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Unconditional surrender - a mistake?

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Poll Question: Whas the policy of "unconditional surrender" adequate?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
2 [11.11%]
5 [27.78%]
8 [44.44%]
1 [5.56%]
2 [11.11%]
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    Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 07:51

At about noon on January 24, 1943, at the conclusion of the Casablanca Conference President Franklin Roosevelt spoke for about fifteen minutes before a press conference attended by correspondents and photographers. After summarizing the decisions of the conference he added that he and Prime Minister Churchill were determined to accept nothing less than the unconditional surrender of Germany, Japan, and Italy.

(quote from Anne Arsmtrong book that can be found here: http://2020ok.com/books/14/unconditional-surrender-the-impact-of-the-casablanca-policy-upon-world-war-ii-62114.htm)

It is hard to say if the US President, at that very moment, intended those words to an official statement or just a slogan. No matter what was the initial intention, it is sure that those words had an impact on the events of WWII. Unfortunately, history doesn't work like other sciences therefore it is impossible to quantifiy the effect of "Unconditional Surrender". But events can be analised and we can, at least, make some points about it.

The purpose of this thread is not revisionary. I am only attempting to see if after more than sixty years people are ready/want to face the truth. Because what I see mostly when talking about WWII is "they were bad, we were good, they needed to be defeated by all means". It might have been enough by then but to me it is not enough now. I think we should get rid of the bad habit of seeing things in black and white. Many things the Western Allies did in WWII were wrong. Some of them even worse than what the Axis did. To accept that is not to state that the Allies were in fact "the bad guys" or that the Axis members were the victims. Facts are there. It is not my intention to justify the crimes commited by Germans, Japanese and their allies. In this case, no matter how bad the "unconditional surrender" policy might have been, it gives no excuse for those who commited crimes on its base. But I also find it natural to ask myself if implementing such a policy wasn't just a too big waste of lives. And I think it was. With the risk of getting myself slammed, I'm seeing "unconditional surrender" policy and the way things were handled by FDR's administration as one of the worst deeds of US politicians ever.

So, cast your vote and share your thoughts about it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Justinian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 07:56
I went with the second option.  I view it as an ill considered policy to have adopted.  I'll come back and elaborate later.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 11:21
There wasn't really any alternative. Neither the Japanese nor the Germans were going to give up in terms, certainly not on terms that would have been satisfactory to the restof us. I use 'us' advisedly.
 
It's worth noting that some months later (July '43) the Allies did in fact enter into negotiations with Italy and in September a conditional surrender (at least an armistice, later a statement of co-belligerence) was announced.
 
So the Allies weren't hard-line on this when they didn't have to be.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 13:36
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

There wasn't really any alternative. Neither the Japanese nor the Germans were going to give up in terms, certainly not on terms that would have been satisfactory to the restof us. I use 'us' advisedly.
Why is it that you are so convinced about this? Alternative solutions could have meant a lot of things. For instance, you should notice that when talking about Germany, FDR discourse was hardly about the nazi, it was about Germans, Prussia and the General Staff, that he saw guilty for the war. Stalin's propaganda was in fact more adequate. The Soviets used captured officers of the Third Reich for propaganda purposes. Soviet radio urged the Germans to overthrow their goverment and join the soviet people in the fight against opression, etc. etc.
Unconditional surrender was never defined except in the case of military units. Basically a military unit can unconditionally surrender to an enemy unit and expect that the soldiers  to be trated according to the laws of war. Unconditional surrender of a whole nation is not defined and no attempt was made by FDR to specifify what he meant by this two words.
Quote It's worth noting that some months later (July '43) the Allies did in fact enter into negotiations with Italy and in September a conditional surrender (at least an armistice, later a statement of co-belligerence) was announced.
Italy's instrument of capitulation was "unconditional". The italian situation is actually an argument against the phrase. Mussolinni was deposited on the 25th of July. On the 28th of July FDR reafirmed the "unconditional surrender" policy in a speech.  Eisenhower signed a cease-fire with on the 3rd of September. That document was issued by his initiative and was not containing any guarantees that Italy will compel to unconditional surrender. In the end Italy accepted to sign a document of capitulation. It took almost two months. During which lives were lost.
When Finalnd, Romania and Bulgaria capitulated Stalin offered them terms. And the process took a lot less time. Sparing lives.
Quote So the Allies weren't hard-line on this when they didn't have to be.
 FDR never offered terms to Germany or Japan. Especially after he accepted the Morgenthau plan what were the Germans supposed to think of the meaning of "unconditional surrender"?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 16:05
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

.
FDR never offered terms to Germany or Japan.
True, but with Japan, he did slightly bend the meaning of the term "unconditional surrender".
 
Not only was the Emperor allowed to remain as a sovereign ruler (however nominal), but FDR also strongly emphasized to the Japanese cabinet and senior military leaders that Japanese "national polity" would be respected.  Also, when discussing surrender with the Japanese, FDR eliminated wording implying that the entire Japanese governmental structure was criminal (nazi). Instead, he repeatedly emphasized that only bonafide war criminals would be punished and that Japanese soveignity would remain. In the end, Japan was not divided into seperate nations or even into seperate administrative zones. There was no systematic purge of Japanese authority over provicnes, cities, courts etc.
 
Also, FDR did not insist on the systematic surrenders of unbeaten Japanese formations.  One of the negotiating points of the Japanese die hards was that unbeaten Japanese units disarm under Japanese authority. Though this was not guaranteed in writing, most units in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam did just that. Even in the Pacific, some symbolic islands (Wake) did surrender to American units. Others seem to have been allowed to disarm and be repatriated under Japanese authority.
 


Edited by Cryptic - 07 Jul 2009 at 16:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 16:18
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

There wasn't really any alternative. Neither the Japanese nor the Germans were going to give up in terms, certainly not on terms that would have been satisfactory to the restof us. I use 'us' advisedly.
Why is it that you are so convinced about this?
Because none of the peoples of the allied countries would have been satisfied with anything but the execution of the major leaders of Germany and Japan. And I cannot see any of those leaders being willing to accept their own deaths in return for saving some other people's lives.
 
As it was the Germans and the Japanese were treated very well after the surrender, very differently from the way they had treated subject peoples themselves.
Quote
Alternative solutions could have meant a lot of things.
'Could have' of course. 'Would have' is a different matter.
Quote
For instance, you should notice that when talking about Germany, FDR discourse was hardly about the nazi, it was about Germans, Prussia and the General Staff, that he saw guilty for the war.
Which of course they were. It wasn't just the Nazi party that was fighting.
Quote
Stalin's propaganda was in fact more adequate. The Soviets used captured officers of the Third Reich for propaganda purposes. Soviet radio urged the Germans to overthrow their goverment and join the soviet people in the fight against opression, etc. etc.
And just what effect did that have?
Quote
Unconditional surrender was never defined except in the case of military units. Basically a military unit can unconditionally surrender to an enemy unit and expect that the soldiers  to be trated according to the laws of war. Unconditional surrender of a whole nation is not defined and no attempt was made by FDR to specifify what he meant by this two words.
You keep saying 'FDR'. You should note that all the other Allied leaders, espec ially Churchill, were in agreement.
Quote
Quote It's worth noting that some months later (July '43) the Allies did in fact enter into negotiations with Italy and in September a conditional surrender (at least an armistice, later a statement of co-belligerence) was announced.
Italy's instrument of capitulation was "unconditional". The italian situation is actually an argument against the phrase. Mussolinni was deposited on the 25th of July. On the 28th of July FDR reafirmed the "unconditional surrender" policy in a speech.  Eisenhower signed a cease-fire with on the 3rd of September. That document was issued by his initiative and was not containing any guarantees that Italy will compel to unconditional surrender. In the end Italy accepted to sign a document of capitulation. It took almost two months. During which lives were lost.
That's not the way I remember nor is it how wikipedia has it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armistice_between_Italy_and_Allied_armed_forces
" Badoglio did not pronounce himself in the meeting. In the afternoon he appeared before the King, who decided to accept the armistice conditions"
An armistice with conditions is not unconditional surrender. In fact technially an armistice is not even a surrender.
Quote
When Finalnd, Romania and Bulgaria capitulated Stalin offered them terms. And the process took a lot less time. Sparing lives.
Well, no-one really worried too much about the Finns, Romanians and Bulgarians. However, note that you point out they capitulated first.
Quote
Quote So the Allies weren't hard-line on this when they didn't have to be.
 FDR never offered terms to Germany or Japan. Especially after he accepted the Morgenthau plan what were the Germans supposed to think of the meaning of "unconditional surrender"?
Surrendering completely with no conditions. Why is that hard to understand?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 16:19
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Surrendering completely with no conditions. Why is that hard to understand?
Because in the case of Japan, there was a stated condition and two strongly implied conditions. See my post above.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 16:25
So they changed their minds. And so?
 
