Allied World War II atrocities - Bombings, massacres, mistreating women, using POWs to clear minefields.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: U.S. in WWII: Dark Side, Mass rapes by Soviet Red Army, WW2 aftermath, Bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Axis Atrocities, Katyn Massacre, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Nazi Memorabilia: Controversial Sales and Auctions, Art looted by Americans, Gulags, A-bomb survivors, Atrocities by Poles.
France's forgotten Blitz: Allied bombardments killed almost as many French people as German bombs killed Britons during the Blitz
It has been a taboo subject in France for 70 years: the terrible civilian casualties suffered by the French due to Allied bombing up to and during the liberation of France. According to research carried out by history professor Andrew Knapp, British, American and Canadian air raids resulted in 57,000 French civilian losses. "That's a figure slightly below, but comparable to, the 60,500 the British lost as a result of Luftwaffe bombing over the same period," says Knapp who is the co-author of Forgotten Blitzes and a book just published in France called Les francais sous les bombes alliees 1940-1945 (The French Under Allied Bombardment).
Croatia compiles a list of WWII mass graves filled with German civilians and Wehrmacht soldiers
A lot of time and resources have been poured into recording the mass graves resulting from Nazi atrocities. However, of the hundreds of WWII-era mass graves used by the Communists to bury executed Germans only couple of percent have been properly investigated.
Croatian interior ministry and the Croatian Institute for History are in the process of compiling a list of the mass graves which were used to bury the German victims - both civilians who perished in the communist camps 1944-1948 and Wehrmacht troops who were executed during the last years of the World War Two. So far the list includes over 200 sites, and it covers only the mass graves in Croatia, not the entire area which made up the former Yugoslavia. Of the 200,000 ethnic Germans who came under the Communist authorities in former Yugoslavia, just a few thousands survived.
French villagers of Coussay-les-Bois reject plaque to massacred Wehrmacht soldiers
The village of Coussay-les-Bois has decided not to allow a German man to put up a memorial to Wehrmacht sergeant-major Andreas Greuel and 16 other Wehrmacht prisoners who were executed there in 1944. The case reveals the lingering resentment over the Nazi occupation in a part of France that saw multiple atrocities, and an unwillingness to touch the heroic image of the resistance fighters who fought them. No-one wants to be reminded of the night of September 9 when the German prisoners were machine-gunned against the school wall. "If they put a plaque there, it will be smashed within a day," stated Jean Herault.
A new openness to discussing Allied war crimes in WWII: "We didn't take prisoners"
It was the first crime William E. Jones had ever committed: The 4th Infantry Division had seized a small hill and the GIs lost all self-control: "The Germans were baffled... We didn't take prisoners and there was nothing to do but kill them." While researching for his book "D-Day: The Battle for Normandy," Antony Beevor learned that Allied soldiers committed war crimes in Normandy to a much greater extent than was thought. American, British and Canadian troops killed German POWs and wounded soldiers, and used Wehrmacht and Waffen SS soldiers as human shields and forced them to walk through minefields.
On display: Diaries of reporter who exposed Stalin's man-made famine that killed millions
The private diaries of a Welsh reporter who sacrificed his reputation and his life to reveal one of Josef Stalin's atrocities are to go on public display for the first time. Gareth Jones traveled across Soviet Ukraine (then off limits to Western journalists) to report on the "Holomodor", the man-made famine that killed millions 1932-1933. In March 1933 Jones returned describing how millions were starving to death while the Soviet regime exported grain to the West. But his work was dismissed as a "scare story" by Western journalists in Moscow, keen to maintain favour with Stalin. 2 years later Jones was killed by bandits on the eve of his 30th birthday in China.
