Talk:Evacuation of East Prussia/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Reliable and reputable sources

Apart from the lack of citing references, I am not altogether sure if all the sources given meet the criteria of reliable and reputable sources. For example the extract by William I. Hitchcock:

  • It has at least one distortion and one factual error of admission in it regarding Dresden. "Dresden. This ancient capital of Saxony, once called the Florence of the Elbe for its magnificent baroque architecture, possessed little heavy industry. Following an assault by some eight hundred RAF bombers and 311 American B-17s, the city was swallowed by fire, and over 50,000 people were incinerated". No it did not possess heavy industry but it did possess light industry which in 1944, the German Army High Command's Weapons Office listed 127 medium-to-large factories and workshops which supplied the army with materiel (Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945. By Frederick Taylor, page 169). The number killed is at the high end of the range given by other respectable historians, who have specialised in the attack. If this was a reliable and reputable source one would expect him to note the Allied bombing assessments and to list the range of figures on the death toll which other respectable historians who have specialised in the raids have come up with.
  • "Russian soldiers were urged on by their commanders to behave as brutally as possible." If they had there would not have been a German alive east of the Elbe. The Zhukov quote which follows his assertion does not say what he says it says. As Beevor points out in Berlin the downfall on Page 409 "in Berlin the feelings of the civilian population were very mixed. While embittered by the looting and rape, they were also astonished and grateful for the Red Army's major efforts to feed them".
  • "Some women's bodies were found raped, mutilated, and nailed to barn doors." It may have happened, but this sounds like the crucified Canadian soldier story of World War I. (The crucified Canadian has been studied by several historians and the general conclusion is that it can not be positively verified to credible first hand reports (This is not to say that it did not happen, just that the rumours that it did conveniently dovetailed into Allied propaganda whether the incident was true or not). Niall Ferguson: Pity of War James Hayward:Myths and Legends of the First World War). In the same way if one looks at the Nemmersdorf article it is possible that reports of the atrocity was tainted by Nazi propaganda. Any reputable historian ought to mention this while laying out the known facts [1]

Of the author himself, his biography is available with a review of the book "The Struggle for Europe" from the publisher (Random House) along with some glowing review quotes.[2]. --Philip Baird Shearer 10:47, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

when I first heard this I found it similar to the case of the Canadian soldier in WWI, but this has been actually documents to a much greater extent. I think this has often been unfairly called a hoax because it resembles the WWI case so much.

  • As for Russians being urged on by their commanders,it was not necessarily their commanders that urged them on, but the Russian national radio had a very anti-German announcer (i forget his name now) who very much urged them to rape, pillage and murder Germans. It was most oftenly the commanders who stopped the atrocities after a period of time, but they hardly urged them on.

to quote you: "If they had there would not have been a German alive east of the Elbe." That is an exaggeration, that would of been nigh impossible, the Nazis couldnt kill all the Jews and the plan they had was state controlled, how could the Russkies do any better to a larger population in less time? while the Red army's atrocities where not organized until after the war was over and the remaining Germans in the areas were forced accross the Oder-Neisse line.

  • in his book on Dresden, the number given in that book is "in the high-range" as you say, but still in the commonly accepted range from historians, it is not hundreds of thousands and millions like the Nazis had said.

--Jadger 16:29, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

William I. Hitchcock is surely a "reliable and reputable" source. He is a well-respected historian, with a PhD from Yale and is a full professor at Temple University. He's also a historian of France, which makes particular pro-German bias not incredibly likely. That doesn't mean he doesn't make mistakes, but he's certainly a valid source to use. john k 02:24, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Rape and stuff

See previous contibutions to this section under Archive 1: Rape and stuff

The Vanished Kingdom is a good book, the only person I have heard criticize it is Space Cadet, who can hardly be said to have a clear head on such topics. The Author's POV does not matter, because we are talking about cold, hard facts here, and the numbers presented in his book are commonly accepted and used by other historians on the subject.

I will see about getting a copy of the biography of Erich Hartmann, Blonde Knight of Germany so that I can quote the section that describes the atrocities committed by the Soviets.

--Jadger 20:20, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Blonde Knight of Germany ? Excuse me, but is this serious ? There really is a book titled like that ?

--Molobo 18:04, 6 April 2006 (UTC)


My original point was question whether Russians and Soviets published anything that denied the scale of the accusations. Of course, it is easy to kick a dead horse now (I mean the collapsed USSR), but the NPOV dictates to search for the opposite position as well. Especially in this case there are evident reasons to believe that for qiute some time these was a good desire to overblow Soviet atrocities.

I was also saying that if Russians don't want to make an effort in this direction, I will not lose my sleep. But as a wikipedian I have to point out an obvious disbalance in the coverage of the issue. That's all. `'mikka (t) 21:19, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

well no one wonders why there is a disbalance in the coverage, do you really think that Russians or Communists would bring their atrocities to public light willingly?. They use the common political tactic of not commenting and hoping it will go away, and so far it has been fairly effective, as hardly anyone outside of historians or Germans who have encountered the expellees knows about the atrocities.

Your logic is flawed Mikkalai, this can easily be compared to the Katyn massacre, the Russians didnt admit that they had committed the mass murder until 1990, 50 years after the atrocity took place. Most the information on that is still classified, do you really think that Katyn is the only case of secret WWII atrocities not yet officially revealed by the Russian Government?

