France brings back National Service

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evilthecat:

Tanis:
So they'll have an army...that'll never win a war?

Too soon?
Too American?

Aren't those the same thing?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France_in_the_American_Revolutionary_War

It's funny when you see people crack jokes about the French being cheese eating surrender monkeys... when you consider that these jokes started in 2002-2003 when France wouldn't back us up when we wanted to go to war with Iraq on a flimsy pretext. And considering that most people view the Iraq invasion as a mistake, it's funny that we still continue these jokes.

CM156:

It's funny when you see people crack jokes about the French being cheese eating surrender monkeys... when you consider that these jokes started in 2002-2003 when France wouldn't back us up when we wanted to go to war with Iraq on a flimsy pretext. And considering that most people view the Iraq invasion as a mistake, it's funny that we still continue these jokes.

The French are also far more 'proactive' in terms of their existing deployments. Second Colonial Empire died 70 years ago. French still in Mali. Of all the continental European powers, I feel like the French would actually be the first to make a push to become an overtly colonial power once more. Yeah, even more than a certain, infamous Central power throughout the 20th century.

Where people don't even remember or nearly all are no longer even alive when the old German colonial holdings were a thing... some places of the world have never forgotten a French soldier.

Kin of the problem with Europeans, they have a habit of spreading really quickly for spurious reasons. Chinese extend their power across the South China Sea? That's just bad form. Europeans topple a country and run roughshod over ithers' sovereignty ... well they probably had it coming. At the very least there seemed to be more domestic U.S. opposition to the 'Coalition of the Willing' when the U.S. went into Iraq than there seemed to be European opposition to basically ending Libya and allowing Salafists to set up a stronghold there.

And let's face it ... Continental European disfavour of the war into Iraq had fuck all to do with morality. It had everything to do with Saddam Hussein wanting to sell oil directly to Europe in euros. Hussein wagered that the U.S. were going to invade anyways, so leveraged their bets that cross Continental Europe might be able to stall that with an exclusive oil deal that would cut down their energy costs to the tune of billions.

Didn't pay off, but Continental Europeans suddenly gave a fuck.

Contrast that with Gaddafi who de-militarized, shut down his nuclear armament program, and then turned around to North African and African Union states and saying; "Fuck the West, we need this energy more than they do. They can buy it in gold, or we'll use it ourselves and jack up the price of it, anyways. Who's with me?"

Europeans had no problems ending a nation then and there as an example to others that might have similar ideas of nationalizing their reserves and setting up a preferential trade on oil to break it as a fungible commodity within their economic blocs...

It's almost as if when John Bolton told the news they were looking for a 'Libyan solution' North Korea got all jumpy again for a reason.

CM156:
It's funny when you see people crack jokes about the French being cheese eating surrender monkeys... when you consider that these jokes started in 2002-2003 when France wouldn't back us up when we wanted to go to war with Iraq on a flimsy pretext. And considering that most people view the Iraq invasion as a mistake, it's funny that we still continue these jokes.

Not to mention that historically, France was basically the final boss of Europe from about 1600 (when the Spanish Empire began to decline a little) and the mid-19th century. There are multiple instances of France being at war with coalitions of several or even all of the great powers of Europe and still either winning or securing favourable terms.

By the first world war, France was still among the strongest military powers in Europe, but the war hit France much harder than most countries. It was fought mostly on French soil and French soldiers did most of fighting on the Western front. This lead to a perception among French politicians and the general staff that France could not afford to fight another war like that, and should instead adopt a purely defensive strategy relying on fortifications. It didn't work, as we well know.

But, as I've pointed out before, the Battle of France was a defeat for all of the allies. In fact, German propaganda particularly focused on portraying the British as cowards because they had evacuated the continent and abandoned their allies. Belgium and the Netherlands capitulated far more willingly than the French. The Poles had already surrendered, and Czechslovakia had been dismantled after being abandoned by the allies under the policy of appeasement, none of these countries get the "cheese eating surrender monkeys" jokes.

Francophobia has a long history in Britain (not entirely surprising, given that England and France basically came into existence through fighting each other) so the narrative of the cowardly French surrendering to the Nazis became established in the UK after the war. It's transparent nonsense, and clearly intended to disguise the very real shame of the evacuation from Dunkirk, which we've retrospectively transformed into a heroic moment of national triumph but was in fact a horrendous military disaster. I'm pretty sure the modern American Francophobia in the wake of 9/11 is itself just a rehash, and as you say, a rehash which has become increasingly uncomfortable in retrospect given how shittily that whole episode went down.

