American & French (post) War Crimes

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 Oct 2002 10:47

Roberto wrote:From what I've read of him, he's a trusting soul somewhat impressed by "Revisionist" rubbish, but not an apologist of the Nazi regime or denier of any of its crimes.
tonyh wrote:Well actually Roberto, I am an extremely distrusting of most things. And it takes a lot to impress me at this stage.
Well, you seem to have been impressed by Mr. Bacque.
tonyh wrote:I just don't buy the argument from both ways, 'revisionist' or 'believer" or whatever the stupid terms are today.
The terms are stupid indeed.

As to the arguments, those of the "Revisionists" have the slight disadvantage of being at odds with the evidence.
tonyh wrote:I take what I read from Codoh and Nizkor with an equal pinch of salt.
Well, from what I've seen of Nizkor there is little to read there other than scans and transcriptions from primary and acknowledged secondary sources.

Which is why your "pinch of salt" makes me wonder if you're nearly as familiar with the contents of the Nizkor site as you are with the Codoh propaganda.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 Oct 2002 10:50

tonyh wrote:Another thing I find doubious. There was no committee gathered to sift through Ambrose's books when he was caught lifting large amounts of text from other peoples books this year.
What bearing is that supposed to have on founded academic criticism of Bacque's screeds?
tonyh wrote:I'll still reserve my judgement on Baque.
Which is?
The deaths during flight and expulsion concerned the Germans in the immediate postwar period as much as the fate of the missing soldiers, and similar efforts were made to clarify the fate of the missing civilians or bring families together. A huge scientific project reconstructed the events historiographically, the Federal Statistics Office (Statistisches Bundesamt), the refugees’ associations and the clerical search service did a lot with the financial support of the Federal Government to quantitatively assess the fate of those expelled as accurately as possible. The result can be summarized in the conclusion that about 2 million Germans had been killed during flight and expulsion - not including those from the respective territories who had died during military service.

These casualty figures, however, which for decades have been an integral part of the respective serious literature, are the result not of a counting of death records or similar concrete data, but of a population balance which concluded that the fate of about 2 million inhabitants of the expulsion territories could not be clarified and that it must therefore be assumed that they had lost their lives in the course of these events. In the last years, however, these statements have been increasingly questioned, as the studies about the sum of reported deaths showed that the number of victims can hardly have been higher than 500,000 persons - which is also an unimaginable number of victims, but nevertheless only a quarter of the previous data. In favor of the hitherto assumed numbers it could always be said, however, that the balance didn’t say that the death of these people had been proven, but only that their fate could not be clarified.


I translated the above from Rüdiger Overmans, Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg, chapter 4.3.2.

Emphasis is mine.

I can understand that establishing the fate of missing soldiers and refugees was rather difficult when they had disappeared in countries that were behind the Iron Curtain at the time the efforts to clarify their fate were made.

But would it have been any problem to clarify the fate of prisoners of war who, according to Mr. Bacque, would have died and been buried on the pre-reunification territory of the German Federal Republic itself?

Another question:
3,097,000 German soldiers were taken prisoner by the USA, of whom according to official data 591 died. Not included in this figure are the victims of the Rheinwiesenlager, for whom extreme conditions were consciously maintained. While US entities admit to 3,053 dead, the surrounding German community administrations established that there were 4,537 corpses
The above I translated from Gunnar Heinsohn, Lexikon der Völkermorde, page 118.

So the German communities in the neighborhood of the Rheinwiesenlager carried out a detailed investigation that disproved American allegations which played down the number of victims.

The findings of these communities were reported to and taken into consideration by the Maschke Commission of the West German government, which investigated the fate of prisoners of war in the 1960s and 1970s.

Yet no German communities other than those next to the Rheinwiesenlager ever carried out a similar investigation.

Were other German communities less concerned about the fate of their countrymen, notwithstanding the fact that preoccupation with the fate of prisoners of war seems to have been a nationwide concern in the postwar period, according to Overmans?

Or was it just that nothing comparable to the horror of the Rheinwiesenlager happened anywhere else in Germany?
Last edited by Roberto on 02 Oct 2002 11:14, edited 1 time in total.

tonyh
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Post by tonyh » 02 Oct 2002 11:09

>>Well, you seem to have been impressed by Mr. Bacque.<<

???????Where did I say that?

>>Which is why your "pinch of salt" makes me wonder if you're nearly as familiar with the contents of the Nizkor site as you are with the Codoh propaganda.<<

Well...wonder away

>>What bearing is that supposed to have on founded academic criticism of Bacque's screeds?<<

Because to me it shows that Ambrose's work is not subject to the same scrutiny that other people's work is.

I said >>I'll still reserve my judgement on Baque.<<

Roberto said>>Which is?<<

You don't understand. I "RESERVE" judgement. Which means I haven't come to a solid conclusion on him yet.

