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11 July 1945
Japanese diversionary on Waw is cancelled
11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland
The 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland, also known as Kampfverband Waräger, Germanische-Freiwilligen-Division, SS-Panzergrenadier-Division 11 (Germanische) or 11. SS-Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division Nordland, was a Waffen SS, Panzergrenadier division recruited from foreign volunteers. It saw action in Croatia and on the Eastern Front during World War II.
Interpretations and clarifications
Austria was never at the centre of Soviet interest or engagement in Central Europe. Nevertheless, for a full decade after the end of World War II, it periodically received close Soviet attention, not least by Stalin and his highest representatives in diplomatic, military, and administrative positions. The Soviet leadership agreed in 1941 upon the restoration of Austria as an independent state within pre-1938 boundaries, separate from Germany and free of any confederated bonds, for example with Bavaria or Hungary, as envisioned by Winston Churchill. This position was confirmed in the Moscow Declaration of 1 November 1943 by the foreign ministers of Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States, in which Austrians were reminded of their responsibility for fighting in Hitler’s armies. When liberation and occupation came in the spring of 1945, there was agreement among the four occupiers that Austria was to be demilitarised, denazified, and democratically reconstructed.
There is no doubt that Moscow wanted to utilize the military advantage it had gained in liberating the Austrian capital in April and in occupying the eastern part of Austria (containing approximately a quarter of the Austrian population). Moscow unilaterally installed a provisional federal government under the elderly Social Democrat Dr Karl Renner, in which the Austrian communists, under the leadership of exiled comrades, controlled the crucial ministries of the interior (i.e. the police) and of education (i.e. propaganda). While Austria was not included in the Soviet sphere of influence cutting across most of central and eastern Europe, and instead was counted among the bloc of neutral countries between Soviet and British influence, there can be no doubt that from the start Austria was earmarked for heavy economic exploitation to rebuild the industrially ravaged Soviet Union.19 While a brutal and immediate Sovietization was probably never intended, it was envisioned by Stalin that Austria would develop into a peaceful, Moscow-friendly state in which the creation of a broad national front would eventually lead to a non-revolutionary transition to a Socialist system.20 Naturally, the Austrian Communist Party (KPÖ) was to become the motor for long-term evolutionary change to a people’s democracy subservient to Soviet interests. However, the first free national elections of 25 November 1945 proved the political weakness of the KPÖ, which managed to draw no more than a meagre 5.42 per cent of the vote. Austrian electors refused to honour the Communist contribution to the Austrian resistance to Nazi occupation and aggression and instead identified the KPÖ with the Red Army’s plundering and raping. This in turn led to a more critical Soviet attitude towards the newly-elected coalition government under Leopold Figl, leader of the national conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), and to a marked increase in Soviet propaganda in Austria. Communist attempts to forge a merger of the two leftwing parties were steadfastly resisted by the Socialist Party (SPÖ) leadership from early on.
In the spring of 1946, the Soviets must have realized that Austria was not as attractive ideologically as it was economically.21 This change of policy was already hinted at by the personal assessment of an eastern European diplomat who in 1946 intimated that “when the Russian economic needs are satisfied, the Red army will leave the country. Indeed, Soviet concurrence with the terms of the Second Allied Control Agreement of 28 June 1946 seems to indicate that Moscow was willing to soften its strategies of political domination in Austria and instead tighten its economic grip on Austrian economic assets within the Soviet zone even more.23 Within days of signing the new Control Agreement, the Soviets published General Order 17, which placed all of the formerly German-owned properties under the management of the so-called Administration of Soviet Properties in Austria (USIA). In doing so, it expropriated over 450 formerly German-owned businesses and placed almost all Austrian oilfields under Soviet administration via the so-called Sowjetische Mineralölverwaltung (SMV). Austria was Europe’s third largest oil producer (after the Soviet Union and Romania) and the Soviets had taken hold of these oil fields in April 1945. Initially, the Soviet holding company USIA accounted for about 30 per cent of the industrial output of the zone, at the peak of its operations controlling about 10 per cent of the Austrian workforce, altogether some 50 000 employees. At this time (August 1946) the Soviet Military Bank (SMB) was created, which was to handle all the financial transactions of the USIA.24 By 1953, the value of these USIA firms had dropped dramatically due to lack of investment and general neglect. By then, most of the USIA enterprises had proven unable to compete with similar firms in western Austria the USIA system was no longer an incentive for the Soviets to remain in Austria. By 1955, the majority of the companies was close to bankruptcy or heavily indebted to the Soviet Military Bank.25
