Crimes and Mercies – a collective silence

The Aftermath — Zones of occupation
Kurfürstendamm — the heart of Berlin in April 1945
The Canadian author and historian James Bacque claimed in Crimes and Mercies that Allied policies (particularly Soviet policies) led to the premature deaths of 5.7 million German civilians, 2.5 million ethnic German refugees from Eastern Europe and 1.1 million German Prisoners of War due to Allied starvation and expulsion policies in the five years following World War II. Crimes and Mercies met with minor hostility from historians, who acknowledge the deaths of hundreds of thousands of German soldiers and civilians held in Soviet captivity, and possibly up to two million civilians who died in the mass expulsions of Germans from East Prussia, eastern Brandenburg, Pomerania, western Poland, Silesia, the Sudetenland and Romania. The leading Soviet propagandist Ilya Ehrenburg´s words of merciless cruelty spread throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. In Ehrenburg´s anti-German hate propaganda, he exhorted Soviet troops to kill all Germans they encountered without pity. The following is a verbatim quote from his famous leaflet distributed to the Soviet troops upon entering Germany in 1945: The Germans must be killed. If you are a righteous a conscientious man - kill a German! Kill! Kill! In the German race there is nothing but evil; not one among the living, not one among the yet unborn but is evil! Follow the precepts of Comrade Stalin. Use force and break the racial pride of these German women. Take them as your lawful booty. Kill! Kill, you gallant soldiers of the Red Army. Top image: The Allied zones of occupation in post-war Germany. The provincial boundaries are those of Weimar Germany. Actual poster shown in Allied-occupied Germany after World War II. PD. Bottom image: Screenshot showing downtown Berlin in April 1945. PD.

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