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  #21  
Old 13.02.2011, 21:23
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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Look, you are judging the past with modern values, that is kind of silly.

Rape, ethnic cleansing, genocide, killing of civilians, even enslaving POWs and civilians was a common part of war since historic times until the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Be thankful it changed.
Not sure what world you are living in, but according to the news I read very little changed. There are genocides taking place today which are just as bad as back then.

My values are not at all modern - the Geneva convention was singed in 1949 and long before that did people have a conscience. It is not modern to spare the women and children, it is what was done for centuries.
Yes, killing is a part of war. Violence against POWs, killing or raping civilians and so on were war crimes back then just as much as they are today. I have no problem to admit any war crime of the Wehrmacht. I can fully understand why some allied generals, well Bomber Harris, wanted to have a bit of revenge. But I cannot really understand how people can defend it as "strategy" still today.

The pilots knew that their actions were not ethical, the generals knew it... everyone did. There are countless examples on both sides, they were wrong back then just as much as they would be wrong today... and watching what happened in the Balkan in the 90s, they would happen again in each and every war (Waterbording, anyone? The US is right now not granting their POWs the most basic human rights...).

I have seen a great interview with one of the crew that bombed Hiroshima. They guy did not only not feel like a hero - he knew what he did was terrible and could not deal with it, became an alcoholic and needed decades to find his peace. I am happy that he did.
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  #22  
Old 13.02.2011, 21:48
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

"the end justifies the means", "hindsight"...for those interested, a debate about this topic with the ever so popular C. Hitchens, and A.C. Grayling (part 1/11)
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Old 13.02.2011, 21:57
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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On this day in 1945 ( 66th anniversary ), Allied forces bombed the city of Dresden ( once also known as Lupphurdum ), DE. More than 90% of the city center was destroyed, with over 22,000 deaths of the locally registered populace, not including the refugees who sought haven from the Red Army.
I don't get what is the point you are trying to make with this post.
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Old 13.02.2011, 21:59
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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I see nothing in your reply that justifies these bombings as heroic or why the crews were heroes.
It was a different place and different time - do not apply the common sensibilties of 2011 to something you know very little about. You are comfortable, can travel freely, and can vote
You are not being near starved, having you houses bombed, and 17 year olds sent to the front line.

Whilst we look back and can think Dresden unfortunate, what about the callous sinking of merchant fleets, the taking of Alsac men and making them fight for germany, the death camps, the surpression of the masses etc.

The nazis were not cuddling fun loving people in sexy uniforms ....

Whist civilians were killed at Dresden they have been killed in every coflict, esp in Japan , as was pointed out. However, if you talk to geman's now, they will tell you the Nazi party was the fault of the Austrians. But , at the time Hitler came to power 60% of the population support his policies. An unfortunate case of leaving a political void after WW I. So were they really that innocent?

Move on ....
It's a different world. Dresden is only being celebrated to stir up shit ....
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Old 13.02.2011, 23:17
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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It was a different place and different time - do not apply the common sensibilties of 2011 to something you know very little about. You are comfortable, can travel freely, and can vote
You are not being near starved, having you houses bombed, and 17 year olds sent to the front line.
Same to you. I am German and while I will always point out that Hitler was in fact Austrian - this is important to understand the entire reason for WW2 - the "German question" where or what Germany should be - I would never say that is is "the Austrians fault". That is plain stupid and I never heard anyone claiming this.

Yes, the Nazis were in fact elected. But calling every voter "guilty"... in the most positive way I can think of, it is a bit ignorant. Germany never had a revolution like France or the UK. Electing extremists is very much "un-German", back then even more than it is today. So what happened? WW1 was lost, the contract of Versailles gave the allied far reaching rights and when the global financial crisis hit in the late 20s, they continued to take whatever they could. Germans, after building up the same factories again and again to just see the machines getting moved to France lost hope to get back to an normal life. If they had a job that was as unemployment and poverty peaked. At the same time did Communism grow big and spread from Russia to Europe. In each and every election did more people lose hope in democracy - a new thing for Germans - and supported either communists or right winged extremists. This peaked in a situation that was in some cities basically a civil war - the Nazis in their uniforms had street fights with communists. Even democratic and basically pacifist parties like the SPD needed to set up their own private army to protect their politicians, offices and members... in the end it was a question weather Germany would become a right winged country with a dictator as in Italy, Spain or communistic as Russia.
I believe that my Grandpa was more on the communistic side while Grandma didn't like the entire democracy thing would always vote what the catholic priest said. She never told me if she did so, but I know for a fact that in 1933 the catholic church in my home area was so scared of the communists that the priests told in their services to support the Nazis instead.
In short: No, not everyone who voted Hitler in 33 was guilty and could predict that he would start a world war a decade later (or gas jews.).

