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Unbalanced treatment of peace/war in history

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    Posted: 14 May 2016 at 22:53
Litterature and films about history, and history of the later couples of centuries in particular, tend to give a very "unbalanced" view of peace and war, I think. While wars in many parts of the world actually occured for brief part of the last two centures, the volumes written about hose wars, and especially the two world wars (about ten years- and for many countries less) are dominant in the bookshelves. I am not saying that the experience of those wars did not influence many lives very much though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2016 at 01:14
you mean "those" wars?  I was trying to figure out what a hose war was.  I guess one could consider the Trojan war, a ho's war, if one considers that the whole thing is Helen's (or Aphrodite's) fault.  But like Trump would say, "we won't say that (after having said what he wouldn't say)."  

The fact is, peace is a lot more boring, and a lot more elusive, if one considers peace to be more than the absence of armed conflict on the level of nation states.  Korea was a "police action," as was Vietnam.  I don't know if there is more low intensity conflict than there used to be.  But it seems like with terrorism, and, come to think of it, you never hear about guerrilla war anymore. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2016 at 02:26
As they say in the news business, if it bleeds, it leads. In other words, just as in any good novel, the narrative must have the tension of a conflict of some sort, with the threat of disaster weighing against the promise of salvation. We seem programmed to focus on this sort of scenario. Reading about how the world was saved from genocidal mania makes a better story than a report on years of average to adequate wheat harvests.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2016 at 03:43
Always remember that the winners generally get to write history.

History is not merely an exercise in one of the oldest and most esteemed areas of humanist scholarship which exists. It also can be used to push certain geopolitical policies, shape a national identity, or unify a nation of people to fight wars or resist outside influences. Increasingly it is non-state actors who use media to commandeer the historical narrative for their own cynical purposes.

Remember the History Channel. I started calling it the Hitler Channel long before it became popular to call it that. It seemed like every second documentary was a piece which concerned itself with this one man, and always with how fantastically evil he was. Never a mention of the over million men Eisenhower murdered after the war out of pure nastiness in the Rhine encampments. Never a mention of the Bleiburg Massacres (which Wikipedia even shamefully euphemises with the title "Bleiburg Repatriations"). Certainly never a mention of the fact that the Battle of Britain was begun by Churchill when he started night bombing German civilian areas several months before Hitler ever ordered a raid on any British targets.

Ask yourself, beyond the obvious explanation that the winners get to write history, why in this day and age of free information there is always one very cartoonish narrative that saturates our media and academia. Who does it serve?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2016 at 04:32
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Always remember that the winners generally get to write history.

History is not merely an exercise in one of the oldest and most esteemed areas of humanist scholarship which exists. It also can be used to push certain geopolitical policies, shape a national identity, or unify a nation of people to fight wars or resist outside influences. Increasingly it is non-state actors who use media to commandeer the historical narrative for their own cynical purposes.

Remember the History Channel. I started calling it the Hitler Channel long before it became popular to call it that. It seemed like every second documentary was a piece which concerned itself with this one man, and always with how fantastically evil he was. Never a mention of the over million men Eisenhower murdered after the war out of pure nastiness in the Rhine encampments. Never a mention of the Bleiburg Massacres (which Wikipedia even shamefully euphemises with the title "Bleiburg Repatriations"). Certainly never a mention of the fact that the Battle of Britain was begun by Churchill when he started night bombing German civilian areas several months before Hitler ever ordered a raid on any British targets.

Ask yourself, beyond the obvious explanation that the winners get to write history, why in this day and age of free information there is always one very cartoonish narrative that saturates our media and academia. Who does it serve?

Mr C- I know you folks down underneath enjoy a drop of the amber nectar, but I must wonder if you are oversubscribing, given the nature of some of your recent posts.

The Battle of Britain was begun by Germany, in an attempt to gain air superiority of England to ensure success of the then planned invasion (Operation Sea Lion, as I recall). Without this, the invasion would have been untenable, and a quick victory over Britain not to be. Germany was unable to shoot down enough British aircraft, and was suffering unsustainable losses themselves. They did their best, but were unable to prevail. After that, it was screw Britain, bomb the hell out of them, where possible, and in the meantime, bigger fish to fry in the Soviet Union. Yes Britain (and later the US) bombed the hell out of German cities, with little regard for civilian casualties. Guess what? Armageddon was on the doorstep. That is what happens when genocidal maniacs launch themselves onto civilization. 

Life was somewhat brutal for some German POWS in the west, and hell beyond belief for those same in the Soviet Union. But it was none too kind to anyone in Europe at the time. Many were starving. Your term of mass murder is just hyperbole. Why to you think millions of Germans, military and civilians, flooded west in a tidal wave of humanity, in order to surrender to US or British forces, rather than Soviet ones? Because they expected, and got, better treatment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2016 at 05:08
Well Captain, I'm actually sitting in my dressing gown sipping a cup of coffee on this Sunday morning and I haven't had anything to drink this weekend. I'd appreciate it if you considered my contention for what it is: a genuine point being made by a sober mind.

