In a move aimed at healing the rifts of American foreign policy decisions, President Obama will make a trip to Europe next month, including a trip to Dresden, Germany. The trip will consist of several stops and the President will meet with the President of France and the Chancellor of Germany. Also slated are several policy speeches.
Perhaps the most controversial is a planned speech in which President Obama will formally apologize for American 'war crimes' during the Second World War. This would be particularly comforting to Europeans, who have long condemned American foreign policy actions, especially regarding civilians.
This speech will also be welcome in Germany, who had over 12,000,000 of its citizens killed during the war. Mayor Johann Krupp of Augensburg in Saxony stated to DW that the speech will "help my great-uncle's soul rest. He burned to death during the Dresden bombings."
Along with the Dresden fire-bombings, which German historians calculate killed 300,000 civilians, Obama will discuss other American actions. These include mistreatment of French civilians during the June 1944 invasion, including the killing of over 3,000 Milice members. In February 1945, the bridge over the Rhine River was bombed by an American B-29, killing over 300 fleeing refugees.
What is not clear is broader American 'war crimes' will be spoken of. These include accusations of anti-German sentiment during the war and placing Japanese-Americans into 'concentration camps', in which UC Berkeley professor Harold Beffer, PhD, estimated that 30,000 died.
Obama's speech will take place on June 6, the 65th anniversary of American, British, and Canadian landings in Normandy, France. He will speak briefly in Berlin before making his keynote address in Dresden.
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