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Thread: Victor's injustice

  1. #1
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    Default Victor's injustice

    It would be hard to find better, or worse, examples of the injustice of victors trying their enemies while ignoring their own crimes in virtually identical circumstances.

    U-852(KL Heinz-Wilhelm Eck)
    13 March 1944
    Hellenic Steamship "Peleus"(4695grt)
    02'00S,10'00W

    "Peleus" had been en route ,in ballast,from Algiers and Freetown to Buenos
    Aires.

    This is the best known incident.Almost a total massacre.Only 3 were saved
    from the crew of 35 and 6 gunners.

    The U-boat rammed,machine-gunned,and threw hand grenades at survivors on rafts and in the water.Thirty six were killed.A boat containing three
    survivors-two Hellenes and a Maltese- was found by the Portuguese steamship"Alexander Silva",near Equator,at 12.15 hrs on 20 April.Two other seamen had died.

    Heinz Eck and four members of his crew were tried at the War Crimes Court
    in Hamburg on 17 Octomber 1945.After a four day trial,all five were found
    guilty.

    Eck and two other officers from U-852-Lt. August Hoffman(2WO) and Oberstabsart Walter Weisspfennig(the Medical Officer) were sentenced to be shot.The Chief Engineer,Kl Hans Lenz was sentenced to life imprisonment,and
    Matrosen-Gefreiter Wolfgang Schwender to 15 years imprisonment.

    The executions were carried out on Luneberg Heath on 30 November 1945.
    Eck was the only U-boat commander to be shot after the war for this type of
    murder,but there were other similar incidents of atrocities carried out by
    U-boats.
    Torbay(Anthony "Crap" Miers)
    9 July 1941
    4 Caigues L1,LV1,LV,L12 and 1 schooner.
    10 miles N of Antikithira,Aegean Sea

    Four vessels were spotted east of Kithira.They were carrying
    petrol,ammunition,food supplies,and 75 Bavarian mountains troops going on
    leave from the German garrison on Crete.Torbay surfaced and destroyed the
    nearest caique,and all aboard her,with 4-inch,Lewis and Bren guns.

    As Torbay approached the second vessel,its German skipper,Ehlebracht,jumped
    overboard with some of the crew and soldiers.Those who remained aboard
    raised their arms in surrender.

    Torbay was by now running short of ammunition,so Miers sent a boarding
    party to sink the vessel with demolition charges.The SBS commandos,Corporal
    Bremmer,who was leading the boarding party,saw a German about to throw a
    grenade,and shot him with his Bren gun.Another member of the boarding party
    shot a German who raised a rifle.

    While the demolition charges were being set in the caique Bremmer rounded up and disarmed seven more Germans, and took them back to the submarine.Miers refused to allow them to be taken below,shouting furiously that submarines did not take prisoners.

    Bremmer went to look for a raft or float but could not find one,and went below.

    What happened after that is not entirely clear.The German skipper who was
    still in the water, later reported that the men aboard the caique were
    ordered into a rubber dinghy.Torbay`s log states that all aboard the caique
    were forced to launch and jump into a large rubber float. It is not known
    whether the soldiers aboard the Torbay were also ordered into the
    float.

    When Bremmer asked what happened to his prisoners he was told that
    they have been shot in the water.No mention was made of a raft or float.

    Miers may have thrown them into the sea and told Corporal Sherwood of the
    SBS,and then Lt. Chapman to shoot them.Both refused.Miers then ordered
    another crewmember to shoot them,and threatened to shoot the man if he did
    not obey.

    Miers was not a popular officer,and seems to have been prone to resorting
    to such bullying tactics.On a later patrol he threatened to shoot Bremmer
    when the commando refused to paddle ashore in a folding canoe in a gale.

    Unlike Bremmer,the signalman ordered to shoot the unlucky soldiers in the
    water did not call Mier`s bluff.According to Ehlebracht,fire was opened on
    the rubber dinghy,killing two and wounding two others.The submarine then
    circled twice around the troops swimming in the water and used machine-gun
    fire in an attempt to bring them together.And the massacre started.Eight of
    them were killed.