I pointed out that they didn't insist on unconditional surrender with Italy. You're pointing out that they didn't in the end insist on unconditional surrender with Japan. In both cases that's primarily because both countries were monarchies with figurehead monarchs.
 
You can't really think that if the Allies had said to the Japanese earlier 'well, you can keep your emperor' it would have shortened the war any?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jul 2009 at 16:35

Please note that emperor question was only one issue. FDR also strongly emphasized that Japanese national polity and local Japanese authority would remain intact.

Basically, I think the japanese looked at what happened to Germany (total loss of sovereignity and territorial division) and said "no way".  Had they learned that the German version of "unconditional surrender" would to be applied to them, the Japanese may have ended the war months earlier.  
 


Edited by Cryptic - 07 Jul 2009 at 16:52
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 01:48
I would have to go with 2. The Allies were a bit too brutal in how they eneded the war, especially for Japan. I will argue that the Americans were wrong to imprison Japanese-Americans, the Atomic bomb, and the firebombings of German cities non critical to the war-effort (Dresden, Cologne). what the Aliies did is no where near as horrible as 6 million dead because of their ethnic background and beleifs or the bataan deathmarch or the rape of Nanking.

The thing I think some people forget is that they were people just like us, and it reminds us of what kind of animals we are. Its sad that millions died to prove a point proven over and over again. While the world still can be a terrible place to live in.

What I'm trying to get at is that although the Germans and the Japanese did horrible things; they are all after all humans like us and we didn't need to resort to a violent end when peace could have been reached before. One way is that although Hitler ran Germany with an iron fist, there were many generals that didn't like him and wanted to surrender to the Allies. Although the Allies did try to kill Hitler several times, I still think he could have been stopped long before millions had to die.

The Japanese would have surrendered if the terms were more honorable also if Togo was out of the picture, Peace could have been reached. Japan could have accepted terms maybe in late 43 44 but I don't know that it would have sat well with the American public even though people were getting tired of the war. Another thing was Japanese honour that they probably weren't wanting to surrender either. Another problem was the territories the Japanese controlled being that they would have been asked to give up their possesions, and the Japanese would not have agreed with that I think.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 02:51
I voted for the fourth option. I don't see how it really altered anything on all the battlefronts, other then serve as a propaganda tool for Goebbels and causing much confusion amongst the German population.

The Japanese i am not too sure? It seemed like that was already accepted by them before it was stated anyways, so i guess from that standpoint, FDR was just stating the obvious in their case. They seem to have been more than willing enough to die en masse anyways, as events unfolded and had proven to be the case as the island hopping got underway; And if needed be near the conclusion of the island hopping campaign prior to the home islands themselves... mass suicide (Soldier and civilians alike) before surrendering too any allied troops who were within sight or rumored to be. Much like what had happened on Okinawa! Or was that Iwo Jima?  Dang... i can't remember, but i believe it was the former?

The only thing that kept that nightmare scenario from happening, was the Emperor's broadcast  itself after the atomic bombs blasts and the Japanese government's failure to find anyone to negotiate for them in good faith, much along the lines of what Teddy Roosevelt had done for them in 1905.

All in all, the loss of life was going to be atrocious prior to the statement anyways.



Edited by Panther - 08 Jul 2009 at 03:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SPQR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 03:29
Yea you got a point as i stated I really don't think we could not have reached anything but unconditional surrender from the Japanese. Too many Americans still remembered Pearl harbor but cheifly the Japanese were not going to bow down to anyone without a fight (as you said correctly that it took there emperor to order them to stand down) as for the Germans, I'm still holding out on the idea that even the Germans themselves could have overthrown their govt. (With Allied help of course)I guess after watching Valkyrie it opened my mind that a lot of Germans were smart enough to know they weren't going to win the war.

I always wonder what bewilderment and cheated some of them felt after they found out what their govt. was doing, but I'm sure most German generals knew. I guess for them it was honor and respect to defend their fatherland and less respect for Hitler and his actions

I'm probably going to agree with 4 now, but I still think we could have got Germany outta the war earlier (causing less death) maybe if there was more effort, but thats all speculation.

Oh I'm pretty sure it was Okinawa because my dad told me once when he was in the Marines, he was stationed on Okinawa and he heard from people there and I think went where the cliffs were.

Edited by Sun Tzu - 08 Jul 2009 at 03:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 08:19
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Because none of the peoples of the allied countries would have been satisfied with anything but the execution of the major leaders of Germany and Japan. And I cannot see any of those leaders being willing to accept their own deaths in return for saving some other people's lives.
Well, the Emperor was not executed. According to some polls, just before the end of the war with Japan, about 70% of the US citizens wanted Hirohito dead. So what does this make of the "will of the people". It is interesting too that the same people that wanted Hirohito dead were also growing tired of their countrymen being killed on the battlefield and wanted a quick end of the war.
The fact that leaders on the "bad side" didn't care too much about human life is not the issue here. Nobody is contesting that fact. The problem "your side"* is that while you declare that you cherish human life above all you promote a policy that gives no hope to the enemy (or at least that is what the enemy makes of it).
Quote
As it was the Germans and the Japanese were treated very well after the surrender, very differently from the way they had treated subject peoples themselves.
Again, we are not discussing what the Germans and the Japanese did. There is no question about that. My intention is not to compare the evil. I also don't think that the policy we are discussing was intended to cause more deaths. On the contrary. But I think it was a mistake, or an unadeqate policy. 
The fact that after they surrendered both Germans and Japanese were treated well is not relevant to this discussion. Before surrendering they didn't know how they will be treated. The Germans though, were having a pretty good idea that they stood a better chance on the west side than on the eastern one otherwise they would not have fled west on the last days of the war. Soviet propaganda had little effect on them but that's more because they knew that USSR didn't differ much from the Third Reich. So they didn't give too much credit on Soviet propaganda. The problem is that while Stalin's propaganda emphasised the fact that it was not the German people that was the "target" of the war, FDR's discourse was making no explicite distinction between Germans and Nazis. See my next post for examples.
Quote
'Could have' of course. 'Would have' is a different matter.
Oh, c'mon man, we are talking about assumptions here since we cannot know what "would" have happened. What we know is what was but the subject of this thread is what could have been.
Quote Which of course they were. It wasn't just the Nazi party that was fighting.
But it wasn't just FDR who was fighting too. How many GI's were giving a damn about ideology?
Quote And just what effect did that have?
It's hard to say but it certainly did had some effect. There were no German troops in the Red Army but there were high ranking officers who voiced Stalin's propaganda on the radio. If there would have been no effects you can be sure that Stalin would have got rid of those men. How many high ranking German prisoners were used by the Allies for propaganda?
Quote You keep saying 'FDR'. You should note that all the other Allied leaders, especially Churchill, were in agreement.
FDR was the one who promoted the policy. Churchill was not so happy about sticking to those unfortunate words. But he was a too good politician to directly challenge the directives of the Big Brother. UK was in no position to openly pursuit a different policy during the war. Therefore I say FDR.
Quote That's not the way I remember nor is it how wikipedia has it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armistice_between_Italy_and_Allied_armed_forces
" Badoglio did not pronounce himself in the meeting. In the afternoon he appeared before the King, who decided to accept the armistice conditions".An armistice with conditions is not unconditional surrender. In fact technially an armistice is not even a surrender.
Exactly, the cease-fire was not surrender. Because it was only a miltary agreement, not a political one. It only established the end of hostilities between Allied and Italian armed forces. The instrument of surrender was issued on the 29th of September. Between the 25th of July and the 29th of September the Germans had the time to move in and secure positions in the italian peninsula. Eisenhower authority was military and he wisely used it to come to terms with Badoglio because and he didn't used the term "unconditional surrender". Unfortunately, for the country to surrender it was necessary to issue a document signed by the goverment. The Italians were not very happy that after the cease fire they had to declare that they accepted "unconditional surrender" especially since it wasn't so. It is a matter of moral, prestige, etc. but it is not insignificant. Here is a link to a site with proper documents and less comments: http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/war.term/093_01.html
Quote Well, no-one really worried too much about the Finns, Romanians and Bulgarians. However, note that you point out they capitulated first.
They negotiated  their surrender, it wasn't an unconditional surrender. It is interesting to note tha tRomania not only surrendered but imediately started the fight against Germany. This didn't happened in Italy.
Quote Surrendering completely with no conditions. Why is that hard to understand?
Why is it hard to realise that there were no esatblished legal, polictical or social implications of what "unconditional surrender" of a state meant? The policy was not adressed at a military garrison. If you wish for a precedent example of such a demand, check the Third Punic War. Maybe you think as adequate the fact that in 1944 the leader of the most democratic nation on Earth acts like the leaders of the Roman Empire in 146 BC.
 
