The Savagery of WAR

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by sapper, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    :unsure:
    I would like to know where these attempts to tar all with the same brush are. For the life of me I can't find any, the assurances and clarification repeatedly given and the nature of the majority of the posts by the same posters surely speak for themselves. :confused:

    I fully agree with points made about 'not all but some', that is frankly my own viewpoint all along, but my sincere wish for clarification remains:

    Are the accounts of other veterans whose experiences differ, any less valid?

    I do not go looking for "dirt", I am told things by those who were also there, I stumble upon instances that are not in any way hidden, so should these be swept away as irrelevant to the nasty business that we have been repeatedly told that war is?

    I really hope that my earlier posts are being read by more than Ron, getting a bit tired of repeating myself and having to explain where I am coming from. I eagerly await clarification on the one point above, but if it's not forthcoming, I shall leave this requested discussion at that gentlemen. :)

    Cheers
     
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  2. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Lets get one thing straight here, I can't see any postings where anyone compared the British Army to the SS. I dont think anyone has that frame of mind Brian, here.

    I have called Brian out on certain points before, we dont see eye to eye on his views about Books on the war and the validity of people who werent there writing about them. That does not mean I have any problem with Brian and his wartime experiences. As Ron has said before this forum is all the richer for Brians recollections and they are of course welcomed here and continue to be.

    but if, like any member, he makes a statement that I would have an issue with for example "What puzzles me is the constant search for facts to call our troops into disrepute". I dont believe that people on the forum have constantly searched for those facts and I've said so to him. We have disagreed. Doesnt mean that Brian is being picked on. I'd say the same to any other member of this forum. Brian is big and bold enough to handle himself and he's well able to debate.

    I would like to say that I agree with Heimbrent and with Andy on the subject of any alleged Allied war Crime. They should be studied with a neutral eye. We know that the National Socialist Regime was one of the most cruellest in History and that they were capable of the most heinous crimes. Anyone who tries to defend them has no place on a history forum like this. And we know that all the atrocities that they committed were not just by individuals they were encouraged by the Regime and by their society.

    But what, for example, of the Russians? They were a member of the Allied war effort too. Had war declared upon them and suffered more than most. So should they be judged the same way about war crimes? I've studied the excesses of the Red Army, Berlin, Nemmersdorf, Danzig, Konigsberg, Pillau. Should we ignore those because they were part of the victorious alliance? Of course not.

    Now we come to the Western Allies, in no way are their armies comparable with the Wehrmacht and the Soviets in terms of the war that was fought. BUT, if an allied solider shot a unarmed prisoner ( you will note that I am not referring to atrocities here, for I am pretty sure that any crimes were of an individual nature) or looted, why should we not study that? They should all be studied. Its not a reflection of an army as a whole (You will note I have said above that any Allied excesses would have been of an individual nature, if at all) and to say we are doing so is wrong.
     
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  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Sebfrench
    I'm just a 44 yo frog,without an once of your knowledges,but i have an advantage:my greatparents had been looted by Allied troops,hehe..
    It was in Totes,surely August 44.My greatfather was a grocerist\tobbacocist/bartender.
    A night,the grocery's door was blown up by Canadian soldiers(i believe..),they wanted the WINE!!My greatfagher had no hope to defeat them due to his 5 feet tall,but he tried.Obviously,he failed to cause he had after this incident some resting days...
    My great parents always said when telling this story"you know they were drunk cause it was so hard for them,they were no bugglars,they just wanted to have some sacktime"
    They ,in spite of the hurts of my granpapa,had no anger against the Allied .I have no accounts of the Canadian authorities ,but since they were no combats in Totes,my gran's surely received an "excuse" or at least ,an ear from the authorities,if you know what i mean..

    Many thanks for your comment and I hope I don't make matters worse by mentioning that on reading your piece I couldn't help smiling at the thought of the Canadians using explosives to gain entry into your Grand-dads shop :)

    Sorry!.......... it's just the old soldier coming out in me and you are quite right to complain that recompense should truly have been made after the event.

    You might be interested to read an earlier thread on the subject of looting that I posted here:http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/general/27340-booty-looting-etc.html

    Loved your post and congratulations on your English !


    Ron
     
  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I will try to answer the question. It is the general theme of the postings that gives me the impression that all troops are the same. If anyone takes umbrage? then all I can say is "It wasn't meant that way".... I would suggest that there are two generations here.... What is in discussion here is not what I personally saw or experienced, perhaps we were lucky.....? But it is true, I never witnessed any atrocities or the taking of anyone's possessions. Anyone that recalls the Infantry man and the German wounded, Then let me say again; Battle Exhaustion is a very weird thing, and can make men act in insane rages, to just sitting crying... Not nice.
     
