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Thread: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary D. View Post
    ...The Germans actually received better rations and medical treatment than their families in the beleaguered Reich, and many applied for U.S. citizenship after the war.

    ...
    True. But it should be noted that the treatment of German POWs in the US changed drastically after the end of the War with their rations halved and hard labor now mandatory...

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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

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    http://members.iinet.net.au/~gduncan/index.html

    http://members.iinet.net.au/~gduncan/massacres.html

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    http://members.iinet.net.au/~gduncan...cres_axis.html

    STARVATION AT REMAGEN

    After the capture of the Remagen Bridge, the US Army hastily erected around 19 Prisoner of War cages around the bridge-head to hold an estimated one million prisoners. The camps were simply open fields surrounded by concertina wire. Those at the Rhine Meadows were situated at Remagen, Bad Kreuznach, Andernach, Buderich, Rheinbach and Sinzig. The German prisoners were hopeful of good treatment from the GIs but in this they were sadly disappointed. Herded into the open spaces like cattle, some were beaten and mistreated. No tents or toilets were supplied. The camps became huge latrines, a sea of urine from one end to the other. They had to sleep in holes in the ground which they dug with their bare hands. In the Bad Kreuznach cage, 560,000 men were interned in an area that could only comfortably hold 45,000. Denied enough food and water, they were forced to eat the grass under their feet and the camps soon became a sea of mud. After the concentration camps were discovered, their treatment became worse as the GIs vented their rage on the hapless prisoners.

    In the five camps around Bretzenheim, prisoners had to survive on 600-850 calories per day. With bloated bellies and teeth falling out, they died by the thousands. During the two and a half months (April-May, 1945) when the camps were under American control, a total of 18,100 prisoners died from malnutrition, disease and exposure. This extremely harsh treatment at the hands of the Americans resulted in the deaths of over 50,000 German prisoners-of-war in the Rhine Meadows camps alone in the months just before and after the war ended. It must however be borne in mind that with the best will in the world it proved almost impossible to care for such a huge number of prisoners under the strict terms of the Geneva Convention. The task of guarding these prisoners, numbering around 920,000, fell to the men of the US 106th Infantry Division. The Remagen cage was set up to accommodate 100,000 men but ended up with twice that number. On the first afternoon 35,000 prisoners were counted through the gate. About 10,000 of these required urgent medical attention which in most cases was completely absent. All roads leading to the camps were clogged with hundreds of trucks bringing in even more prisoners, sent to the rear by the advancing 9th US Army. By April 15, 1945, 1.3 million prisoners were in American hands. At war's end, 1,056,482 German prisoners were held in US camps in Europe, 692,895 were classified as Prisoners of War and 365,587 classified as DEF's (Disarmed Enemy Forces) In May, 1945, the number of prisoners held in Allied camps in northern Europe numbered 5,235,700.

    Tourists, cruising down the Rhine today can pick out a small memorial and plaque built on the site of the former POW cage. In the Remagen cemetery there are 1,200 graves and at Bad Kreuznach, 1,000 graves.


    Conditions at the Sinzig Camp

    HOW MANY?

    Just how many German POWs died in Allied camps? For over forty years we have been told that many hundreds of thousands of German soldiers had died in Soviet prison camps while at the same time keeping quiet about the number of prisoners who had died in American, French and British camps. In 1997, around 1.1 million German soldiers were still officially listed as missing. According to the recently opened Soviet archives, which have been proved to be extremely precise and detailed, the Red Army captured 2,389,560 German soldiers. Of these, 423,168 died in captivity. In October, 1951, the West German government stated in the United Nations that 1.1 million soldiers had not returned home. In other words, we were led to believe they had died in Soviet camps. If we subtract the proven number of deaths in Soviet camps from the missing in Germany we arrive at the figure of around 677,000. Where are these men?. They must have been interned by the western Allies, the greatest majority being held in American and French camps where they died in their thousands through deliberate starvation, disease and hard work.

    The standards set by the Geneva Convention were, in most cases, totally ignored by the Americans and French in relation to their treatment of German prisoners-of-war. The French deliberately starved many of their POWs in order to force them to join the French Foreign Legion. Thousands of Legionnaires who fought in the Vietnam conflict were Germans, handed over by the Americans to the French in 1945/46 to work as slave labourers in the rebuilding of France's war damaged cities. Conditions in the French camps were just as bad if not worse than in the American camps. It is estimated that at least 167,000 German soldiers died in French captivity between 1945 and 1948.