In 1946, and more determinedly in 1947, leading functionaries of the KPÖ tried to convince their Soviet comrades that a separation of Soviet-controlled eastern Austria from the rest of the country would be beneficial to Soviet interests in Austria. They seem to have been supported by their Yugoslav counterparts, then still in line with Moscow. By February 1948 – curiously at the time of the Communist takeover in Prague – Moscow made it absolutely clear to the KPÖ leadership that the separation of Austria was against Soviet interests and therefore to be avoided such a small territory in eastern Austria would prove to be a liability rather than an asset, economically and strategically.26 The Austrian Communists had to obey. Similarly, there had not been much Soviet objection when the KPÖ decided to leave the coalition government in November 1947, nor was there wholehearted support of the prolonged strike in autumn 1950. When it was over, there were even Soviet complaints about having lost days of production.27
The Austrian Communists were unable to increase their political support at the elections of 1949 and 1953. By then, Moscow must have come close to the end of its illusion of a peaceful transition to Socialism in Austria with the KPÖ as its vanguard.28
What about the Soviet attitude towards a treaty with Austria leading to a withdrawal of Allied occupational troops? In 1946, when Washington urged the commencement of such Allied negotiations, foreign minister Molotov was in no hurry whatsoever. The stationing of troops in Austria provided international legitimacy for a continued Soviet military presence in Hungary and Romania. By 1948, the Western Powers broke off treaty discussions due to events in Budapest and Prague, as well as continued Yugoslav territorial claims on Austria’s southern border. When treaty discussions were restarted in early 1949, it seemed as though Moscow was willing to negotiate seriously, having abandoned its support for these Yugoslav claims. There was new agreement on the difficult questions of German property in Austria and on Austrian reimbursements in connection with the Danube Navigation Company (DDSG) and Soviet oil interests. Yet Stalin hesitated to give up Soviet military presence in eastern Austria, and the talks stalled again, this time for an extended two-year period, characterised by Cold War tensions in Korea. In the spring of 1952 Stalin’s (in)famous notes on the neutralisation of Germany also revived the issue of the State Treaty with Austria. At the same time, the Western Powers initiated the Short Treaty with Austria as a condition for negotiations about Germany. For Austria there was no escaping the paramount issue of Germany.
There the matter remained until Stalin’s death in March 1953. The struggle for succession seemed to open new perspectives and certainly brought significant alleviations in the Soviet occupation regime, leading to a sizeable release of Austrian POWs and to Soviet willingness to pay for its own occupation costs. Only when Nikita Khrushchev finally emerged in early 1955 as the dominant force in the politbureau did Molotov’s foreign policy monopoly begin to be eroded and a new Austrian course under the banner of “peaceful existence” become possible.29 The rest was achieved within weeks. Final negotiations in Moscow and Vienna secured the signatures of all four occupiers under the Austrian State Treaty on 15 May 1955. Its price – permanent Austrian neutrality – was enacted in the Austrian parliament on 26 October 1955.30 This memorable date has since become the Austrian national holiday.
11 July 1945 - History
At the start of World War II in 1939 the atomic bomb had not yet been invented. However, scientists discovered about that time that a powerful explosion might be possible by splitting an atom. This type of bomb could destroy large cities in a single blast and would change warfare forever.
The mushroom cloud above Nagasaki, Japan from the atomic bomb
Source: US Government
Albert Einstein came up with many of the theories that helped scientists in making the atomic bomb. When he realized that such a bomb could be made, he was frightened about what might happen if Hitler and Germany learned how to make the bomb first. He wrote a letter to US President Franklin Roosevelt telling him about the atom bomb. As a result, Roosevelt set up the Manhattan Project.
The Manhattan Project was the name for the research and development program for the atomic bomb. It started small, but as the bomb became more real, the United States added scientists and funding to be sure they were the first to have the bomb. Ironically, many of the scientists involved in making the bomb had defected from Germany. By the end of the project, funding had reached $2 billion and there were around 200,000 people working on the project.
The First Atomic Bomb
On July 16, 1945 the first atomic bomb was exploded in the New Mexico desert. The explosion was massive and the equivalent to 18,000 tons of TNT. Scientists figured that the temperature at the center of the explosion was three times hotter than at the center of the sun.
Although the scientists were happy they had successfully made the bomb, they also were sad and fearful. This bomb would change the world and could cause mass destruction and death. When President Harry Truman heard of the bomb's success he wrote "We have discovered the most terrible bomb in the history of the world".
Deciding to Drop the Bomb
By the time the first atomic bomb had been made, Germany had already surrendered and World War II in Europe was over. Japan was defeated as well, but would not surrender. The US was contemplating an invasion of Japan. Army leaders figured that anywhere from 500,000 to 1 million US and Allied soldiers would die in an invasion. President Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb instead.
