tv Lectures in History CSPAN January 24, 2015 8:00pm-8:54pm EST
minutes. >> we talked about world war ii as a total war in the things that that means. we talked about total war mobilization of an entire population and industrial efforts as well as actual military activities, but also in terms of ideological mobilization in terms of propaganda, in terms of how you motivate populous to go to war. -- motivate a populace to go to war. there is obviously a totalizing effect. when hitler talks about the destruction of the jews, that is clearly the linkage of total war. i talked to you about human rights. the way in which allied leaders promised that human rights would be secured everywhere in the
world. also a total guarantee. other phrases that have a total quality are the terms unconditional surrender and implying to had to be a total victory and no armistice. but i want to talk about a specific trope in the language of total war and that is the trope of revenge. revenge, by its very nature is a sort of ratchet. somebody commits a wrong against you. you seek revenge. they retaliate. they interpret that as a wrong. they come back. and so on and so forth. the momentum of the language of total war is fed on words by the rhetoric and the ideas of revenge. when hitler talks about the destruction of the jews, key phrases it in the language of
the revenge. he blames them, a loosely wrongly, for the defeat of the german luftwaffe in world war i, the rise of bolshevism, for starting world war ii.\ we've also seen this language in american fighting the japanese in the pacific. i'm going to talk little bit today about the european theater of operation on both axis and allied side and the wave to seek revenge drove the war on in the years we have reached, which are approximately 1942, 1943. i wanted to begin by looking at the check was a voc -- check was a voc in czechoslovakian government in exile.
now, i am going to stop saying >> czechoslovakian and start saying czech. i know some of these will not be the correct ethnicity. i do not mean to commit offense. you remember that the germans took the german ethnic bits of czechoslovakia and the government headed into exile became one of the earliest governments in exile to establish themselves in london. so they would not be swept over western europe. then, the head of the czech government, depicted there with the scientist, looking at
dictatorship in the modern world. the photograph indicates the problems he is facing in his career. the czechs in exile owed some advantages in their position. they were one of the earliest countries occupied by the germans. they were therefore an early valuable source of intelligence from nazi occupied countries in eastern europe. there will -- there were of course czech guerillas. they could pass that on to churchill felt government in london providing viable information about german military resources to the british government. also the soviet government, sending them viable information as well.
yes, question? >> [indiscernible] >> i should have written it on the board. he is found in london from 1939 onwards. now, the czech underground has a steady flow of information to the west from the exile in london. they said they could get useful information about german reserve locations. they said they could sabotage german industries. it's always hard to know when you're are doing the history of secret activities, to want to rely on these kinds of documents because of course people who say they are in the position to do these valuable things hope that will make them indispensable. you always have to guard this with a degree of skepticism. nevertheless that is why there are in a particular valuable position for the allies during the war. after the german invasion of the soviet union in summer 1941,
operation barbarossa, the soviets also begin to rely on czech connections or intelligence about where to find germans and they begin to funnel matériel, material assistance, to the czech resistance and that gave them an advantage against their german occupiers. meanwhile in addition to the czech government index island britain, there were maybe 5000 czech soldiers who had been evacuated from france with the british expeditionary force in 1940 during the fall of france. there were lots of soldiers sitting around britain with not much to do and they began to be trained with members of the british several operations executives or soe which is an outfit established by the british government to engage in espionage, sabotage, and other secretive activities in occupied
europe. naturally, one of the particular targets of interest for these czechs would have been the german occupiers object was a voc you -- czechoslovakia, including this man, called the butcher of frog. he was in charge of what they variously called the jewish problem, the jewish question and finally the final solution. he was as possible for developing and if limiting a plan for concentrating deporting, and executing the jewish populations in eastern europe. part of his rise to preeminence was owed to his efficiency in establishing himself as what we
have called in typically euphemistic fashion the protector all union moravia part of occupied czechoslovakia. bless you. in keeping with nazi ideology he believed that czechs had no right to be in nazi-occupied territory. he devised a system to divide them into those who were socially acceptable, politically on next -- unacceptable, and those who could be used for toleration. more immediately he was forced to take up the question of the active czech resistance through nazi occupation. so, he had to arrest and execute 400 or so czech partisans or those identified as aiding the czech partisans as the protector
