Author Topic: Burning Baltics...  (Read 1105 times)

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Offline Jarhead0331

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Burning Baltics...
« on: February 19, 2021, 10:07:52 PM »
I canít recall ever being offended by any WWII title depicting German and Nazi forces, however, the latest developer blog for the upcoming expansion to Steel Division 2 really caught my eye. It revealed two ďacesĒ that will be featured in the game and the German one is Hans-Ulrich Rudel.

https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/919640/view/3020197221298227195

True, Rudel was an accomplished and highly decorated Stuka pilot, but he was also a ďrealĒ Nazi. I mean, he really was an ideologue who after the war helped support, hide and give comfort to Nazi war criminals, including Eichmann, Mengele, and Walter Rauf, the guy who invented the mobile gas chambers. In the 1950s he became a leading member of the Neo Nazi German nationalist party.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Ulrich_Rudel

Itís a really complicated subject, but itís almost impossible to separate this guyís service as a Luftwaffe pilot, from his opinions and activities as a Nazi. Iím troubled that the developers would pick this guy to highlight in the game and have to believe there is a better, less controversial option to pick.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 07:48:47 AM by Jarhead0331 »
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2021, 10:12:14 PM »
They probably have no clue who he was or what he stood for. Well, maybe who he was.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Destraex

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2021, 10:39:05 PM »
He was probably the German forces in the easts best ground attack pilot. I don't see how they could ignore him as one of the games "aces". Incidentally the aces make no difference to gameplay as they have no difference in stats to normal cards. So if you don't want to use him I don't think you would have to. Steel Division 2 is certainly not about politics, like other wargames it simply focuses on the wargame aspect. They do seem more liberal than some wargame companies in that they are not afraid to show the swastika as it was historically. I guess that might be because they are French?

I must admit I had no idea he was a hard core nazi as I generally do not look into the politics of my wargames either. I have read his book, stuka pilot some years ago. It was a very simple day by day sort of combat diary iirc. So I got nothing out of that that I remember being too disturbing. But now that you tell me about his political history it makes little difference as I never idolised him. Just found both sides of history interesting. I have read far more accounts from the allied side of things. When I was younger I refused to play the German side at all. These days it's just about tactics and kit.

Question: Do you play wargames with hitler in them or Stalin for that matter? Surely WitE has those two?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2021, 11:02:13 PM by Destraex »
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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2021, 01:27:50 AM »
Yes. Iíve played games where Hitler and Stalin are represented, such as HOI or Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa. Something about this strikes me as different. The blog and the way the ďacesĒ are represented in the game just seem like a glorification to me.

Once again, the use of Nazi imagery in a a WW II game does not bother me. Something about this is just rubbing me wrong and strikes me as a little off. To cite an extreme example, it would be like if you could recruit Himmler in game to help pacify conquered territory faster.

The use of Rudel wont prevent me from playing the game, but he was such a believer and was so controversial after the war that Iím just surprised to see him so openly represented in game as a player asset.

By the way, it appears his book was political and did contain Nazi ideology, but during the Cold War, it was edited and republished in the West with the political elements removed.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 01:34:02 AM by Jarhead0331 »
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Offline Destraex

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2021, 01:39:29 AM »
Perhaps it's that you are imagining actually seeing a digital representation of him in action on the battlefield in real time?
If it's the presentation that irks you, perhaps consider that a lot of their stuff aint the greatest in terms of meaning because they are translating. I do understand how you could feel that they are glorifying him because his deeds are pretty impressive without the evil political side of him. They only mention the side of him relevant to the game. So I guess yeah, if the kids don't look him up they will not get the evil side. I don't think people who play steel division are that stupid in general though are they?

As for his book. WOW. So I got the abridged version. Probably glad I did anyways. I hate the political side of things. I am not really one to read about serial killers for instance, but some people seem entranced and gobble up all of that.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 01:41:05 AM by Destraex »
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Offline hellfish6

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2021, 05:27:07 AM »
I don't think that was Eugen's intent, but wehrabooism is as alive and popular as it's ever been.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2021, 06:29:06 AM »
JH-You raise an interesting issue, and IMHO one that is worth discussion and debate.  By way of possibly exploring the complexity of the issue, how would you depict someone in a game like LCDR Dudley Morton, (the CO of the USS WAHOO (SS-238)) who may have engaged in war crimes?  To be clear, I'm not baiting you.  It is a difficult subject to discuss in the hobby, but one that is important to wrestle with. 

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2021, 06:49:30 AM »
JH-You raise an interesting issue, and IMHO one that is worth discussion and debate.  By way of possibly exploring the complexity of the issue, how would you depict someone in a game like LCDR Dudley Morton, (the CO of the USS WAHOO (SS-238)) who may have engaged in war crimes?  To be clear, I'm not baiting you.  It is a difficult subject to discuss in the hobby, but one that is important to wrestle with.

I have no idea who Dudley Morton is, but Iíd be uncomfortable about any war criminal being depicted in a game as an asset.
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2021, 07:35:29 AM »
This strikes me as very similar to the treatment today of Che Guevara as a Rock-Star kind of guy while behind the scenes ignoring his more violent and murderous tendencies. We don't want History white-washed but certainly such persons should be called-out for what they were. Maybe there's a chance the makers of the game can open some honest dialog of Mr. Rudel's past. I remember reading his book too many years ago and being very impressed by his exploits. But only later did I learn of his involvement with the figures you mention JH. It's impossible to separate the two sides of his life now for me.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2021, 08:17:19 AM »
This strikes me as very similar to the treatment today of Che Guevara as a Rock-Star kind of guy while behind the scenes ignoring his more violent and murderous tendencies. We don't want History white-washed but certainly such persons should be called-out for what they were. Maybe there's a chance the makers of the game can open some honest dialog of Mr. Rudel's past. I remember reading his book too many years ago and being very impressed by his exploits. But only later did I learn of his involvement with the figures you mention JH. It's impossible to separate the two sides of his life now for me.

