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The Blitz myth?


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How about some facts for a change?

Poland had no claim, and made no claim on Danzig that was not backed by international law. Germany did.

Poland accepted the status quo of the international treaties. Germany did not.

Germany nullified the non-aggression treaty from 1939. Hitler ordered the attack on Poland on 3rd April 1939. Poland did not nullify the contract, and did not order to go to war.

Poland had not repeatedly lied about its intention and had not taken land of its neighbours, or destroyed independent states and made itself completely untrustworthy in the process. Germany did.

Poland did not conduct a take-over of Danzig before the start of the war. Germany did.

Poland did not put a couple of prisoners into polish uniforms and shot them outside a small radio station near Gleiwitz to manufacture a reason to go to war. Germany did.

BTW - Russia never got Danzig. You must be thinking of Koenigsberg, in which case I suggest buying an atlas.

So, now that we have settled this, how about proof of the claims for the Polish atrocities?

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Athlete,

Well I must say I am pleased too about the civil direction this conversation has taken.

Here are some problems I have with your arguements. This is not to imply you eat babies or enjoy dressing up in S.S. uniforms - just I think you are off the wall. I have taken the liberty of selectively citing what you wrote to separate the topics.

1. "To chase them back to Germany and finish them would have been HUGELY costly in terms of human life."

No, that's not so. The German army was coming apart at the seams, the Americans were coming onto the field big time, and the war was shifting to mobile operations. The allies had big reserves of men and material, and the Germans did not. Had the war continued after November 1918 the result would have been utter battlefield defeat for the Germans, and that pretty quickly. The German General Staff (Hindenburg et al) saw the writing on the wall and folded their cards.

2. "When Germany started coming out of it, they MUST have known they weren't going to continue to accept those terms. They had NEVER accepted them. So the smart thing to do, in my estimation would be to really think through what was equitable...not wait for Hitler"

You are making three assumptions:

* The Allied powers could see into the future

*. The rise of totalitarianism in Germany was inevitable given Versailles and Weimar.

* The only way to pursue territorial irredentialism is by war.

I direct your attention to Germany 1989, which reunited without a war, facism, or Hitler:

3. "Second, the USSR was supposed to be a Republic of Communists, Republics are made up of VOLUNTARY governments, not conquests. Third, and quite frankly, time. The time difference between 20years of continuous protests vs. 70ish years of relative silence and then suddenly (after the fact) an explanation of why we did it to me is intuitively different."

The Soviets never relinquished their claim to traditional Russian territory, and they renounced (not undermined or protested privately like the Germans about Versailles, but renounced) the terms of Brest-Litovsk within weeks of its signature.

Further, to use a specific example, the Ukrainians under Polish rule were discriminated against (not murdered, more on the level of not allowed to use their language and lack of access to education), and the Soviets already had a Ukrainian Socialist Republic. This is not to say I personally agree with Moscow's logic, but doesn't it make more sense for the Ukrainians to live as part of a Soviet Republic where they have a few more rights, than under Polish rule where the government actively worked to turn them into good Polish citizens?

Ukraine in general had been under Russian rule for about three centuries: that almost three times longer than German existed as a state. Given that, your arguement that Germany had legitimate rights to the left bit of Poland, but the Soviet Union had no rights to the right bit, is a simple double standard.

4. " Really my point was, by my standards, I don't think Brit and France should have started a global war because of the conflict between Poland and Germany. They should have been peace-brokers; and probably long before we got to the Poland issue."

They tried. Hitler repeatedly lied to Britain and France. "No more territorial ambitions in Europe." Your starting point is that it is okay for a state to break its word, if its territorial ambitions are legitimate in the eyes of that state.

That definition is a license to start an offensive war at any time, anywhere. It is always possible to come up with a casus belli.

5. "if you want a lasting peace without having to constantly hold a gun to the heads of 50-odd million Germans, you should probably treat them with respect. It's just a choice. I don't like the choice we made."

Again, you are assuming that the Germans would inevitably go to war if they didn't get what they wanted. Again, I direct your attention to Germany 1989.

