventions existed during WW2 that correspond to the Fourth (1949) Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War

Drewcifer
May 01, 2005, 02:29 AM
I wonder if the whole notion of warcrimes isn't mostly retrospective with a strong dollop of victors justice.

Is there more than just a bit of irony in that we proscribe a notion of legal or illegal around an action who's intent is to kill people? If you look at the moral codes of mankind throughout history there is always a strong prohibition against murder. War is just murder organized on a large scale. Criminality in discussions like this seems to be based mostly on who won and who is doing the judging. I think if any society has it's back up against the wall for long enough their vengence will be brutal and opportunistic when the chance provides itself. It is the nature of the human experience. I think the notion of warcrimes is built on the vanity and the conscience of the victor. And the impulse in the west to legislate the animalistic side of humanity while still allowing it to exist.

Does any mother mourn their son less if they are an 18 year old draftee vs a 17 year old who died in a firebombing?

An assesment of war based on the stated morality of the west leads an intellectually honest person to the conclusion that in the end war in and of itself is always a crime. A practical assesment leads one to believe that it is not always unavoidable. I think the whole notion of warcrimes is an attempt to reconcile two fundamentally unreconcilable threads of modern western belief: universal morality and self-preservation. Which is why I think that conversations like this will never lead to a conclusion.

War is evil but occasionally unpreventable. Isn't it better to just leave it at that and try to avoid them now and in the future?

Edit: by saying this I do not mean that war should be conducted without regard to notions of morality, just that ex-post facto discussions of war crimes are usually fruitless discussions.

Lonkut
May 01, 2005, 02:49 AM
We should really throw the Geneva convension to the garbage and start killing each other again like the good old days. But to offer an "educated" opinion I say that the allies were, and are, a bunch of hypochrites because they only showed the german atrocities and not their own and yes allied bombing were war crimes acording to the document.
(Excuse my spelling)

Drewcifer
May 01, 2005, 02:57 AM
We should really throw the Geneva convension to the garbage and start killing each other again like the good old days. But to offer an "educated" opinion I say that the allies were, and are, a bunch of hypochrites because they only showed the german atrocities and not their own and yes allied bombing were war crimes acording to the document.
(Excuse my spelling)After reading my post I realised that it could be construed to be against the Geneva conventions which I support (to a greater degree than the government of my country) and added an edit. I am talking about the subjective morality that crops up after a war in judging it. Make no mistake, I am a pacifist. I think that to wage a war that doesn't start with an invasion of ones own country or an invasion of an allied non-dictatorship is to commit murder on a massive scale.

Adler17
May 01, 2005, 03:03 AM
MadScot, the Hague convention of 1907 was in force in ALL of major comabtant nations, including Japan and Germany as well as Russia, France, UK and the US. In force in Germany since 1910 (Reichsgesetzblatt 1910 pp. 132- 151 (text)). Art. 22 forbids the unlimited warfare. Art. 23 lit. e) forbids the use of weapons which lead to an unneccessary cruelity, lit. g) is forbidding the destruction of private ownership, unless it is neccessary. Art. 25 is forbidding the bombardment of undefended towns.
So all in all the use of bombers directly aimed against civilians as well as the use of nuclear weapons was forbidden in ww2! Also you can´t blame the population for the actings of the governments. Also it is complete nonsense Hitler was supported by big parts of the population in 1945. Even before 1944 he was much more feared than celebrated. The German resistance against the western allies was not as big as it could be, but against the Soviets it was. If you say they deserved the death for being Germans or Japanese you are arguing in the very same way like a Nazi.
To Art. 51 4 lit. b) GC 1977: The military advantage was in all the bombings doubtful: the advantage should have been to terrorize the population to start a revolution. That target is questionable in international law. Nevertheless when it was clear that this target was not achieveable by that means the bombings continued Since then there is no doubt there was a warcrime happening.
For Dresden: The military advantage was NONE. For Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japan wanted to surrender with the only condition to keep the emperor. We know why Mac Arthur kept him later. So also that use was a warcrime.
All in all you should post here something more convinceable than this thesis filled of hot air. And beware not to become a racist.

Adler

Drewcifer
May 01, 2005, 03:14 AM
Just out of curiosity why are Dresden and Hiroshima such big issues amongst some who live in nations that burned down half the world in an attempt to conquer it? Granted they are bad things and crimes themselves but that does not explain why so much moral outrage is poured into these events in those places and not others. It seems so disproportionate. Can't we just admit that WWII was a dark time for humanity and focus on the future rather than the past?

Adler17
May 01, 2005, 03:23 AM
Yes we can. But I think it is important for the people who live in the ountries of the former western allies to accept that their forces and leaders did commit warcrimes. We Germans had this all accepted since 1945 and I think it is neccessary to see the dark sides of the own´s nation history.

Adler

Drewcifer
May 01, 2005, 03:25 AM
Yes we can. But I think it is important for the people who live in the ountries of the former western allies to accept that their forces and leaders did commit warcrimes. We Germans had this all accepted since 1945 and I think it is neccessary to see the dark sides of the own´s nation history.

Adler
I guess I would probably give a similar answer if I were German or Japanese. ;)

Provolution
May 01, 2005, 03:50 AM
Just don't overdo the Dresden story.

Drewcifer
May 01, 2005, 04:11 AM
Yes we can. But I think it is important for the people who live in the ountries of the former western allies to accept that their forces and leaders did commit warcrimes. We Germans had this all accepted since 1945 and I think it is neccessary to see the dark sides of the own´s nation history.

AdlerAnd keep in mind that in the northern US we get this from the south on a regular basis and couldn't forget our past even if we tried. Sherman's march to the sea in 1865 was as bad proportionally as anything we did to Germany, it was the prototype for modern total war. :(

privatehudson
May 01, 2005, 07:05 AM
MadScot, the Hague convention of 1907 was in force in ALL of major comabtant nations, including Japan and Germany as well as Russia, France, UK and the US. In force in Germany since 1910 (Reichsgesetzblatt 1910 pp. 132- 151 (text)). Art. 22 forbids the unlimited warfare. Art. 23 lit. e) forbids the use of weapons which lead to an unneccessary cruelity, lit. g) is forbidding the destruction of private ownership, unless it is neccessary. Art. 25 is forbidding the bombardment of undefended towns.

Just because you ratified the treaty doesn't mean you actually bothered to keep to it, take WW1 for example, one could argue that poison gas was a weapon o unneccessary cruelty. Co-incidentally, there were people in the RAF who supported this rather old fashioned view of warfare.

Adler17
May 01, 2005, 07:07 AM
Sherman´s actions there was a clear warcrime. However these actions remained only exceptions until ww2. However it must be recognized by some around here that the Allies were not the white knights fighting evil dragons.

Adler

Adler17
May 01, 2005, 07:28 AM
PH, there is an old Roman law still in use today: Pacta sunt servanda. Treaties must be kept. Although the use of gas was a warcrime both sides used it in broad extent in ww1 and some wanted to use it also in ww2. That this illegal behaviour is against international laws is not making a new common sense and exception shows the damnation of these weapons after ww1 and ww2. It was illegal to use gas. So also attacks which have the same style of destruction but by other means has to be forbidden and is included in the mentioned conventions.
Also if the RAF really has used gas in attacks against German cities Germany would have answered surely with reprisal actions. Thanks to god nobody was follish enough to give such an order. And luckily the freighter SS John Harvey was sunk at Bari carrying 100 ts of poison gas.

Adler

Zardnaar
May 01, 2005, 07:39 AM
PH, there is an old Roman law still in use today: Pacta sunt servanda. Treaties must be kept. Although the use of gas was a warcrime both sides used it in broad extent in ww1 and some wanted to use it also in ww2. That this illegal behaviour is against international laws is not making a new common sense and exception shows the damnation of these weapons after ww1 and ww2. It was illegal to use gas. So also attacks which have the same style of destruction but by other means has to be forbidden and is included in the mentioned conventions.
Also if the RAF really has used gas in attacks against German cities Germany would have answered surely with reprisal actions. Thanks to god nobody was follish enough to give such an order. And luckily the freighter SS John Harvey was sunk at Bari carrying 100 ts of poison gas.

Adler

The main theory why Hitler didn't use gas in WW2 is that Germany didn't have access to rubber in sufficent quantities to make gas masks. The allies didn't use it because they didn't have to and perhaps that was a bridge they didn't want to cross- and German gas retaliation.

privatehudson
May 01, 2005, 08:28 AM
Treaties must be kept. Although the use of gas was a warcrime both sides used it in broad extent in ww1 and some wanted to use it also in ww2. That this illegal behaviour is against international laws is not making a new common sense and exception shows the damnation of these weapons after ww1 and ww2.

It merely proves though that Germany under a less insane ruler would resort to breaking those same treaties you point out all the time if she thought the situation demanded it. Treaties obviously were treated by governments as there to be broken, and useful to charge the defeated with warcrimes it seems. Personally I think that treaty you just quoted earlier was not up to date with the modern warfare practised in WW2, and that trying to impose laws in wartime is all but impossible* but that's just me.

*Not that they should be ignored, but at the same time it's pretty pointless when history tells us that even the better politicians will resort to desperate measures if the time is considered desperate enough.

The allies didn't use it because they didn't have to and perhaps that was a bridge they didn't want to cross- and German gas retaliation.

Not sure if it was accurate or not, but a programe on TV a while back had Churchill saying that he'd gas the southern coast of England if the Germans invaded to deny it to them. Wonder if that was a real quote? :hmm:

MadScot
May 01, 2005, 12:45 PM
For Dresden: The military advantage was NONE. For Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japan wanted to surrender with the only condition to keep the emperor. We know why Mac Arthur kept him later. So also that use was a warcrime.
All in all you should post here something more convinceable than this thesis filled of hot air. And beware not to become a racist.