On August 6, 1945 an atomic bomb named Little Boy was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. The explosion was huge, the city was destroyed, and tens of thousands of people were killed. The bomb was dropped by a plane named the Enola Gay which was piloted by Colonel Paul Tibbetts. The bomb itself was over 10 feet long and weighed around 10,000 pounds. A small parachute was on the bomb in order to slow its drop and allow the plane time to fly away from the blast zone.
The Little Boy atomic bomb
Source: National Archives
Despite witnessing the terrible destruction of the bomb on Hiroshima, Emperor Hirohito and Japan still refused to surrender. Three days later, on August 9, 1945, another atomic bomb, nicknamed Fat Man, was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Again the devastation was horrible.
Six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, Emperor Hirohito and Japan surrendered to US forces. The Emperor announced this on the radio. It was the first time most Japanese had heard his voice.
Yugoslavia/Republika Srpska: April 1992 - January 1994
Daily inflation rate: 65 percent
Prices doubled every: 34 hours
Story: The fall of the Soviet Union led to a decreased international role for Yugoslavia –formerly a key geopolitical player connecting East and West – and its ruling Communist party eventually came under the same pressure as the Soviets did. This led to a breakup of Yugoslavia into several countries along ethnic lines and subsequent wars over the following years as the newly-formed political entities sorted out their independence.
In the process, trade among regions of the former Yugoslavia collapsed, and industrial output followed. At the same time, an international embargo was placed on Yugoslavian exports, which further crushed output.
Petrovic, Bogetic, and Vujosevic (1998) explain that the newly-formed Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in contrast with other states that broke away like Serbia and Croatia, retained much of the bloated bureaucracy that existed before the split, contributing to the federal deficit. In an attempt to monetize this and other deficits, the central bank lost control of money creation and caused hyperinflation.
11 July 1945 - History
June 28 - Archduke Franz Ferdinand, prince to the Austria-Hungary throne, is assassinated in Sarajevo by a Serbian named Gavrilo Princip.
July 23 - Austria-Hungary makes demands on Serbia for retribution. Serbia does not meet demands.
July 28 - Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Russia begins mobilizing its troops.
August 1 - Germany declares war on Russia.
August 3 - Germany declares war on France as part of the Schlieffen Plan.
August 4 - Germany invades Belgium. Britain declares war on Germany.
August 23 to 30 - The Battle of Tannenberg is fought between Germany and Russia. The Germans defeat the Russian Second Army.
September 5 to 12 - The advancing German army is stopped before Paris by the British and French at the First Battle of the Marne. The Germans dig in and four years of trench warfare begins.
October 19 to November 22 - The Allies defeat the Germans at the First Battle of Ypres.
November 2 - The British begin a naval blockade of Germany.
November 11 - The Ottoman Empire declares war on the Allies.
December 24 - An unofficial truce is declared between the two sides at Christmas.
February 4 - The Germans begin to use submarines against Allied merchant ships around the island of Britain.
April 25 - The Allies attack the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Gallipoli. This campaign will last over eight months and will end as a victory for the Ottomans and the retreat of the Allies.
May 7 - The Lusitania, a luxury British passenger ship, is sunk by a German submarine. 1,195 civilians were killed. This act sparks international outrage and contributes to the United States joining the war against Germany.
October 14 - Bulgaria enters the war by declaring war on Serbia.
February 21 - The Battle of Verdun begins between France and Germany. This battle will last until December of 1916 and will finally result in a French victory.
May 31 - The largest naval battle of the war, the Battle of Jutland, is fought between Britain and Germany in the North Sea.
July 1 - The Battle of the Somme begins. Over 1 million soldiers will be wounded or killed.
January 19 - The British intercept the Zimmerman Telegram in which Germany tries to convince Mexico to join the war. This will result in the United States declaring war on Germany.
March 8 - The Russian Revolution begins. Tsar Nicholas II is removed from power on March 15.
April 6 - The United States enters the war, declaring war on Germany.
November 7 - The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrow the Russian government.
December 17 - The Russians agree to peace with the Central powers and leave the war.
January 8 - President Woodrow Wilson issues his "Fourteen Points" for peace and an end to the war.
March 21 - Germany launches the Spring Offensive hoping to defeat the Allies before reinforcements from the United States can be deployed.
July 15 - The Second Battle of the Marne begins. This battle will end on August 6 as a decisive victory for the Allies.
November 11 - Germany agrees to an armistice and the fighting comes to an end at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month.
June 28 - The Treaty of Versailles is signed by Germany and World War I comes to an end.