6. "Now, I don't know enough to say for sure, but the occupation of Czeck beyond the Sudentland MIGHT have been an example, though this too is on my list of things to really research...(i.e. were the Czecks resistant to German rule? Why did they occupy the rest of the country? etc...)"

Really a Czech ought to answer you on this, but I think I can safely say the ethnic Czech and Slovak population of Czechoslovakia was opposed to German rule. Further, I would point out that the last time the Sudetenland had been part of even a vaguely German Reich was in the days of Charlemagne/Karl der Grosse; and since then the Sudetenland, albeit ethnically German, had been part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Hitler's grab of the Sudetenland was not a recovery of a Versailles loss, but rather the acquisition of a bit of the old Austro-Hungarian empire. Ditto for Polish Silesia.

7. "They weren't routed. The cost to the allies in terms of lives to actually invade Germany would have been HUGE. That's why it wasn't a surrender; but then the allies screwed them."

This is Nazi propaganda of the worst sort. You seem to be a reasonable person, but you have been taken in.

In fact, by Autumn 1918 it was obvious to the German military leadership the army would crack. The allies had the reserves, the Germans did not. They were out of bodies to feed into the trenches, and the war already had become mobile. So Hindenburg and the others forced the Kaiser to make a peace.

Hitler simply lied about that. He said the war ended because the German army was "stabbed in the back by civilians". Usually by Jews. Not so, unless the German General Staff's moral courage in ending the war before Germany was overrun counts as a Jewish civilian stab in the back.

8. "Well, it's alternative would have been to defend Germany. Nobody wins...Germany would eventually lose, and the allies would have lost hundreds of thousands of troops in the effort."

I suggest you read any standard history of the latter stages of WWI. Margaret Tuchman, John Keegan, and Paul Kennedy would be good starting points. Really, by late 1918 Germany was on the ropes if not down for the count.

9. "That's why it baffles me that we were so willing to fight for Poland's right to hold the title on the Danzig, but we won't go to Rwanda or Darfir. It's bizarre."

I disagree. What's bizarre is that you are assuming:

* Hitler would have stopped after grabbing Danzig

* France and Britain 1939 were the same people, faced with the same threats to their countries, as western industrialed nations in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

France and Britain cared far less about the Poles, than about a Nazi Germany ready, willing, and able to attack any country in Europe whenever it pleased. Hitler was a menace and he needed to be stopped. Eventually he was.

10. " I'm suggesting that the LoN didn't do what needed to be done to avoid a war (i.e. give the frickin land back), and that it was probably pretty stupid for the Polish government to suddenly walk out of talks with Germany about Danzig, and for Smigly to start sabre-rattling."

Why? Hitler didn't acknowledge the League as having the authority to dictate terms to Germany, and Danzig was part of Poland's territory. If Mexico tried to negotiate with the U.S. for Texas and California, would you agree the U.S. should treat that claim as legitimate? Or that the United Nations should somehow force the U.S. to turn those two states over to Mexico?

11. "once again I come back to: the world went to war in Europe over Poland's claim to Danzig. Six years and 40million people later, we gave it to the Russians who had NO claim to it, really. So the mission to secure Polish sovereignty was a complete failure wouldn't you say?"

I would not. In the first place Hitler and his evil state was destroyed, and I think you will agree with me that considering the concentration camps, if nothing else, that was a good thing. In the second place Poland became an more or less independent country under Soviet rule after the war, and forty years later the Poles have their own country they can live in whatever way they please.

But bottom line it cost 40 million deaths to stop Hitler and the Germans that supported him, who up until about 1943 or so was just about every one.

12. "I mean to voice my opinion about how 1936-1939 Germany was handled...I think it was handled abysmally."

Fair enough, but Germany didn't just appear out of whole cloth in 1936. The bulk of the time post-WWI, 1919 - 1935, say, Germany was no threat to the stability of Europe. The Nazis grabbed full power in 1936, and in three years renounced Versailles, began full-scale rearmament, and outright grabbed European territories they had signed away their rights to. Some 36 months later - an eyeblink of time for governments - Britain and France had had enough.

