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Author Topic: Hitler assasination failed, many others die?  (Read 4052 times)

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« on: 07/06/2010 12:47:23 »
I was watching a program about a plot that took place to assassinate Hitler. The conspirators planed to plant a bomb in his bunker and detonate it, ridding Germany of the tyrant then they planed to take over and surrender, ending the war in Europe quite a lot earlier than it ended in reality.

Unfortunately the guy making the bomb only had time to set the detonators for half the plastic explosive they planed use. He left the other half out, leaving the bomb only half as powerful. Hitler survived the attack and hunted down and hung the conspirators.

The show speculated that had the bomb maker left the other half of the bomb in the bag, the blast from the first half would have set off the second half, and Hitler would surly have been killed, ending the war early and saving lives.

History did not follow this path. The war continued until May 1945. Many more people died in Europe, but the war was not over. Germany had surrendered but Japan had not. American and British forces were transferred to the Pacific and continued the fight, which ended when atomic bombs were dropped. The world got to see the horrible effects that a nuclear war would have on humans. It was this,  I think, more than anything else, that prevented World War III. For most of the time I was growing up, and all the time when my parents were growing up, everyone took for granted that war was inevitable. But every time it came close or world leaders did something smart (which doesn't happen every day) they remembered the horrible pictures of burned Japanese children and thought of their own Soviet, or American children in the same condition and stepped back from the brink.

Had Hitler been killed, ending the war in Europe, Japan would have been defeated before the atom bombs were ready. What course would history have taken without those pictures? Would we be living in a "Mad Max" world today? Would we be living at all? I saw a 1950's film called On the Beach, very scary and sad. Everybody dies in the end, and I don't mean everybody in the movie, I mean EVERYBODY, as in no more people anywhere!


 

Offline graham.d

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #1 on: 07/06/2010 13:55:07 »
It's hard to tell the impact that events have on the future. It is even hard to see the effect after the fact. I tend to agree that it is possible that use of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has deterred its subsequent use, but I would not have liked to have used that as a justification at the time. It is also possible that a demonstration of the bomb could have had the same effect - who knows.

I think there is great danger in trying to play games to shape the world's future. Some politicians do this - the invasion of Iraq was an example, at least in the minds of a number of US politicians, of a way to reshape the middle east. It has not worked the way they intended and has cost a lot in lives and wealth. There are many other impacts too.

The best anyone can do is make judgements at the time without trying to step into the role of a God. Arrogance and power can lead to this. That is not to say that we cannot make assessments of what may happen in different scenarios, but the possible outcomes need to be weighed against the potential downsides. And it is vital to consider that you may be wrong.
 

Offline tommya300

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #2 on: 07/06/2010 14:24:30 »
Wow that is some heavy thinking. Should of, could of, would of... Paradox alley.
It is odd that we all can see that the world could be a better place if aggression, suppression were to be eliminated. Idealistic or what...?
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #3 on: 07/06/2010 22:36:32 »
One possibility that you need to consider is that, shocked by the assassination of their leader, even those in Germany who didn't support Hitler resolved to continue the fight.

It might have made very little difference.
 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #4 on: 09/06/2010 05:51:25 »
One possibility that you need to consider is that, shocked by the assassination of their leader, even those in Germany who didn't support Hitler resolved to continue the fight.

It might have made very little difference.

Actually that was the plan of the conspirators, to take control of the German government and surrender.
 

Offline Eric A. Taylor

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #5 on: 09/06/2010 06:07:42 »
It's hard to tell the impact that events have on the future. It is even hard to see the effect after the fact. I tend to agree that it is possible that use of the A-bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has deterred its subsequent use, but I would not have liked to have used that as a justification at the time. It is also possible that a demonstration of the bomb could have had the same effect - who knows.

I think there is great danger in trying to play games to shape the world's future. Some politicians do this - the invasion of Iraq was an example, at least in the minds of a number of US politicians, of a way to reshape the middle east. It has not worked the way they intended and has cost a lot in lives and wealth. There are many other impacts too.

The best anyone can do is make judgements at the time without trying to step into the role of a God. Arrogance and power can lead to this. That is not to say that we cannot make assessments of what may happen in different scenarios, but the possible outcomes need to be weighed against the potential downsides. And it is vital to consider that you may be wrong.

The argument of a demonstration has been used by many in the "nuclear weapons are evil" crowd. There are some things to consider. First no one had the 55 years of historical context in 1945. Second after the invasion of Okinawa, where women were jumping off cliffs with their babies, and in ALL of the other fights with the Japanese to that point, indicated that an invasion of Japan would be catastrophic in lives lost on both sides. Though at the time American leaders were only thinking of American lives.

