Disarmed Enemy Forces

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by David Thompson » 14 Jan 2012 21:17

For interested readers -- There is a considerable amount of background material on the formulation of policy for the postwar administration of Germany at Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945 vol. 3, pp. 369-539, Principles to Govern the Treatment of Germany During the Period of Allied Control
http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bi ... RUS1945v03

The post-1945 development of the policy can be seen in subsequent volumes of Foreign Relations of the United States, online courtesy of the University of Wisconsin at http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bi ... FRUS.FRUS1

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by Hurtig » 18 Jan 2012 18:37

I found this article on the food situation in the US in 1945. It links back to LWD's statement that there was not enough food to feed the DEFs. I think you will see that the picture was slightly different.

FOOD SUPPLY, U.S. (http://astheysawit.com/2393-1945-food.html)

On November 24, 1945, the Secretary of Agriculture, with the Price Administrator concurring, announced termination of the rationing of meats, canned fish, and fats and oils. The only food item left under rationing was sugar. Because of a serious worldwide shortage, there was no immediate prospect of lifting sugar rationing. The decision to lift the rationing of the other foodstuffs was made possible by changes since V-J Day in food requirements and supplies, notably sharp reductions in military takings, seasonal increases in livestock slaughter, an increase in the production of chickens and turkeys to an all-time high level, and prospects for a record supply of eggs. Supplies of meat available to U. S. civilians for the month of December, 1945, were estimated to be at an annual rate of 165 pounds per capita, as compared with the prewar (1935-39) average of 126 pounds. This was after allowing for military needs and for set-asides to provide more than 30 million pounds weekly for shipment to Allied and liberated countries plus a substantial amount for commercial export.

Note the change in military takings, it should have been going up with all the POWs or DEFs who needed to be fed but was going down?

I would also suggest that interested readers read the following link is is about how Hoover and Truman tried to rectify the food situation in Europe.
http://www.trumanlibrary.org/hoover/exile.htm

Saturday, April 14 [1945]

To dinner alone with H.H. Tell him I entirely approve of his statement to Press re F.D.R.; it was one of the very few that did not spill over. He thinks that Truman will prove a change for the better. He thinks that if he has intention to appoint new Cabinet he should do so without delay. If he does it person by person remaining members will gang up on him. H.H. would like to be Sec'y of War, and says in that job, with command of shipping, he could give relief to Europe in short order.

7. STIMSON DIARY, MAY 13, 1945

. . . Mr. Hoover came at a little after twelve o'clock and I had a very satisfactory talk with him. It was a great pleasure to talk with a master of a subject after the amateurs that I have been running in contact with in the New Deal. I took up the question of the rehabilitation of Europe and in the short time before and after lunch I got some very vigorous and stimulating views from him about it. I took them down in pencil and I shall use them to try to get the War Department at least aided by his wisdom. His views of the problem of Germany follow very much the line which McCloy and I had been fighting for since last September and the issue with Morgenthau over a pastoral Germany. Another point that I was interested to find was that Hoover had come to the conclusion that the Army is the best agent for rehabilitation and in that I think he is probably right. Certainly the efforts thus far of the various civilian agencies which the past Administration has appointed have not shown results which would indicate otherwise . . .

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by LWD » 18 Jan 2012 19:32

Hurtig wrote:I found this article on the food situation in the US in 1945. It links back to LWD's statement that there was not enough food to feed the DEFs. I think you will see that the picture was slightly different.

FOOD SUPPLY, U.S. (http://astheysawit.com/2393-1945-food.html)

On November 24, 1945, the Secretary of Agriculture, with the Price Administrator concurring, announced termination of the rationing of meats, canned fish, and fats and oils. The only food item left under rationing was sugar. Because of a serious worldwide shortage, there was no immediate prospect of lifting sugar rationing. The decision to lift the rationing of the other foodstuffs was made possible by changes since V-J Day in food requirements and supplies, notably sharp reductions in military takings, seasonal increases in livestock slaughter, an increase in the production of chickens and turkeys to an all-time high level, and prospects for a record supply of eggs. Supplies of meat available to U. S. civilians for the month of December, 1945, were estimated to be at an annual rate of 165 pounds per capita, as compared with the prewar (1935-39) average of 126 pounds. This was after allowing for military needs and for set-asides to provide more than 30 million pounds weekly for shipment to Allied and liberated countries plus a substantial amount for commercial export.

