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> World War II, The anti-US version
Milton Roe
post Wed 11th June 2008, 12:55am
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QUOTE(Proabivouac @ Wed 11th June 2008, 12:28am) *

There are several other plausible alternate histories. One is that England and France fail to declare war on Germany following the invasion of Poland - it wouldn't be the first time they'd backed down, and really not a bad move, as the war was a disaster for both empires, and of course France was eliminated nearly outright. Then Germany and Russia come to blows on their own schedule.

I've got to read Pat Buchannan's Churchill, Hilter, and the Unnecessary War which has that premise. But I've no doubt Barbarosa would still have happened, even with France intact, and then the USSR would have been toast without Allied help. Would the Allies have sat that one out, too? But the Nazis really were evil, so we would have had to fight them eventually. WW II was necessary so long as Hitler was in power. Just a question of when. The longer we wait, the stronger he gets...
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Emperor
post Wed 11th June 2008, 4:49am
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By the way, does anyone else think that parts of the intro were cribbed from Encarta?

Encarta: "global military conflict"
Wikipedia: "global military conflict"

Encarta: "...the commitment of nations’ entire human and economic resources, the blurring of the distinction between combatant and noncombatant"
Wikipedia: "erasing the distinction between civil and military resources"

Encarta: "in terms of lives lost and material destruction, was the most devastating war in human history."
Wikipedia: "making it the most costly war in capital as well as lives." (The phrase "human history" has been edited out over time.)

This post has been edited by Emperor: Wed 11th June 2008, 4:54am
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Disillusioned Lackey
post Wed 11th June 2008, 6:14am
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QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Tue 10th June 2008, 7:55pm) *

I've got to read Pat Buchannan's Churchill, Hilter, and the Unnecessary War which has that premise.

Oh Gawd. He wrote a book on that premise? (And you'd read it?)
Why not save the money and... spend it on anything else
QUOTE(Milton Roe @ Tue 10th June 2008, 7:55pm) *

But I've no doubt Barbarosa would still have happened, even with France intact, and then the USSR would have been toast without Allied help. Would the Allies have sat that one out, too? But the Nazis really were evil, so we would have had to fight them eventually. WW II was necessary so long as Hitler was in power. Just a question of when. The longer we wait, the stronger he gets...

The US would have been dragged into the war eventually. Both of the major axis powers were on-the-move until they mopped it all up, or until someone stopped them. Eventually, England and France would have been attacked, Poland, or no Poland. From the German perspective, that war was all about overcoming the shame/stimga of signing the economy-crushing Treaty of Versailles (Keynes actually wrote a thesis one how German repayment of the financial obligations was impossible to complete without wiping out the national budget). I forget the exact circumstances, but when France capitulated to Germany after the WW2 invasion, signatory was in the same place, or the same pen, or something meaningful, as in "payback time." Poland was simply easy to attack, and the Germans considered it lost property, i.e. Prussia, as they also did the Sudetenland (then-Czechoslovakia), both of were populated with significant levels of ethnic German. Hitler 'picked off' the countries he could attack more easily, then swung at the big fish later. Recall that Russia was an ally for a while, then got attacked. If Axis-Germany had mowed the world down, and the US (etc) didn't exist, Axis-Germany would have taken out Japan in the end, in a horrific-bizarro-world situation. Axis-Germany had no allies, just temporary partners. (reminds me of some person... oh never mind)

This post has been edited by Disillusioned Lackey: Wed 11th June 2008, 6:58am
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Wed 11th June 2008, 6:44am
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QUOTE(Disillusioned Lackey @ Tue 10th June 2008, 3:29pm) *

The fire-bombing of Dresden was pretty awful, and as close to atomic weaponry as conventional bombs can be.
The death toll was substantially greater than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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House of Cards
post Wed 11th June 2008, 7:02am
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Any articles involving Eastern European history are an absolute minefield. The Iron Curtain is still very much alive in the minds of many editors.

For another example, have a look at the occasional shitfights that break out at the article on the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Here, editors from ex-Soviet states still stick to the near 50-year USSR doctrine that the Pact never existed and was a Western fabrication.

