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flamethrowerguy
07-07-2009, 02:07 AM
FIRST MILITARY MEDAL FOR BRAVERY SINCE WWII

Germany Awards Military Cross of Courage

Many Germans prefer to think of their army, the Bundeswehr, as a defensive army that shuns combat. The position is hard to reconcile with a new military award that honors exceptionally courageous action in the field.

For the first time since World War II, Germany has officially honored the courage of its soldiers with a newly minted medal. On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung (both of the Christian Democratic Union) presented the award to four Bundeswehr sergeants who risked their lives to help wounded soldiers and children during a suicide attack in Afghanistan.

http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1578678,00.jpg
The soldier as hero: a notion many Germans are not comfortable with. (photo: AP)

The medal -- a small golden cross that hangs on a black, red and yellow ribbon decorated with oak leaves -- has been the source of much controversy. While some see it as a long overdue means to honor outstanding military service and an expression of "positive patriotism," others warn of a revival of German militarism.

Jung justified the creation of a "cross of honor for bravery," which President Köhler agreed to in October of last year, with the heightened level of danger that Bundeswehr soldiers are exposed to abroad. The medal is the fifth and highest distinction in the Bundeswehr. According to the decree that created it, the new cross honors "exceptionally courageous deeds" that go beyond what is expected "within the framework of the performance of duty."

http://www.spiegel.de/img/0,1020,1323753,00.jpg
The "Cross of Honor for Bravery." (photo: DPA)

While the four other Bundeswehr distinctions are awarded to soldiers who have served more than four months abroad and demonstrated loyal service or fulfilled their duty in an exemplary way, the new award insists on extraordinary accomplishment.

For the 130 years leading up to 1945, exceptional courage in German military service was honored with the Iron Cross. The medal was abolished at the end of World War II, during which it was awarded roughly 2.6 million times -- 2.3 million Second Class Iron Crosses and 300,000 Frist Class Iron Crosses. For many, that medal has come to symbolise the atrocities of the Third Reich.

Last March, the chairman of the Bundeswehr's reserves, Reinhard Beck, proposed reinstating the Iron Cross, but the suggestion met loud opposition in parliament and among Jewish groups.

The four soldiers that were honored on Monday were witness to a suicide attack by Taliban militants on Oct. 20, 2008 southwest of Kunduz. Two German soldiers were killed and two wounded in the attack. Five Afghan children were killed, one injured. Although the German's armored vehicle was on fire and munitions were exploding, the four soldiers, aged 28 to 33, rushed to the scene to try to help.

At the presentation in the chancellery, Jung called the soldiers "models for their comrades in their dedication to justice and freedom." Merkel called the soldier's action "an incentive not only for their comrades, but for us all." She defended the creation of the new award, saying that Germany's soldiers deserve "more recognition" for their service.

The medal is part of a larger push by the governing CDU to raise the profile and public appreciation of the Bundeswehr. This fall, a memorial to honor Bundeswehr soldiers who have died in service will be inaugurated in Berlin. It will be the first of its kind in Germany's post-war history.

Since the Bundeswehr entered Afghanistan in 2002, 35 soldiers have been killed. Last October, Jung began referring to the casualties as the "fallen". The rhetorical subtlety reflects the need to generate more public support for the Afghanistan mission.

According to a recent survey by Forsa, 61 percent of Germans favour an immediate withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Afghanistan, whereas in 2002, 62 percent stood behind the mandate.

nmb, AP

from spiegel.de
http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,634601,00.html

Schuultz
07-09-2009, 08:45 PM
It's a bad joke that people would actually call a bravery medal a move towards militarism. It's just another sign that the Left tries to gain votes by constantly reminding the people of the Third Reich and drawing parallels to their opposition's actions, no matter what.
Germany is probably the only country in the world who's army hadn't had a Bravery Medal.

And the association of the Iron Cross with the Third Reich - or more specifically the Holocaust, as Jewish Groups claim, is preposterous. Had the highest German Bravery award been the Golden Chicken when the Nazis got to power, they would have used that. It's a big part of German history, as it was founded alongside the first step towards German unity in the Napoleonic Wars.

Easy way to denazify the Iron Cross: Don't hand it out with a Swastika in the middle.
Add the Federal Eagle or leave it blank.