Note the change in military takings, it should have been going up with all the POWs or DEFs who needed to be fed but was going down?. . .
Not necessarily. For one thing the US was demobilizing rapidly. Then there's the issue of the available transport to Europe. In the Summer of 45 the US was deploying considerable numbers of troops and equipment to the Pacific both from the US and directly from Europe. What transport capacity was left in Atlantic waters? Furthermore were supplies used to feed civilians, DEFs, POWs, and indeed military personel all takne form "military takings"? For instance I suspect that food shipped via military channels for the British was cut off fairly soon after the war and taken care of as normal commerce soon after VJ day if not before.

For instance looking at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3&t=157600
The US Army went from over 8,000,000 men in March of 45 to ~4,000,000 by Dec of 45. That doesn't include the Navy and Marine demobilizations or the shift of the CG out of the Department of the Navy.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by Hurtig » 18 Jan 2012 21:04

LWD wrote:Not necessarily. For one thing the US was demobilizing rapidly. Then there's the issue of the available transport to Europe. In the Summer of 45 the US was deploying considerable numbers of troops and equipment to the Pacific both from the US and directly from Europe. What transport capacity was left in Atlantic waters? Furthermore were supplies used to feed civilians, DEFs, POWs, and indeed military personel all takne form "military takings"? For instance I suspect that food shipped via military channels for the British was cut off fairly soon after the war and taken care of as normal commerce soon after VJ day if not before.
I agree that the US army was demobilizing, but that makes your original point that there was not enough food to feed DEFs inaccurate.
Yes the US was re-deploying troops to the Pacific, but I have found no reference to transport not being available to take food to Europe.
(This was after allowing for military needs and for set-asides to provide more than 30 million pounds weekly for shipment to Allied and liberated countries plus a substantial amount for commercial export).
LWD wrote:Furthermore were supplies used to feed civilians, DEFs, POWs, and indeed military personel all takne form "military takings"?
From the extract below I would say that the supplies were not used to feed the civilians, DEFs, POWs as it was against the Policies of the occupying force.
Hurtig wrote:According to the ECLIPSE plan, the disarmed enemy troops were to be fed, like the DPs, from German sources; but while the DPs were scattered in groups of thousands and could theoretically live off the local economies, the troops were concentrated, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands. On 16 May, Bradley cabled Eisenhower that the Wehrmacht stocks the Seventh Army had been using to feed its disarmed enemy troops would run out that day. In another four days

Seventh Army would have used up all it could get from civilian sources in its area. The other armies could not help because they were in much the same position. "These disarmed forces," he maintained, "will either have to be fed or released." He asked for immediate authority to discharge the disarmed enemy forces and for US Army or military government rations to feed them until the discharge could be completed
The key point that all of this leads to is that there was not a shortage of food, rather the policies and usage of the food to feed DEFs.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by Hurtig » 18 Jan 2012 21:14

Policy and Directives for Occupation of Germany (http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... me-19.html)

Pages 353, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358
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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by David Thompson » 18 Jan 2012 21:39

Hurtig -- What does that quote have to do with disarmed enemy forces?

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by Hurtig » 18 Jan 2012 21:43

David -- I referenced the policy in my post, therefore wanted to ensure that I posted it. Please delete if you think it does not apply.
Last edited by Hurtig on 19 Jan 2012 00:14, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by David Thompson » 18 Jan 2012 21:57

Hurtig -- You wrote:
I referenced the policy in my post, therefore wanted to ensure that I posted it. Please delete if you think it does not apply.
In that case, a reference to the book and page numbers is sufficient ("For interested readers -- additional material on the US postwar policy can be found at . . . ."). There's no reason for readers specifically interested in the disarmed enemy forces issue to have to wade through lengthy quotes on extrinsic matters -- it makes it harder for them to find what they're looking for.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by LWD » 18 Jan 2012 21:59

