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#worldwar2 #wwii #alliedwarcrimes #allywarcrimes
The Allies also established the United Nations War Crimes Commission (the UNWCC) in 1943. The UNWCC collected evidence on Axis war crimes and drew up lists of suspected war criminals for Allied prosecution after the war. In 1944, a sub-commission of the UNWCC was established in Chungking to focus on the investigation of Japanese atrocities.
By the later part of 1945, the Allied Powers had agreed on war crimes trials as a means of pursuing justice. This set the stage for post-WWII trials. A select group of higher-ranking military and political Axis leaders would be jointly tried by the Allies at the Nuremberg Trial (19 November 1945 – 1 October 1946) and the Tokyo Trial (3 May 1945 – 12 November 1945). In addition and separate from the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials, individual Allied Powers and countries held national trials…
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- The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945, by Alfred M. de Zayas. Nebraska University Press, 1989. Softcover, 364 pages. Bibliography, index, photographs. ISBN: 0-8032-9908-7
Reviewed by Robert Clive
When the topic of atrocities committed during the Second World War is discussed, such places as Babi Yar, Lidice, Malmedy and Oradour-sur-Glane almost immediately come to mind. But few will mention — or even have heard of — Bromberg, Bassabetovka, Goldap, Hohensalza, Nemmersdorf, or St. Pierre de Rumilly. The first group of names are associated with war crimes attributed to the Nazis. In the second list, the victims were Germans murdered by anti-Axis forces.
That atrocities were committed by the Allies against Germans and non-combatant civilians on both the Eastern and Western fronts is not often acknowledged. In large measure this reflects the fact that “victors write the history.” As a recent spate of popular books attests, the Second World War has been established in the public consciousness as “the last good war,” in which the forces of Evil were vanquished, despite the enormous costs involved, both material and moral.
In an important book only now available in English translation, Alfred M. de Zayas, a graduate of Harvard Law School, outlines the history of the Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, which from September 1939 until May 1945 kept a running record of war crimes committed against the Germans, their allies, and civilians.
The study grew out of research de Zayas undertook among previously unexamined German war-time legal records while he was director of the “Working Group on the Laws of War” at the Institute of International Law at Göttingen University (from which institution he also holds a Ph.D. in history). First published in 1979 as Die Wehrmacht-Untersuchungsstelle by Universitas/Langen Muller, the book was very favorably received throughout German-speaking Europe and served as the basis for a highly acclaimed two-part television documentary broadcast in Germany in 1983.
All belligerents investigated reported breaches of the laws and customs of war. When hostilities ended in 1945, Axis political and military leaders were imprisoned and many were executed for their alleged involvement in war crimes — a process that continues to this day. Allied officials who were responsible for committing atrocities against Axis personnel have not been similarly dealt with.
The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau was the direct successor to the Prussian Bureau of Investigation of Violations of the Laws of War, which conducted investigations until after the end of the First World War as an arm of the Reich War Ministry. There was a remarkable degree of continuity between the two organizations. Johannes Goldsche, a military judge who served as deputy chief of the Prussian Bureau, was appointed director of the Wehrmacht Bureau and served in this capacity throughout the Second World War. Both bureaus had the identical mission: to document allied offenses and submit reports. Some of their findings served as the basis for diplomatic protests lodged by the German Foreign Office against the Allied powers. But as we know, during and after the two wars, international public opinion tended to dismiss out of hand German allegations of Allied war crimes. Thus far, the one exception has been the case of Katyn, where thousands of Polish officers and intellectuals were murdered by the Soviets near Smolensk.
The author did not accept German allegations at face value. After sifting through several hundred volumes of official records, he interviewed more than 300 judges, witnesses, and victims. He cross-checked events mentioned in Bureau reports by consulting other German record groups and relevant American, British, French, and Swiss files. (Soviet records remain largely unavailable to scrutiny by Western researchers). De Zayas’s research “confirmed the correctness of the protocols.” He goes on to forthrightly state:
All in all the coherency of the War Crimes Bureau files, the confirmation of persons involved, and the comparison with other historical sources justify the conclusion that the Bureau did function in a trustworthy manner, that its investigations were authentic and its documents reliable … The Bureau was not a propaganda arm of the Nazi regime …
De Zayas divides his study into two parts. The first twelve chapters outline the history of the Prussian bureau and then relate why and when the Wehrmacht agency was started. The Bureau’s personnel and methods of operation are delineated.
