Monday, May 30, 2011

The Peaceful Liberation of Rome

"The peaceful liberation of Rome -- the peaceful retreat by the Germans -- is a fact of history," notes first-hand witness Thomas Melady, who, noting that "somehow, somewhere in the German command, a decision was made to spare Rome," wonders "whether Hitler himself was aware of the peaceful 'liberation' process that was worked out among American, Vatican and German officials"— Did Hitler know about the liberation of Rome?

"All histories of those several important weeks, including the records of Msgr. Alberto Giovannetti and the records of German Field-Marshal Albert Kesselring, clearly establish that the German military leadership did not want to see Rome, the historic seat of Western civilization destroyed," reports the author, who was U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, 1989--1993, and a soldier in the U.S. army of occupation in Italy from 1945 to 1946. "It is also known that the fuehrer himself indicated that certain bridges should be protected from destruction. After seven decades, maybe new insights are coming to light in one chapter of the larger horrific tale that is World War II."

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Blogger Pints in NYC said...

"somehow, somewhere in the German command, a decision was made to spare Rome"

Likewise, Paris - no?

Didn't some wise German spare Paris though Hitler wanted it destroyed, buying enough time for Hitler to change his mind?

When we only think of war as total, and all WWII Germans as pure evil incarnate, we might naturally be surprised by such facts of history as you point to.

But you are right to point to them to remind us that not all people are evil, and not all war must be total.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

I thought it was Speer who saved Paris by ordering the German troops not to dynamite the bridges and major buildings? That action probably is one of the things that saved Speer's life after the war...

10:40 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Gents, thats for the reminder "that not all people are evil, and not all war must be total," and about the architect Speer.

2:06 PM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

No deal without a quid pro quo; that of the Holy See abetting the flight of Nazis to S. America. Hence the silence.

11:29 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Say it ain't so! Alack, such is history, hindsight being 20:20 and all that. Good thing the Mossad cleaned things up a bit. Too bad they didn't get Mengele.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Francis-Xavier said...

The Germans only went badly off the rails and got into genocide after the war began, unlike the Russians.

Many Germans were patriotic soldiers for fear of the Bolshevists, an honorable decision.

4:05 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization, which leads the reader to the same conclusion as Patrick J. Buchanan's Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World come to the same conclusion, from radially different angles.

British strategic bombing, i.e. terror bombing of civilians, didn't help. (Interestingly, the Americans refused to take part in this in the early days of war, and took the more dangerous daylight missions targeting military targets, while the Brits bombed cities at night.) This was meant to demoralize the enemy, and it did, literally.

A similar thing happened in the '70s in Cambodia, with American bombing paving the way for the Khmer Rouge. We bombed them back to the Stone Age, literally.

8:47 AM  

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