Did you actually read my post? I said quite clearly that Dresden was clearly at the war crimes end of the spectrum. I also stated, and will restate it for you convenience, that the use of the atomic weapons in order to cause the Japanese to unconditionally surrender was a military objective that was entirely in balance with the civilian injuries inflicted, and so not a war crime. If the japanese had been so damned keen to surrender, they had plenty of chances. They chose to fight on, and it took the death of tens of thousands more ON ALL SIDES before they saw sense.

There is NOTHING in the Hague convention about NEVER killing civilians. Half the articles you cite relate to the conduct of an occupying force (e.g. confiscation and destruction of property) - but I guess you won't want to go there, now, will you?

MadScot
May 01, 2005, 12:47 PM
And luckily the freighter SS John Harvey was sunk at Bari carrying 100 ts of poison gas.

Adler

Lucky for who? Are you trying to imply it would have been used if this had not happened.

get off your moral high horse.

Adler17
May 02, 2005, 01:49 AM
PH, it was not only a treaty to keep but common sense in international law to be kept. With some exceptions generally in the time from 1648 to 1939 civilians were to be saved. Also even if someone breaks the rules you are not allowed to do so. Germany broke the rules by using gas. But so did the Entente as they responded very quickly with another gas attack. There it was mere coincidence that Germany attacked with gas before the Entente did. However here were only soldiers targetted.
Concerning the quote you´re probably right. I heard that kind of speaking by Churchill some time ago myself.
MadScot, I have read your post, and I only wanted to block a perhaps another poster here who tried to justify Dresden. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were warcrimes. Sure you´re right that civilians arer allowed to be attacked if it is neccessary. But as I already said, both bombs were not neccessary. I do not want to start another discussion about Hiroshima and Nagasaki here but I give you some reasons why:
1. Japan wanted to surrender but to keep the emperor. That condition was in Japanese´s POV not discuteable. Only the bombs changed that. Later the US were so clever to keep the emperor. So why dropping the bomb because of that?
2. The dropping on a city full of civilians with not real defense had to be avoided by dropping the bomb on an uninhabitant island within the sight of Japan. This would have been enough to show the abilities. But the US wanted to test the new "toy" and also wanted to show Stalin their power.
3. Even IF, what is very questionable, the bomb on Hiroshima was within the rules of war the second on Nagasaki wasn´t. The Japanese government had no real time to discuss the situation.
4. If you want to see the discussion there is a thread about Truman as warcriminal. Unless if there is a need to discuss it here I want to show you that thread to discuss it there.

A last word. My horse might be high. But in this matter a horse can´t be high enough. A war is the ultimate form of politics with the biggest dangers for nations. But also in these times rules have to be kept. Otherwise destruction and pain leads to only new wars. Also the civilized form of democracy and the human rights would be in greatest danger.

Adler

privatehudson
May 02, 2005, 08:02 AM
PH, it was not only a treaty to keep but common sense in international law to be kept.

Well I'm afraid many politicians in history don't share this view.

lso even if someone breaks the rules you are not allowed to do so.

Wasn't what I said at all. My justification for such events had nothing to do with who did it first and everything to do with did the situation justify the means.

There it was mere coincidence that Germany attacked with gas before the Entente did.

I'd presume you can therefore prove intent by the Allies to launch a gas attack anyway?

However here were only soldiers targetted.

Pleanty of non-combatants were affected though, a side effect that would have been known. That's not the point of that treaty though, it specifies "forbids the use of weapons which lead to an unneccessary cruelity". Rather interesting term really, one could argue being shot dead was an unessecary cruelty, but one presumes by such weapons it meant gas.

YNCS
May 02, 2005, 04:31 PM
The main consideration in dropping the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs was ending the war and saving American lives. The Japanese consistently demonstrated a marked reluctance to surrender, either on the battlefield or at the negotiating table. The American people, in light of Germany's surrender in May 1945, were eager to get the war in the Pacific over as soon as possible. The voters were making this wish quite clear to their elected officials and the chief among these, Truman, was listening intently. He had been told that a blockade of Japan might have to last a year or more before Japan finally gave in. The American people would have none of this and wanted something done. The nuclear bombs were simply another incentive for the Japanese to surrender, and no one was sure they would be any more persuasive than the Tokyo fire bomb raids, which killed more people than the atomic bombs.

Volstag
May 02, 2005, 05:34 PM
But, luckily for us, your the side you cheerlead via your use of the term "Wallies" for the Allies lost.

Since I can't make heads nor tails of your comment, I'm not sure how to respond . And since when did the Wallies (read: WESTERN Allies) lose? Lose what?

-V

privatehudson
May 02, 2005, 05:37 PM
He believes that your support for the Germans (which he defines as cheerleading) is shown by your use of Wallies, which in certain parts of the UK is a term kind of like idiot, fool and so on.

Volstag
May 02, 2005, 05:40 PM
He believes that your support for the Germans (which he defines as cheerleading) is shown by your use of Wallies, which in certain parts of the UK is a term kind of like idiot, fool and so on.

Ack! Just for the record: that wasn't my intention. Learn something new everyday, eh?

-V

privatehudson
May 02, 2005, 05:41 PM
Aye :)

It's more commonly used in singular form, i.e. "you're a Wally!" and isn't used much today, leastways it isn't used much in my part of England.

Case
May 04, 2005, 06:34 AM
AFAIK, the Allies didn't try any of the Germans they captured for war crimes over the bombing of civilian targets (which the Germans did from the first day of the war until their collapse in 1945). This does strongly indicate that it wasn't viewed as a war crime at the time.

That said, under modern sensibilities and laws the deliberate bombing of civilians now clearly constitutes a war crime. However, retrospectively applying these sensibilites and laws to WW2 with an eye to branding the key Allied figures war criminals is as pointless as it is historically corrupt.

In short, while I don't think that any modern person from one of the main beligerants can, or should, feel pround about the air campaigns their nation directed against civilians in WW2, these campaigns were not legally or morally considered to be war crimes at the time.

Verbose
May 04, 2005, 06:41 AM
AFAIK, the Allies didn't try any of the Germans they captured for war crimes over the bombing of civilian targets (which the Germans did from the first day of the war until their collapse in 1945). This does strongly indicate that it wasn't viewed as a war crime at the time.
It can also be interpreted this way: They knew that bringing Germans to trial for that would mean opening a can of worms over their own bombing practices — in which case the Allies may have been conducting a ruthless bombing campaign, but at least they weren't hypocrites.

Adler17
May 04, 2005, 09:28 AM
It was a warcrime in that days, too, but not brought to trial because of the reasons Verbose said. It would be interesting to see a civil action of a German civilian today against the United Kingdom because he had to pay the costs for a dud bomb being safed... THAT case would be very interesting.
Nevertheless as I mentioned before it was a warcrime in that days, heck, it was nearly a genocide! Much less than the Holocaust indeed but the population was the target. And genocide is the elimination of a people only because of their nationality or race, the heavy hurting of many people because of their nationality among others. Harris and his Kamarilla wanted to kill Germans as they were Germans living in Germany. So yes, that was not only a warcrime and a crime against humanity but also a genocide IMO.
I admit Case is right, you have to see the time out of the eyes of that time. So you can´t blame Romans for having slaves but if there is a comeback of barbaric times within a more civilized world you can´t use this attitude but you have to use the more civilized one. That´s why it is still a crime.
Also Göring was condamned to death because of many things. Can someone help me if the attacks on civilian targets by the Luftwaffe were also mentioned?

Adler

privatehudson
May 04, 2005, 10:07 AM
It would be interesting to see a civil action of a German civilian today against the United Kingdom because he had to pay the costs for a dud bomb being safed... THAT case would be very interesting.

Pretty pointless though as it would open the way for a massive amount of cases from most of europe against Germany, most of Germany against Britain, parts of Europe against the USA... well and so on.

And genocide is the elimination of a people only because of their nationality or race, the heavy hurting of many people because of their nationality among others.

Maybe so, but the British government weren't hurting them because they were German purely, but in an attempt to win a total war. If they'd been intent on genocide like you say then they'd have simply carried on slaughtering them and not bothered to attack industrial and military targets, which they did, so it's not a genocide. Whatever twisted ideas Harris had, Harris was not in charge of the UK during WW2. Even Harris believed that killing Germans was not the absolute goal, but the means by which to achieve it. Genocide isn't just killing people it's a deliberately planned attempt to destroy them utterly and completely, and there's no way in hell that was the intention of Harris, Churchill or the allies overall.

One might as well call the luftwaffe raids on London, Coventry and elsewhere a genocide under your reasoning.

Can someone help me if the attacks on civilian targets by the Luftwaffe were also mentioned?

I don't think they were, though they might have been listed under the indictment of war crimes. From what I've read that concentrated more on abuse of prisoners, use of banned weapons, use of slave labour etc.

Verbose
May 04, 2005, 01:36 PM
Nevertheless as I mentioned before it was a warcrime in that days
Right. If it targetting civilians hadn't been considered a big no-no, the upset about Guernica wouldn't have been as great as it was in the 30's

But equally obvioulsy the level of tolerance kept getting bumped upwards the longer the war lasted.

YNCS
May 04, 2005, 07:29 PM
Karl von Clausewitz, in his seminal book On War (Vom Krieg), defined war as "an act of violence to compel our opponent to fufill our will." Yet war is not senseless violence; its essence lies in its being "the continuation of politics by other means."*

War, thus rationalised, becomes an instrument of policy. As the "guiding intelligence," politics should shape the nature of war and the preferred strategy in terms of determining the focus and proportion of force to be employed.

