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WWII start marked in Poland with German remorse, warning

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By MONIKA SCISLOWSKA and VANESSA GERA

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"This war was a German crime," President Frank-Walter Steinmeier told Poland's top leaders

This is why I respect German views on WWII. But its important to remember this is simply admitting historical fact. No German alive today can be said to be responsible for the outbreak of WWII and precious few alive today are guilty of war crimes. Apologies would be meaningless at this point.

That said, Allied guilt should not be diminished. Post WWI reparations put Germany in an economic depression that was twice as long as the Great Depression, and worse too. The Allies were begging for war and they got it in spades. But yes, Germany did far more than just reassert its right to be a free people. Germans committed horrific war crimes from the start.

-3 ( +19 / -22 )

Polish authorities didn't invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend anniversary events because of Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatist fighters in eastern Ukraine.

Those reasons are childish. Both areas are majority ethnic Russians who want to join with Russia. If we could turn back the clock on Soviet relocations maybe they would not be, but we cannot turn back the clock. Those people are there today and they are not going away and they have a right to self-determination whether ethnic Ukranians in the west like it or not.

Would Poles like more war? Cause that's where this sort of denial leads.

-18 ( +7 / -25 )

Abe should take note! A hell of a lot of good will would be gained, IF he would do the same!

Only his pride will keep him from it!

-1 ( +26 / -27 )

I love how Japan does the same thing about Pearl Harbor.

How narrow your knowledge of history to think that Pearl Harbor was the start of the war here in Asia.

If any apology is to be given to any country, from Japan, for starting the war here, the Korean's should be first in line! But sadly, if that happened, it would be followed by calls for more compensation, and would not be accepted as sincere, because Abe would then go and visit Yasukuni once again!

-2 ( +19 / -21 )

And here we go yet again with the German comparisons. The go to excuse for the anti-Japan crowd to engage in their misrepresentation of historical record.

Prime Minister Abe did visit Pearl Harbor in 2016 (as did several other Japanese Prime Ministers in the past). He in fact shook the hands of several survivors of Pearl Harbor.

For those who continue to insinuate and spout off that Japan has 'never' apologized for its past, a brief friendly reminder (which will no doubt be conveniently dismissed by the anti-Japan crowd):

2001: Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (Also signed by all the prime ministers since 1995, including Ryutaro Hashimoto, Keizō Obuchi, Yoshirō Mori) said in a letter: "As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women. We must not evade the weight of the past, nor should we evade our responsibilities for the future. I believe that our country, painfully aware of its moral responsibilities, with feelings of apology and remorse, should face up squarely to its past history and accurately convey it to future generations" (Letter from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to the former comfort women)

December 7, 2010: Prime Minister Naoto Kan apologized for Korea's suffering under colonization as part of a statement marking the 100th anniversary of the annexation in 1910. "I express a renewed feeling of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology for the tremendous damage and suffering caused by colonial rule," Kan said. Kan said Japan colonized Korea "against the will of the Korean people" who suffered great damage to their national pride and loss of culture and sovereignty as a result and added that he wants to take an honest look at his country's past with the courage and humility to address its history

December 28, 2015: Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se made an announcement at a joint press conference, which consisted of their respective statements on behalf of Japan and South Korea. Kishida stated, "The issue of comfort women, with an involvement of the Japanese military authorities at that time, was a grave affront to the honor and dignity of large numbers of women, and the Government of Japan is painfully aware of responsibilities from this perspective. As Prime Minister of Japan, Prime Minister Abe expresses anew his most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women." 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mitsubishimaterials-apology/mitsubishi-materials-apologizes-for-using-u-s-pows-as-slave-labor-idUSKCN0PU02620150720

9 ( +27 / -18 )

YubaruToday  07:33 am JST

I love how Japan does the same thing about Pearl Harbor.

How narrow your knowledge of history to think that Pearl Harbor was the start of the war here in Asia.

If any apology is to be given to any country, from Japan, for starting the war here, the Korean's should be first in line! 

How narrow your knowledge of history is to think that Korea was a WWII victim. There was never any war between Korea and Japan leading up to the 1910 annexation. Koreans willingly joined the IJA (prior to 1943 conscription) ) and they fought against China starting in the 1930s. China is first in line. And we are talking about the ROC, not PRC.

4 ( +24 / -20 )

What a striking difference to the situation in East Asia, and the way Japan behaves with SK and China. Denies their history, and insults their victims.

-7 ( +18 / -25 )

Respect goes out to a country that continues to show true humility and take ownership from the wake of sorrow and destruction the generations before it had caused. I see few nations who are brave enough to continue to bow down to this level for so long. I also don't see the level of animosity from the living whose ancestors were the victims. Thank you Germany for being a model for us all.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

All current and future Japanese PM's take note, matter of fact, you should just use their apology as a template:

"This war was a ____ crime,"

Insert "Japanese," and that will get you off to a good start, instead of these third party-esq, "I felt remorse watching WW2 happen," like they were witnessing someone getting hit by a car... BS!

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

The go to excuse for the anti-Japan crowd to engage in their misrepresentation

And here's the snippet quoting to try and justify the spins and dodges made by the ldp regime. What exactly amounts to an apology for you? Measely words mouthed occasionally or actual actions to exact some real change that will not require the aforesaid measely words being dredged up over and over again?

