Allied double standards in war crimes trials?

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Wulpe
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Post by Wulpe » 29 Jul 2003 14:37

Well, there was still a double-standard because the Allies waged a campaign of terror warfare to kill the German people, in this case by Bomber Command with help from the 8th Air Force; whereas, for the Germans this was part of the litany of Crimes Against Humanity in the accusations made against them, a fancy way of saying ex post facto law


You mention the Bomber Command. I once read that none of the Germans in Nürnberg was trialed for the bombing of cities, because the Allies knew very well what can of worms they would open. If this is true, no double standard there.

If you´re looking for double standards, look at Dönitz.

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Post by Champymiddle » 29 Jul 2003 15:22

The victorious get the upper hand in these things plus it does not make sense to put your men on trial.

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Post by British Free Corps » 29 Jul 2003 15:53

Groß Admiral Karl Dönitz was imprisoned for political reasons. The Western Allies could not afford to appear impartial towards a senior German Military Officer in front of their Soviet allies - thus Dönitz was sentenced to ten years imprisonment on the most absurd charges.

U Boat.net wrote:Only by exceptional tactics could he achieve that the testimony of the Commander-in-Chief of the American Pacific Forces, Admiral of the Fleet Chester Nimitz, was admitted in court. Nimitz stated that from the very first moment of war, American submarines conducted an unrestricted submarine warfare against Japan. With that statement by one of their own military commanders, the Allied judges could not condemn Dönitz for unlawful warfare.

But a twist had to be found, to make it possible to pass a sentence not in favor of the Großadmiral. He was then condemned because he conducted (not planned, prepared or unleashed) an offensive war and his U-boats were well prepared and trained for war. This strikingly ridiculous reasoning has never since been applied. If it had been, every officer in the whole world training and preparing his men for battle (after all that is what the job of an officer is all about) should have been convicted. He was not found guilty of conspiracy, but guilty of crimes against martial law. The crime against martial law mainly consisting of not cancelling Hitler's order concerning the unlawful shooting of captured commando soldiers after Dönitz had become Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. That no commando soldier whatsoever had been caught and shot by Navy personnel according to this order did not bother the judges.


The same was true in the case of Rudolf Heß.

Regards,
Matt
:)

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Post by David Thompson » 29 Jul 2003 16:28

Here are some recent threads discussing the cases of Doenitz and Hess:

Doenitz and unrestricted submarine warfare
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=25593

IMT testimony of Karl Doenitz
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=23948

IMT judgment against Karl Doenitz
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=25074

The crimes of Rudolf Hess
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=27191

Did Rudolf Hess get a fair sentence
http://www.thirdreichforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=23987

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Whisper
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Post by Whisper » 29 Jul 2003 16:32

What about Otto Skorzeny?
He surrenderd to the allies in May 45 and was held as a prisonor of war for two years before he was tried as a war criminal for his actions in the Battle of the Bulge. Even though he has been acquitted because a British colonel testified that allied commando forces also fought in enemy uniforms, its an example which shows that they used double standards.
Take someone to trial, realize he did things the winner side also did, and then say "oh, well, then of course its no war crime."

Bw
Dennis

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Post by David Thompson » 29 Jul 2003 16:45

Whisper -- What makes you think that foreign allies special operations force commanders tell the officers in the US Judge Advocate General's office about their clandestine operations?

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Whisper
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Post by Whisper » 29 Jul 2003 16:52

David Thompson wrote:Whisper -- What makes you think that foreign allies special operations force commanders tell the officers in the US Judge Advocate General's office about their clandestine operations?


I read that two times, ill try to find the page again and tell you.
But, for what else reason should they have acquitted him?
And i did only say he confirmed that there were operations, no specific place or time.

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Post by David Thompson » 29 Jul 2003 17:04

Whisper -- I'm not saying that the story isn't true. I'm saying that the US prosecutors may not have known about similar British operations when they charged Skorzeny with that particular war crime.

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Whisper
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Post by Whisper » 29 Jul 2003 17:16

David Thompson wrote:Whisper -- I'm not saying that the story isn't true. I'm saying that the US prosecutors may not have known about similar British operations when they charged Skorzeny with that particular war crime.


Well im sure they didnt!
And thats the point, its a warcrime as long as they dont know that even their side did that. Why didnt they condemn him, and afterwards take allied commanders to trial?
Its not that i want to discuss this special case, but thats in my eyes a double standard. It was a crime till they found out that their side also commited the same thing.

Dennis

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Post by ChristopherPerrien » 29 Jul 2003 19:59

Of course there is a double standard in war-crimes.

What many people here fail to realize is that the Conventions really deal with tactical land combat. I think they do rather well for the treament of POW's and restrictions on weapontry.

