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Oct/8/2020 wrap-up: \\ War in Karabakh (Artsakh) \\ Azeri pilot's widow exposes the "meat grinder" and campaign of cover-up \\ Azeri-Talysh journalist visits Armenia, sends a message to minorities \\ Syrian jihadists interviewed; guy regrets joining Azeris \\ international response \\ independence?
Azeri pilot's widow writes a scorching letter to Aliyev / Exposes campaign to turn off catapults and cover-up Turkish presence / Meat grinderAzeri pilot Sabir Valiyev was killed during the battles. His widow wrote a letter on Facebook exposing the "horrible conditions in the front, thousands of dead, and the lawlessness of the Syrian jihadists."
The letter says: I, the wife of the deceased pilot Valiyev
His fellow soldier called me to tell the news. I asked him why Sabir didn't catapult, and he told me it's configured so that they can't catapult so that Armenians won't capture them alive, because Turkish pilots fly with them, and "if they capture us, Azerbaijan will be in big trouble. We have a one-way ticket. Two have died already". I don't care what problems Azerbaijan will have!
He also told me that things are even worse for ground soldiers. They throw them forward like a meat to attack without an armored backup. Thousands of bodies are laying and decaying; this is against our Islamic values (the dead must be buried quickly). The army doesn't even stop the fights to collect them.
Another soldier told me that they throw them forward next to the trash from the Middle East (referring to jihadists) who are real criminals. They don't spare soldiers. They die in hundreds. The commanders are afraid of telling that to the president to avoid being punished. They just throw hundreds and hundreds more.
The soldiers tell me that if the population learns about our losses, the government will be simply destroyed. I saw photos of hundreds of our dead martyrs, but they are just meat for our higher-ups.
I appeal to my people, the administration, people of the world, the government of other states, to stop this war and punish our government for the inhumane treatment of our martyrs and the nation.
Stop, Mr. Aliyev. Don't ruin our children. Your generals lie to you. They hide our losses and the inhumane treatment of soldiers. Remove from our country the terrorists from the Middle East. Let Erdogan shed the blood of his soldiers at home for his own interests.
I know that as soon as they learn about my letter, they'll follow me around and pressure to have me to retract my words, but I'll try to be persistent.
I beg you all to raise your voice.
Armenian man responds: https://youtu.be/kR_B4pgZw9s
Azerbaijan's Talysh minorities continue to complain about the govt's discriminatory draftTalyshistan Times article by Rashad Likidj: Talysh began dying from the first day of the Azeri-Armenian war. I decided to visit the front to see the tragedy of our nation myself, and if possible, help the fellow men to save them from Aliyev's meatgrinder.
Armenians have done nothing bad to my people. We have no reason to war against them.
I had left Azerbaijan with my family earlier due to threats. Being a Talysh in Azerbaijan, you have two choices: either forget you're a Talysh and "assimilate" or find the courage to live in an environment of constant pressure and humiliation.
Obviously, the only way I could visit the front was through Armenian territory. I landed there and traveled to Karabakh as a journalist.
I saw around me only inspired people, ready to repulse the opponent and defend their land. I felt ashamed that my fellow Talysh are forced to be accomplices of Azerbaijan's criminals against these people. I have no doubt that Azerbaijan is an aggressor.
The ease of obtaining journalist accreditation shows that Armenians have nothing to hide. It's sharply different from the Azeri approach of closing it for "unfriendly" journalists.
I went near the line of contact. What I saw there will haunt me for the rest of my life. Hard to write, but I can't be silent. Will we ever learn the true number of casualties? There are too many.
Azeris sit behind the back of minorities while pushing them forward. The losses are huge yet Aliyev doesn't intend to stop. Or maybe he does, but Erdogan makes the decisions. As it turns out, the Talysh are sacrificing their lives for that "Turkish dog" (Erdogan).
I saw documents of deceased Talysh soldiers (under Armenian possession). The scary thing is their parents are yet to learn about their sons' deaths.
The slopes of mountains are filled with corpses, which the Azeri side does not even try to collect for burial despite Armenia's offer.
This is what Aliyev's and his band's achievement has been. I know that my fellow Talysh don't want to take part in this war or live as part of the Azerbaijani Republic. We don't want to die in the hands of two schizophrenic criminals from Baku and Ankara.
I call upon the Talysh in front lines to not only not to fight, but to join the Armenian side. It sounds scary, but I can assure you that Armenians don't view you as their enemies. The same is true about Avars, Lezgins, and other minorities.
I'm sure you've already read the Karabakh govt's letter to the ethnic minorities of Azerbaijan. They will respect your life and help you move to a third country.
I know instances of minorities holding the white flag and turning themselves in front trenches, but they were shot by the Azeri soldiers from behind. It is still safer than fighting in the Azeri army, though. You'll have a better chance to live if you walk the other side.
Armenians and Talysh have a chance to establish peace in the South Caucasus and destroy one of the most brutal and idiotic dictatorships of modern times, and to gain independence.
Our time has come. This is the moment of truth. Long live Talyshistan and Armenia.
Правда из Карабаха от Рашада Ликиджа: https://www.talyshistantimes.com/content/likijrashad
your daily jihadist reportPro-Turkish jihadist in Afrin is seen in the video saying "Our battle in Azerbaijan is the same as in Syria. It is intended that the battles in Azerbaijan are jihad."
Translated video: https://twitter.com/ArmenianUnified/status/1314144132777021441?s=20
Syrian Jisr Press reports that the next batch of 250 Syrian mercenaries will include jihadists from the Feilak al-Sham terror cell besides the usual Sultan Murad and Al Hams groups.
"History repeats itself". An old article about how Azerbaijan deployed Afghan jihadists during the first Karabakh war in the 1990s. (there is a report that Turkey is collecting jihadists from Afghanistan and Pakistan besides Syria)
Screenshot of old article: https://twitter.com/ArtyomTonoyan/status/551214207228997632
Al-Monitor outlet spoke via phone with Syrian mercenaries recruited by Azerbaijan & Turkey.
Khaled Saleh (25) from the northern countryside of Aleppo:
I work with the First Corps in the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The living situation in northern Syria and unemployment forced me to go to Libya before, and now I have decided to go to Azerbaijan for $1,500.
By joining the fight against Armenia through Turkey, I will achieve two goals: The first is getting a financial income in light of the poverty we live in, and the second is to stand by Turkey, which stood by our side in the Syrian regime’s war against us.
Jasim Himmish, 35, an FSA leader from the city of Baza’a: we are fighting alongside Turkey in Libya and Azerbaijan. We owe it to Turkey, which has championed the Syrian people's revolution against the Syrian regime. Turkey is now protecting us from the oppression of the Syrian regime and Russia, and the fight against Armenia is in the end a fight with Turkey against Russia, the main enemy of the Syrian people.
Bilal Hamdan, 24, from northern Idlib: My cousin is a soldier in the Sultan Murad, and he told me to meet him in Afrin in order to register. So I did and met the commander in charge, who told us that the salary will be between $150 and $2,000, and we would work as guards in Azerbaijani oil facilities only. However, we were transported by air from Turkey to Azerbaijan, to an area where I could hear bombing sounds. It then became clear to me that we were in a war zone instead of an oil facility. I agreed to fight because of the tempting salary. //
A Syrian journalist has learned about a few hundred mercenaries. Some faction leaders misled them and claimed that they were going through official contracts, but it was not the case. They rather went through Turkish security companies that have projects in Azerbaijan with gas, oil, and contracting companies.
