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A asked about Japan's being drawn into the war by the US.

I fully believe that the Japanese would have initiated war against the US sooner or later (their gov't was aggressively expansionist) but there were some US practices that brought the timetable forward.

As a response to Japanese aggression in China, the US began seriously curtailing shipments of scrap metal and other war necessities, as well as freezing financial assets. This caused Japan's leaders to look for alternate sources of the stuff they needed, ie the Pacific Rim islands etc.

I'm not sure how much the US gov't tried to "work with" others toward a solution. It might have been just the world situation then. It seems today that no country can do anything in foreign policy without consulting with everybody else (or seeming very suspicious if they don't) but in the early part of this century the US really didn't put much stock in the "multi-national solutions." Monroe Doctrine, expanded to include the rest of the world, gave US leaders carte blanche, as well as historical precedent, to set their own course.

FWIW I don't really have a strong opinion either way about revisionism; no matter what "new" histories come out, I'll still be able to find "old" ones to read (as long as nobody tries to burn them)

Anyway, that's my opinion, and I'm stickin' to it.

This could be a good and informational thread.

DjB

------------------

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion.

remove the caps letters in my address to email me

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Just telling the revisionist story I've been told here, not expressing a viepoint one way or the other. Quite frankly, I haven't made up my mind on the issue.

The idea is that the Japanese wanted to emulate the West culturally and economically. This idea was planted in the Japanese mind when Ameericans first visited Japanese soil. However, the US in our imperialistic tendencies did our very best in preventing the Japanese from doing this. Thus, a power structure arose in Japan that would agressively take that which is necessary to modernise their economy. Furthermore, since it is the US who made their situation difficult, the new government had a certain amount of animosity towards the United States. Then after these events the United States became even more pushy about trying to prevent Japan from doing what they were doing. Of course by this point the US was looking at it as retaliation against naked aggression.

This is basically the revisionist story I was told.

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Is there a revisionist view of the Japanese actions on the mainland? I admit I'm a bit biased as I lived in Taiwan for a number of years and spoke with survivors and children of survivors of Japanese atrocities. Are most of the revisionist theories regarding their agression in the Pacific rather than mainland (as it appears here)? It seems that that would be easier to rationalize. The japanese agression is much more easily justified (Its no worse than the western imperialistic expansions of the previous centuries I guess) and subject to revisionism than their atrocities, but I have a hard time separating the two.

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Guest Big Time Software

Just my two cents here...

One should use/read the word "revisionist" with some caution. Generally, at least in the US and Canada, it is largely used to describe people who say the Holocaust (and 3rd Reich atrocities in general) did not happen. However, the REAL definition of revisionist is not so narrow. Anybody that goes back and reexamines history, based on new evidence or another take on old stuff, is called a revisionist if they determine that the old history is incorrect in some significant way. Thus, the word itself is not good or bad.

Personally, there needs to be a LOT of "revision" to US history as taught in our schools. Most of it is utter crap. Slowly but surely the "revisionist" views on colonization, the expansion to the west, Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, and so on are finally creeping their way into the school system. As a historian, all I can say is that IT IS ABOUT TIME! Unfortunately, from what I hear Japan is 100 times worse.

The point about the Japanese motivations is that NOTHING can be taken out of context and examined in a vacuum. If some historian shows that Japanese policy towards the US was, in part, a result of hostile US policy (something I am VERY willing to buy), this does not mean anything in terms of the expansion into the mainland. In other words, just because some historian, or group, examines deep motivations and prior historical trends, or calls into question one part of US biased history, doesn't mean that it is supposed to be some sort of excuse for another facet or the wider whole. I for one agree that the 3rd Reich largely came about because of France's long term hatred and greed towards Germany. If France, and Britain to a lesser extent, and not been so harmful to Germany's pride and economy (not to mention territorial rights, especially in the East), Hitler might not have been able to rise to power. BUT!!! This does not make France responsible for the acts of the Third Reich in general (we can talk about the French active participation in such crimes another time smile.gif).

In short... I believe that Japan attacked the US because it felt it had to. Yamamoto is on the record for not wanting to screw with the US, but realized that it had to in order to become an Empire in the the Pacific. Why? Well, because the US had grabbed a bunch of territory in the Pacific the previous century in an aggressive war against Spain (i.e. the US wanted the war and found an excuse to wage it). Problem was that Japan needed to take these areas to secure itself from US imperialism. I am sure the US would have gone to war one way or another against Japan, just as the US would have gone to war against Germany without the Germans doing it first (in fact, the US was waging war against Germany in the Atlantic long before declaring war!).

History is complex, ain't it wink.gif

Steve

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This might not be as informational as some would like but.. when i was studying history in the 70's I don't remember the idea of the US drawing the Japanese into the war as being a revisionist idea then or since maybe to some real jngoist US historians.. .(I just called a history prof friend of mine at Chicago and he confirmed this)

its pretty accepted theory the the US had strong strategic and econimic interests in the Pacific...In fact they thought of themselves as a Pacific power not an Atlantic one...

Obviously they had an armed prescence in the Philipines and traded extensively with many Pacific powers...they definitely thought of the Pacific to use a later term as an area of influence...

As far as the Japanese were concerned they were really in deep **** in terms of resources but were primarily worried about Russia.. considering there recent war with them but when the US decided to let the Japanese-Russian trade agreement lapse in 39 the Japanese actually looked to Russia as a potential neutral ally especially after the German-Russia pact later that year..

...When you look at the Japanese you have to look at the two main factions vying for power... the navy and the army...

Up to the 39 I can't rememeber the exact date the army held the whip hand and were looking for land expansion in China, and Manchuria especially China and until the fall of the government of Abe Noyoki in1940 most planning was concerned with staying out of a western war.....worried about the Russians and about getting as much resources and buffer room in their war with China...

