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Dreadnought
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65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 3:16 pm

Nobody seems to care any more. If Hitler had been born a few decades later, all he would have had to deal with would have been half-assed threats of half-assed sanctions.

Respects to the Greatest Generation.

http://www.thedctraveler.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/iwo-jima-flag-raising-wwii.jpg
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Aaron747
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 3:27 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
If Hitler had been born a few decades later, all he would have had to deal with would have been half-assed threats of half-assed sanctions.

Why worry about being accurate when referring to history? Sanctions were tried with both Germany and Japan (some history books in Japan still claim that the Pearl Harbor attack was the only way to solve the impasse with the US over the oil embargo FDR placed on them after invading Indochina!) and they failed in both cases...which led to what unfolded. Why should today be any different? If sanctions fail again the last resort will still be what it was then. Not sure why you apparently believe otherwise.

And FWIW that photograph is from the Pacific theatre.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 3:27 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
If Hitler had been born a few decades later, all he would have had to deal with would have been half-assed threats of half-assed sanctions

  

Respect and honour to all of the heroes from back then!
 
Rj111
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:09 pm

Disappointing choice of photograph.

[Edited 2010-05-08 11:19:58]
 
flanker
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:28 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Nobody seems to care any more. If Hitler had been born a few decades later, all he would have had to deal with would have been half-assed threats of half-assed sanctions.

Respects to the Greatest Generation.

Amen.. History repeats itself even today, as people forget. Thats the scariest part.

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 3):
Disappointing choice of photograph.

How is that a poor choice? Its a great choice.
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:33 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 1):
And FWIW that photograph is from the Pacific theatre.

The photo was for the generation, not specifically the European theater only.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:40 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 3):
Disappointing choice of photograph.
Quoting flanker (Reply 4):
How is that a poor choice? Its a great choic

It's a photo of Marines on Iwo Jima, the discussion is about VE day which was on the otherside of the World and involved the Army. Wrong service, wrong theater.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:42 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 1):
Why worry about being accurate when referring to history? Sanctions were tried with both Germany and Japan (some history books in Japan still claim that the Pearl Harbor attack was the only way to solve the impasse with the US over the oil embargo FDR placed on them after invading Indochina!) and they failed in both cases...which led to what unfolded. Why should today be any different? If sanctions fail again the last resort will still be what it was then. Not sure why you apparently believe otherwise.

And it was sanctions which helped Hitler into power indirectly. The Treaty of Versailles was something pretty much unilateral and punished the German Empire entirely. For the sake of historical accuracy, Germany never started that war, it just joined it and under Emperor Wilhelm II made it even worse, because the war that was started by Austria-Hungary, was a conflict between them and the Serbs IIRC (sparked by Gavrilo Princip assassinating the Austro-Hungarian crown prince). This obviously sparked many ill feelings among the nationalists of the time. Hitler used that to gain his following and eventually to gain power and consolidate it. Had the Treaty of Versailles never happened, then perhaps it would have been more difficult for a monster like Adolf Hitler to even get into power. In the end, Germany shouldn't have been punished, the Emperor and probably some of the people responsible in the Imperial Government should have been punished.

On the other hand, after WWII, apart from some reparations Germany made, the Western Allies tried to do everything to establish a democratic regime in the West. They even granted us, despite some resentment that was obviously still around, access to the Marshall Plan to rebuild the country, and they helped the citizens of Berlin with the Airbridge, when the Soviets made their blockade, demanding all of Berlin by attempting to starve people to death in the city. In the East however, Stalin didn't show any mercy and ruled over the Eastern occupation zone (or as we abbreviate it in German, the SBZ) with an iron fist, while focussing on establishing a communist regime. He even blocked access to the Marshall Plan for the SBZ, probably because he saw it as an act of propaganda by the capitalist enemies of his.
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dl021
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:43 pm

To answer the point that sanctions were tried, yes they were. Strong ones that had teeth and ended up giving the Japanese leadership the misapprehension that they were better off attacking us than caving in (when tied to their own geo-political situation, which required them to grow or fall out of power), and weak ones that encouraged Adolf to continue down his path. Either way the governments sanctioned didn't believe that they would suffer enough to stop their offending behaviour. Today we have hamstrung ourselves to the point that even if we sanction a country our associates at the UN undermine these sanctions and give reason to the sanctioned that they have alternatives and a way out if they'll just outwait the sanctioners. Political will and the national resolve aren't what they once were, with our dwindling attention spans and desire for immediate results (because, the news happens right away....why can't solutions?).

The photo is a great photo, and the symbolism is tremendous. He could have chosen the sailor kissing the girl, or the Russians and US troops shaking hands. V-E Day was the signal that all was lost for the Axis, and the holdouts in the Pacific would have surrendered then if they had the same cultural and political mores as the Europeans and other westerners.

V-E Day is also one of the events that directly led to my being born and I am thankful to all the servicemen and women, and all the civilians who sacrificed, worked and truly supported (beyond words or stickers) the worldwide crusade to defeat the enemies of democracy. Because that's what it was. Tyranny trampling democracy (except for the Soviets, who were part of the tyranny until they got bit in the ass by Hitler and changed sides, later with the Italians) and free peoples banding together along with their allies and fighting together to defeat the fascists and tyrants.

Thank God for those people.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:46 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 5):
The photo was for the generation, not specifically the European theater only.

You can use that photo when we get to VJ-Day, which is in a few months. If you want to talk about VE-Day, please use a more accurate picture, e.g. of soldiers entering France D-Day, or the allies blowing up Nazi symbols in Nürnberg.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:51 pm

Quoting flanker (Reply 4):

How is that a poor choice? Its a great choice.