    ARCHIVE RECORDS

    In a large building in the former French Sector of Berlin is housed the military records of every German soldier who served in World War II. There are kilometres of shelves holding about eighteen million files on every man and woman in the German armed forces. Run by a Director and 364 staff members, they receive around 18,000 requests each year inquiring about family members of whom they have heard nothing since 1945. In a Russian archive at Podolsk, south of Moscow there are names of 700,000 German POWs once held in Soviet prisons, yet the whereabouts of 480,000 of these men remain unresolved today.

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  3. #63
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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

    George, I have a problem with your source on all this. His account of the "Dachau Massacre" by US Army troops is patently silly, discounted by credible journalist inquiries such as those done by The Boston Globe in the early part of this decade as well as other historians, and typical of the hyperbole of those seeking to manufacture and exaggerate a massacre that never happened in the manner, nor on the level of dead, as purported. In fact, less than 20 German SS troops were shot in front of a wall that day. No coupe de grce shots were administered by GIs, and in fact their commander halted the massacre by threatening to shoot his own officers if they continued...

  4. #64
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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    George, I have a problem with your source on all this. His account of the "Dachau Massacre" by US Army troops is patently silly, discounted by credible journalist inquiries such as those done by The Boston Globe in the early part of this decade as well as other historians, and typical of the hyperbole of those seeking to manufacture and exaggerate a massacre that never happened on the manner or on the level of dead as purported. In fact, less than 20 German SS troops were shot in front of a wall that day. No coupe de grace shots were administered by GIs, and in fact their commander halted the massacre by threatening to shoot his own officers if they continued...
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    Yes, unfortunately George Duncan doesn't seem to have cited many of his sources.

    I would not discount all of his stories though.

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  5. #65
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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Eller View Post
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    Yes, unfortunately George Duncan doesn't seem to have cited many of his sources.

    I would not discount all of his stories though.

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    I don't discount all of his stories. And I am in no way apologizing for US, French, and British atrocities that certainly occurred against "disarmed German forces" or civilians. However, I think Duncan is getting a lot of his statistics from a largely discredited work of revisionist pseudo-history called Other Losses IMO.

  6. #66
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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Eller View Post

    STARVATION AT REMAGEN

    In the five camps around Bretzenheim, prisoners had to survive on 600-850 calories per day. With bloated bellies and teeth falling out, they died by the thousands. During the two and a half months (April-May, 1945) when the camps were under American control, a total of 18,100 prisoners died from malnutrition, disease and exposure.
    Disease quite possibly; disease exacerbated by exposure quite possibly; and disease and exposure exacerbated by poor rations equally possible, but not malnutrition on its own causing so many deaths on those rations in that short time.

    Unless they were already seriously malnourished before they went into the camps.

    A moderately well nourished Westerner of military age in halfway reasonable health at time of capture in WWII could survive for at least a year on severely reduced rations, down to 500 to 1,000 calories a day at times, while being worked very hard and beset by tropical diseases and brutal treatment as some Allied POWs on the Burma railway showed.

    The German POWs in the quote weren’t even being worked. They should have been able to survive for a couple of months on those severely reduced rations, assuming they were in reasonable health and reasonably nourished when put into the camps.

    A good number of Irish republican prisoners between the 1920s and 1980s died on hunger strikes with no calorific intake, never mind 600 to 850 calories a day. Death occurred between about 6 and 10 weeks for most, but up to about 12 weeks in some cases.

    It is most unlikely that any, and certainly not thousands, of the German POWs in the quote would have had their teeth falling out as a consequence of a couple of months of captivity and insufficient rations. That takes a very long time if it is going to happen at all. It was not a symptom experienced by the vast bulk of Allied POWs in Japanese captivity despite three and a half years of miserable rations and negligible or no dental care and treatment.

    The quote sounds like a bit of florid journalism completely removed from fact and science as an example of 'Never let facts get in the way of a good story.'
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  7. #67
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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

    The numbers of a million German soldiers being starved to death by the US and the French is silly and some of the biggest critics of the 'Eisenhower death German POW camp conspiracy' are in fact German military historians who, according to Wiki, state that no more than 57,000 German soldiers perished in (Western) Allied custody. Though, it should be stated that atrocities were committed by overzealous anti-Nazi US Army officers and by vindictive French ones as well...

    The numbers of a "million" largely comes from a misread document on "Disarmed Enemy Forces" (DEF) pertains to released Volkssturm militia members (about 600,000-700,000) who simply were allowed to go home and weren't starved to death as stated in Other Losses...

