Author Topic: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy  (Read 10823 times)

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Offline dmitri

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Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« on: September 26, 2007, 10:33:28 PM »
This is the new thread to continue, if wished, the topic currently on the Princess Cecilie thread. It's a touch off topic there!

Offline Mari

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2007, 02:05:43 AM »
Quote
My last Audi purchase had a line item on the invoice for war reparations..in 1994.

Yes, please explain some of you living in Germany I had no idea!

Offline Greenowl

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2007, 04:43:32 AM »
This is new (or news) to me, and I live in Germany. However, perhaps it only concerns income earned by firms who export their products. I'll try to find out. At any rate I had no idea that Germany was still paying reparations as late as 1994.

What we do pay is a so-called "Solidaritätsbeitrag" (solidarity contribution) which goes towards the development of the former East Germany. This has been deducted from wages since the reunification of Germany and is just an extra form of taxation. At this stage it should be abolished.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2007, 10:28:26 AM »
I didn't know the Germans suffered such a loss of civilian life until watching WWII by Ken Burns the other night.  However, HK, I don't see how that's any different from the bombing of England.  You seem to suggest that the Allies were not justified.



It is a function of human history and power that those who win (at war, politics, economics, etc) control history and information. Historians have spent more than many lifetimes pondering 'what would we really know if history had been documented by others than those whose observations/opinions have been kept through the ages?'

Losing a war is like losing a lawsuit. It doesn't matter what is necessarily right or fair, it's usually winner take all.

I didn't see Burns piece, but it sounds like he exposed information that is not part of common knowledge or conventional wisdom. I have a book written in 1924 by a U.S. Congressman who detailed the procedings from the Armistice in 1918 through the Versailles Treaty several months later. he hauntingly details, also, the causes of WWI and how he and his colleagues viewed the whole episode and aftermath. Very interesting. While the U.S. approved the Treaty, it was by the narrowest of margins. One must remember that until only recently, common people rarely entered politics or government and the control was largely in the hands of the wealthy gentry who tended to be ethnically British. of all the 43 presidents, for example, very few have German ethnicity in spite of German ethnicity being the largest ethnic base in the entire country. interesting.

I actually do not think the Allies' terror bombing campaign against German civilians that lasted over 3 years and killled miillions was necessary and the right thing to do to handle the nazis. The german blitz on London came first, for sure, but reasonable response by today's standards would not have been the complete pulverizastion of a nation and its civilian population. There seemed to be no restraint on sensibilities; the strategy was 'we're dealing with a crazy man so let's be crazy too.' If the harm done to England by german bombers was returned on a 'you him me, i hit you back' level, that would have been one thing. But the ratios of damage done and loss of life are staggeringly unbalanced. And, one has to acknowledge that in BOTH wars, England declared war on Germany first.

The strategy was kill as many germans and pulverize as much of the country as possible even after the war ended. Do you know about the Wilhelm Gustloff disaster? this is exemplary of the terror strategy employed.

Back to the post Hohenzollern era.....it seems to me that the english speaking world was beyond scared to death that the Hohenzollerns and their empire was on their heels and in good position to take the lead in the newly invented capitalistic race for wealth and power. Wilhelm did not have the foresight to realize (as his friend Albert Ballin had) that dominance can be achieved economicaly more easily than via military might, and as such played into the wrong hands.
HerrKaiser

Offline Greenowl

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2007, 12:38:05 PM »
While I don't agree that the Allies' (terror) bombing campaign against German civilians that lasted over 3 years and killed millions was unnecessary and/or the wrong way to go about dealing with the perverted and extremely evil Nazis, I do feel that "two wrongs don't make a right" and in this regard I consider that the attacks (note the plural form) against the undefended city of Dresden on 13/14th February, 1945 were an atrocity that deserves to be classified as an allied war crime. Even today the details of the raids on Dresden are stomach-churning and served no strategic purpose other than to show Comrade Stalin how far Bomber Command could penetrate into central/eastern Europe and the level of destruction it could cause. We will never know how many people died that night and the following day in Dresden, as the city was full of refugees from the east and the carnage was so massive that the authorities gave up trying to identify and bury the bodies due to the risk of epidemics and merely heaped the remains on to a massive pyre in one of the city squares and cremated them using petrol and flame throwers (perhaps they got advice from the SS who were experts in such matters).

I have heard about the sinking of the "Wilhelm Gustloff" when the ship was transporting refugees, but am not familiar with the details so cannot comment.

Yes indeed, Wilhelm II (and everybody else) would have fared far better had he listened to the advice of Albert Ballin and Walter Rathenau.

