January 9, 2006
Heydrich assassination revisited
More than 60 years ago, a group of Czech and Slovak exiles parachuted into their Nazi-occupied homeland and assassinated SS-Obergruppenfuehrer Reinhard Heydrich, the man known as the "Butcher of Prague".From Yahoo! News, which also notes:
For the first time since the end of the World War Two, a German museum is offering a close look at "Operation Anthropoid", the codename for the only successful assassination of a member of Adolf Hitler's inner circle.
Michal Burian of the Military Institute of Prague, which presented the exhibition in the Czech capital before it moved to Berlin, says the assassination ranks among the most important moments of the last century and is far more than a footnote.
But cruel reprisals by the Nazis, who razed two Czech villages to avenge Heydrich's death, prompted some historians to question whether it was worth the carnage that followed.A timely reminder of how incomplete a picture is presented by those condemning the Allied bombing of Germany, and especially those younger Germans now attempting to don the mantle of victimhood.
After Heydrich died, Nazi police surrounded the village of Lidice, which was believed to be harbouring resistance fighters. The population was rounded up. Most were shot and the remaining women and most of the children were sent to concentration camps.
Around 340 people died in Lidice. Two weeks later, the village of Lezaky received similar treatment. . .
According to recently released government documents, Winston Churchill even suggested levelling three German villages for every Czech village the Nazis destroyed.
While German suffering should not be forgotten, let it be remembered in context. To the extent that the airwar became total war, it was largely because Germany fought it that way -- and even before, if one is to count the bombings carried out by the Luftwaffe during the Spanish Civil War (not to mention the indiscriminate bombing of Britain by airship and airplane during WW1, and the random shelling of Paris by long-range artillery). The firebombing of Dresden and Hamburg were appalling, but by no means incomprehensible. Think of a bar fight that starts out with shoving, then fists, then kicks, leading in turn to biting and gouging, smashed bottles, knives, and so on. It's easy to condemn where such escalating savagery leads, not so easy to point out where and how it could be stopped. Here are a few links that help illustrate the tit for tat: London, Berlin, London, etc. (Battle of Britain/Blitz); Munich and Coventry, Lübeck and the Baedeker raids.
Posted by David on January 9, 2006 10:16 AM