Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Useful Idiots And Conditional Surrender In WW2

In WW2 Bishop George Bell of Chichester and Basil Liddell Hart were both opposed to the Allies' decision in January 1943 to adopt a policy of unconditional surrender by Germany. The "Good Germans" had been led into the war by Hitler and his Nazis, indeed the weak foreign policy of France and Britain had forced Hitler, a reasonable statesman into a war that he had never planned nor desired - the impish AJP Taylor's donnish joke in his Causes of the Second World War (indeed, as a result of the book some very literal-minded mouth-breathers believe that A. Schickelgruber was easily led :) and it was all our fault and everything that Britain did was wrong (for example, the anti -area bombing Fotherington-Tomas crowd who with the touchingly simple faith that the American Norden bombsight could "drop a bomb from 20,000 ft into a pickle-barrel" in daylight). I shall return to that fallacy later.

What were the terms that a non-Nazi Germany would have agreed to to end the war? Apparently, Colonel Claus Stauffenberg (the 20 July 1944 bomb plotter) had two contacts with the British, via go-betweens (was one of the contacts, Bishop George Bell in Sweden?) According to my copy of the excellent "The Nazi Germany Sourcebook by Roderick Stackelberg and Sally A. Winkle, p312,

May I suggest you buy a copy for reference as it's packed with translations of interesting documents.

Stauffenberg had written a memo on 25 May 1944 setting out the plotters' terms of negotiation (I've italicised my comments):

1  Immediate abandonment of aerial warfare (so the joint efforts of Bomber Command and the US 8th AF were working - is it unreasonable to wonder if Bishop Bell had been prompted to make his infamous February 1944 House of Lords speech against the RAF's bomber offensive to help his German friends and, disturbingly, albeit unwittingly, abet the German war effort?)

2  Abandonment of invasion plans.

3  Avoidance of further bloodshed. (Except in the East and see point 11 below).

4   Continuing function of defensive strength in the East. Evacuation of all occupied regions in the North, West and South. (To concentrate forces in the East. One presumes the pro-German puppet regimes in the formerly occupied countries would remain in place, along with the schemes of forced supply of labour and materials.

5  Renunciation of any occupation.

6  Free government, independent self-chosen constitution.

7  Full cooperation in the carrying out of truce conditions and in peace preparations.

8  Reich border of 1914 in the East (ie West Prussia and Upper Silesia taken from Poland).
    Retention of Austria and the Sudetenland within the Reich.
    Autonomy of Alsace-Lorraine.
    Acquisition of the Tyrol as far as Bozen, Meran.

9  Vigorous reconstruction with joint efforts for European reconstruction.

10  Nations to deal with own criminals (this was important for the plotters as most, if not all, could have been indicted for war crimes, especially those who had served on the Eastern Front (eg the Commissars and Severity Orders).

11  Restoration of hour, self-respect and respect for others (well, the murder of the Hungarian Jews hadn't yet begun).

Thus, the Wehrmacht plotters wanted to turn back the clock to 13 September 1939 with no apologies and no questions asked. Just as if five years of killing and destruction hadn't taken place. Does anyone still consider that unconditional surrender was the wrong policy?

Update 21 October 2013: The murder of fifty recaptured RAF and other air force escapers from the Great Escape breakout at Stalag III on the night of 23-24 March 1944 took place after Bishop Bell's infamous February 1944 House of Lords speech attacking the area bombing campaign. Any causation between the two events?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

LSE Attacks BBC Panorama Over North Korea Trip

The LSE founded by Sidney and Beatrice Webb has demanded that the BBC cancel an edition of Panorama in which a BBC reporter pretended to be a PhD student on a student field trip to North Korea (not much worse than Llandudno in 1982 in my experience). Apparently, the students were "not given enough information to enable informed consent" and were "endangered".

In addition, "the BBC's actions may do serious damage to LSE's reputation for academic integrity"

Pause for laughter........ This is the same LSE whose director Sir Howard Davies quit over funding by the Gadaffi regime in 2011. including a e £1.5million bung from PhD student Saif el-Gaddafi. Here's the Woolf Report into the scandal. Not to mention the marxist filth taught by Ralph Miliband during his tenure there. 

Academic integrity? It would appear to the casual observer that Pyongyang can still deal with this Fabian work unit.

Friday, 12 April 2013

It's Marshal of the RAF Sir Arthur Harris, Comrade Hitchens

Peter Hitchens writes a corporate webleg for the Mail on Sunday newspaper. On 30 June 2012 he wrote an article attacking the reputation of "Bomber/Butch/(Anything but Ginger) Harris, whom he referred to as Air Chief Marshal throughout.

Now, anyone who has read a book about Harris (I recommend Probert's excellent Life and Times) will know that Harris was only ever an acting and temporary ACM during WW2, but he was substantively promoted to Marshal of the RAF (the highest rank, an honour normally only accorded to retired Chiefs of the Air Staff) on 1 January 1946. It was published in Flight on 10 January 1946.

I have brought this error to Mr Hitchen's attention several times and also the Mail Group Corrections & Clarifications column, but to no avail because bitter experience has taught me that Peter Hitchens considers  he IS ALWAYS RIGHT ( he likes to occasionally embolden text on his clog). I won't link to it because he tends to be a bit boastful about his traffic and pride is a sin - best not to encourage him.

When I try to picture the inside of his head, it always begins with  the image of a muddy creek at low tide in which an old Flower-class corvette is moored next to a Norman church. A bicycle is chained to the shore end of the gangplank. Next to it is an old kitchen table piled high with books by Peter Hitchens (but no one else) and an honesty box. Dotted about in the golf-green manicured sward, like a dystopian version of Caol Ruadh Sculpture Park are large stones with instructions carved on them : Keep On The Path, Keep Off The Grass, Atheists Eat Babies, Only Christians Are Moral, etc. Beware the reflecting pool of pure vitriol. From the funnel of the old boat an acrid pennant of stewed coffee belches out all day long (that reminds me of another sign CAFFEINE IS NOT ADDICTIVE AND IS SAFE BECAUSE I LIKE IT. ) This is all, of course, a fictional construct of my impression of the mind of Peter Hitchens, not of the Orwell Prize winner himself. I have no doubt that the real Mr Hitchens lives in a large villa next to Inspector Morse's old one in a respectable part of Oxford, and that he functions near to the normal end of the DSM.

But I do wish he would admit his error.

Update 21 April: Harris had another nickname when AOC 5 Group in 1939-40: "Tubby". It was due to a combination of increasingly desk-bound duty and his appetite. And apparently the "Butcher" epithet was coined by lovable Josef Goebbels and has passed into mythtory as a consequence of German revisionists (Ve vere Victims, too), pro-Nazis and pacifist lefties with an anti-patriotic axe to grind (the sort George Orwell rightly despised).