But this is hardly material for a hollywood movie... back on the topic: You do not bomb civilians, no matter if you agree with their vote or not.
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Old 13.02.2011, 23:25
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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But this is hardly material for a hollywood movie... back on the topic: You do not bomb civilians, no matter if you agree with their vote or not.
Sure - so how about Coventry , Hull, London, Southampton, Portsmouth etc ... or do they not count?
What about the Ghetto in Warsaw??
Dresden happened many years ago - if you want to make it a significant marker in history so be it. But in 50 years time it will have very little relevance ... esp has Nagasaki and Hiroshima happened so soon after it

You mention the raping of German women by Russians. Calculated , nasty , dehumanising spoils of war ... the German's never used those tactic at all, did they ...

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In short: No, not everyone who voted Hitler in 33 was guilty and could predict that he would start a world war a decade later (or gas jews.).
WW II started in 1939, not 1943, so a sight issue with your history there. They may not have know he would start the holocaust etc, but they certainly knew he was spoiling for a fight. They new exactly what he thought of the jews , but maybe not the extent of where he would take it. And most were happy to see them being marked down as the sub-humans ... Don't be so niaive ....

The progressive Germany that you now have , is a result of what happened 70 years ago. Celebrate it, and what it has done for the German people. Don't look for scapegoats and act as victims.
That is what Hitler did ....

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Old 13.02.2011, 23:27
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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It was a different place and different time - do not apply the common sensibilties of 2011 to something you know very little about.
Let me rephrase for you then

I see nothing in the reply , with respect to the era in which it took place, that justifies these bombings as heroic or why the crews were heroes.

Why were they heroes back then to the people back then ?

They weren't. It is well documented and is recorded as an attrocity.

Do not pretend to know what I know.
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  #28  
Old 13.02.2011, 23:36
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

I think this is related to the subject of Dresden, but I understand if the mods think it's off-topic. I read that the allies bombed Zürich, Basel, and other cities during WWII. Obviously there were heavy civilian casualties. Officially, the bombings were mistakes, but the Swiss wondered if the Allies were trying to pressure them not to cooperate economically with Germany.

More info at Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing...n_World_War_II
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Old 13.02.2011, 23:47
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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Let me rephrase for you then

I see nothing in the reply , with respect to the era in which it took place, that justifies these bombings as heroic or why the crews were heroes.

Why were they heroes back then to the people back then ?

They weren't. It is well documented and is recorded as an attrocity.

Do not pretend to know what I know.
I wasn't "pretending" to know what you know

So why did you think that a) Bomber Command was set up b) The bombing took place?
I guess it would have had everything to do with ending the war before Britain ran out of money forever ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing...n_World_War_II

is a pretty good summary ...

http://www.spiegel.de/international/...581992,00.html
Gives the German POV

http://www.spiegel.de/international/...607524,00.html
Is also useful

http://www.heritage.org/research/rep...st-be-rejected
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Old 14.02.2011, 00:08
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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I don't see the point of remembering Dresden. If we chose to remember every terrible thing that happened in WW2 on either side, we'd crowd every calendar day of the year. It's also strange that neo-Nazi groups are obsessed about Dresden, which is another good reason to just ignore it.
I also don't see why there's this fuss about Dresden, there were other, more devastating raids even later in 1945 (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pforzheim )
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Old 14.02.2011, 00:22
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

Just because in hindsight it seems certain the war was going to end in 1945 doesn't mean it seemed so at the time. To get Germany to surrender it was necessary to invade the country and capture the capital. Many lives were lost on both sides.

Now speaking for my country's behalf, there are some who argue that it was the Soviet Union's declaration of war rather than the bombings of Hiroshimi and Nagasaki that drove Emperor Showa to surrender. But he DID surrender. To invade Honshu and capture Tokyo would have been bloody and difficult. I don't know how many more Japanese would have died if the war continued on into October, but I do know a lot more Americans would have.

Is it selfish to be grateful that that didn't happen? Perhaps, but I do. I also hope that the dead at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and also Dresden did not die in vain. Right now, for all the jokes and barbs lobbed each other every four years during the Olympics and World Cup, it seems as unthinkable for the U.K. and France and Germany to go to war with each other as it is for South Carolina to attack Michigan. I hope things continue to stay that way.

