Telegraph Article........three million died after

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Telegraph Article........three million died after

Post by Annelie » Sat Apr 28, 2007 2:17 pm

How three million Germans died after VE Day
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 18/04/2007



Nigel Jones reviews After the Reich: From the Liberation of Vienna to the Berlin Airlift by Giles MacDonogh

Giles MacDonogh is a bon viveur and a historian of wine and gastronomy, but in this book, pursuing his other consuming interest - German history - he serves a dish to turn the strongest of stomachs. It makes particularly uncomfortable reading for those who compare the disastrous occupation of Iraq unfavourably to the post-war settlement of Germany and Austria.

MacDonogh argues that the months that followed May 1945 brought no peace to the shattered skeleton of Hitler's Reich, but suffering even worse than the destruction wrought by the war. After the atrocities that the Nazis had visited on Europe, some degree of justified vengeance by their victims was inevitable, but the appalling bestialities that MacDonogh documents so soberly went far beyond that. The first 200 pages of his brave book are an almost unbearable chronicle of human suffering.

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His best estimate is that some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities. A million soldiers vanished before they could creep back to the holes that had been their homes. The majority of them died in Soviet captivity (of the 90,000 who surrendered at Stalingrad, only 5,000 eventually came home) but, shamingly, many thousands perished as prisoners of the Anglo-Americans. Herded into cages along the Rhine, with no shelter and very little food, they dropped like flies. Others, more fortunate, toiled as slave labour in a score of Allied countries, often for years. Incredibly, some Germans were still being held in Russia as late as 1979.

The two million German civilians who died were largely the old, women and children: victims of disease, cold, hunger, suicide - and mass murder.

Apart from the well-known repeated rape of virtually every girl and woman unlucky enough to be in the Soviet occupation zones, perhaps the most shocking outrage recorded by MacDonogh - for the first time in English - is the slaughter of a quarter of a million Sudeten Germans by their vengeful Czech compatriots. The survivors of this ethnic cleansing, naked and shivering, were pitched across the border, never to return to their homes. Similar scenes were seen across Poland, Silesia and East Prussia as age-old German communities were brutally expunged.

Given that what amounted to a lesser Holocaust was unfolding under their noses, it may be asked why the western Allies did not stop this venting of long-dammed-up rage on the (mainly) innocent. MacDonogh's answer is that it could all have been even worse. The US Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, favoured turning Germany into a gigantic farm, and there were genocidal Nazi-like schemes afoot to starve, sterilise or deport the population of what was left of the bombed-out cities.

The discovery of the Nazi death camps stoked Allied fury, with General George Patton asking an aide amid the horrors of Buchenwald: 'Do you still find it hard to hate them?' But the surviving inmates were soon replaced by German captives - Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and even Auschwitz stayed in business after the war, only now with the Germans behind the wire.

It was Realpolitik, not humanitarian concern, that caused a swift shift in western attitudes towards their former foes. Fear of Communism spreading into the heart of Europe, and the barbarities of the Russians - who kidnapped and killed hundreds of their perceived enemies from the western zones of Berlin and Vienna - belatedly made the West realise that they had beaten one totalitarian power only to be threatened by another.

Even that hardline Kraut-hater Patton was sacked for advocating a pre-emptive strike against Russia. Building up West Germany and saving Berlin from Soviet strangulation with the 1948 airlift became the first battles of the Cold War - even if that meant overlooking Nazi crimes and enlisting Nazi criminals in the 'economic miracle' of reconstruction.

Although MacDonogh roundly condemns all the occupying powers, the British emerge with some credit. Apart from one Air Marshal who looted art treasures; and an MI5 interrogator nicknamed 'Tin Eye' Stephens who ran a private torture chamber, British hands may have been grubby, but were not deeply blood-stained. British squaddies preferred to purchase their sex privately with a packet of fags or a pair of nylons, rather than in the Soviet style.