Part Two presents details on specific cases. A careful line is drawn between historical events and mere propaganda. To those who have been brought up on a steady diet of Nazi atrocity stories, it is this second section that contains real eye-openers.
The Wehrmacht Bureau established that Polish military personnel and civilians committed numerous atrocities against ethnic Germans living within Poland’s pre-war frontiers, and against German civilians and soldiers after the war commenced. On the Western Front, the Bureau determined that the British were guilty of plundering the French and Belgian populace. The famous Belgian cyclist Julian Vervaecke was among the civilians killed by British soldiers. The French likewise executed Belgian non-combatants, Jewish refugees, and prisoners of war.
In his discussion of atrocities committed by the Allies in the West, de Zayas affirms that “there was no fabrication of atrocity stories [by the Bureau] but rather the methodical collection and evaluation of evidence. Nor was there any attempt to blame the Allies for destruction that may have been caused by the Germans themselves.”
Most of the existing records deal with atrocities committed on the Eastern Front by the Red Army and Soviet secret police (the NKVD). From the outset of the war in the East, the Bureau received reports of atrocities and wholesale violations of the internationally accepted rules of warfare. And as the Axis armies advanced, Soviet subjects came forward to reveal additional acts of barbarism perpetrated by the Soviet authorities.
POWs, whether Germans or Axis allies, were often shot out of hand, or shortly after they had been questioned. At Feodosiya, on the Black Sea, wounded soldiers were drenched with water and then left on the beaches to freeze to death. Captured soldiers were not merely executed, but frequently subjected to torture and mutilation first, then left where their remains could be easily discovered.
When the Red Army invaded German territory in late 1944, civilians who had been unable to flee before their advance were condemned to undergo a regime of ferocious brutality. At such towns as Goldap, Gumbinnen, and Nemmersdorf, even children were raped before being murdered by Russian soldiers. (The book includes photographs of these deeds). Alexander Solzhenitsyn is cited by de Zayas for his testimony on this topic. The famous Russian author, who fought as a captain in the Red Army, confirmed that, “all of us knew very well that if the girls were German they could be raped and then shot. This was almost a combat distinction.”
The Bureau also documented Soviet crimes against non-Germans. Chapters deal with Lvov, where thousands of civilians were found murdered in the prisons of the NKVD; Katyn; and Vinnitsa, a Ukrainian town where mass graves dating from 1936 were discovered. De Zayas reiterates that “the War Crimes Bureau was not established to fabricate documents on Allied war crimes: its records are genuine; its investigations were carried out methodically, in a judicial manner.”
This study does not consider atrocities attributed to the Germans and their allies. De Zayas does point out, however, that the Soviets conducted the first war crimes trials against members of the German armed forces when three soldiers captured at Stalingrad were hanged in 1943, after being found “guilty” of liquidating Soviet citizens in specially constructed gas vans.
With respect to the alleged Nazi “Final Solution” to the Jewish Question, in a footnote de Zayas concedes:
Without exception, all the German military judges interviewed by the author claimed not to have known about exterminations at any of the concentration camps until after the end of the war. A few admitted hearing rumors of executions on the Eastern Front but claimed that they had been unable to obtain corroborative evidence.
Elsewhere, de Zayas remarks:
The investigations described in this book manifest again and again the subjective conviction of the German military judges in the field and of the staff members of the Bureau that the German armed forces were fighting honorably, in compliance with the Hague and Geneva Convention, while those on the other side were violating those Conventions.
De Zayas has opened a new chapter in the study of the conduct of the Second World War. Now that his book is available in English translation, and published by a distinguished university press, its appearance hopefully will generate discussion of the topics it has raised, and inspire others to further research.
From The Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1990 (Vol. 10, No. 2), pp. 237-241.
Originally found at http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v10/v10p237_Clive.html
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#allywarcrimes #alliedwarcrimes #worldwar2 #wwii
As we brought emaciated and apathetic children out and laid them on the grass, I believed that few would survive. Our physician, Dr. E. Vogl, himself a Jew who had gone through the hell of Auschwitz and Mauthausen, almost wept when he saw these little bodies. ‘And here we Czechs have done this in two and a half months!’
Fate of German Children in Eastern Europe
One of the great tragedies of the 20th century was the forced expulsion of ethnic Germans from their homes after the end of World War II. One estimate of the Germans expelled runs to 16.5 million: 9.3 million within the 1937 Reich borders and 7.2 million outside.
