When an anniversary of the landing of the Western allies in Normandy in 1944 is committed, the press is full of it. Last year the Battle of Stalingrad for the 75th time and it is silent. Why is a dignified memory in Germany apparently impossible? Both events are, after all, comparable because they were decisive stages in the victory over Hitler’s Germany. Would it have been better if Nazi Germany had won? Can we not acknowledge that this bloody victory also liberated Germany? Are 27 million people killed in the Soviet Union not reason enough as well as the 6 million people killed Jewish faith to exercise some mindfulness? As it seems, the refusal of recognition has a perfidious reason: with Russia has won the “wrong” country, a country that even today again need as an enemy image for Rheinmetall & co.
It is quite silent in Germany for the 75th anniversary of the victory of the Red Army in the Battle of Stalingrad. With the surrender of General Field Marshal Paulus ended on February 2, 1943 the most sacrificial slaughter of World War II. Even before American and British forces opened 14 months later, with the landing in the Normandy at last, the second Front, opened the battle of Stalingrad the turning point to victory over Hitler fascism, the Soviet Union, with the tremendous blood from a total of 27 million people had to buy.
And yet in the German Mainstream media and in the awareness of most German citizens “the Soviet Russians” are still not as liberators of Germany from criminal Hitler-fascism, rather Russia is recently again considered as an “enemy”. Therefore, there is no public commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Fanal of Stalingrad here in Germany, while since the end of the war no important anniversary of the landing of American and British troops in Normandy took place without large-scale public celebrations. Since it is not surprising that on the question of who has liberated Germany from fascism, only 13 percent of German citizens also called “the Russians”.
To date, most Germans, especially those born after the war, have no real idea of what the German war of aggression and annihilation against the Soviet Union really meant for them.
In serious historical research, there has long been agreement that this war “was not a European ‘normal War’, conducted according to the norms of the war civil law, but a race-ideologically founded War Of Annihilation, in which, moreover, not only the SS and the so-called operational groups participated, as the apologetic memoir literature of World War II participants wanted to know, but also parts of the Wehrmacht.”
At the same time, it was an imperialist “habitat” war against the “Jewish Bolshevik System”, as it was called in Nazi Jargon, with the declared aim of winning colonial settlement area for German military farmers. From this dual character grew the unprecedented brutalization of warfare, which gave the “company Barbarossa” a singular character. “When Barbarossa rises, the world breathes,” Hitler had proclaimed in the narrowest circle.
Not only was the Holocaust a singular crime in world history; it was also the kind of German warfare in the East, which prevailed over all the norms of martial law in force until then.
The criminal orders and the national socialist geopolitics of hunger
Already in the planning phase of the Russian Field Campaign, the interaction between the Nazi leadership and the leaders of the Wehrmacht can be clearly demonstrated. The assault on the Soviet Union has been carefully planned since July 1940 in the high command of the Wehrmacht and in the high command of the army. On 17 March 1941, Hitler declared to General Colonel Franz Halder and Colonel Adolf Heusinger-the later first general inspector of the Bundeswehr:
“In the Great Russian sphere, the use of the most brutal force is necessary. Ideological ties do not yet hold the Russian people together firmly enough. It will tear up with eliminating the functionaries.”
And on 30 March 1941, Hitler sharpened some 250 leading military forces that “in this struggle of two world views, one must move away from the point of view of the soldiers ‘comrades”: “we are not at war in order to preserve the enemy. ( … ) The battle will be very different from the battle in the West.“As a result, the Wehrmacht and army led to the elaboration of criminal orders. These are:
the “Commissar Order”, which demanded the immediate liquidation of the commissars by the force,
the “war court order”, which eliminated the ordinary military jurisdiction: “suspect elements are simultaneously presented to an officer. This decides whether they are to shoot (…). For acts committed by members of the Wehrmacht and the entourage against enemy civilians, there is no obligation to prosecute”,
the “guidelines for the conduct of troops in Russia”: “(…) this struggle requires ruthless and energetic crackdown against Bolshevik agitators, irregulars, saboteurs, Jews, and complete elimination of every active or passive resistance”,
the “orders for the treatment of Russian prisoners of war”: “insidious behavior, especially of the prisoners of war of Asian origin, is to be expected. Therefore ruthless and energetic penetration at the slightest sign of resentment”.
