Discussion:
GERMAN-AMERICAN GENERALS IN BOTH WORLD WARS
(too old to reply)
d***@bellsouth.net
2008-04-25 15:10:33 UTC
Permalink
In both World War I and World War II, the United States placed men of
German descent in command of the fight against Germany. It was
General
John Joseph Pershing in WWI and General Dwight David Eisenhower in
WWII. Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position? Did either man ever comment on whether or not he had
any conflicting feelings about leading the fight against the country
of his ancestry?
Rich Rostrom
2008-04-25 19:13:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
In both World War I and World War II, the United States placed men of
German descent in command of the fight against Germany. It was
General John Joseph Pershing in WW I
I have never heard that Pershing was of
German descent, except perhaps incidentally.

Why should remote ancestry be so important?

During WW I there was a British general named
Thesiger (descended from an 18th century Saxon
immigrant). There were French flying aces named
Fonck and Nungesser. The French Minister of
Finance was Louis Klotz.

During WW II, there was a French general named Koenig.
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
and General Dwight David Eisenhower in
WWII. Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position?
None whatever.

Eisenhower's German ancestor came to America
in 1741, 200 years earlier.

Among the U.S. generals in the ETO were

Huebner (V Corps)

Reinhart (65th Division)
Dager (11th Armored Division)
Schmidt (76th Division)
Lauer (99th Division)
Reinhardt (69th Division)
Kramer (66th Division)
Stroh (106th Division)
Gerhardt (29th Division)
Baade (35th Division)

Spaatz (8th AF, Strategic Air Forces in Europe)
Vandenberg (12th AF)

The Canadian Army's 5th Armored Division was
commanded by a General Hoffmeister.
--
| People say "There's a Stradivarius for sale for a |
| million," and you say "Oh, really? What's wrong |
| with it?" - Yitzhak Perlman |
n***@hotmail.com
2008-04-25 20:02:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
In both World War I and World War II, the United States placed men of
German descent in command of the fight against Germany. It was
General John Joseph Pershing in WW I
I have never heard that Pershing was of
German descent, except perhaps incidentally.
IIRC, the original--long ways back--was Pfoershing. Englished to
Pershing.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Why should remote ancestry be so important?
During WW I there was a British general named
Thesiger (descended from an 18th century Saxon
immigrant). There were French flying aces named
Fonck and Nungesser. The French Minister of
Finance was Louis Klotz.
During WW II, there was a French general named Koenig.
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
and General Dwight David Eisenhower in
WWII. Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position?
None whatever.
I think that's true. ISTR Ike, near the end of the war as the more
gruesome aspects of the Nazi crimespree were becoming public
knowledge, commenting to the effect that he hated Germans and thanked
God his ancestors had left the place.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Eisenhower's German ancestor came to America
in 1741, 200 years earlier.
[Good list snipped.] The US Navy had Nimitz, although his family was
IIRC "German Russian" or "Russian German" rather than German German,
if you will.

Narr
d***@bellsouth.net
2008-04-25 22:29:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
In both World War I and World War II, the United States placed men of
German descent in command of the fight against Germany. It was
General John Joseph Pershing in WW I
I have never heard that Pershing was of
German descent, except perhaps incidentally.
Why should remote ancestry be so important?
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
and General Dwight David Eisenhower in
WWII. Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position?
None whatever.
Eisenhower's German ancestor came to America
in 1741, 200 years earlier.
(Denise) Actually, I know that Ike was actually separated from Germany
by 300 years. His German ancestors had emigrated to America FROM
Switzerland. During the previous century, they had been Mennonites, a
group being persecuted in Germany. They fled from Germany to
Switzerland.
Nevertheless, there is the old saying that "blood is thicker than
water" so I wondered if some Americans might have feared it dangerous
to put a man with his background into the position of Supreme
Commander of the fight against Germany. Obviously, such fears would
have been misplaced: Eisenhower, like Pershing before him, prosecuted
the war to an Allied victory. I just wondered if such fears existed --
and if either general made a statement about how they felt about
leading the battle against a country from which his ancestors had come.
Rich Rostrom
2008-04-25 22:48:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
Nevertheless, there is the old saying that "blood is thicker than
water" so I wondered if some Americans might have feared it dangerous
to put a man with his background into the position of Supreme
Commander of the fight against Germany.
The only time Ike's ancestry was
of any concern to anyone was in
1942-43, during the Allied occupation
of French North Africa.

Axis propagandists pushed a story that
Eisenhower was a Jew, sent by the Jew
Roosevelt, to Do Things to the Arabs.

Ike's staff then took great pains (which
he noted with amusement) to publicize
the facts of his descent.
--
| People say "There's a Stradivarius for sale for a |
| million," and you say "Oh, really? What's wrong |
| with it?" - Yitzhak Perlman |
Don Phillipson
2008-04-27 20:27:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Eisenhower's German ancestor came to America
in 1741, 200 years earlier.
. . . there is the old saying that "blood is thicker than
water" so I wondered if some Americans might have feared it dangerous
to put a man with his background into the position of Supreme
Commander of the fight against Germany. Obviously, such fears would
have been misplaced: Eisenhower, like Pershing before him, prosecuted
the war to an Allied victory. I just wondered if such fears existed --
Why wonder? We know exactly how Ike was selected for command
in N.Africa (selected by Marshall who had supervised his work for years,
approved by FDR) and for command in SHAEF (proposed by Marshall
and FDR at the Casablanca conference, approved by Churchill and
the British high command.) Dozens of books deal with precisely these
appointments, including the private comments of rivals like Patton and
Alan Brooke. These record reasons why someone else should have
been preferred over Ike. The sound of his surname or his racial heritage
appear not to have concerned either friends or enemies in 1942 or 1943.
Why wonder about them?
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Michael Emrys
2008-04-28 02:00:18 UTC
Permalink
We know exactly how Ike was selected for command...in SHAEF (proposed by
Marshall and FDR at the Casablanca conference, approved by Churchill and the
British high command.)
Was that decided at Casablanca? I thought that decision wasn't made until
over six months later.

Michael
Robert Sveinson
2008-04-28 04:17:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Emrys
We know exactly how Ike was selected for command...in SHAEF (proposed by
Marshall and FDR at the Casablanca conference, approved by Churchill and the
British high command.)
Was that decided at Casablanca? I thought that decision wasn't made until
over six months later.
It was decided at the Quebec Conference in August 1943
that the "Allied Supreme Commander would be an American.
It was expected that Roosevelt would recommend Gen. Marshall.
Instead he recommended Eisenhower. He was appointed
Supreme Commander American Forces in Europe.
His appointment as Allied Supreme Commander
took effect from January 1, 1944, but that is not
to say that he wasn't involved with all decisions leading
up to the invasion, because he was.
e***@yahoo.com.au
2008-04-30 15:20:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
In both World War I and World War II, the United States placed men of
German descent in command of the fight against Germany. It was
General John Joseph Pershing in WW I
I have never heard that Pershing was of
German descent, except perhaps incidentally.
Why should remote ancestry be so important?
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
and General Dwight David Eisenhower in
WWII. Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position?
None whatever.
Eisenhower's German ancestor came to America
in 1741, 200 years earlier.
(Denise) Actually, I know that Ike was actually separated from Germany
by 300 years. His German ancestors had emigrated to America FROM
Switzerland. During the previous century, they had been Mennonites, a
group being persecuted in Germany. They fled from Germany to
Switzerland.
This is technically impossible. There was no Germany 300 years ago.
There were 15 principalities.
Due to the treaty of Westphalia, which had brought peace to Europe,
the local prince lord was able to
decree his subject religion. it was the same almost everywhere. It
actually brought peace though not all rulers
insisted over it.

Although most Germans are either Lutheran or Catholic there were times
that Lutherans were being forced to convert to Calvanism (predominate
in Switzerland) hence in
South Australia we have a lot of Lutherans and people of German
heritage.

The real trouble makers for many centuries, militarily speaking of
Europe, were the French under their various kings and revolutionary
emporers intimidated and invaded much of Europe. Louise the XIV
simply smashed the German states and annexed the German speaking
regions of Alsace and Lorraine. Most French diplomatic and military
policy centered around keeping the states weak and divided and thus
poor.

Prussian under Fredrick the Great was very enlightened and tolerant.
Frederick invited Muslims and Jews to work in Prussia.

Germany did not form until the French were defeated in the Franco-
Prussian war A war that Napoleon IV had declared on Prussia.
The weakness of France and the sudden pride and irritation of the
'Germans' allowed a unification. Prior to that Austrians, Bavarians,
Saxons and Prussians had actually fought each other.

Unification caused also sorts of problems, the "Kulture Kampf" ie the
tendancy of Catholic Southern parts of Germany to elect clerics to the
'parliament' doesn't encourage secular democracy. the desire to
unify the nation caused nationalism. Not really much worse than
elsewhere. (Eg Ireland)

I know some ex menomites. Sort of Amish-light. ie. they use
electricity. They would have been seen as a little weird anywhere.
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
Nevertheless, there is the old saying that "blood is thicker than
water" so I wondered if some Americans might have feared it dangerous
to put a man with his background into the position of Supreme
Commander of the fight against Germany. Obviously, such fears would
have been misplaced: Eisenhower, like Pershing before him, prosecuted
the war to an Allied victory. I just wondered if such fears existed --
and if either general made a statement about how they felt about
leading the battle against a country from which his ancestors had come.
Race is very important in some circumstances. If you are captured by
members of the same ethnic group your chances of survival appear much
greater. Note Korea and Vietnam.

