A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

SPWaW is a tactical squad-level World War II game on single platoon or up to an entire battalion through Europe and the Pacific (1939 to 1945).

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KG Erwin
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by KG Erwin »

Hmmm, I never considered having pacifistic tendencies would automatically make one a conscientous objector. I see no contradictions at all in being a wargamer and a pacificist.
As for the Germans, they just don't appeal to me as they once did. However, it WOULD be silly if I were to suggest boycotting them, which I'm not. Other gamers don't take this aversion so far, but there are gamers who won't choose SS units.

There was an interesting discussion over at the SPWaW Depot about "Blood on the Hands of Both Sides". This was started for discussing the Pacific War, and the reaction of American troops to the Japanese style of war. Some US & USMC units didn't take prisoners, period. If a Japanese tried to surrender, some were just shot out of hand. This practice wasn't official US policy, but nonetheless it did happen. I find it disagreeable, but it doesn't lessen my patriotism or my desire to play SPWaW as the Americans.
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returnfire
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by returnfire »

ORIGINAL: robot
I just did not understand how you can say you are a pacifist and then play a barbaric war game, where the intent is to kill the other person. Even tho it is only a game, I believe if i was a dyed in the wool pacifist. I would play say a golf or fishing or a game like sim city not a war game.

Well, I can understand how a "pacifist" can still play a war game. Think about it this way: by playing the war game, a person can gain some (simulated) "first-hand experience" about how horrible war is (despite the fact that all of us know that the "people" in the game are merely pixels and they're NOT REAL). In other words, their experience from war games enhances their belief that "war is hell." As a result, they hate war even more and become pacifists.

(You can also say that we're reversing the logic here, i.e. play war games->becomes pacifist.)

Not to mention that some people may use war games as a "stress-buster"-- I think this is totally okay as long as they know "all of these aren't real" (and needless to say, they shouldn't commit homicide-- duh!)
ORIGINAL: rich12545

My two cents. If anybody shouldn't want to play the Germans it would be me, being Jewish. But I see no problem. This is a GAME. It isn't even close to real life. It's a game and as Les says the units bear absolutely no resemblance to real people living or dead, even the ss units. For someone to say he won't play the germans in a game because of the holocaust is, imo, silly.

IIRC one of the previous versions of SPWaW has two subfolders under the "SHP" folder called "IronCross" and "Swastika." For those of you who see images of Hitler and the Holocaust upon seeing the swastika, you can simply replace the shp files with the ones provided in the "IronCross" folder. Or you can refrain from using SS units.
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BulletMagnet
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by BulletMagnet »

Playing germans dosnt bother me. The standard line infantry weirmark(spelling?) didnt commit any more attrocties than any other line unit.n So,logicaly if your against the attrocities boycott the ss units.We all know what they did on record. Maybe you shouldnt play the us because they dropped a atomic bomb. This thinking is ludicrous. Play the game and enjoy and relish the fact that you did not have to be in the position of the units we so easily move across the screen without a thought. War IS hell. If i was a mod id just lock this sucker down because its not going anywhere except the toilet.

BTW I think its awesome that the rhetoric has greatly calmed down and it is once more a more pleasant atmosphere.Good job everyone(even you Keke).[:D]
"What we do in life,echoes in eternity"
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KG Erwin
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by KG Erwin »

Well, BulletMagnet, I think you have a point. This thread was my own fault, and it is indeed rhetorical and heading nowhere fast.
So, KG Erwin the editorialist gets slapped with a gag order by KG Erwin the moderator. [:o]

Postscript: I will unlock this thread, so you guys have at it. I will add this: this is an international forum, and discussions involving personal political opinions rightfully belong in ethe AoW forum, but, for the American members, I'll say this:

After the events of 9/11, I sat back and thought about what my role as an American citizen should be. I'm a government worker, but I'm a public servant, too. This only made me think more about the role of the American military, especially during the period represented by SPWaW. This only makes me more proud of the sacrifices made by American troops in all theaters of the Second World War. For this reason, I choose to pay as an American in my SPWaW battles.

This isn't rah-rah flag-waving patriotic jingoism--for my part, it's a simple recognition of what the average GI and the Leatherneck did all those years ago. There is no reason why I should not be proud of the American soldier of WWII.

For the international members, this does NOT mean that I lessen or denigrate the sacrifices and supreme valor exhibited by the soldiers of any combatant nations in this greatest of all wars--on the contrary, they hould ALL be honored and this is what the game tries to represent.

The point is clear--every nation had its heroes, and the men who just did their jobs as soldiers the best they could. As has been said before, in the trench or the foxhole or in the advance, the only thing that matters is the man next to you--this is what SPWaW is truly all about.
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Major_Johnson
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by Major_Johnson »

Well I'll tell ya, I can play any side except the Japanese. And it's all because of their treatment of prisoners and war ethics. And even if I think about it, it doesn't make any sense, because nobody fight's fair in war.

