Did the Generals know?

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Penn44
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Post by Penn44 » 25 Jul 2007 13:58

Andreas wrote:At the moment there appear to be two parallel discussions going on here. It would be helpful if we could actually frame the discussion and reduce it to one, in order to avoid wasting time and effort.

All the best

Andreas


You mean the questions of the German generals' alleged knowledge of the Holocaust versus their purported responsibility for the Holocaust?

Yes, these are two very distinct questions.

Penn44

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Andreas
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Post by Andreas » 25 Jul 2007 14:33

Quite, and they have to be addressed in sequence. One cannot discuss responsibility without discussing awareness first.

Since the end of the war, the line of the of the clean Wehrmacht had been that it had no involvement. Killings were done by others, soldiers were not aware of them. An eloquent testimony to this line is the questioning of von Manstein at Nuremberg. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/imt/proc/08-10-46.htm

To me, the evidence the transcripts present, as well as the extant documentation, shatter this defense. The absolute idea of a clean Wehrmacht can no longer be honestly supported, in my view. It is clear that within the Wehrmacht knowledge existed, that it was reasonably widespread at the higher levels of command, and that parts of the Wehrmacht, for whatever reason, contributed to the criminal activities of the regime. That is my opinion, based on the evidence already presented here.

Before we can move on to discuss responsibility, either as a group or as individuals, this needs to be hashed out. Because otherwise the responsibility question goes by default for those who disagree with my view. No knowledge equals no responsibility. Note that it does not work the other way round, for me. Some knowledge does not equal responsibility.

So my clear preference is to first see if we can actually agree that knowledge existed, and debate the extent of it. Responsibility, either as a group, or on the personal level, is another question, that can not really be addressed before the first one has been settled.

All the best

Andreas

ChristopherPerrien
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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 25 Jul 2007 15:37

Penn44 wrote:[

You became emotional once before IIRC during a discussion of German compensation for Holocaust survivors, and with great drama quit AHF and became a "former member." Is this a repeat of that performance?
Penn44


Wouldn't that be nice? Then you could mass debate , with your friends.

Actually it was AMERICAN compensation for certain Hungarian holocaust VICTIMS, none survived. It established a "legal fiction" that the United States now is considered to be held partially legally "collectively responsible" for aspects of the ol' Final Solution much like this nebulous "German Generals" group. Of course no competent swindler will ever sue "German generals" because beside being dead, they are POOR.

Saying that "The German Generals all knew" then innocently claiming that this is no way relates to the end result/charge of "collective responsibility", assumes a level of PC naivety that I doubt most forum readers don't see through or like.

Posted while I was writing,

Before we can move on to discuss responsibility, either as a group or as individuals, this needs to be hashed out. Because otherwise the responsibility question goes by default for those who disagree with my view. No knowledge equals no responsibility. Note that it does not work the other way round, for me. Some knowledge does not equal responsibility.

So my clear preference is to first see if we can actually agree that knowledge existed, and debate the extent of it. Responsibility, either as a group, or on the personal level, is another question, that can not really be addressed before the first one has been settled.

All the best

Andreas


I agree Andreas, Perhaps y'all can, I'll help by leaving.
Regards
Chris

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LWD
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Post by LWD » 25 Jul 2007 16:22

ChristopherPerrien wrote:[...
Saying that "The German Generals all knew" then innocently claiming that this is no way relates to the end result/charge of "collective responsibility", assumes a level of PC naivety that I doubt most forum readers don't see through or like.
...


I haven't seen anybody say they "all knew". Indeed one of the quotes from the first page indicated that at least one of the taped officer claimed not to know. Given how these tapes were obtained it's not unreasonable to believe him.

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Post by steve248 » 26 Jul 2007 08:15

There seems to be a number of generalities in the posts above that are being accepted as facts.

Apparently as one of the few Forum members to have actually read the transcripts at the National Archives at Kew, I give a few facts.

1) The start in January 1940 with the first Luftwaffe airmen shotdown over Britain;
2) They end in September or October 1945;
3) The actual audio recordings are not available - no information on what happened to them;
4) The "secretly monitored" conversations are usually available as a German transcript and an English translation;
5) "Atrocities" are usually only a minor part of the conversations; the Brits were mainly interested in attitudes - sometimes stimulated by providing them with different types of books in both English and German;
the conversations following July 20 bomb plot is another example and many of the captive Generals knew the main players;
6) These are not only Army generals - SS generals are also present as the war progresses, e.g. Dunckern, Max von Herff, von Woyrsch; they did not like Jürgen Wagner.
7) The British were not the only ones "secretly monitoring" German captives; last summer The Washington Post had a story that German naval personnel captured in the Atlantic were recorded at the Fort Hunt facility; the Soviets were also "secretly monitoring" Paulus and his staff following their capture.

