15.6.12

It all depends on the whose definition of atrocity...

Elena Maria Vidal presents this article today about a little know fact and unintended consequence or World War II and the defeat of Germany. The deportation of whole populations in retaliation by the victors. I remember growing up in Chicago in the early 1960s, the most derogatory comments about a person was "Oh they are DPs" or "Damn DP". I rated right up there with the N word in depicting some one as a thief, a liar of just dirty.

"...Between 1945 and 1950, Europe witnessed the largest episode of forced migration, and perhaps the single greatest movement of population, in human history. Between 12 million and 14 million German-speaking civilians—the overwhelming majority of whom were women, old people, and children under 16—were forcibly ejected from their places of birth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and what are today the western districts of Poland. As The New York Times noted in December 1945, the number of people the Allies proposed to transfer in just a few months was about the same as the total number of all the immigrants admitted to the United States since the beginning of the 20th century. They were deposited among the ruins of Allied-occupied Germany to fend for themselves as best they could. The number who died as a result of starvation, disease, beatings, or outright execution is unknown, but conservative estimates suggest that at least 500,000 people lost their lives in the course of the operation..." More

Another little known item is that when Germany surrendered those German troops who laid down their arms were called "disarmed enemy forces" and did not benefit by the Geneva convention. They became essentially slave labour. The Allied powers had decided at the highest level (Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin) to repudiate the Geneva Conventions, especially after the extinction of a German government able to negotiate with the Red Cross. the conditions in many of the detention camps resembled the worst of the US Civil War Prison Camps, ie, Camp Douglas, Fort Delaware, Belle Isle and Andersonville. More...

German prisoners were forced to dig holes in the ground for shelter, as the picture left shows. Even though the American army had plenty of tents, the prisoners lived for months in their holes. When it rained, the holes collapsed and the prisoners died.

As an American service member I had the right to expect that if captured I could expect certain treatment i accordance with Geneva. It was the same in World War II for the Germans who laid down their arms. Niether the soldiers or the population got the treatment humanity deserves.

Jhesu+Marie,
Brantigny

3 comments:

Elisa said...

This article has been featured in the "Chronicle of Higher Education" online. So the story about this incident looks like it's getting out there...

Brantigny said...

Vengance only Elise.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Richard, for the link and for the additional information!