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Old 2008-11-18, 17:10   Link #21
Lathdrinor
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The UN will never work so long as the medium of political power remains the nation-state. Fundamentally, nation-states have divergent interests (in terms of territory, natural resources, sphere of influence, etc. etc.) and this divergence cannot be absolved just by establishing an international body dedicated to its absolving.

Globalization is the only solution that may produce a functioning UN (by entangling the great powers in a web of mutual dependency from which they can't escape), yet globalization is opposed on nearly all fronts by a variety of forces. With the recent financial meltdown, these forces will gain a stronger voice, and as protectionism rises and countries disengage from each other, the world will return to being multi-polar and adversarial - as it was prior to the world wars. The players are different, but the end result is the same - resurgent nationalism will pit nation against nation, and if diplomacy fails, then the bombs will fly.

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I think, rather, it was an amazing display of cruelty and coldbloodedness along with a complete contempt for the Japanese. a mentality along the lines of "better a 100,000 of those yellow-faced Japs die than a few of our boys".
My point is that while this may indeed have been the case, it's also what the other sides thought. The Germans and the Japanese had similar views of their enemies, and would've, as I said, likely done the same thing if they were in the same position.

None of the major powers in World War II were saints. They all bought into the notion of racism, total war, and us vs. them. That's why World War II was so brutal and that's why so many atrocities occurred. By singling out the US because it managed to escape the war relatively unscathed (though even the US, it must be said, lost hundreds of thousands of drafted soldiers), you're basically holding the US to a higher standard by virtue of its victory. That's not how warfare works.

The victor frequently suffers less losses in a war than the loser (indeed, that's one definition of victory). Does that mean the victor is always more brutal and cruel than the loser? Surely not.
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Old 2008-11-18, 17:15   Link #22
WanderingKnight
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Quote:
My point is that while this may indeed have been the case, it's also what the other sides thought. The Germans and the Japanese had similar views of their enemies, and would've, as I said, likely done the same thing if they were in the same position.
"But mom, EVERYONE is doing it!"

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The victor frequently suffers less losses in a war than the loser (indeed, that's one definition of victory). Does that mean the victor is always more brutal and cruel than the loser? Surely not.
Morally, there's no such thing as a "degree of brutality". Either you're brutal and cruel or you're not.
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Old 2008-11-18, 17:19   Link #23
Lathdrinor
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Nonsense.

It's certainly more brutal to target civilians intentionally than to kill them incidentally (though both are brutal).

It's certainly more cruel to capture civilians for use in biological weapons research than to bomb industrial cities in order to deny your enemy the means of production (though both are cruel).

Taking a child from his parents, putting him in a factory, and forcing him to make tank ammunition - that's cruel. But is it the same as taking a child from his parents, putting him in a gas chamber, and seeing how long he survives?

Surely not.

Last edited by Lathdrinor; 2008-11-18 at 17:30.
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Old 2008-11-18, 18:19   Link #24
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The UN will never work so long as the medium of political power remains the nation-state. Fundamentally, nation-states have divergent interests (in terms of territory, natural resources, sphere of influence, etc. etc.) and this divergence cannot be absolved just by establishing an international body dedicated to its absolving.
this is arguable. in the age of ICBMs, as long as there is no predominant worldwide power, rather a balance of 3+ about equally matched ones, and the governments of the major powers behave in a more or less sane fashion, acting in the long term interests of their people, I dont see any reason for a UN-like institution not working.


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My point is that while this may indeed have been the case, it's also what the other sides thought. The Germans and the Japanese had similar views of their enemies, and would've, as I said, likely done the same thing if they were in the same position.
so you're saying that the US isnt any better than the Nazis or the Japanese officers who played the game of "who can slice the most prisoners in two"?



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None of the major powers in World War II were saints. They all bought into the notion of racism, total war, and us vs. them. That's why World War II was so brutal and that's why so many atrocities occurred.
I dont think you have a good idea of the war. Go reread historical materials again. In a nutshell: no, not everyone in it was the same.