But for the worst example of strawman racial drama that I have seen, see the "humourous" http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Poles_are_evil. The fact that it is on Meta and not on WP makes it totally independent from WP - at least, that's what some Polish editors say when the page is attacked after said editors refer to it as the ultimate defence against any objections (however slight) come their way.
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Disillusioned Lackey
post Wed 11th June 2008, 7:08am
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Wed 11th June 2008, 1:44am) *

The death toll was substantially greater than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yes. That doesn't get a lot of historical attention as it is somehow overshadowed by other events (Normandy, atom bombs, etc). I saw a documentary on it for the first time when living in Europe, and I thought I'd read tons on WW2 and seen tons of biopics when back in the US. I had no idea what the firebombing did there. Apparently anyone in some certain radius got fried. There was simply no place to hide. If you were in a bomb shelter underground, that wasn't safe. The only way to survive was to not be there, period.

When I drove through there immediately post wall-came-down, the town was so undeveloped that there was only one hotel for like 400 dollars a night, and really nothing else in terms of small hotels. And the city was still a mess. I've been back and it's totally different. The post-unification German government poured millions into reconstruction in the past 10 years.

QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 2:02am) *

Here, editors from ex-Soviet states still stick to the near 50-year USSR doctrine that the Pact never existed and was a Western fabrication.

Thats strange. I wonder what is the editor demographic of that ilk. I've never met an Eastern European who had that position. Maybe a Russian or two, but they were hooked in to the old appararichnik system by family (usually parents), and they were somehow obligated to speak so, and so arguing with them would have been almost rude. You know, those just-nod-and-smile-why-argue conversations.

This post has been edited by Disillusioned Lackey: Wed 11th June 2008, 7:10am
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House of Cards
post Wed 11th June 2008, 7:19am
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QUOTE(Disillusioned Lackey @ Wed 11th June 2008, 9:08am) *
Yes. That doesn't get a lot of historical attention as it is somehow overshadowed by other events (Normandy, atom bombs, etc). I saw a documentary on it for the first time when living in Europe, and I thought I'd read tons on WW2 and seen tons of biopics when back in the US. I had no idea what the firebombing did there. Apparently anyone in some certain radius got fried. There was simply no place to hide. If you were in a bomb shelter underground, that wasn't safe. The only way to survive was to not be there, period.
A major reason why there is little attention to this in the Allied countries is because it was a deliberate attack on a civilian population, and widespread recognition of that would sully the idea that our side was always fighting the good fight.

QUOTE(Disillusioned Lackey @ Wed 11th June 2008, 9:08am) *
Thats strange. I wonder what is the editor demographic of that ilk. I've never met an Eastern European who had that position. Maybe a Russian or two, but they were hooked in to the old appararichnik system by family (usually parents), and they were somehow obligated to speak so, and so arguing with them would have been almost rude. You know, those just-nod-and-smile-why-argue conversations.
Don't get me wrong. Not all Eastern European editors are like that. But you know how it is with WP: those who yell the loudest tend to outlast all the sensible editors, especially when under the protective wing of an admin or two.
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Disillusioned Lackey
post Wed 11th June 2008, 7:24am
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QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 2:19am) *

A major reason why there is little attention to this in the Allied countries is because it was a deliberate attack on a civilian population, and widespread recognition of that would sully the idea that our side was always fighting the good fight.
Yes, but by that metric, Hiroshima and Nagasaki should also be unmentionables. I had the impression that at that point, strategic attacks such as the three aforementioned were not politically-incorrect, given the vast desire to end the war. Or.... if that's true, then why were N and H ok, but D not?
QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 2:19am) *

Don't get me wrong. Not all Eastern European editors are like that. But you know how it is with WP: those who yell the loudest tend to outlast all the sensible editors, especially when under the protective wing of an admin or two.
That and the "all the whackjobs tend to gravitate to the internet because they have no social skills (friends, family, etc)" theory mesh nicely. rolleyes.gif
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Herschelkrustofsky
post Wed 11th June 2008, 7:30am
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QUOTE(Disillusioned Lackey @ Wed 11th June 2008, 12:08am) *

QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Wed 11th June 2008, 1:44am) *

The death toll was substantially greater than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yes. That doesn't get a lot of historical attention as it is somehow overshadowed by other events (Normandy, atom bombs, etc). I saw a documentary on it for the first time when living in Europe, and I thought I'd read tons on WW2 and seen tons of biopics when back in the US. I had no idea what the firebombing did there. Apparently anyone in some certain radius got fried. There was simply no place to hide. If you were in a bomb shelter underground, that wasn't safe. The only way to survive was to not be there, period.
The most horrifying feature was that Dresden had no military significance. The bombing was carried out as a macabre experiment in psychological warfare, by the Strategic Bombing Survey (see this article.)