You're mistaken when you say the Battle of Britain was begun by Hitler. It was not. I know that every single documentary on the History Channel says so. And I know that every single newspaper in the West says so. But that doesn't make it true. Which is entirely the point I am making: the focus and narrative of historical studies in popular media is what it is because it serves a cynical agenda that cares not at all for the truth.

I've actually known the truth of the so called Battle of Britain since I was 12, when I read an over 400 page biography on the life of Walter Rudolph Richard Hess who was born in Alexandria Egypt and became Deputy Fuhrer. All the details in that last sentence I recalled off the top of my head without needing to look them up. The fact of the matter exposed in that text, and in any other credible text on the war, is that Churchill ordered the bombing of German cities several months before Hitler retaliated in kind. Throughout this period of several months Hitler continued doing what he had done for the previous year - which is to keep his Luftwaffe restrained while offering the British extremely generous peace terms. When the bombing of Berlin began, Hitler raced to his capital city to be there with the civilians who were suffering from the bombing raids. By contrast, when Hitler at last retaliated several months later Churchill would always slip out the back of Number 10 Downing Street when he got advance warning of a Luftwaffe raids and had his chauffeur drive him out to Oxfordshire so he could avoid the horrors of the retaliation he had brought upon his own people. That's the actual truth of the matter, which one can learn if they truly try to learn from the foremost scholars of this period.

Regarding your other claim, with respect I must inform you that you don't know what you are talking about. Eisenhower deliberately withheld food from the Germans who were piled into open fields surrounded by barbed wire and guards. This captivity, exposed to the elements without medical care or enough food or water, continued for months on end. When the Red Cross attempted to access these prisoners to provide food and medical care, they were refused at gun point. When German civilians attempted to throw parcels of food to the men inside, the US guards fired on them. Patton also attempted to intervene but Eisenhower overruled his attempt. Over a million men died - and mass murder is entirely the correct way to label it. It was a gross violation of basic human decency and the international law to which the the Allied powers were signatories.


Edited by Constantine XI - 15 May 2016 at 05:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2016 at 08:25
This thread is not made to deny the fascination of dramatic and tragic events. On the other hand: if some of the task of teaching history is to give a "bigger view" it also includes to give a balance - and in this case a "counterbalance". Of course the entertainment industry can make almost what "picture" of life it will, including "modern" lives are filled with crazy murderers, terrorists, or that the "typical" european or north american person (or at least male) has lot of first hand experience from war zones. My own guess is the vast majority even those who experienced a bit of say the "societal" violence of the 20.th(or 19.) century (I have probably known a few) id only so for brief periods of their lives.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 May 2016 at 23:25
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Well Captain, I'm actually sitting in my dressing gown sipping a cup of coffee on this Sunday morning and I haven't had anything to drink this weekend. I'd appreciate it if you considered my contention for what it is: a genuine point being made by a sober mind.

You're mistaken when you say the Battle of Britain was begun by Hitler. It was not. I know that every single documentary on the History Channel says so. And I know that every single newspaper in the West says so. But that doesn't make it true. Which is entirely the point I am making: the focus and narrative of historical studies in popular media is what it is because it serves a cynical agenda that cares not at all for the truth.

I've actually known the truth of the so called Battle of Britain since I was 12, when I read an over 400 page biography on the life of Walter Rudolph Richard Hess who was born in Alexandria Egypt and became Deputy Fuhrer. All the details in that last sentence I recalled off the top of my head without needing to look them up. The fact of the matter exposed in that text, and in any other credible text on the war, is that Churchill ordered the bombing of German cities several months before Hitler retaliated in kind. Throughout this period of several months Hitler continued doing what he had done for the previous year - which is to keep his Luftwaffe restrained while offering the British extremely generous peace terms. When the bombing of Berlin began, Hitler raced to his capital city to be there with the civilians who were suffering from the bombing raids. By contrast, when Hitler at last retaliated several months later Churchill would always slip out the back of Number 10 Downing Street when he got advance warning of a Luftwaffe raids and had his chauffeur drive him out to Oxfordshire so he could avoid the horrors of the retaliation he had brought upon his own people. That's the actual truth of the matter, which one can learn if they truly try to learn from the foremost scholars of this period.

Regarding your other claim, with respect I must inform you that you don't know what you are talking about. Eisenhower deliberately withheld food from the Germans who were piled into open fields surrounded by barbed wire and guards. This captivity, exposed to the elements without medical care or enough food or water, continued for months on end. When the Red Cross attempted to access these prisoners to provide food and medical care, they were refused at gun point. When German civilians attempted to throw parcels of food to the men inside, the US guards fired on them. Patton also attempted to intervene but Eisenhower overruled his attempt. Over a million men died - and mass murder is entirely the correct way to label it. It was a gross violation of basic human decency and the international law to which the the Allied powers were signatories.

