Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 20 Jun '15 21:58
    Given that the Third Reich has a reputation as an extremely racist society,
    most people would be surprised to know that a few Germans of black African
    heritage voluntarily fought for their country (Germany) in the Second World War.
    Yes, Hitler had a few black soldiers.

    Hans Hauck was born in Frankfurt in 1920. His father was a black French
    soldier (from Algeria) who belonged to the French army of occupation
    after the First World War. His mother was a white German. (He said
    that, as a young boy, he was 'always happy' being with his mother, who
    'cuddled a lot' with him.) Hans Hauck (a native speaker of German) always
    considered himself German. Many other Germans rejected him, however,
    both on account of his racial appearance and ancestry and the fact that
    that his father had been a wartime enemy. From an early age, Hans Hauck
    became accustomed to being insulted by other children on account of his father.
    Nonetheless, he was able to find some white German friends who accepted
    him as a German and gave him some hope that perhaps he could eventually
    become more accepted as a German. At age 13, he joined the Hitler Jugend;
    he said that he had 'no problems' with being accepted. At that age, he
    did not think about the political implications. To him, being a 'Hitler youth'
    meant the youthful excitement of athletics, marching, and playing soldier.
    Somehow he met an SS officer who took a liking to him and helped him.
    (In an interview with an academic long afterward, Hans Hauck thanked
    this SS officer for apparently helping him find a secure job with the railway.)

    At age 19, Hans Hauck was conscripted. Being 'racially unfit', however, he was
    considered 'unworthy of bearing arms' and not allowed to join a combat unit.
    Evidently, Hans Hauck felt emasculated; he became depressed to the point
    where he attempted suicide. By 1942, however, the Wehrmacht desperately
    needed more men. So Hans Hauck was asked if he would volunteer to
    fight on the Ostfront against the USSR. He was promised equal treatment
    with his white German comrades. Hans Hauck could have declined.
    Even though he estimated that he had only a 50% chance of survival,
    Hans Hauck volunteered to fight for his country against the Soviet Army.
    Why? He apparently perceived it as his opportunity to prove that he was
    just as brave, patriotic, and worthy as any white German. He wanted to
    serve alongside his white German friends. And he seemed to regard active
    military service at the front as an important rite of passage into German manhood.
    Wouldn't some pretty Fraulein be impressed when he returned home,
    wearing his army uniform, perhaps with a medal or two pinned on it?

    Hans Hauck served in the German Army from 1942 until January 1945,
    when he was taken prisoner by the Soviet Army. He was wounded five times,
    Evidently, Hans Hauck was treated as an equal (same pay and rations)
    with his white German comrades. He seems to have experienced minimal
    racism at the front. Other German soldiers respected him for having volunteered
    to risk his life fighting on the Ostfront (which many Germans preferred to avoid).
    Waffen-SS soldiers might have been more racist against him, but Hans Hauck
    was able to steer clear of them. The USSR held Hans Hauck as a POW
    (treating him no differently than it did white Germans) until April 1949.
    Afterward, he returned home to Germany. In an interview many years
    later, Hans Hauck said that believed that many racist German officers
    disapproved of him serving in the army, but as long as he acted like a
    loyal German soldier, they could not explicitly discriminate against him.
    Evidently, the German Army did not have any explicit regulations about
    treating its black soldiers differently from its white soldiers.

    Hans Hauck's experience shows that real history often can be more nuanced
    than ignorant stereotypes about history. Despite the fact that the Third Reich
    was extremely racist, Hans Hauck seems to have had a more 'integrated'
    experience in the German Army than he would have had as a black man
    in the officially racially segregated US Army in the Second World War.
  2. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    21 Jun '15 05:45 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Given that the Third Reich has a reputation as an extremely racist society,
    most people would be surprised to know that a few Germans of black African
    heritage voluntarily fought for their country (Germany) in the Second World War.
    Yes, Hitler had a few black soldiers.