All these orders were issued before 22 June 1941, the day of the assault on the Soviet Union, and made known to all General Staff Officers in the associations and commanders of the Eastern Army. They were told to the troops a little later. In the” messages for the force “of June 1941, which were probably read only in July in the companies, it was said:” it is about erasing the red sub-humanity, which is embodied in the Moscow rulers.”
There was not only no significant objection, let alone opposition to these orders, which set itself apart from the provisions of the martial law, The Hague land war rules and the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war, but these orders were also implemented by the majority of the troop leaders. 30. March 1941, speech, Hitler of “colonial responsibilities” in Russia; for him, it was “Germany’s Africa” and the “Russians are our Negroes”. Göring’s” Supreme central office for Russia " called on 2. “This will undoubtedly starve tens of millions of people if the necessary for us is brought out of the country.”
The state secretary of the Reich Ministry of food and agriculture, Herbert Backe, an old party comrade and agricultural expert of the NSDAP, designed a true geopolitics of hunger for the Soviet population. According to Backe’s concept, which was largely realized, the surplus areas of the Soviet South should be cut off from the subsidy areas in central and northern Russia and the harvest for the supply of Wehrmacht or to Central Europe should be deducted.
In particular, it was necessary to isolate and starve the large industrial centres with their masses of population from the supply of agricultural land, in order to gain the surplus needed for German purposes. The desired side effect was the destruction of those “elements of the population”, which were considered to be the most racially inferior and politically unreliable in Nazi understanding: Jews, Muscovites and industrial workers. Their famine was to ensure a radical deindustrialization of Russia and a colonial settlement for German military farmers. Following Backe’s guidelines of 23 May 1941, the starvation of the two-million-city of Leningrad was not only a means of military pressure to force the city to capitulate, but also a desired side effect of the National Socialist hunger policy vis-à-vis the “grant areas of the Soviet North”.
The mass dying of the Soviet prisoners of war, and its causes
Göring’s cynical prophecy as well as Backes ' plans were to become a reality in a terrible way in the first winter of war in 1941/42. The war was supposed to feed the war, that is, the need for food and raw materials needed for German warfare was to be squeezed out of the conquered country. On the other hand, the interests of the civilian population and the Soviet prisoners of war had to be restrained.
The red army soldiers who fell in the first few weeks after the Robbery, in the cauldron battles to hundreds of thousands in the hands of the Wehrmacht, were mere Ballast. In 1941, 45,690 Soviet prisoners died alone in the camps in occupied Poland. Of the 361,612 prisoners, who were to be permanently accommodated there in autumn 1941, 307,816 more than 85 per cent, had been starved, frozen, died of plague or shot until 15 April 1942.
The second reason that caused the mass extinction, especially in the war winter of 1941-42, were the absolutely inadequate accommodation. The camp complexes, planned for 30,000 to 50,000 prisoners each, were usually with barbed wire fenced areas or troop training places under the open sky; there were not even barracks, let alone the most primitive sanitary facilities. The result was that the prisoners had to go down in ditches and boreholes, in deciduous huts and Earth huts until the Winter, with tens of thousands being frozen or caught up by infectious diseases such as dysentery and typhoid fever.
Hundreds of thousands lost their lives on the Transport from the Front to the prisoner camps. Another reason for the extremely high mortality in the camps for Soviet prisoners of war and displaced “eastern workers” were the often fatal work operations. Not only were they, in contrast to the prisoners of other nations, the most serious and dangerous work, but tens of thousands were systematically destroyed by labor, especially during the later operations in the German defense factories.
