Was the Allied bombing of German cities a war crime? - Page 4 - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-18-2012, 03:29 PM   #46
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Maybe you should have used that ample time to look into the context of that person's statement.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:42 PM   #47
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war is murky territory in any shape or form...

the village i live in is still very much scarred by WW2 - it is right on the demarcation line separating occupied France from "free" France, and the local Nazi headquarters were in the house across the street from my present home

it's been fascinating talking to some of the old folk here over the years and hearing their stories... some pretty hair-raising tales too... i remember a few years ago going to see the school play, written and performed by the kids, with the help of a professional local theatre company, based purely on the children's grandparents' and great-grandparents' memories of that time - the play opened with a narrative of how the German soldiers came and shot the schoolteacher dead at 9am in front of the whole class, how their parents told them not to take sweets from the soldiers because they would be poisoned, how their fathers and grandfathers (those too old or ill to fight) were kept hidden with the livestock and in farm carts because those who were found were executed... it was shocking to the core, and very moving, and very far removed from the usual Teddy Bears Picnic type school plays i'd been used to in the past...

not far from here is a village called Maille, where nearly every inhabitant was massacred by German soldiers passing through - the village has been preserved as it was on the day of the massacre as a kind of haunting memorial...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maill%C3%A9_massacre

what i'm saying is, memories of the war are incredibly vivid here, nothing like in the UK which wasn't occupied, and those memories still live on here today, in everyday life... i very much doubt that any of my elderly neighbours would claim that the allied bombing was a war crime, as they lived through crimes of war perpetrated by the Nazis here in their village... there is still so much division, so many feuds which go back to the war, who collaborated, who was in the Resistance... the wounds are still very fresh it seems... that's my limited experience of living here anyway, it's been incredible hearing first-hand accounts about that time though...

eta- i understand what Aygo is saying too - this whole Euro crisis has brought a lot of unpleasant memories to the fore again in some parts of Europe... hell, here where i live, whenever things get twitchy, the old ladies, from the WW2 generation, literally dash to the local supermarket and fill their trolleys with bags of sugar and it is the norm here among that generation to stockpile at least a month's supply of food in their larders - just in case - i've seen that! that generation lived through such scarcity and suffering during and in the aftermath of the war, when people were left with nothing and were starving here in the countryside, and those fears still linger... i can't completely comprehend it myself personally, but it's there...
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:57 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Jive Turkey View Post
I'll add to this that the idea that all German soldiers were Jew hating murderers is ridiculous too. The majority were just young men fighting for their country just like every other soldier in the war was
an interesting thing i learned recently, here in France during WW2, the French Gendarmes, in areas which were occupied by the Germans, had to differentiate between French Jews and non-French Jews living in France - i will have to double check which way round it was, but i think the Gendarmes were instructed to round up "French Jews" and basically handed over "non-French Jews" to the Germans - this status was actually printed on their ID papers - i don't know if they met a different fate in the end, but i find the whole thing pretty astonishing... so yeah, the whole antisemitism thing was in fact pretty deep-rooted and incredibly well organised and officially enforced by the Germans and French Gendarmes!
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:27 PM   #49
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While one side (obviously) was morally superior to the other side in WW II (either WW really), it doesn't mean that all actions from that side therefore were morally just.
I know that's being very obvious, but there you go.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:26 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
I wanted to give regular posters amble time to respond to this comment.

How sad that only one European poster could be bothered to testify to the clear moral superiority of the "side" that liberated Europe over the "side" that occupied and enslaved your continent.

How confusing that all the posters that can so easily discern homophobia and hate in a chicken sandwich won't take a minute to come to the defense of the moral superiority of the Allied Forces that, at great cost, defeated the regime that imprisoned, tortured and killed tens of thousands of homosexuals during the war.

How troubling that all our bright students, with history lessons still fresh in their minds, wouldn't remind us of the horrific statistics of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and 10 million civilians on the Eastern Front dead at the hand of Nazi Germany. 30 million Filipinos, Burmese, Cambodians and Chinese civilians killed by the Imperial Japanese. Maybe history books no long contain details of the Bataan Death March, Joseph Mengele, Mussolini and all the other atrocities that make it impossible for a knowledgeable, objective person to say, "The idea that any side was morally superior than another during the period is beyond ridiculous."

This is from Ronald Reagan's Normandy Speech on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day.