CM156:

evilthecat:

Tanis:
So they'll have an army...that'll never win a war?

Too soon?
Too American?

Aren't those the same thing?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France_in_the_American_Revolutionary_War

It's funny when you see people crack jokes about the French being cheese eating surrender monkeys... when you consider that these jokes started in 2002-2003 when France wouldn't back us up when we wanted to go to war with Iraq on a flimsy pretext. And considering that most people view the Iraq invasion as a mistake, it's funny that we still continue these jokes.

It is also interesting when the Soviets get praised in WW2 even though they started as allies to Hitler, helping them invade Poland.

Saelune:
It is also interesting when the Soviets get praised in WW2 even though they started as allies to Hitler, helping them invade Poland.

Before that, people favoured Hitler for opposing communism. Lots of switching dance partners in the run up to the war.

Though, European history has long been like that.

"France brings back slave labour National Service"

But, you know, loads of people love the idea - just about anyone who thinks younsters nowadays are a bunch of narcissisticm, feckless ne'er-do-wells who don't respect the country enough, and need some discipline and patriotism drilled into them.

Agema:
"France brings back slave labour National Service"

But, you know, loads of people love the idea - just about anyone who thinks younsters nowadays are a bunch of narcissisticm, feckless ne'er-do-wells who don't respect the country enough, and need some discipline and patriotism drilled into them.

So you are pro-individualism?

evilthecat:
Francophobia has a long history in Britain (not entirely surprising, given that England and France basically came into existence through fighting each other) so the narrative of the cowardly French surrendering to the Nazis became established in the UK after the war.

Mostly fighting and mostly with France kicking our asses. The whole reason Agincourt and Waterloo tend to get overly glorified is because they're some of the few instances where we won. Normally France sent us packing right back to our soggy little island. So not too hard to get the Francophobia going really, there's kind of a grudge there

CM156:
It's funny when you see people crack jokes about the French being cheese eating surrender monkeys... when you consider that these jokes started in 2002-2003 when France wouldn't back us up when we wanted to go to war with Iraq on a flimsy pretext. And considering that most people view the Iraq invasion as a mistake, it's funny that we still continue these jokes.

The jokes have been around a lot longer. The jokes have consistently been wildly inaccurate.

At the very least, the French Foreign Legion is one of the worlds more professional fighting forces, and one of the more tested.

Palindromemordnilap:
Mostly fighting and mostly with France kicking our asses. The whole reason Agincourt and Waterloo tend to get overly glorified is because they're some of the few instances where we won. Normally France sent us packing right back to our soggy little island. So not too hard to get the Francophobia going really, there's kind of a grudge there

There were a series of conflicts over a couple of hundred years, through large amounts of which the English crown controlled swathes of France. The French never seized control of any portion of the British Isles.

At the very worst, that's a score draw.

As for Napoleon / Waterloo, it was a moment in which a would-be conqueror of Europe was defeated. Surely that's a moment worthy of respect, particularly considering the collaborative nature of the victory?

But no, engage in your petty self-hatred by all means.

Saelune:
It is also interesting when the Soviets get praised in WW2 even though they started as allies to Hitler, helping them invade Poland.

The Soviet Union fought Hitler in Spain before that; Stalin saw capitalist inaction against fascism and made a pragmatic decision to avoid a war with Hitler for the time being if he could. The conditions surrounding the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact were that the "Allies" had backed Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland and then let him take the rest of Czechoslovakia.

As for the Soviets getting credit for winning the war against Hitler, that is because they fucking did.

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:
It is also interesting when the Soviets get praised in WW2 even though they started as allies to Hitler, helping them invade Poland.

The Soviet Union fought Hitler in Spain before that; Stalin saw capitalist inaction against fascism and made a pragmatic decision to avoid a war with Hitler for the time being if he could. The conditions surrounding the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact were that the "Allies" had backed Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland and then let him take the rest of Czechoslovakia.

As for the Soviets getting credit for winning the war against Hitler, that is because they fucking did.

So you're saying we should be grateful cause atleast they were a lesser evil than Hitler?

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:
It is also interesting when the Soviets get praised in WW2 even though they started as allies to Hitler, helping them invade Poland.

