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WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

When you say worst' date=' do you mean in effectiveness or loss of civilian life? either way drop the post war hindsight and apply a little historical context if you please..:)[/color']

I mean in terms of civilian property damage and civilian loss of life.

I chose to write about Bomber Command for my A Level history. It's an incredibly interesting area of WWII simply due to it's questionable justification

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

I mean in terms of civilian property damage and civilian loss of life.

I chose to write about Bomber Command for my A Level history. It's an incredibly interesting area of WWII simply due to it's questionable justification

Absolutely' date=' the bravery of the air crew was simply staggering , which makes the post war vilification of their deeds all the more shameful in my opinion. [/color']

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Absolutely' date=' the bravery of the air crew was simply staggering , which makes the post war vilification of their deeds all the more shameful in my opinion. [/color']

I'm not doubting the the bravery of the air crews. Such a small percentage came back from each sortie; it's commendable that any of them would get back in a plane when so few survived each mission.

However the razing of huge civilian cities in order to destroy a handful of military targets has been questioned throughout the 21st century.

The fact is that Harris knew that precision bombing was incredibly ineffective and so turned to the controversial blanket incendiary bombs in order to create firestorms with which to destroy his targets. The actual crews that flew over we're obeying orders. Harris' tactics and attitude towards them are what I'm calling into question. Especially given that his campaign continued to the extent it did despite Germany crumbling.

Dresden got bombed in February 1945, at a point where Germany was on the brink of collapse. Both fronts were caving in on them. Almost the entire city was destroyed. Approximately 25,000 civilians were killed over three nights of raids. Dresden was no more than a show of power over the Germans. It was completely uncalled for.

What I would say about Harris though is that he did completely reform Bomber Command after he took over in 1942. He brought in heavy bombers such as the Lancaster and medium bombers like the DeHaviland Mosquito to replace the mediocre planes that were failing to deliver. He completely reformed the organisation, and ironically based the new bombing techniques on those of the German's

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Not sure if this counts as War-but it's face has now changed :)

While one generally salutes the bravery of soldiers and the teary eyed ones left behind-what are our feelings about Peacekeepers?

We had no air support or reinforcements from the UN, there were 10,000 Serbs and only 400 of us, and I only had 15 bullets. If we had resisted, there would have been a mass grave with 400 Dutch soldiers in it.
Boudewijn Kok

Mr Kok, then a 20-year-old corporal, was one of 400 blue-helmeted Dutch army peacekeepers who were driving away after abandoning 50,000 Muslim civilians they had sworn to protect. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/8557119/Dutch-peacekeepers-remember-Mladic-the-general-who-humiliated-them.html

We talk about bravery when killing in the name of king and country, but would we have done any different?

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

I don't really know too much if anything about UN peacekeepers. Personally I think they're just a show of force. I'm not convinced when push comes to shove how effective they'd be. Ive always wondered what they're fighting for; it's not their country. Psychological studies have shown that when performing a task which has no emotional meaning to you, it won't be completed as well as one that does have that attachment to you.

It'd be safe to assume that could be transferred to them. However I would've done exactly the same in that situation - but I'm not a soldier type.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

I don't really know too much if anything about UN peacekeepers. Personally I think they're just a show of force. I'm not convinced when push comes to shove how effective they'd be. Ive always wondered what they're fighting for; it's not their country. Psychological studies have shown that when performing a task which has no emotional meaning to you' date=' it won't be completed as well as one that does have that attachment to you.

It'd be safe to assume that could be transferred to them. However I would've done exactly the same in that situation - but I'm not a soldier type.[/quote']

True, not sure why someone would be a peacekeeper unless you are an idealist-not necessarily the best people to have on the ground when push comes to shove.

