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mdeminico
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Postby mdeminico » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:30 pm

Skipjack wrote:
The world knows that the US is reluctant to inflict mass collateral damage as is unavoidable with a nuke.

Uhm, I believe that the US has already demonstrated its will to use nuclear weapons in a war, you know being the only country to ever make use of that kind of weapon and all...
So I dont know. I think if the US (as in its own soil) really was in danger of loosing to an enemy, the US would use nuclear weapons. I am very convinced of that.
For anything else, why would you need to deterr people?


Unfortunately the video is archived at PJTV now for members only, but it's one of the best videos I've ever seen on there... Read the article that highlights the video:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-shepp ... ory-lesson

Skipjack
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Postby Skipjack » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:21 pm

I never said that the US were war criminals, did I?
Nor did I even say that using the bomb was wrong.
I just said that so far the US is the only country that has ever used nuclear bombs against an enemy. This is a fact. No matter how you turn it, you can no deny it.
On the matter of leavlets:
The US joined into WW1 against Germany supposedly because a German submarine sunk the Luisitania. The Germans also gave out leavlets informing would be passengers that the Luisitania was a vessel transporting ammunition and other war goods to England and not to enter the ship.
It did not stop the US from joining into an unfair war against Austria and Germany.
So leavletts are seemingly insufficient.

ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 7:54 pm

Why was it an unfair war?
In my mind it seemed a natural outcome of the power positioning going on throughout the 1800's and even to a degree before.

CaptainBeowulf
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Postby CaptainBeowulf » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:08 pm

Strength at the negotiation table is always based on perspective. Strength when entering the "Diplomacy by other means phase" is also based on perspective.
Consider the North Korean, Chinese and Soviet perspectives when initiating the fray in Korea. Stalin was clear in his perception that they held the position of strength based on his perspective of the west and specifically the US. That is why he manuevered Mao into proxy support of Kim, and Kim thought he could win.
Even in the War Termination Phase (which lasted two years), the belligerants periodically cycled their own perspectives of strength romanticism. It was not until Stalin's death and Ike assuming the presidency that push came to shove, and Ike went with the 'We aren't kidding anymore' approach that the armistice was settled. At that point the US communicated intent and capability to escalate the conflict to China, and if required beyond to settle it. This included presidential ruminations about strategic strikes in the USSR as well as China.


Not entirely. If Stalin had been certain of his strength, he would have openly committed Soviet forces on the North Korean side, and then threatened to expand the war to Europe when MacArthur's counterattack had initial success.

Stalin encouraged the North Koreans to attack, and then the Chinese to get involved, because he wanted to test the military capacity and political resolve of the west. In that sense, the Korean War was analogous to the Spanish Civil war. An opportunity to test new weapons and see what the west would do.

If the west had faltered in Korea, Stalin's next move would probably have been to seize West Berlin.

Stalin withdrew support from Communists in Greece in the late 40s, and also cut Tito and Yugoslavia loose rather than invade to force them to toe the party line. He was a canny bastard. After the Soviet military disasters in 1941 and 1942, he was always careful to not over-extend his forces.

Skipjack
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Postby Skipjack » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:11 pm

Why was it an unfair war?

Sigh, well from the perspective of the Germans and Austrians it was.
We never wanted it and everyone just wanted to destroy Germany and Austria...
It was complete injust for the US to get into the war on the side of the Brits.

ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:48 pm

Beo - Fair enough on the Stalin thoughts. Archival evidence also has him stating that the US would do nothing about Korea. Perhaps he also thought that because we stated clealry as such both publically and privately. Assuming of course that Kim Philby gave him a copy of NSC-48 from December, 1948 where the NSC spelled out Korea as lost and not in the defensive perimeter in the event of war. Also, Sec. Atlee gave a public speech in January saying exactly that. Stalin paid attention. But he did clearly state to Kim and Mao that the US would not move on Korea.
Stalin did openly commit arms and supplies, as well as Soviet air olong the Manchurian border. He also commited artillery in country (granted not publicly). His air was given explicit instructions not to attack US targets.
Stalin was also sure that if he moved in Europe that the US would go Nuclear (which we would have). He at the time had a VERY limited nuclear arsenal. He also knew that the US was working on a fusion/fission H-bomb that had a much bigger pop. I do not think he would have moved on Europe. He was still conventionally superios due to post war drawdown, but knew he was not yet ready for an unlimited war with the west.
Stalin had nothing to loose with Kim launching the DPRK with Chinese backing. In fact he had everything to gain, warm water ports being a key one. He probably figured at worse the 38th parallel would stand.
Ike changed the game on him though, when he openly implied enough is enough and the US would go nuclear. Talk about defining brinkmanship. The movement of a bunch of B-29's to Japan also drive the point home.
The Soviets also did not contribute anything new to the fight other than jet aircraft. All the ground stuff was hand me downs. In fact, the soviets did not even share that with the Chinese. DPRK got a much better plus up, China got shafted, and this nailed the coffin for future Mao coop with Stalin. Short and dirty end of the stick that.