Different area, different date, staged photograph. How about this instead, still staged, but at least relevant to this particular date.

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Respects to the Greatest Generation.

How is the generation from 65 years ago the "Greatest Generation"? I shudder when I think back to those times. These folks fought war after war against each other. Let's respect those who lost their lifes in these wars, but I for one am damn glad that we don't live in that "greatest generation" anymore, and actually have a decent chance of leading a life without war.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 6:56 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 1):
some history books in Japan still claim that the Pearl Harbor attack was the only way to solve the impasse with the US over the oil embargo FDR placed on them after invading Indochina!)

Any reason for this? Maybe to save embarrassment from the current generation of Japanese, perhaps?

Quoting Rara (Reply 10):
How is the generation from 65 years ago the "Greatest Generation"?

Because the U.S. was the underdog in the war, but then again, the U.S. actually KTA!
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 7:10 pm

7 May 1945 - The German forces surrender. The capitulation of Germany is signed in Reims at 2.40 in the morning.in a classroom in the Technical School that hosted the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.

This signed the end of combat in Western Europe. Combat went on the Eastern front unitl the Germans signed another act of capitulation with the Soviets in Berlin.

Unconditional surrender was signed in a villa in the Eastern part of Berlin. Representatives from the USSR, Great Britain, France and the United States had arrived there before midnight.

The end of the Second World War was officialized on 2 September 1945 with the unconditional capitulation of the Japanese forces on the deck of the USS Missouri in the Bay of Tokyo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLXTBRJb07M

RIP all who have fought for our freedom during WWII



  
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 7:30 pm

Quoting STT757 (Reply 6):
It's a photo of Marines on Iwo Jima, the discussion is about VE day which was on the otherside of the World and involved the Army. Wrong service, wrong theater.
Quoting Rara (Reply 10):
Different area, different date, staged photograph. How about this instead, still staged, but at least relevant to this particular date.

Read again and post your own flags if you don't like it. Its a day to all.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 5):
The photo was for the generation, not specifically the European theater only.


[Edited 2010-05-08 12:31:39]
 
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 08, 2010 7:49 pm

From a Russian site, this is a page depicting Paris under the Geman occupation.

How the Kommandantur had made Paris their city. Giant Nazi flags at the Hotel Meurice on the Rue de Rivoli. Meurice was the Kommandantur Headquarters in Paris. I must say they had good taste.

Propaganda billboards: "want to make more money? come to work in Germany".

All these photographs from the time are incredibly interesting. Quite a document here on this web page.

http://nnm.ru/blogs/botanic22/kadry_...stali_nacionalnym_pozorom_francii/

 
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 4:03 am

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 5):
The photo was for the generation, not specifically the European theater only

Plenty of good photos from Europe. And I dispute the notion nobody cares anymore - look at the sales of Brokaw's book on the generation, look at the popularity of the Ambrose volumes, and look at how Spielberg and Hanks can't stop spending hundreds of millions producing miniseries on the subject that also enjoy widespread appeal and success.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 11):
Any reason for this? Maybe to save embarrassment from the current generation of Japanese, perhaps?

Well I have a theory about the underlying reasons but it isn't popular here. Essentially MacArthur's postwar decision to absolve the Emperor of responsibility for the war resulted in a political climate where it was appropriate to whitewash the war and allow nationalists a voice for revisionism. There are still right-wing elements that control publishing houses that put out history textbooks telling absurd lies about how the war was to defend Asia from western hegemony and that the oil embargo was orchestrated to tempt Japan into war to save American industry from the effects of the Depression. I'm not saying a majority of people believe that crap, but it's a loud and vocal minority. Culturally, Japanese are not inclined to dwell on the past generally, especially if it's something embarrassing like total defeat.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 8:37 am

God Bless all of those who fought for our freedom...for the world's freedom from tyranny and facisim. Ironically i was watching Band of Brothers on HBO last night...
 
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 9:50 am

I live in Jersey, in the British Channel Islands; we celebrate our Liberation Day today (along with Guernsey), after five years of German rule. While the island got away lightly when compared with Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe, Jews were deported from here and a number unfortunately did not return. In addition, several Russian, Spanish and E. European slave workers, brought in to build tunnels, perished in appalling working conditions. These tunnels can still be visited today. The Germans also built a huge chain of forifiications along the island's coasts.
 
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 11:10 am

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 11):
Because the U.S. was the underdog in the war, but then again, the U.S. actually KTA!

Is this a sarcastic/joke comment? (KTA = Killed them all right?)
 
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 11:17 am

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 18):
Is this a sarcastic/joke comment? (KTA = Killed them all right?)

Well to be honest, I don't recall high school history ever covering the contributions of others except for the British and Russians in Europe. There was little, if any, emphasis on the fact that Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis and others were involved everywhere from North Africa and Italy to the various campaigns of SE Asia and the Pacific. You can't exactly fault Americans for their poor education on the subject  
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MD11Engineer
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 11:20 am

The treaty of Versailles was the revenge by the French government for the loss of the Prussian-Franco war of 1870-71. This war (in which Bismarck through careful diplomatic provocations, suckered the French into declaring war against a much better armed and prepared Prussia, which they then promptly lost), was used by Prussia to unify Germany (at this time still consisting of about 60 independent kingdoms, duchies and counties) under their leadership. The second German empire was founded in the Mirror Hall of Versailles palace by the coronation of the Prussian king to become the German emperor and definitely ended the continental supremacy by the French.
Only Bismarck wanted to leave it at this and not to humiliate the French any further. Unfortunately other voices in Germany and it´s new government got cocky and now demanded huge reparations from France plus territorial concessions (e.g. not just the Alsace with it´s largely German speaking population should fall to Germany, but also the French heavy industrial region of the Lorraine with all the coal mines and steel mills. The wealth received from France basically founded the German industrial boom of the late 19th century). Of course those feelings were a leftover from Germany having suffered an occupation by French troops under Napoleon I just a generation before and various attempts by French kings (e.g. Louis XIV in the war of succession in the Palatinate in the late 17th century, which devastated the region I currently live in), to grab land across the border, when Germany was split and divided and therefore weak.

