Comments on: 65 years after WW2 – should Germans still feel guilty? Beyond the World news headlines Wed, 16 Nov 2016 20:09:42 +0000 hourly 1 By: harb123 Tue, 04 Feb 2014 22:03:23 +0000 While I was working my way thru Oregon state, some jobs were in turkey and Japan.
Many old and young men were together for 3-6 months.
In the 50’s many families were too broke to send their kids to college.
We were supported by Sikorski and Sarnoff, both royal Russians that left for the us in 1919.
They had many folks that designed things for tsar Nicolas or were pole/Czech/Silesian/ you name the ethnic group that were glad to be working.
Some had been involved with the kaiser or a emporer, even Romanians.
They had so many war stories, I can’t remember them all, but in the 50’s they never got into fights. The turning point for the heavy nationalism seemed to after 1848 in their stories.
After 1800 the affects of Russia’s Catherine and Napoleon I didn’t seem too bad.
After the Crimean war and how Bismarck controlled Napoleon iii , the industrialization and nationalization became very strong and business banking competition made many countries unmanageable…

By: k.p97 Fri, 22 Nov 2013 21:55:55 +0000 No german should be felling guilt about ww2 what was done to us is unforgettble no one should be ashamed of Hitler actions he was a patriot that defended his home ask yourselves what was done to the germans during ww2 and who was punished for that crimes

By: battery8c1d Sun, 11 Aug 2013 09:44:22 +0000 What a ridiculous question – I’m British and the notion that there are people out there today still harping on about WW2 guilt is beyond me. I doubt very much that anyone on here is old enough to have an understanding of pre-war Germany, yes the war was a bad thing and yes lots of people died – however if we’re clinging on to this ridiculous culture of blame then surely Europe and America should also collectively be made to feel guilt for things like the slave trade, need we count how many lives we took from Africa and enslaved? Murdered? Raped? Mutilated? The point is that yes all of these things were terrible, inexcusable, however its done now – get over it, the only thing we can do is to ensure it doesn’t happen again and this is not achievable by rubbing a nations face in it. Germany is a great nation with a vibrant, intelligent and fantastic people, yes they have their idiots, but so does every country. Just one thought to leave you with, poignant I think – History is written by the victors. Thanks.

By: chrissylee Sat, 03 Aug 2013 12:42:15 +0000 I agree they should not feel guilty anymore, but they should never forget what happened. if they forgot what would stop it from happening again.

By: calliopemom Thu, 06 Jun 2013 21:43:49 +0000 Germany and it’s descendants should ALWAYS feel guilty for the sins of their ancestors. I watched the military channel and interviews with German WW2 soldiers who are still alive and all they bragged about was how many Jews, Polish and Allies they could kill.
Bottom line is, once this Arayian supreme race “thing” is instilled in your genes, you are never going to get rid of it. Germany will try to rise again in power and try to take over Europe. Only this time, an big old plane with letters of Enola Gay will be slapped on the side of it.
Do not tell me these people of Germany told don’t uphold what their relatives and ancestors did. For God’s Sake, even Oscar Schindler, a German himself, knew it was horrific to see human body ashes coming from the crematoriums that were burning Polish, Jewish, and Catholic priests bodies and the rest of Europeans who did not “fit in” with Hitler’s plan. Those people knew and all turned a blind eye. I am glad Eisenhower made the civilians walk through the camps and carry the wooden caskets of the dead from the concentration camps.
If you lived in Germany and didn’t know about the concentration camps, you would have to be blind, deaf and dumb but the ‘supreme’ race was so destined to be superior, they turned their heads to the human atrocities. The Red Armies revenge was nothing to what the German’s did to the Jews, making them starve to death and pull a child or baby from a mother’s arms only to shoot the baby in the head and bounce the infant like a baseball around. And the mothers were sent to the gas chambers. Don’t tell me different. My grandfather was a camp liberator and he has the photos to prove it and my uncle and few cousins survived some of the camps, only because it was close to April 1945.

Germany should be quarantined.

By: peaceChinese Mon, 11 Jun 2012 05:33:58 +0000 Americans are naivelly arrogent. German are nationalaity arrogent.American never actually won a war strategically. They have their own advantages, though- they are a big,& young country, they can afford to make misakes. They dont mind to make mistakes. In fact, when they realize they make mistakes, they apologize, correct it, & move on. It seems to me Americans make all kinds of mistakes politically, but at th end, other countries stiil need them to rescue. Germans are such a proud people, they are too proud to admit they are inferior. But they are a small country by size. They just have to accept that, no matter how super you are, you cannot beat up verybody.

By: msk1361 Fri, 25 May 2012 07:38:06 +0000 BornInnocent comments are quite reasonable.
There are suffers that only the victims understands. I live in Iran, a middle-eastern country which is simply occupied during the WWII with no respect to it’s independence and neutrality and have been a playground for western powers and USSR during the cold war. US-USSR conflict over taking power in Iran has played a significant role in my life. In fear of USSR taking control of Iran, with US support the first democratic government of my country collapsed and dictatorship returned which finally led to Islamic Revolution by religious guys. And now many others and me are suffering from that. But who can feel this?

By: BornInnocent Mon, 21 May 2012 23:25:51 +0000 Thank you for your point, Hurtig, but I don’t quite agree with your point. The allied atrocities against Germans have nothing to do with the question of German guilt. I agree that all crimes should be dealt with, but guilt and suffering cannot be treated like a currency. No German crime lessens the guilt of allied perpetrators, and no allied crime lessens the much larger guilt of German perpetrators.