German historian: Black Allied soldiers mass raped German women, Gandhi liked the Nazis
Historian Götz Aly, the author of "Hitler's Beneficiaries", accused black Allied soldiers of the systematic rape of German women during World War Two. He also dismissed their share of defeating Nazi Germany on the grounds that they were forced to fight. He compared the acts of Britain and France's black soldiers to the mass pillage by the Russian Red Army soldiers in eastern Germany. "Every town in southwest Germany could tell stories of rape by black soldiers, no different to the Russian [practice of systematic rape]." Aly also said Mahatma Gandhi was "one of the greatest friends of Nazi Germany" because he and the Third Reich shared a common enemy in Britain.
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."
British historian Antony Beevor: D-Day bomb raids were "close to a war crime"
The RAF bombing raids in Normandy after the D-Day invasion were 'close to a war crime' says leading British historian Antony Beevor. He has singled out Bomber Command's raids on the city of Caen for criticism, depicting the terrible suffering of civilians trapped in the city as it was ruined. Caen became a crucible of furious fighting during the Normandy campaign due to its strategic position controlling key roads and bridges at the eastern flank of the Allied invasion beaches. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery hoped his troops would seize Caen on D-Day, June 6, 1944, but German Waffen-SS defenders repelled repeated attacks.
Germany looks to Russia for clues on WWII massacre in Treuenbrietzen by Red Army
For decades the inhabitants of Treuenbrietzen kept quiet about a WW2 massacre. And many still have no wish to face the past. The raping and killing of 1,000 German civilians took place after Soviet Red Army soldiers occupied the town, 40km from Berlin, in April 1945, in the last days of the war. Under East German communist rule, it would not have been wise to refer to the matter. A request for information was sent on to Russian authorities. "It's our last chance to find those responsible. We've already gone through all the relevant German documents. Maybe something can be found in Russian military archives... orders, or reports, or photos," said Christoph Lange.
Japanese WWII massacre of 548 British and Dutch PoWs was covered up
A declassified report claims that the British Government covered up the massacre of British POWs by Japanese sailors during World War II. 548 British and Dutch PoWs were machine-gunned when the Suez Maru, the Japanese Hell Ship transporting them, was sunk by an American torpedo attack in the Flores Sea in 1943. After the war Secretary of State for War Manny Shinwell was informed about the case, and despite the culprits being in custody, the decision was taken not to prosecute them -- because 700 Japanese soldiers had been found guilty of war crimes, the Cold War was afoot and Japan was needed as an ally against the Soviet Union.
Why We Watched: Europe, America, and the Holocaust by Theodore Hamerow
Historian Theodore Hamerow takes readers on a tour of the attitudes and events during the 1930s and 1940s predicting the annihilation of the European Jews. Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler was not alone in his belief that Jewish population needed to be undone, through banishment at the minimum, mass death at the maximum. Political and military leaders of many other nations shared this view. Part Two of the book (4 parts in total) focuses on the United States, as its power structures allowed anti-Semitism to rule policymaking, in spite of an avowed abhorrence of Hitler's final solution.
Britain's Holocaust shame: Using force to place survivors back to German camps (Article no longer available from the original source)
When British soldiers freed the concentration camps of Nazi Germany the survivors hailed them as saviours. British leaders promised that the world would never forget their agony. 2 years later the British governmemt was charged of mistreating thousands of survivors, who, when kept from fleeing to Palestine, had been forcibly sent back to barbed-wire camps in Germany, staffed by Germans. Secret files published at the National Archives show the fate of Jewish immigrants aboard the 1947 refugee ship Exodus and the propaganda battle that ensued when Britain used force to return them to Germany.
Executing Americans in postwar Japan - Black Glasses Like Clark Kent
Before his death Don Svoboda mailed his niece audiotapes telling of his life as a prison guard in the 8th Army Stockade in Nakano in 1946. It housed 600 court-martialed American military personnel. Many were "hastily-drafted misfits" who could not "resist the temptations of occupation." MPs weren't so much enforcing the law as making the law. "Military police, grasp the most livid form of power: the brute..." His captain's answer to the overcrowding was to execute the inmates. Without elaborating further, he sent her one final tape - a recording of a news broadcast about Abu Ghraib - and then committed suicide.