Concerning WW1, during the 1910s basically everybody in Europe wanted war. France wanted the lost territories of Alsace and Lorraine back, plus Germany west of the Rhine as buffer (they had it several times before, e.g. under Napoleon). The German emperor wanted to challenge the existing colonial powers (France, UK, Belgium) into giving Germany some clonies of it´s own (Africa was pretty much divided up by this time) for raw materials access. The UK wanted to prevent the rise of a competitor from the continent, especially in naval matters (Germany at this time was rapidly building up a large blue water fleet) and was looking at the Ottoman empire to get access to the Eastern Meditarranean. Austria-Hungary wanted to expand and secure her recent aquisitions in the Balkans, which were contested by Serbia, which in turn was backed by Russia (where some leaders thought about a foreign war as being the best way to distract the population from the economic trouble at home) .
Everybody considered a major European war to be inevitable, but was just waiting for the best moment to start it.
The war was started, when a member of a Serb paramilitary (today it would be considered a terrorist organisation), murdered the Austrain crown prince and his wife on a trip to Bosnia (which at this time was Austrian, but considered Serb territory by Serb nationalists, as they considered the whole later Yugoslavia to be undr Serb rule). The Austrian government (under a foreign minister, who was just looking for a reason to start war with Serbia to get rid of the "annying Serbs once and for all") placed an impossible deadline on the Serb government, knowing very well that Servbia could never meet it. Now Serbia was protected by the Russians, who at this time were aiming for the leadership among all Slavic countries. The Austrian emperor sent a cable to the German emperor, who, being on vacations on his yacht, answered it without consulting with his government ministers and stated that no matter what Austria would do, Germany would back it.
This gave Austria the backing to invade Serbia. Now Russia had a support agreement with the French. Germany, facing a two front war, decided on the Schlieffen plan (a plan designed by the General Schlieffen on how to deal with such a situation). According to this plan, using Germany´s superior railway system, German troops should advance as fast as possible through neutral Belgium into France and subdue France before the Russians, with their much inferior railway system could mobilize, and then, after France got defeated, the German troops should turn and concentrate on Russia. Now Belgium was protected by the British, which got them into the war. The new German blue water fleet was supposed to isolate the British on their island.
Now while the war started as planned for the Germans and Austrians, the plan soon broke appart. The French managed to stop the German advance in a desperate battle at the Marne river just a few miles away from Paris, upon which the war of mobility turned into one of trenches and attrition. Also the German navy never managed to break the superiority of the British one. Thus Germany found herself exactly in the situation she wanted to avoid by using the Schlieffen plan: A war on two fronts at the same time. After a desperate attempt to break the stalemate in the battle of Verdun in 1916, the emperor was sideline and power for all practical means in Germany moved to the two Generals von Hindenburg and Ludendorff, who ran Germany as military dictators.

Jan

[Edited 2010-05-09 04:56:32]
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greggarious
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 11:54 am

Quoting Rara (Reply 10):
Different area, different date, staged photograph. How about this instead, still staged, but at least relevant to this particular date.

Joe Rosenthal's photograph is absolutely not a staged photograph. If you take the time to read the story behind the photograph, it's an incredibly lucky shot, but nonetheless genuine. If it was somehow staged I seriously doubt the USMC would have sent the participating Marines back into battle after seeing the resulting photograph. The following months proved that the Marines (and, lest we forget, a Navy corpsman) were far more effective propaganda tools alive than dead (remember, 50% of the men in the photograph died afterwards, the last almost a month after the photograph was taken).

However, I do agree that the Soviet flag raising photo is far more appropriate. The USSR more than any other country had the right to say that it won World War II.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 12:11 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 19):
Quoting RJ111 (Reply 18):
Is this a sarcastic/joke comment? (KTA = Killed them all right?)

Well to be honest, I don't recall high school history ever covering the contributions of others except for the British and Russians in Europe. There was little, if any, emphasis on the fact that Canadians, Aussies, Kiwis and others were involved everywhere from North Africa and Italy to the various campaigns of SE Asia and the Pacific. You can't exactly fault Americans for their poor education on the subject

Well, a little known fact: There were several tenthousand Germans, Italians and Austrians, who fought on the Allied side in WW2, in various uniforms (mostly British, Russian or American).

Jan
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OV735
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 1:23 pm

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 11):
Quoting Rara (Reply 10):
How is the generation from 65 years ago the "Greatest Generation"?

Because the U.S. was the underdog in the war, but then again, the U.S. actually KTA!

Perhaps it was the "greatest generation" in the US, but on the Eurasian continent, it's the generation of three most vicious mass murderers, with a combined death toll in the region of a hundred million. I really wouldn't call that great. It's rather a generation that should not have existed in the first place, to be honest.
 
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 3:12 pm

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 19):
You can't exactly fault Americans for their poor education on the subject

And then THEY speak about censorship.  