INSTITUTE FOR HISTORICAL REVIEW
We hear a lot about terrible crimes committed by Germans during World War II, but we hear very little about crimes committed against Germans. Germany’s defeat in May 1945, and the end of World War II in Europe, did not bring an end to death and suffering for the vanquished German people. Instead the victorious Allies ushered in a horrible new era of destruction, looting, starvation, rape, “ethnic cleansing,” and mass killing --one that Time magazine called “history’s most terrifying peace.” / 1
Even though this “unknown holocaust” is ignored in our motion pictures and classrooms, and by our political leaders, the facts are well established. Historians are in basic agreement about the scale of the human catastrophe, which has been laid out in a number of detailed books. For example, American historian and jurist Alfred de Zayas, along with other scholars, has established that in the years 1945 to 1950, more than 14 million Germans were expelled or forced to flee from large regions of eastern and central Europe, of whom more than two million were killed or otherwise lost their lives. / 2
One recent and particularly useful overview is a 615-page book, published in 2007, entitled After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation. / 3 In it, British historian Giles MacDonogh details how the ruined and prostrate German Reich (including Austria) was systematically raped and robbed, and how many Germans who survived the war were either killed in cold blood or deliberately left to die of disease, cold, malnutrition or starvation. He explains how some three million Germans died unnecessarily after the official end of hostilities -- about two million civilians, mostly women, children and elderly, and about one million prisoners of war.
Some people take the view that, given the wartime misdeeds of the Nazis, some degree of vengeful violence against the defeated Germans was inevitable and perhaps justified. A common response to reports of Allied atrocities is to say that the Germans “deserved what they got.” But however valid that argument might be, the appalling cruelties inflicted on the totally prostrate German people went far beyond any understandable retribution.
Although I’m focusing here on the treatment of Germans , it’s worth keeping in mind that they were not the only victims of postwar Allied brutality. Across central and eastern Europe, the heavy hand of Soviet rule continued to take lives of Poles, Hungarians, Ukrainians, and people of other nationalities.
As Soviet troops advanced into central and eastern Europe during the war’s final months, they imposed a reign of terror, pillage and killing without compare in modern history. The horrors were summarized by George F. Kennan, the acclaimed historian who also served as US ambassador to the Soviet Union. He wrote: / 4
“The disaster that befell this area with the entry of the Soviet forces has no parallel in modern European experience. There were considerable sections of it where, to judge by all existing evidence, scarcely a man, woman or child of the indigenous population was left alive after the initial passage of Soviet forces and one cannot believe that they all succeeded in fleeing to the West … The Russians … swept the native population clean in a manner that had no parallel since the days of the Asiatic hordes.”
During the last months of the war, the ancient German city of Königsberg in East Prussia held out as a strongly defended urban fortress. After repeated attack and siege by the Red Army, it finally surrendered in early April 1945. Soviet troops then ravished the civilian population. The people were beaten, robbed, killed and, if female, raped. The rape victims included nuns. Even hospital patients were robbed of their possessions. Bunkers and shelters, packed with terrified people huddling inside, were torched with flame-throwers. About 40,000 of the city’s population were killed, or took their own lives to escape the horrors, and the remaining 73,000 Germans were brutally deported. / 5
In a report that appeared in August 1945 in the Washington DC Times-Herald, / 6 an American journalist wrote of what he described as “the state of terror in which women in Russian-occupied eastern Germany were living. All these women, Germans, Polish, Jewish and even Russian girls 'freed’ from Nazi slave camps, were dominated by one desperate desire -- to escape from the Red zone “
“In the district around our internment camp … Red soldiers during the first weeks of their occupation raped every women and girl between the ages of 12 and 60. That sounds exaggerated, but it is the simple truth. The only exceptions were girls who managed to remain in hiding in the woods or who had the presence of mind to feign illness - typhoid, dyptheria or some other infectious disease … Husbands and fathers who attempted to protect their women folk were shot down, and girls offering extreme resistance were murdered.”
In accord with policy set by the “Big Three” Allied leaders of the US, Britain and the Soviet Union -- Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin -- millions of Germans were expunged from their ancient homelands in central and eastern Europe.
In October 1945, a New York Daily News report from occupied Berlin told readers: / 7
“In the windswept courtyard of the Stettiner Bahnof [rail station], a cohort of German refugees, part of 12 million to 19 million dispossessed in East Prussia and Silesia, sat in groups under a driving rain and told the story of their miserable pilgrimage, during which more than 25 percent died by the roadside, and the remainder were so starved they scarcely had strength to walk …
“A nurse from Stettin, a young, good-looking blond, told how her father had been stabbed to death by Russian soldiers who, after raping her mother and sister, tried to break into her own room. She escaped and hid in a haystack with four other women for four days …
“On the train to Berlin she was pillaged once by Russian troops and twice by Poles. Women who resisted were shot dead, she said, and on one occasion she saw a guard take an infant by the legs and crush its skull against a post because the child cried while the guard was raping its mother.
“An old peasant from Silesia said . victims were robbed of everything they had, even their shoes. Infants were robbed of their swaddling clothes so that they froze to death. All the healthy girls and women, even those 65 years of age, were raped in the train and then robbed, the peasant said.”
