Op SEELOWE

Somewhere in my father's house there is a photo of a very young TMW sitting on the knee of my Great Uncle in the late 1960s. This was a man who'd served the First World war as an infantryman, and had a permanent limp and a gaunt, pale countenance. One thing you can't see in the photo is the stiff leather corset he wore around his torso due to being gassed (to support his lungs apparently, without it he could hardly take a breath without coughing) over fifty years earlier.

So I hope you'll understand if I respectfully disagree with employing chemical weapons on anyone; they've always struck me as the most heartless, insidious and evil of man's creations.

I'm not keen on nuking people either but a land invasion against fanatic's on home territory with a track record like theirs, it would have been awful for the allies, worse for the Japanese too. Killing as many of them as possible without actually having to fight them resulted in an overall reduction of casualties and so i'm ok with the prospect of Japan being WMD'd to death in 1945/1946.

They sowed the seeds and I dont see why we should have lost hundreds of thousands in order to put a stop to their menace.

Thank god that they gave up before it was necessary to gas them all but i'm also grateful for the opportunity for the world to see the true reality of nuclear war which has no doubt helped to stave off anyone else using them since.
 
I'm not keen on nuking people either but a land invasion against fanatic's on home territory with a track record like theirs, it would have been awful for the allies, worse for the Japanese too. Killing as many of them as possible without actually having to fight them resulted in an overall reduction of casualties and so i'm ok with the prospect of Japan being WMD'd to death in 1945/1946.

They sowed the seeds and I dont see why we should have lost hundreds of thousands in order to put a stop to their menace.

Thank god that they gave up before it was necessary to gas them all but i'm also grateful for the opportunity for the world to see the true reality of nuclear war which has no doubt helped to stave off anyone else using them since.
Ah, the war to end all wars. A bit like the previous one.
However I am rather in your camp. I came across a ladies name on our local war memorial the other day.
A nurse killed by the Japanese in Singapore 1942. Alexandra Hospital massacre.
Deserved all they got.
 
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Ah, the war to end all wars. A bit like the previous one.
However I am rather in your camp. I came across a ladies name on our local war memorial the other day.
A nurse killed by the Japanese in Singapore 1942. Alexandra Hospital massacre.
Deserved all they got.
Another uncle, Jack. 2 Borders. Injured pushing up the Irrawaddy March 1944. In a field hospital. Bayonetted when a Jap counterattack overran the hospital, along with everyone else including doctors and nurses.

Apparently in Burma 44 James Holland describes an event that exactly matches this. One of these days I'll pick the book back up.

Every year, me mum and I visited friends in Cumberland, and every year she'd make for Carlisle cathedral and look at something that I didn't recognise.

The last time we visited, she broke down. The Border Regiment Roll of Honour was open on her brother's page. Never went back.

TBF my eyes get dusty whenever I visit Bovvy and look at the RAC Roll of Honour. If I ever find it open on 18 May 40, I know it'll be bad. Half of 15/19H wartime casualties in a single day.
 
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I also had a Great Uncle posted MIA in Burma, and have of course wondered what happened to him. In my more imaginative moments, I have pondered if he suffered from the Japanese' penchant for general cruelty to POW's, if his life was cruelly and illegally ended by an Arisaka bayonet or a Samurai sword?

But this does not mean I have the right, or even the reason, to wish an entire nation of people - of whom most were victims of circumstance - to be crushed, to be utterly destroyed, to be brutally culled by bullet, bomb or gas. Furthermore, I would state the same about Germany had I lost a Great Uncle in Auschwitz.

Attitudes such as those were precisely what we were fighting against.
 
I also had a Great Uncle posted MIA in Burma, and have of course wondered what happened to him. In my more imaginative moments, I have pondered if he suffered from the Japanese' penchant for general cruelty to POW's, if his life was cruelly and illegally ended by an Arisaka bayonet or a Samurai sword?

