Der Alte wrote:Eisenhower's crimes have already been documented to death by James Bacque, in his excellent books: "Other Losses" and "Crimes and Mercies".
Eisenhower was under orders from Roosevelt, Morgenthau and other unnamed individuals in the US socio-political hierarchy to 'punish' the Germans for what they did to the Jews; a task he carried out with relish.
How many died is clearly unknown, but suffice it to say that there were 73 million Germans in 1939 (excluding Austrians) and around 60 million in 1950 - do the maths.
Looks like Bacque compared apples with oranges and failed to count the population of the former GDR.
I see we again have someone here who is uncritical enough to piously believe everything Mr. Bacque writes, without asking himself a few elementary questions such as why the monumental catastrophes dreamed up by the fellow would have left no traces
i) In German official records: the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany, which tried to record wartime and postwar civilian casualties as best as they could in the 1950’s and 1960’s, concluded on ca. 500,000 civilians killed due to bombs and slightly over 2,000,000 who perished during wartime flight and postwar expulsion from the former Eastern territories and East European countries. The latter figure has recently been challenged by historians as well above the mark.
ii) In German written history: Although German historians have extensively written on the fate of prisoners of war, refugees and expellees, not one of them has concluded on a catastrophe of even remotely the magnitude alleged by Bacque. Were they all accomplices of the fantastic conspiracy that brought us this “long night of lies”?
iii) In German oral history: A famine of the dimensions alleged by Bacque would have led to scenes reminiscent of the Ukrainian man-made famine of the 1930s or the siege of Leningrad in 1941 and 1942: Walking skeletons everywhere, cemeteries no longer able to cope with the flow of corpses, mass graves dynamited into the earth to take the bodies of thousands upon thousands of people, city streets and yards littered with corpses often piled high on top of each other, people hiding the death of relatives in order to use their ration cards, some even resorting to cannibalism – why are there no elder Germans who lived through the war and postwar years on the present-day territory of Germany recalling such horrors?
I know several such Germans, and I know they are everything other than reluctant to talk about their wartime and postwar experiences. Yet none of them ever told me anything in this direction. My maternal grandmother, for instance, lived in Essen, one of the bombed-out cities of the Ruhr area where the food situation was most critical after the war. Yet her only recollection of famine related not to the post-World War II period but to the First World War, particularly the Kohlrübenwinter of 1916/17.
Regarding Bacque’s fantastic contentions in “Other Losses” and “Crimes and Mercies”, we also have the following assessment by a group of historians:
"Fact or Fiction? The Historical Profession and James Bacque"
Roundtable discussion at the Annual Meeting of the German Studies Association, Salt Lake City, October 8-11, 1998. Sponsored by the GHI. Participants: Günter Bischof (University of New Orleans), Dewey A. Browder (Austin Peay State University), Wilfried Mausbach (GHI), Hans-Jürgen Schröder (University of Giessen), Christof Strauß (University of Heidelberg), Richard D. Wiggers (Georgetown University).
The topic of discussion for this panel centered around James Bacque's allegation, made in his recent, controversial book Crimes and Mercies, that American authorities deliberately starved to death as many as nine million German civilians after World War II.
Wilfried Mausbach (GHI) challenged Bacque's contention that the infamous Morgenthau Plan informed American actions. He demonstrated first that the notion of turning Germany into a huge "farm" was never part of American postwar planning; second, that the United States's occupation directive (JCS 1067) was not cast in Morgenthau's mold; and third, that the negative elements of JCS 1067 were deliberately postponed, and thereby in effect dismissed, by Military Government officers in the field. [What does that remind me of?] Instead of evaluating the available evidence, James Bacque's dramaturgy pits villains against heroes and surrenders scholarly differentiation to populism.
Günter Bischof (University of New Orleans) viewed Bacque's thesis as part of the trend toward a "paranoid style" in writing recent history. This style is characterized by five elements: the image of a huge conspiracy, a self-bestowed duty to save civilization from apocalypse, a manichean worldview of absolute good versus absolute evil, the conviction that traitors make history, and the amassing of evidence to prove a preconceived thesis. Bischof found traces of all these elements in Bacque's writing, and he bemoaned the publishing industry's zest for "conspiracy history."