“We didn’t like what was happening, but we knew that we couldn’t do anything to stop it. What we could do, though, was help as many of the wounded as we could.” If the Australians had opened fire at the Rwandan army, they would probably have been wiped out, and the Rwandan government would certainly have demanded the immediate removal of the UN mission.
Kibeho massacre-http://www.awm.gov.au/wartime/39/bravery/

However this may be a disservice to those who serve as the Battle of Medak Pocket shows. One wishes that wherever they are put they are adequately reinforced and rewarded.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

True' date=' not sure why someone would be a peacekeeper unless you are an idealist-not necessarily the best people to have on the ground when push comes to shove.[/quote']

Every military force or security force has specific tasks and specif rules of engagements for their tasks and missions. UN Peacekeepers are there to "maintain peace", not building peace (military operations in Afghanistan and some UN missions troughout Africa) or neither peacemakers like Gandhi:p. Their job is to monitor and act as persuasive force. Insurgents, rebels are "afraid" of hitting the blue berets and there are consequences. Also not all peacekeepers are soldiers, some are Police Officers, Civilians and Medical personel, they help people, economy, they even start elections. Their rules of engagement are quite simple. Only engange if their own lives or the lives they protect are at risk. When "push comes to shove", should peacekeepers intervine? If their rules of engagement changes and they are all authorized to engage... But will the public opinion respect? What will people think (public opinion, media) about a blue beret in a firefight? Thats just my opinion. So Arampage, i agree with you for one thing. They are not tasked to such engagements, but i don´t think they are all ideologists, they just chose a different way to help people. But in the end, most of them are soldier and as soldier they must adapt to any constant changes of the battlefield. Today they can be blue berets, but tomorrow thay may fight a World War 3.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

The Allied bombing campaign was a compete success from our point of view.

Undoubtedly aside from the propaganda value it offered at home the destruction and indeed disruption it reeked upon the German war machine was vast. Despite the remarkable efforts of German industry to regroup and adapt it robbed the Reich of millions of man hours in lost productivity' date=' incalculable amounts of raw materials, destroyed communication and transport hubs and diverted the increasingly scant resources of the Luftwaffe in an attempt to stem its destruction. The efforts of both Bomber command and the USAF perhaps shorten both the war by years and saved countless hundreds of thousands of allied and German lives in the process.[/color']

I'm not doubting the the bravery of the air crews. Such a small percentage came back from each sortie; it's commendable that any of them would get back in a plane when so few survived each mission.

I'm not suggesting you were Rugger' date=' but by the tone of your original post in which you likened the bombing campaign over Germany as an atrocity you inadvertently condemn the air crews as war criminals. To claim it was Harris fault ( in fact i think you will find the final responsibility ends with Churchill) does little to diminish that assertion of guilt. As was proved at the Nuremberg trails when war criminals of lower ranks were held accountable for their actions, the just following orders routine does not apply.

[/color']

However the razing of huge civilian cities in order to destroy a handful of military targets has been questioned throughout the 21st century.

The fact is that Harris knew that precision bombing was incredibly ineffective and so turned to the controversial blanket incendiary bombs in order to create firestorms with which to destroy his targets. The actual crews that flew over we're obeying orders. Harris' tactics and attitude towards them are what I'm calling into question. Especially given that his campaign continued to the extent it did despite Germany crumbling.

As you say, day light precision bombing ( by 1940's standard) was totally ineffective and resulted in huge losses to the RAF and therefore unsustainable, so bomber commands offensive options were limited. Precedents for the bombing of cities had been set in the first war ( by Germany) with the Zeppelin raids over London, at Guernica during the Spanish civil war ( by Franco and his proxy Lutwaffe), and Rotterdam ( again the Germans). With that in mind can one really argue that civilians were no longer considered combatants?. Clearly not, and perhaps rightfully so when you consider most cities are indeed centers of industry vital to the production of munitions etc.

A further point would be that whilst bomber commands activities continue to be questioned little is mentioned of the American ( precision bombing) of civilian areas. Was the loss of life the RAF caused any greater than that of the Americans? i suspect not.

Dresden got bombed in February 1945, at a point where Germany was on the brink of collapse. Both fronts were caving in on them. Almost the entire city was destroyed. Approximately 25,000 civilians were killed over three nights of raids. Dresden was no more than a show of power over the Germans. It was completely uncalled for.

