Does the Waffen SS get an unnecessarily bad rap for what they've done? Every now and then I see armchair historians like myself who say "muh wehrmacht was perfect and teh waffen ss did erry thing wrong." I mean most were just idealistic young men from all over Europe and even other places who wanted to fight communism. Yes some were too fanatical, but so was the Red Army and the Imperial Japanese Army.
No, but too much of the blame for the entire war gets shifted onto them. The Waffen SS was DEFINITELY committing war crimes, but so was every other Army in the war at the time. The SS got the short end of the stick because they were on the losing side.
The Waffen-SS was the only part of the German army you could join as a foreigner, and those were mostly fanatics. For instance, the last defenders of the Reichstag were Frenchmen.
Ignoring that, they were considered the elite, sort of like your USMC. It's just that they weren't in any way, but common people didn't know that and pushed their sons into joining them instead of the standard Heer. My grandpa for instance was considered a "disgrace to the nation" for not enlisting with the SS, and ultimately it saved his life for his brother who did was lost in the first deployment.
Them being mostly fanatics surely built up a grim reputation, but I believe it was the hatred the Allies felt when seeing the two runes on their collars, for they immediately connected that in their mind with a nazi war criminal.
>Does the Waffen SS get an unnecessarily bad rap for what they've done?
> I mean most were just idealistic young men from all over Europe and even other places who wanted to fight communism.
The death of about fifty hostages (my great-grandfather included) from my village in 1944 was blamed for a long time on the Das Reich division (because of Oradour, mainly)
The real killers were from a regular Wehrmacht division (the "Ghost Division") and the "North African Phalange" (Bonny and Lafont, the Carlingue)
Why didn't say the Heer get in any trouble, or the IJA?
Cool story, may your grandpa's brother rest in peace. That was in Latvia right? From what I know a lot of Latvians joined the SS and some were even drafted because of the anti-Russian sentiment.
Yeah, although iirc it was the general/totenwhatever SS that dealt with the camps but a lot filtered in to the combat units.
I too, can post about random war crimes.
According to Ambrose said that in interviewing 1000 American veterans, about a third of them said they saw a fellow soldier killing a German POW.
After the Malmedy Massacre one regiment actively took no Fallschirmjäger or Waffen SS prisoners
Most American war crimes aren't documented much.
Don't even get me started on the Red Army or the IJA.
Also what was that one French town when the Das Reich killed almost 600 civilians, it wasn't Tulle.
Ah sorry for your great grand father.
Wait the 7th Panzer Division did bad shit? The only time I heard of their crimes was in Fall Gelb when some of their soldiers, along with some of the 5th killed about 50 French colonial POWs. Can you tell me more about this North African Phalance, I've surprisingly never heard about them.
>That was in Latvia right
Where are you getting that info from? Surely you haven't mistaken his flag for the Latvian one, right?
Also, I'm really starting to enjoy this board, anywhere else this thread would have been flooded with stormfags already.
They were heavily indoctrinated and as such suitable for dirty work.
Was every SS member a murderous lunatic? Of course not.
But, as organization, they committed shitload of crimes and are totally worthy of being called a criminal organization.
From my understanding, the Ostheer/Wehrmacht got rehabilitated mainly because NATO wanted to justify giving the West Germans an army to get run the fuck over in case of Soviet aggression. A lot of this ends up happening in the Denazification period, where the simple reality was that the party was everywhere, and it's easier to actually create a functioning state/military if you put the really bad shit on a select few and let the rest get along with their lives.
If NATO had actually been consistent with punishment for party involvement/war crimes, France would have a pretty sizable chunk of lebensraum of its own.
Nobody really goes to bat for the IJA except Japanese far-right nationalists. The Allies hated the IJA/IJN so much that they wrote 'Japan isn't allowed to have a real army' into their postwar constitution.
But what about the IJA, I don't remember reading anywhere that they were labeled a criminal organization, also committed a disproportionate number of crimes, just say the Nanjing massacre where at least tens of thousands of killed, if not hundreds of thousands.
Makes sense, as well as the proportions thing, because the SS was much smaller.
I really hope Japan starts building up their "military," I'm somewhat concerned about China. Also after some thinking I think due to the Japanese culture about surrender they wanted to appease the people and not label a large portion of the criminals. Also the IJA was a much larger force than the Waffen SS.
I'm not really expert about IJA or WW2 in Asia so I can't comment on that.
But you mentioned Red Army; Red Army didn't commit so many crimes as it may seem.
I mean, 2 million rapes is exaggerated number by the looks of it, and I read that there was up to 1 million rapes in Western occupied part.
Of course, that number is exaggerated too, but people need to understand that after WW2 was over, Soviets were the enemy.
So Western powers simply adopted some elements of German propaganda about USSR and it survived to this day.
Only true for the earlier parts of the war, by the end everyone in occupied Europe could be potentially drafted into a foreign SS unit. The Germans were really running low on men at that time.