Talk:Eastern Front (World War II)/Archive 7

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Archive 6 Archive 7 Archive 8

Commander list

Since Andrey Vlassov has been recently included into the Commander list, I am wondering about the rules for incorporation of one or another person into this list. It is natural to expect that only highest rank commanders (Army generals or marshals) should be included there. Alternatively, only the commanders of fronts, Stavka and General Headquarters' should be included. By contrast, the person having a comparatively low rank, or the commanders of relatively small miloitary units (divisions or armies) should not be in the list. In connection to that, I propose to exclude the persons like Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Vlassov from the list.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:47, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

That edit prompted precisely the same concern from me. I agree Stavka and Front commanders should be listed. But going below that simply turns this list into 'my favorite commanders'. I would exclude divisional commanders too, much as we may admire Rodimstev for example. regards, DMorpheus (talk) 16:49, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Commanders list in current form is just retardedly long. We have even some Croatian regimental commanders there. Soviet-German commanders should be limited to front and army group commanders and higher. From other states I would include Mannerheim and maybe also Antonescu and Bór-Komorowski.--Staberinde (talk) 13:50, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree completely. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 13:53, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
Since Croatian participation in the war was limited with one regiment, I don't think Croatian commander should be in the list. With regards to the Poles and Czechs, at least one commander should be there. In addition, leaving only Bór-Komorowski's name may create an absolutely wrong impression that he was a commander of the Polish Eastern front's troops, that was, obviously, not the case.
However, I support the proposal in general.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:22, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
I suggested Bór-Komorowski only because Warsaw uprising wasnt under direct Soviet command like all other polish-czech commanders on allied side. But frankly if it creates some dispute here I would suggest removing him too. Considering scale of conflict and current situation in infobox we should generally cut more if that is needed for making everyone happy, instead of cutting less to make everyone "represented". Otherwise we will be soon also adding Romanian and Bulgarian commanders to allies side to represent period when they changed sides, not to mention whoever lead Slovak national uprising.--Staberinde (talk) 22:16, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Now I started thinking that maybe even Front/Army Group is too small unit for such massive conflict as fighting on Eastern Front was. Template:Infobox_military_conflict suggests For wars, only prominent or notable leaders should be listed, with an upper limit of about seven per combatant column recommended. Barbarossa already has 10 Soviet commanders(sticking only to front commanders and higher) and it covers only like 1/8-1/7th of whole campaign. Maybe limit Eastern Front infobox to Hitler, Stalin, Mannerheim and maybe also German/Soviet Chiefs of the General Staff? That would probably allow to shorten commanders list to 10 names or less which would be more readable.--Staberinde (talk) 11:27, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Re: "Now I started thinking that maybe even Front/Army Group is too small unit for such massive conflict" You correctly pointed out that that conflict was very massive (in actuality, about a half of whole WWII, in terms of troops involved, casualties and strategic implications). Therefore, it is quite natural to have many commanders in the list. If we limit the infobox with Hitler, Stalin, Mannerheim and Antonescu, we thereby omit Konev, Rokossovsky, Chernyahovsky and other commanreds who were more prominent than Mannerheim and Antonescu, and whose role in WWII was more important than the role of these two. Therefore I believe the front commanders should be in the list.
I briefly looked through the Soviet commander's list and I found some of them do not satisfy this criterion and should be removed, that will shorten the list by ~20%. I'll write a concrete proposal a little bit later.--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:06, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Firstly I did not even suggest Antonescu anymore. I figured that only Finnish Army was big enough and operated independently from German command for long enough to have separate commander. Anyway its not natural to have many commanders in list because point of infobox is only to show few most importnant, if conflict gets bigger then requirements for including commander need to be raised too so that commanders list remains roughly in same lenght. If you want to have long list then it should be located somewhere else. Front/Army Group is fitting for something in scale of Barbarossa but not for Eastern Front. Currently we actually seem to miss quite a few commanders on Soviet side that fit criteria "Front or higher", like Sokolovsky, Kurochkin, Chernyakhovsky, Budyonny, Pavlov, Tyulenev. Most likely I actually missed several because Soviet commanders aren't my strong point. Anyway my last suggestion was something like Allies: Stalin+Zhukov+Shaposhnikov+Vasilevsky, Axis: Hitler+Brauchitsch+Halder+Zeitzler+Guderian+Mannerheim. Another solution would be creating fully separate article titled "Commanders of Eastern Front" or something similar, and have infobox simply linking to it like is done in WW II main article. Btw, I dont really comprehend what criteria you used for comparing "importance" of commanders in your last comment, Mannerheim simply has one critical quality which I think that nobody on Eastern Front except Hitler or Stalin had(not counting smaller events like Warssaw uprising), nobody stood above him in line of command.--Staberinde (talk) 19:00, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
I would support the limited version of the list of commanders as proposed by Staberinde. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 19:39, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Re: Antonescu. Disagree. The difference between Romania and Finland was that the former was a Germany's ally, whereas the latter was just a co-belligerent. However, Romania fielded more troops than Finland did, and participated in more important battles (Odessa, Stalingrad, Sevastopol) than the Finns did. Antonescu must be mentioned explicitly. Moreover, in my opinion, at least one commander of every Axis' allied armed forces should be in the list, because there was a considersble degree of independence of junior Axis' members from Germany.
Re: "Hitler+Brauchitsch+Halder+Zeitzler+Guderian+". I cannot understand your criteria. Why did you include Guderian and forgot von Bock, whose subordinee Guderian was? Why did you include Zeitzler, and forgot about Keitel an OKW's chief who signed an instrument of surrender that ended the Eastern Front conflict? Again, we either include only Hitler, Antonescu, Mannerheim, Horthy and Mussolini (from the Axis side) and Stalin (from Soviet side), that would be ridiculous, or include a long list of top ranked officers that played important roles in various important events and occupied important positions during different periods of the war.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:09, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Obviously I did not include Guderian for his role in Barbarossa but for his role as Chief of General Staff. OKH article claims that OKH was mostly running eastern front while OKW ran other fronts, although if you think that signing instrument of surrender is so damn critical we could replace OKH men with Keitel and Jodl. It doesn't really matter what criteria exactly we pick, we just need something that cuts lenght of list down critically. Only other realistic alternative is using same approach as World War II infobox. Current situation, where by the time I see end of commanders list, the beginning of list has already dissappeared from my screen, is nonsense. Its not the purpose of infobox to attempt covering every last prominent commander.--Staberinde (talk) 21:51, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Formally, OKH was subordinated to OKW, although de facto they divided spheres of responsibility between each other. With regards to Guderian, you have to agree that his role in Barbarossa was much more notable than his activity as a chief of OKH staff. This perfectly demonstrates my point that it is quite impossible to name few key persons who played a leading role during the war in the east.
Re: "Only other realistic alternative" I believe this alternative is more realistic. Taking into account that the Eastern Front's scale is comparable with the scale of WWII as whole, the same approaches towards thier descriptions can and should be used. However, we have to write corresponding articles first.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:45, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, I think that one article with separate sections for axis and soviet commanders would be actually enough. Article could be simple list of commanders names in beginning (WW II leaders lists started exactly like that [1]), which may be latter expanded to include more detailed information about those commanders.--Staberinde (talk) 15:26, 25 September 2009 (UTC)


According to guidelines, "The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies." From that point of view, the penultimate para looks somewhat odd. It tells about the events preceding EF, thereby reproducing a one paragraph long Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact section.