The Battle of Britain occurred because Hitler was willing to go to war with the UK, and much of Europe, in order to further his aims. German strategic bombing was only limited against Britain because 1) there was a faint chance of achieving victory through a bullied and threatened settlement, rather than an actual invasion, which would have been very risky, despite Germany's initial successes. And 2) later on, when the invasion plan was on, it was essential for Germany to first obtain air superiority over Britain, which meant directing all resources against British fighter command. No air superiority meant no invasion, and leaving a hostile combatant ramping up war production, at the same time that Hitler wanted a massive invasion of the Soviet Union, one of his major goals. It would have meant a two front war, a dangerous exposure for Germany. 

As soon as it became clear that the Luftwaffe could not defeat RAF fighters, the invasion was canceled, attention shifted to Russia, and the fall back policy was bomb the hell out of British cities, just as they had in Poland, Holland, and other places.

It's true many Germans suffered terribly at the end of the war. There was starvation all over Europe, and not enough food for all. Given the sentiments at the time, it is not unlikely that supplies were prioritized for civilians in allied countries, concentration camp survivors, displaced forced labourers, and others, rather than the German military. But again here I believe you are clutching at the writings of one or two sensationalists, rather than taking a broader approach. A personal genocide program carried out by Eisenhower, a million dead, are absurdities, although I bet you will have some evidence from the National Enquirer, or similar, in rebuttal. The allies were swamped with POWs, millions of them, eager to do anything but surrender to the Russians. There was no place for them, and not enough food. There are more academic estimates of 50,000 dead in the western POW camps, or about 1% of the total, and not too surprisingly considering the conditions. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 02:34
Captain:

While it's true that many Australians enjoy a drop of the amber liquid, please don't tar us with the same brush as Constantine XI. For some reason he seems to have become a bit aggressive lately, and his posts are not up to his usual standard of accuracy.

The views he espouses over recent posts are very one sided and are not necessarily borne out by history.

The victims of war are the millions of innocents who are caught up in it and who pay with their lives, and he is correct though, the victors write the history.

Thanks for your post.

 
I often wonder why I try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 05:22
Toyomotor, I had one post where I was a tad overzealous in expressing my antipathy for the Captain's seemingly dishonest disregard for the point I made about Trump's alleged statements regarding Mexicans. It verged on dishonesty and bad faith, but I subsequently made it clear that I meant no offence or disrespect.

I would appreciate it if we could get on with discussing historical events with the strongest possible regard for the actual facts regarding those events. Preferably backed up by credible and self-evidently trustworthy source material.

Thank you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 07:55
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Toyomotor, I had one post where I was a tad overzealous in expressing my antipathy for the Captain's seemingly dishonest disregard for the point I made about Trump's alleged statements regarding Mexicans. It verged on dishonesty and bad faith, but I subsequently made it clear that I meant no offence or disrespect.

I would appreciate it if we could get on with discussing historical events with the strongest possible regard for the actual facts regarding those events. Preferably backed up by credible and self-evidently trustworthy source material.

Thank you.

I don't agree that the Captains post reflected dishonest disregard for the point you made. Trumps comments weren't alleged statements, they were statements he made on television and witnessed by millions of people, as were his comments about women.

Anyway, you're entitled to your views, however wrong they may be.

Over, and OUT!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 10:47
Quote As soon as it became clear that the Luftwaffe could not defeat RAF fighters, the invasion was canceled, attention shifted to Russia, and the fall back policy was bomb the hell out of British cities, just as they had in Poland, Holland, and other places.

Partially true. Germany had no true strategic bombers and although they did bomb Britain extensively, this was conducted by tactical bombers designed to support army operations. However, this ignores the U-Boat menace, which was far more effective in bringing Britain to its knees, and would have done, had anti-submarine warfare and industrial support from America not prevailed.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 10:49
Toyomotor. No, you're wrong. Here's the proof:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XXcPl4T55I

watch from 1:40-3:00.

But all this belongs to another thread. Let's get back on topic.


Edited by Constantine XI - 16 May 2016 at 10:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 16:00
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Toyomotor. No, you're wrong. Here's the proof:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XXcPl4T55I

watch from 1:40-3:00.

But all this belongs to another thread. Let's get back on topic.

