Almost all Americans have been educated many times over of the horrors inflicted by the Nazis during World War II.
However, cleocin what has been missing from the equation, cleocin at least from our school's history books, cleocin are the horrors the Allied forces inflicted on innocent citizens, cleocin including those living in Germany.
I came across this piece recently and I wanted to share it.
For us to comprehend the full impact of war and its irreversible destruction, cleocin and if we want to prevent the further disaster of a future World War, cleocin it is important to view all sides, cleocin no matter what it might reveal.
The author Kurt Vonnegut was a prisoner of war in Dresden Germany during the allied bombing raids and was later forced to dig out bodies from the ruined city.In papers discovered by his son after his death last year, cleocin he provides a searing eyewitness account of the â€˜obscene brutalityâ€™ that inspired his novel Slaughterhouse-Five The blood of Dresden Germany It was a routine speech we got during our first day of basic training, cleocin delivered by a wiry little lieutenant: â€œMen, cleocin up to now youâ€™ve been good, cleocin clean, cleocin American boys with an Americanâ€™s love for sportsmanship and fair play. Cleocin Weâ€™re here to change that. â€œOur job is to make you the meanest, cleocin dirtiest bunch of scrappers in the history of the world. Cleocin From now on, cleocin you can forget the Marquess of Queensberry rules and every other set of rules. Cleocin Anything and everything goes. â€œNever hit a man above the belt when you can kick him below it. Cleocin Make the bastard scream. Cleocin Kill him any way you can. Cleocin Kill, cleocin kill, cleocin kill â€“ do you understand?â€ His talk was greeted with nervous laughter and general agreement that he was right. Cleocin â€œDidnâ€™t Hitler and Tojo say the Americans were a bunch of softies? Ha! Theyâ€™ll find out.â€ And of course, cleocin Germany and Japan did find out: a toughened-up democracy poured forth a scalding fury that could not be stopped. It was a war of reason against barbarism, cleocin supposedly, cleocin with the issues at stake on such a high plane that most of our feverish fighters had no idea why they were fighting â€“ other than that the enemy was a bunch of bastards. Cleocin A new kind of war, cleocin with all destruction, cleocin all killing approved. , cleocin three small-town merchantsâ€™ wives, cleocin middle-aged and plump, cleocin gave me a ride when I was hitchhiking home from Camp Atterbury. Cleocin â€œDid you kill a lot of them Germans?â€ asked the driver, cleocin making cheerful small-talk. Cleocin I told her I didnâ€™t know. This was taken for modesty. Cleocin As I was getting out of the car, cleocin one of the ladies patted me on the shoulder in motherly fashion: â€œIâ€™ll bet youâ€™d like to get over and kill some of them dirty Japs now, cleocin wouldnâ€™t you?â€ (snip) There was no war in Dresden. True, cleocin planes came over nearly every day and the sirens wailed, cleocin but the planes were always en route elsewhere. Cleocin The alarms furnished a relief period in a tedious work day, cleocin a social event, cleocin a chance to gossip in the shelters. The shelters, cleocin in fact, cleocin were not much more than a gesture, cleocin casual recognition of the national emergency: wine cellars and basements with benches in them and sandbags blocking the windows, cleocin for the most part. There were a few more adequate bunkers in the centre of the city, cleocin close to the government offices, cleocin but nothing like the staunch subterranean fortress that rendered Berlin impervious to her daily pounding. Cleocin Dresden had no reason to prepare for attack â€“ and thereby hangs a beastly tale. Dresden was surely among the worldâ€™s most lovely cities. Her streets were broad, cleocin lined with shade-trees. She was sprinkled with countless little parks and statuary. She had marvellous old churches, cleocin libraries, cleocin museums, cleocin theatres, cleocin art galleries, cleocin beer gardens, cleocin a zoo and a renowned university. It was at one time a touristâ€™s paradise. Cleocin They would be far better informed on the cityâ€™s delights than am I. Cleocin But the impression I have is that