michael mills wrote:J. North, you are engaging in the same sort of distortions as your ideological co-worker Roberto.
i) Mills’ persistent and ever more thinly disguised attempts to whitewash the National Socialist regime, and
ii) the fact that he has never yet caught me at a distortion whereas I catch him at such activities all the time,
the above statement must be taken as an indication that Mills enjoys making a fool out of himself.
michael mills wrote:You could at least co-ordinate with him so that you get your stories straight.
Why, Mills seems to agree his stories beforehand with his ideological co-workers.
His opponents, on the other hand, simply write what they feel like writing, because none of them is committed to an ideological agenda like Mills is.
michael mills wrote:
This is what Roberto wrote a couple of posts ago, quoting Streit.
Of the 3,155,000 German prisoners who fell into the hands of the Red Army between 1941 and 1945, there died between 1,110,000 and 1,185,000, i.e. between 35.1 per cent and 37.4 per cent. [Footnote: Kurt W. Böhme, Die deutschen Kriegsgefangenen in sowjetischer Hand, page 151 and errata sheet]
Errare humanum est, Mr. Mills, and someone who messes up all the time like yourself should not open his mouth too wide.
In fact I pointed out to Jonathan North, shortly after reading his last post, that Hoffmann’s figures are also quoted by Streit after Böhme, that they correspond to those of the Maschke Commission in 1974 and that Overmans himself, whose lower figure corresponds to the sum of individually documented cases of deaths in Soviet captivity, doesn’t dismiss the higher figures but considers the actual death toll to lie somewhere in between his figures and those of the Maschke Commission.
We’re all here to learn – except, obviously, for the likes of Michael Mills.
michael mills wrote:Those figures are quite EXACTLY THE SAME as those given by Hoffmann.
No need to scream, Mr. Mills. See above.
michael mills wrote:Hoffmann's contention is that the majority of those deaths occurred after the end of the war, since the greater part of the three million German soldiers who became POWs of the Soviet Union became so after the German surrender, or shortly before it.
The only thing contentious in this contention would be the issue made out of the fact that the majority of POW deaths occurred after
the war, as if this would make the Soviet Union’s treatment of the POW’s look comparatively worse in regard to the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war by Nazi Germany.
Which is nonsense, of course.
A look at German policies towards Soviet prisoners of war suggests that, if more than 40 % of them eventually survived, it was because they were taken during
the war and thus needed as a labor force and/or as auxiliaries for the troops fighting on the Eastern Front.
What we know about German policies and attitudes towards “sub-humans” in general and Soviet prisoners of war in particular suggests that the mortality rate would have been much higher than it was if it had not been for the wartime labor and combat needs. Wartime scarcity of means to feed the prisoners can hardly be invoked as a justification on the German side, for whatever scarcity there was resulted from the policy to recklessly exploit the Soviet occupied territories for the benefit of the German armed forces and home front and to feed Soviet POWs only with the leftovers of such exploitation, the resources obtained in the occupied territories going first to the Wehrmacht, then to the German home front, then to the Soviet civilian population and only thereafter to the prisoners of war, who thus often got hardly anything at all.
Furthermore, as Bräutigam pointed out in his cited memorandum of 25 November 1942, the food question, which up to then had strangely mattered only in regard to Soviet but not in regard to Polish, Serbian, French and English prisoners of war, ceased to matter when the Germans
…experienced the grotesque picture of having to recruit millions of laborers from the occupied Eastern territories, after prisoners of war have died of hunger like flies, in order to fill the gaps that have formed within Germany.
The Soviet Union, on the other hand, was in dire straits during and for a long time after the war, the Soviet population itself being hungry to an extent that there are documented cases of Soviet civilians, who in the devastated western parts of the USSR were in their millions living in dugouts and caves years after the war’s end, begging food from German prisoners of war. German prisoners of war were treated no worse, perhaps even a little better, than other inhabitants of the Soviet prison and camp system, including postwar deportees from Ukraine and the Baltic countries and surviving Soviet prisoners of war branded as “traitors”. It would be interesting to compare the postwar mortality among German prisoners of war with that among other captives of the Soviet system.
Let’s now have a look at Mills’ post of Mon Nov 18, 2002 2:13 pm on this thread, where
michael mills wrote:After the surrender of the remnants of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad, the Soviets did start accepting captured Germans as POWs, and putting them in POW camps. Even so, most of the German soldiers captured during the war, as opposed to the large numbers taken prisoner toward the end of the war and after the German capitulation, did not survive Soviet captivity.
