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  #1  
Old 16 Sep 17, 10:54
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We have ways and means of remembering

An attempt is being made to alter the way in which the German people think about WW2

Quote:
A candidate of Germany's right-wing nationalist party has said the country should "be proud of" its soldiers in both world wars and people should no longer "reproach" Germans for World War Two. Alexander Gauland's words have been met with some scorn. What pride are Germans likely to muster for the Wehrmacht?
A subject over which there has been much angst in the past. I have heard WW2 referred to as "the last misunderstanding" and listened to potted histories of cities in which absolutely nothing seems to have happened between 1930 and 1952 (apart from the mysterious disappearance of many old buildings). I was once running an international course (on project management) and introduced one speaker as "an old hand at the game who for a pint can tell you lots of war stories" which generated a formal complaint from two German delegates (basil Fawlty was right don't mention the war!)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41279300
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  #2  
Old 17 Sep 17, 08:52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
An attempt is being made to alter the way in which the German people think about WW2



A subject over which there has been much angst in the past. I have heard WW2 referred to as "the last misunderstanding" and listened to potted histories of cities in which absolutely nothing seems to have happened between 1930 and 1952 (apart from the mysterious disappearance of many old buildings). I was once running an international course (on project management) and introduced one speaker as "an old hand at the game who for a pint can tell you lots of war stories" which generated a formal complaint from two German delegates (basil Fawlty was right don't mention the war!)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-41279300
It is a difficult thing to get around but there were hundreds of German soldiers in both wars that fought and died purely as a man fighting for his country is it too hard to get around the fact that not all of them raped and pillaged. lcm1
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  #3  
Old 19 Sep 17, 18:45
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Originally Posted by lcm1 View Post
It is a difficult thing to get around but there were hundreds of German soldiers in both wars that fought and died purely as a man fighting for his country is it too hard to get around the fact that not all of them raped and pillaged. lcm1
I believe that the Wehrmacht's deeds from 1939 through 1942 were militarily remarkable. I think similar things about Napoleon's early campaigns. That doesn't mean I have to admire them or the cannon fodder they used.
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  #4  
Old 20 Sep 17, 06:50
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Originally Posted by lcm1 View Post
It is a difficult thing to get around but there were hundreds of German soldiers in both wars that fought and died purely as a man fighting for his country is it too hard to get around the fact that not all of them raped and pillaged. lcm1
The German army had a doctrine of "Military Necessity" which was used to justify many actions that were essentially war crimes. Whilst the current post war German official viewpoint is along the lines of "oh that was an aberration induced by that terrible little AUSTRIAN chap and not typical at all - dear me no" in fact "Military Necessity" dates back to The Nation in Arms: Lieut.-Col. (later General) Baron Von Der Goltz written in the aftermath of the Franco Prussian war. This book was viewed , at least in Germany, as replacing Clausewitz's On War and every aspiring German officer was expected to have a copy. Whilst it is full of useful information such as how to judge the capacity of roads for the movement of masses of men (and Haldane was a fan of this 'scientific' approach so that its influence can clearly be seen in the British Army Field Service Book of 1911) it also contains instructions on how to treat occupied territory which include the taking and killing of hostages, the burning of villages and collective punishments on the civilian population - all of which Der Goltz applied when he became the first governor of occupied Belgium in 1914 - justified by "Military Necessity".

Although Hitler was an admirer of Baron Von Der Goltz's ideas and is on record as advocating that the latter's approach should be adopted with regard to enemy territory in WW2 the Nazis did not invent Military Necessity. It was already contained in various staff manuals and handbooks that used Military Necessity as a valid reason for breaking international norms.

Now whilst the majority of the ordinary German soldiers were neither criminals or monsters (and doubtless there were some of these rapists and pillagers lurking in the Allied armies - war does not always bring out the best in people) the German army already had an excuse for breaking international law as part of its institutional DNA as it were, something that the armies of the Western Allies did not
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Last edited by MarkV; 20 Sep 17 at 08:47..
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  #5  
Old 20 Sep 17, 11:09
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From the article: "Many children of the post-war generation felt a strong sense of guilt over what their parents had done.
Mr Krueger says that has changed. For his generation "it's about looking at it from a neutral space
".