  5. sebfrench76

    sebfrench76 Senior Member

    Ron,thanks for your congrats,you're a real gentlemen,but i know my lacks in English.Anyway,i try!
    Frankly speaking,the Canadians used "only" their fett to "explode" the grocery's door...Less "exotica" but more realistic...
    When i was young in the 70's,i clearly remember my gran's decorating their café/bar,the "café du coup de roulis"(now in Dieppe,just in front of the former sea station,héhé)the days before August the 19th,to offer a warm welcome to the Allied veterans.And my Granny,who is presently 98(gee!) telling me:"tu sais que ces gens là nous ont LIBERES!!"(you know,these people made us free!)
    And it's my pleasure to think that some Gentlemen are still keeping a good souvenir of the moments they had there,with common french people that didn't know a word of English("bisstek" (beefsteack),excepted..),but had a smile on the face ,simply.
    I don't have the skill to give my point of view,too slipery,but except some neonaz,debat about allied violence doesn't exist for me.
     
  6. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Lets get one thing straight here, I can't see any postings where anyone compared the British Army to the SS. I dont think anyone has that frame of mind Brian, here.




    Hello Gerhard,

    I agree that forum members are not saying that but sebbfrench76 says that he is arguing with some of his acquaintances who are saying exactly that. I think stuff like that should be corrected each time someone encounters it.

    sebfrench is not saying it, of course. Post 35

    Dear Sapper,with just a sentence,you gave me the clue,the explanation why i'm always fighting with the third reich enthusiats,here in France.They say to me"all the soldiers did the same,Brits,Germans,US,all fighters were the same".Now i'll tell them:

    "In fact we never wanted to kill or fight anyone. All we young men wanted was what all young men want .......a life!"


    I sebfrench76 35

    *****************************************************

    Dave
     
  7. sebfrench76

    sebfrench76 Senior Member

    I've read the anecdot in Italy,Ron,in France,it has been the same,during many months after the war.The displaced people(offently southern France for the luckiest,KL for the unluckiest) coming back in their village discovering their stuff in other's hands....Very hot,very,very hot..There is no "body count" for this type of war but believe me,there are deaths that have an un-official explanation.This is also the way it ended for a lot of collaborators ,you can easily figure it out.Something it is quasi-impossible to recollect accounts.
     
  8. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Ron,thanks for your congrats,you're a real gentlemen,but i know my lacks in English.Anyway,i try!
    Frankly speaking,the Canadians used "only" their fett to "explode" the grocery's door...Less "exotica" but more realistic...
    When i was young in the 70's,i clearly remember my gran's decorating their café/bar,the "café du coup de roulis"(now in Dieppe,just in front of the former sea station,héhé)the days before August the 19th,to offer a warm welcome to the Allied veterans.And my Granny,who is presently 98(gee!) telling me:"tu sais que ces gens là nous ont LIBERES!!"(you know,these people made us free!)
    And it's my pleasure to think that some Gentlemen are still keeping a good souvenir of the moments they had there,with common french people that didn't know a word of English("bisstek" (beefsteack),excepted..),but had a smile on the face ,simply.
    I don't have the skill to give my point of view,too slipery,but except some neonaz,debat about allied violence doesn't exist for me.

    Sebfrench,
    We Canadians do love French wines, hence the use of the boots to get at the wine cellar.:D

    Cheers from Canada
     
  9. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Brian I appreciate your stories. Keep them coming Sapper! My father would have really got on with you as he held the same sort of views as you do and he also suffered with his war injuries all his life.

    Cheers
    Paul
     
  10. sebfrench76

    sebfrench76 Senior Member

    Dave 55,i missed the point,sorry.Problem with the frogs,is,beside they are loosing the wars is that they do not use sometimes correctly the subtilities of the English language,for me,i do speak.
     
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  11. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Paul.
    That is the generation thing I posted about earlier. It almost seems as though sites like this are intent on being politically correct. Everyone should agree with everyone else.. Life ain't like that...

    While I am here, let me bring in something all the Vets will recognise... FEAR...That mind boggling fear that strikes as a heavy barrage of shell fire come s in while you cower in your fox hole each shell is the one that is going to tear you apart... That fear when you have to get out of a foxhole and get on with whatever your duty is, or what you are doing while under direct fire.....


    Do you remember Veterans? That last split second scream of high velocity shells thundering around you...Remember? I bet you bloody do..... I remember, and will never forget. That brings me on nicely to another little topic.

    The greatest Hero's are those that live their lives in great fear. But get on with it anyway....For everyone has a fear level, just like a pain level.
     
  12. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    @ sebfrench: As much as I share your gratitude for the liberators of Nazi Europe, I think it would do the thread a huge favour and be much more efficient if you started a new thread to give praise, instead of derailing this one further.

    Is there a chance we will ever get back to the actual subject (crimes against German PW - under the influence of stress and battle experience or for other reasons)?
    Or do those who consider this a collective accusation against allied troops and an equalisation with crimes committed by Germans wish to stick to discussing historiography? In this case I will not contribute further because I cannot harmonise this point of view* with my work as a historian - no doubt that will be welcomed by those who consider any German viewpoint as illegitimate and revisionist.

