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If Germany sells arms to mainland China every Pacific Rim Nation should consider Germany as an ally to a potential foe and act accordingly.

What will Germany do if it's invaded? Well the invasion is already taking place. It's a silent invasion of muslims who are not becoming part of the culture. I suggest that Germany will ignore the invasion until it's too late, just as it is doing.

@spod: Well the invasion is already taking place. It's a silent invasion of muslims...

by the way, where do you live? germany? eu? or outside?

What do you suppose the Muslims will name Germany when they take over later in this century. Al-Lemania?

Hi -

Germany used to publish every couple of years it's "White Book" on defense issues. I used them intensively in the 1980s.

But I just went to the Bundeswehr website and searched there for "Weißbuch", which is what they're called in German. No results found.

This is, of course, symptomatic. While the White Books in the past clearly laid out German defense policy, the lack of one today ultimately means that there is none. While you don't have to have a White Book in order to have a defense policy, not publishing White Books means that you don't have a defense policy you are willing to put to paper.

Rather pathetic, when you get down to it. The Bundeswehr has had its shares of problems in the past, but from what I can see from here - and I'm near Frankfurt - it reminds me of the US Army in the worst of the 1970s, perhaps without the drug problems, but certainly with the moral and leadership problems. Certainly a continuing legacy of the Schroeder administration.

John

Hi -

And I just double-checked: the last White Book came out in April 1994 (!!!), during the cold war they came out every year.

And there is supposedly a new one in the works that is to be released this year, but there is nothing on this up at the Bundeswehr web site.

And there is a great April Fools' joke version of the White Book 2002 that someone cooked up with "This Page Left Intentionally Blank" on each and every page in the PDF. :-)

John

Was it really Kohl who started this?

Re: Germany's Grand Strategy(?)

I find this post quite correct in its criticism of current German foreign policies and the inexcusable generally, negative attitude toward us in the U.S.

I am not trying to defend German atrocities or German governments in general. They are indefensible. What I am trying to do is to foster better understanding between us and the people of Germany. I have been a young soldier on their side during WW II and I also volunteered for the draft as a G.I. on our side right after my immigration to the U.S.

That is why I must disagree with the writer on his statement that "Germans" started WW I and that "Germans" see themselves (generally speaking) "as victims" of Allied war crimes during WW II. I have studied the matter for over 50 years for my own edification by using sources of neutral countries as well as those of combating nations during the conflicts.

History has long since proven that WW I could have been avoided if "all European powers" would have been less chauvinistic and less concerned with their own perdominance on the continent and in the world. (President Eisenhower and Prime Minister MacMillan agreed on this subject during their meeting in London in the late 1950ies.) It also has been proven that the extremely vengeful illegalities of the Peace Treaty of Versailles were mainly directed against Germany alone. It thus became the midwife to the birth of a mistrusting and hateful political movement like that of the Nazis in Germany.

As far as Germans feeling like "victims" during WW II is concerned, one should remember that in addition to the Millions of soldiers, who died bravely on both sides of this conflict, German civilian losses of mainly 2.8 Million women, children and old folks were caused by the bestial slaughter committed by the Red Army and Communist Polish Militia. Twelve additional Millions were driven off their ancient homeland with not much more but the cloths on the backs. It amounted to the largest expulsion of peoples in human history. Furthermore, Allied carpet bombing resulted in the death of approximately 700,000 German civilians. (A number which by comparison dwarfs any losses that may have resulted from the infamous London "Blitz".)None of these crimes against humanity were ever adjudicated before an international court of justice like the one who justifiably made Nazis account for their crimes at Nuremberg. As long as victors have the right to commit unlimited war crimes against humanity it cannot be expected that the vanquished call this "justice".

The current German feeling that "they have also been WW II victims" is not uncommon amongst a people who lived under the usual betrayals of a totalitarian state. Like Russians who lived under Stalin in the Soviet Union, the average citizen in Germany did not know the true extent of Nazi war plans or genocide. All they knew during the war, was that the whole world came down upon them after they had been repeatedly shot at by Polish snipers across the German Polish border prior to Hitler's subsequent declaration war against Poland on September 1, 1939.

From that moment on, the war escalated on both sides (e.g., British and French declaration of war; British attempts to set up a base at Norway with Germans rushing to prevent that from happening; Germany's march through the Low Countries; British landings at Greece; etc., etc.)

The overall, brilliant Allied strategem was to make Germans spread military power thin over the entire continent as an occupation force to weaken their defenses everywhere. The outcome of the war proved that this theory was 100% correct. Additionally, this strategy had the benefit of enabling the Allies to mark all Germans as "insatiable" conquerors attempting total "world domination."

The only item that remains still in question was Hitler's suppopsedly unprovoked attack upon the USSR. The Nazi version during the war was that Stalin had already planned to attack Germany at a point in time of his own choosing. German intelligence in Russia showed large amounts of war material being concentrated by Stalin along Russia's border with Germany.

This fact had always been disputed by the Soviet Union until its collapse of 1991. As Russian archives became subsequently open to public scrutiny, it was again disclosed that Stalin was surprised by the German attack in 1941, however, that he had also secretly mistrusted the Hitler-Stalin Non-aggression Pact and thus was preparing for a sudden attack upon Germany at the next opportune moment. Therefore, any Russian complaint about an "unprovoked" German attack has at least a "hollow ring" to it. It must be remembered that if Germany would have waited with a declaration of war in WW 1 and II for a full fledged Russian attack before declaring war, that war would have certainly been lost by Germany from the very beginning. Russian or Soviet Forces could muster an unbelievable amount of men and war material if given enough time to prepare for an all out assault.

Coming back to the feelings of "victimhood" on the part of many Germans, it can be stated that no people in any nation of modern times are "collectively guilty" of "making" war or committing war crimes. However, it can also be stated that all nations suffer like victims during any war. This feeling is perhaps stronger in Germany than in other nations because they have been relentlessly, selectively, criticized, condemned and even blackballed for crimes against humanity during WW II which they, as an entire nation, did not commit. If anything, most Germans were punished only for havng been born at the wrong latitude /longitude during a certain point in history. Those Germans who were truly guilty were either hanged, thrown into prison or sneaked out of the country. The rest were Millions of innocents holding the bag for crimes committed secretly by a few thousand.

It is, therefore, not surprising that after 60 years of condemnation of two German generations, some have said," Enough is enough". Beating up the innocent generations can only produce more hate against former allies and less justice in the world.

An interesting comparison is provided by Russia. Here we have another country which under a brutal dictatorship (also innocently admired by its populace) has killed far more innocent civilians than the German state under Hitler. How could it be that the West supported this even more monstrous dictatorship under Stalin?? Where are the accusations against "all Russians??" Fortunately, they may never be forthcoming. It shows clearly that a sometimes false enemy propaganda against Germany since the beginnings of WW I has poisoned the fair judgement of many even highly educated people. That alone is still a very sad fact of our time.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

Mr. Haase,

>> I have been a young soldier on their side during WW II and I also volunteered for the draft as a G.I. on our side right after my immigration to the U.S.

That sounds like an interesting story.

>> I must disagree with the writer on his statement that "Germans" started WW I

Oh, really. Who did? Serbs? Germany got suckered by Austria?

>>History has long since proven that WW I could have been avoided if "all European powers" would have been less chauvinistic

History cannot prove a "what if". That statement is nonsensical.

>>German civilian losses of mainly 2.8 Million women, children and old folks were caused by the bestial slaughter committed by the Red Army and Communist Polish Militia.