And KG you mentioned about the USMC shooting Japanese soldiers, as a rule. Did you ever see the episode on the history channel about the American submarine force in WW2? The one episode had a seen of an American submariner, with what I believe was Thomson MG, shooting a Japanese survivor of a submarine attack on a freighter, while he floating in the water clinging to some type fo debris. I mean, they even showed the kill shot.

Now I'm a Republican (since I've seen some others post their political affiliation), and also a pacifist at heart. I believe in live and let live, and let's all hit the strip club!! But I also believe in being proactive rather than reactive.

Now this thread might be going nowhere as far as the game goes, but it does give an insight to some of the people who play the game!! And I think that that is worth reading!! Thanks!!
M.J.!
We serve others best when at the same time we serve ourselves.
Tombstone
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by Tombstone »

We all have one prejudice or another. I'm certainly prejudiced against the WW2 german SS, soviet NKVD, and the Japanese in general. The atrocities they committed are significant and serious. It doesn't stop me from playing as any of them in tactical wargames though. Hell, the only scenario I ever completed covers an SS PanzerGrenadier Division. I think this is an interesting discussion though, when do you cross the line into glorification? I personally think that the line is somewhat clear, we all know those Nazi enthusiast types, you see them on other forums and such with their ignorant worship of the Germans or Japanese. I make a concerted effort to research all the wrong doings that occurred by belligerent forces during modern wartimes, it's like the Jane Fonda thread. You need to make sure you've done whatever you can to know the truth about a thing, especially something as emotionally charged as SS units. It is interesting, though, to see that everyone commits a certain number of atrocities no matter what the philosophical stance of the nation is. Some philosophies, however, yield much worse behavior than others. Totalitarian governments tend to pull the human outta the soldier better than democratic/socialist ones. We can look at Africa for a recent study of the horrors of war. It seems like the best behavior you see outta troops are the US soldiers of today. I'm really impressed at how our armed forces really are professional soldiers who do their job and duty without going mad and losing sight of their humanity. Sure, the war they see now isn't perhaps as ugly as things have been in the past and that's not to say behavior is perfect, but it is a hell of a lot better.

Tomo
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John David
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by John David »

Gunny, I think this has been a very cathartic thread, and it has served a useful purpose. Major_Johnson's last paragraph is well said.

I have no problem playing any side or nationality in SPWAW or any other wargame. I look at most German soldiers as just that, soldiers. Heck, my second favorite military man is Erwin Rommel,(All Hail Patton[&o]) and I look upon the German army as one of the best in history. It is also very rewarding and fun to play the German side, using their weapons and tactics. Besides, if I didn't want to play as the Germans, I would then be cutting myself off from many of the best scenarios and campaigns, not to mention not even being able to play MCNA & MCLV!!

I try to keep an open mind about everything and from all points of view. I have my strong opinions and feelings sure, but one learns with an open mind.

JD
The only thing good about war, is it's ending!

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RockinHarry
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by RockinHarry »

We´d better care with things that happen in our world nowadays, don´t we? Btw, I´m german, age of 37 and..what was in germany (or elsewhere) 60 years ago? I don´t care, as I can´t change. so I obviously don´t feel guilty for anything. Beside that I know I´m just "playing" wargames and don´t really hurt or kill anybody![;)]

My 2 cents.
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AmmoSgt
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by AmmoSgt »

I don't think the sins of the fathers should be visited upon the sons. But I do think a hard and pityless look at History is the only thing that can keep humanity from repeating the mistakes made by countries in the past. I am always amazed at how folks can get simple facts so wrong. The Wehrmacht was up to their ears in the attrocities, The SS was lead by political relaibles regardless of military skill. Those are facts even a simple web search can verify. Germans were mere humans, possesing neither excepional military skill or bravery, they had some inovative tactics early on , thats all. The Hitties had chariots and tactics to exploit them and they kicked butt in their day too.
see http://www.panzerace.net/main/tarnished.asp?chapter=06. I delibertely selected this one website because it mentions a few allied attrocities as well. Excesses ocurr in war, it is wether or not they are the exception rather than the rule that an Army or Nation is judged. The Nazi's deserve the harshest judgement ( as does the Stalinist era in Russia and Japanese in Korea and China) IMHO . For me personally I seldom play the Axis for the simple reason I cannot stand to lose , and I hate to see the axis win , so I know I won't feel good either way it comes out when I play the axis. The evil lies not in playing the Germans , but in glorfying them , or perpetuating the myth that they were supermen or somehow some were not touched by the evil of the propaganda that they were supermen and other races were mud people and less than human. However much we( the US) may have hated , even racially, the enemies of the United States during WW2 , we treated them as humans in Victory and usually when captured. That cannot be said for the Germans or Japanese. The Stalinst Russians didn't treat anybody like humans, friend or foe, so I don't know what to say about them. Stalin probably came close to killing more Russian officers before the war than the Germans did during the war.
Play who ya want IMHO , just don't go around making excuses for the wehrmacht as being guiltless , when they were as likely to be guarding the death camps or shooting civilians as any SS goon.
"For Americans war is almost all of the time a nuisance, and military skill is a luxury like Mah-jongg. But when the issue is brought home to them, war becomes as important, for the necessary periods, as business or sport. And it is hard to decide which
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by Renaud »