Skipjack - maybe the US involvement had something to do with the unrestricted submarine warfare the german navy pursued, on top of the whole "special relationship" beginnings with the UK. Lusitania was fair game, but one that played very well in the IO war for the UK vice Germany. I tend to think that Austria at this point was collateral. Think about the stressors of the A-H "Empire" and the Ottoman Empire, and just for fun the Russians as well. Man if I was France or UK I would be nervous as well. Of course those concerns were very well spoken to in the armistice terms as well as empire dismantlements.
Sucks to be the loser for sure. Ask the Turks. They are still fighting that one.

CaptainBeowulf
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Postby CaptainBeowulf » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:59 pm

Skipjack, whenever someone repeatedly points out that the U.S. is the only country to have used atomic bombs, it comes across that the person is implying something about U.S. policy. Generally speaking, the implication is that the U.S. is either guilty of a war crime or is morally equivalent to other countries seeking atom bombs today, like North Korea or Iran.

Such a position is a deliberate refusal to take into account historical context. In 1945:

1. It was an environment of "total war." All sides were using almost any weapons and "dirty tricks" they could come up with. Fortunately, use of poison gas was avoided on battlefields, although Germany and Japan used it for experimentation on (generally Japan), and extermination of (generally Germany), prisoners.

2. Whoever got the atom bomb first would've used it. It seems a near-certainty that Germany would have atom bombed Russia, then the U.K., then America - probably in that order. Russia would have atom bombed Germany. Japan would have atom bombed America. The U.K. would probably have bombed Germany first, Japan second, but maybe it would've gone after Japan first.

More historically significant, I think, is that the U.S. has never used atom bombs since. MacArthur wanted to use them against North Korea - and Truman reacted with horror. Some suggested using them against the Viet Minh around Dien Bien Phu when the French were being besieged - and Ike nixed it. Kennedy wanted to avoid escalating to nukes in the Cuban missile crisis. There was real temptation for the U.S. to use nukes in 1962:

1. The Soviets only actually had about 10-20 working ICBMs, and even those were unreliable and might not have actually reached the U.S.
2. NORAD defences in Canada were at their height and would likely have intercepted all Soviet strategic bombers.
3. The rest of the Soviet nuclear arsenal was intermediate-range (IRBMs) missiles. These would have wrecked western Europe, but couldn't reach the U.S.
4. The U.S. had a lot more nukes, a lot more ICBMs, and even if the Soviets had launched a first strike, it probably could have been absorbed, and the Soviet Union would have been wiped out. At most, America would have lost a few cities.
5. There was a window of opportunity to destroy the Soviet missiles in Cuba before they were completed (about 2 weeks). Those were IRBMs which could have hit a lot more American cities.

With overwhelming nuclear force, what did America do? Did it so much as launch conventional air strikes against the under-construction sites in Cuba? No, it simply set up a loose blockade that didn't even fire on some ships under Soviet flag that ran it. It forced Khruschev to back down.

The U.S. has a record of consistently avoiding use of nuclear weapons, even when it has had a great overmatch in force. The deterrent effect of a nuclear arsenal has consistently been used only as a negotiating tool.

Given the same superiority, I wonder if the Soviet Union under Stalin would have behaved the same way? Or Germany? Or Iran, or North Korea?

As for WWI being "unfair:"

1. At best, it was morality-neutral. The Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente had both created war plans which forced them into war in a domino effect. This was the fault of both sides and a failure of diplomacy.

2. In the event, Germany violated Belgian neutrality to implement the Schlieffen Plan. It is true that the U.K. and France had discussed violating Belgian neutrality to get at Germany. But in the event, it was Germany that actually did violate a neutral country.

3. The German war plan indicated that France had to be defeated first, so that the German army could then be turned fully against Russia. As a result, Germany forced the war on the western front to align with its schedule. Germany presented France with an ultimatum that the French Army had to abandon its frontier fortresses and withdraw at least 10 miles inside French territory, otherwise Germany would consider it an act of war. In the minds of the German generals, this was strategically necessary in order to fight the Russians. Nonetheless, this was a very aggressive position to take - certainly not something that makes Germany blameless.