Yes, Mr. Haase, even the perpetrators suffer their share of victims. Those victims do not constitute escape from repsonsibility. And if you're going to play that repugnant hand, here's mine. Stalingrad.

>> the average citizen in Germany did not know the true extent of Nazi war plans or genocide. All they knew during the war, was that the whole world came down upon them

The average German may not have known of the plans in the beginning, but don't tell me they didn't catch on during the war. Where did they THINK all the Jews went? Madagasscar?

>>The overall, brilliant Allied strategem was to make Germans spread military power thin over the entire continent as an occupation force to weaken their defenses everywhere. The outcome of the war proved that this theory was 100% correct.

It was not part of the Allied strategy for Germany to attack Russia. Your points about Stalin's plans don't take into account The fact that the German invasion was delayed for months and in none of the postwar briefings did the Germans tell their Allied interregators that fears of a Russian invasion played any role in their planning. It was also not part of Allied strategy for Hitler to divert millions of tons of rolling stock and other resources to conduct extermination campaigns against Jews, Romas, etc. No, Mr. Haase, Hitler came up with that all by himself.

>> it can be stated that no people in any nation of modern times are "collectively guilty"

Collectivisation is a particularly evil sibling of totalinarianism, Mr. Haase. You won't generally hear that charge coming from an American unless it's someone in academia. And I heartily agree that subsequent generations of Germans are innocent of the crimes of WWII, they are still burdened by a special responsibility; to acknowledge the past without revisionism or excuses, and to try to see to it that it never ahppens again. We Americans have similar responsibilities. It is quite doable.

>>Beating up the innocent generations can only produce more hate against former allies

FORMER allies. How telling.

"Twice in the 20th century their nation[= Germany] was singularly responsible for the slaughter of tens of millions."

Twice? WW1 and WW2?

With regard to WW1, I disagree. WW1 started as a regional conflict between Austro-Hungary and Serbia. There are various reasons why it grew into a world war. It wasn't deliberately designed by German politicians.

By the way, Austro-Hungary wanted to punish Serbia for its involvement in the assassination of Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand. Terrorism and rogue states aren't that new after all.

On WW2 and German suffering Peter's post leaves little to add. Only one thing: the Allied bombing campaign against German civilians may have been a waste of military assets. If the manpower and resources spent on it had been invested in ground forces and tactical air support, the Allied forces could have met the Russians a few hundred kilometres east of the Elbe. If you don't care about the Germans you may still want to ask the Poles if they preferred to be liberated by Russians or Americans.

Peter,

I agree with many of your points of the events surrounding the second world war. Also, I would like to stress that I am grateful for your service to our country as a military man. Unlike my father, I cannot claim having ever made the same sacrifice. I am 35 years old, American, and have been living in Münich for the last 10 years.

However, I am not sure that your posting offers insight (for me at least) as to the worsening German animus towards the USA. I am fully confused by much of what I hear here in Germany, it is the exact reason why I read this blog on a regular basis: Germans do not get fair reporting and base their opinion on this (worse so, they seldom attempt to inform themselves with other sources). Furthermore, they are often motivated for reasons unbeknownst to share this opinion with me on a regular basis.

I take your point that the last two generations of Germans unduly have suffered prejudices for crimes committed by the previous NAZI government. I was deliberately very sensitive to the holocaust issue and second world war issue with Germans when I first moved here. I never brought it up with Germans and attempted to always avoid the point. It is for this reason that I find it rather hypocritical (or rather impolite) when Germans, whom I've never accosted, find it necessary for them to lecture me on the evils of my government. I've had a colleague in my office who told me that the USA had started the the Korean War in 1950. I am tolerant of differing opinions, but when his understanding of historic events matches the propaganda of Kim Il Sung, it is time to worry.

As far as our country is concerned, following the atrocities committed by the Germans and Russians, Poles whoever, we were the beacon of hope and justice (forget the Japanese). We took in 1/2 the Jews following the war, even the English didn't want them. Furthermore, the English/French and Russians were feared far more by the Germans for reprisals. We helped to rebuild a country who we were in a bitter war with, and we held fast to stop the Soviet aggression (and it was aggression). Duly, this ability to forgive and support was also extended to the Japanese. I don't think that there is any historical parallel with such generosity and solidarity. I have also lived in the UK where elder taxi drivers thanked the US for our involvement in both WW conflicts. I know of no significant memorial in Germany that gratefully commemorates American efforts in: the Berlin Airlift (only a concrete luftbrücke in Frankfurt airport - wow), the Marshall Plan (still un-repaid), NATO, Bosnia, Kosovo, etc, etc. It seems doomed to fade from German memory, particularily with attempts to describe Germans as victims of WWII. And that von Stauffenberg was a German hero, not an early adopter of Nazism.

I often meet poorly informed Germans, to those following the media-line, or characterise all Americans as gleichgeschaltet, to contempt and sometimes downright hostility. So, I sit here confused, perplexed and wondering why there is such open and wilful hostility towards my country. And particularly my country, the one who only ever helped to put things right and stood shoulder to shoulder with a now forgetful nation. Often, I wonder why we ever helped them in the first place.

Most importantly, I find it rather obnoxious for Germans to criticise the US in her Iraq actions, when these same complainers never offered alternatives. What was one to have otherwise done with Iraq/Saddam? What good is the UN if it is only a straw man? Isn't it rather ironic that since the Germans know firsthand what dictators are like that they should choose to complacently sit back and do nothing? Worse so, to obfuscate the situation even more: they ignore Saddam's crimes and stress America's? Or even worse so, start to sell weapons to Chinese oppressors?

It seems to me that there is a great deal of double standards going on in Germany, one economically enjoys the international system effected under Pax Americana. And the other childishly attempts to hobble or thwart the same big brother. Perhaps this is motivated in an interest to exorcise the ghosts from WWII and raise their own self image. Whatever the case may be, I will never allow my son's life to come to risk in the defense/support of this now contemptous country.

James

Notes:

"None of these crimes against humanity were ever adjudicated before an international court of justice like the one who justifiably made Nazis account for their crimes at Nuremberg"

But Curtis E. LeMay did surmise that had the US not won the war, that he too would have been tried as a war criminal.


"German intelligence in Russia showed large amounts of war material being concentrated by Stalin along Russia's border with Germany."

This has also been speculated by the Russian historian, Edvard Razinsky.

As I just discovered this site, I was tempted to take some exception to the author's tone. I agree that there's an unseemly recent trend toward victimization in Germany that infuriates me. (More about that later.) However, I find that the media in Germany is far more even-handed than this site portrays. Ironically, then, this site reminds me of nothing more than the flip side of the 'Stern' series stereotyping Americans that drew so much ire.

But now I read the comments from Herr Haase, and I'm not sure if they're genuine, genuine but confused, or simply a parody. Does he really mean to say that the Nazi invasions of Holland, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, France, Greece, Yugoslavia, et al were an ALLIED strategy ? Does he really think that the Nazis only bombed London ? Perhaps he's forgotten about the tens and tens of thousands of Leningraders who were STARVED to death by the Nazis. Perhaps he hasn't heard about the destruction of Coventry, Rotterdam, Warsaw, Minsk, Kiev, etc. Or about Goebbels screaming the question of whether Germany wanted total war - and about his audience screaming back 'Ja' !

When a nation wages total war, when a nation initiates total war, then it has earned its fate. And trying to rewrite the history books decades later deserves to be discredited immediately.