Christof Strauß (University of Heidelberg) examined Bacque's thesis that approximately one million German POWs perished in American and French camps by taking a close look at two Prisoner of War Temporary Enclosures (PWTEs) in Heilbronn. Strauß found that conditions in these camps indeed did not meet the requirements of the Geneva Convention of 1929. However, to interpret this as evidence of a centrally planned and implemented policy of starvation neglects overall conditions in Germany and Europe in the wake of the war and overestimates to a considerable extent the occupation authorities' scope of action. Strauß proved that, contrary to Bacque's assertion, the Americans did allow aid to be delivered to the inmates by representatives of the German churches, and the International Red Cross also was allowed to visit the camps. Moreover, between May and December 1945 some 300,000 POWs passed through the Heilbronn PWTEs, and death lists show that only 283 of them died. This seems to indicate not only that Bacque's research was poor but also that his overall estimates of deaths are way too high.
Dewey A. Browder (Austin Peay State University) corroborated this information. He showed that Bacque manipulated statistics by adding expellees and repatriated POWs to an early 1946 census that actually already included more than 1.5 million expellees and repatriates in addition to the unrepatriated POWs. In counting these people twice, Bacque finds that there should have been nearly 74 million people in Germany in 1950 and cries mass murder when that year's census falls short by 6 million. Professor Browder explained that he personally pointed out this mistake to Bacque while the Canadian author was revising his manuscript for publication in English. Bacque, however, failed to correct his information.
Finally, Richard D. Wiggers (Georgetown University) provided an analysis of eyewitness accounts by authors who were neither Germans nor U.S. Military Government employees. He found that these third-party observers reported and often criticized a stern allied policy toward the German people. Thus, if there was, as Bacque alleges, a conspiracy to hide the truth, it must have failed miserably. Moreover, a close, comprehensive, and unbiased reading of independent eyewitness accounts suggests that a mass death of millions of Germans by starvation did not occur in postwar Germany.
The lively discussion, moderated by Hans-Jürgen Schröder (University of Giessen), addressed James Bacque's motivation for writing fiction disguised as fact. It was pointed out that Bacque obviously really believes he has discovered something real and is encouraged by people in Germany who suffered after 1945 and who feel that their experience of victimization has gotten short shrift in the history of this period. However, his neglect of evidence suggests either that he is unable to acknowledge criticism or that he willfully ignores information in an effort to cash in on a sensationalist thesis. The latter supposition led participants to discuss the quixotic nature of efforts by professional historians to challenge populist histories promoted by a sensation-driven publishing industry. Some also wondered whether even the most ludicrous claims merit consideration. There seemed to be an overall agreement, however, that historians have a duty to correct gross distortions and refute wild allegations.
Source of quote:
Emphases are mine.
I would further like to point out the following paragraph, which is symptomatic of Bacque’s intellectual dishonesty and the shoddiness of his research:
Bacque wrote:In the same book so admired by Keegan is a gross error made by Rudiger Overmanns, who does not even know the number of prisoners taken by the Americans. This was not 3.8 million as he says, but over 6 million, according to US Army records in Suitland, Maryland. Of course, this error, conveniently for Ambrose and Keegan, apparently diminishes the number of lives for which the Americans were responsible.
Source of quote:
http://www.corax.org/revisionism/misc/b ... etter.html
(A “Revisionist” side, by the way. Bacque’s criterion as to where he voices his opinions leaves much to be desired.)
The US Army records invoked by Bacque can only refer to the total number of prisoners of war held by Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) at a given time and therefore have nothing to do with Overmans’ figure, which refers solely to POWs in the custody of the US Army (including such that were later handed over to the French, the Soviets and others).
On the extinct Codoh discussion forum, one of Bacque’s admirers once wrote the following:
Continuing my earlier comments, Overmans, the preferred authority for the critic of my posting, is an employee of the German government, a government which fines and imprisons people for thinking wrong thoughts about "the Holocaust". On principle, I prefer Bacque, thank you.