But this does not mean I have the right, or even the reason, to wish an entire nation of people - of whom most were victims of circumstance - to be crushed, to be utterly destroyed, to be brutally culled by bullet, bomb or gas. Furthermore, I would state the same about Germany had I lost a Great Uncle in Auschwitz.

Attitudes such as those were precisely what we were fighting against.

Not entirely sure I would agree

It wouldn't trouble me greatly if Japan had been turned to glass in its entirety in 1945
 
I also had a Great Uncle posted MIA in Burma, and have of course wondered what happened to him. In my more imaginative moments, I have pondered if he suffered from the Japanese' penchant for general cruelty to POW's, if his life was cruelly and illegally ended by an Arisaka bayonet or a Samurai sword?

But this does not mean I have the right, or even the reason, to wish an entire nation of people - of whom most were victims of circumstance - to be crushed, to be utterly destroyed, to be brutally culled by bullet, bomb or gas. Furthermore, I would state the same about Germany had I lost a Great Uncle in Auschwitz.

Attitudes such as those were precisely what we were fighting against.
Read clausewitz, if you have the patience.

He cited a number of possible purposes that could be achieved by War, and a number of outcomes that could occur in the course of one.

One of the latter would be that a fight (be it a single battle, or a campaign or a full-on war) reaches a culminating point, where neither side can muster the wherewithal (physical and/or morale) to outmatch and best the other, such that the outcome is unequivocally decisive.

The most absolute of the former (bearing in mind that others included 'annexing a province' and 'imposing a peace treaty') in Charlie's way of seeing the world, was to attain the the complete and utter destruction of the opposing Nation.

I would argue that the Armistice that ended WW1 was but a culminating point, after which a resurgent and revengeful (but ill-advised) Nazi Hermany decided once more to take on The World.

The whirlwind which it reaped wiped from history the Nation that gave rise to WW2, vindicating Charlie Von C's worst case analysis, in my mind, anyway.

The whirlwind reaped by Japan made possible its subsequent rehabilitation into the world order, without the tedious necessity of a rematch.

Both nations were, at the time, propelled to their destinies by atrocious collective beliefs that - to my understanding - could not have been dealt with, and the world left a safer place, without the infliction of the most extreme violence to bring them to a point where a new, and healthy, national identity could thrive.

Maybe that's just me.
 
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Read clausewitz, if you have the patience.

He cited a number of possible purposes that could be achieved by War, and a number of outcomes that could occur in the course of one.

One of the latter would be that a fight (be it a single battle, or a campaign or a full-on war) reaches a culminating point, where neither side can muster the wherewithal (physical and/or morale) to outmatch and best the other, such that the outcome is unequivocally decisive.

The most absolute of the former (bearing that others included 'annexing a province' and 'imposing a peace treaty') in Charlie's way of seeing the world, was to attain the the complete and utter destruction of the opposing Nation.

I would argue that the Armistice that ended WW1 was but a culminating point, after which a resurgent and revengeful (but ill-advised) Nazi Hermany decided once more to take on The World.

The whirlwind which it reaped wiped from history the Nation that gave rise to WW2, vindicating Charlie Von C's worst case analysis, in my mind, anyway.

The whirlwind reaped by Japan made possible its subsequent rehabilitation into the world order, without the tedious necessity of a rematch.

Both nations were, at the time, propelled to their destinies by atrocious collective beliefs that - to my understanding - could not have been dealt with, and the world left a safer place, without the infliction of the most extreme violence to bring them to a point where a new, and healthy, national identity could thrive.

Maybe that's just me.

Sir, I have read many fine posts on this site, and that ranks up there with the finest. You are clearly a man of great insight and intellect. I don't believe our views are all that dissimilar, in that the "complete and utter destruction" of nations and ideas can - and indeed was against both Germany and Japan in WWII - be achieved when ones opponent is knocked out and on the canvas.

What I was arguing against is that after the K.O. it is ever necessary (from a geo-political or moral standpoint) to then stamp your opponent into a bloody mess, whether because he had hit you with a number of low blows and donkey punches earlier, or whether to ensure the complete and utter destruction of their power and influence. The Versailles Treaty - and the events which followed on from it - shows, in my opinion, the falacy of taking the latter path.

