THE WORLD WAR TWO GROUP discussion

74 views
ARCHIVED THREADS > Good vs Evil

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I was reading the Description of the group and I nice that no had started a discussion of the battle of good vs evil. I personally think that in the east it was a case of an evil (Soviet Union)against a greater evil (Nazis), and in this, luckily evil won. Wow, that felt weird to write. Well, what do you think?


message 2: by Rod (new)

Rod | 15 comments The Soviets were former allies of the Nazis by virtue of their non-aggression pact. They both invaded Poland and divided the spoils between them. Russia then attacked Finland. It was therefore a case of thieves falling out amongst themselves. I would bracket the pair of them together on the ‘evil’ side.
I view Britain and her allies as on the ‘good’ side because they were responding to acts of blatant aggression by a fascist dictatorship. In general the western powers were democracies, elected by the people and generally subject to rules of war and a code of ethics. Whilst there were evil acts on both sides , as far as the allies were concerned these were not institutionalised or condoned and were punished if discovered. Lands conquered by the allies were returned to their rightful owners at the earliest opportunity, whilst the Nazis and Soviets intended to hold their gains in perpetuity, usually with the enslavement and terrorisation of their populace. Some of the allies may have been weak or corrupt. There was, for example a great deal of anti-Semitism throughout Europe, but history views the allies as the ’good’ side and I agree absolutely. This is a big subject and you could write a lengthy volume discussing the detail!


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian | 86 comments Rod wrote: "The Soviets were former allies of the Nazis by virtue of their non-aggression pact. They both invaded Poland and divided the spoils between them. Russia then attacked Finland. It was therefore a ca..."
In regard to the moral aspects of the war I would recommend 'Moral Combat' by Michael Burleigh, which I have just started to read. A bit early to provide an opinion on the book being only 50 pages in, but Burleigh seems to cover the differing 'moral universes' of the belligerents and the compromises which had to be made for the greater good, or the lesser evil!
Moral Combat: A History of World War II


message 4: by carl (new)

carl  theaker | 1468 comments >> In regard to the moral aspects of the war I would recommend 'Moral Combat'

one would probably need some moral philosophy such as this book to guide one to some conclusion on this
question.

at the start of WW2, (and many years beforehand) two relatively small countries, UK & France ruled 1/3 of the earth. they weren't doing it out of goodness, though they rationalized so.


message 5: by Míceál (new)

Míceál  Ó Gealbháin (miceal) Interesting premise Steven and a tough premise to argue with but I'm going with the Nazis. Don't think the USSR was the sole winner however they certainly benefitted more than anyone else.


message 6: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 79 comments Dr. Michael wrote: "Interesting premise Steven and a tough premise to argue with but I'm going with the Nazis. Don't think the USSR was the sole winner however they certainly benefitted more than anyone else."

While I think the consequence of the Russians losing would have been disastrous, it is hard for me to say that a victory that legitimized a dictatorship for another 45 years was a win for the people of the USSR.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I also agree that the Soviets won the war in Europe. They were the ones that ground the German army to a halt and then pushed them all the way back to Berlin, suffering way more causalities than any other allies country. They took away pricelss German divisions from the western front allowing D-Day and the two sided war that would crush the Geraman army. They couldn't handle the sheer numbers of the Soviets and the manpower and technology of the fresh Americans.


message 8: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 79 comments M-dawg wrote: "I also agree that the Soviets won the war in Europe. They were the ones that ground the German army to a halt and then pushed them all the way back to Berlin, suffering way more causalities than an..."

I don't dispute the USSR's primary responsibility for the defeat of the Axis forces. If they aren't in the war, I don't think that any of the allied invasions of mainland Europe would have succeeded. I guess that means the USA drops Nuclear weapons on Europe to "win" assuming we even get involved.

I think the Poles and some other nationalities would consider the change of masters from German to Russian as a "win". At least the new masters didn't consider you sub-human and on the short list for extermination so I would say there are more winners than the Russians.


message 9: by Sean (last edited Oct 25, 2010 08:30AM) (new)

Sean | 31 comments I also don't dispute the USSR's great contributions, but one must also remember that the USA was also fighting a war against the Japanese at the same time as fighting against Nazi Germany. The manpower the USSR used to thrust the Germans back to Berlin came from the Siberian troops watching the Japanese. Once Stalin felt confident that the Japanese were no threat to him, he pulled a large number to push the Germans. Had the USA not been fighting the Japanese and the combined forces of the US Army and US Marine Corps been unleashed in Europe, I believe we would have been to Berlin much quicker than we did.


message 10: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 79 comments Sdoconnor wrote: "I also don't dispute the USSR's great contributions, but one must also remember that the USA was also fighting a war against the Japanese at the same time as fighting against Nazi Germany. The manp..."

While I agree with a lot of what you say, the fact that the Siberian troops went into the attack two days before Pearl Harbor seems to me to say that Stalin either knew the Japanese were planning an attack on the USA and Britain or took the risk to move the troops based on the poor performance of Japanese troops against Russian forces a couple of years earlier.

I'm not sure additional American manpower in the European Theater could have been logistically supported through the ports and roads of Europe. So I don't know that fighting a two front war hampered the American effort on the ground against the Germans.


message 11: by Sean (new)

Sean | 31 comments Stalin pulled the Siberian Divisions when it became apparent to him that Japan was no threat. He realized that they had no plans to attack the Soviet Union anytime soon and probably speculated that they had their hands full with the US and her allies in the region. These Siberian troops increased Stalin's manpower against Nazi Germany and their ability to fight in the harsh Russian winter was particularly valuable.