When the Navy gained ascension Japan started eying the South pacific...from the mariana's to Australia....one of the majour reasons for the navy's ascension was a number of US initiatives... which from the Japanese standpoint was aggreisive..not only did the US cut off steel exports to japan but also later oil and they let it be known that the trade agreement betwen the two countries would be allowed to lapse...the US did it becaus ethey were worried about what looked like a Japanese victory in China gainst the nationalists meaning thhat those dreaded commies would getmore power.. (the US as well know had a morbid fear of everything and anythign that could be called commie or even socialist ..ironic in that the biggest socialist experiment of any western country was carried out by the US years later in 47 ...I am referring to the GI bill...government paying for an entire generation to be educated..most people don't know that do get free tuition your relation to the army could pretty tenuous at best)..

anyway this would have tilted the balance of power against the US and the Birtish in the area...

Most war planning at the time in The US was looking towards a Pacific fight...but as we all know most planners did not expect as aggresive a move as Japan eventually did...

But there were many many indications that Japan was feeling threatened and cornered...and a number of historians have positied that FDR who was looking for an excuse to enter the european war kinda allowed Japan to be supported in their paranoia.. number of cables by japan asking for reassurance and getting none...Now we are getting into the real revisionist argument which is essentially that the US...notable Hopkins and FDR saw an opportunity to bankrupt the British empire and supplant them in the Pacific taking essentially all competition out of the way in this area...

This idea is essentially backtracked based on a number of cables, memos and conversations between FDR and Hopkins about the how much money the British had left in their treasury and whether or not the French reserves which had been moved could be dipped into bby the British or the US...

My field was the european theatre so I am by no means an expert on this...but I think the US is and was thought of as being culpable in drawing Japan into a conflict...there are some extreme historians(more really pop historians) who see US realpolitik in the 20's as being some conspiracy about getting Japan to fight a war....

The US as we all know was not prepared to fight a war in 41 let alone in 27...so that argument is just bull****...however I do think they did not gauge Japanese paranioa or did and discounted it in the thirties...

I mean here's the argument and it doesn't sound particular revisonist.. the Jpanese and the US are trading partners...the Japanese was never happy about US military prescence in the Philipines seeing it as expansionist.. after all it is their backyward but quite a haul for the US navy...kinda like a Japanese prescence in Cuba.. (and we saw how the American's feel about foreign folk in the islands...can we say Monroe doctrine)..anyway theyu tolerate it...the japanese I mean and think rightly so that the US doesn't give a big **** about Manchuria or China...as far as they are concerned the US has no right to give a **** about anything they do in their own backyard...anymore than the US would have tolerated Japanese intervention in their Mexican disputes..

anyway all of a sudden the uS starts to put economic pressure on them.. it seems out of the blue...and seems arbitrary considering the US had done nothing but mouth some protests about japanese militarism considering the USA were so isiloationist that they didn't bother to joing the league or sign a number of treaties in the early 30's...as far as Japan was concerned this change in course marked a scary new twist...here we are going North and West and this power which is to the south an east(philipines and Hawai...also some atolls west of Hawai) is getting belligerent...I don't know from a strategic geo political viewpoint..I personally think they had a cause for concern...

Once the navy took over they decide that a war with the US was inevitable...as did the US by the way...and planned accordinly...they knew they could not beat the US in a prolonged conflict and planned to take them out early...

As I said this was not my area but 10 years of history on WW2 you pick up other stuff...

Its important to rememeber that the attack ont he US was to ensure their flank from their grab of resources in the South east.. the cut off of oil by the uS made the Dutch east indies very yummy indeed...the resources were the key not the US area of inluence..

Gerrard Weinberg (certainly no revisionist) that the Japanese even as late as 41 considered bypassing the Phililipines or waiting until 46 when the US had promised to pull out... howver Weinberg says the rearming of the Phillipines by the US sent chills through the Japanese planners...and they decided they had to have the Phillipines before they could get the east Indies.. this coupled with the British stocking up of warships in Signapore...which is of course abnohter majour cause of concern for the Jaopanese.. the ally of the uS the British were imperialist and expansionist and did have as many strategic interests in this area as any other power.. and there were they sendign warship after warship out there even thought they were supposedly in theis life and death struggle in the atlantic...

anyway I probably went on too long..my only point was that I don't think its revisionist tot hink the US must share some blame for the conflict...

John

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There are many, who never studied history very seriously, that consider these ideas "revisionist". It does sound, from what people have said here, that serious historians don't consider these ideas "revisionist". I only heard these ideas in one history course, the best one I had except the teacher fell way behind the syllabus and we barely made it to WWII.

I personally feel that all these issues must be looked at with an open mind. Furthermore, people should try to avoid any nationalistic pride when evaluating such ideas.

The only so called revisionist idea that I think can be totally rejected or totally accepted, is the one about the holocaust not occurring. I feel absolutely certain that it did occurr, and I don't know where the people who say it didn't are getting there evidence.

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"I for one agree that the 3rd Reich largely came

about because of France's long term hatred and greed towards Germany. If France,

and Britain to a lesser extent, and not been so harmful to Germany's pride and

economy (not to mention territorial rights, especially in the East), Hitler might

not have been able to rise to power."

First, France might not have had this long-term hatred of Germany if Germany hadn't

taken Alsace and Lorraine from France in 1871. Getting those territories back became a rallying cry, but France didn't get a fascist government because of it. And, seeing what happened later, weren't

France's fears of a German resurgence very justified? As of greed, you might want to remember that the Western Front in WWI was almost exclusively fought on French soil, with an enormous amount of destruction. Ciao,

Renaud

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BTS: Good call regarding the use of the term 'revisionist'. Its not necessarily the bad word we were implying it was. Revisionists here in the US are responsible for making us more aware of our general ill treatment of native americans, african americans, and the US Citizen japanese during WWII (to quote 'Good Will Hunting': 'Jesus...You wanna read a real History book, read Howard Zinn's People's history of the United States, that book will ****in' knock you on your ass.' - An excellent book that I'm rereading again). I think it vital that we remember both the good things we have done, and the areas we have failed so as to prevent it as much as possible in the future.