I was going to recommended that the authors stick more to facts and leave the right-wing echo chamber interpretation for the LGFers of the world. Now I'm going to have to recommend that Herr Haase review some basic history texts to fill in his knowledge of the war.

Cheers,

"None of these crimes against humanity were ever adjudicated before an international court of justice like the one who justifiably made Nazis account for their crimes at Nuremberg"

Allied bombing of German ( and Japanese ) cities in WW2 were not crimes

They were an accepted practice of war at the time

The practice was started by the Germans and Japanese - and followed to its logical conclusion by the victorious allies

Now if the Allies had started a group of death camps and rounded up every person with more than 1/8th percentage of Germanic "blood" - man, woman and child - and proceed to gas and burn them by the millions...well, then you would have a "there should have been an Allied Nuremberg" case to present

As for the Russians - their crimes during and after WW2 are well documented and as an Allied power they are guilty

Yet Putin and Russia aren't the whipping boy for the German media are they?

Abu Ghraib is the new "Aushschwitz" - not Chechnya

Bush is the evil warmonger - not Putin

America is the big bully - not Russia ( count the anti-Russian protests please )

So any idea of Allied war crimes attributed to the Western Allies is offensive indeed

God help Germany if the Western Allies had been 1/100th as ruthless as the scum they destroyed

Rofe, this site presents examples of anti-American bias in the mainstream German media

Of course the German media as a whole is not as biased as a review of this site alone would indicate - that goes without saying

The challenge for those who dispute the premise of this site is to create a "Rofes Media Critic" for the USA and link to German or European bashing articles and stories from the US mainstream media - and do it day after day and week after week

Find polls that show most American's have negative attitudes about German or most Europeans ( they don't ) and link to stories about big demonstrations organized to protest German, French or Italian political leaders ( they don't happen )

I think you will find a lot less material to fill your US media critic - and this is the easiest way of blowing a big gaping hole in any idea that this site is misrepresenting the reality in Europe

Pogue,

I appreciate what you're saying because the German media drive me crazy, frequently. But there are plenty of voices of moderation here, too, and cherry-picking the most over-the-top examples of anti-Americanism, while satisfying at some level, doesn't prove anything we don't already know (that a big chunk of Germans have an unfavorable view of America(ns)). I'm sure that there's a significant chunk of Americans who have an unfavorable view of Germans (beer-swilling appeasement monkeys, or some such), and just because that sentiment doesn't make it into the US media as frequently as the opposite does here doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

That brings up your interesting idea of 'Rofe's Media Critic' and its survey of the American press. I'm not sure that your point doesn't lose out in the larger context. Sure, I might have to give up my day job to sift through the American press to come up with even a modest collection of anti-European material. But I'd probably be just as hard pressed to come up with a decent amount of any kind of material on Europe. (Unless, of course, I went to the NYT, and we know we don't want that.)

So doesn't the lack of material directly prove one of Europe's main criticisms of America - that we really don't have much of an abiding interest in the rest of the world ?

And let me make my point another way: Was the Pope with George Bush or against him ? Abortion, 'culture of death', with. Staunchly with. Iraq, labor vs. big business, against. Staunchly against. Does any stance prove whether he was with or against ? No, and it's probably not a point that can be proved because on some serious issues they agreed and on others they disagreed. But by taking examples from only one side, you certainly don't do justice to the whole question.

Apologies if I'm mischaracterizing, but I'm game for spirited debate.

Cheers,

@James:

My post was mainly concerned with 60 years of countless accusations against new German generations without any reciprocal justice meted out against Allied war crimes.

As expected, "Pamela" followed in her response the one-sided and well trotted line of "collective guilt" and "collective knowledge" by German people during Nazi rule.

Just to answer one of her utterly naive questions, "where did Germans think all the Jews went?" Answer, "most of Germany's 350,000+ Jews left for England or other free countries after the Crystal Night in 1938 because they felt no longer welcome in the political climate of Germany. If arrests of Jews did occur, they were processed in the dead of night to keep German witnesses to a minimum. Many escaped such arrests by following the cogent advice from Jews in the still free world to leave the country. As we all learned after the war, by far the vast majority of Jewish victims were arrested by the SS or GESTAPO in occupied territories and placed into the huge Concentration (killer) Camps in Eastern Europe out of sight and earshot of the average German. Hitler had taken a page of the Russian NKWD which placed political prisoners also far away into Siberia.

Could Germans have stopped the Holocaust if they had know about it? Most likely not even if it sounds incredible. A totalitarian state during war time is like a hermetically sealed box. If you poke your nose into it, you will join all those who are kept inside (justifiably or not) as "political unreliables" and potential enemies of the Fatherland. End of story!

Those of you who are today stunned by current anti Americanism in Germany, believe me, so am I !!! However, I visited Germany every 10 years and I began early to realize that the Communist/Socialist brainwashing by a leftist intelligencia on TV, in the schools and even in churches commenced after the 1968 social revolution brought about by their incredible anti American stand during the Vietnam War. Incredible, because the same Communists as the ones in Vietnam kept their own country separate with barbed wire, watch towers and land mines.

This sliding-to-the-left process has also affected the United States but it remains far more controlled in our country than in Germany. The reason is that Germany went overboard with black listing all decent, middle class, conservative people as "potential pro-Nazis". Consequently, it has mostly political parties which espouse some form or another of leftist or even anti American "Socialism". Additionally, Protestant churches in Germany have accepted Socialist philosophies and have thus lost a great number of their one time Christian followers.

A political party like our Republicans is simply unknown in Germany. As long as these situations persists, our countries are far apart and Americans and Germans will be talking past each other.

Peter P Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

Mr. Haase--It must have been a sad and terrible experience to have been a German soldier during WW2. As an old soldier myself, my heart is touched by the suffering you must have gone through.

Thank you for your subsequent military service to the USA. It must have seemed like a bizarre, surrealistic dream after WW2.

I was stationed in Mainz am Rhein with the 8th Infantry Airborne from 1971 to 1972. The thing that I remember is how unfair and contemptuous Germans my age (then 20) were to their parents' generation. It seems that these same people, now in their 50s, are just as unfair and contemptuous to the American people. There was more than a touch of that in the air, I assure you, 30 years ago, and it has metastasized apparently. I had served earlier with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam. A German woman that I took to dinner asked me if I had killed any babies. I guess that beat being told that I HAD killed babies, but not by all that much!

I am glad you made it to America and hope you have had a good life here. These days I am thinking that maybe it is best if we Americans look to our own defense and prosperity and let the Europeans fend for themselves.

What was the point of our coming here if we are going to take on the never-ending responsibility of defending Europeans and ensuring their prosperity?

George E. Lee
Norfolk, VA

"Allied bombing of German ( and Japanese ) cities in WW2 were not crimes. They were an accepted practice of war at the time"

The Hague Convention IV (18 October 1907 entry into force 26 January 1910):

"The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited."
Section II Hostilities Chapter I Art. 22.

"In addition to the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially forbidden-
...
(g) To destroy ... the enemy's property, unless such destruction ... be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;"
Section II Hostilities Chapter 1 Art. 23

"The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited."
Section II Hostilities Chapter 1 Art. 25

The US, the UK and Germany signed the Hague convention on 18 October 1907 and accession followed on 27 November 1909. Japan signed also on 18 October 1907 and accession followed on 13.12.1911.

Did the US air force consider killing German or Japanese civilians as an end in itself and design its air campaign accordingly? I don't know anything about the campaign against Japan, so I concentrate on Germany. As far as I know, the US airforce accepted civilian casualties as a side effect of its bombing but not as an end in itself (unlike the British and Canadians). I give the Americans the privilege of doubt.