"The series of events preceding the opening of the Eastern Front included the invasion of Poland in 1939 by Nazi Germany and the resulting fourth partition of Poland when the Soviet Union used the invasion as a pretext to annex the eastern regions of the country, populated by a majority of ethnic Ukrainians and Belarussians and by Polish minorities, as outlined in the secret codicil to the August 1939 Soviet-German non-aggression pact, which also paved the way for the 1940 Soviet occupation of Baltic states and the Soviet occupation of Bessarabia."

Most interestingly, from the last paragraph we learn that the events described in the above para are not included into the article. ("This article, however, concentrates on the much larger conflict fought"). It is unclear for me why about 20% of the lede's space is devoted to the events not covered by the article.
I propose to remove the penultimate lead's para and to rewrite the last paragraph accordingly.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:30, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree. --Jaan Pärn (talk) 21:21, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


The proposed EF result:

Decisive Soviet victory.
  • Fall Of The Nazi Germany.
  • Allied Victory In European Theatre Of WWII.
  • Soviet Occupation Of Germany.
  • Division Of Germany Into East Germany And West Germany.
  • Beginning Of The Cold War.

seem to be too broad. The USSR occupied only a part of Germany, division of Germany took place later, Cold War started not immediately after WWII, and, probably, was not inevitable. From other hand, "Allied Victory In European Theatre Of WWII" is too narrow, because the victory in EF had a deep impact on the war in Pacific, and, therefore caused the victory in WWII as whole. I fixed that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:04, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Spanish Blue Division not a belligerent

If I am not wrong, sending military units against some country means declaration of a war. Spain was neutral during WWII. Listing the Blue division as a separate belligerent means either that Spain was a belligerent or that the Blue division acted independently on both German and Spanish High Command. It is nonsense.
With regards to Rada, it was just a nominally puppet state (in other words, it was not even a puppet state, see a Staberinde's comment). Slovakian solders, for instance, wore their own uniform. What uniform had Rada's solders?
PS I will not revert your edits for a while but I'll do that in close future unless you provided more solud ground, namely, reliable sources that explicitly mention the Blue division ar Rada as separate belligerents.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:04, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Re: "It is not in a respectful manner to undo without giving reasons." I provided reasons for undoing. In addition, other editors seem to support this undoing. I would say, it is not a respectful manner to re-insert already reverted edits before a consensus is achieved. Moreover, it is against the Bold-revert-discuss rule.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:52, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Re: "non-state actors can form belligerents as well". Al-Quaida is considered a belligerent because it acted independently and directly deployed troops against the USA. Did the Committee act independently and how many troops were subordinated to it?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:00, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Having the Blue Division as a belligerent seems to be pushing it to far, as they did wear Wehrmacht uniforms and everything. Franco also declared that Spain was non-belligerent in the war. On the other hand, the article does currently have the 1st Czechoslovakian Independent Brigade listed as the Czechoslovak Republic, a country and government which was legally dissolved by its own government and leaders, its legal successor being the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, with its same President and everything. Regardless, I will add the proper citations and sources for Rada and the Blue Division soon. Lt.Specht (talk) 23:30, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

Re: 1st. Well, I was not accurate enough. I meant that Sending military units against some country means becoming a belligerent. Although the USA declared no war on Iraq, by sending military units they became a belligerent, didn't they?
Re: 2nd. ("seeing that you were wrong to say that no Belarusian military existed") The question was if Belarussian military (besides partisans) fought as German allies, or they were just hiwi military/paramilitary that were directly subordinated to local German authorities. AFAIK they were under direct control of Curt von Gottberg, so they can hardly be considered a separate belligerent. With regards to the uniform, the picture presented by you is a primary source, so we can use it as a support for your claim only if it does it directly. The interpretation of this picture is ambiguous: a Belarussian caption tells us that "Belarussian youth is marshing to the railway station", whereas the German wersion specifies that they go under national Belarussian flag to Germany for training. It is not clear from the captions that they represent armed forces of at least nominally recognized state.
Re: 3rd. Again, it is not clear how a division can be a separate belligerent. The sources available for me tell that the Blue division was sent by Franco, however, Franco abstained from participation in the war. That was possible only if the Blue division was directly subordinated to the German command (to Manstein, afaik). Consequently, I see no difference between the Blue division and Charlemagne, for instance. Both Spaniards and French joined Wehrmacht, so the only difference between these two divisions was in the mechanism of their formation, not in their position in German Army. (One more restriction was that Franco requested Blue division to be utilized against the USSR only).
Re: 4th. I agree that WP is not a democracy, and only facts and sources matter. However, since it was you who introduced this new text, the burden of evidence lies on you. Therefore, it would be more correct to say that "you confirm your statements or I will have to remove it in accordance with facts and WP policy". I see no sufficient ground so far to claim that you have sustained your burden of evidence.
Re: 5th. Al-Qaeda, Yugoslavs, minor Axis members etc fought independently, although sometimes in collaboration with their allies. I see no analogy with Rada.
Re: 6th. "When I said "without giving reasons"" etc. You haven't refuted my arguments so far.
Re: 7th. I believe I addressed all your arguments 1 to 6. With regards to your other statements, let me tell you that I have much more reasons to accuse you in violation of WP policy than you do. However, I will not do that because I hate to play these games, and, in addition, I feel you are new in Wikipedia and, probably, as soon as you will get more familiar with the rules and policy (and after you encounter some really problem editor) all your behavioural and communication problems will go.
I wait for additional sources and arguments from you. Otherwise I'll delete Rada and Blue division in a couple of days (note, according to WP guidelines I can do that right now, however I prefer not to do that as a sign of a good will)
--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:58, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Re: "a country and government which was legally dissolved by its own government and leaders" This legal dissolution was much less legal than anexation of the Baltic states by the USSR. Only future Axis countries recognized it was legal.
Re: "Regardless, I will add the proper citations and sources for Rada and the Blue Division soon." Which statements are these sources intended to support?--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:01, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Not sure if I understand your question. Intended to support that they were belligerents, at least in the same capacity that that other Allied belligerents that are currently listed were. Lt.Specht (talk) 00:09, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, it would be interesting to see your sources. I found no sources supporting these claims so far.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:11, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Responds on ##1 to 6

1. Re: "that Spain was a de jure neutral state and a de facto co-belligerent" I know a number of sources confirming the your first part of your statement, however, the same sources do not support, or even directly contradict to the second part of this statement, namely, that Spain was both de jure and de facto neutral. However, it is not so important. The most important thing is that the Blue division was a regular Wehrmacht division, and the quotes below fully, unequivocally and persuasively comfirms this my point:

"By the end of July, the 18,000 Spaniards had arrived at the German Army training center at Grafenwohr, where they were created into the 250th Infantry Division of the Wehrmacht. The Division itself was composed of three regiments, the 262d (under a Colonel Pimentel), the 263d (under Colonel Esparza), and the 269th (under Colonel Vierna), plus the 250th Mobile Reserve Battalion, the 250th Artillery Regiment, two divisional antitank companies, a sapper unit, and administrative, sanitation, medical, and veterinary units. In addition, a contingent from the Guardia Civil was incorporated into the Military Police to serve behind the Spanish sectors of the German lines. Some months later in Russia, a company of Spanish com- bat ski troops were organized under a Captain Ordas. Finally, several units of Spanish fighter pilots were organized into combat con- tingents attached to the Luftwaffe.
Dressed in regulation German Army uniforms and trained throughout August and half of September by German instructors, the Spanish volunteers were nonetheless encouraged to wear their native shoulder patch (Espana), were led by their Spanish officers, and were "allowed" to bear the obsolete Spanish weapons brought with them from Madrid. Following their absorption into the Wehrmacht, the volunteers were required to take the standard personal oath to Hitler, under whose authority they were to be fighting." (Spanish Volunteers against Bolshevism: The Blue Division Author(s): Arnold Krammer Source: Russian Review, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Oct., 1973), pp. 388-402)
"On 31 July, as the 250? Division was formally incorporated into the Wehrmacht, the Spanish volunteers each took a personal oath to Hitler."(Franco and the Axis Stigma. Author(s): David Wingeate Pike Source: Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Jul., 1982), pp. 369-407)

I believe it is quite sufficient to delete the Spanish Blue Division from the belligerents' list, what I will do right now.

