Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

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PFLB
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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by PFLB » 10 Nov 2010 11:22

Well that's all well and good, but I don't see how this helped to achieve any goal other than revenge against Germans, and it strikes me as a waste of resources which could have been used for operations of real military value, such as the sabotage of freight trains. In my opinion, this is an example of where the guiding principle of military necessity would have dictated not only the morally correct course but also the militarily correct one.

history1
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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by history1 » 10 Nov 2010 11:28

henryk wrote:[...]
AK was part of the Polish Armed Forces, with its Commander-in-Chief in London.
http://www.polishresistance-ak.org/2%20Article.htm
[...] These activities were conducted by a special combat department known as the Diversionary Directorate (Kierownictwo Dywersji) – Kedyw for short, under the command of Colonel August Emil Fieldorf. Besides this special partisan detachments were created, designed to train soldiers for the coming uprising through small scale on-going skirmishing.
[...]
BTW, it´s no wonder that the content of your link is full of bravery action by AK as it´s the website of the London Branch of the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association :)

"Creating special partisan detachment" and you are talking about part of Polish Armed Forces. I really doubt that this forces are recognised as part of any army wherever.
From your link:
List of confirmed sabotage-diversionary actions of
the Union of Armed Combat (ZWZ) and Home Army (AK)

from 1 January 1941 to 30 June 1944
Source: Bohdan Kwiatkowski, Sabotaż i dywersja, Bellona, London 1949, vol.1, p.21
Just an information what "dywersja = diversion" means - from polish wiki based on the book "Szpiegostwo, wywiad, paragrafy. Warszawa 1974" (= Espionage, intelligence, paragraphs. Warsaw, 1974) from the polish autor Bronisławski:
Dywersyjny sabotaż – działanie na zapleczu i tyłach wojsk wroga, mające na celu utrudnienie mu działalności na froncie. Dywersja to jeden z podstawowych elementów strategii wojny partyzanckiej.
Translation:
Diversionary sabotage - the operation of the back and behind the enemy troops, designed to impede his activity at the front. Diversion is one of the key elements of the strategy of guerrilla warfare.

If one thinks that guerrilla warfare is part of an official army warfare then all Taliban and Al Quaida - fighters are soldiers and protected by the Geneva Conventions. They just want to liberate their country from occupying forces.

history1
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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by history1 » 10 Nov 2010 12:13

murx wrote:Here's a reference in which the "attack" is mentioned. [...] The attack was known to have been carried out by Berlin members of a Polish resistance group...."

http://www.nordsued-s-bahn.de/presse/No ... esse02.pdf

Personally I think that those acts are neither heroship nor intelligent. They where and are exactly what was/is needed to justify atrocities against civilians in occupied countries and to furtherly suppress the rights of the population at home.
Thank´s for the link, Murx!
A member of a polish resistance movement mustn´t be necessarily a AK fighter.
Agree on your statement. What is more easy as take any partisan action as matter of a revenche - nothing, eg. assassination of Heydrich and the oblideration of Lidice.

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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by SashaWa » 10 Nov 2010 15:23

The members of the resistance thought that there acts were justified in light of biological extermination of Polish nation-thus they believed that rules to conventional war were not completely suitable in this situation. In both cases in Wrocław though the attacks were on German soldiers in train-I would have to research the Berlin-but from what I recall one of the members of the group in his memoirs wrote that the casualties were SS-men. In general this kind of actions didn't see any widespread use.

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henryk
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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by henryk » 10 Nov 2010 20:50

history1 wrote:
henryk wrote:[...]
AK was part of the Polish Armed Forces, with its Commander-in-Chief in London.
http://www.polishresistance-ak.org/2%20Article.htm
[...] These activities were conducted by a special combat department known as the Diversionary Directorate (Kierownictwo Dywersji) – Kedyw for short, under the command of Colonel August Emil Fieldorf. Besides this special partisan detachments were created, designed to train soldiers for the coming uprising through small scale on-going skirmishing.
[...]
BTW, it´s no wonder that the content of your link is full of bravery action by AK as it´s the website of the London Branch of the Polish Home Army Ex-Servicemen Association :)

"Creating special partisan detachment" and you are talking about part of Polish Armed Forces. I really doubt that this forces are recognised as part of any army wherever.
From your link:
List of confirmed sabotage-diversionary actions of
the Union of Armed Combat (ZWZ) and Home Army (AK)

from 1 January 1941 to 30 June 1944
Source: Bohdan Kwiatkowski, Sabotaż i dywersja, Bellona, London 1949, vol.1, p.21
Just an information what "dywersja = diversion" means - from polish wiki based on the book "Szpiegostwo, wywiad, paragrafy. Warszawa 1974" (= Espionage, intelligence, paragraphs. Warsaw, 1974) from the polish autor Bronisławski:
Dywersyjny sabotaż – działanie na zapleczu i tyłach wojsk wroga, mające na celu utrudnienie mu działalności na froncie. Dywersja to jeden z podstawowych elementów strategii wojny partyzanckiej.
Translation:
Diversionary sabotage - the operation of the back and behind the enemy troops, designed to impede his activity at the front. Diversion is one of the key elements of the strategy of guerrilla warfare.