I feel like many Germans give the Nazis too much power by allowing them to own their history...

Rising Sun*
07-09-2009, 09:44 PM
And the association of the Iron Cross with the Third Reich - or more specifically the Holocaust, as Jewish Groups claim, is preposterous.

On the assumption that no Iron Crosses were awarded for murdering or otherwise harming Jews but were limited to valour in war, what is the relevance of the Iron Cross to the Holocaust and what entitles Jews to oppose its re-institution as a valour award by a modern and strongly anti-Nazi Germany?


I feel like many Germans give the Nazis too much power by allowing them to own their history...

Ably assisted by a hugely effective Jewish lobby in the West, and further assisted by the Zionists to justify the existence of Israel on the illogical basis that "The Nazis treated us appallingly so that entitles us to take over someone else's country.", which keeps the Nazis before the public eye when most other aspects of WWII and its related atrocities have been largely forgotten or are ignored.

Schuultz
07-09-2009, 11:52 PM
What entitles Jews to oppose its re-institution as a valour award by a modern and strongly anti-Nazi Germany?

A feeling of Guilt in the modern German society, that gives the Jewish council a lot of power.
Add to that the Left party's tendency to jump all over anything the Jewish council opposes on 'Holocaust-Reasons', and you find a formidable political obstacle.


Ably assisted by a hugely effective Jewish lobby in the West, and further assisted by the Zionists to justify the existence of Israel on the illogical basis that "The Nazis treated us appallingly so that entitles us to take over someone else's country.", which keeps the Nazis before the public eye when most other aspects of WWII and its related atrocities have been largely forgotten or are ignored.

QFT

Rising Sun*
07-10-2009, 07:14 AM
A feeling of Guilt in the modern German society, that gives the Jewish council a lot of power.

There comes a time when a generation and nation has to free itself of guilt for its ancestors' past and to say "We're not going to have our noses rubbed in our ancestors' shit any more". I think Germany has already passed that time.

We have a related problem in Australia with some Aboriginal interests who want the current generations to bear the guilt for appalling things done by our ancestors to theirs, and by some white (and Aboriginal, but that's conveniently forgotten and when remembered blamed on white oppression) people still living to Aborigines still living and terribly damaged by those events. Like many Australians, I refuse to accept guilt for things I didn't participate in, condone or even know about as, like many people in Germany now with the Holocaust and Nazism, I wasn't born or was too young. That's not the same thing as saying that I don't think we should do all we can to acknowledge and redress the wrongs done to Aborigines by our ancestors, because I think we have a moral and social responsiblity to try to repair that awful damage, as best we can. But I'm buggered if I'll feel guilty for things that I had nothing to do with, and I'm buggered if I'll accept the 'right' of any Aborigine to condemn me and my generation and to demand that we treat them like a protected species.

Which brings us back to some Jewish advocates against Germany who, like some Aboriginal advocates here, treat it as a one way street down which guilt flows eternally rather than a two way street where shit flows both ways, such as the decades long pogroms waged against the Palestinians by the Zionists or, more appositely, the actions of Jewish interests which cuddled up to and aided the Nazi anti-Semitic programs.

If Israel didn't exist and if the Zionists didn't need to use the Holocaust as a crutch to justify their dispossession and oppression of the poor bloody Palestinians, much as the Nazis intended to drive the Russians to Siberia, then I doubt that the Holocaust would figure as large as it does. On logical or moral grounds there is no reason why it should be more important in Germany or internationally now than the extermination of Russians and Poles by the Germans; Polish officers by the Russians; and sundry ethnic groups by the Japanese.

flamethrowerguy
07-10-2009, 07:55 AM
Just recently I read the matching line that nowadays Germans are the only humans being born with two original sins.:(

Rising Sun*
07-10-2009, 08:14 AM
Just recently I read the matching line that nowadays Germans are the only humans being born with two original sins.:(

Yeah, well, it's time for Germans and the world to get over it.

Why don't we devote the same attention, outrage, and determination to bring the perpetrators to what what passes for justice over genocidal exercises in former Yugoslavia or Rwanda or Kampuchea?