When they first registered, no military operations were taking place in Artsakh. "Those who are officially sent by Turkey are Syrians who hold Turkish citizenship."
Those who were sent unofficially are members of groups that seek the return to the Turkish state, and most are Turkmen; they have no official cover and they are not given any travel documents
More details in the article: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/10/syria-fighters-turkey-deploy-azerbaijan-armenia-russia.html
A WhatsApp audio message in Arabic was allegedly send by one of the jihadists "begging to get out". He is heard mentioning Mataghis (northern village at a center of battles), Azerbaijan, and Turkey.
Translated text in English via Google Translate: May the Lord help us, carry us out of here, out of this swamp, we are stuck in a swamp here. We are in Matagis now. There is no food or water. We are being fired upon, rockets are falling on our heads. We have been here for 4-5 days. The bodies of our comrades have been torn apart before our very eyes. If there is a higher-ranking official, please talk to him too. Let them take us out of this swamp, talk to the Azerbaijani military, let them bring us food and water.
We also talk with Azerbaijanis, they say - you do your job, otherwise, we will kill you. Do what you came here for. How long should we stay here? Half of our Syrian friends have already died. If they take us out of here, I'll come to you in Turkey. Our friends have already started to fight each other for food, water, money. We were told that there is food and water and money, but where? No money, no water, no food.
Translated text in Russian: Да поможет нам Господь, вынеси нас отсюда, из этого болота, мы тут увязли в болоте. Мы сейчас в Матагисе. Нет ни еды, ни воды. Нас обстреливают, на наши головы падают ракеты. Мы здесь уже 4-5 дней. Тела наших товарищей на наших глазах разорваны на части. Если есть более высокопоставленный чиновник, прошу, поговори и с ним. Пусть нас вывезет из этого болота, поговори с азербайджанскими военными, пусть принесут нам еду и воду. Мы тоже говорим с азербайджанцами, они говорят - вы делайте свое дело, в противном случае мы вас убьем. Делайте то, для чего вы приехали сюда. До каких пор мы должны еще оставаться здесь? Половина наших сирийских друзей уже погибла. Если нас отсюда не вывезут, я к тебе в Турцию приду. Наши друзья уже начали друг с другом драться за еду, воду, деньги. Нам говорили, что есть и еда, и вода, и деньги, но где? Ни денег, ни воды, ни еды
Original voice message in Arabic: https://soundcloud.com/military-tech/whatsapp-audio-2020-10-08-at-41226-pm
https://twitter.com/301_AD/status/1314179706468655104 , https://t.me/infoteka24/8397
ReadTribune outlet has learned, citing its sources in the Syrian government, that Turkey is using a company named Sadat, unofficially supported by the Turkish intelligence agency, to recruit the jihadists. Some recruits were told they're flying to Lybia but they took them to Azerbaijan.
http://realtribune.ru/news/news/5232 , https://twitter.com/517design/status/1314190771235557378
a few more things from yesterdayPashinyan has been calling and harassing the soldiers in the front lines again:
Hello! Hi. How are you? Good. How is the situation? Good. Is this the 5th unit? … (silence) I can't reveal that info. Hahaha very good.
Yesterday there were reports of Azeris retreating in some parts of the south after ending up being encircled. A source from the front claims that the Armenian tanks penetrated the enemy's flanks and winded up behind their lines.
Armenians in the front began pressuring the Azeris, who chose to retreat. The retreating Azeris went straight towards the Armenian tanks, which were coming to meet them. The Azeris thought the tanks were theirs, but when they got closer, they realized it was Armenians, panic, and opened fire. The tanks fired back. 150 Azeris died in this battle.
Yesterday the Armenians in Los Angeles organized a demonstration in front of the Los Angeles Times newspaper, asking for fair coverage. The LA Times will allegedly send a crew to Artsakh.
Yerkir Media journalist Vardan Ohanyan was wounded on Monday while recapturing a hill known as Varangatagh in the north. Artsakh MFA's Diaspora Committee chief Yervand Hajiyan has lost his life while defending the country.
https://news.am/arm/news/606712.html , https://news.am/arm/news/606709.html
22:38 army spokesman: for 3- years, Azeris have been accusing us of hiring Kurdish fighters. Not one evidence. We don't need to hire Kurds. Unlike Azeris, we fight and defend our lands with our blood.
23:27: Pashinyan's aide has asked the public to ignore the reports about Georgia allegedly siding with Azerbaijan in the conflict. "There are fake rumors circulating around. Don't engage against Georgians on the internet or outside."
23:49: video allegedly showing one of the two Azeri drones that fell in the Georgian territory.
October 8th arrives1:50 - 8:13: capital Stepanakert was bombed throughout the night again. WarGonzo reporter says Azeris used cluster bombs "and everything they had in the arsenal."
https://t.me/reartsakh/4516 , https://t.me/reartsakh/4517
8:04: some 142 felons in Armavir penitentiary want to join the army but so far their calls are ignored.
8:53: it appears at least one of the Azeri drones that fell over Georgia was shot down. It was Harop.
9:12 army: no strategic changes overnight. It was stable-tense. The north is activating again. Our soldiers suppress the opponent's activities.
9:21 army: at 8:30 am an Azeri battalion tried to attack in the south. They lost 3 armored vehicles, 20 dead and wounded, and had to route from the outskirts of Jabrayil.
10:24 army spokesman: Escape has become a national sport for some, you just need to warm up a bit. (referring to the incident above)
11:21 army: we destroyed four D-30 Howitzers with the personnel and ammo before they were deployed.
Two more drones shot in the south.
11:27: army shared footage showing the destruction of Azeri equipment and positions.
11:59: Pashinyan urged the public to contact NSS and report those who spread fake news meant to create panic.
The NSS has revealed that one of the officers (allegedly a friend of anti-Pashinyan politician Vitali Balasanyan) told his subordinates that the war is pre-planned and Pashinyan has a plan to give the lands away and told the soldiers to leave the outposts. A few of them allegedly believed and left. The suspect has been arrested in Yerevan.
Pashinyan signed an order to replace the head of NSS and appoint Mikael Hambardzumyan.
The NSS has created a new volunteer group to join the front lines.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030816.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030826.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030831.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030908.html , https://www.1in.am/2836562.html
Casualty report: 30 names were published, bringing the total of deceased to 350. Among them is the artilleryman from the iconic billboard images. "He will always remain in our hearts," said American-Armenian singer Daniel Decker. Artsakh president gave him a posthumous medal of courage.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030817.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/198210 , https://news.am/arm/news/606916.html
12:24 army spokesman: There were and will be many amazing acts of heroism and bravery in this war. One of the things to be amazed and proud of is the heroism of the female servicemen, about whom we will speak later.
12:30: video from font lines. War veterans standing next to young conscripts.
13:50: Shushi's Ghazanchetsots church was bombed by the Azeri fire. A hole was formed on the roof. "This is the signature of ISIS," said the church leader.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030837.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030853.html
13:59 MPs: Azerbaijan will carry the label of a terrorist state for years to come. Their plan was to minimize Azeri deaths by using jihadists. They'll have problems in international institutes.
13:05: army spokesman has called for diasporan Armenians to donate to himnadram.org or ArmeniaFund.org (USA).
13:48: Iran has deployed 200 tanks along its northern borders near Artsakh.
14:11: Turkish authorities penalized Halk TV outlet for airing an interview during which a Turkish expert "spoke ill" of Azerbaijan. He also criticized Ilham Aliyev and the ultra-nationalist politicians in Turkey, calling the latter "still medieval nomadic."
