Wiking and no prisoners

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Hans N
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Wiking and no prisoners

Post by Hans N » 10 Aug 2002 00:21

Hi!

I have read about that Wiking during a period didn´t take russian prisoners, i belive it was during 1941 or 1942.
Is there any proof of this??
Any opinons regarding this?

regards

Hans N

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Re: Wiking and no prisoners

Post by Davey Boy » 10 Aug 2002 11:55

Hans N wrote:Hi!

I have read about that Wiking during a period didn´t take russian prisoners, i belive it was during 1941 or 1942.
Is there any proof of this??
Any opinons regarding this?

regards

Hans N



The Nazi regime signed the death warrants of hundreds of thousands of German soldiers with policies like that. I mean, how can you take pity on someone who would've shot you out of hand just a year or two previously? Not possible.

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Re: Wiking and no prisoners

Post by Scott Smith » 10 Aug 2002 18:59

HETMAN wrote:
Hans N wrote:Hi!

I have read about that Wiking during a period didn´t take russian prisoners, i belive it was during 1941 or 1942.
Is there any proof of this??
Any opinons regarding this?

The Nazi regime signed the death warrants of hundreds of thousands of German soldiers with policies like that. I mean, how can you take pity on someone who would've shot you out of hand just a year or two previously? Not possible.

No, the Russkies signed their death warrants by not signing the Geneva Convention. The German policy was reciprocity and neglect. No army wants its soldiers surrendering out of hand anyway, so harsh policies are not always unwelcome to any military establishment if they think they will benefit from them. But the Russians didn't at first.
:)

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Roberto
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Re: Wiking and no prisoners

Post by Roberto » 14 Aug 2002 21:33

Scott Smith wrote:No, the Russkies signed their death warrants by not signing the Geneva Convention.


Yeah, if a nation does not sign the Geneva Convention, this means you can butcher its soldiers at will after they have surrendered.

Nice thinking.

Scott Smith wrote:The German policy was reciprocity and neglect.


No, the German policy was mass murder in order to get rid of prisoners who were deemed to be "useless eaters", sub-human scum who had been pronounced to be "no comrades before and after" long before the war started.

Scott Smith wrote:No army wants its soldiers surrendering out of hand anyway, so harsh policies are not always unwelcome to any military establishment if they think they will benefit from them. But the Russians didn't at first.


A few weeks after the beginning of the German attack, the Soviet government submitted a proposal of bilateral adherence to the Hague Convention, which for obvious reasons received no response from the Nazi government. However feeble a pretext the absence of conventions was for mass murder, the Nazis didn't feel like renouncing to it.

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Re: Wiking and no prisoners

Post by Scott Smith » 15 Aug 2002 00:04

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:No, the Russkies signed their death warrants by not signing the Geneva Convention.

Yeah, if a nation does not sign the Geneva Convention, this means you can butcher its soldiers at will after they have surrendered.

Nice thinking.

You still have not proved that the Germans would have violated the GC if the Russkies had signed it.

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:The German policy was reciprocity and neglect.

No, the German policy was mass murder in order to get rid of prisoners who were deemed to be "useless eaters", sub-human scum who had been pronounced to be "no comrades before and after" long before the war started.

Funny, it came right from the ever-so-proper Heer generalrat not the Nazis. Sorry, but the General Staff tended to ignore things like intelligence and logistics in favor of operations, and it is hard to argue that POWs whose governments had not signed the Hague/Geneva Conventions were much of a priority to care for or to abuse in any case
:roll:

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:No army wants its soldiers surrendering out of hand anyway, so harsh policies are not always unwelcome to any military establishment if they think they will benefit from them. But the Russians didn't at first.

A few weeks after the beginning of the German attack, the Soviet government submitted a proposal of bilateral adherence to the Hague Convention, which for obvious reasons received no response from the Nazi government. However feeble a pretext the absence of conventions was for mass murder, the Nazis didn't feel like renouncing to it.

Both sides would have been better off accepting the proposal but sometimes too late is too late.
:)

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Post by Roberto » 19 Aug 2002 12:55

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:No, the Russkies signed their death warrants by not signing the Geneva Convention.