Still, to be justified and not considered a war crime, US bombing of civilians must satisfy two criteria:
1) It must be "imperatively demanded by the necessities of war." (Otherwise it would violate Art. 23)
2) It must be directed against "defended" settlements only. (Or violate Art. 25)
Retribution and retaliation are no justifications.
The "necessities of war" are to be interpreted narrowly otherwise everything can be justified as "necessary". This would clearly be against the intentions of the signatories. In that case, there is no sense in having a convention at all.

To find out if a sortie was a war crime or not one would have to take a detailed look at the facts. I'm not an expert in international law or a military historian. I can't do that. But I know for sure that British and Canadian bombing with the intent to kill civilians and to destroy their property was a war crime.

The fact that crime is widespread doesn't mean it's accepted.


Peter,

From my readings of history, I fear that it was not only 1968 that layed the groundwork today's common German interpertation of Liberalism. German's today ironically trust their government in a way that Americans would consider naive. Although, this wasn't necessarily the case prior to Watergate. Such naivity could have damaging effects if they don't instead focus on their own problems before issuing moral indictments.

The rise of the Nazism was eased by the erosion of classic Liberalism. Marixist/Socialist thinking replaced the Lasie Fair approach to satisfing markets, orgainising labor, and the role of government. It was the learned expectation that the government will satisfy the needs of the citizens which was to play a dangerous helping hand in the rise of Hitler. Many of the institutions and mechanisms of the market had been already by then been replaced by the government, all Hitler had to do was sieze office.

Unfortunately, this problem is still persistant in Germany, and in much of Europe. Ask a German who is responsible for his joblesness and he will say the government. Ask an American and he will tell you it was bad luck, or himself. But the American knows that the onus is on him to find a job...

I take your points about history and Germany, but it doesn't go to understanding German attitudes to the American-led action in Iraq. Logic would dictate that a country who has had first-hand experience with such regiems would want to help in rolling them back. Instead I hear things like, "but there are so many other dictators in the world, why stop Saddam?" It diminishes the points that you've raised when I hear such cynicism. Particularily coming from a country who has had first-hand experience with our own.

Peter,
You are correct when you say that Germany was not more responsible than several other nations for the beginning of WWI; the peace treaty was very poorly designed and certainly contributed to the problems the Weimar Republic had. Stalin and the Communists have never been given their due when it comes to evil, and the deaths/atrocities they bear responsibility for. He was every bit as bad as Hitler.
I disagree with the comments on faulting the Allies for their bombing strategies; the large cities were valid military targets; they were centers of industry, communications, and transportation. However, by the end of the war a majority of the manufacturing had been moved out of the large factories and into small shops and homes. And, of course, the weapons of that day were not nearly as accurate as they are today. So I don't believe that point is valid.
I also disagree with the fact that most Germans did not know what was going on. Certainly anyonw who lived in medium-sized and larger towns, up to and including the cities had some idea. They saw what the Jews were subjected to, with the property confiscation, synogogue burnings, locking them up into the ghettos, the forced labor, and eventually their disappearance into the trains. Couple that with the rhetoric of the Nazi leadership. If at least a significant percentage of the populace did not have at least some idea of what was going on, it was because they were deliberately hiding from the truth.

David Jenniches and Peter Haase:

Let's talk about "Allied war crimes". My father was a bomber pilot stationed in the UK. The plane he flew was medium-range (B26), so his missions were mostly over France, Nethlerlands, etc. A B26 could not reach Germany from the UK. Dad and I talked alot. He most definitely considered the fire-bombing of Dresden a war crime and he could not mention Harris' name without spitting. He was quite clear that simple bombing would have been justified but not firebombing.

As to the Hague Convention, its intent was not, according to Dad, always achievable with the technology they had. Even with the Norden bomb site, the phrase 'precision bombing' gave him a good laugh.

Mr. Haase, I think you miscontrued my comment regarding collectivisation. I disavowed it.

I am aware that some Jews got our of Germany. My German teacher, Hilde Pinkus and her husband did in 1935 (from Munich). Everyone else in both their families - a total of 35 people - were lost. According to Yad Vashem, the 1925 census noted 564,379 Jews in Germany. Estimates for 1933 range from 510,000-525,000. Participants at the Wannsee conference estimated there were 131,800 left as of October 1941. (http://www.ghwk.de/engl/protengl.htm). On January 30, 1942 in the Berlin Sports Palace Hitler gave his infamous 'extermination' harangue.

"This war will not end as the Jews imagine, namely, in the liquidation of all the European and Aryan peoples; the outcome of this war will be the extermination of Jewry"

The speech was filmed. Many of us have seen it. You think the Nazi media organs didn't report it? Don't tell me ordinary Germans didn't know. Their gov't may have taken pains to shield them from ugliest consequences of the policy but they knew. Could they have stopped it. Good question. Let's see. Feb. 1943. A deportation round-up in Berlin. Many of this group were Jewish men married to gentile German women. These men were assembled at their own special place waiting for the trains. What happened then?

"Then the wives took action. During the morning they already discovered where their husbands were being held. As if by pre-arranged signal they appeared at the place en masse. The police guards tried in vain to disperse the demonstrating women, some 6000 in number. They assembled again and again, crowding forward, calling out to their husbands - who, despite the strict ban, showed themselves at the windows - and demanded their release."

("The Holocaust", Leni Yahill, Oxford Press 1990, pg 408)
And the Gestapo released them. Goebbels complained about it in his diary. Although, I must say that it doesn't sound as though this operation was carried out in the dead of night, away from ordinary Germans fragile sensibilities. And the German people did indeed stop the euthanasia program, carried out in order to cleanse Aryan blood of defectives. Hitler's order to implement the program was dated Sept 1939 and had to be discontinued in 1941 due to outrage and protests. In 1941 the Bishop of Limburg an der Lahn wrote to the German minister of justice that the local children even recognized the buses with blacked out windows for what they were. "Look, there's the murder box coming again." And to be mean to each other he wrote they would say "You're crazy. They'll take you to the oven at Hadamar."

And if you wouldn't mind a personal question; My father told me that by 1941 people in the U.S. certainly were aware that SOMETHING was being done to European Jews by the Nazis. Were you aware of it after you came to the U.S.?

As to anti-Americanism is Europe, it certainly predates the Vietnam war. Here is an article you may be interested in, written by James Ceaser, poli sci prof at U.VA. It is a precis of his book, "The Reconstruction of America" which I highly recommend. Anyway, the article "A genealolgy of Anti-Americanism" is excellent. Here's the link.
http://www.thepublicinterest.com/archives/2003summer/article1.html

Now, off to start dinner. (Shrimp scampi w/linguini, yum!)

@ James et al:

Thank you for your understanding of what I was trying to convey.

I am terribly disappointed in the new German democracy. One of the reasons I left Germany already in 1952 is that I was treated as a pennyless, second class citizen and refugee from East Prussia by too many West Germans. It is a part of history many of you might not be aware of.

This attitude toward their own refugees in Germany worsened when the German government recognized the totally illegal annexation of 1/4 of ancient German territory by the USSR and Poland in 1991. It was an attempt to legalize one the worst democides in modern history. The reason was to preserve lucrative future markets with East European countries. My countryman, Immanuel Kant, must have turned over in his mausoleum at Koenigsberg (today: Kaliningrad) as he must have done during German atrocities in WW II.