It is when war becomes strategic that all the laws of warfare become obsolete and un-enforceable. Almost any bombing of civilians can be written off as collateral damage or inflicting damage on the enemys' ability to wage war. This is being done to this day.

There is a very "cynical?" saying that goes along way towards explaining
this double standard, "It's only a crime if you are caught".

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Scott Smith
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Post by Scott Smith » 29 Jul 2003 20:28

Wulpe wrote:
Well, there was still a double-standard because the Allies waged a campaign of terror warfare to kill the German people, in this case by Bomber Command with help from the 8th Air Force; whereas, for the Germans this was part of the litany of Crimes Against Humanity in the accusations made against them, a fancy way of saying ex post facto law

You mention the Bomber Command. I once read that none of the Germans in Nürnberg was trialed for the bombing of cities, because the Allies knew very well what can of worms they would open. If this is true, no double standard there.

The double-standard is that just because the Allies happened to wage a war-of-terror, in this case via bombing, it does not make it less a war-of-terror than any other. If the Allies had needed a Commando Order, Einsatzgruppen, or forced-labor camps they would not have hesitated. Tradition in warfare has long been that any tactic, however brutal, that is believed necessary for victory has only been fair play, and especially in this case, where the enemy would not come to any diplomatic terms whatever besides Unconditional Surrender. With the exception of minor military conduct like looting, rape, and brigandage, warcrimes is complete nonsense that is defined by the Victors.
:)
Last edited by Scott Smith on 29 Jul 2003 23:21, edited 1 time in total.

Tarpon27
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Post by Tarpon27 » 29 Jul 2003 20:40

A partial quote from Uboat.net:

Only by exceptional tactics could he achieve that the testimony of the Commander-in-Chief of the American Pacific Forces, Admiral of the Fleet Chester Nimitz, was admitted in court. Nimitz stated that from the very first moment of war, American submarines conducted an unrestricted submarine warfare against Japan. With that statement by one of their own military commanders, the Allied judges could not condemn Dönitz for unlawful warfare.


I assume that the statement:

Only by exceptional tactics could he achieve that the testimony of the Commander-in-Chief of the American Pacific Forces, Admiral of the Fleet Chester Nimitz, was admitted in court.


...refers to Donitz's lawyer introducing evidence of US submarine policy, vis-a-vis tactics, and that seems to be a bit of a stretch to me.

During those weeks, Kranzbuehler [Admiral Donitz's attorney at Nuremberg] had not been idle. Sixty-seven German U-boat captains were imprisoned in England in Camp 18 in Featherstone Park. Kranzbuehler had dispatched an assistant to the camp with a statement averring that Admiral Donitz had never ordered his crews to kill survivors. They had been directed not to rescue them. All sixty-seven captains had signed the statement, and Kranzbuehler had managed to have it accepted into evidence.

Captain Heinz Eck had commanded the submarine that shot up survivors of the sunken Greek steamer Peleos. Nothing could have served Eck better during his own war-crimes trial than to have claimed that he had acted under Donitz's orders. Kranzbuehler instead managed to obtain a deposition from Eck, just before his execution, in which the U-boat captain admitted he had acted on his own.

_Nuremberg_, Joseph E. Persico, C 1994, ISBN 0 14 02.9815 0, pp. 337-8



And finally, a post-script to evidence at Nuremberg per war-crimes, US submarine actions, and Donitz:

The day after Donitz's defense ended, Admiral Nimitz had gone to his office at the Navy Department in Washington. It was a Saturday afternoon, and the crusty admiral was in sports clothes, an informality that did not ease the task of Commander Joseph Broderick of the judge advocate general's office. Broderick read from a list of questions provided by Kranzbuehler. "Did U.S. submarines in the Pacific attack merchantmen without warning?" Broderick asked. Yes, Nimitz said without hesitation, except for hospital ships. Under whose authority? the lawyer asked. By order of the highest naval authority, the chief of naval operations, dated December 7, 1941, Nimitz repsonded. Did American submarines rescue survivors? Broderick went on. U.S. submarines did not rescue survivors, Nimitz said, if such action would place the submarine at risk. The deposition was soon on its way to Kranzbuehler, who introduced it into evidence.

Ibid., p. 338


It is frequently asserted that some of the Nuremberg defendants in the IMT trial received judgements berefit of solid legal defense, yet there are few posts that ever show how and why this is true.

While I do not expect non-attorneys to be able to function as legal experts, Kranzbuehler was able to introduce not only evidence to the IMT on war crimes (deliberate killing of survivors of U-Boat attacks) but also was allowed to get a US military attorney of the judge advocate's office to interview Nimitz, commandeer of the US Naval Forces, Pacific, in a deposition on US submarine tactics...which, like the U-Boats, did not rescue survivors of the Japanese shipping they attacked.

