Previous posts in this discussion:
Post15 May 1944, Genoa (Randy Black, USA, 11/15/15 12:54 pm)
I searched for the facts surrounding Eugenio Battaglia's 14 November claim, that on "15 May 1944 the partisans threw bombs in a theater in Genoa, [and the] West praised the 'good heroic operation.'"
Here is what I discovered: "1944 May 15, A partisan attack on a movie theater killed 5 German soldiers in Genoa. 4 days later SS Officer Friedrich Engel ordered the killing of 59 Italian prisoners in reprisal. In 2002 Engel (93) was sentenced to 7 years in prison for the order."
(SFC, 7/6/02, p.A14)(AP, 2/14/06)
I must ask about the validity of Eugenio's apparent claim that events from May 1944, at the height of Hitler's and Mussolini's war on other European nations, are comparable with Middle Eastern Muslims slaughtering Parisians in 2015?
After all, the partisans that Eugenio mentions from 1944 were likely Italians killing the Nazi invaders on Italian turf.
On the other hand, the Muslims that murdered 120+ Parisians on Friday evening were invaders intent of impressing the world with their ability to spread death to non-Muslims of the West. I don't see a valid comparison.
JE comments: I'll let Eugenio respond to this. Was the Genoa theater attack a legitimate act of war? Eugenio would say it was not.
Because of Engel's advanced age, he was not actually sent to prison, despite the 7-year sentence. He died in 2006.
Slaughter in Paris; Response to Randy Black
(Rodolfo Neirotti, USA
11/16/15 3:40 AM)
Randy Black wrote on 15 November:
"The Muslims who murdered 120+ Parisians on Friday evening were invaders intent on impressing the world with their ability to spread death to non-Muslims of the West."
A few thoughts on the principle of causality. According to recent information, 3 of the perpetrators of the attacks in Paris were Muslim French nationals. A great deal of them are not integrated into French society and live in suboptimal conditions. This may be an incentive for resentment, altogether a fecund territory for the jihadist recruiters.
Conversely, there are millions of immigrants from India as well as many British of Indian ancestry in the UK, most of them educated and with a good living standard and apparently not involved in terrorist activities. In addition to their different religions, a comparison between the two groups can be helpful to understand a potential causes for the radicalization of the former.
Needless to say, whatever the reasons are, they do not justify the carnage that killed a large number of innocent bystanders.
JE comments: The UK has not been immune from terrorist attacks--recall the 7/7 2005 incident. One nevertheless wonders why France has been particularly vulnerable this year. The National Front's Marine Le Pen has called for the "annihilation" of Islamic radicals, including the closing of mosques. Has the Friday the 13th attack set the stage for her to take power?
- "Legitimate Acts of War" (John Heelan, -UK 11/16/15 4:50 AM)
JE makes a good point when he commented on Randy Black's note of 16 November: "Was the 1944 Genoa theater attack a legitimate act of war?"
We in the UK have suffered similar outrages in the latter part of the last century under the myth of being "legitimate acts of war." See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_Great_Britain
Were the 1974/75 bombings of popular mainland pubs in Guildford, Woolwich, Birmingham and Belfast that killed and injuring many civilians "legitimate acts of war"--as claimed by IRA and UDP sympathisers, because soldiers went there from time to time? Were the bombing of Belfast's Europa hotel and Brighton's Grand Hotel (aimed at assassinating Thatcher and her Cabinet) "legitimate acts of war," or the assassination of the 79 year-old Mountbatten and one of his grandsons similar? (The IRA justification of the last was "This operation is one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country.")
If so, perhaps one needs to review the ethical justification of drone strikes against leaders and combatants of terrorist groups.
JE comments: The "legitimate act of war" is a corollary to the "terrorist/freedom fighter" disjunction. Tautologically, freedom fighters practice legitimate acts of war. Terrorists engage in "wanton and cowardly" acts.
- Genoa Theater Attack, 1944 (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 11/18/15 9:04 AM)
In response to Randy Black (15 November), I have to repeat myself and say that usually people drink the politically correct version of the victors.
Of course throwing bombs in a theater where there are civilians is not a legitimate act of war,
The German Army was never an invader of Italy. It was an ally first of the Kingdom of Italy and then of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (maybe a difficult alliance, but always an alliance). The invaders were the Allies. In fact the so-called liberated territories were under the jurisdiction of the AMGOT (Allied Military Government of Occupied Territory). Again, the so-called Italian government of the South could not do anything without the permission of AMGOT. The currency in use was the Amlire, printed by the occupiers (the RSI was printing its own money).
