End of World War II - After the collapse of Third Reich.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: Nazi Germany's surrender, Nazi Gold, Selling Nazi Militaria: Controversy, How nazis escaped after the war, Last days in Hitler's bunker.
More Nazis in German justice department after WWII than during Third Reich
Germany`s post-World War II justice ministry was infested with ex-Nazis hell-bent on protecting their former comrades, according to a new official study. Fully 77 percent of senior ministry officials in 1957 were former members of Adolf Hitler`s Nazi party, a higher proportion even than during the 1933-45 Third Reich, the study found.
Conflict-Series: A highly rated strategy game series for Android
If you love classic PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, Invasion of Poland 1939, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, the Battle of Bulge, and the Battle of Berlin 1945. In addition there are American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War scenarios available.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store)
How the SAS secretly hunted down Nazis after the war with the help of a rogue Russian prince and a Ouija board
The story of how the post-war SAS secretly hunted down Nazis with the help of a rogue Russian prince and a Ouija board has been revealed in a new book. It details how the organisation played a role behind enemy lines during the Second World War, including carrying out `executions in cold blood`, before carrying on clandestinely despite being officially disbanded after the defeat of Nazi Germany. A small fragment of the regiment, seen as a `rogue unit` operating `secretly, unofficially and possibly illegally`, was financed secretly by Captain Prince Yuri Galitzine, a Russian of royal blood who worked in the War Office.
Operation Werwolf – Did the Nazis Really Plan for a Post-War Insurgency?
The Werwolves were set up in late 1944 on the orders SS chief Heinrich Himmler. The unit, which drew as many as 5,000 volunteers from the ranks of the Waffen SS and the Hitler Youth, involved uniformed troops remaining behind when German occupied territories fell to the Allies. Once activated, Werwolf battalions would draw weapons and equipment from pre-arranged caches and conduct campaigns of sabotage, ambush and assassination against the vulnerable British, American and Soviet rear echelons. Nazi Werwolves were under the command of Hans-Adolph Prützmann, a die-hard SS officer who had become an expert in partisan warfare after fighting insurgents in German occupied Ukraine for three years.
400,000 children fathered by occupying Allies shunned in post-war Germany and Austria
When Christa Wais was born in September 1946, her Austrian mother had already lost contact with her father, a major in the Red Army. Christa is one of 30,000 children thought to have been fathered by Allied soldiers in Austria in the decade after World War Two. Meanwhile it is estimated that about 400,000 children in Germany were fathered by the occupying soldiers, who came from United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union.
Word War II in colour: New video shows devastated Germany
New colour footage shows what Germany looked like in the aftermath of World War II. The Battle of Berlin ended in May 1945, 70 years ago this year, and now you can see what the city looked like in the months after the death of Adolf Hitler and the surrender of the Nazis. The unique, high-definition video was produced by Chronos Media, a German production company that documents contemporary history. The footage was filmed shortly after the end of the war and shows some of the damage caused in Berlin and Potsdam. Included in the 30-minute video are flyovers of damaged buildings in the German capital, shelled during the conflict. Also featured are the Berlin Reichstag, Olympic Stadium and the Berlin Victory Column.
The rape of Berlin
The USSR`s role in the defeat of Nazi Germany is seen as the nation`s most glorious moment. But there is another story - of mass rapes by Soviet soldiers of German women in the dying days of the war. The Russian media dismiss talk of the rapes as a Western myth, though one of many sources that tells the story of what happened is a diary kept by a young Soviet officer. Vladimir Gelfand, a lieutenant, wrote with frankness from 1941 through to the end of the war. The unpublished manuscript paints a picture of disarray in the regular battalions - miserable rations, lice, routine anti-Semitism and theft, with men even stealing their comrades` boots.
German historian: US soldiers raped up to 190,000 women at the end of World War II
German historian Miriam Gebhardt has published a new volume casting doubt on the accepted version of America`s role in German postwar history. The work takes a closer look at the rape of German women by all four victorious powers. In particular, though, her views on the behavior of American GIs are likely to raise eyebrows. Gebhardt believes that members of the US military raped as many as 190,000 German women by the time West Germany regained sovereignty in 1955. The author bases her claims in large part on reports kept by Bavarian priests in the summer of 1945. For example: Father Andreas Weingand, from Haag an der Amper wrote on July 25, 1945: "The saddest event during the advance were three rapes, one on a married woman, one on a single woman and one on a spotless girl of 16-and-a-half. They were committed by heavily drunken Americans."