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, raped, 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.
12,000 Germans who died at Soviet Sachsenhausen Camp after World War II recalled
Researchers at the former Nazi Sachsenhausen camp have ended compiling a list of 12,000 Germans who died there during its use as an internment camp by the Soviets after WW2. Memorial officials issued the 260-page document, saying they aimed in part to provide a closure to the families. Soviet secret police used the camp to imprison Nazis as well as critics of the Soviet occupation of eastern Germany. In all, 60,000 people were sent to "Special Camp No. 1" in 1945-1950. "I am glad that this list now exists, but it has come much too late," said Horst Jaenichen, interned between 1946-1948 at age 15.
Film about Wilhelm Gustloff: Women, children torpedoed by a Soviet submarine
A film about the sinking of a Nazi ship carrying thousands of German refugees at the end of World War II has lifted the lid on one of Germany's most painful memories. The film, Die Gustloff, tells the story of the Nazi cruise ship "Wilhelm Gustloff", torpedoed by a Soviet submarine on Jan. 30, 1945. 9300 people died, thought to be biggest loss of life on a single ship. Yet the tale of the Gustloff remains unknown outside the country due to the reluctance of postwar generations to probe Germans' WW2 suffering. Launched in 1937, Gustloff was named after the assassinated head of the Swiss Nazi party.
Execution of SS soldiers at Dachau
"The killing of unarmed POWs did not trouble many of the men in I company that day for to them the SS guards did not deserve the same protected status as enemy soldiers who have been captured after a valiant fight. To many of the men in I company, the SS were nothing more than wild, vicious animals whose role in this war was to starve, brutalize, torment, torture and murder helpless civilians." -- Flint Whitlock, The Rock of Anzio, From Sicily to Dachau: A history of the U.S. 45th Infantry Division.
British scientists tested mustard gas on Indian soldiers during WWII
British military scientists sent hundreds of Indian soldiers into gas chambers and exposed them to mustard gas, reveal documents at the National Archives in London. The British military did not check up on the Indian soldiers afterwards. Many suffered severe burns, leaving them in pain for weeks. The experiments took place over more than 10 years before and during WWII in Rawalpindi. They were conducted by scientists from the Porton Down chemical warfare establishment. The Indian tests are a part of Porton's huge programme of chemical warfare testing on humans. 20,000 British soldiers were subjected to chemical warfare trials 1916-1989.
Comform women serving up to 60 American soldiers a day after WWII (Article no longer available from the original source)
"They took my clothes off. I was so small, they were so big, they raped me easily. I was bleeding, I was only 14 ... I can smell the men, I hate men." - Kang Soon-ae, abducted at age 13 by the Japanese military. Some say it's dishonest to call for a Japanese apology on comfort women issue while ignoring a similar practice by the U.S. military. The first brothel, known as the Babe Garden or Komachien, opened on Sept. 20, 1945. Troops paid upfront and were given tickets. Each woman had intercourse with 15-60 men a day. According to a memoir by an RAA official, the agency employed 70,000 comfort women to service the 350,000 U.S. troops occupying Japan.
Germany, Uneasy at Postwar Suffering, Commemorates KGB Victims
"The Soviets wanted me to work as a spy, but I was betrayed by an old schoolmate to the secret service," Peter Seele, who was jailed 1951-1952, said. "The Russians beat me up until I was unconscious. Sometimes, the interpreter urinated on me." Seele said he was the victim of a mock execution before being taken to a Soviet labor camp, or gulag, at Workuta, where he was put to work in the coal mines. After Soviet leader Josef Stalin's death in 1953, Seele took part in a camp strike - The strikers were "gunned down." "I saw more blood that day than during my time as a soldier. We were the last to come home," Seele said. He stayed there until 1955.