-13 ( +10 / -23 )

@oldman_13 The apologies of a few PM's are meaningless so long as the Diet continues to refute said apologies and textbooks are completely out of sync with them. You will find the Germans are very consistent. Have a conversation with a random German about WWII then do the same with a random Japanese. The difference is stark. I have had to stop Germans talking because I could see they were trying to take blame for what they personally did not do. With Japanese I get a bunch of protestations of ignorance and I have to literally educate them on details. I can find fault with both sides, but the German position is worthy of respect even if they go too far. The Japanese position is simply infuriating and I have to keep my anger at their ignorance in check.

-8 ( +13 / -21 )

Amazing how Germany with humility and braveness keep reminding the world how humans can be capable of despicable crimes.

I tip my hat to them.

No more war between us.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

How narrow your knowledge of history is to think that Korea was a WWII victim.

Depending upon which Korean's you talk with, the war for them started in 1905 and the annexation actually occurred in 1905 not 1910, so just how narrow is your knowledge of it?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan%E2%80%93Korea_Treaty_of_1905

-5 ( +13 / -18 )

Ironic that Poland's government is desperately trying to deny its complicity in the Holocaust given it's current promotion of what it calls "LGBT-free zones":

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/gyzgem/polands-populist-government-has-declared-war-on-the-lgbtq-community 

Poland has made it a criminal offense to mention the country's role in Nazi war crimes. Those found "guilty" by Poland's denialist government could face up to three years in jail.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

"This war was a German crime,"

There is more character in that one sentence than a lot of the world leaders put together.

Admitting to past crimes and mistakes doesn't make you less of a country or a person. It shows that you are a strong, mature nation.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Admitting to past crimes and mistakes doesn't make you less of a country or a person. It shows that you are a strong, mature nation.

Amen!! Never again!!

6 ( +12 / -6 )

"Abe should take note!"

Yes, he should because despite German apologies, both the Poles and the Greeks continue to ask for compensation. Here is a quote from the full Reuters article:

"Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has made the memory of the war is a major plank of its “historical politics”, aiming to counteract what it calls the West’s lack of appreciation for Polish suffering and bravery under Nazi occupation.

PiS politicians have repeatedly called for war reparations from Germany, one of Poland’s biggest trade partners and a fellow member of the European Union and NATO, and several onlookers yelled “reparations” after Steinmeier spoke.

Berlin says all financial claims linked to World War Two have been settled, "

Sounds Familiar. Does it not?

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ww2-anniversary-poland/germany-asks-for-forgiveness-as-poland-marks-80th-anniversary-of-war-idUSKCN1VL0TL

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Germany and the many countries who collaborated in WWll (remember the valiant defense of the Danes?, me neither) wish to impose the Socialist dogma of the National Socialists (without the racial extermination, otherwise similar) on all of Europe. Succeeding so far, those damn British are still resisting!

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

The Germans invaded Poland from the west and the Russians invaded Poland from the east. The Russians murdered thousands of Polish military personnel during that time. The Russians were so murderous and brutal during their invasion of Poland that even the Germans were shocked.

Stalin & Hitler were both monsters, different, but both monsters in their own way.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

The special agreement between Hitler and Stalin was known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. The agreement basically stated that Germany and Russia would not take any military action against one another for at least 10 years.

Unfortunately for Poland, they were not invited by either country to join this special pact.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

"I bow in mourning to the suffering of the victims," Steinmeier said. "I ask for forgiveness for Germany's historical debt. I affirm our lasting responsibility."

PM Abe (and others following in his footsteps) did you hear or read this?

Maybe a lesson to learn? I, however, got my doubts!

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

And then there was the Munich Agreement or the Munich Betrayal as its popularly known as. US, UK, France trying to appease Hitler.

Everyone has has blood on their hands!!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Ist September 1939 was the first day of one of the darkest periods of human history.

Had Britain responded to that day and invasion the war would never have happened in the way it did with the deaths of more 80 million people.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Repentance is good for the soul.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Germany to date has not addressed, much less apologized or compensated for it's own Comfort Women system. Germany to date, despite legal suppression of "Nazisim", still suffers from Neo Nazi groups in it's society. The biggest difference between Germany and Japan is that while both nations have apologized, only Japan has neighbors who make WWII a political tool and keep it going forever. A very significant fact that the anti-J crowd conveniently disregard,

-1 ( +19 / -20 )

Very classy, Germany.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Polish president still went on to demand financial reparations as well.   Saying sorry is never enough.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Poland was and is the main victim of WWII, with the worst losses of all, which included ruined nation, demoralized people, millions murdered or exiled to Siberia. And to this day, Poland has not received restitution from anyone! Yet, from some the media propaganda be it in US or Israel, they would have you believe like somehow Poland is guilty and the perpetrator. Even PM of Germany has recently come in defense of Poland of all the slander being levied. People need to desperately learn history before it repeats itself again!

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Have a conversation with a random German about WWII then do the same with a random Japanese. The difference is stark.

Yes, the Japanese are still free to think. German thought is controlled by law, deny any aspect of the holocaust and you go to jail.

I hope the German people will wake up soon.

0 ( +14 / -14 )

I wish the Japanese were as open about admitting guilt.

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

I feel sorry for young German people. They have about as much responsibility for WWII as young Americans, Russians, British or French.

It has gone beyond showing repentance. It is now just to browbeat anyone who happens to have been born in Germany.