@jagman2 I didn't think either a like or a dislike was appropriate, but I appreciate your input. The world would be a boring place if we all thought the same, eh?!
 
The Versailles Treaty - and the events which followed on from it - shows, in my opinion, the falacy of taking the latter path.
The Versailles treaty - if you follow the logic of Charlie Von C - was an 'after-the-fact' (and entirely counter-productive) effort to impose on Germany the sense and experience of defeat that was lacking as a consequence of hostilities ending with an armistice.

The West (OK, America) was much wiser post WW2, in that it invested in the political/ social/ economic rehab and revival of former enemies in the wake of Total War.

I'm not convinced, however, that every western armed force has learned from that, or from subsequent campaigns, that "Victory" is not always an option, or that "Overwhelming Force" is the only tool you need in your toolbox.

And that goes double for the governments that decide the deployments of their armed forces.
 
Sir, I have read many fine posts on this site, and that ranks up there with the finest. You are clearly a man of great insight and intellect.
Speaking, then, as a man perceived as endowed with great insight and intellect can I suggest you:

a) feck orf and bile yer heid, and;
b) buy all your strong liquor in future from a recognised and licensed retail outlet
 

goodoldboy

MIA
Book Reviewer
The German air force had to be built up from very little in a very short period of time, and to do so with finite resources. They therefore had to focus on the main objective of the coming war, which was supposed to be the invasion and conquest of the Soviet Union in order to exterminate the Slavs and take their country as a new self-sufficient homeland for the German "race".

There seemed to be no viable plan for Operation Sea Lion thought out in advance perhaps because the invasion of Britain simply wasn't the overall objective of the war. The British Empire was an obstacle which must be got out of the way before the true objective could be pursued, but it was in itself simply not part of the goal.

Germany could not win a war of attrition due to geography. That in itself was why the war was fought, to gain the new homeland which would provide a self sufficient bastion from which the German "race" could stand off all challengers indefinitely.

The German strategy is understandable if you have read the appropriate parts of Mein Kampf. France must be dealt with first in order to ensure they can't interfere with the invasion of "Russia". "Russia" was to be conquered and repopulated with "Aryans". "England" (the British Empire) was seen as one of the global powers, but as it was not a continental power it didn't seem to be seen as an obstacle to achieving the main objective.

So the German armed forces were given priorities in the order that supported the objective. The navy had very limited capabilities as the war was to be continental. The job of the air force was to support the army in a rapid thrust towards the food, oil, and minerals of the southern Soviet Union.

Dealing with Britain was something that could be left for another day (or another decade).

If the conquest of "Russia": had come off as planned, then the strategy would have looked brilliant. When it bogged down into a war of attrition however, then everything all unwound.
Last night I watched the new release of 'Munich 38' on Netflix; if you can get it in Canada I think you will enjoy it.
 
The Versailles treaty - if you follow the logic of Charlie Von C - was an 'after-the-fact' (and entirely counter-productive) effort to impose on Germany the sense and experience of defeat that was lacking as a consequence of hostilities ending with an armistice.

The West (OK, America) was much wiser post WW2, in that it invested in the political/ social/ economic rehab and revival of former enemies in the wake of Total War.

I'm not convinced, however, that every western armed force has learned from that, or from subsequent campaigns, that "Victory" is not always an option, or that "Overwhelming Force" is the only tool you need in your toolbox.

And that goes double for the governments that decide the deployments of their armed forces.

You may want to read about the US Morgenthau Plan for what was to happen to Germany. When this plan was published in 1944 it played a big part in convincing the average German to fight on hopelessly to the end, because they knew that if they were defeated they were absolutely, totally stuffed, and tens of millions of them would die under occupation.

Here's what US president Roosevelt said (although he was somewhat ambivalent about the Morgentau Plan):
"There are two schools of thought, those who would be altruistic in regard to the Germans, hoping by loving kindness to make them Christians again and those who would adopt a much 'tougher' attitude. Most decidedly I belong to the latter school, for though I am not bloodthirsty, I want the Germans to know that this time at least they have definitely lost the war."