QUOTE(Disillusioned Lackey @ Wed 11th June 2008, 12:24am) *

QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 2:19am) *

A major reason why there is little attention to this in the Allied countries is because it was a deliberate attack on a civilian population, and widespread recognition of that would sully the idea that our side was always fighting the good fight.
Yes, but by that metric, Hiroshima and Nagasaki should also be unmentionables. I had the impression that at that point, strategic attacks such as the three aforementioned were not politically-incorrect, given the vast desire to end the war. Or.... if that's true, then why were N and H ok, but D not?
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not "OK," either. The emperor of Japan had already made a back-channel offer of surrender, under the same terms that were later agreed to on the USS Missouri. His overture was rebuffed, because a faction in the civilian leadership of the US was eager to try out atomic weapons, on civilian targets, in order to create a certain psychological effect on the rest of the world.
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Disillusioned Lackey
post Wed 11th June 2008, 7:35am
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Oh.

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House of Cards
post Wed 11th June 2008, 7:38am
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As an interesting note, the US Veterans Association a few years ago managed to stop the Smithsonian from presenting an exhibition on the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, for fear that displaying the true carnage that was unleashed by the bombings would sully their good name. I haven't looked at the WP article on the bombings, but I wouldn't be surprised if similar movements were afoot there too.

Go to Hiroshima one day and have a look around. I highly recommend it.

This post has been edited by House of Cards: Wed 11th June 2008, 7:39am
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Proabivouac
post Wed 11th June 2008, 7:56am
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QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 7:38am) *

As an interesting note, the US Veterans Association a few years ago managed to stop the Smithsonian from presenting an exhibition on the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings, for fear that displaying the true carnage that was unleashed by the bombings would sully their good name. I haven't looked at the WP article on the bombings, but I wouldn't be surprised if similar movements were afoot there too.

Go to Hiroshima one day and have a look around. I highly recommend it.

Carnage was the point.
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House of Cards
post Wed 11th June 2008, 8:06am
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Ah, sorry. Not just the carnage, but everything else that involved the bombing: the desire to test the weapons on a civilian population, the total lack of necessity of the bombing in terms of finishing the war, the long-lasting effects of the bombing, etc.

This post has been edited by House of Cards: Wed 11th June 2008, 8:07am
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dogbiscuit
post Wed 11th June 2008, 8:19am
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Wed 11th June 2008, 8:30am) *

QUOTE(Disillusioned Lackey @ Wed 11th June 2008, 12:08am) *

QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Wed 11th June 2008, 1:44am) *

The death toll was substantially greater than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yes. That doesn't get a lot of historical attention as it is somehow overshadowed by other events (Normandy, atom bombs, etc). I saw a documentary on it for the first time when living in Europe, and I thought I'd read tons on WW2 and seen tons of biopics when back in the US. I had no idea what the firebombing did there. Apparently anyone in some certain radius got fried. There was simply no place to hide. If you were in a bomb shelter underground, that wasn't safe. The only way to survive was to not be there, period.
The most horrifying feature was that Dresden had no military significance. The bombing was carried out as a macabre experiment in psychological warfare, by the Strategic Bombing Survey (see this article.)


QUOTE(Disillusioned Lackey @ Wed 11th June 2008, 12:24am) *

QUOTE(House of Cards @ Wed 11th June 2008, 2:19am) *

A major reason why there is little attention to this in the Allied countries is because it was a deliberate attack on a civilian population, and widespread recognition of that would sully the idea that our side was always fighting the good fight.
Yes, but by that metric, Hiroshima and Nagasaki should also be unmentionables. I had the impression that at that point, strategic attacks such as the three aforementioned were not politically-incorrect, given the vast desire to end the war. Or.... if that's true, then why were N and H ok, but D not?
Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not "OK," either. The emperor of Japan had already made a back-channel offer of surrender, under the same terms that were later agreed to on the USS Missouri. His overture was rebuffed, because a faction in the civilian leadership of the US was eager to try out atomic weapons, on civilian targets, in order to create a certain psychological effect on the rest of the world.