Gültekin, disputing the fact that Azerbaijan is a state, raised a rhetorical question: is Azerbaijan a state or not?
"Azerbaijan is a clan, there is no democracy there, there are no human rights. There is an authoritarian administration, there is no freedom of choice, they swim in money. Until today, they have not created a humane state."
14:22: army published the names of anti-tank soldiers and others who committed acts of bravery. Some have destroyed command units and multiple tanks; another soldier shot a helicopter and a truck carrying soldiers.
15:14 army: the opponent keeps trying to attack but fails. At 2 pm they launched an assault in two directions in the south but were met with fire and were stopped, leaving 9 destroyed armored vehicles.
Geneva city council has approved a resolution to condemn the Azeri aggression, demand the freezing of Ilham Aliyev family assets, and to recognize the independence of the Artsakh Republic.
The resolution mentioned the previous ethnic cleanings of Armenians in Baku and Sumgayit, and Turkey's ongoing involvement.
The Azeri MFA Bayramov is set to arrive in Geneva for Minks Group discussions soon.
First president Levon Ter-Petrosyan says Geneva's resolution is important because it contains something unprecedented, which is the part that officially acknowledges that "Artsakh can only be physically safe if it's granted the right for self-determination".
"The essence of that doctrine is the following. When a state systematically violates the civil rights of its ethno-territorial minority on the grounds of race, nationality, religion, and xenophobia at the level of authorities, resorting to violence, threatening extermination or deportation, the international community, considering the coexistence of such peoples impossible, in order to preserve the existence of the minority, should separate its occupied territory from the given state."
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030809.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030859.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030859.html
15:31: Azeri MFA Bayramov is in talks with the Minks Group in Geneva right now.
15:53: Artsakh govt denies the media reports that a ceasefire agreement was reached.
15:35: here is a collection of Azeri Facebook pages pretending to be Armenian.
15:21: several soldiers received medals for heroism. Mihran Avdalyan helped to recapture one of the positions and help to break the encirclement of 7 Armenian soldiers.
Hovhannes Ayvazyan destroyed 3 enemy tanks.
A few more received medals for standing their ground and inflicting heavy losses on Azeris, forcing them to retreat.
15:59: Iranian outlet Azarhia covered the topic of Azerbaijan's bombing of the Armenian church in Shushi. The outlet also condemned the attack on a Shia mosque in the city earlier.
15:59 Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin: a doctor from Azerbaijan, one of my readers, wrote me about the conditions in hospitals. The number of wounded it very high.
Soldiers who are transported to a hospital say that there are hundreds more who are wounded but the administration won't let them leave the battlefield to receive care; they are left to suffer for days.
Over 2,000 dead bodies aren't being collected from the battlefield because Baku won't cooperate with the Red Cross. A few more days and the decaying bodies will become un-identifiable.
When a soldier gets wounded in his position from artillery fire, he is lucky, because they'll evacuate him. But if he's an advanced unit away from the main position, no one will save him. The soldiers leave their wounded comrades on the field while the latter scream for help. Armenians aren't eager to take captives in order not to risk their own lives, so hundreds are left dying after receiving a wound.
16:08: healthcare ministry published a video recorded in a military hospital that treats soldiers.
17:44 army spokesman: Active military operations are taking place, during which the enemy is actively spreading disinformation at the highest level. Be vigilant and follow the official news.
17:56: Pashinyan discussed the topic of "self-determination of people" with the Chancellor of Austria.
18:12 Russian MFA: we are negotiating to organize a meeting with Armenian and Azeri MFAs in Moscow.
18:04 Russia's General Prosecutor: For 25 years we have worked together to create mechanisms that ensure the protection of citizens' rights in the post-Soviet republics and we must not allow the mechanisms to collapse ... now the priority is to protect people and to ensure their right to a peaceful life, by preventing the infiltration of mercenaries and terrorists into the conflict zone, and the illicit trafficking of weapons and those who finance terrorist acts. (Russia plans to bomb the jihadist cells in northern Syria, including the ones used by Turkey to recruit the terrorists)
18:19: MoD Tonoyan met Georgian colleagues and informed that the further escalation of this conflict could have unpredictable consequences on the whole region.
On a different occasion, a Georgian official said they're concerned about the Azeri oil/gas pipeline and that its destruction could cause wider regional issues.
18:40: Turkish state-run channel TRT showed a destroyed building in Artsakh capital Stepanakert and claimed it was an Azeri building targeted by Armenians. Hashtag fake news.
18:42: Russian journalist Yuri Katyonk from "Segodnya" was seriously wounded during Azerbaijan's bombing of a church in Shushi earlier. He lost 3.5 liters of blood before the surgery and blood recovery procedure.
The church was bombed twice, proving it intentional. Drones were heard above the journalists' heads.
Ombudsman: Before the second attack, Azerbaijan monitored the journalists' movement with a drone to target them. 3 journalists were wounded.
Armenian MFA: the bombing of a church is the latest crime of the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan, which reveals its anti-human essence. It fully fits into the Armenophobic policies of the past decades. Azerbaijan, which completely destroyed the Armenian cultural heritage in Nakhijevan, is attempting the same in Artsakh. This is a challenge to the whole civilized humanity.
Artsakh president: we will rebuild it.
Ombudsman: Azerbaijan tried to target the women and children who were taking shelter in the church's basement.
Hours later: doctors removed the shrapnel from the Russian journalists' body. "His life is not in danger."
https://twitter.com/Artak_Beglaryan , https://twitter.com/alexisohanian/status/1314156730838855681 , https://factor.am/293008.html , https://factor.am/293058.html , https://factor.am/293061.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030904.html , https://news.am/arm/news/606804.html , https://news.am/arm/news/606865.html , https://twitter.com/517design/status/1314255610674917376?s=20 , https://t.me/wargonzo/3691 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/198207
19:20 Pashinyan to Spiegel outlet: It's not Azerbaijan who makes decisions anymore, it's Turkey. The army of Nagorno-Karabakh is currently conducting anti-terrorism operations.
20:05: video of emergency workers delivering humanitarian aid to civilians.
20:13: war veteran and politician Vahan Badasyan is feeling better after receiving a wound and undergoing a surgery yesterday.
20:29: "people familiar with the matter" (unofficial, unconfirmed) says that the flag that Azeris raised over northern Mataghis village is under the Armenian possession now.
20:31: the army is giving more medals for bravery. Among the recipients are soldiers who shot Orbiter drones, infiltrated Azeri outposts to capture maps and secrets, shooting a tank from a 2.9km distance, etc.
20:54: Civilian casualties in Armenia: 22 died, 95 wounded, 5800 pieces of civilian objects damaged.
21:12 army spokesman: battles continue in the south. We inflicted heavy losses on the attackers and they had to retreat back to the initial position.
Tens of thousands of Armenians have volunteered to join the army.
We won't attack cultural buildings and churches in Azerbaijan.
I won't comment on what percentage of Azeri army weaponry has been used so far, our information is a military secret, but their losses in the first 5 days were massive. Most of their weapons are Soviet-made Azeri weapons but the high-tech comes from Turkey and Israel. (a journalist earlier asked if it's true that Azeris consumed 43% of weapons)
30% of our wounded/injured soldiers receive care and are able to return to the battlefield the next day. It's a good number considering the fact that artillery attacks are dense.