of bohemia and moravia improv. that is how he got the name butcher of prague. he was in office in property was busy detaining, deporting, and executing people an effort to show that he has a strong hands and control of what is going on in occupied czechoslovakia engaging ultimately in a show trial of the remaining czechoslovakian prime minister. he also began to deport hundreds of thousands of jews. and in the beginning, they were deported from germany as well. he exhibited the quality of ruthlessness putting down the resistance. he acquired the nickname, as i said, the butcher of problem. he was able to apprise other
parts of the german bureaucracy about the means of carrying out the final solution, what they described as the jewish problem. but were not really going there yet because we are interested in his relationship to the czech government in exile in britain who decided that since he had been so successful at thwarting the activities of the resistance in czechoslovakia, that he should be targeted for a reprisal assassination. this led to what came to be known as operation anthropoid. churchill reviewing a group of the czechs found in britain trained by the british set -- special operation executive. the government in london persuaded the british government to go along with their plan to assassinate him. they chose two of the
soe-trained exile troops in 1941, part of the group to be parachuted from a bomber into occupied czechoslovakia to make their way, armed with guns and explosives into prod, -- to praugague to assassinate him as a reprisal for what he had done to the czechs. they are parachuted in czechoslovakia. one immediately turns and subs will he breaks his ankle. they are very lucky to be rescued. you didn't advise himself as part of the resistance and they are taken to a safe place. they had with them a gun -- that
is a british soldier holding it there. a very small, lightweight automatic weapon. they are capable of firing 500 rounds per minute. not very accurate. quite lethal at close range. they also especially designed bombs that the british soe help them develop. there are antitank weapons. they were sent off on their mission into prague and for six weeks nobody heard from them. they were making their way through nazi-occupied prague. they took advantage of the local resistance without letting on to
what they were up to because they were afraid, probably correctly, if they told the local resistance what they were therefore, they would lose all of that. after all the butcher of prague was, you know, a butcher. kind of ruthless and someone you did not want to offend by trying to kill him. so, they feared the czech resistance would not help them if they knew precisely what they were there to do. it took some weeks before they were out of czechoslovakia. ultimately they developed a plan which they carried out on may 27, 1942. on a bright, warm day they waylaid heidrick in his normal commute to work at a turn in the road shown on the slide next to the tram. heidrick followed a regular routine. at about 10:30 he got into his car with his driver, drove to
work. it was a bright, warm day. windows open. the soe-trained czech parachutists bicycled to the spot where they decided to ambush hydric's -- his vehicle carrying the sten gun. they assembled be sten gun blind in the briefcase as they had been taught by the soe so they could do it without looking at it so someone nearby would not notice and say what are you doing with that small, but lethal machine gun? [laughter] then they whipped out the sten gun, pulled the trigger, and it jammed. as for julie, this often happens with them. they were not the most reliable weaponry ever used by british paratroopers in the war. however, they were also armed with these little bombs antitank weapons. they had a second shot.
when they failed to shoot heidrick, he stepped out of the mercedes, pulled his pistol, intending to shoot the would-be assassins. of course, the other czech blows up a lot of the back parts of the car. the guy with the gun went and hid behind a telegraph pole because he did not have working weaponry. heidrick hid behind the tram. the other assassin got on his bicycle and started to escape. heidrick was about to shoot the other one and then he collapsed holding his side, because it turned out that the explosion had driven some of the upholstery from the seat of the car into his side, and as it
would turn out, into his clean. he was very badly wounded. the guy who was hiding done the telegraph pole was able to run away, chased by hydric's aid. he ran past the guy who was chasing him and was able to elude his chasers. heidrick had to be rushed to a hospital where they shot him up with morphing, gave him multiple transfusions, but ultimately were unable to save him. his wounds became septic and he died two days later, june 2. now, as you might imagine, the germans did not take this well. the gestapo ultimately were able to track down the parachutists because they were betrayed by one of their fellows who received a large sum from the germans exchange for giving their whereabouts. the czech parachutists were
holed up with a number of allies in a prague church. they were surrounded by the secret police. there was a gun battle that went on for hours and hours and hours area but ultimately, the czech parachutists decided they should shoot themselves rather than be taken captive. those who helped them in czechoslovakia and in britain. best by doing this, they deprived the gestapo of any proof that the british had a hand in the assassination and let it to them to -- [dramatic music] [man speaking in german] >> that was dramatic. his death was turned into a propaganda film by the nazis as you might imagine. joseph goebbels, the of the
propaganda agency, stage a funeral to this great martyr to the third reich. a lot of people who paid tribute to him as a hero were people who detested him or feared him. this highly efficient, totally ruthless bureaucrat was a student at politics, was terrifying personally and probably was also a little nuts. infamously, he came home drunk one night, saw himself reflected in a mirror, pulled out his pistol fired two shots, and said "i finally got you, you bastard." but now he could be turned into a saint. they could make a death mask. send it down to the ss training school.