Offline HerrKaiser

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2007, 02:37:28 PM »
I agree with your Dresden point. Dresden provides much insight to the documentation of atrocities by victors and vanquished. for example, a total killed figure often used is the 'body count'. Fact is that the 2500 degree fire storm that engulfed the city left few bodies to be counted, only blobs of waxy human melt down and ash. The identifialbe bodies counted around 35,000; the total people accurately believed to have been lost is 400,000. One figure may be palitable; the other wreaks of madness.

Dresden's malestrom of fire was not unique, though. It had some level of regret since it was carried out at the end of the war with few supportable reasons. Earlier in the war, similar fire bombings were done on nearly every city of over 200,000 civilians. The Allies created the use of phosphorus bombs, essentially napalm as was horribly used in Viet Nam. These burn VERY hot and cannot be extinquished by water. So there is no defense; ie, Germany was defensleess. When civilians were covered by the blasts and on fire, thousands jumped into the rivers if they could get that far. Under water their body fires went out, if they raised their heads out of the water, the flames on them reignited. So, they had a choice of burning to death or drowning. The Alster in hamburg was totally clogged with thousands of bodies of people who suffered this fate.

the intent of the Allies was to terrorize the poplulation into surrender. Two problems. one, surrender wasn't an option the Allies much wanted. Hess parachuted into Great Britain in 1942 to work out an end to the fighting as had others tried, but there were no takers. the allies wanted a crushing military defeat. Two, as we have seen with 911, terrorizing a people does not work to subjugate them necessarily.
HerrKaiser

Offline Greenowl

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2007, 05:32:04 PM »
Thanks for your interesting post Herr Kaiser!

Yes indeed, the raid on Dresden was criminal and on a par with Nazi atrocities. Hamburg too suffered a dreadful firestorm while most other German cities were bombed to rubble at a dreadful loss of civilian lives. This we should not forget. However, we should also bear in mind that Nazi Germany started the "Luftkrieg" (air war) in September 1939. According to, of all people, David Irving, they actually bombed Freiburg on Sept. 2nd. 1939 and blamed it on the French Air force, and used the raid as an excuse to begin their bombing campaign, which started with Rotterdam and then moved on to the famous London Blitz etc etc. Their bombing campaign was equally merciless but less effective in terms of destruction and loss of civilian lives than that of the allies.
Two of those allies (Britain and France) behaved in a shameful manner at the Munich conference in September 1938, and in spite of the fact that France had a defence pact with Czechoslovakia, the country was more or less handed over to Hitler on a plate. Had Chamberlain and Daladier NOT appeased Hitler at that stage it just MIGHT have prevented (or minimised) the Second World War. With regard to the Czechoslovak situation: the Benes Decrees were (and are) an abuse of human rights. Having said that, I don’t think Benes could have acted without the knowledge, agreement and support of the allies. The Nazis committed awful atrocities in Czechoslovakia (think of Lidice) and while I can understand to some extent the reason behind the Benes Decrees, the brutality in the early days of the expulsion of the Sudeten Germans was, as I think Vaclav Havel said “not punishment, but revenge”. Ideally at that stage the real Nazis should have been identified and expelled and the other Sudeten Germans left alone. However, due to the changes in the international situation that heralded the start of the cold war, the western allies needed Germany as a buffer between themselves and the Soviet Union, thus once a few top Nazis were dealt with at Nuremberg, the others were more or less left in peace and were quite happy to support the western allies. Many former Nazis were still in top positions in the Federal Republic during the 1960s and early 1970s.

While I find that there are insufficient words to describe the evil that was Nazism, nevertheless I agree that one cannot see things totally in black and white and the allies were far from perfect in many respects.
In this regard I saw an interesting film recently "Au revoir, les enfants" (Goodbye, Children) from 1987, written, produced and directed by Louis Malle. The film is set in the winter of 1943-44 in occupied France and I felt that it reflected and highlighted the fact that not everything is black and white and that there are many, many shades of gray in-between the two extremes. At any rate I found it most thought provoking and quite different from most "war" films. Well worth watching!
« Last Edit: September 27, 2007, 05:36:04 PM by Greenowl »

Offline Espella

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2007, 09:17:30 PM »
HerrKaiser and GreenOwl,

I am learning so much from you scholars.  I just looked up basic info on the Gustloff, and that was horrible.  However, to HK, you seem to suggest that after someone bombs the hell out of you, whether they're able to sustain horrendous damage or not, you should slap them with your gloves and agree on a time to meet in the dawn.  Since you are a scholar, you know the famous Sherman quote, "War is helll, and the harder it is ..."   If the leader is crazy, who put the leader in office?  To use a pseudo cliche, "First time, shame on you.  Second time, shame on me."  That was the second time in how many years that the Allies had to fight that same enemy.  Of course, it could have been headed off.  Why would you let a vanquished foe build up again to become a power who could take on the world?  And with the network of spies, the Allies knew what was going on.  It's ridiculous that the people of Dresden and the farm boys from Iowa lost their lives when it truly could have been prevented.

