Hungarian Lynching of Allied Airmen, 1944-45

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Post by David Thompson » 18 Sep 2005 15:54

Pisti3 -- You wrote:
The airmans you are trying write about was probably bloody handed masskillers.The other is pure romantic.

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Csaba Becze
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Post by Csaba Becze » 24 Sep 2005 08:54

I answered once this quetion but seems to me, that it was just wasting of time.

There were no hanged "non white" British flyiers in Budapest in summer, 1944 it's just a hoax. Few US crewmembers were lynched by angry civilians, it's true (and in once case, part of a Liberator crew was killed by a Hungarian SS unit). All of these stories were investigated and the guilties were punished strictly.

BTW not just the bombing raid killed many (thousands of) civilians in Hungary - the strafing US fighters killed many other civilians as well (even easily identified kids...)
So, if you are an US citizen and looking for unknown WW II warcrimes in Hungary, I suggest you to check the remained US fighter gun camera films in the archives (altough I am sure, that most of the compromising ones were burned in time...)

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Post by Larry D. » 24 Sep 2005 23:11

So, if you are an US citizen and looking for unknown WW II warcrimes in Hungary, I suggest you to check the remained US fighter gun camera films in the archives (altough I am sure, that most of the compromising ones were burned in time...)


Csaba: that's a shockingly cheap shot. I am very surprised. Next time you are flying along a tree-lined country road at 100 meters altitude and 350 knots indicated air speed in a P-51D Mustang, you tell me which horse-drawn wagons and broken down old trucks and cars are civilian and which ones are military. Furthermore, unless I'm terribly confused and have had World War II all mixed up for the past 67 years, Hungary was on Mr. Hitler's side during the war and not on the Allied side. Anything moving on the roads and suspected of being enemy military traffic was fair game. But maybe I'm wrong.

As for the intentionally destroyed gun camera "evidence", I don't think so, Csaba. That's another myth. I have seen that accusation brought against the United States Air Force countless times over the past 50 years, but never once proven. I cannot believe that you really think that. If you do, then you do not know my country.

--Larry

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Post by johnny_bi » 25 Sep 2005 04:31

Larry_d wrote:Csaba: that's a shockingly cheap shot. I am very surprised. Next time you are flying along a tree-lined country road at 100 meters altitude and 350 knots indicated air speed in a P-51D Mustang, you tell me which horse-drawn wagons and broken down old trucks and cars are civilian and which ones are military. Furthermore, unless I'm terribly confused and have had World War II all mixed up for the past 67 years, Hungary was on Mr. Hitler's side during the war and not on the Allied side. Anything moving on the roads and suspected of being enemy military traffic was fair game. But maybe I'm wrong.


You're right... but, sorry, to me, it sounds as an excuse... Hungary being on the side of Germany doesn't justify EVERYTHING...

Larry_D wrote:I have seen that accusation brought against the United States Air Force countless times over the past 50 years, but never once proven.

For some guys that built a doctrine on bombing civilian targets, they are pretty guilty too... What did they expect ? To bomb civilian targets without killing civilians?

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Post by Larry D. » 25 Sep 2005 17:52

j.b. wrote:

For some guys that built a doctrine on bombing civilian targets, they are pretty guilty too... What did they expect ? To bomb civilian targets without killing civilians?


I was unaware that U.S. air doctrine during World War II was based on the bombing of civilian targets. Thanks for enlightening me.

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Post by johnny_bi » 25 Sep 2005 18:54

you're welcome..

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Post by Csaba Becze » 26 Sep 2005 09:27

Larry D. wrote:Csaba: that's a shockingly cheap shot. I am very surprised. Next time you are flying along a tree-lined country road at 100 meters altitude and 350 knots indicated air speed in a P-51D Mustang, you tell me which horse-drawn wagons and broken down old trucks and cars are civilian and which ones are military. Furthermore, unless I'm terribly confused and have had World War II all mixed up for the past 67 years, Hungary was on Mr. Hitler's side during the war and not on the Allied side. Anything moving on the roads and suspected of being enemy military traffic was fair game. But maybe I'm wrong.

