Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

How would you feel if you met a German WWII vet?

Discussion in 'Honor, Service and Valor' started by bobsmith76, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    The most of the time here I agree with you, but regarding NeitzelI I feel compelled to disagree. Neitzel appears to be both great scientist and great Mensch. And, as far as I know, the most of young German generation agree with him. Young Germans renounce denial when dealing with that short but brutal part of their otherwise great history.
    Listen. This is why I love Germans. I hope you will understand what I do really mean.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eIn0IBsnBE
     
  2. green slime

    green slime Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    568
    :) I was not questioning Neitzel at all. He is well aware of the limitations of these dialogues.

    What I am doing, is questioning that 35 year-old "normal" Germans in 1942 are some kind of twisted blood-lusting death machines, out of the context they found themselves thrust into. It is a systemic pressure to conform, and a human desire to be part of a group, and willingness to believe oneself part of a larger whole, that leads normal people, such as in your example, to participate in the most horrofic of crimes. Germans in that context, are no worse than any other nation. What was different, and seperated the recruits of the Wehrmacht and the recruits of other forces was that the accepted, systemic, abuse and murder of other people, was not just accepted as a resigned fact nor condoned by officers, nor even just encouraged but actively sought by the leaders of the Nazi regime. The hateful ideology pervaded all levels of society.

    His comments from 17:30 to 18:30 covers this point exactly. That "normal" soldiers today are at risk as well. It is the banality of war, and a hateful ideology makes that slide into madness even easier. Never, ever lose sight of the humans on the other side of the battlefield.

    My point being, it's not just in a population of 100 Germans, only 12 have moral courage. Most humans want to be led, and told what is right and true to believe.
     
    Karjala likes this.
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    907
    "Never, ever lose sight of the humans on the other side of the battlefield" - Never think of them as human or you may not shoot. De-humanising is an essential part of warfare...its even important for those at home helping the effort. The moment you think of them as "you"...is the moment you better learn the language of your attacker.
     
  4. green slime

    green slime Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    568
    I'd disagree.

    You shouldn't kill them with anger or hate, but dispassionately. And when they surrender, you accept. And you treat them like humans, as sapper did. The goal is (normally) not to kill the entire population, but to subjugate to your will. The killing is only done because it is necessary, not because it is desired.

    If you get all riled up and hating, or "de-humanising" them, you're far more likely to overstep the boundaries and do wierd shit, like Abu Ghraib.
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    907
    I agree with the part about after they surrender 100percent for more reasons than you've eluded to...but I stand by my statement during war...if the goal is to kill the enemy.
     
  6. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    First, let me correct this sentence to:

    ...the goal is to kill the enemy's soldiers still fighting.

    Not civilians; children, women and elderly people. And of course not the POWs either.
    During the attack the panzers went forward and sometimes infantry lagged for days behind the front line, to do the dirty job. Murdering civilians and POWs, including burning the houses and stealing all the food from civilians which was equal to a murder by starvation. Interestingly, during the heaviest battles at Stalingrad the Wehrmacht found enough time, men and weapons to execute population behind the front line, as it was much more important than to defeat the soldiers confronting them.

    They did what they did but I would never want to have anything to do with the person who was most likely involved in the mass murder. Regardless of all "adequate" excuses.
     
  7. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    907
    I stand by my statement, please dont correct me, add your version instead. There seems to be a difference whether one is defending or attacking...If i am defending my country from invasion, protecting my family and kin from extinction...then i will prosecute all avenues with great enthusiasm...and i want a like minded person in my fox hole with me. If i was an attacker i would apply morals and ethics to myself to be able to justify- and live with - my actions.
     
  8. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    Please, accept my sincere appologies if I have hurt your feelings with correction of your sentence. My intent was not to insult you - I wanted just to express myself figuratively. :)

    I agree completely with your point of you. On more than one occasion I have expressed similar opinion regarding the right to have more freedom of choice in the defense of own country. In fact, I have misunderstood your point in the context of the present conversation. I hope this is resolved and we may go on.
     
  9. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    907
    She's sweet mate...I was being a princess : )
     
    Tamino likes this.
  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    6,932
    Likes Received:
    1,111
    Location:
    The Land of 10,000 Loons
    We need to keep in mind that the OP's question was directed to WWII veterans who have lived through combat and witnessed the horrors of WWII. I'm not suggesting that discussing the issues theoretically is entirely inappropriate, but let's not allow it to take over the thread.
     
  11. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,224
    Likes Received:
    115
    Location:
    Pohojanmaa, Finland
    Unfortunately there's nothing strange there. Several psychological researches - and also modern, live examples - have showed, that most of the ordinary people do not require much to become willing executioners or torturers, if they are made to feel it's their duty, they are expected to do so or "everybody" else is doing it.