Should the reasons for WWII be forgotten? Certainly not. But I think it's time for German people to stop saying sorry for something that they, or in most cases even their parents, never did.

9 ( +16 / -7 )

Poland still counts losses from WW2 invasion

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49523932

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That's what euros do best, they fight, kiss and make up, fight some more, kiss/make up, forgive/move on etc. Been doing that for centuries.

You can't afford to be insular when you share borders, cultures, languages and even nations/ppl with others, including enemies and when borders have changed throughout history (i.e 'they are us', at least some of them/us).

Also reflected in their education system i.e. govts can't lie to ppl the same way other insular and/or isolated, monolingual countries do. Gotta own up to your past and am not only talking about germany here, euro kids from a young age learn that their countries, granddads etc don't have a squeaky clean past either.

Probably explains why even a very imperfect EU isnt doing too bad.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

How narrow your knowledge of history is to think that Korea was a WWII victim. There was never any war between Korea and Japan leading up to the 1910 annexation. Koreans willingly joined the IJA (

If Korea was annexed then that implies that it was invaded beforehand. Invasion is not welcome and usually there is resistance. That implies the 3 letter 'W' word even if there are only a few are even no casualties.

If Korea was annexed by Japan (and it was) then it was invaded and occupied by Japanese troops. That means that there was a war between Korea and Japan sometime before 1910.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

see Japan its not that hard, recalcitrant pride can be a dangerous thing if left to fester unchecked.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Germany and Japan have learned their lessons from fascism. When will America learn?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Poland is weaponizing its law to deny its complicity in war crimes during the Holocaust:

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/poland-holocaust-law/552842/

Only after international backlash, did Poland’s government recently back away from the threat of criminal imprisonment.

https://www.politico.eu/article/poland-softens-controversial-holocaust-law-after-backlash-mateusz-morawiecki/

Poland's new laws endanger an honest reckoning with their complicity in the Holocaust:

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/poland-holocaust-death-camps/552455/

6 ( +8 / -2 )

ulysses - And then there was the Munich Agreement or the Munich Betrayal as its popularly known as. US, UK, France trying to appease Hitler.

Everyone has has blood on their hands!!

Who told you to include the U.S. in your list of Munich Agreement participants?

The Munich Agreement or Munich Betrayal was an agreement concluded at Munich on 30 September 1938, by Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom, the French Third Republic, and the Kingdom of Italy. It provided "cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory" of Czechoslovakia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yes, the Japanese are still free to think. German thought is controlled by law, deny any aspect of the holocaust and you go to jail.

Thinking something and expressing it are two different things. I know that's hard to wrap your head around when you have to remind ourself to breath, but at a fact.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

@IloveCoffee

What a striking difference to the situation in East Asia, and the way Japan behaves with SK and China. Denies their history, and insults their victims

And there is a reason for that. Germany apologized and paid compensation, Europeans were content with that until now. In East Asia the situation basically was the same, Japan apologized and paid compensation, the page was closed, everybody was happy for some time. But while countries like Indonesia and The Philippines are still content, China and South Korea came with a brilliant trick of periodically demanding more apology and money. And Europeans now are beginning to follow suit: this June Greek Parlament demanded from Germany 320 billion euros, Poland demanded 900 bil. Here is the conclusion: however sincerely Germany (or Japan) apologize, there always will be somebody who would say "not enough, pay more". And no, telling the blackmailers to come to their senses is not "insulting the victim".

@stormcrow

The Germans invaded Poland from the west and the Russians invaded Poland from the east

Germans invaded on Sep.1, the Soviets on Sep.17, and the Soviet just retook the territory Poland had invaded and annexed in 20s during the Russian Civil War. Interesting to note that the Polish government did not bother to declare war on USSR, the Poles knew that the Soviets took what was rightly their territory.

The special agreement between Hitler and Stalin was known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

The Western propaganda likes to call this agreement in this way. Then the agreement between U.K. and Germany of 1938 should be called The Hitler-Chamberlain Pact. The same goes to the Munich Pact.

Unfortunately for Poland, they were not invited by either country to join this special pact

Because Poland signed its own agreement with Nazis (The Hitler-Pilsudski Pact of 1934).

@CrazyJoe

Poland was and is the main victim of WWII, with the worst losses of all

Major historic discovery. I recommend you first check the losses of the USSR first. Or China's.

Poland wants to propagate its image as the main victim of the war, but before September of 1939 Poland was the main and very ardent ally of Hitler. As a Hitler's ally Poland actively participated in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia just a year before, in Sep.1938. Churchill compared Poland to hyena for a reason.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Who told you to include the U.S. in your list of Munich Agreement participants?

My mistake, US was not a signatory , but definitely a part of the appeasement block.

Care to deny that fact?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is a posturing political hapless fool, pandering to the belief that modern day Germany after 80 years will stem the rise of AfD, making strong gains in Eastern German elections, the AfD won 27.2 % in Saxony, one of its best results in a German election, 22.1 % in Brandenburg.

Political apologetic delusion is the ultimate phantom misinterpretation of a historic belief that political apologises are anything other than a liusion.

Andreas Kalbitz the Brandenburg AfD party head underlines the fallacy of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier folly and empty politicking, “the AfD is here to stay, no politics is possible without us”.............The reality is the AfD is closer to real political power.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Had Britain responded to that day and invasion the war would never have happened in the way it did with the deaths of more 80 million people.