Overmans is wildly inaccurate in his claims and simply scanning the many lines posted quoting him reveals that they have little to do with my points and Bacque's. Just as a starter, Overmans claims that the Americans took only 3.8 million German prisoners when Eisenhower's own official reports showed millions more, mostly German, in northwest Europe alone. The historical division of the U.S. Army in Europe reported that "on VE day, 7,005,732 German PW's were held by SHAEF". Quite a difference from Overmans and Co. All Volksturm? Lots more on this in Bacque's book which I again urge objective readers to view, particularly the 1999 edition which contains new evidence.
As to why Overmans, Ambrose and the German government continue in this kind of denial one can only speculate. It's pretty sick, IMO.
To which I replied:
1. The contention that Overmans is not reliable because he works for the German government (does he?) is a rather silly one. Even if the German government were the Great Satan, that would not affect the fact that Overmans is an internationally acknowledged, meticulous and objective military historian. I can see no possible – let alone a proven – connection between the German government’s misguided policy of implementing hate speech laws and Overmans’ work about German military casualties in World War II.
2. If the poster calls Overmans “wildly inaccurate”, I dare say that he hasn’t even looked at the translation from Overmans’ book that I provided but instead blindly relied on another of Bacque’s attempts to fool his readers. Actually the figure provided by the historical division of the US Army in Europe for VE day is by no means in contradiction with Overmans’ figures because it refers to German POW’s “held by SHAEF”. SHAEF was the abbreviation of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, the supreme command of all Allied forces – American, British and French - in Europe. This means that the figure refers to the total of prisoners held by all Allied forces, not only to those held by the US Army. Overmans’ figures for POW’s held by the three Allied nations:
Great Britain 3,640,000
add up to 7,680,000 and are thus quite in line with the report of the historical division of the U.S. Army in Europe.
3. As I sold Bacque’s screed to a second hand bookstore shortly after reading it and don’t intend to acquire a replacement copy of his nonsense, I would suggest that the poster provide Bacque’s transcription of Adenauer’s statements so that we may see in what terms Adenauer assessed the issue of prisoners of war in American captivity.
4. The poster’s unsubstantiated assertions that there is a conspiracy among Stephen Ambrose and German historians to deny the suffering and dying of hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war – in striking contrast to the efforts of the same German historians to thoroughly document the plight of German prisoners in Soviet captivity – defies all experience, logic and common sense. So does his equally implicit assertion that the German survivors of Bacque’s alleged death camps chose to keep their story to themselves – again in striking contrast to those who managed to return from the Soviet Gulag -, that the German public witnessed none of the dying that supposedly occurred on German soil after the war or didn’t give a damn about it – again in striking contrast to the interest manifested in the fate of German soldiers missing in action in the East or in Soviet captivity – and that all German organizations from the Red Cross over institutions of the churches to the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge, who invested a lot of time, money and effort into establishing the fate of German soldiers reported missing at the end of World War II, simply failed to notice or glossed over the monumental catastrophe that Bacque pretends occurred.
The whole discussion can be read under the link
Another German source gives the following breakdown of German soldiers who became prisoners of war in World War II:
Ingesamt gerieten im Zweiten Weltkrieg 11 094 000 Wehrmachtsangehörige in Kriegsgefangenschaft, von diesen 3 349 000 im Osten, 7 745 000 im Westen. Im Gewahrsam der Sowjetunion waren 3 155 000 (davon
25 000 an die Tschechoslowakei, 70 000 an Polen übergeben), in Jugoslawien 194 000, in Gewahrsam der USA: 3 800 000 (davon 667 000 an Frankreich, 135 000 an Rußland, 31 000 an Belgien, 5 000 an Luxemburg übergeben. 379 000 lebten in den USA, die anderen in amerikanischen Lagern in Europa), im Gewahrsam von Großbritannien 3 700 000 (davon 25 000 an Frankreich, 33 000 an Belgien, 7000 an die Niederlande übergeben. 385 000 lebten auf den britischen Inseln, 103 000 im Nahen Osten, 1 600 in Australien, 34 000 in Kanada,
46 000 in Nordafrika, die übrigen auf dem europäischen Kontinent) und schließlich in Frankreich einschließlich Nordafrika 245 000 selbst eingebrachte und 692 000 Übernommene, zusammen 937 000 Mann.