At the Stukenbrock labour camp near Paderborn, the Labour commands were compiled for the whole North Rhine-Westphalia region. Russian prisoners of war were sent with fondness to coal mines, mines and underground “DORA” arms factories. Those who had to work here didn’t come back. Of the 65,000 prisoners of war who were in Stukenbrock, 5,000 were still alive at the end of the war. Of the 5.7 million soldiers of the Red Army who entered German prisoners of war, almost 3.3 million have been starved in German camps, killed by plague, destroyed by Labor, shot, gassed or killed by mistreatment. Not only Auschwitz and Treblinka, but also the German camps for Soviet prisoners of war, with their average death rate of almost 60 percent, must therefore be qualified as death and extermination camps.
Wehrmacht aid for the SS: aid to genocide
One of the indestructible legends about the Russian campaign to this day is the claim that the German Wehrmacht had led a pure “military war” in the East, while the extermination actions, of which the normal War participant had already known nothing, were carried out solely by the operation in the back of the Front command of the SS and the SD.
This is a claim that has tenaciously cemented the collective legal needs of German war participants as well as the popular memoir literature of former Wehrmacht members. However, there is a wealth of evidence for the seamless cooperation of operational groups, SS and Wehrmacht. Man only read the extensive studies of the employees of the Military History Research Office in Freiburg on this subject.
As early as the planning phase of the Russian campaign, the “deployment of the security police and the SD in the Federation of the army” had been agreed upon. As was stated in an agreement between the SS Reich leader, Heinrich Himmler, and the commander-in-chief of the army, Walther von Brauchitsch, on 28 April 1941. The cooperation between the army and the SS to eradicate the “Jewish Bolshevik intelligence” had already “proven its worth"in the Polenfeldzug. Even then, the Wehrmacht officers deployed there had become members of the extermination practice of the operational groups, who were victims of the Polish intelligence and the Polish Jews. A few Wehrmacht officers protested, but the majority remained silent.
Many Wehrmacht officers have not only delivered Bolshevik commissioners, officers, officials and Jews willingly to the operational groups, but also provided organizational assistance in preparing for mass killings. In many proven cases, Wehrmacht units set up block commandos during mass shootings and helped to “contain” the occupied cities and territories. During the invasion of German troops, the Jews were usually forced by army orders for identification and registration; often also local and field commanders took the Initiative and ordered the " special commandos “to make their territories” Jewish Free”. In a number of cases even Duty-Free Soldiers have voluntarily offered to the SD to help in the execution of shooting, as a spectator and thereby made photos.
All these aids were a decisive prerequisite for the four operational groups to be able to kill more than half a Million Soviet Jews by April 1942. The murderous aid, which provided parts of the Wehrmacht with the command of the security police and the SD, is particularly well documented in the case of the massacre of Babi Jar. After the conquest of Kiev by German troops in September 1941 33.771 Jewish inhabitants were lured, after consultation, the use of group C with the city commandant of Kiev, major-General Eberhardt, in the ravine of Babi Yar. The propaganda company of the Sixth Army printed 2,000 posters, with which the Jews were called “resettlement”. Army units of the sixth army, concerned about the Isolation of the gorge, army sappers blew up after the massacre the walls of the ravine, the corpse mountains to be obscured.
The Wehrmacht has also cooperated smoothly with the security police and the SD in the fight against partisans. The concept of the partisan and " Freischärler “had already been broadened in accordance with the provisions of the” order of martial law " so that practically every suspect civilian could be liquidated as a Partisan or partisan sympathizer. The death penalty should also be applied to all benefits and assistance to partisans from the civilian population. Wilhelm Keitel’s decree of 16 September 1941 on” the fight against communist uprising movements " gave the Wehrmacht members not only the opportunity to make immediate short trial with any Soviet civilians suspected of Partisan, but also to repay attacks on German soldiers fifty to one hundred times. In this decree it is :
In these cases, the death penalty for 50 to 100 communists must generally be regarded as appropriate as a punishment for a German soldier’s life. The type of execution must increase the deterrent effect.