These are the figures of the Maschke Commission, courtesy of our former fellow poster POW:
a) 1941/42 175.000 men taken prisoner, thereof 95 % died, ca. 166,000 men
b) 1943 220.000 men taken prisoner, thereof 70 % died, ca. 154.000 Mann
c) 1944 560.000 men taken prisoner, thereof 40 % died, ca. 224,000 men
d) 1945 2.200.000 men taken prisoner, thereof 25 % died, ca 550.000 menYear; Prisoners; Dead; Percentage
1941/42; 175.000; 166.000; 94,86%
1943; 220.000; 154.000; 70,00%
1944; 560.000; 224.000; 40,00%Subtotal 41-44; 955.000; 544.000; 56,96%
1945; 2.200.000; 550.000; 25,00%Total; 3.155.000; 1.094.000; 34,68%
The above breakdown shows that, if the Maschke Commission’s figures are accurate, Hoffmann is right in what concerns the years 1941 to 1944.
As to the year 1945, his contention is somewhat misleading in that a huge proportion of the 2,200,000 prisoners taken during that year are likely to have been brought in before what Mills calls “toward the end of the war and after the German capitulation” – according to Krivosheev, out of 3,224,294 Axis prisoners taken in 1945, 1,305,344 were brought in between 1 January and 30 April 1945 and 634,950 between 1 and 8 May 1945. Only by establishing the mortality among the former group can we determine the accuracy of Hoffmann’s statement that most German prisoners taken “during the war” did not survive Soviet captivity.
The Maschke Commission’s figures on the number of German prisoners taken seem to be somewhat on the high side in what concerns the years 1941/42. Krivosheev's figures on Axis prisoners taken during this time – 10,602 until the end of 1941, 6,683 until mid 1942 and 172,143 in the second half of 1942 – seem to be more accurate and are probably made up mostly of Romanians, Hungarians and Italians taken during the Soviet Stalingrad offensive in late 1942.
It should also be pointed out that the Maschke Commission first
established the estimated mortality rate of the German POWs on the basis of various sources and then
calculated the number of deaths by applying that rate to the estimated number of prisoners taken in each year, not vice-versa.
Rüdiger Overmans (Deutsche Militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg, chapter 126.96.36.199, my translation) wrote:[...]
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.[emphasis mine] 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.[...]
michael mills wrote:Nor did Hoffmann claim that logistical difficulties were the sole cause of the mortality of Soviet POWs in German hands in the winter of 1941-42. He contends that it was the main cause, but also specifically confirms the mass-executions carried out under the Commissar Order, and refers to ill-will on the part of some Germans in charge of prisoners, particularly in the camps in the Generalgouvernement and Germany itself.
How generous of Mr. Hoffmann.
What he fails to tell us, of course, is that the “logistical difficulties” were due to the German policy to recklessly exploit the Soviet occupied territories for the benefit of the German armed forces and home front and to feed Soviet POWs only with the leftovers of such exploitation, the resources obtained in the occupied territories going first to the Wehrmacht, then to the German home front, then to the Soviet civilian population and only thereafter to the prisoners of war, who thus often got hardly anything at all.
He also omits the fact that in the autumn of 1941 there was a documented intention on the part of the German High Command to let the “non-working” Soviet prisoners of war starve to death.
michael mills wrote:That is, while Britain declared war on Finland, largely to please Stalin, THE UNITED STATES NEVER DID SO. That means that Finland was in an entirely different position from that of Germany. Not being at war with the United States, it was not blockaded by that country, and could therefore import food to feed itself and the prisoners it was holding. That was not an option open to Germany of course.
Why, and I thought the Brits also had a navy.
Even if that navy did not enforce a blockade against Finland – which seems unlikely – the difference between Germany and Finland that Mills makes so much of was not a big deal.
Germany may have been blockaded, but it didn’t suffer much from that blockade (on the contrary, the living standard at the home front was kept at peacetime levels until late in the war) because it had the agricultural resources of a whole continent at its disposal and because, on top of that, the Nazi government decided to recklessly exploit the occupied Soviet territories for the benefit of the German armed forces and the home front, never minding the starvation death of “umpteen million” people that this exploitation was expected to lead to.
Much worse of in regard to food supplies during the First World War than Nazi Germany would be during the second, Imperial Germany nevertheless managed to feed its Russian prisoners of war to such an extent that their mortality rate was only one tenth of what the mortality of Soviet prisoners of war would be in World War II
What follows is my translation from Christian Streit, [i]Keine Kameraden. Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945[i/], Bonn 1997, page 10:
Beside the 2 million prisoners of war who were already dead when the memorandum quoted at the beginning [Rosenberg’s letter to Keitel of 28 February 1942] was written, another 1.3 million died until the end of the war - about 3.3 million of a total of 5.7 million Soviet prisoners of war (57.8 per cent) died in German captivity[emphasis mine].
A comparison with the fate of Russian prisoners of war in the First World War raises the question as to the causes of this enormously high mortality. Back then 1,434,500 Russians had been taken prisoner by the Germans. The mortality of Russian prisoners was 5.4 per cent and thus corresponded to the average mortality of prisoners in the custody of the Western and Central European powers, although it was higher than that of the other prisoners in German hands (3.5 per cent).[emphasis mine]