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".
While 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 result.
He 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."
"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.
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.
But 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.
then implemented via the punitive directive JCS/1067, the Morgenthau 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 perished.
By starkest 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 many 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"
on down, 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.
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
Bacque expects that a firestorm will likewise follow the publication of "Crimes and Mercies".
Up 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.