First of all, Mexico isn't "sending" anyone to the US. Individuals are fleeing poor economic conditions, on their own accord, because of problems not of their making. Being poor and wanting a job doesn't qualify one as a rapist or thief per se. Trump offered no factual information to back up the claim that Hispanics are disproportionately criminal. "Talking to border guards" is not a scientific survey. And later saying he supposes "some" are good people is not much of a caveat. Trump was clearly pandering to racist sentiment, the intellectually lazy notion that bad things can be all ascribed to "those people", and getting rid of them will solve problems.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 16:06
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Quote As soon as it became clear that the Luftwaffe could not defeat RAF fighters, the invasion was canceled, attention shifted to Russia, and the fall back policy was bomb the hell out of British cities, just as they had in Poland, Holland, and other places.

Partially true. Germany had no true strategic bombers and although they did bomb Britain extensively, this was conducted by tactical bombers designed to support army operations. However, this ignores the U-Boat menace, which was far more effective in bringing Britain to its knees, and would have done, had anti-submarine warfare and industrial support from America not prevailed.

True enough. The U-boat war went on for some time, and was a critical phase of the war. When historians talk about the  Battle of Britain though, it generally refers to the air war over the UK in 1940, the attempt to pave the way for invasion.

Germany was not shy about using air power against civilian targets, and only held of with Britain as long as that was thought to provide some strategic leverage. When that proved to not be the case, the gloves came off.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 May 2016 at 16:09
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Captain:

While it's true that many Australians enjoy a drop of the amber liquid, please don't tar us with the same brush as Constantine XI. For some reason he seems to have become a bit aggressive lately, and his posts are not up to his usual standard of accuracy.

The views he espouses over recent posts are very one sided and are not necessarily borne out by history.

The victims of war are the millions of innocents who are caught up in it and who pay with their lives, and he is correct though, the victors write the history.

Thanks for your post.

 

Not to worry Mr T. Your captain probably has a stronger relationship with the above mentioned beverage than most Australians.

Victors do generally write history, however we are lucky in this case that there is plenty of history available, from plenty of sources, and so can make some accurate judgements. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2016 at 12:30
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Toyomotor. No, you're wrong. Here's the proof:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XXcPl4T55I

watch from 1:40-3:00.

But all this belongs to another thread. Let's get back on topic.

First of all, Mexico isn't "sending" anyone to the US. Individuals are fleeing poor economic conditions, on their own accord, because of problems not of their making. Being poor and wanting a job doesn't qualify one as a rapist or thief per se. Trump offered no factual information to back up the claim that Hispanics are disproportionately criminal. "Talking to border guards" is not a scientific survey. And later saying he supposes "some" are good people is not much of a caveat. Trump was clearly pandering to racist sentiment, the intellectually lazy notion that bad things can be all ascribed to "those people", and getting rid of them will solve problems.

I'm going to reply to this in the thread appropriate for it, which is this one:

http://www.worldhistoria.com/topic129213_post99250.html#99250
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2016 at 13:03
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

Well Captain, I'm actually sitting in my dressing gown sipping a cup of coffee on this Sunday morning and I haven't had anything to drink this weekend. I'd appreciate it if you considered my contention for what it is: a genuine point being made by a sober mind.

You're mistaken when you say the Battle of Britain was begun by Hitler. It was not. I know that every single documentary on the History Channel says so. And I know that every single newspaper in the West says so. But that doesn't make it true. Which is entirely the point I am making: the focus and narrative of historical studies in popular media is what it is because it serves a cynical agenda that cares not at all for the truth.

I've actually known the truth of the so called Battle of Britain since I was 12, when I read an over 400 page biography on the life of Walter Rudolph Richard Hess who was born in Alexandria Egypt and became Deputy Fuhrer. All the details in that last sentence I recalled off the top of my head without needing to look them up. The fact of the matter exposed in that text, and in any other credible text on the war, is that Churchill ordered the bombing of German cities several months before Hitler retaliated in kind. Throughout this period of several months Hitler continued doing what he had done for the previous year - which is to keep his Luftwaffe restrained while offering the British extremely generous peace terms. When the bombing of Berlin began, Hitler raced to his capital city to be there with the civilians who were suffering from the bombing raids. By contrast, when Hitler at last retaliated several months later Churchill would always slip out the back of Number 10 Downing Street when he got advance warning of a Luftwaffe raids and had his chauffeur drive him out to Oxfordshire so he could avoid the horrors of the retaliation he had brought upon his own people. That's the actual truth of the matter, which one can learn if they truly try to learn from the foremost scholars of this period.

Regarding your other claim, with respect I must inform you that you don't know what you are talking about. Eisenhower deliberately withheld food from the Germans who were piled into open fields surrounded by barbed wire and guards. This captivity, exposed to the elements without medical care or enough food or water, continued for months on end. When the Red Cross attempted to access these prisoners to provide food and medical care, they were refused at gun point. When German civilians attempted to throw parcels of food to the men inside, the US guards fired on them. Patton also attempted to intervene but Eisenhower overruled his attempt. Over a million men died - and mass murder is entirely the correct way to label it. It was a gross violation of basic human decency and the international law to which the the Allied powers were signatories.

