Remembrance Day: What exactly do we remember?

This is a lazy post, in fact a year-old repost from before I started this blog, that I thought readers might find interesting. It’s explictly a moralistic sort of piece, not a political analysis (no war but the class war! etc).

To listen to most endorsements of remembrance day, and to most poppy-related appeals for money, one would be forgiven for thinking that the job of a soldier was to die. It is not: the job of a soldier is to kill people. Those people fall into approximately two categories: firstly, civilians, and secondly, other soldiers. The number of dictators, politicians, generals, etc. who are killed by soldiers is negligible.

It’s true that courage was not uncommon among the armed forces, and that many (though probably well under half) of the last century’s fallen soldiers were fighting for something better than what they were fighting against; it’s also true that most responsibility the blame for the horrors of war lies with high-level decision-makers – and the average soldier is usually in a situation of very limited freedom. But people are always free and people who kill are responsible for deaths, even if others bear equal or greater responsibility. Consequently it seems ridiculous to look on soldiers with an attitude only of praise, and not utter a word of blame or condemnation. That condemnation should be limited by the very limited perspective, the limited power, the limited opportunities, of average soldiers – but it cannot be simply dropped altogether.

Of course there is huge variation among individual soldiers, ranging from the truly discriminate soldier who shoots only those shooting them, and fights only for good causes, down to those who participate in irregular massacres – to deny this variation would remove the whole point of speaking of freedom. What is wrong is to ignore the whole issue, for this imputes to them a uniform purity.

To put it another way, there is a dilemma. One option is to give respect to all war veterans, all war casualties. That includes those who killed our brave soldiers, and those who drove back the other side, gained control of a town, and so enabled the shooting of political enemies, hostages, or racial “enemies”. Yet to give respect and thanks to all these people who sacrificed their lives, and to put a full stop there, would seem to mean ignoring, perhaps even “forgetting” that they participated in, enabled, fought for, crimes against humanity.

The other option would be to select only those who died fighting for “freedom”. The problems with this are, firstly, that all armies kill innocent people, certainly a huge number in both World Wars, and secondly, that it too ignores a legitimate facet of the issue – that the young German, Italian, Japanese, etc. men and women who fought were also brave, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for a higher goal, and also left behind families and friends, whose grief and loss is not annulled by the goals of their nations’ leaders.

Absolutising one aspect – respect and compassion for those who died and their loved ones – and attempting to ignore the dissonant aspect – condemnation of their crimes – forces us, here as always, to draw arbitrary lines between real grief and wrong grief, between wicked armies and saintly armies.

In comments to this piece, some interesting discussions emerged. I was told that

“British soldiers died defending their way of life…Italian and German soldiers, on the other hand, made no such sacrifice for us. That’s why we don’t remember them…Remembrance is a small expression of gratitude to the millions who died specifically defending the culture and way of life that we abuse nowadays.”

To which I had replied

I’m suspicious of all this talk of defending a ‘way of life’. Were British soldiers fighting for particular types of food or music? Were they fighting for specific constitutional arrangements? Were they fighting for a society that still discriminated against women and criminalised homosexuality? Were they fighting to maintain the empire? Were they fighting for ‘king and country’? It all seems like projecting a nebulous ideal onto people who, primarily, were fighting because the law told them they had to and society told them they should – the same reason the german and italian soldiers fought.”

I was also told that “They were fighting for the survival of the british nation. Had they not fought Germany and instead let the Germans invade, then millions of British civilians would have been killed.”

To which (apart from the fact that I’ve never yet heard a remembrance service say “the generals and politicians responsible for the 1st World War and others should all be hanged, the whole thing was a farce and a waste – it’s specifically WWII that we’re commemorating here.”) I had replied:

“I agree that I explicitly said that yes, soldiers’ sacrifice to defeat Nazism should be remembered. My point was that their “sacrifice” of other people, which helped one nation to dominate another and was part of a national engine of propaganda and censorship should ALSO be remembered, rather than completely ignored.”

While I recognise that courage was widespread among the armed forces, and that many (though probably well under half) of the last century’s fallen soldiers were fighting for something better than what they were fighting against, I think the way that the issue is usually invoked is appallingly and irresponsibly distorted.