In November 1945 an item in the Chicago Tribune told readers: / 8
“Nine hundred and nine men, women and children dragged themselves and their luggage from a Russian railway train at Lehrter station [in Berlin] today, after eleven days travelling in boxcars from Poland. Red Army soldiers lifted 91 corpses from the train, while relatives shrieked and sobbed as their bodies were piled in American lend-lease trucks and driven off for internment in a pit near a concentration camp.
“The refugee train was like a macabre Noah’s ark. Every car was packed with Germans … the families carry all their earthly belongings in sacks, bags and tin trunks . Nursing infants suffer the most, as their mothers are unable to feed them, and frequently go insane as they watch offspring slowly die before their eyes. Today four screaming, violently insane mothers were bound with rope to prevent them from clawing other passengers."
Although most of the millions of German girls and women who were ravished by Allied soldiers were raped by Red Army troops, Soviet soldiers were not the only perpetrators. During the French occupation of Stuttgart, a large city in southwest Germany, police records show that 1,198 women and eight men were raped, mostly by French troops from Morocco in north Africa, although the prelate of the Lutheran Evangelical church estimated the number at 5,000. / 9
During World War II, the United States, Britain and Germany generally complied with the international regulations on the treatment of prisoners of war, as required by the Geneva accord of 1929. But at the end of the fighting in Europe, the US and British authorities scrapped the Geneva convention. In violation of solemn international obligations and Red Cross rules, the American and British authorities stripped millions of captured German soldiers of their status, and their rights, as prisoners of war by reclassifying them as so-called “Disarmed Enemy Forces” or “Surrendered Enemy Personnel.” / 10
Accordingly, British and American authorities denied access by International Red Cross representatives to camps holding German prisoners of war. Moreover, any attempt by German civilians to feed the prisoners was punishable by death. / 11 Many thousands of German PoWs died in American custody, most infamously in the so-called “Rhine meadow camps,” where prisoners were held under appalling conditions, with no shelter and very little food. / 12
In April 1946, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) protested that the United States, Britain and France, nearly a year after the end of fighting, were violating International Red Cross agreements they had solemnly pledged to uphold. The Red Cross pointed out, for example, that the American transfer of German prisoners of war to French and British authorities for forced labor was contrary to International Red Cross statutes. / 13
Another report by the International Committee of the Red Cross in August 1946 stated that the US government, through its military branch in the US zone of occupation in Germany, was exacting forced labor from 284,000 captives, of whom 140,000 were in the US occupation zone, 100,000 in France, 30,000 in Italy, and 14,000 in Belgium . Holdings of German prisoners or slave laborers by other countries, the Red Cross reported, included 80,000 in Yugoslavia, and 45,000 in Czechoslovakia. / 14
Both during and after the war, the Allies tortured German prisoners. In one British center in England, called “the London Cage,” German prisoners were subjected to systematic ill-treatment, including starvation and beatings. The brutality continued for several years after the end of the war. Treatment of German prisoners by the British was even more harsh in the British occupation zone of Germany. / 15 At the US internment center at Schwäbisch Hall in southwest Germany, prisoners awaiting trial by American military courts were subjected to severe and systematic torture, including long stretches in solitary confinement, extremes of heat and cold, deprivation of sleep and food, and severe beatings, including kicks to the groin. / 16
Most of the German prisoners of war who died in Allied captivity were held by the Soviets, and a much higher portion of German POWs died in Soviet custody than perished in British and American captivity. (For example, of the 90,000 Germans who surrendered at Stalingrad, only 5,000 ever returned to their homeland.) More than five years after the end of the war, hundreds of thousands of German prisoners were still being held in the Soviet Union. Other German prisoners perished after the end of the war in Yugoslavia, Poland and other countries. In Yugoslavia alone, authorities of the Communist regime killed as many as 80,000 Germans. German prisoners toiled as slave labor in other Allied countries, often for years.