Go to a local US school's history class. Odds are that when they reach the topics of both WWI and WWII they'll speak very little of the Soviets (if any at all), a bit more broadly on the Britons and French, and a lot against the Axis (including Japan).

All things aside, I'm quite amazed and proud of Russians to actually invite NATO troops to the Victory Day parade. The Cold War is long over. Despite their differences, history shows that both the West and the Soviets were allies and this day should honor that alliance.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 5:27 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
If Hitler had been born a few decades later, all he would have had to deal with would have been half-assed threats of half-assed sanctions.

As others have mentioned, sanctions were brought against Germany in the initial stages. It was after sanctions failed that war became inevitable. Are you suggesting that civilized nations should simply declare war against other nations rather than initially taking the diplomatic route?

Quoting flanker (Reply 13):

It's still a poorly chosen picture. As others have said, there are plenty of good pictures from the European theater. If you want to honor the generation, you can honor them with a picture from Europe. If we're talking about VE day, why post a picture from Iwo Jima to commemorate it?
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AirframeAS
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 6:18 pm

Quoting RJ111 (Reply 18):
Is this a sarcastic/joke comment? (KTA = Killed them all right?)

No. I'm not that stupid nor am I ignorant.

If you were to have attended to my high school and played football, you would know what KTA stood for. Nice try in trying to figure KTA out, but that is not what it stood for. It stands for Kick Their Ass. And I believe that is still being used today in that football program.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 15):
I have a theory

So it is actually stemming from the truth just to save face. Does the books indicate that they actually lost the Pacific war and surrendered?
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 7:26 pm

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 26):
So it is actually stemming from the truth just to save face. Does the books indicate that they actually lost the Pacific war and surrendered?

I do not know specifics about the book that Aaron is referring to, however it has been known for some time that Japanese history textbooks tend to whitewash Japan's role in WWII, even going so far as to completely omit or rewrite atrocities committed by the Japanese.
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AirframeAS
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 7:33 pm

Quoting OA412 (Reply 27):
however it has been known for some time that Japanese history textbooks tend to whitewash Japan's role in WWII, even going so far as to completely omit or rewrite atrocities committed by the Japanese.

My ex-gf's roommate was a Japanese girl (This was over 10 years ago, mind you). I tried to pry some info out of the roommate about Japan's involvement in WW2. She flat out refused to discuss the issue, period. I was surprised to actually see how sensitive the issue was to the people of Japan, and still am to this day and I wonder why they have to hide the factual stuff that really happened. You cannot change history.

I realize that the Japanese are very, very proud of their rich history and how they have become over the centuries of their existence, they are a very, very, very old country. But in this case, there is really no reason to hide what happened during WW2. Nobody is going to criticize them about that. What happened, happened and there is nothing we can do about it.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 8:10 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 24):
All things aside, I'm quite amazed and proud of Russians to actually invite NATO troops to the Victory Day parade. The Cold War is long over. Despite their differences, history shows that both the West and the Soviets were allies and this day should honor that alliance.

Agreed, although to be fair I think this year was the first time ever that foreigners were invited to participate in Moscow. For many years the Soviets refused to admit that other countries helped against the Germans, to the extent that a lot of Lend-Lease supplies were re-packaged to hide their origin.

Quoting OA412 (Reply 25):
As others have mentioned, sanctions were brought against Germany in the initial stages. It was after sanctions failed that war became inevitable. Are you suggesting that civilized nations should simply declare war against other nations rather than initially taking the diplomatic route?

Some people, Winston Churchill among them argued that war with Germany was inevitable and that France and the UK should take Hitler out in 1937 or 38, when Germany was still much weaker. With the benefit of hindsight, they were right.

But there is no way to know in advance. One of the lessons from the Iraq invasion illustrates one possible failure - what if you are wrong about their capabilities or their intentions? You can never know for sure unless an attack actually happens.

We face the same thing with Iran. Do we wait until an Iranian nuke goes off in Tel Aviv or elsewhere, or not? If we wait, millions could die and you will be blamed for not doing something sooner. If you act pre-emptively, you will be accused of being a warmonger and that even if you found capability, you cannot know for sure that the other side would actually attack.

These are the kinds of dilemmas that leaders have faced for thousands of years and will continue to do so.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 28):
I realize that the Japanese are very, very proud of their rich history and how they have become over the centuries of their existence, they are a very, very, very old country. But in this case, there is really no reason to hide what happened during WW2. Nobody is going to criticize them about that. What happened, happened and there is nothing we can do about it.

The Japanese did some pretty horrible things during the war particularly in China, just as bad or worse than the horrors the Nazis did in the concentration camps. The difference is that Germany made a very serious effort to expose what happened and educate their children about what the Nazis did. The Japanese never did that, and you still have many Japanese (not all) that feel that they did nothing wrong in WWII, that in fact they were stainless victims.
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 09, 2010 9:59 pm

Quoting flanker (Reply 4):
How is that a poor choice? Its a great choice.
Quoting STT757 (Reply 6):
It's a photo of Marines on Iwo Jima, the discussion is about VE day which was on the otherside of the World and involved the Army. Wrong service, wrong theater.

           

Now this represents Victory in Europe!

 
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Tue May 11, 2010 12:44 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 5):
Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 1):
And FWIW that photograph is from the Pacific theatre.

The photo was for the generation, not specifically the European theater only.

Sorry, Aaron747, have to agree with Dreadnought. The Iwo Jima one is, to my mind, the most evocative photograph taken in the whole of WW2.