Finally, I have come to the conclusion that my home country Prussia was never really a culturally fully integrated part of Germany. Maybe it was because independent Prussia was the first country in Europe (or the world) to officially declare religious fredom, maybe it was that the population of Prussia was made up of many European immigrants and their culture. Tolerance was the absolut byword to our style of living with each other. It is, therefore, no surprise that a major part of the unsuccessful attempt on Hitler's life originated within the circle of high Prussian officers as participants.

I can only be grateful to have been accepted by America. I started again at the very bottom, as many immigrants did, by working on farms and in factories. After 12 years, I finally arrived at Cape Canaveral, Florida working with the NASA Launch Team to put the first man onto the moon for the United States. I will never know how to pay this country back in full measure for all those wonderful opportunities were it not for me to have also raised my sons loyal to our most cherished ideals as Americans.

The latest gross ingratitude and animosity from many German sources against our country is totally unjustified and I am almosty daily in heated debates with German individuals as well as with the German mass media about it. This country is worth defending in more ways than one!!

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

Germany, your time has passed. Now you're merely a large Latvia. The future belongs to those who are making it, not whiners who long for the 19th century.

Mr. Haase,

Thank you for sharing your perspective on history with us. I can't say I agree with everything you say, but it is good to hear another perspective expressed lucidly. Thanks for helping to make America what it is today.

I very much identified with James' confusion, and with John Opie's comments about the German "White Papers". I, too, am searching for some comprehendable Germany policy on defense and foreign policy. And, I want to know if the German PEOPLE are still my ally, when I know their elected government is not. Can anyone give me some answers? Great comments section on this blog. BTW. Cheers to all.

David - you wrote "The "necessities of war" are to be interpreted narrowly otherwise everything can be justified as "necessary". This would clearly be against the intentions of the signatories. In that case, there is no sense in having a convention at all."

Indeed - no point in having a convention adhered to by one side in any conflict

The German and Japanese regimes chose to ignore all of the legal nicities you quoted above and so imho that invalidates the entire agreement

One side cannot obey any law - even a voluntary one - without making a mockery of the law

If the Germans and Japanese want to get victim status for Dresden or Hiroshima they will have to go to some less informed person than I to get this agreement

And citing Hague statutes from 1907, which were simply ignored by the Axis powers in any case, means less than a UN resolution demanding action from Saddam backed by the power of Germany in 2002 :)

Germany and war is like George W. Bush and alcohol.

The experience is that some former alcoholics can only stay clean by treating everybody as if they were former alcoholics. Usually, they chose this behavior as a flight ahead from permanently being perceived in the role of the addict, but with the time, most become able to abandon that projection.

Peter P. Haase - You cannot generalize on Nationalsocialism from the experience of a youngster whose idealism was seduced by the environment in which he grew up. This happens, but the generation before you stood as firm behind Hitler as a majority of adult Palestinians did behind Arafat - if any, their criticism was that he had not been consequent enough. Change takes time, even more for a nation than for an individual. Don't forget that you're dealing with a country still in post-suicidal hangover, just compare the Germany you left - standing on the brink of the 1953 Berlin Tianamen Square - with the one of today which has forgotten Tianamen Square - see the China embargo debate.

However, I can only agree with your thesis on the failures in the integration of Prussia - yet a century before you, there was a wave of German emigrants to the U.S. who left because their democratic revolution had failed, and this failure has cast its shadows on most of the 20th century.

Peter P. Haase -

After 12 years, I finally arrived at Cape Canaveral, Florida working with the NASA Launch Team to put the first man onto the moon for the United States.

Take a stiff drink and watch this musicvideo to get an example of the current neo-tribalistic madness. The name of the band was on the T-shirt of the Columbine killer, and the single was nominated for the MTV Europe Music Awards 2004.

little lord - So lets give Dolphins to Taiwan. As a dwarf nation in a hostile environment they need SLBM capability, just like Israel.

For those of us who still feel that "revenge" by victors meted out with unlimited cruelty upon innocent and helpless people equals "true justice", let me remind you that this was the eternal treadmill toward more wars to come heretofore.

In order to break that terrible chain of events for the benefit of humanity, it will be necessary to measure the misdeeds of victors with the same measuring cup of human rights as that for the vanquished.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

An observation: if one could subtract all of the intensity of emotion surrounding the victor/ vanquished debate, where would German-American relations be today? Anti-Americanism is at its zenith through out so-called "old Europe." This isn't because of what we did to the Germans, otherwise our WWII alies would love us. I do not believe that there is a substantial number of people left in Germany who personally feel the insults of the American occupation to account for the tenor of hatred.
Fascism is not dead. It is alive and well in China, for instance. Its enemy is freedom and democracy, epitomized by the United States. The dominant politics of Europe has no problem doing business with, even selling arms to China, or doing business over AND under the table with Iraq under Saddam Hussein (another example of a fascist state). Thus the the Leftists of Germany and France, in particular, are indulging in vicarious Fascism, and certainly it is in their governments' best interest to cast the US in as negative a light as possible because the US is the enemy.
The inequities, the injustices and the cruelties of WWII are a straw horse in this debate.

Peter - I'd bet you didn't mean it that way, but if I translate them into German, your sentences could be from one of the many many opinion pieces about Abu Ghraib. One can be a fiery human rights universalist and still fail to see the log in one's own eye, in this case the German blindness for the reality of Islamic prisons. And when it comes to Germany's own past, there are demonstrations for everyone scheduled in Berlin for this year's 60th VE Day, but in the small print both Nazis and anti-Nazis praise the Proletarian Kaiser in the north of Korea for standing up against the Great Satan. The whole extent of the confusion can be seen in the fact that at this year's Berlinale film festival, the awards went to a movie praising Palestinian suicide bombers in Tel Aviv and another one about the last days of Sophie Scholl. There's way to go to true justice, but then again, the objective of ending tyranny has a precedent.

Yes Leo. Although I am not that familiar with Germany after 50 years of being abroad, I am aware that their Abu Ghraib criticism was making a mountain out of a mole hill. After all, those responsible had their fair trial and were punished. Something that is still amiss with many war crimes committed during WW II.

For instance, 12 Million German expellees or their progeny are still living without some sort of justice in their enforced exile. Their is no question that several Million cases of mass rape, genocide and expulsion are considered high crimes against humanity on the same scale with the Jewish Holocaust. There is also no question that the often claimed right to revenge is in reality "no right" at all. So, what is keeping German authorities from seeking justice? Why are they morally so excited about the U.S conducting a preventive war against Islamic terrorists? One would think they would be too busy looking for justice in Russia and Poland for cases where their own countrymen from the East German provinces of East Prussia, West Prussia, Silesia and Pommerania were badly in need of same since 1945. This sudden display of German "moral superiority" over America does not sit well with me nor with many others.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

leo, I got a kick out of your link:

>> In the North, the rapidly rising industrialization exploited labor and European immigrants were held as contract serves, similar to the servitude which existed in Central Europe before the Revolution.


Hell, most of my ancestors came over as indentured servants - 17th and 18th century. I have no idea when it was outlawed - if it ever has been.

But I think you're being a bit unfair to Peter Haase. If I have not misunderstood, the thread of his arguement is that there were war crimes committed by the Allies against the Germans and that is only fodder for the victim-meme running thru the current German zeitgeist. Peter will correct me if I'm wrong, I trust. His argument that justice must be meted out to both sides in a conflict in the interest of halting the war treadmill is understandable and not without merit, but I suspect a bit utopian.