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Originally posted by Bigduke6:

Typical. I try and compliment that sticky vinegar you guys call wine, and you call me on a typo. What's a dumb Slav to do? :rolleyes:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Andreas:

It's Riesling, you Vodka slobbering caricature of reason.

</font>
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Andreas,

I'm confused. Since when is Paris "home" for a quality German Riesling? Did you guys invade France again without telling any one? :confused:

And thanks for calling my geographic goof on Koenigsberg/Danzig - although you have to admit the corridor issue is close to the same.

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Originally posted by Andreas:

[QB] How about some facts for a change?

Poland had no claim, and made no claim on Danzig that was not backed by international law. Germany did.

Well, live in a country where your forced to capitulate to unreasonable terms for 20 years, and then quote me international law. I won't even bring up the US invasion of Iraq as an example of how so-called 'noble' countries violate international law whenever it suits them, and if they have the power to do so with impunity. Ooops, I guess I already did.

Poland accepted the status quo of the international treaties. Germany did not.
Well of course they did dumb dumb, they had seen nothing but benefits from those treaties.

Germany nullified the non-aggression treaty from 1939. Hitler ordered the attack on Poland on 3rd April 1939. Poland did not nullify the contract, and did not order to go to war.
No he didn't order an attack in April; he ordered his armed forces to prepare for an attack on Poland. If you think armed conflict is inevitable this is simply a pragmatic and prudent move, ala Desert Shield circa 1990.

Poland had not repeatedly lied about its intention and had not taken land of its neighbours, or destroyed independent states and made itself completely untrustworthy in the process. Germany did.
Well, they declared their intentions to negotiate a corridor through Danzig and then walked away, then the chief of their military told Germany and the world that Poland intended to go to war with Germany whether Germany wanted one or not. Turns out that wasn't a smart thing to do.

Poland did not conduct a take-over of Danzig before the start of the war. Germany did.
Well, it was a German city, occupied by Germans, policed by Germans but "under contract" to Poland via the ToV. If it walks like a duck...It would be like Canada insisting on running customs and having free passage through Alaska. The US would never accept this...

Poland did not put a couple of prisoners into polish uniforms and shot them outside a small radio station near Gleiwitz to manufacture a reason to go to war. Germany did.
Yes, and historically this was the only reason Germany cited for going to war with Poland. Give your head a shake.

BTW - Russia never got Danzig. You must be thinking of Koenigsberg, in which case I suggest buying an atlas.
No, I'm thinking of Danzig. You're just wrong here.

So, now that we have settled this, how about proof of the claims for the Polish atrocities?
Working on it. Btw, try to calm down and respond like a debator and not like a typical forumite, else I'm going to just stop responding to you.
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Originally posted by athlete:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Poland did not put a couple of prisoners into polish uniforms and shot them outside a small radio station near Gleiwitz to manufacture a reason to go to war. Germany did.

Yes, and historically this was the only reason Germany cited for going to war with Poland. Give your head a shake. </font>
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Andreas, you are free to stop reading and responding. I for one am done responding to you until you can start debating and stop simply trying to provoke a response.

Bigduke, I'm at work, as soon as I get a chance I'll respond. Might not be until tomorrow as I want to do some research. I'll prob start a new thread, and summarize my position as a preamble, or if you would prefer, we can just continue it offline so as not to invite trolling. Your call.

[ June 09, 2005, 06:57 AM: Message edited by: athlete ]

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Haha. Yeah right.

I have shown you proof in the form of an independently authored article produced for the internal education department of the Bundeswehr, by a retired Bundeswehr officer, from an official Bundeswehr publication website. If it is not good enough for you, that's your problem. By comparison, you have shown nothing thus far supporting your allegations.

Happy digging.

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I don't think we should get all vitriolic. Well not without a bit of reflection first ;) then apply the blowtorch. It's good to have these things crop up from time to time. A sobering reminder that millions of apparently rational individuals can be so easily duped into embarking upon a path of madness and evil.