Regarding the French/German issue though, I must beg to differ with Mr. (M.?) Dryer - The european nations had set themselves up for major problems with Verseille - to say that 'france's fears were justified' based on what germany did is in and of itself a self fulfilling prophecy. No, Germany can't be absolved of blame in any way, but they were left in such a state after WWI that the populous was aching for a leader and a scapegoat. As for greed, I've never felt the allies demands for 'war reparations' was greed so much as it was an attempt to ensure that the germans would be as miserable as possible as long as possible. Can't expect any nation, particularly one as proud and militaristic as germany, to take that lying down.

Dang - this is fun.

Big kudos to BTS on this bulletin board. Its wonderful that there is tolerance of off topic discussions like this, and also that we are able to have these without flame wars starting (read: usenet). Thanks to everyone!

[This message has been edited by A Arabian (edited 06-30-99).]

[This message has been edited by A Arabian (edited 06-30-99).]

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Guest Big Time Software

Renaud,

I didn't want to stir up a hornets nest, but the fact is that no nation can simply absolve itself so easily. Just as we Americans must look past national pride and distorted history, so to must everybody in every nation. Germans can, and did, lay the blame for the war of 1871 to previous attacks launched by France against German territory in the wars of 1848 and before. And although Bismark goaded France into attacking in 1871, it was France that attacked German principalities, not the other way around. And the French lost horribly and lost some territory (which was the normal way wars ended in those days, BTW).

As for WWI, there is a very strong case to suggest that France was the most responsible party for getting the wider war started. I did a thesis on this, and if I had to blame any one country for expanding the war beyond A-H's attack on Serbia it would be France. This is long and complicated, but it boils down to France convincing Russia, against the Tzar's better judgment, that they had to attack A-H, which would bring in Germany, which would then give France and Britain a chance to knock Germany out of its seat of power. Germany for the most part did not want a war, but once it found it inevitable it fought as hard as it could. The secret treaties between France, Britain, and Italy show that the war was fought against Germany so that they could each get something they wanted (Britain undisputed rule of the seas, France Alsace-Lorraine and REVENGE, Italy the Southern Tyrol, and each to get bits and pieces of Germany's colonies). So much for the Triple Entant being snow white. In fact, once Wilson found out about all the dirty dealings, and the horrible clauses in the Treaty of Versailles, the US refused to sign it. After the war even the British seemed to realize it was a mistake. France, OTH, wanted to twist the knife into the wound. Again, this is not a one sided blame trip here. There is plenty of blame to go around, especially towards A-H, but the fact is that the war was more or less started by all major European powers. So blaming just Germany, stripping it of its military, giving away large chunks of its land (yes, one can argue if it should have been theirs, but the Allies didn't care one way or the other), making it pay huge sums of money, giving up control of unquestionable German territory, creating hostile states in vulnerable spots, funding and training forces to raid Germany's borders to grab more land, taking its colonies, keeping Austria separate no matter what its people wanted, and crushing its national pride simply because it lost was not only unjustified, but stupidly short sighted. It is almost as if the French sat down with the British and tried to figure out just how badly they could humiliate and piss off the German people. Not wise.

As for the French not being Fascist, it didn't become so before the war because of one man's blunder during and armed take over attempt of Paris and major cities in 1934 by Action Frances. If this had happened, and no counter revolution toppled them, Germany would not even had needed to invade France in 1940 because they most likely would have been allied. The ease of French collaboration shows how deeply pro-German, or at least pro-Fascist, many French were. This itself is a very complex issue.

Yes, history has no easy answers. When ever you wish to lay blame, you had better first look to see what happened before. Very rarely will you find a clear cut case of right and wrong.

Steve

[This message has been edited by Big Time Software (edited 06-30-99).]

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Steve,

Thanks for the insight on WWI. Most history classes say "hey, some dude was assasinated next thing you know the whole world is at war." Always, knew something was wrong with that picture. This thread is inspiring me to do some research.

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" I didn't want to stir up a hornets nest, but the fact is that no nation can

simply absolve itself so easily."

I apologize if I sounded like I was trying

to absolve France of its responsabilities for

World War I, but that wasn't my intent. Any nation acts purely out of self-interest and no ever acts for humanitarian reasons, despite what they might claim.

"Germans can, and did, lay the blame for the war of 1871 to previous attacks launched by France

against German territory in the wars of 1848 and before."

You mean the Napoleonic Wars of before 1815?

France was rather involved into a revolution

in 1848.

"And although Bismark

goaded France into attacking in 1871, it was France that attacked German

principalities, not the other way around."

France declared was because of the Depeche

d'Ems, I wasn't aware of any attacks by France on Prussia before Sedan, in 1870.

"And the French lost horribly and lost

some territory (which was the normal way wars ended in those days, BTW)."

And still now.

" As for WWI, there is a very strong case to suggest that France was the most

responsible party for getting the wider war started. I did a thesis on this, and

if I had to blame any one country for expanding the war beyond A-H's attack on

Serbia it would be France. This is long and complicated, but it boils down to

France convincing Russia, against the Tzar's better judgment, that they had to

attack A-H, which would bring in Germany, which would then give France and

Britain a chance to knock Germany out of its seat of power."

Russian had their own reasons to come to the

rescue of the Serbs and gain more influence in the Balkans.

" Germany for the most

part did not want a war, but once it found it inevitable it fought as hard as it

could."

Have you read the conditions that the Germans had prepared for ending the War in 1914, once they fought they'd won? It was a document prepared long in advance, that makes the Versailles Treaty look like an act of charity. Germany was going to annex all of the industrial north of France, reduce the rest of the country to an agricultural backwater and force it into an anti-British European Union that would basically be a German Europe. Germany wanted this war, was

prepared to fight it (the Schlieffen plan) and knew exactly what they wanted out of it.