To even things up, though, maybe this one deserves a place too. It shows Commonwealth troops capturing a German tank literally at 'bayonet-point,' at El Alamein in October 1942. Worth mentioning that, at that time, not a single US soldier had engaged the German and Italian armies in battle. From the Commonwealth viewpoint Alamein (in my view rightly) is seen as the turning-point of the European war. As Churchill put it (very neatly, that was one of his talents) - "Before Alamein we never had a victory - after Alamein, we seldom suffered a defeat..."

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/m...49/news-graphics-2007-_649800a.jpg


Quoting Rara (Reply 10):
How about this instead, still staged, but at least relevant to this particular date.

Have to argue about the word 'staged,' Rara. If you get hold of a book called "Flags of Our Fathers" (written by the son of one of the guys who raised the flag) it's pretty clear that the second 'flag-raising' was required because the Commanding Officer of the invasion force had given an order that the first flag that was raised should be 'acquired' and delivered to his flagship as his personal souvenir. The six marines in the picture (actually five marines and a Navy medic) were just ordered to raise another, larger, flag in its place. Worth mentioning that three of the men in the photograph were later killed in action and are buried on Guadalcanal. So the photograph is genuine, not 'staged'.......

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 24):
Despite their differences, history shows that both the West and the Soviets were allies and this day should honor that alliance.

Sorry, einsteinboricua, have to 'quibble' a bit with you too.   Yeah, we all ended WW2 as 'glorious allies.' But it has to be remembered that Hitler, in 1939, was terrified about the possibility of a 'war on two fronts.' If Stalin hadn't signed the 'Treaty of Non-Aggression' in August 1939 - and then, for good measure, immediately joined the Germans in invading Poland - it is my opinion that WW2 would not have happened at all.......

[Edited 2010-05-11 05:54:50]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
iakobos
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Tue May 11, 2010 1:24 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
If Stalin hadn't signed the 'Treaty of Non-Aggression' in August 1940

Year correction, the Molotov-Ribbentrop's pact was signed on 24 August 1939.

By "giving" the USSR free rein in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and big chunks of Poland (incl. Belarus) and Romania (incl. Moldavia), and knowing that Staline's army was nowhere near ready for war with Germany, Hitler gave himself the time to win in the West and prepare his next move to the East.

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
it is my opinion that WW2 would not have happened at all.......

IMO the clash between Hitler and Staline was unavoidable, both parties waiting only for the right moment.
 
Kiwirob
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Tue May 11, 2010 2:13 pm

Quoting greggarious (Reply 21):
Joe Rosenthal's photograph is absolutely not a staged photograph.

It is, it was the second photo taken of the flag being raised on Mount Suribachi that day. The first flag was too small to be seen from the beach so there was request put in to replace it with a larger one.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 28):
You cannot change history.

Yes you can, it's done all the time, one good example which is fairly relevant to this site is the common misconception that the Wright Bros were the first to achieve powered controlled flight, they were not, Richard Pearse got there some 9 months before them on the 31st March 1903.
 
greggarious
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Tue May 11, 2010 2:50 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 33):
It is, it was the second photo taken of the flag being raised on Mount Suribachi that day. The first flag was too small to be seen from the beach so there was request put in to replace it with a larger one.

Right, there's no dispute that the photograph is of the second flag raising. Not only was the first flag too small (but not small enough that it couldn't be seen from the beach, as ships landing on the beach and further out in the water started blowing their horns in salute when it went up), but the Secretary of the Navy (who was on the beach) wanted the flag for himself. Joe Roesenthal didn't make it up Mount Suribachi until after the first flag went up and just before the second flag was put up. He wasn't even paying attention to the scene until another photographer alerted him to the flagraising, at which point he wheeled around and took a snapshot). He didn't even know if he got it all in frame. Afterwards, he got the Marines that had scaled the mount together for a group photograph with the island in the background.

After the film was sent to be developed (Rosenthal still had no idea what kind of picture he had taken), people went absolutely bazonkers when they saw it. Once he was off Iwo and headed back to the states, someone asked him if it (the photograph) was staged. Obviously this person meant the flagraising photo, but Rosenthal thought he meant the group photograph in which everyone posed together. So he said, of course I staged it. Remember, he hadn't even seen the developed prints yet. But, sadly, people's first impression is that he meant the now-iconic photograph. He spent years defending his work and asserting the authenticity of the moment he captured. He said that, given the opportunity to stage it, he wouldn't have used six men (you can barely even see Rene Gagnon or Michael Strank). Bottom line is, Joe Rosenthal got incredibly lucky with his camera, but sadly spent the rest of his life having to defend its authenticity.

Here's more on the subject if you're interested:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_the_Flag_on_Iwo_Jima
 
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einsteinboricua
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Tue May 11, 2010 2:58 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
Yeah, we all ended WW2 as 'glorious allies.' But it has to be remembered that Hitler, in 1939, was terrified about the possibility of a 'war on two fronts.' If Stalin hadn't signed the 'Treaty of Non-Aggression' in August 1939 - and then, for good measure, immediately joined the Germans in invading Poland - it is my opinion that WW2 would not have happened at all.......

Yet Victory Day is not about who started or why WW2 was started. The name says it: VICTORY DAY, the day the Germans officially surrendered before the Allies. So even if the Soviets helped start WW2, the simple fact that they managed to join Britain, France, and the US and put an end to it makes the alliance worth honoring. Now, had they retreated and faced their own defeat, things would have been a bit different.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
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Aaron747
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Tue May 11, 2010 3:47 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 29):
The difference is that Germany made a very serious effort to expose what happened and educate their children about what the Nazis did.