Die deutschen Kriegsgefangenen insgesamt haben über fünf Milliarden Gefangenschaftstage erlebt, davon 43,7 % im Osten, 56,3 % im Westen. Zwischen 1941 und 1956 wurden von ihnen rund 2 Milliarden Arbeitstage geleistet. Im Westen gab es nach amtlichen Unterlagen mindestens 178 000 Fluchtversuche, die meisten waren erfolglos. Entsprechende Angaben für den Osten liegen nicht vor. Mindestens 1,2 Millionen deutsche Soldaten starben in der Gefangenschaft.
Source of quote:
Heribert Schwan/Rolf Steininger, Besiegt, besetzt, geteilt.
1979 Stalling Verlag GmbH, Oldenburg - München - Hamburg, S. 116/117.
A total of 11 094 000 members of the Wehrmacht went into captivity in World War II, thereof 3, 349,000 in the East and 7 745 000 in the West. In Soviet custody there were 3 155 000 (thereof 25 000 handed over to Czechoslovakia and 70 000 handed over to Polan), in Yugoslavia 194 000, in the custody of the USA: 3 800 000 (thereof 667 000 handed over to France, 135 000 to Russia, 31 000 to Belgum and 5 000 to Luxembourg;
379 000 lived in the USA, the others in American camps in Europe), in the custody of Great Britain 3 700 000 (thereof 25 000 handed over to France, 33 000 to Belgium and 7000 to the Netherlands. 385 000 lived on the British Isles, 103 000 in the Near East, 1 600 in Australia, 34 000 in Canada, 46 000 in North Africa, the rest on the European continent) and in France including North -Africa 245 000 prisoners taken and 692 000 taken over, together 937 000 men.
German prisoners of war lived through a total of 5 billion days of captivity, thereof 43,7 % in the East, 56,3 % in the West. Between 1941 and 1956 they provided about 2 million working days. In the West there were at least 178 000 escape attempts according to official documents, most of which were without success. There are no corresponding data for the East. At least 1.2 million German soldiers died in captivity.
How Bacque marries this breakdown with his contention that there were 6 million German prisoners of war (or even more) in the hands of the US Army at any given time remains his mystery.
Schwan/Steininger’s figures on the death toll are based on the data of the Maschke Commission, an entity that investigated the fate of German prisoners of war for over a decade and submitted its report in 1974. Its results, according to Overmans’ Deutsche Militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg
, were the following:
Deaths in captivity according to Maschke Commission
Great Britain 1,300
Other States 13.000
The results of Overmans’ study are somewhat different:
Deaths in captivity according to present study
Great Britain 21,000
Other States 8.000
Overmans explains the difference as follows (my translation from chapter 22.214.171.124 of his a.m. book):
When comparing the data about deaths related to the various custodian states, hardly a case of coincidence can be observed. The figures do, however, show a similar trend – custodian states with high death rates according to the data of the Maschke Commission also show an above average death rate in the present study. The same goes for states with low death rates. The question how the nevertheless existing differences in the absolute values can be explained will be examined in the following.
First it should be pointed out that – except in case of the Soviet Union – the losses in captivity in all custodian states are but fractions of percentages of the total losses and are thus in an order of magnitude that cannot be evaluated accurately even with the present, relatively large sample. Furthermore the methods of establishing the figures vary. The data of the Maschke Kommission are based on files of the custodian state and numerous testimonials of German prisoners of war. In matters of content they refer, in what concerns to the Western Allies, to those who died in Allied custody in a narrower sense. The compilation techniques of the present study, however, mandate the inclusion in the category “captivity” also of such cases that formally fall under that category but for which the respective custodian state was not responsible in material terms. This applies especially to the differences in the data related to Great Britain, the USA and the “other countries”.