* Since I'm Romanian, and my country had been on the Axis side from 1941 till 1944 in WWII, just for the fun of this thread I will use "your side" for the Allies and "my side" for the Axis.  


Edited by Cezar - 08 Jul 2009 at 08:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheRedBaron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 11:00
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

There were no German troops in the Red Army
 
"The next stage in the Soviet attempt to gain a German volunteer contingent to fight alongside their forces was the creation of the Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland, or National Committee for a Free Germany - NKFD, which was formed at the Krasnogorsk POW camp outside of Moscow on the 12th and 13th of July 1943. The NKFD consisted of 38 members, 25 being soldiers and officers up to the rank of Major, the remainder were Communist emigres from Germany. Their aims called upon soldiers to follow Prussian Liberal heroes such as Von Stein, Yorck and Clausewitz who in 1813 when German troops stood on Russian soil, appealed from Russia above the heads of their leaders for a struggle for freedom.
 
During the summer of 1943, after the loss of Kursk, well known General Walther von Seydlitz entered into negotiations with German communists and the Red Army Political branch. The result was the formation of the Bund-Deutscher-Offiziere, the German Officers League or BDO, on the 11th and 12th of September 1943, under the leadership of Seydlitz. It contained a number of officers from the 6.Armee, including the former commander of the 389.Infanterie-Division Generalmajor Lattmann, and Generalmajor Dr. Korfes, former commander of the 295.Infantrie-Division. Well known officer Von Paulus would join later on, all of whom enabled the BDO to make a personal approach to the Germans at the front.

Perhaps the best known example of the work of the BDO and the NKFD was during the Korsun-Tcherkassy pocket on the lower Dnieper west of Kiev in early 1944. It was there that five German divisions, remnants of the 5.SS Division Wiking, and the Belgian Volunteer Brigade Wallonie were trapped. Seydlitz, Korfes, and other high-ranking German POW officers of the BDO were transported to the salient by a special Soviet train equipped with loudspeakers. The Soviets showered the Germans with leaflet drops and the BDO officers personally exhortated via loudspeaker for the frozen and bloodied troops to surrender their arms for the greater good of a free Germany. The weary Landsers and Waffen-SS troops didn't budge. The commander of XLII.Armeekorps recorded in his diary, "Seydlitz today sent me fifty German prisoners with letters to their commanders; in addition they are supposed to persuade their comrades to go over to the enemy. I cannot understand Seydlitz. Although the events at Stalingrad must have changed him completely, I am unable to see how he can now work as a sort of G-2 for Zhukov." He later writes on the steadfastness of the troops and the apparent ineffectual work of the BDO (he calls them NKFD) "Determination was the prevailing mood..." he writes, "...they wanted to fight their way through." Manstein managed to open a corridor from the west and saved a considerable number of foot-borne elements of the trapped formations although most of their heavy equipment was lost. There are no recorded instances of defections or purposeful surrender to the Red Army as a result of the BDO and its actions in this battle."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 12:05
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Because none of the peoples of the allied countries would have been satisfied with anything but the execution of the major leaders of Germany and Japan. And I cannot see any of those leaders being willing to accept their own deaths in return for saving some other people's lives.
Well, the Emperor was not executed.
The Emperor wasn't seen as the leader of Japan or even a significant force (any more than Victor Emmanuel was). Mind you that may be more a British point of view, since the British are more aware of the distinction between ruling and reigning.
Quote
According to some polls, just before the end of the war with Japan, about 70% of the US citizens wanted Hirohito dead. So what does this make of the "will of the people". It is interesting too that the same people that wanted Hirohito dead were also growing tired of their countrymen being killed on the battlefield and wanted a quick end of the war.
The fact that leaders on the "bad side" didn't care too much about human life is not the issue here. Nobody is contesting that fact. The problem "your side"* is that while you declare that you cherish human life above all you promote a policy that gives no hope to the enemy (or at least that is what the enemy makes of it).
I don't think the enemy made that of it at all. The enemy saw it for what it essentially was - propaganda and sloganising.
Quote
Quote
As it was the Germans and the Japanese were treated very well after the surrender, very differently from the way they had treated subject peoples themselves.
Again, we are not discussing what the Germans and the Japanese did. There is no question about that. My intention is not to compare the evil. I also don't think that the policy we are discussing was intended to cause more deaths. On the contrary. But I think it was a mistake, or an unadeqate policy. 
However it was the allied peoples' view of what the Germans and Japanese had done that lef to the call for unconditional surrender. If they hadn't behaved the way they had, conditional surrender would have been more acceptable to them. (Although in 1918 at Compiègne the surrender was in effect unconditional even though there had not been anything like the same number of atrocities.)
Quote
The fact that after they surrendered both Germans and Japanese were treated well is not relevant to this discussion. Before surrendering they didn't know how they will be treated. The Germans though, were having a pretty good idea that they stood a better chance on the west side than on the eastern one otherwise they would not have fled west on the last days of the war. Soviet propaganda had little effect on them but that's more because they knew that USSR didn't differ much from the Third Reich. So they didn't give too much credit on Soviet propaganda. The problem is that while Stalin's propaganda emphasised the fact that it was not the German people that was the "target" of the war, FDR's discourse was making no explicite distinction between Germans and Nazis. See my next post for examples.
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'Could have' of course. 'Would have' is a different matter.
Oh, c'mon man, we are talking about assumptions here since we cannot know what "would" have happened. What we know is what was but the subject of this thread is what could have been.
Well, what 'could' have been must include signing of a peace treaty between the Western allies and Germany leaving the smaller western countries dependent on and occupied by Germany. Could have. But there's no way that it would have.
 
