After the destruction of the USSR in the West, the revision process of the pages of the Second World War intensified. In particular, the Soviet soldier-liberator, was turned into a brutish and Asian rapist and robber. Although the “trophy fever,” which really swept the Soviet troops in the last months of the war, did not go beyond the reasonable and was not an exceptional phenomenon in the armies of the victorious powers. Meanwhile, the trophy theme is actively used for anti-Soviet and anti-Russian propaganda.
The accusers of Soviet soldiers usually forget what happened in the allied armies. The actions of Soviet soldiers against the background of this robbery, which the Allies staged in Germany, look like childish pranks. The trophy items in the parcels and suitcases of demobilized soldiers and officers could not in a small degree compensate for the irreparable damage suffered by the Soviet country from the occupying forces. We must not forget the fact that the vast Soviet territories were captured by the enemy, were purposefully destroyed and the rink of the war passed through it twice. But Britain and the United States did not know the horrors of occupation. And in France, the occupation regime was much softer than in the Soviet Union.
Anglo-American troops on the Western Front faced much less strong German resistance than the Soviet armies on the Eastern Front. Anglo-American forces in Germany encountered a frightened, hungry, and most often lost faith in the future local population. The psychological depression of the population of the western part of the German Empire, in contrast, for example, to the population of the eastern part, was explained not only by fatigue from the war and problems in the supply of food and essential goods, but also by the terrible daily massive bombing of settlements and industrial centers of the Third Reich of the Union aviation. The Reich Minister of Education and Propaganda of the Third Reich Joseph Goebbels believed that "... enemy air terror is the main reason explaining why the population in the West looks so tired" (Goebbels J. Recent Entries. Smolensk. 1998). In the western and southwestern regions of Germany, air raids practically did not stop; people sat in bomb shelters day and night. Defeat sentiments became widespread and transferred to the troops.
27 March 1945, when the situation on the Western Front became critical, Goebbels, analyzing the main reasons for the fall of the morale of the German nation, said: "... The population of the western regions of Germany as a result of enemy air raids that lasted for months and years, was exhausted to such an extent that he prefers a horrible end to horror without end. ” One of the main Nazi ideologues acknowledged that the hostilities on the Western Front had become “child's play” for the enemy. Neither the German troops nor the civilian population provide organized and courageous resistance. It got to the point that in a number of places the population of the Allied forces met as liberators. In particular, Goebbels noted that "the population of Frankfurt proved to be extremely cowardly and submissive."
Faced with the facts of mass moral defeatism among the population of the western Reich regions, the Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda concluded in early April 1945 of the year that German propaganda made a big mistake writing only the "atrocities of the Asian, Bolshevik hordes" on the Eastern Front and ignoring the need for anti-American and anti-British campaigning in the West. He set the task before the press and radio to explain to the German people that the western enemy is nurturing the same plans for the destruction of Germany as the USSR. However, time was lost.
The German population of the western regions of the Third Reich was tired of war and wanted to accelerate the onset of peace. In some localities, the civilian population even prevented soldiers from fighting, people called on the military to put down weapon. For example, in Siegburg, a women's antiwar demonstration took place near the city military commandant's office. The civilian population saw the futility of resistance and did not want their homes destroyed, and the land devastated. White flags in front of the Anglo-American troops hung everywhere.
Thus, the Allied forces did not have any prerequisites for cruel treatment of the local population. France, England and the United States were not destroyed by war. England and the United States were not subject to occupation. Air strikes on English territory were not as devastating as the bombing of Germany. The United States did not suffer at all. Yes, and France, when compared with the Soviet territory, has suffered little, and its population has not been subjected to full-scale genocide. On the Western Front, the fighting was sluggish, often the offensive of the Allied forces had the character of "walks" and military exercises. The fierce resistance from the Germans was focal, exceptional. In fact, German troops in the west conducted only one serious operation against the Allied forces - the Ardennes operation. Yes, and the local population was neutral, or even positive, considered the allies "liberators." True, after the occupation, many have changed their attitude towards the Anglo-American troops.
Therefore, the “Operation Robbery”, which the Anglo-American troops conducted in Germany and the cruelty towards the civilian population, cannot be justified by anything. It was an ordinary looting and bullying of the invaders over the conquered population. The German population in the areas of Germany occupied by Anglo-American troops in some respects knew the fate of the Soviet population in the lands occupied by the Wehrmacht. The soldiers of the allied forces from the very beginning with the local population did not stand on ceremony. The defeated power from the very beginning was viewed by the Allies as war booty.