Debatable. Britain was not prepared. Britain sent the BEF to France immediately and was preparing for war, but even when Hitler turned to France months later they were still driven to Dunkirk and finally back to Britain. Even if the French Saar offensive actually began advancing instead of needlessly retreating, and Germany turned to France sooner, it probably simply would have meant the Russians took all of Poland instead of half and Dunkirk happened sooner and worse. Your mother tongue might be German now if anyone, including Neville Chamberlain, did anything any differently.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

It's interesting to read the comments here and see how some people assume that because the Germans made a certain, "acceptable" kind of apology, that somehow all is now hunky-dory with the Poles and the Germans.

I know a lot of Polish people, married into a Polish family, and I've spent some time in Poland. There is still an enormous amount of suspicion of Germany (and Russia) among many of the Polish people, kind of on a par with the kind of lingering animosity in east Asia against Japan, and it hasn't all been dispelled by whether or not an apology was couched in the right language or not.

However what Poland hasn't done is engage in the kind of whining that South Korea does. There's a move on now for some kind of formal reparations to be made by Germany, but generally Poland has just got on with things, especially since the demise of the Soviet Union. I think it's a nation that's decided it's better to look forward, rather than counter-productively spending too much time dwelling on the past. South Korea could take an example from that.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

It was the sacrifice, of Great Britain, the USA, Poland, Australian, The Gurkhas, Soviet Union that liberated Europe from Nazi tyranny, only for German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier 80 years after, to fault the empty political apologetic.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

"I know how much the German nation loves its Fuhrer . . . I should therefore like to drink to his health."

Josef Stalin (at the moment the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (called the Stalin-Hitler Pact by some) was signed)

This was also great news which was much anticipated by Hitler because it gave him the green light to invade Poland without any interference from Russia. It also put Hitler's mind to rest about a two-front war. Basically Stalin told Hitler: Go ahead! Do whatever you like with Poland because Russia doesn't care and Russia won't interfere.

Poland was the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of bringing the French and Brits together in declaring war against Germany, which according to some scholars greatly surprised Hitler because his interests were always primarily to the East anyway with wild dreams of carving out a vast living space in Russia for a vast new German empire.

Russa . . . What an ally. And then the Russians went on to complain about how they were doing all of the lifting and demanding the Americans and Brits to do more to stop somebody who they were partners in crime with a short time before.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Basically Stalin told Hitler: Go ahead! Do whatever you like with Poland because Russia doesn't care and Russia won't interfere.

Well that's not quite accurate. Russia did care, because it wanted (and took) the eastern half of Poland for itself. If you were unlucky enough to live in that eastern half of Poland (as my in-laws did) that meant you got invaded first by Russia in 1939, and then again by Germany in 1941.

Still, when the Russians did get involved in the war against Nazism, they fought like hell. 20 million Soviet citizens dead, and the lion's share of the fighting. You shouldn't forget that when you disparage the Soviets (because they weren't just Russians) as an ally.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In 1910, Japan annexed the Korean Empire on the Korean Peninsula.

At that time, Japanese soldiers did not use even one shot.

The reason is that the Korean Emperor, who is the sovereign of the Korean Empire, requested the Emperor of the Japanese Empire to annexation.

The Diplomatic documents is stamped with the national empire of the Korean Empire, and has a handwritten signature of “拓”.

Koreans should face up to the facts without creating history.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@stormcrow

Josef Stalin

Chamnerlain was anxious to do for Hitler much more then saying diplomatic pleasantries:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033502/Revealed-Chamberlains-secret-bid-reach-deal-Hitler.html

Basically Stalin told Hitler: Go ahead! Do whatever you like with Poland because Russia doesn't care and Russia won't interfere

Why the Soviets should care about Poland? USSR was the last among major European countries to sign an agreement, Stalin did it because UK, France and Poland refused Soviet offers to build some common defence against Hitler. Only after Stalin saw that he was left alone he signed an agreement with Germany.

And then the Russians went on to complain about how they were doing all of the lifting

Actually they really did all the heavy lifting. Three fourth of Nazi ground forces were destroyed by the Soviet Army.

stop somebody who they were partners in crime with a short time before

That description fits a way much better to the leaders of UK, France and Poland who encouraged Hitler to annex Czechoslovakia (with Poland actually participating in the invasion and annexing a part of Czech territory).

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

"Still, when the Russians did get involved in the war against Nazism, they fought like hell."

I disagree. They weren't fighting against Nazism so much as they were fighting for survival because the biggest Nazi of all, who they had signed what basically amounted to a friendship pact with, decided that he didn't want just Poland but Russia also. Then the Russians truly understood what Hitler was all about. Before being invaded by its partner, the Russians were more interested in how to take advantage of its relationship with Herr Hitler to invade and take pieces of its neighbors, like Poland.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Asakaze

Asakaze: "Why the Soviets should care about Poland?"

I don't know why the Soviets should have cared about Poland, but the Soviets cared enough to invade and divide half of that country with Hitler.

Asakaze: "Actually they really did do all of the heavy lifting"

Really, without any help from anybody? Yes, the Russians fought and died bravely in defense of Mother Russia, but did they really do it entirely all by themselves?

Let's not forget about the U.S. Lend-Lease Act which made all of that difficult lifting so much easier.