If one thinks that guerrilla warfare is part of an official army warfare then all Taliban and Al Quaida - fighters are soldiers and protected by the Geneva Conventions. They just want to liberate their country from occupying forces.
The quote is by the author, Dr Marek Ney-Krwawicz
http://www.polishresistance-ak.org/CV%2 ... wawicz.htm
Author of the texts:
(*2)"The Polish Underground State and Home Army"
(*12) Women Soldiers of the Polish Home Army
Born in 1956 in Warsaw. MA (1979) and PhD (1985) at the University of Warsaw, Department of History. Currently employed as a Senior Researcher at the Historical Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN). His main field of interests is the military history of the Second World War with special emphasis on Polish Resistance Home Army.
He is a member of the Polish Historical Society in Warsaw.
He is the author of the following books: * Komenda Glowna Armii Krajowej 1939-1945 (General Headquarters of the Home Army 1939-1945), Warsaw 1990
* Armia Krajowa-Sila Zbrojna Polskiego Panstwa Podziemnego 1939-1945 (The Polish Resistance Army 1939-1945), Warsaw 1994
* Biuro Generala Sosnkowskiego (General Sosnkowski’s Bureau), Warsaw 1996
* Powstanie Powszechne w koncepcjach i pracach Sztabu Naczelnego Wodza i Komendy Glownej Armii Krajowej, (The planning and projects for a general uprising in the work of the GHQ Home Army in Warsaw and the Polish General Staff in London), Warsaw 1999
Are you disputing that diversionary sabotage is a normal, common, legal action of undergrounds that are part of recognized nations?

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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by Jan-Hendrik » 10 Nov 2010 21:17

Yes. Terrorism is normally banned by legal organizations :wink:

Jan-Hendrik

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Adam Carr
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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by Adam Carr » 10 Nov 2010 23:50

PFLB, the question of whether putting bombs in the Belrin U-bahn was the best use of the Polish resistance's resources is quite separate from the question of whether that tactic was morally justified in the circumstances or whether it ought to be classified as terrorism. This is similar to the debate about the Allied area-bombing of German cities. It is now generally agreed that this was not a productive exercise from a military point of view, but that is a different debate to the one about whether area-bombing was morally justified.

The word "terrorism" is obviously a very subjective one. We seem here to be saying that when al-Qaeda put bombs on trains in Madrid, that is terrorism, but when the Polish Home Army did it in Berlin, that was resistance. The difference apprently lies in whether we approve of the cause in whose name the acts were done. If "terrorism" is defined as "killing civilians with the aim of causing terror in the civil population in order to achieve a political objective," then the question becomes: is terrorism ever justified, and if so in what circumstances? The answer to that question depends firstly on what the political objective is (ie, is it a good one or a bad one), secondly on what the chances are that the adoption of terrorist tactics will achieve that objective, and thirdly on what other options are open to the people in question.

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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by David Thompson » 11 Nov 2010 03:09

An unsourced flamebait post from Michael Mills was removed by this moderator pursuant to many prior warnings, along with an off-topic "attaboy" opinion post from Panzermahn - DT.

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ToKu
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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by ToKu » 11 Nov 2010 09:26

Another reason behind these attacks (apart from spreading terror among civilian population) could have been boosting Polish morale. Sort of: "We can hit them at heart and hard" example.
Other thing is that transport infrastructure is legitimate target and both attacks were conducted on railway and underground stations, probably both or part of them were out of use for some time.

As for what Jan Hendrik wrote: “Yes. Terrorism is normally banned by legal organizations” One should add that conditions created by Germans in occupied Eastern Europe were far from “normal”.
f.e. Person disobeying the law, and violently opposing law enforcers would normally be labeled as a criminal and bandit by any legal organization. But legal organizations are very reluctant in calling the heroes of Warsaw Ghetto 43’ criminals or bandits. Despite the fact that they were disobeying the law, no doubt.

In fact the only organizations who were calling them bandits were various pre 1945 German offices. Fortunately world came to a conclusion that term “bandits” fits officials of these offices better then poor victims of aggression and extermination planned, managed and supervised from behind their desks. In Berlin, Breslau and other places.

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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by vszulc » 11 Nov 2010 12:21

As I have previously posted: We can't outright assume it was a "terror attack", or assume that the target of this operation was only civillian victims, because of the target of the operation. If civillian victims were the only goal, any suburb or working class neighbourhood would have been just as good a target. But the location of the Friederichstrasse subwaystation was in the centre of Berlin, surrounded by important ministries like the airministry, the ministry of agriculture, and others.

This was the nerve center of the Nazi state, and means that it wasn't just a civillian target.

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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by PFLB » 11 Nov 2010 14:03

This was the nerve center of the Nazi state, and means that it wasn't just a civillian target.
That is certainly a novel argument from a legal perspective. Either someone is a combatant and open to attack or they're not. There isn't and never has been a rule of international law that a civilian's proximity to a military objective can deprive them of their civilian status so as to expose them to attack, nor has there ever been a rule that the presence of combatants among the civilian population deprives it of its civilian character.