If war is violence based on rationality, it is also "an act of force ... (the application of which knows) ... no logical limit." Therefore, "absolute war," often called "total war," can theoretically result from the unconstrained interaction between the offence and defence - "the collision of two living forces" - by virtue of its escalatory dynamics.

Clausewitz's "absolute war" is a Platonic ideal, to which "real war" only approximates. "Real war" is always limited, never reaching its absoluteness because of extraneous constraints and the "friction" of war. "Friction" derives from the unpredictability of combat performance as combatants are subject to the toil and life-threatening dangers of war; and from uncertainty, or the "fog of war" due to imperfect intelligence.

In the Clausewitzian perspective, the character of war is shaped by the trinity of "primodial violence, hatred and enmity; political purpose and effect; as well as the play of chance and probability" (or otherwise termed the irrational, rational and non-rational forces). How each leg of the trinity interacts with one or both of the other would shape the outcome of war, implying that any disequilibrium in the "trinitarian" balance would be adverse.

Clausewitz consequently suggested the need for political and military leaders to work co-operatively; for public opinion to be managed; for military commanders, because of the need to overcome "friction" and chance in war, to display "genius;" and for the army to possess a strong will because while combat tests moral and physical forces, "the physical (is but only) the wooden hilt, whereas the moral factor is the ... finely-honed blade". Moral and psychological factors were central to Clausewitz's analysis of war.

Clausewitz further propounded the ideal strategy as being to identify the enemy's centre of gravity and concentrate all efforts on destroying it through the decisive battle. A "center of gravity" is that part of an enemy which, if destroyed, will cause his collapse, since it is "the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends". As Clausewitz advocated,
... aim for the great object to achieve the utmost concentration of force ... in order to annihilate the enemy in a major decisive battle and to destroy the ability of the enemy state to resist."
*Actually, that's not what Clausewitz said. He wrote that war is the continuation "of political intercourse" [des politicshen Verkehrs] "with the intermixing of other means" [mit Einmischung anderer Mittel]. The original German expresses a more subtle and complex idea than the English words so often quoted.

Adler17
May 05, 2005, 12:54 AM
First, what is genocide? Genocide is defined here: http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/gendef.htm

Quote:
The definitional article included in the 1948 convention stipulates:

Article II

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

End of quote.

I never said that the British wanted to eradicate the Germans completely. Harris however wanted to kill parts of the population. What were his motives? Surely he wanted to win a war, but that is no excuse. He wanted to terrorize the Germans. He wanted to kill them because they were the workers of the factories producing weapons. So these were the motives. But he was willingly killing German civilians not only as collateral damage but main target. And he wanted to destroy the living conditions of big parts of the German population. Also a genocide is not only a mass action but can be also a single action, like a Serbian KZ commander in Bosnia for example. All in all there is hardly anything which negating a genocide here.

Adler

privatehudson
May 05, 2005, 01:30 AM
Surely he wanted to win a war, but that is no excuse

I would argue not only that it is an excuse, but that it's entirely relevant to proving it was not a genocide though as in my experience genocide is to kill a part or whole of the population without any realistic higher aim that may justify doing so or intent to stop doing so when that aim has been reached. The way in which you use the defenition would be to argue that any war in which civilian bombing occurs would be attempts at genocide.

And I have read that passage before thank you.

He wanted to terrorize the Germans. He wanted to kill them because they were the workers of the factories producing weapons. So these were the motives.

Yes, you keep repeating them, and ignoring that Harris was not in charge of the British government which had much bigger and different aims which supercede Harris'.

Or to put it another way, would you like the senior ranks of the Luftwaffe (outside of Goering and his cronies) to have been charged with genocide for deliberately trying to destroy parts of the english population?

Case
May 05, 2005, 05:33 AM
Nevertheless as I mentioned before it was a warcrime in that days, heck, it was nearly a genocide!

No it wasn't. If you want to justify that position, then you need to produce evidence that the goal of the Allied bombing campaign was to wipe out the German population forever.

You may want to note that your argument is used by many Holocaust deniers to excuse the Nazi's crimes (for instance, David Irving [wrongly] argues that the Allied bombing killed as many Germans as he claims that the Germans killed Jews, and therefore Churchill and Roosevelt were no better than the Nazis).

Adler17
May 05, 2005, 05:40 AM
Harris was in command of the bomber forces. HE had put HIS bombing policy into action. HE had the okay by Churchill. Churchill´s role in these events is very uncertain. Nevertheless it was Harris who ordered to bomb German civilian targets. Also remember Harris was never nobled or got big credits by any government, except a questionable statue a few years ago. So Harris was the commander and responsible for his actions. The British government is in so far responsible as they didn´t stop him but that is another question.
If it is neccessary to kill civilians for example by destroying a command post in a church, they are collatteral damages. But this time the civilians were bombed only because they were Germans, working and living in Germany. The higher aim of winning the war might have been much better achieved by attacking industrial targets and railways as well as refineries. This was not done. The "excusion" to break the morale was shortly out of reasonable thinking.
Civilians as targets were illegal. In so far Harris was at least a warcriminal to be hung in Nuremberg.

Adler

Adler17
May 05, 2005, 05:45 AM
Case, genocide is a crime which is not only targetted on the total anhiliation of a population but also big parts of it. The hundreds of thousand Germans died in the bombing campaign should be enough for that.
Again the crime the Nazis did, the Holocaust, can also never justify any other crime the Allies did. This is in no way an invalid way of arguing. Also I never denied and will never deny the Holocaust. But the history is never black and white but grey. Here it is the white part in the very dark German grey and the very dark in the light British grey.

Adler

Case
May 05, 2005, 06:37 AM
Churchill´s role in these events is very uncertain.

No it isn't. The British government's decision making and oversight of the bomber offensive against Germany was extensively documented by offical records (many of which still exist) and this body of evidance has been further expanded and clarified by countless memoirs and the like. Just because you're not aware of the historical evidance doesn't mean that it doesn't exist ;)

I'm not going to degrade myself by arguing the simple statement of fact that the bombing of Germany wasn't a genocide. If you wish to believe that it was, then that's your problem.

privatehudson
May 05, 2005, 08:32 AM
Case, genocide is a crime which is not only targetted on the total anhiliation of a population but also big parts of it.

I'll respectfully repeat my question then. Would you like to see the senior ranks of the Luftwaffe labelled as guilty of genocide for their attempts to deliberately kill large parts of the English civilian population? I would suggest not allowing a defence for those willing to do so but unable to carry it out due to lack of means. Therefore saying the Luftwaffe didn't cause the same losses is irrelevant as the intent to do so was clearly present.

Churchill´s role in these events is very uncertain

Churchill knew of them well enough and of their lack of sucess as Case points to. To hang Harris you'd surely have to equally hang those who permitted him to do such work also.

Adler17
May 06, 2005, 07:02 AM
The German terror bombings ordered by Göring were warcrimes indeed. Also he should have trialed because of this. However although the German air strikes should terrorize the population they were conducted by up to 250 medium bombers, not enough for eradicating whole cities, what was never planned here. They had no intention to do so. Remember Hitler wanted Britain still as ally! But this was the difference: In Britain Harris wanted to destroy whole cities. Also most German attacks were still flown on industrial targets, where collateral damages were more occuring because British workers lived very near to the factories, unlike in Germany.
Churchill was uncertain himself and I was unclear since I only knew that he had scruples but he still let this campaign happen. So he should have to be made responsible for this campaing, too. For a damnation I don´t know too much about his role, perhaps I was said something misleading. OTOH Churchill wanted to keep the Wehrmacht under weapons for a fight with the Soviets. So I really have no idea what was going on in him.
Nevertheless it seems more than before that ww2 was a barbaric war with warcrimes and warcriminals on all sides. If Nuremberg was really a tribunale against these scum, also some very important allied commanders and politicians would have been trialed. But that was of course not possible.

Adler

Panzerking
May 06, 2005, 07:33 AM
....However although the German air strikes should terrorize the population they were conducted by up to 250 medium bombers, not enough for eradicating whole cities, what was never planned here. They had no intention to do so. Remember Hitler wanted Britain still as ally! But this was the difference: In Britain Harris wanted to destroy whole cities. Also most German attacks were still flown on industrial targets, where collateral damages were more occuring because British workers lived very near to the factories, unlike in Germany......
Nevertheless it seems more than before that ww2 was a barbaric war with warcrimes and warcriminals on all sides. If Nuremberg was really a tribunale against these scum, also some very important allied commanders and politicians would have been trialed. But that was of course not possible.

Adler

The bombings conducted by Germany on the UK may only have been 250 strong but they heavily outnumbered the RAF. During WWII's early years London burned -make no mistake. The terror-bombings of Dresden and the like were apalling for those on the ground but to suggest that the Germans would not have done the same had they had the numbers is ridiculous.
Hitler may have wanted Britain as an ally in the beginning but it soon became clear that it was never going to happen, and I am sure his initial admiration for Britain turned sour quickly during the early war-years. It is well known that Germany was pursuing it's own "Manhattan Project" during the war and if they had completed theirs before the Americans we (the British) would have been reaping the nuclear wind without question. We would not have been spared simply so our cities would not be destroyed!!
Lots were at stake and as such both sets of generals were out of control, the evidence is everywhere. Both sides were guilty of these crimes, but Germany was guilty of much more and seemed out-of-control in every aspect of humanity. I believe that it why Nuremburg was how it was, this trial was to be remembered for the Nazi's crimes against humanity.