    Hans Hauck was born in Frankfurt in 1920. His father was a black French
    soldier ...[text shortened]... have had as a black man
    in the officially racially segregated US Army in the Second World War.
    That is a really touching story.

    If Hans Hauck really had a choice not to kill people in order to progress the monstrous agenda of the Third Reich and decided instead to risk his life to support it, he was morally reprehensible.
  3. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    21 Jun '15 05:57
    The racially progressive ideas of the Third Reich were:

    black people were to be segregated and eventually exterminated through compulsory sterilization

    Treatment of black POWS by the Nazis showed a wee bit of discrimination:

    While no orders were issued in regards to black prisoners of war, some German commanders undertook to separate blacks from captured French units for summary execution.[20] There are also documented cases of captured African American soldiers suffering the same fate.[21] In the absence of any official policy, the treatment of black prisoners of war varied widely, and most captured black soldiers were taken prisoner rather than executed.[22] However, violence against black prisoners of war, while against the Geneva Conventions, was also never prosecuted by Nazi authorities.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_black_people_in_Nazi_Germany#CITEREFLusane2003
  4. 21 Jun '15 20:05 / 5 edits
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    That is a really touching story.

    If Hans Hauck really had a choice not to kill people in order to progress the monstrous agenda of the Third Reich
    and decided instead to risk his life to support it, he was morally reprehensible.
    Contrary to what No1Marauder might like to insinuate, I have *not* claimed that the
    Third Reich had no racism against black people. Indeed, Hans Haupt said that he
    experienced much racism throughout his life (at least until 1945) in Germany.
    But he also said that he was able to find some white German friends (apart from his white
    German relatives) who gave him enough encouragement to avoid complete despair.
    Not all Germans were equally racist against black people. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics,
    Jesse Owens became quite popular with the German public, and he reportedly received
    many offers of marriage from infatuated young German women.

    Before Hitler had come to power, black American entertainers in Berlin often had found
    that the Germans were more tolerant and less overtly racist than white Americans were.
    Beginning in 1933, Nazi racist propaganda had not completely succeeded in changing that.
    Hans Jochen-Marseille, a famous Luftwaffe fighter pilot, formed a close friendship with a
    German-speaking black South African POW, 'Matthias', who agreed to serve as his valet.
    Marseille (a Berliner) was a devoted fan of jazz and admired black American musicians.
    The Nazis disapproved of the fact that a German national hero (praised in Goebbels's
    propaganda) could enjoy sharing so much of his everyday life with a black African.
    Long after war, 'Matthias' was the guest of honour at a reunion of his Luftwaffe unit.

    During the First World War in German East Africa, the Schutztruppe (under the command
    of General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck) evidently became the first modern Western
    army to be 'racially integrated' to a substantial extent between white and black soldiers,
    who marched, ate, and fought together. All the senior officers, of course, were white.
    But sometimes black Africans (who had been promoted after showing exceptional bravery
    or leadership) could give orders on the battlefield to lower-ranking white Germans.
    Being very anti-Nazi, retired General von Lettow-Vorbeck refused to accept Hitler's offer
    to become Germany's ambassador to the UK.

    _Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Memory in the Third Reich_
    by Tina Campt (2004)
    (Tina Campt is an American academic of black African heritage.)

    Hans Haupt told Tina Campf that he volunteered for active military service at the front:
    "I was asked if I wanted to become a soldier. I said yes. I now had a chance...the normal
    chance, 50-50 (he had estimated a 50% chance of survival on the Ostfront).
    Either I make it through or not. And I made it."
    --Hans Haupt (p. 116)

    "And in 1942, I was called up (conscripted) with *my own permission*. It depended,
    I could have then said, 'You didn't want me, and now I don't want you (the army).'"
    --Hans Haupt (p. 118)

    Hans Haupt explained that he wanted to be accepted as an equal by other German men:
    --"And I went (to fight at the front) because I saw it as a chance. It was the first time
    that I was treated the same as others. Because the other 'Aryan' German boys, my mates,
    my schoolmates, they were called up, too. And I wanted that, and then I was called up."
    --Hans Haupt (p. 119)

    Hans Hauck also was aware his fate could be harsher if the Third Reich's authorities
    suspected that he was disloyal. He said that he knew of another black German man who
    refused to accept conscription and was 'sent to a camp'. He was not heard from again.
    Hans Hauck seems to imply, however, that he *could* have accepted conscription into
    the German army *and refused* to fight at the front *without* being 'sent to a camp".
    (There was a Waffen-SS unit of Indian volunteers (recruited from Indian POWs) that
    never participated in combat.)