"Now they say that the allies never helped us, but it can't be denied that the Americans gave us so many goods without which we wouldn't have been able to form our reserves and continue the war."

Soviet General Georgy Zhukov at the end of WWII

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If Germany has to apologize, Russia should apologize too - they agreed with Hitler to divvy up Poland amongst themselves

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@stormcrow

They weren't fighting against Nazism so much as they were fighting for survival

Ridiculous statement. They were fighting against Nazism for survival, yes. Why this concept is so difficult for you to comprehend?

the Russians were more interested in how to take advantage of its relationship with Herr Hitler

Of course. All countries at that time were interested in how to take advantage of their relationships with Hitler. U.K. and France wanted to appease Hitler and push his expansion to the East, against the USSR. Poland, Hitler's best bud at that time, wanted to share the spoils of his aggression against Czechoslovakia.

Soviets cared enough to invade and divide half of that country with Hitler

Soviets retook only the regions that the Poles invaded and stole from them during the Russian Civil war less then twenty years before that. Stalin gave the Poles their own medicine.

the Russians fought and died bravely in defense of Mother Russia, but did they really do it entirely all by themselves?

The Allies really helped with their supplies. But how about not just providing supplies and watching the show, but also do some real fighting? Why the Allies landed in Europe only in June 1944, not in 1943 or 1942? The war would have ended very much earlier, and millions of people would be alive.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I disagree. They weren't fighting against Nazism so much as they were fighting for survival because the biggest Nazi of all... decided that he didn't want just Poland but Russia also. Then the Russians truly understood what Hitler was all about.

Speaking of delayed entries into the War, let's not forget that the Americans themselves didn't get physically involved until after December 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the US for the first time felt itself physically threatened. So from the time of the German attack on Russia in 1941 until D-Day in 1944, the Soviet Union was on its own fighting the continental war in Europe. And when the Soviet Union did get involved against Germany, the Allies didn't hesitate to accept them. They didn't quibble about the arrangement Hitler made with Stalin in 1939, they were just glad to have them on board.

No-one denies that Stalin was a complete bastard. But to think of and analyze the Soviet war effort in terms of just "Stalin" is to ignore the suffering and sacrifice of all those ordinary Russians and other ethnic groups that went to make up the USSR. They deserve respect.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@starpunk

If Korea was annexed then that implies that it was invaded beforehand ... That means that there was a war between Korea and Japan sometime before 1910.

What!?!

Actually, no. Annexation happens via treaty and Japan.

@stormcrow

"Now they say that the allies never helped us, but it can't be denied that the Americans gave us so many goods without which we wouldn't have been able to form our reserves and continue the war."

Soviet General Georgy Zhukov at the end of WWII

Yes. And the funny this is, they were used directly against Americans in Korea war.

Small footnote, the US built up the Soviet military-industrial complex from the 1917 onwards, long before the WWII.

Read 'National Suicide: Military Aid to the Soviet Union' by Antony C Sutton.

Germany can make its statements due to the maturity and reasonableness of its neighbors.

Japan does not have the same luxury.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

YubaruToday  08:15 am JST

How narrow your knowledge of history is to think that Korea was a WWII victim.

Depending upon which Korean's you talk with, the war for them started in 1905 and the annexation actually occurred in 1905 not 1910, so just how narrow is your knowledge of it?

Anyone who gets their knowledge from Korean revisionist history is not qualified to be even talking about it. If you honestly think Japan "invaded" Korea and that lead to the Annexation Treaty of 1910, please tell us which battles occurred when, and what were the casualties of the Korean and Japanese troops? I'm sure something so simple can be easily looked up...if it existed.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

@Asakaze

You know what I think, I think that had Stalin been sitting across the English Channel, he would have just sat there and never come to help anybody, regardless of the amount of human suffering.

There are probably a lot of reasons why D-Day didn't take place in 1942 or 1943, but one thing's for certain, the Russians under Stalin's direction would've left the Allies twisting in the breeze if given half a chance. Luckily for Russia, FDR and Churchill were not like Stalin.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Anyone who gets their knowledge from Korean revisionist history is not qualified to be even talking about it.

Unlike those who get their history from the Yasukuni Yushukan? Cos that's all totally true, right? Comedy gold.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

pacificwestSep. 2 09:28 pm JST@starpunk

If Korea was annexed then that implies that it was invaded beforehand ... That means that there was a war between Korea and Japan sometime before 1910.

What!?!

Actually, no. Annexation happens via treaty and Japan.

Guess again. Korea was forcibly annexed by Japan in 1910. That means Korea was invaded sometime before that and that means there was a war. Koreans did not want to be ruled by Imperial Japan. There was no treaty whatsoever.

In 1931 the Japanese generals thought up some excuse and their troops in Korea invaded Manchuria and set up the puppet state Manchukuo. Japanese government turned totalitarian fascist after that.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Stormcrow:

You know what I think, I think that had Stalin been sitting across the English Channel, he would have just sat there and never come to help anybody, regardless of the amount of human suffering.

Agree. Stalin was a pragmatist, not any kind of idealist. If there'd been no Operation Barbarossa, there'd have been no Soviet involvement - unless or until Stalin had seen some advantage in it.

There are probably a lot of reasons why D-Day didn't take place in 1942 or 1943

Simple explanation - the Allies weren't ready for it until 1944. The unfortunate but inevitable consequence of that was that the Soviet Union had to carry the weight until then.

