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The Lesson of Aachen!

1944-1945
   

Subject: American Expeditionary Forces



JSM WG 17 R

Obverse: Three young American soldiers under the protection of a white flag marched into the town of aachen– already half destroyed– carrying the last ultimatum. For weeks the town of Aachen had been in the firing line of the 1st American Army. Since October 16th, Aachen has been encircled. The Nazi Leaders and the German High Cmmand have decided to defend the town of Aachen even in the face of a hopelessly superior might, right to the bitter end.   The hour of decision came. “The American forced have now completely encircled Aachen. They have enough bombers and artillery to destroy the town completely if necessary. The towm will be taken by us… either by immediate unconditional surrender or by ruthless air assault.”  …these are the words with which the ultimatum of the Commander of the 1st American Army began, which was presented on the morning of October 8th to the mayor of the town and the commander of the German garrison. The 24 hour ultimatum was rejected by the Germans — again on the supreme order of the Fuhrer’s headquarters.   …And so die Aachen. On the Monday 9th of October 1944 at 10.30 the battle of the annihilation began. Under its weight, the town of Aachen was razed to the ground. for days, German soldiers fought tooth and nail in the smouldering ruins of aachen, but Aachen is no more.   What is the use? What has been gained? At the cost of one of the oldest German cities, at the cost of the lives…

Reverse: … of thousands of German soldiers, Hitler and Himmler have prolonged the war for a few days. Is this a German victory? A success? A triumph?   What is the Lessn? The lesson is this: Yes by refusing to surrender a lost and surrounded position, by fighting in every German town as they have fought in Aachen– by such murderous madness, hitler, Himmler and their regime can gain a lease of life for a few more days. but the price of this lease of life, thus bought by the regime, is the total destruction of German towns, cities, villages, the useless sacrifice of German men, and the indiscribable misery for all, after the collapse which the leaders can postpone but not prevent.   Yesterday it was aachen… Tomorrow it will be Düsseldorf– or Cologne, esen, or Münster. then: Mainz, Stuttgart, Kassel, Hanover, Bremen. Three young Americans under the protection of the white flag will present the German commander with the last ultimatum “Honourable Surrender or Complete Destruction”?   And then? What will happen? In accordance with the wish of hitler and Himmler, will all German cities be razed to the ground just like aachen? Or will at the very last moment, Germany take matters into her own hands agaisnt the wishes of the nazi leaders, and force the immediate honourable surrender of her towns??? You have the choice

Collection


Location: Vault
Holding ID: WG 17

Language: english
Countries: Germany