Eisenhauer was initially quite vindictive towards German prisoners.
Blood and Guts Patton (French?) became more sympathetic.
Stephen Graham
2008-04-30 18:02:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The real trouble makers for many centuries, militarily speaking of
Europe, were the French under their various kings and revolutionary
emporers intimidated and invaded much of Europe.
This ignores the role of the Habsburg empires in European history.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Louise the XIV
simply smashed the German states and annexed the German speaking
regions of Alsace and Lorraine.
Except for those parts that were already subject to the French crown.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Germany did not form until the French were defeated in the Franco-
Prussian war A war that Napoleon IV had declared on Prussia.
The weakness of France and the sudden pride and irritation of the
'Germans' allowed a unification.
There was a substantial element of coercion on the part of Prussia in
the formation of the German Empire.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Unification caused also sorts of problems, the "Kulture Kampf" ie the
tendancy of Catholic Southern parts of Germany to elect clerics to the
'parliament' doesn't encourage secular democracy.
This bears little resemblance to a reasonable description of the
Kulturkampf.
Michael Kuettner
2008-04-30 21:04:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Stephen Graham
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The real trouble makers for many centuries, militarily speaking of
Europe, were the French under their various kings and revolutionary
emporers intimidated and invaded much of Europe.
This ignores the role of the Habsburg empires in European history.
<sigh>
There was no "Habsburg empire" before 1806.
Just because we ruled the HRE for half a millennium doesn't make the
HRE an Austrian state.
Post by Stephen Graham
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Louise the XIV
simply smashed the German states and annexed the German speaking
regions of Alsace and Lorraine.
Except for those parts that were already subject to the French crown.
Let's not get into the mess which started with the Carolingians.
842, and all that ...
If the buggers had had primogeniture, the history of Europe might have
been different.
Post by Stephen Graham
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Germany did not form until the French were defeated in the Franco-
Prussian war A war that Napoleon IV had declared on Prussia.
The weakness of France and the sudden pride and irritation of the
'Germans' allowed a unification.
There was a substantial element of coercion on the part of Prussia in the
formation of the German Empire.
Yep; Bribing the Bavarian king, then Königgrätz in 1866 ...
Post by Stephen Graham
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Unification caused also sorts of problems, the "Kulture Kampf" ie the
tendancy of Catholic Southern parts of Germany to elect clerics to the
'parliament' doesn't encourage secular democracy.
This bears little resemblance to a reasonable description of the Kulturkampf.
Agree.

Cheers,

Michael Kuettner
Stephen Graham
2008-04-30 21:51:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Kuettner
Post by Stephen Graham
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The real trouble makers for many centuries, militarily speaking of
Europe, were the French under their various kings and revolutionary
emporers intimidated and invaded much of Europe.
This ignores the role of the Habsburg empires in European history.
<sigh>
There was no "Habsburg empire" before 1806.
Just because we ruled the HRE for half a millennium doesn't make the
HRE an Austrian state.
Think of "Habsburg empire" as short-hand for "those large bits of Europe
run by the Habsburg/Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty and usually (but not
always) pursuing a common foreign policy and with something resembling a
unified military including Austria, Bohemia, Croatia, Hungary, parts of
the Netherlands and Italy and sometimes Spain".

It's not like there's a convenient term for any of this in English or
German until the actual foundation of the Austrian Empire in the 19th
century.
Post by Michael Kuettner
Post by Stephen Graham
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Louise the XIV
simply smashed the German states and annexed the German speaking
regions of Alsace and Lorraine.
Except for those parts that were already subject to the French crown.
Let's not get into the mess which started with the Carolingians.
842, and all that ...
If the buggers had had primogeniture, the history of Europe might have
been different.
Or if Burgundy were more successful in forming a unitary state.
Michael Kuettner
2008-05-02 23:37:51 UTC
Permalink
Apologies to the group for going OT.
Note to Stephen and Rich : Let us discuss this further in soc.history.medieval,
if you're interested.
Post by Michael Kuettner
Post by Stephen Graham
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The real trouble makers for many centuries, militarily speaking of
Europe, were the French under their various kings and revolutionary
emporers intimidated and invaded much of Europe.
This ignores the role of the Habsburg empires in European history.
<sigh>
There was no "Habsburg empire" before 1806.
Just because we ruled the HRE for half a millennium doesn't make the
HRE an Austrian state.
Think of "Habsburg empire" as short-hand for "those large bits of Europe run
by the Habsburg/Habsburg-Lorraine dynasty and usually (but not always)
pursuing a common foreign policy and with something resembling a unified
military including Austria, Bohemia, Croatia, Hungary, parts of the
Netherlands and Italy and sometimes Spain".
That's the worst definition I've ever seen.
Spain ? Not after Karl V.
Netherlands ? Well, Spain, France, Britain and of course, the Netherlands.

The error in your "definition" is that it concentrates on the Habsburger as
a continuing, unbroken force (which they weren't), instead of the different
roles they played.
There was no "Austrian foreign policy" before 1806.
Before that, the Habsburger had to act as emperors of the HRE _first_;
then came their personal affairs; ie : They couldn't make peace with
the Ottomans as Austrian rulers while the HRE was at war with them.
It's not like there's a convenient term for any of this in English or German
until the actual foundation of the Austrian Empire in the 19th century.
Because there can be no term for it. Different times and different situations.
It's like you would try to treat the history of the UK as a continuous
flow and disregard 1066 altogether.
Post by Michael Kuettner
Post by Stephen Graham
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Louise the XIV
simply smashed the German states and annexed the German speaking
regions of Alsace and Lorraine.
Except for those parts that were already subject to the French crown.
Let's not get into the mess which started with the Carolingians.
842, and all that ...
If the buggers had had primogeniture, the history of Europe might have
been different.
Or if Burgundy were more successful in forming a unitary state.
Well, they were. They had the bad luck that Attila the Hun smashed
the first state of Burgundy (it's recorded in the Nibelungenlied).
Than came the Franks and then the Frogs ;-)

Cheers,

Michael Kuettner
Padraigh ProAmerica
2008-05-03 19:16:52 UTC
Permalink
I recently read "The Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" by Herman
Wouk. He mentions in passing that Admiral Nimitz was of German ancestry,
and that the original name had been "von Nimitz", intimating a Prussian
rather than a "Russian-German" background.

AMATEUR RADIO: A National resource!
For more information about amateur radio go to
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Rich Rostrom
2008-05-04 02:23:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Padraigh ProAmerica
I recently read "The Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" by Herman
Wouk. He mentions in passing that Admiral Nimitz was of German ancestry,
and that the original name had been "von Nimitz", intimating a Prussian
rather than a "Russian-German" background.
"Von" is simply an honorific attachment,
connoting aristocratic rank. There were
"Von"s from all parts of Germany, and
even from outside. Von Stauffenberg was
a Swabia. One of his co-conspirators,
Hans von Dohnanyi, was Hungarian by
descent.

BTW, at the blog The Daily Brief, one
of the contributors has posted excerpts
of a novel she has written about German
settlers in Texas in the 1800s; one of
the supporting characters is Charley
Nimitz, the admiral's grandfather.
--
| People say "There's a Stradivarius for sale for a |
| million," and you say "Oh, really? What's wrong |
| with it?" - Yitzhak Perlman |
Bill Shatzer
2008-05-04 18:47:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Padraigh ProAmerica
I recently read "The Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" by Herman
Wouk. He mentions in passing that Admiral Nimitz was of German ancestry,
and that the original name had been "von Nimitz", intimating a Prussian
rather than a "Russian-German" background.
Saxony, I believe, not Prussia. Specifically, Chester Nimitz's
grandfather, Karl Heinrich (later Anglicized as Charles Henry) Nimitz,
was born in Bremen.

The "von" prefix, as a denominator of minor nobility, was prevalent
through the various German-speaking monarchies, duchies, grand duchies,
etc., and was not exclusive to Prussia.

Saxony, Bavaria, and Wurttemburg all had their "vons".

Cheers,
T. Fink
2008-05-04 19:14:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by Padraigh ProAmerica
I recently read "The Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" by Herman
Wouk. He mentions in passing that Admiral Nimitz was of German ancestry,
and that the original name had been "von Nimitz", intimating a Prussian
rather than a "Russian-German" background.
Saxony, I believe, not Prussia. Specifically, Chester Nimitz's
grandfather, Karl Heinrich (later Anglicized as Charles Henry) Nimitz,
was born in Bremen.
But Bremen is far from Saxony, and was a free city then.
Post by Bill Shatzer
The "von" prefix, as a denominator of minor nobility, was prevalent
through the various German-speaking monarchies, duchies, grand duchies,
etc., and was not exclusive to Prussia.
Saxony, Bavaria, and Wurttemburg all had their "vons".
Not only minor nobility, even most monarchs had a "von" title. Also,
many foreign titles are translated into some kind of "von" in German.

Cheers

Torsten
Bill Shatzer
2008-05-05 01:18:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by T. Fink
Post by Bill Shatzer
Post by Padraigh ProAmerica
I recently read "The Winds of War" and "War and Rememberance" by Herman
Wouk. He mentions in passing that Admiral Nimitz was of German ancestry,
and that the original name had been "von Nimitz", intimating a Prussian
rather than a "Russian-German" background.
Saxony, I believe, not Prussia. Specifically, Chester Nimitz's
grandfather, Karl Heinrich (later Anglicized as Charles Henry) Nimitz,
was born in Bremen.
But Bremen is far from Saxony,
Perhaps I should have been more exact and specified "Lower Saxony" or
"Niedersachsen" if you prefer. Historically and politically, it wasn't
Prussia in any event.
Post by T. Fink
and was a free city then.
True, but the region remains "Lower Saxony".

Cheers,
Rich Rostrom
2008-04-30 18:32:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
There was no Germany 300 years ago.
There were 15 principalities.
Germany existed as a well-recognized
ethnic and geogrophical concept. The
"Holy Roman Empire" corresponded,
roughly, with "Germany". Of course
it was almost powerless, and divided
into far more than 15 principalities.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Race is very important in some circumstances. If you are captured by
members of the same ethnic group your chances of survival appear much
greater.
Sometimes.

George Macdonald Fraser served in Burma
during WW II with a Cumbrian battalion.

During the advance across Burma in 1945,
his squad captured some "JIFs" - troops
of the Japanese-controlled "Indian
National Army". These were mostly recruited
among Indian army PoWs from Malaya.

Fraser and his mates escorted the JIF
prisoners to the rear for official
processing.

He noted the looks the prisoners got
from Indian Army troops they passed,
and concluded that the JIFs were lucky
to have surrendered to Britons.

Certainly Russian Osttruppen feared the
Soviet army far more than U.S. or British
troops.
--
| People say "There's a Stradivarius for sale for a |
| million," and you say "Oh, really? What's wrong |
| with it?" - Yitzhak Perlman |
Michael Kuettner
2008-04-30 21:57:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
There was no Germany 300 years ago.
There were 15 principalities.
Germany existed as a well-recognized
ethnic and geogrophical concept.
No.
Post by Rich Rostrom
The> "Holy Roman Empire" corresponded,
roughly, with "Germany".
No, again.
Post by Rich Rostrom
Of course
it was almost powerless, and divided
into far more than 15 principalities.
But it still managed to kick out the Ottomans twice, hmm ?

<snip>

Cheers,

Michael Kuettner
Louis C
2008-05-05 20:21:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
This is technically impossible. There was no Germany 300 years ago.
There were 15 principalities.
There is no state of Europe today, that doesn't mean that Europe
doesn't exist.

