German Wehrmacht - A Polical Army ? - Page 2




 
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July 10th, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi Doppleganger.

Well, we seem to agree that the Wehrmacht commanders were aware of, and implicated in, the massive extermination and displacement of millions of Soviet people, and that should be the end of the debate, but i'll attempt to answer a few other minor points where I think you've being slightly misleading.

By pointing out that i'm making it seem that the 'entire' Wehrmacht was 'constantly' committing atrocities, is wrong, thats just your imagination at work there I think, the Wehrmacht had their hands full in trying [unsuccesfully] to defeat the Red army, but aiding and abetting in the murder of millions of innocent people over 4 years is pretty constant to me.

1. My understanding of the term "Holocaust" is "great or wholesale destruction of life."
If the murder of several million people isn't a Holocaust, what is?
Anyway, thats just splitting hairs.


2.As far as I know, following orders is no defense in war crimes.


3. "The nature of the Eastern Front", as you put it, was brought about by Germany trying to exterminate or displace the Russian people, and ending up by them killing about 25 - 30 million in total, by any means possible.


4. Once again I think you're putting words in my mouth by saying that I said, ''that they were doing it on a daily basis,'' did you notice that the few samples I posted of crimes of the Waffen S.S. was in the west, and I could have posted dozens more, just as horrific, can you honestly compare those crimes against women and children, with anything done by western armies?
As for the Eastern front, just read Alan Clarke's ''Barbarossa'' to get a good idea what the Waffen S.S. did as a matter of routine in Russia, not just against P.O.W's but civilians, men, women and children, it makes chilling reading.


5. Of course all sides committed war crimes, but you're trying make it sound as if the extermination of millions of innocent people on a scale unknown in human history is on the same level as what the Allies did.
You'd have to admit that's a little misleading.

You mention the victors ''writing history''
Actually i'd say that it was the losers that had the luxury of ''rewriting'' history, in the many memoirs of the German Generals, that made it appear they were merely honorable people fighting for their country, and totally unaware of the atrocities that were being committed on such a massive scale, when we both know that it isn't true.

Ulrich von Hassell, the German ambassador in Italy, said of the German Generals.............. ''The majority are out to make careers in the lowest sense.
Gifts and Field Marshall batons are more important to them then the great historical issues and moral values at stake.''

German historians were the same as the Generals, getting in first, with to say at best, were a pretty lop sided view of the war.David Glantz says that the dominant role of German source materials in shaping American [and British] perceptions of the war on the Eastern Front and the negative perception of Soviet source materials have had an indelible impact on the American image of war on the Eastern Front. What has resulted in a series of gross judgments treated as truths regarding operations in the East and Soviet (Red) Army combat performance. The gross judgments appear repeatedly in textbooks and all types of historical works, and they are persistent in the extreme. Each lies someplace between the realm of myth and reality.

A majority of Americans and Britons probably accept these judgments as realities . In doing so they display a warped impression of the war which belittles the role played by the Red Army.


6. Saying that the Russians were "provoked" is one of the largest understatements i've ever seen.

Yes, I think you could safely say that the destruction of thousands of towns and villages, of extermination of millions of Russian men, women and children by the Einsatzgruppen, Waffen S.S. and Werhmacht, plus millions more transported to Germany to be worked to death as slave labour or sent to the death camps, and thousands of women between the age of 15 and 25 sent to Werhmacht and Waffen SA.S. brothels or back to Reich ''rest camps'' was indeed provocation.


You mention that my post is very unbalanced.
Is it unbalanced? this thread is titled "German Wehrmacht - A Polical Army ?" and asks the question whether the Whermacht was a political army and did they commit crimes, which has nothing to do with what other armies did or didn't do.
There's another thread on these boards about Allied war crimes, which perhaps we could debate further.

And you keep saying again and again ''what about the other side'' committing crimes, does saying that repeatedly in some way excuse the millions of innocent people murdered by the Germans?

All sides committed war crimes, as has happened over the centuries, but nothing in human history even remotely comperes with what the Germans did in virtually every country they invaded, starting in Poland and culminating in the vast holocaust in Russia.

Anyway, as I said, these are only minor points at best.
July 10th, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Hi Ashes.

