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Did the Atrocities Of WWII Nazi Germany Cripple Our Military Resolve?

Started by Solar, August 26, 2012, 01:29:25 AM

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Solar

I ask this because since WWII, we seem to have taken a "Morally Better Than The Enemy" approach where destruction is involved.

Lets look at war over the millenia, it has always been about complete domination, conquer, spoils go to the winner, win at all costs.
Granted, Hitler was exterminating POWs, but it was still inline with battles in history where killing your enemy was at the top of the list.

But we seem to have forgotten that going to war is about survival, not that of the enemy, they are supposed to be expendable, but our own best interests seem to have been put under the guidelines of PCism..
It seems that we have placed all life over our own when it comes to fighting the enemy, "don't kill that group of terrorists, there might be an innocent among them."

I think of how the extremists are taking over Egypt, like a cancer spreading, will we do what needs to be done when the time comes, or will we try and fight a protracted war protecting the innocent, one where the enemy will win through attrition?

Just tossing it out for discussion....
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mdgiles

Actually the Nazi's treated British and American And Canadian POW's fairly well as compared to how they treated Soviet POW's. Most ill treatment of Western Pow's tended to happen at the end of the war, when Nazi Germany was breaking down. Now this isn't to overlook the occasional massacre - especially by the SS - but usually the treatment was good. Off course even end of the war mistreatment was stupid. If an American Army group was just over the hill from me, it seems it would behoove me to treat American prisoners well. As to how we will eventually have to deal with 8th century barbarians; I would guess would have to deal them an "attitude adjustment" sort of like what we gave to the Japanese at the end of WW2. It has long been my opinion that many of the peoples of the Middle East have no real idea of what modern warfare is like. They've had modern weapons, which they've used. Usually badly. But they've never been under a sustained modern attack from Western type military.  Look at their battles with Israel for example. Those wars last days and weeks. How would they stand up under years of sustained bombing and shelling, as in WW2, for example. Consider that none of the countries in the Middle East for example, manufacture their own weapons. How is that going to work when you go to war with the people who have been supplying your arms. I wonder if they've even considered that? 
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Solar

Quote from: mdgiles on August 26, 2012, 02:41:49 AM
Actually the Nazi's treated British and American And Canadian POW's fairly well as compared to how they treated Soviet POW's. Most ill treatment of Western Pow's tended to happen at the end of the war, when Nazi Germany was breaking down. Now this isn't to overlook the occasional massacre - especially by the SS - but usually the treatment was good. Off course even end of the war mistreatment was stupid. If an American Army group was just over the hill from me, it seems it would behoove me to treat American prisoners well. As to how we will eventually have to deal with 8th century barbarians; I would guess would have to deal them an "attitude adjustment" sort of like what we gave to the Japanese at the end of WW2. It has long been my opinion that many of the peoples of the Middle East have no real idea of what modern warfare is like. They've had modern weapons, which they've used. Usually badly. But they've never been under a sustained modern attack from Western type military.  Look at their battles with Israel for example. Those wars last days and weeks. How would they stand up under years of sustained bombing and shelling, as in WW2, for example. Consider that none of the countries in the Middle East for example, manufacture their own weapons. How is that going to work when you go to war with the people who have been supplying your arms. I wonder if they've even considered that?
True, but Russia and China as well as NK is supplying them, so they do have options.
But my point is about willing to fight and win at all costs, something many in this country simply don't have the stomach for, PCism.
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mdgiles

Quote from: Solar on August 26, 2012, 03:25:09 AM
True, but Russia and China as well as NK is supplying them, so they do have options.
But my point is about willing to fight and win at all costs, something many in this country simply don't have the stomach for, PCism.
You should never mistake the beliefs and habits of the Leftoids, for the beliefs and habits of the majority of Americans.  If the Majority of Americans could ever get near the firing codes, the Middle East would have long since have ceased to exist.
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VegasGeorge

It seems to me that WWII was the culmination or apex of war against civilians as started by Lincoln when he authorized his generals to make war on the civilians of the South.  Before Lincoln, armies only attacked and fought against other armies and military fortifications.  After Lincoln, cities, civilian industries, and civilian infrastructure became "legitimate" targets.  I see no sign that things have changed, only that with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki things have gotten so far out of hand that political leaders can no longer feel safe.  Lincoln would never have turned Sherman loose if he'd thought his own ass was going to be blown to bits the next day.  If our leaders felt as safe today as Lincoln did in 1864 you wouldn't be questioning our military resolve.
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mdgiles

