Wikipedia:Featured article review

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Reviewing featured articles

This page is for the review and improvement of featured articles that may no longer meet the featured article criteria. FAs are held to the current standards regardless of when they were promoted.

There are three requisite stages in the process, to which all users are welcome to contribute.

Raise issues at article Talk:

  • In this step, concerned editors attempt to directly resolve issues with the existing community of article editors, and to informally improve the article. Articles in this step are not listed on this page.

Featured article review (FAR)

  • In this step, possible improvements are discussed without declarations of "keep" or "delist". The aim is to improve articles rather than to demote them. Nominators must specify the featured article criteria that are at issue and should propose remedies. The ideal review would address the issues raised and close with no change in status.
  • Reviews can improve articles in various ways: articles may need updating, formatting, and general copyediting. More complex issues, such as a failure to meet current standards of prose, comprehensiveness, factual accuracy, and neutrality, may also be addressed.
  • The featured article removal coordinators—Nikkimaria, Casliber, and DrKay—determine either that there is consensus to close during this second stage, or that there is insufficient consensus to do so and so therefore the nomination should be moved to the third stage.

Featured article removal candidate (FARC)

  • An article is never listed as a removal candidate without first undergoing a review. In this third stage, participants may declare "keep" or "delist", supported by substantive comments, and further time is provided to overcome deficiencies.
  • Reviewers who declare "delist" should be prepared to return towards the end of the process to strike out their objections if they have been addressed.
  • The featured article removal coordinators determine whether there is consensus for a change in the status of a nomination, and close the listing accordingly.

Each stage typically lasts two to three weeks, or longer where changes are ongoing and it seems useful to continue the process. Nominations are moved from the review period to the removal list, unless it is very clear that editors feel the article is within criteria. Given that extensions are always granted on request, as long as the article is receiving attention, editors should not be alarmed by an article moving from review to the removal candidates' list.

To contact the FAR coordinators, please leave a message on the FAR talk page, or use the {{@FAR}} notification template elsewhere.

Older reviews are stored in the archive.

Table of Contents – This page: Purge cache, Checklinks, Check redirects, Dablinks

Featured content:

Today's featured article (TFA):

Featured article tools:

Nominating an article for FAR

The number of FARs that can be placed on the page is limited as follows:

  1. For articles on the Unreviewed Featured Articles list, no more than three nominations per week and twelve per month.
  2. For all other articles, one nomination at a time per nominator, unless permission for more is given by a FAR coordinator.

Nominators are strongly encouraged to assist in the process of improvement; they should not nominate articles that are featured on the main page (or have been featured there in the previous three days) and should avoid segmenting review pages. Three to six months is regarded as the minimum time between promotion and nomination here, unless there are extenuating circumstances such as a radical change in article content.

  1. Before nomination, raise issues at talk page of the article. Attempt to directly resolve issues with the existing community of article editors, and to informally improve the article. Articles in this step are not listed on this page.
  2. Place {{subst:FAR}} at the top of the talk page of the nominated article. Write "FAR listing" in the edit summary box. Click on "Publish changes".
  3. From the FAR template, click on the red "initiate the review" link. You will see pre-loaded information; please leave that text.
  4. Below the preloaded title, write which users and projects you'll notify (see step 6 below), and your reason(s) for nominating the article, specifying the FA criterion/criteria that are at issue, then click on "Publish changes".
  5. Click here, and place your nomination at the top of the list of nominated articles, {{Wikipedia:Featured article review/name of nominated article/archiveN}}, filling in the exact name of the nominated article and the archive number N. Click on "Publish changes".
  6. Notify relevant parties by adding {{subst:FARMessage|ArticleName|alt=FAR subpage}} ~~~~ (for example, {{subst:FARMessage|Superman|alt=Superman/archive1}} ~~~~) to relevant talk pages (insert article name). Relevant parties include main contributors to the article (identifiable through XTools), the editor who originally nominated the article for Featured Article status (identifiable through the Featured Article Candidate link in the Article Milestones), and any relevant WikiProjects (identifiable through the talk page banners, but there may be other Projects that should be notified). The message at the top of the FAR should indicate who you have notified.

Featured article reviews[edit]

Lead(II) nitrate[edit]

Notified: Wimvandorst, WikiProject Chemicals

I am nominating this featured article for review because it was recently shortened by someone qualified to do so, but hasn't been reviewed since the major changes. I am particularly concerned by the shortness of the lead, whether the shortened article is now comprehensive, and the prose structure of short, stubby paragraphs. DrKay (talk) 11:50, 26 October 2019 (UTC)

  • The call for review is appropriate: the vandalism to the article is very much. The primary problem pointed out (too short lede) is already addressed, since re-instating the original 2008 is still fully correct now. But other parts of the article have been butchered as well, with an overall undue shortness. I'll give it a copy-edit to re-instate the original text, incorporating the genuine additions/improvements by a few hundred editors in the last 11 years. Wim van Dorst (talk) 13:13, 26 October 2019 (UTC).
  • I'm just starting this review, but one of the questions I had was what language "plumb dulcis" is? I presume it's Latin, but the Classical Latin for "sweet lead" is "plumbum dulce". I know that seems somewhat minor, but it's what I picked up on. I'll see what else I can review at my earliest convenience. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 19:16, 26 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Some minor vandalism reverts were easy. However, the major change is by dr Gans, of UoLeeds who is certainly knowledgeable enough about the topic. I asked on his talk page to comment on his major wikipedia changes, and am awaiting elucidation. We can always boldly revert to the version of early September 2019, but I rather co-operate on improvement. Wim van Dorst (talk) 13:32, 27 October 2019 (UTC).
  • Although dr Gans is qualified as a inorganic chemist, the editing he does is merely deleting what he deems to be not pertaining to the primary content of the Lead(II) nitrate article. It means that information, targeted to non-scientifically trained readers, is deleted by him. My view is that this article should also cater to readers without a PhD in chemistry, and thus have more general information about aquaeous chemistry of the salt (which is special), and references to its historic use as pigments. How do other editors see this? Wim van Dorst (talk) 19:24, 3 November 2019 (UTC).

Featured article removal candidates[edit]

Place the most recent review at the top. If the nomination is just beginning, place under Featured Article Review, not here.

Donkey Kong (video game)[edit]

WP:URFA nomination. Notified: WikiProject Video games. Original nominator retired in 2008.

Review section[edit]

I am nominating this featured article for review because it has been over 10 years since its last review and there are concerns about its accuracy and comprehensiveness at Talk:Donkey Kong (video game)#FAR?. DrKay (talk) 15:23, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

  • Ref 5 (Chris Crawford) needs a page number.
  • Ref 6 (Space Panic) needs to be finished (author, accessdate, etc.)
  • Ref 9 (John Sellers) needs page numbers.
  • Ref 10 (De Maria) needs page numbers.
  • Ref 11 needs timestamps or other reference to indicate where in the film these points are stated.
  • Ref 13 (Sheri Graner) needs page numbers.
  • Refs 16 and 17 (Commerce Clearing and Game Developer Research) are incomplete.
  • Ref 18 has a {{page needed}} tag.
  • Ref 20 (Sheff) needs page numbers.
  • Ref 25 (Nikkei) is incomplete.
  • Refs 30 and 31 are unofficial YouTube uploads of commercials and thus not reputable.
  • Ref 66 is also a YouTube upload.
  • Ref 69 is incomplete.
  • And so on; I didn't pick through every source.
  • The four books cited at the bottom (Consalvo, Fox, Mingo, Schodt) are cited in the footnotes, but do not appear to be used in the article. Why are they here?
  • Under "Ports": the paragraph beginning "in 1983, Atari released several computer versions..." is unsourced, as is the one under it.
  • "Both Donkey Kong and its sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., are included in the 1988 NES compilation Donkey Kong Classics." -- unsourced
  • "Game Boy" header is unsourced.
  • "Licensing" is unsourced and still had a pothole to 1982 in video gaming, which is something I thought we stopped doing years ago.
  • "In popular culture" is very vague -- says various other sources have referenced the game but doesn't go into detail, and is also unsourced.

tl;dr: the article does need a massive overhaul. Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?) 21:52, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

John M Wolfson Just a basic run through the lead:

  • Donkey Kong is one of the most important games from the golden age of arcade video games as well as one of the most popular arcade games of all time. seems very PEACOCKy to me, even if it is TRUE (which I don't disbelieve). There should be something like "considered to be..." in there.
  • Although Nintendo's American staff was initially apprehensive, Donkey Kong succeeded commercially... Apprehensive about what? I presume about the release or the game in some fashion, but that should be made more explicit.
  • "licensed" is too common a word to be linked here, IMO, but one could perhaps make an argument to the contrary.
  • "(later Universal Studios)" is irrelevant and shouldn't be there.

I'm sure I'll come up with more throughout the body, but this does need some work. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 18:32, 15 October 2019 (UTC) EDIT: Additionally, originally named Mr. Video appears nowhere else in the article and is uncited. I'll have to look at more stuff later. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 18:38, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

FARC section[edit]

Issues raised in the review section include referencing and comprehensiveness. Nikkimaria (talk) 00:59, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

Third Servile War[edit]

Notified: WikiProject Classical Greece and Rome, WikiProject Military history

Review section[edit]

I am nominating this featured article for review because it relies almost exclusively on primary sources. Among the modern sources listed, we also have Smith (1875) and Mommsen (1854)... The only RS are Bradley, Broughton, Matyszak, and Strauss, but Broughton & Matyszak are only cited once, the latter is quoted through an interview. Only Bradley is cited 5 times. Other books cited in the modern sources section are just modern editions of ancient books.

Although there is some interesting ground work done on the primary sources, the massive lack of modern references on a widely discussed subject should be enough to remove the FA status of this article. T8612 (talk) 21:19, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

The article could certainly use more secondary sources for analysis of the war and its significance. However, there's nothing wrong with citing the basic facts of the war to the original historians who recorded them, since those are the only sources that modern historians have to draw on in the first place. And in an article discussing the details of a revolt and the campaign to quash it, you'd expect quite a high proportion of the facts to be cited to them. Much of the problem here lies in the lack of analysis, which may also be due to the lack of controversial statements about the basic facts of the war. If the sources generally agree on the facts, then the article is less likely to require interpretation.
The issue here isn't the number of citations to primary sources; it's the lack of critical discussion by modern writers. And for what it's worth, there's nothing wrong with the secondary sources that are currently cited. If you're going to contend, as above, that older but still modern writers are not reliable sources simply because they're older and interpretations of events could have changed, without any evidence that what they have to say on this subject is unreliable, then you may as well give up on ever finding a reliable source, because anything written today will be equally unreliable in the future! But that's a digression I'm sure neither of us want to pursue. By all means, find more modern sources that provide context and analysis. I just want to be clear that the sources that are currently cited in the article aren't the problem. It's the ones that could be included, and haven't been, for whatever reason. P Aculeius (talk) 00:03, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
I'm all in favour of including ancient sources, and I often do it, but not alone. Here we have many paragraphs supported by only one or two references to ancient sources, including Appian, who is widely known for his numerous mistakes. T8612 (talk) 17:39, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Then we're in agreement (not that I'm surprised). I hope we have someone in the project who's interested enough in the Third Servile War to find more contemporary sources to add to those we already have, and perhaps add to the analysis of the war, its conduct, and its social and historical significance! P Aculeius (talk) 01:15, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
It seems to me that there is a probable gap regarding 1c, "it is a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature", and possibly 1b, "it neglects no major facts or details". It seems likely that over the past 150 years or so there has been new relevant literature, which quite possibly raise new facts or details. As P Aculeius says "it's the lack of critical discussion by modern writers" which raises potential concerns. It would be interesting to know if there are more recent RSs and if they do raise new facts or details. Gog the Mild (talk) 15:42, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
The entire section "Motivation and leadership of the escaped slaves" does not cite a single modern source, apart from a 2min Youtube video of Barry Strauss, whose book is mentioned in the bibliography, but unfortunately not cited anywhere. Among missing sources, we have: Jean-Paul Brisson-Spartacus (1959), Allen Mason Ward-Crassus, (1976), Theresa Urbainczyk-Spartacus (2004) and Slave Revolts in Antiquity (2016), Rubinsohn "Was the Bellum Spartacium a Servile Insurrection?" (1976), Aldo Schiavone-Spartacus (2013), and many others. T8612 (talk) 18:23, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Well, anybody else? T8612 (talk) 23:53, 6 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree with this review. A very detailed article, but a topic as contentious as a rebellion cannot rely on primary sources so heavily. For an entire section to not cite a single(substantial)modern source does not seem like FA material to me. I'm confident however that this article can be relisted as FA in the future with the help of editors far more intelligent and knowledgeable than me. KeeperOfThePeace (talk) 14:11, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

FARC section[edit]

Comments in the review section largely concerned sourcing. Nikkimaria (talk) 16:08, 2 November 2019 (UTC)
  • Delist per the sourcing issues identified. Gog the Mild (talk) 16:25, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Moors murders[edit]

Notified: I think everyone involved is aware of this....

Review section[edit]

I am nominating this featured article for review because it is clear that concerted efforts are being made to degrade the article with the removal of sourced information. The recent removal of inverted commas also introduces plagiarised text into the article. Good faith attempts to sort perceived problems have been obstructed. SchroCat (talk) 09:05, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Moved to talk page. Victoria (tk)

Unverified passages[edit]

Okay there are numerous ways we can do this, the important thing is that on this page, people list in a neutral manner the issues that are outstanding. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:52, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

EEng: The ball is sort of in your court here. I can always copy over your diffs but I don't have the sources (and don't want to get capital letters involved) so I can't do much more than that. Vanamonde (Talk) 21:48, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

For convenience, below is a bulleted list of the tags I found in the most recently reverted of EEng's versions of the article. Please refer to the article history for the context of each disputed snippet. This does not include the other reverted changes of EEng which were more in the nature of copyedits rather than factual/sourcing disputes. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:32, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

Note: You may need to consult the context to understand the issue with the quoted text. Points 1-55 are by EEng, and all page refs are to the editions cited in the article's bibliography.
List moved to Talk:Moors murders 20:11, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

Moved to talk. Victoria (tk) 15:14, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

  • I'll help out as much as I'm able to satisfy any concerns that the article isn't up to standard. I've requested some of the books via ILL. I suspect most of the issues can be resolved by adding additional citations. As Eric pointed out, this was not as much of a focus 10 years ago when the article was promoted. --Laser brain (talk) 00:01, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
  • DCS Benfield's 1968 account of the case (Benfield, A. (April 1968). "The Moors Murders". Police Journal. 41 (4): 147–160. Retrieved 17 August 2019.) seems like it might be of some use in verifying some of the text currently attributed to Topping. Non-exhaustive examples: point 25 (the uniform comment) at 151; seems to clarify point 35 ("five days later") to mean the site was found and dug on 21 October, at 156; on point 37 (the officers' reasoning for continuing the search after Kilbride was found) it makes clear they were specifically concerned with Brady's boast of killing and burying "three or four", at 154. Triptothecottage (talk) 01:23, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
    Good work. After reading Benfield myself, however, I'm reminded that one of the problems we face is evaluating the reliability and appropriate use of the many tellings and retellings of this story -- official, legal, journalistic, novelistic, scholarly, popular, it just goes on and on. EEng 14:43, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
    Perhaps it would be better to use a secondary source that uses Benfield 1968 as a source, rather than use Benfield directly. For example, Cummins, et al. 2019 [1] uses Benfield in a couple chapters [2] [3], as does this paper. FWIW Harrison uses Benfield, the man, as a source. Levivich 17:26, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
    I thought that too, but in the limited time I had, finding direct verification of that problematic passages – which, to be blunt, are often about fairly trivial aspects of the case – was not easy. Sources like Topping and Benfield are by their nature going to be heavy on details which might be overlooked in a more theoretical text. I actually looked for Benfield after seeing him in Cummins' bibliography, which I was browsing through for any more recent minor works.
Worth noting that a fairly recent PhD thesis bemoans the lack of scholarly analysis and historiography on the case (although has any doctoral candidate not thus complained?) which underlines the difficulty of the task at hand here. Triptothecottage (talk) 00:58, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
fairly trivial aspects – I'll agree with that if we modify it to "relatively minor details". But this is supposed to be an FA, and we're supposed to sweat the details. As for dissertations, yes it's true: it's a rare dissertation that says, "My topic has been treated in comprehensive detail already". The dissertation's conclusions we'd have to use with great caution if at all, but we can certainly raid its bibliography. EEng 01:37, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
My thoughts exactly, on both counts. By "trivial" I mean it would be, in most cases, quite acceptable to not mention them at all if we can't be sure of their veracity. As for the thesis, it may be a moot point anyway unless you happen to know a friendly Manchester librarian. I know far too many English postgrads to be able to agree that kind of thesis is "rare", though. Triptothecottage (talk) 02:27, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

Concern about lead[edit]

The current version of the lead of the article gives no indication of why there might be any ongoing interest in this topic. I'm sure it was a sensational crime for its time, and in all the news media of the time, but that was over 50 years ago. Why do people today care about some mass-child-murder-and-abuse scandal from 50 years ago, which would barely be a one-day scandal by modern standards? Has the case had any lasting effect on society and the law? Was it some sort of high-watermark in the public visibility of awfulness from which we have only escalated? Why? Why should this be a topic on which we have such a long and detailed article, beyond the mere existence and documentation of these facts? That sort of evaluation is missing from the lead, and belongs there. —David Eppstein (talk) 16:26, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