I'm detecting that you seem to have a particular hatred of what the Germans did in WW2. They did some terrible things no doubt but I wouldn't go as far to say that what they did was incomparable in human history. There are plenty of examples of horrifying things done on a mass scale. The Mongols would put to the sword any city that refused to surrender and I mean utterly destroy the city and any human being living inside. So human atrocities have sadly been with us since the beginning of time - the Nazi's did not invent this although they provided us with some of the most chilling examples.

As a keen amateur historian of the Eastern Front in WW2, few realise more than myself the influence and impact of what the Soviet peoples had on the outcome of WW2. And yes the German view has shaped the post-war viewpoint of the Eastern Front but only because we have been denied truthful accounts from the Soviet side until the fall of Communism. Up until then, the official Soviet accounts were so inaccurate as to be completely useless for any academic study. In fact, the facts relating to the German side in the memoirs of German generals are pretty accurate - it's the Soviet side facts from these works that have tended to be wholly inaccurate.

Like you say this is getting a little off-topic. My answer still is that the Wehrmacht, meaning the armed services in general and not just the Army, was not a political army, no matter that at times it did some terrible things. And when I said that senior Wehrmacht commanders must have known about the Holocaust (and they must have) that does not mean to say they had any hand in it (because I don't believe that any Army or Waffen SS commander did). I suppose the most chilling thing is that the Nazi's could have occurred in any Western nation. There is nothing unique about Germans that makes them prone to adopting such a regime and had say the UK been in Germany's position with Germany's problems it's possible that the Nazi's would have risen to power in the UK.
July 10th, 2005  
Farseer
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vargsriket
To h**l with that. As hard as I try to think "soldiers have to follow orders", it just is not enough to justify what was done to my motherland. Germans were the most brutal and vicious of all no matter how hard you try to implicate the Russians, or any other allied forces into it. There's only so much that you can get get hit, hit, hit, until you hit back, and HARD. Unprovoked violence is far worse than provoked one. It's easy to judge another country's tragedy when you're sitting in a air conditioned room having a cold drink in a comfortable chair. The germans HATED the "Ivans" with a passion, and routinely with no mercy killed PoWs, civilians, children, women, elder folk, etc. There was no code you could follow that would guarantee your and your family's survival. I may now know this first hand, I was born a good 35 years after WW2, but I have members of my family who lived through or fought in it. So at best I have first hand accounts. I'm not saying ALL the Germans were Satan's spawns, of course not. A high percentage were not willing to be there, I know that, a lot did realize that what they were doing was wrong. I know that not everyone had a choice, and that humanity and compassion still shined through the gritty realities and horrors of war. My grandmother told me about this German guy, she forgot his name, when she was little, he would bring them bread and canned food every week or so during the German occupation of my native city of Kharkov, Ukraine. But on the grand scale, I'm sorry, I cannot forgive the Wehrmacht, SS, Gestapo, whoever else stood on and desacrated my motherland. It's not only me, far from it. WW2 ended a long time ago, but the Russian people still are uneasy about the German language, for example, it's a very stark reminder of the War. I have nothing against the German people of today, I'd be a fool to, it's all history, however terrible, but on a very subconscious level a part of me diststrusts them.
Well, I just have to say that probably most of people in Baltic States and Finland (and another countries forcefully annexed by Stalin) have as much hatred towards Russians and Red Army as you have against Germans. After all, in my homeland especially our older people can never forgive Russians after Winter War (and Continous War and partly because Stalin forced us to fight war against Germany (Lapland War)). I still think that all participants did major war crimes during WWII, and I think that most horrible crimes were made by Soviet Union, Germany and Japan. Still, war has been over for 60 years now so it is mainly useless to start argue about who was most "bad guy". It is just easy for us all remember those crimes which ones were thrown against either ourselves, our relatives or our nation. And well, I have some Russian friends who are studying here in Finland. Maybe that cursed WWII with its cursed ideologies help to create better world, even now after even London's bombings it seems to be that humanity hopes have sunk low.
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July 11th, 2005  
vargsriket
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farseer
Well, I just have to say that probably most of people in Baltic States and Finland (and another countries forcefully annexed by Stalin) have as much hatred towards Russians and Red Army as you have against Germans. After all, in my homeland especially our older people can never forgive Russians after Winter War (and Continous War and partly because Stalin forced us to fight war against Germany (Lapland War)). I still think that all participants did major war crimes during WWII, and I think that most horrible crimes were made by Soviet Union, Germany and Japan. Still, war has been over for 60 years now so it is mainly useless to start argue about who was most "bad guy". It is just easy for us all remember those crimes which ones were thrown against either ourselves, our relatives or our nation. And well, I have some Russian friends who are studying here in Finland. Maybe that cursed WWII with its cursed ideologies help to create better world, even now after even London's bombings it seems to be that humanity hopes have sunk low.
No, I don't hate the Germans, don't put words in my mouth, I said I have nothing against them. At all. There may be some reservations in my, on a subconscious level, but overall the Germans I've met were nice guys and girls, I'd be a fool to "hate" them or the entire Nation because of What happened 60+odd years ago. I do however hate what the Third Reich did to my Motherland. But today, generations have gone by, and I know that WW2 is a very shameful and, least to say, embarassing period of German history, and thankfully most people do realize that there's no way you can justify that inhuman regime and War.
Now, as far as this topic is concerned, we were talking about the Werhmacht, not about the Soviet-Finnish war, or anything that the Finns or Estonians, Latvians, etc didn't like about USSR. I know that nowadays it's considered "fashionable" to come out with these rightist and pro-NS ideas in the Baltic nations, erecting monuments and taking pride in praising the people that fought with the Nazis against the USSR. Stalin had done some terrible things to his own people, no one in their right mind would deny that or defend him. But to compare Russian crimes of WW2 to the German war crimes is a highly unbalanced equation. Russians did not massacre tens of millions of civilians. They did not round up a single ethnicity and murder them in the millions in most horrible ways. There are countless differences between the two regimes. Both nations were led by murderous tyrants, yes. But the Nazis had done much more harm to the world and global population than USSR.
July 12th, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi again Doppleganger.

