World War II/Talk

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Some estimates for Dresden deaths are as low as 25,000 (and as high as 250,000). Low estimates for Hiroshima at 66,000 deaths and Nagaski at 40,000 may support Dresden as the worst but some etimate the Tokyo firebombing at 83,000 to 100,000 which would make it greater. The US airforce credits defeated German generals and Communist propaganda with inflating the Dresden causualty figure. Initial British figure of 8,000 dead are undoubtledly low but many other German cities received far more tons of bombs, even more tons of incendiaries than Dresden so the high figures are hard to justify.

Certainly we should have a page to discuss the questionable practice of firebombing or carpet bombing in general.

and the use of flachette-rounds on civilians

Note that in the cases of both Dresden and Tokyo, the casualties were completely out of proportion to the tonnage of bombs dropped. This is because in both cases the continuing fires started by the bombing did much more than the bombs themselves. This was probably the intent in using incendiaries against cities with many wooden buildings, but it is unlikely that the allied miitary expected quite as many deaths as actually happened.

By contrast high explosive bombing, and incendiary bombing against targets that were not so easy to burn, in many cases involved a lot more bombs for a lot less deaths.

It is reasonable that Tokyo would have more wooden buildings than the average Western city, but was Dresden notably more wooden than Hamburg where firebombing probably killed 50,000? Berlin as the capital may had more stone and brick buildings but it was bombed so many times it is hard to find death numbers for a specific raid. All of these numbers are hard to imagine.

"America rebuilt the rest of Europe"! Did the rest of Europe have no role in rebuilding itself perhaps?

I think we need to put some more emphasis on the push to open a second front and the political manouevrings behind the scenes e.g. the abandonment of COSSAC, the reasons for the appointment of Bernard Montgomery, etc.

V-E Day and V-J day (and their respective dates, May 5 and Sep 2, I believe) should be incorporated.

Surely Stalingrad deserves at least a sentance. Because of Hitler's 'no retreat' policy, it was in many ways the turning point of the war.

- I agree. Please add it. sjc

  • Dresden what allegedly filled with displaced persons from the east; thus, the high death figure.


Do we need the detailed references to the bombing that initiated the invasion to Poland? If we are going to write all the "acts of barbaric cruelty" committed mainly by the axis powers in the war, we are not going to have space in one encyclopedia article. AstroNomer

No, I think this belongs in a separate article altogether. This page is really a top-level history of major events and facts in WWII; moreover, the new addition is inherently incorrect: there is no 'real' beginning to WWII, you could, if you chose, trace its origin to the 1918 Treaty of Versailles, the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938, the anschluss, whatever. I will strip it and create a new sub-page called World War II/Edited Text. Then when a suitable page is found we can add this information to it.sjc

2. I disagree with sjc on the beginning of WWII. The origins of WWII stretch back to Vesailles. However, if we are refering to the beginning of the war as an international conflict of arms and not merely a political standoff (as it was during the occupation of the Rhur, the anschluss of Austria and the occupation of Czechoslovakia) then it only began on the 1st of September 1939 at 04.45. Chris Markides

No, the point I was making relates to the problems in periodicity. WWII was not a 'real' world war until 1941. There is no real beginning, just points of departure which led to the event which we now refer to as WWII. sjc

WWII was just as much a World War in 1940 as WWI was before US involvment. We need to remember to define the terms as they are commonly used - not make up our own definitions. -rmhermen

I accept that WWII is 1939-1945 on one level, but the actuality is considerably more complex than that, as I am sure you will agree. That is the point which I am making. WWII has its beginnings in a number of critical events which are not purely the consequence of the Nazi provocations and invasion of Poland. To divorce WWII from these other events is a reductionism which I am sure you do not subscribe to having read a considerable amount of your admirable contributions. Without the unopposed rearmament of the Rhineland, the Nazi policy of guns before butter would have been doomed to failure. Is this the beginning of WWII? No. But it is a significant contributory factor, probably the major juncture at which WWII could have been forestalled. sjc --- Yes I think that the events which led up to the war should be discussed in the article on the war. However they are just that -events that led up to the war. The war itself began on a specific day with the invasion of Poland. This needsa to be mentioned, too. The original paragraph removed needed a lot of work. War is when the shooting starts - the rest is just diplomacy. (Although you need to understand the diplomacy to understand the war.) --rmhermen

Again, I agree with what you're saying. But the shooting started a long time before 1939. The annexation of the Sudetenland was not bloodless nor was the anschluss. The periodicity of WWII, as with most historical periodicities, is an agreed upon mental construction. And, as Voltaire pointed out, diplomacy is merely the conduct of war by other means. sjc

I'm inclined to agree with rmhermen on the subject of the periodicity of WWII. The anschluss of Austria and the annexation of the Sudetenland may not have been entirely bloodless, but local skirmishes do not constitute a war. The fact remains that both the governments involved (Austria and Czechslovakia) knowingly allowed the events. It may be argued that at the time these were puppet governments set up by the Nazis but this does not detract from the fact that the official position of the countries was to allow the areas in question to become parts of the German Reich. If skirmishes ensued with the German troops (of which, I must admit, I am not aware), these were localised and not officially organised. This was not the case for Poland - Chris.