2. Re: "it was subrdinated to the German occupation authority". You fully confirmed my point. If they were subordinated to German occupation authority, they cannot be a separate belligerent. Were Hungarian, Romanian (leaving aside the Finns) militaries directly subordinated to German military authorities? The answer is no. Moreover, they were not puppet states, they were just junior members of the coalition. The quote below confirm that:

"As part of the preparations for the invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), the Germans established a military mission in Romania.3 Composed at first mainly of Army personnel, its nature changed once Barbarossa began. By November 1941, the Germans had about 63,000 men in Romania, of whom some 45,000 were in the DLM."
""On the whole, however, the record of Axis coalition warfare on the eastern front is a poor one, with failures at every level. Major reasons for these failures included language barriers, a radical difference in the degree of modernity in the level of technology and training of the Axis armies, Germany's failure to become "the arsenal of fascism," and a lack of understanding on the part of all the Axis powers, with perhaps the exception of Finland, of the relationship between national objectives, strategy, and the morale of soldiers and officers alike." )(The Dysfunctional Coalition: The Axis Powers and the Eastern Front in World War II Author(s): R. L. DiNardo Source: The Journal of Military History, Vol. 60, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 711-730)

Note, the source discuss Romanian, Hungarian etc. own objectives.

The only questionable belligerents are Slovakia and Croatia. However, they have some important traits of real states, similar to that of Vichy France: their own government, their own army, their own political parties and legislation. Did Rada have at least something like that? No. It was an occupied territory, and the only thing its "army" could do was to help Germans to fight against Partisans. The latters were much stronger and much more numerous, and in the absence of Wehrmacht they would steamroll this "government" in days. Again, the occupation authorities granted minimal autonomy to a handful of collaborationists, and it is deeply incorrect to compare this pseudopuppet state with Slovakia and Croatia.

3. This question needs no answer because, as I already proved, neither Spain nor the Blue division were a separate belligerents.

4. Taking into account that my sources directly state that neither Spain nor the Blue division were a separate belligerents it is clear that you didn't sustain your burden of evidence.

5. I explained the difference between Croatia and Rada, I believe it is sufficient. However, it might be useful for you to read, for instance that article (Rivalry between Germany and Italy in Croatia, 1942-1943 Author(s): Srdjan Trifkovic Source: The Historical Journal, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Dec., 1993), pp. 879-904) that states that Croatia was both in German and Italian spheres of influence, and was more a satellite rather than a puppet state. Nothing in common with Rada.


7. Again, feel free to do whatever you want. You seem not fully understand how does Wikipedia works.
Finally, I delete the Blue division and I give you some more time to find additional sources on Rada.
Good luck.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:26, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

The recent revert is not justified. The source (Shirer) does not support the text. The text: "and other leaders of the German High Command, considered the Spanish Blue Division to be an "Allied Division", in the same context of Romanian, Hungarian, etc. divisions. William L. Shirer. Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" is a pure example of WP:OR because it is the editor's conclusion made based on the Shirer's book. Please, do not restore the Blue division, because you have no ground for that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:46, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Glad to see you decreased a level of your rhetoric.
Re: "but rather my interpretation of it" Correct. The quote you talk about is "So successful were he and Keitel with all the satellites that the German High Command calculated it would have 52 'Allied' divisions available for the summer's task-27 Romanian, 13 Hungarian, 9 Italian, 2 Slovak and one Spanish", and I have nothing against that. However, the conclusion (made by Lt.Specht, if I am not wrong) that "leaders of the German High Command, considered the Spanish Blue Division to be an "Allied Division", in the same context of Romanian, Hungarian, etc. divisions" is an interpretation of the Shirer's own words, and it was attributed to the German High Command mistakenly. In addition, Shirer doesn't say directly that the Blue division was a separate belligerent. By contrast, my sources directly state that this division was a formal part of Wehrmacht. Anyway per WP:BURDEN, The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material, and the source provided by you does not fully support your edit, whereas my two sources (and I can provide more) tell directly opposite. Romanian of Hungarian divisions were not an official part of Wehrmacht, they had separate uniform, separate command and didn't have to take the standard personal oath to Hitler. And that is quite sufficient to consider them belligerents, by contrast to Spaniards.
I propose to close the discussion. You already violated WP:3RR rule, you committed personal attacks and your behaviour may be interpreted as uncivil. I already have enough material to report to ANI, but I have no intentions to do that because your behaviour seems to be a result of unawareness of some basic WP rules. I see you are quite prone to productive and constructive discussion, so I propose you to forget this incident. I believe you don't mind me to remove the Blue division from the article, and let's switch to something else. OK?--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:17, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

You seem to be an absolutely honest opponent who wants to establish truth, not to win a dispute at all cost. I respect you and your principles. In connection to that, I would like you to know that I also is interested in finding truth, not to win. As a rule, when I do a search I try to find sources supporting all points of view. If I find any sources that support your statement I'll inform you about that.
However, I sincerely cannot understand why you don't understand my point. The Shirer's fragment you quoted allows ambiguous interpretation: these words might reflect not a status of the Blue division, but its origin. Yes, this division was composed of the Spaniards, and Franco had probably some authority over them, because in 1943 he revoked the Blue division from the Eastern front, however, this doesn't mean he maintained a generel control over the diivision. If I am not wrong, the withdrawal was done at Hitler-Franco's level, not by giving an order directly to the Division's commander. By contrast to the Norwegian Quisling government, that was established as a result of German conquest, Spain was not under German control, and Hitler let the Spaniards go simply because he wanted to maintain good relations with Franco. Anyway, I see no other examples of Franco's control over the Blue division.
By contrast, according to my sources, starting from 1941 till 1943 this division was a regular Wehrmacht division, and its personnel wore German uniform, and took "the standard personal oath to Hitler, under whose authority they were to be fighting". The latter fact seems to be especially important, because after taking the personal oath to Hitler they became a regular Wehrmacht solders. Note, it is not my conclusion, this was what my sources state directly and explicitly. Frankly, I believe, in that situation (one ambiguous source on one side, and two clear and unequivocal sources on the another) the Blue division should be removed without doubts. I removed the Blue division for a while because present evidentiary base suggests that is was not a separate belligerent. However, I am ready to discuss your new arguments and, if they will be strong enough, I will support incorporation of the Blue division into the Belligerent section.
(However, the best way to do that would be to discuss the question on the talk page, and only after a consensus is achieved to introduce the Blue division into the article. That would be what WP:BRD recommends.)
I admit I probably made some "rhetoric statements" in the beginning of our discussion because I didn't consider you a serious opponent. However, starting from the middle of the discussion there were no rhetorics in my posts, I believe. Concretely, the last post contains only facts and sources, and I expect you to explain me why do you still disagree with me. Please, tell me what concretely is wrong in my rationale, because "I still strongly disagree with you in this dispute" needs in some detalisation.
PS. Re: "I came here to share things I believe right, rather than to make a "friend" at the expense of my belief". WP is not a facebook, and, therefore, is not the best place for looking for friends. It would be better if we remain opponents who respects each other's point of view, and who accepts the other's point of view when he has no more arguments.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:28, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
PPS. I probably agree that we have to look at Croatia again. Maybe, the ground is insufficient to consider it a belligerent. I'll try to find more sources on that account.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:33, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