When you say......
''I'm detecting that you seem to have a particular hatred of what the Germans did in WW2.''


Well, for Gods sake Doppleganger, wouldn't any sane person hate what they did, dont you?


And.....
''They did some terrible things no doubt but I wouldn't go as far to say that what they did was incomparable in human history. There are plenty of examples of horrifying things done on a mass scale. The Mongols would put to the sword any city that refused to surrender and I mean utterly destroy the city and any human being living inside. So human atrocities have sadly been with us since the beginning of time - the Nazi's did not invent this although they provided us with some of the most chilling examples.''



I'd like to think that in almost a thousand years of civilisation, we would have improved slightly on extreme Mongol ways of thinking, especially in a so called highly civilised European country like Germany, in the middle of the 20th centry.

The slight differance with medievil slaughter and attrocities of people like the Mongols [apart from the vast differance in the total slaughted] is that Germany, didn't just set out to conquer countries, they set out to commit genocide on a monumental scale, and the only way they could do it was with the knowedge, and co-operation of the Wehrmacht. The Wehrmacht [and their commanders] were a participant in the war of extermination, a conflict that they were the only group with the power to halt. Millions of people were killed by the Wehrmacht outside of combat, in mass executions, murders of P.O.W's and thousands of village burnings.

You say......
''My answer still is that the Wehrmacht, meaning the armed services in general and not just the Army, was not a political army, no matter that at times it did some terrible things. And when I said that senior Wehrmacht commanders must have known about the Holocaust (and they must have) that does not mean to say they had any hand in it (because I don't believe that any Army or Waffen SS commander did).''


You're obviously refering to the Holocaust of the Jews, and natually they could'nt be operating the exterminations in the death camps, but dont you think even knowing about it and doing nothing is a huge indictment of the Generals? And don't mix that Holocaust with the the vast genocide in Russia which the Wehrmacht commanders not only knew about but actively encouraged. Some, like Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, commander of the German Sixth Army, issued a directive on October 10,1941 emphasizing the need for harsh treatment of "Jewish subhumanity."
And Manstein issued an order on November 20, 1941: his version of the infamous "Reichenau Order" which equated "partisans" and "Jews" and called for draconic measures against them. Hitler and Field Marshal von Rundstedt recommended the "Reichenau Order" as being exemplary and encouraged other generals to issue similar orders. Not all did, but Von Manstein was among those who voluntarily issued such an order.
He then looked the other way and let the death squads murder hundreds of thousands of civilions in areas under his control.


As for the writings of German Generals and historians, all I can do is repeat what i've posted before from the British Cambridge History of warfare in a review of post war German Generals writings.............