Luckily for Russia, FDR and Churchill were not like Stalin.

Churchill, certainly. Interesting question as to whether FDR would've kept the US out of the war. From what I've read, his personal sympathies were with the idea of committing more than money/materiel but he had to contend with a significant isolationalist element in the government. My guess is FDR would have got his way eventually and the US would have come in with troops - but it would have been later than Pearl Harbor eventually forced them to do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kudos to PM Steinmeier for this.

Such a pity that present Japanese politicians will still put their feet in their mouth with their revisionist bile.

Again, I would ask (as Germany has) where are the memorials to the victims that were killed by the Imperial Army?

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@BigYen

Regarding D-Day, I think it's easy for a Russian to whine and complain about not coming sooner, but that was a really tough nut to crack with everything to lose on the table. I had a relative who was at Omaha Beach, but unfortunately killed the following December during the Battle of the Bulge as a soldier in the 3rd Army. That was one tough generation of Americans who fought and gave their all. Anyway, to listen to somebody who wasn't there and was born years later, well, they simply don't know what they're talking about. The Allies took their time with it because it was a huge gamble moving a quarter of a millions soldiers across a stormy channel and is expected by a wily enemy on the other side of it, so it's a logistical nightmare. That's probably why the Germans never tried to invade England and the fact that the German navy wasn't ready for such an endeavor.

As for FDR, I do think he wanted to get involved in WWII early on, but he was a politician and most of the other American politicians were against it as were most of the American public. The feeling at the time was it's their war, not ours. Then the Japanese made the mistake of bombing Pearl Harbor and that gave FDR the moment to declare war with an American public which now wanted war. In Churchill's WWII memoirs, he wrote that up until Pearl Harbor, he was having trouble sleeping and he was deeply troubled about the future, but when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor he had a deep and peaceful sleep because he knew the American were now entering the war and that the Germans and the Japanese were going to lose.

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@stormcrow

FDR’s interest in China was linked to the history of his own family that had made a fortune in Opium trade in the 19th century. 

Between 1938 and 1941, he overrode the State Department to initiate economic and military aid to the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) against Japan aiming to supplant British influence in the Far East.

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@stormcrow

I think that had Stalin been sitting across the English Channel, he would have just sat there and never come to help anybody, regardless of the amount of human suffering

Once more, wrong assumption. When the Allies became bogged down around Caen and StLo, Stalin quickly began his great summer offensive to ease pressure on them. Again, when the Allies had difficult time at the Bulge, Stalin ordered the planned winter offensive in Jan.1945 to start earlier. Stalin was a reliable ally.

I think it's easy for a Russian to whine and complain about not coming sooner

While the Soviets were bleeding at Stalingrad and Kursk the Allies were drinking beer at their bases at U.K. "regardless of the amount of human suffering", that's a fact.

Anyway, nice to see now you have no objections about Poland.

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That's interesting. I wasn't aware of that. Behind his charming smile, FDR was a very shrewd customer, that's for sure. At the same time, he was a good man who was decent to his fellow man. I particularly like the stories of him knowing the names of all of the White House personnel who did the cooking and cleaning. He was on a first name basis with all of them and would often have friendly chats with them. They were highly impressed with his friendly and casual demeanor. That aside, FDR was an extremely intelligent man and probably would have been an impressive and successful businessman if he wasn't in the White House. I remember reading that he liked Churchill, but he had a hard time accepting Churchill's attitude about Queen, country & empire, for which Churchill was extremely British.

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What the Soviets did in when it attacked and invaded Poland amounts to serious war crimes as also when they attacked and invaded Germany especially in Berlin.

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@zichi

Agreed. All the Soviets proved that they were just as bad as the Nazis. I remember reading a story about when the U.S. soldiers and Russian soldiers were occupying Berlin at the same time in the same area, and one U.S. officer pointed out from a window to another U.S. officer a Russian soldier who was raping a German woman right in front of them in broad daylight. The Americans were disgusted by it but they didn't get involved as the situation at that time between the Russians and the Americans was on pins and needles and they were strictly forbidden from having any confrontations with their Russian counterparts.

For the Russians, the rape of Berlin was payback but it still was and is a war crime.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Well done to the German President.

I hope the current British PM can apologise for Dresden and similar atrocities, too. Of course it's not on the same scale but it's still a war crime.

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starpunkSep. 2  12:04 pm JST

How narrow your knowledge of history is to think that Korea was a WWII victim. There was never any war between Korea and Japan leading up to the 1910 annexation. Koreans willingly joined the IJA (

It is funny to justify forced mergers. Indeed, according to Japan's words, why did Korea become the second poorest country in the world after the war? This is inconsistent with the many Japanese saying that Japan should be well cared for and thankful. And Korea wouldn't want independence either. Like Hong Kong

This is not a merger but a forced aggression.

The merger that killed Chosun's mother and threatened him was an invasion.

Which country would favor a peaceful merger with a country that killed its queen and dragged the prince to Japan as a hostage?

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starpunkToday  07:53 am JST

pacificwestSep. 2 09:28 pm JST@starpunk

If Korea was annexed then that implies that it was invaded beforehand ... That means that there was a war between Korea and Japan sometime before 1910.

What!?!

Actually, no. Annexation happens via treaty and Japan.