Hurtig wrote:
LWD wrote:Not necessarily. For one thing the US was demobilizing rapidly. Then there's the issue of the available transport to Europe. In the Summer of 45 the US was deploying considerable numbers of troops and equipment to the Pacific both from the US and directly from Europe. What transport capacity was left in Atlantic waters? Furthermore were supplies used to feed civilians, DEFs, POWs, and indeed military personel all takne form "military takings"? For instance I suspect that food shipped via military channels for the British was cut off fairly soon after the war and taken care of as normal commerce soon after VJ day if not before.
I agree that the US army was demobilizing, but that makes your original point that there was not enough food to feed DEFs inaccurate.
Not really. There was a shortage of food in Europe in general and in Germany in particular. Note that GB didn't go off rationing for several years after the war ended.
Yes the US was re-deploying troops to the Pacific, but I have found no reference to transport not being available to take food to Europe. (This was after allowing for military needs and for set-asides to provide more than 30 million pounds weekly for shipment to Allied and liberated countries plus a substantial amount for commercial export).
The fact remains there was a shortage of food in Germany in 45 and the early parts of 46. Furthermore there was serious concern on the part of US authorities of a famine. The obvious conclusion is that for some reason the food wasn't being shipped. Part of it was lack of planning but lack of transporation would seem another one. Note it's not necessarily the transportation across the Atlantic it could also be constrictions at the points of debarkation and or transhipment locations.
LWD wrote:Furthermore were supplies used to feed civilians, DEFs, POWs, and indeed military personel all takne form "military takings"?
From the extract below I would say that the supplies were not used to feed the civilians, DEFs, POWs as it was against the Policies of the occupying force.
Actually it says just the opposite.
The key point that all of this leads to is that there was not a shortage of food, rather the policies and usage of the food to feed DEFs.
That is wrong. There quite obviously was a shortage of food as yoru excerpt notes. It should also be noted that the shortage dates from well before the allies took over administration of Germany.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by Hurtig » 18 Jan 2012 22:48

LWD wrote:Not really. There was a shortage of food in Europe in general and in Germany in particular. Note that GB didn't go off rationing for several years after the war ended.
The rationing in the UK had more to do with the fact that the Britain imported 55 million tons of food before the war, a month after the war had started this figure had dropped to 12 million. It took them a long time to recover from the war and was not due to European food shortages, but being in debt and unable to import the same amounts of food.
LWD wrote:The fact remains there was a shortage of food in Germany in 45 and the early parts of 46. Furthermore there was serious concern on the part of US authorities of a famine. The obvious conclusion is that for some reason the food wasn't being shipped. Part of it was lack of planning but lack of transporation would seem another one. Note it's not necessarily the transportation across the Atlantic it could also be constrictions at the points of debarkation and or transhipment locations.
I would agree that it was due to bad planning, but have also shown how it was part of the Policies for occupied Germany. Please elaborate as to why you think it was not due to the policies.

The German food shortage was as a direct result of the war, the lack of fertilizer after the war ended (part of dismantled war industry) and this was known to the Allied high command. The locations of the DEF camps effectively ensured that they could not sustain themselves as they were all concentrated in a very small area. Please read the links on my previous postings, it clarifies my points.
LWD wrote:That is wrong. There quite obviously was a shortage of food as yoru excerpt notes. It should also be noted that the shortage dates from well before the allies took over administration of Germany.
The point that was made was that on the 16th May, the stocks from the German 7th army had run out. The german army stocks not inteneded to feed so many people. It seems the US army were not feeding the DEFs from US food stores / supplies. The germans surrendered on the 7 May 1945, so 9 days later there was no food? This should have been planned for.

I am certain that had the policies been different, the DEFs could have been fed with US military supplies. If they had remained POWs, the US would have had to feed them.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by Hurtig » 19 Jan 2012 01:58

Just to close off the food element of this discussion, I have included an extract from a communication between Hoover and Truman about the state of affairs In Germany

HOOVER TO TRUMAN, FEBRUARY 26, 1947
Conclusion to German Agriculture and Food Requirements

. . . It may come as a great shock to American taxpayers that, having won the war over Germany, we are now faced for some years with large expenditures for relief for these people. Indeed, it is something new in human history for the conqueror to undertake.