You do have a valid point on the inability of European roads and ports to handle the larger force, but I can imagine the increased numbers that would be available would have made it possible to open new and different fronts or change the course of the war entirely. Possibly multiple fronts at one time could have been taken advantage of earlier. Instead of invading Africa, then Sicily, then Italy, and finally Normandy. A strategy such as invading Africa while simultaneously invading Norway or some other weak point. It is an interesting thought to entertain.


message 12: by Donster (new)

Donster | 29 comments Stalin was able to move his Siberian troops west to support the 1941-42 winter offensive thanks to Richard Sorge's intelligence, which did indeed provide advance warning of the Pearl Harbour attack, Japanese intentions regarding Siberia and the Barbarossa attack.


message 13: by Paul (new)

Paul (paul_gephart) | 357 comments Since this is a book discussion at its root, let me take this opportunity to recommend one of the best books about the Sorge spy ring in Japan. It's by Gordon Prange, called Target Tokyo: The Story of the Sorge Spy Ring.Target Tokyo: The Story of the Sorge Spy Ring


message 14: by James (new)

James | 61 comments Although I believe that the U.S., the British, and the Free French were by far the most moral in their reasons for entering the war and the way they fought it, no one's hat was completely white - the Allies knew about the Nazi concentration camps but chose not to bomb the rail lines carrying the victims there. I'd say the greater evil committed by the U.S. and Britain was the mass terror-bombing of civilian populations, the Brits in Europe and the U.S. in Japan. I see the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as separate and as actually causing less death and suffering than the available alternatives, i.e. invasion or a campaign to starve the Japanese out while continuing conventional bombing.

With that said, Stalin's Soviet government actually killed more of the USSR's people than the Germans did, and Stalin's psychopathic character also came through in his blatantly unjustified aggression against Poland and Finland before he was at war with Hitler. Stalin was an incredibly evil person who had no consideration or concern for anyone except himself and sadistically enjoyed the terror and suffering he caused others.

Even with all that, the Nazis and the Japanese Empire were, I believe, the worst of all. They set out, as a matter of policy, to exterminate entire races and nationalities and permanently enslave the rest of the world, and they derived great pleasure from causing suffering. They saw the rest of humanity as lesser creatures beneath contempt, as if we were vermin instead of fellow human beings. Even though Stalin (and for that matter Mao) killed more people than Hitler, I think Hitler must be seen as the most evil of the three.


message 15: by Sean (new)

Sean | 31 comments I agree with you James. You have made a lot of good points. I do believe Hitler was the more evil of the three. The others killed people for their political aspirations whereas Hitler killed Jews and others purely out of hate. We do know Hitler killed political opponents, but he killed many more through hatred.


message 16: by James (new)

James | 61 comments Not only that, he demanded that the German people follow him into death and oblivion - he said that since they had failed him by losing the war (no taking responsibility for his own mistakes and wrongs for this guy) they deserved destruction. Near the end he gave orders for essentially all infrastructure in Germany to be destroyed; luckily for the ordinary people, those orders were ignored for the most part, or an awful lot of them would have died of cold and starvation in the winter of 1945-1946.


message 17: by Saif (new)

Saif Rizvi (artzt) | 6 comments well we come back to the Holocaust, and the Holodomar... Stalin with NKVD bolsheviks killed more than a 100 million overall in his purges... and the Nazis managed to kill 6 million Jews in the Holocaust... who was really wrong... i examine this more in my book "black Shark Valley", in a fictional setting. Black Shark Valley by Saif Rizvi


message 18: by Thomas (new)

Thomas (thomasstrubinger) | 8 comments Well personally I believe the Japanese were worse than either the Soviet Union or the Nazi, their war crimes just aren't as well known.


message 19: by George (new)

George | 116 comments Clearly, both Hitler and Stalin were wrong. Who was really more wrong might be a better question, however, I find it difficult to easily distinguish the moral difference between 6 million and 100, assuming the latter is indeed a valid figure. I do accept that Stalin killed more people in the Soviet Union than Hitler, although Hitler's score was hardly limited to Jews. I'm not inclined to dismiss the Japanese, although again, I find it hard to conclude they were somehow worse.


message 20: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments An interesting question and thread, and to put a somewhat different spin on things if you ask British veterans (I have had few opportunituies to talk to Canadian, US, Australian, NZ etc) the overall feeling - as was my family members views on the home front too - was that they were fighting evil at the time.

In respect of Germany this was a regime who wanted to invade them, for the second time just 20 years after the war to end all wars, and had already done so to much of Europe by early 1940; let alone the dreadful treatment of Jews and others.

Against Japan the British troops expected and gave little quarter against a tough and viscious foe.
The war in Burma and the 14th Army's campaigns against Japan receive little attention in the UK these days (as opposed to Dunkirk, D-Day and Arnhem) except when discussing treatment of allied POWs of the Japanese (and indeed civilians and British/Commonwealth nationals in invaded countries). And it is this aspect that ensured Japan remained "evil" for almost every British person who had lived through the war.

Russia was in many cases viewed with suspicion as it was communist (some saw this as more worriesome than Fascism early on) and after its pact with Germany and subsequent invasion of Poland, but once sided with Britain and the allies that's what they were until war's end. After all, many British men died supplying or went short of tanks, aircraft and other kit to ensure Russia could continue its fight against Germany.

War makes strange bedfellows - China would perhaps be another - and only with the benefit of time are we able to see how policies and strategies have affected or influenced views and world events.


message 21: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 17299 comments Very good points Geevee, most Australians would agree that to them the Japanese were the most "evil" enemy thay faced during WW2.


message 22: by George (new)

George | 116 comments probably because they didn't fight on the Russian front, but my dad would certainly have agreed with the Aussies.


back to top