The plan was abandoned in 1947 having not been put into full effect because of opposition from US military occupation authorities who knew it would be disastrous and wanted no part of it.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Sir, I have read many fine posts on this site, and that ranks up there with the finest. You are clearly a man of great insight and intellect.

I'm sorry. this is @Stonker we're talking about? :)

But I would second the suggestion to have a read through everyone's favourite dead Prussian - there's some enduring wisdom in there, even after so many years.
 
You may want to read about the US Morgenthau Plan for what was to happen to Germany. When this plan was published in 1944 it played a big part in convincing the average German to fight on hopelessly to the end, because they knew that if they were defeated they were absolutely, totally stuffed, and tens of millions of them would die under occupation.

Here's what US president Roosevelt said (although he was somewhat ambivalent about the Morgentau Plan):


The plan was abandoned in 1947 having not been put into full effect because of opposition from US military occupation authorities who knew it would be disastrous and wanted no part of it.
My dad lost a stripe and a half months pay for giving a German child a chocolate bar in summer/fall 1945. He had no love for the Germans but a hungry kid is a kid no matter what language he speaks. A new Lieutenant in from the states who arrived after V-E day used the No Fraternization reg to bust him. 2 month's later the Captain promoted him back again. Even messhall slops were to be destroyed rather than let the Germans eat it.
 
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syrup

LE
My dad lost a stripe and a half months pay for giving a German child a chocolate bar in summer/fall 1945. He had no love for the Germans but a hungry kid is a kid no matter what language he speaks. A new Lieutenant in from the states who arrived after V-E day used the No Fraternization reg to bust him. 2 month later the Captain promoted him back again. Even messhall slops were to be destroyed rather than let the Germans eat it.


IIRC in one of Ambrose's books he describes an American officer making his men rip up cigarette butts to deny them to to German's who would pick up the discarded ends to get the tobacco.
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Incidentally, conventional HE and Incendiary bombing did far more damage to Japanese cities than the nuclear bombs did. Japan was devastated by area bombing and still the little bastards would not give up although they had been discussing it. When the two atomic bombs were deployed, it was the final nail in the coffin that fighting to the death really did mean a fight to the death and not in a "samurai, we're hard and we'll take them all with us" sort of way either.

The incendiary bombing of Tokyo resulted in 16 square miles of the city gone, 100,000 civilians dead and around 1 Million homeless.

That was 1 night of bombing that did that. 334 B29's dropping napalm cluster bombs.
And still didn’t repay what they did in China and to Allied POWs.
 

syrup

LE
And still didn’t repay what they did in China and to Allied POWs.


"The War" by Ken Burns is on PBS at the moment

Sidney Phillips' (USMC he is on the show the Pacific) sister is one of the people on it

She states quite categorically that you'll never convince people of her generation that the atom bomb wasn't a good thing
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
Getting back OT, i'm currently reading Hollands Battle of Britain & his book details the events prior to the usual perceived start of the BoB (post Dynamo) & goes into some depth with the RAFs bombing of the channel ports through July, Aug & Sept of 1940 & the huge impact on German capability to invade - backed up by the info from another poster ref communications back to Kriegsmarine HQ regarding the losses of shipping. Well worth a read.
It’s an excellent book, very readable.
 
My dad lost a stripe and a half months pay for giving a German child a chocolate bar in summer/fall 1945. He had no love for the Germans but a hungry kid is a kid no matter what language he speaks. A new Lieutenant in from the states who arrived after V-E day used the No Fraternization reg to bust him. 2 month later the Captain promoted him back again. Even messhall slops were to be destroyed rather than let the Germans eat it.

I've read before that the "giving German kids food" was the first part of the No Fraternisation law to be dropped, sometime around the timeframe you are speaking about (August/September I think), good on your old man for doing that and seeing humanity before the bosses did.
 

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