atkif wrote:1. Sealing up the city "tight' (legitimate method of Siege Warfare)
2. Bombing the city rather than employing tanks and infantry in order to spare the German personal (also legitimate per se).
Smith wrote:No problem so far.
atkif wrote:3. Having plans not to accept capitulation (documented) even if surrender is offered. (This is not legitimate. Are you arguing this?)
Smith wrote:Maybe, maybe not.
What’s that supposed to mean, Smith?
What makes the difference between legitimate siege warfare and plain mass murder is the pursuit of a legitimate military objective. A legitimate military objective would have been the capture of the city, which would have been achieved if the defenders had offered surrender. The interdiction to accept surrender signals that the objective of the siege was not the capture of the city, i.e. that the siege didn’t have a legitimate military objective. And in fact it is clearly stated in the documents I cited that the objective of the siege was not to capture Leningrad, but to get rid of the city’s population by any means so as to avoid having to feed it, even if that meant all of the city’s inhabitants starving to death.
Smith wrote:Germany was under no obligation to accept the surrender of the city as long as the war was being fought.
That, my dear Sir, is plain and simple bullshit. The besiegers were obliged to accept the surrender of the city as soon as it was offered, for then the military necessity alone justifying the application of siege warfare would have been satisfied.
Smith wrote:And presumably this means also absorbing the refugees (perhaps deliberately) left in the path of the advancing enemy armies.
Which refugees would have been the responsibility of the conquering army to feed and accommodate, whether they accepted a capitulation of the city or took it by assault. The Germans were well aware that this would be their encumbrance, and they wanted to avoid it under any circumstances. See for instance document no. 4 (my translation):
Lecture note Leningrad
1.) Occupy the city, i.e. proceed as we have in regard to other Russian big cities:
To be rejected because we would then be responsible for the feeding.
Clear enough, isn’t it?
Except for Mr. Smith, who still hasn’t learned to read.Smith wrote:It is clear to me that the documents are intended for unity-of-command, that any surrender or negotiation of capitulation would be conducted by the High Command or Hitler himself.
What support can Smith offer for this fathomless nonsense?
In his order transmitted to Army Group North on 29.09.1941, Hitler made it very clear why he did not want a surrender of the city to be accepted. And it was not because he wanted to reserve that pleasure to himself (a procedure he is never known to have adopted anyway, as far as I remember). From my translation of document no. 6:Requests for surrender resulting from the city’s encirclement will be denied, since the problem of relocating and feeding the population cannot and should not be solved by us. In this war for our very existence, there can be no interest on our part in maintaining even a part of this large urban population. If necessary forcible removal to the eastern Russian area is to be carried out.
Emphases are mine.
Clear enough, isn’t it?
Except for Smith, of course, who still hasn’t learned to read.Smith wrote:However, Hitler does not need to order himself not to accept surrender. If there had been an offer of surrender (or even an offer to negotiate a surrender of the city with authorized German representatives) then one could say that, indeed, no offer of surrender was accepted. Thus, your argument would be much stronger.
As it is, the case is rather moot.
The criminal nature of a “no prisoners” order – which is basically what we got here – is not dependent on whether those targeted actually make an effort to surrender, is it, Mr. Smith?
Smith’s constant repetition of the above nonsense – which Halder’s or Jodl’s defense attorney might have tried, but which is nonsense nevertheless – doesn’t get him past the fact that the implementation of siege warfare without a clear-cut military objective, the killing of enormous numbers of civilians not in order to force the surrender of an enemy stronghold, but in order to get rid of those very civilians, is not an act of war but plain and simple mass murder.
The interdiction of accepting surrender is but an indicator of the illegitimate, criminal intention underlying the implementation of siege warfare.Smith wrote:Well, remember the adage that "all's fair in love and war," so it would take some pretty strong arguments to justify the "criminal" assertion.
How about killing masses of civilians in order to accomplish other than military objectives, which is what we have here?
In order to get rid of those civilians, to be more precise?Smith wrote:For example, I don't really regard Bomber Harris or Iron Ass LeMay as criminal, just stubbornly-stupid and cleverly-fanatical, respectively. (But then Dr. Goebbels was a clever fanatic too.) Anyway, I'm reluctant to use the rather oxymoronic term war-crimes nonetheless.
Coming from someone who doesn’t see the fire-bombings of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo as was crimes, the reluctance to see criminal behavior in the siege of Leningrad is more understandable.
There’s a difference between the Bomber Command/LeMay (whom I do consider criminals) on the one hand and the German besiegers of Leningrad on the other, however.
The former thought that their murderous actions might hasten enemy surrender and the end of the war.
The latter’s murderous actions merely served the purpose of getting rid of an enemy population they didn’t want on their hands.Smith wrote:If Leningrad is the quintessentially Petrine city that is held hostage to bombardment until the Red Tsar Stalin surrenders, then surrounding and bombarding the city might be a *legitimate* terror-tactic if one overestimates its importance to the overall struggle.