I can't agree, Dresden contained hundreds of factories , thousands of arms workers and was the main center of communications in organising the defence against the advancing Russian armies. A totally legitimate target at any point of the war including the latter stages. :)

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Decent points , but I can't agree with the last section. Dresden was a huge city spread over a considerable area. The huge loss of life was not necessary in my opinion.

In the Geneva Convention and other pre WWII war treaties highlight the unnecessary loss of civilian life. The three principles of the Laws of War are based around that

Military necessity is governed by several constraints: an attack or action must be intended to help in the military defeat of the enemy, it must be an attack on a military objective, and the harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
Distinction is a principle under international humanitarian law governing the legal use of force in an armed conflict, whereby belligerents must distinguish between combatants and civilians.
Proportionality is a principle under international humanitarian law governing the legal use of force in an armed conflict, whereby belligerents must make sure that the harm caused to civilians or civilian property is not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated by an attack on a military objective

I would argue that Dresden in particular violated those key principles of the Laws of War. In such case, Harris and his superiors (ultimately Churchill) would be called before a military court, like the Nuremberg Trials. At those trials, following orders wasn't deemed a sufficient excuse for crimes against War provision. As such, Harris would be just as accountable as Churchill in the eyes of a judge, that being if Churchill did anything wrong.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Decent points ' date=' but I can't agree with the last section. Dresden was a huge city spread over a considerable area. The huge loss of life was not necessary in my opinion.

In the Geneva Convention and other pre WWII war treaties highlight the unnecessary loss of civilian life. The three principles of the Laws of War are based around that

I would argue that Dresden in particular violated those key principles of the Laws of War. In such case, Harris and his superiors (ultimately Churchill) would be called before a military court, like the Nuremberg Trials. At those trials, following orders wasn't deemed a sufficient excuse for crimes against War provision. As such, Harris would be just as accountable as Churchill in the eyes of a judge, that being if Churchill did anything wrong.[/quote']

Its an interesting document ( the Geneva convention) a process to make war more humane seems completely contradictory does it not?, thats certainly how the first statement can be interpreted. How does one define a military objective?, a bunker ?, a gun emplacement? a munitions factory? and how can one define proportional?.God knows its hard enough today, imagine what it must have been like during the second war without the intelligence gathering tools we have at our disposal.

Inevitably when applied to Dresden the overwhelming gut feeling is that the bombing was both unnecessary and excessive, we could not condone it today but are we not guilty of retrospectively applying todays morality and strategic overview?. Whilst in the midst of total war can we fairly put ourselves in the minds of those who controlled bomber command?, i'm certain we can't. Telling this pops up quite a bit..

Internal Royal Air Force memo (January, 1945)

Dresden, the seventh largest city in Germany and not much smaller than Manchester, is also far the largest unbombed built-up the enemy has got. In the midst of winter with refugees pouring westwards and troops to be rested, roofs are at a premium. The intentions of the attack are to hit the enemy where he will feel it most, behind an already partially collapsed front, to prevent the use of the city in the way of further advance, and incidentally to show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

I agree RE the Laws of War. I find it phenomenally weird how the international community trivialises war and genocide by creating what is and isn't acceptable during it. Surely war to the extent it has evolved to over the 20th and 21st century should be illegal and against all human morals anyway?

Again I agree it's tough to not judge previous events without looking through contemporary morality goggles, however the sentence that stands out most from that memo is;

To show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do

I go back to my point a few posts ago - this smacks of using Dresden as a medium to display the power of the RAF. Nothing says this more powerfully and with more shock value than killing thousands of people in a short space of time.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

I go back to my point a few posts ago - this smacks of using Dresden as a medium to display the power of the RAF. Nothing says this more powerfully and with more shock value than killing thousands of people in a short space of time.

Quite and whilst you can only speculate as to justification of such a display of power' date=' it certainly indicates the rapidly diminishing relationship between the West and the Russians...good stuff here Rugger :)[/color']

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Quite and whilst you can only speculate as to justification of such a display of power' date=' it certainly indicates the rapidly diminishing relationship between the West and the Russians...good stuff here Rugger :)[/color']

Well it was more or less the end of the war that created the start of the decline of the relationship between the West and Russia. Both were aspiring super powers and basically argued over the dismantling of Germany.