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"It is not Danzig that is at stake. For us it is a matter of expanding our living space in the East and making food supplies secure and also solving the problem of the Baltic states. Food supplies can only be obtained from thinly populated areas. Over and above fertility, thorough German cultivation will tremendously increase the produce. No other openings can be seen in Europe."

and

"There is, therefore, no. question of sparing Poland, and we are left with the decision: to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity"

- Hitler, Conference at the Reich Chancellory, Berlin, May 23, 1939 from minutes of his adjutant Rudolf Schmundt.

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Spoilsport. ;)

HMV - speech on 22 August 1939, highlight by me:

"The relation to Poland has become unbearable. My Polish policy hitherto was in contrast to the ideas of the people. My propositions to Poland, the Danzig corridor, were disturbed by England's intervention. Poland changed her tune towards us. The initiative cannot be allowed to pass to others. This moment is more favorable than in two to three years. An attempt on my life or Mussolini's could only change the situation to our disadvantage. One cannot eternally stand opposite one another with cocked rifle. A suggested compromise would have demanded that we change our convictions and make agreeable gestures. They talked to us again in the language of Versailles. There was danger of losing prestige. Now the probability is still great that the West will not interfere. We must accept the risk with reckless resolution. A politician must accept a risk as much as a military leader. We are facing the alternative to strike or to be destroyed with certainty sooner or later."

*******

"We need not be afraid of a blockade. The East will supply us with grain, cattle, coal, lead and zinc. It is a big arm, which demands great efforts. I am only afraid that at the last minute some Schweinhund will make a proposal for mediation."

In his second speech on 22 August 1939 the Fuehrer had this to say:

"Destruction of Poland in the foreground. The aim is elimination of living forces, not the arrival at a certain line. Even if war should break out in the West, the destruction of Poland shall be the primary objective. Quick decision because of the season.

"I shall give a propagandistic cause for starting the war, never mind whether it be plausible or not. The victor shall not be asked, later on, whether we told the truth or not. In starting and making a war, not the Right is what matters but Victory.

Nuremberg trial documents on Nizkor.org
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Well... going back a bit...

Blitzkrieg tactics (or whatever you wish to call them) making giant encirclement maneuvers and capturing hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers worked well until the Russian soldiers figured out that being a German prisoner was worse than dying in combat, hence the drop off in prisoners taken during the '42 offensive. The Russian soldiers didn't get a lot better, just more resolved.

The war in the East was decided by German behind the lines policy, not the harsh Soviet treatment of its people. Had the Germans intended to liberate the oppressed people of Russia (like America in Iraq ;) ) and not solidified the Russian soldiers resolve with their "untermensch" policies, the war would have gone differently. But that is a lot to ask of any European country in the early 20th century, all dominated by the social darwinist ideas of Herbert Spencer, preaching that one race was destined to rule all the others in Europe. The Germans suffered from a Classic case of the big head.

Great encirclement battles (or blitzkrieg tactics if you like) were not feasible in the West because of Allied superiority in mobility and air power. Not to mention the worn state of the German Army in '44.

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One of the requirements for Blitzkrieg is communications. Radio communications in particular. Coordination of arms and command dictates this.

The Soviets may have had forward thinkers prewar but they did not have the radios to carry off Blitkrieg style of war. They actually reorged thier armored forces into smaller groups after the invasion into units that could be handled better. They went to a very defensive use of armor till they could reorg again after Stalingrad.

The German inclusion of radios into individual vehicles and having command radios higher up linking other arms together put the lightening (speed) into blitzkrieg.

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Originally posted by MartinEden:

Blitzkrieg tactics (or whatever you wish to call them) making giant encirclement maneuvers and capturing hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers worked well until the Russian soldiers figured out that being a German prisoner was worse than dying in combat, hence the drop off in prisoners taken during the '42 offensive. The Russian soldiers didn't get a lot better, just more resolved.

Ah, no. That isn't right.

The number of POWs dropped because:

a) instead of attacking on the whole front, the Germans were already reduced to attacking on 1/3rd of it, and (more importantly)

2) the Soviet high command were getting far better at organising and controlling their field forces than they had been in 1941.

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