Yeah, if a nation does not sign the Geneva Convention, this means you can butcher its soldiers at will after they have surrendered.

Nice thinking.


Scott Smith wrote:You still have not proved that the Germans would have violated the GC if the Russkies had signed it.


Boy, is that feeble. Apart from the Nazis’ illustrative refusal of the Soviet offer of bilateral adherence to the Hague Convention in July 1941 (see below), there are statements like the following showing just what the attitude and intentions regarding the Soviet Union and its armed forces were about:

The preparedness of the military leadership to take part in the ideologically motivated war of annihilation was scanned by Hitler on March 30, 1941, in a speech of two and a half hours he held before about 250 high officers – the commanders and chiefs of staff of the army groups, armies, army corps and divisions that were to carry out the war in the East – in the Reichskanzlei. Hitler had already attempted to convey the attitude desired by him to high troop commanders before previous campaigns, but never in front of so large an audience. Prior to the Polish campaign he had already announced that the war would be “conducted until the total destruction of Poland with the greatest brutality and without considerations”. At that time, however, the commanders had remained uncertain about the tasks attributed to the SS Einsatzgruppen. On this 30th of March 1941 however, he made clear to the assembled generals with an unprecedented openness what methods he wanted to be employed in the war against the Soviet Union. Chief of the General Staff Halder took the following notes:

“[….]
Colonial tasks!
Two world-views fighting each other. Demolishing verdict about Bolshevism, which is equal to asocial criminality. Communism is an enormous danger for the future. We must depart from the standpoint of soldierly comradeship. The Communist is no comrade before and no comrade afterwards. This is a fight to annihilation. If we don’t see it as this, we will defeat the enemy, but in 30 years we will again be faced with the communist enemy. We don’t make war to conserve the enemy.
[…..]
Fight against Russia:
Annihilation of the Bolshevik commissars and the communist intelligence. The new states must be Socialist states, but without an intelligence of their own. It must be prevented that a new intelligence comes into being. A primitive Socialist intelligence is sufficient.
The fight must be conduced against the poison of disintegration. This is not a matter for military tribunals. The leader of the troops must know what this is about. The must lead in the fight. The troops must defend themselves with the means by which they are attacked. Commissars and GPU-people are criminals and must be treated as such.
For this the troops need not come out of the hands of their leaders. The leader must issue his directives in consonance with the feelings of the troops. [Marginal note by Halder: This fight is very much differentiated from the fight in the West. In the East harshness means mildness in the future.]
The leader must require themselves to do the sacrifice of overcoming their considerations.
[Marginal note: Order of the Commander in Chief of the Army]”


Again Hitler avoided – judging by Halder’s notes – to address the racial dogma all too clearly. Instead he dressed his unprecedented requirements into arguments that had been cut to the mentality of the troop commanders. In emphasizing the need to annihilate Bolshevism he addressed a goal that was shared by the generals.


I translated the above from Christian Streit’s “Keine Kameraden”: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941 –1945. Emphases are mine.

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:The German policy was reciprocity and neglect.

No, the German policy was mass murder in order to get rid of prisoners who were deemed to be "useless eaters", sub-human scum who had been pronounced to be "no comrades before and after" long before the war started.


Scott Smith wrote:Funny, it came right from the ever-so-proper Heer generalrat not the Nazis.


The treatment of Soviet prisoners of war was an issue in which Nazi policies happened to coincide with those of the armed forces. Christian Streit explains why this was so:

There are many reasons why so many prisoners died, but one reason, in my opinion, has not been given enough attention. After all, it was not part of the tradition of the German Army to kill defensless prisoners of war by the thousands and to deny them shelter and food. The popular explanation is that the entire Wehrmacht had adopted the Nazi concept that all Soviet citizens were “sub-humans” and that the German soldiers acted accordingly. There is some truth in this statement, but I do not think this was the single most important reason. Were this the case, it would be very difficult to explain why a significant number of senior officers, who were committed opponents of Hitler, and who later had a share in the 1944 movement, participated in the policy of destruction in 1941. Their behavior may be explained only if we identify anti-bolshevism as a powerful motive.
It is very significant that the first murderous activities that the military leaders were asked to accept were designed to eliminate Communist leaders. When the army leadership permitted the employment of the SS Einsatzgruppen in the rear army group and army areas, they did so because these Einsatzgruppen would destroy the party infrastructure.
The same motives made them accept the Commissar Order. It is equally significant that the first Einsatzgruppen massacres were labeled “retaliatory measures for Bolshevist crimes” or “punitive actions”. It seems that most German soldiers, if they ever learned about such massacres, accepted them because the Einsatzgruppen succeeded in identifying them as an integral part of the fight against what was called Jewish bolshevism, or as retaliation against real or alleged crimes of the Soviet regime.
The following example demonstrates how this mechanism worked even with officers for whom the concept of soldierly honor, or chivalrous warfare, was not just a meaningless slogan. On June 30, 1941, one week after the attack had started, Lieutenant General Lemelsen, commanding general of an armoured corps, issued an order sharply criticizing the fact that many Red Army soldiers had been shot upon capture in his command area. “This is murder!” The Soviet soldier who had fought bravely, Lemelsen continued, was entitled to decent treatment. These sentences were quite exceptional in an order pertaining to the treatment of Soviet prisoners of war. I have not been able to find anything comparable. But Lemelsen went on to say that this did not apply to commissars and partisans. They were to be led aside and shot on the order of an officer. It was quite obvious that even for Lemelsen, who adhered to the traditional military code of honor, the long-cherished military principle of giving quarter to an enemy who surrendered did not apply to Communists.


Christian Streit, The Fate of Soviet Prisoners of War. Published in: A Mosaic of Victims. Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis. Edited by Michael Berenbaum. New York University Press, 1990.

Scott Smith wrote:Sorry, but the General Staff tended to ignore things like intelligence and logistics in favor of operations, and it is hard to argue that POWs whose governments had not signed the Hague/Geneva Conventions were much of a priority to care for or to abuse in any case


It is one thing to set priorities, another to deliberately and absolutely neglect the needs of prisoners of war knowing that this will lead to their dying like flies.

Translated from Streit, “Keine Kameraden”: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941 –1945, pages 188 and 189:

Another factor [contributing to the huge mortality of Soviet POWs] was the operative planning of “Operation Barbarossa”. The army command relied without reservations on a lightning victory. The operations plan was to a large degree based on the premise that of several possible alternatives the one most favorable in each case would occur. According to its conception it was bound to lead to the capture of huge parts of the Red Army in several great encirclement battles within a short time, but there is no indication that anyone thought beyond the momentary victory. Insofar as the fate of Soviet prisoners of war was taken into consideration, the most favorable of possible alternatives was expected to occur also in this respect. The rations that, according to the Army Sanitary Inspection, were “sufficient”, may actually have been enough to keep the prisoners alive under certain specific conditions: if the prisoners were not required to work, if they were granted a lot of rest and protected from the weather, especially from the cold. As the basic physiological requirements were not met, it was known from the start that there would be hunger and malnourishment. This, however, was the most favorable alternative. If during battle or after capture the prisoners were subjected to even short periods of hunger, if they were required to do heavy physical work or march long distances, if they were exposed to cold or wetness for a longer time, the loss of energy resulting therefrom could no longer be recovered with the rations granted, and mass dying was the unavoidable consequence.
There are no indications, by the way, that the NS leadership even had to exercise any pressure to conduct the planning of the army command in this direction. Despite all differences of perception that representatives of the “conservative line” had in regard to the NS - leadership, they agreed with it in that the “mood” of the [German] population must under no circumstances be endangered.
It must surely be conceded that even under “normal” circumstances, i.e. if the will had existed to do everything possible in order to save the prisoners, the feeding of the prisoners from the great encirlement battles of Kiev, Vyazma and Bryansk would have been extremely difficult and a high mortality would have been unavoidable: the weather, the roads and the railway connections made transportation and feeding extraordinarily difficult. The development of mass mortality in the General Government shows, however, that this mass problem was by no means the decisive factor. Among the 309,816 prisoners - 85 percent of those in custody in that area - who perished there until 15 April 1942, there were hardly any prisoners from the three encirclement battles, most of the prisoners had been taken before the beginning of September.
Considering the above it must be left open, in the face of the sources available, to what extent the attitude that “it would be quite good if the prisoners of war disappeared” prevailed in the army command and with the troops. The repeated shootings of exhausted prisoners - which in von Reichenau’s 6th Army had even been ordered -, the draconian “reprisal measures” in case of attacks or escape attempts by the prisoners and the assistance of Wehrmacht authorities in the liquidation of “unbearable” prisoners make clear that this attitude indeed was present in various degrees. On the other hand the orders of von Bock, von Schenkendorff and von Tettau on the one hand and the repeated attempts to present the starvation rations as an objective necessity on the other show that this attitude was not universally supported. It should be noted, however, that the orders issued by von Bock and von Shcenkendorff were primarily aimed at safeguarding the discipline of the troops. None of both questioned the priorities set in the feeding of the prisoners and both cooperated without friction with the Einsatzgruppe B; the liquidation of Jews and Communists was accepted, provided that it was camouflaged as the liquidation of “bandits and criminals”, and the commissar order was only criticized when it turned out to be counterproductive from a military point of view.