    Academic Analysis

    Other Losses received initial support from some historians, including Richard Overy and Desmond Morton. Jonathon Osmond, writing in the Journal of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said: "Bacque...has published a corrective to the impression that the Western allies after the Second World War behaved in a civilised manner to the conquered Germans... The voices of those who suffered give harrowing accounts of cruelty and suffering... It is clear that he has opened up once more a serious subject dominated by the explanations of those in power. Even if two-thirds of the statistical discrepancies exposed by Bacque could be accounted for by the chaos of the situation, there would still be a case to answer."[1] Joan Beaumont, writing in the December, 1995 issue of The Journal of Modern History, discussed the reactions to the book and concluded "(T)he landscape of the history of the Second World War, and of prisoners of war, remains permanently changed by Bacques's work."

    Academic reviewers question three major aspects of Bacque's work: his claims that there was no post-war food shortage; Bacque's estimate of the number of German deaths; and the allegation that Eisenhower was deliberately vindictive. Bacque's critics note many of the German soldiers were sick and wounded at the time of their surrender, and say his work does not place the plight of the German prisoners within the context of the grim situation in Western Europe in 1945 and 1946.

    Writing in the Canadian Historical Review, David Stafford called the book "a classic example of a worthwhile investigation marred by polemic and overstatement."[2] R.J. Rummell, a scholar of 20th-century atrocities, has written that "Bacque misread, misinterpreted, or ignored the relevant documents and that his mortality statistics are simply impossible."[3]. More recently, writing in the Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment, S. P. MacKenzie states, "That German prisoners were treated very badly in the months immediately after the war...is beyond dispute. All in all, however, Bacque's thesis and mortality figures cannot be taken as accurate".[4]


    Eisenhower biographer Stephen Ambrose, who helped edit Other Losses, wrote I quarrel with many of your interpretations, [but] I am not arguing with the basic truth of your discovery and acknowledged that Bacque had made a "major historical discovery", in the sense that very little attention had hitherto been paid to the treatment of German POWs in Allied hands. He acknowledged he did not now support Bacque's conclusions, but said at the American Military Institute's Annual Meeting in March, 1990: "Bacque has done some research and uncovered an important story that I, and other American historians, missed altogether in work on Eisenhower and the conclusion of the war. When those millions of Wehrmacht soldiers came into captivity at the end of the war, many of them were deliberately and brutally mistreated. There is no denying this. There are men in this audience who were victims of this mistreatment. It is a story that has been kept quiet. [5]

    A book-length disputation of Bacque's work, entitled Eisenhower and the German POWs, appeared in 1992, featuring essays by British, American, and German historians. In a 1991 New York Times book review, Ambrose claimed: "Mr. Bacque is wrong on every major charge and nearly all his minor ones. Eisenhower was not a Hitler, he did not run death camps, German prisoners did not die by the hundreds of thousands, there was a severe food shortage in 1945[6], there was nothing sinister or secret about the "disarmed enemy forces" designation or about the column "other losses." Mr. Bacque's "missing million" were old men and young boys in the Volkssturm (People's Militia) released without formal discharge and transfers of POWs to other allies control areas."

    One of the historians in support of Bacque was Colonel Ernest F. Fisher, 101st Airborne Division, who in 1945 took part in investigations into allegations of misconduct by U.S. troops in Germany and later became a Senior Historian with the United States Army. In the introduction to the book he states "Starting in April 1945, the United States Army and the French Army casually annihilated one million [German] men, most of them in American camps . . . Eisenhower's hatred, passed through the lens of a compliant military bureaucracy, produced the horror of death camps unequalled by anything in American history . . . an enormous war crime."

    Despite the criticisms of Bacque's methodology, Stephen Ambrose and Brian Loring Villa, the authors of the chapter on German POW deaths, conceded the Allies were motivated in their treatment of captured Germans by disgust and revenge for German atrocities.[7] They did, however, argue Bacque's casualty figures are far too high, and that policy was set by Allied politicians, not by Eisenhower.[8]

    Nevertheless, Stephen Ambrose conceded, "we as Americans can't duck the fact that terrible things happened. And they happened at the end of a war we fought for decency and freedom, and they are not excusable."[9]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bacque

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  9. #69
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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

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    Well, it looks like it stirred up the pot at least. Thanks for the input guys.

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  10. #70
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    Default Re: Post-War Treatment of German Forces?

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    Very interesting Egorka. The description reminds me of similar conditions that occured in POW camps during the American Civil War over 80 years prior. The infamous Andersonville camp in Georgia comes to mind.

    Thanks for posting this.

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