How U.S. intelligence agencies used 1,000 Nazis as Cold War spies - then covered it up
Historians have revealed that J. Edgar Hoover`s FBI and Allen Dulles`s CIA hired at least 1,000 Nazis - if not more. Bits of the story have been reported in the past, but the full scope of the operation has now been reported in Eric Lichtblau`s new book, The Nazis Next Door. "U.S. agencies directly or indirectly hired numerous ex-Nazi police officials and East European collaborators who were manifestly guilty of war crimes. Information was readily available that these were compromised men," University of Florida professor Norman Goda explained.
Members of Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS formed a secret army in 1949
Newly discovered documents show that in the years after World War II, members of the Nazi Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS formed a secret army to protect the country from the Soviets. The illegal project could have sparked a major scandal at the time.
High-level Nazi scientists helped U.S. test LSD on Soviet spies, new book shows
Nazi scientists who produced chemical weapons for Hitler were hired by the United States to fight the Cold War, and helped U.S. intelligence test LSD and other interrogation techniques on captured Soviet spies, according to a book by U.S. journalist Annie Jacobsen. "Under Operation Paperclip, which began in May of 1945, the scientists who helped the Third Reich wage war continued their weapons-related work for the U.S. government, developing rockets, chemical and biological weapons, aviation and space medicine (for enhancing military pilot and astronaut performance), and many other armaments at a feverish and paranoid pace that came to define the Cold War," writes Jacobsen in "Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America."
Records reveal U.S. Army forcibly lobotomized 2,000 WWII veterans
Newly uncovered documents show the U.S. Army embraced frontal lobotomy as a way to treat at least 2,000 troops in the aftermath of World War II, the Wall Street Journal reported. "They just wanted to ruin my head, it seemed to me," recalled Roman Tritz, who told he was forcibly lobotomized on July 1, 1953, after resisting previous attempts. Though the Department of Veterans Affairs has no record of the procedures taking place, other government records, inter-office correspondence and letters reveal that they took place at VA facilities around the country to treat troops who were identified as gay, along with those diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression and psychosis. The records show the bulk of the procedures were carried out between April 1947 and September 1950.
WWII books: Year Zero: A History of 1945; The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945; Warsaw 1944: The Fateful Uprising
Review of three new WWII related books: Year Zero: A History of 1945 by Ian Buruma; The Bombing War: Europe 1939-1945 by Richard Overy; Warsaw 1944: The Fateful Uprising by Alexandra Richie.
Wolfskinder - Lost and forgotten: German wolf children in Lithuania
When Alfreda Pipiraite turned 18, she believed she`d made it. "But no, they said to me, `You German pig! You Hitlerist! Fascist!` And so on. It was particularly painful whenever a member of my family called me that." After all, Alfreda was really Luise, a German born in 1940 in the town of Schwesternhof in East Prussia. At the age of four she was adopted by a Lithuanian family as a so-called "Wolfskind," or wolf child. During the chaotic final stages of the war, 5,000 children, according to historian Roth Leiserowitz, fled from East Prussia to Lithuania. Such children were robbed by WWII of everything: their parents, their home, their language. The children stumbled away through forests, some of them without shoes. Their bellies were bloated, their arms no more than twigs, their teeth beginning to rot. Sometimes they ate grass, at other times frogs - and often, simply nothing.
Six Months in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman - From World War to Cold War
Between the Big Three conference in Yalta in February 1945 and the Potsdam conference in August, the world`s leaders wrangled over the future shape of Europe and hence determined the course of international politics for the next 45 years. Did the West capitulate to Stalin`s demands too readily or was the Cold War inevitable? Journalist Michael Dobbs thinks it was because the results of the Second World War were not clear-cut and accordingly both sides adopted the attitude of `what`s mine is mine; what`s yours is up for grabs`.
How neighbours turned on each other as anarchy erupted in aftermath of WWII
In the bombed-out ruins of Europe`s cities, feral gangs scavenge for food. Old men are murdered for their clothes, their watches or even their boots. Women are mercilessly violated, many several times a night. Neighbour turns on neighbour; old friends become deadly enemies. And the wrong surname, even the wrong accent, can get you killed. It sounds like the stuff of nightmares. But for hundreds of millions of Europeans this was daily reality in the desperate months after the end of WWII. But as the historian Keith Lowe shows in a disturbing new book, "Savage Continent: Europe In The Aftermath Of World War II", it is time we thought again about the way the war ended.