It has also been sixty-six years since the first and second atomic bombs were dropped in anger on another country. I hope this trend also continues and that people will listen to reason rather than the siren call of 100 virgins and that when the centennial of the bombings occurs in 2045, there won't be any other victims of this terrible weapon.
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  #32  
Old 14.02.2011, 01:58
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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Just because in hindsight it seems certain the war was going to end in 1945 doesn't mean it seemed so at the time. To get Germany to surrender it was necessary to invade the country and capture the capital. Many lives were lost on both sides.

Now speaking for my country's behalf, there are some who argue that it was the Soviet Union's declaration of war rather than the bombings of Hiroshimi and Nagasaki that drove Emperor Showa to surrender. But he DID surrender. To invade Honshu and capture Tokyo would have been bloody and difficult. I don't know how many more Japanese would have died if the war continued on into October, but I do know a lot more Americans would have.
A quarter million allied soldiers and several million Japanese civilians is the estimate (according to the German wikipedia-article I read).
That said, these bombs were originally destined for Berlin (and other cities).
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/20...712828470.html
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Old 14.02.2011, 03:38
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

Regarding the targetting (or lack thereof) of defnite parts of Dresden, even at that stage of the war, accuracy of bombing was considered good if it was within quarter of a mile of the target. The result would have been the same if they had specifically targetted the rail junctions,which was one of the strategic parts of Dresden. Not long before, several divisions of Wehrmacht troops had departed for the Ostfront from there and many in Allied intelligence believed they were still there when the bombing was ordered.
At that stage of the war, it was far from clear when it would end - the majority of Allied staff, as well as the German staff, assumed Hitler would have retreated to Bavaria and holed up in the Eagles Nest. This would have been almost impossible to take (even with Barne's Wallis' Grand Slam bombs), so it was important to take as much out the Germans as possible at that point to stop them from being able to concentrate troops and move them to Bavaria. Many Allied PoWs (especially the prominente - VIP PoWs like Douglas Bader, Jack Churchill and others) were to be taken there as hostages to ensure that the top flight Nazis would have safe passage out. As far as the Allies could see, this could have dragged on for years.

It shouldn't have happened as it did, but then many other things shouldn't have either. Dresden is just one of many places around the world that was treated terribly. Why do people mention Dresden, Coventry, Rotterdam and other places, yet ignore things like the deaths of over a million German civilians in forced marches when Russia decied to move the borders of Poland an Germany in 1945-6?
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Old 14.02.2011, 03:42
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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A quarter million allied soldiers and several million Japanese civilians is the estimate (according to the German wikipedia-article I read).
That said, these bombs were originally destined for Berlin (and other cities).
http://www.theage.com.au/articles/20...712828470.html
It was only the poor work of Heisenberg and the Telemark raid that stopped Germany from building an even more powerful one first. The politics of the A-bomb was immensely complicated - starting as a race to counter development by others (almost all the major powers were at least looking into it), finalising in a method to end the war quickly while sending a message to Soviet Russia. Messy business.
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Old 14.02.2011, 10:22
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

Isn't it time to stop this nonsense and forgive and forget?
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Old 14.02.2011, 11:20
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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Isn't it time to stop this nonsense and forgive and forget?
No, it's an interesting topic. Far to interesting to close it.
;-)
That said, my family is from the Southern part of Germany and both my parents were born shortly after the war.

Today, we can look back at all this relatively relaxed (well, we _should_ be able to, as the years pass).
Unfortunately, the former GDR (the state entity that was commonly known as "East Germany") did little to engage in a truthful historic debate about this subject. Their line of thought was: "We are not guilty, it was all the Nazis!".
This still shows today.
But forgetting is not an option, IMHO.
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Old 14.02.2011, 11:39
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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Not sure what world you are living in, but according to the news I read very little changed. There are genocides taking place today which are just as bad as back then.

My values are not at all modern - the Geneva convention was singed in 1949 and long before that did people have a conscience. It is not modern to spare the women and children, it is what was done for centuries.
Yes, killing is a part of war. Violence against POWs, killing or raping civilians and so on were war crimes back then just as much as they are today. I have no problem to admit any war crime of the Wehrmacht. I can fully understand why some allied generals, well Bomber Harris, wanted to have a bit of revenge. But I cannot really understand how people can defend it as "strategy" still today.

The pilots knew that their actions were not ethical, the generals knew it... everyone did. There are countless examples on both sides, they were wrong back then just as much as they would be wrong today... and watching what happened in the Balkan in the 90s, they would happen again in each and every war (Waterbording, anyone? The US is right now not granting their POWs the most basic human rights...).

I have seen a great interview with one of the crew that bombed Hiroshima. They guy did not only not feel like a hero - he knew what he did was terrible and could not deal with it, became an alcoholic and needed decades to find his peace. I am happy that he did.

That is nonsense.