here is our sainted reinhardt heidrick. himmler eulogized him as an ideal nazi hitler describing them as one of the bitterest foes of the right. the site became a shrine. the whole thing was stage-managed. remember, the enthusiasm for spectacle? the murder became the occasion for one of these and a very effective one of these propaganda efforts. but that was only the beginning. then the german high command had to decide how to carry out its own revenge even though it did not really know who was responsible for the murder of their now sainted reinhardt heidrick. the first thing they did was to accelerate heidrick's own plan.
the final solution. they built more death camps. they sent more boxcars full of jewss to the death camps. beginning with some 16,000 from czechoslovakia. you will remember heidrick was responsible for this in the first place. this was only an acceleration of programs he put into effect before his death. something more would have to happen. as it turned out on the body of one of the czech parachutists they discovered a document from the village. they did not know anything about
this village, but they assumed it was somehow connected to the assassins who had got heidrick ultimately. so, a little over the week -- a week after the death of heidrick they cordoned off the village they herded together all of the men, defined as males over 15 years old and shot them 10 at a time, ewing a jewish work detail for the various bodies. the children they catalogued to determine those who were racially unacceptable, who were killed and those who were racially acceptable were placed into the care of families to be brought up. they destroyed completely the village and of liberated all traces of its descendents. ultimately 16 of the children were found after the war, but that was it.
they burned the houses, the village. they opened up the ruins until there was nothing left. they determined they for some responsible he for the death of reinhardt heidrick. that act of revenge, of course, became the occasion for another revenge in reprisal for czechs in london. here, you see a visit to stoke-on-trent england -- whoops. well, anyway. stoke was home to a number of miners. the village was a mining town. there was solidarity between the people of stoke and the people of licdice. he went there to do
fund-raising. you see the poster there. it said " lidice shall live." of course, he did not want to admit his role in the assassination of reinhardt heidrick and neither did the british government admit because they did not want to be responsible for the death of so many czechs and jews. nevertheless they were able to take advantage of the cycle of revenge to foment the campaign of reprisals against the germans. most did not need these extra motives, as you can probably understand because as you will number, the germans had been busily bombing british cities since early in the war. there is st. paul's cathedral. there is some of the wreckage being cleared in front of it. you will remember a lot of the
loose rock that had to be carried away east to affect the innovation of the soviet union. the bombing of british cities and killing of british civilians was a core part of german strategy and that occasioned a spirit of revenge and the british people. understandably. they were determined that as soon as they could recover themselves and get their own plans in place they would carry out a similar campaign of destruction of german cities, so soon as they could reach them. the architect of that british campaign was this man, arthur harris, are of the raf, better known as "bomber." bomber harris is depicted at his desk, which was located in high wycombe, which is, i don't know, 40, 45 miles outside london. not directly underneath where
the bombs would be. hidden. close enough to direct the campaign of reprisals. he came to the head of bomber command in the spring or late winter of 1942. as the american case, people who believed in air power in britain had to win an argument. they had to win an argument for resources. they had to compete with the army and the navy. they had to persuade politicians that a campaign of bombings by the air would be expensive in terms of machinery, and of course explosives, and not least, trained highlights. it would also be -- trained pilots. it would also be a way to bring the war to a status rectory conclusion without too much loss of life on the western front during the war. it would also a properly parallel reprisals against the germans for their bombing
campaign in britain. one of the problems that the advocates of a bombing campaign in canada early in the war was bombing was not terribly accurate. a study carried out by the real air force and fall of 1941 concluded that only a third of bombers were able to come close to their target, defining close as within five miles. which is not that close. those are the problem that many of the targets they wished to hit, whether in germany or occupied europe, were much further away than the smaller airplanes with fighters could reach. so, bombers would have to travel much of their way without fighter escort to bomb deep inside germany. that meant they would be unprotected for much of their journey. this decision on the part of the irs -- raf to try night bombing.