The Soviet Union fought Hitler in Spain before that; Stalin saw capitalist inaction against fascism and made a pragmatic decision to avoid a war with Hitler for the time being if he could. The conditions surrounding the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact were that the "Allies" had backed Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland and then let him take the rest of Czechoslovakia.

As for the Soviets getting credit for winning the war against Hitler, that is because they fucking did.

So you're saying we should be grateful cause atleast they were a lesser evil than Hitler?

I'm saying they were a lesser evil than the United States (or the UK or France).

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

The Soviet Union fought Hitler in Spain before that; Stalin saw capitalist inaction against fascism and made a pragmatic decision to avoid a war with Hitler for the time being if he could. The conditions surrounding the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact were that the "Allies" had backed Hitler's annexation of the Sudetenland and then let him take the rest of Czechoslovakia.

As for the Soviets getting credit for winning the war against Hitler, that is because they fucking did.

So you're saying we should be grateful cause atleast they were a lesser evil than Hitler?

I'm saying they were a lesser evil than the United States (or the UK or France).

You're smart, so I am sure you understood the jab at Hillary vs Bernie, but making it clear now anyways.

That said, really!? THEY HELPED HITLER INVADE POLAND! Look, the US was super hypocritical when it came to dealing with Nazi Germany, putting up its own internment camps and only hating Jews less than Hitler, but they did not help Hitler invade fricken Poland. Nor did the UK or France. Plus Stalin who, yeah, I think is less horrible than Hitler, only marginally. He was as much a despot as Hitler.

Samtemdo8:
So you are pro-individualism?

Yes.

Although, obviously, there are limits. Or, if you prefer, too much of anything is a bad thing.

Saelune:
So you're saying we should be grateful cause atleast they were a lesser evil than Hitler?

Well, as the memorial to civilian victims of air raids I pass on the way to work every day tells me, it wasn't the Soviets bombing my country in the 1940s. So, you know, no matter how abhorrent the Soviet regime was in its own way, absolutely the Soviets deserve thanks for doing so much heavy lifting defeating the Nazis.

Never mind that the poor sods doing all the dying can hardly be held responsible for the crimes of the dictator ruling them.

Agema:

Samtemdo8:
So you are pro-individualism?

Yes.

Although, obviously, there are limits. Or, if you prefer, too much of anything is a bad thing.

Saelune:
So you're saying we should be grateful cause atleast they were a lesser evil than Hitler?

Well, as the memorial to civilian victims of air raids I pass on the way to work every day tells me, it wasn't the Soviets bombing my country in the 1940s. So, you know, no matter how abhorrent the Soviet regime was in its own way, absolutely the Soviets deserve thanks for doing so much heavy lifting defeating the Nazis.

Never mind that the poor sods doing all the dying can hardly be held responsible for the crimes of the dictator ruling them.

I was entrapping Seanchaidh for suddenly using the 'lesser evil' point.

Yes, the USSR is better than Nazi Germany, but it was a villain who helped stopped another villain, like when Dr. Doom helps stop Galactus.

But no army is allowed to use the 'Just Following Orders' defense. I may call it the Nazi defense, but Soviets and US soldiers are not exempt either.

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:
So you're saying we should be grateful cause atleast they were a lesser evil than Hitler?

I'm saying they were a lesser evil than the United States (or the UK or France).

You're smart, so I am sure you understood the jab at Hillary vs Bernie, but making it clear now anyways.

Its existence was not beneath my notice, but its bite was.

Saelune:
That said, really!? THEY HELPED HITLER INVADE POLAND!

Ok? And they didn't prosecute a holocaust over the half of Poland that they did take. And they gained valuable time to prepare for war against the impending invasion of themselves by Germany.

Saelune:
Look, the US was super hypocritical when it came to dealing with Nazi Germany, putting up its own internment camps and only hating Jews less than Hitler, but they did not help Hitler invade fricken Poland. Nor did the UK or France.

They just gave Hitler the Sudetenland and then let him take the rest of Czechoslovakia. Oh, and they imposed conditions on Germany after WW1 that helped the rise of fascism there.

Saelune:
Plus Stalin who, yeah, I think is less horrible than Hitler, only marginally. He was as much a despot as Hitler.