4. Germany used poison gas first.

Germany chose to ignore remaining negotiation options, it didn't make a last ditch attempt at diplomacy, it just rolled ahead and implemented its war plan. It did this from a position of military parity, not from a position of strength. Poor strategy altogether. If you help start a war you can't win, don't cry about losing.

CaptainBeowulf
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Postby CaptainBeowulf » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:28 pm

Archival evidence also has him stating that the US would do nothing about Korea. Perhaps he also thought that because we stated clealry as such both publically and privately. Assuming of course that Kim Philby gave him a copy of NSC-48 from December, 1948 where the NSC spelled out Korea as lost and not in the defensive perimeter in the event of war. Also, Sec. Atlee gave a public speech in January saying exactly that. Stalin paid attention. But he did clearly state to Kim and Mao that the US would not move on Korea.


Case in point of how Stalin was canny. He realized that the U.S. might say one thing but then do another. Unlike, say, Saddam in 1991 - who believed that the U.S. was essentially saying it wasn't interested in defending Kuwait - Stalin didn't stick his neck out and openly commit his own forces. He manipulated proxies into fighting a war for him so he could see what would happen.

Stalin did openly commit arms and supplies, as well as Soviet air olong the Manchurian border. He also commited artillery in country (granted not publicly). His air was given explicit instructions not to attack US targets.


Yes, that's why I make the Spanish civil war analogy. Like the Fascists in the 30s, Stalin figured he could get away with committing weapons and then seeing how the west would react. He also got to test his jet fighters.

In the 30s, when the west did very little despite increasing levels of German/Italian weapons and "volunteer" troops being committed, the Fascists took it as a sign of western weakness. As much as doing nothing over the Rhineland, Austria, Czechoslovakia or Ethiopia, this also encouraged them.

Of course, the opposition to the Fascists in Spain was Communist - so you can see why the west did comparatively little to support them. However, the South Korean regime in the late 40s weren't exactly saints either. Not horrific, like the Communists in the north, but not very nice people either. So, you can see that Stalin had reason to think that the west might not intervene. So, like the Fascists in the 30s, he tested.

If the U.S. had done nothing about Korea, Stalin would probably have taken the same lesson as Hitler and Mussolini did earlier: he could pull other aggression elsewhere. Seize West Berlin and then demand: "You really want to go to atomic war over this? We may not be able to hit you, but we can destroy London." Since the U.S. was perceived as determined, Stalin figured that it might accept wrecking Europe by going nuclear. If it had been perceived as weak, he would have thought it would back down rather than go nuclear.

My impression of his strategy was that he would try to gain as much of an advantage as he could conventionally while he built up his nuclear arsenal. Then, he would have been willing to go nuclear.

Fortunately, he died. Also fortunately, the Soviets had trouble getting their ICBMs to work until the mid 1960s, leading to the situation in 1962 I described above. By the late 60s, there were so many nuclear armed ICBMs that it was a mutually assured destruction scenario... so such considerations were off the table (although some people thought that Brezhnev and Reagan might start WWIII in the early 80s, I never really bought that - after the 60s the Cold War was really an economic/political contest. Arms buildups just helped to exhaust the USSR economically.)

CaptainBeowulf
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Postby CaptainBeowulf » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:55 pm

ladajo wrote:Skipjack - maybe the US involvement had something to do with the unrestricted submarine warfare the german navy pursued, on top of the whole "special relationship" beginnings with the UK. Lusitania was fair game, but one that played very well in the IO war for the UK vice Germany. I tend to think that Austria at this point was collateral. Think about the stressors of the A-H "Empire" and the Ottoman Empire, and just for fun the Russians as well. Man if I was France or UK I would be nervous as well. Of course those concerns were very well spoken to in the armistice terms as well as empire dismantlements.


Maybe the Zimmerman telegram had something to do with it as well :P

Good going Germany - you want to keep America out of the war? Propose an alliance with Mexico to invade them. Talk about a campaign with very low chances of success, but very high chances of pissing off a major power.

Skipjack, I do recognize that Germany has gotten a pretty tough deal since 1914, but I just don't accept that Germany is blameless in any of it.

Yes, the Versailles Treaty in 1918 imposed some pretty ridiculous reparations payments designed to keep the German economy suppressed for decades. But what had Prussia/Germany done in 1871? It imposed large reparations payments on France (5 billion Francs) to keep its economy suppressed for decades. The French economy recovered faster and they paid off the indemnity faster than the Germans expected. The allies weren't exactly doing anything unprecedentedly cruel in 1918 - they were just engaging in a form of cruelty that had been standard practice.