As for the intentionally destroyed gun camera "evidence", I don't think so, Csaba. That's another myth. I have seen that accusation brought against the United States Air Force countless times over the past 50 years, but never once proven. I cannot believe that you really think that. If you do, then you do not know my country.

--Larry


Dear Larry,

well, again a very sensitive question (and both sides are subjective, of course).

At first: I wrote easily identified civilians, not the mistakes. The US fighters strafed DELIBERATELY civilians many times in Hungary (I have a lot pf proofs, of course). Just two examples:

near Szombathely, on an EMPTY road, there were only two biking kids. The arriving Lightnings strafed and killed both of them. Should I comment it? Do you think, that it's possible to confuse a 8-years-old boy on a small bike with an armed soldier?

near Budapest, with some civilian (and zero military) traffic during the second US raid against Budapest (13 April, 1944), US fighters strafed and seriously holed an ambulance car (with big red crosses).
Fortunately, the crew leaft the vehicle in time, because they noticed, that the US fighters attacked the civilian traffic intensively(!) in front of them...

I have many other, much more tragic stories regarding the results of US strafing attacks.

Just another example, regarding the bombers (not mentioned the 1000's of killed civilians, who became the victims of the bad aiming): when they attacked airfields with fragmentation bombs, sometimes there were a big dust-storm over the target after the first BG's raid in summer, 1944. In this case, sometimes the other BG's dropped their bombs not to the dust, but they aimed the cosely villages (and these bombs had dreadful effect on these light buildings and on their inhabitants...)

So, Hungary was 'on Mr. Hitler's side'.
Do you know, WHY? Do you know, what did your politicians do with Hungary after the WW I? You should research the roots of the WW II as well, if you want to understand, what happened in Central Europe.
By the way, Hungary was occupied by Germany on 19 March, 1944 and these attacks happened after this date.
In the other occupied countries the results of the Allied strafings were the same (strafed and killed deliberately many civilians). Just ask, for example some Danish or French researchers (I guess, it will be a great surprise to you)


Regarding the gun camera films. According to my knowledge, after the missions these films were always evaluated by the Intelligence Officers so they met with a lot of 'interesting feats'.
Another view of the US fighters behaviour: some 15th AAF pilots strongly stated to me, that they 'never shot the baled out enemy and never heard this kind of stories'. I am sure, that high percent of the 15th AAF fighter pilots never did it, but significant number of them always fired the baled out Hungarian pilots (and killed some of them, seriously wounded others). I have proofs again, of course. So, I am just asking: if these gun camera films were not burned, how it's possible, that these pilots never heard these stories?

P.S. Larry, I highly respected you, your knowledge and your help, but in my humble opinion if you think, that your pilots were always the 'good guys with white collar' and never did any disgusting things, you are in a wrong way.
The Allied armies committed many warcrimes as well, but these warcrimes were generally not investigated and their guilties were never punished (do you know, for example, what did the Red Army do in Hungary? The ignorance is power in this case, many times it was a simply rampage) In Hungary and in Germany, we are researching the warcrimes, which were committed by our own armies and publicizing them as well. It would be great to hear the same regarding your armies too...

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Post by Larry D. » 26 Sep 2005 14:19

That rant is not even worth a reply, Csaba. You evidently did not read my post. Nor have you apparently read many of the other posts on Axis History Forum concerning the difference between a policy of attacking and killing civilians and the unintentional killing of civilians. As for the gun camera films, you very definitely implied in your post that these were destroyed because they showed strafing attacks on roads, etc., where there may have been civilian traffic. They were eventually destroyed because there was no point or purpose in keeping them.

You believe what you want, Csaba. Good luck.

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Post by Klaus Yurk » 27 Sep 2005 07:36

You believe what you want, Csaba. Good luck.


Larry D.

That is a rather arrogant and high handed remark. And a remark showing that you are very comfortable on your high horse of moral superiority.

As one whose own mother, 80 now but still alive, recounts tales of being strafed regularly by American airplanes while she was fleeing from the Russians, I don't think that the high horse is quite deserved. Of course, it is probably soooooo easy to mistake a column of 3,000,000 women and children refugeeing South and West and streching for miles and miles for a column of armor. Especially when every truck and rail car had a red cross on it. And Mom's five sisters tell the same story.