And Quid, let's not forget that the Spanish worm Zapatero will be selling arms to the Venezualan reptile Chavez. May they meet in hell.

Peter Haase:
>>So, what is keeping German authorities from seeking justice?

That's the easiest one yet. It sounds too much like 'lebensraum'. It's about as politcally practical as the U.S. suddenly changing the name from "War on Terror" to "War on Islam". It may be true. It may be right. But it will only be - at best - ineffective - and that's being euphimistic.

Peter - you wrote

"For those of us who still feel that "revenge" by victors meted out with unlimited cruelty upon innocent and helpless people equals "true justice", let me remind you that this was the eternal treadmill toward more wars to come heretofore.

In order to break that terrible chain of events for the benefit of humanity, it will be necessary to measure the misdeeds of victors with the same measuring cup of human rights as that for the vanquished."

Stirring words indeed - "measuring cup of human rights" ya say

Who is talking about "revenge" - although the Volk deserved it more than most

The point is that I for one do not accept any part of your desire to equate in any way shape or form the actions of the Western Allies to those of the Nazi's

There is no "same measuring cup" for Dresden and Auschwitz

One was war, by a method first deployed by the Germans btw, the other was mass murder

You later write

"For instance, 12 Million German expellees or their progeny are still living without some sort of justice in their enforced exile. Their is no question that several Million cases of mass rape, genocide and expulsion are considered high crimes against humanity on the same scale with the Jewish Holocaust"

The SAME SCALE Peter? How many raped housfraus equal 11 million murdered innocents? 12 million germans were dislodged after WW2 - and this is the SAME SCALE as the 11M MURDERED by the Germans?

You see - these horrors of WW2 may indeed be crimes, committed by the Soviets, but they are not on the SAME SCALE

And it is your efforts to portray them as being comparable atrocities that really gets under my skin

Its quite clear that you would prefer others to agree with you that "we all did war crimes in WW2"

Well whatever measure of truth there is in that statement - and I do understand there is some - the problem is that such would really not be enough for you would it

You want the suffering of the German people to be viewed on the SAME SCALE as those of their tens of millions of victims
"Aushwitz was a war crime - but so was Dresden"

And this is exactly the camels nose that the revisionsists want to slip under the tent

Sorry - ain't buyin it

Pogue Mahone wrote:
> One was war, by a method first deployed by the Germans btw,

Which method?

I look at WW1 &2 as the European Civil War, at the end of which nobody won and everybody lost. Who was right, who was wrong, no longer matters. The real victim was their faith in their own civilization and past. They have nothing left to accomplish but to die off. To this American, it's like watching a revered parent slip into drooling senility. Heartbreaking.

Pogue, if you think I accept the argument that 11 Million vs. 2.8 Million innocent genocide victims are "incomparable" because they are not "on the same scale in numbers", you are living in the moral vacuum of another planet. Besides, the criminals who were responsible for the Holocaust were largely punished and restitutions have been and are still being made as far as possible.

This is definitely not the case with the largest expulsion of peoples in human history. Just the contrary is the case, where the very existence of this crime is being swept under the rug since the leftist revolution of 1968 in Germany. These are the very same people who govern Germany today and who accosted our Nation (the U.S.) unjustiably and regularly over our "moral lapses" the world over.

Please, do not try to convince me but the Almighty in Heaven that your attitude in this matter is morally acceptable. Although you might have your own pain to carry as a possible victim of the horrible Holocaust, I seriously doubt that HE will abide by your plea nor can any civilized person on earth.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

On War crimes:

There are very few American war crimes perpetrated against Germans during and after WW II. After America helped Germans back on their feet, all seemed forgotten for all time and all seemed good between us for at least 23 years of the postwar period.

With Germany's leftist (American copy) revolution of the sixties and the German re-unification, influence of Communist anti Americanism has destroyed purposely some of this friendship. Only a change to a more conservative German government might help to fix the problem

My main concern with unresolved war crimes was not the bombing but focussed on the expulsion and genocide in Germany's east by the Red Army and the Communist Polish Militia.

My more casual mention of carpet bombing of German cities, which destroyed 60% of all major towns in the country, was not addressing the U.S. but mainly the night time "artwork" of Britain's "Bomber Harris" who had decided that his life's purpose consisted of the total annihilation of the German people through carpet fire bombing. (He and Mr. Himmler would have made for good partners on the same side of the war.)

As a consequence, I had the somewhat dangerous opportunity from '43 to '45 as a 16 year old to observe many a night the deadly handiwork of this - still currently in England celebrated "hero".

Alas, it had to be along the overheated barrel of a huge 88 mm Flak canon at the ground. ;-)

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

One can sit and spew blather and historical revisionist nonsense until the cows come home and not achieve one thing other than to swallow a sprinkling of self-pity and something far less than a psychiatric douche.
One can sum this truly child-like, fantasy filled, imbecilic historical revisionist nonsense as thus-
If a frickin' mad man with a puss-boy mustache ran around robbing many stores at gunpoint, and soon enough the politzi caught up to him.. and the guy turned and fired at the cops, and the cops shot back killing the mustached freak, and subsequently killing or injuring "bystanders"... well the one and only guilt party here is the mustached and goose-stepping freak(s), end of story. There is nothing more to add. Until a fool surrenders in decent fashion, you are the creator or your own mis-fortune. As well as the mis-fortunes of those you had hooked to your fascist leather leashes.
Germany should be happy the US didn't simply surround the country and choke the hell out of it for a couple of years... And then pick the boys up and bring them home to their own city, states and their own damn continent leaving germany in bruised ruin. I mean- who in the hell would have thought that one country such as the US would beat the living hell out of another country which had tried to swallow the world with it's insanity, and then turn around only to re-build it?? ... And THEN you have the ideas and new thoughts that we have today in germany's now feeble mind.
Who could have thought this in 1941 and onward? Who'd have thought the US would come in and even finish off the Serbs for germany's peace of mind and it's great impotence in just this last decade? And then watch the "eu" try to trip all over itself trying to re-build this miniscule province? Who would think to this day that we would continue to see a great deal of europe's left over colonial masterpieces around the globe? Let's take a little peek at let's say...Rwanda, Congo, Sudan, the Cote' et al?
I find the discussions brilliant from many perspectives, however not one damn soul can take themselves seriously when trying to wipe their arse with the history of the US, it's current people, or it's President. How can one be so incredibly simple-minded to take all of the world's and indeed even your own problems and make them the cause of one individual or one country?? How does one spew it's vitriol to another country as germany does to the US currently and expect it's children to grow up with a mind that is not a cushioned, padded and paralyzed playground?
There exists not one german at the time that did not hear Hitler's speeches and understand the poison hitler spewed in his speeches all over the german demographic of 1935 and beyond. Radio's and news reels were huge. One could enjoy an afternoon matinee and watch adolph prance about in his leathers claiming to be part of an aryan hybrid gene pool, yelling ans houting as loud as a jack ass. You could then go out on the street and see the citizens running about stirred up with a new fervor. Every city had speeches that were quite simple to understand.
But the little prik was only from austria, not some other planet of racial purity as he and the 95% of others's who nodded their mistaken approval at the time believed.
And now we get this crap in today's intern-populated and truly state-controlled german media. I pity germany with all that I have left for such a place. It simply seems to be truly dying... or at least shriveling up like a sausage in the sun. What's more important to germany- a museum re-model or developemnt of a high level university?
This german media microscope currently placed upon the US is puzzling. You don't see the reverse in the US cast out against germany simply because- who in the hell has the time? There is a *future* currently occurring while some pinch their own ass for glee. What is it that creates the *actual time* to re-build history?.. or focus your internal and twisted sense of self outwards at an entire country and it's people? Just simple idle time or deep dis-satisfaction with one's self, life and surroundings?
What causes this?
germany would do well to take it's head from it's gray and battered arse and cast a look over to Japan and see how they've carried on economically and spiritually since their similiar brand of imperial, racist and blood-thirsty adventures were crushed.
Peter Haase, retiring in sunny florida- you are a lucky man among millions of others who the US let unto it's shores.