Incidentally, what sort of 'conditions' do yo think would have been acceptable to the Allies?
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Quote Which of course they were. It wasn't just the Nazi party that was fighting.
But it wasn't just FDR who was fighting too. How many GI's were giving a damn about ideology?
Most of them, just like on the German side. Or in the British army. But in any case it wasn't a question of ideology but essentially of revenge.
Quote
Quote And just what effect did that have?
It's hard to say but it certainly did had some effect. There were no German troops in the Red Army but there were high ranking officers who voiced Stalin's propaganda on the radio. If there would have been no effects you can be sure that Stalin would have got rid of those men. How many high ranking German prisoners were used by the Allies for propaganda?
Don't know. On the whole Britain respected the laws about treating prisoners, which would forbid it. Stalin couldn't care less about international conventions.
However the British faked it by pretending messages were from Germans that weren't, which is a neater trick.
The story of BBC propaganda in WW2 is covered quite nicely in the paper at http://libraryautomation.com/nymas/radioproppaper.htm
Quote  
Quote You keep saying 'FDR'. You should note that all the other Allied leaders, especially Churchill, were in agreement.
FDR was the one who promoted the policy. Churchill was not so happy about sticking to those unfortunate words. But he was a too good politician to directly challenge the directives of the Big Brother. UK was in no position to openly pursuit a different policy during the war. Therefore I say FDR.
Churchill was quite happy with it. It was Churchill who famously said of the Germans that they were "either at your feet or at your throat".
And this doesn't smack of readiness to compromise:
Quote Even though large parts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.
Quote
Quote That's not the way I remember nor is it how wikipedia has it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armistice_between_Italy_and_Allied_armed_forces
" Badoglio did not pronounce himself in the meeting. In the afternoon he appeared before the King, who decided to accept the armistice conditions".An armistice with conditions is not unconditional surrender. In fact technially an armistice is not even a surrender.
Exactly, the cease-fire was not surrender. Because it was only a miltary agreement, not a political one. It only established the end of hostilities between Allied and Italian armed forces. The instrument of surrender was issued on the 29th of September. Between the 25th of July and the 29th of September the Germans had the time to move in and secure positions in the italian peninsula. Eisenhower authority was military and he wisely used it to come to terms with Badoglio because and he didn't used the term "unconditional surrender". Unfortunately, for the country to surrender it was necessary to issue a document signed by the goverment. The Italians were not very happy that after the cease fire they had to declare that they accepted "unconditional surrender" especially since it wasn't so. It is a matter of moral, prestige, etc. but it is not insignificant. Here is a link to a site with proper documents and less comments: http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/war.term/093_01.html
The Italian army kept its weapons and remained a potential fighting force. Indeed it later vecame a co-belligerent.
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Quote Well, no-one really worried too much about the Finns, Romanians and Bulgarians. However, note that you point out they capitulated first.
They negotiated  their surrender, it wasn't an unconditional surrender. It is interesting to note tha tRomania not only surrendered but imediately started the fight against Germany. This didn't happened in Italy.
What didn't? Both Italy and Romania became co-belligerents with the Allies.
However all I meant was that when Churchill and FDR came up with 'unconditional surrender' they didn't have Finland, Romania or Bulgaria in mind.
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Quote Surrendering completely with no conditions. Why is that hard to understand?
Why is it hard to realise that there were no esatblished legal, polictical or social implications of what "unconditional surrender" of a state meant? The policy was not adressed at a military garrison. If you wish for a precedent example of such a demand, check the Third Punic War. Maybe you think as adequate the fact that in 1944 the leader of the most democratic nation on Earth acts like the leaders of the Roman Empire in 146 BC.
I really don't understand that. A phrase doesn't have to have established legal, political, or social implications to have meaning. 'Unconditional' and 'surrender' can be found in any dictionary and their meaning together is obvious. What established legal, political or social implications does the phrase 'red ball' have?
 
The Germans at Compiègne in 1918 surrendered unconditionally - even more completely than Italy in 1943, since their military was disbanded. That was only a quarter of a century earlier.
 
(For that matter, 'conditional surrender' doesn't mean much unless the conditions are spelt out.)
Quote  
* Since I'm Romanian, and my country had been on the Axis side from 1941 till 1944 in WWII, just for the fun of this thread I will use "your side" for the Allies and "my side" for the Axis.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 15:03
As I stated in my previous post, here are some pieces of FDR declarations during WWII. I will highlight parts of them and insert my comments. (the source is the book I've mentioned in the starting post)
 
January 1942

Our enemies are guided by brutal cynicism, by unholy contempt for the human race. We are inspired by a faith which goes back through all the years to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis: God created man in His own image. . . .I find it interesting that no matter what the conflict, the leader of a secular state is using religion for inspiration. Eisenhower wrote a book called "Crusade in the West". WWII was not religious, why should then FDR give it such a flavour?

. . . This is the conflict that day and night now pervades our lives. No compromise can end that conflict There never has been there never can be successful compromise between good and evil. Only total victory can reward the champions of tolerance, and decency, and faith Ok that's sooo consistent! The champions of tolerance and no compromise. Great!

October 1942

We have made it entirely clear that the United Nations seek no mass reprisals against the populations of Germany or Italy or Japan. But the ringleaders and their brutal henchmen must be named, and apprehended, and tried in accordance with the judicial processes of criminal law. . . We are united in seeking the kind of victory that will guarantee that our grandchildren can grow and, under God, may live their lives, free from the constant threat of invasion, destruction, slavery, and violent death. ...Tell to the Germans that bombing their cities is and killing civilians is because you want to kill only the nazis. Maybe compell them to go to court in the USA. "We are bombing German cities in order to scare the heel out of the Nazi so that they come running in the USA to avoid getting hit by the bombs".....

We have learned that if we do not pull the fangs of the predatory animals of the world, they will multiply and grow in strength and they will be at our throats once more in a short generation. ... It is clear to us that if Germany and Italy and Japan or any one of them remain armed at the end of this war, or are permitted to rearm, they will again, and inevitably, embark upon an ambitious career of world conquest. They must be disarmed and kept disarmed, and they must abandon the philosophy which has brought so much suffering to the world. ... Hey, that's a statement regarding three nations, not their leaders. And the future you describe is pretty grim... total submission. Well, the Fuhrer wants the same but he at least doesn't drop boms on our heads.

Now we are going to teach Japan a lesson. We have the will and the power to teach her the cost of treachery and deceit, and the cost of stealing from her neighbors. With our steadfast Allies, we shall teach this lesson so that Japan will never forget it. We shall free the enslaved peoples. We shall restore stolen lands and looted wealth to their rightful owners. We shall strangle the black Dragon of Japanese militarism forever. ... It is interesting to know if FDR evaluated what a people who invented seppuku might think of such a declaration......

Obviously we could have come to terms with Hitler, and accepted a minor role in his totalitarian world. We rejected that! , . . The decision not to bargain with the tyrants rose from the hearts and souls and sinews of the American people. They faced reality; they appraised reality; and they knew what freedom meant. . . .Cool, so it's Grofaz you're after!