 

To listen to most endorsements of remembrance day, and to most poppy-related appeals for money, one would be forgiven for thinking that the job of a soldier was to die. It is not: the job of a soldier is to kill people. Those people fall into approximately two categories: firstly, civilians, and secondly, other soldiers. The number of dictators, politicians, generals, etc. who are killed by soldiers is negligible. Now certainly the majority of the blame for the horrors of war lies with the most powerful and the most free, i.e. high-level decision-makers – certainly the average soldier is usually in a situation of very limited freedom. But people are always free and people who kill are responsible for deaths, even if others bear equal or greater responsibility. Consequently it seems ridiculous to look on soldiers with an attitude only of praise, and not utter a word of blame or condemnation. That condemnation should be limited by the very limited perspective, the limited power, the limited opportunities, of average soldiers – but it cannot be simply dropped altogether. To call them murderers would be simplistic, but ‘accomplice to murder’ is much closer. And certainly there will be huge variation among individual soldiers, ranging from the truly discriminate soldier who shoots only those shooting them, and fights only for good causes, down to those who participate in irregular massacres – to deny this variation would remove the whole point of speaking of freedom. What is wrong is to ignore the whole issue, for this imputes to them a uniform purity.

To put it another way, there is a dilemma. One option is to give respect to all war veterans, all war casualties. That includes those who, even if they never fired a shot, drove back the other side, gained control of a town, and consequently enabled the shooting of political enemies, racial “enemies”, or any other victim of repression. Indeed, it includes giving ‘thanks’ not only for young british man X, but also for young Italian man Y who shot him. Yet to give respect and thanks to all these people who sacrificed their lives, and to put a full stop there, would seem to mean ignoring, perhaps even “forgetting” that they participated in, enabled, fought for, crimes against humanity.

The other option would be to select only those who died fighting for “freedom”. The problems with this are, firstly, that all armies kill innocent people, and that in the central cases, the Allied armies in the 2 world wars, they killed lots of innocent people, summed up in the dropping of the atom bomb, and, secondly, that it too ignores a legitimate facet of the issue – that the young German, Italian, Japanese, etc. men and women who fought were also brave, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for a higher goal, and also left behind families and friends, whose grief and loss is not annulled by the goals of their nations’ leaders. Absolutising one aspect – respect and compassion for those who died and their loved ones – and attempting to ignore the dissonant aspect – condemnation of their crimes – forces us, here as always, to draw arbitrary lines between real grief and wrong grief, between wicked armies and saintly armies.

4 Responses to “Remembrance Day: What exactly do we remember?”

  1. Colm O'Connor Says:

    Amen

    (or whatever the non-religious equivalent is thereof)

  2. Pejar Says:

    I’ve always thought that the best way to look upon Remembrance Day is to see all of the dead soldiers as victims, not so much of the other side’s soldiers (who, after all, are usually in the same position), but of the higher ups and politics which forced them into that situation. Now, in each case it may be difficult or even impossible to say whether they are the victim of their own chain of command (where it is acting wrongfully), or the enemy’s chain of command (in which case their own chain of command is acting rightly). And even in the very rare cases where neither chain of command behaved wrongly, we can still say that they were the victims of terrible circumstances (in the same way that we might commemorate earthquake victims).

    Now, it may be that some soldiers are so morally reprehensible that even this commemoration is undeserved (although funerals always seem to gloss over the deceased’s indiscretions, so why not remembrance?). But even so, the vast majority were genuinely victims of forces far outside of their control.

  3. Gabriel Says:

    Were you still hanging around Oxford and gone to the St Gile’s parade you would have been pleased to learn that we were remembering how our soldiers fought and died fotr the principles of satyagraha (or whatever that nappy wearing abuser’s *philosophy* was called) and to remove hunger and want from our world. I’m told that had you attended the chapel service you would have learnt that they fought to release Al-Megrahi from prison or something.