The Kaiser was going to publicly announce those conditions but a little battle on the Marne changed his plans.

" The secret treaties between France, Britain, and Italy show that the war

was fought against Germany so that they could each get something they wanted

(Britain undisputed rule of the seas, France Alsace-Lorraine and REVENGE, Italy

the Southern Tyrol, and each to get bits and pieces of Germany's colonies). So

much for the Triple Entant being snow white."

Well, the Triple Entente was comprised of colonialist powers who were oppressing much

of the rest of the world among them so that's not too surprising.

" In fact, once Wilson found out about

all the dirty dealings, and the horrible clauses in the Treaty of Versailles, the

US refused to sign it."

Simply out of self-interest.

" After the war even the British seemed to realize it was a

mistake. France, OTH, wanted to twist the knife into the wound."

France was on the front-line, having gone through a horrible butchery they never wanted

to see happen again. England was safely

behind the Channel and the US behind the Atlantic.

" Again, this is

not a one sided blame trip here. There is plenty of blame to go around,

especially towards A-H, but the fact is that the war was more or less started by

all major European powers."

Agreed, of course.

" So blaming just Germany, stripping it of its military,

giving away large chunks of its land (yes, one can argue if it should have been

theirs, but the Allies didn't care one way or the other)"

The Dantzig corridor?

", making it pay huge sums

of money, giving up control of unquestionable German territory,"

What, apart from the Dantzig corridor?

" creating hostile

states in vulnerable spots, funding and training forces to raid Germany's borders

to grab more land, taking its colonies, keeping Austria separate no matter what

its people wanted, and crushing its national pride simply because it lost was not

only unjustified, but stupidly short sighted. It is almost as if the French sat

down with the British and tried to figure out just how badly they could humiliate

and piss off the German people. Not wise."

Maybe. But if French forces had intervened with Hitler militazized the Rhineland, the thousand year Reich wouldn't have lasted very long.

" As for the French not being Fascist, it didn't become so before the war because

of one man's blunder during and armed take over attempt of Paris and major cities

in 1934 by Action Frances."

Maurras and L'Action Francaise were never

even close to taking over the government.

" If this had happened, and no counter revolution

toppled them, Germany would not even had needed to invade France in 1940 because

they most likely would have been allied. The ease of French collaboration shows

how deeply pro-German, or at least pro-Fascist, many French were."

The "ease" of French collaboration doesn't

differ much from the same "ease" in other occupied territories. Just look at the

Channel Islands. As for being pro-Germans, the far-right collaborators were

actually ectremely anti-German in the 30's. They saw the defeat as an excuse for grabbing power.

" This itself is

a very complex issue.

Yes, history has no easy answers. When ever you wish to lay blame, you had better

first look to see what happened before. Very rarely will you find a clear cut

case of right and wrong."

I totally agree. In those cases my rule of thumb is to "follow the money". Countries

act out of greed, not lofty ideals. Ciao,

Renaud

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One of the most inexplicable and dangerous (to my eyes) national psychoses is the notion of revenge which lasts for generations. I can understand and sympathise with a desire for revenge when its source (rape, pillage, murder) is a recent memory for the individual or group involved. But revenge which lasts for two, three generations, or even hundreds of years strikes me as being very, very wrong--and dangerous, too.

Marko

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Guest Big Time Software

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I apologize if I sounded like I was trying to absolve France of its responsibilities for World War I, but that wasn't my intent. Any nation acts purely out of self-interest and no ever acts for humanitarian reasons, despite what they might claim.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Glad to hear, and I am sorry if I am trying to pain France as the bad guy for what happened in WWII. This is not my intention. My point is that far too many people (not French in particular either) think that Germany alone started WWI. That is by design, as the "Guilt Clause" (hmmm... stretching memories here... 401??) in the treaty was a forced confession of German guilt. But, as you seem to be aware of, Germany was only partly to blame.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> France was rather involved into a revolution in 1848. France declared was because of the Depeche d'Ems, I wasn't aware of any attacks by France on Prussia before Sedan, in 1870.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm afraid I will have to bow out of this line of reasoning. My 19th Century history is now about 12 years old and not used much since school smile.gif I seem to remember that there were battles against the German states, principally Prussia, by French, or French backed, forces during the wars in 1848. But I can't say for sure.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Russian had their own reasons to come to the rescue of the Serbs and gain more influence in the Balkans.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

True, but Kaiser Wilhelm and Tzar Nicholas were cousins of good stnading and both understood that a war between the two would happen if Russia attacked A-H. There is reason to suspect that something other than war might have happened had the French not played some dirty pool to get Russia to attack. Of course, perhaps not, but it was the French that convinced Russia to mobilize and that was the end of it. It is clear from diplomatic messages and other paper trail evidence to and from Paris that this was France's intent. Get the Germans to engage the Russians in battle and then attack them from the other side. But Germany had the Schlieffen plan and it *almost* worked.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Have you read the conditions that the Germans had prepared for ending the War in 1914, once they fought they'd won? It was a document prepared long in advance, that makes the Versailles Treaty look like an act of charity.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Germany forced Russia into signing in 1917 was horrible too. I am not trying to absolve Germany here, only to show that the other side (the side of "good" and "right") was at least as greedy and vengeful. Because the Allies won the war it was their treaty that went into effect, and it was their treaty that largely gave the Nazi Party its base of support. It is also interesting to note that the Weimar Republic was also interested in destroying the treaty by force of arms, as the Black Reichswehr proves. So even if Hitler did not rise to power, the Treaty of Versailles would have lead to war in one form or another.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Simply out of self-interest.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not true in my book. Sure there were self interest considerations, but Wilson was one of the world's true idealists. From what I read about him he honestly thought America was helping out good vs. bad. But once he saw what was really going on within the side of "good", he didn't want to have any part of it. Much of this feeling comes from my reading of Lloyd George's memoirs, so I put great credence in this.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>France was on the front-line, having gone through a horrible butchery they never wanted to see happen again. England was safely behind the Channel and the US behind the Atlantic.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ah, but it was France's thirst for revenge that ENSURED that it would be a battleground once again. This is the shortsighted idiocy I keep coming back to. And the French should have known what was likely to happen. Britain realized the destabilizing affect of the Treaty in the '20s and understood that they were fooling with danger. France simply turned a blind eye to this and just sent in the troops when Germany couldn't pay up and put more arms and advisors into Poland to make things worse.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>What, apart from the Danzig corridor?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Germany was forced to give up the province of Silesia in addition. Again, there are claims that the Germans themselves took this as a spoil of war, and therefore wasn't really German, but France and Britain could have cared less if Germany had the territory for 1 year or 1000 years (in fact I think it was governed for about 100+ years). The point was to make a viable Poland a military thorn in Germany's side for evermore. Then of course they were stripped of Alsace and Lorraine. Obviously the French thought of them as theirs, but so did the Germans and in their eyes it was German territory lost (well, at least Alsace). Then there was the Saar and Rheinland areas that were garrisoned by Allied troops. And, my memory is hazy here, but Schleswig-Holstein also were removed and given to Denmark? And then there was the butchering of Austria-Hungary...