    But Torbay left to chase the other vessels,only one of which
    escaped.

    Ehlebracht and some other survivors clung to the wreck of the caique,which remained afloat,and they were later rescued.

    Miers made no attempts to conceal his actions.His log records: "Submarine
    cast off,and with the Lewis gun accounted for the soldiers in the rubber
    raft to prevent them regaining their ship"

    Miers was congratulated on the success of his patrol,and was not
    reprimanded for disregarding the Hague Convention in his treatment of
    prisoners.It has been speculated that this may have been because German
    dive-bombers had strafed British survivors in the water during the battle
    of Crete.

    However ,when Miers` report reached Admiral Horton in London,the Flag
    Officer Submarines was concerned about German reprisals,and wrote to the
    Board of Admiralty: "As far as I am aware,the enemy has not made a habit of
    firing on personnel in the water or on rafts even when such personnel were
    members of the fighting services;since the incidents referred to in
    Torbay`s report, he may feel justified in doing so."The Admiralty wrote a
    strong letter to Miers instructing him not to repeat the practices of his
    last patrol.
    Wahoo(Dudley "Mush" Morton)
    26 January 1943
    3 Japanese Ships-Names Unknown
    Pacific Ocean.

    On his first patrol Morton torpedoed and sank three Japanese ships,one of
    them a troop transport with thousands aboard.After surfacing, Morton, who
    had an "overwhelming, biological hatred of the enemy", appeared determined
    to kill every one of the thousands floating there.The Japanese in the boats
    and in the water were subjected to more than an hour of shelling with
    4-inch and 20mm rounds which ripped through timbers,flesh and bone,staining
    the sea red,and attracting sharks.It was a total massacre.

    Morton made no attempt in his subsequent report to hide the massacre.On arrival at Pearl Harbour,Wahoo was flying a pennant with the boat`s slogan "Shoot the sunza bitches" printed on it!!!Morton claimed to have sunk 5 Japanese ships totalling 32,000 tons*,and became an instant hero in the US submarine service.

    Admiral Lockwood christened Wahoo the one-boat wolf pack and most
    unusually released the story of the patrol to the press.All US submarine
    activities were normally kept secret to avoid giving the enemy any useful
    information.Not for nothing was the submarine arm was known as the "Silent
    Service".

    The massacre of the survivors from the transport was not reported,nor questioned by the US Navy Staff.
    Morton was decorated with the "Navy Cross" medal!!
    There are various book and internet sources for these events, but they are conveniently collected at and, with some typo but not layout corrections, taken from http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Camp/3166/
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    Another example of an Ally being as bad in victory as its enemy.

    The former Buchenwald concentration camp became Special Camp Number 2, one of 10 camps and 3 prisons used for the internment of German citizens by the Soviet Secret Service (NKWD) in the Soviet occupation zone of Germany after World War II.

    Since 1990, those who died in Special Camp Number 2 have been commemorated. The anonymous mass graves are now marked by pillars of steel, arranged as a forest cemetery, as shown in the photo above.

    On July 3, 1945, the American army turned the Buchenwald concentration camp over to the Soviet Union since it was located in the area of Germany that had been given to the Soviet Union by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference before the end of the war. The last of the survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp were released, and barely four weeks after they were gone, the former Buchenwald concentration camp became a Communist internment camp for German prisoners.

    The following quote is from the Buchenwald camp guidebook, written by Sabine and Harry Stein:

    Although it soon assumed extensive and arbitrary proportions in the Soviet zone, the practice of internment was not without reason at the beginning. The boots of the German army had been devastating Europe for six years. Germans committed unimaginable atrocities in the name of their people. They ventured to exterminate whole nations in a merciless way with the help of a huge bureaucracy. The majority of the German people allowed this to happen and followed Hitler. Nobody expected them to welcome the allied troops as liberators but rather to reject and even to fight against these troops as invaders. For this reason, preventive measures to accompany the occupation process were already on the agenda of allied talks before the end of the war. Chapter III, paragraph 5 of the Potsdam Agreement signed by the allied powers in August 1945 says: 'Nazi party chiefs, influential followers of the Nazis and the management of the Nazi offices and organizations and any other person who is dangerous to the occupation and its aims shall be arrested and interned.' But the practices of internment were primarily determined by the character and by the particular interests of the respective occupying power in spite of these common agreements which were specified in detail by additional laws and instructions and accompanied the internment measures. Anti-Nazi policy was put in practice in the Soviet zone. The machinery of the security service controlled the special camps and made arrests in this zone - it ran the huge GULAG system in its own country. Thuringia was taken over by the Soviet military administration in July 1945. At the beginning, people from this region were sent to Buchenwald as this was the furthest west of all the special camps.

    In the first month that Special Camp Number 2 was in operation, from August 20, 1945 to September 17, 1945, there were 1,392 persons interned. By the end of 1945, there were 6,000 in the camp. No records are available regarding the reason for the arrests.

    The prisoners included a small group of top Nazis who were held to be responsible for crimes committed by the Nazis, a large number of low level officials in the Nazi party, members and leaders of the Hitler Youth (which was founded in nearby Weimar), members of the Waffen SS elite army, and German army officers in the Wehrmacht, which was the regular army. According to the camp guidebook, "a large number of persons came to the camp because they had been denounced, taken for somebody else or arrested in an arbitrary way."

    Altogether there were 28,455 people interned in Special Camp Number 2 between August 1945 and February 1950, including approximately 1,000 women, some of whom brought very small children with them. The population of the camp reached its peak in the spring of 1947 when there were 16,371 prisoners in the camp.

    The German inmates were housed in the same barracks used by the Nazis for their Communist prisoners. The Small Camp at the bottom of the hill was closed down and the rest of the camp was divided into four sections, separated by barbed wire. There was only a small guard unit and, as in the Nazi camp, the internal management of the camp was run by the prisoners.

    The camp guidebook describes the miserable conditions in the camp:

    The prisoners suffered from overcrowding, vermin and cold in the barracks. No clothing was issued to the prisoners. For long periods of time, it was not possible to replace worn out clothes or broken shoes. Bad sanitary conditions caused a large number of skin diseases and edema in addition to tuberculosis and dystrophy which were mainly due to undernourishment. Hunger and isolation seriously affected everyday life. Hunger was almost omnipresent. Mass deaths ensued when the restricted rations were cut temporarily. The catering situation reached its lowest level in Special Camp No. 2 in the winter of 1946 and 1947. Complete isolation from the outside world, enforced idleness and a lack of any positive prospects caused frequent depressions and other psychological diseases which accelerated physical decline. Soviet officials did not guarantee a minimum standard of detention which would have included contacts with relatives by letter or visits. Nothing was done to find out the guilt of individuals which might have allowed the liberation of many.

    The mortality rate in the Soviet camps was higher than the rate shown by statistics in the Nazi camps. According to the camp records kept by the Soviet Union, there were 122,671 persons arrested and interned between 1945 and 1950 in the Soviet internment camp system in Germany, and 42,889 of them died. In addition, 756 persons were executed. The camp guidebook says that "This information has been questioned from various sides, requiring corroborative research."

    There were 7,113 people who died in Special Camp Number 2, according to the Soviet records. They were buried in mass graves in the woods surrounding the camp. Their relatives did not receive any notification of their deaths.

    Some of the prisoners at Special Camp Number 2 were transferred to the Soviet Union. The largest group left for the Soviet Union on February 8, 1947.

    Only rarely were prisoners released on an individual basis. The highest number to be released at any one time was in July and August of 1948 when 9,250 people were released, most of them low level Nazi officials or women and young people; 4,268 prisoners remained in the camp.

    The dissolution of the camp started on January 16, 1950 and it was concluded one month later. 2,415 prisoners from the camp were handed over to the government of the German Democratic Republic for the Waldheim trials, and the rest were set free.