Book: Stalin tortured German diplomats after the end of WWII in revenge for Germany`s betrayal of Russia
A new book details how Soviet secret agents kidnapped Nazi diplomats after the war so that they could imprison, torture and secretly try them in Moscow. "The Diplomatic Secrets of the Third Reich" - by Wassili Christoforow - draws on up to now sealed Russian archives concerning the dreaded Lubianka jail in Moscow where the top servants of Hitler were brought. Alexei Matweyewitsch Sidnyew was the general in Soviet intelligence tasked in 1945 to exact vengeance on Stalin`s behalf against the diplomats he believed plotted the war against Russia.
MI5 files about SS plans to build Fourth Reich after the defeat of Nazi Germany published online
BACM Research/PaperlessArchives.com has published WWII-era MI5 British Intelligence files related to German SS plans to establish the ground work to build a Fourth Reich after the defeat of Nazi Germany. The files can be downloaded for free at: paperlessarchives.com
No compensation for Germans forced to work in nearby countries following the defeat of the Nazis
Erika Steinbach, the president of the Bund der Vertriebenen (BdV), which represents Germans who were displaced after the war, wants the government to compensate people who were required to labour in nearby countries following the end of the Third Reich. But German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told Steinbach in a letter that what happened after the war was simply fate and cannot be compensated.
MI5 archives opened: 3 WWII stories emerge: Fourth Reich sleepers cells, poisoned food, Operation Pastorius
Nazis planned Fourth Reich by planting sleeper cells in post-war Europe to destabilise governments. A French collaborator revealed he had attended a conference near Munich in April 1945, presided over by an SS officer in full uniform in which the postwar actions were discussed. (link to article #1)
Nazis planned to poison chocolate, sugar and Nescafé coffee to keep the embers of the Third Reich burning after Germany`s surrender in 1945. In April 1945, four U.S. army soldiers were hospitalized, one of whom died, as a result of drinking poisoned alcohol obtained in Germany. (link to article #2)
MI5 criticized the Americans` failure to capture the Operation Pastorius sabotage team after a coastguard officer interrupted the Nazi agents as they buried supplies on the beach. The leader of the spies, George Dasch, tried to bribe the coastguard with $300 and although the man informed his superiors, MI5 reported that only "trivial and amateurish enquiries were started by the coastguards." (link to article #3)
Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany by Frederick Taylor
"Exorcising Hitler" explores Germany`s first two years of defeat and occupation, starting with the chaos during the last months of the war. Some, like the Werwolf group, fought back killing allied soldiers and collaborators, some committed suicides rather than witnessed the end of the Third Reich, millions fled, and some, like Helmut Nassen, were both hiding from the Nazis to avoid conscription and firing potshots at the Americans.
The turning point was meant to be the massive Denazification process, which was carried out by Germans themselves. The problem: almost all German lawyers and judges had been in the Nazi party. In addition, with the beginning of Cold War denazification was abandoned - and in some cases reversed.
America`s Nazi Secret: An Insider`s History by John Loftus (book review)
In "America`s Nazi Secret" John Loftus, a former U.S. government prosecutor and a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, reveals how a secret group in the State Department began in 1948 - unbeknownst to Congress and the public - to hire members of the Nazi-created puppet government of Byelorussia. It was all supposed to be for the Cold War cause, but Loftus raises more ominous motives: American industrialists and bankers hiding their business connections with the Third Reich.
Poles dug up death camp mass graves for gold claims Jan Gross in his new book Golden Harvest
A book that claims Poles profited from the persecution of the Jews by looting mass graves and turning people over to the Nazis has ignited an international outcry. "Golden Harvest" - by Jan Gross and Irena Grudzinska Gross - claims that Poles dug up human remains at the Treblinka death camp after the World War II in search of gold and diamonds that Nazi executioners might have missed.
Jan Gross` 2001 book "Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland" forced a Polish government commission to admit that Poles - not the Nazis — massacred 1,600 Jewish villagers in Jedwabne. In addition, his 2006 book "Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz" focused on the 1946 Kielce pogrom, in which up to 40 Jews, who had somehow managed to survive the Second World War, were killed by the local Polish population.