Stalin would have had to be a great deal worse in order to match the toll of death and misery that capitalism, Western imperialism, and colonialism inflicts on the world. Soviet state capitalism went wrong (sometimes very wrong) in substantial ways, but let's not kid ourselves about the comparison to Western so-called democracies.

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

I'm saying they were a lesser evil than the United States (or the UK or France).

You're smart, so I am sure you understood the jab at Hillary vs Bernie, but making it clear now anyways.

Its existence was not beneath my notice, but its bite was.

Saelune:
That said, really!? THEY HELPED HITLER INVADE POLAND!

Ok? And they didn't prosecute a holocaust over the half of Poland that they did take. And they gained valuable time to prepare for war against the impending invasion of themselves by Germany.

Saelune:
Look, the US was super hypocritical when it came to dealing with Nazi Germany, putting up its own internment camps and only hating Jews less than Hitler, but they did not help Hitler invade fricken Poland. Nor did the UK or France.

They just gave Hitler the Sudetenland and let Hitler take Czechoslovakia. Oh, and they imposed conditions on Germany after WW1 that helped the rise of fascism there.

Saelune:
Plus Stalin who, yeah, I think is less horrible than Hitler, only marginally. He was as much a despot as Hitler.

Stalin would have had to be a great deal worse in order to match the toll of death and misery that capitalism, Western imperialism, and colonialism inflicts on the world. Soviet state capitalism went wrong (sometimes very wrong) in substantial ways, but let's not kid ourselves about the comparison to Western so-called democracies.

You're now defending someone who was DEFINATELY WORSE THAN HILLARY as not so bad. Like, come on, if you're going to be such a stickler for doing the best thing immediately and not budging until that happens rather than taking smaller but sure steps toward good, then don't defend Stalin and the USSR like this. Be consistent.

If you dont like the lesser evil defense, then dont use it yourself.

Saelune:
You're now defending someone who was DEFINATELY WORSE THAN HILLARY as not so bad.

Stalin was not "definitely worse than Hillary"-- he had more power for a longer time, which is not precisely the same thing.

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:
You're now defending someone who was DEFINATELY WORSE THAN HILLARY as not so bad.

Stalin was not "definitely worse than Hillary"-- he had more power for a longer time, which is not precisely the same thing.

You...you really going to try to make this argument? Really?

Hell, technically, Trump isn't even as bad as Stalin (yet). He was a murderous despot. If...if you honestly think that Stalin is not way worse than Hillary, then I don't even know what to say to you.

Look, I dunno, I value leaders based on human rights violations (ie more is bad), and Stalin got that in spades. I mean, Stalin was competent, but that kind of is part of why he is so bad, cause he was a competent villain. Like Putin, who while I am sure would also love to be as bad as Stalin, he certainly tries, is not there yet. (Though he IS trying)

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:
You're now defending someone who was DEFINATELY WORSE THAN HILLARY as not so bad.

Stalin was not "definitely worse than Hillary"-- he had more power for a longer time, which is not precisely the same thing.

You...you really going to try to make this argument? Really?

Why not? I don't like either of them, and while I certainly don't like what Stalin did to Trotsky and others who he thought threatened his power, I also am not sure that alt-histories where he was less ruthless wouldn't have resulted in Nazi world domination.

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

Stalin was not "definitely worse than Hillary"-- he had more power for a longer time, which is not precisely the same thing.

You...you really going to try to make this argument? Really?

Why not? I don't like either of them, and while I certainly don't like what Stalin did to Trotsky and others who he thought threatened his power, I also am not sure that alt-histories where he was less ruthless wouldn't have resulted in Nazi world domination.

I just want you to be consistent and you are not being consistent.

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:
You...you really going to try to make this argument? Really?

Why not? I don't like either of them, and while I certainly don't like what Stalin did to Trotsky and others who he thought threatened his power, I also am not sure that alt-histories where he was less ruthless wouldn't have resulted in Nazi world domination.

I just want you to be consistent and you are not being consistent.

+

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/22/saudi-christmas-present/

=

?

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

Why not? I don't like either of them, and while I certainly don't like what Stalin did to Trotsky and others who he thought threatened his power, I also am not sure that alt-histories where he was less ruthless wouldn't have resulted in Nazi world domination.

I just want you to be consistent and you are not being consistent.

+

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/22/saudi-christmas-present/

=

?

And how is Trump going to stop that?