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Post by nickterry » 26 Jul 2007 08:53

steve248 wrote:There seems to be a number of generalities in the posts above that are being accepted as facts.

Apparently as one of the few Forum members to have actually read the transcripts at the National Archives at Kew, I give a few facts.

1) The start in January 1940 with the first Luftwaffe airmen shotdown over Britain;
2) They end in September or October 1945;
3) The actual audio recordings are not available - no information on what happened to them;
4) The "secretly monitored" conversations are usually available as a German transcript and an English translation;
5) "Atrocities" are usually only a minor part of the conversations; the Brits were mainly interested in attitudes - sometimes stimulated by providing them with different types of books in both English and German;
the conversations following July 20 bomb plot is another example and many of the captive Generals knew the main players;
6) These are not only Army generals - SS generals are also present as the war progresses, e.g. Dunckern, Max von Herff, von Woyrsch; they did not like Jürgen Wagner.
7) The British were not the only ones "secretly monitoring" German captives; last summer The Washington Post had a story that German naval personnel captured in the Atlantic were recorded at the Fort Hunt facility; the Soviets were also "secretly monitoring" Paulus and his staff following their capture.


As probably the other person to have read the transcripts, all of this is correct.

:wink:

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Post by Ship of Fools » 27 Jul 2007 17:49

3) The actual audio recordings are not available - no information on what happened to them;


Were there actual any audio recordings made? It may have just been shorthand by eavesdroppers.

To quote Sefton Delmer, Black Boomerang page 57 regarding the interview with Hess
"All this, of course, could have been grand stuff had the whole conversation been recorded on disks - (tapes did not exist here in those days) - to be broadcast to Europe and to Hitler by the BBC"

If it was just on eavesdroppers taking notes, we are some what reliant on the calibre of the low grade linguists employed. Doubtless some percentage of "vengeful and bitter emigres" (to quote a work on the influence of White emigres in Bavaria on Hitler in the 1920s) might have been tempted to spice up the conversations a little.

We would also have to be certain that the famous infiltration of communist leaning and Soviet friendly intelligence personal at this time, which was to blow up so splendidly in the 1950s and 1960s, was not having an early, as yet unrecognised, effect.

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Post by David Thompson » 27 Jul 2007 18:48

To quote Sefton Delmer, Black Boomerang page 57 regarding the interview with Hess
"All this, of course, could have been grand stuff had the whole conversation been recorded on disks - (tapes did not exist here in those days) - to be broadcast to Europe and to Hitler by the BBC"

Invention of the phonograph 1877
http://inventors.about.com/library/inve ... edison.htm
Invention of magnetic sound recording 1898
http://media.hyperreal.org/zines/est/ar ... hist4.html
First commercial production of motion pictures with a soundtrack 1926
http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG00/3on1/m ... lkies.html
Invention of oxide-coated plastic tape for audio tape recordings 1935
http://media.hyperreal.org/zines/est/ar ... hist4.html

If it was just on eavesdroppers taking notes, we are some what reliant on the calibre of the low grade linguists employed.

Source for low-grade linguists being employed on this project, please.

We would also have to be certain that the famous infiltration of communist leaning and Soviet friendly intelligence personal at this time, which was to blow up so splendidly in the 1950s and 1960s, was not having an early, as yet unrecognised, effect.

If there are any serious researchers out there who require a negative (and speculative) proposition to be proven to a certainty before using official British records, I haven't encountered them.

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Post by Ship of Fools » 27 Jul 2007 19:04

David, its not a question of whether tape had been invented but whether it was available to English intelligence community. Delmer, who was involved in both broadcasting and intelligence at a lowish level, says it wasnt available, at least not in 1941.

Doubtless the vast pile of accessory records involved in this operation would shed light on this matter - except they dont seem to have been released.

Regarding possible communist infiltration of matters involving German records I need go no further than Richard Breitmann's Official Secrets page 243

"An additional reminder could have come from Leo Long, an efficient young officer who had assisted Brian Melland in MI14 in the work on the German police [from context decrypting intercepts]. It urned out that Long was a Soviet spy"

As regards "low grade linguists" it is no secret that the need for fluent German speakers became acute by Wars end and that a large number of refugees and emigres were employed with a variety of ideological background and many with a considerable axe to grind.

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Post by Ship of Fools » 27 Jul 2007 19:04

David, its not a question of whether tape had been invented but whether it was available to English intelligence community. Delmer, who was involved in both broadcasting and intelligence at a lowish level, says it wasnt available, at least not in 1941.