You can track the start of the Cold War back to that moment more or less.

As you can tell - I do like my military history :o I find it fascinating.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

One hundred million uncleared landmines lie in the fields and alongside the roads and footpaths of one-third of the countries in the developing world. Claiming over 500 victims a week, landmines are weapons of mass destruction in slow motion.

Really sad that most of the causalities of landmines are kids, civilians and non-combatants. However I guess WAR does not allow for neat lines of ethical or moral behavior as can be seen in the theaters throughout the world.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Really sad that most of the causalities of landmines are kids' date=' civilians and non-combatants. However I guess WAR does not allow for neat lines of ethical or moral behavior as can be seen in the theaters throughout the world.[/quote']

Nor would a hellfire missile or those drone strikes which are generally set out to target one individual, and whoever else is around at the time are to be deemed 'collateral damage.'

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Nor would a hellfire missile or those drone strikes which are generally set out to target one individual' date=' and whoever else is around at the time are to be deemed 'collateral damage.'[/quote']

True, however they tend to affect in a short unit time, compared to land mines which lay in wait for it's targets for years. I am constantly astounded at the bravery of the men and women who continue to remove these atrocious pieces of hardware.

As war moves away from rigid fields of engagement into cities, villages and home I expect this to get worse. Human shields, guerrilla tactics, dirty bombs etc have changed the game, as sides fight with no real hope of victory but to inflict losses, losses that will continue to feed their ranks for generations.:(

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

True' date=' however they tend to affect in a short unit time, compared to land mines which lay in wait for it's targets for years. I am constantly astounded at the bravery of the men and women who continue to remove these atrocious pieces of hardware.

As war moves away from rigid fields of engagement into cities, villages and home I expect this to get worse. Human shields, guerrilla tactics, dirty bombs etc have changed the game, as sides fight with no real hope of victory but to inflict losses, losses that will continue to feed their ranks for generations.:([/quote']

I totally agree with everything you say. I just finished a documentary called Dirty Wars which dealt with the US having a force that answers directly to the President on kill lists and targets that need to be made to go away as such. One strike would take out that famous American cleric, and two weeks later his 16 year old son was taken out by another strike. Without any reason being given other than the idea that like some kind of Greek Tragedy, the son must also die to prevent him exacting retribution. It dealt with those secret kill teams that fly out to different villages with the express intention of killing, nay, assassinating people and in the process end up not going out on up to date information. It was pretty interesting.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

I totally agree with everything you say. I just finished a documentary called Dirty Wars which dealt with the US having a force that answers directly to the President on kill lists and targets that need to be made to go away as such. One strike would take out that famous American cleric' date=' and two weeks later his 16 year old son was taken out by another strike. Without any reason being given other than the idea that like some kind of Greek Tragedy, the son must also die to prevent him exacting retribution. It dealt with those secret kill teams that fly out to different villages with the express intention of killing, nay, assassinating people and in the process end up not going out on up to date information. It was pretty interesting.[/quote']

Well wars used to be costly things-something nations would baulk at going into, until the 20th century when it was learnt it together with free-enterprise could help make men and nations rich, off the misery of others.

Not sure if mutual assured destruction was worth it

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

True' date=' not sure why someone would be a peacekeeper unless you are an idealist-not necessarily the best people to have on the ground when push comes to shove.

[/quote']

It's a decent job for many of them, coming from Bangladesh, Pakistan...not the most glamorous thing and feel somewhat bad saying it, but a reality of life sometimes when not born into wealth.