British historian Anthony Beevor noted that the massive robbery of the property of the local population by the allies was noted even before the crossing of the German border. The soldiers perceived the entire territory occupied by the Germans as an area where they could take trophies. In particular, they robbed the population of Belgium (Beevor E. Fall of Berlin. M., 2004). The military police tried to stop this process, but without much success. The size of the stolen goods was limited only by the possibilities for their movement and sending to their homeland. Here in the best situation there were tankers who could transport tanks large items like radios and typewriters. And also fighters of relatively independent units, such as the Special Air Service (SAS), who had the opportunity to loot the estates of high-ranking Nazi dignitaries.
At checkpoints, American soldiers carefully examined German soldiers and civilians, selected watches, personal belongings, and awards. Repatriated residents of the states seized by Germany, who were returning to their homeland, also contributed to the robbery of the German population. They did not consider inviolable German state and private property. The military prosecutor of the 1 of the Byelorussian Front reported: “Repatriated, going to repatriation points, especially Italians, Dutch, and even Germans, are widely involved in assault and robbery and bureaucracy. At the same time, all these disgraces are dumped on our servicemen ... ”(Kustov M.V. Price of victory in rubles. M. .. 2010).
It is therefore quite surprising that repentance is required only from the Russians. The Americans, the British, the French, the Italians, the Dutch, and the Germans themselves plundered, and only the Russians must repent. An obvious example of the policy of "double standards", which is so fond of applying in the West. At the same time, the fact that the soldiers of the Allied armies could not cite in their justification examples of the behavior of German troops in the "occupied" British or American soil is completely ignored. Anglo-American soldiers did not have to return to the destroyed cities, villages, where often there was not a single whole house where people forgot about normal food and normal clothes.
Everything that the Allied soldiers found in German houses, from personal property, dishes, household items to jewels and luxury goods, antiques, was subjected to robbery. Almost everywhere stocks of alcoholic drinks were emptied. Radio receivers, bicycles, all vehicles were taken from the Germans. Signaler Victor Zalgaller wrote in his memoirs that on German territory, from which the American troops had withdrawn and Soviet units entered there: German telephonists told that the Americans had occupied the territory without a fight, but they had taken away the wedding rings and took out the expensive furniture.
Looted good, and above all, expensive dinner sets, cameras, typewriters, antiques, works of art were sent by mail to the United States (S. Lavrenov, I. Popov. The collapse of the Third Reich. M., 2000). When the robbery of the German population began to acquire a massive and uncontrollable character, the headquarters of the Allied Command was forced to take some measures to calm this phenomenon. In April, a special directive was issued 1945, which allowed sending home only those items that had Nazi symbols (cold arms, rods, flags, banners, armbands, etc.), or belonged to the German armed forces (uniform, pistols, rifles, other property found in military warehouses and objects). In each parcel put permission, which was signed by the commander of the military unit. As a result, the practice of sending out looted German things assumed a controlled character. It is clear that in the directive there were "loopholes", so cutlery with Nazi symbols or the German military canteen, could be sent home.
The problem of maintaining law and order and discipline in the troops was not limited to measures to stop the robbery of the German population. Anglo-American troops also had more serious crimes - desertions, rape, rape with murder, mockery of prisoners and the local population, etc. Statistical indicators of officially registered crimes constantly increased: January-February 1945 of the year - 32 people were subjected to trial, March - 128, April - 259 American soldiers. In total, during the period of hostilities in Western Europe, the 70 of the American military was sentenced to death. One was a deserter, others were sentenced to death for murder, rape and rape with murder.
It must be said that the most negative statistics on the behavior of the military in Germany and in other countries liberated from the Nazis refers to American soldiers. In addition, the "distinguished" and the French, especially the colonial parts (Arabs, Africans). Although the British were not averse to collect "souvenirs", crush a wine shop, or a warehouse with property. The Western media, savoring the details of the “rape of 2 million German women aged 8 to 80 years by Soviet soldiers” myth, completely closed their eyes to the behavior of their troops, although it was precisely in the disposition of the Allied forces that the mass character took place. The official statistics of the allied forces undoubtedly reflects only the most egregious cases that could not be ignored.
The report of the army general judge noted a “colossal” increase in the number of rapes after the entry of Allied forces into German territory. Approximately 88% of the rapes reported on were committed in March-April 1945. A typical picture was when a group of soldiers broke into a German house under the pretext of searching for the Nazis and there was bullying and rape. They were accompanied by "... conquests, robberies, firing, beatings, and the share of sodomy increased ..." (according to the book of the American historian William Hitchcock, "The Bitter Road to Freedom, Europe 1944-1945. Liberation).
Against the background of such data, at least, the description in Western literature and the press looks only of “atrocities of the Russian, Asian hordes”. War is always violence and the command of all armies faced this problem. However, in some respects, Soviet soldiers even looked more merciful and humane in the war than other military armies or citizens of German-occupied states. Suffice it to recall what was forgotten in the USSR (it was unacceptable to say bad things about the Allies) that the Czechs had an attitude towards the German population. The local Germans cut the tracks on their heads so that they could be immediately visible. It was used in forced labor, it happened that even instead of horses, a horse was harnessed to a cart (!). When the Sudeten Germans began to be massively deported, there were cases that they were driven across the border bare (!). As a result, the Soviet military authorities had to wear them too.