Doubtless the vast pile of accessory records involved in this operation would shed light on this matter - except they dont seem to have been released.

Regarding possible communist infiltration of matters involving German records I need go no further than Richard Breitmann's Official Secrets page 243

"An additional reminder could have come from Leo Long, an efficient young officer who had assisted Brian Melland in MI14 in the work on the German police [from context decrypting intercepts]. It turned out that Long was a Soviet spy"

As regards "low grade linguists" it is no secret that the need for fluent German speakers became acute by Wars end and that a large number of refugees and emigres were employed with a variety of ideological background and many with a considerable axe to grind.

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Post by Penn44 » 27 Jul 2007 19:13

Intelligence organizations typically lack the resources to gather information on every possible subject so they have to prioritize their collection efforts towards gathering information on subjects of greater military importance. Unfortunately, during the war, information about atrocities was not usually regarded as a priority intelligence requirement. The article on the book states the British used several methods to stimulate conversations among the captured German generals on subjects of intelligence interest. More than likely, the British would have collected even more information on atrocities and German general attitudes towards these atrocities had that subject been a focus of their intelligence effort.

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Post by Ship of Fools » 27 Jul 2007 19:20

Penn, that might have be true until May 1945 but afterwards the tight time frame needed for the Nuremberg tribunal would have increased interest immensely

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Post by Andreas » 27 Jul 2007 19:36

Ship of Fools wrote:David, its not a question of whether tape had been invented but whether it was available to English intelligence community. Delmer, who was involved in both broadcasting and intelligence at a lowish level, says it wasnt available, at least not in 1941.

Doubtless the vast pile of accessory records involved in this operation would shed light on this matter - except they dont seem to have been released.

Regarding possible communist infiltration of matters involving German records I need go no further than Richard Breitmann's Official Secrets page 243

"An additional reminder could have come from Leo Long, an efficient young officer who had assisted Brian Melland in MI14 in the work on the German police [from context decrypting intercepts]. It turned out that Long was a Soviet spy"

As regards "low grade linguists" it is no secret that the need for fluent German speakers became acute by Wars end and that a large number of refugees and emigres were employed with a variety of ideological background and many with a considerable axe to grind.


Sorry, is this supposed to constitute some kind of proof? A man who was not involved in the project was a Soviet spy. "It is no secret that...". I guess we can with equal certainty construct an argument that all these transcripts are the result of an ingenious use of aspiring English Literature graduate students on a creative writing course. It is after all no secret that these courses were run in wartime London, and we know that Evelyn Waugh was in the Army at the time.

All the best

Andreas

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Post by Penn44 » 27 Jul 2007 19:42

Ship of Fools wrote:Penn, that might have be true until May 1945 but afterwards the tight time frame needed for the Nuremberg tribunal would have increased interest immensely


Read Tom Bowers, Blind Eye to Murder. British Intelligence (and American) was rather successful in twarting efforts to recruit them into the war crimes investigation process to the great disappointment of war crimes personnel.

After the cessation of hostilities, the intelligence collection focus turned to two areas: technical intelligence and counter-intelligence, and not war crimes. The western Allies attempted to identify, round up, and exploit those human, document and equipment resources with technical intelligence information. Allied counter-intelligence focused on identifying those Germans and organizations who were a threat to the occupation. The focus of Allied intelligence was preparation for the next war, not trying the last.

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Post by Penn44 » 27 Jul 2007 19:49

Ship of Fools wrote: Regarding possible communist infiltration of matters involving German records I need go no further than Richard Breitmann's Official Secrets page 243.


Why would a Soviet operative risk exposure to exaggerate an atrocity report which was considered of limited intelligence value? The British were not using the decrypted messages for propaganda purposes either.

Ship of Fools wrote: "An additional reminder could have come from Leo Long, an efficient young officer who had assisted Brian Melland in MI14 in the work on the German police [from context decrypting intercepts]. It turned out that Long was a Soviet spy".


One, you have to demonstrate that Long distorted the decrypted reports. Again, atrocity reports were considered of limited intelligence value. Why exaggerate one and run the risk of exposing yourself? If Long was a Soviet agent, what the Soviets would have been interested in was how the British were decrypting these reports more so than what was in them.

Ship of Fools wrote:As regards "low grade linguists" it is no secret that the need for fluent German speakers became acute by Wars end and that a large number of refugees and emigres were employed with a variety of ideological background and many with a considerable axe to grind.


For security reasons, British intelligence was extremely reluctant to use German emigres even German Jews during the war. The British kept many of the German Jewish emigrees in detention camps even though a number had volunteered to help the war effort.

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