The Battle of Britain occurred because Hitler was willing to go to war with the UK, and much of Europe, in order to further his aims. German strategic bombing was only limited against Britain because 1) there was a faint chance of achieving victory through a bullied and threatened settlement, rather than an actual invasion, which would have been very risky, despite Germany's initial successes. And 2) later on, when the invasion plan was on, it was essential for Germany to first obtain air superiority over Britain, which meant directing all resources against British fighter command. No air superiority meant no invasion, and leaving a hostile combatant ramping up war production, at the same time that Hitler wanted a massive invasion of the Soviet Union, one of his major goals. It would have meant a two front war, a dangerous exposure for Germany. 

As soon as it became clear that the Luftwaffe could not defeat RAF fighters, the invasion was canceled, attention shifted to Russia, and the fall back policy was bomb the hell out of British cities, just as they had in Poland, Holland, and other places.

It's true many Germans suffered terribly at the end of the war. There was starvation all over Europe, and not enough food for all. Given the sentiments at the time, it is not unlikely that supplies were prioritized for civilians in allied countries, concentration camp survivors, displaced forced labourers, and others, rather than the German military. But again here I believe you are clutching at the writings of one or two sensationalists, rather than taking a broader approach. A personal genocide program carried out by Eisenhower, a million dead, are absurdities, although I bet you will have some evidence from the National Enquirer, or similar, in rebuttal. The allies were swamped with POWs, millions of them, eager to do anything but surrender to the Russians. There was no place for them, and not enough food. There are more academic estimates of 50,000 dead in the western POW camps, or about 1% of the total, and not too surprisingly considering the conditions. 


I notice that you have not followed up your original claim that the bombing of civilian areas was begun by Germany. Nor have you countered my claim that the bombing of civilian areas was am escalation of the war which was counter to understood wartime ethics, and which was indeed begun by the RAF and continued for several months before Hitler retaliated in kind. Instead you have morphed your original contention from one of Germany beginning the Battle of Britain because she began bombing civilian areas first, to one of Germany being responsible for the civilian bombings because she began WWII.

This new contention of your ignores a number of factors. Firstly that Britain declared war on Germany. Secondly, that Britain's reason for entering the conflict became redundant with the defeat of Poland (and was conspicuous for Britain's lack of war against the USSR which also invaded Poland). Thirdly that, despite the functional disappearance of Britain's casus belli along with defeat on the mainland of Europe, Britain consistently rejected the extraordinarily generous and frequent peace terms offered by Germany. And fourth, that despite all of the above Churchill callously escalated the conflict to begin strategic bombing of German civilian targets contrary to the established rules of engagement until Hitler had no choice but to respond in kind.

The origins of the state of war are one affair. But when examining an escalation of the conflict which saw the beginning of the deliberate targeting of civilian targets, the phenomenon must be viewed as the responsibility of the party which actually began such an escalation. Which is very clearly Britain.

When it comes to the mass murders of German PoWs after the war, clearly you and I consult different source material. Perhaps you should post yours and I shall post mine. But I stand by what I have said: under the direction of US Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower, over a million disarmed and surrendered German servicemen were deliberately subjected to such impossibly deprived conditions that resulted in their death. And purposely had readily available food, water and medical aid that was specifically set aside for their needs withheld from them to compound their suffering and rate of mortality.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2016 at 13:46
Regarding Germany: If we look only at its history after unification in 1871 , that is about 141 years the period until the end of ww2 in 1945 is only a little more than half the period.  The situatuation for Italy being not very different. The period of peace after ww2 almost being as long as the time before since unification.For the western part of Europe at least, large parts of modern history could be compared to the ancient "Pax Romana", though admittedly of course not the 10 years of world wars for most its countries.
And though troops from the USA and Canada have fought for many times abroad I think in a way their situation even more favourable, since there has been few "acts of war" on their own soil for the last 150 years. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2016 at 01:23
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

 


I notice that you have not followed up your original claim that the bombing of civilian areas was begun by Germany. Nor have you countered my claim that the bombing of civilian areas was am escalation of the war which was counter to understood wartime ethics, and which was indeed begun by the RAF and continued for several months before Hitler retaliated in kind. Instead you have morphed your original contention from one of Germany beginning the Battle of Britain because she began bombing civilian areas first, to one of Germany being responsible for the civilian bombings because she began WWII.

I enjoy a bit of historical fiction myself, it makes a good read on a lazy summer beach. But it should occupy its own bookself, separate from actual history IMO.