Italics in the original.

On pages 187 and 188 of his a.m. book, Streit contrasts the procedures adopted in regard to Soviet prisoners of war in 1941 with those adopted in regard to the prisoners taken in the West the year before. Of about two million prisoners of war who fell into German hands in May and June of 1940, not a single one is known to have starved to death.

From the translation of Rosenberg’s letter to Keitel of 28 February 1942:

It is understood, of course, that there are difficulties encountered in the feeding of such a large number of prisoners of war. Anyhow, with a certain amount of understanding for goals aimed at by German politics, dying and deterioration could have been avoided in the extent described. For instance, according to information on hand, the native population within the Soviet Union are absolutely willing to put food at the disposal of the prisoners of war. Several understanding camp commanders have successfully chosen this course. However in the majority of the cases, the camp commanders have forbidden the civilian population to put food at the disposal of the prisoners, and they have rather let them starve to death. Even on the march to the camps, the civilian population was not allowed to give the prisoners of war food. In many cases, when prisoners of war could no longer keep up on the march because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot before the eyes of the horrified civilian population, and the corpses were left. In numerous camps, no shelter for the prisoners of war was provided at all. They lay under the open sky during rain or snow. Even tools were not made available to dig holes or caves. A systematic delousing of the prisoners of war in the camps and of the camps themselves has apparently been missed. Utterances such as these have been heard: "The more of these prisoners die, the better it is for us".


Source of quote:

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/pow2.htm

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:No army wants its soldiers surrendering out of hand anyway, so harsh policies are not always unwelcome to any military establishment if they think they will benefit from them. But the Russians didn't at first.


A few weeks after the beginning of the German attack, the Soviet government submitted a proposal of bilateral adherence to the Hague Convention, which for obvious reasons received no response from the Nazi government. However feeble a pretext the absence of conventions was for mass murder, the Nazis didn't feel like renouncing to it.


Scott Smith wrote:Both sides would have been better off accepting the proposal but sometimes too late is too late.


I doubt that Smith can explain why July 1941 would have been “too late” for bilateral adherence to the Hague Convention. Besides, there was hardly ever a chance that the Nazis would have accepted such a proposal had it been made earlier or cared about any existing convention any more than they cared about the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. The Nazi government’s decisions on how to treat the Soviet armed forces and people were based on ideological considerations and merciless power politics, not on the absence of given conventions.

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Post by Scott Smith » 20 Aug 2002 01:30

Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:Both sides would have been better off accepting the proposal but sometimes too late is too late.

I doubt that Smith can explain why July 1941 would have been “too late” for bilateral adherence to the Hague Convention. Besides, there was hardly ever a chance that the Nazis would have accepted such a proposal had it been made earlier or cared about any existing convention any more than they cared about the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. The Nazi government’s decisions on how to treat the Soviet armed forces and people were based on ideological considerations and merciless power politics, not on the absence of given conventions.

