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Thread: Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

  1. #1
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    Default Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

    In one of previous thread I was directing attention to the origins of circulating numbers - "2 million raped in Germany" and "110 thousands raped in Berlin" - showing their strange origin.

    But in this thread I would like to share with you the result of my humble research (original Russian blog entry link).
    This time the focus is different. Hopefully the following information can be useful in bringing light and help understanding what happened in 1945 in Europe during the WWII.

    Goal:
    Evaluate how Military Tribunals of Soviet Army (MT RKKA) were fighting against the crimes committed by Soviet servicemen against civilian population.
    Find share of verdicts for crimes against civilians in total number of verdicts. Show trends of such verdicts for the period 1 half 1945.

    Source data:
    The reports on private and sergeant ranks by MT of front formations for the period December 1944 to May 1945 (approximate time of entry to the Axis territory is given).
    The reports of the following MT were included into this research:
    • 3 Belorussian Front : (Eastern Prussia, Poland) ; Eastern Prussia from app. 1 week Jan 1945.
    • 2 Belorussian Front : (Germany, Poland) ; Germany from first week February 1945.
    • 1 Belorussian Front : (Germany, Poland) ; Germany from first week February 1945.
    • 1 Ukrainian Front : (Germany, Czechoslovakia) ; Germany from first week February 1945.
    • 4 Ukrainian Front : (Czechoslovakia, Poland) ;
    • 2 Ukrainian Front : (Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria) ;
    • 3 Ukrainian Front : (Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria) ;
    • 37 Detached Army : (Bulgaria) ;

    Usually, MT sent reports every 10 days or monthly to the "Bureau for Personnel War Losses Registration" and contained among others the column: "Sentenced for what crime, according to which paragraph, and penalty".

    I accounted all the verdicts were crimes were committed by servicemen against civilian population. Such classification is determined primarily by the paragraph of the criminal code used in verdict. the following verdicts were accounted as crimes against civilians (CAC):
    • 193-28 (robbery, unlawful destruction of property and violence, as well as the illegal confiscation of property under the pretext of military necessity, committed against the population in the area of ​​military operations - from 3 years to Capital Punishment).
    • 19 (preparation fr a crime) if linked to paragraph 193-28.


    Also the verdicts according to different paragraph were included if extra available information allowed for certain positive classification.
    F.ex. the following verdicts were included as crimes against civilians:


    I would like to note, that in the beginning I intended to acount rape and other crimes separately. But during the analysis it appeared not to be possible due to uncertainty. The paragraph 193-28 was very often used in verdicts for rape. But in those cases where the extra information is missing it was not possible to make definitive classification. Therefore all the crimes are marked as CAC (rape, robbery, violence, etc).

    This data limitation has nonetheless a positive side, because it yields the lower boundary of the estimated share of verdicts for CAC. I.e. the error lies on one (higher) side of the result.

    Result:
    Total verdicts of all kinds - 6490 (from 97 MT reports).
    Verdicts for CAC - 319.
    Share of CAC - at least 4,91%.

    Here is the overall result as well as the result per Front formation (see territories involved above):

    Per month:

    Result per front per month:

    Trends for number and share of CAC per front per month:




    The figures and trends above show that MT of RKKA were indeed punishing for crimes against civilian population. The share of verdicts for CAC is sizeable and if we recall that the biggest group of verdict is for political charges, then it will be clear that the aforementioned figure of 4,91% should be reconsidered upwards. In my estimation it should be 1,5 to 2 times higher, i.e. app. 10%.

    So MT RKKA were sentencing for crimes against civilians . The trends show that it was done steadily despite time and front formation.
    But what about the sentences? Here si the result:

    The most common sentence is 10 years in labor camp. Capital punishment - 3rd most common.
    In app. 1,8% cases the sentence was replaced by active duty on the front line. In reality, IMO, there were more of such cases, but the material available does not allow for further research.

    Sentences per month:


    Sentences per Front formation:

    Per Front formation and per month:

    My conclusion:
    1. The MT RKKA indeed punished for crimes against civilians in Europe.
    2. The prosecution is systematic (it is not sporadic action) and takes sizeable share of MT work load, i.e. app 5% (or 10% if counting w/o political charges).
    3. It is not so far possible to conclude that there is notable deviation in share of verdicts across occupied territories, i.e. we cannot say that for crime against a German civilian was punishing less than for a crime against other civilians.
    4. The punishments are given according to the appropriate paragraphs of the criminal code.


    Future plans include further analysis of the period June - December 1945.
    The trend of war and post-war periods seem to be somewhat different, according to my preliminary data.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

    So, has anyone yet located Stalins handwritten red pencil order - that from ~2,000,000 war-criminal rapists, a few thousands must be made an example of..?

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    Default Re: Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    So, has anyone yet located Stalins handwritten red pencil order - that from ~2,000,000 war-criminal rapists, a few thousands must be made an example of..?
    How did you come up with the 2 million number? And the "examples" was a desperate attempt to regain control of undisciplined rear echelon elements in the Soviet Red Army...

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    Default Re: Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

    "2 million rapes in Germany"= 2,000,000 acts by war-criminal rapists...Ok, so maybe not every Red was a rapist, but then maybe many rapes went unreported too..
    Stalin was fiercely harsh on deserters & even his own P.o.W.s were automatically deemed to be criminals, but he didn`t really mind that his troops indulged in a bit of retributive R & R, which was his view of the mass rapes..

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    "2 million rapes in Germany"= 2,000,000 acts by war-criminal rapists...Ok, so maybe not every Red was a rapist, but then maybe many rapes went unreported too..
    It is implicit in your statement that almost every Red Army soldier was a rapist. How about those deployed against Japan's front in Manchuria for the whole Pacific War? What are your figures for rape there, where both sides were in static positions?

    No doubt many rapes went unreported. As did many other crimes. On both sides.

    Read popular books in the West such as "Band of Brothers" and even there you'll find many crimes by Western troops, which suggests a degree of arrogance by Western troops which deprives Western commentators of the moral high ground to condemn the Red or any other army.

    Read more deeply and you'll find that rapes and other sexual offences by American troops were a major problem in rear areas in France after D Day, to the extent that they became problems at staff levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.A.W. View Post
    Stalin was fiercely harsh on deserters & even his own P.o.W.s were automatically deemed to be criminals, but he didn`t really mind that his troops indulged in a bit of retributive R & R, which was his view of the mass rapes..
    So who cares about the common Allied practice in the Pacific War of killing all Japanese, including wounded?

    There were sound self-preservation grounds for much of that, but where were the grounds to justify the happy photograph of the American woman looking lovingly at the Japanese skull sent to her by her boyfriend; American jeeps running around with Japanese skulls wired over their headlights; and American soldiers prising gold out of the teeth of usually dead or nearly dead but occasionally very living Japanese battle casualties?

    Egorka's careful analysis, whether or not the official figures it is based on are accurate, deserves a lot more respect than unsupported hostile comments such as "Ok, so maybe not every Red was a rapist, but then maybe many rapes went unreported too.". Especially when the conduct of the other Allies, such as some of the rear area troops in France, was no better.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Verdicts of RKKA Military Tribunals for crimes against civilians in 1945

    You are correct, 'Victor's justice' pushed plenty under the carpet..
    .. but even today U.S. forces seek to prevent local laws applying to their troops in many instances..
    As for hardened young men in mortal combat, some had no qualms in taking what they could - when they could..
    ..in the lines or behind them..

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