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Maybe. But if French forces had intervened with Hitler militarized the Rhineland, the thousand year Reich wouldn't have lasted very long.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, but if French policy hadn't been so shortsighted and Hell bent on bleeding Germany white, then Hitler most likely wouldn't have been in the position he was. And in any case, Germany's remilitarization of the Rhineland was perfectly justifiable. It was, after all, German territory. Why should they be prevented from having its military there? No modern nation state would stand for such a thing, especially because the Germans did not think they started WWI to begin with.

As for stopping Hitler... I wrote a paper on this for my Jr. year thesis about this, and the angle was that France was incapable of stopping Germany in 1937-39 even if the will had been there (which it was not). The Maginot mentality made it inconceivable to the French as a whole that attack was the way to go.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Maurras and L'Action Francaise were never even close to taking over the government.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not from what I remember. They were about to seize the government offices from two sides, but one of the forces (was it under Maurras himself?) chickened out after a handful of police fired on his larger mob. From what I remember it was a very close call and if the leader had been more brave the government would have fallen. At the very least the Third Republic would have been ended.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> The "ease" of French collaboration doesn't differ much from the same "ease" in other occupied territories. Just look at the Channel Islands. As for being pro-Germans, the far-right collaborators were actually extremely anti-German in the 30's. They saw the defeat as an excuse for grabbing power.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sorry, didn't mean to hold up France as an exception to the rule. Every occupied nation aided the Germans in practically every way. However, France was one of the worst, and probably the worst of the Western nations (well, toss up with Belgium I suppose). In fact, the Germans themselves could not have been more pleased with the ease of Jewish roundups in France. IIRC the Vichy government even exceeded the German requests. Things in France didn't start going sour for the Germans until about 1943, three years after occupation. This was because a mix of bad German policy and military reverses made it more clear that Germany was on the way out.

As for the far right in the 1930s France... the more and more Germany modernized and grew prosperous under Hitler, the more and more the far right looked to Germany for political guidance, especially when it came to Jews (the far right in France is still openly anti-Jewish from what I understand). This was aided by the fact that the Great Depression hit France harder in the later stages, so while other nations were recovering France was getting worse. When Germany was on the rise France was still in depression. This is always fertile breeding ground for reactionary elements. Top this off with ineffectual and largely unpopular governments and it spells trouble.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I totally agree. In those cases my rule of thumb is to "follow the money". Countries

act out of greed, not lofty ideals. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Pretty good rule of thumb to go by. I'm sorry that it has to be that way, but more often than not it is true to a large extent.

Steve

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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I'm afraid I will have to bow out of this line of reasoning. My 19th Century history is now about 12 years old and not used much since school I seem to remember that there were battles against the German states, principally Prussia, by French, or French backed, forces during the wars in 1848. But I can't say for sure.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

and...

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I wasn't aware of any attacks by France on Prussia before Sedan, in 1870.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yea I'm a bit rusty here too but, I find it interesting to note that between 1675 and 1813 France invaded Prussia/Germany no less than 14 times. That is kind of hard to forget. It is this that was the major impetus for the unification of the German state.

I had to do a little digging in my library to get this right but... here is a quote from the French Military Attache' in Berlin who wrote back to his government in August 1869 "Prussia has no intention of attacking France; she does not seek war and will do all she can to avoid it. But Prussia is farsighted enough to see that the war she does not wish will assuredly breakout, and she is, therefore, doing all she can to avoid being suprised when the fatal accident occures"

Kinda says alot don't it. wink.gif

Man I must have been sleeping to miss out on this thread earlier. I am pleased to see that there are people that have a "real" grasp on world history. Atleast more so than the misleading crap they teach in schools.

------------------

Rhet

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" quote:

" Not true in my book. Sure there were self interest considerations, but Wilson was

one of the world's true idealists. From what I read about him he honestly thought

America was helping out good vs. bad. But once he saw what was really going on

within the side of "good", he didn't want to have any part of it. Much of this

feeling comes from my reading of Lloyd George's memoirs, so I put great credence

in this."

I'm sure the more than 100 Mexicans killed in the bombing of Vera Cruz in

1914 would not agree... Wilson saw the war as a way of opening foreign

markets to American markets, even if it meant violating the sovereingty of

a foreign country,

" fooling with danger. France simply turned a blind eye to this and just sent in

the troops when Germany couldn't pay up and put more arms and advisors into

Poland to make things worse."

What was so wrong about arming Poland to defend itself, after the Poles

had been oppressed, stateless, byt the Prussians and Russians, for years?

" side for evermore. Then of course they were stripped of Alsace and Lorraine.

Obviously the French thought of them as theirs, but so did the Germans and in

their eyes it was German territory lost (well, at least Alsace)."