Tony

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 Oct 2002 11:22

tonyh wrote:>>Well, you seem to have been impressed by Mr. Bacque.<<

???????Where did I say that?
Why, I must have misunderstood you when you wrote that you were not convinced about his figures being mere products of fantasy.
tonyh wrote:>>What bearing is that supposed to have on founded academic criticism of Bacque's screeds?<<

Because to me it shows that Ambrose's work is not subject to the same scrutiny that other people's work is.
And so?

It's not Ambrose's work (of which I know little) that is under discussion. It is the work of Mr. Bacque.
tonyh wrote:I said >>I'll still reserve my judgement on Baque.<<

Roberto said>>Which is?<<

You don't understand. I "RESERVE" judgement. Which means I haven't come to a solid conclusion on him yet.
When you have, let us know.

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Post by Scott Smith » 02 Oct 2002 11:44

Xanthro wrote:
Chuck wrote:The decision was made to distribute scarce food on an equal basis, rather than favor the POWs at the expense of German civilians and millions of other displaced persons who needed care. Not wanting this technical, but obviously fair, violation of the Geneva Convention to be seen as an act of disrespect for the Convention, the status was changed. All of this was done openly.
Charles Bunch is exactly right in the above. The designation from POW was not as a form of punishment, it was a way of dealing with the reality of feeding 17 million unexpected people.
And I suppose the Morgenthau Plan had nothing to do with such planning...
:wink:
By the Geneva Convention, POWs must receive the same allotment of food as your own soldiers. This was done when the numbers were reasonable.

The US ended up with 5 million POWs, it not possible to feed these numbers at the level required and still feed the civilian population.
Not possible, really? Why? This was peacetime. Of course, I suppose because the USA could not have been kept on rations and would need to enjoy the heady warmth of victory. And, I suppose it was necessarily possible for the Germans to deal with their huge haul of Soviet prisoners in 1941 "reasonably" in this way, also. The Soviets never even signed the Geneva convention.
The US had the choice of allowing German citizens starve and uphold the letter of the Convention, or find a way to allot some of the food that would normally go to the POWs to the civilian population.
Interesting, for all those scholars who argue that treaties cannot be unilaterally changed or broken by sovereign nations without subjecting the perpetrators to criminal sanction...
The Allies chose the latter.

There was hunger in the camps, no question about that, but there was hunger in almost all of Europe at the time.

Somehow the allies managed to distribute enough food to keep the vast majority alive, and reasonably healthy, but my wife has relatives that were starving at the end of the war.
I don't buy Bacque's figures but if the Allies had been subject to Victor's Justice, such "reasonable actions" would have resulted in some legal-lynchings. Maybe Eisenhower himself swinging from the pole...

Ambrose can put that in his pipe and smoke it.
:)

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Post by tonyh » 02 Oct 2002 11:55

>>Why, I must have misunderstood you<<

You certainly did.

>>It's not Ambrose's work (of which I know little) that is under discussion. It is the work of Mr. Bacque.<<

But Ambrose is one of the figures pointing fingers at Baque's work. While his own work is not subject to the same standards and scrutiny. A little disingenuous and hypocrytical in my point of view.

Tony

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Bacque and Ambrose

Post by Adrian Weale » 02 Oct 2002 12:45

Well not really. Ambrose has been criticised primarily for quoting other writers without proper attribution whilst Bacque is criticised for recklessly misinterpreting data and ignoring evidence which contradicts his theory. These are very different 'crimes' and are, I would suggest, of different orders of magnitude. Ambrose's actions are - perhaps - hurtful - to the historians he is supposed to have plagiarised whilst Bacque's actions actually distort the historical record.

AW

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 Oct 2002 12:54

Xanthro wrote:Charles Bunch is exactly right in the above. The designation from POW was not as a form of punishment, it was a way of dealing with the reality of feeding 17 million unexpected people.
Smith wrote:And I suppose the Morgenthau Plan had nothing to do with such planning...
:wink:
Nothing at all indeed:
Morgenthau Plan