"The new wave of historical research has underlined what most historians have generally suspected, the complete unreliability and intellectual dishonesty, even by the standards of the genre, of post war memoirs by German generals."

As to whether the Nazi's could have occurred in any Western nation.
That's an intersting question,, but I suppose it comes down to do you think that enough Britons, Scots, Americans or Aussies etc would fall to the depths of what the Germans did, who knows?

Be an interesting topic.
July 13th, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
Hi again Doppleganger.

When you say......
''I'm detecting that you seem to have a particular hatred of what the Germans did in WW2.''


Well, for Gods sake Doppleganger, wouldn't any sane person hate what they did, dont you?


And.....
''They did some terrible things no doubt but I wouldn't go as far to say that what they did was incomparable in human history. There are plenty of examples of horrifying things done on a mass scale. The Mongols would put to the sword any city that refused to surrender and I mean utterly destroy the city and any human being living inside. So human atrocities have sadly been with us since the beginning of time - the Nazi's did not invent this although they provided us with some of the most chilling examples.''



I'd like to think that in almost a thousand years of civilisation, we would have improved slightly on extreme Mongol ways of thinking, especially in a so called highly civilised European country like Germany, in the middle of the 20th centry.
Well, deep down inside we are still exactly the same creatures we were 1,000, even 10,000 years ago. We have the veneers of 'civilization' and 'technology' but we're basically driven by the same instincts that sometimes get the better of us sadly.

Look at what's happening in some African states today and you'll see we are still capable of immense savagery.

I thought much of what Nazi Germany did was disgusting, incomprehensible and deeply sad. But that said, I don't harbour a particular hatred towards Germans. What happened in Germany could have happened anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
The slight differance with medievil slaughter and attrocities of people like the Mongols [apart from the vast differance in the total slaughted] is that Germany, didn't just set out to conquer countries, they set out to commit genocide on a monumental scale, and the only way they could do it was with the knowedge, and co-operation of the Wehrmacht. The Wehrmacht [and their commanders] were a participant in the war of extermination, a conflict that they were the only group with the power to halt. Millions of people were killed by the Wehrmacht outside of combat, in mass executions, murders of P.O.W's and thousands of village burnings.

You say......
''My answer still is that the Wehrmacht, meaning the armed services in general and not just the Army, was not a political army, no matter that at times it did some terrible things. And when I said that senior Wehrmacht commanders must have known about the Holocaust (and they must have) that does not mean to say they had any hand in it (because I don't believe that any Army or Waffen SS commander did).''

You're obviously refering to the Holocaust of the Jews, and natually they could'nt be operating the exterminations in the death camps, but dont you think even knowing about it and doing nothing is a huge indictment of the Generals? And don't mix that Holocaust with the the vast genocide in Russia which the Wehrmacht commanders not only knew about but actively encouraged. Some, like Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau, commander of the German Sixth Army, issued a directive on October 10,1941 emphasizing the need for harsh treatment of "Jewish subhumanity."
And Manstein issued an order on November 20, 1941: his version of the infamous "Reichenau Order" which equated "partisans" and "Jews" and called for draconic measures against them. Hitler and Field Marshal von Rundstedt recommended the "Reichenau Order" as being exemplary and encouraged other generals to issue similar orders. Not all did, but Von Manstein was among those who voluntarily issued such an order.
He then looked the other way and let the death squads murder hundreds of thousands of civilions in areas under his control.
Well the Reichenau Order, deeply rooted in Nazi Party ideology as it was, is a giant stain on the reputation of Senior Commanders of the Wehrmacht without a doubt. How seemingly intelligent and reasonably decent men (they can't all have been psychopaths) agreed to such despicable acts is beyond the understanding of most people. Commanders like Manstein and von Rundstedt could have refused to carry it out, but I'm guessing that such refusals would have lead to dismissal or even civil war inside the Wehrmacht.

Manstein and others like him made a choice that was ultimately selfish but how many of us in a similar situation would have made a different and the right choice? It's easy to sit here now and say 'of course, there's no way I would have agreed to that!' but when the Reichenau Order was issued Germany was engaged in a war of survival with the Soviet Union. Of course they started it but IMO the Soviet Union fully intended to war with Germany but just that the Germans beat them to it. Any split or dissent within the German ranks at that time would have been disastrous for Germany.