in Dresden â€“ in the physical city â€“ were the symbols of the good life; pleasant, cleocin honest, cleocin intelligent. Cleocin In the swastikaâ€™s shadow, cleocin those symbols of the dignity and hope of mankind stood waiting, cleocin monuments to truth. Cleocin The accumulated treasure of hundreds of years, cleocin Dresden spoke eloquently of those things excellent in European civilisa-tion wherein our debt lies deep. I was a prisoner, cleocin hungry, cleocin dirty and full of hate for our captors, cleocin but I loved that city and saw the blessed wonder of her past and the rich promise of her future. In February 1945, cleocin American bombers reduced this treasure to crushed stone and embers; disembowelled her with high explosives and cremated her with incendiaries. (snip) The night they came over, cleocin we spent in an underground meat locker in a slaughterhouse. Cleocin We were lucky, cleocin for it was the best shelter in town. Cleocin Giants stalked the earth above us. Cleocin First came the soft murmur of their dancing on the outskirts, cleocin then the grumbling of their plodding towards us, cleocin and finally the ear-splitting crashes of their heels upon us â€“ and thence to the outskirts again. Cleocin Back and forth they swept: saturation bombing. â€œI screamed and I wept and I clawed the walls of our shelter, cleocinâ€ an old lady told me. Cleocin â€œI prayed to God to â€˜please, cleocin please, cleocin please, cleocin dear God, cleocin stop themâ€™. But he didnâ€™t hear me. Cleocin No power could stop them. Cleocin On they came, cleocin wave after wave. There was no way we could surrender; no way to tell them we couldnâ€™t stand it any more. Cleocin There was nothing anyone could do but sit and wait for morning.â€ Her daughter and grandson were killed. Our little prison was burnt to the ground. Cleocin We were to be evacuated to an outlying camp occupied by South African prisoners. Our guards were a melancholy lot, cleocin aged Volkssturmers and disabled veterans. Cleocin Most of them were Dresden residents and had friends and families somewhere in the holocaust. Cleocin A corporal, cleocin who had lost an eye after two years on the Russian front, cleocin ascertained before we marched that his wife, cleocin his two children and both of his parents had been killed. Cleocin He had one cigarette. Cleocin He shared it with me. Our march to new quarters took us to the cityâ€™s edge. Cleocin It was impossible to believe that anyone had survived in its heart. Cleocin Ordinarily, cleocin the day would have been cold, cleocin but occasional gusts from the colossal inferno made us sweat. Cleocin And ordinarily, cleocin the day would have been clear and bright, cleocin but an opaque and towering cloud turned noon to twilight. A grim procession clogged the outbound highways; people with blackened faces streaked with tears, cleocin some bearing wounded, cleocin some bearing dead. Cleocin They gathered in the fields. Cleocin No one spoke. Cleocin A few with Red Cross armbands did what they could for the casualties. Settled with the South Africans, cleocin we enjoyed a week without work. Cleocin At the end of it, cleocin communications were reestablished with higher headquarters and we were ordered to hike seven miles to the area hardest hit. Nothing in the district had escaped the fury. Cleocin A city of jagged building shells, cleocin of splintered statuary and shattered trees; every vehicle stopped, cleocin gnarled and burnt, cleocin left to rust or rot in the path of the frenzied might. Cleocin The only sounds other than our own were those of falling plaster and their echoes. (snip) We cut our way through a basement wall to discover a reeking hash of over 100 human beings. Cleocin Flame must have swept through before the buildingâ€™s collapse sealed the exits, cleocin because the flesh of those within resembled the texture of prunes. Our job, cleocin it was explained, cleocin was to wade into the shambles and bring forth the remains. Cleocin Encouraged by cuffing and guttural abuse, cleocin wade in we did. We did exactly that, cleocin for the floor was covered with an unsavoury broth from burst water mains and viscera. A number of victims, cleocin not killed outright, cleocin had attempted to escape through a narrow