Whatever the policies might have been that would have avoided this expense, we now are faced with it. And we are faced with it until the export industries of Germany can be sufficiently revived to pay for their food. The first necessity for such a revival is sufficient food upon which to maintain vitality to work.

Entirely aside from any humanitarian feelings for this mass of people, if we want peace; if we want to preserve the safety and health of our Army of Occupation; if we want to save the expense of even larger military forces to preserve order; if we want to reduce the size and expense of our Army of Occupation -- I can see no other course but to meet the burdens I have here outlined.

Our determination is to establish such a regime in Germany as will prevent forever again the rise of militarism and aggression within these people. But those who believe in vengeance and the punishment of a great mass of Germans not concerned in the Nazi conspiracy can now have no misgivings for all of them -- in food, warmth and shelter -- have been sunk to the lowest level known in a hundred years of Western history.

If Western Civilization is to survive in Europe, it must also survive in Germany. And it must be built into a cooperative member of that civilization. That indeed is the hope of any lasting peace.

After all, our flag flies over these people. That flag means something besides military power.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by David Thompson » 19 Jan 2012 05:53

Hurtig -- The Hoover quote above is about aid to the German people, not disarmed enemy forces. By the time Hoover penned that, the US was holding few if any German soldiers, other than those charged with war crimes.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by Hurtig » 19 Jan 2012 13:23

David -- I was referring to the highlighted section around his views on the policies for Germany.

A Review by Stephen E. Ambrose (extract from LWD's post)

An assertion that is central to Mr. Bacque's accusation is his contention that there was no European food shortage in 1945. He points to warehouses in Germany full of food. He says that the Red Cross had food available. One of his most daming pieces of evidence is that a train from Geneva loaded with food parcels sent by the Red Cross to feed German prisoners was forced to turn back.

This is shocking - food was available, men were hungry and American officers ordered the train to return to Geneva. But there was a reason: the Allied Governments had decided that Red Cross food parcels would be used to feed displaced persons, of whom there were more than two million in Germany, and the orders to Eisenhower on this policy were explicit. So DPs got those food parcels. It is painful beyond description to have to set food priorities in a hungry world, but it had to be done, and who could argue with the decision?

From the above highlighted text and the reading of some of my prior posts, I think it is clear that the policies for the DEFs and the general occupation policies leave much to be desired.

I think the whole point of this discussion has been that terrible things happened and we need to record all of history, not just the parts we like. The fact that the designation of DEF ensured the maltreatment of conscripted German soldiers will forever be a black mark against the western allies.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by LWD » 19 Jan 2012 15:09