One more source on the Blue Division: North to Russia: The Spanish Blue Division in World War II Author(s): Gerald R. Kleinfeld and Lewis A. Tambs Source: Military Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Feb., 1973), pp. 8-13. The source states that, as I already proposed, the withdrawal of the Blue division was done via careful negotiations between Franco and Hitler, and the order to withdraw was passed to Gen. Infantes by the Supreme Commander of the Army Group North. That confirms that Franco had no direct control of the Blue division.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:06, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Belarussian Central Rada

The source supporting incorporation of Rada as a separate belligerent states:

"The Belarusian National Council organized and fielded the Belarusian Home Defense Corps (BKA) c. 60,000 men, it engaged in anti-Soviet Partisan activities and the establishment and expanding ring of fortified villages around Smalensk, which was done in other areas. The Belarusian Government-in-Exile also helped formed the 30th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Belarussian), Astroŭski persuaded Heinrich Himmler to place the Belarusian forces under Belarusian command. Astroǔski had set up an officers' school and issued uniforms with the "Waffen Sturm-brigade Belarus" designation. Orders were issued for Belarusian forces to be absorbed by Andrey Vlasov's Russian Liberation Army, but these order were not carried out. The famous Czorny Kot (Black Cat) Commando unit engaged in anti-Soviet guerrilla operations in Soviet occupied Belarus, it was formed in part by Astroǔski, and was airdropped behind enemy lines after a graduation parade in front of him."

It is not clear from the source, however, what was the status of the Belarusian National Council. According to my knowledge, Belorussian SSR was the occupied territory and the "National Council" was established there by German occupation authorities and was just a collaborationist government under strict German control. In that sense, it had even less autonomy than Quisling's Norway did. No one, however, lists Quisling's Norway as a separate belligerent.

In connection to that, I expect someone to present an evidence that the Belarusian National Council was more than a nominal state or a collaborationist government (e.g. that it was a puppet state of Slovakian or Croatian type). Frankly, I don't believe it is possible because I failed to find anything. If no sources will be presented in a couple of days, I'll delete Rada from the list.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:11, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree overall with much you are saying. The premise of the argument, however, is if Rada meets the same standards of other Allied "belligerents" which are currently in the article. The Polish Committee of National Liberation was established by Soviet authorities, which was also under strict Soviet control, and was little more than a propaganda tool by the Soviets. Is this not very comparable to Rada? The fact that the Committee would later evolve into the Provisional Government of the Republic of Poland, and much later that would transform into the People's Republic of Poland is not really that relevant, as this article deals with the Eastern Front and its time period. Both of those two were mere Soviet puppets in the same sense. The same basis of this argument can be applied to both the Polish Underground State, and the Czechoslovak Republic (which did not even exist during the war). I feel that the solution to this dispute is to revert back to how the old battlebox was, before the "belligerents" which I have mentioned were not in the battlebox, but were listed in the bottom Soviet Union notes; somehow they were "promoted" to the battlebox within the last year or so. Germany's notes list the Russian Liberation Army and Blue Division which seems appropriate, Rada could be listed there as well. Proposed changes to the right. Lt.Specht (talk) 03:30, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Eastern Front (World War II)/Archive 7
Location {{{place}}}

Soviet Union Soviet Union[1]
Romania Romania (from 1944)

Bulgaria (from 1944)
Finland Finland (from 1944)

Nazi Germany Germany[2]

Romania Romania (to 1944)
Finland Finland (to 1944)
Kingdom of Italy Italy (to 1943)
Italian Social Republic Italian Social Republic (from 1943)
Hungary Hungary
Croatia Independent State of Croatia[3]
Slovakia Slovakia
Bulgaria Bulgaria (September 5-8, 1944)
In general, your point is clear and non-controversial. However, we have to check if we took everything into account. I'll try to look in history to find who added those belligerents and which arguments and sources were used as a support for that. If the arguments are not strong enough (and if I don't find any additional sources) I will support removal of these belligerents.
Anyway, Rada should be removed anyway, what I do right now.
In addition, Tuva and Mongolia should be added as Allied belligerents (I have several sources sating that those two countries were independent states, although strongly dominated by the USSR. In other words, the relations were similar to those between Germany and, e.g. Slovakia.
We also have to check if Croatia officially declared a war on the USSR. I have a feeling that it didn't (although I am not sure)--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:04, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

German casualties according to Overmans

We have to read and cite Overmans correctly if we use his statistical analysis (which is being disputed). I have corrected the table: Overmans p. 265: "nearly 4 million dead including died POWs". -- p. 272 (and p. 336): Up to 31/12/1944 1,401,462 KIA and 1,135,414 MIA (although having done a mere statistical analysis, a projection using some 7,000 samples from the card index of the Wehrmachtauskunststelle (WAst), he usually gives very exact figures up to the last digit!). For 1945, he has only one category "Endkaempfe" -- final battles in Germany --, not differentiating anymore between single theatres; this category is introduced p. 174. Dead in "final battles" are 1,230,000. On p. 265 Overmans assumes that out of these 1,230,000 two-thirds should be attributed to Eastern Front, that is 800,000, about 400,000 known KIA and another 400,000 MIA -- makes a total of ca. 3.563.000 for Eastern Front. Now, this contains dead from all causes: KIA, MIA, accidents, disease, shot by trial, and of course POWs died in captivity. For the last category Overmans has initially "only" 363,000 deaths (according to his analysis based on the card index), although it is widely known that more German POWs died in Soviet captivity. On pp. 288-289 he states that it is plausible that out of the ca. 1,536,000 he has found for MIA on the Eastern Front 1941-1945 one half each are further KIA and further died in POW. By this suggestion he has nearly 1,100,000 died POWs (363,000 + 700,000). And this figure fits very well to that one assessed by the "Maschke commission" (which had used a different approach some years earlier): 1.094.000 dead POWs. --Akribes (talk) 10:32, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Spannish Blue division, again.

A user Vulturedroid insists on addition of Spain (or Spannish Blue division) as a separate Eastern Front's belligerent. His sole argument is the statement made by the American journalist William Shirer in his brilliant but somewhat obsolete book ("The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich"). This statement is: "So successful were he and Keitel with all the satellites that the German High Command calculated it would have 52 "Allied" divisions available for the summer's task--27 Romania, 13 Hungarian, 9 Italian, 2 Slovak and one Spanish." Since Romania, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia were German allies, Vulturedroid concluded that Spain has to be considered a German ally too.
Had this source been the only source available on the subject, I would have no objections to include Spain into the belligerents list. However, other sources and other circumstances exist that do not support such a conclusion.
First, the Shirer's book is old, Shirer was a Hitler's contemporary, and the book is based only on the information available in 1940s-50s.
Second, this book is about Nazi Germany in general, not about Spain. According to WP:V "The appropriateness of any source depends on the context. In general, the best sources have a professional structure in place for checking or analyzing facts, legal issues, evidence, and arguments. As a rule of thumb, the greater the degree of scrutiny given to these issues, the more reliable the source." In other words, the articles specifically devoted to some subject are preferable over general books.
What do specialized articles say about the Blue division? Arnold Krammer (Spanish Volunteers against Bolshevism: The Blue Division. Russian Review, Vol. 32, No. 4 (Oct., 1973), pp. 388-402) says that the Spaniards were dressed in regulation German Army uniforms and, " following their absorption into the Wehrmacht, the volunteers were required to take the standard personal oath to Hitler, under whose authority they were to be fighting." AFAIK, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian and Slovakian armies were dressed in their own uniform, their personnel did not take the standard personal oath to Hitler, and no sources state these troops were absorbed in German Army. So called "Spannish Blue division" in actuality was a 250th Infanterie-Division of German Army. Therefore, neither this division alone, nor Spain as whole cannot be considered an Eastern Front belligerent.
Maybe, Franco retained some degree of control over this division, similar to what Antonescu or Mussolini did with regards to their troops? No. Blue Division's withdrawal in 1943 started as a result of delicate negotiations between Franco and Hitler, and the order to withdraw was passed to the Division's commander by the Supreme Commander of the Army Group North, not by Franco. No other facts exist that Franco had a direct control over his division. (Source: North to Russia: The Spanish Blue Division in World War II. Author(s): Gerald R. Kleinfeld and Lewis A. Tambs. Military Affairs, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Feb., 1973), pp. 8-13).
The above sources, dealing with the Blue division specifically, do not support a conclusion that the Blue division was a separate belligerent either formally or de facto. Therefore, the Blue division cannot be included in the belligerent's list unless new strong evidences supporting such a statement are provided.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:51, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