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"But mom, EVERYONE is doing it!"

lol good line describes the attitude of the US nuke apologists nicely.



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It's certainly more brutal to target civilians intentionally than to kill them incidentally (though both are brutal).
there was nothing incidental about nuclear bombs on Hiroshima/Nagasaki.


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Taking a child from his parents, putting him in a factory, and forcing him to make tank ammunition - that's cruel. But is it the same as taking a child from his parents, putting him in a gas chamber, and seeing how long he survives?

Surely not.
its all nice and good, but you forget that the scale can be very different. a lone maniac who kills and dismembers a couple people is barely known. the people who killed 100,000+ with the first nuclear bomb drop will probably be remembered forever.
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Old 2008-11-18, 19:10   Link #25
Lathdrinor
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so you're saying that the US isnt any better than the Nazis or the Japanese officers who played the game of "who can slice the most prisoners in two"?
No, by far and large the US was better, but in this particular instance (the atomic bombing of Japan), there were similar factors at work.

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I dont think you have a good idea of the war. Go reread historical materials again. In a nutshell: no, not everyone in it was the same.
Are you purposefully reading my statements out of context?

In terms of military and political policy, nobody in WW II was free from the factors I listed. That doesn't mean they were all the same. Two different arguments.

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the people who killed 100,000+ with the first nuclear bomb drop will probably be remembered forever.
Just like the people who killed millions of Chinese, Russians, Jews, etc., yeah.

War is hell, not some kid's game. That's why you try to avoid it in the first place. But even though the Allies were not all good, I'd still prefer them - by far - over the alternative.
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Old 2008-11-18, 19:53   Link #26
yezhanquan
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
"But mom, EVERYONE is doing it!"
I think an important issue when studying history is not to use the standards of the present to judge the past. What is the prevailing train of thought in the 1940s? It's exactly what you said: Every major nation involved in the war was into racism. And, they don't mince their words over it as well. To dismiss that as something casual misses the point. Presentism is something I myself have to guard against all the time (historian in training).

Personally, I think old Joe's theory of "one death = tragedy, 10,000,000 = statistic" is on the mark, never mind the barbarity.
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Old 2008-11-18, 20:00   Link #27
Tri-ring
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Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
No, by far and large the US was better, but in this particular instance (the atomic bombing of Japan), there were similar factors at work.
Nope just had better PR to cover up the atrocities done by ally troops. If you read the Fog of War and/or war journals of Charles Lindbergh you'll find that neither end were on moral high grounds.

The nukes were just two of more systematic bombings on Japanese cities.
Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Fukuoka,etc. were all flattened out buy US carpet bombing and anything left were torched by incendiary bombs.
The Tokyo bombings killed more then that of Hiroshima.
In a way Tokyo looked in better shape after Gozilla roamed through Ginza strip compared to the Tokyo bombings.

One more point I like to make, Pearl Harbor was a surgical strike only aiming military installations and had very limited civilian casualties.
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Old 2008-11-18, 20:03   Link #28
yezhanquan
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Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
Nope just had better PR to cover up the atrocities done by ally troops. If you read the Fog of War and/or war journals of Charles Lindbergh you'll find that neither end were on moral high grounds.

The nukes were just two of more systematic bombings on Japanese cities.
Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Fukuoka,etc. were all flattened out buy US carpet bombing and anything left were torched by incendiary bombs.
The Tokyo bombings killed more then that of Hiroshima.
In a way Tokyo looked in better shape after Gozilla roamed through Ginza strip compared to the Tokyo bombings.
Aye. This is why I myself do the facepalm whenever the atomic bombings were singled out. The US was already doing this with "conventional" (and cruel) bombing. What makes the nukes so special?
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Old 2008-11-18, 21:23   Link #29
WanderingKnight
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Nonsense.

It's certainly more brutal to target civilians intentionally than to kill them incidentally (though both are brutal).

It's certainly more cruel to capture civilians for use in biological weapons research than to bomb industrial cities in order to deny your enemy the means of production (though both are cruel).