In August 1944 the American finance minister Henry Morgenthau jr. had a plan for the treatment of Germany after its defeat prepared. Morgenthau was under the impression that both the entities responsible in the USA for Germany policy and the relevant British politicians were pursuing too soft a line. In the memorandum that Morgentau submitted at the beginning of September 1944 a dismemberment of Germany was propagated. After extensive territorial cessions there were to be created three German states, while the economic regions at the Rhine and Ruhr as well as the North Sea Coast were to be internationalized. Besides the total disarmament of Germany and huge reparations (also through forced labor) the Morgenthau – Plan foresaw the total dismantling of industrial installations and the closing down and destruction of mines. A control over the whole economy over 20 years would turn Germany into an agrarian state that would no longer be in conditions to carry out aggression policies.
The plan contained, in the respective most radical form, all suggestions and measures that had already been discussed in the debate about the goals of the war. Morgenthau’s suggestions were meant to correct the moderate plans for Germany entertained by the Allied Supreme Command under Eisenhower, the inter-allied European Advisory Commission and the professional departments in Washington and London.
Morgenthau, who was a friend of US-president Roosevelt, seemed to be successful when at the British-American conference in Quebec on 15 September 1944 Premier Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt initialed an (already softened) version of the Morgenthau plan. But Cordell Hull, the American foreign minister, as well as his British colleague Anthony Eden protested against the plan already on the following day, and the American war minister Stimson called the program “a crime against civilization“. When the Morgenthau Plan reached the public due to a deliberate indiscretion on 21 September 1944, the reaction was so negative that even Roosevelt distanced himself from the plan. The Morgenthau Plan disappeared in the drawers already at the end of September 1944 without ever having been formally discussed by the competent bodies.
For the later policy of occupation and in regard to Germany the Morgenthau Plan was without any significance.
But Goebbels and Hitler had used the “Jewish murder plan” for the “enslavement of Germany” with such success in support of their hold-out propaganda that many were led to believe that the program had been implemented in 1945. In publications of the extreme right the Morgenthau Plan plays this role until the present day.
Morgenthau, by the way, was an adherent of agrarian romanticism. The de-industrialization of Germany he propagated would under this aspect not only have been a measure for punishing Germany and preventing another world war.
I translated the above from: Wolfgang Benz, in: Benz et al, Legenden, Lügen, Vorurteile, Munich 1992, pages 154/155

Emphasis is mine.
Xanthro wrote:By the Geneva Convention, POWs must receive the same allotment of food as your own soldiers. This was done when the numbers were reasonable.

The US ended up with 5 million POWs, it not possible to feed these numbers at the level required and still feed the civilian population.
Smith wrote:Not possible, really? Why? This was peacetime.
And so?

Does peacetime mean it is possible for any power to obtain enough food to feed a devastated continent within the short time required?
Smith wrote:Of course, I suppose because the USA could not have been kept on rations and would need to enjoy the heady warmth of victory.
How about a demonstration on hand of facts and figures of the objective possibility to make available enough food supplies to a whole continent within a short period of time, instead of the usual unsubstantiated baloney?
Smith wrote:And, I suppose it was necessarily possible for the Germans to deal with their huge haul of Soviet prisoners in 1941 "reasonably" in this way, also. The Soviets never even signed the Geneva convention.
They enjoyed the protection of the convention nevertheless, for its provisions had become customary international law long before the Führer decided to shit on it, according to prevailing contemporary legal opinion.

And it’s not as if the Germans had been bereft of the means to adequately feed the Soviet prisoners of war as they did their other prisoners (including but not limited to the two million French prisoners taken the year before) or at least to keep them from starving to death, is it?

The fact is that the Germans didn’t want to make available such food supplies.

Not in order to keep the civilian population of any country from starving, but in order to allow the Wehrmacht to live wholly off the occupied Soviet territories and still send enough food supplies to Germany to provide for a comfortable, morale-boosting living standard, the foreseen and accepted consequence of the planned exploitation being the starvation death of “umpteen million” people in the occupied Soviet territories.

Which policy led first to the absence of preparations for the feeding of Soviet prisoners of war and then to the conscious decision that the “non-working prisoners” – the overwhelming majority – were to starve to death.

Which in turn led to the death, mostly by starvation, of about two million Soviet prisoners of war between the autumn of 1941 and the spring of 1942 alone.
Xanthro wrote:The US had the choice of allowing German citizens starve and uphold the letter of the Convention, or find a way to allot some of the food that would normally go to the POWs to the civilian population.
Smith wrote:Interesting, for all those scholars who argue that treaties cannot be unilaterally changed or broken by sovereign nations without subjecting the perpetrators to criminal sanction...
Well, there is something called objective necessity that justifies the breach of humanitarian conventions under certain conditions.

The pre-condition for the justifiability of such a breach is, of course, that the humanitarian benefit derived therefrom exceeds the negative consequences of the breach.

Which would not have been the case if the breach in question had led to large-scale starvation in the POW camps – as Mr. Bacque fantasizes -, except arguably to the extent that this would have been inevitable to prevent an even more devastating famine among the civilian population.
Xanthro wrote:The Allies chose the latter.

There was hunger in the camps, no question about that, but there was hunger in almost all of Europe at the time.