Lower Image: A British nurse in Berlin helps three German refugee children expelled from an orphanage in Danzig, now Gdansk. The boy on the left, aged nine, weighs 40lbs and is too weak to stand. The…
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By Seb Gunther and B. Schilz (07.07.2012, BILD Newspaper, Dresden version – my English translation)
Dresden – It’s an incredible discovery in the City Center of Dresden. On Thursday at Wettiner Platz, construction workers came upon a mass grave containing bombing victims, such as has not been discovered for decades.
Yesterday BILD reported exclusively on the gruesome discovery.
The remains from 11 dead have already been exhumed, just 1.50 meters below the road! Many of them children and women.
But now the truth comes out: The mass grave has been kept secret for 10 years!
BILD now has files in its possession that show that these bones were found already in January 2002 during construction of the canal. Already then…
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After Germany’s defeat in WWII, the Nuremberg and later trials were organized primarily for political purposes rather than to dispense impartial justice. Wears War brings to you each week a quote from the many fine men and women who were openly appalled by the trials. All of these people were highly respected and prominent in their field, at least until they spoke out against the trials.
Howard Buffett is the father of world-famous investor Warren Buffett. Howard Buffett was an attorney and four-term U.S. Congressman from Nebraska. This is what Howard Buffett said about the Nuremberg Trials:
Aside from the horrendous demand for “Unconditional Surrender,” certainly the most stupid error of America’s World War II policies was to sponsor and participate in the so-called Nuremberg Trials. From the standpoint of simple law and justice, these trials were a travesty on Anglo-Saxon traditions of jurisprudence. Equally significant, they set a precedent that may someday haunt our children when future wars take place. From the standpoint of bringing peace and reconciliation among the Western people of the world, the trials did nothing but harm. It is fortunate for the West that the German people have chosen to be charitable in their response to this tragic mistake. As a brave and patriotic officer, Admiral Doenitz deserves the respect of thinking people everywhere for the moral stamina he exhibited in answer to the attacks upon his devotion to duty and record of naval competence.
From the book Doenitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal edited by H. K. Thompson, Jr. and Henry Strutz, 2nd edition, Torrance, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993.
British Air Vice-Marshal Hugh Champion de Crespigny, R.A.F., Allied Military Governor, Schleswig-Holstein, 1946-47:
“[Karl] Doenitz is no more guilty of a war crime than others on our side…The unrestricted submarine warfare directed by Admiral Doenitz against Allied shipping was no more of a crime than Allied mass bombing of German towns and cities…The excuse frequently offered that the towns and cities bombed contained military objectives will not hold water, as it could equally be applied to ships of which all, of any consequence, were making their voyages in furtherance of the Allied war effort…The Nuremberg Court cannot rightly be called a ‘Military Tribunal’ as political considerations were in prominence, to the exclusion of justice…It is my considered opinion that the Nuremberg Trials violated the reputation for justice so long held by the British and American peoples, and that many of the findings contravened our most sacred constitutional principles. It is true to say that when party politics are allowed to influence justice, the latter vanishes, and that is the picture which we see now—years after the event.”[i]
Frank A. W. Lucas, Judge of Appeal, High Commission Territories, Union of South Africa Judge, Transvaal Division, Supreme Court of South Africa:
…When they [the Nuremberg Trials] were instituted, I felt that they were setting a very dangerous precedent…it seems to me that the victorious Allies, who admittedly indulged in the same practice (unrestricted submarine warfare), had no legal, logical, or ethical justification for prosecuting or condemning Admiral Doenitz. In doing so, they laid themselves open to a charge of hypocrisy and an abuse of the power which victory had placed in their hands. It does not seem to me an adequate answer for them to say that they prosecuted the Admiral because the Germans began the unrestricted warfare.
General Olof Gerhard Thornell, Royal Swedish Army, Commander-in chief, Armed Forces of Sweden, 1940-1944, Chief of Military Staff to His Majesty, King Gustav V, 1944-1950:
You are perfectly right in branding the Nuremberg “war crimes trials” in general as violating the common principles for civilized jurisdiction. There seems to be more of vengeance–“vae victis”—than of impartial justice. Especially from a military standpoint is the conviction of such men as Doenitz and Raeder as criminals revolting, and this can be a very dangerous precedent in the future. I think that the Nuremberg Trials did not honor the Western Powers. About unrestricted submarine warfare, I can’t see any moral difference between this form of war and the dropping of bombs over undefended cities.