Taking a child from his parents, putting him in a factory, and forcing him to make tank ammunition - that's cruel. But is it the same as taking a child from his parents, putting him in a gas chamber, and seeing how long he survives?

Surely not.
What I meant is, there's no difference in terms of morality. You either engage in killing acts or you don't. You either engage in war-related brutality or you don't. You can't claim a moral high ground because you "were less cruel". It's ridiculous.

Soldiers are people, too.
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Old 2008-11-18, 22:10   Link #30
Lathdrinor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
Nope just had better PR to cover up the atrocities done by ally troops. If you read the Fog of War and/or war journals of Charles Lindbergh you'll find that neither end were on moral high grounds.

The nukes were just two of more systematic bombings on Japanese cities.
Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Fukuoka,etc. were all flattened out buy US carpet bombing and anything left were torched by incendiary bombs.
The Tokyo bombings killed more then that of Hiroshima.
In a way Tokyo looked in better shape after Gozilla roamed through Ginza strip compared to the Tokyo bombings.

One more point I like to make, Pearl Harbor was a surgical strike only aiming military installations and had very limited civilian casualties.
Anything not covered by this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_...g_World_War_II

?

If not, then my point stands. Don't get me wrong, the Allies were no saints (I already said this), but they weren't nearly as terrible as governments that put civilians in gas chambers en masse just because they were of a certain ethnicity.

Most people do regard Pearl Harbor as a surgical military strike. In fact, one could argue that despite the war, Americans did not emerge out of it hating Japan because Japan never really touched the US mainland. Sure, propaganda during the war ensured that the Japanese were regarded as subhuman, but you know, the firebombings of Tokyo and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are regarded as terrible acts by many Americans and today, Japan is one of America's closest allies. America even apologized and compensated the Japanese Americans they interned (wrongfully) during the war. You don't get there by way of intense hatred.

Japan's actions in China, Korea, and Southeast Asia, on the other hand, were not so "light," and correspondingly, the people there take a much dimmer view of Japan.

Last edited by Lathdrinor; 2008-11-18 at 22:47.
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Old 2008-11-18, 22:26   Link #31
yezhanquan
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Japan's attempt to downplay her role in the war is the boner for her East-Asian neighbours. While she did contribute huge amounts of money to her neighbours, it's literally easier for the camel to walk through the eye of the needle than for leaders to say "sorry" without reservation. There was no Japanese equivalent of Brandt's kneeling in 1970.

In any case, I personally think that alot of nukes would have to be used, across the entire world, for the "most of us to be dead" scenario to happen. There are 6 billion people now, 6000 million, and counting. For all of man's warring abilities, we couldn't even match the killings of a flu bug (the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918-19).

I don't know what is more galling: The destruction of 3000 million people through the use of 1000+ nukes (or any other means), or the fact that after that carnage, half of humanity still remains.
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Old 2008-11-18, 22:55   Link #32
Lathdrinor
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Originally Posted by WanderingKnight View Post
What I meant is, there's no difference in terms of morality. You either engage in killing acts or you don't. You either engage in war-related brutality or you don't. You can't claim a moral high ground because you "were less cruel". It's ridiculous.
Nonsense, once again.

There's a reason the Geneva Conventions make a specific distinction between combatants and non-combatants, and it's to prevent excess brutality & cruelty during time of war. Yes, soldiers are people, too, but whether you are a soldier or not makes a difference with regards to the nature of violence directed against you.

If you take up arms against an enemy, then by virtue of self-defense that enemy has a right to take up arms against you. That's why combatant kills (on the battlefield, not POWs) are not listed as war crimes. War, by its very nature, is organized violence between combatants, and though it is brutal and cruel it is not "wrong" to shoot at someone who's shooting at you.

This is especially true if that someone started shooting first, which is why there is also a moral distinction made between aggressors and defenders in a war. Aggressors take more blame. Defenders take less. This isn't always the right rule to apply, but generally, if you're the one who started the violence, you're the one who's going to take more responsibility (though victor's justice complicates things).