But I am sure that after the war every one of those P-51 pilots was a hero and told tales of personally downing half the Luftwaffe. And whatever happened to the nose camera footage?...I neither know nor care. But I am sure it was made to "disappear" somewhere.

And by the way, we have lived in this country since 1952. Became citizens in 1957. Both I and my mother are proud to call ourselves Americans now. BUT THAT DOES NOT CHANGE WHAT HAPPENED!

And, to borrow a line from an old movie, "When you lie, you murder part of the truth." And when someone acts "holier (or more righteous) than thou," the people that know the truth just look upon them as a hypocrites. Perhaps that is why the rest of the world sometimes looks askance at our continual posturing of moral superiority. We Americans have plenty of sins on our blotter too. I personally know of a few of them. (But that does not diminish my pride in my adopted country.)

Good luck and have a nice day.

Klaus

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Post by David Thompson » 27 Sep 2005 15:27

(1) There's no need for this discussion to degenerate into exchanges of personal remarks, which are strongly disfavored in this forum generally and in this section of the forum particularly.

The first rule of the forum is: "No insults are tolerated (that includes serious national and religious insults)." Personal remarks in posts are discouraged, and personal insults are forbidden here.

There has been a lot of stimulating information exchanged on this forum, and some excellent discussions of controversial points. With few exceptions, the participants are thoughtful, serious people. If you find an argument is flawed, point out the flaws and the evidence to the contrary, and leave it at that. There is no need to resort to insults which do not prove your point. If you disagree with a contributor, please use your energy to show why his argument is mistaken. This will improve both the tone and quality of our discussions.

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(2) Notwithstanding the self-confident assertions of posters here, there has been no evidence that the US Army Air Corps destroyed, in whole or in part, its gun-camera footage from the European Theater of Operations in an effort to "sanitize" its postwar image. There are hundreds of thousands of linear feet of unexamined film from WWII mouldering in the warehouses of the US armed forces and the National Archives which have not been examined by the small number of researchers active in the field.

(3) Ordinary human experience tells us that not every pilot was a hero, not every pilot was a war criminal, and that there were certainly some of each in the US Army Air Corps in WWII. No reasonable person would question whether civilians were strafed during the fighting. There is credible anecdotal evidence that this happened. As for how frequently this occurred, and how often it was deliberate, no one can presently say. An effort to generalize about the proportions of heroes to criminals would require a substantial research effort, which none of the posters here (or anyone else) appears to have made.

(4) Without some kind of statistical backing or support, we are left to rely upon spotty anecdotal evidence of strafing episodes or events without any overall context or framework to support broad generalizations. For that reason, it seems to me that the present tendency of this discussion is simply to inflame tempers and national feelings without casting any real light on the subject.

(5) All of the recent participants in this discussion are thoughtful and intelligent posters who have contributed a great deal to the collective knowledge of the forum's readers. For that reason it is even more disappointing to see the discussion here slide into acrimonious exchanges, than it is when the same thing happens in discussions by less intelligent and well-informed posters.

For these reasons, I am going to lock this thread for 24 hours to allow for a cooling-off period, after which it will be reopened for civil, fact-based discussion. When the thread re-opens, I ask the participants who wish to continue the discussion to restrict themselves to proven or provable propositions, rather than broad generalizations based on opinions and a relatively small number of anecdotal accounts.

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Post by David Thompson » 28 Sep 2005 19:14

This thread is re-opened for civil, fact-based discussion.

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Post by nny » 16 Oct 2005 03:13

As a practical matter, civilian lynchers are initially subject to civilian or military criminal laws in the area where the lynching takes place. If the authorities in the governing area don't enforce those laws, or connive at the lynchings as part of a broader national policy as happened in 1944-1945, the aggrieved nation can treat a lynching as a war crime. If the authorities in the area are extinguished by conquest, as they were in Germany, the aggrieved nation can treat the lynchings as ordinary criminal homicides or as war crimes.