In the Einsatzgruppen Case, Nazi Jew-killers offered as an excuse their belief that they were threatened with extermination by Jews, Slavs and Bolsheviks. The US Military Tribunal did not accept their argument and I don't see why I should accept similar excuses furnished on behalf of another group of murderers. Nations which go to war generally perceive that they are in an 'extreme' or 'abnormal' situation. If such a belief were accepted as a reason to suspend the rules of warfare then one may as well do away with those rules altogether because belligerents will always argue that the exigencies of the situation justify whatever atrocity they consider to be advantageous.

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ToKu
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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by ToKu » 11 Nov 2010 16:23

Difference between murderers form German Death Squads and murderers of Jewish and/or Slavic origin is quite obvious. The latter groups were in real danger of extinction, while the former only used fictitious danger as an excuse for their barbaric plans and actions.

BTW, by the time of attacks on German stations, process of physical elimination of one group of “enemy of German people” was already in progress. Nearing the completion I would say.

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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by PFLB » 11 Nov 2010 17:27

Many true Nazi ideologues were thoroughly convinced that they were engaged in an existential conflict. Although your assessment of the testimony I have referred to is that it was invented, I doubt that you would say that if you had actually read it - these accused pleaded innocent and frequently tried to minimise their own role in their work, but they were open about the fact that Jews were killed and that they thought there was nothing wrong with it.

But that is not the point - as the US Military Tribunal recognised, the point is that accepting an argument that the rules of warfare can be suspended because someone thinks that the situation is not 'normal' undermines the entire legal regime governing armed conflict. Either the rules apply equally to all belligerents in all circumstances or they are worthless.

See 4 Trials of War Criminals 463
Under this theory of law any belligerent who is hard-pressed
would be allowed unilaterally to abrogate the laws and customs of war. And it takes no great amount of foresight to see that with such facile disregarding of restrictions, the rules of war would quickly disappear. Every belligerent could find a reason to assume that it had higher interests to protect.
Similarly, the Tribunal was conducted the High Command Case said the following, at 11 Trials of War Criminals 541
It has been the viewpoint of many German writers and to a certain extent has been contended in this case that military necessity includes the right to do anything that contributes to the winning of a war. We content ourselves on this subject with stating that such a view would eliminate all humanity and decency and all law from the conduct of war and it is a contention which this Tribunal repudiates as contrary to the accepted usages of civilized nations.

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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by SashaWa » 11 Nov 2010 20:46

Both examples are in regards fighting the conventional war not fighting for biological survival. It is obvious that rules of war weren't written with the concept of people fighting against industralized attempt to exterminate whole nations, but with concept of countries fighting against each other as was the tradition in the past.

You might argue that Nazis believed Jews wanted to exterminate but we know that to be a lie, whereas Auschwitz was

PFLB
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Re: Terrorist act by Poles in Berlin metro

Post by PFLB » 12 Nov 2010 09:56

we know that to be a lie
Who is we, and how do you know? Because you are a mind reader who can peer not only into other people's brains, but backwards in time as well?

Whatever - as I said, that is not the point. The point is that allowing actual or perceived threats of aggression or genocide or other nasty things to give carte blanche to a belligerent leads to chaos.
t is obvious that rules of war weren't written with the concept of people fighting against industralized attempt to exterminate whole nations, but with concept of countries fighting against each other as was the tradition in the past.
Oh? So obvious, apparently, that you do not even feel the need to offer any evidence in support of that proposition.

In that case, perhaps you would like to offer an explanation as to why the states whom you claim were not obliged to observe international law did not claim such a prerogative but instead repeatedly restated that international law governed the conflict and that they intended to try those responsible for violations.

Perhaps you would also like to offer an explanation as to why those states, when they drafted the 1949 Geneva Conventions, decided not to alter the existing principle that the law of armed conflict applies equally to all belligerents in all circumstances, but rather to restate in the first Article, common to all four Conventions:
The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances
Not only that, they greatly limited the scope for a belligerent to respond to one side's wrongs with wrongs of its own, by prohibiting many kinds of reprisals.

Perhaps you would also like to offer an explanation as to why those same states and others, when they drafted the 1977 Additional Protocols, decided once again not to alter this principle - the proposal by the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to suspend the application of international humanitarian law for the protection of aggressor states and their armed forces and civilian populations was not merely rejected, but roundly rejected. Hence the Preamble to Additional Protocol I reaffirms that the 1949 Geneva Conventions
must be fully applied in all circumstances to all persons who are protected by those instruments, without any adverse distinction based on the nature or origin of the armed conflict or on the causes espoused by or attributed to the Parties to the conflict
It seems to me that you are simply putting forth a political opinion under the guise of legal reasoning, without any evidence of state practice or opinio juris to support this spurious claim that one side's wrong gives carte blanche to the other. On the contrary, the overwhelming weight of practice and opinio juris has been against the proposition you claim - before, during and after World War Two.

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