Things are different in the case of France, where the numbers of the Maschke Commission are based on the official French data and there are substantial indications for the assumption that, of the ca. 180,000 missing in the West, a great number died indeed in French custody – or as mercenaries in Indochina. Even more difficult is the situation regarding deaths in Yugoslavian custody – apart from rather contradictory German testimonials on the one hand and the documented cases underlying the present study on the other there is no examination that could contribute to the clarification of the question.
Given this unsatisfactory state of research the question arises how reliable data about the deaths in captivity could be obtained. Not by means of an empiric compilation analogous to the present one, given that the information deficits pointed out are not caused by methodological deficiencies of the study – the study only demonstrates the fact that the information available to the German authorities is insufficient. Only the evaluation of reports presently coming in from the former Soviet Union, the recovery of unburied dead presently under way both in the former USSR and in Eastern Germany as well as the registration of graves in the Soviet Union by the VDK will lead to an improvement of the state of information in the next years or decades.
But independently of what the number of deaths in captivity actually is, the differences – at least in what concerns the Western Allies – are so small that they cannot significantly affect the results of this study so far.
This does not apply in regard to Yugoslavia let alone for the Soviet Union –here the difference between 300,000 or a million deaths is so huge that it influences the distribution of the variables. It will thus be attempted in the following to localize the differences more closely.
Table 66: Deaths in Soviet custody by years
Deaths in Soviet captivity according to present study
1946 and after 118,000
Missing according to present study*
1945 ca. 400,000
1946 and after -
* The number of missing in 1945 was estimated for the present study on the basis of the established fact that about two thirds of deaths during the Final Battles occurred in the East of Germany.
Deaths in Soviet captivity according to Maschke Commission
1946 and after included in 1945
Table 66, which differentiates the number of deaths by years, shows first the number of prisoners of war in Soviet custody and the missing on the Eastern Front, followed by the data of the Maschke Commission. According to the present study a total of ca. 363,000 German soldiers died in Soviet captivity – the sum of individually documented deaths. The approach of the Maschke Commission was another: they established, on the basis of various sources, the number of soldiers taken prisoner as well as the percentage of those who died every year. Although it is an estimate, it can be considered as well founded. When comparing the number of the missing established in the present study, ca. 1.5 million, with the difference in deaths considered by the present study on the one hand and the Maschke Commission on the other, it becomes visible that the difference, ca. 700,000 deaths, corresponds to about half of the number of missing. And it seems altogether plausible, although it cannot be proven, that half of those missing were killed in battle and the other half actually died in Soviet custody . Parting from this consideration the question arises how these ca. 700,000 cases are distributed temporarily. For this it is necessary to recall the conduction of military operations. In the first year, i.e. until ca. the middle of 1943, when the German armies were attacking, they were usually in conditions to recover their own dead in the conquered areas. This means that, at the beginning, the overwhelming majority of missing were taken prisoner and died in Soviet custody – out of the Germans taken prisoner at Stalingrad alone ca. 90,000 died rather soon in captivity. The more the initiative went over to the Soviet side and the more often large units were destroyed and taken prisoner, the greater the number of men killed in battle among those missing is likely to have been.
In relation to the above data this plausible if not provable consideration has the consequence that the results of the present study should be modified. Presumably the number of missing in the years 1941/42 must be almost wholly added to the deaths in captivity, whereas in the following years an ever growing part must be added to those killed on the German side. If the numbers of the present study are nevertheless used for the further assessment, this is only because the above considerations, while plausible, are not based on documented individual fates like the remaining results of the present study. As already mentioned, it must be left to a complementary study to evaluate the information arriving from the former Soviet Union at present and in the future, in order to obtain more accurate results in what concerns captivity.
It’s a shame that a thread related to POW’s excellent work in documenting the experiences of German prisoners of war must necessarily bring Mr. Bacque’s fathomless nonsense to the fore.