There was no European state 100 years ago, that doesn't mean that the
concept of Europe was meaningless then.

Germany was like Europe: everyone agreed that it existed, everyone
agreed about the general location, everyone disagreed about where
exactly it began and ended, everyone disagreed about what exact form
its government should take.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Although most Germans are either Lutheran or Catholic there were times
that Lutherans were being forced to convert to Calvanism (predominate
in Switzerland) hence in
South Australia we have a lot of Lutherans and people of German
heritage.
Exactly what this and the (snipped) preceding paragraph have to do
with WWII American generals of German ancestry is something I missed.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The real trouble makers for many centuries, militarily speaking of
Europe, were the French under their various kings and revolutionary
emporers intimidated and invaded much of Europe.
The French were invaded just as often as they invaded other countries.
The Holy German Emperor didn't mind invading other places, and neither
did the Habsburgs.

If you want to look at a "net invader" then a good candidate would be
England/Britain. For the top victim score, Italy beats Germany hands
down as it was invaded plenty of times since the end of the Roman
empire and didn't invade "back" all that often.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Louise the XIV
simply smashed the German states and annexed the German speaking
regions of Alsace and Lorraine.
Actually the war was started under Louis XIII, though Louis XIV did
annex bits of Alsace and Lorraine that had been traditionally claimed
by French kings. The other bits were already French. Note that "German
speaking" is kind of meaningless as people from Lorraine and people
from Prussia couldn't understand each other. Neither could people from
different parts of France, for that matter, but the language-based
nationalism is a concept drafted by Germany in the late 19th century.

Further note that Louis XIV was mostly interested in smashing the
Habsburgs, i.e. mainly Spain though Austria (particularly the Low
Countries) would be nice, too. The "German states" were not a target,
just a battlefield.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Most French diplomatic and military
policy centered around keeping the states weak and divided and thus
poor.
Grotesque. France entered the Thirty Years War on the side of the
protestant German princes, not for the sake of dividing up Germany or
to help those German princes but to block Habsburg expansion. Similar
to the way Italy and Germany supported Franco: not because they loved
the Nationalist Spaniards but as part of a greater diplomatic game
they were playing.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Prussian under Fredrick the Great was very enlightened and tolerant.
Frederick invited Muslims and Jews to work in Prussia.
The Czar had some working in Russia, too. How many enlightened and
tolerant points does that score him?

Oh, I forgot, he wasn't German.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Germany did not form until the French were defeated in the Franco-
Prussian war
Read: Prussia needed yet another war to solidify its hold over the
rest of the northern German states. This is after waging two
aggressive wars against Denmark and Austria.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
A war that Napoleon IV had declared on Prussia.
There never was a Napoleon IV, so feel free to apply for French
citizenship and claim the title if you want.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The weakness of France and the sudden pride and irritation of the
'Germans' allowed a unification.
Read: Prussia had fought Austria 150 years, the latest round involved
making sure German unification would be along Prussian (the smaller
Germany) as opposed to Austrian (the greater Germany) lines. So it
made sure to exclude the Austrians from the economic zone
(Zollverein), fought alongside them against the Danes, then fought a
war with the Austrians the better to solidify its hold over northern
Germany, and then fighting France was the final touch (with the French
being dumb enough to oblige).

Prussia had started rewriting history books since the early 1800's,
which was when the Treaty of Westphalia acquired a bad name in German
history (prior to that, it was considered a good thing). Following
unification, Prussian-written history books argued that German
unification along 1871 borders was a natural process that everyone
else (including the suddenly un-German Austrians) had jealously tried
to block. I see some mouldy volume has found its way to the other side
of the world.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Unification caused also sorts of problems, the "Kulture Kampf" ie the
tendancy of Catholic Southern parts of Germany to elect clerics to the
'parliament' doesn't encourage secular democracy.
You mean the KulturKampf was actually initiated by the catholic
southern Germans?

Are we going to read that Poland invaded Germany in 1939 next?

Also, what "secular democracy" was there in Germany at the time?
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Race is very important in some circumstances. If you are captured by
members of the same ethnic group your chances of survival appear much
greater. Note Korea and Vietnam.
The Vietnamese killed more of their countrymen than anyone else. So
did the Spaniards in the civil war. Russian prisonners didn't seem to
relish falling back into the hands of "the same ethnic group" that
they were from.

What a pity that you weren't around to encourage them.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Eisenhauer was initially quite vindictive towards German prisoners.
Blood and Guts Patton (French?) became more sympathetic.
So on the one hand "Eisenhauer" should improve the chances of survival
of prisoners from "the same ethnic group" while the "French" Patton
(this is the first time I read that) should be expected to divide them
up the better to annex some of the pieces, yet the opposite occurred.

Can we spot a flaw in the reasoning?


LC
E.F.Schelby
2008-05-06 18:04:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis C
Can we spot a flaw in the reasoning?
LC
So many that we can debate for months. But alas, it's all OT.
Nevertheless, I am delighted to have learned that the French
monarchy was a benevolent and humanitarian institution.
It didn't want to harm a fly -- and if it did, it was purely
incidental. Swarms of the flies found that irritating and therefore
immigrated to Pennsylvania.

Cheers,
ES
L2008
2008-05-01 18:34:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
(Denise) Actually, I know that Ike was actually separated from Germany
by 300 years. His German ancestors had emigrated to America FROM
Switzerland. During the previous century, they had been Mennonites, a
group being persecuted in Germany. They fled from Germany to
Switzerland.
Nevertheless, there is the old saying that "blood is thicker than
water"
A few months ago I found out that a part of me was of German decent - from
the 1500s when Queen Elizabeth 1st invited over specialist copper & gold
miners and smelters. The Germans mixed 10% copper with gold coins and that
is one way Elizabeth 1st financed her navies against the Spanish.

Do I feel German? Not a millions years!!!!

Most British are of part German decent if you go back far enough - Angles
and Saxons.
Jim Carew
2008-04-25 22:48:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
In both World War I and World War II, the United States placed men of
German descent in command of the fight against Germany. It was
General John Joseph Pershing in WW I
As I recall the largest single "ethnic" group in the US at the time
were German/Americans, so it's only natural that we had men of
German descent in command positions.

Jim
Kari T Seppänen
2008-04-26 04:42:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rich Rostrom
Why should remote ancestry be so important?
Indeed...
Post by Rich Rostrom
During WW I there was a British general named
Thesiger (descended from an 18th century Saxon
immigrant).
Not to forget that the Brittish royal family was from House of
Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha (after queen Victoria, from House of Hanover,
married her cousin Albert von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha). As today,
they should be von Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (according
to prince Philip) but they seem to stick with that "House of Windsor".
--
Kari Seppänen koo äs ee at iki piste fi
Don Phillipson
2008-04-25 20:02:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
In both World War I and World War II, the United States placed men of
German descent in command of the fight against Germany. It was
General
John Joseph Pershing in WWI and General Dwight David Eisenhower in
WWII. Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position? Did either man ever comment on whether or not he had
any conflicting feelings about leading the fight against the country
of his ancestry?
In a nutshell, no. These individuals (and Gen. Spaatz, Adm. Nimitz and
many others) appear to have thought of themselves as unhyphenated
Americans. General considerations besides:
1. It was a specifically Nazi proposition (new with Hitler and his
theorists, never proposed before) that Auslanddeutsche viz. people
born in other countries into ancestrally German families owed some
sort of racial loyalty to the Third Reich.
2. In American official and popular culture, the idea of overseas
loyalty (e.g. of Catholics to the Pope in Italy) was up to the Cold War
period strongly repudiated.
3. American history was familiar with the concept of "divided loyalty,"
cf. Washington's function as a British general in the Seven Years War,
cf. Robert E. Lee's being offered command of the US forces in the
Civil War, cf. Fenian raids on British Canada from safe havens in
the neutral USA, generally deplored then and more so towards
1900 by which date this matter was conclusively settled (cf. #2)
to the apparent satisfaction of a huge majority of Americans.
4. The professional military ethos was also familiar with the
concept, cf. personal friendships before WW1 between British
and German career naval officers: when the Archduke Franz Joseph
was assassinated in 1914 a large RN fleet was guests of honour of
the Kriegsmarine to celebrate completion of the Kiel Canal. None
of these factors inhibited RN or KM officers doing their duty 1914-18
(although Adm. Lord Battenberg, a German princeling, was removed
from RN command, probably unnecessarily.) These WW1 events were
known and understood during WW2.

During WW2, the only American manifestation of the idea of racial
loyalty concerned Japanese-Americans. (E.g. no one thought black
Americans, even in Jim Crow states, might support any of the Axis
powers.) The racial loyalty idea was deemed generally unAmerican
(cf. #1) and was deliberately repudiated by formation, even while the
US armed forces observed racial segregation, of the US Army Nisei
division for combat in Italy.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
Rich Rostrom
2008-04-25 22:45:11 UTC
Permalink
(E.g. no one thought black Americans, even in Jim Crow states,
might support any of the Axis powers.)
There was just a tad of black-nationalist
connection to Bundism, IIRC, on the principle
of "the enemy of my enemy".

Also, the Japanese operatives in the U.S.
before Pearl Harbor told their superiors
that they were going to recruit disaffected
Americans of various flavors, and mentioned
blacks. One presumes that HQ believed them.
--
| People say "There's a Stradivarius for sale for a |
| million," and you say "Oh, really? What's wrong |
| with it?" - Yitzhak Perlman |
E.F.Schelby
2008-04-27 20:00:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Phillipson
The racial loyalty idea was deemed generally unAmerican
(cf. #1) and was deliberately repudiated by formation, even while the
US armed forces observed racial segregation, of the US Army Nisei
division for combat in Italy.
Racial loyalty? I don't think such a term can be applied to
minorities in the US. Poles, or Italians, or Germans, etc.are not
classified as a race. Racism itself remained far more prevalent
among former colonial overlords and former slave-holding societies.
But yes, there was a violent outbreak of this plague in primarily
one Axis country during WW II.

A quick check on google produced only 340,000 entries on racial
loyalty. It is a term most often used by a kind of fringe, and
by supremacy groups. In contrast, "ethnic identity" had more than
one million entries.


