Was unconditional surrender necessary ?

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Eric Ertman
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Was unconditional surrender necessary ?

Post by Eric Ertman » Mon Oct 21, 2002 11:11 am

Could the taking prisoner of millions of Germans on the eastern fronts, the overunning of eastern Germany and the subsequent murder of ethnic Germans by the Russians and their Czech and Polish sidekicks and the , what we would term today, "terror bombing" of German cities have been avoided if the allies had not insisted on Germanys unconditional surrender? Would not the loss of life have been greatly reduced on both the allied and axis sides? Was it not this unconditional surrender that motivated or forced Germany to continue the fight?

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joscha
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Unconditional surrender

Post by joscha » Thu Oct 24, 2002 7:45 am

This is my personal opinion, based upon personal knowledge:

When Churchill made that idiotic speech, demanding unconditional surrender, he strengthened the German pospaganda's impact a hundred fold. There is no other translation of that term to German than total submission to the will of the victor and voluntary entrance into the enslavement which would invariably follow.

We, on the front lines, were often able to listen in to German propaganda broadcasts and when we heard of this, even the most lukewarm soldier began thinking along these lines:

These bastards have destroyed my apartment, they have already killed my parents in one of the raids,and now they want to utterly subjugate me and my family. LIKE HELL!

Churchill succeed in strengthening the fighting spirit of the German nation and its soldiers immeasurably and this prolonged the war. An entire year? Perhaps; but prolong he did.

Not the finest hour of the Brits... they, too lost men unnecessarily.

My personal 1.7 cents (euro). Joscha

Eric Ertman
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Further reasons for Germany to keep up the fight.

Post by Eric Ertman » Thu Oct 24, 2002 9:05 am

I sympathize with you on this Joscha. I think the following were very good reasons for Germany continuing its fight:

I.The partition and the methods envisaged in the Morgenthau plan for the futur treatment og Germany would have put an end to Germany as a corporate identity.

2.In 1945 the German government obtained a copy of Operation Eclipse, which contained "the plans and preparation of measures to be taken on the occupation of germany after unconditional surrender".

3. Had Germany laid down its arms , the consequences would have been the surrender of some 3.5 million troops east of the Oder. In light of what transpired after the surrender I can imagine what their fate would have been. Even with the best intentions the Soviets (which I'm sure they did not have!) could not have handled, fed and housed such numbers.

4. Doentiz's military objective was to save as many Germans as possible from their eastern provinces and to ensure that law and order in the country and disciplined cohesion at the front should be maintained. A task that he and the Navy performed with sacrifice and perseverence. Doenitz also took steps to ensure that the mayor of Hamburg, was not permitted to surrender in the latter part of April to the British. This would have deprived Germany of it naval ports and closed off Schleswig Holstein for refugee ships.Since the British respected the wishes of their Russian allies it was not excpected that they would accept the surrender of troops from the Army of the Vistula. Later Americans on their front refused to take over refugees and individual unarmed soldiers and drove them back into Russian hands by force of arms.

Ample reasons for Germany to keep on fighting wouldn't you say?

Regards,
Eric[/quote]

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Maximilian
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Post by Maximilian » Fri Oct 25, 2002 11:08 pm

sorry this post but everytime i read churchill ,it gave me stomachache and need to vomit...
See the way the cowardly politics start to be friend and use another countries to be stronger to attack,together,because they cant do it alone.
Simple reason,they are not Knights...just chickens.
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Max
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Eric Ertman
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Churchill

Post by Eric Ertman » Sat Oct 26, 2002 1:22 am

I'm not his greatest fan either,but he was well suited to the pigheadedness of the British and the undying admiration of anything British by the US Anglo Saxon crowd.

Cheers,
Eric

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Sam H.
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Post by Sam H. » Wed Oct 30, 2002 12:06 pm

I may be mistaken, but I believe that Roosevelt was the first to announce to the press the demand for "unconditional surrender" - once Roosevelt said this the British had no choice but to repeat the demand.

Unconditional Surrender was a term used by Gen. Grant in the American Civil War - Roosevelt claimed it just popped into his head during the speach - this is unlikely and not supported by other documents.

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Was Unconditional urrender necessary?

Post by ReconPAL » Tue Dec 17, 2002 9:26 pm

Rosenberg was a neighbor of Roosevelt's in Hyde Park. He had broken the mold and had moved up state and operated an extensive farm in that then big farming area.After the 32 election Roosevelt surprized everyone by naming him his Secretary of theTreasury. A friend of Rosenberg Rabbi Wise returned from England with tales of the move by the NSP against European Jews and Rosenberg told Roosevelt of the reports he was getting and that something should be done about it. These discussions took place over a relative long perod of time during the various conferences that the Allies held to prosecute the war. There was among the Americans a lot of talk about post war plans pretty much to Churchill's and the British participants' general worry and concern who saw a big need right off of a restructured Europe and the necessity to focus on getting the war over successfully, not the least a fear of Russian purposes. At Casablanca I understand Roosevelt turned to Rosenberg and in a gesture to put these post war discussions away, off the table as it were and to placate the Russians without any discussion of it with staff or advisers said We want unconditional surrender. To him that was a way of saying lets fight the war, we'll talk about Europe later. I don't think that the British were baffled at all by this. Surprized, yes because the post war talk was not on these agendas but not baffled. That could be left to later decisions. This was typical Rooseveltian. He was no intellectual and was a very practical politician and a good Machiavellian. He sought power and he knew how to use it. The surprizing thing to me is not that unconditional surrender became a shibboleth in the conduct of the war but that the Germans never even tried, except for small efforts like General Wolf's negotiations in Italy near the end, to test it. None really. The Japanese did. Why did the German not test it? Paul
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Post by Mikko » Wed Dec 18, 2002 2:47 am

Before you start bashing the Western Allied leaders for the 'idiotic' demand of unconditional surrender, consider their point of view.