Because all bets are off once the dice is thrown. Diplomacy more-or-less ends as one awaits a military decision. The Germans should have entertained Stalin's desperate peace overtures even though no objectives had been reached.

At any rate, the Germans thought the war would be over quickly, hence the neglect. But in the event, it would have benefitted both sides if the conventions on POW treatment had been signed beforehand, and thus fell into the General Staff planning process before everything hit the fan.

Roberto has still not shown more than bellicose rhetoric; he overstates his thesis that the almost criminal neglect shown by the non-Nazi General Staff to Soviet POWs was in any way ideological.
:)

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Post by Roberto » 20 Aug 2002 12:04

Scott Smith wrote:
Roberto wrote:
Scott Smith wrote:Both sides would have been better off accepting the proposal but sometimes too late is too late.

I doubt that Smith can explain why July 1941 would have been “too late” for bilateral adherence to the Hague Convention. Besides, there was hardly ever a chance that the Nazis would have accepted such a proposal had it been made earlier or cared about any existing convention any more than they cared about the German-Soviet non-aggression pact. The Nazi government’s decisions on how to treat the Soviet armed forces and people were based on ideological considerations and merciless power politics, not on the absence of given conventions.


Scott Smith wrote:Because all bets are off once the dice is thrown.


Unsubstantiated platitudes, as usual.

Scott Smith wrote:Diplomacy more-or-less ends as one awaits a military decision.


More of the same.

Scott Smith wrote:The Germans should have entertained Stalin's desperate peace overtures even though no objectives had been reached.


And still a little bit more.

As all statements by Nazi policy makers that I quoted show that the Nazis would have been as much held back by such “overtures” before their attack as they were thereafter, Smith’s contentions are strictly for the birds.

Scott Smith wrote:At any rate, the Germans thought the war would be over quickly, hence the neglect.


The Germans certainly did plan for a short conflict.

But so they had done when attacking the Western Allies the year before.

Yet in the former case they let millions of POWs die of starvation (where they did not massacre them out of hand), while in the latter not a single starvation death is known to have occurred among the over two million prisoners they took.

Strange, isn’t it?

Scott Smith wrote:But in the event, it would have benefitted both sides if the conventions on POW treatment had been signed beforehand, and thus fell into the General Staff planning process before everything hit the fan.


The shit had hit the fan long before the beginning of the attack, as Hitler’s quoted statements on 30 March 1941 show.

”We must depart from the standpoint of soldierly comradeship. The Communist is no comrade before and no comrade afterwards. This is a fight to annihilation”


he let his commanders know, adding that

”This fight is very much differentiated from the fight in the West. In the East harshness means mildness in the future”.


Scott Smith wrote:Roberto has still not shown more than bellicose rhetoric;


I guess it takes a True Believer to see Hitler’s briefing of an insider audience of his top military commanders as mere “bellicose rhetoric”, especially as the addressees of that “rhetoric” soon took care to translate it into very concrete orders to their troops:

In the war crimes trials after the war some of those present, including the Commander in Chief of the Army, von Brauchitsch, stated that in the sequence of Hitler’s speech there had been heated protests to the Commander in Chief of the Army due to the kind of warfare required of the army as soon as Hitler had left the room. Brauchitsch maintained that he promised not to issue any orders corresponding to Hitler’s requirements, and that he instead had ordered the issue of the so called “Disciplinary Directive” to counteract the kind of warfare required by Hitler. The analysis of the coming into being of the Barbarossa Directive and the Commissar Order, however, shows that this account does not correspond to the sequence of events.
Immediately after Hitler’s speech the staffs of the OKW (Supreme Command of the Wehrmacht) and the OKH (Supreme Command of the Army) proceeded to translate Hitler’s requirements into orders, insofar as they had not already reached decisions at least closely approaching Hitler’s requirements by themselves. The preparation of these orders after the protest that was not constituted another decisive step in the direction of involving the Wehrmacht in the extermination policy.
About a week after Hitler’s speech, on 8 April, Ulrich von Hassel and the Chief of Staff of Admiral Canaris, Colonel Oster, were with Colonel General Ludwig Beck. Hassel noted the following:
“[…] my hair stood on end in the face of what was made evident in documents about the orders issued to the troops and signed by Halder regarding the procedures in Russia and the systematic transformation of military justice towards the population into a caricature that mocked any law [….]. With this submission to Hitler’s orders Brauchitsch is sacrificing the honor of the German army.”