You seem to want to leave the fantastical impression that strategic bombing was not understood to be done by  gentlemen at the time, even Nazi gentlemen (an oxymoron?). Germany engaged in strategic bombing against Britain and others in WW1, to the extent technology allowed, and quickly seized on the rapid development of aircraft technology afterwards. They tested such tactics in the Spanish Civil War, and then employed them without mercy in Poland, Holland, and other places. There was absolutely no understanding that strategic bombing would be restrained, in any way, shape, or form. Indeed, quite the opposite. Britain was digging trenches in parks, reinforcing underground shelters, and sandbagging vulnerable buildings even before war was declared in 1939. Aircraft had developed, and the expectation was that they would be used to their full extent. That's also why everyone walked around with gas masks in a case. It had been developed in the first war, and it was expected to be used again, ethics or not. 

I have morphed into nothing in recent days, except to a slightly older punter on history and world events. Britain starting bombing strategic targets in Germany after the latter demonstrated that 1) it was fully engaged in a life or death struggle with the more civilized aspects of the modern world, and 2) it was willing and enthusiastic in invading and brutalizing, at that point, 8 countries, 3) Britain was most assuredly next on the list, and 4) it was going to use air power to its fullest extent, given its record to date. Britain bombed some selected targets at a time when German forces were sweeping through France and the low countries, when the situation was beyond critical. 

Germany began the Battle of Britain by engaging air defenses there, in an attempt, as previously explained, to gain air superiority. It was the militarily appropriate, and indeed only use of the then available German air assets allowed to them, given their objectives and resources available. Given that their plan was domination over Britain, this would have occurred whether British planes had bombed Germany, or not. The only other outcome might have been an unequal treaty, allowing most of German aims sans invasion, which was hoped for, but did not occur.


Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

 
This new contention of your ignores a number of factors. Firstly that Britain declared war on Germany. Secondly, that Britain's reason for entering the conflict became redundant with the defeat of Poland (and was conspicuous for Britain's lack of war against the USSR which also invaded Poland). Thirdly that, despite the functional disappearance of Britain's casus belli along with defeat on the mainland of Europe, Britain consistently rejected the extraordinarily generous and frequent peace terms offered by Germany. And fourth, that despite all of the above Churchill callously escalated the conflict to begin strategic bombing of German civilian targets contrary to the established rules of engagement until Hitler had no choice but to respond in kind.

You are confusing war declarations with guilt. The US declared war on Japan- does that mean the US was the aggressor?

Britain's reasons for entering the war in no way became redundant with the defeat of Poland. Poland was just one victim on the hit list, with many more to come, as was amply demonstrated in the time to come. 

The 1940s was a time of fairly rapid development in technology. Aircraft were improving rapidly, the Atlantic was spanned by air travel, radio and radar were now a growing factor, and the world was getting ever smaller. Leaving an undefeated Germany in Europe, while suffering a defeat oriented peace treaty, would have just made an eventual showdown with Nazi Germany immeasurably more difficult.

You are again trying to downplay German culpability here, for some obscure reason.


Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

 
The origins of the state of war are one affair. But when examining an escalation of the conflict which saw the beginning of the deliberate targeting of civilian targets, the phenomenon must be viewed as the responsibility of the party which actually began such an escalation. Which is very clearly Britain.

Baloney. Britain bent over backwards to accommodate German demands, and probably would have even settled for a compromise in Poland. When it was clear compromise was not in the wind, then yes, it was war. And to be repetitive, Germany was the first to use air power against civilians in Europe.

Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

 
When it comes to the mass murders of German PoWs after the war, clearly you and I consult different source material. Perhaps you should post yours and I shall post mine. But I stand by what I have said: under the direction of US Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower, over a million disarmed and surrendered German servicemen were deliberately subjected to such impossibly deprived conditions that resulted in their death. And purposely had readily available food, water and medical aid that was specifically set aside for their needs withheld from them to compound their suffering and rate of mortality.

I was interested in your claims about Eisenhower, so did a bit of Googling. Your premise seems to originate with a select few nutbars, and with one nutbar in particular, who has been thoroughly discredited by bona fide historians since. As with your reverential scribblings on Rudolph Hess, you seem to be taken by one or two or three sources, whether they be biased, non-professional, or what have you. Much better to take a broader approach, if you ask me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2016 at 03:14
Actually, according to my understanding, Constantine is correct.  Geneva convention gives guidelines for treating POWs, but after the war had ended, there were a lot of German soldiers milling around that where gathered up and put in camps.  Since they were not technically prisoners of war, and since Eisenhower was furious about having found the concentration camps, he neglected them and their treatment in the time between the surrender and before things were settled concerning German.  The died of disease, wounds, and malnourishment.  But again, Eisenhower's excuse was that they were not technically POWs.

Of course, we did not have the same problems with learning about the Japanese attrocities, then again, we (US) expected the Germans to be civilized, not the Japanese.