German civilians massacred those who managed to escape from concentration camp death marches in 1944, 1945
The more you learn about the World War II, the more ridiculous the German civilians` claim "we didn`t know about the Nazi atrocities" becomes. 250,000 concentration camp prisoners perished in death marches, and shockingly, many of those who managed to escape were killed by local German residents. A new book - "The Death Marches: The Final Phase of Nazi Genocide" by historian Daniel Blatman - comes to a disturbing conclusion: "The more the war approached its end, and the more obvious the prisoners` presence in the midst of the German population became, the more regularly German civilians participated."
A report to Congress reveals U.S. officials protected Gestapo agents and Nazi war criminals
A report to Congress - by historians hired by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration - reveals how U.S. intelligence officials protected Gestapo agents and Nazi war criminals like Rudolf Mildner and Mykola Lebed after the Second World War. The U.S. Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act has so far resulted in 8 million documents being declassified.
The Merci Train: A forgotten WWII thank you to the Friendship Trains from France
In 1949, the U.S. received a gift from the people of France: 49 boxcars full of gifts, known as the Merci Train or the French Gratitude Train. It was kind of a thank you for the Friendship Train - name for the several trains of aid sent in 1947 to France and Italy, which were still recovering from the World War II.
American intelligence created a safe haven in the U.S. for the Nazis, claims 600-page Justice Department report
600-page report - which the Justice Department has kept secret for years - about the US Nazi-hunting operation looks into some of the Nazi cases: Adolf Eichmann`s associate Otto von Bolschwing worked for the CIA, Nazi scientist Arthur Rudolph (the father of the Saturn V rocket) actively exploited slave laborers, "only" up to 10,000 Nazis lived in the US.
German woman gets to thank American woman in person for post-WWII CARE packages
A middle-class American family in Coulee Dam made sure that life was more manageable for a war widow and her daughter in the ruins of the Third Reich after the war ended. Every 4-5 weeks starting in 1946 CARE boxes - promoted by film stars like Bob Hope, Ingrid Bergman, and Ronald Reagan - filled with clothing and food would arrive in Syke in Germany - and they kept coming until the mid-1950s. It was like Christmas for the war widow and the daughter, whose married name is Barbara Mathes. Now, after all those years, Mathes wanted to find someone from that American family - the Benjamins - and thank them in person.
Postwar footage shows how Red Army soldiers and Czech militiamen execute German civilians
It is well known that German civilians fell victim to Czech atrocities after the Nazi surrender. But a newly discovered video shows one such massacre in brutal detail. The footage - 7 minutes of film, shot with an 8mm camera on May 10, 1945 - was taken in the Prague district of Borislavka. Amateur filmmaker Jirí Chmelnicek documented the city`s liberation. His camera also filmed groups of Germans, driven into Kladenska Street by Red Army soldiers and Czech militia. The camera then pans to the side of the street, where 40 men and at least 1 woman stand. Shots ring out and, one after another, they slump and fall.
Photographs of postwar Berlin discovered in the archives of a Berlin publishing house
Forgotten for decades, a collection of post-war photographs from 1945 has been unearthed. The images reveal the devastation of the Nazi capital and the desperation of the city in the weeks after the end of World War II. The soldier with the Iron Cross medal on his chest lies in the street. His steel helmet has rolled away. The Soviet soldiers are turning him onto his back and cleaning their weapons. It`s a scene from the last days of the World War II, taken somewhere in the center of Berlin. For decades this photograph, along with thousands of others, lay neglected in the archives of a Berlin publishing house.
The Long Road Home: the Aftermath of the Second World War by Ben Shephard (book review)
When World War II ended, there were 15 million displaced persons (DPs) in Europe who either did not want to or could not return to their country of origin. Based on the archives of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the memoirs of DPs and the officials who looked after them, Ben Shephard`s book begins where most WWII histories of the war end. Jews, released from Nazi camps, were under threat of death when they travelled back to reclaim their property in Poland - Russian Cossacks committed suicide rather than return into the hands of Stalin.