Objective and neutral with an emphasis on human nature with the proper foundation of historical context would be precisely what is needed to redress the Nazi era of German history. It may very well never happen due to the loudest voices of the right and left drowning out reason, but the method remains there.
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  #6  
Old 20 Sep 17, 11:57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkV View Post
The German army had a doctrine of "Military Necessity" which was used to justify many actions that were essentially war crimes. Whilst the current post war German official viewpoint is along the lines of "oh that was an aberration induced by that terrible little AUSTRIAN chap and not typical at all - dear me no" in fact "Military Necessity" dates back to The Nation in Arms: Lieut.-Col. (later General) Baron Von Der Goltz written in the aftermath of the Franco Prussian war. This book was viewed , at least in Germany, as replacing Clausewitz's On War and every aspiring German officer was expected to have a copy. Whilst it is full of useful information such as how to judge the capacity of roads for the movement of masses of men (and Haldane was a fan of this 'scientific' approach so that its influence can clearly be seen in the British Army Field Service Book of 1911) it also contains instructions on how to treat occupied territory which include the taking and killing of hostages, the burning of villages and collective punishments on the civilian population - all of which Der Goltz applied when he became the first governor of occupied Belgium in 1914 - justified by "Military Necessity".

Although Hitler was an admirer of Baron Von Der Goltz's ideas and is on record as advocating that the latter's approach should be adopted with regard to enemy territory in WW2 the Nazis did not invent Military Necessity. It was already contained in various staff manuals and handbooks that used Military Necessity as a valid reason for breaking international norms.

Now whilst the majority of the ordinary German soldiers were neither criminals or monsters (and doubtless there were some of these rapists and pillagers lurking in the Allied armies - war does not always bring out the best in people) the German army already had an excuse for breaking international law as part of its institutional DNA as it were, something that the armies of the Western Allies did not
Can you elaborate? What specific passages are you referencing:
https://archive.org/details/nationinarms00ashwgoog

https://archive.org/details/fieldserviceregu00prusrich

Above is the book you referenced as well as the keystone doctrinal field regulations of the German armies of 1914.
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Old 20 Sep 17, 12:45
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Yes I'll have a look in my hard copy this evening - I have a translation of the expanded later version. Also the German Staff handbook
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Old 20 Sep 17, 15:03
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I always thought the entire German nation spent 1933-45 with an auntie in Switzerland.
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Old 20 Sep 17, 15:28
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You know very few Germans of those generations.
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Old 20 Sep 17, 16:29
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Yes I'll have a look in my hard copy this evening - I have a translation of the expanded later version. Also the German Staff handbook
Thanks, I dug through Goltz' book for about 30 minutes and couldn't find any reference to enemy civilians, procedures, theories, thoughts, etc. The 1908 Reg has nothing that I know of, I've looked several times before during conversations regarding Leuven and events that transpired during Aug 1914. I often see these references, but no supporting text from the sources as of yet. Understanding the full details of how difficult it was for the Prussian armies to deal with French Franc Tireurs during 1870/71 I believe there must be something out there written that provided the German Army with future guidance on partisan activity. The 1908 Reg covers security on the march and security of supply columns, but that's about it.
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Old 25 Sep 17, 05:39
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Originally Posted by Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz
The inexorability, and that seemingly hideous unfeelingness, belong to the necessary attributes of him who will achieve great things. In the case of the general there is only one crime for which history never pardons him, and that is defeat.
(The Nation in Arms, p. 62)
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Old 26 Sep 17, 10:02
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From the article: "Many children of the post-war generation felt a strong sense of guilt over what their parents had done.
Mr Krueger says that has changed. For his generation "it's about looking at it from a neutral space
".

Objective and neutral with an emphasis on human nature with the proper foundation of historical context would be precisely what is needed to redress the Nazi era of German history. It may very well never happen due to the loudest voices of the right and left drowning out reason, but the method remains there.
Yes, as hard as some find it to believe, there were some persons that would have no difficulty at all in carrying out atrocities if the final outcome made it worthwhile. No matter what Army. lcm1
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