calijnaar t1_jcupikb wrote

I don't know what exactly you are trying to research, and for most purposes you will obviously need to get access to some literature about the subjects, so a library would be your best starting point, but for a preliminary overview an online search is not a bad idea. However, a WW2 site is not really the best starting point for something that happened a good 20 years before WW2, and the English wikipedia is probably not the best site for detailed information about early 20th century Germany. I only know the very basics about the Freikorps, but for an online search maybe using google translate for the relevant German wikipedia pages might be a better start (assuming you don't speak German).

Wilhelm Reinhard

Reinhard’s freikorp

Kiel iron brigade

Potsdam regiment

Franz von Stephani


calijnaar t1_jcohjwe wrote

If you want a really detailed account, I'd recommend the British History Podcast (be warned, though, Jamie is now at episode 414, and has just reached the Norman conquest in 1066, so there's a lot of detail and probably still a few decades to go until he reaches the 20th century)


calijnaar t1_jbbc1yg wrote

Whatcrebels are we talking about here? Very few people who actively opposed the nazis actually survived. I don't know of any who were killed after the surrender. Also, denazification was quite far from perfect and a lot of former nazis (and people who more or less willingly supported the nazi regime in some way) managed to rather seamlessly go 8ver into the FRG, but I don't think anyone knowingly utilised former SS as "peace keepers of the provisional government".


calijnaar t1_ja4exl8 wrote

Yes, this is obviously incorrect, the other central powers were blamed as well. And there was certainly enough blame to go around. However, it's not really surprising that this was contentitious (mainly for the central powers, for obvious reasons), because while it is certainly true that Austria-Hungary backed by Germany (or instigated by Germany, depending on interpretations) very much provoked the outbreak of war, it is also true that the Allied powers seemed far from opposed to the idea of fighting a war against the central powers (at least until the full horror of a large scale modern war became apparent).

And while it is technically true that the allies did not solely blame Germany in the peace treaties but included Germany's allies as well, the Allied reply to the German delegation in 1919 certainly seems to put the blame almost eclusively on Germany


calijnaar t1_ja46onl wrote

What exactly do you consider the "myth of the War Guilt Clause"?

Are you saying that the War Guilt Clause did not have an effect on German politics? If so, I'd say that is wrong. It led to the resignatiuon of the cabinet, because they were unwilling to sign the treaty with that clause in it - and I think it's important to note, that (regardless of whether Germany was actually solely or mostly responsible for the war or not) the idea of adding such a clause to a peace treaty was an innovation (caused by the immense suffering in World War I compared to prior conflicts), And it most certainly had an effect on German public opinion, especially given Clemenceau's reply to the objections of the German delegation.

The War Guilt Clause certainly isn't the root cause of the rise of nazism. But it's also not really a building block for a future peaceful Europe


calijnaar t1_j38gtn4 wrote

The Weimar Republic certainly had some issues right from its foundation, and there are some serious failure points that contributed to its demise, but claiminbg that it was doomed to end the way it did really seems like an attempt to deflect blame.

The Weimar Republic did not fall prey to an inevitable doom, it was overthrown by a fascist coup when the nazis managed to persudade/coerce non-fascist right wing and centre parties to support them.

The desire to create a kind of Ersatzkaiser in the person of the president certainly played a role in the rise of the nazis. Hindenburg had far reaching powers and was persudaded to wield them in the nazi's interest. Given that the nazis were not reluctant to actually break the constitution it's not entirely clear that having more checks and balances in place to prevent abuses of power by the president would ultimately have prevented Hitler's dictatoship, but there would probably not have been as clear a path, especially without an absolute majority in the Reichstag which the nazis failed to achieve again and again.

But there were problems long before the nazi's rise ever began: the military kept a prominent role in post-World War I Germany, starting with the fact that Hindenburg did become president, but also apparent in the establishment of the stab-in-the-back legend which shifted the blame for the lost war from the military to civilian politicians (and was later used to great effect by the nazis), and the leniency towards the Freikorps, even after attempted coups and assassinations of prominent politicians. The militant right was allowed to establish itself in the new state.

Yes, there were also militants on the left, and coup attempts like the Spartakus rising and the uprising of the Red Ruhr Army, but those were suppressed more vigorously, including the killing of prominent leaders like Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. Not only was there an imbalance from the beginning, but this also lead to rifts between the more moderate SPD and the more radical left which did not happen at the other end of the spectrum. This later allowed the nazis the find allies in the moderate right and also prevented the moderate and radical left from forming a united front against the fascist takeover.