German missionaries in Japan - Collapse of Germany, Japan and everything
Ehrhardt Lang, born in Yokohama in 1934 to German missionaries, experienced both World War II and the aftermath as a child. Besides the terror of the bombings, there were other problems for blond children in a Japan at war with America. German kids had to wear a badge with the emblems of the Axis powers. Even so, Japanese kids would throw rocks at them. For the Germans living in Japan, there were two endings. First, the Germans heard that Third Reich had surrendered - and Hitler had died heroically fighting side by side in the front lines with his soldiers (the official Nazi version of his Hitler`s death).
Study: Up to 13.6% of top communist functionaries in East Germany were Nazis
Members of Adolf Hitler`s Nazi party climbed top positions in communist East Germany, reveals a research at the University of Jena. The study reviewed 441 top communist functionaries in the current eastern state of Thuringia 1946-1989. 36 of these joined the Nazi party. That rate (13.6%) was a higher proportion than for the overall population of the region. The study shows that the belief that West Germany tolerated former Nazis in leadership posts, while East Germany`s "anti-fascist" stance barred them, is a myth. Among the top Nazi members in the East German state was Hans Bentzien: minister for culture (1960s) and the last director of East German state TV.
WWII aftermath: the four horsemen of the apocalypse: pestilence, war, famine and death
At the end of the first world war it had been possible to think about going back to business as usual. However, 1945 was so different that it has been called Year Zero. Up to 60 million were dead. In Germany 70% of housing had been wiped out and, in the Soviet Union 1,700 towns and 70,000 villages. New words like genocide, superpower and DP (Displaced Person) emerged. Millions of acres in north China were flooded after the Japanese destroyed the dykes. Britain had bankrupted itself fighting the war and France had been ransacked empty by the Nazis. Many Europeans were living with less than 1,000 calories per day, in the Netherlands many were eating tulip bulbs.
Jews who hunted down and executed SS men - True WW2 story behind Inglourious Basterds
Quentin Tarantino`s Inglourious Basterds about a Jewish militia that killed Nazis in World War II is not that far-fetched. A real-life team of Jewish soldiers hunted down SS officers in Austria after the war in an operation called "Nakam" (revenge), reveals Chaim Miller. "We were soldiers in the Jewish Brigade group of the British army... we went in groups of 3 to secretly search them out. At first they thought they were simply dealing with the British military police. They got a shock when we later showed them our Stars of David. But by then, it was already too late for them. We took them to some woods... They remained in the woods forever."
Churchill wanted to use captured Nazi troops to drive the Soviet Union out of Eastern Europe
When Winston Churchill learned that the Americans were about to stop their march on Berlin and leave Nazi capital to the communists, he was furious. The US had made a commitment not to let post-war Europe be divided into areas of influence. Now this was exactly what was happening. Situation was worsening by the day as Stalin`s Red Army invaded the countries, making them satellites of Moscow, in spite of Yalta agreement, made only weeks earlier. Within days of Germany`s collapse Churchill asked the military planners to examine ways to impose upon Russia the will of US and UK - with "the use of German manpower and what remains of German industrial capacity."
Germany 1945: From War to Peace by Richard Bessel [book review]
With "Germany 1945" historian Richard Bessel explores the year he calls the "hinge" of the 20th century. The decisive strike came in January 1945, when a Red Army invasion force poured into eastern provinces that would soon cease forever to be German. The Anglo-American invasion paled by comparison: German military deaths that month alone exceeded the total WWII losses of either the US or UK. German civilians fled from the savage "Slavic hordes". While some embraced orders to fight to the death, the rest were kept in line by SS death squads that hanged defectors from lampposts. But Wehrmacht was hopelessly outnumbered.
One of the greatest heists of all time: The theft of German patents after World War II
In Wright-Patterson Field in Ohio, in the Library of Congress and in the Department of Commerce in Washington, is a huge load of 1,500 tons of German patents and research papers - all looted after the war. One American bureaucrat called it "the first orderly exploitation of an entire country`s brain power." Luckily, it was for the benefit of the US, which, having foiled Adolf Hitler`s crusade against the Soviet Union, had to face the same task. The beginning of the project to grab German secrets was in 1944, when, astonished by German technology from rockets and jets to Tiger tanks, a Joint Intelligence Objectives committee was set up to seize Nazi inventions.