... As for Germany, that tragic nation which has sown the wind is now reaping the whirlwind we and our Allies are entirely agreed that we shall not bargain with the Nazi conspirators, or leave them a shred of control open or secret of the instruments of government. We shall not leave them a single element of military power or of potential military power. . . .Oh, hey, wait a minute, is this about Hitler ar about Germany? Could you please elaborate>

The German people are not going to be enslaved because the United Nations do not traffic in human slavery. But it will be necessary for them to earn their way back into the fellowship of peace-loving and law-abiding nations. And, in their climb up that steep road, we shall certainly see to it that they are not encumbered by having to carry guns. They will be relieved of that burden, we hope, forever. ... Hey man, that's simply stating that you want us to be at the mercy of your will. No very nice.

september 1943

This is one thing that I want to make perfectly clear: when Hitler and the Nazis go out, the Prussian military clique must go with them. The war-breeding gangs of militarists must be rooted out of Germany... if we are to have any real assurance of future peace. ... Who the hell are these guys? Cause you seem to have the idea that there aren't just the Nazi but also the militarists. But who are these ones? What's that Prussian clique? Have you got contaminated by mr Churchill ignorance on Germany?

january 1945

Everything we are and have is at stake. Everything we are and have will be given. * . . We have no question of the cost. Our losses will be heavy. We and our Allies will go on fighting together to ultimate total victory Hey, we're almost out of the picture you big mouth. Can't you see that we are desperate? Could you care to give us some quarter?

February 1945

It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and so insure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined to disarm all German armed forces: break up for all time the German General Staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of militarism . . . remove all Nazi and militarist influences from public office and from the cultural and economic life of the German people . . . only when Nazism and militarism have been extirpated will there be hope for a decent life for Germans, and a place for them in the comity of nations ... Hey, we're almost gone! What the hell is wrong with you? Who are these militarists you keep on talking about. And what decent life are you talking about? Morgenthau plan?
 
These are only a few quotes from FDR. A broader analysis will show that he was considering the war as some sort of holy war. He knew that he was fighting on the good side. But he forgot that fighting on the good side doesn't make you necessarily good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cezar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 15:18
A few opinions of some military leaders regarding "unconditional surrender" (from the same book)
Firs the germans:
Kesselring: He expressed the view that after the defeats at Stalingrad and in North Africa a German victory was no longer possible; after the stabilization of the Invasion Front in Normandy defeat was inevitable. A Western policy based on the desire to arrange a reasonable peace, a policy in which the German people could have confidence, could have brought about an earlier end to the war.
Manstein held that a demand for unconditional surrender works as propaganda for both sides in a war: it sharpens hatred against the enemy who is shown as unworthy of negotiation, but it also stiffens the opposition of the enemy.
 
General Heinz Guderian was even more outspoken: The demand for unconditional surrender" certainly contributed to the destruction of every hope in Germany for a reasonable peace.This was true not only for the Wehrmacht and for the Generals, but also for the whole people....The effect of this brutal formula on the German nation and, above all, on the Army was great. The soldiers, at least, were convinced from now on that our enemies had decided on the utter destruction of Germany, that they were no longer fighting as Allied propaganda at that time alleged against Hitler and so-called Nazism, but against their efficient, and therefore dangerous, rivals for the trade of the world.

General Alfred Jodl left behind some notes on the anti-Hitler plot of July 20, 1944, in which he refers to Unconditional Surrender. He states that he, too, had been convinced, long before July, 1944, that the war was already lost, but that he had seen no way out: Had not our Opponents called for the destruction of Germany and not that of the Nazi regime? Could one change this fate by the elimination of Hitler? Jodl thought not. Despite the inevitable loss of men and material which resulted from pursuing the war until May, 1945, he drew the conclusion that the road to the bitter end was the better choice.

General Hasso von Manteuffel has given a great deal of attention to the question of the significance of the Unconditional Surrender policy. In the postwar years he has met regularly with a group of former comrades to discuss the mistakes of the war, both Allied and German, and there is no question that he and his group consider Unconditional Surrender as one of the mistakes, a boomerang which resulted in sacrifices of lives during the final months of the war which were entirely unnecessary because Germany had conclusively lost the war with the break through at Avranches in July, 1944: and every single human life is too expensive!...

The proclamation was so frightful in the original sense of that word because unconditional surrender judged an entire people! So we realized that the result of this foolish demand was that we must fight to the bitter end with a courage of desperation. . . . Without the spiritual morale of the Front . . , The demand certainly lengthened the war. . . . Without this our resistance fighters would have acted earlier . . . and probably would have been able to contact the other side which, it must be mentioned, never gave the slightest sign when or how one might get in touch with them

General Walter Warlimont described the demand for unconditional surrender as a knife which sharpened Germany s will to resist. If the Germans did not understand the meaning of Unconditional Surrender they received an object lesson in the surrender of Italy in September, 1943; Warlimont said that the treatment of Italy, despite the Allied offer of cobelligerency status, was a shock to German officers, who then began to realize that Unconditional Surrender really meant Unconditional Surrender. In the final months of fighting the Nazi government used the fear of Unconditional Surrender to exhort the troops to new enthusiasm and courage, and so it served to increase the severity of German resistance

....The only feasible alternative would have lain in the Allied encouragement of a resistance movement, and in Allied concentration on separating the German people from Hitler

General Siegfried Westphal is another of the generals who considered a war against three great powers a hopeless cause:The world was simply too big. A German victory against such tremendous odds ... in manpower, raw materials and industrial capacity, was quite out of the question....many soldiers had always opposed the war, that all through its course they desired peace:. . . and this did not make it easy for them to do their duty, yet as soldiers they had no choice but to do their duty. After the Casablanca Declaration, in which it was announced that only unconditional surrender on Germany s part would be acceptable to the Allied governments, even those who were fully informed concerning the true situation saw no alternative to fighting on until the bitter end

Doenitz concludes that the Casablanca Formula implied that in the event of our submitting we should have no rights whatever, but would be wholly at the mercy of our enemies, and of what that meant, some idea can be gathered from Stalins demand at the Teheran Conference, for four million Germans to serve as forced labor in the U.S.S.R.

Now some Western commanders
Admiral Leahy gives no full or vehement argument on the subject, but he writes that during the course of the war there were occasions when it might have been advantageous to accept conditional surrender in some areas, but we were not permitted to do it
 
In February, 1945, General Eisenhower, Allied Commander in Chief of the European Theater, told a press conference his views on the military effect of the demand for unconditional surrender: If you were given two choices one to mount the scaffold and the other to charge twenty bayonets, you might as well charge twenty bayonets.

General Albert C. Wedemeyer devoted considerable attention to Unconditional Surrender in his book. As early as the Casablanca Conference, when he first learned of the Presidents intention to demand unconditional surrender, he advised against it on the grounds that it would weld all the Germans together....

Later he wrote that the Allied demand for unconditional surrender had increased the enemys will to resist and had compelled even the anti-Nazis in Germany to go on fighting to save their country. He quotes the early Chinese strategist Sun Tze-wu:"Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. . . . Do not press a desperate foe too hard"

Wedemeyer feels that it was a mistake of Allied policy to make no distinction between Hitler and the anti-Nazis, in spite of the reports of British and American intelligence agents of the size and importance of the resistance forces in Germany:". . we forced all Germans to fight to the last under a regime most of them hated. They had no alternative."

He concludes that certain errors in strategic planning plus the doctrine of Unconditional Surrender "certainly lengthened the war by a full year"

Slessor was also present at the meetings of the Joint Chiefs at Casablanca, but he writes that he does not recall a discussion of the Casablanca Formula at these sessions. He states: "It is by no means certain that, had we been consulted, we should have foreseen its implications and advised against it, though that is not impossible. But as far as I remember the use of the words in the President s address to the Press Conference on the 24th made no particular impact on our minds at the time any more than they seem to have done on the minds of the War Cabinet when considering Mr. Churchill's message. That the actual influence of that phrase on the outcome of the war, and particularly on the bomber offensive, was unfortunate I have no doubt. It is difficult to believe that any subsequent explanations putting its meaning in a less unpalatable form, had any effect in countering its value to Goebbels in stiffening German resistance to which was added later in the war the preposterous Morgenthau plan for the deindustrialization of Germany.