At the Yalta conference in early 1945, the “Big Three” Allied leaders agreed that the Soviets could take Germans as forced laborers, or “slave labor.” It is estimated that 874,000 German civilians were abducted to the Soviet Union. These were in addition to the millions of prisoners of war who were held by the Soviets as forced laborers. Of these so-called reparations deportees, nearly half -- 45 percent -- perished. / 17
For two years after the end of the fighting, Germans were victims of a cruel and vindictive occupation policy, one that meant slow starvation of the defeated population. To sustain life, a normal adult needs a minimum of about 2,000 calories per day. But in March and February 1946, the daily intake per person in the British and American occupation zones of Germany was between one thousand and fifteen hundred calories. / 18
In the winter of 1945-46, the Allies forbid anyone outside the country to send food parcels to the starving Germans. The Allied authorities also rejected requests by the International Red Cross to bring in provisions to alleviate the suffering. / 19
Very few persons in Britain or the United States spoke out against the Allied policy. Victor Gollancz, an English-Jewish writer and publisher, toured the British occupation zone of northern Germany for six weeks in late 1946. He publicized the death and malnutrition he found there, which he said was a consequence of Allied policy. He wrote: “The plain fact is . we are starving the Germans. And we are starving them, not deliberately in the sense that we definitely want them to die, but willfully, in the sense that we prefer their death to our own inconvenience.” / 20
Another person who protested was Bertrand Russell, the noted philosopher and Nobel Prize recipient. In a letter published in a London newspaper in October 1945, he wrote: “In eastern Europe now mass deportations are being carried out by our allies on an unprecedented scale, and an apparently deliberate attempt is being made to exterminate many millions of Germans, not by gas, but by depriving them of their homes and of food, leaving them to die by slow and agonizing starvation. This is not done as an act of war, but as a part of a deliberate policy of 'peace’.” / 21
As the war was ending in what is now the Czech Republic, hysterical mobs brutally assaulted ethnic Germans, members of a minority group whose ancestors had lived there for centuries. In Prague, German soldiers were rounded up, disarmed, tied to stakes, doused with gasoline, and set on fire as living torches. / 22 In some cities and towns in what is now the Czech Republic, every German over the age of six was forced to wear on his clothing, sewn on his left breast, a large white circle six inches in diameter with the black letter N, which is the first letter of the Czech word for German. Germans were also banned from all parks, places of public entertainment, and public transportation, and not allowed to leave their homes after eight in the evening. Later all these people were expelled, along with the entire ethnic German population of what is now the Czech Republic. / 23 In the territory of what is now the Czech Republic, a quarter of a million ethnic Germans were killed.
In Poland, the so-called “Office of State Security,” an agency of the country’s new Soviet-controlled government, imposed its own brutal form of “de-Nazification.” Its agents raided German homes, rounding up some 200,000 men, women, children and infants -- 99 percent of them non-combatant, innocent civilians. They were incarcerated in cellars, prisons, and 1,255 concentration camps where typhus was rampant and torture was commonplace. Between 60,000 and 80,000 Germans perished at the hands of the “Office of State Security.” / 24
We are ceaselessly reminded of the Third Reich’s wartime concentration camps. But few Americans are aware that such infamous camps as Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Auschwitz were kept in operation after the end of the war, only now packed with German captives, many of whom perished miserably.
For many years we’ve heard a lot about so-called Nazi art theft. But however large the scale of confiscation of art by Germans in World War II, it was dwarfed by the massive theft of art works and other objects of cultural value by the Allies. The Soviets alone looted some two and half million art objects, including 800,000 paintings. In addition, many paintings, statues, and other priceless art works were destroyed by the Allies. / 25
In the war’s aftermath, the victors put many German military and political leaders to death or sentenced them to lengthy prison terms after much-publicized trials in which the Allies were both prosecutor and judge. The best-known of these trials was before the so-called “International Military Tribunal” at Nuremberg, where officials of the four Allied powers were both the prosecutors and the judges.
Justice -- as opposed to vengeance -- is a standard that is applied impartially. But in the aftermath of World War II, the victorious powers imposed standards of "justice" that applied only to the vanquished. The governments of the United States, the Soviet Union, and other member states of the so-called “United Nations,” held Germans to a standard that they categorically refused to respect themselves.
Robert Jackson, the chief US prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945-46, privately acknowledged in a letter to President Truman, that the Allies “have done or are doing some of the very things we are prosecuting the Germans for. The French are so violating the Geneva Convention in the treatment of [German] prisoners of war that our command is taking back prisoners sent to them [for forced labor in France]. We are prosecuting plunder and our Allies are practicing it. We say aggressive war is a crime and one of our allies asserts sovereignty over the Baltic States based on no title except conquest.” / 26
Germans were executed or imprisoned for policies that the Allies themselves were carrying out, sometimes on a far greater scale. German military and political leaders were put to death on the basis of a hypocritical double standard, which means that these executions were essentially acts of judicial murder dressed up with the trappings and forms of legality. If the standards of the Nuremberg Tribunal had been applied impartially, many American, Soviet and other Allied military and political leaders would have been hanged.
An awareness of how the defeated Germans were treated by the victors helps in understanding why Germans continued to fight during the final months of the war with a determination, tenacity and willingness to sacrifice that has few parallels in history, even as their cities were being smashed into ruins under relentless bombing, and even as defeat against numerically superior enemy forces seemed inevitable.