The video that Azeris have just uploaded about capturing Jebrayil is 3-4 days old. It looks laughable today.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030912.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030914.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030915.html , https://news.am/arm/news/606896.html
21:34 WarGonzo reporter: the remnants of the bomb used against the church in Shushi appears to indicate a NATO-made part. It's possibly from Turkish F-16.
(The government later said they have no info that it was F-16. Others speculated that it could be a guided missile from a Turkish drone.)
https://t.me/sashakots/17260 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1030920.html
23:27 Armenian MFA about Shushi church bombing: Azerbaijan continues to intentionally target journalists to hinder their ability to highlight the war crimes committed by Azerbaijan in Armenian cities.
21:39 army: we just shot another drone.
21:30: the Anonymous hackers defaced the Turkish Parliament website in support of Armenia.
23:01 Armenian MoD: between 7 - 9 pm we shot 9 Azeri drones over the Republic of Armenia's Vardenis region. We're verifying their models.
23:02: a soldier shared footage showing the bodies of dozens of Azeri soldiers after they tried to get weapons/ammo from an armory.
[link intentionally omitted]
23:40: a song from the front lines
the international community's responseThe Parliament of Bascue Republic has adopted a resolution stating that the Artsakh population must have the right for self-determination. It also condemns the Azeri aggression.
A German MP has asked German MFA to take a stance against Turkey. The MFA responded saying Germany and others need to remain neutral, "or else we cannot be mediators."
The German MFA added, "Armenia says they're ready to negotiate, while Azerbaijan refuses. If they continue to refuse, we'll have to reconsider how long we can hold a neutral stance between the two."
He said Turkey had not consulted with fellow NATO members before intervening in the Karabakh conflict.
The mayor of Fresno, California, and other lawmakers raised the Armenian flag in solidarity and called for action against Azerbaijan and Turkey.
Fox News: Century-old genocide looms large for Armenians as Turkey weighs in on Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian president tells Fox News his people have the right to live in the region
"… And it's important President Trump return fully to his responsibilities for the Americans and for elections that are coming up, but it's also important he brings his contribution today because we in Armenia, in Karabakh, cannot wait until the American elections. We need American words and pressure on Turkey and Azerbaijan today," told President Sarkissian to Fox News.
Boston Globe: Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict is spiraling out of control.
"Azerbaijan launched military operations against Nagorno-Karabakh on Sept. 27. Backed by Turkish air power, drones, and jihadist fighters from Syria, Azerbaijan attacked Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. The targeting of civilian areas has been confirmed by BBC and other journalists on-the-ground.
The conflict risks spiraling out of control, resulting in a regional conflagration involving Russia, an ally of Armenia, and Turkey, which supports Azerbaijan, as well as Iran, which is attempting to broker a peace deal while warning both countries not to cross the border into the Islamic republic."
The Moscow Times: ‘I Want to Join the Final Battle.’ Armenians in Russia Flock to Karabakh.
"A large group of men gathered in front of the Armenian Embassy in central Moscow on Tuesday morning — some dressed in expensive suits, others in track pants — waiting to meet the ambassador. They were members of the Armenian diaspora in Moscow eager to find out how they could help their country in the fighting raging over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region."
Toronto Sun (Opinion piece): Expel Turkey from NATO.
Nagorno-Karabakh has legally been part of Azerbaijan, but only in name. The population has refused to accept Azeri rule and has the backing of the Armenian government.
Turkey egged its fellow Turks in Azerbaijan to launch an attack on Nagorno-Karabakh, whose residents refer to the territory as the Republic of Artsakh.
Turkey opened its borders to let Syrian and Pakistani jihadi fighters to join the ranks of the Azeri regular army.
Anita Sarkeesian has entered the chat: Azerbaijan, supported by Turkey, are attacking Armenians over disputed territory called Nagorno-Karabakh which is inhabited by Armenians. It's a tragic history about world powers cutting up regions and giving them away without care of the original inhabitants (thread)
Courtney Kardashian has condemned Azeri-Turkish aggression and the targeting of civilians and journalists.
The Turkish Lira continues to devalue amid the country's involvement in yet another geopolitical conflict. It's trading at 7.89 per dollar. A new record low.
Norwegian-Armenians gathered a demonstration, attended by a Redditor
Nevada Representative Dina Titus has asked the U.S. State Department to stop the Turkish-Azeri aggression.
Washington Post covered the topic of Azeris shelling the church
Armenians in Stockholm held a demonstration against the Azeri-Turkish aggression
A supermarket Royal Rus from Artik has donated 76,000 boxes of cigarettes to frontline soldiers
Armenians planting the tri-color flag near the EU flag next to the European Parliament building:
Armenians of Oslo gathered in front of the Parliament building
Armenians gathered in front of the Turkish embassy in Paris
Belgian-Armenians are collecting aid for Artsakh
Portuguese-Armenians held a march in support of Armenia
Italian-Armenians held a demonstration against Turkish aggression
Georgian officials are accused of giving lands to AzerbaijanPeople linked with the former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili are accused of, around 2007, drawing maps in a way to give 3,500 m2 Georgian lands to Azerbaijan. A felony case was launched in Georgia.
The former president of Georgia Saakashvili is a known shill for Azerbaijan and Turkey.
This is part of the ongoing land disputes between Georgia and Azerbaijan, which also includes an ancient Georgian church Davit Gareja, which is claimed by Azerbaijan as theirs amid falsification of the Azerbaijani history by the Azerbaijan government to present themselves as the true ancestors of "Caucasian Albania".
COVID vs real estateHouse prices are down in August vs July. In the Center, 1 m2 went from $1340 to $1308. The same picture in other districts. The lack of tourism due to COVID also heavily affected the rentals because that's what most tourists preferred.
Donors from the United States: https://www.ArmeniaFund.org/
Donors from around the world: https://www.HimnaDram.org/en
You've read 5163 words.
Dan Carlin and "The Rape of Belgium"
If you believe that the “Rape of Belgium” was principally or wholly propaganda, I’m sorry to say but you have been duped by 100 year old propaganda and lies that came about for a number of reasons – whether it was British and French pacifists attempting reconciliation in the 1920s or the German Government lying and keeping alive the myth of the “Franktireurkrieg” (a popular uprising of civilians in Belgium) to justify its actions. That is the real propaganda, and in the ever-popular podcast Blueprint of Armageddon, Dan Carlin falls into many of the same traps when discussing the “Rape of Belgium”.
This is how Dan Carlin opens up his discussion on “The Rape of Belgium” or “German Atrocities” as Horne and Kramer have referred to them as:
Do the people who are producing such cutting edge higher culture, how do they miss something that’s likely to be as damaging to your international reputation as what history now calls “The Rape of Belgium”. Now the Rape of Belgium, I should point out, a little bit is a propagandist's fantasy. I mean they've made it practically a movie. The "Rape of Belgium!". Go see the Rape of Nanking in your history books and then you will see something propagandists did not need to magnify at all to create a world class historical, atrocity killing field. Belgium wasn't that. But it was something. And that something would come back to haunt the Germans in ways they almost seemed ignorant of.So Dan Carlin opens up his discussion of war crimes with “they weren’t that bad, go look at this other thing for something really bad!”. There are a few problems with his line of logic. Firstly, he’s playing “atrocity/genocide olympics” as if there’s a competition between what is worse. There isn’t. They are both bad and need to be treated as such, not as events that are pitted against each other.