Quote from: VegasGeorge on August 27, 2012, 08:14:44 AM
It seems to me that WWII was the culmination or apex of war against civilians as started by Lincoln when he authorized his generals to make war on the civilians of the South.  Before Lincoln, armies only attacked and fought against other armies and military fortifications.  After Lincoln, cities, civilian industries, and civilian infrastructure became "legitimate" targets.  I see no sign that things have changed, only that with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki things have gotten so far out of hand that political leaders can no longer feel safe.  Lincoln would never have turned Sherman loose if he'd thought his own ass was going to be blown to bits the next day.  If our leaders felt as safe today as Lincoln did in 1864 you wouldn't be questioning our military resolve.
The American Civil War was the first industrial war. The industrial Revolution was only getting started the last time they had a major war (The Napoleonic Wars). It is said that the  Civil War started in the Napoleonic Wars and ended up in World War 1. One of the reasons the South lost was that they had Napoleonic generals (Lee, Jackson) and the North had modern generals (Grant, Sherman). As Sherman and Grant realized, modern war is your industrial plant and civilian morale against our industrial plant and civilian moral. BTW, someone above posted that  in the event of war with the Middle East they would still be able to purchase weapons from North Korea and China. How exactly are they supposed to get from North Korea and China to the Middle East? By sea - past western navies? By air - past western air forces? By land - past western armies? To quote and old saying: "Amateurs talk strategy and tactics, professionals talk logistics". The thing about the IslamoNuts is that they have no logistical base.
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tbone0106

Giles, I have to agree with you about Grant and Sherman, the North's "modern" generals, but it should be said too that they had access to the North's industrial base, while Lee and Jackson did not. I don't think there's a way to modify a cotton gin so that it'll crank out a cannon or a locomotive.

Solar, I have to agree with Giles about the way the Germans treated American and English prisoners. In general, POWs were not handled by the SS, but by the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe. My dad's oldest brother, for example, was a prisoner in a Wehrmacht stalag in Germany for more than two years and other than sometimes being a little hungry, he was treated well. My farmboy uncle was required to work in fields near the prison camp; afterwards, he teased my grandparents that it was pretty much like living at home.

If I had to point at one thing that may have had the effect you're talking about, it would be the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Because of them, the potential cost of all-out war is simply too high to contemplate. Even in the cases of wars against two-bit tinpot dictators, they tend to have nuclear-equipped pals in places like Pakistan and North Korea and even China and Russia. When "Little Boy" detonated over Hiroshima in 1945, it killed something like 66,000 people in the blink of an eye, with many more deaths to follow from radiation poisoning and horrific burns. And "Little Boy" was but a firecracker compared to the devices available today. Now a nuclear device with so puny a yield doesn't even qualify as a "tactical" weapon. "Little Boy" was so inefficient that of the roughly 140 lbs. of enriched uranium it contained, only a couple hundredths of an ounce were converted into energy (!). Needless to say, everybody's gotten a lot better at building bombs since then.

In any case, since WWII, there hasn't really been a real global war, just localized conflicts. The US went to Korea in a "police action" which turned out to be a real war, but who were we fighting, and what were we fighting for? How do you tell a North Korean from a South Korean? Years later, the same stupid crap in Vietnam. What were we fighting for? How do you tell a North Vietnamese from a South Vietnamese from a Viet Cong? In both cases, going back to my previous point, we were shooting at folks who were backed by allies who had nuclear weapons, the USSR in both "conflicts" and China in the Korean one.

Also, I'd say that WWII was the last conflict the US participated in where US politicians didn't try to run the show, micromanage the battle. Politics and warfare are a shitty mix. If politics is the "art of compromise," warfare is surely the exact opposite -- the lack of compromise. The proper conduct of war should always be in the hands of generals and admirals.

Solar

Quote from: tbone0106 on August 28, 2012, 03:47:44 AM
Giles, I have to agree with you about Grant and Sherman, the North's "modern" generals, but it should be said too that they had access to the North's industrial base, while Lee and Jackson did not. I don't think there's a way to modify a cotton gin so that it'll crank out a cannon or a locomotive.

Solar, I have to agree with Giles about the way the Germans treated American and English prisoners. In general, POWs were not handled by the SS, but by the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe. My dad's oldest brother, for example, was a prisoner in a Wehrmacht stalag in Germany for more than two years and other than sometimes being a little hungry, he was treated well. My farmboy uncle was required to work in fields near the prison camp; afterwards, he teased my grandparents that it was pretty much like living at home.