    After the camp was closed, the subject of the camp and the existence of the mass graves was taboo in East Germany. The barracks and other buildings were torn down after the German prisoners were released. There was no form of commemoration and no monuments were built to the victims.

    There was no fanfare when the prisoners were finally released, and I was not aware of any coverage of the event in the American press. After the collapse of the German Democratic Republic and the unification of Germany, one of the mass graves near the camp was made a part of the Buchenwald Memorial Site.
    http://www.scrapbookpages.com/buchen...ecialCamp.html
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    Hi!
    I am have not read thoroughly the previous 2 post (sorry - time limit) so forgive me if irrelevant.
    Just a short note that some time ago I saw similar video taken from an allied U-boat wherre sailor shoot at the enemy (Japanese?) in the water with handheld weapon. Available on YouTube.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorka View Post
    Hi!
    I am have not read thoroughly the previous 2 post (sorry - time limit) so forgive me if irrelevant.
    Just a short note that some time ago I saw similar video taken from an allied U-boat where sailor shoot at the enemy (Japanese?) in the water with handheld weapon. Available on YouTube.
    It should be noted that the British and US submariners shot at enemy military personnel in the water, while the U-boat captain shot at civilians. That makes a difference in international law, as civilians have the greater rights in this type of case.

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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    For some reason you guys think those with the 'white hats' have to be squeeky clean during war. You have alot to learn about war.

    As B.H. Lindle Hart said, "War is doing evil in the hopes of some good coming from it."

    You will never ever have the perfect war where even one side abides by all the rules all the time, much less all sides.

    War is not cricket. And stop thinking it is.

    Deaf

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    The U852 story reminds me of the book: "An Operational Necessity" by Gwyn Griffin. Anybody read that novel? A very good story.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    For some reason you guys think those with the 'white hats' have to be squeeky clean during war. You have alot to learn about war.

    As B.H. Lindle Hart said, "War is doing evil in the hopes of some good coming from it."

    You will never ever have the perfect war where even one side abides by all the rules all the time, much less all sides.

    War is not cricket. And stop thinking it is.

    Deaf
    Then why hold war crimes trials at all?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    For some reason you guys think those with the 'white hats' have to be squeeky clean during war. You have alot to learn about war.

    As B.H. Lindle Hart said, "War is doing evil in the hopes of some good coming from it."

    You will never ever have the perfect war where even one side abides by all the rules all the time, much less all sides.

    War is not cricket. And stop thinking it is.

    Deaf
    What I may or may not think about war is irrelevant to the historical fact that the Allies presented themselves as being morally superior to the Axis, and in particular in relation to their execution of civilians and combatants. As Churchill said to Stalin and Roosevelt at the Tehran Conference in November 1943 after Stalin proposed executing 50,000 to 100,000 German officers after the war to prevent Germany rising again as a war threat:

    THE PRIME MINISTER took strong exception to what he termed the cold blooded execution of soldiers who fought for their country. He said that war criminals must pay for their crimes and individuals who had committed barbarous acts, and in accordance with the Moscow Document, which he himself had written, they must stand trial at the places where the crimes were committed.
    http://teachingamericanhistory.org/l...p?document=879

    The Moscow Declaration and various other Allied documents leading to the Allies' war crimes trials support the Allied abhorrence of Axis war crimes and crimes against humanity, as does much Allied propaganda which portrayed the Allies as fighting for liberty and justice against totalitarian, murderous and outlaw regimes.

    If the Allies maintained that it was wrong for the Axis to commit war crimes and that it was proper to prosecute them for their crimes, why shouldn't the same principle apply to Allied troops who committed war crimes?

    Where are the laws in the Allied nations which absolve their troops of legal responsibility for war crimes?

    However, if you want to maintain the position that shit happens in war and people need to get over it, then it follows that you have to accept that there are no grounds for complaint about, for example, the Bataan Death March, or, for that matter, Unit 731 and Pearl Harbor and a whole host of other Axis actions.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    Quote Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
    It should be noted that the British and US submariners shot at enemy military personnel in the water, while the U-boat captain shot at civilians. That makes a difference in international law, as civilians have the greater rights in this type of case.
    Could you clarify where international law makes it more acceptable to kill shipwrecked survivors in the water who are in the enemy's armed services rather than enemy civilians?

