Grumpy Old Sod Dot Com - an internet voice for the exasperated. Sick of the nanny state? Pissed off with politicians? Annoyed by newspapers? Irate with the internet? Tell us about it!

Send us an email
Go back
11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
30th August 2013: Isn't sarcasm a wonderful thing?
25th August 2013: Operation Yewtree has turned British justice on its head
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Why 'human rights' is nothing of the sort ...
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
6th August 2013: How the British nation treats its friends ...
8th July 2013: The BBC biased? How can that be? They're so NICE!
26th June 2013: Think this country is a bastion of freedom and justice and a shining model for the world? Think again.
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th June 2013: is the end finally approaching for this evil woman?
31st May 2013: Now it's official - the BBC really is a left-wing propaganda machine
31st May 2013: Those evil bastards are at it again. Yes, you've guessed it - social services!
27th May 2013: Well-known TV presenter talks sense. No good will come of it.
24th May 2013: British justice is best? Only for the very poor, apparently ...
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...

 

 
Captain Grumpy's bedtime reading. You can buy them too, if you think you're grumpy enough!
Readers wives. Yes, really!
More Grumpy Old Sods on the net

 

 
Older stuff
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
This article has been widely copied in the blogosphere, so who are we to be different? We're not sure what we think about it, but it certainly presents a new angle on the Greek financial crisis, and one that many of us may not have been aware of ...
 

 
Festering anger, Nazi war crimes and the £60bn the Greeks believe the Germans owe them
by David Thomas

 
By the time Hitler's men had left the Greek village of Distomo near the ancient town of Delphi on that bloody day in June 1944, 218 men, women and children were dead. The SS indulged their bloodlust on men, women and children alike. While homes and shops blazed around them like some hellish inferno, women were violated and those who were pregnant were stabbed in the guts. Small babies were bayoneted in their cribs. The village priest was beheaded.
 
The Waffen-SS was pleased with its work: the local partisans who had dared to attack a German unit had been taught a bitter lesson in revenge.
 
The slaughter at Distomo was such an outrage that, in 2003, even a German Federal Court judge described it as ‘one of the most despicable crimes of World War II’. But he refused to grant the families of the victims any compensation for their suffering, and not a single German soldier was ever punished for what he and his comrades had done.
 
The Distomo massacre is just one example of the terrible suffering endured by the people of Greece during World War II and, some would say, of the German government’s reluctance to pay for the crimes committed against the Greeks in their nation’s name.
 
Countless other villages could tell of similar atrocities. Some 60,000 Greek Jews — more than three-quarters of the nation’s Jewish population — were rounded up and sent to their deaths in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Treblinka. Yet, neither the massacres of villagers nor the ethnic cleansing of the Jews was the deadliest of torments inflicted on Greece. For the worst Nazi war crimes of all were essentially economic. Hitler’s troops helped themselves to everything, stealing goods and food to such a degree that hundreds of thousands of Greeks were left destitute and starving. At least 300,000 Greeks died as a result.
 
Hitler’s men even raided the Greeks’ central bank, forcing them to give Germany a massive ‘war loan’ — one that has never been paid back, more of which later. Economists estimate that if it were repaid today, it could cost the German government £60billion. The memory of that travesty has been reignited this week by Greeks angry at the austerity measures being imposed on them — primarily by Germany as it seeks to stop the euro crisis spinning out of control. Greeks are now comparing the current German government to the Nazis who once occupied them.
 
A year into World War II, the Greeks had managed to stay clear of the conflict that had engulfed the rest of Europe. Hitler was not interested in Greece: he had bigger fish to fry. But one man was spoiling for a fight. Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator of Italy, was desperate to show Hitler that he, too, could launch a blitzkrieg. And so, in October 1940 the Italians attacked Greece. They made some gains at first, but were soon driven back to where they had started. In March 1941, the Italians mounted another attack, but this was a total failure.
 
It was at this point that Hitler lost patience with his incompetent ally and intervened. He ordered the all-conquering German forces to sweep down through Yugoslavia and then overrun Greece. By early May 1941, Greece was under German control.
 
The Nazis set about treating Greece the same way they did their other conquests: as a fiefdom to be abused and exploited. As historian Roger Moorhouse, author of Berlin At War and an expert on wartime Germany, explains: ‘The Nazis systematically stripped Occupied Europe of everything it had. They were desperate to keep the Home Front onside. The spectre of starvation in Germany, and the loss of support for the war that had caused it, loomed large in their minds and it was something they wanted to avoid. So they took honey from Greece, wheat from the Ukraine, wine and Cognac from France, bacon from Denmark and so forth. Whether you got compensated depended on your race.
 