Both sides were barbaric.  In the Burns epic, one airmen said he didn't drink with or make friends because after the next bombing run into Germany, he would be dead or his drinking buddy would be.  They flew in the dark and were slaughtered by the Germans.  They couldn't hit their targets with any accuracy,  and would still be sent back to be slaughtered.

I don't know about bombings after the cease fire, but I did hear about food drops by American airmen because so many Germans were starving.  Of course, the flip side is that many were also slaughtered.  That happens in war. That's why it should be prevented if at all possible.

Now, back to the Hohenzollerns and reparations

Offline Silja

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2007, 08:19:56 AM »


I actually do not think the Allies' terror bombing campaign against German civilians that lasted over 3 years and killled miillions

I may be wrong, but as far as I know the number of people killed by the air raids amouted to 500,000.



 Do you know about the Wilhelm Gustloff disaster? this is exemplary of the terror strategy employed.


You could add those of the "Steuben" and "Goya". These are less known.

A new film about the Gustloff disaster is currently being made in Germany.

Offline dmitri

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2007, 11:20:55 AM »
I think it is a touch simplistic to claim that Germany was innocent in both world wars. Britain entered world war one as Germany chose to deliberately volate Belgian neutrality. Germany was foolish to do so. It was unnecessary. Both world wars were unnecessary. It's interesting to read though about the reactions in the streets when both world wars were declared. In Berlin there were rapturous signs of support for world war one. For world war two there were no signs of any support. It was quite the opposite. The Hohenzollern monarchy was at least civilised. The Third Reich was a brutal dictatorship. Sadly only war would have rid the world of Hitler and his bunch or evil barbarians. Millions more would have perished all over Europe if this genocidal maniac had been allowed to keep going. As for Dresden, I suggest you all do some further research as it was far from being an innocent city. A great many things happened there that have been conveniently forgotten. The authorities had also not built appropriate wartime structures to protect the people. I don't justify the bombing. It was horrific. Just remember the regime and you will soon realise it was hardly innocent. Thankfully it has gone. Mankind suffered too much during its duration. The ultimate irony is that Germany owes its current governmental structures not to Germans but to the allies. It has become a great democracy. Sadly the wrong choices under the Hohenzollerns prevented democracy occurring thanks to Bismarck and his misguided policies. I have a great love of Germany. It is foolish though in the extreme to look at its history through rose tinted glasses.     

Offline dmitri

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2007, 11:22:42 AM »
By the way David Irving is not credible to quote on anything. His extreme right wing views and perversion of history is sadly only too well documented.

Offline Greenowl

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2007, 11:24:38 AM »
Dmitri, what exactly happened in Dresden that has been conveniently forgotten?

Offline Greenowl

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2007, 11:44:35 AM »
Yes Dmitri, I agree about David Irvine. I think I qualified my reference to him by saying: "According to, of all people..." before his name, which should indicate that I do not think very highly of him. However, in view of the fact that he is so right wing, I find it interesting that he should claim that the Luftwaffe bombed one of their own cities (and killed several civilians, including children), and used the raid as an excuse to justify the bombing raids on foreign cities. It bears a striking resemblance to the invasion of Poland a few days earlier, when the Nazis claimed that Polish troops attacked the radio station at Gleiwitz. They actually carried out a charade to that effect and used it as the justification for the invasion of Poland. I assume the purpose of these "charades" was to get the German people to support the war.

I believe Mr. Irving was in prison recently for his extreme right wing pronouncements and misinformation. 

Offline dmitri

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2007, 11:48:15 AM »
It's quite complex. I shall give you the title of a very interesting book to read about the place :

Dresden Tuesday 13 February 1945 by Frederick Taylor, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, London, 2004 ... ISBN 0 7475 7078 7

It is 456 pages long without index and references/bibliography so it is a very large read.

I have been to Dresden many times since December 1989. Even people in Dresden today who lost countless relatives in the dreadful firebombing will not lie about the history of their city as it is too well documented. Instead they prefer to go back to happier days before 1918. The rebuilding of Dresden post world war two is quite remarkable. The interesting thing is that most of it had taken place before the collapse of East Germany. In West Germany hardly any historical buildings were rebuilt. It was claimed it was too expensive and as a result much heritage was lost to the bulldozer rather than as a result of bombing. Even the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was partially demolished in West Berlin. There was far more left standing that could have been restored. Instead much was bulldozed.

Meant to say an interesting side story of the bombing of Dresden is that Prague was bombed by mistake when American bombers bombed part of the city thinking it was Dresden. Was this the first instance of friendly fire one wonders?


Offline dmitri

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Re: Germany post Hohenzollern Monarchy
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2007, 11:50:24 AM »
clarifying .. 456 pages without including ...