If you wish to make the charge that the IMT was so unfair, then how did Nimitz ever get deposed?

And for the courts, trials, and law practiced by the Nazi Germany legal system, apparently double-standards do exist per criticism of the concept of fair trials.

I'd like to see the same critics of Nuremberg point their fine reasoning on the legal system of Germany during the Hitler years.

Regards,

Mark

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Post by Caldric » 29 Jul 2003 20:42

Scott Smith wrote:
Wulpe wrote:
Well, there was still a double-standard because the Allies waged a campaign of terror warfare to kill the German people, in this case by Bomber Command with help from the 8th Air Force; whereas, for the Germans this was part of the litany of Crimes Against Humanity in the accusations made against them, a fancy way of saying ex post facto law

You mention the Bomber Command. I once read that none of the Germans in Nürnberg was trialed for the bombing of cities, because the Allies knew very well what can of worms they would open. If this is true, no double standard there.

The double-standard is that just because the Allies happened to wage a war-of-terror, in this case via bombing, it does not make it less a war-of-terror than any other. If the Allies had needed a Commando Order, Einsatzgruppen, or forced-labor camps they would not have hesitated. Tradition in warfare has long been that any tactic, however, brutal, believed necessary for victory has only been fair play, and especially in this case, where the enemy would not come to any diplomatic terms whatever besides Unconditional Surrender. With the exception of minor military conduct like looting, rape, and brigandage, warcrimes is complete nonsense defined by the Victors.
:)


I disagree Scott with the idea of "Terror Bombing". Also I think US bombing shows that "Terror" was not the main focus of the bombing not even the second focus, strategic bombing was to eliminate the ability of Germany to wage war. Now we know it was not the most successful strategy, but at that time it seemed perfectly logical and was accepted as a viable strategy in waging war. US Bombers were used during the day to try and increase their accuracy against industrial targets, this is a known fact. If they wanted to Terror Bomb doing so at night would be much easier and less costly.

Warcrimes were obvious to everyone but a handful, Germany did not need Death Camps, Forced Labor (*Slaves), or extermination squads to carry out the war. These are all against well known and agreed upon international treaties. They also go well beyond acceptable actions in waging war. But then I am not talking to a person who will consider both sides of the issue, only the defense of Germany.

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Post by Scott Smith » 29 Jul 2003 20:47

Dönitz was the only one allowed to use a tu quoque argument since the Americans used unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific themselves and did not want to hear universal condemnation of the tactic (not that anyone would have castigated them for it since they won). Curiously, unrestricted submarine warfare was so bad during WWI that the United States went to war over it and made a royal mess over everything, leading to a replay of the war twenty-years later. Interventionism sucks. Of course, tactics which help the Victors are okay, but those that the Victors never used or never needed are really, really baaad. But Dönitz was only on the dock anyway because he was Führer, not because he was a U-boat admiral.
:)
Last edited by Scott Smith on 30 Jul 2003 06:29, edited 1 time in total.

Tarpon27
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Post by Tarpon27 » 29 Jul 2003 22:32

Scott Smith wrote:

The double-standard is that just because the Allies happened to wage a war-of-terror, in this case via bombing, it does not make it less a war-of-terror than any other.


Wasn't bombing in its infancy at the outbreak of war in 1939?

Technologically speaking, it was, and in fact, for the effectiveness of the use of air power of Germany, sharpened by combat in Spain, in its earliest campaigns in Poland, Western Europe, Russia followed by the Mediterrain and North Africa in its ground assault campaigns, air power achieved stupendous gains for the Blitzkrieg.

Yet, it failed in the Battle of Britian, and the lack of heavy bombers plagued Germany throughout the war.

The theory was prior to the outbreak of WWII, that the bombing of cities, etc., was to be "outlawed" by treaty, but at that time, that was the theoretical. No one, including Germany, had aircraft capable of launching sustained attacks against enemy cities (range and payload for starters). The German bombers were incapable of beating the British fighters or morale even when based across the Channel, much of that by sheer luck and courageous British decisions on where to commit the RAF, and later, say 1940--42, the continued success of the German attacks across Europe, into Russia, and North Africa, allowed for very few offensive operations against them but to bomb from England and elements of the US Eighth Army Air Force.

Both England and the US developed heavy bombers, knowing that they needed four engined heavy aircraft to even strike Germany, and Lancasters and Flying Fortresses raided at night or during the day, with the US going for the term "precision bombing" (an interesting term, but probably accurate for that time) requiring daytime visual sightings, and subsequent heavier losses, than the British who preferred night time raids, I assume for reducing losses of valuable planes and the far more important trained flight crews.