The official status of the South of Italy under the Allies was of a defeated enemy under occupation until the signature of the Diktat/Peace Treaty. Italy became an ally of the Western Powers only when it joined NATO. Even then it was always burdened by foreign troops on its turf, in spite of the Allied propaganda during the war that the foreign troops would leave the day after the defeat of Nazifascism (this term is nonsense, given the great differences between Nazism and Fascism).
Let me add that the German retaliation for the Genoa attack was legal, according to the International Convention. (I remember that the USA carried out, in Germany, a retaliation of 110 to 1.) In any case, the prisoners shot were partisans, not innocent civilians. For its part, the RSI generally tried to avoid such retaliation.
I would prefer not to go into the discussion over the mess in the Middle East, as we find ourselves in a war thanks to the stupid mistakes made by others.
JE comments: José Ignacio Soler reminded us a few days ago that at this point, it achieves nothing to "blamestorm" for the present quagmire in (and from) the Middle East. That will be a job for future historians.
What was the incident in which the US carried out a 110 to 1 retaliation? I've never heard of it.
Were the Germans "Invaders" in Italy?
(Randy Black, USA
11/19/15 1:43 PM)
In his response to my counter to Eugenio Battaglia's claim regarding an Italian partisan bombing of a theater in 1944, an attack that killed five Nazis, Eugenio claimed that the invaders were not the Germans but instead was the Americans and the Allies and therefore, the Allies acted illegally.
Eugenio wrote: "The German Army was never an invader of Italy. It was an ally first of the Kingdom of Italy and then of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana (maybe a difficult alliance, but always an alliance). The invaders were the Allies."
Eugenio's comment is interesting, considering that history demonstrates that he could be mistaken.
According to The History Channel, On October 13, 1943, the government of Italy declared war on its former Axis partner Germany and joined the battle on the side of the Allies. With the collapse of the fascist government in July, Gen. Pietro Badoglio, Mussolini's former chief of staff and the man who had assumed power in the Duce's stead by request of King Victor Emanuel, began negotiating with Gen. Eisenhower regarding conditional surrender of Italy to the Allies. It became fact on September 8, 1943. RB: The new Italian government allowed the Allies to land in Salarno, per the same source. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/italy-declares-war-on-germany
Not to be ignored, on the day of Italy's surrender, Hitler launched Operation Axis, the occupation (read: invasion) of Italy. As German troops entered Rome, General Badoglio and the royal family fled to Brindisi, in southeastern Italy, to set up a new antifascist government.
RB: Thus by May 14, 1944, Germany was indeed an invader of Italy and the killing of German officers in a theater was clearly a legal act or war. I trust that Eugenio will set me straight, perhaps playing the "Hungary Card," that false claim that the USSR never invaded Hungary, but instead was "invited" by the leaders who feared the loss of their jobs and heads and thus "invited" the Soviets in willingly. By the way, Russians continue to play that card. See: Ukraine 2014, and Czechoslovakia 1968, etc.
JE comments: Randy Black's version aligns with "official" history. Eugenio Battaglia has claimed that the Badoglio government was never a legal one, and therefore had no right to declare war against its former ally.
Badoglio and Pétain led parallel lives. Both were heroes of the First World War, who sold out to their respective nation's enemies in the Second. Badoglio got to spend his final years in comfortable retirement, because he picked the winning side. Perhaps Eugenio could comment on my analogy?
Badoglio and Petain
(Eugenio Battaglia, Italy
11/21/15 5:25 AM)
John E (see Randy Black, 19 November) was right about Badoglio picking the winning side and living well in retirement. (However, he was rather despised.)
The discussion with Randy Black is a clear example of the difference between how history is related by the winners and the losers.
I believe, in the case of Germany in Italy, that I have stated the truth.
The Germans were in Italy well before Italy's unconditional surrender; more arrived later, of course.
Italy was a co-belligerent after 13 October 1943, but officially continued to be a defeated enemy under occupation. Frankly it was an extremely humiliating situation.
I never stated that the Allies acted illegally. They were carrying out their war. What a fantastic joke when Randy wrote: "the new government allowed the Allies to land in Salerno."
I never knew that the Allies needed permission!
At this point, I think it is better to stop the debate and present it as a classic example of how history is presented according to (arrogant) Victors and (proud) Losers.
JE comments: I want to thank Eugenio Battaglia for sending me a copy of Renzo de Felice's massive Mussolini e il fascismo, which arrived at WAIS HQ this week. I now have a 760-page reading assignment--in Italian! But fear not: this is just one volume of De Felice's 6000-page work on Il Duce.
How could you write 6000 pages on anything?
- Badoglio and Petain (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 11/21/15 5:25 AM)
- "Legitimate Acts of War" (John Heelan, -UK 11/16/15 4:50 AM)