(the following words are against PoVs of user Vulturedroid, which have been deleted by himself)Vulturedroid (talk) 12:10, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

I'd suggest that you read more widely than just The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, which is only one of thousands of books which cover the fighting on the Eastern Front and is now regarded as outdated and inaccurate (see, for example, Richard E. Evans' introduction to his The Coming of the Third Reich for a discussion of it's shortcomings). The Oxford Companion to the Second World War describes Spain as 'neutral' throughout the conflict and the Blue Division as a 'volunteer' force under German control. While Franco was very sympathetic to the Nazis and permitted (encouraged?) volunteers to serve with the German armed forces on the condition that they fought on the Eastern Front, Spain wasn't a belligerent in the war on the Eastern Front in a meaningful sense. By the way, I'd encourage you to keep the length of your posts down (see WP:TLDR) and focus on discussing the issue, not other editors - I didn't read your above post in any detail due to its length and I doubt that anyone else will. Nick-D (talk) 21:43, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Nick-D, the oath of allegiance to Hitler and the German authority over the members of Blue Division, conclusively prove that they were legally separate from the forces of the Spanish state and hence Spain was not a belligerent during WWII. Vulturedroid believes the Shirer statement that he's quoted a number of times proves otherwise, when it actually just lists the non-German divisions in the theater, and, most importantly, does not directly address belligerency at all.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 22:21, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Please note that I've posted at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history inviting editors to join the discussions on this page. Seeking other editors' views using means such as this is, of course, part of the standard conflict resolution process. Again, please stop focusing on individual editors. Nick-D (talk) 02:34, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
Dear Nick-D, I believe Vulturedroid is focused not on me but on my POV. He uses my name just as a reference on my POV.
Dear Vulturedroid. I think you miss that Shirer's statement can be understood in a different way. As Sturmvogel 66 correctly pointed out, that could be just a list of non-German divisions.--Paul Siebert (talk) 03:27, 22 November 2009 (UTC)
PS. Re: "This argument repeats editor Paul Siebert's PoVs" Incorrect. These two editors not repeated my POV but supported it with new arguments. Of course, WP is not a democracy, so not a number of editors matters but their arguments, however, you addressed none of these new arguments (and I wouldn't say my arguments have been "counterproved" by you).--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:27, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. He's right, lengthy, so he doesn't need to see what he objects. Being always right, why bother?

321, congratulations. My words deleted so no lengthy. Spain not listed. I give up for good.

Vulturedroid (talk) 11:55, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

Re: "he doesn't need to see what he objects". Incorrect. I read everything you wrote, and I agree that the belligerence of Croatia should be discussed again, because, maybe, there is no sufficient ground to speak about it as a Eastern Front belligerent. However your other arguments are not convincing enough, and that fact, not that your posts were lengthy, or that you were not supported by other editors, is your main problem.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:19, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

"Central Europe" as part of the Front

Whoever replaced the location from "Central and Eastern Europe" to "Eastern Europe" needs to check their facts. Referring to the UNSD classification is a sure sign of bias as it's a perfectly fine statistical classification, but not applicable in either a historical or socio-cultural context. The region from Estonia to Slovenia is called "Central Europe", live with it. Excuse me, Paul Siebert. Gregorik (talk) 23:37, 6 December 2009 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) According to the United Nations Statistics Division Europe is divided onto Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern parts. No Central Europe exists in this classification. By contrast to these four strictly defined regions, Central Europe is vaguely defined territory. Moreover, strictly defined category, Eastern Europe appeared to be combined with vague "Central Europe". Northern Europe appeared to be omitted, Southern Europe (Belgrade) is omitted, whereas some countries were counted twice: for instance, Slovakia is a part of both "central" and Eastern Europe. That is inaccurate and senseless.

Europe subregion map UN geoscheme.svg

With regards precise geography, Eastern front events took place in Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine, etc), Northern Europe (Baltics, Finland, etc) Southern Europe (Yugoslavia) and Western Europe (Austria, Germany).--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:17, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
PS "is a sure sign of bias as it's a perfectly fine" If it can be called a bias, than it is a bias towards accuracy: removal of vague terms (that probably please someone's ear) and replacement them with strict geographical definitions.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:16, 7 December 2009 (UTC) PPS. In addition to vagueness, "Central and Eastern Europe" narrows the actual scope of the conflict. Since a major part of Europe (including Western, Austria, and Southern, Yugoslavia, Europe) were affected, the most correct word should be just "Europe".--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:24, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. While most people think of the "Eastern Front" as fighing in Stalingrad and Moscow and even less, Kursk. The reality is that the Eastern Front took place in Central and even southern Europe as well.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 01:34, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Casualty Section

Someone has made a truly great work with editing the casualty section, but some of the fiures do not add up, and without explanation (concerning Soviet Military casualties). What is the reason?

The person who has made this change, could he or she please also take a look at the article German casualties in World War II? EriFr (talk) 19:59, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

As for me, I had made some precision concerning German casualties, will try to do so with the other article--Akribes (talk) 10:49, 15 December 2009 (UTC)
As I understand from the figures, Kirosheev is quoted as a source for "Total dead" but Erlikhman for "KIA / MIA / Non-combat" and "POWs that died in captivity". What is the reason behind this solution? EriFr (talk) 22:51, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Krivosheev's study is devoted to Soviet military losses, whereas Erlikhman deals with total losses. Accordingly, Krivosheev should me used for KIA/WIA/MIA, whereas Erlikhman for total population losses. With regards to POW died in captivity, a disagreement exist among scholars who should be considered POW and how were just captured civilians.--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:10, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Allright, so the figure concerning POW dead is partially quoted from Erlikhman? Does not Kirosheev give any estimates on this figure?
Actually, I suspect that it is simply the choice of categories in this article that creates a problem, since Total dead is better explained in the article World War II casualties of the Soviet Union. Here, I find it hard to see how the number of Total dead is broken down in categories. If you remove KIA/MIA/Non Combat from Total dead, you will have a number of 804,533 (POW dead in captivity), but who supports a figure close to this number? EriFr (talk) 11:46, 8 December 2009 (UTC)
If you use Overmans estimated for German POWs killed which is that he includes figures which he believes were shot whilst surrendering then you must do the exact same for the soviet side and that figure is about 5 million Soviet POWs shot either in captivity or whilst surrendering, you can not have on side confirmed POWs killed vs estimated killed whilst surrenderingGainswings11 (talk) 02:00, 9 January 2010 (UTC)


This article needs a lot more references before it can pass GA or even B-class. There needs to be at least one citation per paragraph.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 03:35, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Can you at least atart the review page though?--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 03:39, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

The war was fought between the German Reich, its allies, and many pro-Nazi volunteers from occupied states, against the Soviet Union, and eventually its allies of the British Commonwealth...