Ronald Reagan isn't speaking for conservatives or even Americans. He is speaking for ALL free people. In the history of the world it is tyranny, not liberty, that is the rule. War is ugly, tragic, appalling and filled with bad choices and the lesser-of-two-evils choices. But you are wrong U2popmofo, there is a profound, moral difference between those that use force for liberation and those that use force for conquest.
This. Like Salome said, it's not about justifying what the allies did too. It's about understanding that some of those options were, in those precise moments, needed, whether for strategic reasons, whether to try to put a term of something horrific. It was about choosing a (yet horrific) lesser evil to try to stop a much bigger one.

Were, for instance, the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagazaki war crimes? Well, on the other hand, it's seems pretty obvious that Japan would never stop if that option wasn't chosen.

Yes, there's a superior moral side.
Yes, the all cracks are still there, although the EU tried, well intentioned, to fix it. It only did put make up over it.
If there's one thing this crisis shows is that everything's in its right place, where it always was: the tensions, the nationalisms, the intra-nationalisms and separatism, the mutual hatred, the ambition of unconsciously anhilate or stepping up on others considered weaker/inferior, the colossal cultural differences, the preconceived ideas about others, etc. Everything's there. Ready to be reactivated (if it's not already reactivated) and ready to explode again within some years or decades.

I understand that some people may not understand this. I understand that an outsider (of Europe) may not understand exactly what this really means. I understand that today's generation has shown a huge and scary lack of collective historical memory (which also explains Europe's present situation). And so, I accept why some users could not relate why I was talking about moral, about the past, then talking about the present, then relating it with the past and why they could not understand that.
But cannot accept the affirmation that there's not a superior moral side. Because there was, there is, and it seems by what's happening now, that there always will be one.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:01 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
I wanted to give regular posters amble time to respond to this comment.

How sad that only one European poster could be bothered to testify to the clear moral superiority of the "side" that liberated Europe over the "side" that occupied and enslaved your continent.

How confusing that all the posters that can so easily discern homophobia and hate in a chicken sandwich won't take a minute to come to the defense of the moral superiority of the Allied Forces that, at great cost, defeated the regime that imprisoned, tortured and killed tens of thousands of homosexuals during the war.

How troubling that all our bright students, with history lessons still fresh in their minds, wouldn't remind us of the horrific statistics of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust and 10 million civilians on the Eastern Front dead at the hand of Nazi Germany. 30 million Filipinos, Burmese, Cambodians and Chinese civilians killed by the Imperial Japanese. Maybe history books no long contain details of the Bataan Death March, Joseph Mengele, Mussolini and all the other atrocities that make it impossible for a knowledgeable, objective person to say, "The idea that any side was morally superior than another during the period is beyond ridiculous."
...wow, really?

You know, it IS possible to support the overall goal of a military mission/war without actually having to support every single thing that the military does in trying to achieve said goal.

I can fully support the goal of overthrowing Hitler and agree that what the Axis side was doing was beyond horrific and ghastly and still think that the Hiroshima bombing was unnecessary, or that the fact that innocent Germans' homes had to be firebombed and they had to die was tragic.

As I said back at the beginning of the thread, I know war is ugly. That doesn't mean I have to like or approve of what happens just because it's "our side", and the morally superior side. If you can find a way to go after the bad guys (and in war that's not always easy to discern, I might add), go for it. But if you kill and abuse innocent people in the process, that is still immoral to me. Even if it's "justifiable" or "excusable" in the context of war, it's still immoral in my eyes. And that goes for both sides.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:04 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Aygo View Post

Were, for instance, the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagazaki war crimes? Well, on the other hand, it's seems pretty obvious that Japan would never stop if that option wasn't chosen.
I don't think that this part is obvious at all. In fact it may very well be completely false.

Dwight Eisenhower:

Quote:
"During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face'. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude..."

- Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate For Change, pg. 380

In a Newsweek interview, Eisenhower again recalled the meeting with Stimson:

"...the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn't necessary to hit them with that awful thing."

- Ike on Ike, Newsweek, 11/11/63
Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman

Quote:
"It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

"The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children."
MacArthur:

Quote:
"When I asked General MacArthur about the decision to drop the bomb, I was surprised to learn he had not even been consulted. What, I asked, would his advice have been? He replied that he saw no military justification for the dropping of the bomb. The war might have ended weeks earlier, he said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor."

Norman Cousins, The Pathology of Power, pg. 65, 70-71.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:08 PM   #53
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Pat Buchanan wrote a book arguing WWII wasn't worth fighting because the known consequences of fighting it were so bad that the alternative couldn't possibly be worse. Not saying I agree with it but...well, who knows.

We didn't save the lives of all those Jews (or Poles or Russians), so the Allied effort was hardly an unqualified success. But, yes, clearly the Nazis were bad guys. I'm not going to argue that the two sides were morally equivalent.
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