As for territorial concessions: if you look at ethnographic maps from the 19th and early 20th centuries, the majority of the population in the Polish corridor were ethnic Poles. The bits of Upper Silesia that joined Poland had a referendum and voted to split with Germany - other bits voted to stay with Germany.

The border region between Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark also voted to joint Denmark of its own will.

Alsace-Lorraine had been part of France for a long time, and it was only natural that France, as the victor, would reverse the decision of 1871 and take it back. Many people from there saw themselves as French. Others saw themselves as German. Still others saw themselves as Alsatian, and accepted either nationality. The latter two groups generally spoke Alsatian. Like Luxembourgish and Switzerdeutsch, Alsatian is often defined as a German dialect, but is really quite difficult to understand if you speak standard High German. As much as Luxembourg or Switzerland, you could argue that Alsace-Lorraine could be its own seperate little mini-state. IMO Germany had no intrinsically superior claim to it.

IIRC, there was a little slice of land transferred from Germany to Belgium around Eupen and Malmedy without a referendum. I think the same happened with the "Memeland" which went to Lithuania. However, those are relatively insignificant.

In WWII, Roosevelt fooled himself into thinking "Uncle Joe" was a nice person, and negotiated a very raw deal for most of central and eastern Europe. He accepted the illegal occupation and annexation of the Baltic states by Stalin. He accepted the Soviet seizure of Karelia from Finland, resulting in hundreds of thousands of ethnic Finns losing their homes. He accepted Poland being shifted west, at great additional suffering to the ethnic Poland and German populations on top of what had already happened. And so on... But for obvious reasons, few were in a mood to be sympathetic to the suffering of Germans in 1945.

I have no problem with individual ethnic Germans, and have some amount of sympathy for those who may have been innocent but still lost their homes... but from 1914 to 1945 there was a lot of that going around. Like Ladajo, all I can really say is sucks to be the loser.

ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:35 am

Beo - you made me smile, if there ever was a country that has a bitch, it has to be Poland, just how many border shifts have they seen...
One wonders how it is today that they are happy with the borders they have.
:(

Skipjack
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Postby Skipjack » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:00 am

maybe the US involvement had something to do with the unrestricted submarine warfare the german navy pursued

No, it had not, at least not directly.
The Germans were conducting submarine warfare nach "Prisenordnung" at the start of the war.
So you know how that works (in case you dont):
A sumbarine would spot a cargo vessel, surface, stop it (if necessary with a warning shot). The submarine was basically acting like a loaded gun pointed at the cargo ship. Then a boat would set over to the cargo ship with a so called Priesenkommando (enterprise). They would enter the ship and the captain of the cargo ship would hand over the ships papers. If they were confirmed to transport war goods for the Entente, the Prisenkommando would tell the cargo- ship- crew to leave the vessel with their life boats. They were allowed to bring food and water and other supplies with them. Then the Prisenkommando would sink the ship with explosives (no need to waste expensive torpedos).
Sometimes they would even drag the life boats closer to a friendly shore, in order to give the crews a higher chance of survival. It was a very polite way to do this.
What then happened was that the Brits built so called "U-Boot Fallen", U- boat trapps. Those were trade vessels that were repurposed as war ships. They had hidden guns, cannons, depth charges, etc. In the pirate tradition of the Brits, these ships were sailing under trade flag. Once an unsuspecting germna submarine surfaced and let the commando set over, they would raise the war flag and remove the covers from the guns and cannons, etc. The submarine captains were in a really bad situation then, with many of their crew members defenseless in a small dingy, or even already arrested on board of the submarine trap. They would have to leave their friends behind in order to escape or watch them get killed in the battle. I have read a really good book by a german WW1 submarine captain that tells about the submarine war from his perspective from 1914 until 1917. It is worth reading. He experienced this himself and was among the first to make it back alive to report it to the admirality.
Anyway, these trapps were what caused the German admirality to proclaim the unrestricted submarine warfare.
So again, it was the fault of the British, not the Germans! Had the Brits not employed such unfair tactics, there would not have been an unrestricted submarine warfare. You understand that, yes?

Skipjack, whenever someone repeatedly points out that the U.S. is the only country to have used atomic bombs, it comes across that the person is implying something about U.S. policy.