Anyway. All national armies are a tool of the state and to some extent are political. However, the vast majority of the Wehrmacht was made up of draftees who had absolutely no choice over strategic orders. This makes the Wehrmacht, IMO, no more political than the armies of other nations. The Waffen SS was more political, but in reality was basically an extended branch of the Heer. Waffen SS formations were commanded by Heer commanders at Corps and Army level until June 1944 and even afterwards they were still commanded by the Heer at Army Group level. So even they were not much more political than the Heer in actual operation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
As for the writings of German Generals and historians, all I can do is repeat what i've posted before from the British Cambridge History of warfare in a review of post war German Generals writings.............

"The new wave of historical research has underlined what most historians have generally suspected, the complete unreliability and intellectual dishonesty, even by the standards of the genre, of post war memoirs by German generals."

As to whether the Nazi's could have occurred in any Western nation.
That's an intersting question,, but I suppose it comes down to do you think that enough Britons, Scots, Americans or Aussies etc would fall to the depths of what the Germans did, who knows?

Be an interesting topic.
I'd appreciate a link to this historical research, or book names, ISBN numbers etc so I can read these revelations for myself. I can accept that a general writing his memoirs must be tempted and indeed will be biased on occasion - I can't accept that every German General who wrote memoirs was a dishonest coward trying to make himself look more important and upstanding than he actually was. This was not my impression upon reading the memoirs of Guderian or von Manstein but I am prepared to have an open mind about this.

And yes, it is an interesting topic. It has to be said though. Unless you can demonstrate to me in any way how humans born in Germany are physically and psychologically different to humans born elsewhere I can confidently state that Nazism could have and may still happen anywhere. Look at the Right-Wing organistions in every Western nation for the evidence. They may be extremist minorities but then so was the Nazi Party in Germany to begin with. All it takes is the right set of conditions..
July 16th, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi Doppleganger.

Just a short reply.....


You say...
''I thought much of what Nazi Germany did was disgusting, incomprehensible and deeply sad. But that said, I don't harbour a particular hatred towards Germans. What happened in Germany could have happened anywhere.''



I think you may believe that I harbour a hatred for all Germans, which is not the case, not even for all who served in the Werhmacht, my loathing is strictly reserved for those who participated, either directly or indirectly, in the appaling atrocities that were committed.




You say....
''Manstein and others like him made a choice that was ultimately selfish but how many of us in a similar situation would have made a different and the right choice? It's easy to sit here now and say 'of course, there's no way I would have agreed to that!' but when the Reichenau Order was issued Germany was engaged in a war of survival with the Soviet Union.''


yes, the Germans were engaged in another non provoked war of aggression, and at the time of the orders I think it was the Soviet Union that was fighting for survival.
But does that excuse those orders?
Many of the Generals baulked at the idea of invading Russia, but in the end none had the moral fibre or intestonal fortitude to face up to him or refuse and retire, but followed orders and went on to carry out or assist in crimes and wars of aggression.


You say....
''Of course they started it [The Germans] but IMO the Soviet Union fully intended to war with Germany but just that the Germans beat them to it.''


Cripes Doppleganger, that sounds like something from one of Viktor Suvorov's books, have you read any?
He certainly does'nt let truth or facts get in the way of his revisionist theories.

Stalin about to invade Germany?

This is the Soviet army that made a monumental pigs ear of invading Finland, a country of 4 million people.

David Glantz claims that in 1941 the Red Army was poorly trained, inadequately equipped, ineptly organized, and consequently incapable of engaging in large-scale military campaigns--and both Hitler and Stalin knew it. He provides a complete and convincing study of why the Soviets almost lost the war that summer, dispelling many of the myths about the Red Army that have persisted since the war.
It effectively refutes the charge--recently rehabilitated by Viktor Suvorov in Icebreaker--that Stalin was secretly planning an offensive war against Hitler during 1941.

If Stalin was about to invade Germany, he had the perfect opportunity, when about 90% of the Werhmacht was occupied with fighting the French and British.

There was virtually nothing to stop him over running German occupied Poland and capturing Berlin, the war might have been finished then and there.
But he didn't move an inch, more's the pity.


You say....
''I can't accept that every German General who wrote memoirs was a dishonest coward trying to make himself look more important and upstanding than he actually was. This was not my impression upon reading the memoirs of Guderian or von Manstein but I am prepared to have an open mind about this.''