Czechs remember Russians abducted by Soviet secret police
In Prague there was a ceremony for the Russian émigrés abducted by the Soviet secret police at the close of WWII. The abductions began as soon as the Red Army liberated Czechoslovakia in 1944, and continued long after the Soviets arrived in Prague in May 1945. It's one of the most mysterious chapters in Czechoslovakia's history. What is known is due to the efforts of one man: Vladimir Bystrov senior, founder of "They Were The First" organisation. His father was one of the thousands, who emigrated to Czechoslovakia in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1945 he was kidnapped by a special division of the NKVD, the precursor to the KGB, called SMERS.
The embodiment of German suffering in World War II
A woman stands in the forest, shivering from the cold. She has just been raped by Russian Red Army soldiers and has been separated from her baby son, who may be dead by now. It is Jan 1945. She is German, married to a German, surrounded by other uprooted Germans. The Soviet forces are advancing toward Berlin and forcing millions of Germans in the eastern territories of the Third Reich to proceed in long columns southwest, back to their homeland. Some see this woman as the embodiment of German suffering in World War 2. But her son Hans-Ulrich Treichel does not agree with the comparison to mass extermination by Nazis.
The worst friendly-fire incident: RAF killed 7,000 Nazi camps survivors (Article no longer available from the original source)
In the worst friendly-fire incident in history Royal Air Force killed more than 7,000 survivors of Nazi camps who were crowded onto ships in Lybeck harbor. The ragged masses stood no chance against the guns of their liberators. This tragic mistake occurred one day before the British accepted the surrender of all German forces in the region. Reports of the incident were hushed up, as world prepared to celebrate the Allied victory in Europe. Despite the bitter irony of dying in hellish fires on sinking ships just hours before liberation, the tragedy was quickly forgotten or resolutely ignored. The RAF records of the disaster are sealed until 2045.
Canadian soldiers killing Waffen-SS and Wehrmacht prisoners (Article no longer available from the original source)
Editorial states that "The humane treatment of prisoners is a core value in Canada ..." A check of the history books might be in order. During World War II, Canadian soldiers executed German prisoners during the battle of Caen. "Caen: Anvil of Victory" by Alexander McKee, cites a Canadian soldier as saying "The Germans weren't too eager to surrender. We never took any SS prisoners now and sometimes dealt with Wehrmacht formations in the same way." This is the dark reality of war.
US Recruitment of Nazis and Croatian Ustasha - Klaus Barbie
After World War II, the US helped accused Nazi and Croatian Ustasha war criminals. Albanian fascists and Nazis were helped by the US to escape from Europe. Priest Krunoslav Draganovic had been a part of the NDH Ustasha regime allied to Nazi Germany. After WW2 he travelled back in the Vatican where he established escape routes for Nazis. In 1942 SS Hauptsturmfuerer Klaus Barbie became the Gestapo chief in Lyons. He was accused of killing 4,000 persons and he was responsible for the torture of French Resistance Movement leader Jean Moulin. In 1947, the US Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), hired Klaus Barbie to be an intelligence agent for the US.
Were Nazis Tortured in World War II?
How one answers the question depends on how one defines torture and a "Nazi." There were 3 main groups under which a "Nazi POW" held by U.S. forces could fall: (1) a National Socialist Party or German-American Bund member living in the US, captured after the attack on Pearl Harbor, (2) a captured Nazi soldier who was sent to PoW camps inside the US, or (3) a Nazi soldier who was held inside Europe after Nazi Germany was occupied. -- Jacques Bacque argued that Eisenhower`s misdeeds led to the starvation of over 800,000 German POWs. He claimed that Einsehower got around the Geneva Conventions by changing the status from PoWs to "Disarmed Enemy Combatant."
Exhibition recalls millions of germans beaten after World War II
Germany is recalling its suffering in the confusion after the Second World War when millions of germans from Eastern Europe were expelled. As the liberated Poles and Czechs sought revenge on their former oppressors, many German women were raped and beaten; some were nailed to cartwheels. Now the suffering is being remembered in an exhibition in Berlin. For Erika Steinbach it is the first step towards creating a permanent centre in Berlin to commemorate the 12 million Germans deported. The Polish President says that it is an attempt to represent Germans as victims. Earlier, one Polish magazine cover depicted Frau Steinbach in a black SS uniform.