I'm sure I have heard it suggested (is that vague enough sourcing?!) that one of Hitler's biggest errors was the switch to the wide-scale bombing of Britain, which freed Churchill from any ethical concerns he had.

My father was in Burma*, and after a long wait in India and a bout of malaria as well, eventually went into action against the Japanese. The next stop was Malaya and they were due to land on the beaches a few days after The Bomb was dropped. He is certain, having seen the sandy beaches with trees lining the shore, that it would have been an unsurvivable experience for most. He therefore believes that the dropping of the bomb, even if it only shortened the war by a few days, saved his life and those of his comrades. He landed those few days later as a member of an occupying force.


*As it was known then smile.gif
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thekohser
post Wed 11th June 2008, 12:34pm
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QUOTE(Herschelkrustofsky @ Wed 11th June 2008, 3:30am) *

The most horrifying feature was that Dresden had no military significance. The bombing was carried out as a macabre experiment in psychological warfare, by the Strategic Bombing Survey (see this article.)


Sorry, I stopped reading that article when I saw this: "hit the nation's that might sponsor them". What motivates writers to put in a possessive apostrophe when they simply mean to construct a plural noun?

Not so fast on Dresden. It all depends on what you consider "military significance". That is disputed. I'm not trying to gloss over the human disgraces that took place at Allied hands during World War II -- quite the contrary. But it is also worth considering that some portion of the Dresden story is based on a heap of post-war mythology.

That being said, my undergraduate honors thesis on the broader subject is available for reading if you're ever in the stacks at Woodruff Library at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. (U4.5 .K65) Maybe you can get it through inter-library loan. It's only "magna" cum laude quality, though. Don't knock yourself out.
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House of Cards
post Wed 11th June 2008, 12:59pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Wed 11th June 2008, 2:34pm) *

Not so fast on Dresden. It all depends on what you consider "military significance". That is disputed. I'm not trying to gloss over the human disgraces that took place at Allied hands during World War II -- quite the contrary. But it is also worth considering that some portion of the Dresden story is based on a heap of post-war mythology.

All cities almost everywhere during the war had some military significance. It's a question of proportion.

From that link: He also notes that Dresden was a hotbed of Nazi sympathy and anti-Semitism. Is that really a good enough excuse to firebomb it? Going only from that article, the whole thing sounds too apologetic to me.

There is some post-war mythology involved, for sure. But don't forget that some of it comes from the Allied side, who excuse Dresden with "well, they deserved it"
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Neil
post Wed 11th June 2008, 1:04pm
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As I recall, wasn't Dresden firebombed a] in return for Coventry, which was both revenge and as a moral boost for the British people, and b] as a demonstration of power?

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thekohser
post Wed 11th June 2008, 1:17pm
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QUOTE(Neil @ Wed 11th June 2008, 9:04am) *

As I recall, wasn't Dresden firebombed a] in return for Coventry, which was both revenge and as a moral boost for the British people, and b] as a demonstration of power?


There was a lot of revenge and moral justification happening during WW2.

I should also add that, based on the military and civilian death tolls on Okinawa (the Japanese lost 90,000 troops on an island only 460 square miles in area), the U.S. estimates for Japanese home island casualties (were the war brought to a conclusion through traditional amphibious invasion (Operation DOWNFALL)) numbered at least in the several millions. Certainly far fewer died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

All of it was sad and certainly needless, as over 60 years of peace and alliance between the US and Japan since have proven.
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GlassBeadGame
post Wed 11th June 2008, 1:19pm
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I am always troubled by the equating of Hitler and Stalin. It is often stated that Stalin's forced collectivization and purges resulted in as many deaths to Soviet citizens as Hilter's invasion. I'm not certain of the numbers but that does seem possible. What it ignores is that Hilter failed in carrying out his intentions and Stalin succeeded. If Hitler had prevailed the Slavic people would have faced outright genocide, with the entire area east of the Urals depopulated and resettled with Germans. This would have meant losses an entire order of magnitude greater than those suffered. The Soviet narrative of the Great Patriotic War has much truth in it. The Slavic peoples owe a great debt to the Red Army, irrespective of the role of Stalin's regime in any other matters.
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post Wed 11th June 2008, 2:39pm
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Google and Yahoo think that Wikipedia has the best page regarding World War II available.
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