Why are the atrocities and genocide committed against those millions of people less deserving of our attention in the modern period than what are, by the distressingly endless standards of human brutality, no worse (and often less brutal and inhumane) Nazi crimes against the Jews a relatively long time ago?

What makes six million dead Jews more special than six million dead Russians killed by the Nazis or, for example, a couple of million dead Cambodians murdered by another crazy regime? And millions of others elsewhere?

Schuultz
07-10-2009, 09:55 AM
Why don't we devote the same attention, outrage, and determination to bring the perpetrators to what what passes for justice over genocidal exercises in former Yugoslavia or Rwanda or Kampuchea?

It happened in countries nobody but hippies and overzealous university students cares about, not the biggest country in Europe, that coincidentally also conquered Europe at the same time. Nazis are easy to condemn - it's a safe bet, nobody's going to disagree. People know to little about those wars/genocides.
[Note: I'm speaking out of the Public Eye's POV, not necessarily mine]


Why are the atrocities and genocide committed against those millions of people less deserving of our attention in the modern period than what are, by the distressingly endless standards of human brutality, no worse (and often less brutal and inhumane) Nazi crimes against the Jews a relatively long time ago?

Because we don't feel helpless against them. The Nazi crimes are history, everybody can say 'Had I lived back then, I would have helped the Jews' and feel morally superior to the people, no matter what they would have really done.
With the modern Genocides, one might be expected to actually DO something.


What makes six million dead Jews more special than six million dead Russians killed by the Nazis[...]

The Cold War


[...]a couple of million dead Cambodians murdered by another crazy regime?[...]

They're Cambodians. Nobody in Europe or North America sincerely gives a shit, as sad as it might be.


[...]And millions of others elsewhere?

They're elsewhere, and, for the largest part, don't have hugely influential lobbies all over the G8 as well as the ownership of huge parts of the media.

Rising Sun*
07-10-2009, 10:15 AM
The Nazi crimes are history, everybody can say 'Had I lived back then, I would have helped the Jews' and feel morally superior to the people, no matter what they would have really done.

Which is fine now, as long as one ignores the widespread hostility to Jews at the time, and not just in Germany.

My father said he witnessed, and on his version tried to stop, the mob destruction of a Jewish shop in Melbourne, Australia, a couple of years into the war. I know of another case around the same time where several Australian (Anglo descent) law students attacked the home of a Jewish doctor in Melbourne, for no reason other than that he was Jewish. One of those students later became a (state - not federal as in US) Supreme Court judge. So much for Kristallnacht.



The Cold War

Yup!

What politician gives a shit about anything except power? Concern about lives lost is expressed only to advance that interest.


They're Cambodians. Nobody in Europe or North America sincerely gives a shit, as sad as it might be.

Gee, you're ignoring the impact of the film "The Killing Fields".

Sorry, no, you're not, as nobody in the West actually did anything except feel really amazingly awesomely totally authentically, like, really truly seriously amazingly awesomely totally, like, really absolutely outraged about that film.

As for the innocents who were exterminated under Pol Pot, well, who gives a **** once Western conscience has been *****ed?


They're elsewhere, and, for the largest part, don't have hugely influential lobbies all over the G8 as well as the ownership of huge parts of the media.

Cynic. ;) :o :D

Non_Sequitor
09-28-2009, 04:35 PM
Love the conversation gents...and I'm in total agreement. With regards to Germany finally bestowing a deserved medal on one of its finest, I'm greatly encouraged that perhaps Germany is finally beginning to recover from years of self-loathing. I would have preferred it to have been the original decoration, but I guess we all have to make sacrifices to be politically correct (though it jibes the hell out of me). In the end, though, it's good that heroism is finally being recognized. BTW, cynical as it may be, the Jewish lobby has far more pull in geo-politics than the aforementioned victims of atrocities. It is too bad that we, as a people, cannot seem to move beyond the senseless slaughter of innocents of any kind. We in the U.S. bear the guilt of our own past mistakes, but some mistakes are reminded to us more forcefully than others. Slavery will forever remain a low-point in our history, but the complete slaughter of entire tribes of indigenous peoples is less so. Both should never be forgotten, lest we relive our own history, but one group shouldn't be considered "more worthy" of sympathy or reparations than any another wronged group.