All quotes above are from the book Doenitz at Nuremberg: A Re-Appraisal edited by H. K. Thompson, Jr. and Henry Strutz, 2nd edition, Torrance, CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1993.
From the epilogue to Rear Adm. Dan V. Gallery’s book Twenty Million Tons Under the Sea, Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1957.
“You might think that since our submarines fought the same way the Germans did, we would sweep the question of Prize Warfare under the rug after the war and say no more about violation of the laws of war at sea. Our naval officers were perfectly willing to do this, but our statesmen and lawyers were vindictive. When the war was over, they insisted on trying the German Admirals Raeder and Doenitz at Nuremberg as war criminals for permitting their submarines to do exactly what ours did. A justice of our Supreme Court prosecuted them and tried to hang them. To our eternal shame, we convicted the German admirals of violating the laws of war at sea and sentenced them to long terms of imprisonment…
This kangaroo court at Nuremberg was officially known as the “International Military Tribunal.” That name is a libel on the military profession. The tribunal was not a military one in any sense. The only military men among the judges were the Russians. Some military titles are listed on the staffs of the secretariat and prosecuting counsel, but these belong to a lot of lawyers temporarily masquerading in uniform as military men.
Nuremberg was, in fact, a lawyer’s tribunal, although I can readily understand why the legal profession is ashamed to claim it, and deliberately stuck a false label on it.”
The Nuremberg Trials are arguably the gravest miscarriage of justice since the witch trials of pre-Enlightenment Europe and colonial America. At the close of the Second World War, the Allies arrested the entire hierarchy of the Third Reich and put its members on trial for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity,” the latter an entirely new concept in international law. Actions taken by various governmental officials were declared, ex post facto, to be “crimes.” Perfectly legitimate organizations were declared to be “criminal” and all members of these organizations were subject to arrest and incarceration without writ of habeas corpus.
Normal rules of evidence were suspended and affidavits of “witnesses” were not allowed to be cross examined. The prosecution presented as evidence numerous documents which were such absurdly bad forgeries that they were disallowed by their own judges out of sheer embarrassment. Both the American judge, Biddle, and the Russian judge, Nikitchenko, made statements prior to the trial to the effect that the defendants had already been convicted. The press was invited to watch the proceedings and the trial was broadcast over the radio. It lasted nearly a year and for entertainment value it outdid the Circus Maximus and the games of the Roman Colosseum combined. It was the political show trial of the century, making the 1930’s purge trials of Stalin seem like the epitome of just law.
Karl Brecht reviewing the book Not Guilty at Nuremberg: The German Defense Case by Carlos Whitlock Porter
The whole majesty of the Western heritage of the law was used to subvert that heritage in the Nuremberg Tribunal. Weighty jurists in every Western country (but not Russia) protested against this travesty of the Western legal system. So did historians. So did merely cultured and moral men and women. If the victors were to “try” the vanquished for war crimes, then they should try themselves for often committing the same crimes. Who would try Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Travers “Bomber” Harris, the architect of the policy of saturation bombing of German cities? But it was not only a matter of our own “war crimes.” If it was right to use the apparatus of the law to punish those responsible for exceptional crimes like the Holocaust, it was wrong to use it to punish errors of judgment and statecraft such as every defeated regime seems to have committed. “We used the methods of the enemy”—and used them in peace at Nuremberg.
Source: Farlie, Henry, “How the Good War Went Bad,” The New Republic, May 20, 1985, pp. 18 ff.
#Nuremberg #worldwar2 #wwii #allywarcrimes #alliedwarcrimes
#worldwar2 #wwii #allywarcrimes #alliedwarcrimes
Contrary to the claims of the “Court Historians”, the Allied Terror-Bombing Campaign was not intended for the destruction military targets, as my previous post demonstrate, but rather, to “de-house” and to kill as many German civilians as possible.
“Court Historians” are the intellectual bodyguards of the State. They shape and defend the “official line” or interpretation on the State’s wars, its presidential regimes, or other key historical events and public policies. As a result they enjoy high esteem and recognition in the mainstream media and academia. As defenders of the status quo they frequently attack and label their critics as “conspiracy theorists,” “revisionists,” “isolationists,” “appeasers,” “anti-intellectuals,” or other boogie men, rather than engage in civil discourse or discussion.
British documents as referred to by David Irving (and many other Non-Court Historians), and many quotes from the British military leadership confirm that the British and later also the Americans, deliberately…
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