Britain targeted Berlin, and that so infuriated Hitler that he switched from primarily military targets to Civilian targets, which actually helped Britain because it gave the RAF a break, and allowed them to regroup.  Probably allowed Britain to win the Battle of Britain.  Or so I understand:)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 May 2016 at 03:14
One thing I've noticed about your debating tactics, CV, is that when I produce evidence to refute your incorrect claims you then morph your contention into something slightly different and from that new point begin to argue against the strawman of your own making which follows from it. It's sly, but I'm going to hold you accountable to your original contention before moving onto your other claims all the same.

Let's remind ourselves of the original claim that you contradicted my first post with:

Originally posted by CV CV wrote:

The Battle of Britain was begun by Germany, in an attempt to gain air superiority of England to ensure success of the then planned invasion (Operation Sea Lion, as I recall).

I have since asserted that the Battle of Britain was the aerial campaign whose strategic bombing of civilian targets was begun by the British. The British began intensive bombing of German civilian targets, typically at night, and Hitler only responded in kind after several months of this uncivilised escalation of the conflict between the two countries.

This is the crux of our debate and in all these paragraphs you have still failed to refute my contention. Instead you have shifted to arguing other points.

So you're hardly in a position to arrogate yourself the role of arbitrating what does and does not qualify as historical fiction.

Originally posted by CV CV wrote:

You seem to want to leave the fantastical impression that strategic bombing was not understood to be done by  gentlemen at the time, even Nazi gentlemen (an oxymoron?). Germany engaged in strategic bombing against Britain and others in WW1, to the extent technology allowed, and quickly seized on the rapid development of aircraft technology afterwards. They tested such tactics in the Spanish Civil War, and then employed them without mercy in Poland, Holland, and other places. There was absolutely no understanding that strategic bombing would be restrained, in any way, shape, or form. Indeed, quite the opposite. Britain was digging trenches in parks, reinforcing underground shelters, and sandbagging vulnerable buildings even before war was declared in 1939. Aircraft had developed, and the expectation was that they would be used to their full extent. That's also why everyone walked around with gas masks in a case. It had been developed in the first war, and it was expected to be used again, ethics or not. 

I have morphed into nothing in recent days, except to a slightly older punter on history and world events. Britain starting bombing strategic targets in Germany after the latter demonstrated that 1) it was fully engaged in a life or death struggle with the more civilized aspects of the modern world, and 2) it was willing and enthusiastic in invading and brutalizing, at that point, 8 countries, 3) Britain was most assuredly next on the list, and 4) it was going to use air power to its fullest extent, given its record to date. Britain bombed some selected targets at a time when German forces were sweeping through France and the low countries, when the situation was beyond critical. 

Germany began the Battle of Britain by engaging air defenses there, in an attempt, as previously explained, to gain air superiority. It was the militarily appropriate, and indeed only use of the then available German air assets allowed to them, given their objectives and resources available. Given that their plan was domination over Britain, this would have occurred whether British planes had bombed Germany, or not. The only other outcome might have been an unequal treaty, allowing most of German aims sans invasion, which was hoped for, but did not occur.

Most of this is irrelevant to evidencing your original contention, so I won't apologise for ignoring those points and sticking to the ones which are relevant to your contradicting my original post.

Britain indeed did bomb German strategic targets during the German invasion of the West. But after the Battle for France was over, Churchill made it deliberate policy to attack German civilian targets repeatedly for the several month period between the Fall of France and what historians generally agree to being the period referred to as the Battle of Britain. Without the Germans responding in kind for several months. You ignore that important fact.

As caldrail correctly points out, the Luftwaffe consisted of tactical aircraft whose job was to work in concert with ground forces during a campaign. They were not designed to engage in strategic bombing as an end in itself and had to be reorganised for that purpose after Churchill's needless escalation of the conflict to include German civilian targets left Hitler no other choice.

Originally posted by CV CV wrote:

You are confusing war declarations with guilt. The US declared war on Japan- does that mean the US was the aggressor?

Britain's reasons for entering the war in no way became redundant with the defeat of Poland. Poland was just one victim on the hit list, with many more to come, as was amply demonstrated in the time to come. 

The 1940s was a time of fairly rapid development in technology. Aircraft were improving rapidly, the Atlantic was spanned by air travel, radio and radar were now a growing factor, and the world was getting ever smaller. Leaving an undefeated Germany in Europe, while suffering a defeat oriented peace treaty, would have just made an eventual showdown with Nazi Germany immeasurably more difficult.

You are again trying to downplay German culpability here, for some obscure reason.

Actually it was you who confused declaration of war with responsibility for the horrors that occurred after. When you presumably discovered that Britain did indeed escalate the terms of conflict to be first to include strategic bombing of civilian targets, you made the claim: "The Battle of Britain occurred because Hitler was willing to go to war with the UK, and much of Europe, in order to further his aims." I merely pointed out that even this new contention of yours was incorrect due to the fact that Germany did not declare war on Britain.

