3. SECTION refers to year 2000+
*** Part #1
Hello Emma and Kayley, from Highsted Grammar School in Kent in England of April 6, 2000.
I'd try to answer your question one by one in the shortest possible way. As I wrote to you already it's not so easy to answer your questions explicitly as this is for the historians to do. The following answers express my personal views and I do not want to start ANY arguments or disputes in this respect. The fact remains that the winner's point of view prevails when the history is on paper anyway.
Q1) Do you think Adolf Hitler made a good impression on Germany?
A1) Most probably as a personality - YES - at least for a while being the Chancellor of Germany during says first five years of his ruling.
Q2) Was Chamberlain right to use Appeasement?
A2) The history is to make the judgement of Sir Chamberlain in person. Chamberlain acted on behalf of the British Government and following its policy against Hitler's Germany. My personal opinion is that the "Appeasement" failed - it could never be successful in dealing with a dictator anyway.
Q3) Was it right to blame "The Great War" on Germany?
A3) It CANNOT be righteous to blame anybody for a WAR - particularly not for "The Great War" as you called it. Why should it be called "GREAT"?
Q4) Chamberlain said that the British weren't ready for war - do you agree?
A4) I suppose that nobody was ready for a war in Europe or actually didn't want to be pulled into one unnecessarily though. I'd speculate that France and England could have stopped Hitler in his endeavour say before 1938's events. Later it was too late or one didn't have the right political foresight.
Q5) What would you say to Hitler if you had the chance?
A5) This question is UNREALISTIC and SPECULATIVE too. Nothing to say!
Q6) Did you think that Germany got what they deserved?
A6) Another of the stereotype! Don't you think that there are peoples in Germany and other countries who SUFFER in any kind of an international conflict? What does it mean for you that somebody had deserved his destiny?
Q7) If you can remember, what was you thinking and feeling during the war?
A7) I do hope that you read through my many answers contained in my web page titled "Zvonko's answers to FAQ". There you would find too many of my thinking and "feelings" (oh, I do hate this expression!) during the WW2.
Q8) Do you think Germany benefited from the war? Do you think they learnt a lesson and if so what?
A8) By Jove, what a stereotyped questions again! How can ANYBODY BENEFIT anything from a WAR? Even the winner does not benefit from any kind of war except he gets some political and/or economical advantage. The ordinary people or citizens do SUFFER and are LOOSERS always.
Q9) What did you miss most during the war?
A9) You don't miss anything during the war. One just tries adjusting oneself to the circumstances and sees to survive the best way one can. I described the war in two words: "IRRECOVERABLE WASTE" of lives - youths - loves - ideas - thoughts - energies- values - natural beauties etc. [See my Homepage, please!]
So, dear students Emma and Kayley, let contemplate over the weekend how should you answer avoiding any fantasies or speculations regarding events that happened in the far past. Probably you'd find the appropriate answers to questions No. 7 and No. 9 in the FAQ mentioned above.
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*** Part #2:
Questions about WW2 from Weald of Kent Grammar School, UK of May 9, 2000 from Katie, the student of Clare Glover, History Teacher.
Hello Katie, here are the answers to your questions:
Q1) What were your reactions when the German army marched into Croatia?
A1) First of all, German army had not marched into Croatia in 1941. At that time Croatia was an autonomous county in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The war started on 6th April when German airplanes bombarded Beograd and their army units crossed its borders at several places.
What were my reactions then? I was a 16 year old boy who knew little but could anticipate that some very bad times would be fall upon him. Read few of my stories to be found at web page tiled <* Zvonko stories>.
Q2) How well prepared were you for war? Did you use any machinery during the war? If so, what did you use and did you have any training of how to use it?
A2) I suppose you mean whether I had any army training. Yes, I was some 11 months in German army camp in Stockerau (near Vienna) where we were trained for artillery officers. We returned to Croatia sometime in October and by December I got my patent as a Junior Lieutenant. I got to the front service in my hometown Osijek just before Christmas 1944.
Q3) What were your parents' reactions when the Croatian army called you up? Were they happy about the idea?
A3) You may be a mother one-day too. Use a little bit of your fantasy to ask yourself or your parents how would they feel about their child going to army service during a war conflict going on (say like in Tschechnia now). Would they be HAPPY about? What about you - say being mother of a young soldier going to fight and probably be wounded, mutilated (crippled) or even killed.
Q4) What was the Croatian Death March?
A4) The name "Croatian Death March" is a synonym for the extermination of almost all Croatian civilians and soldiers who were withdrawing westwards early May 1945. Their aim was to surround to the Allied forces in Austria but they were turned down and handed over to Tito's henchmen who massacred several hundred thousands of them after the WW2 was over already.
I was in a column of some 40.000 POWs (most of us were young males) who started their track on May 17 at Slovenjgradec (see map in web page <Retreat & Tragedy>). I came back to Osijek on June 2, after I have survived a horror march of over 500km in 16 days! I had to walk bare footed good 500km, without food or drink and under most gruesome and fearsome conditions one can imagine. The Death March in 1945 was actually the genocide of Croatians that was the strictest taboo theme during the Tito's Socialists regime in Yugoslavia. After Croatians won their Homeland war in 1991and their state was internationally recognized after some 9 century of foreign rulings at last.
Just another detail about the number of victims killed in those massacres. During recent construction works of a highway near Maribor (Republic Slovenia) the roadbed crossed a filled in anti-tank trench 1941 that length, one reckons, was some 2.5km. On the excavated part of it of some 70m one found and had to removed thousands of bones of some 1.200 skeletons of entirely decomposed male bodies. Considering some 15 skeletons per meter (!) in that excavated trench part only one derives to say over 30.000 killed males being buried there. Please do contemplate just a little bit about this horrible figure.
However I do remember that the front half of the marching column I was in on May 17 had disappeared the next morning May 18 (some 20.000 POWs) who were marched of towards Maribor. Nobody of these POWs had survived but their skeletons are possibly buried in one of the 3 anti-tank trenches that had existed near Maribor.
Q5) How did you and your family feel when you were rescued from the Death March? Who rescued you and how?
A5) I was not rescued from the column on one of the Death March routes. I JUST HAD SURVIVED physically wrecked and broken in spirit.
Email Zvonko Springer at : firstname.lastname@example.org