ES
Don Phillipson
2008-04-28 01:59:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Don Phillipson
The racial loyalty idea was deemed generally unAmerican
(cf. #1) and was deliberately repudiated by formation, even while the
US armed forces observed racial segregation, of the US Army Nisei
division for combat in Italy.
Racial loyalty? I don't think such a term can be applied to
minorities in the US. Poles, or Italians, or Germans, etc.are not
classified as a race. Racism itself remained far more prevalent
among former colonial overlords and former slave-holding societies.
But yes, there was a violent outbreak of this plague in primarily
one Axis country during WW II.
This reply omits from my post point #1, specifically cited in the
part actually quoted.
Post by E.F.Schelby
1. It was a specifically Nazi proposition (new with Hitler and his
theorists, never proposed before) that Auslanddeutsche viz. people
born in other countries into ancestrally German families owed some
sort of racial loyalty to the Third Reich.
Varying definitions of race are a red herring in this regard.
As noted in the first place, the Nazi state promulgated a
distinctive and new political concept of race, which even
before 1939 or 1941 a substantial majority of Americans
repudiated. By contrast, plenty of Irish Americans (and
plenty more without Irish blood) profess an attachment
to Ireland that does not rely on genetics. But (1) the
Hitlerian idea did make such an appeal (and political
action was taken on that basis, e.g. ethnic colonisation
by Aryans in Polish provinces annexed to the Third Reich;)
and (2) racial ideas had no function in the entry into WW2 of
Poland, France, Britain, etc.
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
E.F.Schelby
2008-04-29 16:47:35 UTC
Permalink
Post by Don Phillipson
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Don Phillipson
The racial loyalty idea was deemed generally unAmerican
(cf. #1) (snip)
Racial loyalty? I don't think such a term can be applied to
minorities in the US. Poles, or Italians, or Germans, etc.are not
classified as a race. Racism itself remained far more prevalent
among former colonial overlords and former slave-holding societies.
But yes, there was a violent outbreak of this plague in primarily
one Axis country during WW II.
This reply omits from my post point #1, specifically cited in the
part actually quoted.
I will attempt to understand the logic of this: if, as you chose to
call it, "racial loyalty" was deemed generally unAmerican, then why
are Americans of a certain descent (sometimes it seems that the
group's name can change in accordance with the latest war or
officially designated enemy) subjected to discrimination, suspicion,
or worse?
Post by Don Phillipson
Post by E.F.Schelby
1. It was a specifically Nazi proposition (new with Hitler and his
theorists, never proposed before) that Auslanddeutsche viz. people
born in other countries into ancestrally German families owed some
sort of racial loyalty to the Third Reich.
Ah, and because some foreign head of state entertains such
outlandish notions, millions of Americans are suddenly seen in an
unAmerican fashion? They were good enough to fight & fall in the
Civil War but then, during another war, they allegedly acquired a
"bad" belligerent gene -- if one accepts the findings of a group of
US scientists/social scientists doing so-called research during
WW II?
Post by Don Phillipson
Varying definitions of race are a red herring in this regard.
As noted in the first place, the Nazi state promulgated a
distinctive and new political concept of race, which even
before 1939 or 1941 a substantial majority of Americans
repudiated.
If such definitions of race are alien to American thought and
traditions, then it is entirely irrelevant what some dictator sells
abroad. But if, on the other hand, the insecurity and mistrust about
segments of the American population here at home are so pronounced,
should we then start to worry that the US constitutional house is
built upon sand?
Post by Don Phillipson
By contrast, plenty of Irish Americans (and
plenty more without Irish blood) profess an attachment
to Ireland that does not rely on genetics. But (1) the
Hitlerian idea did make such an appeal (and political
action was taken on that basis, e.g. ethnic colonisation
by Aryans in Polish provinces annexed to the Third Reich;)
and (2) racial ideas had no function in the entry into WW2 of
Poland, France, Britain, etc.
I am sorry, but I think this _is_ a red herring..Just because a
totalitarian leader comes up with a crazy racial theory, must one
automatically assume that millions of Americans "rely" on
genetics and buy into this foreign nonsense? If anything they
were fond of culture, but even Beethoven's music was once suppressed
and performing it was seen as unpatriotic.

Over the years I have done a great deal of reading and study on
these and related subjects but learned that it is wiser to avoid a
debate on these matters here. Words will not breach the wall. Still,
more than 60 years after the war it is disconcerting to find the
ghosts of ancient propaganda out and about. Not that it matters
much: according to the recent BBC World Service opinion poll,
Germany, which was included for the first time in the survey, enjoys
the # 1 favorable spot in world opinion.

As one PWE official once put it: the fighting services attack the
body, we attack the mind.

And so it happened. That too shall pass.

Thank you for your time.

ES
Cubdriver
2008-04-29 21:37:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
Racial loyalty? I don't think such a term can be applied to
minorities in the US. Poles, or Italians, or Germans, etc.are not
classified as a race.
Not at the present time, certainly, but beware of projecting one's
21st century language (never mind opinions!) upon the 1940s. Note how
often Winston Churchill refers to "the English race", "our island
race", and suchlike locutions.

Since Irish-Americans were mentioned above, note bene that one of
their favorite clan myths is "The Story of the Irish Race" by Seumeus
MacManus, still in print after some scores of years. (My own copy was
published in 1944.)

The second and by far the longest definition of race in The New
Shorter Oxford has to do with "A group of living things connected by
common descent or origin" which certainly could apply to Americans of
Polish, Italian, or German descent.

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942
new from HarperCollins www.FlyingTigersBook.com
e***@yahoo.com.au
2008-04-30 15:21:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Don Phillipson
The racial loyalty idea was deemed generally unAmerican
(cf. #1) and was deliberately repudiated by formation, even while the
US armed forces observed racial segregation, of the US Army Nisei
division for combat in Italy.
Racial loyalty? I don't think such a term can be applied to
minorities in the US. Poles, or Italians, or Germans, etc.are not
classified as a race. Racism itself remained far more prevalent
among former colonial overlords and former slave-holding societies.
But yes, there was a violent outbreak of this plague in primarily
one Axis country during WW II.
The allies went out of their way to Humiliate the defeated Germany and
therefore Germans after world war 1.
Large numbers of now minoritised Germans-Austrians annexed into
neighboring countries suffered
various decrees of persection ranging from land seizures, dismissal
from public service for 'language reasons'
closure of schools etc.

It is no surprise that a people subjected to this does not react and
assert itself. Hitler certainly exploited this
humiliation. Hitler was prone to it amplified by his percetion of the
Hapsburgs of the Austo-Hungarian empire as always selling out the
German ethnie to keep the Hapsburgs in power. Nevertheless in Nazi
Germany a black visiting probably had more legal rights and less
problems than in the USA.

Most of the Nazi eugenic and racial theories originated from the USA
and not Germany.

There is nothing in German history at all that is particularly anymore
racist than that of any other nation in Europe.
They had their colonies in SE Asia (New Guninea), China, Africa, Sth
pacific etc and were I think comparatively regarded in the later as
developers.

During the Franco Prussian war, as the Prussians fought to survive in
one of the most brutal wars ever (due to the use of rifles, rifled
artillery and its scale) they came across North African troops eg
Senegalese, Algerian, Morrocan etc. These Tirailleur were called
Turcos. The use of so may Foreigners, whose fight it wasn't,
shocked many including Bismark. At that time hardly any Germans had
never seen a black person. One can imagine fears of being over run by
endless troops coming in From the colonies of Africa.

The use of such troops by the French as occupation forces at the end
of WW1 was seen as a deliberate French slight and the German
Government complained to American forces.
Stephen Graham
2008-04-30 18:09:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The allies went out of their way to Humiliate the defeated Germany and
therefore Germans after world war 1.
Compare and contrast the Treaty of Versailles, the Treaty of
Brest-Litovsk, and the Treaty of Frankfurt. You should also include
commentary on German plans for peace with the Entente powers other than
Russia following a German victory in World War One.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
During the Franco Prussian war, as the Prussians fought to survive in
one of the most brutal wars ever (due to the use of rifles, rifled
artillery and its scale)
I'm not aware of a responsible historian who would characterize Prussia
as "fighting for its survival" in the Franco-Prussian War.
Louis C
2008-05-05 20:36:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The allies went out of their way to Humiliate the defeated Germany and
therefore Germans after world war 1.
The Allies left Germany as the most populated and most industrialized
country in Europe.

Had they gone out of their way to mistreat the Germans, Germany would
probably have been broken up.

Had Germany been treated the way Russia was at Brest-Litovsk, the
richest areas would have been severed from the rest e.g. the Ruhr up
to Hamburg as well as Bavaria would likely have been granted
"independence".
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Hitler was prone to it amplified by his percetion of the
Hapsburgs of the Austo-Hungarian empire as always selling out the
German ethnie to keep the Hapsburgs in power.
At this point, it may help to insert the mention that Hitler's
perception was not grounded in fact.

The Germans were in charge in Austria-Hungary and held a position
disproportionate to their demographic weight. I suppose that goes
without mention because it is only fitting, but unsophisticated that I
am, I prefer to restate it.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
Most of the Nazi eugenic and racial theories originated from the USA
and not Germany.
The important part isn't where the theory comes from but where - if at
all - it was implemented.

Whether marxism was a German or British theory doesn't change the fact
that the only marxist state at the time was the Soviet Union.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
There is nothing in German history at all that is particularly anymore
racist than that of any other nation in Europe.
Most European nations don't have anything like the WWII German record.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
They had their colonies in SE Asia (New Guninea), China, Africa, Sth
pacific etc and were I think comparatively regarded in the later as
developers.
Nonsense.

German crackdown on the Herrero rebellion was regarded as barbaric
even by "fellow" European colonial states.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
During the Franco Prussian war, as the Prussians fought to survive
This is a novel interpretation in which a fight for survival includes
the invasion of another country.

Are we next going to be treated to the Mein Kampf version of how the
German invasion of the Soviet Union was really a survival move?
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
they came across North African troops eg
Senegalese, Algerian, Morrocan etc. These Tirailleur were called
Turcos.
That some of these units were called thus (by the French) has what to
do with WWII Germany exactly?

Note that in 1870 France hadn't conquered sub-Saharian Africa and
hadn't established a protectorate over Morocco, so Senegalese and
Moroccan troops are out.

So far, the ratio of errors to correct (if irrelevant) facts is
approaching astronomical proportions.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The use of so may Foreigners, whose fight it wasn't,
shocked many including Bismark.
Ah.

So French colonial troops are foreigners and war with Germany isn't
their fight, but peasants from East Prussia are somehow considered to
have valid grounds to invade France, just because they have the right
skin color?

Could we perhaps stop the background playing of the Horst Kessel lied?
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
At that time hardly any Germans had
never seen a black person. One can imagine fears of being over run by
endless troops coming in From the colonies of Africa.
Fears that were carefully cultivated by German propaganda, that's all.