In practice, the “retribution” ratio was often several times higher. Many hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens were shot outside of the actual fighting as “irregulars, “suspected Partisans”, “saboteurs” and the hostages, or in the course of collective retaliation as the burning of entire villages and towns killed. In this way, 628 villages with almost all inhabitants have been destroyed in Belarus alone; in many cases, the villagers were driven into schools, barns and barracks and burned there alive: this is also a kind of Auschwitz. The war court order gave the Wehrmacht and SS members the assurance that none of them was held accountable when they killed Russians and Jews outside of direct combat.
In order to give an idea of what destruction and crimes were carried out by only one army and the special commands operating in their field of operations, the example of the 18th Army (North), which was also involved in the siege of Leningrad, is given here. The chief of staff, Friedrich Foertsch, who got into Soviet prisoners of war, was prosecuted after the war by a Soviet court.
Foertsch was accused of “first of all carrying out Hitler’s plan of extermination of Leningrad and its people, as far as the fascists were able to realize it, second of all, as the chief of staff in an inhumane way, evacuating the population from the near-Front areas and carrying out mass killings of towns, third of all destroying the old Russian cities of Novgorod, Pskov and Ostrov and carrying out mass killings of peaceful citizens and killing 186,760 prisoners of War, soldiers and officers of the Soviet army in the Novgorod region alone”. On the planned destruction of Leningrad Foertsch declared in court: “I admit that I have given the orders to fire, but I confess not guilty.”
Friedrich Foertsch was sentenced by the Soviet Tribunal as a " transferred war criminal to 25 years in prison, but only had to sit down for ten years. In 1955 he was returned to West Germany together with other German war criminals. For his ten-year imprisonment Foertsch was immediately compensated in a special way: through a photo book career at the German armed forces and NATO. As early as 1956, he became Division commander of the second Grenadier Division in Kassel and shortly thereafter appointed General. In 1959 he became deputy chief of staff planning and Politics at NATO headquarters, in 1961 he replaced the former general inspector of the German armed forces, Heusinger, who had also been a “honored” Nazi Colonel. The fact that such military careers did not constitute an exception after 1945 proves the almost unbroken continuity of personnel in the leadership of the Wehrmacht and the Bundeswehr.
As early as 1957, 44 former Wehrmacht generals and admirals and more than 1,000 former Wehrmacht officers returned to the service of the new German army. In a newspaper article, the military historian Sönke Neitzel has recently called for a return to “military values”: the Bundeswehr must again be an “Instrument of struggle”. You can grenadiers “tanks and paratroopers” but not “louder non-fighting role models to offer”. They” should be able to fight and kill “and therefore not limit themselves to” traditional elements”,“which correspond to the liberal-democratic basic order”.
Neitzel strongly recommends that the Bundeswehr should return to the traditional line of the Wehrmacht. If a German military historian and chairwoman can once again proclaim such theories in a German media guide and recommend an army as a model that was available without significant resistance to the most outrageous war of aggression, robbery and annihilation of modern times-what conclusions do we have to draw from this? That the Federal Republic of Germany, as the economic Imperial hegemonic power within the European Union, should finally abandon its previous military restraint and be at the forefront again in the future US-led commodity and regime Wars?
The Pyrrhic victory in the “Great Patriotic war”
In any German history textbook about the Second world war, one finds an almost realistic description of what destruction and devastation caused by the German armies on the rise, especially during the retreat and what is the “leader” command “scorched earth” meant for the Soviet Union. In the occupied territory of 88 million people, a total of 15 large cities, 1,710 small towns and 70,000 villages were completely or partially devastated and six million houses burned or demolished, causing 25 million people to lose their homes. A third of the arable land was transformed into Wasteland, the collective and state farms were without cattle, without seed, without tools and machines.