ORIGINAL: AmmoSgt

The evil lies not in playing the Germans , but in glorfying them , or perpetuating the myth that they were supermen or somehow some were not touched by the evil of the propaganda that they were supermen and other races were mud people and less than human. However much we( the US) may have hated , even racially, the enemies of the United States during WW2 , we treated them as humans in Victory and usually when captured. That cannot be said for the Germans or Japanese. The Stalinst Russians didn't treat anybody like humans, friend or foe, so I don't know what to say about them. Stalin probably came close to killing more Russian officers before the war than the Germans did during the war.
Play who ya want IMHO , just don't go around making excuses for the wehrmacht as being guiltless , when they were as likely to be guarding the death camps or shooting civilians as any SS goon.

AmmoSgt, you made once again the right conclusion, and I can only agree with you.

It happens to me to play with the German side, but only when the scenario gives me no other option. At first glance, I'm not far away from KG's position:

1- I hate war but I'm a wargame-addict since more than 20 years. Simply said, I play wargames not because I'm in love with fighting, tanks, guns or anything else, but just because it's an intellectual challenge. To win a battle, you have to rely on rationality and good planning, but you'll go nowhere without improvisation and a bit of luck.

2- I don't like playing with the Germans or Japanese because it implies (in my eyes, I mean) that I'm playing the role of a 1939-45 German/Japanese commander. And this means I'm an invader serving a country dominated by a racist and destructive ideology. And I don't enjoy this at all... As some of you already know, I've been an officer in the Belgian army (and I'm still in the reserve cadre). This is no problem for me as Belgium is a democracy and will never have plans to invade any other country in the world. It would be very different if I was born in an expansionist / dictatorial country...

This being said, a last word about the Wehrmacht implication in the holocaust and the war atrocities: it's indeed completely false to think that only the SS were guilty. It would imply that it is possible to make war focusing on the 'how' without asking questions about the 'why'. A typical dictatorial statement, abundantly used during the Nuremberg trials by criminals. Von Manstein, for example, was a die-hard Nazi and he was perfectly aware of what was happening behind the lines. Many other German high-rank officers had heard about the 'final solution', but only thought about killing Hitler when it became obvious that the war was lost and that it was the only hope to save Germany from foreign occupation... Think about it !

(NB: please note that this does NOT mean I hate Germany/Japan or Germans/Japanese at all ! I only hate racism and dictatorship...)
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Wuotan
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by Wuotan »

Wow! I hate political correctness, so i play just as germans or japanese.[:D]

SPWAW is a film in my head. I smell the snow or the dust and hear the battle raging
even with "sound off". There is no place to think about "good" and "bad". Of course
my imagination uses cliches to bring live into the pixels (the typical majestic, laconic
japanese officer, the gum-chewing GI, the Landser a la "Steiner"...). They are shapes,
nothing more or less. Like actors in a film. And that is FUN and the explanation that
a pacifist can play wargames.

My two pence.
Wenn Du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in Dich hinein.

F. Nietzsche
rich12545
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by rich12545 »

Renaud
This being said, a last word about the Wehrmacht implication in the holocaust and the war atrocities: it's indeed completely false to think that only the SS were guilty. It would imply that it is possible to make war focusing on the 'how' without asking questions about the 'why'. A typical dictatorial statement, abundantly used during the Nuremberg trials by criminals. Von Manstein, for example, was a die-hard Nazi and he was perfectly aware of what was happening behind the lines. Many other German high-rank officers had heard about the 'final solution', but only thought about killing Hitler when it became obvious that the war was lost and that it was the only hope to save Germany from foreign occupation... Think about it !

What you say is true. But it has NOTHING to do with the game. You don't glorify anyone playing the germans. All you do is play a game. It has nothing to do with nazi politics, the holocaust or anything else.
Tombstone
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RE: A Personal Observation:Playing as the Germans

Post by Tombstone »

The events of ww2 influenced our world in so many ways. It's not strange that people have strong feelings about it, the more you study it the more you realise how collossal a struggle it all was. It was SO MUCH in SO MANY ways. I totally sympathise with Ammo's stance on Germany and Japan, but in my case it doesn't stop me from playing those nations in SPWAW. Like I said, I've done extensive scenario building with the SS as the focus. I do feel a little nervous about appearing a little like a nazi glorifier to some or worse, attract the types that love the SS like they we're heroes come from heaven.

This stuff doesn't have much to do with the game, but as regulars at these forums it does have something to do with the people that play them.

I personally started playing wargames because I loved the force and magnitude of warfare. To me tanks were attractive in so many ways... I liked war, and I got into it. I've had a million misconceptions over the last 10 years or so (my period of focused amateur war history study) and I'm still synthesizing data and learning new things. I have a really different opinion of war now... hmm I don't know where I'm going with this, but it felt vaguely relevant to the discussion.

Tomo
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