I wonder how much this difference between Germany and the US is simply due to the differences in military records.

The Germans haven't had a military victory since the Franco-Prussian war. They suffered two catastrophic military defeats during the 20th Century, and were basically the front line, but not one of the major participants, in the Cold War.

In its history, the US has never once been occupied by a foreign power. The last time the territory of the US was occupied was during the Revolution.

We've had two minor defeats: the War of 1812, and Viet Nam. We had one draw: Korea. And we had major victories many times: The Revolutionary War, the Mexican-American war, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, WWI, WWII, the Cold war, and now Afghanistan and Iraq. (I'm leaving out a lot of smaller stuff deliberately.)

If your history tells you that going to war means your country gets devastated and then occupied by foreign troops, I can see why you might decide that war is a bad thing. If your history tells you that war often leads to victory and sometimes to gain for your nation, your attitude is going to be somewhat different.

I don't think this is the only reason for the difference in attitudes, but I think it's part of the reason.

It's not just the defeat itself but the cruel realization that you (as a German) had fought for a wrong cause and lost. The U.S., at least WW1 and WW2, fought for a cause that has never been questioned. It's not just that they won WW2, they liberated half a continent from tyranny.
This idea still prevails when it comes to the Iraq War. Americans see the "just cause", Germans fear another "unjust cause". And all those (wrong) comparisons between Abu Ghraib etc and the Nazi camps seem to confirm that fear.

As for Pato's comment about Japan, I disagree. Japan hasn't even remotely tried to acknowledge its role as a barbaric aggressor in WW2. Germany has done more, at least in that respect.

First off:

I would not say that Germany was responsible for WW 1. The chain that lead to that disaster could have been broken at many points before Germany decided to mobilize. Serbia could have been more circumspect in it's involvement with terrorism (If the Taliban had plugged Dick and Lynn Cheney in 2001, instead of flying planes into the World Trade Center, would we still have gone into Afghanistan? Probably so.) Austria could have been less punitive in its ultimatum to Serbia. Russia could have been more responsible about mobilizing to protect Serb extremism in the name of "Slav unity".

Germany did commit the worst breach of international law in WW I, when they invaded Belgium to get at the French. They also attacked neutral American shipping, but they ultimately got smacked around pretty badly for their trouble, so call that one even.

But I wouldn't say that Germany was responsible for WW I.

WW 2, however, was Germany's baby. A war of revenge on anyone and everyone who had opposed or "sapped the will" of Germany in WW 1, either in fact or perception. Germany will have to live with the fact that among it's many glorious contributions to humanity, in arts, science, religion, technology and industry, is a period of voluntary national psychosis that was probably the darkest period in human history since at least the days of the Mongol hordes.

Were Germans victims? Considering that their leaders started the war, with the approval of the German people, I would say in general no. Sure the Allies did lots of reprehensible things, but by and large, the Western Allies conducted a relatively humane war against Germany. I would say that the British bomber offensive against Germany and the combined raids on Dresden were the exception to this. But Germany would have gladly done the same to Britain, they tried to do it in 1940-1941, they just didn't have the heavy bomber infrastructure that Britain and America had.

As for Peter Haase, I would disagree with his whitewashing of German aggression. Britain didn't try to set up a base in Norway, they did try to mine Norwegian waters to keep iron ore shipments from being sent to Germany. Germany invaded Norway primarily to gain control of the Norwegian coast for better bases to operate against Britain, to secure the iron ore supply line, and to bring their brother "Aryan" Norwegians into the family fold, as it were.

Germany didn't attack Greece simply because the British were there. They attacked Greece because the Italians had attacked Greece, been thrown back by the Greeks, who THEN accepted British troops and help. So Germany went into Greece to bail out the Italians and to drive out the British that the Greeks had allied themselves with.

Germany invaded Yugoslavia because the Yugoslavs refused to allow the Germans to use their territory to attack Greece. Germany invaded Belgium and Holland to get at the French, to gain control of their coasts to threaten Britain, and to bring more Dutch "Aryans" into the German embrace. Germany invaded Denmark because it was an easy conquest, and to bring in still more Aryans. Poland was invaded to provide the first helping of "lebensraum" for the German people.

Germany didn't do these things because they were somehow tricked into going to Athens and Oslo by the British. They did it for their own strategic and ideological reasons.

As for your bit about the millions of German civilians who died in WW 2. No doubt they did. But even if you take the Nazi death/concentration camp victims out of the equation, Germany killed or contributed to the death of far more civilians than they lost. In Yugoslavia for example, supposedly 1.5 million Yugoslavs died in WW2. Perhaps 200,000-300,000 of these died in the concentration camp system or while combatting the initial German invasion. The rest died in a civil/guerilla war between the Germans and their Yugoslav allies versus Tito and his partisan army.

That alone is about 1.5 times the number of people who died in the whole of the "criminal" Allied bomber offensive. And that is just in one country, Yugoslavia, and not counting those Yugoslavs of who died in the gas chambers or as a part of the regular Yugoslav army.

@reality check-
"As for Pato's comment about Japan, I disagree. Japan hasn't even remotely tried to acknowledge its role as a barbaric aggressor in WW2. Germany has done more, at least in that respect."
No one has asked for any "acknowledgement of WWII atrocities" from germany for decades, other than for those who seek money taken by nazi hands. The time for apologies has long past, the time for contributions to a modern world for germany and it's citizens is now at hand. And germany missed the boat by miles. Germany could have done more to re-build it's image around the globe by participating in an injection of democracy or the toppling of a dictator in the middle-east. Something that decades of apologies have thus far failed to accomplish. Words truly are cheap by themselves. And now a seat on the "un" security council is sought by germany...... but based on what justifications?
What you do NOT see Japan doing is galloping around the dark rear ends of the world stage whoring one's self out to tin-hat dictators talking cheap nonsense about a country that crushed it's aggression and then had the audacity to stay to re-build it and provide for it's security for 60 long years while it tried to re-gain it's sanity and it's economic base.
Nor is Japan propping up a completely flaccid and dying welfare state with nuke reactor or arms sales abroad to anyone who will purchase them. The have also quite rightly joined in the cause of bringing democracy to a fetid part of the world in the middle east. It is a great way to show the world that you do have both the desire and the ability to make contributions in a modern era. It is indeed, a bit of an atonement within itself.
That is what I referred to above.
Germany's biggest shrill complaints about the Iraq war stems from it's initial in-ability to even make a contribution, the eroding of it's continuous exports to Iraq of military equipment, chemicals, gases and various versions of Braun and Krup's goods, and the building of re-enforced tunnels and bunkers for saddam (that proved worthless) could occur no more with a US invasion. Then germany showed the world it's stained bloomers had been tied in a knot when they were not allowed re-building contracts in Iraq. Schroeder indicated at the time that he needed to "check the legality of the US" barring germany from the contracts. To which Bush declared- "Schroeder claims illegality? Oh, OK- Well, let me phone my lawyer now..."
That is a true indication of german duplicity and desperateness beyond measure.
You do not see Japan demonstrating such pompous audacity in modern times. Germany fears the loss of economic ties to iran, more than it fears iran getting ahold of nuclear missiles. Does germany also consider that it has "special relationships" within the middle east and muslim countries as it's new and equally impotent side-kick france believes?? With mien kempf being on the best seller book list in the year 2005 for turkey as it tries to join the "eu", and which has the largest amount of emigrants inside germany, one could certainly ascertain that there is indeed this "special relationship" and admiration.
This explains why germany thinks it has nothing to fear from iranian nuke dreams, and that it is the US and/or Israel, or a democratic Iraq starting a new chapter which has the most to fear.
It is the handi-capped clowns in germany and the "eu" who influenced turkey with "membership bait" not to allow US troops to come down to Iraq from the north, thus ensuring more US troop deaths and a much more difficult campaign to knock saddam from power.
And to think that a turkey membership within the "eu" scares the living hell out of most eu citizens and is something the "eu" had no intention of permitting to begin with...
This demonstrates a great deal about germany to any US citizen.