Hardly any Frenchman had ever seen a black person either.

I don't think that many Germans had seen Indian troops, for what
that's worth.
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
The use of such troops by the French as occupation forces at the end
of WW1 was seen as a deliberate French slight and the German
Government complained to American forces.
I understand how they - or you - would be shocked.

I mean, after occupying and plundering their country for years before
laying it waste, the French actually occupied Germany back, using
their normal mix of troops to do so (i.e. including a minority of
black colonials)?

The horror!


LC
E.F.Schelby
2008-05-06 17:50:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis C
Had they gone out of their way to mistreat the Germans, Germany would
probably have been broken up.
That certainly was what France desired. De Gaulle complained that
there was no amputation of Germany in the West. In September of 1946
he said in speech: " There must be in the west a settlement
counter-balancing that in the east. The key areas are the Rhineland
and the Ruhr." He also wanted the Saar. I have a girlfriend who grew
up in the post-war Saar. Her French is far better than her German.

In any case, plans about dismemberment were introduced in 1943
(Teheran). You will find 3 different maps in the collections of the
Haus der Bayrischen Geschichte:

http://www.hdbg.de/verfas/hbr12.htm

These plans didn't materialize because a new enemy arose. So in the
end Germany was broken up anyway - divided, with an Iron Curtain
between the parts. Now this may be easily overlooked, but perhaps a
thought about the US Civil War, which was fought to preserve the
(very young) Union will help to show that such things are not a
minor matter.
Post by Louis C
... the French actually occupied Germany back, using
their normal mix of troops to do so (i.e. including a minority of
black colonials)?
The horror!
A wonderful article. Heaven protect us from our friends. As to
the French occupation, please do a bit of reading. Things were
not all that civilized. Events in Freudenstadt, Black Forest, may
tell you something about the 'normal mix of troops.'

ES
m***@netMAPSONscape.net
2008-05-07 00:32:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Louis C
Had they gone out of their way to mistreat the Germans, Germany would
probably have been broken up.
That certainly was what France desired.
The French were in no postion to call the shots.
Post by E.F.Schelby
In any case, plans about dismemberment were introduced in 1943
(Teheran). You will find 3 different maps in the collections of the
http://www.hdbg.de/verfas/hbr12.htm
Which ones were carried out?
Post by E.F.Schelby
These plans didn't materialize because a new enemy arose.
Wouldn't one of those powers in Tehran be the "new enemy" referred to
above?

Mike
Louis C
2008-05-08 10:24:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
These plans didn't materialize because a new enemy arose.
Actually, the dismembering Germany that didn't take place referred to
the post-WWI treatment that the original poster had mentioned.
Post by E.F.Schelby
As to
the French occupation, please do a bit of reading. Things were
not all that civilized. Events in Freudenstadt, Black Forest, may
tell you something about the 'normal mix of troops.'
The original comment was about the French using colonial troops to
occupy Germany on purpose after WWI.

My reading shows that the French definitely didn't go out of their way
to accomodate German prejudices, but neither did they specifically use
colonial over European troops to occupy Germany. And "not all that
civilized" conduct happened after both wars, following similarly
uncivilized German occupation (this is no excuse for French behavior,
obviously, just the rationale).

After WWII, given how France had been entirely occupied by an openly
racist regime, the French did enjoy hurting German feelings when they
could e.g. putting Arab & Black troops in charge of guarding German
POWs etc. That being said, the bulk of the colonials were being
demobilized after WWII anyway and the French didn't bother retaining
them just for the sake of inflicting extra vexation on the Germans.

Anyway, the point originally made was that the French had purposefully
used colonial troops to humiliate Germany, to which the answer is no:
the French used the same troops as they would have in any other
peacetime operation, some of these troops definitely misbehaved
(colonial *and* non-colonial) but even though the Germans were
obsessed with injecting 'Negro' blood into the German gene pool that
was not a deliberate policy.


LC
E.F.Schelby
2008-05-08 20:51:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis C
Post by E.F.Schelby
These plans didn't materialize because a new enemy arose.
Actually, the dismembering Germany that didn't take place referred to
the post-WWI treatment that the original poster had mentioned.
Post by E.F.Schelby
As to
the French occupation, please do a bit of reading. Things were
not all that civilized. Events in Freudenstadt, Black Forest, may
tell you something about the 'normal mix of troops.'
My reading shows that the French definitely didn't go out of their way
to accomodate German prejudices, but neither did they specifically use
colonial over European troops to occupy Germany.
Louis, the remark about German prejudices is a prejudice in itself.
You can search centuries of history and will find very little
racism. The reason is fairly simple: Germany, for the largest part
of that era in the European story, was not an imperial colonial
power and had few occasions to look down on brown-colored
people. In the cloud forests of Guatemala, German coffee farmers
married Indians, and little kids with white-blond hair and bronze
faces learned languages and received educations. Visiting
Anglo-Saxons sneered. In North-Africa (Tunisia), residents worship
Rommel and keep relics from his beaten troops as treasures in their
homes. They told me how the German soldiers made room at the water
well for the women and children, while the Allied officers treated
them badly and blocked access to the water. Just a silly anecdote,
to be sure...

It doesn't matter if the troops were colonial, but it matters
how the French leadership used them and what the soldiers did. The
following is incomplete and only from Wikipedia, but you can take it
from there and research deeper. (One article a saw from the UK
Spectator called the French 'perfumed Russians.') I am sorry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marocchinate

Regards,
ES
Louis C
2008-05-09 08:09:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Louis C
My reading shows that the French definitely didn't go out of their way
to accomodate German prejudices, but neither did they specifically use
colonial over European troops to occupy Germany.
Louis, the remark about German prejudices is a prejudice in itself.
How so?

The Germans - like everyone else - had a set of prejudices. It just
happens that eunometic wrote about Germany so we're discussing German
prejudices, that doesn't mean that other countries didn't have their
own set. Had eunometic written a version of the same rant about
France, we would be discussing French prejudices instead.
Post by E.F.Schelby
You can search centuries of history and will find very little
racism.
I didn't have to search all that much before finding just as much as
anywhere else in the same circumstances.
Post by E.F.Schelby
The reason is fairly simple: Germany, for the largest part
of that era in the European story, was not an imperial colonial
power and had few occasions to look down on brown-colored
people.
Germany, like other European nations, considered Black people to be
inferior.

The only reason why the French were less sensitive (note the
difference with "unprejudiced") is that the empire-building bits of
the Army had made a big show of how successful they had been so there
were exhibitions, books etc featuring "Art Negre" and travel/war
stories.

In the course of WWI, when Mangin's "Force Noire" finally came into
being (somewhat), much was made of the exploit of the Senegalese
troops, for morale purpose. So by 1918 the French were used to
considering black troops as friendly, gentle savages which means they
weren't shock when e.g. US Negro troops came and the latter were given
relatively good welcome. Relatively being the operative word here i.e.
relative to other places (like the USA).

Obviously, WWII French farmers whose property was stolen or whose
daughters were attacked by Black troops were in no particular tolerant
mood: for one thing, it meant that arranging a quick marriage was out
of the question.

However, Germany had - as you write - had less exposure to Black
troops. There had been no glorification of them (appart from a brief
parade of the Askaris after WWI) and as the other side was the main
user at the front the figure of the Black soldier was turned into a
bloodthirsty savage.

So during the POST-WWI occupation of Germany which is what the OP was
discussing, the Germans came to resent particularly the use of
colonial troops for that duty, seeing it as a particular slight. There
is little doubt that rapes occurred (harder to hide the results than
with other troops!), though that definitely was not French Army policy
(the offenders were prosecuted and the numbers involved not
particularly high compared to other occupation forces - and no, that's
not an excuse).

So the point I was making is that the French didn't specifically have
a policy to humiliate the Germans by using colonial troops as part of
the occupying force, let alone a policy to let these troops loose. The
Germans at the time did see that as a particular humiliation concocted
especially for them, but that was due to their above-mentioned
prejudices, not fact.

In 1940, many Black troops were summarily shot upon surrender just for
being who they were, especially if they had dared put up a fight
before surrendering (no atrocities involved from their part here,
partly because they just didn't have the opportunity).

In 1945, some of the colonial troops (as well as some of the non-
colonial troops) also committed atrocities in liberated areas
(including, presumably, France though that would have been hushed up).
Again, there was no deliberate policy to do so as opposed to loss of
control. This time, given the much stronger feeling of revenge after
the German occupation, and the openly racial character of the previous
German regime, there is no doubt that - as I wrote - various
commanding officers took care to use colonials as occupation troops
just to rub it in. There is little doubt either that some commanding
officers turned a blind eye to the crimes committed by their troops,
however that was definitely not policy and in other sectors the troops
were kept more firmly in hand. In most cases that I know about,
charges of crimes levelled by German civilians resulted in
prosecution.

The important thing to remember is that France had a conscript army.
In peace time, only regular troops would be available and these would
include a large proportion of conscripts. Conscripts were supposed to
remain within more or less reasonable travelling distance of home for
when they got leave, which didn't leave many units available for
deployment abroad. Colonial troops were all regulars and home leave
was not an option for them anyway, so they got deployed in Germany. In
other words, the decision to deploy colonial troops as part of the
occupation force wasn't driven by a desire to humiliate Germans as
opposed to manpower & logistics.
Post by E.F.Schelby
In the cloud forests of Guatemala, German coffee farmers
married Indians, and little kids with white-blond hair and bronze
faces learned languages and received educations. Visiting
Anglo-Saxons sneered.
So a handful of Germans living abroad blended in, just like many other
colonists (notably French, Italian and Greek ones) as opposed to the
more structured colonial empires (Spanish & British ones) where a
stricter separation was the norm between the Europeans and the
natives.

What that has to do with the behavior of the bulk of the population at
home is what I'm missing.
Post by E.F.Schelby
In North-Africa (Tunisia), residents worship
Rommel and keep relics from his beaten troops as treasures in their
homes.
In Tunisian *some* of the residents worship Rommel and a large part of
that worship is actually retrospective i.e. started after the war when
the state of Israel was created and the decolonization wars took
place.