Indeed, Horne & Kramer even state in German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial that:
It would be unfair to dismiss those who condemned German atrocities in 1914 as merely naïve, deluded, or guilty of more than the normal quote of human inconsistency. By the standards of the time, the events were deeply shocking to broad sections of opinion in Allied countries, as indeed the same events, misunderstood by opinion in Germany, were considered shocking there for different reasons.Comparison with later events is unfair when attempting to discuss this event. Saying “Well, it’s only 6,500 civilians compared to X” diminishes both the very real suffering that occurred during German invasion and occupation, and why such civilian death and abuse was seen as shocking.
Dan Carlin continues:
Again, we quoted Hitler earlier about propaganda. Hitler sees it after the war, that the Germans were just blindsided by 20th-century global communications and the ability to manipulate world opinion by taking things that were real, facts, and by blowing them up to levels that just incensed whole societies. Including neutral countries.The second part of his introduction to the “Rape of Belgium” now emphasizes the propaganda aspect, rather than the reality. First he plays atrocity olympics, and thus downplays the significance and trauma of the event, and then brings propaganda to the front as if that was the real crime in August and September 1914. Even more insultingly is using a quotation from Hitler to illustrate that point, making it the first quotation used as evidence in the discussion of the “Rape of Belgium”. The destruction has been downplayed, and now we’re using Hitler to show how it was overblown.
The Germans start killing Belgian citizens and they do so as part of what is now understood to be a “policy of frightfulnesses” it was called, I'm not sure if that's the perfect translation of the term, but the Germans tended to you know, set examples of people that did things that the Germans had said you shouldn't do. They said you shouldn't blow up bridges. If they find you blowing up bridges, they are punish and they do not give probation. They will hang you, they will shoot you if they catch you trying to blow up a bridge. The Germans take that even farther, though. If you're near a village where a bridge gets blown up, the village might pay the price. The Germans believed in collective punishment. They also believed in taking hostages for good behavior and when people did stuff anyway, they killed the hostages.This is about three minutes into the section and he only now mentions what the atrocities were made up of. However, his wording justifies the actions of Germany. “people that did things that the Germans had said you shouldn’t do”, “if they catch you trying to blow up a bridge”, “when people did stuff anyway, they killed the hostages”. Dan Carlin does not outright deny that people were killed by the Germans here. However, he has selectively sided with the Germans in most of their actions. All of these are presented as legitimate collective punishments towards the Belgian population. They are not presented, as they were, the collective myth of a “franktireurkrieg” where friendly fire, drunken German misfires, French and Belgian rearguard actions, bodies mutilated by shrapnel shells, and successful Belgian and French defenses, were all the “stuff” that caused these “collective punishments”. The executions that the Germans carried out were predicated on a collective myth, a collective myth that influenced both officers and enlisted alike.
Perhaps I should back up however and explain what “Franctiruerkrieg” was. It was, in essence, a “people’s war” where armed, non-uniformed, citizens rose up in defense of their country – either behind or in front of the lines. The German military had over the decades fostered a culture where this was feared and was expected to be dealt with harshly. By 1907 the Hague conventions had made large strides to protect civilians from the sort of collective punishment that the Germans were utilizing. However, the German military had rejected these terms and within their handbooks had provided guidelines that very clearly authorized German soldiers to disregard those sections of the Hague agreements. It wasn’t just that the Germans believed in “collective punishment”, it’s that the German military was fully against civilian participation in war, and rejected international calls to protect civilians and their right to resist an invading force.
Even with the Hauge protections for such an uprising, it never happened. There was no great uprising of Franc Tireurs. The Belgian population, on the whole, handed over weapons to their local government officials, and tried to keep their heads down. While, as Horne and Kramer point out, may have been a handful of instances where an individual or two did fire at the Germans, it was no greater than that, and the instances where that may have happened were not near the sites of the largest executions. The following is a list of sites with over 100 civilians executed. There were approximately 130 sites where more than 10 civilians were executed across all armies invading Belgium and France in 1914, with these happening in both countries.
• Dinant: 674 Civilians executed.
• Tamines: 383 Civilians executed.
• Andenne/Seilles: 262 Civilians executed.
• Louvain: 248 Civilians executed.
• Ethe: 218 Civilians executed.
• Aarschot: 156 Civilians executed.
• Aarlon: 133 Civilians executed.
• Soumange: 118 Civilians executed.
• Melen: 108 civilians executed.
Dan Carlin should have factored this in before describing it primarily as a propaganda blunder and not as bad as other atrocities. Perhaps he should have paid attention victims such as Louise F. of Montmirail. On September 5th, 1914 she was living with her three year old daughter and two elderly parents and a German NCO was billeted in their home. Late one night he attempted to rape her. She screamed and her family was awoken, her daughter opening the shutters. German soldiers billeted in the house next door rushed to the scene and shot at the window, killing the three year old girl. They took Louise’s father outside and shot him on suspicion of being a “franc tireur”.
No, the factor that mattered to Dan Carlin was when people “did stuff” against the Germans. Most of the cases were set off by friendly fire incidents in the dark or the fog, or the French and Belgians fighting rear guard actions. It wasn’t simply “doing stuff”, it was the assumption that Civilians had gotten in their way, a way to vent the frustration of a campaign that was being, in a number of places, held up. Or a campaign the German military did not think had to be fought, that the Belgians should have acquiesced to German demands and allowed the Germans free passage.
Dan Carlin immediately follows up with
This one of the most contentious parts of you know new scholarship, all the time, on the question of atrocities in Belgium, because you know during the war it is this huge deal [Carlin then goes into an anecdote about the First Gulf War and how he remembers atrocity stories popping up then of Iraqis killing babies and stealing incubators.]No Dan. “The Rape of Belgium”, in 2013 when your podcast was published, was (and is not) a “contentious part” of the scholarship. John Horne and Alan Kramer published their book which put to rest any doubt on the subject in 2001. The only people who say it’s “contentious” these days are actively denying war-crimes. Horne and Kramer’s book was published twelve years before the podcast aired. Thing is though, it was published after Dan Carlin’s sources. Carlin sources three authors in this section: Lyn MacDonald, John Keegan, and Niall Ferguson. MacDonald is not listed in his sources for the episode, however I suspect it is her book on the opening phases of the war, which I do not have a copy of. That was published in the late 1980s. John Keegan and Niall Ferguson’s books were published in 1998. I do have a copy of Keegan and Ferguson. Ferguson does not deal heavily with the atrocities, referencing them in regards to propaganda.
The problem with Ferguson’s accusation in his book regarding "overblown" aspects by the media, at least in regards to the actual sexual violence, is that there was a lot of it. The actual numbers will never truly be known. Gang-rapes, as in this case he implies it were exaggerated. This was not the case, they occurred. The Belgian Commission found. for example, when visiting Aarschot that a number of women were forced to sleep with German soldiers, others raped successively by numbers of German troops. Kramer and Horne related the story of a sixteen year old girl gang-raped by 18 German soldiers. We will never truly know the scale of sexual assault and rape committed by the Germans in Belgium and France. While it was not army policy it was certainly widespread, and in many villages all the women had been “violated” in some way by German soldiers.