    There are suggestions that some of the caiques shot at by Miers might have had non-German crews, but for the purposes of this discussion let's assume that they were German ships crewed by German naval personnel and leave them out of the discussion.

    However, there is little doubt that the Buyo Maru, sunk and some of whose occupants were subsequently shot in the water by Morton's sub, was not in an equivalent position.

    First, Maru denotes a merchant ship, which involves a civilian crew.

    Second, Buyo Maru was carrying 491 Indian prisoners of war, 195 of whom died and, presumably, at least some of whom were killed by Morton's crew in the water. If so, this is quite different to the many Allied POWs inadvertenly killed by US subs sinking Japanese transports where the subs did not shoot the survivors in the water.

    As with other of ("Mush" for "Mushmouth" = braggart) Morton's claims about what he sunk which subsequently were shown to be considerably less, post-war information shows that he badly overestimated, or simply overstated, the numbers killed in the water but the fact remains that his conduct in claiming to have killed upwards of 1,500 shipwrecked sailors in the water was applauded rather than seen as in any way unsatisfactory, let alone a war crime. Meanwhile the same conduct by the Japanese towards just one American in the same situation would have been seen as a war crime.

    One of the main issues surrounding the charge of war crimes has been body count. Upon returning to Pearl Harbor on February 14, 1943, Morton claimed killing "most of the troops" from BUYO MARU, estimated at between "1,500 to 6,000." And from the perspective of WAHOO's smoke clouded, emotionally charged bridge, it was a fair claim to make. No attempt was made to count heads in the water and Japanese transport ships were entirely capable of carrying large numbers of men.

    However, in DeRose's book, Japanese reports and first hand testimony reveals the true number of passengers lost and their nature. For BUYO MARU was not exclusively a troop transport but also a POW ship, loaded with 491 Indian prisoners of war. Along with a company of Japanese ordnance troops and crew, BUYO carried 1,126 men. And though the men of WAHOO assumed those left behind when they set off in pursuit of the rest of the convoy would be lost to the sea, Japanese rescue ships did arrive on the scene and take most of the survivors aboard. Head counts made en route to Palau indicated a total loss of 87 Japanese and 195 Indian prisoners (the disparity in numbers reflects a less-than-concerted Japanese effort to rescue the Indians).

    While the number of victims can be sharply reduced from original estimates, the incident remains troublesome.
    http://www.warfish.com/patrol3con.html
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    What I may or may not think about war is irrelevant to the historical fact that the Allies presented themselves as being morally superior to the Axis, and in particular in relation to their execution of civilians and combatants. As Churchill said to Stalin and Roosevelt at the Tehran Conference in November 1943 after Stalin proposed executing 50,000 to 100,000 German officers after the war to prevent Germany rising again as a war threat:
    The allies, UK and the US, did not systematic set out to perform war crimes. Neither one had a policy to murder civilians. Neither one had a policy to murder POWs. And neither had a policy to conduct experiments on captives.

    Yes there were atrocities done by SOME individuals in the UK and US militaries, but none were condoned by the heads of the government nor by high ranking officers.

    And that is a big difference between them. The USSR, on the other hand, most certainly did have a policy to do great crimes.

    So yes, the UK and US did consider themselves morally superior to the Axis. And with reason.

    Deaf

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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    in ww2 like in any other war everyone did crimes and that's the truth no matter how someone explain it with the great cause he was fighting for and etc. A fair tribunal had to punish all no matter on which side they were and that means russians , americans , germans and all who did things that were forbidden by the war code . By punishing only the one side and turning blind about yourself you become as your enemy .

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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    You know, RS old friend, reading your item posted above (#2) causes me to feel that Heinz Knoke, George Patton, and various other "radical thinkers" of the Post War era were correct: UK and USA should have re-armed the West Germans, and gone right on down the road to Moscow.