If I had to point at one thing that may have had the effect you're talking about, it would be the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Because of them, the potential cost of all-out war is simply too high to contemplate. Even in the cases of wars against two-bit tinpot dictators, they tend to have nuclear-equipped pals in places like Pakistan and North Korea and even China and Russia. When "Little Boy" detonated over Hiroshima in 1945, it killed something like 66,000 people in the blink of an eye, with many more deaths to follow from radiation poisoning and horrific burns. And "Little Boy" was but a firecracker compared to the devices available today. Now a nuclear device with so puny a yield doesn't even qualify as a "tactical" weapon. "Little Boy" was so inefficient that of the roughly 140 lbs. of enriched uranium it contained, only a couple hundredths of an ounce were converted into energy (!). Needless to say, everybody's gotten a lot better at building bombs since then.

In any case, since WWII, there hasn't really been a real global war, just localized conflicts. The US went to Korea in a "police action" which turned out to be a real war, but who were we fighting, and what were we fighting for? How do you tell a North Korean from a South Korean? Years later, the same stupid crap in Vietnam. What were we fighting for? How do you tell a North Vietnamese from a South Vietnamese from a Viet Cong? In both cases, going back to my previous point, we were shooting at folks who were backed by allies who had nuclear weapons, the USSR in both "conflicts" and China in the Korean one.

Also, I'd say that WWII was the last conflict the US participated in where US politicians didn't try to run the show, micromanage the battle. Politics and warfare are a shitty mix. If politics is the "art of compromise," warfare is surely the exact opposite -- the lack of compromise. The proper conduct of war should always be in the hands of generals and admirals.
I think you missed the point of the thread.
What I was inferring, was that in wars prior, including WWII, to the victor went the spoils.
Look at the treasure Nazi Germany looted from France and Italy, then compare it to Iraq, where we spent billions rebuilding the country and asked for nothing in return.
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tbone0106

Quote from: Solar on August 28, 2012, 07:34:27 AM
I think you missed the point of the thread.
What I was inferring, was that in wars prior, including WWII, to the victor went the spoils.
Look at the treasure Nazi Germany looted from France and Italy, then compare it to Iraq, where we spent billions rebuilding the country and asked for nothing in return.
Yeah, OK, fine. But there were no nuclear weapons in the balance.

The example of Iraq is the same as the example of Vietnam, and the same as Korea, and the same as every "war" ever "fought" by politicians. The end is "compromise," never victory. To a politician, 51% of the vote is a "victory," even though nearly half the voters hate your guts.

In the case of Nazi Germany, the looting benefitted... no one.

What point can be made by comparing the looting of European art during the 1940s to the Bush wars against Iraq? I guess I don't understand where you're going with this.

Solar

Quote from: tbone0106 on August 28, 2012, 12:19:13 PM
Yeah, OK, fine. But there were no nuclear weapons in the balance.

The example of Iraq is the same as the example of Vietnam, and the same as Korea, and the same as every "war" ever "fought" by politicians. The end is "compromise," never victory. To a politician, 51% of the vote is a "victory," even though nearly half the voters hate your guts.

In the case of Nazi Germany, the looting benefitted... no one.

What point can be made by comparing the looting of European art during the 1940s to the Bush wars against Iraq? I guess I don't understand where you're going with this.
The thread title:  Did the Atrocities Of WWII Nazi Germany Cripple Our Military Resolve?
Prior to that, almost every war, the spoils went to the victor, but look at the wars We have fought since.

Point is, war is to dominate the loser, force them to adopt your ideals, take their resources as your own as to fund the war just fought.
In other words, demoralize the loser. It's this way all throughout the animal kingdom, the insect world as well.

I guess the point is, should we even bother to fight a war, when were not even willing to claim victory? 
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walkstall

Quote from: Solar on August 28, 2012, 01:26:06 PM
The thread title:  Did the Atrocities Of WWII Nazi Germany Cripple Our Military Resolve?
Prior to that, almost every war, the spoils went to the victor, but look at the wars We have fought since.

Point is, war is to dominate the loser, force them to adopt your ideals, take their resources as your own as to fund the war just fought.
In other words, demoralize the loser. It's this way all throughout the animal kingdom, the insect world as well.


Once a war has been declared leave it to the U. S. generals in the service.  Keep the politicians out of it, they should have no say so until the jobe is done. 