Chemical warfare - Lethal doses tested on British troops (Article no longer available from the original source)
Servicemen were subjected to lethal doses of poison in secret tests atPorton Down, an official report admit. One test saw six soldiers severely injured after their genitals were exposed to mustard gas to test prototype. The trial, in which an RAF serviceman died in agony after being given sarin, is also condemned in a list of cases in which scientists were acting "at the edge of their knowledge". Report praises the bravery of Porton Down's scientists, who often volunteered for the most risky trials themselves. "But it's inevitable that most attention is going to be on those trials where things went wrong."
Book defends NZ soldiers' actions during World War II
A new book "Breakout: Minquar Qaim, North Africa 1942" is defending the reputation of New Zealand soldiers during WW2. El Alamein was the turning point in the desert war, but that victory is a contrast to the situation New Zealanders were in a few months earlier, when 10,000 of them were trapped by the Rommel's German Afrika Korps at Minqar Qaim in June 1942. The New Zealanders decided to break out at the point of a bayonet, in the dead of night, an action that remains disputed to this day. The issue was revived when British historian Sir Max Hastings accused the New Zealanders of having massacred medical staff and the wounded.
Film: Suffering of Nazi outcasts Britain sent to Outback exile
The horror experienced by anti-Nazi outcasts shipped to the Australian Outback by the British Government, has been documented in a new film that shows the darker side of Britain's fight against Nazi Germany. The men, scientists, academics and artists who had fled to Britain at the outbreak of the war, were considered a security threat after the fall of France. On the orders of Churchill, they were dispatched on the Hired Military Transport (HMT) ship Dunera in July 1940 - a 57-day journey in appalling conditions. Their arrival was seen as the greatest injection of talent to enter Australia on a single vessel.
Welsh journalist who exposed horrors of Stalin
A young Welsh journalist Gareth Richard Vaughan Jones who exposed the man made famines of the Stalinist Government and was later murdered by Japanese bandits was honoured with the the unveiling of a plaque. Traveling in Soviet Ukraine he wrote a number of articles about the man-made famine orchestrated by Stalin in what had been the "breadbasket of Europe." Many millions perished even as the Soviet authorities denied that a famine was raging, and continued to export grain. They were joined in their cover up by some Western journalists, including the now notorious Walter Duranty of The New York Times.
Photographs of Victims of UK's post war torture camp
Photographs of victims of a secret torture programme operated by British authorities are published for the first time after being concealed for almost 60 years. The pictures show men who had suffered months of starvation, sleep deprivation, beatings and extreme cold at one of a number of interrogation centres run by the War Office in postwar Germany. Believing that war with the Soviet Union was inevitable, the War Office was seeking information about Russian military and intelligence methods. Dozens of women were also detained and tortured, as were a number of genuine Soviet agents, scores of suspected Nazis, and former members of the SS.
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.
Red Army troops raped even Russian women as they liberated them from camps
The Red Army's orgy of rape in the dying days of Nazi Germany was conducted on a much greater scale than previously suspected, according to the military historian Anthony Beevor. Beevor, the author of the best-selling Stalingrad, says advancing Soviet troops raped large numbers of Russian and Polish women held in concentration camps, as well as millions of Germans. The extent of the Red Army's indiscipline and depravity emerged as the author studied Soviet archives. Beevor - who served in the 11th Hussars elite cavalry regiment - says details of the Soviet soldiers' behaviour have forced him to revise his view of human nature.
U.S. in WWII: Dark Side
Mass rapes by Soviet Red Army
Bombing of Dresden, Hamburg
Nazi Memorabilia: Controversial Sales and Auctions
Art looted by Americans
Atrocities by Poles.