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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

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    Indeed! :) These "knights" below were the "vets" too and many millions of civilians ended-up like these poor people behind them. Do you see what the problem with these "vets" is?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. sapper

    sapper British Normandy Veteran, Royal Engineers

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    I am proud to say that I never witnessed any atrocities committed by British Troops. That some occurred..... I have no doubt. But I never saw it happen.

    What went on during the savagery of battle, is of course another thing entirely. Then we were trying our best to kill each other, and the sooner the better.The thing'y about giving your life for your country, is downright stupid.

    The proper phrase should be "making the enemy give his life for his country"...

    Ir is very difficult to come to terms with making friends with your former foe. For all the while. In the back ground is the knowledge. It is the sheer massive numbers of atrocities. LIdice. Orador, Tulle and a hundred others like them..Now to mention the couple of hundred concentration camps around Germany and Poland.

    Even to Breendonk in the Lowlands
    Das Reich hung a hundred innocent men from the lamp posts in the town. Even they botched it. for they actually hung 99. Every year the French hang flowers from the lamp posts, to remember the men that died there. The show often admired by German visitors!!!!

    So perhaps all of his reveals the problem or genuine friendship between former enemies... The answer it seems to me is ..."Time" when we have departed.... and memories fade
    Sapper
     
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  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Sapper,

    Would you care to comment on how the Heer was viewed vs the Waffen SS?

    It's clear to me in my 30th Division research that after Malmedy and the civilian massacres that took place in the same area, the division became pretty hardened about SS prisoners.
     
  4. Cadillac

    Cadillac Member

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    Those men obviously don't represent the entirety of the German Armed Forces during the war.
     
  5. sapper

    sapper British Normandy Veteran, Royal Engineers

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    It was the fanaticism of the SS that made them loathed and detested. You would think that after capture they would lose some of their arrogance...Not a bit of it.... They still acted like conquerors.

    To illustrate; we were the EastYorks infantry they had captured a SS man. Who then proceeded o insult one of the sergeants After a while the Sgt clouted him so hard he was lifted off his feet.
    You do not sing the praises of Hitler and the SS in the midst of action......
     
  6. DocL

    DocL Member

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    I actually worked with one of them for a couple of years. At the time I knew him, he was a first sergeant in the US Army (1970s), and proudly wore his iron cross on occasion. It turned out he earned it as a member of the Hitler Jugend, for "Killing Russians". After the war he joined the US Army, hoping to continue those activities. An excellent NCO, as I remember.
     
  7. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    Tens of millions of civilians were murdered at territories controlled by the German Armed forces. The numbers indicate quite clearly that majority has directly participated in that mass murder.
     
  8. Profligate

    Profligate New Member

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    Yes, I have to agree. While I try to look at these subjects as objectively as possible (and yes, I know not all German soldiers were murderers, and many were quite honorable in fact) it is very clear that the SS weren't the only members of the German forces to commit atrocities. In fact, many Heer generals were quick to condem the SS for mass-executions and other war-crimes, while they would often turn a blind eye to the actions of their own men. Generaloberst Blaskowitz comes to mind...
     
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  9. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Not necessarily. One, take an 18 yr old in 1943 who has been under the Nazi influence since age 8. Constantly bombarded by the Nazi propaganda machine as well as the education apparatus. Then get sent to the East. There you witness barbaric sights from both sides. There is no chance that this 18yr old could not become a "monster". Had he been sent to North Africa or even in 44' the West first, then he would have only seen barbaric incidents from the one side (majority of the time) and would have stood a better chance of not becoming a "Monster" So if it was ideology alone, then why not the same number of atrocities during the fighting in North Africa, Italy or even in the West? Remember, I said same number ratio wise. So it isn't just ideology alone.

    The German nation was seduced and brainwashed. Could it be prevented? You'd have to ask a psychologist. I do not think so. Look at our nation today. It believes whatever it sees on TV. Only takes years but Hitler had that. The answer is complicated so don't be too quick to judge. They did wrong. They were brainwashed and they suffered the consequences.
     
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  10. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    You would have to take it on a soldier by soldier basis. Although I vehemently agree that most SS units, not those units conscripted from invaded territories with no National Socialist training as an above post pointed out, were involved directly with genocide. It is safe to say that in the east, there weren't many people, regardless of the SS, Heer, police services, that were not involved in one way or the other.
     