Peacekeepers generally have been empirically shown to be pretty effective (and certainly much cheaper than highly-trained military forces), if nothing else then by the very nature of standing in between the two fighting sides. It's also much easier to get the UN to send peacekeepers than to convince the states to send expensive professional troops.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

I totally agree with everything you say. I just finished a documentary called Dirty Wars which dealt with the US having a force that answers directly to the President on kill lists and targets that need to be made to go away as such. One strike would take out that famous American cleric' date=' and two weeks later his 16 year old son was taken out by another strike. Without any reason being given other than the idea that like some kind of Greek Tragedy, the son must also die to prevent him exacting retribution. It dealt with those secret kill teams that fly out to different villages with the express intention of killing, nay, assassinating people and in the process end up not going out on up to date information. It was pretty interesting.[/quote']

This is the compromise the current president chose between not committing too strongly militarily, while trying to not seem "weak on national defense". He gets a lot of flack from republicans for "being soft".

America likes these high-tech whizz-bang options that commit more technology and less manpower.

Once ground forces are in, they might stay there for a decade, which no one is willing to pay for in the current political climate.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Well wars used to be costly things-something nations would baulk at going into' date=' until the 20th century when it was learnt it together with free-enterprise could help make men and nations rich, off the misery of others.

Not sure if mutual assured destruction was worth it[/quote']

Well, nations knew by early 1800s that becoming rich was important, with the UK the first to implement Adam Smith's arguments on the importance of not currency, but productive capabilities. Other great powers followed suit.

...Only they began to believe economists too much -- "the market runs itself" quickly proved to be false. Adam Smith himself had always maintained that the government needs to be involved to make sure a fair game is being played (heck, he used to be a customs officer so he would know...). As for the invisible hand, its meaning is so thoroughly abused...but I'm not going to get started on that... :)

One might say certain economic predictions led to the unnecessary first world war.

Unfortunately, most countries couldn't give too much of a hoop about making other countries rich. In fact, they often actively try to make the opposite happen. They barely care about making their own country rich (more on this another time :)).

Also, they believed in BOP (balance of power) as it was their solution to prevent another Napoleon from emerging.

As for the second world war, extreme economic protectionism immediately following War I more or less forced it to happen.

And thus, after the second war, US and UK began to implement institutions that would attempt to mitigate the extreme challenges of the past that led to major wars. So far it has worked out pretty well.

MAD may have worked better in the past, but today it no longer holds true.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Well it was more or less the end of the war that created the start of the decline of the relationship between the West and Russia. Both were aspiring super powers and basically argued over the dismantling of Germany.

You can track the start of the Cold War back to that moment more or less.

As you can tell - I do like my military history :o I find it fascinating.

Mmm...both sides more or less knew before the alliance in 1941 what they were getting into.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

I don't really know too much if anything about UN peacekeepers. Personally I think they're just a show of force. I'm not convinced when push comes to shove how effective they'd be. Ive always wondered what they're fighting for; it's not their country. Psychological studies have shown that when performing a task which has no emotional meaning to you' date=' it won't be completed as well as one that does have that attachment to you.

It'd be safe to assume that could be transferred to them. However I would've done exactly the same in that situation - but I'm not a soldier type.[/quote']

Peacekeepers are there representing the UN.

If the quarreling sides make us mad enough, we'll start sending in some special forces that can tear them down in no time.

Both sides generally know their place in international politics and how insignificant they are in the big picture.

Failures of the past in peacekeeping exist but UN has learned pretty well over time and they've gotten quite a lot better and more effective since the days of Dag H.

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Re: WWII and Post-War (Military History Fans)

Britain conducted one of the worst bombing campaigns ever during WWII. Yet we celebrate it as Bomber Command and the orchestrator 'Bomber Harris' was and is considered a national hero. It decided the war almost single handedly.

I just find it funny how we as a nation teach our kids about the horrors of the Blitz and other atrocities that have been the West's doing throughout history' date=' yet gloss over the fact that we literally razed whole cities the size of Coventry to the ground in Germany with chemical incendiary bombs, which I believe are now banned by the Geneva convention.[/quote']

How else do you get anyone to join the military? Fake honors and scholarships.

Nobody wants to be called a murdering mercenary so the only way governments can recruit new fresh-faced kids is to brainwash them. On some level we should feel bad for these kids getting manipulated into throwing their lives away while performing some amazing feats of bravery.

Shame really eh?

PS. I post too much...sorry

PS2. http://forum.soccermanager.com/showthread.php?t=165122

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