Adler17
May 06, 2005, 07:49 AM
I never said that the Holocaust is something which must be set in relation to others. Nevertheless to argue since the Holocaust was so evil everything others did is bad but the Germans started the war, is totally wrong. I never did setting Holocaust equal to anything which happened in ww2. However the allies did these crimes against humanity. Also Nuremberg was made as a precedence case for crimes against humanity. This high aim was lost when they didn´t persecuted the cases of allied crimes. The other aim, of giving a fair trial and only putting nazis into the trial was unfortunately lost in the trial. Look at the ridiculous damnation of Dönitz.
Unfortunately the real precedence case if the court against the warcriminals on the balcan.
Oh, Hitler indeed thought Britain would join him as ally even in 1945! Well we know he was mentally ill, but this explains some actions he did.
A last word on the German nuclear program. Although there are still rumors about a German bomb many German scientist prevented Hitler to want the bomb. So they were only looking to build a reactor, when the war was over. Even they didn´t know anything about the Manhattan project. If there was such a program people like Heisenberg, Hahn or Planck would have got some secret infos from the German intelligence services.

Adler

privatehudson
May 06, 2005, 09:43 AM
Also most German attacks were still flown on industrial targets, where collateral damages were more occuring because British workers lived very near to the factories, unlike in Germany.

Rubbish, the Luftwaffe were involved in a hell of a lot of deliberate raids on civilians. Don't mistake a lack of ability to do what the RAF did with a lack of will. Goering and the Luftwaffe showed clearly they had the intention to make entire cities full of civilians pay the price. I'll ask again, should the Luftwaffe's terror raids be considered genocide? You justified labelling the RAF's raids based on the attempt to eradicate a part of the population, is it any kind of logic therefore to say that because that part was smaller that the action was somehow any less evil, or any less worthy of the title of genocide? If Hitler had tried to kill only 2 million jews is that less of a crime than 6?

Panzerking
May 06, 2005, 09:59 AM
Adler.

I do agree that the Allies comitted crimes in the form of the murder of civillians in certain bombing raids. However you seem to be seeking justice in an area where it will never be seen. You must remember that even discounting the Holocaust the Nazi's showed contempt for the Geneva convention with their treatment of POW's and their treatment of annexed territories was even worse. There are cases where entire populations of French villages were executed by Nazi troops in retaliation to resistance attacks against Germans. This kind of punishment was metered out across europe and a lot of civillians from lots of nations and races died.
I am not saying that there is no case for the condemnation of the Dresden bombings and other Allied raids but what you must understand is that at the time the Germans were seen as far worse -hence the Nuremburg trials.

Re: Germany's nuclear programme, your comments are interesting. I know that British Marines stormed Factories in Norway which were producing heavy water for use in this programme and delayed the progress as a result of their successes.

Zardnaar
May 06, 2005, 04:17 PM
The German nuclear progrem ended in April/May 45 with the last Uranium being shipped to southern Germany. It was eventually found and children were kicking around chunks of uranium as a variation of the kids kicking the stone game.

The bombing campaign wasn't genocide. Some raids were designed to kill German civilians but only to impact watime production and morale. The extermination of the Germans as a race was never a goal. If you don't believe be compare the occupation of Germany after the war to the occupation of Poland by Germany. While it wasn't enjoyable for the popultion I'm sure it wasn't that bad. While you can make a good arguement about allied bombing being a warcrime calling it genocide is being melodramatic.

wit>trope
May 06, 2005, 05:10 PM
This is absolutely disgusting! I see no diference between author of this post and some neo-nazi fools who are denying holocaust or other atrocities.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with denying that an atrocity happened as a matter of historical fact; what would be wrong is accepting that what happened happened while saying that what happened wasn't wrong. So a dispute over facts (like the Italian-US dispute right now) is just that (it may just be a sign of stupidity for instance or simply a difference of opinion) A dispute over whether a particular fact-pattern is moral or not is what is significant (being a sign of a lack of moral vision)

wit>trope
May 06, 2005, 05:25 PM
What do you think about this topic? IMO according to todays standards, intentional bombing of civilian targets in order to kill enemy civilians to disrupt morale of the enemy is called terrorism.

If that's what happened then to the extent to which it happened, it would be terrorism where "civilian target" is taken to mean the targetting of an innocent person who is not contributing to the war effort.

But many so-called civilians are actually part of the war machine. Scientists who research weapons. Factories and their workers.

These air raids killed more than 500,000 (real number is higher) people in German cities, with no effect on enemy morale.

In your opinion - was that justifiable?

To the extent that legitimate targets were selected they could be justifiable. If they were purposefully trying to kill little children then that would be a war crime.

EDIT: The same bombing took place also in Japan, including two nuclear attacks. The rough numbers are about 100,000 japanese civilians dead after conventional air raid on Tokyo, 275,000 dead after atomic bombing. I don't know the overall number of Japanese civilian casaulties caused by American air strikes.

OT: I get the feeling that America wouldn't have nuked Germany because of the different people living in Germany versus Japan (I'm not saying that's wrong or right ... just an observation)

Case
May 06, 2005, 07:33 PM
OT: I get the feeling that America wouldn't have nuked Germany because of the different people living in Germany versus Japan (I'm not saying that's wrong or right ... just an observation)

Probably not - the American offical records show that the US was planning to use the atomic bomb on Germany at the time of its surrender.

Case
May 06, 2005, 07:50 PM
Out of interest Adler, is there any aspect of Nazi Germany that you're not willing to make excuses for?

However although the German air strikes should terrorize the population they were conducted by up to 250 medium bombers

What's your source for that figure? I believe that German attacks against large cities peaked at over 500 bombers on occasion. This relatively small number of bombers and the use of medium bombers didn't represent any kind of desire to minimise the damage caused by bombing - it was everything that was available (in addition, the Luftwaffe never had more then a handful of operational heavy bombers so medium bombers were all that ever could be used in attacks against cities).

not enough for eradicating whole cities, what was never planned here. They had no intention to do so. Remember Hitler wanted Britain still as ally!

What rubbish. The Germans consistantly set out to inflict as much damage on British cities as they possibly could. The only thing stopping their raids from being as effective as the RAF's raids in 1943-45 was that the German bombers were smaller. In 1944-45 Hitler launched the V-1 and V-2 campaign against London which had the objective of inflicting as much death and devestation as possible.

OTOH Churchill wanted to keep the Wehrmacht under weapons for a fight with the Soviets.

Just because Hitler believed that doesn't mean that you have to :rolleyes:

sydhe
May 06, 2005, 08:44 PM
The main theory why Hitler didn't use gas in WW2 is that Germany didn't have access to rubber in sufficent quantities to make gas masks. The allies didn't use it because they didn't have to and perhaps that was a bridge they didn't want to cross- and German gas retaliation.

Hitler was the victim of a poison gas attack in the last months of World War I and was temporarily blinded. (Although there's also a story the blindness was hysterical. I'm not sure of the origins of the story.) He may not have wanted to repeat the experience.

communism
May 06, 2005, 10:20 PM
What do you think about this topic? IMO according to todays standards, intentional bombing of civilian targets in order to kill enemy civilians to disrupt morale of the enemy is called terrorism.

These air raids killed more than 500,000 (real number is higher) people in German cities, with no effect on enemy morale.

In your opinion - was that justifiable?

EDIT: The same bombing took place also in Japan, including two nuclear attacks. The rough numbers are about 100,000 japanese civilians dead after conventional air raid on Tokyo, 275,000 dead after atomic bombing. I don't know the overall number of Japanese civilian casaulties caused by American air strikes.

The Bombings were a product from the attack on Pearl Harbour and the subsequent atrocities and warcrimes committed by the Japanese people, the same applies to Germany. If the German and Japanese peoples didn't elect or select governments hellbent on war and extermination, then we wouldn't of dealt them the same in return :)

communism
May 06, 2005, 10:34 PM
And yes, if the TNT is dropped on a factory, intentionally, then it is not a war crime if a civilian gets killed. If it is dropped on the civilian, intenteded, then it is. MHO.

what if the civilian is an intregral part of the war machine, a skilled engineer is a civilian, and if he's dead, thats one less engineer who'll help continue the war, you see where am going with this? civilians make up government, government and military officials coming back home on leave cannot be distinguished from civilians, same with people from all over the country contributing to the war effort.

Adler17
May 07, 2005, 02:07 AM
First of all I never excused here a crime the Nazis did! This argument coming is in no way a valid one. A crime is never excused by another. And killing civilians intentionally is a crime even in times of war. Arguing they deserved it because having such a government is arguing the way the Nazis did. So yes the later attacks on British living centers were a warcrime as well as the British and late US attacks on German civilians. There is no excusion. Also I never said the Nazis were not much worse than the (western) allies. Nevertheless they also commited huge warcrimes. This fact is not fully accepted in some nations. If Nuremberg would have been so like it was planned to punish all who were responsible for warcrimes, like it is today with the international criminal court, then several allied generals and politicians would have been made responsible. More or less I didn´t say.
Case, the German Luftwaffe had never 500 planes for a single operation available in the BoB. The highest number of bombers the Luftwaffe used was 250. And medium bombers. They should terrorize and kill the civilians indeed. That was a warcrime and a crime against humanity. But hardly they wanted to eradicate all cities and towns like the British generals.
However I think we can all agree now to the fact that bombing civilians intentionally is a warcrime and a crime against humanity even in these days. So the question if these attacks were genocides or not can be left open.

Adler

privatehudson
May 07, 2005, 02:52 AM
However I think we can all agree now to the fact that bombing civilians intentionally is a warcrime and a crime against humanity even in these days. So the question if these attacks were genocides or not can be left open.

Personally I think that if you are going to argue that the allied attacks were genocide, then you cannot also fail to accept that the German attacks in both 1940 (leastways those raids on civilians) and later in the war were genocide also. Anything else is little short of hypocrisy frankly.

Case, the German Luftwaffe had never 500 planes for a single operation available in the BoB. The highest number of bombers the Luftwaffe used was 250. And medium bombers

I believe he asked for your source on this as opposed to a repetition...