I cant pass personal judgement, as I haven't read them, and I'm not suggesting that they were cowards, i'm just going by what Glantz, Clarke and others have said.
I've read that Guderian and Manstein make no referance to the the death camps, or the atrocities that occured in Russia, is that true?

As for the ''Cambridge History of warfare'' I posted this some time ago .......

It's a very good overview of the war on the Eastern front [ ISBN 0 521 44073 4 ] Published by the Cambridge University Press.


I dont know about Germans being physically different but psychologically, i'm not so sure.
Do you think that Germans are more regimented, ready to follow orders, no matter what those orders are, or not?
The more larconic Aussies on the other hand for example, were notorious in both wars for being obstinate to officers, especially the British, not saluting, and and at times being a pain in the neck [mainly to the Brits]

I think if a typical Aussie was given some of those shocking commands they might just tell the officers to get stuffed.

But people like Ludendorf, Rommel and Montgomery all rated them as the elite forces they faced or commanded.

Anyhow as you stated, a differant time, differant circumstaces, who knows?
July 18th, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
You say....
''Manstein and others like him made a choice that was ultimately selfish but how many of us in a similar situation would have made a different and the right choice? It's easy to sit here now and say 'of course, there's no way I would have agreed to that!' but when the Reichenau Order was issued Germany was engaged in a war of survival with the Soviet Union.''


yes, the Germans were engaged in another non provoked war of aggression, and at the time of the orders I think it was the Soviet Union that was fighting for survival.
But does that excuse those orders?
Many of the Generals baulked at the idea of invading Russia, but in the end none had the moral fibre or intestonal fortitude to face up to him or refuse and retire, but followed orders and went on to carry out or assist in crimes and wars of aggression.
They only baulked at invading Russia because most of them thought it would lead to ruin, not for any moralistic reasons, well the vast majority of them anyway. By the time the Reichenau Order was issued it was a battle of survival, for both nations. Or do you think the Germans could simply have pulled out without any repercussions? Of course not.

Hitler definitely saw himself as a conquering Caesar and swept up the whole German nation in his fervour. Undoubtedly, the average German thought that Hitler was good for Germany and that what he was doing was necessary for Germany's survival, at least before 1944. We know now that Hitler's war with Russia was a war of extermination, but how many of the rank and file soldier knew that. And how many of the senior Wehrmacht generals really knew the full extent of Hitler's plans?

Not that many.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
You say....
''Of course they started it [The Germans] but IMO the Soviet Union fully intended to war with Germany but just that the Germans beat them to it.''


Cripes Doppleganger, that sounds like something from one of Viktor Suvorov's books, have you read any?
He certainly does'nt let truth or facts get in the way of his revisionist theories.

Stalin about to invade Germany?

This is the Soviet army that made a monumental pigs ear of invading Finland, a country of 4 million people.

David Glantz claims that in 1941 the Red Army was poorly trained, inadequately equipped, ineptly organized, and consequently incapable of engaging in large-scale military campaigns--and both Hitler and Stalin knew it. He provides a complete and convincing study of why the Soviets almost lost the war that summer, dispelling many of the myths about the Red Army that have persisted since the war.
It effectively refutes the charge--recently rehabilitated by Viktor Suvorov in Icebreaker--that Stalin was secretly planning an offensive war against Hitler during 1941.

If Stalin was about to invade Germany, he had the perfect opportunity, when about 90% of the Werhmacht was occupied with fighting the French and British.

There was virtually nothing to stop him over running German occupied Poland and capturing Berlin, the war might have been finished then and there.
But he didn't move an inch, more's the pity.
I've heard of Viktor Suvorov's theories but haven't read them in any great detail and nor do I subscribe to them. The USSR did not necessarily have to attack Germany in 1941 but they would have at some point, had they not been attacked first. Do you honestly think that 2 such divergent ideologies could have lived peacefully side by side, especially when both had designs on territory that would bring about an inevitable conflict. Do you think the egos or fragilities of either Hitler or Stalin would have allowed an armed superpower to exist on their doorstep for ever. Not a chance mate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
You say....
''I can't accept that every German General who wrote memoirs was a dishonest coward trying to make himself look more important and upstanding than he actually was. This was not my impression upon reading the memoirs of Guderian or von Manstein but I am prepared to have an open mind about this.''


