Crimes and Mercies: the Fate of German Civilians under
Allied Occupation, 1945-1950
recounts how the allies deliberately denied
food to Germans after World War Two,
expelled ethnic Germans from their homes
in the east,
and plundered their industries, resulting in millions of civilian
However in 1946, concerned Americans and
Canadians, under Herbert Hoover and
Mackenzie King began to relieve the starvation
with a food aid program which late in
1946 was extended to include the German
people. This contradictory
policy of revenge and mercy has never been fully
Crimes and Mercies: A Hidden Holocaust--Revealed
A Review of James Bacque's "Crimes and Mercies:
The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation 1944-1950" by Eric Blair
Canadian historian James Bacque's new book,
"Crimes and Mercies"
[Little, Brown], is a sequel to his 1989
work "Other Losses".
the latter focused on the fate of millions of German POWs at the end of the
Second World War, more than a million of whom the Allies deliberately left to die of a
synergistic combination of disease, exposure, and starvation, his current book
focuses largely on the grim, post-war fate of 60 million German civilians.
Published this September, "Crimes and Mercies"
is over 300 pages in length. These include
over 30 maps, photos, and illustrations;
a foreword by historian and legal scholar, Alfred de Zayas,
and an introduction
by the author; eight chapters of text, as well as an index, bibliography,
notes, and appendices.
it is probably on page 131 that we find the epicenter of the book, and its seismic thesis;
it is here, in a little, statistical chart, that Bacque's findings may be seen in a single glance.
TOTALS OF DEATHS
Expellees (1945-50) 2,100,000 6,000,000
Prisoners (1941-50) 1,500,000 2,000,000
Residents (1946-50) 5,700,000 5,700,000
Totals 9,300,000 13,700,000
refers to the 16,000,000 ethnic Germans who were driven from their ancestral
homelands in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere in Europe, at war's end.
These included mostly women and children and elderly men who,
with a few belongings in
hand and running the gauntlet of deep, local
animosity, set out upon the open road toward the
rump state of Germany.
"Prisoners" are, of
course, the German POWs, the subject of Bacque's first book.
"Residents" here refers to the German civilian population
that survived the Second World War.
According to Bacque, given the extraordinarly harsh conditions imposed upon them by
the Allies (i.e., the British, French, Soviets, and Americans), at least 9.3 million and possibly
as many as 13.7 million Germans, had, by 1950, needlessly died as a
writes: "This is many more Germans than died in battle, air raids and concentration
camps during the war. Millions of these people slowly starved to death in front of the
victors' eyes every day for years."
Adding: "These deaths have never been honestly reported
by either the Allies or the German government."
It is this dishonesty, which is also part silence, part indifference,
part anti-German animus,
as well as corrupt scholarship, that Bacque
intends to remedy with the present volume.
Weaving in and out of the central storyline are a number of recurring motifs.
There is the exposure of the
unabashed inhumanity of the Allied leadership:
Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin,
and De Gaulle.
it is the U.S. Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who is the arch-villain of
the piece, the one who hatched the serpent's egg: the vicious, vengeful Morgenthau Plan
for the post-war "pastoralization" (read: the de-industrialization and abject subjugation)
of the German people.
"cancelled," then implemented via the punitive directive JCS/1067, the
Plan wreaked havoc on the German economy and, by extension, the fragile European economy.
Because of it, post-war reconstruction in Germany was delayed
until late 1948;
by which time millions of German civilians had already
contrast, the hero of the book--and to whom it is dedicated--is Herbert Hoover.
It was Hoover who, in a spirit of Christian charity
and true to his Quaker roots, led a worldwide
food relief effort during
the post-war era; saving, in the process, Bacque claims, probably as
as 800 million lives; a headspinner in a history book full of such daunting statistics.
Hoover also lobbied for a food program to relieve the desperate
conditions inside Germany,
which, along with the Marshall Plan, helped
put an end to the Morgenthau nightmare
and rescued literally millions of people
from a slow, agonizing death.
Bacque also shines a hard light on the Western media, from the "New York Times"
for concealing or outrightly denying the Allies' complicity
in numerous atrocities; on their craven
betrayal of the anti-Hitler German
resistance, the anti-Soviet Cossacks, and the Free Poles;
and on the
hideous cruelties they, as victors, inflicted on weak, defenceless, but fearless, Germen
women seeking to help ill and starving husbands interned in Allied POW camps.
Bacque's determination to shine a hard light on some long-hidden
and neglected truths
regarding the Western Allies and their often inglorious
actions during and after World War
Two will, as sure as night follows
day, provoke the animus of the coterie of mythologists who
have dined out on
simplistic notions of Allied heroism and decency--and exclusively German
villainy--for the past half-century.
Recalling his bumpy ride following the release of "Other Losses", historian James
expects that a firestorm will likewise follow the publication of "Crimes
in Canada, in the letters page of the "Toronto Globe and Mail", a debate has
already begun; and signs of bitchery, if not nastiness, are already evident.
But what is encouraging is that Bacque also fully
expects that the truth about
this tragic page of German history will at
long last be made known.