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:

Seanchaidh:

Why not? I don't like either of them, and while I certainly don't like what Stalin did to Trotsky and others who he thought threatened his power, I also am not sure that alt-histories where he was less ruthless wouldn't have resulted in Nazi world domination.

I just want you to be consistent and you are not being consistent.

+

https://theintercept.com/2016/02/22/saudi-christmas-present/

=

?

They do.
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/27/middleeast/yemen-hodeidah-port-intl/index.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/16/middleeast/yemen-drone-footage-intl/index.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/03/middleeast/yemen-worlds-worst-humanitarian-crisis-un-intl/index.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/30/middleeast/yemen-nic-robertson-intl/index.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/10/world/meast/yemen-fast-facts/index.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/20/opinions/yemen-migration-iom/index.html

What a maroon.

Catnip1024:

There were a series of conflicts over a couple of hundred years, through large amounts of which the English crown controlled swathes of France. The French never seized control of any portion of the British Isles.

At the very worst, that's a score draw.

As for Napoleon / Waterloo, it was a moment in which a would-be conqueror of Europe was defeated. Surely that's a moment worthy of respect, particularly considering the collaborative nature of the victory?

But no, engage in your petty self-hatred by all means.

It's actually called self deprecation. It's something people can do when they're secure and can laugh at themselves and don't have a prickly ego that needs constant reassurance. It's also what happens when our politeness meets our enormous guilt complex, and we find ourselves just sort of laughing off all the things we did that were kind of terrible

Agema:

Samtemdo8:

[quote="Saelune" post="528.1055640.24251807"]So you're saying we should be grateful cause atleast they were a lesser evil than Hitler?

Well, as the memorial to civilian victims of air raids I pass on the way to work every day tells me, it wasn't the Soviets bombing my country in the 1940s. So, you know, no matter how abhorrent the Soviet regime was in its own way, absolutely the Soviets deserve thanks for doing so much heavy lifting defeating the Nazis.

Never mind that the poor sods doing all the dying can hardly be held responsible for the crimes of the dictator ruling them.

True, but that doesn't absolve Red Army from how rough they could be towards civilians. Especially german civilians.

Saelune:
That said, really!? THEY HELPED HITLER INVADE POLAND! Look, the US was super hypocritical when it came to dealing with Nazi Germany, putting up its own internment camps and only hating Jews less than Hitler, but they did not help Hitler invade fricken Poland. Nor did the UK or France. Plus Stalin who, yeah, I think is less horrible than Hitler, only marginally. He was as much a despot as Hitler.

Well, that's kind of only partially true..

The Nazis and Soviets invaded Poland at the same time, and had an agreement about how to divide it up after the war, but taking Eastern Poland had been a territorial ambition of the Soviet Union since it came into existence.

Like, if you think the treaty of Versailles was bad, then the treaty of Brest-Litvosk, which the Soviet Union signed to get out of world war 1, was horrendous. The Soviet Union lost about a quarter of its population and industry, including most of its fertile farmland. This meant the country could no longer feed itself during the Russian civil war, which caused a famine that killed millions of Russians.

When the Central Powers lost the war, the land they had acquired from the Soviets was broken up into new independent nations. Poland was created from part of what used to be the old German empire and part of what used to be the Russian empire. In fact, several very wealthy regions with a German majority ended up part of Poland, despite the fact most people living there wanted to remain in Germany, which obviously caused problems down the line. The Soviet Union was not recognized by the allies and not part of the treaty of Versailles, and while it withdrew from Brest-Litvosk and ceased paying reparations (because yes, this deal also required the payment of war reparations to Germany and Austria) was offered no compensation for the millions of Russian soldiers who had died in the first world war, or for the land it had lost and the terrible consequences this had had on ordinary Russians.

As such, one of the Soviet Union's (then Soviet Russia's) objectives was to restore the borders of the Russian empire. This wasn't just a symbolic act of erasing the legacy of a horrendous treaty, but also a practical matter of making the country self-sufficient in food and resources, as the lost areas were comparatively rich.

The Russian Soviet pact can be seen as a recognition by Germany and the USSR of one another's respective territorial demands in Eastern Europe. It wasn't really an alliance and did not entail direct military aid.

Catnip1024:
There were a series of conflicts over a couple of hundred years, through large amounts of which the English crown controlled swathes of France. The French never seized control of any portion of the British Isles.

That's.. kind of anarchronistic.