because after all at night it is harder to see the bombers. also ignite it is harder for the bombers to see their targets. but on the other hand, if you were motivated by reprisal in revenge, you don't care that much. as long as you get near enough you might be all right. now they did expand it with a variety of guidance systems including the use of radio beams to try to identify the targets but none were sufficiently long-range, successful enough really to characterize the raf bombing effort, which is largely characterized by using the same mix of incendiaries and high explosives that we have talked to -- talked about all the way back to the spanish-american war. the early bombing campaigns in 1942, a bit of a rocky start in night bombing. some of these cities are shown,
identified in red on the map. 1942. these cities had factories in them, but they were hardly know cities that did not have some kind of factory in a total war. when this effort did not work so well, they hit two other cities as well. again, if you can hit the wrong city, we're not really talking about precision targeting. the british had better luck at their efforts here, just south of the danish border in march 1942. rather than try anything complicated like using radio beam guidance systems, they took their visual cues from the spires -- many european cities have church spires and the old part of town. it is something you can see easily from the air. if you can home in on that you know you're hitting the city. you do not know what factory are building your hitting. they were able to take out 60%
of the buildings in lubec. if you want to hit something really precise -- let's say a factory, a single building -- it would really help to be able to see. in april, the raf tried to carry out a day campaign against a factory in augsburg. you can see that further south in those red targets on the map. bombing during the day is more precise because the bombers can actually visually see. it also means the fighters and anti-aircraft can visually see the bombers. the all-star campaign was a success in terms of destroying their target, but the rf took horrific losses. -- the raf took horrific losses. at this stage in the war, the machinery loss was bad, but the
loss of the trained crews is worse. think how long it takes to train bomber crews to the level where you can send them on vital missions. they went back tonight attacks which they carried out -- you can see up there in the balkans. again, the tried gaming at the old city and this was successful because they could not see that from the air. they could destroy perhaps 50% of the city. these are relatively small raid. perhaps dozens, hundreds of other bombers and aircraft. the idea was hit targets, and if they had to, take a target in the same area again. but the raf quickly concluded that was a bad strategy because if they had to come back to the same target or somewhere near the same target, they would find it better fortified and defended, because the germans would have realized it was a
prime target for raf calming. -- bombing. so they would sustain worse losses. so, harris decided the thing to do was carry out massive raids against german targets so they can engage in total destruction of all possible targets in the area as quickly as possible, and also again incidentally, have the propaganda success of having carried out so much destruction so quickly, as well as possibly the emotional satisfaction of having done so as well. so, let's try to do the raid involving perhaps 1000 planes. when thousand is a big number and it is a scary number of bombers flying over your city. if you are, for example the fire marshal. if we can get them over the target, all within of -- a window of 90 minutes.
using the radio beam guidance to keep them in order as much as possible and on target as much as possible, and that with the aim for the city of cologne, which you see their on the right-hand side of your map their, it -- matp there in may of 1942. i'm going to show you this british newsreel that hopefully will not make me jump out of my skin. >> [indiscernible] were being prepared for their journey -- [indiscernible] >> [indiscernible]
[laughter] >> [indiscernible] >> so, there was not very much left. right? here's this photograph of cologne after the raid. you can see the church sort of still standing although severely damaged. not much remain standing. you will remember, i hope, we talked about the use of different kinds of bombs. these high explosives can be used to destroy a rail lines, roads, do a lot of damage, right? that can prevent fire crews from moving around to put out the fires started by incendiary bombs.