So you think that the lead should explain to you why you might be interested in the violent deaths of five children? Don't you think that's a little absurd? Wasn't it Socrates who said when a student asked him what value it was to him to study geometry replied "Give him a penny"? Eric Corbett 17:08, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't think Socrates had pennies. In Greece they use Euros. EEng 19:11, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
David Eppstein's asking rhetorically. He knows the answer. But he's pointing out that the lead should give the reader, who doesn't know what he's about to read, some indication of the case's ongoing importance. EEng 17:17, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
I do think the lead should explain why we should care. WP:NOTNEWS and all that. Countless other mass murders have occurred before or since, without even being recorded here as articles; why should this one be featured? History should reflect on the present, neither merely being a dry recitation of facts nor being violence-porn for the readers who like to think about such things but not enact them. The article is missing that reflective aspect. —David Eppstein (talk) 17:23, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this is one of the things that struck me as soon as I started thumbing the sources: the article has almost nothing on the social and cultural impacts of the case (which were seismic -- as a friend pointed out, this was the UK's version of the Manson murders) how it fits into the understanding and typology of murder and serial killing, etc etc. Appropriate treatment of this will take a lot of work, because it will require going beyond book sources; that kind of stuff might only be in journals and such, and lacking book-length scholarly overview, it will be very hard to know how to find NPOV. EEng 17:17, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
(ec) I'm unsure when it was lost, but a phrase that appeared in the FA-promoted version of the lead was more impactful IMO (emphasis mine): "The murders, reported in almost every English-language newspaper in the world, were the result of what Malcolm MacCulloch..." --Laser brain (talk) 17:25, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this would have helped. Perhaps the comparison to the Manson case explains the reaction here. I think most informed Americans would agree that the Manson case was and still is highly significant, enough so that they might forget to explain why in an article about it and become bewildered when people from other parts of the world asked for an explanation of its ongoing significance. Perhaps the editors of this article have been similarly surrounded by the trees so long that, similarly, they forget to explain that they're in a forest. —David Eppstein (talk) 18:44, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
(responding to ping but I have no intention of getting involved in this; the article was only on my watchlist because I made a single one-line comment at the FAC a decade ago) As EEng says, with the arguable exception of Jack the Ripper (which realistically only retains its fame because the murders were unsolved), there's no other murder case in British history with a similar cultural, legal and even economic impact. It's hard to convey this in a style suitable for Wikipedia because it's so self-evident that the sources don't bother to explain it; fifty years after the murders and years after both Hindley and Brady's deaths, their mugshots are still two of the most recognisable images in British culture. Also in a parallel with the Manson case, the MMs were the first major capital case in a jurisdiction that had just suspended the death penalty, which led to more sustained media interest in the case than there had been for anything comparable, owing to both Brady and Hindley living for decades after the event and constant media updates about appeals, hunger strikes, the ethics of whole-life sentencing without the possibility of parole, and so on. (The pair were captured in October 1965 and the death penalty was abolished for murder in November; had the trial taken place sooner the pair would undoubtedly have been executed and would have drifted into obscurity to anyone other than true-crime aficionados.) ‑ Iridescent 19:31, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
it's so self-evident that the sources don't bother to explain it – I'd modify that to say it's so self-evident that most sources don't bother to explain it. But I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that there are numerous academic articles analyzing those impacts. EEng 20:43, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
Would you believe there's a book-length study published just this year? Cummins, Ian (2019). Serial killers and the media : the Moors murders legacy. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783030048754. Triptothecottage (talk) 06:09, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
David Eppstein, this 2002 Guardian article is worth reading: "Brady and Hindley were the first modern serial killers. Hindley was the first woman. She was as much part of the Sixties as the Beatles and the Pill. She was the end of innocence." SarahSV (talk) 20:11, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer, but I'm less interested in my own edification and more on article content. Can we maybe get some sense of this into the article itself? —David Eppstein (talk) 22:39, 15 August 2019 (UTC)

[Off-topic comments moved to talk]

David, the problem is that the editors most familiar with the topic, and most able to convey it, don't want to take part in this because of the personal attacks. It would be good to know from them which version in the article's history is the most reliable/compliant. This is the version that was promoted. It would be easy enough (for editors familiar with the issues) to take the best version and start updating and adding sources as needed. Pinging Casliber in case he has any ideas. SarahSV (talk) 01:54, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
SlimVirgin I don't see how it matters what their personal reasons are for not participating, nor for what historical processes might have led to the article being substandard by current standards of sourcing and explanation of its significance. What matters is whether the article can be brought up to standard. If the article is going to remain protected so that little or no concerted effort can be made to fix these issues, if the only people who care about the article enough to fix it refuse to participate in the process for whatever reason, or if participants continue personalizing critiques on the article as attacks on them and sidetracking these discussions from being productive, then the obvious alternative is to speedy-fail the FAR. It would be a shame to do so, because more articles that are genuinely FA are better than fewer, but it would not be in any sense a disaster, any more than the fact that most other Wikipedia articles are non-FA is a disaster. Do you have any suggestions for keeping the FAR process going and helping direct it towards a successful outcome? Apologizing to the tender feelings of certain editors for calling the perfection of their ten-year-old edits into question and calling the whole review off is not an option. Neither is what you suggest above, asking those same editors to choose an old perfect version of the article to go back to. There is no old perfect version. We should be asking here how the article can be improved, not looking for excuses to not improve it. —David Eppstein (talk) 22:30, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
Although referencing was not as assiduous, promoted versions can be good for prose, flow and comprehensiveness. I suggest folks keep an eye on both to ensure we end up with the best version. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 02:03, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
You're seriously proposing using a version from ten years ago as some kind of benchmark? There have been 3000 edits in the meantime, the word count has gone from 9000 to 10500, and the citation count has gone from 180 to 240 [4]; the 2009 version is completely defunct. We editors today can handle prose and flow ourselves, and as for comprehensiveness, as seen on this page the 2009 version was clearly not comprehensive. EEng 13:32, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
I think he meant that the 2009 version went through a serious vetting process, the most stringent we have on Wikipedia, and so it may be safe to assume the prose was at a professional standard at that time. --Laser brain (talk) 16:16, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
Thankfully, we don't have to assume anything, we can just read the 2009 version. Ignoring the red template errors and yellow harv errors (did those exist in 2009?), I can't help but notice that none of the BBC News citations are formatted correctly. They don't include the author's name, and the publisher is listed as "", which of course is the publisher's web address, not its name. Citation format is a simple stupid thing, but a serious vetting process, the most stringent we have on Wikipedia? Plus, there are the other issues that have been brought up here, on the article talk page, and also in the 2009 FAC (where's the "source check" section?). The lack of coverage of social/cultural impact was also pointed out in the 2009 FAC. The nom argued The murders had absolutely no influence on music or art. Other editors pointed to Myra (painting). The Moors Murderers, and elsewhere. Doesn't seem that their concerns were really addressed before promotion. Levivich 17:36, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
We didn't used to have source checks like we do today. There were incidents over time where editors were found to have plagiarized or misrepresented sources, so the community moved into more formalized processes for source spot-checks and other things. --Laser brain (talk) 20:39, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
I very much hope that's not you're suggesting that we did? Everything, absolutely everything in this article is verifiable, but the citation density may not match current expectations, agreed. Eric Corbett 20:46, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
Me? Not at all. I've said above that I think all of this can be addressed by adding some additional citations. I've yet to review very many of the prose changes. --Laser brain (talk) 21:46, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Additional sources[edit]

A bunch of sources which I feel an up-to-date FA on this subject might like to address:

  • Syme, Anthony (1966). Murder on the Moors. Sydney: Horwitz. – apparently rare outside Australia because it contains images that were at one point prohibited from publication under UK law. I could get access to this but would need several weeks' notice. Might not be worth the trouble. Note by EEng: There was a UK edition in 1966, yet almost no libraries hold it worldwide. Plus it's only 130 pages. All this together suggests it's trash. EEng 13:27, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Cummins, Ian (2019). Serial killers and the media : the Moors murders legacy. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9783030048754. – addressing concerns about ongoing significance Note by EEng: I've got it. Excellent.
  • Bingham, Adrian (2016). ""Gross interference with the course of justice": the News of the World and the Moors Murder Trial". In Brake, Laurel; Kaul, Chandrika; Turner, Mark (eds.). The News of the World and the British press, 1843-2011 : journalism for the rich, journalism for the poor. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137392039. – cf concerns above about impact on journalism etc Note by EEng: Chapter preview at [5]. Should be useful. "A study of the press in 1985 found that the ‘Moors Murderers’ featured more prominently than all other ‘sex criminals’ in custody put together; Ian Brady still had sufficient news value in 2013 to earn several front-page lead stories." / Note by Levivich: Isn't it written by Adrian Bingham? Note by Triptothecottage: Yes, turns out among my many other failures I can’t read.
  • Kozubska, Joanna (2014). Cries for help : women without a voice, women's prisons in the 1970s, Myra Hindley and her contemporaries. Sherfield-on-Loddon: Waterside Press. ISBN 9781909976054. – importance to criminology Note by EEng: Summary at [6]. I wouldn't expect much.

There's also a significant amount of scholarly literature on the ethics and practice of the pair's incarceration, which could be looked at in depth by someone with more than my passing interest in the thing. Triptothecottage (talk) 09:18, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

@EEng: Thanks for the comments, I don’t have much interest in the article topic, just been following the saga with bemusement and thought I’d offer what I could. I agree the Syme source would be almost certainly crap from an article writing perspective but it struck me any press coverage of its prohibition in the UK would probably make it worth a mention somewhere – in the same way the infamous suppression of Underbelly (TV series) in Victoria during the trials of its protagonists received extensive coverage. Anyway, godspeed to all involved. Triptothecottage (talk) 15:19, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
...he said as they prepared to journey into hell. EEng 15:35, 16 August 2019 (UTC) mean we're not already there? It's going to get worse?! Levivich 15:37, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
First circle doesn't count. EEng 00:57, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
FYI some of these (and others) are listed in a {{refideas}} tag on the talk page. Levivich 15:45, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, @Levivich: I was hoping never to have to go near that page again. Actually, I did my tour of inspection on mobile, so you’ll forgive me for not noticing. Triptothecottage (talk) 23:22, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
I would have forgiven even on desktop. Levivich 00:09, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Comments from Victoria[edit]

A few preliminary comments:

  • I've read this FAC version top to bottom and in my view it satisfies WP:Featured article criteria, so I think it's a good template to work from. Not suggesting we roll back to that version, but use it to build on.
  • I've read the current version from top to bottom and see deterioration in prose (lots of bloating), citation placement, etc. I have some examples and might post them later. It does need some trimming back and cites seem to have been moved, etc.
  • I've started to make my way through EEng's edits. Have looked at about 50 of them. From what I've looked at, there are some good edits there but there's a lot of trimming that seems excessive. Again, I have some examples. Certainly at this point the article isn't stable but it would be a shame to delist it for that reason.
  • There are more sources available than there were a decade ago and very few editors had access to pay-walled sources then, so identifying and evaluating additional sources needs to be done. I've looked at the sources noted at the top of the talk page but don't have access to any of them. I've ordered Staff's updated edition but ILL takes weeks, and reading takes longer, so none of this will be solved immediately.
  • The organization and structure might need some work. I noted some repetition between the top of the article and the lower section ("victims" vs. "perpetrators") and am wondering whether sub articles can be split out about Myra Hindley and Ian Brady (both are currently redirects to Moors murders, with appropriately placed hatnotes. Some of the biographical info re both Brady & Hindley (which is fascinating) can be moved out of the main article and expanded in the sub articles. I see there was an AfD in 2009 re Brady, but surely there's enough material/sources that each satisfy having their own articles?

To soapbox to a small extent: in my view we should all be working together, not pointing fingers, trying to score points, etc. It would be best to have all the editors back and on board because every voice is important, and in the end the goal of the project is to collaborate constructively. There are some cultural issues here that might need translation (taking multiple attempts to pass a driving test was one that struck me, having lived in England). FAR isn't a quick process, we can't just congregate and chat and then cast an up or down vote. Eventually when the sources have been read & synthesized the text will get updated and appropriately cited. Personally I can't work in an atmosphere like this but I was living in Manchester in the summer of '87 and remember the media attention then when Hindley was brought to search the moors. The topic is interesting and when the books come, I'll take a look at what's what and comment again later. Victoria (tk) 16:32, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Victoriaearle, I can't tell you how happy I am that someone is actually looking at my edits (and, I assume, the edits of others who worked on the article during July). Please make a list of diffs you think should be reverted -- just the diffs, no need to bother explaining your concern unless you want to. I expect there will be few or no cases where I'll want to push back, and if so I'll comment here and then we can discuss; again, I doubt that will happen. Then when protection comes off we can all get to doing real work on the article as quickly as possible. Anyone else with diffs that concern them can add them to the list as well -- let's just have one common list. I think the article talk page would be the best place to do this, since doing this should satisfy El_C's concerns about lifting of protection. EEng 18:20, 17 August 2019 (UTC) P.S. I hope you weren't seriously injured when you were struck during your driving test.

::It needs a more holistic approach. Instead of deciding which is the "right" version or which edit stays in and which doesn't, I'm familiarizing myself with what's going on and assessing/evaluating as I go along. Looking at c. 200 edits and making a list isn't the right approach in my view, but I will, in due course, post some with explanations. So far I've only reached July 4, so there's a way to go and I don't have a ton of time for this. P.s., I hope you don't mind, but images like those give me a migraine so I've commented them out. Victoria (tk) 22:42, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

  • Casliber, question for you. I've decided not to continue here and to unwatch the page/s. I've never been involved in a FAR & don't remember unwatching a FAC review. Can I strike my comments, or hat them, or just walk away? I keep getting pinged and would prefer that stop. Thanks. Victoria (tk) 04:00, 18 August 2019 (UTC) Actually, never mind, I've stricken. Victoria (tk) 04:22, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
    Gosh, Ve, I wish you'd reconsider. We were just starting to get somewhere. EEng 04:06, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Today I picked up Duncan Staff's The Lost Boy ISBN 9780593056929 that's finally arrived at the library. I put in the order 8/15; I ordered the most recent available and received the 2007 edition. Working from this version of Moors murders, I've checked the source against the article text through the "Trial" section. Below are the bits that were tagged in-text in the article followed by the text copied verbatim from the source. Nikkimaria and Casliber while I have this source available I'll check all the sentences or passages that were tagged and continue to provide the relevant text from the book but to let you know that this is tedious (and also the topic matter isn't exactly cheery) and real life issues prevent me from working quickly (if either of you needs an explanation I'm happy to elaborate in email). As for the rest, I leave it to all of you to decide. Victoria (tk) 20:10, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
    Take all the time you need - FARs have been left open for an extended period (months) if there is active work going on Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:17, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
    Thanks Cas, I've just ordered Topping but these books are coming from many states away and it's taking a long time. Will continue as I can, when I can. Victoria (tk) 20:29, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
    Thanks for this, Victoria! I've posted some notes inline below. Levivich 02:50, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
text source verification - Staff
  • Shortly after 8:00 pm,[failed verification] continuing down Froxmer Street,[failed verification][6] (137)

"On a warm summer's evening I [Duncan Staff] walked down Taylor Street, turned right opposite the Steelworks and, a minute later, left into Froxmer Stree - the site of the first abduction....The account of the first abduction, in Myra Hindley's letters to me, is extraordinary in its detail. It was just after eight on Friday, 12 July 1933 ....

  • a friend of her younger sister, Maureen.[failed verification][7] (Staff 146)

Now they [the police] were questioning poor Amos and talking about dredging the canals and reservoirs. What did Myra think? asked Nellie. Ian smiled. He had warned her to act normally, told her this was bound to happen. Oh, she hardly knew the girl, Myra replied. Pauline was Maureen's friend really, wasn't she? (Staff, 146)

  • Staff 146 doesn't say H recognized Reade as a friend of Marueen; rather that H agreed when prompted that Reade was Maureen's friend. (this is from the list that was here on the FAR page last time I looked in here; haven't a clue what happened to that list)

Pauline Reads, whom Myra had known since she was little, turned and smiled in recognition (Staff, 138)

  • where Brady beat him with an axe and strangled him to death[failed verification].[17] (Staff, 184-6)

Myra looked through the serving hatch and saw Ian grappling with Edward Evans....Myra stood and guarded the bottom of the stairs as the scuffling subsided. It was replaced by the rhythmic thunk of Ian's axe going home (Staff, 186)

  • Throughout the previous year Brady had been cultivating a friendship with Smith,[failed verification] who had become "in awe" of the older man, something that increasingly worried Hindley, as she felt it compromised their safety[failed verification].[19] (Staff, 183-4)

She [Myra] was deeply worried at Ian's recklessness. It had been safe when there was just the two of them. Myra understood that while she was in love with Ian, David Smith was in awe of him, and she did not feel that their bond was strong enough. (Staff 183-4)

  • Although Brady admitted to hitting Evans with an axe, he did not admit to killing him, arguing that the pathologist in his report had stated that Evans's death was "accelerated by strangulation". Under cross-examination by the prosecuting counsel,[failed verification] all Brady would admit was that "I hit Evans with the axe. If he died from axe blows, I killed him."[55] (Staff - 226)

The court transcript records that, ten days in, the Attorney General cross-examined him [Ian Brady] for the second time:

'You admit that it was you that killed Evans?'
'I admit that hit Evans with the axe.'
'Are you suggesting that you did not kill him?'
'No. Somebody else did.'
'The pathologist said it was accelerated by strangulation.' (Staff 227)
  • Throughout the trial Brady and Hindley "stuck rigidly to their strategy of lying"[failed verification],[60] (Staff, 229)

She and Ian stuck rigidly to their strategy of lying (Staff 229)

My thoughts on the above:

  • 1st bullet: This item is tracked at Talk:Moors murders/Archive 20#Verification failures #3. For anyone who has the book, is "just after eight" on page 137, or a different page?
  • 2nd and 3rd bullets: Both of these tracked at Talk:Moors murders/Archive 20#Verification failures #5 and resolved with a cite to Lee and copyedit to the prose.
  • 4th bullet: Tracked at Talk:Moors murders/Archive 20#Verification failures #16. The article currently says "throttled with a length of electrical cord" cited to Williams. I've posted a note on the talk page about this item.
  • 5th bullet: Tracked at Talk:Moors murders/Archive 20#Verification failures #20. I guess "compromised their safety" is implied by Staff? Posted a note on the talk page for follow-up.
  • 6th bullet: Tracked at Talk:Moors murders/Archive 20#Verification failures #43. I posted a note there.
  • 7th bullet: Tracked at Talk:Moors murders/Archive 20#Verification failures #46. I posted a note there for follow-up. Levivich 03:12, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
    • Levivich, I have the book in hand, I've not been feeling well and have been asleep, find a ping when I wake, see that you've posted to Moors murder talk on my behalf, interpreting the text (which you apparently don't have) on my behalf, without discussion? Please stop. I don't have that page on watch, can't find where all the cite errors, which in fact are not errors have gone, zero communication here, and won't be traipsing from page to page. Once I've finished going through Staff will be changing the text of the article back to reflect the source. Victoria (tk) 04:40, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
      • I'm sorry but for a second time you are accusing me of vaguely malicious acts, and I just have no idea what you're talking about. I didn't ping you. I didn't post on your behalf anywhere. You write "zero communication", but you write that in response to my reply to your post–a bit more than "zero" communication, wouldn't you agree? And you write "without discussion" in response to a reply of mine in which I am... discussing? Did you want me to first post to discuss... what I'm about to post? Your comments make absolutely no sense to me. I really don't understand how to work with you productively, so I will stop trying as you request. Hope you feel better. Levivich 04:52, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
        • Hi, Levivich I'm not accusing you of anything malicious (nor have I done so in the past) but if it feels that way to you, I certainly apologize. It wasn't intended to come across like that. I'll try to explain: I can't work quickly, and it's best if I muddle along at my own pace. On the one hand I thought about not accepting the book I'd ordered last month, but it's sitting there, I decided to pick it up and take a look. What I found is that the so-called "verification errors" that were widely advertised throughout the project to get the most views (the "Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Featured article complete fraud! Content creators exposed as poseurs have feet of clay just like other editors!" talk page posts; the allegations of "fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud fraud" on the article talk page) are in fact not verification errors, per Staff.
          Posting on the talk page on my behalf isn't at this point necessary; I'll get there when I sort out what's happened to the long list on this page, what's going on there, and decide whether or not to jump in. Please strike that post.
          There's really nothing to discuss because the source is what it is, black and white, and quite clear to parse. First and foremost we always assume good faith, and asking me to supply exactly where on the page the "just after eight on Friday" statement is is an assumption of bad faith (second para, second half of the line). I'm happy to take a picture and upload if you all have doubts or provide scans or whatever, but this goes beyond the collegial and collaborative way to work on articles.
          I was pinged to this conversation, as you know, but the edits made on my behalf to article talk, [7] could have come with a notification. All of that said, it appears that you all have little interest in working within the confines of the established procedure of FAR; I see that Laser brain has dropped out, which is unfortunate, but I can't say I disagree with him. If you all (i.,e you Levivich, EEng, David Eppstein and whoever else is working on the article) don't want to be inclusive, then I agree with Laser brain. Casliber and/or Nikkimaria should move to the FACR stage and we can go ahead with the delisting. In the meantime, until a decision has been made re moving to FACR, I'll work in a sandbox instead of posting here again. Victoria (tk) 15:39, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
          • @Victoriaearle: You've articulated well why I felt the need to drop out. I can't work like this, early calls for restraint and caution were largely disregarded and the text was deteriorated while the "fraud" calls were ongoing, which according to my spot-checks are all false alarms. I'm interested in improving the article but I can't do it this way. --Laser brain (talk) 20:14, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
            • Yes it is best to keep all discussion in one place in these situations, which is best placed at FAR. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 20:57, 10 September 2019 (UTC)
I long ago exhausted the language of astonishment and incomprehension at the bizarre things that go on, and the alternative-reality things that are said, in this hermetically sealed "review" of a three-month-old version of an article which, on the comprehensiveness criterion alone, cannot possibly be salvaged as an FA. The verification failures are listed at Talk:MM, and they're still failures. Each includes a precise statement of what's wrong: you have to read the statement, look at the tagged text and its context, compare it to the source, and think about what the statement says. Victoria's post above is a complete waste of time because she obviously didn't do that. (Exception: She's right that Shortly after 8:00 pm turns out to be in Staff 137 after all – as just after eight, which apparently my eye didn't catch. Sorry 'bout that.)
There's a claim made above that spot checks revealed false alarms, but – surprise! – no evidence for that's been offered. In the unlikely event any of you takes up the challenge, please do so by annotating the list at Talk:MM; of course, if you guys don't want to go there to engage what editors actually developing the article are doing, and instead prefer hanging around here pretending you've rebutted issues you haven't bothered to understand, that's up to you.
Since elsewhere in this thread it was stated [8] – falsely – that citation requirements were considerably more lax in those days, and since, no doubt, this episode will for quite some time be Exhibit A for how brilliant Übermensch content contributors were relentlessly maligned and hounded by envious inferiors intent on destroying anything whose beauty and perfection forces them to confront the insignificance of their own existence, I'll just quote here for the record from a "History of the featured article process":
By June 2006 ... featured articles were expected to have some form of inline citations, either footnotes or Harvard style. This was partially due to the December 2005 introduction of cite.php, which allowed the method of referencing that is most widely used on WP today.
So no, citation requirements were not "considerably more lax" in 2009 (when this article became an FA), and you'll have to find some other threadbare excuse for why the article's sourcing is a complete mess (though considerable progress has been made, not by denying the problem, but by facing it). EEng 02:29, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Update re books[edit]

The books I ordered via ILL have finally arrived and I have Staff, Topping & Ritchie available. Yesterday I made a series of edits melding the current version of the article, this version before it was protected and added some additional new snippets from the sources sitting on my lap, with the intention of continuing today. These were blanket reverted, with this explanation (if that's the word for the tone used). How to proceed when another editor doesn't want to work within the established process and seemingly interprets the sources (which in my view are quite clear) completely differently than I do is beyond me. At this point all I can do is offer to scan a reasonable number of pages from the sources and make them available to any editors who might be interested, and can maybe make better headway than I. Just let me know which book (Staff, Topping, or Ritchie), and page number/s and I'll scan & send on. The only caveat is that I'm limited at what I'm able to do, so can't be scanning an enormous number of pages and the books have to be returned fairly soon. Otherwise I really think we're done with this exercise but going on record to say how much I disagree with the claims about the "sourcing issues" after reading the books. There are some passages that are incorrectly cited (i.e Staff instead of Topping, that sort of thing), a couple of page number errors, but generally the prose in article before this all started was a correct summary of the sources. That an article has been ruined, that one apparently needs permission to edit there now, that Wikipedia lost an editor because of this - I don't really have words for any of those things. Tossing the ball to the coords or whomever else is interested. Victoria (tk) 14:06, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

If five other editors (not one editor) seemingly interpret the sources completely differently than [you] do then you go to the article talk page and engage the points being discussed there. That – not ignoring what everyone else is doing and restoring defunct text based on a blinkered reading of isolated sentences – is the established process. EEng 19:14, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Actually, no, you're wrong. My time here is freely given in a volunteer capacity and I choose not to engage with bullies. Victoria (tk) 19:39, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
@Victoriaearle: you are reminded to remain civil when discussing your fellow editors and not to engage in insults as you just did. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:21, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
A collegial response would have been to acknowledge that I made a generous offer of scanning library books it's taken me six weeks to obtain with the intention of sharing those sources with everyone. Given how physically difficult scanning is for me, none of you really have any idea how generous the offer is. Instead I've received my first civility warning. If you're an administrator and feel it's necessary, please feel free to block me. In the meantime, as a volunteer on this project I have the right not to subject myself to ongoing patronizing, mocking and belittling comments. Victoria (tk) 20:42, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
It's a nice offer but if you'd take the time to participate at the talk page, as I keep begging you to do, you'd know that between them your fellow editors have all the sources already -- see [9]. Access to sources has never been the problem; the problem is that you refuse to discuss anything. EEng 21:54, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
David is involved here as an editor. David, why use the passive voice as though it's some kind of formal warning? You didn't (that I know of) warn EEng about his "‎Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Featured article complete fraud! Content creators exposed as poseurs have feet of clay just like other editors!" [10] (repeated on several user talk pages). The point Victoria made above is an important one, namely that for the most part the sourcing did indeed check out, and she has kindly offered to send copies of certain pages to anyone who needs them. SarahSV (talk) 20:57, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
That comment was also unnecessarily inflammatory. It was in an edit summary on a user talk page that I don't watch some six weeks ago. I don't generally take it upon myself to troll through all editors' edit histories to find objectionable things to warn them about, but that doesn't prevent me from responding when I happen to see something objectionable. So your whataboutism and both-sides-ism isn't particularly germane. As for the offer of sharing sourcing: yes, of course that's helpful, but being helpful in one way doesn't provide a license to insult people. —David Eppstein (talk) 21:35, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
No, the sourcing did not indeed check out; the reasons are still explained, and still uncontradicted, at [11]. This "review" page is a fact-free parallel universe. EEng 21:54, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Followup: For the moment I'll label SarahSV's statement that for the most part the sourcing did indeed check out as simply a falsehood i.e. a statement which is false for an unknown reason, with no connotation of intent to deceive. However, from this point forward, if that statement is repeated by anyone who fails to explain (at the discussion linked just above) in what way the sourcing "indeed checks out", then I will call out such repetitions for what they will be, to wit bald-faced lies. Pinging SlimVirgin and Victoriaearle so they can't miss this and will understand the choice they have. You will no doubt call this bullying; I call it replacing falsehood with truth. EEng 01:20, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
EEng it's not possible to have a "conversation" with someone who belittles, mocks, bullies, and will do anything to keep their preferred version of an article, which has done nothing but drive away a bunch of editors. I ordered books six weeks ago; I have watched the talk page but couldn't unorder an ILL request in process so I waited; any comments I've subsequently made have been summarily and cavalierly shot down. I've not edit warred my edits back in. Frankly I don't really care at this point, but I do know how to read, fwiw. In case anyone else might want to look at random pages of these specific books I'm willing to make some scans. If not, I'll return them this weekend. In the meantime, I'm finished here and unwatching. Requests for scans can be left on my talk page. If someone thinks I need to be chastised, fine. The rest is up to the coords now. Thanks, Victoria (tk) 22:32, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
  • it's not possible to have a "conversation" with someone who belittles, mocks, bullies – Sure it's possible. You could ignore the imagined belittling, mocking, and bullying, and say something substantive about the sources and article. But you refuse to do that, preferring to play the victim.
  • do anything to keep their preferred version of an article ... summarily and cavalierly shot down – I explained point by point why I reverted your edits, inviting you for the 100th time to participate at the article's talk page [12]. Even now you're pretending that five editors' careful discussion of the sourcing problems [13] is invisible to you.
  • done nothing – No, editors working together have made substantial progress on cleaning up the article; see [14].
  • drive away a bunch of editors – Holding their breath until they turn blue, or threatening to take their ball and go home, in order to distract from the fact that they can't back up their own vague hand-waving, or to avoid responding to other editors' substantive points, seems to be a socially learned behavior among a certain group of editors.
EEng 01:20, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
  • There are some passages that are incorrectly cited (i.e Staff instead of Topping, that sort of thing), a couple of page number errors: perhaps that is enough to close this review and move on. Does this not mean everyone who's looked agrees the article, as written now or as written back in May or before it was "ruined", fails criterion 1c? For what it's worth, while in the majority of cases highlighted by EEng I found the article to be verifiable, there was at least one that was flat out wrong (55) and several that were gross oversimplifications or dependent on one source among contradictory ones (40, 41, 56). These latter, it turns out, were possible to resolve to high-quality sources that were unavailable to the original writers of the article: Lee, Bingham, Cummins et al. Point is, the issues with this article are deep—and in the situations I identify, not the fault of its creators—and will take quite a bit of time and effort to resolve. In the meantime, it shouldn't be called "Wikipedia's best work", and leaving the bronze star there is going to cause a lot of unnecessary angst in a process that has already seen more than its fair share. Triptothecottage (talk) 00:37, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I've been asked to clarify here that I have not seen Topping. I made a good-faith assumption that editors who did have it found problems with the passages thus cited. Triptothecottage (talk) 07:24, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
  • All very correct, though I would add that the article is a quick-fail on the comprehensiveness criterion as well. Just to be clear, when you say in the majority of cases highlighted by EEng I found the article to be verifiable, that means that in most of the places we looked at where the source in the article failed to support the text, we found a different source to fix that – not that the list of verification failures was incorrect. EEng 01:29, 2 October 2019 (UTC)


  • I suppose the biggest issue for me with the 2009 FAC version is that there are even larger chunks of crucial text sourced entirely to Topping. There’s no reason to discount Topping in the circumstances, but it strikes me as entirely odd to have three full-length accounts by independent authors – Goodman, Harrison and Williams – languishing in the Further Reading, and more available besides, while we rely on an obviously partial source. I agree it’s nothing that can’t be fixed, but "building on" something from 10 years ago is more than likely to perpetuate structural issues with sourcing. Triptothecottage (talk) 00:29, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
    The Glasgow Herald wrote that Topping "hoped the Home Secretary would reconsider letting Myra Hindley by hypnotised in the hope of finding more information about the location of Keith's body. He said criticism levelled at him during the search for Pauline's body was unpleasant and had come from people who did not really know what they were talking about." That was in 1988. His autobiography was published in 1989. I think you're right to be cautious about using this source. There seem to be potentially better sources available like Staff and Cummins. Levivich 02:26, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
    Agree 100%. EEng 02:40, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

July 26 version[edit]

What are people's opinions at this point about restoring the July 26 version (prior to initial page protection)? Here is the combined diff between that version and current. (Intervening changes can be merged in by hand.) This is the same RfC question that was punted to FAR. I've read through it and think it's the better version to go forward from, though it still needs further editing, e.g., tightening sourcing. If there are objections, maybe we can put together a list of what parts need discussion, and then we can make the remaining uncontroversial/agreed-upon changes while we discuss what's on the list. Levivich 03:49, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Absolutely. Obviously. 100%. The intervening edits needing restoration are, I believe, [15][16][17][18][19]. That doesn't count the {failed verification} tagging, but those are listed above; it's as complete as I could make it for the sections it treats, though I haven't yet checked anything cited to the following: ONDB, Keightley, Cowley, Carmichael. EEng 09:10, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
I have not had time to evaluate most of the edits starting in early July to even begin to offer an opinion. Basically this FAR could go two ways at this point: We can restore the version from late June and add citations to address the failed verification issues. Or, we can restore the July 26 version and the prose needs to be entirely reassessed to see if it still meets criterion 1a. Random pot-shots are not encouraging—for example this edit was intended to make the prose more concise but in my opinion it transformed the writing from engaging to dry. --Laser brain (talk) 13:56, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  • The edit you linked (re Brady's contemplated suicide) changed
He might have achieved this in 2006, when a female friend sent him 50 paracetamol pills, stored in two Smarties tubes hidden inside a hollowed-out crime novel. The potentially lethal dose of tablets was intercepted.
In 2006 officials intercepted a potentially lethal dose of 50 paracetamol pills hidden inside a hollowed-out book sent him by a female friend.
with edit summary Now that would be one fucking painful way to die. That's not a potshot at anybody, but a genuine exclamation of horror; death by Tylenol overdose is singularly excruciating. As for the revised text, it seems to me it communicates everything significant (female friend; hollowed-out book; paracetamol tablets; intercepted) while dropping two details worthy of true-crime books and TV shows (crime novel; Smarties tube – though thankfully it wasn't WP:SKITTLES); but if you think the Smarties and crime novel really add value, feel free to put them back.
  • More importantly, there's no way this article can remain an FA in the short (or even medium) term. It's undeniable now that the sourcing is full of holes, and while a crash effort might mostly fix that in a few weeks (remembering that we all have other lives, believe it or not) that wouldn't be time enough to resolve all the known problems (depending on how hard the last few sources are to obtain), much less identify the remaining unknown ones (ditto). Even putting that aside, it's clear that it also fails, at least, the comprehensiveness criterion, just on the fact that it says nothing about social impact, effect on news reporting, etc., and that will take many months at least and probably much more, because there are myriad sources and they're mostly not in monograph form -- they're book chapters, journal articles, etc. Amid all this the prose is the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic. If the purpose of this review is to determine whether FA status can be salvaged in the short term, the answer is no.
  • I continue to be flabbergasted by the blind insistence that because this article passed FA ten years ago its writing is necessarily some delicate and precious flower that must be protected. It's not. The passage above is a beautiful example. Reasonable editors might disagree as to whether the Smarties and crime novel are worth including, but He might have achieved this is complete surplusage; no reader needs it explained, immediately after being told that Brady was contemplating killing himself, that the hidden cache of 50 prescription tablets about to be described was for that purpose.
    And then there's the potentially lethal dose bit. I hadn't gotten this far in source-verifying the article, but now that I check it turns out there's nothing at all in the source about this, and this is naked OR that needs to be removed. I'll forego mentioning which editor added it, but suffice it to say it was there at the time of the FA review.
The entire article's like this. Its writing in general is very good, maybe even excellent, but far from beyond improvement, and the sourcing is shoddy and punctuated by OR. It's long past time for it to start moving forward. EEng 18:35, 22 August 2019 (UTC) P.S. Oh wait, I see now the source doesn't mention Smarties either, just sweets. A Google search finds that the Telegraph does supply this detail, but still no source for potentially lethal – other than sources obviously based on this article, that is. What a mess.
I meant that I was taking pot-shots at the intermediate changes without a holistic review. I have no reason to believe that the editors responsible for this content were making stuff up or adding OR. The citation requirements were considerably more lax in those days and I'd rather AGF and find the sources—a process which I've already begun. I have a long history of working with the principal authors of this article, and know them to be excellent writers and researchers. The old version was engaging; the new version is dry and spartan. I'd appreciate it if you'd tone down the hyperbole so we can get to work on making the article the best it can be. --Laser brain (talk) 18:58, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
The combined diff given at the top of this section involves rearrangements of text that make some of the changes of wording difficult to determine. But looking, for instance, at the first two paragraphs of the "Initial investigation" section of the diff, I prefer the tighter wording of the July 25 EmilePersaud version. I think the more convoluted wording of the August 10 JzG version (e.g. "what they were looking for" instead of the simpler "the suitcases"), while giving the superficial impression of more carefully crafted prose, is unnecessary, circumlocutory, and actually impedes understanding. For an encyclopedia, we should be aiming for prose that is simple and to the point. I realize that "engaging" is prominent in the FA criteria but it should be the content that is engaging, not the padding, and it shouldn't come at the expense of readability. So I agree with the suggestion that we go with the tighter-worded of the two versions as a starting point and then add back any removed detail that is actually important, rather than working in the other direction. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:00, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't agree with the approach you describe. You seem to equate tightness/conciseness of writing with better readability. That may be true of technical manuals and whitepapers, but here being engaging means grabbing the reader with a cohesive narrative that includes phrasing and descriptions that creates a good experience. The prose hasn't been improved by the last two months' activities. --Laser brain (talk) 20:19, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
Well, we disagree then. I happen to think that clear readable to-the-point prose is helpful in all articles here, not just in the technical ones. And if what you're aiming for is to create a "good experience" for the reader, then this article seems an unlikely place for it, unless you want to completely rewrite it to be a story about fluffy bunnies instead of the sad events of the subject. —David Eppstein (talk) 20:40, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
Even there we face challenges:
EEng 05:24, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
I think both of you know I wasn't referring to how agreeable the subject matter is, but rather the overall reader experience. If you're going to act like dickheads, then let's just delist this and move on. I'm not looking forward to working with either of you. --Laser brain (talk) 12:40, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
That was uncivil and uncalled for. I am trying to have a discussion about content and style. You are the one making into something about personalities. —David Eppstein (talk) 15:55, 23 August 2019 (UTC)