In France, whose people were considered civilised, the chances were you might get paid for your produce, albeit at a very disadvantageous rate. If you were a Ukrainian, and thus a subhuman Slav, it would simply be confiscated. The Greeks were southern nobodies in Nazi eyes.’
 
As a result, Greek businesses, property and goods, including olive oil, leather, tobacco and cotton, were either seized outright or bought with a new, near-worthless currency called ‘Occupation Marks’. To make matters worse, the Royal Navy mounted a blockade of Greece, resulting in a terrible shortage of food, especially in the big cities. By the end of 1941, the Red Cross estimated that 400 people a day were dying from starvation in Athens alone.
 
The Germans responded to this gathering humanitarian disaster with indifference. Hitler’s henchman Hermann Goering, whose love of fine food had left him morbidly obese, told the leaders of Germany’s occupied territories: ‘I could not care less when you say that people under your administration are dying of hunger. Let them perish, so long as no German starves.’
 
The Greeks have not forgotten what they call The Great Famine. Nor has what one might call The Great Theft slipped their minds either. Because the Germans didn’t just wreck the Greek economy, seize its products and starve its people. They took its money, too. In February last year, the Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos fumed: ‘The Germans took away Greek money and never gave it back.’
 
It was Nazi policy to make the people they conquered pay for their own oppression. At its most obscene, the Jews had to pay for their tickets on the cattle trucks that took them to the gas chambers. In Greece, the procedure was marginally more civilised. On March 14, 1942, a team of German and Italian lawyers, in the absence of any Greeks, signed an agreement obliging the Bank of Greece to provide Germany with a ‘war loan’ of 476 million Reichsmarks (a currency which preceded the Deutschmark). And 70 years later not one penny of it, let alone any interest, has been repaid.
 
Economists (German ones, as it happens) have calculated that, allowing purely for inflation, Greece’s 1942 loan to Germany would today be worth £9bn. But if one adds even a modest rate of interest of 3 per cent, then that debt increases to a staggering £60bn. That would be enough to cover Greece’s fiscal deficit for the next five years, giving the country time to restructure its economy and put government finances on a more sustainable footing.
 
And it’s not as if Germany couldn’t afford to pay up. The Bundesbank has more than 3,500 tons of gold in its vaults, worth over £200bn. But does it owe any of that to Greece?
 
Neither the German Embassy nor the German government are willing to comment on the issue. But the Greeks have no doubt where the truth lies. In the words of a spokesman at the Greek Embassy in London: ‘There was a loan, and we have still not got anything back from Germany. The Germans deny it. They say: “We have helped you with reparations.” But those were nothing compared with this sum. There have been reparations to individuals, but not to Greece itself. Every other country in Europe had reparations apart from Greece. It’s not fair to say Greeks should die for free.’
 
In Greek eyes, the Germans are lucky that the sum at issue is only £60bn. They point to a finding made at the 1945 Paris Conference on Reparations that Greece should receive compensation from Germany equivalent to more than £90bn today. The Greek government, however, has never raised this issue when negotiating with the EU over the Greek debt crisis. Prime Minister George Papandreou says: ‘It would be easy for people with bad faith to interpret this as a sign of weakness, that we are looking for an alibi to shirk our responsibilities.’
 
So could the Greeks take the German government to court to get their money back? According to City lawyer Graham Defries : ‘In principle, there’s no reason why one can’t pursue an action of this kind. Debt doesn’t just get extinguished. In international finance, the concept of an interest-free loan doesn’t exist, and it can’t legitimately be described as a loan if the money was obtained by coercion. So it’s a crime, and therefore not covered by previous reparations.’
 
In other words, the German government may have a moral duty to give the Greeks their money back. It might even have an economic interest in doing so — since a Greek default would cost the German economy far more than £60bn.
 

 
Grumpy Old Sod.com - homepage
 

 
Use this Yahoo Search box to find more grumpy places,
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Copyright © 2011 The GOS
 
Grumpy Old Sod.com - homepage

 

Captain Grumpy's
Favourites
- some older posts

 
Campaign
 
Proposal
 
Burglars
 
Defence
 
ID cards
 
Old folk
 
Hairy man
 
Democracy
 
Mud
 
The NHS
 
Violence
 
Effluent
 
Respect
 
Litter
 
Weapons
 
The church
 
Blame
 
Parenting
 
Paedophiles
 
The Pope
 
Punishing
 
Racism
 
Scientists
 
Smoking
 
Stupidity
 
Swimming
 
Envirocrap
 
Spying