smaller bombs, slower burning. so, there is a method to using this kind of approach to the destruction of a city. on the other hand, as you can tell from the newsreel, the sheer numbers are overwhelming and appreciated by the germans as well. approximately 900 of the planes are set out. they are able to reach cologne. they dropped 1500 tons of bombs on these city. they rendered perhaps 45,000 of the population homeless, destroyed 1500 factories and lost only 4% of their own bombers. so in terms of destroying industry, destroying the functioning of a german city and propaganda, they were able to take the lights, in effect, as you saw, on the newsreel, their
beautiful bombs. in may 1942 at this time the germans are continuing to prosecute the final solution, and through the rest of 1940 two. we talked a little bit about how the final solution began in the east in poland in the soviet union and spread back into the western part of europe. here is a map showing your and the effects of the final solution in various parts of europe. the darker the gray any given country, the higher proportion of its jewish population perished in the final solution. now of course unsurprisingly, germany is a very dark gray. it was perhaps more interested in terms of our thinking today the spread of the holocaust to the west is that holland, the netherlands is a bit darker gray
and belgium is practically white areas a lot depends on the willingness of the local population to operate with the germans. in the netherlands there was a very active dutch nazi party that help to pass laws to carry outlaws that were in keeping with the wishes of the germans. many dutch jews therefore were deported and ultimately executed. of course you know the story of anne frank, who became famous and remain famous after the war. there was only a small portion of that population deported from the netherlands and sent to the death camps in the east. meanwhile in belgium for whatever reason, the germans were never quite able to persuade the belgians they ought to take part in the project, so a great many, many more of belgian jews survived the war
then in a country a little bit further north. however, this was the summer 19 42, of the great acceleration of the killings, through the implication of the plan established by heidrick earlier in the year, exemplified best i the building of new death camps in particular, the one called treblinka in poland in 1942. the acceleration of the final solution that followed on heidrick's assassination treblinka was designed to be the most efficient possible machine for the execution of the jewish people. jewish laborers of course were set to build it. they were sometimes randomly shot by the ss troops. ultimately they constructed,
however, a railway station which stood in front of a small set of transit buildings. jews that traveled there were told they were going to a way station where they would get clean clothes and put their valuables and safekeeping while they went to a disinfecting shower. they were made to undress, to walk through an alley way to a building in which there were three gas chambers fed by a series of pipes through which they initially pushed the fumes, and later a repurposed gas for executions. the ss troops ran the camps, set up a small orchestra outside the gas chambers to play music loud enough to drive the screams of people being murdered. behind the building there was a series of long ditches. you have read a description of something like this.
there were a series of ditches into which the executed prisoners would have been pushed for mass burials. how efficient. it was built in june of 1942. in two months of operation, a proximally 300,000 jews had been killed there. that was over the course of the first couple of months in operation. so many began coming in august as deportations were accelerated the ss troops began shooting them on the platform to speed up the process of the killing. they could not even keep up with the confiscation and expropriation of valuables from the jews arriving. there were simply piles of money and jewelry on the platforms to be dealt with later. again, speed and efficiency to carry out the final solution with the ultimate dispatch.
many of the jews who were arriving to treblinka in the summer of 1942, coming from the polish ghettos, which you will remember were the creations of heidrick and his staff, ghetto leaders had to try to manage the population without very many resources. many residents of the ghetto fell prey to hunger and disease. what happened? as one of the inhabitants wrote every day polish jewry is being brought to the slaughter. people who did not either injuries were, of course deported. by september about 250,000 juice at don from: to treblinka
--250,000 jews had gone from treblinka -- from: jujube link it to be executed. as one man said in his diary, he said he felt like the captain of the titanic trying to arrange activities for the people of the ghetto to improve the morale while the ship was going down. ultimately, the ss came to visit him in action reminiscent of the scene active link up. they set up a gramophone in the streets while they talked so they would not be overheard and told him that he had to sign up on the order for mass deportations including those of children. he had saved a cyanide tablet for that moment and thought he could no longer mediate between the nazis and his conscience and this is the occasion he chose to
take it. of course, the ss took carried out the deportations without his assistance. hundreds of thousands of jews were deported under the conditions i have already described. it was difficult, if not impossible, to carry out this many deportations and executions without catching the attention of allies in the west. and ultimately it did come to the attention of parliament. this is anthony eden, a member of the british cabinet, for in said pretty, foreign minister. in december 1940 2 -- after most of these deportations, the worst of the evacuations from the warsaw ghetto, he made a statement in parliament. he condemned killer's --