Of course the Alsaciens themselves strongly disagreed with the German view.

" memory is hazy here, but Schleswig-Holstein also were removed and given to

Denmark?"

Yes, but like Alsace, it had been stripped from Denmark by Prussia. In a

refenrendum, the locals voted in favour of joinign Denmark.

" And then there was the butchering of Austria-Hungary..."

Was that really avoidable?

" quote:

Maurras and L'Action Francaise were never even close to taking over

the government.

Not from what I remember. They were about to seize the government offices from

two sides, but one of the forces (was it under Maurras himself?) chickened out

after a handful of police fired on his larger mob. From what I remember it was a

very close call and if the leader had been more brave the government would have

fallen. At the very least the Third Republic would have been ended."

Would you have a reference on this? From waht I read, these were simple

protests, nothing that really threatened the government.

" quote:

The "ease" of French collaboration doesn't differ much from the same

"ease" in other occupied territories. Just look at the Channel

Islands. As for being pro-Germans, the far-right collaborators were

actually extremely anti-German in the 30's. They saw the defeat as

an excuse for grabbing power.

Sorry, didn't mean to hold up France as an exception to the rule. Every occupied

nation aided the Germans in practically every way. However, France was one of the

worst, and probably the worst of the Western nations (well, toss up with Belgium

I suppose). In fact, the Germans themselves could not have been more pleased with

the ease of Jewish roundups in France. IIRC the Vichy government even exceeded

the German requests."

More than 60% of French Jews survived the war, one of the highest rates in

occupied Europe. The same rate in Holland was close to 0%.

" Things in France didn't start going sour for the Germans

until about 1943, three years after occupation. This was because a mix of bad

German policy and military reverses made it more clear that Germany was on the

way out."

Actually, more because the south of France was occupied then, and the

terrainthere was favorable to partisan warfare, unlike the north of France.

" As for the far right in the 1930s France... the more and more Germany modernized

and grew prosperous under Hitler, the more and more the far right looked to

Germany for political guidance, especially when it came to Jews"

Hmmm... That's not what I read but I don't have any references handy.

" (the far right in

France is still openly anti-Jewish from what I understand)."

I wouldn't say "openly" but yes, there are traces of anti-semitism (Le Pen

calling gaz chambers "a detail").

Ciao,

Renaud

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Hi Renaud,

I am enjoying dusting off my prewar history, but we have largely strayed from my original point about history being complex and I now have to get cracking on some other things smile.gif so this is probably it for me...

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I'm sure the more than 100 Mexicans killed in the bombing of Vera Cruz in 1914 would not agree... Wilson saw the war as a way of opening foreign markets to American markets, even if it meant violating the sovereignty of a foreign country,<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Once again, we see that history is not so easy to put a finger on. In terms of Wilson's 14 points (er, that was the count right?) he was very much in the idealism camp. The French and British used to laugh behind his back and even had some really insulting nickname for him. Whatever else happened, Wilson really did want to have some sort of rule of law internationally (even if this was in contradiction to other actions). The French and British only reluctantly set up the League of Nations for example.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>What was so wrong about arming Poland to defend itself, after the Poles had been oppressed, stateless, by the Prussians and Russians, for years?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, if this was all France did it would be fine. But when French assisted Polish troops crossed over into German territory (as set forth in the Treaty), lead by French military advisors, this went way over the line. The French government wanted Poland to actively hurt Germany as much as possible. But the hastily created Freikorps reversed the early Polish gains and even went on the offensive (boy did they!).

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Of course the Alsaciens themselves strongly disagreed with the German view.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Really? At the time I thought it was more of an even toss up. Well, from what I remember pro-French historians paint this one way and pro-German another. Regardless, it wasn't a large part of the rise of Nazism. The Rhineland was the big one, as well as the territory lost in the East.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Yes, but like Alsace, it had been stripped from Denmark by Prussia. In a referendum, the locals voted in favor of joinign Denmark.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't necessarily doubt this, but I wonder if it would have been possible for the vote to have gone in favor of Germany. I really have a hard time thinking that it was a totally free and fair vote. In any case, Germany just lost the war so it is not surprising that people might want to switch sides. Correct me if I am wrong, but I do believe that Holstein is part of modern Germany now, right?

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>" And then there was the butchering of Austria-Hungary..." Was that really avoidable?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Oh, I think A-H was destined to break itself up. But for France and Britain to dictate it... that is a whole nother kettle of fish. And the state of Czechoslovakia they set up was defined by military defensive considerations, not population. The Sudetenland was yet another cause for the Nazis to rally the Volk behind (even if most of the charges against the Czech government were exaggerated).

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Would you have a reference on this? From waht I read, these were simple protests, nothing that really threatened the government.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Uh, maybe buried in some box left over from my college days wink.gif I am pretty sure of what I said is true, and 100% sure it was a whole lot more than "simple protests". There were 15 deaths and Daladier had to resign after this. It was a culmination of a lot of things, and the quelling of the riots did not make for a more stable France.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>More than 60% of French Jews survived the war, one of the highest rates in occupied Europe. The same rate in Holland was close to 0%.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't know the figures, but percentages are not the same as numbers. Holland is a very small country, which most likely contained a very small number of Jews (both headcount and percentage wise). Therefore it would be much easier to get nearly every one of them than in France. Whatever the numbers, far too many Frenchmen and women were very willing to give up, abuse, and deport Jews in large quantities (note, the Dutch were too helpful as were most all countries...) BTW, wasn't there a trial in France recently for some official that took part in rounding up and deporting? In any case, every occupied country had far too many local people willing to help get rid of Jews. France's rather long history of popular open hostility towards Jews obviously made a bad situation worse. This is the largely hidden tragedy of WWII; Germany had a WHOLE LOT OF help with little or no pressure from Berlin...