They should terrorize and kill the civilians indeed. That was a warcrime and a crime against humanity. But hardly they wanted to eradicate all cities and towns like the British generals.

Again, you mistake a lack of ability with a lack of will.

Adler17
May 07, 2005, 04:21 AM
A source are for example: Januzs Piekalkiewicz, Der Zweite Weltkrieg.
Also back to your question. Who ordered the attack? Göring and perhaps Hitler. If we consider attacks on civilians as genocide, in which you are right, we have to speak also by the German attacks of genocide, then these guys are responsible for the attacks. Oh, here Göring himself ordered the bombardments! But he wasn´t accused because if they did they would have aquitted for doing the same thing him or would have had many problems themselves.

Adler

privatehudson
May 07, 2005, 04:45 AM
If we consider attacks on civilians as genocide, in which you are right, we have to speak also by the German attacks of genocide, then these guys are responsible for the attacks.

Nuremberg established that the defence of "My superior told me to" was not good enough, therefore blaming Goering or Hitler isn't sufficient, no matter if it's true or not.

rilnator
May 08, 2005, 01:15 AM
[QUOTE=sydhe
Hitler was the victim of a poison gas attack in the last months of World War I and was temporarily blinded. (Although there's also a story the blindness was hysterical. I'm not sure of the origins of the story.) He may not have wanted to repeat the experience.[/QUOTE]

Yes, that Hitler was certainly a sensitive man. Always looking out for the well being of his own people and other races. Always taking into consideration to the rules of war......

FriendlyFire
May 08, 2005, 02:04 AM
The main theory why Hitler didn't use gas in WW2 is that Germany didn't have access to rubber in sufficent quantities to make gas masks. The allies didn't use it because they didn't have to and perhaps that was a bridge they didn't want to cross- and German gas retaliation

Hitler thought of other crazy schemes

Including the decimation of Allied POWs. He thought some mass executions of a percentage of the prisoners would "stiffen" German resolve, Luckly he was talked out of the idea.

Case
May 08, 2005, 06:53 AM
Some examples of German raids against Britain involving more than 250 aircraft are:

-London, 7 September 1940 (one wave of 350 bombers in the day and a second wave of 247 bombers at night)
-Coventry, 15 November 1940 (449 bombers)
-London, 20 April 1941 (712 bombers)
-London, 11 May 1941 ('over 500' bombers)

(source: The Chronicle of the Second World War (Penguin, 1990), which doesn't even detail all the raids).

In his book 'The Second World War' John Keegan notes that the Luftwaffe's bombing of British cities from November 1940 onwards was exclusively conducted at night, when any kind of accuracy was impossible.

In addition to the large raids, a remarkably persistant campaign of smaller raids was mounted against dozens of British cities. During the Blitz of 1940-41 British civilian deaths from bombing were consistantly over 3000 per month.

Nobody
May 08, 2005, 06:57 AM
heck, it was nearly a genocide! Much less than the Holocaust indeed but the population was the target.

When you pick a fight, don't cry when you get beaten

Verbose
May 08, 2005, 07:25 AM
When you pick a fight, don't cry when you get beaten
That implies a collective German responsibility — and it's inherited.

Once a German, always a German...:rolleyes:

Adler17
May 08, 2005, 10:17 AM
I already said that here some argue like Nazis...

Adler

privatehudson
May 08, 2005, 10:47 AM
... Which still doesn't refute some "other" others points.

Verbose
May 08, 2005, 11:35 AM
And I don't think anybody is arguing like a Nazi around here.

I also don't think that the Allied bombing campaign was 'genocidal'.

Adler17
May 08, 2005, 11:45 AM
To say if someone deserved to be killed only because like he is a German is very like arguing like Nazis IMO.
Anyway perhaps we should define here at first genocide. What is your opinion? I for myself followed a juristical one.

Adler

Mega Tsunami
May 08, 2005, 11:48 AM
I already said that here some argue like Nazis...

Adler


Don’t agree with that but some argue like Nazi apologists.

Adler17
May 08, 2005, 12:03 PM
I don´t think to say the allied bombardments were warcrimes is arguing like Nazi aoplogists...

Adler

Verbose
May 08, 2005, 12:23 PM
Anyway perhaps we should define here at first genocide. What is your opinion? I for myself followed a juristical one.
Intent.

Harris' intent was to break the German will to fight by killing huge numbers of civilians. The goal was not to kill all Germans, or next to, but to break the spirit of the survivors and end the war that way. Targetting civilians like that pretty well fits the description of a war crime, but not genocide.

Of course, it was inconsequential to assume that the infliction of massive civilian casualties by bombing would somehow work on Germans when it hadn't on the British. A slightly racist (pretty typical for the times) way of reasoning, but not genocidal.
To say if someone deserved to be killed only because like he is a German is very like arguing like Nazis IMO.
It's a way of arguing that comes dangerously clear of a form of 'national essentialism' — the assumption that all nations embody some kind of essence (genes, blood, Geist whatever) and that all individual members share a collective fate (and responsibility).

But this not something that is specifically Nazi, though they would argue like that as well. Plenty of examples of this line of reasoning before the Nazis, and from all over Europe.

(And I'm pretty sure none this is how Nobody originally meant it, though I've taken argument with what he said.)

Verbose
May 08, 2005, 12:34 PM
some argue like Nazi apologists.
Get used to it.

The Germans have spent more than a half century assuming responsibility for what happened in WWII in a very impressive way.
It's a bit of a novelty for them that they can actually allow themselves to grieve for their dead and the destruction of their country — and they have forgotten nothing of the reasons why it happened in the process.
If they now think they have a justified complaint over something, you can depend on that the conclusion wasn't reached in a facile war, or without good arguments.

I don't think the Germans will back down over this. Nor that they should.

Mega Tsunami
May 09, 2005, 04:01 AM
I don´t think to say the allied bombardments were warcrimes is arguing like Nazi aoplogists...


I agree, but to start on the line of calling them “holocaust” most certainly is a Nazi apologist’s way of talking IMO.
Indeed many of the things you say about the Allies smacks of what Nazi apologists would say. You effectively say, time and time again, something like “The Nazis were bad, but the Allies were even worse, therefore implying the Nazis weren’t that bad after all”

And that is why you have come here to say the Luftwaffe bombing of Warsaw, London, Coventry etc. was nothing more than “normal war” but the Allied bombing of German cities was a holocaust!
Nazis and Nazi apologists take this and apply the next logical step - The Holocaust can’t have been so bad after all as the Allies had their own holocaust.

I watched some bits of the VE day celebrations on the news over the weekend – pictures of Schroeder etc. laying wreaths whilst down the road the Nazis were demonstrating. The sort of nonsense you are spouting here about Allies’ holocaust only feeds these evil people and encourages them more and more.

Adler17
May 09, 2005, 06:46 AM
I never said the word holocaust. Indeed I said Holocaust was far worse. Also I said the Nazis were worse, so only the questions remains how "white" were the allies? Although I have to admit that some Nazis arguing in this way saying the bombing war was a genocide or even a Holocaust, I have to say that in this single point the ars*hol*s are at least partly right. Although I will never make both equal, Holocaust and bombing terror, and although they are wrong in nearly all other points, what is wrong to damn that terror bombardments? What is wrong for a German to say that despite the crimes the Nazis did crimes were also commited on Germans? I know I go on the edge of a knife but never I crossed the border I didn´t want to cross. I think indeed the democratic parties must take this point more offensively and not to leave them the Nazis. Germany apologized for the crimes done. But a British or even a Russian apoogation? I know there is many bad done by Nazis in these countries but this doesn´t justify any crime against Germans.
At last I repeat myself: The Holocaust was the worst genocide ever happened. It can´t be set equal with any other crime the Allies did. But this is in no way a justification for these crimes nor is it good not to speak about them.

Adler

plarq
May 10, 2005, 07:59 PM
But how can we blame these crimes commited in a somewhat "just" war?Who should be responsible to the bombing runs in Axis cities?The worst thing in history is that it was written by victors,so it suggests revenge for those who suffers.

I've read about an argument of a tragedy in Germany waters in 1945,allied ships destroyed a German cargo ship,which indeed is a ferry ship of 800 civilian passengers of men,women and children.The argument ends with "German people in the past can't,and shouldn't stand a moral highland to blame allies (and Soviets) military actions against German citizens,since the memory of WWII runs farther and farther away from us,some German and foreign pioneers start to revisit the history and study the injustice of treating German civilians at war or in the occupation.

Adler17
May 11, 2005, 01:51 AM
plarq, what is a "just" war? A war can be justified under certain reasons and if you mean this the war against Germany was totally justified. But however: Some certain rules must be kept. These rules were strongly broken by all sides. However Germany did say sorry for the crimes the Nazis did. However for the crimes the allies did nobody said really sorry, although at the last visit the British Queen can be interpreted to have done so.
Nevertheless I think these crimes as commited in ww2 by the allies are not allowed to be negated or played down as there were bad times or the Germans deserved it. They must be accepted as that what they were.

Adler

FriendlyFire
May 11, 2005, 04:42 AM
Like I said Germany set the "tone" of the war.

The war in the East was waged entirely differently compared to the warfare on the west.

As one guards soldier said. During the battle for berlin they caught a 14 year old german girl and forced her into a cellar. They then formed a line outside. He couldnt bring himself to committ such an act but he could understand the anger that that drew men to do such things.

Adler17
May 11, 2005, 04:50 AM
This explains some of the cruelity but in no way excuses it. It is still a crime!

Adler

Verbose
May 11, 2005, 05:00 AM
Arguably a war may be 'just', and at the same time it may have been prosecuted in an unjustifiable way — to a lesser or greater extent.

One really has to bend over backwards to justify the targetting of German civilians in WWII. This is the one definite British foul up that can be found in WWII. That's not a lot though.