I translated the above from Chrisitian Streit, <<“Keine Kameraden”: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941 –1945>>. Emphasis is mine.

Scott Smith wrote:he overstates his thesis that the almost criminal neglect shown by the non-Nazi General Staff to Soviet POWs


“Almost criminal neglect”, the Führer’s Faithful Follower calls it. Which is hilarious considering Streit’s already quoted assessment:

The rations that, according to the Army Sanitary Inspection, were “sufficient”, may actually have been enough to [i]keep the prisoners alive under certain specific conditions: if the prisoners were not required to work, if they were granted a lot of rest and protected from the weather, especially from the cold. As the basic physiological requirements were not met, it was known from the start that there would be hunger and malnourishment. This, however, was the most favorable alternative. If during battle or after capture the prisoners were subjected to even short periods of hunger, if they were required to do heavy physical work or march long distances, if they were exposed to cold or wetness for a longer time, the loss of energy resulting therefrom could no longer be recovered with the rations granted, and mass dying was the unavoidable consequence.
There are no indications, by the way, that the NS leadership even had to exercise any pressure to conduct the planning of the army command in this direction. Despite all differences of perception that representatives of the “conservative line” had in regard to the NS - leadership, they agreed with it in that the “mood” of the [German] population must under no circumstances be endangered.


and Rosenberg’s also quoted complaint to Keitel:

It is understood, of course, that there are difficulties encountered in the feeding of such a large number of prisoners of war. Anyhow, with a certain amount of understanding for goals aimed at by German politics, dying and deterioration could have been avoided in the extent described. For instance, according to information on hand, the native population within the Soviet Union are absolutely willing to put food at the disposal of the prisoners of war. Several understanding camp commanders have successfully chosen this course. However in the majority of the cases, the camp commanders have forbidden the civilian population to put food at the disposal of the prisoners, and they have rather let them starve to death. Even on the march to the camps, the civilian population was not allowed to give the prisoners of war food. In many cases, when prisoners of war could no longer keep up on the march because of hunger and exhaustion, they were shot before the eyes of the horrified civilian population, and the corpses were left. In numerous camps, no shelter for the prisoners of war was provided at all. They lay under the open sky during rain or snow. Even tools were not made available to dig holes or caves. A systematic delousing of the prisoners of war in the camps and of the camps themselves has apparently been missed. Utterances such as these have been heard: "The more of these prisoners die, the better it is for us".


Source of quote:

http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/pow2.htm

Emphases are mine.

Scott Smith wrote:was in any way ideological.


Smith obviously didn’t read my post. Otherwise he might have realized that, as shown by Streit, anti-Bolshevism and was the ideological link that – together with “practical” considerations such as the “mood” of the German population, see above – tied the armed forces high command to the Nazi government and caused even those who later became its opponents to approve of and carry out its policies in regard to Soviet prisoners of war.

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Post by Ovidius » 20 Aug 2002 12:36

Franz Halder, quoting Hitler, wrote:Commissars and GPU-people are criminals and must be treated as such.


Weren't they? :mrgreen:

~Ovidius

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Post by Roberto » 20 Aug 2002 12:44

Ovidius wrote:
Franz Halder, quoting Hitler, wrote:Commissars and GPU-people are criminals and must be treated as such.


Weren't they? :mrgreen:

~Ovidius


Some of them may have been, but even those were not "treated as such", which would have implied some sort of formal trial on account of their crimes.

They were simply bumped off without any formalities.

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Post by Oleg Grigoryev » 20 Aug 2002 18:52

Ovidius wrote:
Franz Halder, quoting Hitler, wrote:Commissars and GPU-people are criminals and must be treated as such.


Weren't they? :mrgreen:

~Ovidius
1. By the time war began there was no GPU – there was NKVD. If mr Ovidious wants to put equal sign between these two organizations he would effectively call “criminals” border guards and soviet criminal search as they were subordinated to NKVD. I would really like to see the logic behind the idea that detective who is dealing with burglaries and such is a criminal.