Guess again. Korea was forcibly annexed by Japan in 1910. That means Korea was invaded sometime before that and that means there was a war. Koreans did not want to be ruled by Imperial Japan. There was no treaty whatsoever.

Nope, that's Korean denial-of-reality historical revisionism There were Koreans both for and against annexation. And there was no war between Korea and Japan leading up to the Treaty of Annexation, which was signed by Lee Wan Yong, Prime Minister of the Korean Empire and Terauchi Masataka, Resident General of Korea, Empire of Japan. Yes, there was a Treaty.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Nope, that's Korean denial-of-reality historical revisionism There were Koreans both for and against annexation. And there was no war between Korea and Japan leading up to the Treaty of Annexation, which was signed by Lee Wan Yong, Prime Minister of the Korean Empire and Terauchi Masataka, Resident General of Korea, Empire of Japan. Yes, there was a Treaty.

Yes, there was a treaty. Korea signed it at the end of a Japanese firearm.

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The Russians were not invited...?? Like having a wedding and not inviting the groom!

80% of German casualties in WW2 were at the hands of the Soviet armed forces.

8 out of 10! So thank the Russians for ridding the world of Hitler!

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AsakazeToday  12:11 pm JST

Once more, wrong assumption. When the Allies became bogged down around Caen and StLo, Stalin quickly began his great summer offensive to ease pressure on them. Again, when the Allies had difficult time at the Bulge, Stalin ordered the planned winter offensive in Jan.1945 to start earlier. Stalin was a reliable ally.

It is documented that Britain and America were 'happy' to have Germany bogged down in Russia for as long as possible, so they couldn't give full strength to their western front and invade Britain. There was huge suspicion between Roosevelt and Churchill of Stalin and vice versa, although Roosevelt bonded better with Stalin than Churchill did. It is quite laughable to say Stalin did summer and winter offensives to help the allies. It was a game of cat and mouse between all of them, Stalin saw opportunities for his own advancement when the allies were bogged down, just as the allies did the other way.

While the Soviets were bleeding at Stalingrad and Kursk the Allies were drinking beer at their bases at U.K. "regardless of the amount of human suffering", that's a fact.

Ummm they were fighting in North Africa and Asia too remember. Those who 'were drinking beer at their bases at U.K' were preparing and waiting for the order to invade France or wherever else they were told to, in what would ultimately be one of the most important invasions in modern history.

The world does indeed owe Russia a great debt for what it's people endured and achieved in WW2 but it was not Stalins kind heart helping the allies. The race for Berlin and subsequent cold war proves that.

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Before I forget, I post this.

starpunkSep. 2  12:04 pm JST

How narrow your knowledge of history is to think that Korea was a WWII victim. There was never any war between Korea and Japan leading up to the 1910 annexation. Koreans willingly joined the IJA (

If Korea was annexed then that implies that it was invaded beforehand. Invasion is not welcome and usually there is resistance. That implies the 3 letter 'W' word even if there are only a few are even no casualties.

If Korea was annexed by Japan (and it was) then it was invaded and occupied by Japanese troops. That means that there was a war between Korea and Japan sometime before 1910.

Do your best to check if there is any case in modern history, where the colonizer and the the colonizee had the official treaty signed to make the one colonize the other and both today exists as different sovereign nations.

That's 1st step, to understand what happened between Japan and Korea, and that was not colonizing but annexation. One of princess of then Japanese Miyake (Royal family) married to the son of then-Korean Emperor.

Was she just a hostage from the point of view of Japanese Emperor?

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I also say, equating Poland with Korea is just too cheap as a way to blame Japan

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I also say, equating Poland with Korea

Both countries share the similarity of having been savagely and criminally wreaked by other countries. japan and germany were the perpetrators not the victims. Why is it that something this blatantly factual has to be recited over and over again?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It is not possible to compare Germany and Japan.

Germany recognized the war criminals and punished them by setting up a war criminal in an international military trial.

Even now, Germans are brought to trial if they catch war criminals. Japan did not. 

And while Germany admitted war crimes and documented everything, Japan did not.

Japan say "It was inevitable because it was at war. "

So instead of apologizing, I used only an expression of regret.

Abe's father was also a war criminal, but he lived in politics.

And don't Abe do politics right now?

So Abe may try to rewrite history.

It cannot happen in Germany. The start is different.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yes, it isn't possible to compare.

What Japan did is what most countries have done one or more times in their past.

The Germans have no parallel. They carried out the worst genocide ever recorded, and had plans for an even worse genocide. Not sure why this gets lost on some people.

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@Kniknaknokkaer

It is documented that Britain and America were 'happy' to have Germany bogged down in Russia for as long as possible, so they couldn't give full strength to their western front

Exactly.

It is quite laughable to say Stalin did summer and winter offensives to help the allies

Sure, Stalin planned his offensives on its own. But when Churchill and FDR asked, he ordered his generals to start earlier then planned, even if the troops were not fully ready.

they were fighting in North Africa and Asia too remember

I remember. Several divisions in the Pacific, about ten divisions in North Africa. Soviets at that time fielded several millions soldiers.