I suspect the bad reaction over being reminded of it is in part due to the fact that WWII to has become this incredibly inspiring and up-beat narrative in modern British history. It's a fly in an otherwise superbly tasty ointment.

From what I hear several senior British historians (John Keegan included) have been getting cold feet over the self-congratulatory way in which the war has been presented in British media recently.

plarq
May 11, 2005, 05:23 AM
Oh I can try to make some ratings of these actions:using +,- to describe the differences.

Europe:
Axis Side:
Nazi Holocaust:Not a war crime,but an anti-human crime.
Occupation of Austria:Not a major war crime,territorial greed only.
Brutal killing in Eastern Europe:War Crime+(Plus territorial greed,concentration camps and large-scale massacres).
Occupation of France,Belgium, Netherlands and Nordic countries:War crime(Territorial greed and exploitation,but not many big massacres)
Bombing run in British cities:war crime(1st strike on civilians)
Italians in Ethiopian:War Crime+(the continue of White people's colonization)
Fighting in North Africa:Not a war crime,conventional war.
Foreign troops assisting German army:the same as German war crime,but Finnish and Baltic States excluded(Self-Defence)

Allied Side,including Soviet Union:
Britain and France signing Munchen treaty:war crime-(assisting Hitler in occupation of Czechslovak and Poland)
Soviet signing Soviet-Germany non-aggression treaty:war crime(note Soviets contributed in bloodsheds in Poland)
Bombing run in Berlin as a revenge of Luffwatt strikes on Britsh cities:war crime-(2nd strike on civilians,and revenge in war-time can be forgived to some degree,as British badly needed morale to fight intruders)
Missions that air-raided French,Dutch and Belgian cities in order to liberate them:war crime--(Justified by its action and the following consequences,but some casuality could be avoided)
Soviet invasion on Baltic states:not a major war crime,the same as German occupation of Austria.
Soviet invasion on Finland:same as above.
Some random raping and murder in UK/US occupied cities:war crime
Some random raping and murder in Soviet occupied cities:war crime
Allied bombing in Germany around 1945,mainly targeted cities and civilian facility:war crime(Territorial greed,competition with Soviet troops)

Adler17
May 11, 2005, 08:39 AM
Occupations of foreign nations might be against international law, like for example the occupation of Poland or Norway or France or even Germany but that is definately not a real warcrime. A warcrime are actions in the war against the rules of the war and the laws of humanity. Also foreign troops as a kind of foreing legion is also no war crime if these troops are volunteered.
So the occupations and also the signing of the München treaty are in no way war crimes.
So whant stays:

Axis:
Nazi Holocaust as crime against humnity and genocide (included East European massacres, mass rapings and so on)
German bombing runs of civilians
Japanese behaviour in China
treatment of Soviet PoW in German camps
treatment of PoW in Japanese camps
stealing of Soviet cultural items, like the amber chamber

Western Allies:
Terror bombing on German civilians (including attacks on German hospital ships, including Laconia incident)
Allowing the Soviets to deport millions of Germans out of the areas east of the Oder- Neiße line
Some certain trials in Nuremberg (Dönitz for example)
Some minor cases of shootings and rapings of Germans
Bombing on Japan including Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo

Soviets:
Murdering, raping and deportation of Germans in their occupied area (including the gulags and PoW camps)
Sinking of German refugee ships
stealing of German cultural items like Priamos´Treasure

There are many things I did not list resp. I made together with other groups. This is only a short list to remember the crimes happened of all sides.

Adler

Kosez
May 11, 2005, 10:01 AM
Heinrich August Winkler, profesor of modern history at Humboldt university in Berlin, said in one of his latest interviews something like that: "To compare holocaust and Dresden has no sense, while first was a systematical eradication of one group of people, the other was a mere escalation of a war."
I took this from a newspaper Delo, Sobotna priloga, 7.5.2005, Ljubljana; it doesn't necessarily represent my opinion.

privatehudson
May 11, 2005, 10:09 AM
Allowing the Soviets to deport millions of Germans out of the areas east of the Oder- Neiße line

Your suggestion please on how the western allies could have stopped this. By all means attack the Russians for doing it, but please inform the class as to what you think the W. Allies could do about it.

Doc Tsiolkovski
May 11, 2005, 10:10 AM
Accusing Dönitz is hardly a war crime. Accusing Fritsche was nonsense, but all others were clearly justified. In the historical context (lots of common soldiers being executed for shooting fleeing British POVs, for example - and I don't consider that 'War crimes' as well), the real scandal is to let those leaders off the hook (not literally). Or those industry tycoons like Borgward and Messerschmitt.
The Nuremberg trials were a joke not because of the idea behind or those convicted. Or because Harris case wasn't there.
The real problem is that it tried to get rid of that common "I only followed my orders" excuse - and as a result, exactly those who followed their orders were punished (which is indeed justified often enough), but those who actually gave the orders were left untouched. :crazyeye:
Also, it would have helped the credibility a lot if those undisputed French or Italians or Norvegians war criminals like Laval or Quisling would have been subject there as well. But since this was skipped, the Nuremberg Trials will always have to life with the 'Siegerjustiz' smell.

privatehudson
May 11, 2005, 10:14 AM
The real problem is that it tried to get rid of that common "I only followed my orders" excuse - and as a result, exactly those who followed their orders were punished (which is indeed justified often enough), but those who actually gave the orders were left untouched

Kind of hard to execute people who are already dead or have fled the country before you can get them ;)

Doc Tsiolkovski
May 11, 2005, 10:25 AM
private, do you have an idea how many generals, industry leaders, or Gestapo officers continued their work in the FRG? Or, almost the entire Volksgerichtshof (except Freisler)? The teachers? All those who are responisble for countless deaths - but didn't touch anyone personally? Heck, the Nazi 'Ostgebietbeauftragter' (how to translate that? The specialist for settling in the East) served as Minister for the Expelled later!!!

Mega Tsunami
May 11, 2005, 10:36 AM
One really has to bend over backwards to justify the targetting of German civilians in WWII. This is the one definite British foul up that can be found in WWII. That's not a lot though.

I suspect the bad reaction over being reminded of it is in part due to the fact that WWII to has become this incredibly inspiring and up-beat narrative in modern British history. It's a fly in an otherwise superbly tasty ointment.

I see it as the other way round – the bad reaction is coming from those that were defeated or simply had an ignominious war that are trying to downplay the extent of the allies’ victory.
The allies’ alleged war crimes are exaggerated to make out the war crimes carried out by the Germans weren’t all that bad after all.



If Britain had started the war (eg. unprovoked attack on Germany) and had carried out the bombing of the German cities in the way they did then my view would be very different. That would indeed be a war crime.

IMO every single bomb dropped on Britain etc. was a crime against humanity as it was totally unprovoked. Our retaliation for these crimes was perfectly justified.

privatehudson
May 11, 2005, 10:48 AM
private, do you have an idea how many generals, industry leaders, or Gestapo officers continued their work in the FRG? Or, almost the entire Volksgerichtshof (except Freisler)? The teachers? All those who are responisble for countless deaths - but didn't touch anyone personally? Heck, the Nazi 'Ostgebietbeauftragter' (how to translate that? The specialist for settling in the East) served as Minister for the Expelled later!!!

I can take a rough guess based on how many high ranking Nazis were recruited by the allied countries after the war. Whilst I agree that the denazification policy implemented after the war was crucial, so to a degree was it vital that the process couldn't line up and shoot or sack everyone responsible for the crimes on every level. If that process was carried out to such a level there would be problems running the country in the aftermath of the war.

What was that point someone made about using generals in the West German army that had served under Hitler? Find me a general over 30 who hadn't or something like that. Same principle applies here. Some regretable people escaped justice, but that shouldn't avoid the fact that many at Nuremberg got exactly what they deserved for their crimes. If some escaped justice, at least it set a precedent that you will no longer be able to use the "My superior told me so" all the time to defend yourself.

Doc Tsiolkovski
May 11, 2005, 11:03 AM
Yes, no need to go overboard here. Someone like Steinhoff for sure wasn't a bad choice for the amry of a Democratic country. The real problem was that they reused the ones in decisive positions for that same job in the FRG again. They for example should have been removed from all teaching jobs. And Gestapo officers as police officers again is a scandal.
The biggest issue is the jurisdiction; in politics, industry, sciences *some* Nazis where left. But jurisdiction was almost entirely dominated by them.
As a result, the families of convicted war criminals recieved compensation payments. But many Nazi victims were still previously convicted - and as such, couldn't get into official positions. Or defectors - criminal elements until recently. In fact, the '68'er movement and a very small group of jurists in the early 60ies were the first to actually care. And quite a lot of issues were only fixed by our current Gov (which is dominated by dedicated anti-Nazi politicians for the first time)

Adler17
May 12, 2005, 04:17 AM
Mega Tsunami, to say the killings and deportations and rapings of millions of Germans (all allies here mebntioned) are in no way exaggerated. You should leave your british press aside which is very biased and a kind of racistic indeed.
Winkler is not right. It was in no way an escalation only. This would it only if the targets attacked were military valid targets. But so it was a war crime and a crime against humanity. It is indeed not equal with the Holocaust but still bad enough.
Doc is completely right concerning the Nazis in leading positions after the war. However others who participated in the system had to be introduced. I mean when Adenauer was asked if the generals of the Wehrmacht would also be generals in the Bundeswehr he answered the allies would not accept 18 years old generals. This must be still considered. There were indeed too many Persilscheine (nick named denazification document, after a German washing soap pulver for cloths, because many were denazified too early).

Adler

Kosez
May 12, 2005, 04:25 AM
I don't know. Germans have started to bomb British cities, it was later proven that wasn't at all a brilliant idea, Britts saw how very devastating it was, so they adopted german strategy. They were just trying to win war faster, so less people would be burnt in Auschwitz.

