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What is the most overlooked, undervalued, underestimated aspect of WWII?

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  • I have been waiting for somebody more knowledgeable than I to mention the Laconia Incident. I have only read about it in Clay Blair's Hitler's U-Boat War. Captain Werner Hartenstein of U-156 had sighted the Laconia earlier that day.He torpedoed her and then attempted to rescue survivors, but the Allies reacted badly. This is a link to the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laconia_incident
    Will no one tell me what she sings?--
    Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
    For old, unhappy, far-off things,
    And battles long ago:
    -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

    Comment


    • Originally posted by MarkV View Post
      At least one of those cruisers (and possibly more) reached the Pacific by travelling through the North East Passage escorted by Soviet ice breakers, the USSR breaking every international law regarding neutrality during 1939/41
      Komet was her name
      http://www.ahoy.tk-jk.net/MaraudersWW2/13Komet.html
      http://www.ahoy.tk-jk.net/MaraudersW...geofKomet.html

      Germans also wished to supply her via Trans-Siberian Railway but Soviets refused to co-operate.
      "Keep Calm. Use Less X's"

      Comment


      • Originally posted by dmf01 View Post



        Germans also wished to supply her via Trans-Siberian Railway but Soviets refused to co-operate.
        Assistance with her passage when she appeared to be a merchant shipcould be obfuscated but supplying her once she had started commerce raiding would be a clear breach of neutrality rules
        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

        Comment


        • Well I'm not sure.
          As I explained in an earlier post on another thread I switched from 'Internet Explorer' to Mozilla Firefox which seems to work.
          Are IE and MF 'browsers' 'search engines' or 'routers'?
          What the heck is the difference?
          My kids have explained it to me several times but I never pay attention

          Anyway to get back on topic.
          One undervalued and to an extent overlooked aspect which has always intrigued me is how, in some cases in the West (the UK for example), the war laid basic foundations for a post-war welfare state.

          By logical thinking Churchill should have won the July 1945 UK election on a surge of gratitude for his inspiring leadership and national pride in a 'job well done'.
          But of course he lost badly because essentially he and his party had so little to offer the 'returning heroes' and the people who had 'seen it through' on the home front.
          Attlee and the British Labor Partyon the other hand knew people expected something to be 'done for them' after all their sacrifices. They most certainly did not want a return to the bloody awful conditions for the working class that existed during the Great Depression.

          Anyway, something to thing about.
          Good to be back on deck.

          Regards
          lodestar

          Comment


          • Originally posted by lodestar View Post
            Well I'm not sure.
            As I explained in an earlier post on another thread I switched from 'Internet Explorer' to Mozilla Firefox which seems to work.
            Are IE and MF 'browsers' 'search engines' or 'routers'?
            What the heck is the difference?
            My kids have explained it to me several times but I never pay attention



            They're browsers. They take the code that websites are written in and use it to produce what you see on your screen. They also allow you to navigate around the Web. A search engine does searches (bloody obvious) so Google and Bing act as search engines. A router is the piece of hardware that connects your web enabled devices (PC, tablet smart fridge etc etc) to the Internet and if set up right also allows them to 'talk' to each other

            Anyway to get back on topic.
            One undervalued and to an extent overlooked aspect which has always intrigued me is how, in some cases in the West (the UK for example), the war laid basic foundations for a post-war welfare state.

            By logical thinking Churchill should have won the July 1945 UK election on a surge of gratitude for his inspiring leadership and national pride in a 'job well done'.
            But of course he lost badly because essentially he and his party had so little to offer the 'returning heroes' and the people who had 'seen it through' on the home front.
            Attlee and the British Labor Partyon the other hand knew people expected something to be 'done for them' after all their sacrifices. They most certainly did not want a return to the bloody awful conditions for the working class that existed during the Great Depression.
            During the War Churchill had effectively turned the responsibility for running the country on a day to day basis over to Atlee, Bevin etc so that he and Eden etc etc could get on with fighting the war. As a result Atlee looked like the candidate to run the peace. It had also allowed Arthur Greenwood minister without portfolio and Labour Party chairman to commission Beveridge to do the study that resulted in the report that bore his name and acted as the design document for the welfare state. Churchill did not oppose its publication - back before WW1 when he was a Liberal cabinet minister he had been a social reformer himself but he did warn that its recommendations should be implemented slowly after the war in order to ensure that adequate funding was available and the structures were fit for the long term. In some respects he may have been right. Many of the NHS's problems could be said to result from incorrect assumptions made when it was initially created and failed to recognise the problems of a future period when more people were living much longer after retirement age. However the public wanted it ASAP.

            The Labour party landslide whilst great in the number of seats won was not that overwhelming in terms of votes cast. Electoral arithmetic shows that Labour won a lot of seats with narrow majorities whilst the Conservatives often had big majorities in the fewer seats that they did win. This is why the Conservatives found it relatively easy to get back into power in the early 50s
            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

            Comment


            • While I addressed this to the US Army, it goes for any military service in WW 2. The least appreciated and probably most overlooked aspect was graves registration.