Those who 'were drinking beer at their bases at U.K' were preparing and waiting for the order to invade France

To win a war classic strategy requires to crush enemy's main forces, to attack enemy's vital points. Why the Allies were loosing time in the Mediterranean, where the Germans had no major forces or vital points? Instead of landind at Sicily they'd better landed in Normandy in 1943.

it was not Stalins kind heart helping the allies

I think Stalin had equally kind heart as Churchill, who immediately after the storm of Berlin initiated planes to rearm the German POWs and fight with them against the Soviets as the new enemy (Operation Unthinkable).

The world does indeed owe Russia a great debt for what it's people endured and achieved in WW2

Totally agree. What a shame some prople tend to ignore that, and some ill-educated posters even claim that the Soviets were no betted then Nazis. Spit on the graves of millions of heroes.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Asakaze

Nobody's denying that the Russian soldiers and the Russian winter kicked Germany's ass. No, the problem is how they conducted themselves before, during and after WWII. Yes, the Russians invaded Poland. Yes, the Russian soldiers committed rapes and atrocities in Berlin. Yes, the Russians occupied many Eastern European countries at the end of WWII for a very long time. But wouldn't it have been far better to have not invaded Poland with the Germans? Wouldn't it have been better to have not raped so many women in Berlin as the Germans had done in Russia to prove once and for all that the Russians were morally superior instead of Germany's immoral equivalents? Wouldn't it have reflected better on Russia to have granted freedom to Eastern Europe instead of occupying it? Well, it is what it is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Germany's attitude towards its past is making Japan look petty and childish.

It's also making a lot of Japanophile posters uncomfortable, writing long posts defending Japan's honour.

However it's apparent to all but the most biased, that Japan has always tried to save its image rather than act out of remorse.

That's why Germany will always be lauded as a fine example of how to move past a dark chapter in its history, and Japan will be an example of how to drag it out over 70+ years and still not make amends with their neighbouring countries.

Bravo Germany.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@Heckleberry

That's why Germany will always be lauded as a fine example of

Actually, right now "Germany", or at least its center left liberals, are current being accused of destroying Europe by allowing in mass, uncontrolled and largely Muslim immigration, thereby encouraging a swing to the reactionary and Far Right among native Europeans all over Europe, leading it to be torn apart; vis a vis Brexit, the rise of overt racism and nationalist parties, and so on.

Of course, questioning the "Good Germany: Bad Japan" meme is a waste of time as it's directly off the script.

No, Japan should not be cowed and go down that route.

Japan has made its sincere apologies, paid its generous compensation, left behind it assets, transferred its technologies, trained and aided its neighbors, and been a perfect pacifist citizen and ally for approximately 400 out of the last 416 years.

Which White or European nation can say that?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Stark contrast to other nations who deny their atrocities.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@stormcrow

Nobody's denying that the Russian soldiers and the Russian winter kicked Germany's ass

Not correct, there are already deniers of that fact. In his speech Steinmeier also said that America defeated Nazism in the West and in the East (!!). Re-writing of history is well underway.

the Russians invaded Poland

I'm patient, I calmly repeat again: USSR only took back its territory that Poland stole during the Russian Civil war. Poland then srized the moment, twenty years later Stalin returned the favour. And why you completely ignore the fact that Poland is in fact Hitler's accomplice who along with Germany invaded and dismembered Czechoslovakia?

Russian soldiers committed rapes and atrocities in Berlin

Yes, there were such incidents. But 1) the number of such incidents should be checked, propaganda claims should not be taked at face value 2) such crimes were committed by soldiers who had their whole families massacred by Nazis 3) Allies behaved in no way better, they made their profound mark even in France they supposedely liberated. And don't make me start about how GIs behaved in Japan, particularly at Okinawa.

All the Soviets proved that they were just as bad as the Nazis

All the Allies proved that they were just as bad as the Nazis

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Asakaze - I'm patient, I calmly repeat again: USSR only took back its territory that Poland stole during the Russian Civil war. Poland then srized the moment, twenty years later Stalin returned the favour.

Stalin was responsible for millions of Russian deaths before WWII had even started. Stalin chose to sign a non-aggression pact with Hitler. Two weeks after Hitler had invaded Poland, Stalin chose to invade Poland. (Birds of a feather? ) Stalin only chose to fight along side the Allies because Hitler had chosen to ignore his own non-aggression pact with Stalin. If Hitler had chosen to wait until 1943, 1944, or 1945 before attacking Stalin's Russian, Stalin would have remained Hitler's ally until 1943, 1944, or 1945. Or 1950. Or as long as WWII lasted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@arrestpaul

 Stalin chose to sign a non-aggression pact with Hitler

Only after U.K., France and Poland had chosen to sign non-aggressions pact with Hitler. Stalin was the last to do it, and he did it only after the Western powers refused his offers to build common defence against Hitler. 

Stalin chose to invade Poland

One more time (read carefully my previous posts): Stalin returned the territory Poland invaded and annexed twenty years before that. Tit for tat.

 Stalin only chose to fight along side the Allies because Hitler had chosen to ignore his own non-aggression pact with Stalin

U.K., France and Poland only chose to fight Hitler because he had chosen to ignore his own non-aggression pact with them.

Stalin would have remained Hitler's ally until 1943, 1944, or 1945. Or 1950. Or as long as WWII lasted

The same goes to U.K., France and Poland, who hoped that Hitler would turn his expansion plans to the East. Churchill in 1945 also hoped to re-arm the defeated Nazi army and to wage a new war against the Soviets.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How long until old men draw a line on WWII and move on?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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