This article's statement is not accurate. First, "many pro-Nazi volunteers from occupied states" is an exaggeration if we compare the number of WaffenSS troops with other Wehrmacht troops and with the Red Army. Second, these volunteers were not separate belligerents. Third, it is not clear for me how did "the British Commonwealth, France, and the United States" participate in the Eastern front hostilities if no British or American troops were there and the only French unit was "Normandy-Neman". This statement contradicts to the info box. I changed it to fix all inaccuracies.--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:11, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

Offensive at Estonia: casualities

The source for Red Army casualities during Estonia Offensive don't seem reliable. I'd rather not include these numbers in article as questionable. Olvegg (talk) 01:47, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Vichy Forces

I see that the Spanish Blue Division is mentioned in the article, so I was wondering, why not the Legion of French Volunteers Against Bolshevism? Sure they didn't have the same illustrious career as their Spanish counterparts, but they were still a sizable contingent of forces sent to fight on the Eastern Front by a non-belligerent. SpudHawg948 (talk) 09:11, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Lead image

I appreciate that the current lead image is somewhat iconic, but it is non-free, and its iconic status does not mean that it can bypass the non-free content criteria. I suppose there is a valid case for including this image in the article (as I would imagine that it would be worth discussing it at some point) but I do feel the lead image should be a free one, if possible. Anyone else got a thought on this? J Milburn (talk) 22:19, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

From memory, the image is also believed to be a posed reentaction. Nick-D (talk) 01:54, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately, most Eastern front photos are non-free according to present-days Russian copyright law. I doubt if it is possible to find equivalent picture in German archive. WP policy does not separate lede section from a main article. Since no free equivalent is available (another photo of the same event, made by Grebnev [2] is in Russian archive now and is also copyrighted), and because the picture appears in the article namespace the use of this image in the lede fits criteria 1 (No free equivalent) and 9 (Restrictions on location). Therefore, I believe placement of this image in the lede meets non-free content criteria.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:14, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The infobox image represents the Eastern Front as a whole- there could be free images illustrating the Eastern Front (even if it is just a map, which is fairly common in milhist articles, as I'm sure you know) and so it is replaceable in that role. If the image was used elsewhere in the article to illustrate that particularly picture (is there perhaps a place for a discussion of it?) then this would be a completely different issue. J Milburn (talk) 11:18, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, but removal of the image under a pretext that is non-free does not follows from non-free content criteria: if the image can be included into the article, it equally can be included into the lede section. With regards to the image's replaceability, theoretically, any image could be replaced (with either another picture or a verbal description). However, it is hard to find a picture that would summarize the Eastern Front article better that the Khaldei's or Grebnev's photographs. The only equivalent would be the animated map similar to Second world war europe animation small.gif, however this gif needs in a serious work before it can be added.
One way or the another, I revert your edit for following reasons:
Firstly, the non-free content criteria do not prohibit non-free photos to be in the infobox (the rules apply no specific limitation on infoboxes), so your reference to these rules was not justified;
Secondly, it is hard to find a picture that would summarize the EF's outcome better that the Khaldei's photo does (your words that it is possible are not supported with any evidence);
Thirdly, you proposed to replace the photo, but in actuality you just removed it without providing any free equivalent.
I restored the image. If you want to replace it with some free equivalent, please, let's discuss what concrete image do you mean, and only after consensus is achieved can we do a replacement.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:26, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Erm, sorry, this isn't how it works. The image is replaceable. This means it should not be used, regardless of whether I or anyone else has replaced it. You accept the fact that it is replaceable- you said above that that map image could be modified to be appropriate, and our non-free content criteria are quite clear. I'm aware that there is no ban on non-free content in the lead, but that doesn't actually have anything to do with this discussion. I have chosen not to replace it as I do not know enough about the subject, and no image is better than an inappropriately used non-free image. This isn't a matter of "we'll use a non-free one for now". J Milburn (talk) 17:43, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
In actuality, any image is either replaceable or removable: removal of any image from WP will have no absolutely detrimental effect on an article. However, formal application of such a conclusion would mean that no non-free images can be used in WP at all (which is an obvious nonsense). Obviously this kind of wikilawyering| leads us into an impasse, therefore, something is wrong in your arguments.
The fact that some other image theoretically can be used instead of the Khaldei's photo doesn't mean per se that use of this image in an infobox a violation of non-free content criteria. The rules are violated only when some good free equivalent has been found and the fact that it is a good equivalent is recognized by all parties. I see no reason to continue this discussion until you proposed any concrete substituent.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 18:04, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The NFCC are quite clear that non-free content should be removed if it is replaceable, not if it is replaced. Free images exist or could be created that illustrate the Eastern Front in general terms, and so these should be used in the infobox. Again, to compare to biographies, we do not use non-free images of living people until we find a free image- we remove them, as a free image could be created. This is getting somewhat tedious now. It would be in everyone's best interests if you or someone familiar with the article could add a useful free image to the lead, rather than having the article sit there without a lead image or with a misrepresentative one. J Milburn (talk) 00:09, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
J Milburn asked me to take a look at this case. I have to say that I agree with him. This infobox image is only being used to illustrate and is not being used to significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic. This does not mean that the image has no place within the article; in fact, if it is an iconic image, it almost certainly does. But a better place for that would be in the "End of War: April–May 1945" section, or thereabouts. The infobox image should be one that can act as an image to summarize or represent the entire article. NW (Talk) 00:30, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
The use of the image elsewhere in the article is another issue entirely- I agree there is potentially a place for it, but certainly not one by default. J Milburn (talk) 00:41, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Firstly, your arguments are a result of poor understanding of what policy says. It tells about a free equivalent, not an adequate substitute. For example, a free map can be a substitute for a non-free image, but it is not an equivalent. What is an equivalent of the photo? Only another photograph, or picture showing the same event. If such a picture exists, we cannot use a non-free photo, however, if such a picture is not available we can use a non-free photo.. A fact that this photo can be replaced with a map, a photo of another event, of with a verbal description of the same event has no relation to what the policy says. Strictly speaking, everything can be replaced, so it is not an argument.
Secondly, the policy do not apply any specific limitation on the location of non-free images in the article. If this image can be in the article (and you, J Milburn and I agree that it can), it can be anywhere (including the infobox).
Thirdly, with regards to "significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic", this your argument is universal, however, it can be applied to almost everything. Photos, as a rule, do not increase readers' understanding of the topic considerably, so no non-free imaged are absolutely required in WP. However, I probably see no other images that increase readers' understanding of the topic more significantly than the picture of a Soviet solder with the red flag over Reichstag: this is a concise summary of the whole military conflict.
I re-introduce the image, and I propose you to reach a consensus before attempting to remove it again.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:14, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
What you say is generally accurate, but you are missing a key point or two. In response to your first argument, we are talking about replacing the image with another image that serves the same purpose- the purpose of the image in the infobox, by definition, is to represent the battle. This image could easily be replaced by a free image that equally represents the battle. By comparison, the image in the infobox of (say) American Gothic could not be replaced by a free image that equally represents the painting.
Regarding your second point, no, I am not saying that an image cannot be used in the lead because it is non-free- again, see the above example. I am just saying this one cannot be used in the lead in this article because the lead image represents the battle as a whole, and so, in that context, the image is replaceable. This ties again to my example of the "image of the politician" versus the "image of the politician making a speech". Yes, the image of the politician making the speech is irreplaceable, but no, it could not be used in the politician's infobox, as, in that context, it could be replaced by a free image of the politician at any event, at any time.
I don't really have anything to say in response to your third point- you know as well as I do that that argument is useless. Continuing to make it is really not doing you any favours. There are plenty of images that significantly increase reader understanding of the topic. The best example of this is probably modern artwork.
As to your final point, we do not need to reach a consensus to remove a non-free image. We have to reach a consensus to use it. See the non-free content criteria, and note the section on the burden of proof. However, this issue is besides the point in this case, as the page is now protected. J Milburn (talk) 01:31, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Staggering example of process wonkery run amok. A completely irreplaceable and iconic image, distilling the single largest front in any war, ever, into a single photo...and you're going to spit NFCC and demand it be removed? Are you honestly going to sit there and tell me that the article or the encyclopedia is better off without this picture? Or that the anonymous Soviet photographer is going to be harmed by it being included in the article? Maybe User:J_Milburn should convince the Russians should do a do-over, bomb Berlin to rubble again, and climb the Reichstag again, since it's "clearly" replaceable? I call for consensus. Sorry for my stridency, but insanity like this is why people laugh at Wikipedia... Bullzeye contribs 01:48, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