  • Well, that was a lively round! Let's see how our candidates did, shall we? I award one point to Laser Brain for starting the list of prose items needing discussion, one point to EEng for the Carter killer rabbit reference, and one point to David Eppstein for using the word "circumlocutory". (Well done, David!) All tied up, let's move on to round two.
    I think we can all agree that the only option here is to improve this article until it meets 2019 FA criteria, which neither version currently does. We're going to need to go paragraph by paragraph anyway, plus write at least one new section, so the only question it seems is whether we begin this with the July 26 version or the current version. I'm seeing three editors in favor of the former and one in favor of the latter. Do we need more time for people to read and discuss, and if so, how much more time before we make a call one way or the other? Levivich 16:30, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
Well I for one think the circumlocution reference was gratuitous. It’s a private matter and parents should feel free to make the decision they’re most comfortable with. EEng 20:12, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't care to have anything else to do with this, as I don't agree with the manner in which it's being carried out or the end-goal for how it should read, and it seems I'm in the minority. --Laser brain (talk) 16:00, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
Evidently, the majority want nothing to do with this. ~ cygnis insignis 16:06, 25 August 2019 (UTC)

──── Looks like we're ready to go ahead then, with the July 26 version. So...

List of things to do etc. transferred to Talk:Moors murders EEng 19:32, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

FARC section[edit]

No comments on the review or article talk for a couple of weeks - moving. Nikkimaria (talk) 16:08, 2 November 2019 (UTC)

Tôn Thất Đính[edit]

Notified: YellowMonkey, WikiProject Military History, WikiProject Vietnam

Review section[edit]

I am nominating this featured article for review because I do not believe that it currently passes the FAC at this time. In particular, it glosses over Dinh's early life as well as his later life, not mentioning his death at all except for the date and a simple citation. In this way it fails criterion 1b (comprehensive). It also has some copyediting issues, IMO: I have taken the liberty of fixing the article's prose, but I still feel like some more could be done in this department; as such, it fails criterion 1a (well-written).

I do not think this article is doomed in its current state, and I think sufficient work can be done in the course of a standard FAR, but some work does need to be done; in particular, I think his early (pre-military) life should be something more than merely "A native of central Vietnam," and " Born into a nominally Buddhist family, Đính had converted to Catholicism in the hope of advancing his career.", and his later life should be somewhat more than a paragraph and should mention his death in the prose. (In some fairness to the death thing, this article was promoted in 2009 before his death, but it should still be updated.) – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 20:25, 18 August 2019 (UTC)

@WP:FAR coordinators: This FAR has been up for almost three weeks and nothing has been done in regards to either the review, the article itself, or its talk page. Is this normal, and if not for how much longer does this stay in the FAR stage and what happens in this case? – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 02:44, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
It's not unusual. If comments remain unaddressed, the review will be moved to the FARC phase. DrKay (talk) 08:10, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

FARC section[edit]

Issues raised in the review section include comprehensiveness. DrKay (talk) 15:41, 28 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Delist none of the concerns raised above have been addressed, and indeed very little work has been done on the article at all since the review began. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 20:25, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I noticed that Bumbubookworm has done significant work on the article since this FARC has begun. Such work is commendable, but there are still a few questions I have on the man:
    I feel like more could be said of the circumstances of his early life. It's great to know his specific birthplace, but his birthdate is still unsourced and still not more is said of his family than that it was "nominally Buddhist". Is there any sourcing of how he and Cần met?
    His conversion to Catholicism seems important, and it could stand to be expanded and better sourced.
    Under the III Corps were the 5th and the 25th Divisions. The 5th Division is brought up twice more in the article, and the 25th never again. What exactly were the significance of these two divisions in particular?
That's all for now, I'll have a closer look later. Other than that, great job! – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 04:25, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

Albert Kesselring[edit]

Notified: WikiProject Biography, WikiProject Germany, WikiProject Italy, WikiProject History, WikiProject Military History, WikiProject Law, WikiProject Politics,WikiProject Jewish History, Hawkeye7

Review section[edit]

Nomination statement[edit]

The article was promoted to FA status in 2009; it does not reflect the most recent scholarship nor FA best practices. The criteria that are the focus of this nomination are: (1.b) comprehensive: it neglects no major facts or details and places the subject in context; (1.c) well-researched: it is a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature; claims are verifiable against high-quality reliable sources; (1.d) neutral: it presents views fairly and without bias; and (2.a) lead: prepares the reader for the detail in the subsequent sections.

FAs are expected to maintain required standards and this article has not kept up with the times.[1] To start with, the lead contains material that is not expanded on in the article, such as: Nicknamed 'Smiling Albert' by the Allies and 'Uncle Albert' by his troops, he was one of the most popular generals of World War II with the rank and file. This is not discussed further in the article, and is also a selective reading of Kerstin von Lingen, Kesselring's Last Battle, 2009, p. 16, which goes on to state:

During the 1950s, this picture of Kesselring ['Smiling Al', a general with a common touch], which had been presented at his trial, was seized on and embellished by a range of memoirists. Yet when one considers the bloody assaults on whole villages during the Wehrmacht retreat in the summer of 1944, the picture of the 'good general' painted during the trial seems like a travesty.

The omission of Lingen's conclusion results in a non-neutral presentation starting with the lead. Some of the sources used are dated and / or questionable. Specifically, the article utilises Kesselring's memoirs published in 1955 (30+ citations); this source is not independent, not secondary, and in several important respects not reliable. In another example, a 1954 review of Kesselring's memoirs is used to claim that "the memoirs formed a valuable resource, informing military historians on topics such as the background to the invasion of the Soviet Union". This is neither neutral nor comprehensive, as the article neglects later evaluations that connect Kesselring's works to the myth of the clean Wehrmacht (e.g. here: Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution). In any case, the source is being used selectively & some of the content fails verification. To start with, the review is more sarcastic than glowing, and it opens thus:

To judge by their memoirs, German generals led sheltered lives. Most of them agree that under twelve years of Hitler rule they saw no evil, spoke none and did none. The latest to proclaim his innocence is 69-year-old Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. Loyal enough by his own admission to "enjoy Hitler's unreserved confidence," Kesselring also proved affable and adjustable enough after the war to assist U.S. Army historians and retain his wartime nickname of "Smiling Al."[2]

Note that the generic "military historians" in the article is actually "U.S. Army historians", from the US Army Historical Division that employed former Wehrmacht generals after the war; the review does not mention the attack on the Soviet Union either. This appears to be OR based on FA nominator's reading of the memoirs.

Further, the article's portrayal of Kesselring's does not align with recent scholarship. For example, the article states: Kesselring became one of Nazi Germany's most skilful commanders. Compare with Robert Citino, The Wehrmacht Retreats, 2012, p. 272: "Kesselring presided over the loss of 415,000 men (...). Even as a limited campaign of delay and attrition, the German defence of Italy was an utter failure." The material, when cited to Kesselring, is often self-serving. Take this passage, for example:

On 11 May 1944 General Sir Harold Alexander, commanding the Allied Armies in Italy, launched Operation Diadem, which finally broke through the Gustav Line and forced the Tenth Army to withdraw. In the process, a gap opened up between the Tenth and Fourteenth Armies, threatening both with encirclement. For this failure, Kesselring relieved von Mackensen of his command, replacing him with General der Panzertruppe Joachim Lemelsen. Fortunately for the Germans, Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, commander of the U.S. Fifth Army, obsessed with the capture of Rome, failed to take advantage of the situation and the Tenth Army was able to withdraw to the next line of defence, the Trasimene Line, where it was able to link up with the Fourteenth Army and then conduct a fighting withdrawal.[3]

Citino, Wehrmacht's Last Stand, 2017, debunks or contextualises this narrative:

  • Citino begins by discussing Kesselring's intelligence failures ahead of Diadem: "More generally, Kesselring completely missed the dramatic redeployment of the Allied forces in Italy"; Wehrmacht was "caught napping", pp. 99-100
  • Details a bungled response: "Throughout it all, we cannot say that Kesselring was particularly active in arranging countermeasures. His initial reaction to Diadem was disbelief."
  • In re: Kesselring blaming a subordinate for the predicament that the Wehrmacht had found itself in: "In fact, nothing would have helped", p. 103.
  • Citino offers a more nuanced analysis of Mark Clark's dash to Rome, describing it as a "non-event of 'Clark's blunder'," because the Germans did not seem to have noticed it at all.

Citino writes about Kesselring's account: he "spends much of his memoirs criticising operational decisions on both sides (except his own, which he deems to be invariably correct)." Kesselring's writings themselves have become an object of historiographical analysis; this is not reflected in the article, not meeting the requirement for being comprehensive and placing the subject in proper context. Parts of the article reproduce the Wehrmacht myth, and Kesselring's self-portrayal brings to mind tenets of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy:

  • It left the burden of preventing the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk to the air force...[4]
  • Kesselring felt that much more could have been accomplished if he had had ...[5]
  • Kesselring was well aware that while this force was large enough to stop the Allies from simply marching in[to Italy]...[6]

No, a war that one starts is not a "burden" and Kesselring was not protecting hearth and home in Italy either; it was an occupied country. Citino 2012, The Wehrmacht Retreats, p. 281 cautions: "We need to write the history of the war year 1943 with a complete absence of romance. The Wehrmacht was not defending the fatherland. It was fighting to hold far-flung conquests it had made in a brutal war of aggression--the very definition of ill-gotten gains."

Where the article does make use of recent scholarship, cherrypicked citations and OR sometimes result in a distorted representation; see the 'Smiling Al' example from the lead above. Another example, in re: the German Operation Axis: Italy now effectively became an occupied country, as the Germans poured in troops.[7] Italy's decision to switch sides created contempt for the Italians among both the Allies and Germans, which was to have far-reaching consequences.[8] The last cite is out-of-context and OR/SYNTH. In the context of post-war prosecution of war criminals, Lingen, p. 81 discusses the "deep contempt felt, especially in military quarters, for Italy's decision to 'change sides' in 1943. The Italian protest [about not being allowed a judge at Kesselring's trial] fell on deaf ears". Lingen does not mention the German reaction, does not equate the Allied contempt with the German murderous actions in disarming the Italian army, nor talks about unspecified consequences. Further discussion of Operation Axis is likewise not comprehensive nor balanced.

The message one takes away here and from the rest of 1943/44 narrative is that atrocities were committed, but Kesselring had nothing to do with them directly. The article does not mention Kesselring's support for National Socialism, his silence on the ejection of Jewish soldiers from the armed forces, and loyalty to Hitler; see Lingen pp. 23, 24 & 27, respectively. Lingen's conclusions that Kesselring "created a myth focused on himself (a myth that resonated during the 1950s) and saw himself as the victim", p. 29, is not reflected in the article.

Here is a sampling of prior discussions where similar concerns were brought up:

I have attempted to resolve the issues by editing the article to add sources and remove Kesselring's self-serving POV. However, most of my edits were reverted on the grounds that "Tweaking the wording is not acceptable. The wording has been carefully reviewed...". Based on the inability to resolve the issues of sourcing, neutrality, and context, and after discussing with the FA nominator [20], I'm bringing the article to community review. --K.e.coffman (talk) 02:08, 15 May 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Note: in preparation for this review, I've consulted the following sources: While there's no requirement that the article is updated every time a new source comes out, the outlines should be within the current consensus, which I did not find to be the case. Lingen is already in the article; I used it to cross-check cited material and to identify potential gaps in coverage.
  2. ^ "Smiling Al". Time. 19 April 1954.
  3. ^ Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 200–209
  4. ^ Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 59–60
  5. ^ Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 186–187
  6. ^ Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, p. 161
  7. ^ Blumenson, Salerno to Cassino, pp. 63–64.
  8. ^ von Lingen, Kesselring's Last Battle, p. 81.
Featured article review[edit]

I do not agree that the article does not reflect the most recent scholarship nor FA best practices, but am willing to workshop the issues you raise. I choose to start with the part about Operation Diadem. This issue here is how good a general Kesselring was. I have not read Citino's books; I was under the impression that he wrote popular histories and did not discuss logistics. I have asked the university library to acquire Wehrmacht's Last Stand. In the meantime, I do have a copy of the most recent book on Kesselring, Andrew Sangster's Field-Marshal Kesselring: Great Commander or War Criminal? (2015), based on his PhD thesis (which I also have). In a nutshell, Sangster's thesis is that it is not that Kesselring was so great, but that his opponents, Alexander and Clark, were such poor generals. Neither enjoys a great reputation. Germany and the Second World War (Vol VIII, pp. 1150-1151) does not support the claim of a German intelligence failure, and this seems unlikely when everyone knew that after two attempts, the Allies would make a third the break the Gustav Line. On the other hand, there is no doubt that Kesselring was caught off-balance by the landings at Anzio, having committed his reserves to the Garigliano front, which was precisely what Clark wanted him to do. Germany and the Second World War notes that Kesselring was caught off-guard by the rapid French advance through difficult terrain. It also says: " The American general [Clark]'s ego-centric coup saved the German Tenth Army, at least temporarily" (p. 1153), citing both German and British sources. The text therefore aligns with the current consensus among historians. It could be expanded though. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:49, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Comments by Szzuk[edit]

Comment. The article contains a significant amount of POV which downplays his status as a war criminal.

Von Lingen describes the post-war situation very persuasively like this "After the war the Federal government bought the release of their war criminals including Kesselring".[1] "In return for Kesselring's death sentence being commuted and release on "health grounds", the Federal government received enough support within Germany to begin making a military contribution to the defence of Western Europe".[2] Veterans began using Kesselring to determine a new narrative of the past that absolved Kesselring of responsibility for his war crimes".[2] The British government, concerned with the growing Cold War, released Kesselring in order to encourage the Federal government to join the European Defence Council and NATO.[3] The British decided releasing a few "iconic" war criminals was a price worth paying for the support of West Germany.[3]

The article using exactly the same source instead says this;

The death verdict against Kesselring unleashed a storm of protest in the United Kingdom. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill immediately branded it as too harsh and intervened in favour of Kesselring. Field Marshal Alexander, then Governor General of Canada, sent a telegram to Prime Minister Clement Attlee in which he expressed his hope that Kesselring's sentence would be commuted. "As his old opponent on the battlefield", he stated, "I have no complaints against him. Kesselring and his soldiers fought against us hard but clean."[4] Alexander had expressed his admiration for Kesselring as a military commander as early as 1943. In his 1961 memoirs Alexander paid tribute to Kesselring as a commander who "showed great skill in extricating himself from the desperate situations into which his faulty intelligence had led him".[5] Alexander's sentiments were echoed by Lieutenant General Sir Oliver Leese, who had commanded the British Eighth Army in the Italian campaign. In a May 1947 interview, Leese said he was "very sad" to hear of what he considered "British victor's justice" being imposed on Kesselring, an "extremely gallant soldier who had fought his battles fairly and squarely".[6] Lord de L'Isle, who had been awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry at Anzio, raised the issue in the House of Lords.[7] Szzuk (talk) 10:09, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

The two passages are talking about very different things. The latter is about the imposition of the death penalty; the former is about Kesselring's release from prison. The latter is entirely about the British POV; the former is where it intersects the German one. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 19:40, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

Kirsten von Lingen says this about the death sentence in Hitler’s Military Elite in Italy and the Question of “Decent War” (2015):

However, Kesselring’s sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment, partly owing to the eruption of political controversy in London, led by former prime minister Winston Churchill and supported by Field Marshal Harold Alexander. Numerous English politicians deplored "British victors’ justice," church leaders preached reconciliation, and senior British officers raised their voices to praise Kesselring’s military skill. They were all given plenty of media coverage, thus creating the British version of the "upright and fair Italian theater of war." In addition, these men triggered a debate on the very purpose of war crimes trials—a bitter debate that continued to rage in England until Kesselring’s release in 1952. It showed the British victory in court to be a Pyrrhic one, at least with respect to memory politics.