    Rationally, I know damn well there'd have been a huge price to pay for that, but up to 1949 it could easily have been achievable, allowing for the huge numbers of lives it would have cost, from both sides.

    Emotionally, however: I'm convinced that the Communist regime was every atom as bad as the Nazi regime it had replaced. Hence the feeling and reaction I have noted above.

    Kindest Regards, Uyraell.
    Last edited by Uyraell; 01-19-2010 at 12:20 PM.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
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    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uyraell View Post
    You know, RS old friend, reading your item posted above (#2) causes me to feel that Heinz Knoke, George Patton, and various other "radical thinkers" of the Post War era were correct: UK and USA should have re-armed the West Germans, and gone right on down the road to Moscow.

    Rationally, I know damn well there'd have been a huge price to pay for that, but up to 1949 it could easily have been achievable, allowing for the huge numbers of lives it would have cost, from both sides.

    Emotionally, however: I'm convinced that the Communist regime was every atom as bad as the Nazi regime it had replaced. Hence the feeling and reaction I have noted above.

    Kindest Regards, Uyraell.
    Not only you are convinced that the communist was bad as the nazi , but with the chance from the fortune and left alone from their Allies the Soviets did unimaginal things which overthrowed the Nazis ( simply maybe because nazis were on power for much little time ) , but these things done by them were kept in shadows for many years by the West , and in return for saving their own asses the west leaved the communist to act as animals killing and murdering many in europe , all because the Soviets did a favor to the allies .And still the West don't condemn the communist regime as the nazi , did you seen any official position of harsh words against the Soviet sistem from
    Barroso or Obama , or their ex conterparts ? No , and you won't because the west have to accept it guilt and stupidiness for allowing the soviets to conquer half europe to make them slaves , to put their inteligence into death camps ( yes the same as Buhenwald ) , while watching and playing 45 years cold wars . And i am not speaking for my country which you will call pro - Nazi supporter , what about Yugoslavia , Poland etc ? Did they diserve Churchil and Roosevelt to play god game with Stalin and to throw them away for 45 years slavery ? No .

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    Default Re: Victor's injustice

    Quote Originally Posted by Uyraell View Post
    You know, RS old friend, reading your item posted above (#2) causes me to feel that Heinz Knoke, George Patton, and various other "radical thinkers" of the Post War era were correct: UK and USA should have re-armed the West Germans, and gone right on down the road to Moscow.

    Rationally, I know damn well there'd have been a huge price to pay for that, but up to 1949 it could easily have been achievable, allowing for the huge numbers of lives it would have cost, from both sides.

    Emotionally, however: I'm convinced that the Communist regime was every atom as bad as the Nazi regime it had replaced. Hence the feeling and reaction I have noted above.

    Kindest Regards, Uyraell.
    This could not "easily have been achievable". Democracies like the US and UK require a weight of political will.

    I agree that Stalin was as bad as Hilter, and his communists as bad as the NAZI party. Churchill understood this, and wrote about it several times, but he could not be too public because the USSR was needed as an ally to defeat the more pressing threat of Germany.

    Once Germany was defeated, the UK no longer had the heart for war. WWI left a huge impression on the UK, and the loss of children, brothers, uncles and nephews was keenly felt.

    I am English and am familiar with the long lists of WWI dead in every small village.

    Churchill had to rally the people just to defend themselves against Hitler. He could not have convinced the British to start another war against the USSR. Not after 5 years of bombings, war dead, countless ships sunk, rations etc.

    Same with the US. The US had a long history (at that point) of isolationism, and only eventually joined the war because they had no choice after Pearl Harbour.

    One of my largest regrets is letting Poland down. Poland was the reason we declared war, but things changed over the course of the war, from concern about other nations to self preservation. It's perhaps possible the UK and US could have taken a very firm stand on Poland, insisting on Polands freedom. And even a limited war to free Poland (call Stalins bluff), but not all the way to Moscow, could not have happened.

    Don't forget Churchill was voted out of office a few months after the war ended. He did not have solid grip on the country despite victory over Germany.


    regards,
    Saxon

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