But shooting at someone who's not shooting at you, and who does not pose a threat to you? That's a whole different story.

What does your "gut feeling" tell you - that shooting at a defenseless little girl is the same as shooting at an enemy soldier whose orders are to kill you? I should hope not.

Last edited by Lathdrinor; 2008-11-18 at 23:05.
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Old 2008-11-18, 23:07   Link #33
Tri-ring
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Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
Anything not covered by this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allied_...g_World_War_II

?

If not, then my point stands. Don't get me wrong, the Allies were no saints (I already said this), but they weren't nearly as terrible as governments that put civilians in gas chambers en masse just because they were of a certain ethnicity.


I wonder what you are comparing it with???
And still you say the allied forces were better than the Japanese on the battle field.
Japan did not operate gas chambers either nor killed based on ethnicity.

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Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
Japan's actions in China, Korea, and Southeast Asia, on the other hand, were not so "light," and correspondingly, the people there take a much dimmer view of Japan.
Ahh, Korea was part of Japan during the War with Koreans as part of the Japanese military. South east Asia was colonies of European nations.
Ethnic Chinese were targeted because they collaborated with the allies troops and resisted Japanese occupation not because they were ethnic Chinese.
I do not have any intent to down play what Japan did but there are still facts that needs to be straightened out.
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Old 2008-11-18, 23:12   Link #34
Lathdrinor
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I wonder what you are comparing it with???
And still you say the allied forces were better than the Japanese on the battle field.
Japan did not operate gas chambers either nor killed based on ethnicity.
I was responding to the general notion that the Allies were not better than the Axis. The Axis powers included Nazi Germany, which did indeed make use of gas chambers.

As for Japan... I think the rate of POW kills alone is enough to make the distinction. I could also bring out the biological experiments and forced labor/death camps but hey, do you really want me to drag out all the dirty laundry?

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Ahh, Korea was part of Japan during the War and South east Asia was colonies of Euopean nations. Koreans were part of the Japanese military.
Ethnic Chinese were targeted because they collaborated with the allies troops and resisted Japanese occupation not because they were ethnic Chinese.
I do not have any intent to down play what Japan did but there are still facts that needs to be straightened out.
Korea was occupied by Japan - BIG difference from being "part" of Japan.

And as for the targeting of ethnic Chinese you should realize that it's no different than ethnic Jews being targeted by Nazi Germany because they "collaborated with the forces of International Jewry." Yes, some Chinese no doubt collaborated with the Allies (can you blame them? Japan was invading their homeland), but the massacres conducted by Imperial Japan went far, far beyond executing rebels and bordered on state terrorism. Anywhere from 20-30 million Chinese civilians perished during the war. Japan's casualties were "light" by comparison.
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Old 2008-11-18, 23:29   Link #35
Tri-ring
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Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
I was responding to the general notion that the Allies were not better than the Axis. The Axis powers included Nazi Germany, which did indeed make use of gas chambers.

As for Japan... I think the rate of POW kills alone is enough to make the distinction. I could also bring out the biological experiments and forced labor/death camps but hey, do you really want me to drag out all the dirty laundry?
Have you looked at the bottom part of the link you provided?

Death rates of POWs held by Axis powers
Western Allied POWs held by Japan: 27%

Death rates of POWs held by the Allies
Japanese POWs held by U.S.: relatively low, mainly suicides according to James D. Morrow[78] or according to Ulrich Straus high as many prisoners were shot by front line troops.

The US can't even generate the numbers.LOL



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Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
Korea was occupied by Japan - BIG difference from being "part" of Japan.
Again re-read the history books. It was not occupied, it was annexed accepted/authorized by the League of Nations in 1905.

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Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
And as for the targeting of ethnic Chinese you should realize that it's no different than ethnic Jews being targeted by Nazi Germany because they "collaborated with the forces of International Jewry." Yes, some Chinese no doubt collaborated with the Allies (can you blame them? Japan was invading their homeland), but the massacres conducted by Imperial Japan went far, far beyond moral acceptability.
The Germans targeted the Jews becuase of the Euginics theory not because they collaborated against them. The resistance movement was a result of ethnic cleansing not the cause.