Geoffrey Collingwood Sherman organised the Japanese surrender
Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Collingwood Sherman - who set up the ceremony of Japanese surrender in Singapore on 12 September, 1945 - has passed away. At a church service the same Union Flag used in the ceremony was flown on the tower. Sherman`s son Nicholas said the Union Flag had been with his father since the historic event. Lord Louis Mountbatten officially accepted the unconditional surrender of the Japanese Imperial Army after officers handed over their samurai swords to their counterparts. Sherman received a double-handed samurai sword with notches marking the occasions it had been used to defend the family`s honour.
The hunt for the last Nazis - Efforts to capture the Nazis faltered as the Cold War set in
Contrary to popular belief, most former Nazis did not go into hiding after WW2. Most did not even change their name: they simply took off their Nazi/SS uniforms, went home. And for a crucial period in the 1950s, little was done to hunt them down. In 1953 the Nazi trials stopped, because of the Cold War: The West needed a strong West Germany and did not want to hunt for Nazis, many of which were part of the society and the Federal Republic government. But in the 1970s there was a shift: the second generation began to question what their parents did in the war. US files show CIA often hunted Nazi war criminals to use them, not to bring them to justice.
Life in Berlin after the World War II ended - Avoiding the Red Army soldiers
Ursula Strumm`s family returned to Berlin when their father purchased a restaurant. With bombs raining from the sky all the time, and the Soviet Red Army closing in on Berlin, time for the Berliners was very short indeed. And one day, hiding in a basement, they heard someone walking in the restaurant and knew that the Russian soldiers had arrived. A soldier descended the stairs and grabbed Gertrud, Ursula`s 13yo sister, to violate her. "I gave the man a pack of cigarettes. He was so mad he tore them up and threw them at my feet and left," Ursula, then 10 years old, recalls. The only way to stop the Russian soldiers violating Gertrud was to pretend she had scarlet fever.
Last reunion for Jews who, after the WW2, returned to Britain to fight the Mosley`s Nazis
They returned from war as heroes. But the British Jews who won medals defeating Nazi Military machine were horrified to see fascist salutes on the streets of Britain. Oswald Mosley, whose British Union of Fascists preached anti-Semitism before the war, was freed from internment in 1946. His Blackshirts, dressed like Nazi stormtroopers, were revived. Jewish houses were marked, Jews were beaten and harassed in the streets: "Not enough Jews were burned in Belsen." In April 1946, 43 men and women (war heroes like Gerry Flamberg, who won the Military Medal at Arnhem, and Tommy Gould, a submariner who won the Victoria Cross) set up the 43 Group to out-fascist the fascists.
The Bitter Road to Freedom: A New History of the Liberation of Europe [book review]
It is a paradox that after an occupation few nations are likely to like their liberator for long as the joy is replaced by a view that the liberator has become the new occupier. Despite the efforts to explain the woe of the occupied nations, many GIs did not like or trust the French. Even before D-Day they saw France almost as an enemy country. Myths of Frenchwomen acting as snipers alongside their Nazi lovers spread quickly. At the end of the war Allied officers were angered to have to attend 5 big victory parades, with fly-pasts, using American military vehicles and gas. Not a single US or UK flag was to be seen anywhere, as if France had won the war alone.
Behind Closed Doors - Stalin, the Nazis and the West [documentary]
Historian Laurence Rees`s series reveals the truth about Stalin`s wartime alliances. When do you think WWII ended? In 1945? If you believe that the end of the war was supposed to have brought freedom to the countries, then for millions of people the war did not end until the fall of Communism. In 1945 the people of Poland, of the Baltic States and of a number of other countries swapped the rule of one tyrant, Adolf Hitler, for another, Joseph Stalin. To demonstrate this bitter reality the presidents of Estonia and Lithuania refused to visit Moscow in 2005 to take part in "celebrations" marking the 60th anniversary of the "end of the war" in Europe.
Book review: Stranger In The House by Julie Summers - The return of WWII troops
Maureen Cleaver was 7yo in 1939 when her father John was mobilized - and she didn`t see him again for 6 years. But she remembers the night he came home: there was a knock at the door and Maureen to answer it. "There stood Dad, but he didn`t recognise the 13yo girl standing there as his daughter. In his mind, I was still a little girl," Maureen recalls. "Oh, I`m sorry, I`ve come to the wrong house," he said, and turned round to leave. --- Maureen`s experience is only one of the tragic stories of the women left behind to keep the family going during WWII. Boys who came back were not the boys who marched away. They were men, with different ideas.
