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Moral Combat-A History of WW2

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by The_Historian, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    "When the morality of war is debated, the Second World War is often held up as the shining example of a ‘just war’. A conflict that pitted what was broadly ‘right’ against what was demonstrably and irrefutably ‘wrong’. A war, in short, that was worth all the suffering and bloodshed and which, moreover – at least from the Allied viewpoint – simply had to be fought."
    Moral Combat | History Today
     
  2. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    Sounds like a good read, Gordon. Have you managed to read it yet? If so, I'd be interested in your take. Meanwhile, it looks like a trip to the library for me.
     
  3. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Haven't read it yet, Lou. Looks a cracker though.
     
  4. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    I've done a statewide library search and can't find it yet. I'll keep looking.Amazon has it, but I'm too cheap to buy it. They also have a book called Moral Combat: Good and Evil in WW2 due out in March. A follow-up do you suppose?
     
  5. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Think it was only published in the last couple of weeks, Lou. Might not have filtered down from the distributors yet.
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Burleigh has a high reputation and I'm sure that this book will attract the attention of 'serious' reviewers in the National press etc. Should be interesting.........
     
  7. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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  8. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    A real stroke of luck today - went to a charity bookfair at which publishers had donated books. Got a spanking new copy of this book for £3 ! :)

    Some nice Winter reading ahead......
     
  9. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Look forward to a review, Martin!:cool:
    Been looking for it for a while myself.
     
  10. Alix

    Alix Member

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    Having read this and other books by Michael Burleigh I was bit surprised to find him in (some) agreement with Daniel Goldhagen's controversial book 'Hitler's Willing Executioners'.

    From my reading of 'Moral Combat' the author doesn't so go so far as Goldhagen by embracing the idea of a uniquely murderous German anti-Semitism. But he does point out that there was never a shortage of volunteers to carry out killings at the main extermination camps.

    Burleigh also disputes the common idea that SS men and policemen faced execution or life in a concentration camp if they refused to obey orders. He writes: "There is not a single recorded instance of any German mass murderer being sanctioned in any formal sense for refusing to participate in what were voluntary activities." (p 401).

    Should add that 'Moral Combat' is superbly written and brilliantly researched. Not surprisingly, the Allied Strategic Bombing Offensive is one of several themes focusing on the moral choices facing so many people, from high command down to the individual airman. Even if you think you've heard all the arguments for and against Dresden, Horoshima etc, this book might make you think twice about a rush to judgement.
     
  11. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks Alix. Got to dispute his claim on p401 though; a lot of years ago After the Battle #56 published an account of a Nazi atrocity in Holland, where one German who refused to shoot civilians in a reprisal was shot along with them.
    His name was even added to the victim's memorial postwar.
    "DE WOESTE HOEVE (March 6, 1945)
    On the night of March 6, a BMW car, carrying the SS General Hans Albin Rauter, the most feared man in Holland, was ambushed, his driver and orderly being killed. Rauter was seriously wounded. Some hours later the damaged car was found by German troops and Rauter was taken to the St. Joseph-Stichting hospital on the outskirts of Apeldoorn where he recovered after a series of blood transfusions. Soon after the ambush, the SD arrived and what followed was one of the most notorious war crimes ever committed in Holland. In charge of the investigation was SS Brigadefuhrer Dr Eberhardt Schongarth, who immediately ordered reprisals. One hundred and seventeen men were rounded up and transported to the scene of the ambush where they were all shot dead, their bodies being buried in a mass grave in Heidehof Cemetery in the village of Ugchelen. The 117th man was a German soldier, Helmut Seijffards, a member of the firing squad who refused to take part in the shootings. In Gestapo prisons all over Holland, prisoners were taken out and shot in reprisal for the ambush. In all, a total of 263 people had been shot. The irony was, that the Dutch underground fighters had intended to ambush and steal a German lorry, and had no idea that the car they shot up contained a German General. Rauter himself survived the war. He was arrested by British Military Police in a hospital at Eutin and turned over to the Dutch. Before a Special Court of Justice in the Hague, he was sentenced to death and on March 25, 1949, he was executed by firing squad in the dunes near Scheveningen Prison. Schongarth was tried by a British Military Court, found guilty on another war crime charge and sentenced to death. He was hanged in 1946."
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~gduncan/massacres.html
     

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