In almost any war one side can be dishonestly demonized even by a truthful enumeration of its crimes, if the crimes of its adversaries are suppressed. —Irmin Vinson
Excerpted from Thomas Goodrich’s 2010 book
The Death of Nazi Germany
As Hans Woltersdorf observed, and as Allied occupation troops would later attest, the one element almost totally lacking in the German heart during the post-war years was, surprisingly, the spirit of hatred and revenge.
Paradoxically, while the defeated had neither the time nor the inclination to look back, the victors did. Continuing the process begun before the war, the Western propaganda offensive against Germany proceeded with renewed vigor following the war. In thousands of books, articles, and movies, the world was reminded over and over again that the Nazi Party in particular, and all Germans in general, were solely responsible for the war; that they and they alone had committed beastly atrocities; that only the German people and their leaders were war criminals; that German guilt was somehow something “unique.” Curiously, many who argued this thesis and were often its most violent proponents were also those who had been furthest removed from the actual fighting itself.
Among those closest to the fight, however, post-war propaganda had negligible results. Indeed, far from being filled with hatred as they were expected to be, many maturing Allied soldiers and airmen—those who actually fought on the ground or bombed from the air—were some of the least vindictive and some of the most forgiving. After boarding with Germans, dining with Germans, drinking with Germans, and sometimes, after courting and falling in love with Germans, many Allied troops ultimately began to understand and identify with Germans. Too late, most came to the shocking realization that in no appreciable way was their former enemy different from themselves. Ashamed by the sadistic, blood-thirsty propaganda they had swallowed so eagerly and obeyed so blindly, many young men—Americans, British, French, and even Russians—knew all too well from experience that neither Nazis or Germans had a corner on crime and that there was nothing “unique” about guilt or evil.
One of the most outspoken opponents of singular war guilt was the intrepid American journalist, Freda Utley. “An atrocity ceases to be one when committed in a ‘good cause,’ that is, our own,” wrote the hard-hitting author in her 1949 book, The High Cost of Vengeance.
I thought it was high time we stopped talking about German guilt, since there was no crime the Nazis had committed, which we or our allies had not also committed. I had referred to our obliteration bombing, the mass deportation and expulsion from their homes of twelve million Germans on account of their race; the starving of the Germans during the first years of the occupation; the use of prisoners as slave laborers; the Russian concentration camps, and the looting perpetrated by Americans as well as Russians… Compared with the rape and murder and looting engaged in by the Russian armies at the war’s end, the terror and slavery and hunger and robbery in the East zone today, and the genocide practiced by the Poles and Czechs, the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Germans condemned at Nuremberg to death or lifelong imprisonment appeared as minor in extent if not in degree.
J.F.C. Fuller agreed. “For fifty or a hundred years, and possibly more,” announced the British major general, “the ruined cities of Germany will stand as monuments to the barbarism of their conquerors.”
Another backward-looking Briton, an RAF crewman, expressed in simple, yet profound, terms a thought that thousands of other Allied soldiers and airmen no doubt pondered for the rest of their lives: “Had the Germans won the war, should we or ought we to have been tried as war criminals?… The thoughts live with me to this day.”
For the most part though, such reflections were kept strictly private.
We had turned the evil of our enemies back upon them a hundredfold, and, in so doing, something of our integrity had been shattered, had been irrevocably lost. All, all, were one, all were the ghastly horror of what we had known, of what we had helped to do… Face it when you close this book.
Educate yourself about the Holocaust perpetrated on the German people by the Allied forces that the mainstream media has covered up for nearly seventy years.
Hellstorm is still available from the publisher.