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Was firebombing of Dresden by the RAF a war crime?

Discussion in 'History & Genealogy' started by spartacus1984, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. yes

  2. no

  3. don't know

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  1. spartacus1984

    spartacus1984 Well-Known Member

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    Was the firebombing of Dresden by the RAF a war crime?
     
  2. SoldierOfTheKing

    SoldierOfTheKing Christian Spenglerian

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    The sad irony is that one the few legitimate military targets in central Dresden, the railroad bridge, was still intact after the bombing.
     
  3. kiwimac

    kiwimac Priest, Liberal, Quaker, Theologian and TSSF Supporter

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    Yes, it was a war crime but, as always, the victors get to write the rules.
     
  4. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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    There comes a point in any war, where victory is the only thing.
    Fighting Nazis was like that.

    RAF engaged in total warfare.
    Result. Germans of today are more repulsed by Nazis than any other people could be. They literally have beaten their swords into plough shears and abandoned even the thought of war against GB or anybody for that matter.

    Total warfare. Total victory.

    When modern warfare produces results like that, rather than engaging in destruction that settles nothing, then that is the time that we would be in a position to criticize the greatest generation that engendered freedom across the whole of Europe.
     
  5. kiwimac

    kiwimac Priest, Liberal, Quaker, Theologian and TSSF Supporter

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    And that, I'm afraid, would be heiferdust. Utility does not equal morality.
     
  6. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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    It is not the only thing that does not equal morality.
     
  7. Museveni

    Museveni Homo Sapiens Invictus

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    The great irony is that the bombings against civilians in both the UK and in Germany had very little if any impact on the war. Harris argued that it would break the will to fight but in Dresden the swastika flew high even a week after Hitlers death and in both the UK and Germany it actully boosted the will to fight.

    The reason no one does it anymore isnt so much because its morally wrong or against a military ethic but simply becuase its a massive waste of military resources and manpower for something that has about as much an impact on the war as what color shirt the general is wearing today.
     
  8. SoldierOfTheKing

    SoldierOfTheKing Christian Spenglerian

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    Result: Half of Europe and one third of the world condemned to Communism. That's it.

    Total victory for the Soviet Union. Certainly not for the British, who lost their Empire. Just days before Dresden was bombed, Poland, the very country that Britain supposedly went to war to protect, was sold out to Stalin at Yalta. Even by the standard of Britain's own stated goals, the war was a failure.

    Destruction that settles nothing is exactly what the bombing of Dresden was. You haven't made any case as to how it contributed to the war effort. You also haven't made any case as to how Stalin "engendered freedom" across Europe.
     
  9. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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    That had nothing to do with Dresden. It had with the USSR winning their war with Germany, with brutality and inhumanity worse than even Dresden.
    If only the Allies could have been more successful faster, more countries would have been spared the continued inhumanity of communism.
    As it was, they did more than most people would find acceptable now.



    Britain did not fall. That was no failure, given the power of the Nazi state.


    I imagine after the constant bombings of London, it settled things for more than a few Brits at that time.

    It is an interesting question though, whether Eastern Europe would have been better under the Nazis than Stalin. I don't like Stalin either, but if it is your opinon that Hitler triumphing in that area would have been better, you are entitled to believe that for sure.
     
  10. Matelot

    Matelot New Member

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    Sorry, but using 'literally' as an intensifier is a pet peeve of mine. You should use the word 'figuratively'. You're in good company though, as lots of people make this same mistake all the time (figuratively speaking, of course).

    Usage note
    Since the early 20th century, literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning “actually, without exaggeration”: The senator was literally buried alive in the Iowa primaries. The parties were literally trading horses in an effort to reach a compromise.
    The use is often criticized (here's where I come in); nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing.
     
  11. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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  12. Bethesda

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    With respect, as a Quaker I assume you do not assume the war was morally right anyway (even if it was a utilitarian way of stopping Hitler)
     
  13. Bethesda

    Bethesda Newbie

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    I am rather worried by people who appear be so down on what an allied victory led to - whats the alternative as you point out - that we should have left Europe under the Nazis? Whilst communist tyranny over Europe was a dark period, leaving the Nazis in control would have far worse as they would have undoubtedly started pushing other groups into Auschwitz (whilst the Russians didn't like the Poles and there was Katyn Forest, they did not at least wish for the total elimination of the population, which is the ultimate logic of the Nazi view of their bitterest enemy - they never got over the Poles kicking their ass at Tannenburg in 1410).