  1. ^ von Lingen 2009, p. 2.
  2. ^ a b von Lingen 2009, p. 5.
  3. ^ a b von Lingen 2009, p. 6.
  4. ^ von Lingen, Kesselring's Last Battle, p. 359.
  5. ^ Alexander The Alexander Memoirs 1940–1945, p. 125
  6. ^ von Lingen, Kesselring's Last Battle, p. 130.
  7. ^ von Lingen, Kesselring's Last Battle, p. 131.
  • Nom's comment: The perception that Robert Citino writes popular histories is not correct. Citino specialises in the operational history of the Wehrmacht; he has held a number of academic positions and is a practising military historian who publishes with a university publisher, University Press of Kansas, same as Lingen. To anyone interested in Citino's work, I can recommend his lectures on Youtube, such as on Wehrmacht's campaigns in 1943: "Fighting a Lost War". His writing style is equally engaging.
  • I've obtained copies of the two books of his in question. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 00:27, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
On Szzuk observation, I also found that Lingen is used selectively and with an apologist bend; the book does not leave this impression at all. I already cited two examples: "Smiling Albert" in the lead and the treatment of the 1943 disarmament of the Italian army, Operation Axis (see #Nomination statement). Another example from the article:
The trials were held under the Royal Warrant of 18 June 1945, thus under British Military Law. The decision put the trials on a shaky legal basis, as foreign nationals were being tried for crimes against foreigners in a foreign country.[1]


  1. ^ von Lingen, Kesselring's Last Battle, p. 73.
The language in the article suggests that there was something improper about the trials or that perhaps they were illegitimate. Lingen details several challenges and questions to be resolved (pp. 73-74), but page 73 does not leave the impression of the trial being on a "shaky legal basis". The source is again being misread. --K.e.coffman (talk) 03:34, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Von Lingen says:
The Royal Warrant issued on June 14, 1945, established military courts and laid down the rules of procedure. But it proved more difficult than anticipated to legitimize the jurisdiction of Allied courts, for the legal basis for trying military commanders and commanders-in-chief was also subject to dispute. Which military penal codes should apply - the German ones in force at the time the crimes were committed, that of the country where the crimes took place, or the British one?

Von Lingen, Kesselring's Last Battle, p. 73

I think the article fairly summaries the text. It also makes it clear that crimes were committed. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:03, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

"Smiling Albert" was a name given by the Allies on account of the fact that he was always smiling in the pictures they had of him. (Regrettably, he isn't smiling in any of the pictures in the article.) Given the circumstances, I don't think it was intended as a complement, and likely played to the wartime stereotype of the arrogant German general. You're quite right that it should also be in the body of the article; it will be an action item. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:03, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Kesselring was only responsible for the 1943 disarmament in southern Italy. All I could find in his area was the shooting of Ferrante Gonzaga; but if you have another incident, it can be included. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:03, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. The POV is being supported by the 20+ primary refs and a misreading of Lingen. There are eulogies such as the block quote beginning "Furthermore, we knew that in command of these forces was Field Marshal Albert Kesselring, one of the ablest officers in the Hitler armies." Szzuk (talk) 15:27, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
    It was not a eulogy, it was written by his opponent, Mark W. Clark, and was written in 1950, while Kesselring was not only still alive, but still in prison. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 03:19, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. In 1937 he was in charge of the Luftwaffe and he cancelled the long range ural bomber program. The lack of a strategic bomber was a major fiasco. This isn't noted, instead the article argues he wasn't really responsible. Szzuk (talk) 10:07, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
    Have you got a good source for this? I originally wrote: Like many ex-Army officers, he tended to see air power in the tactical role, providing support to land operations. He rejected strategic bombing and cancelled the Ural bomber. The current text was written by Dapi89, who knows more about the subject of Luftwaffe doctrine. In what way was the bomber program a fiasco, and what was Kesselrinmg's role? Hawkeye7 (discuss) 11:20, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • They got it for me! Looks very interesting. I will be reading it this week. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 03:15, 17 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. Sourcing a controversial figure to his own memoirs has given rise to POV. Should we also use Mein Kampf to source the Adolf Hitler article? Szzuk (talk) 14:38, 30 August 2019 (UTC)
Comments by Drmies[edit]
A few comments[edit]

I see serious problems with neutrality, some problems with the writing, and in the few cases where I checked the sources, more problems.

  • "At the age of 48, he...", this is essentially self-praise translated into Wikipedia's voice. Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    Well, we made a big thing about it in the articles on Ernie King, Bill Halsey and John McCain Sr. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:57, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • "Like many ex-Army officers..." contains way too much irrelevant stuff (and extraneous detail is found in other place; this is possibly accretion since 2009, I don't know). Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    I'm always loath to remove additions that other editors think are important. In this case, I think it is relevant; it talks of the dictrine of the Luftwaffe, how it differed from that of English-speaking Air Forces, and the influence that ex-Army officers like Kesselring had. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 03:01, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Kesselring himself "would be shot down"? The war is over y'all: he "was shot down". Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    Corrected this one - I was leaving the big ticket items for later in the review. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:57, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • "Kesselring was able to fly solo over the front in his Focke-Wulf Fw 189." -- it sounds like Cary Grant going out on the town, in Monte Carlo or so
  • "Flying his Fieseler Fi 156 Storch to a meeting," Oh! he got a new set of wheels
  • "For the Battle of Gazala, Rommel divided his command in two..." paragraph doesn't become relevant to Kesselring until halfway through. Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, the article has lots of bits where the importance becomes clear later. Otherwise I would have to jump back and forth in the chronology. The bits mentioned above about his replacement of Mackensen with Lemelsen, and Allied attitudes towards the Italians pertain to later in the article. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:57, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • "The Allied invasion of Sicily..." is way too full of insignificant military detail about what plane killed what boat or whatever. Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    This can be trimmed back. Will mark as an action item. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:57, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • "Kesselring returned to Sicily by flying boat on 16 July..." more new wheels!
  • "On the Greek island of Kefalonia – outside Kesselring's command – some 5,000 Italian troops of the 33 Mountain Infantry Division Acqui were massacred." Why is this in here? if it is outside of his command, why mention it? Or is it here to suggest that some other dude was much worse than this dude, who so far has only had one Italian commander shot? Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    I don't think this is a well-known incident, and goes to what k.e.coffman was talking about. I didn't want to soft-peddle Operation Axis. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:57, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • "The Luftwaffe scored a notable success ..." (in the bombing by those Stukas of that port): why is that in here? Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    Three things: (1) another reminder that Kesselring is an Air Force field marshal; (2) a refute of the claim that he fought a purely defensive campaign; and (3) demonstrates that his intelligence wasn't always bad. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:57, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • The entire "Actions affecting population and cultural objects" section reads like hagiography. In fact, it reads as if the Nazis are concerned to a great extent with preserving Italy's treasures, while the Allies just go in and bomb the shit out of Rome. I don't doubt they bombed Rome fifty times, but the little footnote, note 5 (which, sad to say, actually constitutes editorial commentary), indicates that the whole "open city" thing (which isn't even ascribed to Kesselring other than by "he supported it") can be seen as a ruse as well. (and there is way too much material on the events in Italy in 1943). Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    • That's not all, though, in that paragraph. I wondered about the source of the approbatory " far as he was able, attempted...", whether it came out of his memoirs. The note is to Fisher's Casino to the Alps. Whether that source is completely acceptable (it is, after all, a publication by the US Armed Forces, and even an impressive editorial board doesn't mean that one can't question to which extent they participated in the well-known myth making) or not is one thing, but surely any editor can see that the paragraph I just pointed at is not found on p. 290 of that book: the only thing there is the destruction of buildings on either side of the Ponte Vecchio. And this is not unimportant, given content and tenor of these paragraphs. Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
      This is indeed a major issue, with multiple aspects. The German record on preserving cultural artefacts has to include the theft of artworks by Göring and others. Failure to adequately protect cultural objects is a war crime. It is also true that several times as many deaths were caused by Allied bombing as by German and Italian reprisals. I deliberately didn't mention this, but I guess we need to. (Kesselring denied knowledge of the theft of artworks, but not of the final solution; his mention of often flying over Dachau was removed by another editor as non-neutral.) This goes again to the treatment of Italy as not being an Ally, which is how Kesselring escaped being executed. I'll admit the open city footnote is a bit of an editorial by my Italian collaborator, but it was a war crime to bombard an undefended city. Kesselring was accused of this, and it also goes to the argument about other bombings. The American defence was that there were armament factories in Rome. I will mark removal of the editorial as an action item. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:57, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
The Open City was a sincere initiative that was pushed by the Pope Pius XII, but the concept is not widely understood. It allows for troops to pass through the city. (The Allies were happy about this, as they expected to occupy Rome.) The Americans were very sensitive about Rome, and there was an Allied agreement at Quebec in May 1943 that it should not be bombed without mutual consent, but the British were opposed to the concept from the start. Of course, the British were far more enthusiastic about the idea of knocking Italy out of the war. After Badoglio unilaterally declared Rome an Open City on 14 September 1943, Eisenhower ordered all bombing to halt while the Combined Chiefs considered the matter. The Americans and British could not agree. I have incorporated more material on this into the article. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:10, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Well, I think I've seen enough: non-neutral and sometimes tendentious writing and at least some examples of poor sourcing. But the kicker is this: Hawkeye7, who should know better, restores the "jolly uncle Albert" to the lead, when the "Later life" section basically shows an unrepentant Nazi who wipes his behind with the orders of the government nextdoor, continues to support the myth of a clean German army, and on top of it defends the Marzabotto massacre. That OUR article calls him happy popular Uncle Albert, touring Europe in an assortment of airplances, and leaves the fact that he was, in fact, an unrepentant Nazi in the very bottom of the article, that is clear enough. I do not think this qualifies as an FA, but one could make some immediate improvement by undoing Hawkeye's unwise revert, to return some sense of neutrality to the lead. Drmies (talk) 00:46, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

If that's the impression you got from reading the article, I think I did pretty well. The term "smiling Albert" is commonly used for Kesselring; almost every reference I have refers to it. (Some mistakenly thought that it was a German monicker rather than an Allied one, so I was asked to correct that impression.) I tried to refute the "clean hands" myth by including details of massacres committed by each branch. Kesselring's administrative authority really only extended to the Heer and the Luftwaffe; the SS and the Herman Göring Division were outside his control. However, he was loath to admit that, and the Yamashita case makes it uncertain in any case. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:57, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
The impression that I got was indeed that it's not an FA. Is that what you succeeded in? What a strange comment. Here's the thing: no. I am sure that every reference you have also refers to him as a killer, guilty of mass murder. It was your choice to put "Uncle Albert" in the lead, in the very first paragraph. One of the hallmarks of POV is to present a fact out of context at the expense of others, with the goal to skew the reader's perception. You have done so successfully. And I think I have indicated well enough that throughout the article there are bits and pieces whose purpose seems to be to deflect blame in various ways. Certainly it's enough for a POV tag. Drmies (talk) 03:05, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
"Smiling Albert" was in the very first paragraph of the lead long before I started editing Wikipedia. [21] I corrected it by adding the Uncle Albert reference. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 04:49, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. The article uses the nickname the allies gave him, "Smiling Albert", to convey the meaning he was a jovial character. He was given that nickname because he had a nervous tic that turned the corners of his mouth up uncontrollably. It was an insult, and using an insult to present to the reader the exact opposite is egregious POV. The article is full of it. No work has been done since the start of this FAR. Szzuk (talk) 20:50, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
    Patience. I am working on it. There has been a search for new material, and I have read through Citino's books, as recommended by Koffman. I will be making a series of changes over the next two weeks. My internet access is limited at the moment. The article does not use the nickname to convey that he was a jovial character (not that it would make a difference if he was). There was no intention to convey that it was not intended as an insult. I'm really running out of patience with writers who have misunderstood the nickname as being one applied by his own troops instead of the American media. The text needs to be and will be strengthened. Also: a citation for the nervous tic would be greatly appreciated. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:44, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
    The sentence "Nicknamed "Smiling Albert" by the Allies and "Uncle Albert" by his troops, he was one of the most popular generals of World War II with the rank and file." implies a relationship between being a popular general and being called "Smiling Albert", which the note clarifying that one was used by the Allies and the other by the Germans does nothing to dispel. I don't think Szzuk's inference is unwarranted or uncharitable; that's certainly how it reads to me too in the context of the article. —Nizolan (talk) 14:42, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
    Sure. I will re-work it. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:39, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

I was originally asked to work on an improve this article as part of an overall push to improve the articles on key German military figures of the Second World War. This was in 2007, and I was new to Wikipedia. (This is what the article looked like at the time) As you can probably guess, the push completely failed and only this article got improved. The reader interest in the subject was demonstrated though; when it ran as RFA, it got nearly 100,000 page views—more than any other featured article article I've worked on. This was in my early days on Wikipedia. It discussed it at a Wikipedia meet up at the National Library, and expressed my concern that the topic was too controversial for Wikipedia. They disagreed, and said that shouldn't come into it. So I took the assignment on. My assessment was correct, as was my belief that it was uneconomical for me to work on it.

At the time, there were only two real sources in English: Kesselring's memoirs and Macksey's book. Contrary to what Drmies says, sources in English published between 1954 and 2004 do not characterise Kesselring as a war criminal but largely omit this, and uniformly laud him as a great general. Fortunately, I found Kerstin von Lingen's book in German. The whole article largely follows her narrative, although her book is not a biography per se (no one is better qualified to write one though). She informed me that an English translation was under way, so I commenced work on the article. An artefact of my early Wikipedia engagement can be seen in the formatting of the footnotes. To me, it is also visible in the way that errors in the sources are handled. Rather than single out people for their mistakes, which is of no value to the reader, I quietly corrected them. The "Smiling Albert" nickname, for example, is in some sources speculated to have been given to him by his post-war captors, but I found that it was in use as early as 1940. I have tried to address the concerns expressed by this review, and have incorporated additional works and scholarship. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:09, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Coord note: Can we get an update of where things are at with this nomination? K.e.coffman what concerns remain? Nikkimaria (talk) 17:49, 3 August 2019 (UTC)

August 2019 update[edit]

The concerns expressed during this FAR (#Nomination statement & #A few comments) remain largely unaddressed. They include:

  1. Content failing verification
  2. Use of an unreliable & dated primary source, including presenting subject’s self-serving narratives in Wikipedia’s voice
  3. Failure to reflect recent scholarship
  4. POV writing
  5. Omission of relevant context
  6. Selective reading of sources w/ cherry-picked citations

--K.e.coffman (talk) 20:39, 5 August 2019 (UTC)

None of this is true.

  1. All of the content in the article is fully referenced
  2. The use of the subject's memoirs has been handled carefully and in accord with best practice.
  3. Recent scholarship has been incorporated into the article. Starting with Kirsten von Lingen's book and articles, which have formed the backbone of the article. When an editor suggested a newly-published source I acquired it, and incorporated it into the article
  4. The article reflects the consensus of opinion among historians and not the WP:FRINGE views of POV-pushers
  5. I have repeatedly refuted attempts to misquote and misrepresent the sources.

I have worked on the article in good faith. I recommend that the review be closed. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 12:36, 6 August 2019 (UTC)

I concur - valid concerns were raised above but Hawkeye has since made edits/provided reasoned arguments to address these. As an example, mention was made to Citino as examples of more recent scholarship and his books are now cited as a source. I note that a couple of comments were made in respect of Kesselring's role in strategic bombing and his nervous tic but the reviewer hasn't substantiated that despite Hawkeye's request to do so. Some comments struck me as being more a case of "I don't like it" and application of a higher standard for this article compared to other Featured Articles. Assessing the comments above in full, there are still a few minor things that could be tidied up but these aren't on a scale that would its affect its FA status IMHO. Zawed (talk) 09:22, 7 August 2019 (UTC)

I share Drmies' concerns expressed above. The first paragraph of the lede characterizes him as an avuncular figure, popular with his men, and an accomplished general. That may well be true; no doubt many of Hitler's followers were loyal to him, as, no doubt, were Eva Braun and Blondi. But mention of Kesselring's war crimes is deferred to the last paragraph of the lede. Those crimes, and the enormity of those crimes, should be mentioned first. Kablammo (talk) 15:44, 7 August 2019 (UTC)

I estimate to bring this article up to current FAC standards would require a 20% rewrite from circa 400 edits. Merely to remove the POV would require a 5% rewrite from 100 edits. Since the start of this FAR the edits have been low in number and tangential to concerns expressed. Szzuk (talk) 21:43, 7 August 2019 (UTC)

Note: Since the start of there process there have been 60 edits adding 20,000 bytes of new material, increasing the article size from 110,000 to 130,000 bytes. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:42, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
  • @Nikkimaria: in view of the unresolved issues and the strong criticisms from uninvolved editors (Drmies, Kablammo, Szzuk), I believe this needs to be moved to the second phase now. I note especially Drmies' comment, which would have looked even stronger if shown as a whole, rather than broken up by Hawkeye's insertions. Bishonen | talk 20:07, 13 August 2019 (UTC).
  • I am not sure what the next step in this process is, but I agree that there should be a next step. I still find it hard to believe that this tripe about these two nicknames is in the first paragraph of the lead, for starters--and that this wouldn't be addressed after it was pointed out. Drmies (talk) 22:17, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I may have misunderstood you. You feel that the nickname should not be in the lead? I left it there because it is a common appellation that appears in most sources, that nicknames usually appear in the lead and the infobox, and it has been there since January 2004 - over 15 years - so it had an implied consensus for inclusion. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:42, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
Comments by PM[edit]

Having read the article through a couple of times now, I have a few questions and comments regarding it meeting the FA criteria:

  • I added in that he was a war criminal into the first sentence, this was a significant flaw in the lead, but it seems to have taken.
    It wasn't there because being a war criminal was not on the notability list in WP:N and he didn't meet WP:PERPETRATOR. As I said above, for half a century this aspect was not considered worth more than a footnote (or even noteworthy at all) in the sources. Interest in the post-World War II war crimes trials revived in the early 2000s as a result of the wars in the Balkans and Iraq. Most of the literature was from legal sources, and was very negative, focusing on the dodgy rules of evidence in military trials, and the Americans' use of torture to extract confessions. However, von Lingen was one of the historians who pushed back, with her work in Europe and later in Australia, and it provided us with a new source on Kesselring, with a lot of material gathered from non-English sources. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:29, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
    Notability guidelines aren't relevant for what is included in the first sentence, they relate to whether there should be an article on him in the first place. The first sentence should establish notability, he is known for being a senior German commander and for his involvement in killing of civilians, the latter being well-represented in the literature by 2009, so it should have been there then. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 05:31, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I can see the argument for the use of Kesselring's memoirs for straightforward biographical material or for his opinion on something, although I have concerns about it being used to support material written in Wikipedia's voice, which is the way it is currently used. I think the answer to this is to introduce what is being referred to as Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring (BTW is this Gedanken zum Zweiten Weltkrieg or Soldat bis zum letzten Tag? The citation is unclear) when it is first used, something along the lines of "In his 1955/1970 memoirs, Kesselring wrote that..." and then from that point on, especially when anything he says is possibly controversial or self-serving, using something like "Kesselring wrote that..." "According to Kesselring..." "Kesselring later claimed that..." etc. This would largely resolve my concerns with the use of the memoirs
    The The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring is the English translation of Soldat bis zum letzten Tag. Gedanken zum Zweiten Weltkrieg has never been translated into English. For the record, nearly every source makes some use of Kesselring's memoirs. I think you'll find that the memoirs are used for some biographical material in the early years, and sparingly thereafter. There is a couple of "According to his memoirs" in the article. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:29, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
    The citations remain unclear, because the citations to Soldier to the Last Day shouldn't say The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, they should say Soldier to the Last Day so the reader knows what book in the References is being referred to. The lack of in-text attribution is a major hurdle in my opinion. Just because historians have used Kesselring's memoirs doesn't mean we should use them directly and in Wikipedia's voice. Historians are expected to analyse the memoirs and sift through the self-serving stuff, check facts etc. Kesselring's words are primary and not independent of the subject, so they need to be attributed except when used for basic biographical information. Nearly all of the Poland section relies directly on his memoirs, there are numerous examples of where his word is taken as gospel for what happened. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 00:01, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
    The citations are all to the English translation and not to the original German. I have corrected the reference. Soldat bis zum letzten Tag was published in 1953, and an English translation appeared that year. It was reprinted in 1988 and 2007 as The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring. As far as I can tell, all the English editions have the same page numbers. Saying "in his 1953 memoirs" is fine. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 01:14, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
    I have now attributed in-text all the material from Kesselring's memoirs that I consider needs to be. If this sticks, I will be voting "keep". Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 09:27, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Kesselring was in charge of the bombing of Warsaw in September 1939, but nothing is really said about what was an example of terror bombing like Rotterdam and Belgrade
    Although described as such at the time, the modern consensus is that this was unintended, and that the accuracy of bombing of was grossly over-estimated in those days. I expanded on this in the Rotterdam section, using the recent work of Dutch and German historians. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:29, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

I'll do a light c/e and provide some more comments as they come to mind. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:46, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

  • it is a little unclear when he went back into uniform, as he was promoted to Generalmajor in 1934 but the Luftwaffe wasn't created until 1935?
    That's all I have, I'm afraid. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:29, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
  • the two paras beginning "Like many ex-Army officers" interrupt the narrative and would probably be better in a Legacy section
    re-thought this, created a new section at the same point in the article to encompass this material Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 05:38, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • the Poland section needs a better narrative flow, perhaps by inserting the second para after "Fedor von Bock" and making the new second para the rest of the first para plus the sentence about the Knight's Cross award
    Have done this also. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 05:39, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I'd like to get an idea of the losses incurred by his Luftflotten over Britain and the Soviet Union
    Between 22 June and 5 December 1941, the seven Luftwaffe fighter wings lost 382 aircraft. Soviet sources give their losses as 21,200, of which at least 10,000 were destroyed in air combat. Added this. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:29, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Down to Allied invasion of Sicily. Maybe more to come. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 09:17, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

  • "Thus, Kesselring's conviction became "a legal prerequisite if perpetrators of war crimes were to be found guilty by Italian courts"" doesn't make sense to me. What is meant by that?
    I'm not sure, although it is a correct quote. I have removed. it. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 07:28, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • what happened to Krummhaar?
    Typo there. Corrected. It was Waldemar Krumhaar. He was sentenced to five years and released in 1950. Unfortunately, I can't find a RS to add this. [22] I wanted to refute the "clean hands" myth so I deliberately selected names from the Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and SS. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 07:28, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

OK, I'm done with the c/e. I'll implement some of the above. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 04:48, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Comments by Sturmvogel_66[edit]
  • This needs to go unless it can be confirmed by a RS: According to Kesselring, while he was flying his Fieseler Fi 156 Storch to a meeting he was fired upon by a British force astride Rommel's line of communications. Kesselring called in an air strike by every available Stuka along with other types of ground attack aircraft. His strike was successful; the British force suffered heavy losses and was forced to pull back.
    I have removed this, and re-sourced the paragraphs to Germany and the Second World War. Because one of Kesselring's contentions is now backed up by Stumpf (who cites and quotes radio messages, not the memoirs) I have removed one "According to Kesselring". Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:10, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • including General der Infantrie Enno von Rintelen, the German liaison officer at the Italian Commando Supremo, who spoke fluent Italian Why is this important?
    Removed "who spoke fluent Italian". I think I included this titbit to show how close von Rintelen was to the Italians. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:10, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Delete the info about his nicknames from the lede. It's enough that they're covered in the main body.
    Removed. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:10, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:05, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

Comments by K.e.coffmand[edit]
Lead through the Poland section[edit]
  • "...became one of Nazi Germany's most skilful commanders..." -- according to whom? See, for example, Robert Citino for a different opinion. --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    So I did. This is what he has to say:
Kesselring would earn a reputation as a defensive genius for managing to hold onto Italy until the end of the war. A typical modern evaluation in the English-language literature describes him in glowing terms as a "decisive commander":

Kesselring established himself as a master of the defensive who able time and again to thwart Alied aims in the Mediterranean with significantly smaller forces... His imprint for the battle for Tunisia had been minimal, but changed dramatically when the fighting shifted to Italy. was a product of Kesselring's genius for defensive operations. Throught the campaign it was Kesselring who dictated German strategy by the firm exercise of command and by his ability to shrewdly maneuver his forces against the Allies.

Another labels him as a "master of defensive warfare", a commander with "an instinctive feel for battle", a "a general able to inflict maximum damage on the enemy before withdrawing to fight anbother day." Still others claim that her was "as good a general as emerged from the German army in the Second World War".

The Wehrmach Retreats, p. 271

  • So this is his summation of the consensus among historians. The historians Citino refers to are Carlo D'Este, Dominick Graham, Shelford Bidwell and Douglas Porch. Citino's own verdict: "Kesselring handled the campaign skilfully, giving a bravara performance." (p. 274)
  • No, this is not a consensus among historians. Citino disagrees with characterisation of Kesselring as a defensive genius; The Wehrmacht Retreats, 2012, p. 272: "Kesselring presided over the loss of 415,000 men (...). Even as a limited campaign of delay and attrition, the German defence of Italy was an utter failure." So does Sangster. These books are recent scholarship, so this should be reflected. At the very least, should be phrased as "some historians, such as ..., consider Kesselring ..., while other historians, such as ..., hold the opinion that ..." etc. When sourced disagree, both positions should be reflected. --K.e.coffman (talk) 18:13, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Awkward construction: "He won the respect of his Allied opponents for his military accomplishments, but his record was marred..." (italics mine) --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
  • "He was one of only three officers with the rank of Generalfeldmarschall to publish his memoirs..." -- WP:OR and trivia. --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    Not trivia, because it goes to notability, but it does border on WP:OR, so removed. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:58, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  • This change to the lead is not exactly what I had in mind: [23]. Recitation of orgs that Kesselring headed does not add to our understanding of the subject. Lingen and Sangster both devote a chapter each to this period of Kesselring's life, focusing on his public persona. E.g. "Kesselring himself fritted away the goodwill he initially enjoyed as a WWII military icon"; "Kesselring's demand [that war criminals be released] soon caused an unwelcome spotlight to be shown on the British clemency program" (Lingen, pp. 238-239).
  • "Kesselring wrote that as chief of administration, he had to assemble his new staff from scratch. He was involved in the re-establishment of the aviation industry and the construction of secret factories, forging alliances with industrialists and aviation engineers."[1] -- unnecessary self-congratulations. --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    I think this is a reasobale summation of what he did. O will have a look at what Boog has to say... Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:58, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  • "In his memoirs, he stated that first-hand knowledge of all aspects of aviation was essential to being able to command airmen, although he was well aware that latecomers like himself did not impress the old pioneers or the young aviators."[1] -- unnecessary Kesselring's POV. --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    The issue of non-rated officers is a controversial one in many navies and air forces. In the US there area actually laws about it, so it is of interest to the reader. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:58, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  • This article is a biography of Kesselring, not about Kesselring's opinion that may or may not be relevant to a controversy that readers may not even know exists. --K.e.coffman (talk) 18:13, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
  • "Kesselring wrote that he gave a high priority to attacks on airfields, barracks and naval installations, while strategic targets like armament factories were not attacked because it was anticipated that the campaign would be a short one in which Polish production would not have a significant impact.[2] (...) The Polish Air Force earned his respect.[2] Kesselring considered that Polish pilots and aircraft were not inferior,..."[2] -- unnecessary & POV. From other literature, we know that German air operations involved bombing of undefended localities, strafing of civilians, and so on. In this context, A paragraph of Kesselring's claims of prioritising military installations and his musings on the abilities of Polish airmen strike me as POV. --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    Refuting the myth that the Polish air force was destroyed on the ground, or the pilots and aircraft were inferior. If you have a good source for the air war over Poland, it could be used. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:58, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Again, this is a bio of Kesselring; it's not necessary to "refute" a myth that readers may not know exists. In any case, my point was about the ommission of indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, strafing of refugees, etc. Through ommission and giving undue weight to Kesselring's apologia, this is POV writing. --K.e.coffman (talk) 18:13, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
  • "According to his memoirs, Kesselring strove to provide the best possible close air support to the ground forces and used the flexibility of air power to concentrate all available air strength at critical points, such as during the Battle of the Bzura. He attempted to cut the Polish communications by making a series of air attacks against Warsaw, but found that even 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) bombs could not ensure that bridges would be destroyed..[2] -- POV and unnecessary self-congratulations. --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    That he failed to accomplish what he set out to do? Hardly. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:58, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Again, my point is not being addressed. "strove to provide the best..." is self-congratulations, cited to Kesselring's vainglorious memoirs. --K.e.coffman (talk) 18:13, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
  • The article does not mention Kesselring's support for National Socialism, his silence on the ejection of Jewish soldiers from the armed forces, and loyalty to Hitler; see Lingen pp. 23, 24 & 27, respectively. --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:58, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    Von Lingen cites Kesselring's memoirs, and I can't find this. I could be only in the German. Do you have a copy of Soldat?
  • Why is Kesselring's memoir needed here when this is covered in Lingen? I even provided the pages. Please help me understand why we would look for this info in Soldat. --K.e.coffman (talk) 18:13, 27 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Loyalty to Hitler is covered in many places, including his response to the bomb plot, and informing Hitler of the surrender negotiations in Italy. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:58, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  • No, it is not. The world "loyalty" appears in re: 1944 bomb plot. I was referring to Kesselring's support for Hitler's policies in the 1930s. This is covered in Lingen p. 27 & should be reflected in the article. Instead, we get the image of Kesselring as an apolitical technocrat; the image he himself cultivated in his memoirs. --K.e.coffman (talk) 18:13, 27 August 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 31–33.
  2. ^ a b c d Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 44–46.
Western Europe[edit]
  • (A bit more on the lead): Suggest removing: " of the most highly decorated, being one of only 27 soldiers awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds." It's routine for field marshals to be highly decorated or to receive rare awards, while this statement -- prominently placed in the 1st para -- reads like a panegyric.
  • "Kesselring's Luftflotte 1 (...) remained in the east on garrison duty, establishing new airbases and an air raid precautions network in occupied Poland. (...) Kesselring flew to his new headquarters at Münster the very next day, 13 January 1940. As Felmy's chief of staff, Generalmajor Josef Kammhuber, had also been relieved, Kesselring brought his own chief of staff, Generalmajor Wilhelm Speidel, with him."[1] -- A self-sourced paragraph with excessive & POV details about "establishing new airbases and an air raid precautions network", Kesselring flying out "the very next day", and a mention of a nn chief of staff.
  • "Arriving in the west, Kesselring found Luftflotte 2 operating in support of von Bock's Army Group B. According to his memoirs, he inherited from Felmy a complex air plan requiring precise timing over several hours, incorporating an airborne operation around Rotterdam and The Hague to seize airfields and bridges in the "Fortress Holland" area. The paratroopers were from General der Flieger Kurt Student's airborne forces, which depended on a quick link-up with the mechanised forces. To facilitate this, Kesselring promised von Bock the fullest possible close air support. Air and ground operations, however, were to commence simultaneously, so there would be no time to suppress the defending Royal Netherlands Air Force.[2]" -- Yet another self-sourced paragraph (second in a row), about the burdens that Kesselring had to bear ("inherited a complex air plan requiring precise timing over several hours...") and striving to provide "the fullest possible close air support".
  • "The Battle of the Netherlands commenced on 10 May 1940. Initial air operations went well, and the German fighters and bombers soon gained the upper hand against the small Dutch air force.[3]" -- POV language of "Initial air operations went well". Went well for whom?
  • "After the surrender of the Netherlands on 14 May 1940, Luftflotte 2 attempted to move forward to new airfields in Belgium while still providing support for the fast-moving ground troops. The Battle of France was going well, (...).[3] -- Yet more of self-sourced achievements & the battle "going well", full stop.
  • "In his memoirs, Kesselring described that decision as a "fatal error", because it left the burden of preventing the Allied evacuation of Dunkirk to the air force, hampered by poor flying weather and staunch opposition from the Royal Air Force."[4] -- More POV self-citations about the literal "burden" that was forced upon Kesselring.
  • More Kesselring's self-sourced musings, now with a prominent quote box:
Results will demonstrate an officer's fitness to be a field marshal, and no one will then ask about his origins, whether he came from the army or the air force. But one piece of advice I will give to all air field marshals: do not become a one-sided technician, but learn to think and lead in terms of all three services.[5]
I've counted 50+ total citations to Kesselring's memoirs. It should be remembered that this source is not independent, not secondary, and in several important respects not reliable. Who knows what he's omitted, obfuscated, or lied about? The use of this source is excessive and not in line with WP:PRIMARY, let alone in an FA. --K.e.coffman (talk) 14:15, 30 August 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 49–51.
  2. ^ Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 52–55.
  3. ^ a b Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 55–58.
  4. ^ Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, pp. 59–60.
  5. ^ Kesselring, The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring, p. 64.
Soviet Union to Tunisia[edit]
  • The sourcing in the Soviet Union section is especially poor. Nine out of 10 citations are to primary, dated and non-independent sources. They are Kesselring (again) and Hermann Plocher, a former Luftwaffe general working for the US Air Force Historical Division; the working link is this: [24]. This section is truly stuck in the 1950s, with sources from the earlier stages of the Cold War. In contrast, Germany and the Second World War, Vol. IV, has a different take on Kesselring's performance in this campaign.
  • The library's copy of the book was lost in the great flood of 2018, but I have obtained a copy. Kesselring is mentioned eleven times, on pages 335, 359, 363, 366, 664, 765, 770, 774, 783, 811, 822. Page 335 notes Kesselring's doubts about whether invading the Soviet Union was a sensible idea (sourced to his memoirs); 359 notes how he arranged for additional transport the Luftwaffe to follow the panzers (sourced to his memoirs); 363 is an org chart; 366 merely notes that he was in command of Luftlotte 2; 765 is Kesselring's comment of the Soviet air opposition (sourced to his memoirs); 770 is his comment of the battle of Smolensk (sourced to his memoirs); 774 is probably what you were thinking of, his "high-handed" decision to support the II Army advance, which Boog says "proved to be correct"; 783 is his thoughts on the advance on Moscow (sourced to his memoirs); 811 is about Kesselring ordering air attacks on Moscow "half-heartedly", which Boog again agrees with; and 822 is about Kesselring attitude towards cooperation with the Army (sourced to his memoirs). Hawkeye7 (discuss) 04:26, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Sourcing is better in the sections on Mediterranean and North Africa and then on Tunisia, but there's still Kesselring's self-sourced POV ("as Kesselring later wrote..."; "Kesselring strove...", "He succeeded...", "Kesselring managed to..." etc), plus POV writing, i.e. "Things went well at first" -- went well for whom? Douglas Porch's The Path to Victory has two dozen entries in the index for Kesselring in re: this period; it's recent scholarship and Kesselring's 1950s memoirs are simply not needed when secondary sources are available.
    I don't have that book, but I do have two recent works: Gooderstein, A Hard Way to Make a War (2008) and Holland, Italy's Sorrow (2008). Hawkeye7 (discuss) 04:26, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
  • This is problematic: "...but was known as "Uncle Albert" by his troops. He was one of the most popular generals of World War II with the German rank and file. His popularity was enhanced by frequent, often unannounced, visits to the front line."[1]
Lingen is misplaced in the Tunisia section, as she does not refer to a particular period, but makes a general observation. Further, Lingen is cited selectively and out of context, as she continues in the same para to describe the Kesselring myth, contrasting the manufactured image of an affable general with his actions in Italy:
During the 1950s, this picture of Kesselring ['Smiling Al', a general with a common touch], which had been presented at his trial, was seized on and embellished by a range of memoirists. Yet when one considers the bloody assaults on whole villages during the Wehrmacht retreat in the summer of 1944, the picture of the 'good general' painted during the trial seems like a travesty.
As we have noted, von Lingen is in error on this point, the sobriquet "Smiling Al" is not a post-war construct. I put the observation (which applies to the whole war) in the Tunisian section with another comment to that effect. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 04:26, 22 September 2019 (UTC)
I did not notice that Lingen is in error. Instead she writes that Kesselring was called "Uncle Albert" by his troops and "Smiling Al" by the Allies, i.e. during the war. She notes that it was that early image, upon which memorists seized later on. (p. 16)--Assayer (talk) 11:41, 24 September 2019 (UTC)
I provided the very same quote box in my #Nomination statement; I see that the content got relocated from the lead into the body, but the problems with it still remain. --K.e.coffman (talk) 00:44, 5 September 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ von Lingen, Kesselring's Last Battle, p. 16.
Comments by Assayer[edit]

In recent years Kesselring’s biography has been thoroughly analyzed in three main respects.