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Originally Posted by Lathdrinor View Post
Anywhere from 20-30 million Chinese civilians perished during the war. Japan's casualties were "light" by comparison.
And I wonder where you pulled that figure?
Some dumb CCP propaganda no doubt.
Chinese were killing other Chinese before Japan went in. Don't dump the blame all on Japan because it is a easy.
Look at facts.
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Old 2008-11-18, 23:47   Link #36
yezhanquan
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Er... Korea was officially annexed in 1910. Besides, what is the difference between occupation and annexation? To annex a territory, you have to occupy it first. Becoming part of the country officially changes little on the ground. When Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia in 1908, did it make any difference in the perception of the Serbs? No. Same here.

Besides, many local partisan groups did participate in pogroms against the Jews.
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Old 2008-11-19, 00:00   Link #37
Tri-ring
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Originally Posted by yezhanquan View Post
Er... Korea was officially annexed in 1910. Besides, what is the difference between occupation and annexation? To annex a territory, you have to occupy it first. Becoming part of the country officially changes little on the ground. When Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia in 1908, did it make any difference in the perception of the Serbs? No. Same here.
I don't know about Austria-Hungary annexation but through the annaxation, Korean citizens received various rights like voting and pension.
I really do not think the ethnic counter parts who were born in the European occupied South Eastern Asian colonies enjoyed those same rights.
So if you compare details occupation and annexation is different.
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Old 2008-11-19, 00:19   Link #38
Reckoner
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Just to contribute more to the debate going on, lets not forget that the U.S. had internment camps for the Japanese during the war.

Anyway, does it really matter? I think comparing the foolishness of every nation during this horrific war gets us no where as people. We need to focus on the present.
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Old 2008-11-19, 00:31   Link #39
Lathdrinor
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Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
Have you looked at the bottom part of the link you provided?

Death rates of POWs held by Axis powers
Western Allied POWs held by Japan: 27%

Death rates of POWs held by the Allies
Japanese POWs held by U.S.: relatively low, mainly suicides according to James D. Morrow[78] or according to Ulrich Straus high as many prisoners were shot by front line troops.

The US can't even generate the numbers.LOL
It's difficult to generate POW death rates for a country whose soldiers fought to the death because of their military code (the US mostly engaged Japan near the end of the war, when it was island hopping and Japan was on the defensive & employing fight-to-the-death tactics).

Nonetheless, if you look at the Allied numbers for other POWs, you'll notice that it's nowhere close to being as high as the Japanese numbers were for POWs. The Soviet Red Army, which was brutal in its own right, had only a 10% death rate for Japanese POWs. The Japanese had a 99% kill rate for Chinese POWs and a 27% for Western Allied POWs (36% for US POWs). That's horrendous compared to the Allied powers.

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Again re-read the history books. It was not occupied, it was annexed accepted/authorized by the League of Nations in 1905.
How did Japan annex Korea? By Korean consent? By a referendum vote in which Koreans decided that they would like to join Japan? By the fact that Korea was a part of Japan to begin with?

No, it was by occupation of the Korean capital, assassination of Korean leaders, and coercion of Korean politicians by threat of force. Now, don't get me wrong - at the time such annexations were often tolerated because the European empires were doing the same things, but by modern interpretations, it was a treaty produced by coercion and therefore null and void.

History is written by the victors, and corrected by the victims. I'll go with the victims' interpretation of this era, and not the victimizers', thanks.

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The Germans targeted the Jews becuase of the Euginics theory not because they collaborated against them. The resistance movement was a result of ethnic cleansing not the cause.
Incorrect. Anti-Jewish sentiment was deeply seated and came from a combination of economic, political, and religious factors. Before Hitler ordered the Final Solution, the Jews were blamed for MANY things - lack of patriotism, collaboration with Germany's enemies, defiling of German politics, erosion of German culture, plotting against Germany, etc. etc. etc. This is nothing new - anti-Jewish sentiment (anti-semitism) is widespread in Europe due to the Jews' disproportionate control of Europe's finances and their general "outsider" status.