At the time, the Arab population didn't support the Axis despite
propaganda effort to the contrary and Allied fears that it might be
so. That issue was closely monitored then, and both the Axis and the
Vichy French authorities recorded that the Arabs weren't particularly
supportive.
Post by E.F.Schelby
They told me how the German soldiers made room at the water
well for the women and children, while the Allied officers treated
them badly and blocked access to the water. Just a silly anecdote,
to be sure...
The Allies were more welcomed than the Axis, measured in the number of
such anecdotes, though the main reason in my opinion is that the Arab
population had gone really, really poor during the war and the Allies
had more to give (food, clothing etc) while Axis troops, being poorer,
were less generous.
Post by E.F.Schelby
It doesn't matter if the troops were colonial, but it matters
how the French leadership used them and what the soldiers did.
If it didn't matter if the troops were colonial, how come there was
such a big fuss in interwar Germany over children born of French
colonial troops and not over children born of occupying Frenchmen?

How come all the atrocity stories involve French colonial troops? I
know for a fact that non-colonial French troops looted as well (having
played with "liberated" German military & other hardware when I was a
child).
Post by E.F.Schelby
The
following is incomplete and only from Wikipedia, but you can take it
from there and research deeper. (One article a saw from the UK
Spectator called the French 'perfumed Russians.') I am sorry.
I haven't waited for such articles, and instead believe that this has
been discussed here before. I know I've already discussed that issue
several times, what I don't remember is if it was here or elsewhere.

The short version:

- There is no doubt that atrocities occurred.
- There is no doubt that irregular Moroccan troops raped.
- There is considerable doubt that the version currently offered by
the Italians is true.

Again, what I believe is that the Italian are exaggerating /
distorting their claims, not that they're making the whole thing up.
And this is based on comparisons with the claims and the actual
location of the troops, not on nationalism or anything else.

I haven't studied atrocities in Germany in any great detail though
suspect the same factor would be at work (again: no denying that it's
likely atrocities were committed). As to scale, I wouldn't venture a
guess: the atrocities that were reported are certainly exaggerated,
but then there are the unreported ones.

The Wiki article takes the Italian / German claims at face value so I
wouldn't trust its figures (though see above). As for a comparison of
German rapes in France, figures for these are artifically low for the
following reasons:

- It was official German policy that Wehrmacht troops not have
informal sex with the locals. That was due to various reasons (it
wouldn't do for the image of an occupyier to look like a normal youth
enjoying a walk with a girl he was in love with; racial concerns about
mixing in with an inferior gene pool; also hygiene as everyone "knew"
that foreign women all that some form of VD) all of them documented
officially, but the result was that this was an offense under German
military regulations. So the Wehrmacht set up special bordellos
instead. The women working there were officially not raped though
given how they were recruited as well as the fact that it would took a
really gruesome ending for any "incident" to be prosecuted this might
be debatable.

- Because it was official policy not to have sex between the occupiers
and the locals, rape claims as a rule went unreported so as not to get
the officials in charge into trouble.

- A woman having sex with an occupier in exchange for food or other
favors will not count as rape unless 1/ she has a child of an
unmistakable foreign skin tone (this happened with French women and
Black American troops as well) or 2/ she has a chance to get
reparation damages out of the process. French women who had traded sex
for food with Germans generally kept quiet about it after the war for
fear of being labelled collaborationists, German women who had done
the same (rightly) claimed it had been rape especially if the
offspring was socially uncomfortable.


LC
m***@netMAPSONscape.net
2008-05-09 13:09:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
Louis, the remark about German prejudices is a prejudice in itself.
You can search centuries of history and will find very little
racism.
Uh, so that whole "Holocaust" thing, and the extermination of the
Rom was, what? A misunderstood attempt to foster good relations with
the Russians?

Mike
Geoffrey Sinclair
2008-05-12 15:17:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
the remark about German prejudices is a prejudice in itself.
You can search centuries of history and will find very little
racism.
Poland? And so on.
Post by E.F.Schelby
The reason is fairly simple: Germany, for the largest part
of that era in the European story, was not an imperial colonial
power and had few occasions to look down on brown-colored
people.
I like this, racism is defined as against brown coloured people.
Makes it easy to claim the Germans are non racist. No
opportunity until the 19th century it seems. Pity how German
speakers treated groups like Poles. Does this mean places
like Hungary and Czechoslovakia were/are even more free of
racism than Germany?

And in 1918/1919 it took how long before the Germans
decided French Colonial troops were more insulting that
other French regular troops? Or was it a case of being
more ready to believe atrocity stories committed by non
Europeans, who were less civilised by definition?

Oh yes, Herero, Mana, German East Africa, Massacre.
Not very idyllic there.
Post by E.F.Schelby
In the cloud forests of Guatemala, German coffee farmers
married Indians, and little kids with white-blond hair and bronze
faces learned languages and received educations. Visiting
Anglo-Saxons sneered.
In the cloud cities of England, English people married Poles and
little kids learned languages and received educations. Visiting
Germans sneered, it went against their racism against Poland.

It is really quite simple, "racism" is present in human societies,
but the targets are different in different societies. So in WWII
the English could collectively strongly react against the American
version while collectively subscribing to the version that said
England deserved to rule all those Indians, Africans etc.

Lots of examples of people from one European power visiting
a colony of another European power and noting the racism,
then adding how their country did not treat this particular grouping
of local people as badly, so they were not racist surely, unlike the
colonial power in charge here. Colonial racism was often an
extension of the nobility idea, the separate caste of rulers that were
superior and had to stay separate and carry out their duty to rule
the inferior.
Post by E.F.Schelby
In North-Africa (Tunisia), residents worship
Rommel and keep relics from his beaten troops as treasures in their
homes. They told me how the German soldiers made room at the water
well for the women and children, while the Allied officers treated
them badly and blocked access to the water. Just a silly anecdote,
to be sure...
Of course, especially when it is known such stories are often
tailored to the audience and especially if the teller is good
enough to ensure your beliefs are reflected back to you. Think
fortune tellers etc.

Also I suggest you go beyond a single oral history and note the
Arabs have plenty of stories for and against both sides and the
Allies had more material to be generous with.

Plus the way the attitudes of the Arabs were monitored at
the time, given the German efforts at propaganda, and it
does not look like the German efforts were very successful.
Post by E.F.Schelby
It doesn't matter if the troops were colonial, but it matters
how the French leadership used them and what the soldiers did.
No, not if the Germans were reacting to appearance. The majority
of French troops in Germany post WWI were the regulars. That
meant a higher percentage of colonial troops versus the entire army.

I note the example given below is from WWII.
Post by E.F.Schelby
The
following is incomplete and only from Wikipedia, but you can take it
from there and research deeper. (One article a saw from the UK
Spectator called the French 'perfumed Russians.') I am sorry.
Sorry for what? Announcing a preferred list of victims and
deciding to take their claims at face value?

Done any sort of deep research on the subject yourself, like
checking the location of the units involved and how long they
were in the relevant areas?
Post by E.F.Schelby
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marocchinate
If anybody thinking a sizeable group of young men will be crime free
is kidding themselves, even more when they are the law without proper
training and even more when they are in a defeated country.

Rape is still an under reported crime, so how much actually happened
and is happening is still conjecture, it is clear complaining about
outsiders or a disliked group is easier and official encouragement is
needed.

You have of course looked into the German military brothel system?
When it comes to things like rapes and sex crimes in WWII. Plus
how carefully the German authorities pursued sex crimes? Since these
have considerable impact on the reported crimes.

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
E.F.Schelby
2008-05-13 15:42:10 UTC
Permalink
I do not wish yo argue with you and do not refute various points.
Cuts were made to make length more manageable.
Post by E.F.Schelby
the remark about German prejudices is a prejudice in itself.
You can search centuries of history and will find very little
racism.
Poland? And so on.
So now we include racism against white people too? We could come up
with a lengthy list. However, Louis and I talked about colonial
troops.
Post by E.F.Schelby
The reason is fairly simple: Germany, for the largest part
of that era in the European story, was not an imperial colonial
power and had few occasions to look down on brown-colored
people.
I like this, racism is defined as against brown coloured people.
Makes it easy to claim the Germans are non racist.
You see, this is exasperating: the twisting of meanings, and the
habitual exaggerations. I would never be so dense as to claim that
Germans are non-racist. What I do reject is the annoying habit of
loading the accumulated failings of others on the shoulders of the
Germans. Deal honestly with your own racism. This gives you plenty
to do.
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Louis C
This time, given the much stronger feeling of revenge after
the German occupation, and the openly racial character of the previous
German regime, there is no doubt that - as I wrote - various
commanding officers took care to use colonials as occupation troops
just to rub it in. There is little doubt either that some commanding
officers turned a blind eye to the crimes committed by their troops,
however that was definitely not policy and in other sectors the troops
were kept more firmly in hand
Regards,
ES
Geoffrey Sinclair
2008-05-14 15:15:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
I do not wish yo argue with you and do not refute various points.
Cuts were made to make length more manageable.
Post by E.F.Schelby
the remark about German prejudices is a prejudice in itself.
You can search centuries of history and will find very little
racism.
Poland? And so on.
So now we include racism against white people too?
The claim was Germany had very little racism. I noted that
was only possible if racism was defined to include a given
group.

Strangely as defined in the 1930's whites could be racist
to each other. In the late 19th century the Germans were
not very impressed by the way many English people assumed
they were better than anyone else, since they had the world's
biggest empire.
Post by E.F.Schelby
We could come up
with a lengthy list. However, Louis and I talked about colonial
troops.
And it was noted "Germany" seems to have decided that the
colonial troops were a bigger insult than the French regulars,
post WWI, and done so very quickly.
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by E.F.Schelby
The reason is fairly simple: Germany, for the largest part
of that era in the European story, was not an imperial colonial
power and had few occasions to look down on brown-colored
people.
I like this, racism is defined as against brown coloured people.
Makes it easy to claim the Germans are non racist.
You see, this is exasperating: the twisting of meanings, and the
habitual exaggerations.
No, it is simply noting you decided to define racism in such a way
as to then claim the Germans had little racism.
Post by E.F.Schelby
I would never be so dense as to claim that
Germans are non-racist.
Good to know you are denying a claim you never made and I
never said you made.
Post by E.F.Schelby
What I do reject is the annoying habit of
loading the accumulated failings of others on the shoulders of the
Germans.
It seems the rejection is done by populating the world with nice
definitions that enable the Germans to have "very little racism" by
defining racism as against a particular group, a group which the
Germans effectively had yet to meet.

Rather neat.
Post by E.F.Schelby
Deal honestly with your own racism. This gives you plenty
to do.
I presume you were looking in the mirror when typing this.