In 1066, the Normans invaded Anglo-Saxon England and William I had himself crowned king. He also kept his old title, Duke of Normandy, and the lands associated with it. It was his home, and he is buried there. In the centuries which followed, the English aristocracy was French. They spoke French, and the surviving English nobility adopted French as their language to fit in. Only the common people in England, their subjects, spoke English.

This is why I say that England and France came into existence through fighting each other, because initially they are not distinct. England is ruled by a French nobility and a French king. The house of Normandy had been dukes of Normandy. The Plantagenet dynasty, from where we get the lion heraldry of England, were originally counts of Anjou. The "swathes of France" which you describe included, and in large part consisted of, the original homelands and inheritances of the French kings of England.

This is why the hundred years war is sometimes described as the catalyst for France and England emerging as separate nations, rather than separate crowns ruled by French kings. Ultimately, it marks the loss of the English territory of the mainland and the establishment of the kingdom of France as the sole ruler of the geographical region of France, which, together with the effects of the war itself had a profound impact on the psychology of both and particularly on the aristocracy of England. At this point, it starts to make sense to describe England and France as distinct nations or distinct cultures, before then.. not really.

To create the idea that the borders of England end at the channel required a profound loss on the part of the kingdom and aristocracy of England, and a loss which had an enormous effect on the culture and psychology of the country and its aristocracy. They certainly felt it.

Catnip1024:
As for Napoleon / Waterloo, it was a moment in which a would-be conqueror of Europe was defeated. Surely that's a moment worthy of respect, particularly considering the collaborative nature of the victory?

Well, it might be worth celebrating if you think democracy is a terrible idea.

Again, the Anglo narrative of the Napoleonic wars is weird. Napoleon is a very complex figure, but ultimately he was a radical even as a monarch. He was the first constitutional monarch in Europe (as in, the first monarch whose role was defined by a constitution) and presided over a government with the largest electoral franchise in Europe. The French puppet states created by Napoleon's conquests were often less democratic than France itself, but were still nominally democratic.

Ultimately, the Napoleonic wars are a simple continuation of the previous coalition wars to crush the French revolution. I mean sure, the UK at this point had a limited form of democratic participation (heavily weighted towards the aristocracy and with a negligably tiny franchise) but for the most part it was a bunch of profoundly horrible absolutists versus the first modern democracy in Europe.

MrCalavera:

True, but that doesn't absolve Red Army from how rough they could be towards civilians. Especially german civilians.

???

As awful as it is, you do understand that this phenomena wasn't relegated to merely the Soviets? French troops, British troops, U.S. troops, Australian troops in the occupation of Japan... If anything, the U.S.S.R flat out just shot soldiers when there was proof of rape of civilians or caught in the act by a political officer.

Compare that to U.S. soldiers and their commanders that wrote it up as 'prostitution' by having soldiers leave food and other goods behind as if 'proof of purchase'.

Moreover, the Wehrmacht had purposefully delayed or banned civilian evacuations until the Red Army was practically on top of them. A column of refugees looks like soldiers when on the tail end of an actual column of Wehrmacht soldiers. People who could only leave once the soldiers themselves had retreated.

It was part of the plan of recruiting as much Volkssturm as possible. By forcing civilians to arm with excess materiel to delay the Red Army given they would often not be allowed to flee. So yeah, they are going to get the living shit pounded out of them. They were used as human shields by other Germans.

Which is problematic. Usually the attitude is allowing people to leave before a fight to minimize casualties. British emptied parts of London of children and sent them to the countryside--Red Army set up truck convoys on ice during to Winter months of Leningrad to drive in food and drive out the civil populace on the return trip--Wehrmacht barred passage on German roads, told the civilians stories of the brutality of Soviet soldiers, and attempted to arm them.

About the closest synonymous event one might compare is Stalin's 1941 Moscow address and parade. But then again, it's arguably just how much you can empty of a city as big as Moscow when traspont was routinely just relegated solely to the movement of soldiers and materiel and it's not like the Soviet Union had backup plans to feed and house many millions of refugees.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
???

As awful as it is, you do understand that this phenomena wasn't relegated to merely the Soviets? French troops, British troops, U.S. troops, Australian troops in the occupation of Japan...

Like.. that's a little disengenous. The scale of the Soviet mistreatment of civilians in the latter stages of the war is pretty well established and genuinely horrifying, and despite MrCalavera's focus it wasn't just Germans. The "liberation" of Poland was not gentle either.