My implication was that the US has demonstrated its will to use nuclear bombs to defend its soil in the past. Someone said that the US was not having enough deterrants. I think that this is silly, given the history.
This is all that I wanted to express. I was not trying to imply that the US was doing something wrong

The Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente had both created war plans which forced them into war in a domino effect.


Yeah and the Austrians shot their own thrown heir, or something?
Even after that and countless negociations with Serbia who were "harboring terrorists" (sounds familiar?), Austria did not emmediately declare war on Serbia. It took officials in Austria a very long time to make that decision. It was not done lightheartedly.
The assassination of the Austrian heir in Serbia had been planned by the Russians who wanted to force Austria into that war. They knew what would happen. The Russians had a alliance contract with the French. So the French were happily joining into the war against the Germans. The British could not stand the Germans anyway.

By the beginning of the war, the Austrian and German war mashine was comparably badly equipped too, while the British, French and Russians were fully prepared (the Brits already had tanks).
The Brits had already negociated with several factions long before the beginning of the war how they would split up the cake, even with the treaterous Italians.
Plus- and that is always a way to make sure that a war takes extremely long and that the looser will suffer greatly- the Brits insisted on "unconditional surrender". They did the same in WW2 and that cost millions of lives. WW2 would have ended 2 years earlier if it was not for this (and shit like the Morgentau plan).

At best, it was morality-neutral. The Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente had both created war plans which forced them into war in a domino effect. This was the fault of both sides and a failure of diplomacy.


The US was not part of the tripple Entente. It had no business getting into the war and supporting the Brits! It was unfair and unjustified!

Well all I can say is that with the unfair WW1 (and whoevery says else is either a lier or a victim of the history falsification of the allies every since WW1) and the even more unfair "peace treaties" of Versailles and St Germain, they laid the groundwork for WW2. They had it coming for them, really.

As for territorial concessions: if you look at ethnographic maps from the 19th and early 20th centuries, the majority of the population in the Polish corridor were ethnic Poles. The bits of Upper Silesia that joined Poland had a referendum and voted to split with Germany - other bits voted to stay with Germany.


Yeah that is the sort of history falsification that I was talking about.

Lets also not forget about the huge amounts of land that Austria lost.
Lower Styria, e.g. It was completely German, even until the end of WW2!
My grandmother lived in Marburg. So I do know!

Germany used poison gas first.

Oh please!
It was the french who used it first, Xylylbromid, then Phosgen.

rjaypeters
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Postby rjaypeters » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:49 pm

Re: ladajo,

"Poland: So near to Deutschland and Russia, so far from God."
"Aqaba! By Land!" T. E. Lawrence

R. Peters

Tom Ligon
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Postby Tom Ligon » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:30 pm

The US did not enter WWI on the side of the Brits. At that point in history we still resented the US Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. We entered the war to support the French, to whom we owed our nationhood.

On the subs, I've read a biography about a German sub captain, written by a popular American author. How hated were the German WWI sub crews here? We copied the sub designs and deployed them in WWII. When the German captains in WWII were threatened with trial for war crimes, our sub captains said "I hope not. We used the same tactics on the Japanese."

Which is not to say sub tactics were not used to motivate the public, along with our connections with the French.

Countries go to war because the leadership of at least one side thinks it sees an advantage of doing so. It probably has little to do with the publicly-stated motives. In the case of WWI the motivations were not with just one country, and they were grossly off-target, failing to anticipate the result.

Skipjack
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Postby Skipjack » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:43 pm

Interestingly the US was the only real winner, of both world wars...

Skipjack
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Postby Skipjack » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:43 pm

We entered the war to support the French, to whom we owed our nationhood.


Then why did the US send war materials to the British, even before you officially entered the war? The Luisitania was full of ammunition in its cargo hole.

We copied the sub designs and deployed them in WWII.


And you also copied the German sub designs after WWII. Even the famous Nautilus still had the shape of the Type 21. It was not until the Albacore experiments were completed that this changed.

When the German captains in WWII were threatened with trial for war crimes, our sub captains said "I hope not. We used the same tactics on the Japanese."


Nimitz said something simillar in defense of Karl Dönitz.
Dönitz never commited a war crime (and never was a member of the NSDAP). What they held against him was his direct order to not take survivors from torpedoed ships onto German submarines anymore.
A decision that he made in the wake of the Laconia incident in which subs of the Uboot Gruppe Eisbär were attacked by allied planes and ships during rescue operations (after sinking an allied ship!), even though the subcaptain broadcast their intentions and location on all open frequencies (and they had red cross flags on their decks).
This incident is well documented, but usually not talked about. The allies dont look so good in it.


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