Perhaps the strongest criticism of Unconditional Surrender has been made by Major General J, F. C. Fuller in The Second World War. He estimates that the war had reached its climacteric following the battle of Stalingrad and the collapse of the Afrika Korps; that by spring, 1943, the initiative of war had passed to the Allies. He says that at this point the Western Allies ought to have determined the sort of peace they wanted to conclude and seized the psychological advantage by announcing their terms. Obviously the terms would not have included Hitler, but they might have comprised a settlement which would appeal to the German people and to the anti-Nazis in particular. Had such terms been announced, Fuller estimates that the July, 1944, attempted assassination of Hitler might have occurred a full year earlier and might very well have been successful. "Had this happened, then National Socialism would have been destroyed by the will of theGerman people, and replaced by the ideals of the Atlantic Charter"

And finally, a few thoughts from Liddel Hart

They were tied to their posts by Hitler's policy, and Himmler's police, but they were praying for release. Throughout the last nine months of the war they spent much of their time discussing ways and means of getting in touch with the Allies to arrange a surrender. All to whom I talked dwelt on the effect of the Allies unconditional surrender policy in prolonging the war. They told me that but for this they and their troops the factor that was more important would have been ready to surrender sooner, separately or collectively. Blacklistening to the Allies radio service was widespread. But the Allied propaganda never said anything positive about the peace conditions in the way of encouraging them to give up the struggle. Its silence on the subject was so marked that it tended to confirm what Nazi propaganda told them of the dire fate in store for them if they surrendered.

What did these two words imply? First, that because no great power could with dignity or honour to itself, its history, its people and their posterity comply with them, the war must be fought to the point of annihilation. Therefore, it would take upon itself a religious character and bring to life again all the horrors of the wars of religion. For Germany it was to become a question of salvation or damnation.

Secondly, once victory had been won, the balance of power within Europe and between European nations would be irrevocably smashed. Russia would be left the greatest military power in Europe, and, therefore, would dominate Europe. Consequently, the peace these words predicted was the replacement of Nazi tyranny by an even more barbaric despotism. Insistence on "unconditional surrender" thus aids the hostile regime in keeping control of its people, and convincing them that they have no alternative than to sink or swim with the regime. The effect tends to be like that of a frightened crowd pressing down a passage towards a harred gate more effective in suffocating the leading ranks of the crowd than in breaking open the gate. Beyond this is the question whether people who feel themselves the target of an unlimited attack with an unlimited object le., an unconditional surrender that provides no safeguards against their maltreatment when submission has rendered them completely helpless-will not be inclined to rally to the regime, tyranny though it is, which at least organizes their defence. In such an impasse, the failure to make clear any limitation of the object may blunt the edge of the bombing weapon
 
And a final aprecciation of blood:
In other words, had the Allies been willing to accept peace terms more conventional than those anticipated by Big Three wartime conferences, peace might have been concluded in January, 1943, in July, 1943, in January or July, 1944, or most certainly in January, 1945. The saving in lives alone would have been impressive. By way of illustration, the battle casualties of the United

States Army and Army Air Corps in the Atlantic Theater were as follows:

January to June, 1943 20,671 dead and wounded

July to December, 1943 39,546 dead and wounded

January to June, 1944 117,903 dead and wounded

July to December, 1944 360,486 dead and wounded

January to May, 1945 222,360 dead and wounded

This means that had the war in Europe ended in January, 1945, following the Ardennes offensive, the United States would have saved 222,360 casualties; had it ended in July, 1944, after the Avranches breakthrough, 582,846 would have been saved; peace in January, 1944, would have prevented 700,749 United States casualties; in July, 1943, more than 740,000, and in January, 1943, after Stalingrad, more than 760,000.

It was FDR who issued the two words and it was he who followed it to the bitter end. I think those who think that there was no alternative should notice that the fact is that the policy itself is leaving no alternatives. And it wasn't asked by the Germans or the Japanese or the Italians. So "no alternative" was the choice FDR made.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 15:26
Cezar,
 
Well, "...so insure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world." 
 
After WW I, a military monarchy was swept away, but the industrial material of Germany was essentially undisturbed.  A democratic (sort of) republic was established.  That republic elected to office Adolf Hitler, and we saw what happened. 
 
The view in the 1940s was different than it is now.  You see unnecessary loss of life, etc.  In the 1940s there had already been so much loss of life it did not seem to matter as much.  The essence of the problem seemed to those at the time to be the nature of Germany as a nation, and as a power.  There seemed to be something diseased about it.
 
At no time did the German population rebel, revolt or topple the Nazi state.  The ONE institution that may have reasonably been able to do so, the ARMY, could never bring itself to do enough to change anything, so Cezar, what else was to be done?  Unconditional surrender was the only reasonable expectation. 
 
Truthfully, even if von Stauffenberg and the boys been able to pull off the assassination of Hitler, I don't think it would have mattered.  Klaus von Stauffenberg and most of those guys were low level officers, not Feldmarshall level.  Had von Runstedt called on the army to kill the Bohemian corporal, who knows what would have happened?  He didn't.  F.M. von Runstedt was the one officer of the old class that Hitler actually feared.
 
Well, there was no f-ing way that war was going to end with a negotiated settlement.  I think the conspirators would have been disappointed anyway.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2009 at 15:34
Originally posted by Cezar Cezar wrote:

As I stated in my previous post, here are some pieces of FDR declarations during WWII. I will highlight parts of them and insert my comments. (the source is the book I've mentioned in the starting post)
 
January 1942

Our enemies are guided by brutal cynicism, by unholy contempt for the human race. We are inspired by a faith which goes back through all the years to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis: God created man in His own image. . . .I find it interesting that no matter what the conflict, the leader of a secular state is using religion for inspiration. Eisenhower wrote a book called "Crusade in the West". WWII was not religious, why should then FDR give it such a flavour?

That's America for you....
The answer of course is to build up support for the war at home.
 
Whether WW2 was religious or not is a matter of how narrowly you define 'religion'. It was certainly ideological.
Quote
 
. . . This is the conflict that day and night now pervades our lives. No compromise can end that conflict There never has been there never can be successful compromise between good and evil. Only total victory can reward the champions of tolerance, and decency, and faith Ok that's sooo consistent! The champions of tolerance and no compromise. Great!
I really don't see what you are driving at. What else would you have him say?
Quote

October 1942

We have made it entirely clear that the United Nations seek no mass reprisals against the populations of Germany or Italy or Japan. But the ringleaders and their brutal henchmen must be named, and apprehended, and tried in accordance with the judicial processes of criminal law. . . We are united in seeking the kind of victory that will guarantee that our grandchildren can grow and, under God, may live their lives, free from the constant threat of invasion, destruction, slavery, and violent death. ...Tell to the Germans that bombing their cities is and killing civilians is because you want to kill only the nazis. Maybe compell them to go to court in the USA. "We are bombing German cities in order to scare the heel out of the Nazi so that they come running in the USA to avoid getting hit by the bombs".....

We have learned that if we do not pull the fangs of the predatory animals of the world, they will multiply and grow in strength and they will be at our throats once more in a short generation. ... It is clear to us that if Germany and Italy and Japan or any one of them remain armed at the end of this war, or are permitted to rearm, they will again, and inevitably, embark upon an ambitious career of world conquest. They must be disarmed and kept disarmed, and they must abandon the philosophy which has brought so much suffering to the world. ... Hey, that's a statement regarding three nations, not their leaders. And the future you describe is pretty grim... total submission. Well, the Fuhrer wants the same but he at least doesn't drop boms on our heads.

Now we are going to teach Japan a lesson. We have the will and the power to teach her the cost of treachery and deceit, and the cost of stealing from her neighbors. With our steadfast Allies, we shall teach this lesson so that Japan will never forget it. We shall free the enslaved peoples. We shall restore stolen lands and looted wealth to their rightful owners. We shall strangle the black Dragon of Japanese militarism forever. ... It is interesting to know if FDR evaluated what a people who invented seppuku might think of such a declaration......