The difference there is that key players in the Japanese leadership that survived got off scot free - either by pre-trial suicide or absolution by MacArthur.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 29):
The Japanese never did that, and you still have many Japanese (not all) that feel that they did nothing wrong in WWII, that in fact they were stainless victims.

The peasant class that got firebombed for months on end and lived through poverty and starvation the first three years of the postwar period are right to assert that they were victims - victims of a military with leaders descended from aristocracy that took advantage of them. The problem in the modern setting is when government officials or history texts refuse to accept national responsibility for the war or paint the leaders of the time in a lighter color. That doesn't mean that there weren't victims. It's not uncommon for people in their 60s to recount how their emaciated parents foraged for food day and night and gave their children whatever they had...those people were owed an apology from their Emperor and never got it.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
LMP737
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Wed May 12, 2010 12:48 am

Quoting Rara (Reply 10):
Different area, different date, staged photograph.

I kind of agree. While the Iwo JIma picture is probably one of the most famous pictures of the war it occured on the other side of the planet.

Quoting Rara (Reply 10):
How about this instead, still staged, but at least relevant to this particular date.

While it may be more relevant in terms of VE Day that flag did not mean liberation and freedom to the people in Eastern Europe.

Quoting Rara (Reply 10):
How is the generation from 65 years ago the "Greatest Generation"? I shudder when I think back to those times. These folks fought war after war against each other. Let's respect those who lost their lifes in these wars, but I for one am damn glad that we don't live in that "greatest generation" anymore, and actually have a decent chance of leading a life without war.

The people refered to as the "Greatest Generation" had lery little to do as to why the war occured. They just were the one's who had to fight it and before that live through the great depression. Talk about a double whammy.

Quoting AirframeAS (Reply 11):
Because the U.S. was the underdog in the war, but then again, the U.S. actually KTA!

Underdog? Maybe at first glance but when you start looking at it closer the US was anything but. We were totally self sufficent when it came to natural resources. For all intents and purposes the USA was the OPEC of it's day. This meant we did not have to depend on vulenerable SLOC like the Japanese did. If any country was the underdog, at least in the begining, I would say Great Britain was. They held off the Nazi's for almost a year by themesleves while being inconstant danger of being cutoff by the U-Boat threat.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
NAV20
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Wed May 12, 2010 2:43 pm

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 35):
So even if the Soviets helped start WW2, the simple fact that they managed to join Britain, France, and the US and put an end to it makes the alliance worth honoring.

In my view they didn't 'put an end to it,' einsteinboricua. They CONTINUED it. I grew up with cousins and even uncles who'd fought all through WW2, and were STIILL in the Army, and STILL involved in defending Europe. Later still, I was a 'Territorial' (reservist) who was trained to 'resist' Soviet aggression, as late as the Sixties.

I have a 'piercing' memory of those days. My field was artillery. Having some knowledge of trigonometry - not much, but more than most of my colleagues (including the Battery Commander) - I was detailed as a 'plotter'..........

Didn't suit me at all. Our observation posts (in the Fulda Gap) were all of 400 yards in front of the infantry positions. And we only had Sten guns, which kicked so much that they'd have missed a house at anything over 200 yards. Didn't help that we had frequent visits from the 'Intelligence' lot, who told us that it was 'our duty to fraternise.'

Turned out that what they meant was, the Russians knew where our 'official' observation posts were, and we knew where theirs were. Neither side would have DREAMT of using the established ones - in my sector we had two reserve positions, neither of which could be approached on foot (you had to crawl) - leave alone by vehicle, you'd probably have been shot at dawn for leaving tracks.......

Ended (literally) in smiles. We often found ourselves looking straight into the eyes of our Russian opposite numbers though the scopes. We were actually under ORDERS to wave at them through the scopes - and count how many of THEM waved back..........

I can personally testify that more than half of them (maybe 60%) DID wave back - but only after looking right and left, and then making sure that their 'waving hand' was squarely in front of their chests, and not able to be observed from behind......

Just maybe made me feel extremely fortunate to live in a democracy. And ALSO to be a volunteer who could 'resign' from military service at any time.
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
baroque
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Wed May 12, 2010 3:31 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
later killed in action and are buried on Guadalcanal

Killed yes, buried on Guadalcanal - ?????????

El Alemain was important for the British, a nuisance for the Germans, but Stalingrad was the turning point, to be followed by Operation Citadel, the battle for Kursk.

Quoting photopilot (Reply 30):
Now this represents Victory in Europe!

   Best post in this thread. Only better post would be a split picture of the ruins of Dresden or the ruins around Koln cathedral on the R and of Coventry or the London docks on the left.

Or a more gentle and evocative picture would be of a bomb site covered in the week Rosebay Willowherb. That was the lasting legacy of WW II in Europe for all too long.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epilobium
It rapidly colonizes burnt ground; during the bombing of London in World War II many of the derelict bomb sites were soon covered with these plants, bringing a splash of colour to what was otherwise a very grim scene.

http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/assets/organicweeds/fireweed1.jpg
 
Rj111
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Wed May 12, 2010 4:37 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 31):
Sorry, einsteinboricua, have to 'quibble' a bit with you too. Yeah, we all ended WW2 as 'glorious allies.' But it has to be remembered that Hitler, in 1939, was terrified about the possibility of a 'war on two fronts.' If Stalin hadn't signed the 'Treaty of Non-Aggression' in August 1939 - and then, for good measure, immediately joined the Germans in invading Poland - it is my opinion that WW2 would not have happened at all

I doubt that, Hitler would have found a way. Regardless you can't really blame Russia for looking out for themselves with the pact. They were concerned about the Germans too.
 