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Post by Marcus » 20 Aug 2002 19:15

Oleg,

Nice to see you back here again.

/Marcus

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Post by Tarpon27 » 20 Aug 2002 20:32

Scott wrote:

Roberto has still not shown more than bellicose rhetoric; he overstates his thesis that the almost criminal neglect shown by the non-Nazi General Staff to Soviet POWs was in any way ideological.


Perhaps I misunderstand, Scott, but are you stating that the "...almost criminal neglect..." of Russian POWs, which entailed thousands of them dying, was because Russia did not sign the Geneva Convention?

That is a thesis I wish to see defended.

Regards,

Mark

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Genocide Theory of History...

Post by Scott Smith » 20 Aug 2002 22:56

Tarpon27 wrote:
Scott wrote:Roberto has still not shown more than bellicose rhetoric; he overstates his thesis that the almost criminal neglect shown by the non-Nazi General Staff to Soviet POWs was in any way ideological.

Perhaps I misunderstand, Scott, but are you stating that the "...almost criminal neglect..." of Russian POWs, which entailed thousands of them dying, was because Russia did not sign the Geneva Convention?

That is a thesis I wish to see defended.

Yes, because they just rotted in a cage while Barbarossa was underway and died like flies, barely surviving the winter. The prisoner-haul was ENORMOUS. That the General Staff neglected intelligence and logistics is well-known and hardly in question. Plus, they thought that the campaign would be over soon, especially with the rapid advance and huge prisoner-bag.

Had the Soviets signed the international conventions on POW treatment the German General Staff would have been obligated to plan for that. As it was, care for prisoners is the lowest priority anyway and it was therefore not the problem of the planners.

The only way it would have become more important other than a priori international agreements integrated into the planning process, would have been via reciprocity--and the Germans didn't think about that then because they were winning the war.

The Genocide-thesis that line Russian POWs were just Bolsheviks and Slavs and thus were deliberately starved by the Heer is what needs to be defended--and with more than standard bellicose rhetoric. It is hogwash.

When the SS took over and started exploiting Russian POW labor, conditions actually improved somewhat because they became economically valuable. Nevertheless, Himmler couldn't have done this either if Russian POWs had been classified the same as Western POWS to begin with because the Reich wasn't willing to abrogate those original agreements. Himmler was not interested in the well-being of the Russian POWs, but the point is that neither was the non-Nazi German General Staff.
:)

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Post by Roberto » 21 Aug 2002 12:06

Tarpon27 wrote:Perhaps I misunderstand, Scott, but are you stating that the "...almost criminal neglect..." of Russian POWs, which entailed thousands of them dying, was because Russia did not sign the Geneva Convention?

That is a thesis I wish to see defended.


Scott Smith wrote:Yes, because they just rotted in a cage while Barbarossa was underway and died like flies, barely surviving the winter. The prisoner-haul was ENORMOUS.


Slightly bigger than the prisoner haul during the campaign in the West the year before.

And yet none of the over two million prisoners taken back then is known to have starved to death.

Scott Smith wrote:That the General Staff neglected intelligence and logistics is well-known and hardly in question. Plus, they thought that the campaign would be over soon, especially with the rapid advance and huge prisoner-bag.


So they were expecting a huge prisoner bag, yet made no or hardly any provisions to deal with them.

Interesting.

Scott Smith wrote:Had the Soviets signed the international conventions on POW treatment the German General Staff would have been obligated to plan for that.


I allow myself to doubt that the folks who had obediently listened to their Führer’s utterances such as

We must depart from the standpoint of soldierly comradeship. The Communist is no comrade before and no comrade afterwards. This is a fight to annihilation.


and

This fight is very much differentiated from the fight in the West. In the East harshness means mildness in the future


on 30 March 1941, and translated them into orders to their troops that made Hassel’s hair stand on end, would have cared much about such obligations.

Neither would the Nazi government they owed allegiance to and whose plans for the war against the Soviet Union included the starvation death of thirty million people.