              A truly thankless job that had probably no greater importance and for which there was little or no recognition.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by cbo View Post
                One of the most overlooked, undervalued, underestimated aspect of WWII is that the war was basically over by 1943, won by the allied powers. The last two years was just a mopping up operation. Planners of war-production were already adjusting production towards peace-time needs, like accepting a certain in-effeciency in tank production in order to secure the necessary post-war production facilities, but not ending up with too many tanks on their hands.

                Another is that the "victory" of British strategy at the Casablance conference was not brought on by clever British manouvering or a change in US views. It was brought on by the fact that the US economy could not support an attack on Western Europe earlier than the summer of 1944. So just pull out the chapters on Casablanca in 99% of your books

                Someone said logistics - I'd say economy.
                Mopping up?? Tell that to the widows and kids of blokes killed on Omaha beach and it was not the American economy that delayed the amphibious assault by one year but a simple overlooked fact, and that was, Hundreds of Landing craft laid up in various waterways of Britain, with not enough men to man them! So the Royal Marine Light Infantry was scrapped, disbanded and fully trained infantry were retrained as crewmen for those empty craft! A simple thing, but it held up a big event. lcm1
                'By Horse by Tram'.


                I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                Comment


                • Originally posted by MarkV View Post

                  They're browsers. They take the code that websites are written in and use it to produce what you see on your screen. They also allow you to navigate around the Web. A search engine does searches (bloody obvious) so Google and Bing act as search engines. A router is the piece of hardware that connects your web enabled devices (PC, tablet smart fridge etc etc) to the Internet and if set up right also allows them to 'talk' to each other


                  During the War Churchill had effectively turned the responsibility for running the country on a day to day basis over to Atlee, Bevin etc so that he and Eden etc etc could get on with fighting the war. As a result Atlee looked like the candidate to run the peace. It had also allowed Arthur Greenwood minister without portfolio and Labour Party chairman to commission Beveridge to do the study that resulted in the report that bore his name and acted as the design document for the welfare state. Churchill did not oppose its publication - back before WW1 when he was a Liberal cabinet minister he had been a social reformer himself but he did warn that its recommendations should be implemented slowly after the war in order to ensure that adequate funding was available and the structures were fit for the long term. In some respects he may have been right. Many of the NHS's problems could be said to result from incorrect assumptions made when it was initially created and failed to recognise the problems of a future period when more people were living much longer after retirement age. However the public wanted it ASAP.

                  The Labour party landslide whilst great in the number of seats won was not that overwhelming in terms of votes cast. Electoral arithmetic shows that Labour won a lot of seats with narrow majorities whilst the Conservatives often had big majorities in the fewer seats that they did win. This is why the Conservatives found it relatively easy to get back into power in the early 50s
                  Hi Mark, hate to contradict you mate, but the reason that the Conservatives got back into power in the fifties was the good men that the Labour voters followed originally were gone, got old, retired, or been forced out of power by the pack of ratbags that led the Labour party to defeat because of the policies then in use.. Since I came out of the Marines in 44 I have voted Labour, ( a glutton for punishment ) and I remember those bad old days well!! Cheers, Ken.
                  'By Horse by Tram'.


                  I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                  " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                  Comment


                  • I would respectfully disagree. Sir Stafford Cripps had resigned from ill health but he had never been popular in the country - the main loss was Ernie Bevin who died. Herbert Morrison proved woefully ineffectual and Wilson and Nye Bevan resigned in protest over Gaitskill's National Health charges leaving the Attlee administration in tatters. Although far too young to vote I was old enough to listen to the radio and precocious enough to have some understanding (I can still remember the fuss over the Burgess and Maclean defections and the damage done to the government's standing).

                    Nevertheless the fact that far more Labour seats were marginal (and only needed a small swing to the Conservatives to fall) was a major factor.
                    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                    Comment


                    • One thing you have got right Mark, the Attlee admin was in tatters! That is exactly what I was driving at! The old team was gone leaving only 'Ratbags ' and the election was lost. lcm1
                      'By Horse by Tram'.


                      I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
                      " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

                      Comment


                      • Another overlooked aspect of WWII that's worth considering is the following:

                        as I put it in my old thread-starter:


                        "Did the Western Allies pursue an essentially ‘Italy & Vichy France First’ policy from mid 1940-43?"


                        Basically this interpretation of the Western Allied land war effort in the years after the fall of France in mid 1940 proposes that far from pursuing the stated policy of defeating ‘Germany first’ they in reality concentrated nearly all their endeavours on knocking out the Italian ‘paper tiger’ and Germany’s vassal Vichy.

                        Essentially, the argument runs that the western allies, that is the British Commonwealth from July 1940 up to late 1942 and then the UK/US alliance, while technically at war with Nazi Germany, took the easy option of fighting and defeating the above two secondary Axis powers.

                        While for the Western allies the chief theater of land operations for much of the above period was of course North Africa and operations were for the most part pursued against Italian or Vichy French Forces.

                        The western allies fought the Germans in North Africa it was true, but seen in perspective and in comparison to the titanic struggle in Soviet Russia (and what else are you going to compare it to?) the Germans forces supporting the Italians were miniscule until the last stages of the campaign. Most Axis troops in North Africa were of course Italian not German.