Two years after the end of the war, American and British policy toward the defeated Germans changed. The US and British governments began to treat the Germans as potential allies, rather than as vanquished subjects, and to appeal for their support. This shift in policy was not prompted by an awakening of humanitarian spirit. Instead, it was motivated by American and British fear of Soviet Russian expansion, and by the realization that the economic recovery of Europe as a whole required a prosperous and productive Germany.
Oswald Spenger, the great German historian and philosopher, once observed that how a people learns history is its form of political education. In every society, including our own, how people learn and understand history is determined by those who control political and cultural life, including the educational system and the mass media. How people understand the past -- and how they view the world and themselves as members of society -- is set by the agenda of those who hold power.
That’s why, in our society, death and suffering during and after World War II of non-Jews -- Poles, Russians and others, and especially Germans -- is all but ignored, and why, instead, more than six decades after the end of the war, Jewish death and suffering -- above all, what is known as “the Holocaust” -- is given such prominent attention, year after year, in our classrooms and motion pictures, and by our political leaders.
What I’m calling here an “unknown holocaust” of non-Jews is essentially ignored not because the facts are disputed or unknown, but rather because this reality does not fit well with the Judeo-centric view of history that is all but obligatory in our society, a view of the past that reflects the Jewish-Zionist hold on our cultural and educational life.
This means that it is not enough simply to “establish the facts.” It is important to understand, identify, and counter the power that controls what we see, hear and read -- in our classrooms, our periodicals, and in our motion pictures -- and which determines how we view history, our world and ourselves -- not just the history of what is called “the Holocaust,” but the history and background of World War II, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Middle East turmoil, and much, much more.
History, as the old saying goes, is written by the winners. In our society, the “winners,” that is, the most important single group that sets our perspective on the past through its grip on the media, and on our cultural life, is the organized Jewish community .
This reality is hardly a secret. Michael Medved, a well-known Jewish author and film critic, has acknowledged: “It makes no sense at all to try to deny the reality of Jewish power and prominence in popular culture … Any list of the most influential production executives at each of the major movie studios will produce a heavy majority of recognizably Jewish names.” / 27
One person who has carefully studied this subject is Jonathan J. Goldberg, editor of the influential Jewish community weekly Forward. In his 1996 book, Jewish Power, Goldberg wrote: / 28
“In a few key sectors of the media, notably among Hollywood studio executives, Jews are so numerically dominant that calling these businesses Jewish-controlled is little more than a statistical observation …
“Hollywood at the end of the twentieth century is still an industry with a pronounced ethnic tinge. Virtually all the senior executives at the major studios are Jews. Writers, producers, and to a lesser degree directors are disproportionately Jewish -- one recent study showed the figure as high as 59 percent among top-grossing films.
“The combined weight of so many Jews in one of America’s most lucrative and important industries gives the Jews of Hollywood a great deal of political power. They are a major source of money for Democratic candidates.”
A writer for the Los Angeles Times, Joel Stein, boldly declared in December 2008, in a column for the influential daily paper: “As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood … I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.” / 29
Thirty seven years ago, two of the most powerful men in our country, indeed, in the world, frankly discussed this matter in a private conversation that should be much better known. It was in 1972, in the oval office of the White House. President Richard Nixon and the Rev. Billy Graham -- the nation’s best-known and most influential Christian evangelist -- were alone. These were not just prominent and influential men. They were shrewd and astute individuals who had accomplished much in their lives, and who had thought a lot about what they had observed and experienced over the years.
We know about this one-on-one conversation, and exactly what the two men said to each other, because Nixon had arranged for all conversations in his office to be secretly recorded. He regarded these recordings as his personal property, but he was later forced by court order to give them up. It wasn’t until thirty years later -- in 2002 -- that this conversation was finally made public. / 30
Here’s how their talk went. Graham said: “This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.” The President responded by saying: “You believe that?,” “Yes, sir,” said Graham. “Oh, boy,” Nixon replied, “So do I. I can’t ever say that, but I believe it.”
Now consider for a moment what this means, for America and the world, and for us today. Here’s the most powerful political personality in the United States, indeed the most powerful man in the world, and the most influential religious figure in the US, in agreement about the Jewish hold on our media. They didn’t talk about the Jewish role in the media, or even Jewish domination of the media. They spoke about a Jewish “stranglehold” on our media.
For everyone who cares about our nation and the world, it’s worth asking and answering two questions. First, were Nixon and Graham right? Were they correct in what they said that day about what they called the Jewish “stranglehold” on the media? And, second, if they were right, what does that say about America and our society?
Two of the most influential men in our country were so afraid of the intimidating power of the organized Jewish community that they felt unable even to mention publicly this “stranglehold” -- that’s the term Graham used -- on our media, a “stranglehold” that they regarded as so harmful that unless it is broken, America, again, their words, is “going down the drain.” What a telling commentary on the corruption and perversion of our national life! If Nixon and Graham were right, is it not important, indeed, imperative, to clearly and forthrightly address the reality of this hold on our media?