    *1. Taking recollections from contemporary witnesses as the absolute truth, dismissing everything that doesn't fit as lie, bullshit or ignorance by "those who weren't there". 2. Discussing crimes against Germans only with their crimes being put into the main focus.

    PS: Oh yeah, and poppy seeds really deserve their own thread as well.
     
  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dianne

    I am the last person to accuse you of not knowing your stuff - in any way - shape or form - as i know that your research included the words of your own Father who bore the agony of that hellhole of Anzio and many of his surviving comrades so any of my comments - on any thread - exempts you from any criticism i may have on others.

    Cheers - and have a Merry Christmas
     
  14. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Paul.
    That is the generation thing I posted about earlier. It almost seems as though sites like this are intent on being politically correct. Everyone should agree with everyone else.. Life ain't like that...


    This forum is not like that Brian, we enjoy good debate here and its not about being politically correct, its about showing Respect to fellow posters.
     
  15. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Heimbrent-
    As i have just commented to Dianne - i have no qualms with those actual Historians who go about their business legitimately in searching out the truth knowing full well that - on account of their ages naturally "weren't there' at the time- my arguement is with too many others who claim knowledge as having read a book or two - and know everything .... plus the fact that I shall defend Sapper and other Vets - who were there-

    Honest History is a wondrous thing - unhappily they are being overrun by too many revisionists

    Sitting high and dry in my Tank - I never saw any atrocities apart from the Faustpatrone wallah who was killed by my gunner with a 6 pounder shot instead of the BESA he was ordered to use !
    Cheers
     
  16. sebfrench76

    sebfrench76 Senior Member

     
  17. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I haven't detected any 'revisonists' on this thread, simply various attempts to be level-headed when dealing with a turbulent six years of warfare. It seems to me that those being accused of raking dirt include some of those on this forum who are the most supportive of the British Army (with all its imperfections) and the British Soldier.

    I have seen no suggestion here that the British Army, its Officers and NCOs condoned acts that we now consider to be 'war crimes'. However, there is a thread on the forum dealing with convicted and executed servicemen on the Brookwood Memorial. With such a huge cross-section of society being called up, it could hardly be otherwise.

    I feel that it does the reputation of the vast majority of troops who fought by the rules little good to deny entirely that there will have been those who stepped over the line. That the incidents were rare and that they are not being hushed up can only add to the conviction that these things were not generally tolerated. Sweeping under the carpet doesn't help.

    With all due respect to the ex-servicemen here, several have stated that it was very difficult at the time to have a wider view of the conflict. That none of them saw or heard of incidents of the type noted is not surprising.

    I feel that there are parallels with the lorry thread. Several of us with an interest in the vehicles attempted some time ago to get to the bottom of the stories about engine failures with 3-tonners and were met with a veteran's absolute denial that anything could have been wrong with any quantity of British lorries because he never knew of a broken down Bedford. The inference here was once again that we were 'revisionist', that we were trying to blacken reputations.

    Nothing could be further from the truth in my case but I trust my life to seventy year old vehicle components on a regular basis and if I can smooth out my learning curve by copying the solutions found by engineers at the time then I don't consider that unreasonable. It has now been established from various official sources that there was indeed a problem with Austin lorries. This makes the knowledge that breakdowns were uncommon with Bedfords no less relevant and interesting but does highlight that accounts from individual veterans stating what they didn't see happening do not in fact prove that they didn't.

    Whilst most of us here have no personal experience of the conflict in question, that has not precluded us from talking with many who did, often away from the inhibiting effect of an internet forum. It's not all 'book learning'
     
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  18. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Showing disrespect for others? Where Gerard? Where? Would never dream of it....
    I have never tried to show disrespect, why should I......... But if sometimes I speak out against certain authors that write, not a historical account, but one to attract their readers for the sake of money.

    Let me give an example. Firstly look at the Bibliography at the back of war books, and see how many quotes have been used from other publications. Then let me tell you I gave an interview that three versions were published... the three of them bore no resemblance to each other,,,,,,,, None! And that was a first hand report on an interview .....Yet the versions were poles apart.

    Now to get back to German POWs. I have said it before, and say it again. I could never treat another distressed young man badly. The poor buggers had been subjected to a hell on earth before being captured. Give him a Cigarette and send them back on their own...:)
     
  19. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    You are right about the Bedfords A marvelous vehicle and never let us down..Well only when someone shoved a shell into them
     
  20. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Brian, I quote you: Leaning against the earth bank was a young wounded German soldier, looking grey faced, and in obvious great pain. I recall him well; as he had a green check scarf around his neck.

    Nearby were three infantry men. All of a sudden, one of them leaped to his feet screaming and got hold of the Germans scarf and throttled him with it. While his two mate tried to pull him off. I do not know if the German died or not.

    What was you’re response/reaction to the incident (or abuse)?
     

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