I cant pass personal judgement, as I haven't read them, and I'm not suggesting that they were cowards, i'm just going by what Glantz, Clarke and others have said.
I've read that Guderian and Manstein make no referance to the the death camps, or the atrocities that occured in Russia, is that true?

As for the ''Cambridge History of warfare'' I posted this some time ago .......

It's a very good overview of the war on the Eastern front [ ISBN 0 521 44073 4 ] Published by the Cambridge University Press.
It's been a while since I've read 'Lost Victories', Manstein's memoirs and I don't currently own a copy. I do, however, own 'Panzer Leader' by Guderian and he makes passing references to the death camps but without going into detail. Of course, Guderian was retired from active service on 25th December, 1941 and never saw front line service again. Guderian's book is very much an operational account of his war and you get the impression he was in the fringes of the Nazi Party hierarchy but nothing more. I'm not going to excuse Guderian because he undoubtedly knew more than he was letting on and he was someone who saw his men as superior to 'the enemy'. But he was first and foremost a professional soldier and cannot be compared in any way to say someone like Heinrich Himmler.

I'll see if I can find that book and have a read of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
I dont know about Germans being physically different but psychologically, i'm not so sure.
Do you think that Germans are more regimented, ready to follow orders, no matter what those orders are, or not?
The more larconic Aussies on the other hand for example, were notorious in both wars for being obstinate to officers, especially the British, not saluting, and and at times being a pain in the neck [mainly to the Brits]

I think if a typical Aussie was given some of those shocking commands they might just tell the officers to get stuffed.
I don't know Ashes. It seems like you are reinforcing so-called nationalistic stereotypes there. What I am saying is that there is nothing fundamentally different between any human being. Put laconic Aussies under a dictatorship and they will act like human beings from any other nation.
July 22nd, 2005  
Ashes
 
Hi, Doppleganger

You say.....
''I've heard of Viktor Suvorov's theories but haven't read them in any great detail and nor do I subscribe to them. The USSR did not necessarily have to attack Germany in 1941 but they would have at some point, had they not been attacked first. Do you honestly think that 2 such divergent ideologies could have lived peacefully side by side, especially when both had designs on territory that would bring about an inevitable conflict. Do you think the egos or fragilities of either Hitler or Stalin would have allowed an armed superpower to exist on their doorstep for ever. Not a chance mate.''



Apart from the reasons I gave before, that it was all smoke and mirrors, and that Stalin had no intention of attacking Germany, there's another reason.

Both men were dictators, but there was a big differance in their make up.
As you've said, ''Hitler definitely saw himself as a conquering Caesar'' who was willing to take monumental risks to conquer as much of Europe, or the world as quickly as possible, Stalin, on the other hand was'nt willing to take even the slightest risk in putting his hold on power in jeopardy.

That [his hold on power] was pararmount to him, he would'nt be willing to take any chance of invading, unless Germany was virtually postrate. He'd be satisfied with taking territory from countries like Finland, the Baltic states and Poland.

You can see it in the way each man treated their army.

Hitler needed the army for his well planned wars of conquest, culminating in the extermination of the Russians, and the genocide of the Jews, so although hating the Prussion officer class he did'nt rock the boat to much, even when it was officers, like Stauffenberg who tried to assassinate him, Stalin on the other hand gutted the entire officer corps of the army on the slightest hint of a coup, hardly the action of a man bent on invading Germany, do you think?

Hitler had the ego, Stalin had cowardly cunning.

I'd bet my house on it, what do you think?
Anyway, one things certain, we'll never know for sure, will we?


You say....
''We know now that Hitler's war with Russia was a war of extermination, but how many of the rank and file soldier knew that. And how many of the senior Wehrmacht generals really knew the full extent of Hitler's plans?

Not that many.''


But some?
And who?
Guderian said after the war, when the full account of the holicoust and attrocities were known, that Hitler was a basicly a good man for Germany that made a ''few mistakes''and that the "fundamental principles of National Socialism" were fine.

It say's in his bio, is a man who agrees to the "fundamental principles of National Socialism" a nazi? What does it need to make a nazi? What are the "fundamental principles"? The fundamental principles of Hitler were to wage war and to expel or to kill the Jews. He never made a secret of that since 1923.
Guderian was back in Germany as Inspector General of Panzer production after being sacked as a field commander in '41, rubbing shoulders with the Nazi heirarchy and then Chief of staff, are you saying that a man in his position had no idea of what was happening?