Obviously we could have come to terms with Hitler, and accepted a minor role in his totalitarian world. We rejected that! , . . The decision not to bargain with the tyrants rose from the hearts and souls and sinews of the American people. They faced reality; they appraised reality; and they knew what freedom meant. . . .Cool, so it's Grofaz you're after!

... As for Germany, that tragic nation which has sown the wind is now reaping the whirlwind we and our Allies are entirely agreed that we shall not bargain with the Nazi conspirators, or leave them a shred of control open or secret of the instruments of government. We shall not leave them a single element of military power or of potential military power. . . .Oh, hey, wait a minute, is this about Hitler ar about Germany? Could you please elaborate>

The German people are not going to be enslaved because the United Nations do not traffic in human slavery. But it will be necessary for them to earn their way back into the fellowship of peace-loving and law-abiding nations. And, in their climb up that steep road, we shall certainly see to it that they are not encumbered by having to carry guns. They will be relieved of that burden, we hope, forever. ... Hey man, that's simply stating that you want us to be at the mercy of your will. No very nice.

Why should he want to be 'nice'? He's stating his (and his allies) war aims. Don't forget that he was re-elected handsomely on the basis of his promises and speeches like these.

In fact why would anyone want to be 'nice' to the Germans and anyone else allied to them during the war? Essentially they had put themselves outside the civilised pale.
Quote
september 1943

This is one thing that I want to make perfectly clear: when Hitler and the Nazis go out, the Prussian military clique must go with them. The war-breeding gangs of militarists must be rooted out of Germany... if we are to have any real assurance of future peace. ... Who the hell are these guys? Cause you seem to have the idea that there aren't just the Nazi but also the militarists. But who are these ones? What's that Prussian clique? Have you got contaminated by mr Churchill ignorance on Germany?

I don't understand how you can ask these questions. The answers are perfectly clear to me and were at the time to everyone else.
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january 1945

Everything we are and have is at stake. Everything we are and have will be given. * . . We have no question of the cost. Our losses will be heavy. We and our Allies will go on fighting together to ultimate total victory Hey, we're almost out of the picture you big mouth. Can't you see that we are desperate? Could you care to give us some quarter?

Why should he? In fact though quarter was exactly what was given to ther Germans and Japanese who had not personally committed. ordered, or conscioously allowed, war crimes.
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February 1945
It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and so insure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined to disarm all German armed forces: break up for all time the German General Staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of militarism . . . remove all Nazi and militarist influences from public office and from the cultural and economic life of the German people . . . only when Nazism and militarism have been extirpated will there be hope for a decent life for Germans, and a place for them in the comity of nations ... Hey, we're almost gone! What the hell is wrong with you? Who are these militarists you keep on talking about. And what decent life are you talking about? Morgenthau plan?
I can't believe you don't know the answers to those questons.
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These are only a few quotes from FDR. A broader analysis will show that he was considering the war as some sort of holy war. He knew that he was fighting on the good side. But he forgot that fighting on the good side doesn't make you necessarily good.
It was 'some sort' of holy war. And while fighting on the good side doesn't necessarily make you good, fighting on the bad side makes you bad.
 
I'll ask my same question again.
 
What conditions that the leaders of Germany or Italy might make would you consider acceptable to the United Nations (the contemporary term for the allies)?
 
Stalin's main fear was that the US and Britain would make a peace with Germany that would have allowed Germany to go on fighting against the Soviet Union, and occupying the east European countries. That's something the German leadership by this time would probably have accepted. FDR and Churchill (and their peoples) would never have stood for that, and the two leaders were bending over backwards to make it plain to Stalin.
 
That's really the message that was being sent here - don't worry, we won't do a deal that leaves you out.
 
Is that what you would have liked to have seen? A negotiated peace in the west that left the Soviet Union in the lurch? That would have saved lives - in the west. But there are honourable options and dishonourable ones.
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Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DukeC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2009 at 17:37

Making peace with the Axis nations while leaving the organizations that allowed the conflict to start in the first place makes no sense.

It was the powerful and apolitical German General Staff that gave Hitler the ability to run roughshod over the rest of Europe for several years, as long as it remained in existance there was the chance that a new despot could resume the conflict in later years.
 
The same goes for Japan where the Japanese army, with the active participation of the Emperor, had seized power and was focused on aggressive expansion that seemed without limits.
 
In both these cases making peace with the nations but leaving the underlying ability to resume the conflict at a latter date was asking for the same scenario as led to WW II.
 
 
 
 


Edited by DukeC - 09 Jul 2009 at 22:43
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2014 at 03:29
Short and Sharp!
 
The Germans had initiated two major conflicts within two generations, and lost both.
 
Following  WWI they were given certain considerations, but under Hitlers maniacal provocation, decided to reclaim old territories, and then the rest of Europe.
 
Didn't Hitler say something like, "Europe today, tomorrow the world"?
 
Unconditional surrender was the only option on the table, so that Germany could not rise again under another Hitler. As it was, there was talk of a 4th Reich.
Once you eliminate the impossible,
whatever remains,
no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2014 at 07:24
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Short and Sharp!
 
The Germans had initiated two major conflicts within two generations, and lost both.
 
Following  WWI they were given certain considerations, but under Hitlers maniacal provocation, decided to reclaim old territories, and then the rest of Europe.
 
Didn't Hitler say something like, "Europe today, tomorrow the world"?
 
Unconditional surrender was the only option on the table, so that Germany could not rise again under another Hitler. As it was, there was talk of a 4th Reich.

The Germans have not initiated two major conflicts. That we are responsible for WWII is not questionable, allthough Hitler did not want to fight the west, but the SU. But I don't want to dispute WWII.
But to say that Germany initiated WWI is wrong. It was decided in versailles, that only germany was responsible and it was great story to call for reparations and it was a great story after WWII and during the occupation of Germany. But it was wrong in 1914, wrong in 1918, wrong in 1919 and it was wrong later, too. It is a pity, that people had to wait untill Cristopher Clark wrote his "The Sleepwalkers", before the claim of a solely german responsible for WWI was refuted. Not, that what Clark wrote was not known before him. In all the time since 1919, there were historians, who rejected the German guilt for WWI. But they remained unheared or were shouted down. In 1961 it was even the German Fischer, who made the thesis of a german guilt to a dogma.

P.S.: I can't remember that Hitler said "Europe today, tomorrow the world". But what Hitler definitely said was:"Ich habe keinen Wunsch zu herrschen. Vor allem will ich vom Westen nichts, heute nicht und nicht morgen. Ich wünsche nichts von den dichtbesiedelten Regionen der Welt. Hier suche ich nichts und ein für allemal: gar nichts. All die Ideen, die mir leute zuschreiben, sind Erfindungen. Aber ich muß freie hand im osten haben...Alles was ich unternehme ist gegen Rußland gerichtet; wenn der Westen zu dumm und zu blind ist, um dies zu begreifen, werde ich gezwungen sein, mich mit den Russen zu verständigen, den Westen zu schlagen und dann nach seiner Niederlage mich mit meinen versammelten Kräften gegen die Sowjetunion wenden."(Hitler, August 11th, 1939)

translation: "I have no desire to rule. Above all, I want nothing from the West, not today and not tomorrow. I wish nothing of the densely populated regions of the world. Here I am looking for anything and once and for all: nothing. All the ideas attributed to me by people, are inventions. But I need to have free hand in the east ... Everything I undertake is directed against Russia, if the West is too stupid and too blind to grasp this, I will be forced to come to an understanding with the Russians, to beat the West and then after his defeat, to turn, with my gathered forces, against the Soviet Union."
Etiam si omnes, ego non.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2014 at 09:49
So who do you say caused WWI?
 