Against this backdrop, the Soviet troops look like just a collection of incredible humanists who feed, clothe the Germans, and that they can ride or undress naked, and they never come to mind.
Application. Vladimir Krupnik ON THE PAGES OF THE BOOK BY WILLIAM HITCHKO “The Bitter Road to Freedom, Europe 1944-1945. LIBERATION. 2008. Source: "I Remember" website (http://iremember.ru/dopolnitelnie-materiali/vladimir-krupnik-po-stranitsam-knigi-uilyama-khitchkoka-gorkaya-doroga-k-svobode-evropa-1944-1945- osvobozhdenie-2008.html)
... Thefts and robberies of the houses of the farms [of the locals] began on June 6 and did not stop all summer. David Webster, who landed in Normandy on the Day of Invasion as part of the US Army 110 Airborne Division, recalled that he had stolen a bottle of brandy already a few hours after disembarking. In the town of Colombières, located just a few miles from the coast and liberated on the first day, according to the recollections of one of the local residents, Canadians thoroughly looted her house. “Robbery went all over the village,” she recalled. - Soldiers robbed everything and loaded the loot into cars and trucks. There was controversy about who gets what. They took away clothes, shoes, groceries, even took money from the home safe. My father could not stop them. The furniture disappeared, they even dragged my sewing machine ... ”The robbery continued day after day and had a predictable effect:“ The enthusiasm for the liberators is fading, soldiers are robbing, crushing and breaking into houses under the pretext of searching for Germans. After the soldier entered our house, when we sat at the table, my golden clock disappeared ... Locks on the cabinets were cracked, the doors were knocked out, the drawers were emptied, the laundry disappeared from them, things were thrown onto the floor, the towels disappeared. And all the time they drank our Calvados and champagne ... "
On August 8, Major A.J. Forrest (AJ Forrest), south of Caen, saw how the soldiers of the 7 Battalion of the Green Howards Regiment (British!) Looted a farmhouse, sawed furniture for firewood and gorged themselves on the most diverse living creatures that fell into their hands: from chickens and rabbits down to pigeons. Shame, he thought. - Three hundred Germans, apparently, lived in the vicinity and respected someone else’s property, they did not grab someone else’s livestock and things. How will he [the host] react to this disgrace? Not only will curse their liberators. "In fact, this kind of behavior took place in 1945, in Belgium, Holland and Germany: robbery and theft were the usual picture in the liberated territories ...
After the battle in the Ardennes, the Americans put a lot of effort into helping the civilian population of villages and small towns that had suffered from fierce fighting: they fed the people, provided them with medical care, and disinfected the premises. In big cities, the picture was often different:
During this period, General Erskine (Erskine), head of the SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) mission in Belgium, received from the head of the Belgian Committee of State Security (High Commission for State Security) General Counsel Walter Gashhof (Walter Ganshof) the following alarming message: “ I consider it my duty to acquaint you with the facts coming from all over the country where the American and British soldiers came to the battlefield. There are countless complaints from the public about the ongoing looting. As you know, the Belgians are immensely grateful to the allies for their release. Without a doubt, they are aware of the difficult conditions in which these troops are fighting ... However, I believe that if the servicemen could better understand what kind of struggle fell on the population of those regions where the battles were fought, they would refrain from unnecessary robbery, destruction, damage to property, so necessary to people. "Ganshof also noted that" he received many reports that Americans are destroying or spoiling large amounts of food right before the eyes of the civilian population. Half-empty cans of fats or other products are thrown away ... This has a very negative effect on people in distress. ”
Ganshof, unfortunately, was aware that these messages were far from being the first and did not relate to incidents that happened near the front line. Far away in the rear, the soldiers of the Allied forces also disturbed public peace, drank, robbed, raped and stole. One of the accusatory documents preserved in the archives of the Committee includes complaints about the behavior of the Allied forces in Brussels, received almost every day, starting with 11 September 1944. Some of these violations were predictable and rather insignificant: drunkenness, fights, deliberately broken furniture and broken windows in cafes and bars. But some were more serious: armed robberies, the seizure of watches and rings, wallets, clothes, and itself, rape. The frequency of such messages increased significantly after the winter battles. One of the documents indicates that after May 1945, Liege became the scene of real banditry: the soldiers took part in armed robberies, embezzlement of valuable things and money from passers-by, violations of public order in the form of breaking windows in cafes, etc. Liège newspapers consistently used the term "gangsters" in relation to American soldiers, while in Brussels women constantly complained about the behavior of American soldiers who were rude to them, molested and constantly harassed, demanding intimate services ...