    I know there is a section of US society that takes a certain view on communism (and indeed probably regards us Brits as lefty socialists with the NHS etc) and probably believes they should have kept out of the war, except in regard to Japan and should once in it (a la Patton) have re-armed the Wehrmacht to find alongside us against the Reds. As you mentioned regardless of one's views on Dresden, his argument is more on the morality of the war in the first place and, in effect, seems to be saying that US and UK participation in WW2 was wrong and a crime because of the damage caused. Whilst it wasn't the reason we went to war, for instance I imagine that the remaining Jewish folk of Europe were quite happy about a Nazi defeat. And notwithstanding Russian occupation, if the Nazis had still controlled Poland in 1989 how many Poles would there have been left alive to experience the end of the Cold War.
    Personally ref the loss of British Empire - so what - it would have happened anyway.
     
  14. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand, Nazi philosophy hated Jews because they believed them to be smarter, superior in so many ways, and therefore dangerous and in need of being exterminated. The Slavs on the other hand were seen as an inferior race that would have to be cleansed from the land in order to make room for the superior blond lion race of the Germans.
    I think that Churchill and Roosevelt made the correct decision in allying themselves with the monster Stalin.
    That is not to say that Stalin and the Soviet communists were not ultimately responsible for several more times the deaths that the Nazis were responsible for.

    I personally find a pacifist position almost morally repugnant.

    I am pretty sure that the portion of the American society that would have preferred fighting with the Nazis against the Brits would not even register as a measurable percentage of the American population. It is the lack of recognition of the murderous tyranny of the left that is being addressed in that kind of post. Criticism of socialist tendencies ought not to be perceived as a will to war against the Brits, or a will to ally with the Nazis.

    American conservatives are not in general brain dead. Churchill is something of a hero for many who still have some kind of memory of those times. It is conservatives in America in fact, who were the most taken aback by Obama insulting the memory of Churchill by sending back the bust of Churchill to whence it came.


    I am not sure of the exact meaning of the word 'ref' here, but I think I agree that the British Empire and colonialism in general was a spent force by the time that WWII came along. While the sun never setting on the British empire speaks of pride and glory, in practical terms that kind of global role is a thankless, grueling, and expensive task. Brits had enough of it already, just as many Yanks have had their fill of being in that kind of position of leadership.
     
  15. Bethesda

    Bethesda Newbie

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    When I was referring to sympathies, I didn't mean that many Americans would have wanted to go war against Britain - but rather that some then (and since) would have seemingly been happy for the German Divisions to be turned round in 1945 and with the Western Allies then fought against the Germans. You only have to read the Youtube comments of many (though not just from the US) eulogising the Wehrmacht and even saying that the Germans did the US a favour by killing so many 'Commies'. Actually though whatever people like Patton may have thought, certainly the British Army would have refused to act in that way - as during the war I know there was a strong level of support for the USSR esp in working class areas (and of course in 1945 many soldiers as well as other voted Labour). Yes the USSR was horrendous murderous tyranny too, but aside from the utilitarian aspect my enemy's enemy is my friend (we could not have won without allying positively to the USSR and no-one made Hitler start a 2 front war) I think perhaps that it is the racial nature of Nazism that has led it to be regarded as more objectionable in retrospect (at the time of course people knew very little of the Gulags but we did know who had invaded Western Europe etc). In the words of Indiana "Nazis, I hate those guys"
    In regard to the OP comments about how the war lost Britain the Empire, as said my reaction is "so what" - it was going to happen anyway
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  16. SolomonVII

    SolomonVII Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand, there was not much left of the German army in 1945. It was a thoroughly defeated army, and would not have been much help.
    As far as turning on the former Soviet ally and continued the war against them, that would never have been contemplated. There certainly would have been the wish to capture as much eastern territory as possible, before that 'iron curtain' fell over eastern Europe, but the world was pretty war weary by 1945.
    Not to say of course that defeating communism would have been a good thing, but that is as far as that goes.

    It was a fairly useful pact of non-aggresssion between the two main totalitarians states of Europe, until Hitler decided that having the oilfields of Russia would be useful for him.

    There are many Americans and people on the left in general that make the argument for the moral equivalence of the USSR with America during the Cold War period. The ethnic people of the outlying soviets would probably disagree with the idea that the USSR did not have racist policies of their own.
    There is very little redeeming about the soviet system actually. it is that romanticism for communism that existed in the working classes, and diverse anti-capitalists of various backgrounds that is behind many of those kind of comments.
     
