Quote Originally Posted by forager View Post
My dad, 506th PIR, took part in liberating some camps.
He wrote that they took no SS prisoners after that.
War was soon over, but he had a dim view of Germans the rest of his life.
My great uncle who also liberated camps told of a similar story - after seeing what the Germans did, Patton made some kind of speech telling the soldiers to take no prisoners. I wasn't sure how much credit to give to this story - I heard it more than 60 years after it happened and my great uncle's mind wasn't so great at the time...until I saw the exact same story in this book: http://books.google.com/books?id=ir2...onepage&q=take a prisoner&f=false (check out page 229).

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the Dachau issue...It's very important to keep the context and mindset of the soldiers in mind when discussing things like this. These are guys who were in continuous combat for almost a full year by this point. They've seen and been through horrible things and they were probably still very angry over things like the Malmedy massacre. It wasn't a planned or calculated act - from my understanding, it was done by a minority of soldiers. By this point, human life probably meant little to them and seeing Dachau was probably the final "breaking point" for those soldiers.