You said "one of the crew" what about the other crew members who bombed Hiroshima (and Nagasaki) you pick one guy out of dozen as an example of what? Mental weakness?

BOth my grandfathers were in WWII. One got blown up by a landmine on Okinawa and left early (he survived with a metal pin in his hip). The other fought in France. My father was career military he basically aimed the missiles on Navy ships at targets using satellite (Fire Control Man), he was in the first gulf war.

Have you ever served in the military? My father did for 22 years. I grew up around military. You are not taught about "the enemy" you are taught about "destroying the target" end of discussion. You are taught the most important thing is your gun and the man next to you in your unit, everything else is potentially a threat.

Honestly, I think you are correct to be concerned about war crimes, but you come off as Pollyannish.



Women and children were often raped and sold into slavery through most of recorded history, male children were often killed or left to starve to death.

What atrocities /ethnic cleansing are happening in the Developed world? Please show me something like the Armenian genocide or the Holocaust or even the active enslavement and forced labor of POWs by any Western or industrialized nation.

Waterboarding maybe psychological torture (it is not being done currently) but it causes no physical damage to an individual.

Hell, in Vietnam, Vietnamese were putting bamboo shoots under people's fingernails, ask Senator John McCain what the Vietnamese did...breaking bones, electrocutions, etc.

Ask Russians what living under Stalin was like.

Ask Palestinians what being sat in a little chair and being shook until you have brain damage is like.

That is torture! What you are talking about is similar to how football players would take nerdy kids and stick their head in a toilet until their nearly choked (in my high school: secondary school) oh Lord have mercy on the victims. LOL The U.S. military waterboards it's own soldiers to teach them what could happen if they are captured and to be more resistant.

You are comparing apples and oranges as if you have no sense of proportion.


Total War is total war.

As I said, it was NORMAL to attack and terrorize civilian populations before the WWII.

You want me to start posting description of Ottoman and Arab invasions into Europe, Germanic invasions into Rome, all sorts of Dark Age battle in Europe involved raping, pillaging, and enslaving right up until the enlightenment, and the raping went on well after that (IN EUROPE).

Do I like it? HELL NO. i think it is barbaric, but people have a tendency to act that during War.

Why did Germans bomb civilians in the UK?

Why did we firebomb Tokyo?

Why did France allow its troops to rape thousands of Italian women?

This is war, this is what happens...

In long wars people get frustrated and it turns into a thing of revenge, not for your "nation" but for your family, fallen brother, military unit, for the hell you have to go through because these people won't stop fighting...it gets personal and nasty. The enemy becomes a target, you start to hate them, you dehumanize them, because you can't kill masses of people and think of them as "people like you" or you can't sleep at night.

Think about the Greeks who invaded Troy and through all the male babies over the walls. Think of the Israelites who invaded the Canaanites and killed everything, man, women, child, maybe kept the "virgin girls" for themselves to be divided up as wives and sex slaves.

You might say "oh that is ancient history"?

Not really, as you mentioned former-Yugoslavia, WWII, you see these things pop up in less intensity, because fundamentally, people have changed little.

Chimps also engage in warfare. They are basically tribal raids, their kidnap females, murder males, steal food, etc. Sound shocking or surprising? LOL We are just far more intelligent, but the behavior is the same.


In any case, I don't feel that sorry for Germans, the death of their women in children is on their own heads. They did it to other first and they voted for that Nazi scum. Sorry. If they didn't want their women and children killed by bombs, they should haves stood up like men marched to the Richstag and burned it to the ground and killed every SS officer in there and ran Hitler out of the freaking country. That would have stopped the war.

Some aristocrats tried to kill Hitler (and they weren't the only ones) but there was never a mass movement against him of the general populations (like with Mussolini). The Italians got smart, the Germans did not.



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-- George Orwell

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  #38  
Old 14.02.2011, 11:41
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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Sure - so how about Coventry , Hull, London, Southampton, Portsmouth etc ... or do they not count?
What about the Ghetto in Warsaw??
So you finally agree that is was revenge and not a strategy? I am not excusing any actions of the Nazis nor am I saying that they were friendly people sticking to the rules of engagement... but I am saying that the deliberate firebombing of civilian refugees is in no way better and that the pilots are for me no heros.
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Dresden happened many years ago - if you want to make it a significant marker in history so be it. But in 50 years time it will have very little relevance ... esp has Nagasaki and Hiroshima happened so soon after it.
Dresden is in Germany only a synonym for the many bombings. It was the worst one and therefore stands as a placeholder for all of them. My grandpa himself had to go out at night and try to extinguish the phosphor bombs with spades and carpets when the women and children stayed in the bunker... so to make it clear: All Germans know that Hitler started the war and nobody is negotiating the Nazi crimes away. But the allied fire bombings lost them a lot of the moral high ground in the civilian population. According to my grandma, they were before them looking forward to the allied invasion "so that the war was finally over" - it was after all neither the first war she had seen or the first invasion. After the bombing, they were only worried to get raped or killed by the people that were apparently not much better than the Nazis.

