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Expediancy V Justice?


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At the close of WW2 there was a rush to sieze German rocket and other scientists, chief among which was Werner Von Braun, the inventor of the V2. Over 20,000 slave labourers had been killed in the production of the V2, more in fact than the weapon eventually killed, and Von Braun (then an SS Major) had full knowledge of the plight of these slave workers. So, justice would suggest he should have been tried at Nurembourg for war crimes. However, the advent of the cold war meant that the knowledge of these scientists was the priority requirement of the Allies - so what was the morally correct course of action in this case? :unsure:

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Fair point H, but the conclusion from that suggests the idea of a war crimes trial was flawed in the first place. Gen Lemay(?) Commander of the US Pacific Air Force and responsible for the B29 fire raids on Japan (which btw, killed more than the two atom bombs), said "if we lose the war, I'll be hanged as a war criminal". Which was slightly incorrect, he would have been decapitated by a samurai sword, as were four of the captured airmen from the Doolittle Raid. Perhaps the saying "alls fair etc" has a ring of truth to it; how can you sanitise through legal niceties something that is so obscene in itself anyway; if war was allowed to be more terrible, perhaps folk wouldn't engage in it in the first place? As for Von Braun, he got the Yanks to the moon, you tell me whether that was worth 20,000 slave labourers? :unsure:

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I called at La Coupole on the drive back from Nice in the summer. La Couploe is where the V rockets were launched and built... a great big concrete structure almost like the lair of some James Bond Baddie.....

 

http://www.lacoupole-france.com/en/default.asp

 

Built by Jewish slave labour...... was the whole thing worth the lives of the slaves? Well most definately not..... but any German saying that during the war would have been shot.

 

As for Von Braun, his work after the war did a lot of good for humanity as well as a great deal of bad. In hindsight Von Braun should have been hanged with the rest of the Nazis...... but hindsight is a wonderful gift!

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Not quite hindsight Baz: the Russians wanted every Nazi shot or like the German POWs sent to die in Siberia, so initially objected to the idea of a War Crimes Trial (plus, they probably wanted to spare Stalin's blushes!). The Yanks (and to a point, the Brits) had an eye to the next war (with Russia!), so employed special intelligence teams to track down as many scientists as possible; no doubt the Russians followed suit. So basically, a victory for expediency over justice, as has ever been the case throughout history. :(

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