AGM100
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Wed May 12, 2010 9:48 pm

Quoting Dreadnought (Thread starter):
Respects to the Greatest Generation.



A generation that accepted sacrifice and hardships for the good of the country . Sometimes I wish i was growing up in those days .... but it was a very hard time. They do deserve our respect .

Quoting Baroque (Reply 39):
but Stalingrad was the turning point, to be followed by Operation Citadel, the battle for Kursk.



Agreed ... absolutely crushing for the German Army . Having read a bit about the Eastern front ... It has in some ways tainted my view of the western allied effort in Europe. Frankly the size and scope of battles fought by the Americans seem like mere skirmishes in comparison. I say that with all due respect to the soldiers who fought though France Italy and Africa ... I am sure it did not seem small to them. But the enormity of the effort given by the Soviet Army does not get enough credit from the Western Allies..( IMO). Hell just the battle for Berlin itself cost the Soviets nearly a 1/3 the number of lives that the US lost in the whole War ! Some estimate 10 million Russian soldiers died in the war .... unreal...
You dig the hole .. I fill the hole . 100% employment !
 
NAV20
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Thu May 13, 2010 2:02 pm

Yes, Baroque, meant Iwo Jima.  
Quoting Baroque (Reply 39):
El Alemain was important for the British, a nuisance for the Germans, but Stalingrad was the turning point, to be followed by Operation Citadel, the battle for Kursk.

Have (cordially  ) to disagree. Had the British and Commonwealth forces been defeated at El Alamein in 1942, there would have been nothing preventing Rommel from capturing the Suez Canal and also securing the 'priceless' Middle Eastern oilfields. Instead, the Allies were able to kick the Axis right out of Africa and go on to invade Italy and force its surrender.

The Alamein victory had considerable significance for the Japanese as well. It's significant, to my mind, that when they joined in, they assigned most of their field armies to capturing Malaya and Burma and attacking into India. With hindsight, it's easy to work out what sort of 'grand plan' the Japanese (and Hitler's lot) had in late 1941. That Russia would soon be polished off, the Germans would capture Suez and push on into Iran, and the Japanese would defeat the British and Indian armies, cross Northern India, and join up with the Germans. Meanwhile, the USA, minus its battle fleet and not in any way prepared for war, would only be able to intervene 'too little and too late.'

Sounds fanciful now, but it must have seemed only too feasible back then. Particularly to those maniacs......

I'm not saying that El Alamein in mid-1942 was the only turning-point. But it was most certainly the first one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Battle_of_El_Alamein
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
AGM100
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Fri May 14, 2010 4:30 pm

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 42):
Sounds fanciful now, but it must have seemed only too feasible back then. Particularly to those maniacs......

I'm not saying that El Alamein in mid-1942 was the only turning-point. But it was most certainly the first one.

Once Hitler scored "easy victories" in 39/40 .... He made a very bad error of believing his own lies . He moved into the meglamaniac stage and showed his true colors. Throngs of adoring Germans stoked his exploding ego and raised Adolf into his god like fantasy world. He pushed his armies about like they were a invinceable jugernaut and forgot the blood and mud .

El Almamein ... seems to be the first crack in his armor . It also served as a great moral victory for the Allies.

Stalingrad ...was the back breaker not only in moral but also in material and men .... it was indeed the blow to the neck of the german army.


Quoting NAV20 (Reply 38):
Just maybe made me feel extremely fortunate to live in a democracy. And ALSO to be a volunteer who could 'resign' from military service at any time.

Interesting story Nav ... what a weird time that must have been. Were you in the British Army at that time ?
You dig the hole .. I fill the hole . 100% employment !
 
NAV20
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 15, 2010 10:29 am

Quoting AGM100 (Reply 43):
Interesting story Nav ... what a weird time that must have been. Were you in the British Army at that time ?

Only as a 'Territorial,' AGM100. I was excused 'National Service' when they abolished it (the date being four hours before my 18th. birthday) and had been expecting to have to join up for so long that I joined the 'Terriers' instead. Funny about 'skills' - having a driving licence (rare among teenagers in those days) I was first of all placed in the Service Corps, driving (well, mainly washing) trucks. But then I let it 'leak out' that I had a knack in one particular branch of maths, trigonometry. We shared a depot with a Reserve artillery unit, who were short of anyone who knew much about that, so I got 'co-opted' to them, and spent a few training periods in Germany with them.

That was in 1958/9 - I think it's fair to say that the 'heat was off' by that time, no-one seriously expected the Warsaw Pact to come swarming over the river by that time. Two things I particularly remember from those (as you imply, distinctly odd) times:-

1. A good friend of mine, a little older, didn't fancy wielding a broom for two years as a National Serviceman, and applied for (and got) a 3-year short service commission. He ended up in the Royal Engineers, commanding a troop of mine-sweeper tanks. Since he was stationed in Denmark, of all places, he was virtually the 'Senior British Officer' there. He did well out of it - actually he met and married his lovely Danish wife there - but he had one problem.

The NATO plan of those days was based on the fact that no-one was foolish enough to imagine that we could stop the Pact in its tracks - so the plan was to carry out a series of retreats to prepared reserve positions - hoping, of course, to inflict heavy losses on them all the way, in the hope that they'd give up. The corollary being that, if they DIDN'T give up, it would be up to the air forces (presumably using nukes). So far so good - but Mike's problem was that his AVREs ('Armoured Vehicles Royal Engineers') were actually re-conditioned 1940s Churchill tanks. Even if their wornout engines had kept on running (a large assumption) they simply couldn't have gone nearly fast enough to keep up with the withdrawal plan. So he'd have been one guy who'd have been virtually certain of getting a (posthumous) VC if they HAD actually attacked.........  