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  11. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I understand that you are a nice guy who wants to believe that all men are good except these who were manipulated, or should I say: dragged into doing bad deeds. I do indeed appreciate that. But let me answer you with a passage from Nial Ferguson's "The War of the World". Please, listen:




    [SIZE=11pt]As dawn broke on July 13, 1942, Reserve Battalion 101 arrived at the Polish village of Jôzefôw, which had been bombed by the Germans and briefly occupied by the Russians two years previously. Their commander, Major Wilhelm Trapp, explained to his men that their orders were to round up the local Jews, of whom there were around 1,800. They were to pick out the able-bodied young men who could be used as forced labourers or 'work Jews'; there were around 300 of these. Using trucks, they would then drive the rest - the sick, the elderly, the women and the children - to a quarry in the nearby forest. There they would shoot them all. [/SIZE]

    [SIZE=11pt]Reserve Battalion 101 was not a hardened group of Nazi fanatics. Most of its 486 men came from working-class and lower middle-class neighbourhoods of Hamburg. On average, they were older than the men in front-line units. Over half were aged between thirty-seven and forty-two. Very few were members of the Nazi Party, though Trapp had joined in 1932. They were, without a doubt, just ordinary Germans. They were also willing executioners. Often, after the war, those accused of war crimes claimed that they were merely following orders. That was not the case at Jôzefôw. Before the killings began, Trapp made an extraordinary offer to his battalion: if anyone did not feel up to the task that lay before them, he could step forward and be assigned to other duties. Only twelve men did so. [/SIZE]




    Only twelve dis so. Think. Keep in mind, people described by Ferguson were neither hardened Nazis nor SS. Ordinary people, so to speak. No young indoctrinated freaks. Just "ordinary" men. The Wehrmacht.
     
  12. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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    I'm out of "salutes" for today, otherwise, I would have saluted this post.

    I am quite often in Austria and Germany and I have rather good relationships with many Germans. They are indeed nice and it is pleasure to have both personal and business relationships with them. But, I have carefully avoided any personal contact with these elderly gentlemen who must have served during the war. Likehood that they have been involved in the war crimes is dangerously high for my taste. I wouldn't risk to shake hand of a man who murdered a woman, elderly people or even a child.
     
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  13. Profligate

    Profligate New Member

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    Bringing the thread back on topic for a second, my feelings are, unless you were actually involved in some way, it should just be looked upon objectively. Those of us who were not involved in the Second World War, or were not directly affected in someway, should do our best to keep our opinions to ourselves, and learn as much as possible about it, and hope that (while war can not be done away with) we can prevent anymore world-wide atrocities and crimes against humanity from ever happening again. Now don't get me wrong, I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, I just think that only those who actually took part in the war, i.e. allied Soldiers, holocaust survivors, their families, and civilians who were directly affected (which I would imagine would be, for the most part, anyone who was alive during that time) have the right to say that they have "forgiven", or "respect" a German WW2 vet.
     
  14. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Well thank you. I do try but also look at things realistically. In the excerpt you used, the author contradicts himself. In the first paragraph he says that they had orders and in the second he says that using the phrase "they were merely following orders and this was not the case" is contradicting. I'm am not saying that these cases did not happen but to say that all or even a majority were evil doers I can't by it. Did the nation turn it's face...yes. Did the nation allow it....yes. But did they all commit atrocities....no. Just saying.

    As for the original question, I would be curious to hear how the other side lived during the war. Looking at books I've read, I tend to see those books written by American to glorify the war. The foreign authors tend to be more realistic and detailed. Only when I get into books written by American authors about their Vietnam experiences do I see a more true to life writing.

    I never believe in taking the writings of one source as truth. Also taking one excerpt does not condemn a whole race. Just saying.
     
  15. Profligate

    Profligate New Member

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  16. Tamino

    Tamino Doc - The Deplorable

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  17. green slime

    green slime Member

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    I'd refer you to the Milgram experiment, and the Stanford Prison experiment.

    The results of the experiments are argued to demonstrate the impressionability and obedience of people when provided with a legitimizing ideology and social and institutional support. The experiment has also been used to illustrate cognitive dissonance theory and the power of authority.

    Ordinary people do bestial things, when encouraged by those in Authority. This is a vital lesson of Nazism, and cannot be forgotten or misunderstood. In any population of individuals, it is only a few that have the moral courage to stand up against group and peer pressure. Germans are no different from others.
     
  18. green slime

    green slime Member

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    Reading some of these, I can't help be reminded of young men bragging about supposed exploits to gain status in a group, whether it be sexual conquests, the size of fish caught,...
     
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  19. Profligate

    Profligate New Member

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    Maybe so, but regardless of the statements of PoW's, the I don't see any SS men in those pictures.
     
  20. green slime

    green slime Member

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    That wasn't the point of my comment.

    The point is people say shit all the time.

    Sometimes, its a desire to be accepted in a group.

    Sometimes, it's the carthasis of the bad conscience, to alleviate the subconscious pain of having done something one knows is morally wrong, but nevertheless seeking acceptance of your peers in the shared ideology. Seeking affirmation that what you did was "right" regardless.

    It's well documented that suicides, drinking and other self-abusive behaviour is rife in groups participating in massacres.
     

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