  17. kiwimac

    kiwimac Priest, Liberal, Quaker, Theologian and TSSF Supporter

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    You are correct, as a pacifist I find WW2 morally reprehensible. As for Europe under the Nazis perhaps some research would help? A number of non-violent actions were taken by folk within Germany itself (and outside as well) which were entirely successful. The Nazis, as reprehensible as their ideology was, were humans and quite capable of moved by the actions of others.
     
  18. Bethesda

    Bethesda Newbie

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    Having studied the Holocaust and German and axis policing policy and practise extensively I'd be interested to hear where non-violent resistance was 'entirely successful' as opposed to acting as a mere speedbump to the Nazis.

    The protests in the German churches against the T-4 Aktion (euthanasia murder campaign)- yes it had some impact but by then many many innocents had been done away with and the practitioners moved on to form the core of the those who then shifted their sights to the Jews.

    The Danish General strike? - worked in Denmark because of the small size of the country and the German view of them as Nordic - when French railway workers tried the same thing they were shot in numbers.

    Same in Norway - in both countries the Germans treated the populations relatively speaking with kid gloves (with them aiming t make Denmark the 'model occupation by letting the Danish govt stay in power etc). And i wouldn't (without wishing to disparage the courage of those who resisted either passively or by force) say that the passive approach was taken on the whole, not due to moral repugnance at violence but due to concern (certainly in Denmark) of how the Germans might retaliate.

    The White Rose movement - courageous people who I greatly admire but they all ended up being executed. And even the Confessing Church, again a group who I admire, had to admit in the 1945 Stuttgart Declaration that it had in effect not stood up the Nazis enough. All these have common thread too that they are either Germans or other Nordic nations where the Nazis would pull their punches to a degree (and passive resistance by say the Cold Front of refusing to talk to the Germans didn't sadly help the 758 Norwegians of Jewish faith who died in Auschwitz).

    It is utterly fantastical to believe though that non-violent resistance could have stopped the Nazis from their murderous path in Poland and elsewhere where they had no compunction at shooting 100 hostages for every German killed - I've heard plenty of claims that eventually the Nazi system would have collapsed internally through its own corruption and internal contradictions - too bad if you'd been Jewish or a Pole or a Slav or Gypsy though, as that would have probably been 10 years too late.

    Had we not fought back but instead allowed the Germans to do what they liked in Europe whilst trying to encourage passive resistance, do you really believe that non-violence would have stopped them wiping out all of Europe's Jewish folk. Pacifism is a great idea but it takes two to tango. Presumably in Australia you'd like your police officers to be unarmed universally (and not to even have any tools of violence like batons, gas or cuffs)- how do they deal with violent criminals? - appeal to their sense of reason?

    Non-violence worked in India (and even in a way in countries like South Africa or the South in the US in the 60's) because the authorities still had some form or other of restraint. Its when dictatorships/police states are unsure of themselves that non-violence etc can work - not due to the resistance of the people, as of the unwillingness of those with the guns to shoot (again the RSA, Czechoslovakia, the various Eastern European revolutions) When they're not and its forces don't lose confidence, you have Tianamen Square. I don't think a system with the the kind of security apparatus that could perpetrate Babi Yar, the destruction of Russian villages without number or complain that they couldn't drown enough women and children in the Priypet Marshes as the water level was too low knew the meaning of restraint. As to reprehensible, thats putting it very mildly!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  19. Bethesda

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    I'd agree that there is not much redeeming about the Soviet system though even authors of books on the Gulag point out that it did not have the immovable racial barriers that the Nazi camps had - whilst I know all about the removal of the Volga Germans, Chechens, Tartars etc to various parts of the USSR in appalling conditions (and some Russians are certainly racist). I don't think i've ever seen it suggested that even someone as horrible as Stalin had planned or intended the utter obliteration of the Chechen or Tartar peoples in the way that the Nazis clearly planned to kill off every Jewish person at Wannsee. Having recently been to Russia, its the Russian people I admire in WW2 (rather than Communism).
    I'd agree that to an extent certain people have helped give the USSR a soft ride in history - but also for many i think its that the ideals of communism were good its the implementation that was horrid - whereas 99% of the ideals of Nazism were horrible (except to racist militarists) in the first place.
     
  20. LionofJudahDK

    LionofJudahDK Well-Known Member

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    Why is this even in doubt?
    Of course Dresden was a war-crime. Unless one is somehow of the opinion that Germans are Untermenschen to whom anything can be done.

    I thank God for the Allied victory in WW2. It destroyed a despicable, evil regime bent on world domination (unfortunately, it also caused the rise of ANOTHER despicable, evil regime bent on world domination), but the Allies commited horrible atrocities in the war as well. Dresden is the primary example. The conduct of the advancing Red Army is another.
     
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