The Germans went in and did a bunch of things in Belgium that make them look bad, because they were bad, and then the foreign media, like the British, were fantastic at this: Get ahold of those stories and turn them into the worst things you can ever think of. The Germans only began to get this, you know a few people at time. I mean later on much later on, the Kaiser’s son, a guy known as the Crown Prince would say that Belgium is when the Germans lost the first great battle of the war, but they didn't lose it on the battlefield. They crushed the Belgians. They lost it in the realm of global public opinion because of their behavior. Behavior that the Germans will use throughout this war and again in the Second World War. This tendency to ignore neutrality […]. They also thought you treat non-combatants harshly. And you know to sort of soften that a little it's worth noting that the Germans treat their own people this way. They are a stern, rather strict, some would say severe society, especially you know the Prussianized elements of it and they expect obedience and discipline and conformity to the rules and that's what they expected their own people, and then they go into Belgium, and when people violate the rules, they get treated harshly. Germans just failed to foresee, maybe with cultural blinders that people that come from much less severe traditions would maybe in a play that quality up something uniquely German and nasty.So after his example of atrocity propaganda from the Gulf War he goes back to how it sucked for the Germans because it was a lot of propaganda and they just didn’t get it, the poor Germans. Yeah, they did some bad stuff but man the propaganda! The Germans were harsh towards their own people that “softens” the impact of the atrocities, apparently.
Lets look at the German military’s penal system, it is generally regarded as less harsh than the British military penal code. During the war, for example, the Germans eliminated tying people to wagon wheels, the British didn’t and “Field Punishment No. 1” lived on in infamy. German court martials often also took longer, and a total of 150 death sentences where handed out with only 48 of them being carried out, which is about 32% of the death sentences. The British, on the other hand, executed 361 soldiers. Although, this was out of 3,118 and represented only 12% of those given a death sentence. So were the Germans really harsh towards their own people as well?
I’d argue no, they were not nearly as harsh with their own people. Were there harsh aspects to German society in this period? Sure. But I don’t buy Carlin’s argument that the Germans were naturally harsh and that somehow would “soften” their treatment of Belgians.
[List of other places with irregular fighting] the Germans were very worried about what were called free shooters, today we would call them snipers. Because, in the war of 1870 they had a lot of problems with snipers, so they went into Belgium and if they thought snipers were there, people paid the price left right and center. I mean whole towns would be executed if a sniper was loose and here's the worst part. Snipers may not have even been loose. Some historians say these are a bunch of gun shy soldiers who've never faced, you know live-fire where someone was shooting at them. They may hear some German soldier’s gun go off from the other side of town and start killing civilians. It's a very controversial issue. Some historians still foam at the mouth about it. John Keegan strikes me as somebody who's who feels this absolute need to defend this idea of German, you know, Devilishness.So here we are, about eight minutes into his section on the Rape of Belgium and he finally tackles the “Franc-Tireur” issue. Of course, in the typical Dan Carlin style it has to be littered with references to other wars (and downplays the war crimes/atrocities in those) while also saying that there still may have been franc-tireurs.
Make no mistake. There was no franc-tireurs. 6,500 civilians were executed on suspicion based on a collective myth. Hell, there were non-civilians executed as well. I wonder why someone would be “foaming at the mouth” about this. German Atrocities, 1914: A History of Denial page 59
When the Germans entered Gomery, according to Sedillot, they suddenly became highly agitated. They claimed that they had been shot at from a first-aid station flying the Red Cross flag. This was denied by all the surviving French and Belgian witnesses. But in the massacre that followed 150 wounded French soldiers died at the hands of IR 47.The day prior, in Belmont (part of Ethe) 60 wounded French soldiers were executed alongside 23 civilians. I guess shooting the wounded was just a little, harsh mistake. What other incidents could cause a historian to “foam at the mouth”?
Horne and Kramer elaborated (page 47)
Many of the inhabitants were dragged from their houses by the German soldiers and taken to the abbey church, or themselves sought refuge there. At about 10 am, 43 men were taken out of the church and executed. The monks were accused of firing on the Germans and fined 15,000 Francs. The women and children were held prisoner in the abbey for a number of days. Another part of the population hid in the cellars of the woolen factory, including the manager, Remey Himmer, and his family. Here, at 5 pm, they gave themselves up to stupefied German soldiers who were still firing on the French. The women and children were taken to the abbey while Himmer and 31 workers were shot. Late in the evening, the factory buildings were burned down.This was a pattern repeated all across Belgium and Northern France. Human shields too were a frequent feature of the German advance at this point. They would use Belgian and French hostages as a shield to try and prevent the Allies from firing on their troops. One example is this, also in Leffe
From 4pm the troops built street barricades from looted furniture; soldiers from IR 182 seized one young man on suspicion of firing on them, although they found no weapon, and tied him to a barricade as a human shield. Coming under artillery fire from their own side at 6pm, they shot the young man and retreated.Other examples would see a number of Hostages forced to lead a German assault on Liege, for example on August 7th, 300 to 400 Belgian civilians were used as a human shield by the Germans.
German Atrocities Page 199
Jules Laurent, a 65-year-old grocerat Magnieres (Muerthe-et-Moselle), recounted that a soldier armed with a rifle raped a 12-year old girl who had sought refuge in his house. ‘The soldier was so threatening that I dared not intervene.’ […] Silence and shame ruled the responses of raped women, whose accounts are terse and often evade the brutal heart of the matter. ‘One of [the soldiers] pushed me over, pulled up my skirt, and …’ tailed off one 71 year old victim of the collevtive rape of women who had taken refuge in a cellar at Louppy-le-Chateau (Meuse), while another added, after describing how a German soldier forced her to lie on the ground, ‘I’ve no need to tell you the rest, you can easily guess it.’ A 13-year-old girl, raped on the same occasion, simply stated that her under-garment ‘filled with blood’.Kramer, in his book Dynamics of Destruction writes (page 16)
These acts were not the ‘collateral damage’ of modern warfare. There was an intent to destroy, which the case of Andenne also reveals.15 General von Gallwitz, commander of Guards Reserve Army Corps, issued orders on 16 August, before the corps embarked on the invasion, to respond to any act of resistance by destroying not only houses from which firing was suspected to come, but the entire village or town. The killing of 262 civilians in Andenne resulted from an order which has not survived in written form, but which an ordinary soldier recalled thus:And (page 17)
The killings in Andenne were not only the result of policy dictated by orders from above and applied systematically in cold blood, but as elsewhere were characterized by passionate hatred and anger. Burgomaster Camus was dragged from his home and hacked to death with an axe, almost certainly because he was suspected of having orchestrated the alleged resistance of the town; many other civilians were killed in their own homes during the house-to-house searches, and some were bayoneted on the forced march to the ‘court martial’.German Atrocities elaborates on this incident, stating (page 33)
Soon after the initial fusillade, a group of 17 civilians was arrested and 13 (including girls, women, and a baby) where shot and bayoneted. […] the repression became more systematic as German soldiers began dragging civilians from their homes. In many cases they were shot on the spot.Orders for atrocities came from all levels, some from Generals, some from Battalion commanders, some from more junior commanders. The pattern is clear and the issue was systemic and part of the German Army’s methods, these were not simply “one off” assaults on civilians.