And please, don't say the Allies!
Once you eliminate the impossible,
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no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Mar 2014 at 10:07
All sides have their share. There is no good side and evil side. It was the Austrian politics to dominate the Balkans. It was the Serbian politics to destabilize Austria-Hungary and the support from ruling elites for serbian terrorists. It was the pan-slavistic politics of Russia, that wanted to dominate the balkans as well. It was the French revanchism and the will to go for war against germany together with Russia. It was britain, which risked war in europe, when it was their influence that could have stop France and it was as well germany, which backed his ally Austria, which hade made a politics, that isolated them, so that there was no other chance than to go for war.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2014 at 01:19
Originally posted by beorna beorna wrote:

All sides have their share. There is no good side and evil side. It was the Austrian politics to dominate the Balkans. It was the Serbian politics to destabilize Austria-Hungary and the support from ruling elites for serbian terrorists. It was the pan-slavistic politics of Russia, that wanted to dominate the balkans as well. It was the French revanchism and the will to go for war against germany together with Russia. It was britain, which risked war in europe, when it was their influence that could have stop France and it was as well germany, which backed his ally Austria, which hade made a politics, that isolated them, so that there was no other chance than to go for war.
 
 
Crap!!
 
France was to blame because it wouldn't lay down and play dead?
 
And Britain was going to stop France, how?
 
And why did a Serb attack a high Austro/German official? Was it because Serbia feared the moves the Austro/Prussian/Germanic bloc was making?
 
Russia may have had its eyes on the Slavic States, but they didn't start the war.
 
I suppose you'll say next that the Jews started WWII?
 
 
Once you eliminate the impossible,
whatever remains,
no matter how improbable, must be the truth.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2014 at 11:51
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

 
Crap!!
 
France was to blame because it wouldn't lay down and play dead?
 
And Britain was going to stop France, how?
 
And why did a Serb attack a high Austro/German official? Was it because Serbia feared the moves the Austro/Prussian/Germanic bloc was making?
 
Russia may have had its eyes on the Slavic States, but they didn't start the war.
 
I suppose you'll say next that the Jews started WWII?
 
 

Clark's books got great academic support. But perhaps you are even more an authority? Well, I doubt that.
And if playing the nazi card, just because I am german, is a very stupid behaviour.

"Austro/Prussian/Germanic bloc was making?" Now you are not serious. Serbian-bosnian terrorists assassinated the crown prince, because the Serbs wanted to sack Bosnia and Herzegovina and wanted to form a great Yugoslavian state under Serbian rule. It was the crown prince who stood for a liberal politics, that would grant more rights to the minorities. That's why they killed him. The terrorists were payed and trained and instructed by high serbian circles. The chief of the terrorists was the chief of the serbian military secret service and the Serbian prime minister knew about the assassination plans and did not inform the Austrian to get no interior trouble.
Of course, that makes Serbia really innocent. And backed by Russia they refuted the Austrian ultimatum.

And Russia did not start the war? Between July 20th and 23rd france and Russia met for making preparations for war. On 27th Russia began with a secret mobilisation. On July 30th Russia declared the full mobilisation and germany demanded from Russia to stop this. William II even cabled to his cousin Nick to stop the mobilisation, but Russian generals had already decided on July 27th to go to war. But of course, Russia is innocent. BTW, the first Russian troops crossed the border already on August 1st and killed and looted in East Prussia.

As I mentioned before, France, which had nothing to do with Sebia and the balkans, prepared for war in their negotiations between the 20th and 23rd. Germany ask France not to go to war in a case of a war in the east. France simply answer, "we do, what is in our interests". With France general mobilisation on august 1st at 4 O'clock pm and the russian mobilisation on july 30th, germany had no other chance as to go to war, what they did with the mobilisation on August 1st at 5 o'clock pm its declaration of war to Russia at 7 o'clock pm. Oh, yes, it is clear, France is innocent.

Britain was an important factor for the peace in Europe. It backed France in this crisis and they backed belgium, allthough they knew, that belgium was crucial for the Schlieffen-Plan. They had the position to calm the crisis down. They did not want to.

Austria wanted to weaken Serbia and the influence on the Serbian nationalism on its slavic territories. That's why they asked for a severe ultimatum after the assassination. They felt backed by germany and with germany's help they were able to risk a Russian participation in this crisis. When the ultimatum was over, Serbia mobilised, Austria mobilised and went to war. So it were Austria and Serbia that started the war.

Germany backed Austria in this crisis. Germany had made a quite stupid politics under the reign of WII. So it was isolated and confronted with a French-Russian alliance and they even had beget problems with Britain. Germany was sure, that France and Russia would go to war one day against Germany. So their politics was just focussed on that and not on peaceful solutions. Germany's only true partner was Austria-Hungary. Germany could not allow a destabilisation of it by Serbia or Russia. When it was clear, that France and Russia were going to a confrontation, they had left themselves only two possibilities, to subject to a French-Russian domination of Europe or to go to war. Nobody can demand from germany to follow the first possibility. No other european nation would have been willing to do so. So Germany's only way was to declare war before Franch and Russia had fully mobilized the military forces. That is the german responsibility for WWI.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2014 at 12:20
beorna wrote:
"And if playing the Nazi card, just because I am german, is a very stupid behaviour."
 
Don't twist what I wrote!!!
 
I didn't play the "Nazi Card" I was commenting on your blaming everyone else.
 
You have a history of attacking anyone who disagrees with you. It doesn't work with me.
 
Nothing in your last post makes right what you wrote earlier.
 
Are you the world authority on everything? You seem to think you are!!
 
And besides all of that, it's really off topic, we were discussing whether or not "Unconditional Surrender" was a mistake on Germanys part or not.
 
Personally, I'm a bit sick of WWI and WWII being raked over and over. I think it's high time the two wars were put back on the shelf and left alone.
 
My view is that the countries of the AXIS have been denigrated more than enough over the years and it's time to relegate it to the past.
 
The sins of the fathers should not be visited upon the sons!!
 
And following my own position, I don't intend to be involved in this thread any further.


Edited by toyomotor - 22 Mar 2014 at 12:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote beorna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2014 at 12:58
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

....I suppose you'll say next that the Jews started WWII?
 

What else is these claim of your own, if not an offensive claim against me as German?

Let me give you the advice to you to read Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914; London 2012

some reviews:
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v35/n23/thomas-laqueur/some-damn-foolish-thing

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/19/sleepwalkers-christopher-clark-review

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/12/books/review/the-sleepwalkers-and-july-1914.html?_r=0

http://hnn.us/article/152847

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/138922/christopher-clark/the-sleepwalkers-how-europe-went-to-war-in-1914

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-2231691/The-Sleepwalkers-Christopher-Clark-book-review-History-again.html


But you can as well read, http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/05/09/reviews/990509.09berghat.html by Niall Fergusson.
Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War (1999)

That would be much better than repeating false claims from the past.



Edited by beorna - 22 Mar 2014 at 12:58
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lao Tse Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2014 at 17:23
I think it was the right decision to enforce unconditional surrender, but I don't like the fact of the cost of a lot more lives. I'm somewhat neutral in the sense that where I was during the war wasn't very pleasant nor unpleasant, somewhat of a limbo between the 2. Then again, different people faced different issues, so I can't say that I'm the same as the rest of the world. Things in Europe were very different than things in Asia.

Anyways, I chose what I chose because I know that if there would've been somewhat different terms and/or conditions to the surrenders the war would have ended a little sooner than it did.
在財富的害處,而是一件好事永遠不持續。我在和平中仅居住在新的風下。 Wei Jia Hong No harm in wealth, but a good thing doesn't last forever. I live only among peace under
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