Japan was in a terrible place, most of the industry had been destroyed and most of the large cities had been fire bombed to ashes, but they were still putting up a huge fight. Had America been required to invade Japan, American solders would have been forced to kill 10-year-old's who attacked them with sharp sticks.

It seems odd to me that people think of nuclear weapons as so horrible. True they make a big bang and leave a radio active trace behind but really they are no worse than guns or conventional bombs. They are just more efficient. Far more people died in fire bombings of places like Dresden or Tokyo than died in the atom bomb attacks. And many died from burning to death. Personally if I had a choice of being killed by a nuclear bomb or die in a fire bomb attack, I think I'll choose the nuclear option.

I think we owe a great debt to the world leaders from the 50's to the 90's. They did many stupid things but every time things looked bleak, they stepped back and made deals to solve their problems. I think this proves that you can settle differences without war, but only if war is too terrible to contemplate. But at what point does the war become "too terrible"?
 

Offline graham.d

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #6 on: 09/06/2010 09:27:42 »
"Though at the time American leaders were only thinking of American lives."

One could say that there is not much difference today given what happened in Iraq. Actually today it seems that American lives are worth about 1000 times that of Iraqi civilians.

At the time it was certainly arguable that the use of nuclear weapons would end the war quickly. I was not suggesting the option to use nuclear weapons in WWII was necessarily wrong, only that there were options and that from these there could have been lasting implications. People made what they thought was the best choice at the time though I suspect that the idea of minimising the death toll in Japan did not weigh so heavily in the minds of those making the decisions. I would hope that the humanitarian perspective may be more important today, but given the events in recent years I expect, regrettably, it would not be.

I think you're right that nuclear weapons are just an extension of conventional weapons; even moreso today with the concept of tactical devices. The reason they have not been resorted to are because, until recently, they were somewhat indiscriminate with the emphasis on intercontinental strikes on civilian targets. The general population don't much like this idea except as a deterrent, and, as such, it was effective. They also did a lot of damage to the infrastructure and left a legasy of radiation from fall out. The danger is that this deterrence factor is now much reduced (devices are made to be targetted, are smaller and produce less fall out). This concept is gradually being sold, particularly to the American public, and now opens up the possibility of their use in a future conflict.

It seems to me that the reality is that war is only "too terrible to contemplate" when it is your own side that is suffering. When involved in the modern asymmetric war there are no end of justifications for the use of advanced weapons and how carefully these are designed to minimise "collateral damage", despite the evidence of huge asymmetry in the casualty figures.

It isn't possible to close a pandora's box but we could learn how to manage situations rather better. Our political means of doing so are highly flawed though and, unfortunately, I don't see this improving very quickly.
 

Offline Geezer

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #7 on: 09/06/2010 09:46:55 »
One could say that there is not much difference today given what happened in Iraq. Actually today it seems that American lives are worth about 1000 times that of Iraqi civilians.

Hang about! I seem to remember Britain also played a major role in the invasion of Iraq. I'm not saying I agree with any of it, but let's not re-write history just yet.
 

Offline graham.d

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #8 on: 09/06/2010 11:52:19 »
OK, "coalition of the willing" if you prefer. The major role in the invasion was the USA though, by a long way. I regret that Britain played any part in it, thanks to the lies (allegedly) of Tony Blair and others. The people in the USA were not told the whole truth either. In any case, it is not specifically the USA I am getting at here but, generally, how the powerful and militarily well equipped manage an asymmetric conflict. You could cite the Israeli's and the Palestinians as another example or the former USSR in Afghanistan.
 

Offline JP

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #9 on: 09/06/2010 16:54:28 »
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #10 on: 09/06/2010 19:27:23 »
One possibility that you need to consider is that, shocked by the assassination of their leader, even those in Germany who didn't support Hitler resolved to continue the fight.

It might have made very little difference.

Actually that was the plan of the conspirators, to take control of the German government and surrender.
Surrendering isn't quite the same thing as continuing the fight.
 

Offline Geezer

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #11 on: 10/06/2010 07:16:01 »
You forgot Poland!

Bummer! The Poles are great people (and I really mean that).

Under no circumstances should should we ever forget how much they sacrificed to preserve some amount of democracy.
 

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Hitler assasination failed, many others die?
« Reply #11 on: 10/06/2010 07:16:01 »

 

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