    Of course, outside towns full of brainwashed university students and Mohammedan immigrants, we remember that our soldiers who fought and died for their King, their country, their empire and, in some cases, their G-d. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. The reason we don’t commemorate Germans is because we’re not German. They can have whatever commemoration they want. Frankly, if Britain is becoming so degenerate that we can’t even have a solemn and decent memorial service without liberaling it up and turning it into some puke-inducing inclusivity fest, I’d rather just jack the whole thing in.

  4. j Says:

    Eisenhower’s Holocaust – His
    Slaughter Of 1.7 Million Germans
    Author Unknown
    6-22-8

    “God, I hate the Germans…” (Dwight David Eisenhower in a letter to his wife in September, 1944)

    First, I want you to picture something in your mind. You are a German soldier who survived through the battles of World II. You were not really politically involved, and your parents were also indifferent to politics, but suddenly your education was interrupted and you were drafted into the German army and told where to fight. Now, in the Spring of 1945, you see that your country has been demolished by the Allies, your cities lie in ruins, and half of your family has been killed or is missing. Now, your unit is being surrounded, and it is finally time to surrender. The fact is, there is no other choice.

    It has been a long, cold winter. The German army rations have not been all that good, but you managed to survive. Spring came late that year, with weeks of cold rainy weather in demolished Europe. Your boots are tattered, your uniform is falling apart, and the stress of surrender and the confusion that lies ahead for you has your guts being torn out. Now, it is over, you must surrender or be shot. This is war and the real world.

    You are taken as a German Prisoner of War into American hands. The Americans had 200 such Prisoner of War camps scattered across Germany. You are marched to a compound surrounded with barbed wire fences as far as the eye can see. Thousands upon thousands of your fellow German soldiers are already in this make-shift corral. You see no evidence of a latrine and after three hours of marching through the mud of the spring rain, the comfort of a latrine is upper-most in your mind. You are driven through the heavily guarded gate and find yourself free to move about, and you begin the futile search for the latrine. Finally, you ask for directions, and are informed that no such luxury exists.

    No more time. You find a place and squat. First you were exhausted, then hungry, then fearful, and now; dirty. Hundreds more German prisoners are behind you, pushing you on, jamming you together and every one of them searching for the latrine as soon as they could do so. Now, late in the day, there is no space to even squat, much less sit down to rest your weary legs. None of the prisoners, you quickly learn, have had any food that day, in fact there was no food while in the American hands that any surviving prisoner can testify to. No one has eaten any food for weeks, and they are slowly starving and dying. But, they can’t do this to us! There are the Geneva Convention rules for the treatment of Prisoners of War. There must be some mistake! Hope continues through the night, with no shelter from the cold, biting rain.

    Your uniform is sopping wet, and formerly brave soldiers are weeping all around you, as buddy after buddy dies from the lack of food, water, sleep and shelter from the weather. After weeks of this, your own hope bleeds off into despair, and finally you actually begin to envy those who, having surrendered first manhood and then dignity, now also surrender life itself. More hopeless weeks go by. Finally, the last thing you remember is falling, unable to get up, and lying face down in the mud mixed with the excrement of those who have gone before.

    Your body will be picked up long after it is cold, and taken to a special tent where your clothing is stripped off. So that you will be quickly forgotten, and never again identified, your dog-tag is snipped in half and your body along with those of your fellow soldiers are covered with chemicals for rapid decomposition and buried. You were not one of the exceptions, for more than one million seven hundred thousand German Prisoners of War died from a deliberate policy of extermination by starvation, exposure, and disease, under direct orders of the General Dwight David Eisenhower.

    One month before the end of World War 11, General Eisenhower issued special orders concerning the treatment of German Prisoners and specific in the language of those orders was this statement,

    “Prison enclosures are to provide no shelter or other comforts.”

    Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose, who was given access to the Eisenhower personal letters, states that he proposed to exterminate the entire German General Staff, thousands of people, after the war.

    Eisenhower, in his personal letters, did not merely hate the Nazi Regime, and the few who imposed its will down from the top, but that HE HATED THE GERMAN PEOPLE AS A RACE. It was his personal intent to destroy as many of them as he could, and one way was to wipe out as many prisoners of war as possible.