emergency exit. Cleocin At any rate, cleocin there were several bodies packed tightly into the passageway. Cleocin Their leader had made it halfway up the steps before he was buried up to his neck in falling brick and plaster. He was about 15, cleocin I think. It is with some regret that I here besmirch the nobility of our airmen, cleocin but, cleocin boys, cleocin you killed an appalling lot of women and children. Cleocin The shelter I have described and innumerable others like it were filled with them. Cleocin We had to exhume their bodies and carry them to mass funeral pyres in the parks, cleocin so I know. The funeral pyre technique was abandoned when it became apparent how great was the toll. Cleocin There was not enough labour to do it nicely, cleocin so a man with a flamethrower was sent down instead, cleocin and he cremated them where they lay. Cleocin Burnt alive, cleocin suffocated, cleocin crushed â€“ men, cleocin women, cleocin and children indiscriminately killed. For all the sublimity of the cause for which we fought, cleocin we surely created a Belsen of our own. Cleocin The method was impersonal, cleocin but the result was equally cruel and heartless. Cleocin That, cleocin I am afraid, cleocin is a sickening truth. When we had become used to the darkness, cleocin the odour and the carnage, cleocin we began musing as to what each of the corpses had been in life. Cleocin It was a sordid game: â€œRich man, cleocin poor man, cleocin beggar man, cleocin thief . Cleocin . Cleocin .â€ Some had fat purses and jewellery, cleocin others had precious foodstuffs. Cleocin A boy had his dog still leashed to him. Renegade Ukrainians in German uniform were in charge of our operations in the shelters proper. Cleocin They were roaring drunk from adjacent wine cellars and seemed to enjoy their job hugely. It was a profitable one, cleocin for they stripped each body of valuables before we carried it to the street. Cleocin Death became so commonplace that we could joke about our dismal burdens and cast them about like so much garbage. Not so with the first of them, cleocin especially the young: we had lifted them on to the stretchers with care, cleocin laying them out with some semblance of funeral dignity in their last resting place before the pyre. Cleocin But our awed and sorrowful propriety gave way, cleocin as I said, cleocin to rank callousness. Cleocin At the end of a grisly day, cleocin we would smoke and survey the impressive heap of dead accumulated. Cleocin One of us flipped his cigarette butt into the pile: â€œHellâ€™s bells, cleocinâ€ he said, cleocin â€œIâ€™m ready for Death any time he wants to come after me.â€ A few days after the raid, cleocin the sirens screamed again. Cleocin The listless and heartsick survivors were showered this time with leaflets. Cleocin I lost my copy of the epic, cleocin but remember that it ran something like this: â€œTo the people of Dresden: we were forced to bomb your city because of the heavy military traffic your railroad facilities have been carrying. Cleocin We realise that we havenâ€™t always hit our objectives. Cleocin Destruction of anything other than military objectives was unintentional, cleocin unavoidable fortunes of war.â€ That explained the slaughter to everyoneâ€™s satisfaction, cleocin I am sure, cleocin but it aroused no little contempt. Cleocin It is a fact that 48 hours after the last B-17 had droned west for a well-earned rest, cleocin labour battalions had swarmed over the damaged rail yards and restored them to nearly normal service. Cleocin None of the rail bridges over the Elbe was knocked out of commission. Cleocin Bomb-sight manufacturers should blush to know that their marvellous devices laid bombs down as much as three miles wide of what the military claimed to be aiming for. The leaflet should have said: â€œWe hit every blessed church, cleocin hospital, cleocin school, cleocin museum, cleocin theatre, cleocin your university, cleocin the zoo, cleocin and every apartment building in town, cleocin but we honestly werenâ€™t trying hard to do it. Cleocin Câ€™est la guerre. Cleocin So sorry. Cleocin Besides, cleocin saturation bombing is all the rage these days, cleocin you know.â€ (snip) More at: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_anâ€¦