There were complaints about the ill-treatment of Americans by Belgians hired by Americans to carry out ancillary work, senseless damage to the property of the Belgians, there were even statements that “during the German occupation there was no such unjustified destruction”, and that if the situation does not immediately change for the better, the majority of the population will turn its back on the allies, and a favorable attitude towards which will remain only among prostitutes. ”Something close to this happened - by June 1945 about 15% (about 500 000 people) on odyaschihsya in Europe, US troops had to address to doctors with symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. It would be an absurd exaggeration to talk about that. that the Belgians were not grateful to the soldiers of the allied armies. However, sometimes from the mouth of civilians it sounded like this: “Lord, free us from the liberators ...” (in the retelling of the translator).
IN THE "TROPHY" OF GERMANY
In the last months of the war, the Allied soldiers were even more inclined to mistreat the Germans, which was influenced in no small measure by the fierce fighting in the Ardennes, the Germans' shooting of captured Anglo-Americans, the German terror against the civilian population in territories temporarily reclaimed from the Allies. However, there was nothing new in the executions of prisoners: the trigger was pressed by the Germans in Normandy. The SS men captured were, at best, expecting a scuffle, and the fact that the fascists who were waiting for the Allied tank columns in ambush — even the teenagers — were simply not captured, now openly acknowledged by both American and British veterans. German veterans justify their cruelty by the fact that each of them by this time managed to lose someone from their loved ones under the bombs. Well, they had their own logic, it was also among the Soviet soldiers, it was also among the allies.
In February, 1945, the correspondent of Time Magazine, William Walton, wrote:
... The front-line soldiers who entered the land of the Reich noticeably sharply increased their hatred of the Germans. Soldiers talk about them with tremendous hostility and express admiration for the way the Russians treat the Germans. “I hope the Russians will be the first to enter Berlin,” many soldiers say. “They will know what to do with the fritzes” (Krauts). Captain John Lane said the following about the Germans: “I know these geeks. There is nothing good in them. One foul up, no morality, no remorse, no religion, nothing at all ... I don't know how you can re-educate their officers. Most of them are just hopeless. My personal suggestion: you have to kill them all. ”
Of course, the instructions distributed to the Anglo-American soldiers before entering the territory of Germany did not bode well for the civilian Germans. The soldier was taught to see an enemy in every German:
Remember, the Germans you see are the same people who were bursting with pride when they bombed Warsaw, who laughed when they compared Rotterdam to the land, who rejoiced when London was burning ... No fraternization with them.
After an honest fight, you can shake hands with the enemy. It was not a fair fight - by the Germans. You cannot shake the hand of Hun. No fraternization with them ...
Children are children - all over the world - with the exception of Hitler's Germany. Of course, they are nice - but ten years ago, Jerry, who killed your friend, was also a pretty girl. Although it is hard, let me make it clear to the children that there is no use for the war - maybe they will remember it before they start a new war. No fraternization with them ...
Is it any wonder that the behavior of the Allied soldiers left much to be desired?
“The behavior of some military personnel,” wrote one American officer in his report, “was not worthy of praise, especially after they had cognac boxes or wine barrels in their hands. I mention this because naive or malicious people believe that only Russians are raping and robbing. After the battle, soldiers of any army do not differ much from each other. ”
The Army General Judge Advocaat was even more direct in his report: “The colossal increase in the number of rapes occurred after our troops entered Germany ... 88% of the rapes reported, occurred in March-April 1945 of the year ... In a typical situation, one or several soldiers they broke into the German house by force or under the pretext of searching for German soldiers and started rape ... This was accompanied by burglary, robbery, firing, beatings, and the share of sodomy increased ...
Although the total number of rape cases examined - 522 (15 whites and 55 black Americans were hanged) - may seem small given the fact that by the end of the war there were 1.6 million American soldiers in Germany, no doubt there were much more rapes. ”
When 14 March 1945, a reporter for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, sent a note about numerous rapes in the land of Rhineland, army censors put it under the cloth. In the same article it was said that Americans do not have to rape German women - they can always buy sex services. American soldiers quickly saw that German women were always ready to sell themselves for food, cigarettes, chocolate, soap, and other items of “luxury”. Prostitution of this kind has flourished in the occupied territory of Germany. It was associated with a sharp decline in morals, widespread sexually transmitted diseases (by September 1945 of the year - 190 cases for 1000 soldiers!), The wave of which began to subside only by the middle of 1946 of the year. Of course, there were many and just romantic stories, which quickly led to a softening of the situation in recent front-line zones. Statistics and civilian polls show that in the middle of the summer of 1945, there were significantly fewer crimes in the American occupation zone.