hitler's plan to exterminate the jews and europe. he called on governments including the united states, the soviet union, the netherlands to condemn the nazi policy of "cold-blooded extermination." he described as well as he could the conditions in the ghettos. he brought those out as i have given to you already. he talked about them depriving the jews of their civil rights, of their property, of their ability to care for each other of those who were sick and injured being left to die, those being takeaway, the conditions of "appalling horror and brutality," and finally, none of those taken away our ever heard
from again. december 1942. it's very difficult -- right? this is a foreign minister of churchill's government speaking in the mother of parliaments being followed by a moment of silence for victims of the final solution. december 1942. it's very difficult for anyone afterward to say they didn't know what was going on. even though you will have read in some of your reading people saying that they didn't know what was going on. however it was very clear the british government knew what was going on. the british government said they had to ensure those responsible for these crimes shall not -- shall face retribution. not just this, but retribution right? as you know before that retribution came -- january
1943, jews in the warsaw ghetto who had been armed by communists supplying them outside the ghetto attacked the german guards carrying out the operations of deportation, and many of the jews intended for deportation escaped. they began hoarding supplies. ultimately the ss marched en masse into the ghetto to liquidate it completely. they were fired on by the jewish resistance. they had to move forward street by street area -- street by street. himmler ordered the ss in charge to proceed with the utmost ruthlessness and toughness. so they said, ok. i will burn down the houses, even those who belong to workers. and they carried out the policy of liquidation ultimately proceeding through all of your
areas, even when there were valuable workers. not infrequently the jews stayed in the burning houses until because of the heat and they were afraid of burning to death, the jumped out of the upper stories onto the street. with broken bones, they still try to crawl across the street to houses that were not yet a light or only partly inflamed. some of the inhabitants died in the sewers -- hit in the sewers. the nazis through smoke bomb so they could reach and murder them. ultimately they hid in the synagogue, which, as if nothing else, was a symbolic effort. it was a wonderful sight. " i called out highly hitler and
press the button. the warsaw ghetto had ceased to exist. it was all that at of hitler and heinrich himmler had wanted." ultimately about 14,000 jews were killed in the liquidation of the warsaw ghetto. the rest were exterminated under conditions we already described. we are trying to sort of cover the actions in different theaters of the war, and sometimes they occur in parallel, but you have to keep in mind the liquidation of the warsaw ghetto is carried on at the same time the germans are incurring terrible losses in their fight against the soviets on the eastern front. and yet they believe it is worth their time to pursue the liquidation of the jews of europe. they believe it is worth their
time. they believe it is worth their resources. resources are diverted even though they are deploying valuable workers. again, that is all powerful the rhetoric of total war is. but having been apprised of what was going on, having been armed with the rhetoric of retribution, the british are more than willing to explain they are coming to set these matters right. in the spring of 1943 -- we know in january of 1943 franklin roosevelt and winston churchill met in casablanca to discuss the role of the americans in assisting the british and their airborne campaign against the germans. they discussed the combined bomber offensive, which they
would then begin to carry out in 1943, and here we have a newsreel featuring bomber harris explaining how this is going to work. >> [indiscernible] the western allies. and yet no -- [indiscernible] the massive power fo the united states of american. when they stop of germany, they will look back to the days coulogne, to the efforts
of this last summer. germany, clingign desperately to its conquests -- [indiscernible] >> right, so there is the very dry, understated language of revenge and retribution. if you could not quite make out the accent, he paraphrased for you that rustic, lubec, and cologne were only the beginning. it would be no bigger than a man's hand, behind which lies the might of the united states of america. the germans will look back on cologne and lubec as a man
caught in a hurricane looks back on the gentle zephyrs of springtime. as you say, if you so the wind, you will reap the whirlwind and the whirlwind is coming. we will pick up with that in our next meeting and you can pickup your papers down front if you want to. thank you very much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] -- [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> -- join us for lectures and history. lectures and history are also available as a podcast. visit us at www.c-span.org /podcast, download them from itunes. >> each week, american history tv's "reel america" shows
archival films that tell the story of the 20th century. >> interrogation start with a thorough examination of personal effects, the contents of a wallet, a diary, or a map. they can contain valuable grains of truth and as often happens a prisoner can stub his toe hard on a bit of truth. what often determines the enteric nisha -- the interrogation technique to be used is the prisoner himself. his background, age. this man -- this one is defiant. this one is solemn.