Perhaps you can direct me to writings of mine where I was
silly enough to claim the Germans were more racist than
other groups for a start. Ignoring official encouragement.
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Louis C
This time, given the much stronger feeling of revenge after
the German occupation, and the openly racial character of the previous
German regime, there is no doubt that - as I wrote - various
commanding officers took care to use colonials as occupation troops
just to rub it in. There is little doubt either that some commanding
officers turned a blind eye to the crimes committed by their troops,
however that was definitely not policy and in other sectors the troops
were kept more firmly in hand
By the way, the above is for post WWII, not the end of WWI,
the Germans reacted quite badly to the colonial troops after WWI.
By the looks of it more than after WWII.

This is no answer to why the Germans reacted so badly to colonial
troops post WWI.

During WWII the German government had proclaimed the master
race idea which seemed to have solid support from the Germans at
the time, people like to be told they are the best and deserve more,
hence post WWII there were activities like Louis describes.

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.
E.F.Schelby
2008-05-15 16:25:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Geoffrey Sinclair
Strangely as defined in the 1930's whites could be racist
to each other. In the late 19th century the Germans were
not very impressed by the way many English people assumed
they were better than anyone else, since they had the world's
biggest empire.
Indeed, but all this seems to be a never-ending story.

I listened carefully to your remarks and will rest my case.
The OP and I talked about WW II incidents, not about WW I
propaganda. The agitprop of an earlier war doesn't justify the
actual behavior during a later war, and not only in the Black Forest
and Stuttgart, but also in Italy against Italian civilians.

Regards,
ES
Geoffrey Sinclair
2008-05-16 15:15:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Geoffrey Sinclair
Strangely as defined in the 1930's whites could be racist
to each other. In the late 19th century the Germans were
not very impressed by the way many English people assumed
they were better than anyone else, since they had the world's
biggest empire.
Indeed, but all this seems to be a never-ending story.
Of course, just like the idea the next/current war will be the last.
Post by E.F.Schelby
I listened carefully to your remarks and will rest my case.
It is simple enough, when people talk about the racism or other
bad behaviour of non Germans do you add examples of Germans
behaving badly? For balance etc.? Taking the reports of Germans
behaving badly at face value?

Or when ugly political ideas are mentioned as coming from non
Germans do you add the German contributions, in theory and
perhaps practice?
Post by E.F.Schelby
The OP and I talked about WW II incidents, not about WW I
propaganda.
The reaction against French colonial troops was post WWI.
Post by E.F.Schelby
The agitprop of an earlier war doesn't justify the
actual behavior during a later war, and not only in the Black Forest
and Stuttgart, but also in Italy against Italian civilians.
Any reason why the list only included claimed bad things done by
a given group, claims taken at face value? And what effect do they
have on the post WWI occupation?

Geoffrey Sinclair
Remove the nb for email.

Thomas Schneider
2008-05-06 20:43:22 UTC
Permalink
Hi,

Louis C schrieb:
[...]
Post by Louis C
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
During the Franco Prussian war, as the Prussians fought to survive
This is a novel interpretation in which a fight for survival includes
the invasion of another country.
I don't know what aims the french had. Maybe you can enlighten me. Fact
is that France declared war on Prussia without reasonable cause, and the
french wanted war for some time already (Revanche pour Sadowa! e.g.),
and they followed that policy later on.

They were invaded due to poor leadership.


[...]
Post by Louis C
Could we perhaps stop the background playing of the Horst Kessel lied?
The Horst-Wessel-Lied was a Nazi hymn but I never heard about a Horst
Kessel.

Bye
Thomas
Louis C
2008-05-08 10:31:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Schneider
Post by Louis C
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
During the Franco Prussian war, as the Prussians fought to survive
This is a novel interpretation in which a fight for survival includes
the invasion of another country.
I don't know what aims the french had. Maybe you can enlighten me.
Oh, the usual in a dictatorship: a victorious war would bolster
tottering public support at home and distract the population from
democratic & social reforms (that was also evoked in Russia & Germany
in 1914), also avenging what had been perceived as an insult over the
Spanish succession (Bismarck had deliberately worded his reply in a
way that would not be actually insulting though the French were
calculated to consider it provocative - the dumb French fell into the
trap of course), finally taking Prussia down a notch or two after the
later country's victory over Austria - Napoleon III fancied himself
"the arbiter of Europe" or words to that effect.

Had the OP written that France was fighting to survive in 1870 my
answer would have been the same.
Post by Thomas Schneider
Fact
is that France declared war on Prussia without reasonable cause
Absolutely.

That doesn't mean that Prussia was fighting for survival. Prussian
survival was never in question.
Post by Thomas Schneider
The Horst-Wessel-Lied was a Nazi hymn but I never heard about a Horst
Kessel.
...for obvious reasons!


LC
Thomas Schneider
2008-05-12 01:35:31 UTC
Permalink
Hello,
Post by Thomas Schneider
Post by Louis C
Post by e***@yahoo.com.au
During the Franco Prussian war, as the Prussians fought to survive
This is a novel interpretation in which a fight for survival includes
the invasion of another country.
I don't know what aims the french had. Maybe you can enlighten me.
Oh, the usual in a dictatorship: [...]
Thank you for the explanation. I was more interested in what the French
would have done if they had won the war. Did they have any goals they
wanted to achieve regarding Prussia?


[...]
Had the OP written that France was fighting to survive in 1870 my
answer would have been the same.
I doubt Prussia was fighting for survival in that war, neither was
France. But you know how the peace of 1871 was perceived in France, and
a similar peace -had France won- would have been perceived in a similar
way in Prussia.

I had the impression the OP was more refering to the resentiments the
Germans had towards the French in the time frame of the early 20th
century. At least thats the point I want to adress.

The use of colonial troops was the hanger for a massive propaganda
campaign in the Weimar Republic, but I think the cause of the
resentiments was much deeper.

French Policy towards Germany was very aggressive for centuries, already
following a scorched earth tactic on German ground in the 17th century,
or the franco-prussian war for example. The French were considered a
hostile power for some time.


[...]
Post by Thomas Schneider
The Horst-Wessel-Lied was a Nazi hymn but I never heard about a Horst
Kessel.
...for obvious reasons!
Nice one! :-)
LC
Kind regards
Thomas
Louis C
2008-05-12 14:06:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by Thomas Schneider
Thank you for the explanation. I was more interested in what the French
would have done if they had won the war. Did they have any goals they
wanted to achieve regarding Prussia?
I don't remember if there was a specific list of war aims, though I
wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't as opposed to general wishes -
as in the case of 1914 Germany - and those would run along the lines
of making sure that Prussia didn't challenge France's place as the #1
power in continental Europe. So possibly some undoing of the latest
Prussian measures to consolidate its hold over northern Germany, but
nothing along the lines of a "delenda est Prussia" policy as was being
contemplated after both world wars.

(snip)
Post by Thomas Schneider
The use of colonial troops was the hanger for a massive propaganda
campaign in the Weimar Republic, but I think the cause of the
resentiments was much deeper.
On the general point, see below.

On the specific point i.e. colonial troops, see my answer to Erika
Schelby: colonial troops were something that German propaganda would
be prone to pick upon as specific proof of French barbarism, but this
was for reasons that had nothing to do with French policy itself and
everything with Germany's own social makeup and diplomatic history
(like the lack of a popular culture of overseas achievements).
Post by Thomas Schneider
French Policy towards Germany was very aggressive for centuries, already
following a scorched earth tactic on German ground in the 17th century,
or the franco-prussian war for example. The French were considered a
hostile power for some time.
Challenging this particular view is the main point that I was
addressing in eunometic's original post.

Going over Franco-German history (in the loosest sense i.e. was
Charlemagne a French emperor of the Germans or was Karl der Grosse a
German emperor of the French?) would be off-topic here as well as too
long, so suffice it to say for now that "Germany" and France weren't
particularly aggressive toward one another, at least anymore so than
could be expected between neighbors of their respective sizes.

Instead, I'll go over a history of Franco-German relations *as they
were perceived in either country* which is still largely off-topic but
at least of some relevance to WWII because it determined how Germans
and Frenchmen reacted according to these versions of history and, for
that matter, some people still do today.

Let me start with a German view of the French. In the Middle Ages,
there was no particular notion of French aggressiveness, firstly
because the "Germans" were invading the "French" at least as often as
the other way around but mostly because no-one knew (or really cared
about) where the exact borders of the Holy Roman Empire were besides a
general notion that of course the man of Germanic tongue was a better
warrior and a more trustworthy person than those shifty foreigners of
Latin tongues. Fast forward to the 17th Century: the Thirty Years War
was *not* seen as one of French aggression but as a religious contest.
The Peace of Westphalia was seen as a *good* treaty in that it
established some basic principles of international law (which still
hold today) like the notion that "states" had rights and a nominal
authority within their borders. This sounds so obvious today that it's
easy to forget that it wasn't at the time: the King of Spain would be
perfectly justified to intervene into the Kingdom of France to save
the souls of the locals from the risk of heresy. Though the King of
France might feel differently about the rightness of the Spanish
cause, the disagreement wasn't about the principle of national
sovereignty trumping the need to save the people's souls.

The treaty of Westphalia consolidated a hodgepodge of feodal
principalities into fewer and larger territorial entities, as well as
bringing peace and a way other than war to resolve problems (i.e. a
common set of rules governing international relations and a process
for arbitration). Books published in Germany were therefore favorable
to it.

Things changed in the early 1800's, IIRC the change was dated around
1809. What had happened by then? In 1806 Prussia and France had gone
to war and France had soundly thrashed the Prussians. This was pretty
much 1940 in reverse: one army was organized on obsolete principles
and led by completely inept generals. The French were better-organized
and far better-led so they beat the Prussians in a surprisingly short
time (though Eylau and Auerstaedt were both hard-fought and by no
means one-sided battles) and - that was the real surprise -
blitzkrieged their way to Berlin by launching a devastating pursuit on
their defeated opponents. The Prussians had been just as sure of their
superiority as the 1940 Allies so being beaten as thoroughly and as
quickly came as a shock which can't be understated. The Prussian
answer was national mobilization (missing the point that Napoleon's
successes by then only partly relied on the recipees pioneered by the
French Revolution) and this included painting the French as hereditary
enemies.

So in the 1800's German history manuals started to describe the Treaty
of Westphalia as a French plan to weaken Germany, the "proof" being of
course the recent French success (never mind the fact that Prussia had
been on the winning side in the Seven Years War, or that Austria had
also ended up not losing in some of the wars against Louis XIV). Also,
the notion of a non-centralized state was considered weak as opposed
to a centralized military state (France had a long tradition of
centralization, and both Napoleon and Prussia referred to the Roman
model). This idea that Westphalia was a French way to weaken Germany
remained the majority opinion until at least the mid-20th century. The
reason why it no longer is today has more to do with this whole period
no longer being studied than with it having being corrected, for that
matter.