Sir Slash-I agree that history should not whitewash people, nor should it engage in simplistic virtue-signaling.  Historians (as should we all) be interested in discovering the truth, as messy as it is.  JH: That is why I brought up LCDR Morton.  He was one of the most important US submarine CO's in WWII, but he also had a possible war crime on his 3rd patrol.  So how do you handle such an individual?  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudley_W._Morton.  See also http://www.warfish.com/patrol3con.html

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2021, 08:25:54 AM »
This strikes me as very similar to the treatment today of Che Guevara as a Rock-Star kind of guy while behind the scenes ignoring his more violent and murderous tendencies. We don't want History white-washed but certainly such persons should be called-out for what they were. Maybe there's a chance the makers of the game can open some honest dialog of Mr. Rudel's past. I remember reading his book too many years ago and being very impressed by his exploits. But only later did I learn of his involvement with the figures you mention JH. It's impossible to separate the two sides of his life now for me.

Sir Slash-I agree that history should not whitewash people, nor should it engage in simplistic virtue-signaling.  Historians (as should we all) be interested in discovering the truth, as messy as it is.  JH: That is why I brought up LCDR Morton.  He was one of the most important US submarine CO's in WWII, but he also had a possible war crime on his 3rd patrol.  So how do you handle such an individual?  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dudley_W._Morton.  See also http://www.warfish.com/patrol3con.html.

I don't see how you can possibly compare Morton to Udel, a life long dedicated Nazi and friend to true war criminals where there is no ambiguity or room for debate. That being said, I would still say it is better to err on the side of caution and just not use Morton in a game as a player asset, or rather, to be singled out as a submarine "Ace". In a game that includes US submarines and their actual commanders in the OOB, I don't think it is controversial, but in Steel Divisions 2, Udel is being highlighted as an "Ace" with his aircraft being modeled specifically...this is sort of like having a "hero" character in your army. It is this depiction to which I object. If SD2 just had Udel as part of an OOB, so be it...but to single him out as an "Ace" strikes me as poor judgment.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 08:42:29 AM by Jarhead0331 »
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Offline hellfish6

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2021, 08:56:04 AM »
JH-You raise an interesting issue, and IMHO one that is worth discussion and debate.  By way of possibly exploring the complexity of the issue, how would you depict someone in a game like LCDR Dudley Morton, (the CO of the USS WAHOO (SS-238)) who may have engaged in war crimes?  To be clear, I'm not baiting you.  It is a difficult subject to discuss in the hobby, but one that is important to wrestle with.

I have no idea who Dudley Morton is, but Iíd be uncomfortable about any war criminal being depicted in a game as an asset.

At what point do we draw the line? The SS could be uniformly considered Nazis and a good number of them could be war criminals, but you can't have a reasonably historical WW2 game without them, east front or west.

Eugen isn't calling Rudel a hero unit. They're calling him an ace. And, beyond that, no matter what else he was, he was an exceptional ground attack pilot. You can still shoot him down.

And don't forget the US government asked him for his input in the development of the A-10.

Offline Tripoli

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2021, 09:08:10 AM »
JH-What about another historical character?  Nathan Bedford Forest.  You can't have a USCW game without him, as he is a major impact on the war from almost its beginning.  He is a thoroughly mean, racist, ill tempered man who after the war helped form the KKK.  And in his later years, he became a Christian, repudiated his racist beliefs, and tried to help black civil rights groups.  See https://shanekastler.typepad.com/pastor_shanes_blog/2008/07/when-the-devil-got-saved-the-christian-conversion-of-nathan-bedford-forrest.html   

I think I see your point about not wanting to glamorize individuals with repugnant histories.  But I would argue we should not eliminate them, as we can learn from them, either as a positive or a negative example. 

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2021, 09:25:26 AM »
You can cherry pick any historical example you would like, but they are mostly going to be subjective and nuanced and I think the exercise is a waste of time (donít mean that disrespectfully). It is common sense really. I think, in general, there is some objective standard that most can agree upon - Nazis, communists, criminals, murderous tyrants, etc. whatever, shouldnít be glamorized in games as hero-type units. Iím not suggesting that they should be eliminated from study or simulation... it is just the designation as a hero figure or unit that I think is questionable and arguably is crossing a line.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 09:31:25 AM by Jarhead0331 »
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Offline Tripoli

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Re: Burning Baltics...
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2021, 09:34:00 AM »
You can pick any historical example you would like, but they are all subjective and nuanced and I think the exercise is a waste of time (donít mean that disrespectfully). It is common sense really. I think, in general, Nazis, communists, criminals, murderous tyrants, etc. whatever, shouldnít be glamorized in games as hero-type units. Iím not suggesting that they should be eliminated from study or simulation... it is just the designation as a hero figure or unit that I think is questionable and arguably is crossing a line.

I argree we shouldn't glamorize those types of people as "Heros".  Possibly some other designation.