Carl Aschan: WWII intelligence officer who helped to hunt down Nazi leaders
Carl Aschan, who has died aged 102, worked for British intelligence in his native Sweden during World War II and in 1945 helped to track down some of the Nazi leaders. He planned operations against German garrisons in Norway and the Channel Islands. At the end of the war he was sent to Germany, where he was attached to an armoured battalion. At Flensburg Aschan and his comrades arrested the head of the German Secret Service in Stockholm. His team also confined armaments minister Albert Speer and the propagandist William Joyce ("Lord Haw-Haw"). At attempt to seize SS chief Heinrich Himmler at Glücksburg Castle was less successful.
German tank commander fell for America during stay in POW camp
Tank Commander Walter Foertsch awoke one morning to see his unit encircled by troops of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery`s 8th Army. "As far as you could see... there were Allied troops and armor." His commander told to lower tank cannons and prepare to surrender. The war was over for the men of the German Afrika Korps, led by "Desert Fox" Erwin Rommel. Since England was being used as a staging area for the invasion of Europe, U.S. housed POWs captured by the British Army. Michael Waters, a professor and archaeologist has written book "Lone Star Stalag: German prisoners of War At Camp Hearne." "The book is extremely accurate..." said Foertsch.
60 tons of mercury in wreckage of WWII U-boat U-864 could create disaster (Article no longer available from the original source)
In 1945 the German submarine U-864 was traveling just west of Norway on its way to Japan. The secret mission of the specially outfitted vessel: to deliver 60 tons of mercury to the Axis ally for use in explosives. But the British military detected the sub`s task through Ultra and sent submarine HMS Venturer to intercept. U-864 and its cargo were sunk. 60 years later the Norwegian navy located the wreck and discovered signs that the steel canisters that hold the mercury are corroding. U-864 is almost impossible to reach, its ruins are spread out over 10 acres, and a third of the 1,857 mercury canisters are scattered on the seabed.
US, UK urged to reveal the location of chemical weapons dumped in the Baltic Sea
Britain and the United States should disclose the location of chemical munitions seized from Nazi Germany at the end of World War II and dumped in the Baltic Sea, the Council of Europe said. The Allies took over 300,000 tonnes of chemical munitions from Nazi Germany at the end of the war and dumped them in the Baltic Sea, in some cases in waters only a few dozen metres deep. The military secret was supposed to be revealed after 50 years but UK and US, which had taken possession of most of the stocks, decided in 1997 to keep details secret for a further 20 years.
Austerity Britain: 1945-1951 - Revisiting the dark days of postwar Britain
In "Austerity Britain: 1945-1951," social historian David Kynaston tells the story of those grim postwar years. Reading the many first-person accounts in this detailed volume, you begin to see that, for countless people in that place at that time, life was lived in a world without color: a place of long lines, of shortages, of frustration. All the combatant nations of WWII had their troubles setting to postwar realities in the late 1940s. The cost of victory in Britain, however, had been high: the loss of foreign assets and the "convertibility crisis" that saw a run on the pound sterling.
After the Reich: The Brutal History of The Allied Occupation by Giles MacDonogh (Article no longer available from the original source)
After the Reich tells how millions of Germans were driven from their homes, violated, starved, beaten and shot in the aftermath of WW2. Given the scale of Nazi atrocities and that history is written by the victors, it is not surprising that German agony was underplayed in later accounts. A million German soldiers died after the War, most in Soviet captivity as slave labourers. A further 2 million women, children and elderly died, including 250,000 Sudenten Germans, ethnically cleansed by vengeful Czech compatriots. German communities in Poland and East Prussia were driven from their homes and left to starve.