    Of course, that was illegal under International law, so he issued an order on March 10, 1945 and verified by his initials on a cable of that date, that German Prisoners of War be predesignated as “Disarmed Enemy Forces” called in these reports as DEF. He ordered that these Germans did not fall under the Geneva Rules, and were not to be fed or given any water or medical attention. The Swiss Red Cross was not to inspect the camps, for under the DEF classification, they had no such authority or jurisdiction.

    Months after the war was officially over, Eisenhower’s special German DEF camps were still in operation forcing the men into confinement, but denying that they were prisoners. As soon as the war was over, General George Patton simply turned his prisoners loose to fend for themselves and find their way home as best they could. Eisenhower was furious, and issued a specific order to Patton, to turn these men over to the DEF camps. Knowing Patton as we do from history, we know that these orders were largely ignored, and it may well be that Patton’s untimely and curious death may have been a result of what he knew about these wretched Eisenhower DEF camps.

    The book, OTHER LOSSES, found its way into the hands of a Canadian news reporter, Peter Worthington, of the OTTAWA SUN. He did his own research through contacts he had in Canada, and reported in his column on September 12,1989 the following, in part:

    “…it is hard to escape the conclusion that Dwight Eisenhower was a war criminal of epic proportions. His (DEF) policy killed more Germans in peace than were killed in the European Theater.”

    “For years we have blamed the 1.7 million missing German POW’s on the Russians. Until now, no one dug too deeply … Witnesses and survivors have been interviewed by the author; one Allied officer compared the American camps to Buchenwald.”

    It is known, that the Allies had sufficient stockpiles of food and medicine to care for these German soldiers. This was deliberately and intentionally denied them. Many men died of gangrene from frostbite due to deliberate exposure. Local German people who offered these men food, were denied. General Patton’s Third Army was the only command in the European Theater to release significant numbers of Germans.

    Others, such as Omar Bradley and General J.C.H. Lee, Commander of Com Z, tried, and ordered the release of prisoners within a week of the war’s end. However, a SHAEF Order, signed by Eisenhower, countermanded them on May 15th.

    Does that make you angry? What will it take to get the average apathetic American involved in saving his country from such traitors at the top? Thirty years ago, amid the high popularity of Eisenhower, a book was written setting out the political and moral philosophy; of Dwight David Eisenhower called, THE POLITICIAN, by Robert Welch. This year is the 107th Anniversary of Eisenhower’s birth in Denison, Texas on October 14, 1890, the son of Jacob David Eisenhower and his wife Ida. Everyone is all excited about the celebration of this landmark in the history of “this American patriot.” Senator Robert Dole, in honor of the Commander of the American Death Camps, proposed that Washington’s Dulles Airport be renamed the Eisenhower Airport!

    The UNITED STATES MINT in Philadelphia, PA is actually issuing a special Eisenhower Centennial Silver Dollar for only $25 each. They will only mint 4 million of these collector’s items, and veteran’s magazines are promoting these coins under the slogan, “Remember the Man…Remember the Times…” Pardon me if I regurgitate!

    There will be some veterans who will not be buying these coins. Two will be Col. James Mason and Col. Charles Beasley who were in the U.S. Army Medical Corps who published a paper on the Eisenhower Death Camps in 1950. They stated in part:

    “Huddled close together for warmth, behind the barbed wire was a most awesome sight; nearly 100,000 haggard, apathetic, dirty, gaunt, blank-staring men clad in dirty gray uniforms, and standing ankle deep in mud … water was a major problem, yet only 200 yards away the River Rhine was running bank-full.”

    Another Veteran, who will not be buying any of the Eisenhower Silver Dollars is Martin Brech of Mahopac, New York, a semi-retired professor of philosophy at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY. In 1945, Brech was an 18 year old Private First Class in Company C of the 14th Infantry, assigned as a guard and interpreter at the Eisenhower Death Camp at Andernach, along the Rhine River. He stated for SPOTLIGHT, February 12, 1990:

    “My protests (regarding treatment of the German DEF’S) were met with hostility or indifference, and when I threw our ample rations to them over the barbed wire. I was threatened, making it clear that it was our deliberate policy not to adequately feed them.”