But the Nazis took it to the extremes because they genuinely believed that the Jews were working against Germany and turning Europe against them. Here's Goebbels' last anti-semitic essay, as an example: http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/goeb64.htm

"One could not understand this war if one did not always keep in mind the fact that International Jewry stands behind all the unnatural forces that our united enemies use to attempt to deceive the world and keep humanity in the dark. It is, so to speak, the mortar that holds the enemy coalition firmly together, despite its differences of class, ideology, and interests. Capitalism and Bolshevism have the same Jewish roots, two branches of the same tree that in the end bear the same fruit. International Jewry uses both in its own way to suppress the nations and keep them in its service. How deep its influence on public opinion is in all the enemy countries and many neutral nations is plain to see that it may never be mentioned in newspapers, speeches, and radio broadcasts. There is a law in the Soviet Union that punishes anti-Semitism — or in plain English, public education about the Jewish Question — by death. The expert in these matters is in no way surprised that a leading spokesman for the Kremlin said over the New Year that the Soviet Union would not rest until this law was valid throughout the world. In other words, the enemy clearly says that its goal in this war is to put the total domination of Jewry over the nations of the earth under legal protection, and to threaten even a discussion of this shameful attempt with the death penalty."

That's the first paragraph.

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And I wonder where you pulled that figure?
Some dumb CCP propaganda no doubt.
Nope. These figures are estimates by historians based on a variety of statistics. Google Chinese casualties during World War II and look at the various sources. The figures generally range from 10 million to 30 million. 20 million is an average and is often cited.

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Chinese were killing other Chinese before Japan went in. Don't dump the blame all on Japan because it is a easy.
I didn't say all 20 million were killed by the Japanese. About 6-7 million died as the direct result of Japanese military actions and war atrocities. Another 5-6 million died as a result of how the KMT ran the war effort. Famine during the time (caused by the war) killed another 2-3 million. If you want to believe that the figures were lower (ie 10 million), then simply scale those numbers. So it's 3-3.5 million as a result of Japan, 3 million as a result of the KMT, etc.

You need to understand the effect of Japan's invasion of China. China's agricultural economy, which sustained the lives of its 400 million citizens (around the time of war), was devastated by the war. What gains were made during the Republican period was destroyed by sustained Japanese offensives and bombings. The result was widespread famine, disease, and anarchy. Collateral damage, combined with numerous documented massacres, combined with forced labor under abhorrent conditions, combined with the effects of disease and famine, caused the large number of deaths.

But that was just in China. You really should do some research (and not in Japanese history books) before you question me.

Quote:
Look at facts.
And where are your facts? If you're going to dismiss all the numbers as Allies propaganda, you had better have some pretty damn good evidence. Otherwise, it's just right-winger talk.

Last edited by Lathdrinor; 2008-11-19 at 01:18.
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Old 2008-11-19, 04:10   Link #40
Irenicus
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The who's-worse-than-who-in-this-situation is one of the worst forms of debate one can possibly encounter on the internet.

The universal answer? We are all murderers, oppressors, self-interested parasites of Mother Earth. Get over it, your country committed heinous, unforgivable crimes against fellow humans. Mine did, too.

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Originally Posted by Tri-ring View Post
I don't know about Austria-Hungary annexation but through the annaxation, Korean citizens received various rights like voting and pension.
I really do not think the ethnic counter parts who were born in the European occupied South Eastern Asian colonies enjoyed those same rights.
So if you compare details occupation and annexation is different.
...hah.

I think the Koreans will have a very different opinion of the Japanese occupation period than you appear to have.

To put it simply, they consider it attempted cultural genocide. Mind, colonialism and cultural genocide goes hand-in-hand, so it's not like Japan's breaking new grounds in the favorite human pastime of oppression when it conquered Korea.
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