This entire discussion is moot. J Milburn's original post here states "its iconic status does not mean that it can bypass the non-free content criteria." It actually does. See WP:NFCI #8. The image qualifies for fair use. Period. Lara 01:54, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me the image is clearly irreplaceable, in no way harms the photographer, and is historical/iconic. NativeForeigner Talk/Contribs 02:05, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Re: "This image could easily be replaced by a free image that equally represents the battle." Yes, however, you must realize that it is a content dispute, and non-free content criteria policy has no relation to that, and, therefore, the image has been deleted for a wrong reason.
Re: "we do not need to reach a consensus to remove a non-free image. We have to reach a consensus to use it. " No. The rules are set by WP policy, so there is no difference between free and non-free images if both of them do not violate rules. What is really consensus is needed for is a change of a stable version. You changed a stable version citing a wrong reason, and I expect you to restore it while a new consensus is being achieved.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:06, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Just out of curiosity...J. Milburn, did you even think to inform the relevant Wiki-Project (in this case, WikiProject Military History) per official policy and common courtesy before you refused to allow the image to be returned, citing lack of consensus? Since you neglected to take this step before starting an edit war that required a full protection of the article, I've gone ahead and done so. In the future, before you announce a lack of consensus and swing the hammer, you might try the same. Bullzeye contribs 02:10, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
More on that[3]--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:15, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for cross-posting, Paul Siebert. Bullzeye contribs 02:20, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Well, this thread has decended into madness. I will reply to each of you in turn. Bullzeye, post one, I have demanded a non-free image is removed because in the context it is used it is replaceable. I do feel the image has a place elsewhere, I am not demanding it is removed from the encyclopedia. Your next point is unimportant. The image is non-free, and so its use will have to meet our non-free content criteria, regardless of whether you like the image or think it should be free or whatever. Lara, post 1. You cited a guideline listing possibly valid non-free images; the fact something appears on that list does not mean the NFCC do not apply to it. You know better than this, I'm actually a little alarmed. Have you even read this discussion? Native, post 1. Read the discussion. It is replaceable in the context in which it is used, and the "harming of the photographer" has nothing to do with anything. Paul, post 1. This is a content dispute, and so the NFCC have no baring? What? This is an image being removed because its use does not meet the NFCC, and you feeling that the use does meet the NFCC. I'm not even clear what your second point means, but it seems you're just dropping into meta-discussion. Let's stay on topic, shall we? Bullzeye, post 2. No, I didn't. I assumed people would be watching the talk page; this is a fairly simple issue, I didn't expect it to drop to this madness. Paul, post 2. I hate to say it, but straw man. No one is saying you can't use non-free images in infoboxes. Let's stick to the issue at hand, shall we? J Milburn (talk) 02:32, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

For what it's worth (probably not a lot), I think that image has every right to stay in the article. It's educational, compliments the accompanying information, is irreplaceable, as Bullzeye outlined, and does no harm to the photographer. While I'm generally opposed to the inclusion of excessive fair use images, this strikes me as an obvious and clear-cut case. –Juliancolton | Talk 02:36, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Can we all please end this? I want to edit this article and I can't until consensus has been reached.--Coldplay Expért Let's talk 02:39, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Julian, there perhaps is a place for the image in the article. That's another issue entirely. J Milburn (talk) 02:41, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I believe, as per WP:NFCC criteria 1 and 9, that this image has good grounds to stay in the lead section of this article. I believe that removing it is unwarranted. Buckshot06 (talk) 03:45, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Re: "I hate to say it, but straw man. No one is saying you can't use non-free images in infoboxes." Lte me compare these your words with your own earlier statement:
"it is non-free, and its iconic status does not mean that it can bypass the non-free content criteria. I suppose there is a valid case for including this image in the article (as I would imagine that it would be worth discussing it at some point) but I do feel the lead image should be a free one" Please, explain how could it be understood in a different way.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:25, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Paul, I said this image should not be used in the infobox. I did not say non-free images in infoboxes were banned. You are an intelligent person, you understand this distinction. Buckshot, I'm not quite sure what you are arguing there. Why do you feel that we have no free images/no free images could be created of the Eastern Front? J Milburn (talk) 12:13, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The non-free criteria are pretty explicit on this point. Is it a pretty well-known image? Yes. But that doesn't override this: can a free alternative be created? Yes, one can (a map). Simple.
It's interesting to see how many people from ##juliancolton have visited... —Ed (talkmajestic titan) 13:41, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Including yourself, Ed. NW was invited here by J Milburn. It was brought to my attention by Bullzeye who saw it on his watchlist. How'd you end up here? Regardless, a map does not convey the same information as that image. I believe Bullzeye is planning to write up a section to put the image into context, at which point, the issue should be resolved. Lara 20:21, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
It appears that I shouldn't have assumed a connection. I came here through Talk:World War II, which is on my watchlist; I haven't been on IRC in days. You're right that it does not convey the same information; a map would provide greater information for readers the article as a whole, and the Berlin image could appear in the appropriate section. —Ed (talkmajestic titan) 04:12, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I concur that a map would provide the same relevance to the article that the proposed non-free image provides. If your purpose is to show the outcome, that's already been replaced by text just below it; "Decisive Soviet victory". There's no justification for this image in the infobox, any more than File:WW2 Iwo Jima flag raising.jpg has justification for use in the infobox on Pacific War (which has a map instead). --Hammersoft (talk) 15:21, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
The image is iconic, but whether it merits the place in the infobox is a different matter. I came from WP:MILHIST talk. And in my defense, I've read the entire thread, and NFCC does place an emphasis on not harming the author for all works, especially if you read the justificaitons on image pages. NativeForeigner Talk/Contribs 23:50, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I would generally agree with this post. However, the fact we have a particular concern when copyright holders may be negatively affected does not mean that the fact we believe the copyright holder will not be negatively affected is a valid argument in favour of using non-free content how we wish. The criteria must still be respected. J Milburn (talk) 23:55, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
With this specific image, it used to be PD and used to be one of our featured pictures on here and the Commons. It is just the reversal of copyright rules in Russia that brought it back to copyrighted status. I don't think the photographer will be impacted personally (I do not even know who owns specific copyright for that image anymore). Either having it in the lead or in the article does not matter according to NFCC. The only time the image will become an issue is if this article becomes FA and need an image for the main page. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 04:25, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but using it for a purpose for which a free image could be used is not acceptable. You know as well as I do that the fact an image could be used in a certain location does not mean that it can be used in said location for any purpose. You're kind of missing the point of the discussion here. J Milburn (talk) 10:49, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