  1. How Kesselring shaped the way war was waged in Italy.
  2. How the Allies dealt with war crimes after the war.
  3. How the Kesselring case shaped the ways in which the war was remembered in post-war Germany.

Reviewing the article, I think that it falls seriously short of addressing these issues and that it does not make full use of the available sources. (Lingen, Raiber, Sangster, to name only recent monographs dealing exclusively with Kesselring)

  • The nature and consequences of Kesselring’s anti-partisan policies are not fully analyzed. Historians like Lutz Klinkhammer, Gerhard Schreiber, Ben Sheperd, and Kerstin von Lingen have all made clear that Kesselring was responsible for escalating the war in Italy during the summer of 1944. The severity of Kesselring’s order of June 1944 went against the more restrained Merkblatt 69/2 issued by the OKW in May 1944. I do not think that the real point is, that “subsequently” massacres were carried out, but that, as Ben Sheperd has argued, frontline units made full use of the license given to them by Kesselring. “Many of the actions committed by the Germans were not reprisals for specific partisan actions, but terror measures aimed at purportedly ‘pro-bandit’ populations.” (Hitler’s Soldiers, p. 412.) The article fails to provide a sufficient account of German warfare against “partisans”, which has been covered extensively by Klinkhammer, Schreiber and Carlo Gentile, to name only a few historians, particularly given the many words spent on the Italian campaign in general and Kesselring’s “defensive genius”. It is not only that the name of Kesselring, whose signature appeared on posters and printed orders announcing draconian measures adopted by the German occupation, had become synonymous with the oppression and terror that had characterised the German occupation. He was not simply blamed. Instead, historians do indeed argue, that Kesselring prescribed mass terror. Thus it is misleading to have a lead section that states He won the respect of his Allied opponents for his military accomplishments, but his record was marred by massacres committed by his troops in Italy, as if he had nothing to do with the terror and as if the terror was not a central part of his defensive strategy. Btw, Sangster argues that Kesselring’s reputation grew “because he faced inadequate opponents”, in other words, the Allied commanders spoke highly of Kesselring to cover up their own blunders and poor leadership. (p.91) That should be adressed.
  • The writing also has a strange tone throughout. The article notes, e.g., that Kesselring rescinded his order … deploring incidents that had "damaged the German Wehrmacht's reputation and discipline and which no longer have anything to do with reprisal operations", and launched investigations into specific cases that Mussolini cited. Did Kesselring really deplore his orders? Lingen writes that Kesselring reacted towards Mussolini’s complaints and merely acknowledged such incidents. Kesselring also went on record by saying “I loved the Italians too much. Now I hate them.” Anyway, the investigations, Lingen notes, were halted inconclusively. She also discusses the figures of casualties given, asking whether the term “partisans” referred to all casualties including women and children. (p. 47) I consider it of vital importance that German numbers of casualties are not accepted at face value. It is to be regretted that these numbers are taken from Lingen, whereas her critical analysis is somehow skipped over. Given the sizable literature on German atrocities in Italy (see above) the references (Trial Proceedings, Haaretz, Mitcham) are poor. Instead the section on war crimes concludes with exhortations of Kesselring’s “defensive success”. Conservative estimates give the number of Italian civilians being killed between March and November 1944 alone as 7,500 men, women, and children. (Sheperd, Hitler's Soldiers, p. 412)
  • Kesselring’s subsequent trial has been discussed with considerable detail by Lingen and others. The article, however, does not really discuss these issues. I find that to be disproportionate compared, e.g., to the lengthy quotes of favorable statements by Churchill and Alexander. Besides, the judgement implied that reprisal killings were not justified during wartime. Thus, the court did not leave that question open. It was the Judge Advocate who maintained that the legality of that was not clear cut. Court proceedings should not be interpreted by Wikipedians, particularly when rich secondary sources are available. (see also Michele Battini, The Missing Italian Nuremburg, 2007.) Richard Raiber’s book bears the title Anatomy of Perjury, but we do not learn much abut Kesselring’s lies in the article.
  • Lingen argues persuasively, I think, that after 1945 Kesselring became an effective proponent of the wrong notion that the Wehrmacht had fought a clean war in Italy. Wikipedia, however, uses a Time article from 1954 to have Kesselring protesting the "unjustly smirched reputation of the German soldier" and so forth. I find that particularly weak.
  • Given that there is secondary literature which made use of Kesselring’s memoirs I do not really see the point why Wikipedians have to make use of it themselves. It should be clear from the outset that memoirs are not reliable sources and that Kesselring’s views have to be contrasted with other sources. I would say, e.g., that the information that Kesselring was able to fly unescorted over the front in his Focke-Wulf Fw 189 reconnaissance aircraft, is intricate detail. What is the encyclopedic value of information like he stated that first-hand knowledge of all aspects of aviation was essential to being able to command airmen, although he was well aware that latecomers like himself did not impress the old pioneers or the young aviators? Sometimes it even becomes funny: In his post-war memoirs, Kesselring claimed he envisioned making a start on the rehabilitation of Germany following the end of the war.[192] Instead, he was arrested. What are we to make out of that information? Was Germany saved from Kesselring's rehabilitating efforts or deceived of it?

--Assayer (talk) 20:12, 23 August 2019 (UTC) Addendum: I take notice that Hawkeye7 argues that Kesselring's take on the issue of non-rated officers is important, because it is a controversial one in many navies and air forces. In the US there area actually laws about it, so it is of interest to the reader. It is implausible, that Albert Kesselring's private opinions on that issue, stated in his memoirs, are of any interest for and sought after by any navy and air force. Who would care to look for that information in an article about such an individual?Assayer (talk) 01:31, 24 August 2019 (UTC)

This addendum is typical of Assayer's criticisms, and closely matches K.e.coffman's. They both have demonstrated over an extended period significant deficiencies in understanding what is a relevant piece of information for a military biography (the lack of military biography FAs to which they have contributed is a further indication of this), and both constantly harp on about useful and interesting information that has been included in good faith in the interests of our readers. With these two editors, this only occurs in the cases of Nazis, and they show no interest in removing similar information from articles about people who are not Nazis, despite the fact that such information is common in articles about non-Nazis. Explaining that Kesselring felt it was necessary for him to be able to fly an aircraft in order to command people who were flying aircraft is directly relevant to his biography, and their opposition to its inclusion is frankly ridiculous. Kesselring's decision in this respect reflects a common feeling amongst military leaders that they must show that they are capable of doing the things that they are asking their men to do. It is integral to military leadership, and is ingrained through training and by example. All this comment does is underline the editor's lack of understanding about such matters. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 07:46, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Yours is an argumentum ad hominem, suggesting both incompetence and an ideological agenda while sidestepping my main arguments. If that particular information is directly relevant to his biography, it should be easy to provide references from secondary literature. It is easy to provide multiple references that Kesselring escalated the war in Italy through terror and therefore that information is integral to Kesselring’s biography. I maintain that memoirs should not be used by Wikipedians as they are notoriously unreliable sources, and I do not see it as problematic to focus on my expertise, namely German history 1933 to 1945. --Assayer (talk) 11:12, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
It is not a personal attack to point out a pattern of editing behaviour and a demonstrated lack of experience or knowledge in these matters. My comment was not directed at your earlier points, only the addendum regarding Kesselring's flying, so I am sidestepping nothing. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:42, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it is. It's called WP:ASPERSIONS and has been dealt with by ArbCom. You are invited to comment on content, not to allege deficiencies.--Assayer (talk) 19:26, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

In response to your points:

  • The article covers the war against partisans. The main point is Kesselring's culpability for incitement, one of the charges that he was sentenced top death for. Going into who was actually responsible for what area, and the degree of authority Kesselring exercised over what units would obscure what is his clear guilt when it came to incitement. (Alexander's own guilt with regard to incitement and escalation goes a long way to explaining his own attitude and pushing of the "clean war" myth.)
  • The partisan war is covered in the article. We carefully selected incidents to demonstrate the effect, to refute the "clean war myth", and that SS units were the only ones responsible, which was not the case. There is also another myth, in Italy, that partisans were primarily responsible for the ejection of the Germans from Italy, which is not accepted by military historians. The figures for German casualties indicate that they are low compared to the number of civilian casulaties.
  • The article devotes considerable space to Kesselring's trial. We could go into the legal questions and issues regarding the the taking of hostages and killings in reprisals.
  • We could add a "reputation" section, but it will read like the quote from Citino, citing notable historians praising him as a genius, noting the minority view of Sangster, and von Lingen's assessment of his reputation in Germany.
  • As to who would care to look for that information in an article about such an individual; It's been done.
Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:03, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
The article does indeed deal with the war against partisans. But the question is: Does it deal with it sufficiently? I maintain that it is somewhat ill conceived to select “incidents”, i.e. massacres, when the point is terror against the population (see references above). This is also not about Kesselring’s authority over certain units. Sheperd makes clear that “Kesselring’s order gave his units free rein, but each unit’s particular condition and characteristics determined how to use it.” (Hitler’s soldiers, p. 412) If it is well established that Kesselring "incited" and ordered his troops to kill civilians, why delegate that to the bottom of the lead as part of the war crimes trial? War crime trials may for some smack of victor’s justice, challenging the legitimacy of the judgement. If the discussion of Kesselring’s responsibility is to rest with his conviction, however, it is even more necessary to make use of the trial proceedings, e.g. to note, that during the trial it was confirmed that the SS was in fact subordinated to the Wehrmacht in the operations against the partisans. (Battini, Missing Italian Nuremburg, p. 88). Instead the article informs the readers, that the court "left open the question of the legality of killing innocent persons in reprisals" and uses somewhat elusive wordings like "his record was marred by massacres committed by his troops in Italy".
I find Lingen’s treatment of casualty figures much more sophisticated than that to be found in the article, where its is claimed that “some 9,520 partisans were killed”, a label called into question by Lingen by asking whether it included women and children. It does not make much sense to have a section on “reputation”, but it does make sense to note a change in historiographical judgement. Lingen and Sangster represent recent scholarship. The question is not whether they are in the minority, but whether they have refashioned Kesselring’s image. I found an interesting review of Macksey’s bio by Stephen G. Fritz from 1997.[25] Without going into detail here I find that review to offer a more balanced approach than that provided by Wikipedia. For example, Fritz argues that Kesselring's “stubborn refusal to see the obvious in North Africa and recommend to Hitler, with whom he had considerable influence, a timely withdrawal from the Tunisian pocket led to the destruction and capture of some of the finest troops in the German army”. Wikipedia only claims: “In return, Kesselring had, however, held up the Allies in Tunisia for six months, forcing a postponement of the Allied invasion of Northern France from the middle of 1943 to the middle of 1944.” I have not been able, however, to back up that claim with the reference given, namely Howe, p. 666. Instead Howe writes on p. 677:
The decision to gamble on occupying French North Africa ahead of the Axis forces led to a failure in December which could not be remedied before May 1943. One may well doubt that this failure alone caused deferment of a cross-Channel attack until 1944, in view of the many other considerations involved. But one important conclusion concerning the relation of the decision to occupy French North Africa to the fundamental Allied strategy seems beyond question. Even if the Allies had succeeded in establishing a bridge-head in Normandy in 1943, their experience in Tunisia demonstrated that they would have been unprepared for breaking out of this bridgehead and thrusting far toward the heart of Nazi Germany. This experience they gained by meeting the enemy at the outer periphery of the area to be liberated at a time when the Eastern Front continued to absorb the bulk of Axis military power.
As to Kesselring learning to fly – that information can be found, e.g., with Sangster, p. 44, so there is no need to make recourse to his memoirs.--Assayer (talk) 19:12, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
I have added the bit from Sangster, and have rewritten the conclusion to the North African campaign per Howe, with which I agree completely. People have written whole books on an Allied landing in northern France in 1943, but the consensus is that it was doomed once the commitment was made to North Africa in 1942. I have some more details on the casualty figures for partisans, which I will add. The assessment of Macksey's biography you found is interesting. His errors are indeed numerous and and include important details, and as the article points out, Macksey is frequently more upbeat than Kesselring's own account. I note that the article doesn't mention Kesselring's war criminal status, which I think any 21st century account would, a sign of the major change in historiographical judgement. And I will try and get my hands on a copy of Battini. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:41, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

FARC section[edit]