At that point, I think the only "excuse" (not really an excuse) you can make is the incomprehensibility of the psychology of the Eastern front. The Soviets had lived through and witnessed a very real attempt to erase their people from existence. Not just the political system, but every single individual. This extended to the conduct of the war itself. Prisoners of war usually did not survive the war, and civilians were not protected by either side. The amount of genuine and open hatred which came out of that experience might seem weird to a Western audience, but it's perhaps an experience we'll never understand.

I mean, look at Ivan Konev talking about sending in cavalry to hack up German survivors of the Korsun pocket, "We let the Cossacks cut up as long as they wished. They even hacked off the hands of those who raised them to surrender." It wasn't a sad or shameful memory for him, it was a boast. His troops wanted vengeance, and he gave it to them. At that point, vengeance had become a normal part of the motivation, and one of the perks of victory.

Sure, we play down the scale of Allied atrocities against civilians, but there's no reason to also downplay the very different scale of Soviet atrocities. There's a reason why fleeing civilians generally fled West.

evilthecat:

Like.. that's a little disengenous. The scale of the Soviet mistreatment of civilians in the latter stages of the war is pretty well established and genuinely horrifying, and despite MrCalavera's focus it wasn't just Germans. The "liberation" of Poland was not gentle either.

It's a little disingenuous to pretend like it is at all comparable to the Axis advance into the Soviet Union... If the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union was the largest invasion in history, the Soviet Response into Germany was a close second. You're talking about a massed force for which had not only suffered worse, but also for which was nothing akin like it. And no, Poland was not gentle... but then again, historical animosities dating back centuries.

And if we really want to drag into this POWs...

Germany as a whole treated Slavs as a slave force and worked them to death. Millions died. Slav civilians were rounded up by the Wehrmacht. Millions of Soviet children and teenagers wouldn't be seen again. I think the anger of Soviets and their comparative restraint shouldn't be underestimated.

Soviet actions in Germany were atrocious ... but the Wehrmacht and Germany as a whole was atrocious. After Australians saw evidence of the Japanese butchering and eating Australian soldiers, the anger to take no prisoners, and calls to burn Japan to the ground, is not an unnatural extension alin to it. And that is *nothing* compared to what the Soviets had suffered. Whether in volume or inhumanity.

You don't get to brutalize people, destroy everyone they care about, and then complain when some of them feel like they should afflict similar punitive measures. It kind of goes without saying, don't you think?

You're talking 2.5 million bloodied, war-broken people. No police, and the biggest fears they had was a summary execution by their own.

Saelune:
And how is Trump going to stop that?

He's not. Neither was Hillary.

Seanchaidh:

Saelune:
And how is Trump going to stop that?

He's not. Neither was Hillary.

Neither was Bernie.

But atleast we'd have a Supreme Court that would not scare the shit out of me and not have children in cages, and Canada would be our ally, etc etc.

evilthecat:
That's.. kind of anarchronistic.

In 1066, the Normans invaded Anglo-Saxon England and William I had himself crowned king. He also kept his old title, Duke of Normandy, and the lands associated with it. It was his home, and he is buried there. In the centuries which followed, the English aristocracy was French. They spoke French, and the surviving English nobility adopted French as their language to fit in. Only the common people in England, their subjects, spoke English.

This is why I say that England and France came into existence through fighting each other, because initially they are not distinct. England is ruled by a French nobility and a French king. The house of Normandy had been dukes of Normandy. The Plantagenet dynasty, from where we get the lion heraldry of England, were originally counts of Anjou. The "swathes of France" which you describe included, and in large part consisted of, the original homelands and inheritances of the French kings of England.

This is why the hundred years war is sometimes described as the catalyst for France and England emerging as separate nations, rather than separate crowns ruled by French kings. Ultimately, it marks the loss of the English territory of the mainland and the establishment of the kingdom of France as the sole ruler of the geographical region of France, which, together with the effects of the war itself had a profound impact on the psychology of both and particularly on the aristocracy of England. At this point, it starts to make sense to describe England and France as distinct nations or distinct cultures, before then.. not really.

To create the idea that the borders of England end at the channel required a profound loss on the part of the kingdom and aristocracy of England, and a loss which had an enormous effect on the culture and psychology of the country and its aristocracy. They certainly felt it.

