Xanthro wrote:Charles Bunch is exactly right in the above. The designation from POW was not as a form of punishment, it was a way of dealing with the reality of feeding 17 million unexpected people.
And I suppose the Morgenthau Plan had nothing to do with such planning...
Nothing at all indeed:
In August 1944 the American finance minister Henry Morgenthau jr. had a plan for the treatment of Germany after its defeat prepared. Morgenthau was under the impression that both the entities responsible in the USA for Germany policy and the relevant British politicians were pursuing too soft a line. In the memorandum that Morgentau submitted at the beginning of September 1944 a dismemberment of Germany was propagated. After extensive territorial cessions there were to be created three German states, while the economic regions at the Rhine and Ruhr as well as the North Sea Coast were to be internationalized. Besides the total disarmament of Germany and huge reparations (also through forced labor) the Morgenthau – Plan foresaw the total dismantling of industrial installations and the closing down and destruction of mines. A control over the whole economy over 20 years would turn Germany into an agrarian state that would no longer be in conditions to carry out aggression policies.
The plan contained, in the respective most radical form, all suggestions and measures that had already been discussed in the debate about the goals of the war. Morgenthau’s suggestions were meant to correct the moderate plans for Germany entertained by the Allied Supreme Command under Eisenhower, the inter-allied European Advisory Commission and the professional departments in Washington and London.
Morgenthau, who was a friend of US-president Roosevelt, seemed to be successful when at the British-American conference in Quebec on 15 September 1944 Premier Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt initialed an (already softened) version of the Morgenthau plan. But Cordell Hull, the American foreign minister, as well as his British colleague Anthony Eden protested against the plan already on the following day, and the American war minister Stimson called the program “a crime against civilization“. When the Morgenthau Plan reached the public due to a deliberate indiscretion on 21 September 1944, the reaction was so negative that even Roosevelt distanced himself from the plan. The Morgenthau Plan disappeared in the drawers already at the end of September 1944 without ever having been formally discussed by the competent bodies.
For the later policy of occupation and in regard to Germany the Morgenthau Plan was without any significance. But Goebbels and Hitler had used the “Jewish murder plan” for the “enslavement of Germany” with such success in support of their hold-out propaganda that many were led to believe that the program had been implemented in 1945. In publications of the extreme right the Morgenthau Plan plays this role until the present day.
Morgenthau, by the way, was an adherent of agrarian romanticism. The de-industrialization of Germany he propagated would under this aspect not only have been a measure for punishing Germany and preventing another world war.
I translated the above from: Wolfgang Benz, in: Benz et al, Legenden, Lügen, Vorurteile
, Munich 1992, pages 154/155
Emphasis is mine.
Xanthro wrote:By the Geneva Convention, POWs must receive the same allotment of food as your own soldiers. This was done when the numbers were reasonable.
The US ended up with 5 million POWs, it not possible to feed these numbers at the level required and still feed the civilian population.
Smith wrote:Not possible, really? Why? This was peacetime.
Does peacetime mean it is possible for any power to obtain enough food to feed a devastated continent within the short time required?
Smith wrote:Of course, I suppose because the USA could not have been kept on rations and would need to enjoy the heady warmth of victory.
How about a demonstration on hand of facts and figures of the objective possibility to make available enough food supplies to a whole continent within a short period of time, instead of the usual unsubstantiated baloney?
Smith wrote:And, I suppose it was necessarily possible for the Germans to deal with their huge haul of Soviet prisoners in 1941 "reasonably" in this way, also. The Soviets never even signed the Geneva convention.
They enjoyed the protection of the convention nevertheless, for its provisions had become customary international law long before the Führer decided to shit on it, according to prevailing contemporary legal opinion.
And it’s not as if the Germans had been bereft of the means to adequately feed the Soviet prisoners of war as they did their other prisoners (including but not limited to the two million French prisoners taken the year before) or at least to keep them from starving to death, is it?
The fact is that the Germans didn’t want
to make available such food supplies.
Not in order to keep the civilian population of any country from starving, but in order to allow the Wehrmacht to live wholly off the occupied Soviet territories and still send enough food supplies to Germany to provide for a comfortable, morale-boosting living standard, the foreseen and accepted consequence of the planned exploitation being the starvation death of “umpteen million” people in the occupied Soviet territories.
Which policy led first to the absence of preparations for the feeding of Soviet prisoners of war and then to the conscious decision that the “non-working prisoners” – the overwhelming majority – were to starve to death.
Which in turn led to the death, mostly by starvation, of about two million Soviet prisoners of war between the autumn of 1941 and the spring of 1942 alone.
Xanthro wrote:The US had the choice of allowing German citizens starve and uphold the letter of the Convention, or find a way to allot some of the food that would normally go to the POWs to the civilian population.
Smith wrote:Interesting, for all those scholars who argue that treaties cannot be unilaterally changed or broken by sovereign nations without subjecting the perpetrators to criminal sanction...
Well, there is something called objective necessity that justifies the breach of humanitarian conventions under certain conditions.
The pre-condition for the justifiability of such a breach is, of course, that the humanitarian benefit derived therefrom exceeds the negative consequences of the breach.
Which would not have been the case if the breach in question had led to large-scale starvation in the POW camps – as Mr. Bacque fantasizes -, except arguably to the extent that this would have been inevitable to prevent an even more devastating famine among the civilian population.
Xanthro wrote:The Allies chose the latter.
There was hunger in the camps, no question about that, but there was hunger in almost all of Europe at the time.
Somehow the allies managed to distribute enough food to keep the vast majority alive, and reasonably healthy, but my wife has relatives that were starving at the end of the war.
Smith wrote:I don't buy Bacque's figures but if the Allies had been subject to Victor's Justice,
Nobody was subject to “Victor’s Justice” outside the minds of the Führer’s faithful followers.
Smith wrote: such "reasonable actions" would have resulted in some legal-lynchings. Maybe Eisenhower himself swinging from the pole...
On what grounds, Mr. Smith?
Was there any disproportion between the hardship inflicted on the POWs by the leveling of rations on the one hand and the humanitarian benefit of making available more food supplies to the hungry civilian population on the other?