First, Germany had started two world wars in 25 years (yes, I'm very well aware that the 'guilt' for starting the WWI is a controversial question, but I'm presenting here the prevailing western allied view of during the WWII). The negotiated peace that ended the WWI did not prevent Germany from rearming and starting another world war. (Again, I'm aware of the argument that a more lenient peace after the WWI could have prevented the WWII, but that's not the issue here).

Second, Germany was ruled by a goverment whose brutality was unheard of before (with the exception of the Soviet Union). All signs pointed that the overwhelming majority of the German people supported this goverment at least passively.

The western allied leaders didn't want to repeat the mistakes in their opinion were committed in ending the WWI. Thus, for them, demanding unconditional surrender was perfectly logical. Unconditional surrender was seen the only way to ensure there would be no more German aggression. IMO all other arguments contain unhealthy amount of hind-sight.

Did it prolong the war and cause more casualties? Certainly. But it was not the job of the western leaders to worry about German losses, quite the contary. And the Allied losses caused by the prolonged war were seen worth the cost of ensuring peaceful Europe.

Now, if only the Americans would have been less naive towards the Soviet Union, but again, that's another issue.

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Fridolin
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Post by Fridolin » Wed Dec 18, 2002 11:29 am

I think that, all in all, yes, it was necessary. Just in case a new post-WWI 'not really defeated' myth would rise.
What we do in Life echoes in Eternity.

No quisieron querer a otra Bandera,
no pudieron andar otro camino,
no supieron morir de otra manera.

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Commissar D, the Evil
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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Wed Dec 18, 2002 12:01 pm

Hi Folks, I think that two concepts regarding the end of WWII in Europe should be distinguished. One is "Unconditional Surrender", the other is "the Territorial Dismemberment of Germany" after the war. Although the two are interlocked, historically, it's interesting to speculate on the course of the war if the Allies hadn't insisted on both aspects of their plans for postwar Germany being implemented.
Best Regards, David
Death is lighter than a Feather, Duty is heavier than a Mountain....

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Was Unconditional Surrender Policy Necessary

Post by ReconPAL » Wed Dec 18, 2002 2:59 pm

Apologies! My post on the Commissioner's inquiry above erred in using the name "Rosenberg" I dictated the copy on a cellphone and my trusty typist got the name wrong The observations were intended to apply to Henry Morganthau. A correspondent has observed that Michael Beschloss the historian has made similiar conjectures about Roosevelt. If you look back on Roosevelt's public and political life you have no trouble seeing that he was fully capable of such deviousness even in relative minor things. I think that it was a technique not a character fault. Many try it few have his finesse. Still my query: why did the Germans not test it remains a nagging question. I have a theory why it was not tested that's sure to sound controversial but if this subject interests anyone I'll air it? Paul
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Re: Was Unconditional Surrender Policy Necessary

Post by Guillermo » Wed Dec 18, 2002 8:33 pm

There's a picture of a German destroyed tank, I believe somewhere near the Oder river, that had the following words painted on it:

"KAMPF KAMPF KAMPF!"

Guillermo

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Post by sid guttridge » Thu Dec 19, 2002 5:51 am

The Unconditional Surrender demand did not prevent the Germans from surrendering, it merely told them that, with the war almost certainly lost, they could no longer expect to set conditions on their surrender.

The Bomb Plotters had a long list of demands and clearly thought they could still negotiate with the Allies 18 months after the Unconditional Surrender demand was made. So it clearly did not represent the overwhelming dissinsentive to go for a peace settlement that some would claim. Even in the last days of the war Hitler and Goebbels thought that the Allied alliance would break up and they could come to an accomodation with the Western Allies. It appears that it was the Germans who did not believe that Unconditional Surrender meant exactly that.

With the war clearly lost, the Germans could have surrendered at any time after the Unconditional Surrender demand was made and saved millions of lives. They did not, largely because Hitler and his party circle buoyed German public morale up to unreasonable levels by promising miracle deliverances that never happened.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Commissar D, the Evil
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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Thu Dec 19, 2002 7:08 am

I think that when the Allied plans for the postwar occupation and dismemberment of Germany became known, it stiffened the country's will to resist. Best Regards, David
Death is lighter than a Feather, Duty is heavier than a Mountain....

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Post by sid guttridge » Fri Dec 20, 2002 5:27 am

Hi Commissar,

A couple of questions to which I do not kow the answers:

When did the Allied plans for post war Germany become publicly known?

When were the border changes in favour of Poland in the east settled upon and announced?

Cheers,

Sid.

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