As for the rest of your post - that's all conjecture. I could just as confidently proclaim that Britain's acceptance of generous peace terms would have led to a better outcome for her, and that the moral imperative should have been to side with Hitler against Stalin (a man who killed many times more people than Hitler did). But all of this is speculation on the part of both of us and doesn't serve to answer the real debate between us of who caused the aerial campaign over the British Isles that we refer to today as the Battle of Britain.

Originally posted by CV CV wrote:

Baloney. Britain bent over backwards to accommodate German demands, and probably would have even settled for a compromise in Poland. When it was clear compromise was not in the wind, then yes, it was war. And to be repetitive, Germany was the first to use air power against civilians in Europe.

And if we were talking about the "Battle of Europe", you might have a point. But we aren't (or at least I, as someone who doesn't keep morphing their contention, am not). We're talking specifically about the Battle of Britain. So you're wrong.

Originally posted by CV CV wrote:

I was interested in your claims about Eisenhower, so did a bit of Googling. Your premise seems to originate with a select few nutbars, and with one nutbar in particular, who has been thoroughly discredited by bona fide historians since. As with your reverential scribblings on Rudolph Hess, you seem to be taken by one or two or three sources, whether they be biased, non-professional, or what have you. Much better to take a broader approach, if you ask me.

Wow, you spent a few minutes on google and you're satisfied. As someone who has read comprehensive books by celebrated historical authorities on the subject, you'll understand if I'm not overwhelmed by the depth of your scholarly inquiry.

Rather than put in some real time and effort to understand the subject matter, you instead label them nutbars because you don't like what they have to say. That one so called "nutbar" that you refer to, he wouldn't happen to be the best selling historian who the most erudite and fearless late intellectual Christopher Hitchens referred to as "one of the four authorities on the Third Reich that you absolutely MUST read, whose unearthing of priceless archival evidence and skill as an historical scholar is almost without peer"?

Fantasus, if there is one thing we can thank CV for is it demonstrates how "popular history's" focus topics and narratives occupy such a large space within the public consciousness. Many people don't like reading actual books, don't like controlling their own biases while examining historical evidence, and are happy to let popular media mouthpieces tell them what to believe rather than engage in their own independent examination of different claims.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2016 at 01:28
I wish you children would play nice:P

There is enough wrongness for it to go all around, everybody have a share.  The importance is not on where one starts out, but where one ends up.  I suggest avoiding polemics.

One can have a view of right or wrong, but really it should be that it is like what is 3x4?  If you say 12, you're right; if you say 7, then you're wrong, but one can see how you got there.  If you say 19, you are wrong, but less wrong than 25.  There may be only one right, but some wrongs are worst than others, so try to give the other guy credit for not confusing Patton, with Caesar or something of that kind.

Just a modest suggestion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fusong Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2016 at 03:55
I am worried this has turned into a thinly veiled right vs left discussion...

That is old now.
Every ideology has a kernel of truth and sea of whitewash.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 2016 at 21:21
The "Art of War" was considered the highest level of politics in Plato's Protagoras.  I think that peace is an ideal that is very hard to make concrete.  I think it has always been easier to imagine hell, than it is to portray heaven.  As a song says, "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens."  Same seems to be true with war and peace.  Some universities have reversed the order, and now call it "peace and war studies," but let's face it, it is natural to spend more energy on figuring out whether and why someone is trying to kill you, than it is when nothing "seems" to be wrong.

I tend to believe that peace is not only the absence of war, but also of strife by other means.  If politics is war by other means (Clauswitz), then is politics thus polluted by the strife that comes about through politics?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Aug 2016 at 22:02
In ancient Greece, Homer and Hesiod (supposedly) had a poetry contest.  They were judged to be equal in their poetry, but Hesiod had the better theme (in Works and Days), peace.  Whereas, Homer had the them of war.  Thus, Hesiod won.  Maybe that is what they are trying to do change war and peace studies to peace and war studies.

Of course, America has this weird situation these days, when the all 'volunteer' army goes off to fight, and for the rest of the country it is business as usual.  "Police actions"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Mar 2017 at 14:24
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Litterature and films about history, and history of the later couples of centuries in particular, tend to give a very "unbalanced" view of peace and war, I think. While wars in many parts of the world actually occured for brief part of the last two centures, the volumes written about hose wars, and especially the two world wars (about ten years- and for many countries less) are dominant in the bookshelves. I am not saying that the experience of those wars did not influence many lives very much though.

To the victor belongs the priviledge of writing the history, accurate or not.

That the vanquished write tome upon tome of the event, amounts to not much as the victors views always win out.

But, in the fullness of time, truth will over-ride all, and that's what matters most.


I often wonder why I try.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2017 at 19:13
Just another thought.

WAR is writ large, and often, it penetrates the soul, and drags attention away from every day life, but PEACE is written only once, at the end of war. And then forgotten.
I often wonder why I try.
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