MacDonogh has written a gruelling but important book. This unhappy story has long been cloaked in silence since telling it suited no one. Not the Allies, because it placed them near the moral nadir of the Nazis; nor the Germans, because they did not wish to be accused of whitewashing Hitler by highlighting what was, by any standard, a war crime. Giles MacDonogh has told a very inconvenient truth.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jh ... omac14.xml
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after the war

Post by haen2 » Sat Apr 28, 2007 5:29 pm

Thank you Annelie.
I had read similar reports a few years ago, but when i tried to talk about it, I was immediately accused of trying to 'whitewash" nazi crimes by mentioning Allied dittos.
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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Sat Apr 28, 2007 9:05 pm

Personally, considering the state of Europe at the time and the disruption of both food supplies and transport, I do not find this to be an unlikely report. In fact, the Allied nations have been immune to any criticism because of the extent of Nazi war crimes. It is high time that the conditions after the Allied victory be examined critically and objectively!

History is History, no matter who won!

By the way, anyone who condemns HaEn or Annelie as a Nazi for bringing up this rather obvious historical issue has me to deal with.

Very Best,
David
Death is lighter than a Feather, Duty is heavier than a Mountain....

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Post by Paulus II » Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:37 pm

Every now and then I have wondered how many Germans would have died after the war ended as a direct result of the war and always assumed that figure to be higher than the three million mentioned here.
I never did any specific research on this but reading about the treatment of German prisoners and civilians by the Soviets, the destruction of the German cities, disruption of industry, logistics, medical services, millions of people wandering around, the fate of the Volksdeutsche in many countries and knowing that the western Allies weren't exactly angels created a picture in my mind that was even worse than the picture painted in the article.
I have tried to discuss this a few times but, as Haen said, I got responses like "did you forget what the Nazi's did" or "that was all the Soviets doing".
A critical and objective study on this matter is by now long overdue but will it ever come to that? I'm afraid not.
I have heard a few firsthand accounts of the period after the war from my Volksdeutche relatives from the Hauerland in Slovakia and am glad, as they were, that the German collapse happened at the beginning of summer and not the beginning of winter. Can't begin to describe how many would have died in that case.

Best regards,

Paul

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Post by Commissar D, the Evil » Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:41 pm

A critical and objective study on this matter is by now long overdue but will it ever come to that?
It can come to that on Soldatenheim, as long as we keep our wits together and not allow others to veer off into B.S.!!!

The Commissar challenges you to treat this subject with due respect and without ideological prejudice, as I suspect that many a truth has been supressed or ignored over the years!

This is like the Halbe Breakout, where much is said but little is known!

Very Best,
David
Death is lighter than a Feather, Duty is heavier than a Mountain....

Paddy Keating

Post by Paddy Keating » Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:35 am

We might also look at the attempted uprising in East Germany in 1953.

Paddy Keating

pzrmeyer2

Post by pzrmeyer2 » Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:03 am

Commissar D, the Evil wrote:
A critical and objective study on this matter is by now long overdue but will it ever come to that?
It can come to that on Soldatenheim, as long as we keep our wits together and not allow others to veer off into B.S.!!!

The Commissar challenges you to treat this subject with due respect and without ideological prejudice, as I suspect that many a truth has been supressed or ignored over the years!

This is like the Halbe Breakout, where much is said but little is known!

Very Best,
David

It might come to that here a Soldatenheim, I say again might, but after 60 years of Germans=bad, Allies(including Soviets)=good, it will never come to that with the general public and the western media.

It is good that finally the Germans themselves are able to emerge and ask questions and examine evidence of the sufferings brought about by their "liberators". I dont think many people regard 8 May as the "Tag der Befreiung", despite their abhorrance for the regime that acted in their name.

pzrmeyer2

Post by pzrmeyer2 » Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:06 am

Paddy Keating wrote:We might also look at the attempted uprising in East Germany in 1953.

Paddy Keating
I'm reading through the correspondences of the major players of this right now, in Christian Ostermann's compendium. Very few published works on this topic.

Really fascinating stuff, especially the meeting notes between Stalin and Ulbricht, Pieck, Grotewohl....

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Post by phylo_roadking » Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:53 pm

We might also look at the attempted uprising in East Germany in 1953
Yes, most of whats available on this is still in the "primary source" form of correspondence and communications. But if you think THIS has been neglected...try trying to research the post-war pro-western guerilla armies inside the Soviet Bloc!!! :(

Or the Werewolves-whom I've noticed some supposedly well-educated individuals on here think began and ended with the murder of the mayor of Aachen.