Hurtig wrote:
LWD wrote:Not really. There was a shortage of food in Europe in general and in Germany in particular. Note that GB didn't go off rationing for several years after the war ended.
The rationing in the UK had more to do with the fact that the Britain imported 55 million tons of food before the war, a month after the war had started this figure had dropped to 12 million. It took them a long time to recover from the war and was not due to European food shortages, but being in debt and unable to import the same amounts of food.
Well if we look at Wages or Destruction page 355-356 in the paper back edition we find the following quote:
Within the first weeks of the war, comprehensive rationing was introduced on the two most basic items of household expenditure: food and clothing.
Sounds like both countries were experiancing similar problems food wise to me.
LWD wrote:The fact remains there was a shortage of food in Germany in 45 and the early parts of 46. Furthermore there was serious concern on the part of US authorities of a famine. The obvious conclusion is that for some reason the food wasn't being shipped. Part of it was lack of planning but lack of transporation would seem another one. Note it's not necessarily the transportation across the Atlantic it could also be constrictions at the points of debarkation and or transhipment locations.
I would agree that it was due to bad planning, but have also shown how it was part of the Policies for occupied Germany. Please elaborate as to why you think it was not due to the policies.
You are the proponent, you need to make a case for it first. Especially when the policies you quoted mention supplying food at at least a subsistance level.
The German food shortage was as a direct result of the war, the lack of fertilizer after the war ended (part of dismantled war industry) and this was known to the Allied high command.
That the food shortage was a direct result of the war was clear. The food shortage in 45 however can hardly be attributed to any great degree by lack of fertilzer. Lack of planting and care, destruction of some crops that were planted, destruction of the transport net and probably half a dozen other reasons likely were of more import.
The locations of the DEF camps effectively ensured that they could not sustain themselves as they were all concentrated in a very small area.
The were never intended to sustain themselves. They were temporary camps established to a large extent due to the fact that when it came the collapse of the German army was not expected.
Please read the links on my previous postings, it clarifies my points.
Even reading the excerpts you have posted here they seem to counter your points rather than support or clarify them. PLS state exactly what parts you think support you.
LWD wrote:That is wrong. There quite obviously was a shortage of food as yoru excerpt notes. It should also be noted that the shortage dates from well before the allies took over administration of Germany.
The point that was made was that on the 16th May, the stocks from the German 7th army had run out. The german army stocks not inteneded to feed so many people. It seems the US army were not feeding the DEFs from US food stores / supplies. The germans surrendered on the 7 May 1945, so 9 days later there was no food? This should have been planned for.
"Should have been" perhaps but as stated the German collapse wasn't exactly predicatable and the western allies in the mean time were struggleing to keep their combat units supplied. In the first several days officially US supplies would have been used for the most part by US and allied troops. It takes a while for logistic networks to be reprogramed. In the mean time captured German stocks were used for German troops that makes sense. Remember in that day and age paper work was what a lot of planning was based on. How long does it take for the reports to filter up to army level or higher, then for them to be compiled and analized, much less acted upon?
I am certain that had the policies been different, the DEFs could have been fed with US military supplies. If they had remained POWs, the US would have had to feed them.
[/quote]
Part of the problem was that the "policies" weren't well established at that point in time. Indeed my impression is that they were in a state of flux for some time after the German surrender. If someone of high enough authority had decides in say March or April that Germans would be fed from US stocks and that enough supplies had to be moved forward to feed them then perhaps they could have fed them to US levels. Of course that wouldn't have taken care of the civilian population in particular the displaced persons (again the number of which was well beyond what was expected). Furthermore the policy of not feeding the DEF's any better than the civilian population of Germany was IMO a good one. I suspect many of the DEF's would have agreed if they had been made aware of it. Note also Bradley's quote suggested releasing them back into the civilian populatioon where they would benefit from this policy.

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Re: Disarmed Enemy Forces

Post by LWD » 19 Jan 2012 15:28

Hurtig wrote:David -- I was referring to the highlighted section around his views on the policies for Germany.
A Review by Stephen E. Ambrose (extract from LWD's post)
...This is shocking - food was available, men were hungry and American officers ordered the train to return to Geneva. But there was a reason: the Allied Governments had decided that Red Cross food parcels would be used to feed displaced persons, of whom there were more than two million in Germany, and the orders to Eisenhower on this policy were explicit. So DPs got those food parcels. It is painful beyond description to have to set food priorities in a hungry world, but it had to be done, and who could argue with the decision?
From the above highlighted text and the reading of some of my prior posts, I think it is clear that the policies for the DEFs and the general occupation policies leave much to be desired.
I would draw the opposite conclusion. The policies seemed clearly aimed at making sure the maximum number of Germans survived. Of course if you don't find that gaol desireable I can see how you would find the policies lamentable.
I think the whole point of this discussion has been that terrible things happened and we need to record all of history, not just the parts we like.
I don't think anyone here has disputed that point.
The fact that the designation of DEF ensured the maltreatment of conscripted German soldiers will forever be a black mark against the western allies.
It's not a fact that the "designation of DEF ensured the maltreatment" of German soldiers. What it did was give the allies the legal basis to treat the food problem of Germany as a whole. Now there were clearly problems with the camps. The lack of shelter and such are IMO less forgiveable. Even more so the treatment and attitudes of some of those who supervised the camps. On the otherhand given that unexpected nature of the problem and the rather complicated high level politics involved the situation could have been much worse and indeed was in some areas (the Soviets and to a lesser extent the French for instance).

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