Issues raised in the review section include neutrality and coverage. Nikkimaria (talk) 21:52, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Delist. The article has a hat-full of problems. The worst of which is POV. I see no prospect of anything much changing. Szzuk (talk) 08:49, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep. Article has extensive material about Kesselring's authorization of reprisals against partisans. The lead even mentions the atrocities committed and the Ardeatine massacre - this is definitely not burying it. Kges1901 (talk) 13:10, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep. Partly on the strength of this summary by Hawkeye, which, so far as I can tell from reading the article and following the history, is accurate. Gog the Mild (talk) 15:12, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
I came back to this to see what the decision was, realised that it was still open, and so read the delist (only) comments below to see if there was anything which might cause me to change my mind. The only one which gave me pause was Assayer's on the weight given to a 1954 Time Magazine article. This does not seem appropriate. Otherwise, as a moderately active FAC reviewer (over 50 reviews so far this year), I find nothing weighty enough to cause what seems an entirely FA-worthy article to be delisted. I do not wish to put words in the mouths of those favouring delist, but they seem to either attach undue weight to their favoured sources, or wish to have well sourced facts removed or reduced in prominence. I find neither convincing, nor grounds for delisting. The valid grounds initially identified for reviewing this article seem to me to have been satisfactorily addressed, and there seems to be an ongoing commitment to maintaining the article. Gog the Mild (talk) 07:54, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Delist. Clear POV which has not been adequately addressed. Why do we lead off an article on a war criminal, who adamantly denied culpability for his actions, with panygerics such as "most skilful", "highly decorated", mention of a Nazi military award, and "most popular"? And (to address a comment made above) there is no such thing as an "an implied consensus for inclusion". It doesn't matter if it was added yesterday, or by some fanboy 15 years ago (and I have not checked on who added it, or when) — the content is what matters. The slanted point of view here is contested and must be addressed, and the refusal to do so is troubling. Kablammo (talk) 16:19, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment coming to this late, I will review the article in the next few days, post any concerns on talk and then decide which way I'm leaning. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 22:16, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep. Nothing here that can't be fixed by stepwise editing. Guy (Help!) 23:21, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:06, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
@JzG and Sturmvogel 66: While I appreciate your engagement here, a more complete evaluation of this article relative to the FA criteria would be more helpful at this point than a simple keep/delist. What issues remain that can be fixed by stepwise editing? Do you agree with some of the concerns above and just think they're fixable, or do you disagree that what's been raised above is of concern? Nikkimaria (talk) 19:05, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
I just don't see this as an article-on-fire situation. Guy (Help!) 19:28, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep - as I have previously noted above, some valid concerns were raised at the start of this FAR but edits have been made to address these. Zawed (talk) 22:14, 17 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep. Issues were raised in some detail about the neutrality and comprehensiveness of this article. After reading through the concerns and checking the changes made, it is clear that the issues have been addressed. Some further improvements could perhaps be made -- I am sure that all of those involved here would be happy to work together on that -- but that does not require nor justify delisting. MPS1992 (talk) 03:26, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. There are two votes on the talk page from established editors. Both call this a "Pro Nazi" article or similar. Szzuk (talk) 07:57, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
    Of what relevance is that? Were they made after this FAR process? Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 08:19, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
    @Peacemaker67: One was made in 2017, and I'm not able to find the other one at this moment. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 20:35, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Comments.
    • There are some portrait pictures of him smiling on commons that might be appropriate to illustrate the "Tunisia" section.
    • There is one image, File:De_nieuwe_generaal-veldmaarschalken_van_de_Luftwaffe.jpg, that is nominated for deletion. I don't think there is a need to rush to remove it since it will either be kept if unproblematic or deleted if ineligible. DrKay (talk) 20:28, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
      I don't think its removal will affect the article, which has plenty of illustrations. It has been listed for months now. But I don't want to add any more from the same source until the matter is resolved. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    • Should "LXXXX" in the "Tunisia" section be "XC"? DrKay (talk) 20:28, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
      In German, LXXXX is used, but the American source cited uses XC, so changed to that. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    • My main concern are some parts that could benefit from further work to improve neutrality:
      • The aircraft losses for Barbarossa contradict those given (cited to the same source as this article) in the article on the operation. What seems to have happened here is a selective comparison of specific Axis losses against total Soviet losses: this is an unfair comparison. Either the total Soviet losses of 21,200 should be compared to the total German losses of 2,827; or the same selective algorithm should be applied to both sides, not just to the German one. DrKay (talk) 20:28, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
        I cannot explain the figure given in the Barbarossa article. I have the cited source before me, and it says total German losses were 2,093. Used that. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
      • "Kesselring managed to delay the Allies in Sicily for another month; the Allied conquest of Sicily was not complete until 17 August." Five weeks to take Sicily is not actually that slow, and "conquest" seems a loaded term. Recommend: "Kesselring managed to delay the Allies in Sicily for another month until 17 August...He was able to evacuate 40,000 men, plus 96,605 vehicles..." DrKay (talk) 20:28, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
        The US official history uses the term repeatedly. See pp. 25, 53, 261. It is also the title of Alexander's official despatch. [26] Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
      • In the section on the "Allied invasion of Sicily", it is not clear to me why we are told about Gonzaga, 184 Airborne Division or F Recce Squadron. This should be related to Kesselring. DrKay (talk) 20:28, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
        I was trying to convey the chaotic response in Italy, but it perhaps drifted too far. Removed this. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
      • In the "Cassino and Anzio" section, the statement "The consequences for the Italian population [of Operation Strangle] were severe; between June 1940 and April 1945, 59,796 Italian civilians and 4,558 Italian servicemen died in Allied air raids" is unconvincing and logically flawed. The paragraph is about 2 months in 1944, but the casualty figure is for the entire war. Clearly, there were many Allied air raids when Italy was an Axis power. If the figure cannot be reduced to only those who died during that specific bombing campaign, then the claim should be removed. DrKay (talk) 20:28, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
        The air raids were few before May 1943 because Italy was out of range. The raids steadily incresed in number and intensity through 1944. In 1943, when the US Army Air Forces assumed responsibility for most Italian operations, the American bombers dropped 46,448 tons of bombs on Italy. In 1944, the Allies dropped 166,494 tons of bombs. Between January and early May 1945, an additional 63,370 tons of bombs were dropped. The restraints on bombing in France to limit civilian casualties were not in effect in Italy as it was not an Allied country. I did have some figures with a breakdown of civilian casualties, but they have been lost, and did not archive them. Removed. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    • (Minor point: Some references end in a period, while others don't. They should be consistent.) DrKay (talk) 20:28, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
      Corrected this. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 21:06, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
    Keep. Individual comments have either led to changes in the article or been answered with counter-arguments. FAR isn't dispute resolution. The delist arguments are unconvincing when they complain about things such as a lack of coverage of the Italian terror campaign, even though the lead contains explicit statements such as "his record was marred by massacres committed by his troops in Italy" and "Kesselring was tried for war crimes and sentenced to death for ordering the murder of 335 Italian civilians, and for inciting and ordering his troops to kill civilians in reprisals". DrKay (talk) 11:23, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Nom's comment. @JzG and Sturmvogel 66: The concern is that normal editing has not worked in the past. I had attempted to reduce Kesselring's self-serving POV cited to his memoirs: diff, Feb 2019, but that was reverted with the rationale that "tweaking the wording is not acceptable; the wording has been carefully reviewed...": [27].
After TP discussion which was not productive: Talk:Albert_Kesselring#Feb 2019 edit, I reached out to FA nom and suggested collaboratively editing the article, with a view of avoiding the FAR: [28]. This was also rejected: [29]. I could try editing the article again and see what happens. --K.e.coffman (talk) 01:17, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
Any substantial editing is going to cause friction. It is easier to follow the discussion when there is a list of specific points like the one in my review, where each point can be answered in turn. Having said that, I don't think it will be useful to re-visit points made and discussed in the past (such as whether to use the memoirs) as the consensus appears to be that they can be used if suitably attributed and balanced with any counter-evidence. DrKay (talk) 07:52, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
I think we should all agree with User:K.e.coffman that his improvements of articles regarding topics like these, are something that will be continued, long into the future. The reality is that numerous editors with knowledge of the subject have now assessed the arguments made regarding this specific article, and it's time to make a decision. Careful assessment of the article, indicates that it should remain as a Featured Article. MPS1992 (talk) 22:55, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep I've been through the article in detail and have made some changes and suggested others which have been addressed, and I just do not see the alleged issues with neutrality and coverage that some see, or accept K.e.coffman's perennial argument about what constitutes trivia in military history biographies. His memoirs provide a valuable insight into his thinking at different stages along with his motivations and they are now properly attributed throughout. The final thing I will say is that the laudatory comment in the lead about his skilful command should probably read "most skilful defensive commanders" as he really had no offensive record to speak of, and defensive operations are a very different beast to offensive operations. Otherwise, there has been significant improvement during the FAR, and while I'm sure there are tweaks here and there that can be addressed piecemeal, I don't consider that justifies delisting what is now an excellent article. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:11, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Delist. As I have argued above[30], the article neglects major facts and details, it is not well researched, and it is not a representative survey of the relevant literature. Thus, as of today it fails WP:FA?.--Assayer (talk) 20:15, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
  • @Assayer: Your last edits before this FAR were over 4 months ago in another FAR initiated by K.e.coffman in April 2019. Are you here to build an encyclopedia or pop up every once in a while when K.e.coffman needs a WP:TAGTEAM partner? --Pudeo (talk) 08:49, 28 August 2019 (UTC)
  • reply.--Assayer (talk) 02:28, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment I am not quite sure how to proceed. Researching critical parts of the article I do not find them to be in line with recent research. For example, Kesselring's role in saving Rome as an “open city” is much more controversial than the article, which features Kesselring as a scrupulous leader and the Allies as being ruthless, makes us to believe. For example, on 4 February 1944 Kesselring proposed, among other things, the demolition of all bridges across the Tiber. Hitler himself may have forbidden their destruction for their historical and artistic merit. (Fisher, Cassino to the Alps, p. 203.) A report from Weizsäcker to the Vatican suggests that Kesselring regretted the bad shape of the roads around Rome, so that there had to be transports through the city. (Helmut Goetz, Das Attentat in Rom und die Fosse Ardeatine (1944). Eine vorläufige Bilanz. In: Innsbrucker Historische Studien 6, 1983, pp. 161-178, here p. 164.) Goetz argues that Rome was neither de jure nor de facto an open city, but that the notion of an open city was a fiction. (Ibid.) Lingen writes, the open city status of Rome and Florence was rendered meaningless in practice by both sides. (p. 37)
As to the Ardeatine massacre, researchers have argued that it is doubtful that an order by Hitler existed, most certainly not a second order, possibly not even a first order. See Kurt Mälzer#Military Commander of Rome with references.
It had been claimed that Kesselring used the Jews of Rome as labour for the construction of fortifications, and resisted their deportation, but Hitler transferred responsibility to the SS. I have used literature which made use of the new evidence made accessible by the US National Archives in 2000 to clarify that story. “Resistance” is a much-discussed concept in the historiography of Nazi Germany, and while Kesselring for whatever reasons might have helped to obstruct the deportations for some time, there are no sources that claim he “resisted”.
I do not see that such issues are to be addressed within short notice, nor do I see a particular willingness to engage with sources such as I have provided.--Assayer (talk) 17:39, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
We just need to find the right word. I'm not happy with "obstruct". As you point out, some people might construe "resist" to mean the "resistance" (although I think that's unlikely given the context), whereas "obstruct" may connote an intent that was not there. 20:38, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
You've written: Historian Andrew Sangster argues that while Kesselring was undoubtedly anti-Semitic, he never played an active role in the Holocaust. Despite his denials Kesselring must have known of these crimes and his guilt lies "in his unquestioning support of Hitler who had made the Holocaust a priority."
That is indeed what Sangster says, but here's an obvious contradiction here between the article saying that "he never played an active role in the Holocaust" and placing him in Category:Holocaust perpetrators in Italy. My argument has been that the use of Jews for slave labour was part of the Holocaust. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:38, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
I purposely did not use the word obstruct, when I rewrote that passage in the article, but simply recounted what is known. For Breitman the newly available sources implied that Möllhausen was only about to reach out to Kesselring on 6 October. Breitman is highly critical of Katz, who sort of tends to believe Kappler's post-war defence. Katz follows a different chronology outlined by Möllhausen himself. For NPOV reasons I considered articles by both authors. The sources do not warrant, however, to draw further conclusions about Kesselring's actions and motivations. In fact, Kesselring's role seems to have been marginal. It should furthermore be clear, that no Jewish slave labor was actually used on German fortifications around Rome. That was just an idea proposed by Möllhausen to block the imminent deportation. I found Sangster's assessment useful as a historian's comment. I did not spend much thought on the issue of Wikipedia categories. --Assayer (talk) 00:05, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Delist per the comprehensive recent review by Assayer, which proves this isn't going to be a simple matter. I find it troublesome that editors make comments such as "keep" per this comment, which essentially says the entire FA critique is a lie. That comment by Hawkeye is practically blockworthy already, and that someone would find that amusing and worth citing is pretty revolting. And it's odd--if Hawkeye thinks it's all a lie, why is he spending so much time following up on these comments? But, in the end, Assayer's comments are already good enough to sway me. Drmies (talk) 01:28, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm not seeing anything blockworthy in the comment in that diff nor a sense that it is amusing? I personally perhaps wouldn't have characterised K.e.coffman's list as untrue but instead incorrect, at least partially; for example, point 3 alleges failure to reflect recent scholarship but Lingen, cited by other reviewers as recent scholarship, is used. Another source, Citino, also referred to by reviewers, was incorporated as a consequence of the review. As for your comment "if Hawkeye thinks it's all a lie, why is he spending so much time following up on these comments?", it seems to me that his followup is good faith engagement with the review process. Finally, from the tone of your comments here and earlier in the review, I wouldn't have thought you needed any swaying towards delisting. Zawed (talk) 07:39, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Drmies you need to take a deep breath and step back, if you think any of Hawkeye7's comments during this FAR are blockworthy. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 07:50, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  • User:Peacemaker67, I am too old to be patronized by you. Be mindful of manners, please, and drop the personal attacks--you may recall there was an ArbCom case where making things personal was cited as one of the disruptive things. You will note that I commented on comments, not on the person, unlike you. If you do not understand that difference, don't comment at all. "This is untrue" is first of all an accusation of lying and thus a serious denial of AGF--this is not news. Second, if the complaints are untrue, and the editor seriously believes that, then the editor shouldn't act upon them as if they were true.

    Zawed, if you characterize a list as incorrect, that's fine (in this case you're wrong, as this review proves)--but if you call something a bunch of lies, and then you go on to correct the things that you thus claimed were true, you are also admitting that they weren't lies. Drmies (talk) 15:28, 24 August 2019 (UTC)

  • I've made no personal attacks, I've made observations on the editing behaviour of two editors based on long experience, which I can back up with many diffs, many of which I used in the ArbCom case, particularly with respect to K.e.coffman. Hawkeye7's response is not an accusation of lying or a failure to assume good faith, it is a difference of opinion about substantive matters which, last time I checked, editors were allowed to have on Wikipedia. K.e.coffman's comments are not automatically true or even germane just because he is the one making them. These questions are determined by consensus, such as what is happening here regarding the keeping or delisting of this article, and they are not determined by threats. Your mention of a block was a clear attempt to intimidate Hawkeye7 into making changes he does not agree with, and you should withdraw it because it was completely inappropriate. That is why you need to take a deep breath and step back. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 02:38, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I have to agree that some of your comments were ad hominem. I have great respect for Hawkeye7 and I think he just got carried away. Why not we all focus on the content not the contributors and not whether they "lie" or "don't have experience with military history." Please. Figureofnine (talkcontribs) 14:13, 25 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Peacemaker67, you made a personal attack (a patronizing comment), and right after you said you didn't do it you repeated it. That's foolish. As for my comment toward Hawkeye, your annotation is silly. How can I intimidate if not by threatening a block? How can I threaten a block when I am obviously involved, given my comments here? I am very surprised at your commentary here, since I thought you'd be older and wiser than that. In the end, someone like you should realize that you can't get on Wikipedia and tell another editors "that's all lies". If you really don't know that, please reread the relevant policies, starting with WP:AGF. Drmies (talk) 01:09, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
1 September 2019
My name is Dr David Stahel and I am a senior lecturer in history at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. I also team-teach the Second World War course at the Australian Defence Force Academy. I have authored/edited numerous books on the German army in the Second World War, including five with the Cambridge University Press.
Reading this debate on Kesselring, I feel compelled to comment that the constant attempts to obfuscate Kesselring’s role in the Second World War and include self-serving assertions on the basis of his memoirs are simply untenable. The engagement with wider academic works is selective in my opinion (especially sections from Kerstin von Lingen) and seems consistently calculated to present a self-indulgent image of Kesselring backed by a guise of scholarly legitimacy. Likewise, those who have directly attacked some of these myths (like Robert M. Citino) are simply dismissed.
Much of this debate would never appear in more scholarly circles. I have previously written about the problems of Wikipedia’s coverage on the Wehrmacht, in the Journal of Slavic Military Studies.[1] It does not matter how much excellent research is produced if it is skewed and manipulated for public forums like Wikipedia. I cannot understand why sensible changes, in line with accepted academic writing norms (proposed K.e.coffman and Assayer), are so fiercely resisted.
Let me be blunt: portions of the article (as reviewed) read like Kesselring apologia. I cannot help but feel this discussion is less a debate and more an ideological contest. Normally, I would leave that to the internet, but too many people, including my students, read Wikipedia.


@Nikkimaria: I hope you would consider this statement when it comes to closing the discussion. --K.e.coffman (talk) 14:47, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Coord note: In case anyone is unaware, there is a current ARCA request with relevance to this review. Any and all perceived behavioral issues should be addressed in that forum or in some other form of DR rather than here. This is neither DR, nor a vote - commentary should be focused on the FA criteria and explain specifically how this article does or does not meet them. Nikkimaria (talk) 15:36, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Delist as the article still contains serious neutrality violations. I'm currently reading the article, and I found a particularly egregious example in the very first case where I looked at the sources in detail (now corrected as best as I can). Specifically, this is about whether Kesselring's 1940 bombardment of Rotterdam was a war crime:
  • The van den Doel source (pg 389-90) discusses four ways that the bombing may have violated the laws of war, (articles 25, 26, and 27, as well as the preamble). It dismisses article 25 but describes ambiguity for all of the others. (For article 26, the issue is in the reference to "two hours," since that isn't sufficient notice to evacuate the city.) However, the article simply stated that there was no issue with regards to article 25 (not an open city), and said nothing about the parts that may have actually been violated, implying pretty strongly (in contradiction to the source) that the bombardment was not a war crime.
  • This was then followed by a several-sentence quote stating that the bombing should not be considered a terror attack (i.e. that it served a legitimate military objective). However, I pretty shortly found another source (Sangster pg 56), already in use elsewhere in the article, which directly states that historians are actually divided on this question. In fact, the vd Doel source itself states (top of pg 389) that its viewpoint is not universal, but the article does not acknowledge this.
  • The sentence containing the quote (paraphrased) said According to X, using the term Y would be "Z. This is simply not the case" - which seems like a pretty clear statement that person X thinks using term Y is incorrect or invalid. However, this is directly opposed by the quote's context:
  1. The historian (vd Doel) does not, in fact, reject the term Y ("terror bombing"), instead only calling it "less apt". (Technically it is also possible to interpret "Z" in the correct way, i.e. the way the source intended, but even then it is obscured by the sentence structure and manner of quotation.)
  2. The quote then cut off mid-sentence in a way that altered the meaning: specifically, the rest of it is "...neither for Schmidt nor for Göring". The context is a discussion about Schmidt and Göring, and the claim in the source is that Schmidt and Göring weren't intending to directly target civilians in Rotterdam. However, in the article it was put into a description of Kesselring's actions. He's the only person mentioned in the paragraph (aside from the quote's attribution), and he was the one that the quote appeared to be about.
When also considering the comments above, I think the article needs to be checked source by source for verification. There are also major issues with undue weight, with a particular theme of taking information that would put Kesselring in a bad light and wording it in a way that makes it seem positive, or else minimizing it behind relatively unimportant details. To take an example on the same topic, the bombing of Rotterdam is introduced by emphasizing that Kesselring was "responding to a request for assistance," with the sentence ordered to make it the first thing the reader learns about the subject, before even describing what actually happened! While this can be legitimate, it's a pattern that repeats rather consistently; and if anyone doesn't find that particular type of phrasing to be a problem, the same theme occurs in plenty of other forms. (And as an aside, that description is also arguable at best. Certainly there's no mention that, as described in the same source, it was part of a German threat to deliberately destroy the city if the Dutch didn't surrender. Yes, there was some kind of miscommunication where the deadline was supposed to be pushed back, but "request for assistance" sounds like a very odd way to describe the situation.) Since this is the state of the article after this much effort has already been spent, I don't think it will be able to meet FA standards any time soon. Sunrise (talk) 08:46, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
comment I think some aspects of David Stahl's remarks need to be challenged. In what way does this article obfuscate Kesselring's role in the Second World War? Specifically, what role are we discussing here? The military failures or the murders he ordered? Wikipedia is not an academic forum, and editors do their best with the sources under the limitations imposed on them by the guidelines — and most editors are not academics. We should not being making the assumption they have been deliberately misused. I am also interested in what Robert Citino has to say about Kesselring and where. Dapi89 (talk) 07:05, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
Citino discusses Kesselring in his books The Wehrmacht Retreats: Fighting a Lost War, 1943 (2012) and The Wehrmacht's Last Stand: The German Campaigns of 1944-1945 (2017). He notes the opinions of Carlo D'Este, Shelford Bidwell, Dominick Graham and others that Kesselring was a great general, but notes that Kesselring fought a defensive battle in Italy on ground of his chosing, whereas Model and Manstein had to fight Soviet armies under more adverse conditions. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 20:43, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
FYI, I agree that the subject's memoirs should be disregarded unless they are used to state basic information, such as name, birth date etc. The information provided by his memoirs in this article can be found in reliable sources. Dapi89 (talk) 10:42, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Keep - I have read this article in detail and have followed the discussions on this page. Actionable statements have been met with good faith edits (or rebuttals as necessary) that I feel have satisfied the goal of this article remaining at Featured quality. Additional vague remarks about POV or comprehensiveness are not convincing to me, as they are not accompanied by reasonable or actionable examples. This is not a dispute resolution forum. --Laser brain (talk) 14:03, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • keep. I don't see a conspiracy to idolise Kesselring. I think the article currently marks him out as a delusional, unapologetic, opportunistic, murdering careerist. His release by the Allied authorities is yet another disgraceful episode in treatment of German war criminals, which is also covered. I personally would like to see more on military analysis now. I'm tired of reading about these so-called geniuses on the internet and on television. It's one myth that needs to tackled across the board. Dapi89 (talk) 09:27, 9 September 2019 (UTC)