Somehow the allies managed to distribute enough food to keep the vast majority alive, and reasonably healthy, but my wife has relatives that were starving at the end of the war.
Smith wrote:I don't buy Bacque's figures but if the Allies had been subject to Victor's Justice,
Nobody was subject to “Victor’s Justice” outside the minds of the Führer’s faithful followers.
Smith wrote: such "reasonable actions" would have resulted in some legal-lynchings. Maybe Eisenhower himself swinging from the pole...
On what grounds, Mr. Smith?

Was there any disproportion between the hardship inflicted on the POWs by the leveling of rations on the one hand and the humanitarian benefit of making available more food supplies to the hungry civilian population on the other?

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Post by Charles Bunch » 02 Oct 2002 13:38

tonyh wrote:Another thing I find doubious. There was no committee gathered to sift through Ambrose's books when he was caught lifting large amounts of text from other peoples books this year.

I'll still reserve my judgement on Baque.
There is a difference between failing to acknowldge all sources and having your book exposed as a collection of falsehoods and errors.

Baque's books have been shown to be nonsense by a number of historians. Reserving judgment in such a circumstance goes well beyond objective skepticism.

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Post by Charles Bunch » 02 Oct 2002 13:55

Scott Smith wrote:
Xanthro wrote:
Chuck wrote:The decision was made to distribute scarce food on an equal basis, rather than favor the POWs at the expense of German civilians and millions of other displaced persons who needed care. Not wanting this technical, but obviously fair, violation of the Geneva Convention to be seen as an act of disrespect for the Convention, the status was changed. All of this was done openly.
Charles Bunch is exactly right in the above. The designation from POW was not as a form of punishment, it was a way of dealing with the reality of feeding 17 million unexpected people.
And I suppose the Morgenthau Plan had nothing to do with such planning...
Nothing whatsoever. But then you're usually stuck with unsupported innuendo.
By the Geneva Convention, POWs must receive the same allotment of food as your own soldiers. This was done when the numbers were reasonable.
The US ended up with 5 million POWs, it not possible to feed these numbers at the level required and still feed the civilian population.
Not possible, really? Why?


Because there was not enough food.
The US had the choice of allowing German citizens starve and uphold the letter of the Convention, or find a way to allot some of the food that would normally go to the POWs to the civilian population.
Interesting, for all those scholars who argue that treaties cannot be unilaterally changed or broken by sovereign nations without subjecting the perpetrators to criminal sanction...
They didn't break the treaty. They acted in a way that any sane person would recognize as fair. The provision of the treaty in question was meant to safeguard the well being of POWs. It was not meant to give them treatment superior to that which could be provided to millions of others.
The Allies chose the latter.

There was hunger in the camps, no question about that, but there was hunger in almost all of Europe at the time.

Somehow the allies managed to distribute enough food to keep the vast majority alive, and reasonably healthy, but my wife has relatives that were starving at the end of the war.
I don't buy Bacque's figures but if the Allies had been subject to Victor's Justice, such "reasonable actions" would have resulted in some legal-lynchings.


I see, victors justice in this instance would have been unable to see the difference between waging aggressive war, attempting genocide, massive slave labor, and numerous other war crimes on the one hand, and a technical change in prisoner status which permitted the equal distribution of scarce food on the other.

I think your inability to comprehend such distinctions says a lot about you.
Ambrose can put that in his pipe and smoke it.
I don't believe Ambrose would spend one second considering your statements.

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Post by tonyh » 02 Oct 2002 14:13

>>Reserving judgment in such a circumstance goes well beyond objective skepticism.<<

:roll:

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Post by Charles Bunch » 02 Oct 2002 14:16

tonyh wrote:>>Reserving judgment in such a circumstance goes well beyond objective skepticism.<<

:roll:
Far easier than making a rational case for ignoring the findings of many historians.

Life must be hard in such a distrustful world.

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Post by tonyh » 02 Oct 2002 14:30

Like I said Charles, I'm just not interested in what you have to say. You offer nothing.

Tony

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Post by tonyh » 02 Oct 2002 14:33

>>Well not really. Ambrose has been criticised primarily for quoting other writers without proper attribution<<

Well IIRC, Ambrose took large paragraphs of other authors work and placed it into his own main body of text with slight alterations. Its a little bit more than just misquoting somebody or not giving attribution.

Tony

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 02 Oct 2002 14:38

tonyh wrote:>>Well not really. Ambrose has been criticised primarily for quoting other writers without proper attribution<<

Well IIRC, Ambrose took large paragraphs of other authors work and placed it into his own main body of text with slight alterations. Its a little bit more than just misquoting somebody or not giving attribution.

Tony
And quite a little bit less than distorting historical facts by inventing a large-scale mass murder that never took place.

What’s the point of this hacking around on Ambrose, by the way?

Whatever can be said against the man, in the context of this discussion he’s only one of several historians whose findings in regard to Bacque’s nonsense are substantiated and convincing.

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