                        Granted the British also fought a short disastrous campaign in April 1941 against the Germans by trying to support the Greeks and a intense and for the Germans, costly battle for the island of Crete a month later.
                        However, from mid 1941 to mid 1943 when they invaded Sicily, their only direct effort in land warfare against Germany outside the very small campaign opposing Rommel in North Africa was a ‘day outing’ by 2nd Canadian Division to Dieppe in August of 1942.

                        Apart, then from battling the Germans who were supporting the Italians in North Africa, most allied land and surface naval war operations were directed against either Italy or Vichy France.
                        These operations included :
                        . Attacking elements of the VichyFrench fleet in July 1940 at Mers-el Kebir in Algeria and Dakar, West Africa.

                        . An attempt to secure Vichy controlled Dakar by British and Free French Forces in Sept 1940

                        . An invasion and occupation of Vichy controlled Syria and Lebanon in June 1941

                        . An invasion and occupation of Vichy controlled Madagascar in a campaign lasting from May to November 1942.

                        . Campaigns against Italian controlled Somalia and Ethiopia in 1941

                        . Naval battles in the Mediterranean against Italian Fleets in 1940-43.

                        . Operation Torch - the invasion of Vichy controlled Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia

                        . The Invasion of Sicily, held by mostly Italian forces in July 1943

                        All up methinks the western allies may be accused by some (the soviets to begin with!) of dragging their feet so far as waging major land war against the supposed ‘first’ enemy Germany from 1941 to late 43.

                        It took the immensely powerful (and don’t kid yourselves the British Commonwealth and USA were, in comparison the Axis forces they actually did face – immensely powerful) Western democracies three years (Sept 1940 to Sept 1943) to defeat a much derided supposedly pathetic Fascist Italy and even more dismal Vichy France.



                        You may not agree with the premise (cripes heaps of people got very upset about the suggestion on the original thread) but the war against Italy and Vichy by the Western powers is certainly underplayed in many accounts.


                        lodestar’s stupidity and ignorance amazed virtually everyone: for the first twenty years of his life he believed a Manilla Folder referred to a Filipino contortionist!!

                        Reagrds
                        lodestar

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                        • @lodestar: No.
                          Sincerely, Susie
                          Will no one tell me what she sings?--
                          Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
                          For old, unhappy, far-off things,
                          And battles long ago:
                          -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
                            I think it is underreported (and I would certainly read a book about) individual citizens of Nazi-occupied countries and how they came to end up fighting on the allied side. Gosh, a whole division of Poles? How the heck did that happen? (and I am sincere in asking).
                            Remember the direct annexation of some North-Westernmost Polish territories into Germany proper. People living there, including, therefore, lots of Poles (the rest were Germans) became all citizens of the Reich. Those of Polish origin were given provisional citizenship, subject to ten years of good conduct. In that status, they had virtually none of the rights of the Germans - but they had the same duties as every German able-bodied male. So they were, simply, conscripted.

                            The good news is that they deserted at the first opportunity, and it's how the 1st Polish Corps remained nearly up to strength in 1944 notwithstanding the casualties and the inability to recruit from Poland. The deserters volunteered to join it.

                            I don't know if this is an overlooked fact of WWII.

                            Michele

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Desiree Clary View Post
                              I have been waiting for somebody more knowledgeable than I to mention the Laconia Incident. I have only read about it in Clay Blair's Hitler's U-Boat War. Captain Werner Hartenstein of U-156 had sighted the Laconia earlier that day.He torpedoed her and then attempted to rescue survivors, but the Allies reacted badly. This is a link to the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laconia_incident
                              The wikipedia article is, as most accounts of the event, absurdly pro-Axis. It tries to imply, without risking stating it openly, that the attack by bombers was a war crime. Of course it was not, under the international laws then in force. If anything, the use of the ICRC emblem by the submarine was a violation of those laws.

                              It also claims that the Kriegsmarine's (and, in particular, the U-Boot arm's) attitude changed significantly after the incident, because of the Laconia order. Actually, Doenitz had already issued, in October or November 1939 (!) a very similar order that was in overt violation of the prize rules concerning the safety of merchant marine crews.

                              Note the emphasis above. The merchant marine crews had been deemed, at the beginning of the war, as deserving special protection because they were considered civilians. But with all the sound and fury about the attack on the submarine by US bombers, what is conveniently overlooked is that the vast majority of the personnel involved were Axis military personnel. They were no longer POWs. They were no longer shipwreck victims swimming in the sea. What do you do in war when you see a convoy transporting enemy personnel and you have a gun capable of engaging that target? You fire the gun. What if the convoy is made up by military vehicles and it is trying to protect itself by illegally sporting a Red Cross flag? You ignore the flag.

                              The Laconia event isn't an overlooked fact of WWII. Students of the laws of war know it well, and are able to debunk the pro-Axis apologists' take of it.
                              Michele

                              Comment


                              • Uboat.net page about the Laconia Incident
                                https://uboat.net/ops/laconia.htm

                                There was also a film about it
                                https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1504261/
                                embracing same pro-Axis bias
                                "Keep Calm. Use Less X's"

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