    “When they caught me throwing C- Rations over the fence, they threatened me with imprisonment. One Captain told me that he would shoot me if he saw me again tossing food to the Germans … Some of the men were really only boys 13 years of age…Some of the prisoners were old men drafted by Hitler in his last ditch stand … I understand that average weight of the prisoners at Andernach was 90 pounds…I have received threats … Nevertheless, this…has liberated me, for I may now be heard when I relate the horrible atrocity I witnessed as a prison guard for one of ‘Ike’s death camps’ along the Rhine.” (Betty Lou Smith Hanson)

    Note: Remember the photo of Ike’s West Point yearbook picture when he was dubbed “IKE, THE TERRIBLE SWEDISH JEW”? By the way, he was next, or nearly so, to the last in his class. This article was first printed in 1990, but we thought it was meaningful to reprint it now.

    Note: During Cadet Eisenhower’s time at West Point Academy, Eisenhower was summoned to the office of the headmaster and was asked some pointed questions. At the time, it was routine procedure to test a cadet’s blood to insure White racial integrity.

    Apparently, there was a question of Eisenhower’s racial lineage and this was brought to Eisenhower’s attention by the headmaster. When asked if he was part Oriental, Eisenhower replied in the negative. After some discussion, Eisenhower admitted having Jewish background. The headmaster then reportedly said, “That’s where you get your Oriental blood?” Although he was allowed to remain at the academy, word got around since this was a time in history when non-Whites were not allowed into the academy. Note – The issue of Eisenhower’s little-known Jewish background in academically essential in understanding his psychopathic hatred of German men, women and children.

    Later, in Eisenhower’s West Point Military Academy graduating class yearbook, published in 1915, Eisenhower is identified as a “terrible Swedish Jew.”

    Wherever Eisenhower went during his military career, Eisenhower’s Jewish background and secondary manifesting behavior was a concern to his fellow officers. During World War II when Col. Eisenhower was working for Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the South Pacific, MacArthur protested to his superiors in Washington (DC) that Eisenhower was incompetent and that he did not want Eisenhower on his staff.

    In 1943, Washington not only transferred Col. Eisenhower to Europe but promoted him over more than 30 more experienced senior officers to five star general and placed him in charge of all the US forces in Europe.

    Thus it comes as no surprise that General George Patton, a real Aryan warrior, hated Eisenhower.

    [Ed: Patton was keen to fight the Soviets, and reportedly kept some German units ready to move against the Soviets…unsurprisingly he was killed; after the war, in a ‘car crash,’ just like Lawrence of Arabia was conveniently bumped off, in a similar manner, for his ‘pro-fascist’ views].

    Comment
    From George
    12-28-3

    Finally, the truth about Ike. He was a zionist!, a racist! and a slaughterer of innocents! He was always these things. And all anyone remembers is his famous quote “to beware of the military/industrial complex.” Like this knowledge means he was a great precient prophet, when he was really a part of the NWO and helped set the US up for all that followed. The tooling jobs and industry started to leave the US in the early ’50’s, when Ike got into power. It was Japan they were building. Notice the difference between the destruction of Japan and the quick buildup of the Philipines and Japan and the Pacific the US took over, after the war of hegemony to steal the wealth of the Pacific Rim and present day Afghanistan, Iraq etc., now that the zionists rule the ‘world’. The zionist essence is evil, destructive and self-destructive. Ike was a tool of the zionist evil essence.

    German POW’s Diary Reveals More Of Ike’s Holocaust
    12-29-3

    Note – The following diary extract has been provided by the nephew of the author under the conditions we honor his request for anonymity. -ed

    A transcript of my Uncle’s words…from my Mother’s diary:

    “Suddenly an American Jeep moved towards us and several American Soldiers surrounded us. There was no officer in charge, and the first thing the ‘Amis’ did – they liberated us, I mean, from our few valuables, mainly rings and watches…….. We were now prisoners of war- no doubt about it!

    The first night we were herded into a barn, where we met about 100 men who shared the same fate. To make my story short, we were finally transported to Fuerstenfeldbruck near Munich. Here we, who were gathered around Hermann, interrupted him and gasped in dismay.

    Fuerstenfeldbruck had become known to us as one of the most cruel POW camps in the American zone.