By: BornInnocent Tue, 24 Apr 2012 01:41:10 +0000 The comment above is definitely very interesting (I mean positively interesting). I don’t fully agree with everything though.

Hurtig: “This is why the Americans are not always treated well in some parts of Germany.”

I’ll have to bother my American friends with a rather lengthy answer to this one:

Generally, I’m not aware of any hatred of Americans that comes from what happened during and shortly after WWII. This is mainly because the Morgenthau Plan aka Directive JCS 1067 and the deaths in American POW camps did not cause any suffering beyond what people were used to at the time. For German soldiers at the end of the war, the most likely way to survive was still to surrender themselves to British and American forces (one of my granddads did that, the other one got captured by British forces).

The British and American forces treated both their German POWs and the civilian population much better than the Soviets did, and this contrast really shaped the collective memory of Germans. The German POWs who were with the British/Americans mostly returned home shortly after the end of the war (few starved, most didn’t, and the likelihood of starving was probably smaller than outside of a POW camp). The unlucky ones who were captured by the Soviets were, if they didn’t starve or get shot, deported to the Siberian tundra for forced labour in mines. They gradually returned home as physically and psychologically destroyed people throughout the 1950s, if they returned at all. Many still became productive members of the German society, and I have highest respect for those people.

The treatment of the civilian population by the American soldiers is mostly remembered positively. There are countless stories of American soldiers giving people food or firewood despite directive JCS 1067. An old lady I know told me how she (as a child) and her family hid in the forest as American troops came to occupy their village, and when she got back she got candy from the soldiers. In contrast to such stories, the Soviet troops often randomly shot people and committed mass rapes, a whole generation of German women who did not live far enough west got raped that way. The evil things the Americans did were more abstract, less obvious to see and didn’t involve any direct brutality. And people still had more food than in the Soviet zone. That’s why American atrocities don’t play such a large role in the collective memory of the German people.

Most importantly, the Americans needed/wanted West Germany as a strong partner, so they eventually did treat the Germans as allies. They did give some of their Marshall plan help to West Germany which helped rebuild the country. In addition, they helped to re-establish a democracy. And let’s not forget the Berlin air lift and how Bush senior supported the German effort for reunification.

The mass evictions of Germans from the former eastern territories of Germany is definitely seen as a crime by many Germans, but it is not really associated with the Americans in our collective memory, since the Americans were physically absent. The evicted people would typically have bad memories of the invading Red Army, and of Polish and Czech paramilitary units who took revenge on random Germans for the horrors of German occupation. Then they might have nice memories of friendly American soldiers around their new home in the west, and American swing or jazz music which they had not been allowed to hear during the Nazi rule, and that’s what they would associate with America.

If there have been any hard feelings against Americans recently, that certainly has more to do with the Bush administration than with WWII and the aftermath. Anyway, I don’t think many people here have any hard feelings against Americans at all, so don’t worry about coming here.

“Enough guilt has been placed on the German people and it is time to set them free. Let’s ensure the real history is shown and all crimes are dealt with.”

Please, don’t say ‘the real history’ in this context, that sounds a bit too spooky and revisionist for such a perfectly reconstructed German as myself :). Don’t worry, I know you just meant all historical facts and not just a biased selection. You said that all crimes should be dealt with, I agree with that, as I agree with most of your post. However, I’d like to stress that the question whether or not Germans should feel guilty about whatever crimes their ancesters committed is completely independent of any crimes committed by people from any other country, and also independent of what happened to the Germans during and after the war. I don’t agree with any attempt to diminsh, relativize or justify one crime with other crimes and call that ‘putting things into perspective\'; that goes either way.

By: Hurtig Thu, 29 Dec 2011 22:58:59 +0000 Thanks for all your great points. I would like to point out a number of factors which I think need to be recognised and dealt with. In 1945, at the Yalta conference between the allies, 2 very important decisions would be made, which would end up causing the biggest mass evictions of any people through history and the implementation of the Morgenthau plan in the US and British occupied zones.

As to the first, it was agreed that Poland’s border would be pushed further west and therefore all the territory of east and west prussia would be handed over to the polish as compensation. 12 to 14 million innocent women and children where forcibly removed from these area and sent to Germany, which was now west of the order. During this forced migration over 2 million people died. It is not taught in history books and maps in do not show the actual borders Pre and post world war 2. This was a crime for which the Germans have never been allowed to bring up. Tragic

The second one, the Morgenthau plan, was partly implemented during the occupation of germanymand caused untold suffering to the native German population. This was a deliberate policy of Eisenhower. The plan make for interesting reading. It is also a well documented fact the the German POW’s were redesignated Disarmed Enemy forces so that Eisenhower could get around the rules of the gene a convention. No red cross access was granted to any of the prisoner of war camps, which lead to the death of a great number of captured German soldiers.

This is why the Americans are not always treated well in some parts of Germany. We have made the Germans feel guilty for way too long and it is time they were given a break. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled nearly the whole of Germany (just after the world cup soccer) and it was great to see some pride returning.

The German soldier may have been fighting for the wrong cause, but we should never forget that they were brave soldiers who died defending their country. There families grieved just like allied families grieved. They also experienced atrocities of mass civilian bombing which was and always will be a war crime. This said it is in the past and we need to move forward. Enough guilt has been placed on the German people and it is time to set them free. Let’s ensure the real history is shown and all crimes are dealt with.