    One does not need to be a "hardened, brainwashed Nazi" or bolshevik for that. It could happen in almost everywhere, not only in WW2 Germany or the USSR.


    Just for curiosity: do you take the same precautions when in danger of meeting an old Russian man? After all the risk is nearly the same.
     
  12. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    Ah, I understand now - This also explains extremely high mortality in the death camps of East Karelia. Thank you very much my friend.

    Why? They waged a war of deliberationa, a just war(*). Anyways I haven't met many Russians in my life, just few and those were young people.

    And, by the way: correct perfect tense in plural of the werb show is: have shown. We are both not native speakers and should help each other, mate. ;)

    (*) J. V.Stalin, Speech at the Red Army Parade on the Red Square, Moscow, November 7, 1941
     
  13. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,224
    Likes Received:
    115
    Location:
    Pohojanmaa, Finland
    No, it does not, since there never was any "death camps" in East Karelia during the Finnish occupation, which you very well know. I think we have already discussed that topic, but if you need some refreshing of your memory I'm happy to guide you back to that thread.

    Then again you might refer to the soviet death camps, which there were many - especially for the non-Russians, like the Finns.

    I'm not your friend, which you also now very well. Or perhaps you want to sell me something? "Hello my friend, special price only for you..."
    They started the WW2 in Europe with their ally the Nazi-Germany. They attacked several countries and murdered their peoples, e.g. in Katyn, during and after the war. Their war was a war of imperialism and aggression.

    Thanks for the reminder. I'll try to be more careful in the future.

    As a non-Australian you perhaps might want to leave that "mate" to them. Somehow it gives - how should I put it - a fake impression...
     
  14. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    OK. :)

    Let's get back to the OP question: How would you feel if you met a German WWII vet? I'd like to hear from you, just out of curiosity. ;) And, by the way, do you ever smile? That's just for sake of curiosity too.
     
  15. Karjala

    Karjala Don Quijote

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,224
    Likes Received:
    115
    Location:
    Pohojanmaa, Finland
    It depends on the vet in question. Very differently e.g. to Kurt Kuhlmey than to say Oskar Dirlewanger. I would not have any fixed attitude without knowing him.


    BTW: one Flight Detachment Kuhlmey's pilot, Heribert Koller, visited Finland in 2010 in an event organised by the Finnish Aviation Museum Society, and gave a lecture. He was welcomed with a standing ovation. He was very moved for that, I heard, since that had never happened to him even in Germany.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detachment_Kuhlmey
    I do smile, when something amuses me. Dishonest smileys do not...
     
  16. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Messages:
    1,377
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    Atlanta
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6cxNR9ML8k
     
    Tamino likes this.
  17. TheFonz

    TheFonz recruit

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Louisiana
    As stated above, unless I am privy to some sort of war crime committed by the individual, I would treat them with respect and take the chance to learn from them, if they were willing to talk to me. One of my great-uncles, a veteran, met and worked with many Germans who were veterans themselves through his employment, and traveled to Germany on a regular basis in the late 60's, early 70's and never had a problem. It was a shared experience that both men could relate to. On the other hand, a neighbor and friend of the family who was in the Navy never forgave the Japanese and did not like them until his dying day. So, in the end, it is up to the individual.
     
  18. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    266
    Its funny actually, as an Australian, I use the word mate of course, but I tend to hear the British use it just as much.

    Anyway, I would have no problem meeting or even talking to a ww2 German Vet, it would be great to hear their perspectives on war, Hitler and even their views on the Western front or Easterns Front. Actually wasn't their a WW2 German veteran on this site a while back, a pilot I think he was?

     
  19. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    266
    Yeah, here he is.

    http://www.ww2f.com/user/257-obstlt-gottfried-vhuh/

    There was another one two, I remember him saying that. the British fought a gentlemans war much like the Germans and they had a kind of gentlemens way of firing artillery at the beginning of the war, but then the American's came in with their gun ho attitude and they were taken back at first because the Americans didn't fight the way you were supposed to. lol can't remember his name, wolfgang or something.
     
  20. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    293
    Location:
    Untersteiermark
    View on this subject is predominantly a personal matter and it depends on various aspects. For you, from the "opposite" side of the globe it is much easier to have a neutral stance. Essentially you are a lucky guy; you and your relatives were far away from bloody European ethnic conflicts. My country was annexed to the Third Reich and further divided among Germany, Italy and Hungary. I simply cannot understand how it is possible to divide a midget state among three larger nations. Just look at the map of the 3rd Reich below. My country is that little area at the bottom of the great German Reich labeled "Süd Kärnten and Süd Steiermark". Life was harsh during the war, owing to the invadors. Why should I be glad to meet and shake a hand of a person that perhaps was involved in crimes that have happened during the war.

    You're a lucky guy, mate.

    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page