Which are all valid points, but going back to the point I addressed - attempting to imply that beyond a couple of minor victories, the English only ever lost is so patently false that the only reason to attempt to push it is if one is purely after antagonism rather than reasonable discussion. Much like attempting to imply the French have never stuck it out is patently false.

And incredibly hypocritical from the US, considering the Free French were involved in WW2 for a lot longer than the US was.

(Also, if we are going to be really petty, the Norman's were still largely distinct from the "French" at the time of the invasion, beyond sharing a common language. But that's getting really petty)

Well, it might be worth celebrating if you think democracy is a terrible idea.

Again, the Anglo narrative of the Napoleonic wars is weird. Napoleon is a very complex figure, but ultimately he was a radical even as a monarch. He was the first constitutional monarch in Europe (as in, the first monarch whose role was defined by a constitution) and presided over a government with the largest electoral franchise in Europe. The French puppet states created by Napoleon's conquests were often less democratic than France itself, but were still nominally democratic.

Ultimately, the Napoleonic wars are a simple continuation of the previous coalition wars to crush the French revolution. I mean sure, the UK at this point had a limited form of democratic participation (heavily weighted towards the aristocracy and with a negligably tiny franchise) but for the most part it was a bunch of profoundly horrible absolutists versus the first modern democracy in Europe.

Yes, but there's democracy, and there's "democracy". Much in the same way that a lot of Cromwell's rule was worse than the preceding monarchy, France was a loooong way from true democracy and even further from proper justice. Add in the fact that Napoleon's aim was to spread his particular brand of democracy over the continent, which would likely have resulted in similar turmoil and deaths as in France, and it's still a laudible aim to prevent it.

Take a look at the Middle East. People don't like having democracy imposed on them by outsiders.

Catnip1024:
Much in the same way that a lot of Cromwell's rule was worse than the preceding monarchy, France was a loooong way from true democracy and even further from proper justice.

Sure, but at that point so was every nation on earth.

The fact remains that if we measure the quality of a democracy by things like how many people can vote, and how well represented are different social classes outside of the nobility, then France under Napoleon was the most democratic nation in Europe. Heck, kingdoms like Prussia, Russia and Austria were all explicitly absolutist, they were countries which operated on the principle that the aristocracy and ultimately the king should have absolute authority and that everyone else should have absolutely no rights whatsoever.

Before the revolution, that's the kind of society France was. It's a society in which the middle classes, let alone actual peasants or the urban poor, had no power whatsoever. It's a society in which peasants starved because the government couldn't tax the nobility, so it taxed the peasants to pay for the army which oppressed them. It's a society where arbitrary imprisonment and public torture was normal. The whole narrative that the revolution was a bad thing or that it was worse than absolutism is frankly ludicrous.

Catnip1024:
Add in the fact that Napoleon's aim was to spread his particular brand of democracy over the continent, which would likely have resulted in similar turmoil and deaths as in France, and it's still a laudible aim to prevent it.

By the time Napoleon came to power, the turmoil and deaths in France had mostly come to an end. Four years before Napoleon's coup, a comparatively conservative government called the directory had come to power and repealed a lot of the radical policies of previous governments as well as massively restricting the commission of public safety (the driving force behind the terror). This brought stability to the country as a whole, but it was also a weak government which became politically deadlocked due to the factionalism which had plagued revolutionary French politics.

You're positing that Napoleon would have caused problems which he actually played a key role in solving. Napoleon's government was conservative by revolutionary standards and effectively balanced the rights of the aristocracy and the church with the needs of the new French democracy, unlike previous governments which had pursued aggressive anti-aristocratic and anti-church policies. In a very real sense, Napoleon brought the political turmoil in France to an end precisely because he was willing to compromise the radical principles of the revolution, even to the point of taking on aristocratic and monarchical trappings himself.

Again, we are talking about a time in which ordinary people generally had no rights or protections from abuse. Absolutist governments tortured and killed their subjects for saying the wrong thing. The great success of Napoleon is that he did ultimately spread the revolution, his conquests showed the weakness of the reactionary order and forced those regiemes to adopt progressive policies like national conscription (which was progressive, because in an aristocratic regime the army is a tool to oppress the people, if the army is the people then it can't do that as effectively) and constitutions. It would take another century or so, but Europe would get there. If Napoleon had won, however, it would have gotten there much quicker.

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