Kosez
May 12, 2005, 04:26 AM
I don't know. Germans have started to bomb British cities, it was later proven that wasn't at all a brilliant idea, but Britts saw how very devastating it was, so they adopted german strategy. They were just trying to win war faster, so less people would be burnt in Auschwitz.

Panzerking
May 12, 2005, 04:39 AM
It was in no way an escalation only. This would it only if the targets attacked were military valid targets. But so it was a war crime and a crime against humanity. It is indeed not equal with the Holocaust but still bad enough.


If the only complaint the German people have about WWII was that the Allied Bombing was too heavy and didn't take into account the civillians below then I think you should think yourself lucky. Many nations across Europe who were occupied by Nazi forces have a much more sorry story to tell. Tales of mass executions of civillians and a total disregard for human life are rife with regards to Nazi Germany. Of course this does not excuse the destruction in Dresden etc. but we have a saying here in England that people in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones.

Mega Tsunami
May 12, 2005, 04:47 AM
Mega Tsunami, to say the killings and deportations and rapings of millions of Germans (all allies here mebntioned) are in no way exaggerated. You should leave your british press aside which is very biased and a kind of racistic indeed.

Adler

You know full well I meant the Wallies when I said the allies. Is this another tactic of the German atrocity apologists? – to lump Russia in with the west? The Russians were as bad as the Germans IMO – but at least they had mitigating circumstances for their crimes.

And for the record I have never bought (and only read once in a blue moon) the so-called newspapers you are referring to i.e. The Sun and The Mirror. Whatever bad things you say about those ‘papers’ I would probably agree with you.

Doc Tsiolkovski
May 12, 2005, 05:16 AM
You know full well I meant the Wallies when I said the allies.
Why should he? In our language, The Allies/ die Allierten means exactly that - all nations allied to fight the Axis.
If after the war the WAllies suddenly claimed 'Those Commies didn't really belong to us!'...it's your problem. ;)

And, while there are indeed no British and US to blame, the French Colonial Troops, while of course being far from the Russians, committed quite some mass rapes as well.
And, this is undisputed. Simply for the reason it mostly happened in the Alsace/Palatine/Baden border regions, where it was pretty difficult to tell who actually was a German, and thus French where victims as well.

Panzerking
May 12, 2005, 05:30 AM
This thread looks like it could go on forever with good arguements from all sides. I think it is fair to say that ALL the major powers involved in the WWII comitted war-crimes regarding the killing of civillians. Whose crimes were worst is debatable but in my opinion the worst in order would read something like this:

1) Germans
2) Japanese
3) Russians
4) Anglo-American Forces

Do you think this is fair??

privatehudson
May 12, 2005, 05:38 AM
Why should he? In our language, The Allies/ die Allierten means exactly that - all nations allied to fight the Axis.
If after the war the WAllies suddenly claimed 'Those Commies didn't really belong to us!'...it's your problem.

By which logic the allies could say "We called you all nazis, because you fought for Hitler, if you suddenly claim you didn't like him... it's your problem" ;)

Case
May 12, 2005, 05:54 AM
Heinrich August Winkler, profesor of modern history at Humboldt university in Berlin, said in one of his latest interviews something like that: "To compare holocaust and Dresden has no sense, while first was a systematical eradication of one group of people, the other was a mere escalation of a war."

I don't see how Dresden could be interpreted as an 'escalation' by 1945. By that stage of the war, the Germans had invaded over a dozen countries, razing what must have been thousands of towns and cities to the ground in the process. Given what the Germans deliberetly did to Leningrad (for example), it's hard to justify any claims that the destruction resulting from the Allied raids represented anything new.

Doc Tsiolkovski
May 12, 2005, 05:59 AM
@privatehudson
:confused: This time, I cannot follow your logic.
It's not like the official meaning of 'Allies' has changed. Only the public view in some of them. And it's not like I or anyone would blame one of them for something another one has done...but, unless specifically stated, 'The Allies' includes the Soviets (and quite a number of questionable regimes as well).

privatehudson
May 12, 2005, 06:51 AM
I'm merely stating that during the war it was common in the allied nations to call you Nazi soldiers, nazi regime, nazi this, nazi that and so on. If we cannot distance ourselves from the crimes of our Russian allies, then you cannot from your Nazi leaders, and if you don't like that lack of definition, that's your problem.

The same as the public view now has distanced the western allies from the Russians, the public view seeks to distance "German" from "Nazi" when speaking of crimes. If you have the right to distance your population to a degree from your leaders, then we equally have the right to distance our own actions from that of Stalin's regime.

That's all I'm saying.

Doc Tsiolkovski
May 12, 2005, 07:00 AM
...distanced the western allies from the Russians

Of course. But, both are included when using the term 'Allies', that's all I'm saying :).

privatehudson
May 12, 2005, 07:21 AM
Only if we choose to, most people tend to divide it into the two areas unless it was a joint operation or decision. In the case of warcrimes it is vital that this is done, so there is no need to discuss "allied" warcrimes IMO, no more than one should seek to discuss "German" warcrimes (unless it can be shown to have had non-nazi involvement).

Kafka2
May 12, 2005, 07:28 AM
Sorry we bombed your city. We suck.

Love,

Britain.

xxxxx

privatehudson
May 12, 2005, 07:31 AM
Sorry we bombed your city. We suck.

Love,

Britain.

xxxxx

:lol:

Fraid we tried that before and they didn't accept it did they? :mischief:

Kafka2
May 12, 2005, 07:31 AM
Long-time readers of these threads will know that I post those messages in every Dresden thread. Naturally, it's never considered enough to please anyone. That's why I added kisses this time.

privatehudson
May 12, 2005, 07:44 AM
Excellent :goodjob:

Doc Tsiolkovski
May 12, 2005, 07:58 AM
Sorry we gassed your Jews. We suck.


Love,

Nazis.


xxxxx


I like your reoccuring post, kafka2, but somehow my variant doesn't sound funny any more...

Adler17
May 12, 2005, 10:16 AM
This here is no complaining but telling historical facts! As I already mentioned this thread is in no way making the crimes equal but to show that the bombings were crimes. These crimes were in no way justified by any German (or Japanese resp.) crime and can´t be excused in another way. If someone murders your mother you are in no way allowed to murder his children!
Also I included all crimes here to all because to a greater or lesser extent all allied forces commited these crimes. I already said that most of them the Russians must be blamed but also I heard about these crimes conducted by W Allies. Although I admit bombing terror and deportation are mostly crimes of (a) specific nation(s).

Adler

privatehudson
May 12, 2005, 10:16 AM
Yes I'm sure the two are so directly comparable.

Gelion
May 12, 2005, 10:50 AM
Russians never did anythihg like this:
(seriously don't open the spoiler if you have bad nerves)

Images removed. Warnings or not they are not allowed

Good or bad Adler Soviet people had a lot of supressed anger when they crossed into Germany and rightly so. So brutality of American and British soldiers with regard to German population is not something I understand when comparing the Allies.

Now I think I shouldn't have posted here. We start a debate I try to provide balanced material, you say its byased cuz Russians are not as bad there as you are used to and then you start telling that Russians did almost the same thing as Nazis, which I find hard to believe considering whats in the spoiler.....
*imagine a few more paraghaps of general rant....:gripe: *

Kafka2
May 12, 2005, 02:54 PM
Sorry we gassed your Jews. We suck.


Love,

Nazis.


xxxxx


I like your reoccuring post, kafka2, but somehow my variant doesn't sound funny any more...

Humour's a subjective thing. I laughed. But not as much as I laughed at this...

In a blazing row over at CG over the cuplability of Germans in warcrimes, one of the resident Germans (when reminded of the Holocaust) simply replied "My grandfather died in Auschwitz".

The argument stopped dead in its tracks. Someone offered some lame condolences, to which the German replied...

"Yes- it was tragic. He got drunk and fell out of his machine-gun tower."

I can assure you I laughed my arse clean off at that one.

Kafka2
May 12, 2005, 02:59 PM
This here is no complaining but telling historical facts! As I already mentioned this thread is in no way making the crimes equal but to show that the bombings were crimes.

And there's the flaw. By the standards of the times, the bombings were not crimes but accepted means of war. The Holocaust was not, even by the standards of the times.

It is useless to apply contemporary legal positions to history and then demand apologies from present-day nations. If you disagree, then I demand an apology for the atrocities commited by your Germanic ancestors on my Celtic ancestors in the 6th century invasion of Dumnonia.

This is why I really don't care if Germans apologise for the Blitz or not. It's done. It's in the past. Get over it. We have.

Adler17
May 13, 2005, 02:32 AM
Kafka, I already said that after the rules of war and the laws of the time the bombings were war crimes. And although I am aware of the Russian anger it is in no way excuseable for the crimes they did. To make it clear: I heard also of good and fair actions done by Soviet soldiers. However the bad ones are much more. We also should not forget that these actions were not only actions by the soldiers themselves but also allowed by the Russian leadership. The "Russian Goebbels", Ilja Ehrenburg, demanded this from the Russian soldiers and Stalin at least tolerated this.
Although we have to see forward, we have to remember the past and also to consider the crimes and errors done in the past.

Adler

Gelion
May 13, 2005, 02:49 AM
Images removed. Warnings or not they are not allowed
Sorry about that....

Verbose
May 13, 2005, 03:21 AM
This is why I really don't care if Germans apologise for the Blitz or not. It's done. It's in the past. Get over it. We have.
But isn't a big part of the problem here that this is exactly what no one wants?

We don't want the Germans to 'get over it'. Neither do the Germans.
There is this massive assymetry in the way people in Britain get to deal with the war — including the assumption its all in the past at not really relevant enymore — and they way the Germans have to do things — on some level the war goes ever on and it's actually important to keep it in sight and reproduce the memories to make sure Germany never travels down that road again.