So, in terms of "International Law", when Churchill said

"...But there is one thing that will bring him back and bring him down and that is an absolutely devastating exterminating attack by very heavy bombers from this country upon the Nazi homeland."


and later

"...whilst we should adhere to the rule that our objectives should be military targets, at the same time the civilian population around the target areas must be made to feel the weight of the war."

Or when Bomber Harris said :

"Our objective should be to do the maximum damage and destruction to the populated areas, as a demonstration of that ruthless force which we shall have to employ against Germany sooner or later if we are to get the full moral effects out of our air defensive."


or when Lord Cherwell said (From Charles Messenger "Bomber Harris")

"Extrapolating on the evidence of bomb damage to British towns and cities, which indicated that one ton of bombs destroyed '20-40 dwellings and turns 100-200 people homeless', which he argued had a greater effect on civilian morale than the actual casualties caused, he proposed a de-housing campaign on Germany's 58 largest cities and towns. Estimating that bomber production during the next twelve months would be of the order of 10,000 that each bomber had a three-ton bomb-load and survived on average 13-14 sorties, he believed that the German spirit could be broken."

and further:

"Portal had boasted of the number of civilian casualties, but there was still a sensitivity about admitting that Bomber Command was purposely inflicting civilian casualties. The Anglo-American Bombing Policy, which had been drawn-up as a result fo the Combined Chiefs of Staff Meeting in Washington at the beginning of June, had laid stress on the moral damage to be caused by bombing centres of population, but an Air Ministry comment on this stated:

"It is unnecessary and undesirable in any document about our bombing policy to emphasise the aspect, which is contrary to the principles of international law, such as they are, and also contrary to the statement made some time ago by the PM, that we should not direct our bombing to terrorise the civilian population, even in retaliation."

It was recommended that industrial centres be referred to as such, and not as 'centres of industrial population' or 'centres of population'."


Later on :

Additionally, the target must be identifiable and 'reasonable care' taken to minimise civilian casualties. However, 'consequent upon the enemy's adoption of a campaign of unrestricted air warfare, the Cabinet have authorised a bombing policy which includes the attack of enemy morale. The foregoing rules do not, therefore, apply to our counduct of warfare against German, Italian and Japanese territory.


This can all be found in Messengers book on Butch Harris. As for a moral judgement (To get away from the actual text which was written up and discussed by the perpetrators) I point to Christopher Browning and his book "Ordinary Men". He suggests there are two types of atrocities, one involving the battlefield lust which will inevitably occur in any war (especially race wars) and 'atrocity by policy).

Other kinds of atrocity, lacking the immediacy of battlefield frenzy and fully expressing official government policy, decidedly were "standard operating procedure." The fire-bombing of German and Japanese cities, the enslavement and murderous maltreatment of foreign laborers in German camps and factories or along the Siam-Burma railroad, the reprisal shooting of a hundred civilians for every German soldier killed by partisan attack in Yugoslavia or elsewhere in eastern Europe - these were not the spontaneous explosions or cruel revenge of brutalized men but the methodically executed policies of government.


This was policy, plain and simple, so, regardless of the 'rules of war' (the Hauge conventions were very vague on acceptable rules of war in regards to air power) civilians were legitimate targets, and if airmen who were a few minutes before engaged in a government sponsored policy of incinerating civilians to 'bring the war home to the German, Italian or Japanese civilians', crash in enemy territory and are lynched, or treated 'contrary to the rules of war', I can say its unfortunate but I can understand. To say that the civilians were allowed NO recourse against "soldiers" whom had labelled them as legitimate targets or that the enemy government had some sort of responsibility for punishing them for (what I consider) completely understandable reactions is for lack of a better term, frightening on Orwellian terms.

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Re: Hungarian Lynching of Allied Airmen, 1944-45

Post by PF » 30 May 2011 15:20


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Re: Hungarian Lynching of Allied Airmen, 1944-45

Post by David Thompson » 30 May 2011 15:41

See also:

"Other" War Crimes -- POW Lynchings
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=14467
Other War Crimes - Gross Gerau Lynching Trial
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=16795

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