    It's clear enough that, despite racism in Germany, Hans Haupt considered himself a German
    and he preferred to identify more with white Germans than with, say, black Americans.
    Despite racism in the United States, most black Americans preferred to consider themselves
    Americans, comparing themselves to white Americans, rather than identify as black Africans.

    "...in order to progress the monstrous agenda of the Third Reich."
    --No1Marauder

    But how much did Hans Hauck know of 'the monstrous agenda of the Third Reich'?
    I know of no evidence that he knew of the Holocaust. I see no reason why Hans Haupt
    should be held to a different standard of responsibility than other Germans, many of
    whom were much more educated (he left school at age 14).

    General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin (a well-educated man outside his profession)
    was anti-Nazi to the point that he seriously considered resigning from the German Army
    and emigrating rather than serving under Hitler. Nonetheless, after giving much thought
    to the matter, he decided to remain in his homeland and do his best in fighting for Germany.
    After the war, historians have generally accepted that General von Senger was sincerely
    anti-Nazi and deeply torn by what he perceived as conflicting principles.

    Peter Spoden, a Luftwaffe night fighter pilot, has challenged the notion that everyone
    who fought for the Third Reich must have been 'morally reprehensible' or a 'war criminal'.
    He pointed out that his military service consisted mainly of attempting to shoot down
    RAF bombers aiming to destroy German cities along with their civilian populations.

    According to the latest research, there probably were hundreds of thousands of Germans
    of 1/2 or 1/4 Jewish ancestry who fought for the Third Reich in the Second World War.
    Were all these Mischlinge also 'morally reprehensible"?

    Were all the black American men who volunteered to fight for the US Army in its brutal
    campaigns against native Americans ('Indians' ) also 'morally reprehensible'?

    Were all the Irish Catholic men who volunteered to fight for the British Empire in its campaigns
    of conquest against non-Western peoples also 'morally reprehensible'?
  5. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    21 Jun '15 23:31
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Contrary to what No1Marauder might like to insinuate, I have *not* claimed that the
    Third Reich had no racism against black people. Indeed, Hans Haupt said that he
    experienced much racism throughout his life (at least until 1945) in Germany.
    But he also said that he was able to find some white German friends (apart from his white
    German relatives) who ...[text shortened]... h Empire in its campaigns
    of conquest against non-Western peoples also 'morally reprehensible'?
    Sure anyone who volunteers to fight for a side waging an unjust war has committed a morally reprehensible act.

    It's rather hard to think of a war more unjust and for purposes more evil than the one the Nazis unleashed in 1939.Thus Haupt as a free moral agent should have refused to assist it if he had a choice which he claims he did. His decision remains morally wrong.
  6. 22 Jun '15 00:00
    Ren Hauck was an asthma hound chihuahua.
  7. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    22 Jun '15 10:33
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Contrary to what No1Marauder might like to insinuate, I have *not* claimed that the
    Third Reich had no racism against black people. Indeed, Hans Haupt said that he
    experienced much racism throughout his life (at least until 1945) in Germany.
    But he also said that he was able to find some white German friends (apart from his white
    German relatives) who ...[text shortened]... h Empire in its campaigns
    of conquest against non-Western peoples also 'morally reprehensible'?
    Were all the black American men who volunteered to fight for the US Army in its brutal
    campaigns against native Americans ('Indians' ) also 'morally reprehensible'?

    Yes. Their strategy was to join to oppressors.