I guess the point is, should we even bother to fight a war, when were not even willing to claim victory?
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tbone0106

Quote from: Solar on August 28, 2012, 01:26:06 PM
The thread title:  Did the Atrocities Of WWII Nazi Germany Cripple Our Military Resolve?
Prior to that, almost every war, the spoils went to the victor, but look at the wars We have fought since.

Point is, war is to dominate the loser, force them to adopt your ideals, take their resources as your own as to fund the war just fought.
In other words, demoralize the loser. It's this way all throughout the animal kingdom, the insect world as well.

I guess the point is, should we even bother to fight a war, when were not even willing to claim victory?
I see where you're coming from, I think.

What is war? Aren't we the ones who decide? I think we are, since war is not a force of nature, but rather a state of affairs between men. You can talk about species conflicts in nature, but that isn't war; it's species conflict. Lizards eat bugs all day long, every chance they get, but lizards are not "at war" with bugs.

Historians like to play at being the official "definers" of war, but they're no better at it than I am, or you are. Even worse, historians are also often partisans of one stripe or another, and their histories of wars and other things people do tend to get a bit warped. I can't offer a better example than William Manchester, a lionized historian who passed away eight years ago. His accounts of 20th-century history are famous and marvelous to read, but the man was obviously a child of the New Deal and a disciple of FDR, and he thought the sun rose and set in the crack of Jack Kennedy's ass. I wouldn't trust him as a historian to define war or anything else.

We were one of the "victors" in WWI. What were the spoils? As far as I can tell, there weren't any for us. The ridiculous Treaty of Versailles, so enamored by the French, couldn't even gain passage in the U.S. Senate.

We were the primary victor in WWII, especially in the Pacific Theater. Let's see, what were the spoils of that victory? Oh, yeah, we got to rebuild West Germany and Japan and various other places that got all mashed up when we bombed the shit out of 'em.

We were the victor in the Korean conflict, but not one damned thing changed. We could have and should have been the victor in Vietnam, but I doubt if anything would have changed there either.

I guess my point is that war is a uniquely human thing, and it is what we make of it, and the outcome is NEVER the same from conflict to conflict. There just isn't a set definition of "war."

As to the thread title, NO. I don't think the Nazi atrocities crippled our military resolve. If anything, I think those awful acts served to reinforce our sense of righteousness in extending our military and economic power on a global scale.

It should be noted, though, that actual knowledge -- proof -- of atrocities against Jews and others did not become available until very late in the war, well after the Normandy landings. Most of the evidence was discovered by the Russians in Poland and elsewhere in eastern Europe. When the troops went ashore on D-Day, we did NOT know that Hitler & Co. were killing Jews wholesale.

Solar

Neither Japan nor Korea had anything to offer outside of a buffer against communism and expanding our reach of the entire Pacific ocean.
What we did do, that we didn't do in Iraq, was dictate their political Religious system, we gutted Japans ability of worship in leadership in a deity that dictated their very way of life.
That was the spoils of war and has served us well since.
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tbone0106

Quote from: Solar on August 29, 2012, 11:09:28 PM
Neither Japan nor Korea had anything to offer outside of a buffer against communism and expanding our reach of the entire Pacific ocean.
What we did do, that we didn't do in Iraq, was dictate their political Religious system, we gutted Japans ability of worship in leadership in a deity that dictated their very way of life.
That was the spoils of war and has served us well since.
I think what Japan "had to offer" was its own collapse as a military power. Japan delivered that collapse nicely, quietly -- once we had shown them what collapse looks like.

But it's not so that we reformed Japanese society in regards to its worship of the Emperor. Hirohito remained in titular power until his death in 1989. Hirohito was forced to renounce the religious basis of his power in late 1945, but his retention as Emperor was a key concession on the part of the Allies at the end of the war, especially of the U.S.

Solar

Quote from: tbone0106 on August 30, 2012, 08:47:41 AM
I think what Japan "had to offer" was its own collapse as a military power. Japan delivered that collapse nicely, quietly -- once we had shown them what collapse looks like.

But it's not so that we reformed Japanese society in regards to its worship of the Emperor. Hirohito remained in titular power until his death in 1989. Hirohito was forced to renounce the religious basis of his power in late 1945, but his retention as Emperor was a key concession on the part of the Allies at the end of the war, especially of the U.S.
True, but we did gut his power and any succeeding Emperor to follow.
Compare that to Iraq.
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