Germans as Victims of World War II

Baghdad is aflame, and before this war is over, it may well be in ruins. The debate over what the damage signifies -- over who is responsible and whether the force expended was justified -- will doubtless continue far longer than the war itself. So it has been in Germany, where the smoldering ruins of German cities symbolized not just the Third Reich's well-deserved defeat, but also the plight of German civilians, both guilty and innocent.

Until recently, it could be argued,