    Were all the Irish Catholic men who volunteered to fight for the British Empire in its campaigns of conquest against non-Western peoples also 'morally reprehensible'?

    Yes. Their strategy was to join the oppressors.
  8. 22 Jun '15 21:02
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    The racially progressive ideas of the Third Reich were:

    black people were to be segregated and eventually exterminated through compulsory sterilization

    Treatment of black POWS by the Nazis showed a wee bit of discrimination:

    While no orders were issued in regards to black prisoners of war, some German commanders undertook to separate blacks fro ...[text shortened]... .

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_black_people_in_Nazi_Germany#CITEREFLusane2003
    Almost everyone already knows that the Nazis were racist against black people.
    Few people know, however, that any black soldiers fought for the Third Reich.
    Of course, some people find it more comfortable not to learn anything new.
  9. 22 Jun '15 21:22 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Sure anyone who volunteers to fight for a side waging an unjust war has committed a morally reprehensible act.

    It's rather hard to think of a war more unjust and for purposes more evil than the one the Nazis unleashed in 1939.Thus Haupt as a free moral agent should have refused to assist it if he had a choice which he claims he did. His decision remains morally wrong.
    It's easier to make such judgments from a comfortable armchair long after the events.
    (If I had been in Hans Haupt's place, I would have preferred to reduce the dangers of war.)
    Freeman Dyson, an eminent physicist and a conscientious (in my view) writer, has a
    different position about how hard it can to be to do what one regards as right in wartime.

    During the Second World War, Freeman Dyson worked in operational research for the
    RAF's Bomber Command. He was responsible for advising Arthur Harris that RAF bombers
    should fly in a much more dense formation--even though that would result in more fatal
    accidental collisions--because his research showed that it would reduce losses to the
    Luftwaffe's night fighters. Freeman Dyson came to believe that Bomber Command's
    policy of 'area bombing'--destroying German cities and their civilian inhabitants--was
    morally reprehensible. But he kept doing his 'morally reprehensible' duty to the end.

    "I was in a highly privileged position at Bomber Command. I knew much more than most
    of the operational officers about the general course of the campaign. I knew much more
    than the cabinet ministers in London about the details of our operations. I was one of the
    very few people who knew what were the objective of the campaign, how miserably we
    were failing to meet these objectives, and how expensive this was for us in money and lives....
    We stopped trying to hit precise military objectives. Burning down cities was all we could do,
    and so we did that. Even in killing the civilian population we were inefficient. ...

    I felt deeply my responsibility, being in possession of all this information which was so
    carefully concealed from the British public. *I was sickened by what I knew.* Many times
    I decided that I had a moral obligation to run out into the streets and tell the British people
    what stupidities were being done in their name. But I never had the courage to do it.
    I sat in my office until the end, carefully calculating how to murder most economically
    another hundred thousand people."
    --Freeman Dyson (_Weapons and Hope_, pp. 119-120)

    The question of to what extent RAF Bomber Command's destruction of German cities
    should be considered a 'war crime' remains controversial and disputed among historians,
    philosophers, and other people. Freeman Dyson evidently believed it was a war crime
    and that he shared responsibility for it.

    "After the war ended, I read reports of the trials of men who had been high up in the Eichmann
    organization. They had sat in their offices, writing memoranda and calculating how to
    murder people efficiently, just like me. The main difference was that they were sent to jail
    or hanged as war criminals, while I went free. I felt a certain sympathy for these men.
    Probably many of them loathed the SS as much as I loathed Bomber Command, but they,
    too, had not the courage to speak out. Probably many of them, like me, lived through the
    whole six years of the war without ever seeing a dead human being."
    --Freeman Dyson (_Weapons and Hope_, p. 120)

