please regard: price of honor? (Full Version)

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Footslogger -> please regard: price of honor? (1/31/2013 3:01:20 AM)

Why did the Germans and the Japanese perfer suicide to surrender?

In this video Weidling perfers to be shot instead of defending Berlin.

And this video

margeorg -> RE: please regard: price of honor? (1/31/2013 9:50:57 AM)


ORIGINAL: Footslogger

Why did the Germans and the Japanese perfer suicide to surrender?

In this video Weidling perfers to be shot instead of defending Berlin.

And this video


canīt speak for the japanese, but in regards to Weidling: Remember that all Soldiers of the Wehrmacht had sworn an oath to the person of Adolf Hitler directly - not the nation, the constitution, or any other "indirect" institution. This oath, combinded with general principles of self-understanding in the officers corps (resulting from principles dating back to the prussian military tradition) of acquital made it impossible for most of them to go into opposion of Hitler, surrender while still fighting or otherwise leave their command.

This has nothing to do with the suicide mentatlity of japanese officers. Their spirit originated from a totally different culture. Suicide strategy in general has never been a significant part of the german military doctrine.

Also keep in mind that we are (as of today) discussing this with an eductational background of free speech, open mind, and political education. These things were almost completely absent for these officers, for many of them had been educated and trained during the german empire before 1918, were these virtues were not emphasized.

Just very few of them were so self-contended to oversee the dimension of crime the Hitler and Nazi regime committed, and to put this in relation to their commitment to defend their fatherland. BTW, it is interesting that most of the conspirators of July 20th originated from very old prussian nobility families.

Last remark: This is the attempt to EXPLAIN their situation, NOT to excuse it! But from todays view most things look more simple than they actually had been ...

Alfred -> RE: please regard: price of honor? (1/31/2013 3:20:41 PM)

The Germans did not prefer suicide to surrender.

The film clip you post of Weidling merely represents the resignation German solders had in the last days as to what their fate at the hands of the Soviets would entail. Being appointed commander of the Berlin Defences was just a death sentence, one which would be much more messy than being shot by a firing squad.

Only on the Eastern Front did members of the Waffen SS fight to the end because they knew that the Soviets did not take Waffen SS as prisoners.

In the last few months of the war, there were thousands of German soldiers shot/hanged for not displaying willingness to fight in hopeless situations.


Footslogger -> RE: please regard: price of honor? (1/31/2013 8:57:36 PM)

If you watch the last part of the trailer, a German officer speaks about 'our honor'.

margeorg -> RE: please regard: price of honor? (1/31/2013 9:17:18 PM)


and thats one of the parts of the movie which I donīt like, because the picture it draws is easily misleading. There have been such occurences, but these were single ones, not to be generalized.

Also remember that "Downfall" (the movie) is based on the book of Joachim Fest, which also is not free of criticism. F.e. did Rochus Misch, one of the last survivors of the Fuehrerbunker, claim that Fest put sentences in his mouth he never said. So the content of the movie (while in general being highly authentic, and driven by the great screenplay of Bruno Ganz) has to be seen with adequate distance.

wdolson -> RE: please regard: price of honor? (1/31/2013 11:10:50 PM)

The increased willingness of Germans to sacrifice themselves is, IMO, more a sign of fanatical leadership combined with a culture of strong military tradition.

As Alfred pointed out, the war on the Eastern Front was a no quarters fight (thanks to the Germans, when war started the Russians said they would abide by the Geneva Convention, but quit when the Germans didn't). If surrender is not a viable option, soldiers often to fight through more hopeless situations than if it is. Americans in the Pacific tended to hang in a fight to more extremes than they did in Europe. The Marines are famous for it, but US Army troops did too. When surrender is a worse option than death, people will often go through more on the battlefield.

The Russians were, if anything, more suicidal than the Germans. The Commissars made sure of it. When the fight was cast as for the survival of Mother Russia, it spurred a lot more willingness to fight from the troops.

The Japanese were a very different culture than the western powers with very different motivations. The culture was built around the story that the emperor was a god on Earth and when the military took over the government they corrupted the old Samurai Code into the Code of Bushido which was pitched as a sort of Samurai Code for everyone. Admiral Kurita was one of the few Japanese commanders who was not known for suicidal bravery. His father was a historical scholar and Kurita grew up reading the classics from Medieval Japan. He was one of the few of his generation or younger who fully understood what the Samurai Code was and how it had been corrupted.

In Japanese Code of Bushido culture dying for the emperor was a great honor that promised rewards in the afterlife. On the other hand, being taken prisoner was the greatest disgrace a soldier could have. The disgrace was so strong that the few who had been taken prisoner who returned to Japan after the war were almost universally shunned, even by family. Many former POWs chose to go somewhere else to live out their lives.

No other major combatant in the war had such a fervor in their troops. The Russians and Germans succeeded in getting a degree of fanaticism higher than what was seen in the Anglo-American armies or the Italians. But it never matched the Japanese, nor did it have the same roots.

My 2 cents.


danlongman -> RE: please regard: price of honor? (2/1/2013 12:03:55 AM)

As far as cultural traditions go I think that most of this readership do not consider the fact that had they
been born in Germany in 1920 the vast majority would have been very good German soldiers with all that that entails.

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