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Hmmm... That's not what I read but I don't have any references handy.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, I only have one small source in my collection to look at. It refreshed my memory somewhat that the large Right parties were not openly in favor of some sort of alliance with Germany and/or Italy, but they were quite sympathetic. Some of the more fringe groups were far more than that though. In my one platry source these parties are listed as having been openly pro Italian/German in the early 1930s:

The Jeunesses Patriots, Solidarite Francaise, Cagoulards?, and Parti Populaire Francais. None were really mass supported apparently, but they were significant element in the overall political picture. Later on radical right party on the rise in 1938 that actually said they preferred Hitler to Blum (the Prime Minister I think).

OK, you have pretty much exhausted my memory concerning pre-war French politics. Time to finish making an Half Track smile.gif

Steve

[This message has been edited by Big Time Software (edited 07-01-99).]

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Guys,

Let's not forget that there were REGULAR pogroms throughout Europe against the Jews prior to WW2.

Surely most people in most occupied countries didn't actively sympathise with the nazis, insofar as they just accepted the nazis as new leaders and wanted to be left alone themselves. Thus I hold that generally speaking few people in the occupied territories were ACTIVE nazis both prior to and during the occupations.

However there were a HUGE number of people in every country which was occupied who wanted to curry favour with the new "masters" (as can be understood) AND who hated the jews. Thus, to them turning in jews was a simple way to curry favour. The fact that the jews were actively disliked by massive swathes of european population at the time just made the decision to turn them over easy.

Look at Poland, for example. The poles were being persecuted by the nazis in early 40 and 41 but this still did not stop these self-same poles from actively seeking out and hunting down jews to be turned over to the nazis.

How much of this hunting down of jews was due to original hatred of the jews and how much was a desire to curry favour with the nazis by turning on an already disliked minority we can't ever truly say.

What we CAN say is that whatever the cause the jewish populations of most european countries either vanished or were horribly reduced AND that many of the mid-level bureaucrats who eversaw the identification, capture and shipping of jews were natives of occupied territories who strove to outdo eachother in terms of the number of jews delivered to deathcamps.

One other thing about France... Most of those jews who survived either fled to Spain OR continued to live in Vichy France but paid monumental sums to local officials to be "forgotten" from lists of local jews. One reason so many French jews survived was that they only had to bribe their way across one border and not several and another reason is that they paid for their lives and paid handsomely.

The resistance in France never did very much for the jews now did it? In fact, there are many cases where the resistance movements actively persecuted and extorted money from jews under threat of turning them over to the Germans.

It's not a pretty picture to say the least but I think we all have to be honest and admit that throughout the world at that time (and to a lesser extent today) pogroms occured regularly and when the nazis took over these self-same pogromers (sic) happily turned over as many jews as they could find.

MOST people in occupied territories were totally indifferent to the plight of the jews (insofar as they wouldn't risk their necks to help them), a very few risked everything to help and many died for it, and quite a few actively hunted down as many jews as they could find.

If any one of our countries was taken over by a fascist force tomorrow which targetted a particular ethnic group for anihilation the same divisions amongst your neighbours would occur. Some would help the ethnic group, most would just try to weather the storm and do nothing either way unless cornered while some would join in and hunt the ethnic group down.

Human nature is strong and it is NOT, generally speaking, noble. It HAS happened again and again in the past 54 years and it WILL happen again and again in the next 54 years. Sad, but true.

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"Hi Renaud,

I am enjoying dusting off my prewar history, but we have largely strayed from my

original point about history being complex and I now have to get cracking on some

other things so this is probably it for me..."

I wouldn't want the release of CM to be delayed by one day because of

our littel discussion smile.gif

" quote:

I'm sure the more than 100 Mexicans killed in the bombing of Vera

Cruz in 1914 would not agree... Wilson saw the war as a way of

opening foreign markets to American markets, even if it meant

violating the sovereignty of a foreign country,"

Once again, we see that history is not so easy to put a finger on. In terms of

Wilson's 14 points (er, that was the count right?) he was very much in the

idealism camp. The French and British used to laugh behind his back and even had

some really insulting nickname for him.

Whatever else happened, Wilson really did

want to have some sort of rule of law internationally (even if this was in

contradiction to other actions). The French and British only reluctantly set up

the League of Nations for example."

I think that Europeans tend to be much more opnely cynicals than Americans.

They view Wilson's "idealism" as mere posturing, which wasn't far from the

truth when you see how Wilson actually acted, as compared to what he say.

As for Wilson's 14 points, Clemenceau once joked that even God stopped at

10...

" quote:

Of course the Alsaciens themselves strongly disagreed with the

German view.

Really? At the time I thought it was more of an even toss up."

Not really. The French troops liberating Alsace in 1914 (and in 44-45) were

greeted by deliriously happy mobs.

" Well, from what I

remember pro-French historians paint this one way and pro-German another."

Interesting, I didn't even know there was an argument over this!

" quote:

Yes, but like Alsace, it had been stripped from Denmark by Prussia.

In a referendum, the locals voted in favor of joinign Denmark.

I don't necessarily doubt this, but I wonder if it would have been possible for

the vote to have gone in favor of Germany. I really have a hard time thinking

that it was a totally free and fair vote. In any case, Germany just lost the war

so it is not surprising that people might want to switch sides. Correct me if I

am wrong, but I do believe that Holstein is part of modern Germany now, right?"

I'm not sure, but I know that small parts of the region did join Germany

in that plebiscite. And other parts of Germany, in the east, did elect

to stay German in other referenda, as did the Saarland for example.

"

population. The Sudetenland was yet another cause for the Nazis to rally the Volk

behind (even if most of the charges against the Czech government were

exaggerated)."

It's interesting that most people imagine that fighting wars for

"humanitarian concerns", i.e. to protect minorities, is a recent

invention. Almost everyone of Hitler's invasions was supposed to be for the

sake of "protecting oppressed German minorities".

" quote:

More than 60% of French Jews survived the war, one of the highest

rates in occupied Europe. The same rate in Holland was close to 0%.