    Freeman Dyson also has said that he greatly respected the Luftwaffe's night fighter crews
    that opposed RAF Bomber Command.
  10. 23 Jun '15 02:48 / 2 edits
    In retrospect, Hans Hauck presumably would agree that the Third Reich fought for a bad cause.
    But his decision to fight for the Third Reich should not be judged in the context of what
    well-educated people in 2015 know about Nazi crimes. In 1942 Hans Hauck presumably
    got about all his information about the war from Nazi-controlled propaganda sources.
    Why should Hans Hauck (who left school at age 14 and evidently was an ordinary labourer)
    be held particularly accountable for being duped by Nazi propaganda that had succeeded
    in convincing many much more educated Germans that the Third Reich's war---particularly
    against the USSR (the 'Godless Bolshevik Asiatic hordes' )--was just and necessary?
  11. 23 Jun '15 17:11
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Given that the Third Reich has a reputation as an extremely racist society,
    most people would be surprised to know that a few Germans of black African
    heritage voluntarily fought for their country (Germany) in the Second World War.
    Yes, Hitler had a few black soldiers.

    Hans Hauck was born in Frankfurt in 1920. His father was a black French
    soldier ...[text shortened]... have had as a black man
    in the officially racially segregated US Army in the Second World War.
    Hans Hauck's experience shows that real history often can be more nuanced than ignorant stereotypes about history.

    Then you proceed to making one of those ignorant stereotypes.

    Despite the fact that the Third Reich was extremely racist, Hans Hauck seems to have had a more 'integrated' experience in the German Army than he would have had as a black man
    in the officially racially segregated US Army in the Second orld War.
  12. 23 Jun '15 21:59
    Originally posted by normbenign
    [b]Hans Hauck's experience shows that real history often can be more nuanced than ignorant stereotypes about history.

    Then you proceed to making one of those ignorant stereotypes.

    Despite the fact that the Third Reich was extremely racist, Hans Hauck seems to have had a more 'integrated' experience in the German Army than he would have had as a black man
    in the officially racially segregated US Army in the Second orld War.
    [/b]
    With his usual bluster, Normbenign keeps showing his extreme ignorance of history.

    In fact, the US Army was officially racially segregated during the Second World War.
    (It did not become desegregated until the Korean War.) Black soldiers were put into
    separate units, usually led by white officers. (The US Army also had a separate unit for
    men of Japanese ancestry.) A US Army veteran of the Second World War told me that
    he noticed how strictly whites and blacks were kept separated during training in the USA.

    In contrast, the German Army did not have any official regulations discriminating between
    its white and black soldiers, presumably because no one in charge had anticipated it would
    have any black soldiers. So Hans Haupt, a black German soldier, experienced the same
    treatment as white German soldiers at the front. (He believes that some racist German
    officers wanted to discriminate against him, but even they had to follow the regulations.)
    Receiving the same pay and rations, he lived and fought side-by-side with white German soldiers.
    Given that the outnumbered German Army needed every man who was fit to fire a gun,
    white German soldiers tended to stop being bothered by Hans Haupt being a black German.
    In combat, a white German soldier might urgently need a black German soldier's aid.
  13. 23 Jun '15 22:08
    How many blacks served in the German army. I mean regular army, not in special units like the Free Arabian Legion.
  14. 23 Jun '15 22:24 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Eladar
    How many blacks served in the German army. I mean regular army, not in special units like the Free Arabian Legion.
    In the Second World War, the German Army did not keep any official statistics about
    its black soldiers, not to mention its soldiers of partial Jewish ancestry (Mischlinge).
    Given that Germany had an extremely small minority of black people, it's obvious that
    no more than a few black German men could have served in the German Army.
    But what's relevant is not the numbers, it's how these black German men were treated.

    No one disputes that the Third Reich was extremely racist. I know of many stories about
    Nazi racism. What makes Hans Haupt's story interesting to me, though not to people
    who prefer that no new facts should ever contradict their cherished stereotypes, is that
    it seems to be a *partial exception* to the dominant culture of racism in the Third Reich.
  15. 24 Jun '15 00:25
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Almost everyone already knows that the Nazis were racist against black people.
    Few people know, however, that any black soldiers fought for the Third Reich.
    Of course, some people find it more comfortable not to learn anything new.
    Now we've learned. Is there another point?