The Germans now think thay have a legitimate complaint over a few things in WWII, while not forgetting or denying anything done by Germans. If the Holocaust can't be allowed to lapse into oblivion as something in the past, i.e. irrelevant, then things like Dresden aren't likely to go away either.

This may not make much sense in Britain but it makes every bit of sense in Germany. Telling the Germans to 'get over' things won't work, and if it does it may have side effects we don't want.

Kafka2
May 13, 2005, 03:40 AM
Then we need an official Arbiter of Guilt and Remorse to be appointed by some suitably neutral body- the UN, perhaps. They should then pore over history to decide which acts from the past need agonised chest-baring declarations of regret, and decide which representatives of the descendants of the perpetrators should do it.

Then, seeing as simply saying "Sorry" is never enough (as these threads demonstrate admirably) the Arbiter of Grief and Remorse must then set out official inserts to education schemes to ensure that the message is hammered home and people actually feel guilty about these things that happened without their consent and before their birth.

Then it might mean something. Otherwise you get some token figurehead like Tony Blair (who was born after the event and whom most of the population didn't vote for) or the Queen (unelected and German) shedding man-tears while the rest of the population wonder what the hell he's being such a big girl's blouse about. We are a tough people, after all.

So good luck. Most Britons today do not feel guilty about the Dresden bombing, and do not expect Germans today to feel guilty about the Blitz or V2 bombings. There is more than one way of moving effectively forward into the future, after all.

Verbose
May 13, 2005, 04:15 AM
Then we need an official Arbiter of Guilt and Remorse to be appointed by some suitably neutral body- the UN, perhaps. [---]
That's a much too far reaching conclusion for me.

I just think asking non-Brits to aquire the same attitude to WWII as they have is an idea that won't work and most wouldn't even want to work. And that the British and German premises for discussing something like Dresden are continents apart, but not in a way where the British view takes precedence.
So good luck. Most Britons today do not feel guilty about the Dresden bombing, and do not expect Germans today to feel guilty about the Blitz or V2 bombings. There is more than one way of moving effectively forward into the future, after all.
I absolutley agree with this. And the Germans are moving forward, just not the same way the British are, nor should they.

Adler17
May 13, 2005, 06:24 AM
Well said Verbose :goodjob:.

Adler

privatehudson
May 13, 2005, 07:35 AM
I absolutley agree with this. And the Germans are moving forward, just not the same way the British are, nor should they.

Then by that rationale they should give up trying to get a pointless appology from a political representative who wasn't even born when it happened. If the British way of dealing with it should not be favoured, there's no particular reasoning for saying that we must adopt the German method either.

I don't recall getting appologies for the bombing of my area after all (not that I'd be bothered but...), so how much of this is really about redressing all the wrongs of history?

Leave each side to deal with it as they may I would say rather than issuing constant demands for appologies that have long since lost any meaning for those that would have to make them, and for the bulk of those that would recieve it.

Verbose
May 13, 2005, 09:51 AM
Then by that rationale they should give up trying to get a pointless appology from a political representative who wasn't even born when it happened. If the British way of dealing with it should not be favoured, there's no particular reasoning for saying that we must adopt the German method either.

I don't recall getting appologies for the bombing of my area after all (not that I'd be bothered but...), so how much of this is really about redressing all the wrongs of history?

Leave each side to deal with it as they may I would say rather than issuing constant demands for appologies that have long since lost any meaning for those that would have to make them, and for the bulk of those that would recieve it.
You mean to say that the Germans have been keeping up a barrage of demands for a British apology?:confused:
I knew there was some talk (actually mostly the infamous tabloid 'Bild') about this during the Queens visit in 2004, but not that there has been some kind of official demand? It certainly runs counter to everything I know about the present German discussion of their civilian suffering in WWII.

Personally I think the Germans asking for an official British apology would be a really daft and counterproductive idea. (And I'm a bit doubtful if they are really asking for that.)
In actual fact I think that in this one instance the Germans want a bit of sympathy, not apologies.

privatehudson
May 13, 2005, 10:11 AM
You mean to say that the Germans have been keeping up a barrage of demands for a British apology

I wasn't referring to "offical" demands for an appology actually, but unofficial such as can be seen here and in other forums from various posters. I'd say that between the constant references to it as genocide or a crime against humanity only removed from the holocaust by numbers (or whatever interesting logic is used by some on that), that this has very little to do with sympathy but out of some misdirected attempt to make the allies look not much worse than the Nazis.

Every few months a thread like this is dug up, and every time the conclusion is roughly the same, and every time people's perceptions of the topic barely moves at all from the last. So yes, I do get a little fed up with the efforts to get us to "appologise" or admit mistakes which none of us currently alive made the decisions for in the first place.

If it was about sympathy as you say, then let me say right now that I do feel sorry that the raids happened to the Germans and that such destruction was brought down on them, as much as I feel sorry for the people living down the road and over in Liverpool who had the same happen to them.

Somehow I don't think the sympathy of individual British people or the entire British people expressed via the PM or Queen would actually satisfy some people though, so no I don't think sympathy lies at the heart of such calls.

Verbose
May 13, 2005, 11:41 AM
I suppose you may be right.
If I give it a few months and see this discussion return it will most likely confirm what you're saying.

The divergence of British and German ways of thinking about the war is more interesting the the actual debate here, and at times I tend forget how thread-specific most of what's being said here is. (And bits of it are frankly silly anyway.)

Xen
May 13, 2005, 11:45 AM
http://triggur.org/fluffykittens.jpg

WWII almost universally was an inhumane world; its was the last shouts of truelly fervent racism being a deciding factor in national polices, which tiself was a nasty bi-product of uber-nationalism that was itself so rampant and defining of the times. It si almost useless to look back, and try to find moral rights and wrong for that war when it comes to the real war choices; it was a different time, and a different outlook on life, that cam etogether to make a, in retrospect, a rathe rmore universally barbaric standard for society, and its views then are present today.

Adler17
May 13, 2005, 02:15 PM
Xen you´re both right and wrong. It was indeed a barbaric time. But the laws of civilization existed yet and were, in Eurpoe at least, mostly kept. There were no big shootings or mass rapings in the wars against Napoleon. Or in the other wars. WW2 was different indeed. However the morale was on a much higher level than compared with the 6th century or the times of 1618. So you are allowed to take the strong morale judgement for the time.

Adler

Ancient Grudge
May 13, 2005, 03:35 PM
People die in war. Civilians have been killed/raped/pillaged in Europe in virtually every war. I dont see why Germans want an apology for a war they started. For a tactic they they used first and bloody invented.

It's the past. Leave it alone.

P.S sorry for defending ourselves.

plarq
May 14, 2005, 01:02 AM
Leave it alone?Leave it as heroic move or war crime in the name of good intention?
Of course there's no point for compensation/official apology for this,but we should record the fact as "avoidable tragedy by the revengeful hearts".

antonio
May 14, 2005, 02:34 PM
The carpet bombing of German Japenese or even british citys were terible atrocities and should be treated as so.they were just as bad as the holocaust although not as many people died in these acts if it had been possible to kill 11 milion german civilains do u think the allies would have said no.They were awful war crimes and the allied leaders and thos e responsible should have been tried along with the facists for the crime sthey commited.correct me if I'm wrong but was Gurbles not tried for war crimes or in other words the blitz.So wh weretn the allies.

Kafka2
May 14, 2005, 03:45 PM
correct me if I'm wrong but was Gurbles not tried for war crimes or in other words the blitz.

My pleasure. You're wrong.

Case
May 15, 2005, 05:25 AM
You also can't spell and have lousy grammar. Proof read your posts before posting if you want people to take you seriously (I'm happy to make allowances for non-English speakers, but not for residents of English speaking countries!).

privatehudson
May 15, 2005, 12:07 PM
(I'm happy to make allowances for non-English speakers, but not for residents of English speaking countries!)

Oh come on be fair, he is Scottish :mischief:

antonio
May 17, 2005, 10:27 AM
Yes i am aware I cant spell and have lousy gramar.It is for this reason that I am in a genral english class.Also just because I'm from Scotland dosen't mean I sopeak english as a 1st language.I actualy ment to put Goring not Gurbles.Goring was tried for war crimes and being comander of the luftwaffe his war crimes were probaly tried for the bombing of civlains which is a bit hippocritical.

privatehudson
May 17, 2005, 05:07 PM
Also just because I'm from Scotland dosen't mean I sopeak english as a 1st language.

Point taken, most scots I've met don't speak any english that I can recognise :D

blindside
May 17, 2005, 05:15 PM
Yes i am aware I cant spell and have lousy gramar.It is for this reason that I am in a genral english class.Also just because I'm from Scotland dosen't mean I sopeak english as a 1st language.I actualy ment to put Goring not Gurbles.Goring was tried for war crimes and being comander of the luftwaffe his war crimes were probaly tried for the bombing of civlains which is a bit hippocritical.
That is true but the winners of the war get to decide whos guilty and whos not.

stormbind
May 17, 2005, 05:53 PM
It was a war-crime, but it was also total-war :sad:

antonio
May 18, 2005, 11:34 AM
Dose anyone no the cacualty figures from the NATO bobardment of Yugoslavia.

Adler17
May 18, 2005, 11:38 AM
No, but I doubt that there were over 500 civilian victims despite the heavy bombardments.

Adler

Zardnaar
May 19, 2005, 12:16 AM
Might pay to draw a line between civilian deaths and when civilians have either been deliberately targeted or carpet bombed.You're always going to get some civilians killed.

antonio
May 20, 2005, 10:54 AM
Thanks I was just wondering couldn't remember silly me.