You say.....
''I don't know Ashes. It seems like you are reinforcing so-called nationalistic stereotypes there. What I am saying is that there is nothing fundamentally different between any human being. Put laconic Aussies under a dictatorship and they will act like human beings from any other nation.''


Well, Doppleganger, seeing that your willing to keep an open mind to the fact that ''some'' German Generals who wrote memoirs were dishonest cowards trying to make himself look more important and upstanding than they actually were, I guess I can keep an open mind to the Hyperthetical argument that Scots, Aussies or Americans etc could stoop to something like the Holicaust and horrific attrocities of the Germans.

Although, i'd like to think not.
July 22nd, 2005  
Doppleganger
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
Both men were dictators, but there was a big differance in their make up. As you've said, ''Hitler definitely saw himself as a conquering Caesar'' who was willing to take monumental risks to conquer as much of Europe, or the world as quickly as possible, Stalin, on the other hand was'nt willing to take even the slightest risk in putting his hold on power in jeopardy.

That [his hold on power] was pararmount to him, he would'nt be willing to take any chance of invading, unless Germany was virtually postrate. He'd be satisfied with taking territory from countries like Finland, the Baltic states and Poland.

You can see it in the way each man treated their army.

Hitler needed the army for his well planned wars of conquest, culminating in the extermination of the Russians, and the genocide of the Jews, so although hating the Prussion officer class he did'nt rock the boat to much, even when it was officers, like Stauffenberg who tried to assassinate him, Stalin on the other hand gutted the entire officer corps of the army on the slightest hint of a coup, hardly the action of a man bent on invading Germany, do you think?
He did that in the 1930's Ashes, before the full extent of the ambitions of his near neighbour were fully known. And without meaning to sound pedantic he didn't gut ALL of his officer corps, only most of them.

How do you know Stalin wouldn't have been willing to take the slightest risk?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
You say....
''We know now that Hitler's war with Russia was a war of extermination, but how many of the rank and file soldier knew that. And how many of the senior Wehrmacht generals really knew the full extent of Hitler's plans?

Not that many.''


But some?
And who?
Guderian said after the war, when the full account of the holicoust and attrocities were known, that Hitler was a basicly a good man for Germany that made a ''few mistakes''and that the "fundamental principles of National Socialism" were fine.

It say's in his bio, is a man who agrees to the "fundamental principles of National Socialism" a nazi? What does it need to make a nazi? What are the "fundamental principles"? The fundamental principles of Hitler were to wage war and to expel or to kill the Jews. He never made a secret of that since 1923.
Guderian was back in Germany as Inspector General of Panzer production after being sacked as a field commander in '41, rubbing shoulders with the Nazi heirarchy and then Chief of staff, are you saying that a man in his position had no idea of what was happening?
I don't think the principles of National Socialism are in principle any worse than those of Communism. The fundamental principles of Hitler, personal principles, was to exterminate the Jewish race, who he saw as responsible for poisoning and betraying Germany. Secondary to that was to unite the German speaking peoples and create 'Lebensraum'. I don't think Hitler really saw waging war as a fundamental principle, just a means to an end.

Guderian mixed more with the top brass of the Nazi Party when he was Chief of the General Staff to OKH. I'm not saying, and never did say, that he had no idea about what was happening. I'm sure he had some idea because he was mixing in those circles but whether he knew the full extent it's impossible to say. He definitely was not in the inner circle of the Nazi Party with the likes of Boorman, Himmler, Goering and so on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashes
You say.....
''I don't know Ashes. It seems like you are reinforcing so-called nationalistic stereotypes there. What I am saying is that there is nothing fundamentally different between any human being. Put laconic Aussies under a dictatorship and they will act like human beings from any other nation.''


Well, Doppleganger, seeing that your willing to keep an open mind to the fact that ''some'' German Generals who wrote memoirs were dishonest cowards trying to make himself look more important and upstanding than they actually were, I guess I can keep an open mind to the Hyperthetical argument that Scots, Aussies or Americans etc could stoop to something like the Holicaust and horrific attrocities of the Germans.

Although, i'd like to think not.
Unfortunately Ashes, most people are capable of almost anything, given the right conditioning and the right sets of circumstances.