Atrocities went beyond the killings, many were deported from Belgium to Germany. An example from Louvain, where 1,500 civilians were deported to Aachen, this is a personal account quoted by Kramer (page 10-11)
On Wednesday 26 August the people in our street were violently expelled from their homes. I was brutally separated from my husband and led to the station; a large number of women was already assembled there, among them a mother with her three small children, of whom the youngest was only one year old. We were forced to get into cattle-wagons, and we were told we were being taken to Aachen. When we got there, we were not allowed to get out. The population showed itself to be very hostile to us; they were using abusive language, and the soldiers firred salvos into the air to celebrate our capture. [...] During these 60 hours we had nothing to eat or drink but a little water and a little black bread passed to us by the soldiers. At Hanover the mother I referred to sent a request via a Red Cross intermediary for milk for her one-year old baby. He was told that milk was not given to prisoners of war. One compassionate soldier could not help crying out ‘Unmensch! (monster!)’ and took the bottle himself and Wlled it with milk. On arrival at Munster we were . . . taken to a barn . . . where we stayed until Tuesday evening, sleeping on straw. The only food for us, adults and children, was a bad soup morning and evening. During the four days and four nights in the barn there were terrible scenes. Children fell ill; old women—one of them was 82 years old—collapsed from exhaustion. One of them went mad, and in the night clambered over those sleeping next to her, saying she was going to look for her house . . . They did not let us go free until 27 September.Scenes like this were commonplace. Deportations did not end in 1914 and would continue throughout the rest of the war, often Belgian citizens were used in Forced labor roles in Germany. Another example is Vise, where 631 Belgians were deported to Germany. The Belgians were not the only peoples to be subject to deportation and harsh forced labor – all thorough Eastern Europe peoples were subject to the same fates. Polish, Latvians, Estonians, etc… The one major difference in the case of Eastern Europe is that these deporations were not widely commented on by the Allies, while the deportations of Belgian citizens raised the ire of Allied authorities, betraying that to them Western Europeans mattered more – but make no mistake it was awful no matter where it was happening. Latvians, for example, were subject to public corporal punishment, had to make way for German officers on the street. Often forced laborers would be taken in raids, their food being a measly 700 calories a day.
I wonder why this repeated pattern of atrocities caused what Dan Carlin calls “foaming at the mouth”. Could it be that widespread rapes, executions, usage of human shields, and forced labor is not something to downplay? That it isn’t a topic you lead with “well look at all this propaganda, Hitler said so!”. In fact its sickening that none of this has been even uttered by Dan Carlin at this point. He has vaguely mentioned killings – but its always qualified with “well they were doing stuff the Germans didn’t want them to”, “the germans were a harsh people”, “there were potentially snipers, but this is a debated point!”.
Let’s look at what a “historian who is foaming at the mouth” looks like.
John Keegan, The First World War, 91
The Germans responded as threatened. Memories of ‘free firing’ by irregulars against the Prussian advance into France in 1870 were strong and had been re-enforced by official stricture. [...] official Germany interpreted international law to mean that an effective occupying force had the right to treat civilian resistance as rebellion and punish resisters by summary execution and collectively reprisal. There were, later enquires reveal, few or no franc-tireurs in Belgium in 1914.Keegan would write further that (page 92)
Non-resistance would do nothing to placate the invaders. Almost from the first hours, innocent civilians were shot and villages burnt, outrages all hotly denied by the Germans as soon as the news –subsequently well attested – reached neutral newspapers. Priests were shot [interlude about priests leading a revolt in the French Revolution, German reputations harmed]. On 4 August, the first day of the Emmich incursion against the Meuse forts, six hostages were shot at Warsage and the village of Battice burnt to the ground. ‘Our advance in Belgium is certainly brutal,’ Moltke wrote on 5 August, ‘but we are fighting for our lives and all who get in the way must take the consequences.’ The consequences were to get worse. Within the first three weeks, there would be large-scale massacres of civilians in small Belgian towns, at Andenne, Seilles, Tamines, and Dinant. […] The victims included children and women as well as men and the killing was systematic; at Tamines the hostages were massed in the square, shot down by execution squads and survivors bayoneted. The execution squads, were not, as were the ‘action groups’ of Hitler’s Holocaust, specially recruited killers but ordinary German soldiers. Indeed, those who murdered at Andenne were the reservists of the most distinguished regiments of the Prussian army, the Garde=Regimenter zu Fuss [sic].Afterwards he talks about Louvain, and so ends his coverage of “The Rape of Belgium”. This is hardly a passage that can be described as “foaming at the mouth”, unless you think stating the facts plainly and clearly is being “emotional”. Keegan does not get too bogged down in propaganda talk, because to quote Alan Kramer from a paper of his on the International Encylopedia of the First World War, “the reality was bad enough”.
And while that paper of Kramer’s was written in 2017, years after Carlin published Blueprint for Armageddon, his earlier work was published far before then. Why then, does Dan Carlin spend his discussion peddling apologia for war crimes? He cites Niall Ferguson as more “balanced” on the subject, but Niall Ferguson does not spend much time on the “atrocities” themselves. Rather, the discussion comes in his chapter on the Press and the reality of the situation is relegated to a stark handful of paragraphs, one of which he quotes in its entirety near the end of his discussion on the subject (more on that later). Ferguson’s tone and wording is no different than Keegan’s. The one appreciable difference is that Ferguson spends more time talking about propaganda. Carlin has been playing this “two-sides” game in the whole discussion, leaning principally towards apologia for German crimes. What does Carlin say next?
I have a couple pieces I like. Author, Lyn Macdonald, wrote about this. I thought she did a very balanced job, and so did Neil Ferguson. What I love is Ferguson says is he goes and finds like the original thing that happened and then how it got blown out of proportion. But nonetheless, all these people emphasize the same thing. These atrocities happened. These people died. The Germans practiced collective punishment, all these awful things most of us revival today and then they paid an extra price for it by providing the basic seeds that would grow into enemy propaganda, that would turn the Germans into Genghis Khan, basically, which is exactly what Lyn Mcdonald compares it to when she writes, quote [long Lyn Macdonald quotation]I’m not going to subject you to the Lyn Macdonald quote. It’s long and used to take up airtime. It’s the first time, about ten minutes into this discussion, that specific atrocities are brought up by name, with towns such as Dinant being mentioned. But Macdonald dives right into the propaganda question, again. Spending much of the quote talking about all the different exaggerations and rumors that abounded.
There’s a point to be made about propaganda about this event. However, it’s also a question of framing because the propaganda was based on real, systemic atrocities committed by the German Army in Belgium in 1914. If you spend most of your time talking about the propaganda, and framing the whole incident in terms of propaganda and what Hitler thought about the propaganda, you’re coming off as far more worried about how the world perceived the German actions and may have exaggerated some of them, rather than the awful actions the Germans actually committed. The exaggeration that is seen in “propaganda” came mainly from the popular presses, cartoons, things of that nature. Children with their hands cut off became a popular symbol of the very real atrocities, almost a byword for German ruthlessness. The official government reports from France, Belgium, and the UK for the most part did not lend credence to these fantastic stories. Their official charges and grievances were on the very real and documented killings, usage of human shields, rapes, and pillaging.
So how did Dan follow up the long winded Lyn Macdonald quote that actually mentions some atrocities by name?
I don't think the Germans have recovered from that image even now, have they?o-oh. So you didn’t take the opportunity to discuss the atrocities that Lyn Macdonald handed to you on a platter. It’s more about propaganda about Germany.
You talk about a misstep. What if the Germans had treated neutral countries and non-combatants with more respect? How different might their reputation be today? What if they'd learn learned from Belgium in 1914 and reacted differently in 1939?Ironic since he quoted Hitler on this earlier and how much he hated the propaganda. In 1940 Hitler personally sent and order urging restraint to German troops fighting in the West, not to commit “punishable acts” against the local populations. In the West, the Germans did take lessons from 1914. It doesn’t make the Nazi invasion any better or anything like that, but it does torpedo the idea that the Germans just “learned nothing”. The Germans didn’t “want” to learn anything about this in the east because it was the antithesis of their goals, in the west they could afford, for a time at least, to treat civilians better (and that time quickly ran out) although there were still some incidents, such as at Vinkt.