Almost half of the Soviet industrial potential had been destroyed - “what would be like the destruction of America East of Chicago”, as President Kennedy said in a speech on 10 June 1963. The total property damage for the Soviet economy was estimated at 679 billion rubles. For this purpose, at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, the Soviet Union called for ten billion dollars of reparations from Germany, i.e. less than a third of the sum that the Western powers had demanded of Germany in 1921. The most terrible, however, were the loss of human lives.
In view of the fact that the military winner Soviet Union had lost at least four times as many people as the aggressor and military loser Germany, one can probably only speak of a “Pyrrhus victory”. If one takes into account the gigantic material destructions, one would actually have to count the Soviet Union as the losers of the Second World War — an appearance that, of course, does not want to fit properly to their own proud self - and external representation after 1945, to the triumphantly summoned victory in the “Great Patriotic War”.
Divided country, half the guilt
Most of the German citizens still assume today that the 27 million dead on the Soviet side were victims of” normal war actions”. However, at least seven to eight million people have died outside the actual fighting: an act that justifies speaking of genocide. Auschwitz was as “inconceivable crimes” of all the German — the German war of extermination against the peoples of the Soviet Union, however, and the associated debt have been displaced with the Onset of the Cold war in Germany quickly denied or downplayed. The war against the Soviet Union had created the basis for the Holocaust, by bringing the Eastern European and Soviet Jews in the hands of the Nazis.
With the division of Germany, not only had a very unproportional distribution of all German war debt and restitution payments in favour of the Federal Republic occurred — see the London debt agreement of 1953, in which all outstanding claims for reparations were deferred until the conclusion of a formal peace treaty, which was never concluded.
The division of Germany and the Cold War which began a few years after the end of the war, in which “the Soviet Union” was once again declared an enemy, also resulted in a division of the German sense of guilt.
During the GDR, the one-third of the German population is representative for Germany as a whole had to assume the war debt to the Soviet Union in the material, such as a moral sense, a special Compensation to the Survivors of the Holocaust and the state of Israel until late in the year of 1988 recognized, the Federal Republican state in the sole fault of Israel. In Germany today there is a distinct culture of memory concerning the Holocaust. But where are the memorials and memorials for the 900,000 of Leningrad citizens died of starvation during the German Blockade? And for the millions of Soviet prisoners of war who were starved, murdered and destroyed by Labor in the German camps and concentration camps? Where are the memorials for the victims of countless of burned villages? They don’t exist.
Instead of feeling the threat, feelings of the Soviet side responsible, the West German of the war generation and their politicians for decades in a threat hysteria in increased, which allowed the former attackers, to understand themselves as a threatened victim of any possible Soviet Attack, and to take in the Alliance with the terrorist organization NATO, the strategy of the military and nuclear deterrent your refuge.
“In collective behavior,” wrote the Hamburg psychoanalyst Carl Nedelmann, " we behave as if it weren’t for us who invaded the Soviet Union, brought it to the brink of defeat and covered it with unspeakable suffering. We did not take the blame on ourselves, but instead displaced, split, shifted and projected. This defense process was warned and strengthened by the memory of the suffering the Russians have done to us. We still trust the Russians what they have done to us, but unconsciously we also burden them in project planning on what we have done to them”.
It is precisely for this reason that the official German politics, in association with the mainstream media, can once again continue without break to the old enemy image of “Soviet Union” or “Russia” and without the slightest moral scruples drive the new round of the Cold War and the arms race as the most important terrorist-NATO Partner. What good is our work-up of the past if we do not seem to have learned anything from this past as far as our dealings with Russia are concerned?
Are Russian troops standing at the German border, for example, or is it not exactly the other way around? What has the Bundeswehr lost in the Baltic states? In view of the eastward expansion of the terrorist organization NATO to the borders of Russia and in view of last year’S, since the end of the war, the biggest military invasion of NATO in the Baltic states and at the Polish-Russian border, who actually has reason to feel threatened: us or Russia?
When will it be understood that a reliable and sustainable pan - European security and peace system can only be established with and with the involvement of Russia, but not against Russia.