I presented my arguments on the World War II talk page. I don't see why do we need to duplicate the discussion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 05:45, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
PS. I just remembered that an additional argument exists against the present image: this image seems not to meet a #3 NFCC criterion (minimal usage). In connection to that, I propose to replace it with the image File:Soviet flag on the Reichstag roof Khaldei.jpg. Resolution of this image has been reduced by me before uploading to comply with #3 NFCC criterion.--Paul Siebert (talk) 06:05, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Because they are discussions over completely different uses? The fact you feel they are the same discussion acutely shows your misunderstanding of the issues. J Milburn (talk) 10:51, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
In terms of scale and importance Eastern Front constitutes about 50% of whole WWII, so the same arguments seem to be equally applicable to both articles. Nevertheless, if you believe I misundestand something, please, explain.
Regards,--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:02, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
No, this issue has been explained enough. Please stop wasting our time by replacing one free image with another (especially when the other lacks even an attempt at a rationale) and replace it with a free image. I'm trying to give you a chance to replace it here, rather than just hitting the article with a hammer. It's not working well. J Milburn (talk) 14:47, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Who is eligible to make a decision on whether the issue has been explained enough? You stopped to provide new arguments during last several rounds of the discussion. Frankly, our positions can be summarised as follows: I insist that the issue should be analyzed based on if a free image can really be an equal substitute of the image you proposed to remove. You insist that it is "semantics" and maintain that the technical interpretation of Wikipedia:NFCC should override these considerations. Such a position resembles WP:wikilawyering and I believe it is not productive in that case.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:37, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Ok. I would put this simply. In an article on x, ideally, an image of x will be in the lead. And, ideally, this will be a free image. Only if a free image does not exist/cannot be created can a non-free image be used- this is entirely consistent with NFCC#1. This is how things generally work, I fail to see why this article should work any differently. So, let us apply this to this article. The article is on the Eastern Front in World War II, so an image of the Eastern Front in World War II should be used in the lead. Do we have free images, or could free images be created? Yes. Then a non-free image should not be used. Tell me what is wrong with this reasoning in a concise way, and I will respond. J Milburn (talk) 17:00, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I believe your explanation is almost correct, however, there is one detail in your interpretation that absolutely precludes the usage of non-free image in Wikipedia. A free image is always available (although it may be not as good as its non-free counterpart, or it may describe a somewhat different event, etc.), or, alternatively, a non-free image can always be replaced with a verbal description - and that will have no absolutely detrimental effect on a WP article. Therefore, the question should be re-formulated as follows:
"Only if an equally good free image does not exist/cannot be created can a non-free image be used"
btw, that is what the NFCC rules say:
"As a quick test, before adding non-free content requiring a rationale, ask yourself: "Can this non-free content be replaced by a free version that has the same effect?" and "Could the subject be adequately conveyed by text without using the non-free content at all?" If the answer to either is yes, the non-free content probably does not meet this criterion."
I believe, my interpretation of the NFCC rules is more adequate than yours, because your approach (if applied consistently) inevitably leads to absolute ban of non-free images from Wikipedia.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:46, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
PS. I see you reverted my attempt to replace the disputable image with a lower resolution image. You have to agree that my edit was aimed to partially resolve the issue (NFCC minimal usage criteria) and was independent from the present discussion. I admit that, for some technical reason I failed to update a fair use rationale for this image (that is quite easy fixable). However, your revert made WP more vulnerable towards potential lawsuits, so your edit fits a WP:POINT. Since it is not recommended to harm Wikipedia to demonstrate your point, so I ask you to self-revert your change.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:53, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

No, my approach does not lead to a removal of all non-free content. Reread the process I just talked you through. In many cases, that will lead to the use of non-free content. Look, if what you claim on your userpage is true, you're an intelligent person. I really don't see why you are ignoring the issue here, and consistently misinterpretting what is said. Yes, I reverted your change, and yes, I agree that your intention was to create some kind of compromise. That will not be necessary- we already have a compromise between including free content and not including it (our non-free content criteria). We do not need a second compromise between our non-free content criteria and your own brand of whatever your position actually is. My edit did nothing to do with lawsuits, drop the legalese, I don't care. I most certainly will not be reverting myself, though I will be considering blocking you if you continue to add non-free images to articles without adding rationales. You can moan about technicalities all you like, but you know damn well that that is not acceptable. J Milburn (talk) 21:10, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

I am not ignoring the issue: I am sincerely trying to understand your logic, however, I can't so far.
Re: "I will be considering blocking you if you continue to add non-free images to articles without adding rationales." It looks like a personal attack. As I already explained, after addition of the image I failed to update the image file because WP site becomes physically unavailable for me. After a couple of hours (during that time I was busy in my real life) I found that you reverted my edit. This is the only case when I failed to update an image fair use rationale, and it is quite insufficient to speak about any block.
I propose you to remember that you are intelligent person and, instead of throwing baseless accusation, to explain me how concretely did I misinterpret your words.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:51, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Reread the process I outlined in the post dated 17:00, 3 February 2010 (UTC), then reread your post following it. Your claim that this process will lead to the removal of all non-free content is clearly wrong; firstly, this talks only about images in leads, and secondly, it will lead to cases where non-free content is still appropriate in the lead. To use the same example as before, I fully support the use of the lead image in American Gothic. J Milburn (talk) 22:12, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Re: "To use the same example as before, I fully support the use of the lead image in American Gothic." Thank you for providing this example. I believe it will help us to undestand each other. I looked at this article, and, based on formal criteria, I don't see a formal reason why cannot be a free photo of a cottage be placed into ifobox instead of a non-free image of the iconic painting (and the painting moved into the main article). Formally it is possible, and this will not have any absolutely detrimental effect on the article. However, I do not propose to do that, because I am not familiar with the subject enough, and because I believe that formal criteria are not sufficient to make such a judgement (it is a general rule for WP as whole, btw). I believe, the situation with the Khaldei's photo is similar.
Please, tell me what concreely is wrong in my words.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 23:47, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Look again at the thought process I outlined above. The infobox image should be an image of American Gothic- clearly, this is not possible unless we use a non-free image there. By comparison, it is entirely possible to have a free image of the Eastern Front without using the one currently in place. J Milburn (talk) 00:14, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Not necessarily. As a devil's advocate I can argue that the cottage may also serve as a reasonable replacement whereas the painting itself can be moved into the main article, and formally you have nothing to contrapose. I fully realize that this my argument would violate a WP spirit, but such a stupid proposal is in accordance with the the literally understood policy. Do you understand this my point now?
One way or the another, this discussion is only of a theoretical value now. I proposed to replace this iconic image with a montage, and, if this proposal will be supported by other editors, I hope we will be able to move this image to the main article, so the infobox will be free of any non-free content.
If we will be able to create a good montage, the article as whole will benefit from that, so eventually our discussion may be beneficial for Wikipedia. Thank you for initiating it.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 19:40, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I can see the point you're trying to make, but I'm afraid you are wrong. Look again at the thought process I outlined above. A picture of a cottage is not a picture of AG. A free image of AG could not be created or found. Your proposal certainly is not "in accordance with the the literally understood policy". Please, go ahead and create such a montage- that's what I have been asking from the beginning. I have been asking for people with knowledge of the subject to create a suitable replacement. As for moving it to the body of the article... Well, that's another issue. If the capture and the photo are worth discussing in the article (again, you're the expert- is the picture really important enough to warrant discussion in an article like this?) then yes, absolutely, the photo would probably be a valuable addition. If it isn't, then you really have to ask yourself why you're fighting to hard to keep it. J Milburn (talk) 02:01, 5 February 2010 (UTC)