So there were potential breaking points from the start, and growing economic problems did not help to alleviate the situation, but saying that the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the nazi dictatorship were already inevitable in 1918 seems like gross oversimplification at best


calijnaar t1_j38cqpn wrote

The Enabling Act was passed by the Reichstag, that was not the president's doing. And while one could argue that the Enabling Act was not in itself a breach of the Weimar constitution, the actual circumstances under which the Act was passed were highly dubious, and almost certainly illegal and a breach of the Weimar constitution. To achieve the necessary two thords majority while also maintaining the necessary quorum of two thirds of the representatives, the nazis had all communist representatives and quite a few SPD representatives arrested, then changed the quorum rules so that only those absent with an excuse counted as absent and then illegally had armed SA present during the actual vote. While the Weimar constituion could certainly had weaknesses that made the establishment of a dictatorship easier, in the end even the somewhat feeble rules that were in place were breached and it seems unlikely that stronger constitutional safeguards would have been much use once Hitler had become chancellor.


calijnaar t1_iyrwmbv wrote

There are various reasons why people come up with different numbers:

The first question is what are you actually counting. The most usual approach seems to be soldiers killed in battle plus civilians killed either by direct impact of the war or indirectly by famine and disease caused by the war. Victims of the holocaust and other nazi mass murders are included, as are victims of German and Japanese war crimes. The timeframe is usually from the first act of war in Europe, Hitler's attack on Poland, to the Japanese surrender. There's a few points right there which may lead to different estimates, the most variance is probably in estimating which civilian casualties are war related. Civilian casualties of strategic bombings or people directly killed by the advancing Wehrmacht (or later the Red Army) are pretty obviously war casualties, but when it comes to disease and famine it's not always that easy to judge whether a death is war related or not. Was a death by disease just basically bad luck or was the disease only deadly because of malnourishment directly caused by the war? Do you count soldiers wounded in the war who die from their wounds after the war has ended? Do you include victims in the war between Japan and China before the war in Europe started? What percentage of missing people do you presume to have actually died?

Then there is the fact that a lot of the documentation and paperwork you would need for exact numbers was destroyed in the war, or possibly never existed in the first place. And during the war, gouvernments (especially in Germany and the Soviet Union) would not have been keen on making exact casualtiy numbers public (or, quite frankly, casualty numbers that were anywhere close to reality)

So it's not really surprising that the numbers diverge a lot. There's cases where you can pin down things pretty closely, like the number of US soldiers killed in action (you will still need to make estimated considering those missing in action, but you will get close to the actual number), and then there is cases like the Yellow River flood in 1938 when the Chinese Nationalist government intentionally destroyed the dykes to stop the Japanese advance, where you can only really say for certain that hundreds of thousands were killed directly (estimates vary fromm 400.000 to 900.000), and then you would still have to decide how many deaths in the aftermath of the flood you want to attribute to the war...


calijnaar t1_ixvupg1 wrote

You might want to have a look at the dispute about the border between Germany and the Netherlands in the Ems Dollart estuary. Basically Germany claims the whole river and estuary, the Netherlands claim the border is in the middle of the river. This goes back to a dispute about a deed of enfeoffment granting the whole river and estaury to East Frysia. At the time this was a dispute inside the Holy Roman Emperor and the main dispute is about the deed being backdated and forged. That border later became an international border when the Netherlands became independent, but the dispiute remained the same. There are various treaties regulating who can do what where, whose police is responsible where etc., with an emphasis on friendship and cooperation, but always with the caveat that nothing in those treaties can be constructed as either side giving up their claims...

If you are into 84 page treatises about bizarre border disputes, I'd recommend The Ems-Dollart Predicament


calijnaar t1_iw2xf7b wrote

To be honest, it was not a particular focus in school here in Germany. For obvious reasons the approach is more like in the 30s we let the nazis seize power and here is why we won't fucking let that happen again... you learn a bit about the Trümmerfrauen, literally 'rubble women' - a lot of the clean up work was done by women because a lot of the men were dead, injured or POWs. And you learn a bit about the flight from the formerly German Eastern territories, with stuff like the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. I'm not even sure if the latter is still considered that relevant in school curricula these days, that may well have been viewed as more topical when therewas still a GDR and a cold war going on. I'm curious how this is taught in other European countries. Pretty sure you have a different perspective if you didn't start the whole bloody war. Britain, for example, would have had a lot of clean up to do as well fro the Bitz ad other German bombing campaigns. (And there must be the same probes with WW2 bombs still being found on costruction sites) And given how long rationing had to continue after the war, Icould well imagine that the whe postwar reconstruction is still a topic of history classes.


calijnaar t1_iua0bbj wrote

I can't think of anything involving conspiracy theories on the level of the JFK assassination, but there were plenty of cases of political assassinations in Europe in the past 150 years.