2. From my own point of view, there was no point in continually 're-triangulating' Pact positions. We knew where they were within a yard - and they knew where ours were to a metre. So we mainly had to go back and survey the proposed reserve positions, the second and third lines. Thing was, though, once we'd surveyed the positions, German law required that the Army not only notified the farmer concerned, and agreed to pay him rent, but ALSO registered a plan of the proposed positions with the local Kreis. Which meant, of course, that Russian agents, just by handing out a few marks to the odd underpaid clerk, could get an accurate plan of all our intended positions.......

So we had a 'double job.' ON duty, we used laboriously (and uselessly) to re-survey all the 'registered' positions. But after that, illegally and in civilian clothes, looking as if we were just driving around in the evening, we had to survey alternative, completely unauthorised, positions. Didn't help that we didn't dare use theodolites or map-tables, it all had to be done with nothing more than prismatic compasses and notebooks......
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 15, 2010 11:00 am

Actually the encirclement of Stalingrad

Quoting NAV20 (Reply 44):
2. From my own point of view, there was no point in continually 're-triangulating' Pact positions. We knew where they were within a yard - and they knew where ours were to a metre. So we mainly had to go back and survey the proposed reserve positions, the second and third lines. Thing was, though, once we'd surveyed the positions, German law required that the Army not only notified the farmer concerned, and agreed to pay him rent, but ALSO registered a plan of the proposed positions with the local Kreis. Which meant, of course, that Russian agents, just by handing out a few marks to the odd underpaid clerk, could get an accurate plan of all our intended positions.......

The thing is that in case of war, if your unit tried to occupy such a reserve position, the local villagers would probably have come up to you and told you to get off their village land, since they didn´t want to have their village shelled or bombed by the Russians as "collateral damage" in the efford to destroy your artillery battery.
As they said back then "Better Red than dead".
Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi
 
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Aesma
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sat May 15, 2010 11:18 am

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 1):
Why worry about being accurate when referring to history? Sanctions were tried with both Germany and Japan (some history books in Japan still claim that the Pearl Harbor attack was the only way to solve the impasse with the US over the oil embargo FDR placed on them after invading Indochina!) and they failed in both cases...which led to what unfolded. Why should today be any different? If sanctions fail again the last resort will still be what it was then. Not sure why you apparently believe otherwise.

So, what country is currently sanctioned and still is invading another country ?
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
NAV20
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 16, 2010 2:31 pm

[quote=MD11Engineer,reply=45]The thing is that in case of war, if your unit tried to occupy such a reserve position, the local villagers would probably have come up to you and told you to get off their village land, since they didn´t want to have their village shelled or bombed by the Russians as "collateral damage" in the efford to destroy your artillery battery.

Have to disagree, MD11Engineer. The LAST thing the locals wanted was to be occupied by the Russians. Anyone sensible would just have wanted to get themselves and their families as far as possible from the advancing Russians. Oddly enough, we were actually briefed on that too - one thing about supply trucks is that they come up full, and go back empty. The Service Corps was actually ordered, if 'the balloon went up,' to carry as many civilian refugees as possible on their return trips.......

Agreed, there probably would have been the odd farmer brandishing a shotgun and shouting the German equivalent of "Git orf moi land......."  

But, at the end of the day, armies are armies. And much better-armed than civilians. I'm afraid that a few guys like that wouldn't have been a 'problem'.........

Just VERY glad, even now, that, again 'at the end of the day,' none of it ever happened.....

[Edited 2010-05-16 07:43:51]
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards.." - Leonardo da Vinci
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: 65 Years Ago Today: V-E Day

Sun May 16, 2010 4:05 pm

Well, the village I´m living in now was more or less flattened by American artillery close to the end of WW2, but there is a story to it:
The US Army was advancing along the Moselle river and making fast progress. The Wehrmacht general in charge of this region decided that he couldn´t hold the territory west of the Rhine and decided to pull back behind the river into strong defensive positions, at the same time shortening his frontline (more soldiers per kilometre frontline length).
Now the local population prepared themselves for an orderly surrender should the Americans come up from the moselle into the hills south of it (where the village is located about 15 km south of the river).
But the local Gauleiter (regional head of the Nazi party) decided as per Hitler´s orders that no square inch of German territory should be handed over to the Alllies without a fight. He managed to get some Waffen-SS units ( basically a private army only responsible to Hitler and 100% fanatic) to come back across the Rhine to re-occupy positions left by the Wehrmacht (regular army). They positioned an artillery battery just outside the village to cover a road leading up from the Moselle valley into the hills.
The local population was not amused and they especially didn´t like the Gauleiter´s orders that every man and boy above 14 had to join the local Volksturm, a last ditch homeguard militia, badly armed and led, basically a suicide mission. So the men and boys disappeared en masse and hid in the many abandoned slate mines lining the forested valleys (helped by the local parish priest).
Now when the first Shermans came up the road from Treis, as expected the SS manned artillery battery opened fire.
The US Army reacted the way they always did in such a situation: They called in a massive artillery and air strike on the village and the surrounding area, destroying the artillery battery.
Fortunately most inhabitants had been hiding in the forests or mines, so there were not many civilian casualties, but the village was more or less destroyed (some houses survived).

Jan
Je Suis Charlie et je suis Ahmet aussi

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