Scott Smith wrote:As it was, care for prisoners is the lowest priority anyway and it was therefore not the problem of the planners.


It’s quite a stretch from a “lowest priority” to letting millions of prisoners of war die like flies or killing them out of hand, I would say.

Scott Smith wrote:The only way it would have become more important other than a priori international agreements integrated into the planning process, would have been via reciprocity--and the Germans didn't think about that then because they were winning the war.


Hogwash. The war being conceived by the Nazi government as an ideological war of annihilation, there was no way they could have been brought to give any more importance to “a priori international agreements” than they did to the Nazi-Soviet nonaggreesion pact.

Scott Smith wrote:The Genocide-thesis that line Russian POWs were just Bolsheviks and Slavs and thus were deliberately starved by the Heer is what needs to be defended--and with more than standard bellicose rhetoric. It is hogwash.


Hogwash is what I would also call Smith’s frantic attempts to put away as “bellicose rhetoric” Hitler’s briefing of an insider audience of his top commanders on 30 March 1941.

Or, for that matter, the Hungerplan worked out by Nazi bureaucrats in February 1941:

There are four main reasons for the death of so many prisoners. The most obvious is hunger. The others are lack of shelter, the methods used in transport, and the general treatment meted out to the prisoners. Supplying provisions for the vast numbers of Soviet prisoners certainly posed immense problems for the German Army, but that was not the true cause of starvation.
Obtaining foodstuffs from the East was one of the principal objectives of the German Reich in the war against Soviet Russia. The breakdown of Germany in 1918 had been a traumatic experience for the German leaders, and it was still remembered by Hitler and his generals. The merciless exploitation of food resources in the East was designed to make it possible for the German people for enjoy food consumption as in peacetime and, thus, to stabilise wartime morale.
The bureaucrats involved in planning this exploitation were perfectly aware of the fact that this implied “without doubt the starvation of umpteen million people.”
From the very beginning, the rations handed out to the Soviet prisoners of war were far below the minimum required for subsistence. For example, the prisoners who during the summer of 1941 were marched through the rear area of the army group centre in White Russia received daily rations of “one ounce of millet and three ounces of bread, no meat”; or “three ounces of millet, no bread.” These rations supplied less than a quarter of what an average man needs for survival.


Source of quote:

Christian Streit, The Fate of Soviet Prisoners of War. Published in: A Mosaic of Victims. Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis. Edited by Michael Berenbaum. New York University Press, 1990.

Emphases are mine.

Or the express instruction of General Quarter Master Eduard Wagner at a meeting of the General Chiefs of Staff of the Eastern Front army groups on 13 November 1941, quoted on page 42 of Christian Gerlach’s book Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord:

Nichtarbeitende Kriegsgefangene in den Gefangenenlagern haben zu verhungern.


My translation:

Non-working prisoners of war in the prison camps must starve to death.


Scott Smith wrote:When the SS took over and started exploiting Russian POW labor, conditions actually improved somewhat because they became economically valuable.


Somewhat, yeah.

More than one million POWs still perished after the Nazis discovered that the prisoners they had allowed to die like flies were not “useless” after all, according to Streit.

Many of them were killed out of hand in various concentration camps.

Scott Smith wrote:Nevertheless, Himmler couldn't have done this either if Russian POWs had been classified the same as Western POWS to begin with because the Reich wasn't willing to abrogate those original agreements.


The key factor was hardly an unwillingness to abrogate existing agreements with the Western Allies.

It was the merciless, contemptuous attitude towards the enemy in an ideological war of annihilation, as expressed i.a. in the Führer’s already mentioned statements on 30 March 1941:

We must depart from the standpoint of soldierly comradeship. The Communist is no comrade before and no comrade afterwards. This is a fight to annihilation.


and

This fight is very much differentiated from the fight in the West. In the East harshness means mildness in the future


Scott Smith wrote:Himmler was not interested in the well-being of the Russian POWs, but the point is that neither was the non-Nazi German General Staff. :)


Nazis indeed were no worse than non-Nazis in regard to the Soviet prisoners of war, as demonstrated by Streit.

But it’s quite instructive that Smith considers this to be “the point”. :aliengray

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