If that had been the purpose, the siege would have been something comparable to the bombings of German cities by the RAF. The purpose was not, however, to force the Soviet government to give in. The purpose was to depopulate a city which according to the German Hungerplan of February 1941 was earmarked for starvation anyway.Smith wrote:A variation of this was employed by the RAF during the war (even though I would argue that the destruction of Dresden could hardly have brought about the surrender of Germany). The firebombing of Tokyo and the nuclear irradiation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were also terror-tactics intended to bring about victory. We can hardly blame the Germans for fighting the war to win.
Sure, we can hardly blame them for pursuing a policy which foresaw the starvation death of millions of people in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union so that the Wehrmacht could live off the land and the morale of the home front could be bolstered with food supplies from the conquered lands, right?
This was the policy which led to the decision to get rid of the civilian population of Leningrad by any means, mainly by starvation. For taking care of that population after the defenders of that city ceased fighting, as the Germans reckoned would be their obligation, might have upset their carefully calculated food arithmetic.
A more barbarous means of furthering one’s own war effort at the expense of unarmed non-combatants is difficult to imagine. But then, the war the Germans intended to win was one of exploitation and annihilation in every respect. A reading of the Hungerplan shows that what awaited Leningrad in the event of a German victory was not much different from the fate intended for it by the German besiegers in 1941/42.atkif wrote:You disagree with me (out of pride combined with your bias, I believe) not providing any strong arguments on behalf of your position.
So let it be. People who read the documents have their own minds to realize what was planned for Leningrad by the Nazis. It is absolutely futile effort to dissuade you from your preconceived opinion. The same could not be said about me because I base my opinion on the documented facts not on "It could not have happened because it could not have happened. Period."
Well, as the recent comic interventions of Mr. Cletus show, not everyone is able to read. We’ll get to that gentleman in a minute.Smith wrote:Well, the missing prerequisite for your Genocide argument is that Leningrad NEVER offered its surrender. Therefore you are left with "woulda, coulda, shoulda" argumentation.
As I don’t know Smith to be that dumb, I conclude that he simply doesn’t want to understand, because understanding might lead him to question his articles of faith.
Once again, Mr. Smith:
1. It is completely irrelevant to the criminal nature of the siege of Leningrad whether or not there was a surrender offer.
2. The criminal nature of the siege does not lie in the decision not to accept surrender if offered, which is but an element and an indicator of the criminal intention in question.
3. This criminal intention was about getting rid of the city’s population by any means in order to avoid having to feed it, even if that meant the entire population of a city of millions dying of starvation.
4. In order to accomplish this intention, siege warfare was implemented, leading to the death of roughly one million people.
5. The implementation of murderous siege warfare in pursuit of a criminal intention (rather than in pursuit of a military objective) was thus a crime of mass murder.Smith wrote:And even so, it is only "illegitimate" if considered outside of historical context and because the Victors write the Histories and sing the songs.
What Smith calls “historical context” is what historians would call irrelevant, apologetic moral relativism. Whoever else did what at any given time doesn’t change the fact that the siege of Leningrad was an act of mass murder.Smith wrote:Basically, any tactic that is used to try to win a war has always historically been seen as legitimate (unless there are unresolved axes to grind). It may be an atrocity; it may be cruel or inhuman. But realistically, it is wrong only if it is excessive, and one can only judge that in historical context and at the time or point of contact.
Well, even by those fuzzy standards I would consider the mass murder of civilians by implementation of siege warfare in order to get rid of those very civilians to be a crime, for it does not serve any military necessity and is therefore clearly excessive.
Smith wrote:To say otherwise is teleological.
To say otherwise is historiography, I would say.Smith wrote:Retrospectively, I do happen to think that refusal to accept Leningrad's (hypothetical) surrender *would* have been excessive. Just like the strategic bombing of civilian targets during the war.
But their bombing, shelling and starving to death for the clear and immutable purpose (for even a collapse of enemy resistance would not have improved the fate of the population of Leningrad, as becomes clear i.a. from the memorandum of the Army High Command of 04.11.1941, document no. 10) not of forcing the surrender of an enemy city, but of getting rid of its population by any means, is perfectly legitimate in the eyes of Mr. Smith.
Interesting thinking.Smith wrote:But the Bottom Line is that no surrender was ever offered to the Germans. Therefore, the suffering of the city cannot be blamed on anything but the vagaries of warfare. Period.
Tell us, Mr. Smith, under what circumstances can siege warfare leading to mass starvation be deemed as part of the “vagaries of warfare”?
Only when serving a military necessity, a clear-cut military purpose, such as forcing the surrender of an enemy stronghold?
Or also when serving an illegitimate utilitarian purpose such as getting rid of a civilian population that it would otherwise be the conqueror’s encumbrance to take care of, which is what we got here?