Whereas German cultural circles had generally been very admiring of
the French culture, this notion that France was an automatic enemy and
potential invader of "Germany" spread throughout the 19th century.
There were other, powerful factors at work of course that meant
nationalism was going to develop everywhere in Europe, just as there
were factors militating against a rebirth of the Holy Roman Empire,
the strongest of which probably being religion and geography. While
German nationalism (and probably unification) would have happened
anyway it didn't necessarily have to build itself around the notion
that France was the born enemy and invader.

What about the French? As I wrote in the other post, they didn't
consider Germany itself to be a factor in the 17th century anymore
than the Americans considered the European Union to be a factor during
WWII: Europe in 1940-45 was a geographical reality but not a political
one, the 17th century French view of Germany was the same. They fought
rival powers for primacy and avoiding another power's domination. At
the time of the Thirty Years' War, their top target was Spain (which
included the Low Countries, Austria and bits of Italy), certainly not
Germany. 1648 (peace of Westphalia) means nothing in French history,
for them the war (with Spain) ended in 1659. That the French were
primarily motivated by balance of power issues is shown by the fact
that they supported protestant German princes and backed protestant
Sweden against catholic Spain, despite cracking down on protestantism
at home. Later on, the top French enemy became Britain with its
Habsburg lapdog (this is still the French perspective, remember?). Not
that this prevented the French from occasionally trying to ally with
Britain (against the Dutch) or with Austria (against Prussia &
Britain): so much for country X being pre-destined to be an enemy of
country Y, as the fact that Britain and France fought two world wars
side by side indicates despite having been one another's main enemy
for more or less 800 years.

By the early 19th century, the same cultural shift at work in Germany
was influencing France, let's call it romantism for short, and the
French were deeply admiring of German culture (never mind the fact
that in Germany it was becoming increasingly fashionable to detest
France, the feeling wasn't reciprocated nor was Germany considered
hostile, yet). France took longer than Germany to evolve a
nationalistic writing of her history, partly because it didn't need it
as much (French unification & national feeling was centuries old by
then) and partly because the French were more busy fighting one
another. Napoleon III (ruled 1851-1871) was the one who started the
process, and it was continued with gusto after the country had been
humiliated by Prussia in 1871, pretty much the same process as had
been at work in Prussia 60 years earlier. Predictably, the French
version of history mirrored the German one with poor dear France
always being invaded by rapacious foreigners. For instance, the Roman
conquest of Gaul was described as a regular invasion (just like the
Prussians rewrote French intervention into Germany during the 18th
century), never mind how many Gauls had supported the Romans. As far
as Germany was concerned, its predatory intentions had started with
Rome's Germanic mercenaries, then there were things like Bouvines
(1214) or the various "German" invasions during the Wars of Religion
as well as the 17th and 18th century (Reiters in Spanish employ and
Austrians being lumped together as Germans for the sake of making the
point!) culminating in the Austro-Prussian invasions of 1792, 1814,
1815 and 1870. So just as the Germans were convinced that France had
always been an aggressive power [BTW, regarding the 17th century
sacking of the Palatinate, check who the French were doing that
against at the time!], by 1914 the French saw Germany as the country
which had "invaded us 4 times in a century" (referring to 1792-1871:
selective picking of dates wasn't pioneered on Usenet) and of course
after WI there no longer was any need to convince anyone that Germany
was the hereditary enemy.


For those who have managed to stay with me so far, what am I aiming
at? It seems clear that France wasn't specifically anti-German anymore
than the other way around. The #1 threat to any country is the one
that is the strongest while being close enough, with the definition of
"close enough" subject to redefinition depending on the state of
technology i.e. in an era of strategic bombers and inter-continental
missiles, the USSR was close enough to the USA despite being half the
world away though the Roman and Chinese empires didn't care about one
another. So as soon as Germany and France both unified into strong
states they were going to be rivals, just like every country was with
its neighbors. I don't believe that France was more prone to invade
Germany than the other way around, it was mostly a matter of
opportunities.

On the other hand, the historical record is one thing, and the
official history is quite another. As I pointed out to G.S. in a
recent email exchange, many languages (including German and French)
use the same word for "story" and "history". The story that the
denizens of country X learned about themselves and their neighbors is
definitely part of history because it influenced how they behaved, but
it shouldn't be confused with actual history i.e. what had actually
happened. Recycling the 19th-century vintage German history is
therefore not particularly helpful as a substitute to actual
diplomatic history. Neither would of course be a similar recycling of
the French (or British) version of European history but as eunometic
was pushing the German brand, that's the one I chose to debunk.


Comments welcome (whew).


LC
E.F.Schelby
2008-05-13 15:41:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis C
On the specific point i.e. colonial troops, see my answer to Erika
Schelby: colonial troops were something that German propaganda would
be prone to pick upon as specific proof of French barbarism, but this
was for reasons that had nothing to do with French policy itself
There was no German propaganda after WW II. There was only Allied
interpretation or silence. And there are facts.
Post by Louis C
Going over Franco-German history (in the loosest sense i.e. was
Charlemagne a French emperor of the Germans or was Karl der Grosse a
German emperor of the French?) would be off-topic
Charlemagne was neither German nor French. Nationalities had not
been invented yet.
Post by Louis C
Fast forward to the 17th Century: the Thirty Years War
was *not* seen as one of French aggression but as a religious contest.
It started as a religious contest, and developed into a dynastic war
for the domination of Europe. France's Cardinal Richelieu wanted his
eastern border at the Rhine. Let's listen to French-born Jacques
Barzun (From Dawn to Decadence, 2000 - I greatly admire his work).
Quote: "The upshot was that for the next two centuries the disunited
Germanies were the theater of war, the indicated playground for the
European powers to fight out their rivalries."
Post by Louis C
By the early 19th century, the same cultural shift at work in Germany
was influencing France, let's call it romantism for short, and the
French were deeply admiring of German culture
The French knew practically nothing about such a culture until
Napoleon banned Madame de Stael from Paris and drove her to explore
Germany instead. Her book "On Germany" was something like the report
of a voyage to the Moon. Today,many people know as little about that
country as they did more than 200 years ago, so they might as well
peruse that book. The French ordered the seizure and destruction of
all 10,000 copies of the title but it didn't help. One volume
survived, and a new edition was printed in England.

Best regards,
ES
David H Thornley
2008-05-14 04:30:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by E.F.Schelby
Post by Louis C
On the specific point i.e. colonial troops, see my answer to Erika
Schelby: colonial troops were something that German propaganda would
be prone to pick upon as specific proof of French barbarism, but this
was for reasons that had nothing to do with French policy itself
There was no German propaganda after WW II. There was only Allied
interpretation or silence. And there are facts.
Have you ever looked at the histories written about the war in the East
through the sixties? We have German generals writing memoirs, and for
most purposes memoirs can be considered propaganda. They certainly
pushed a certain way of thinking about the war. We have a real
German propagandist writing under the name of Paul Carell. It goes
on.
--
David H. Thornley | If you want my opinion, ask.
***@thornley.net | If you don't, flee.
http://www.thornley.net/~thornley/david/ | O-
Thorsten Schier
2008-05-06 22:33:11 UTC
Permalink
Louis C schrieb:
[...]
Post by Louis C
Had Germany been treated the way Russia was at Brest-Litovsk, the
richest areas would have been severed from the rest e.g. the Ruhr up
to Hamburg as well as Bavaria would likely have been granted
"independence".
The treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Versailles followed very similar
principles when it came to territorial losses. Germany lost mainly those
parts of the country which had a non-German speaking majority and Russia
lost those parts that had a non-Russian majority. If Germany had had
more areas with non-German population, it would most likely have lost
those areas as well, just like Austria lost most of its territory.

Thorsten
Cubdriver
2008-05-07 19:59:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis C
Had they gone out of their way to mistreat the Germans, Germany would
probably have been broken up.
Which of course is precisely what happened the second time around.
Though there was a lot of angst for public consumption in the late
1940s, in reality the division of Germany suited everyone, and
especially Britain and France. Was it Cripps who said that the object
of British policy postwar was to "keep the Americans in, the Russians
out, and the Germans down"?

Messerschmitt in the 1950s built a two-passenger semi-automobile with
tandem seating and a bubble canopy. My English friends sneered that it
was a repeat of the treaty violations that followed Versailles: "Come
the war, they'll stick wings on it and, Bob's your uncle, the
Luftwaffe!" They were joking ... but only just.


Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942
new from HarperCollins www.FlyingTigersBook.com
Cubdriver
2008-04-26 17:35:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position?
No.

Nobody thought of them as German-Americans, though there were a few
rumors about Eisenhower's being Jewish. (The same was said of
Roosevelt.)

I went to school with lads named Primo, Secondo, and Tercero. Nobody
thought of them as Italian -- they were just Primo, Secondo, and
Tercero.

Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942
new from HarperCollins www.FlyingTigersBook.com
E.F.Schelby
2008-04-27 20:00:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cubdriver
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position?
No.
Nobody thought of them as German-Americans,
True. Anti-hyphen and anti-German hysteria had taken care of that
before and during the First World War.
Post by Cubdriver
I went to school with lads named Primo, Secondo, and Tercero. Nobody
thought of them as Italian -- they were just Primo, Secondo, and
Tercero.
That's how it tends to be on an interpersonal level. Nevertheless,
Italians were intimidated and interned.

ES
Jim Carew
2008-04-27 20:05:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cubdriver
I went to school with lads named Primo, Secondo, and Tercero.
Nobody thought of them as Italian -- they were just Primo,
Secondo, and Tercero.
My best friend in grammer school(1930's) last name was Yamamoto,
sadly I never saw him after Feb(?) 1942. He was one of the best liked
kids in the school btw.

Jim
Joe Osman
2008-04-27 20:05:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Cubdriver
Post by d***@bellsouth.net
Was there any public concern about putting German-Americans in
this position?
No.
Nobody thought of them as German-Americans, though there were a few
rumors about Eisenhower's being Jewish. (The same was said of
Roosevelt.)
I went to school with lads named Primo, Secondo, and Tercero. Nobody
thought of them as Italian -- they were just Primo, Secondo, and
Tercero.
Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942
new from HarperCollinswww.FlyingTigersBook.com
I walk my dogs through the local cemetery and I have noted that the
local Italians and Lebanese stopped using Italian and Arabic on
headstones during WWII.

Joe
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