    Then my brother continued:

    Again we were searched and had to surrender everything, even our field utensils, except a spoon. Here, in freezing temperature, 20,000 of us were squeezed together on the naked ground, without blanket or cover, exposed day and night to the winter weather.

    For six days we received neither food nor water! We used our spoons to catch drops of rain.

    We were surrounded by heavy tanks. During the night bright searchlights blinded us, so that sleep was impossible. We napped from time to time, standing up and leaning against each other. It was keeping us warmer that sitting on the frozen ground.

    Many of us were near collapse. One of our comrades went mad, he jumped around wildly, wailing and whimpering. he was shot at once. His body was lying on the ground, and we were not allowed to come near him. He was not he only one. Each suspicious movement caused the guards to shoot into the crowd, and a few were always hit.

    German civilians, mainly women of the surrounding villages, tried to approach the camp to bring food and water for us prisoners. they were chased away.

    Our German officers could finally succeed to submit an official protest, particularly because of the deprivation of water. As a response, a fire hose was thrown into the midst of the densely crowded prisoners and then turned on. Because of the high water pressure the hose moved violently to and fro. Prisoners tumbled, fell, got up and ran again to catch a bit of water. In that confusion the water went to waste, and the ground under us turned into slippery mud. All the while the ‘Amis’ watched that spectacle, finding it very funny and most entertaining. They laughed at our predicament as hard as they could. Then suddenly, they turned the water off again.

    We had not expected that the Americans would behave in such a manner. We could hardly believe it. War brutalizes human beings.

    One day later we were organized into groups of 400 men …. We were to receive two cans of food for each man. This is how it was to be done: The prisoners had to run through he slippery mud, and each one had to grab his two cans quickly, at the moment he passed the guards. One of my comrades slipped and could not run fast enough, He was shot at once ….

    On May 10th , several truckloads of us were transported the the garrison of Ulm by the Danube….. As each man jumped into the truck, a guard kicked him in the backbone with his rifle butt.

    We arrived in the city of Heilbronn by the Neckar, In the end we counted 240,000 men, who lived on the naked ground and without cover.

    Spring and summer were mild this year, but we were starving. At 6;00 am we received coffee, at noon about a pint of soup and 100 grams of bread a day……..

    The ‘Amis’ gave us newspapers in German language, describing the terrors of the concentration camps. We did not believe any of it. We figured the Americans only wanted to demoralize us further.

    The fields on which we lived belonged to the farmers of the area…soon nothing of the clover and other sprouting greens were left, and the trees were barren. We had eaten each blade of grass…..

    In some camps there were Hungarian POW’s. 15,000 of them. Mutiny against their officers broke out twice amongst them. After the second mutiny the Americans decided to use German prisoners to govern the Hungarians. Since the Hungarians were used as workers they were well fed. There was more food than they could eat. But when the Germans asked the Americans for permission to bring the Hungarians’ leftovers into the camps of the starving Germans, it was denied. The Americans rather destroyed surplus food, than giving it to the Germans.

    Sometimes it happened that groups of our own men were gathered and transported away. We presumed they were discharged to go home, and naturally, we wished to be among them. Much later we heard they were sent to labor camps! My mother’s cousin, feared that he would be drafted into the Hitler Youth SS, he volunteered to the marines, in 1945 his unit was in Denmark. On April 20th they were captured by the Americans. his experience in the POW camp was identical that of my brother’s. They lived in open fields, did not receive and food and water the first six days, and starved nearly to death. German wives and mothers who wanted to throw loaves of bread over the fence, were chased off. The prisoners, just to have something to chew, scraped the bark from young trees. my cousins job was to report each morning how many had died during the night. “and these were not just a few!” he adds to his report he wrote me.

    It became known, that the conditions in the POW camps in the American Zone were identical everywhere. We could therefore safely conclude, that it was by intent and by orders from higher ups to starve the German POW’s and we blamed General Eisenhower for it. He, who was of German descent could not discern the evildoers during the Nazi time from our decent people. We held that neglect of knowledge and understanding severely against him.

    I wish to quote the inscription on the grave stones of those of my German compatriots who have already passed away:

    We had to pass through fire and through water. But now you have loosened our bonds.

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