Only the naked truth matters:

I see that a few additional comments are necessary to avoid that we start here to fight WW II (if not also WW I) all over again because, damned, I hope we are all on the same page by this time by loving this country and being highly peeved by the new German "attitude" toward us. OK?

The difference of some opinions arise in that some of you perceive any guilt in the area of major war crimes by allied troops as impossible (or at least too small to seriously mention.) Just as it has been taught by the massive propaganda to both sides of WW II.

Let me briefly illustrate how persuasive such propaganda can be: The Holocaust was also generally not accepted by Germans and their allies as truth after WW II. Most people had written it off from the start as an impossibility that "German people" could commit such crimes. It was generally assumed that documentaries on the subject were nothing more but a clever propaganda trick by Hollywood. It took years of incessant documenting on television to make the German public fully accept the horrible truth of the matter. (Today, German law asks for a jail sentence for anyone who even just doubts the exixtence of the Jewish Holocaust.)

The reason why it became so difficult was because the Germans had lived through their "own Holocaust" which was downplayed or hardly mentioned even though it was due to flagrant and truly massive war crimes, especially by the USSR! Another item that made German acceptance difficult was that repeatedly the entire nation was "collectively" accused by mass media of "starting" the war or being guilty of "crimes against humanity". This was a blatent lie and particularly odd since Stalin's Russia had comitted far more crimes against humanity than Germany. However, the Russian people got (fortunately) a free pass when it came to "collective" accusations of crimes against humanity before, during and after the war (btw., the Hitler Youth was also named as "not guilty" of any political or war crimes.)

Those who accuse a total population of war crimes do not understand the nature of a dictatorship. That is why the Nuremberg Trials made the cogemt point of "declaring the German people, as a whole, free of collective guilt for starting the war or crimes committed in their name during the conflict."

Those of us who have not taken notice of that fact are traveling in a mimd set of WW II without being aware that some things have changed. Of course, they are fortunate to live in a free country and they may continue accusing the whole world if they wish. However, it does not change the facts and it certainly does nothing to gain us any friends except on the side of Communists who like nothing better than to drive a wedge between Germans and Americans. I doubt that this is good for our country and in the long run it will be even worse for the Germans.

So, before you use loosely the term that "the "Germans" did this or "the Germans" did that, please think who exactly you are accusing of the 80 Million in that country who lived in a mixture of their own political vacuum/prison as far as the truth is concerned. This collectively accusing peoples was very popular during Communism and Nazism. I hope for those who fell into the same trap of doing it here that they can shake it off soon.

Did Germans elect Hitler? Sure! Did they read "Mein Kampf"? No, because it was considered "old news." After all, he had created in 5 years the highest living standard in the world for his people! How could such a man then be evil if he talked about mostly "peace" in Europe as a soldier who had lived through the worst of trench warfare during WW I? Did not even Winston Churchill write in his Memoirs of the 1930ies that, "if Britain would ever become subject to the same economic disaster as Germany that he could only wish for a man like Herr Hitler to save her!" Did the German people ask for a declaration of war? No! In fact they were highly frightened by it in 1939 because of recent memories of WW I from only 20 years ago. But Hitler mentioned that the Polish snipers were shooting at Germans across the border and this was commonly understood in Europe as a "casus belli." Did the "Germans" call for "Total War" in one of the newsreels of 1942? Yes, but the audience consisted to 80% of the "party faithful" - just like speeches by Joseph Stalin in the USSR. Approval was thus 100% assured.

Let me repeat, that I am not defending Nazism!! How could I when it has hurt me peronally and my loved ones in the most deeply engraving manner? But I am fighting for the truth and a better world tomorrow. Can I change things? Who knows? It is all up to the Allmighty anyway. However, as a member of the last generation of eye witnesses from WW II, I feel that I have the moral obligation at my advanced age to speak up - the devil may take the consequences. It was something I learned in America.

I know that some of you might think that I am a hopelessly utopien or idealist. Yet, there is another thing I learned in this country: It is that almost nothing is impossible when people believe in it. As a young man I always thought, like Wernher von Braun, that we might go to the moon one day. (It always served to the great amusement amongst my buddies in both, the German and U.S. Army.) Well, in 1969 we did the "impossible" in America and what could have been personally more satisfying to me than that even lill'e ol' me was a small part of it? ;-)

The truth is still marching on.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

@steven den beste
You never fail to provide great commentary. However, I believe that all germany had to do was to compare it's future AFTER an occupation to what things would be like had there been no invasion in order to determine which situation would have made them better off today.
That particular US "style" of occupation and re-building cannot fully explain current german attitudes as you indicate, but it should have gone a long way in stroking bruised german egos then and now.
If modern day germans cannot see the merits of themselves having been deprived of hitler's rule by force, they then have far greater problems than the ones currently evident.
Modern day germany simply tried to deny Iraqi's the same "liberation" and re-building that it had enjoyed itself.
That is how history has recorded the last 3.5 years.

though modern japan still faces some apprehension from it's neighbors-
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/04/06/news/letter.html

As I said, I am in full agreement that the new generation of Germans is an ungrateful lot.

Older Germans remember the gracious help of America and are outraged but they are dying off.

The new generation knows little of history except the blame upon Germany and them from 12 years of a distant dictator. As a consequence, they now hate the whole word including themselves. The Commies are celebrating!

As expected, many of the comments to my posts were derived from only Allied historic sources.

However, it takes the better half of a century of study of all sources to arrive at a more balanced view. One, for instance shows that the "hated Kaiser" tried deperately to prevent war albeit unsuccessful. Especially, when the Czar simply mobilized and all hell broke loose.


Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton,Florida
USA

D.L. from Heidelberg writes that "(t)here are no threats on its borders so Germany feels comfortable opposing U.S. security interests in the UN, NATO, and via the EU."

I'm not so sure Germany, or the rest of Europe, should feel so comfortable. Leaving aside the possibility of more Islamic terrorism, I believe the Russian bear is showing signs of reawakening. By all accounts, Putin is reversing democracy in Russia, consolidating power into his own hands. Based on his horrendous actions in the former Soviet republics, I think it's pretty clear he's seeking a return of the Soviet "glory days".

Europe appears to be ignoring Putin's actions, most likely because they need Russian oil. In 10 years, Putin will still be in charge, with more powers than ever. Will Europe still feel secure then?

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