What has brought us together here this evening is, first and foremost, our interest in real history -- our passion for a clearer understanding of the past free of “politically correct” orthodoxy and stricture. But an awareness of “real history” is not enough. It is important to understand the how and why of the systematic distortion of history in our society, and the power behind that distortion. Understanding and countering that power is a critically important task, not merely for the sake of historical truth in the abstract, but for the sake of our nation and humankind.
Forged in Fire Exhibit
Plan a trip to the Canadian War Museum to view their largest and most visited gallery which studies the Second World War.
Traitor or Patriot (film)
Watch this feature-length documentary about Adélard Godbout, Premier of Quebec during the Second World War.
Democracy at War
Browse this collection of more than 140,000 Canadian news stories and editorials, documenting every aspect of the war.
Where would i look for a military award citation?
My uncle was an infantryman during WWII and was awarded a Bronze Star medal as well as a Purple Heart when he was injured.
Where would I start to look for the citation that would list the reason for the Bronze Star Medal?
His name is Gerard Alphonse Sevigny. He was a Private First Class with Company B, 398th Infantry Regiment of the 100th Infantry Division.
He was injured January 3, 1945 in France. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart Medal for this injury.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Re: Where would i look for a military award citation?
Within this series, World War II Operations Reports, there are a few boxes that might contain what you're looking for. Some of these contain general orders which might have a brief description of the incident which earned him the Bronze Star. After Action reports also might contain information on the injury that earned him the Purple Heart. You'll need to look both for immediately following the incident, and for several months after - it will depend on when the award was given.
Boxes 11674-11765, 11678, and 11735 all contain records on the 100th Infantry Division. For more information on the filing scheme and these records, you can contact [email protected] at the National Archives at College Park, MD.
Re: Where would i look for a military award citation?
A follow up question, Would the citation be in what is called, General Orders?
Would I find these GOs in the 100th Reports or in the 398th Regimental Reports? or both?
I'm just trying to narrow down what reports I should request. Thanks!
Re: Where would i look for a military award citation?
Would that email address be correct? I tried to send a email and it was returned twice. Just sent a third time. It could be a typo on my end as well, but just checking. thanks!
Re: Where would i look for a military award citation?
On my end it doesn't look like a typo, but I'm going to copy it again here, just in case. Maybe copy and paste it into your email "To" field so no chance of typos? [email protected]
Re: Where would i look for a military award citation?
My father served with Company A, 398 th Infantry, 100 th Infantry Division in World War II. I have some information related to the 100 th Infantry Division (websites, facebook groups, etc) that may be helpful in your research. Feel free to contact me at my personal email address for more details. Or I will post that information here if you prefer.
Also, FYI, I sent a research request to [email protected] about three weeks ago. I did not receive any confirmation of receipt, but I did not receive a "failure to deliver" message either, so I presume that my message was received. I visited the National Archives personally last week (I live in Washington DC) and asked about the process for receiving replies to research requests. I was told that one should expect a reply within ten (10) days of the Archives receipt and review of the email, but it was not clear to me when exactly the 10-day clock begins. It sounded to me that when the clock starts can depend on several factors, including the complexity of the question and how many other questions the staff is reviewing. My suggestion to NARA is that they create an "automatic reply" message to research requests sent to [email protected] that confirms receipt of a research request email message and also explains the process and timetable for review and response to the request by NARA staff.
Re: Where would i look for a military award citation?
Thank you for the offer Stephen, I'll send you an email privately for that additional info you may have.
Soviet Marshal Georgii Zhukov&rsquos version:
I do not recall the exact date, but after the close of one of the formal meetings Truman informed Stalin that the United States now possessed a bomb of exceptional power, without, however, naming it the atomic bomb.
As was later written abroad, at that moment Churchill fixed his gaze on Stalin&rsquos face, closely observing his reaction. However, Stalin did not betray his feelings and pretended that he saw nothing special in what Truman had imparted to him. Both Churchill and many other Anglo-American authors subsequently assumed that Stalin had really failed to fathom the significance of what he had heard.
In actual fact, on returning to his quarters after this meeting Stalin, in my presence, told Molotov about his conversation with Truman. The latter reacted almost immediately. &ldquoLet them. We&rsquoll have to talk it over with Kurchatov and get him to speed things up.&rdquo
I realized that they were talking about research on the atomic bomb.
It was clear already then that the US Government intended to use the atomic weapon for the purpose of achieving its Imperialist goals from a position of strength in &ldquothe cold war.&rdquo This was amply corroborated on August 6 and 8. Without any military need whatsoever, the Americans dropped two atomic bombs on the peaceful and densely-populated Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.