Endgame 1945: The end of WWII through the eyes of ordinary men
This is the way the war ends: not with euphoria, but in chaos, confusion and cruelty. "Endgame 1945" by David Stafford is an uneven book; that is the nature of the human experience upon which it relies. One witness, Fey von Hassell, German daughter of a plotter who failed to kill Adolf Hitler, is whisked from her aristocratic life as mistress of an Italian villa into Buchenwald. Nazis brutal, Allies gentle - It wasn`t quite that simple. SS and paratroopers had to be dispatched on sight, and were. No Geneva Convention niceties here. `We were bringing in casualties and my captain said, "Take them out and shoot `em." And they did. It was awful. He murdered them.`
Hiding Children during World War II: The Psychological Aftermath
Jewish children were hidden in the Netherlands from 1942-1945 to save them from Nazi deportation. After the war surviving parents began the search for their children. Often the hidden children had had to change addresses, leading them to "turn off their emotions" so as not to be overwhelmed by grief. After WWII many of them could not "turn on" their feelings. Many parents had undergone "anticipated mourning" out of expectations that they or their children would be killed before they could reunite, mading it difficult for them to receive the returned children. Sometimes the natural parents also could not "forgive" the hiding-parents for caring for their children.
March 19, 1945: Adolf Hitler orders to destroy all German infrastructure
1945: His Thousand-Year Reich in shambles and his armies shattered, Adolf Hitler issues his infamous "Nero Decree," the order to destroy all German industry and infrastructure in order to deny anything to the advancing Allies. The official order was issued under the heading "Demolitions on Reich Territory" but entered history as the Nero Decree. Fortunately for the German people the duty for carrying out this order fell to Hitler`s armaments minister Albert Speer. Speer was appalled, and embarked on a series of delays and stalling tactics before admitting to Hitler that he had sabotaged the decree.
Germans` desperate quest for fatherland with Army campaign maps (Article no longer available from the original source)
Ever since he was a teenager, Erich Hones has felt the need to know about his father. The only clue was a Florida address scribbled down in 1946 by his German mother who had sought solace in the arms of an American GI in the chaotic aftermath of World War II. He studied US Army campaign maps to find out which units had been in the area and last year, he had enough information to present his data to a search agency. He has become one of the thousands of Germans racing against time to track down their real fathers. Called the Soldatenkinder, they were the product of relationships between Allied soldiers and German women.
Last pogrom, in 1946 by Polish, still casts dark shadow
Air-raid sirens echoed across the small town of Kielce to mark the 4 July, 1946, when a mob armed with firearms and angered by rumours a child had been kidnapped, attacked a building housing Jewish refugees. When the violence ended, 40 persons, many of them Holocaust survivors, lay dead. The bloodletting in Kielce prompted thousands to flee Poland, with an estimated 60,000 leaving in the 3 months. A book, Fear, by professor Jan Gross, examines racism in Poland in the months following the end of the WWII, concludes that the reasons lay in a vicious Polish hatred of Jews. He claims that up to 1,500 died in related violence in Poland during this period.
A woman in Berlin as it was sacked by the Red Army 1945 (Article no longer available from the original source)
The diary of "A Woman in Berlin: April-June 1945" records the life in cellars when Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany collapsed as Soviet armies moved into Berlin, offering view of a terrifying onslaught. If food was the main concern, the other was the fear of rape. "One young man in grey trousers turns out on close inspection to be a woman, hoping to save herself from the attention of Red Army soldiers. Others try to make themselves appear old and dirty." As social historians have argued, rape is a strategy of war: Those actions committed in 1945, even against old women and pubescent girls, were acts of violence, an expression of revenge.
Space Race starts off from the Third Reich missile program
"Space Race" starts off in a small Baltic village in 1945 with a chilling account of the Nazi missile program, Adolf Hitler`s last hope for saving the Third Reich. There, under von Braun 5,000 nazi scientists were developing the V-2 rocket, Vengeance Weapon. The V-2s were manufactured at Mittelwerk, a giant underground factory. At the end of the war, von Braun escaped capture by Soviet troops and moved to the US with hundreds of other engineers. US turned a blind eye to von Braun`s past in the Nazi Party and SS. The Soviets sent their own team to Germany, bringing back missile parts and thousands of engineers. Sergei Korolyov was put in charge of the V-2 design.
British postwar interrogation camp turned Germans into living skeletons who died of malnutrition
Despite the 6 bloody war years James Morgan-Jones, a major in the Royal Artillery, was horrified: "The man literally had no flesh on him, his state of emaciation was incredible." At the same time a doctor at an internment camp 130 stated that 8 men transferred from Bad Nenndorf "were all suffering gross malnutrition ... one... dying". At Bad Nenndorf the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre (CSDIC) ran a secret prison during the British occupation of north-west Germany in 1945. At first British tortured members of the Nazi Party and SS, later civilians who had prospered under Hitler.