Firstly, there's various Anarchist movements killing high level political leaders around the turn of the 20th century. (This is not limited to Europe, by the way, US president William McKinley is another prominent victim). Several European monarchs and nobles were killed, including Tsar Alexander II and the Austrian-Hungarian Empress Elizabeth. Several non-royal leading politicians were also assassinated, among them French president Sadi Carnot, three Spanish prime ministers: Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, José Canalejas and Eduardo Dato Iradier, and Russian Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin.

(There were also many unsuccesful attempted assasinations, for example on Leopold II of Belgium, the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Wilhelm I of Prussia and Queen Victoria, but also on Benito Mussolini)

The German Weimar Republic saw a lot of politically motivated terror and assasinations, with several prominent politicians being assassinated by right wing paramilitaries. The killings of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht during the Spartakist uprising in 1919 are actually surrounded by some conspiracy theories, as there are claims that the Freikorps members who killed them had approval from government officials (possibly even president Ebert). Kurt Eisner, the premier of the People's State of Bavaria was assasinated by a nationalist who apparently acted alone. In the 1920s the Organisation Consul was behind several high profile assasinations, including those of former finance minister Matthias Erzberger and foreign minister Walther Rathenau.

The later 20th century saw terrorist assassinations by left wing paramilitary organisations like the German Rote Armee Fraktion or the Italian Brigate Rosse. The RAF carried out several attacks against US and NATO facilities, among their prominent victims were Jürgen Ponto, director of Dresdner Bank, and Hanns MArtin Schleyer, head of the German employers' association in the 70s and senior diiplomat Gerold Braunmühl in the 80s. In 1991 they assassinated Detlev Karsten Rohwedder, head of the Treuhandanstalt reponsible for the privatisation of the state-owned property of the former GDR. This is another case where there are some conspiracy theories, because although the RAF claimed responsibility, there have been claims (by Rohwedder's widow, amongst others) that remnants of the East German Stasi were involved (allegedly because Rowhwedder and the Treuhand were close to finding money sectreted away by the SED).

The most prominent victim of the Italian Red Brigades was former Prime Minister Alberto Moro with a later group in the 90s and early 2000s killing Masimo D'Antona and Marco Biagi, advisors to prime ministers Massimo D'Alema and Silvio Berlusconi.

There were also assasinations (and other attacks) by various separatist/independence groups like the Irish IRA, the Basque ETA and the Corsican FLNC. The most prominent victim of the IRA is probably Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, a close relatuve of the royal family. The ETA assassinated Luis Carrero Blanco, prime minister under dictator Francisco Franco, and more or less his designated successor. The FLNC assassinated Claude Érignac, the prefect of Corsica.

There were also assassinations by criminal groups, like the Mafia killing of Italian judge Giovanni Falcone.

The closest you can come to a JFK style mystery is probably the assasination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme in in 1986 which is essentially still unsolved (there were theories about an involvement of the Kurdish PKK, later Christer Pettersen was convicted of the assassination, then acquitted in a second trial)

Another death surrounded by conspiracy theories is that of Uwe Barschel, minister president of German state Schleswig-Holstein, who was involved in allegations about a very dirty reelection campaign with illegitimate attacks on political opponents. His death in 1987 was ruled a suicide, but there have been various conspiracy theories claiming that he was actually murdered (usually to cover up wrong doings during the campaign etc)


calijnaar t1_ir6hvaf wrote

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, is another example of a son of a French planter and an enslaved African woman. He did suffer from racial discrimination, but I would not say he did not have any form of status. He is the first known classical composer with African ancestry, and he became a succesful conductor. However, when he was proposed as the conductor of the Paris opera, this was denied after a petition of the opera singers to the queen asking her to prevent this. He later fought in the first all-black regiment in European history, the Légion St-Georges during the revolutionary wars. (There's an excellent YoU're Dead To Me episode about him, if you're interested)


calijnaar t1_iqmb235 wrote

As far as Roman graffiti goes, the best preserved examples are probably the one from Pompeii, for obvious reasons. But there are also examples from Hadrian's Wall and visitors to Egypt basically already wrote "I was here" on all kinds of monuments in Roman times.

I can't tell you anything about non-Roman acient graffiti, unfortunately (except that I'm very sure that it existed)