You yourself, Scott, have posted on the horrendous losses absorbed by bomber crews over Europe in WWII. In fact, 25 missions, and you were done in the 8th. With no fighter escort, still a strong Luftwaffe, heavy flack, bomber crews took huge losses.

The theory was that bombing enemy cities would make the populations war weary, disrupt normal economic activity, shut down communications, create a "crisis" mode, and make sustaining the war more difficult. It was a theory that the Blitz's against England failed on, as it did on Germany.

It was also, for heavy losses on the Allied side across Europe, North Africa, Russia, and in the Pacific, about the only offensive measure they could mount.

That the Germans had no heavy bombers and that their V1/V2 programs were struggling with the technology of that era does not negate what they tried to do with what they had...the same "terror bombing".

After the war was finally over, there have been literally thousands of pages of documents written on the efficacy of the premise of bombing a population into submission, with all sorts of political arguments amongst competing military services.

Your "terror bombing" was just as much an attempt to mount offensive operations against a combatant that achieved such superiority that there were few options left open. Now, you can argue with that statement later in the war, but even in 1944, bomber crews took heavy losses, the cities of Germany still produced the economic backbone of production for the Nazi war effort, and the German economy, and no one had, at that time, the hindsight we possess today.

I am also, please, not stating that the ability to bomb enemy cities, inflicting huge population losses, or that is particuarly effective. I might even say it is a "war crime", but to be honest, I would have to gauge in the context of those times.

If the Allies had needed a Commando Order, Einsatzgruppen, or forced-labor camps they would not have hesitated.


Kinda of the point, isn't it? They didn't need any of those for a variety of reasons while Nazi Germany did.

The Allies didn't have a racial ideology as did the Nazis, so they weren't waging a "holy war" against Jewish Commissars that most turned out to peasants, farmers, shop keepers, merchants, and their wives and children. Either that, or the premise that Hitler's Nazi Germany was saving the world from Communism, and Communism being Jews, is an argument that is false, as you can't have it both ways. Simplistic, yes, but no more simplistic than the argument that Jews were all monolithically communists. As Michael Milss has pointed out, that assumption may have been wrong, but it is still the assumption they went under.

Nor, since Germany, and I imagine because of its overwelming success in the early years of WWII, never mobilized into a wartime economy, and when it finally decided to, it was awfully late. By then, they needed forced labor, but your attempt at the argument the Allies would have done it, TOO, sorta of convienently overlooks why the Germans needed forced labor on a two front aggressive war. Whether it was Hitler's lack of military strategy, a belief in future politcal gains, a fear of the German population being subjected to economic measures a wartime economy demanded, I don't know, but I believe it occurred from overreaching.

The military successes of Germany in WWII were simply amazing, in my opinion, although there are some US Marine papers that are of interest to read on military action aginst an unprepared enemy with the first strike force enjoying anywhere from a "slight" technological advantage. Added with the German high degree of technical sophistication, the capabilities of their military forces, and their economic output, with Europe overrun, Africa under the Desert Fox, Russian successes, the North Atlantic losing more shipping than could be produced, let alone cargoes, the Pacific in shambles, it must have been pretty bleak to confront the world picture in the early war years for those opposed to the Axis forces.

It was, of course, unsustainable, because of his many brilliant political victories, Hitler would fail in a global war. He needed the Japanese, must have hated their treaty with Stalin, but then they brought in the US. He never could achieve the same political victories he needed that he had won in Germany and his earliest foreign relations. I imagine that part of it was that no one trusted him...

Tradition in warfare has long been that any tactic, however, brutal, believed necessary for victory has only been fair play, and especially in this case, where the enemy would not come to any diplomatic terms whatever besides Unconditional Surrender. [/quote

Ask the Italians. What were the post-war terms of one-third of the Axis Powers? Do you think there would be another "Munich" for Germany or Japan, after WWII?

Why would the Allied Powers ever seek terms from Germany or Japan, and IF, the term "unconditional surrender" to these governments was so incredibly unreasonable, how have both Germany and Japan managed, post-WWII become nations that have become world powers again?

The governments disappeared, in post-WWII, Germany is the leading economic power in Europe, and Japan, while experiencing difficulities with its own needed reformations of its economic system, is not exactly a slouch. In fact, in the '80's, the fear was that Japan was going to economically take over the world.

With the exception of minor military conduct like looting, rape, and brigandage, warcrimes is complete nonsense defined by the Victors.


Sorry, but that is pretty amusing.

I will gladly read your posts defending, say, the actions of Pol Pen in Cambodia, or atrocities in Viet Nam, or anywhere in the history of recorded conflict, your statement is a bit...well...Scott Smithish.

Even you admit, Scott, of the killing of the Jews in WWII, but that would not be a war crime? Just an example to test your statement.

Regards,

Mark

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