From reading thru what Annelie cut and pasted - there's actually nothing in there that I havent read before, looks like the book is merely bringing it all into one place for the first time. Its not that this stuff isn't known - its that its willfully ignored. And that is as much a crime as anything...
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Post by panzermahn » Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:06 pm

Hi,

I remembered reading somewhere that during the early years of the West German government, they wanted to prosecute Allied war criminals but the Allied Control Commission rebuffed the efforts of the German government.

Panzermahn

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Post by lwd » Tue May 01, 2007 6:31 am

Reading the article there are really at least two distinct points.

1) How many post war fatalities were there?

2) What percentage were aviodable.

Note that the artilce states there were 3,000,000 avoidable deaths. Given the food shortage that is probably not an excessive number of deaths. More debateable is what percnetage were "avoidable". From what I've heard in the western allied occupation zone for several months the daily food ration was well under 1,000 calories for civilians. This was due to a severe shorage of food and as such it's not clear that it was "avoidable".

pzrmeyer2

Post by pzrmeyer2 » Tue May 01, 2007 1:14 pm

Note that the artilce states there were 3,000,000 avoidable deaths. Given the food shortage that is probably not an excessive number of deaths. More debateable is what percnetage were "avoidable". From what I've heard in the western allied occupation zone for several months the daily food ration was well under 1,000 calories for civilians. This was due to a severe shorage of food and as such it's not clear that it was "avoidable".
I wonder where that type of defense would have got those condemned at Nuremburg?

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue May 01, 2007 1:27 pm

From what I've heard in the western allied occupation zone for several months the daily food ration was well under 1,000 calories for civilians. This was due to a severe shorage of food and as such it's not clear that it was "avoidable".
Not as much a shortage...as the Americans and their Air Transport Command refusing to ship in more, as per their intention to keep the liberated germany as some sort of "pastoral" wilderness. It was the British who finally put pressure on the US to have this policy reversed.
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Post by Achilles » Tue May 01, 2007 2:56 pm

If there was such a surplus of food available after 1945 can someone explain to me why the UK had rationing until the 1950s? Flour for example was rationed until 1948.

I too am interested in where the wine expert has uncovered his 3 million figure. I've an inkling it may involve the name Bacques.

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Post by phylo_roadking » Tue May 01, 2007 3:13 pm

Simple. Britain was basically bankrupt. It had sent ALL its gold reserves top the US to pay for the stuff it bought - Lend/Lease only accounted for a very small part of it all. THEN the nation committed itself in the 1945 Coupon Election to building the Welfare State and National Health Service etc., as well as rebuilding all the damage....THEN as well as getting into the Korean War we had to run an Empire, large bits of which were shattered too or were falling apart requiring expensive policing, THEN we made the expensive decision to develop our own Atom Bomb and later H-Bomb at the SAME time...and for a year we also helped feed Berlin!!!

And of course let's not leave the Americans out of the equation; in 1945 the government negotiated a big loans from the US...but not as much as it needed and at hugely punitive interest....which actually technically DID bankrupt the UK in 1948 - forcing us to radically devalue the £ against the $ around the world. Which was what they wanted

Gradually as money became available surplus to all these to fund the economy and subsidize a number of items that either required central purchasing via foreign exchange credits or had been subsidized, rationing gradually disappeared item by item. Right up to 1958, when the last disappeared, and then in 1959 a LOT of the age and credit-checking restrictions on HP and loans were removed at last after Mac's "You've never had it so good" speech. If rationing wasnt bad enough - can you imagine for 15 years that to get a mortgage or even a small HP agreement - you had to be over thirty and have 30% sometimes 45% deposit??? If you look closely, a whole range of new items - from new brighter ranges of cars and motorcycles, to radiograms and portable radios etc. appeared for sale after that - simply because people could at last borrow to buy them!

So basically not only did we have to feed other nations, we had to rebuild our own, pay back loans, invest heavily in a whole new way of running society and looking after people, build a nuclear deterrent from scratch with NO American help at all, keep our armed forces updated, play world policeman for other countries AND our own Empire.....its actually bloody amazing we STILL don't have rationing!!!
"Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle." - Malcolm Reynolds

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