One thing’s for sure, this whole idea of frightfulness in order to cow, you know the people you had just subjected to the boots of your soldiers, that didn’t work out. Bad policy. Foundations and the underpinnings of that idea it just didn't work and the people in charge of it were guys like von Moltke, who said to his Austrian counterpart, yeah that’s brutal our advance into Belgium is brutal. But what are you going to do? We're fighting to save our lives basically, this is life or death. It’s going to be a little brutal for a while. Guys like von Moltke. He was one of these logical insanity guys. Somebody asked him once you know what the most humane way to carry out war is, and he actually said make it quick brutal, as you want, make it quick. It's our old boxing analogy. Von Moltke was basically saying knock ‘em out, quick knockouts, that's the nicest you can be, even if it's horribly brutal to make the knockout as quick as it is. So von Moltke, in this case is basically saying yeah, it's terrible but in the end this is going to save lives. You hang a few of these saboteurs, you shoot a few of these people that snipe at your troops and then they stop doing it and you don't have to burn whole villages down, see how that works?The reason it didn’t work was because the “enemy” the Germans were attempting to combat was imaginary. there was no franctireurkrieg! This is another case of Dan Carlin giving credence to the idea of Franc-Tireurs and Belgian resistance to the German invasion – his imagined von Moltke quote is entirely that, the imaginary “saboteurs” and “snipers”. He is saying that yeah it was brutal and bad, but there was a justification for it. It’s another example of him downplaying events.
Niall Ferguson when he addresses this issue is basically sort of telling to not be so naïve, we've all lived through, we’re in the 21st century now, we've had a long time to absorb the ideas of 20th century propaganda and how it's a legitimate aspect of war, and one of the things you do is paint your adversary in the worst possible light. You can, again, something that the Germans weren't quite getting when the 20th century was brand new, that they would get much better in the Second World War. Ferguson in his book tells a story where he talks about, you know, the ways in which this propaganda was used. He talks about how the British newspapers would take photos sometimes from stories that had nothing to do with this war. In one case, stories that had photos from Russian pogroms against Jews that happened before the war and then just, you know, captioning the photo with something that says its from this war. I mean no one had any idea, show a bunch of dead civilians and say ‘this is what the Germans are doing’. Ferguson writes quote [Ferguson quote about the exaggerated propaganda].Ferguson does not cite any specific examples of photos of Russian Pogroms being used as images of the atrocities in Belgium. He does not even have a footnote for that sentence or for most of the other exaggerations. Do I think this could have occurred? Yes, it’s possible, but an actual citation would go a long way to assuaging my fears about Ferguson’s work. Ferguson does, however, attempt to smear the Bryce Report – written by Viscount James Bryce in 1915. Bryce was a Liberal MP, academic, lawyer, and “educationalist” who held honorary doctorates from German universities, and studied at Heidelberg and Oxford. Horne and Kramer note that he was very well qualified to oversee the British official inquiry. ‘Bryce’s report was backed up with a large amount of witness testimony and quotation. To quote Horne and Kramer, 233-5
The report refers to ‘outrages’ in 38 places in Belgium. Twenty-one of these were ‘major’ incidents as defined in chapter 2 above. [...] overall the committee underestimated the death and destruction caused by the invaders. Its explanations of the bigger incidents were broadly correct […]Ferguson’s attempt to smear the report does not hold up. It was not perfect, but from the material gathered, it accurately reported (broadly) the scale and level of death and reasons for such. So Ferguson, and thus Dan Carlin, are arguing that the propaganda was this huge thing, and also that the Allied governments did not have an accurate picture during the war. Earlier on I discussed his claims of exaggerated claims of sexual assault. Documented gang-rapes and documented rapes of children occurred. It was not simply the media having a field day.
Some of the witness evidence cited by Bryce on the fate of women and children was fantasy […] [in the appendix] the Bryce Report slid from the factual into the symbolic. […] Yet Bryce never endorsed these stories as fact, thus achieving maximum benefit from what remained merely a suggestion.
But even Ferguson is forced to deal with the reality of the situation. That this stuff wasn't manufactured out of whole cloth and that being a Belgian in the in a line of German advance during this time period was a very dangerous position to perhaps find yourself in an perhaps have no fault of your own Ferguson writes [Ferguson quote from the end of his chapter “Press Gang” about the realities of the Rape of Belgium”.Dan Carlin started talking about the “Rape of Belgium” at approximately 2 hours, 46 minutes, and 30 seconds into the first episode of Blueprint for Armageddon. For the vast majority of the runtime of the section of the atrocities he spends it talking about the propaganda and how the Germans were the victim of a massive propaganda campaign, and using evasive language that leaves it open that perhaps there was Belgian civilian resistance leading to those deaths. It has taken him THIRTEEN MINUTES to actually engage with the atrocities themselves. This is absolutely horrendous. You do not open a discussion about the atrocities with “but the propaganda was bad”. You are missing the point and shifting the focus away from the victims and the systemic violence that led to their trauma. Ferguson, on this point is pretty much correct. Only at the very end, after 13 minutes of talking about the propaganda response was, does Carlin directly contend with human shields, with rapes, with killings, with pillaging. This should have been how he opened the discussion, not closed it. The majority of the time in this section should have been taken up with talking about these crimes. But he did not. He spent it going on about the Germans who were the victims of a propaganda campaign.
John Keegan who obviously feels very strong about this goes out of his way to point out these- are not, you know, sort of ramshackle affairs. That these involve lots of troops sometimes, that these executions are not done by special execution squads, as will be the case in the Second World War sometimes, but by regular units of the German army- he writes [John Keegan quote I used earlier]John Keegan feels no more strongly about it than the other authors he quoted, except the difference is that John Keegan does not overtly focus on propaganda. He treats the German crimes for what they were, rather than attempting to distract from the reality with talk about propaganda.
And the Belgians would have every right you would think when you to wonder as they’re living through this, where their protectors are. They signed these agreements that said that they independence is guaranteed by the greatest powers of the age. Where are those people right now when the Belgians need them? All they see or the German army marching through and burning things and perhaps shooting people, you know. The answer is they’re on the way.And thus ends Dan Carlin’s abysmal coverage of the “Rape of Belgium”. About two minutes after first seriously engaging with the atrocities, he ends it. He spent 13 minutes talking about propaganda, only to spend two minutes quoting others on the crime. In those earlier 13 minutes he often covers for the Germans, stating that there may have been legitimate reasons for reprisals and for the Germans being harsh, while not giving any credence or time to the victims. He states the names of zero victims. He only says the names of places where atrocities specifically took place when they were in a direct quote, but barely analyzes them.
As such, Dan Carlin has participated in denialism of German war-crimes of the First World War. It’s not a hard “yeah, this didn’t happen”, it’s a softer form of denialism. It’s rooted in how he frames the event – mostly a work of propaganda. This view didn’t really come about outside of Germany until the mid-1920s when the “corpse factory” myth was busted, and it’s held on in segments of the population since. The German government spent 1914-1945 downplaying the events of Belgium, that’s why it’s disgusting to open this by paraphrasing Hitler on this topic.
Overall, ignore anything Dan Carlin says. His coverage of the “Rape of Belgium” is barely disguised apologism for the crimes of the Imperial German State.