This discussion is actually shaping up to become an article in its own right. I will create a page called The Origins and Commencement of World War II. We can then shape it accordingly. sjc

Could someone please check on whether the US just threatened to cut off steel and oil trade with Japan, or if the US did. The article is vague there (because I wasn't/still am not sure which the US did).

Why moving verfiable facts to a subpage ???
It is a clear-cut information that needs to be included in the main page !
Every reader would surely like to know when and where the WWII began. Moving the facts to a subpage is really unconstructive.

There are millions of veryfiable facts about the war, you cannot put them all on the first page.

This page should contain only large-scale information. "Barbaric act of cruelty" does not sound as unbiased as Wikipedia should be.


Oh come on. You can remove something you regard as biased. But these were historical FACTS. When and where. You think it is desirable to have facts about when and where some event took place like launching Apollo 13, A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima etc., don't you ?

I can and I should certainly remove something I regard as biased, that's why I'm here. If you step back for a minute and think about your sentence you will agree that your description of the attack is biased. Any encyclopedia, Wikipedia maybe even more than others, should state facts. Whether the bombing of town with no military targets is barbaric or cruel should be the decision of the reader.

What's more, I don't consider this attack particulary important. Its historic significance is nowhere near that of Hiroshima (the first nuclear attack ever) or even Guernica (the first bombing attack on civilian targets, but I'm not sure here). Its significance for showing the nature of war is nowhere near that of the siege of Leningrad or the Warsaw Ghetto Rising.

I don't consider the launching of Apollo 13 as particulary important.


First bombing of civilian targets

Guernica, as you may have been aware, was not the first case. The Germans bombed London from Zeppelins and large aircraft as early as 1915.

Germans = Nazis?

Maybe we should avoid using the term Nazis except where we are actually discussing the activities of the Nazis proper rather than the German army? Not all Germans were Nazis, and many were antipathetic to the Nazi cause.

  • The German military was an instrument of government policy; so long as the government was Nazi, then any government activities, including military activities, can be called Nazi. The exception would be where the millitary was pursuing activities independent of government policy, though I don't know of any cases of this.

  • If you do German = Nazi, you are certainly wrong. This only provocates the converse statement that only few Germans were Nazis.


I concur with you on this, the two terms are certainly not synonymous. However, it is very easy to slip into substituting one for the other when writing; we need to watch this closely.sjc

Two points: 1. I don't think it's a problem refering to the German Army of the time as Nazi; in the same way as I don't think it would be a problem refering to the Soviet Army of the time as Communist. It is generally accepted in literature and as mentioned above the army was the arm of the National Socialist dictatorship of the time and therefore represented the state!

1. The Soviet army of the time had political officers (commissars, zampolit) in place to ensure the political orthodoxy of army units precisely because they were perceived by Stalin and his merry men to be not nearly communist enough. It would be incorrect to call the Soviet army the Communist army. Just as it would be incorrect to call the German army of WWII the Nazi army.sjc

That's not the point I'm trying to make. The German Army, the Soviet army and every other army of the world is the military arm of the state, whether that state is ruled by an elected government, a dictatorship or an oligarchy. It is there to enforce the will of the government as and when that govenment requires. We are not discussing the individual beliefs of the German or Soviet soldier. If we were I would tend to agree, but we are not. The German army was the military force directed by the Nazi Government and hence was the Nazi army. The same applies for the Soviet army (it doesn't matter if the communist beliefs were enforced by political officers etc) - Chris.

Let us draw a very sensible divide here and use the two terms appropriately, and not slackly. We could argue this ad infinitum, and achieve nothing. sjc

According to the stats quoted in "Nazi" is a pretty good characterization of German polity in the years prior to WWII. These stats show that sure, there was a small minority in opposition to Hitler's ascendency. And not everyone who voted for Hitler was a party member. But, attaching the term is not an overgeneralization in this light. -- dja

Your stats aren't. They are journalistic prose. The fact is that the Nazi party when 'elected' in 1934 wasn't a majority govt, it only came to power because Hindenburg was unable to assemble a sensible coalition govt. sjc

  • dja, you have either a hidden agenda or a lot to learn. ESR's interpretation is utter bullshit. In 1934 Hitler was already in power, the Ermächtigungsgesetz was more than a year old, no oppositional parties were allowed, inner party opposition was destroyed after the "Röhm-Putsch". Guess what: The elections were rigged.
Explain this: Three years before the communist government of the GDR was toppled by the people, they got 99,94% in elections.
  • The Weimar constitution had no constitutional restraints against what happened. Both Nazis and Communists were allowed to strive for its abolition, the Reichspräsident had dictatorial powers whenever he wanted. Again, ESR is willfully misleading.
  • Hindenburg was dead at the time.

--Yooden Yes, you're right about Hindenburg. I was thinking about the earlier negotiations with Hitler in 1931-33. dja's comments about 1934 were what led me off on a tangent. The 1934 elections were a total put-up job. sjc.

The characters listed under "Akagi" say "Sky-Mother Akagi," presumably meaning "The Carrier Akagi," but that's not clear to the reader, who might think that the whole assembly says "Akagi," so I'm removing the first two characters. -- Alex Kennedy

Sky mother is the abbreviation of four kanji characters, 'travel sky mother ship' which obviously means aircraft carrier.