I don't know the figures, but percentages are not the same as numbers. Holland is

a very small country, which most likely contained a very small number of Jews

(both headcount and percentage wise). Therefore it would be much easier to get

nearly every one of them than in France."

I don't agree. Almost all of the Danish Jews were saved. Holland might

be small in size but it's very densely populated.

" Whatever the numbers, far too many

Frenchmen and women were very willing to give up, abuse, and deport Jews in large

quantities (note, the Dutch were too helpful as were most all countries...) BTW,

wasn't there a trial in France recently for some official that took part in

rounding up and deporting?"

Yes, Bousquet, a Vichy government official.

" In any case, every occupied country had far too many

local people willing to help get rid of Jews. France's rather long history of

popular open hostility towards Jews obviously made a bad situation worse."

Which "long history of popular open hostility"? I don't know of anything

on the scale of Germany or Russia. Even Dreyfus was rehbilitated. French

Jews were the first to be given full civic rights (during the French

revolution). If so many French Jews survived, despite Vichy collaboration,

it's because many ordinary people were willing to save their friends

and neighbours. Ciao,

Renaud

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Just a quick note:

"Which "long history of popular open hostility"? I don't know of anything on the scale of Germany or Russia."

If you mean open killings (the Soviet Union) or brutalization and loss of rights (Nazi Germany pre-1941), you are correct. But just because you can't compare France to these others doesn't mean that France comes up smelling like roses. I don't mean to say that the majority of French were for giving the Jews a hard time, but the large (and long) public support of the Right (which was openly hostile to Jews) says a lot. Also, it is interesting to note that (from what I recall) the "Jewish World Conspiracy" notion came out of France. Wasn't this a big part of the Dreyfus Affair? That some Jewish "syndicate" was responsible for the whole thing? In fact (again, memory hazy here) I am pretty sure that it was French writings that served as the basis for Nazi ideology against the Jews as Rosenberg was influenced by certain 19th century French "philosophers". Then there were the openly anti-Semitic newspapers that predated the Dreyfus Affair even, the Rothchilds' banking scandal (totally can't remember what that was about), and probably many more things I know nothing about ;) The upshot is that there was a hotbed of hatred for Jews when Germany entered in 1940 to expand upon. Germany didn't have to look far or hard for people to help with their programs of persecution and murder.

All in all, France (as with most countries) had a pretty poor record when it came to Jews using late 20th century eyes. And because France was (and still is) a highly educated and industrialized country, these things become somewhat more complex. Again, I am not trying to say that France as a whole was the root of all evil, but it certainly was no saint either. Poland and what was the Soviet Union were even worse, though far less sophisticated about their hate.

Well, I must say this thread has drifted FAR off topic. I'll allow a response from Renaud but then I am going to close it up. The only reason I haven't closed this up sooner is that everybody has been so civil about several topics that usually gets people acting like total hotheads.

Thanks,

Steve

[This message has been edited by Big Time Software (edited 07-01-99).]

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Steve of BTS said:

---------------------------------------------

"The only reason I haven't closed this up

sooner is that everybody has been so civil about several topics that usually getspeople acting like total hotheads."

---------------------------------------------

Who you callin' a hothead? I'll kill you for that!

DjB

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"Just a quick note:

"Which "long history of popular open hostility"? I don't know of anything on the

scale of Germany or Russia."

If you mean open killings (the Soviet Union) or brutalization and loss of rights

(Nazi Germany pre-1941), you are correct."

Actually I meant the long tradition of antisemitism in Russia (pogroms) and

in Germany, dating back to the Middle-Ages.

"But just because you can't compare

France to these others doesn't mean that France comes up smelling like roses. I

don't mean to say that the majority of French were for giving the Jews a hard

time, but the large (and long) public support of the Right (which was openly

hostile to Jews) says a lot."

Well, the Far Right, certainly. I wouldn't say the Right in general.

"Also, it is interesting to note that (from what I

recall) the "Jewish World Conspiracy" notion came out of France. Wasn't this a

big part of the Dreyfus Affair? That some Jewish "syndicate" was responsible for

the whole thing?"

That was probably advanced by some Far Right group but I don't think it's

a mark of "long history of popular open hostility".

"In fact (again, memory hazy here) I am pretty sure that it was

French writings that served as the basis for Nazi ideology against the Jews as

Rosenberg was influenced by certain 19th century French "philosophers". Then

there were the openly anti-Semitic newspapers that predated the Dreyfus Affair

even, the Rothchilds' banking scandal (totally can't remember what that was

about), and probably many more things I know nothing about ;) The upshot is that

there was a hotbed of hatred for Jews when Germany entered in 1940 to expand

upon. Germany didn't have to look far or hard for people to help with their

programs of persecution and murder."

I agree there was antisemitism but I wouldn't call it a "hotbed". The US

universities for example would discriminate against Jews but I wouldn't

say the US had a "long history of popular open hostility" to Jews.

"All in all, France (as with most countries) had a pretty poor record when it came

to Jews using late 20th century eyes. And because France was (and still is) a

highly educated and industrialized country, these things become somewhat more

complex. Again, I am not trying to say that France as a whole was the root of all

evil, but it certainly was no saint either. Poland and what was the Soviet Union

were even worse, though far less sophisticated about their hate."

Agreed. The Nazis got far too much help in the genocide in France, mostly

from petty bureaucrats and far-right politicians who grabbed power in 1940

after the defeat. Many common people also actively denounced their

neighbours for the smallest excuse. But the rate of survival of the Jews in

France is a testimony to the fact that many people also helped.

" Well, I must say this thread has drifted FAR off topic. I'll allow a response

from Renaud but then I am going to close it up. The only reason I haven't closed

this up sooner is that everybody has been so civil about several topics that

usually gets people acting like total hotheads."

Thanks! Maybe we can settle this on the battlefield of CM one of these

days smile.gif Ciao,

Renaud

[This message has been edited by Renaud Dreyer (edited 07-01-99).]

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