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Regarding the targetting (or lack thereof) of defnite parts of Dresden, even at that stage of the war, accuracy of bombing was considered good if it was within quarter of a mile of the target.
No, the result would have been far from the same. This was not only an untargeted bombing of the entire city, it was a "firestorm" bombing - the allied bombers had a carefully developed mix of explosive shells and ones filled with inflamable chemical jelly - a forerunner of napalm. This mix first blew things up to pieces and then set the rubble on fire while ensuring that the fire could not easily be extinguisehd with water. The goal was to create a "firestorm" - the fire was so sudden and so hot that it made a burst of hot air going up and the cold air at the ground which would be sucked into the fire was a "storm" strong enough to suck people into the flames. That was not a coincidence, but planned.

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Isn't it time to stop this nonsense and forgive and forget?
Forgive yes, but I hope we never forget what happened in WW2 - on both sides to prevent anything similar from happening again. Unfortunately were we up to now not that successful and I am pessimistic for the future.

Honestly - all Germans are today happy that Hitler was stopped (ok, make it 95% or so). But I have never agreed that the result justifies the means - not against Hitler, not against Saddam and not against bin Laden. The firestorms were a war crime, nothing else. Nobody can change it, but seeing how some here still today try to justify them makes me sick.
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Old 14.02.2011, 11:49
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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In short: No, not everyone who voted Hitler in 33 was guilty and could predict that he would start a world war a decade later (or gas jews.).

But this is hardly material for a hollywood movie... back on the topic: You do not bomb civilians, no matter if you agree with their vote or not.
LOL Mein Kamf was the best selling freaking book in Germany for a long time. Are you telling me they didn't know he wanted to "get rid of the evil Jews", remove the inferior Slavs from "German lands". I have a copy of the book on PDF on my computer, I've read over half of it, but I stopped because Hitler wrote insufferably long paragraphs of detailed nonsense.

What Hitler wrote was quite clear and only an idiot would think he was not going to do this by inciting war and at least ethnic cleansing (if not genocide) are you joking?

Even if what you said is correct.

Germans are still responsible (Austrians too, they voted clearly and fairly to join Nazi Germany was one state)...

Italians hung Mussolini and switched sides.

As I said before I know that Germans tried to kill Hitler a few times, but there was never a general uprising against him.

If the German people had rallied and went after the SS, they could have stopped the war, like the Italians did.

That says a lot, yes I know German culture is one, where people follow "the rules" and wait for "authority to tell them what the correct path is" but if some lunatic and running your nation into the freaking ground and your women and children are dying from bombings, your sons are being slaughtered on the Eastern Front, and it becomes obvious the NAZI are lying to you.

What do you do? Continue down the path? It is better to die in the streets of Berlin trying to take out the SS (as some German patriots did) than die in the Eastern Front for some Nazi lunatic.

Germans could have stopped the war, even after their mistake of electing Hitler, but did not. They do bear responsibility.

Evil happens when good men sit and do nothing.
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Old 14.02.2011, 11:53
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Re: Dresden remembers - Feb. 13 1945

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So you finally agree that is was revenge and not a strategy? I am not excusing any actions of the Nazis nor am I saying that they were friendly people sticking to the rules of engagement... but I am saying that the deliberate firebombing of civilian refugees is in no way better and that the pilots are for me no heros.
Trev,

Please read the links I posted .
I am not saying it was revenge, I was pointing out that the Germans had followed the same policy in attacking civilians - The Bombings were part of a military strategy, explained more concisely in those links

TBH , there is no point in trying to give a reasoned argument, when the stance of some of the posters here is "It wasn't fair". No, it wasn't, there was war to win, and the suspicion that Hitler may have a A Bomb that he would use ....

Were the bomber crews heroes? - to those they defended and fought the war for , yes they were. To those who were the victims, obviously not. Bomber crews had a 1 in 30 chance of dying on a mission. Each complete tour was 30 missions. Do the maths.

And read the Orwell quote above ... unfortunately the meek don't inherit the earth. You, me and most of the people posting on here have our freedom and rights to free speech because others gave their lives. I doubt very much they enjoyed doing it!

Last edited by Hedgehog of death; 14.02.2011 at 12:21.
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