--Jadger 00:08, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

You forget that times changed. Russians uncovered so many atrocities in their country about Communist times. They publish books about German women in Gulag, they publish various martyrology lists. For example Memorial Society does this. I agree with the point that since Russians do not rush to disprove this it is an indirect indication of the guilt. BTW if I am not mistaken, Solzhenitsyn did speak something about rapes; he did serve in East Prussia. `'mikka (t) 06:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

NPOV doesn't dictate that we "search for the opposite position." It dictates that we represent fairly all positions which actually exist, and give them weight based on how prominent they are, and how accepted by scholars. john k 03:52, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

How we can "represent fairly", if we don't search? I am repeating again: for a long time it has been fashionable to bash Soviet Union and pile dirt onto it (myself including, here, in wikipedia). But the rape thing it is not about the Soviet state. It is a portrayal of Russians as dirty pigs. I don't believe Russians were dirtier pigs than germans. I do believe there were rapes. I don't believe there were "millions" of raped women. I don't believe "the rape of women and girls went unchecked in the ruined city" is the fair and balanced description of what was there. I am aware of court-martials for rape and plundering. I am also aware that marshals and generals, including beloved Russian hero Georgy Zhukov, stole full freight cars of goodies from Germany. But I am repeating, Russians are not in a hurry to write what in their opinion was happening in Konigsberg besides Russian Ivans running around with bare dicks aloft. `'mikka (t) 06:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
The rape stuff is pretty well-documented, and is found in general English language textbooks on the subject. The fact that you don't believe that it was as widespread as that is all very well. But you have to cite actual sources that say this. At the moment, you seem to be suggesting that there isn't much work disputing this. Therefore, we can't really include the contrary opinion, as it seems to be an insignificant one. In terms of "searching for the opposite position," perhaps I misunderstood your point. If the opposite position is actually to be found in the scholarship (presumably it would largely be in the Russian-language scholarship), then of course it belongs in the article. But if it doesn't exist, we shouldn't be "searching" for it in dubious places. Or making it up on our own, which would be OR. john k 07:30, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I am speaking about scholarship. Were I of different approach I'd be headlong in revert wars here long time ago. `'mikka (t) 16:31, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

The rape stories are overblown in some part. We have to remember the fact that many of those women simply prostituted themselfs to Soviet soldiers, and in fact I have seen a document by Soviet commander complaining that his soldiers can't performed their duties right in occupied territories, because everywhere they go hordes of German "fraeuleins" harras his soldiers with all kinds of propositions. I shall try to find the quote with reference after the weekend. This will give a broader image of relationship between German women and Soviet soldiers. --Molobo 16:39, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

i think that is an insult for any victim of these atrocities. furthermore i would like to point out that the user "Molobo" can be found in articles which deal with injustice and crimes done to germans(for example "Morgenthau Plan" "Prussia" or "Expulsion of Germans after World War II") and try to justify them or define them down. i would be grateful if any admistrator read this and check this issue so he can be banned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.134.249.57 (talk) 06:42, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

I believe the stance of some editors, intoxicated with Cold War propaganda, borders on Holocaust Denial. There is no lack of revisionists who claim that the Yankees won that war. Leaving the above discussion aside: is there an article in Wikipedia which describes how the "good" Anglo-American guys drove all the female population of Munich into the subway for a night of debauchery, which resulted in an unprecedented baby boom? And remember that neither the Britons nor the Americans didn't have to go through all that the Soviet soldiers had to. And the Germans did not exterminate their wives and children methodically as they did in Russia. They did not burn hundreds of English or U.S. villages with all their inhabitants alive. --Ghirla -трёп- 17:19, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

I want to clarify the position of angry Ghirla. He is not going to run and write an article about Yankee rapists. Neither he is going to edit each and every European Russian town/village article to add a phrase "when Germans entered the town the first day they fucked all women, the next day they fucked all 6-year olf boy". In fact and don't remember a single article in wikipedia with such remarks. Whatever the Cold War taught the West, Russians don't have malicious memory. `'mikka (t) 18:02, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Well correct me if I am wrong, I know Germans mass murdered and exterminated villagers but I don't think they raped usually(portayed quite clearly in the excellent Soviet movie "Come and see" btw), as it was a crime to engage in sex with those German state considered "sub human". --Molobo 18:06, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, it was not crime. Whole bordellos were set of "sub human" slavs. See also The House of Dolls & German Soldier's House. `'mikka (t) 22:04, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

I have not read any reports that Soviet soldiers molested 6 year old boys, (Don't know about Germans in Russia). On the contrary many reports tend to stress that the Soviets were often unnecessarily kind to children, while the same reports mention that Soviet solders, usually second and third echelon troops, (the first echelon were too busy winning the war) raped many women many times. The first time I came across this was in a book which was available in English, when for many years it was no longer available in German: Marta Hillers, "A Woman in Berlin: Six Weeks in the Conquered City" Translated by Anthes Bell, ISBN 0805075402. More recently Beevor has researched the phenomenon, and writes about it in "Berlin the downfall 1945". He also published an article in The Guardian on May 1, 2002: 'They raped every German female from eight to 80'. However every major book I have read on the Battle for Berlin mentions the rapes, but usually in passing. For example Earl Ziemke mentions it passing on page 149 of "Battle of Berlin end of the Third Reich": "[By the time the Americans arrived] looting and plundering had subsided to sporadic acts by undisciplined and usually drunken individuals, and rape had become unnecessarily strenuous way of attaining something that in a war torn, almost starving city hundreds of women were willing to provide on professional or semi-professional terms."

Look, let's provide some citations that say that the standard claims of enormous numbers of German women raped by Soviet soldiers are overstated. Until then, this is all just sounding off. john k 00:58, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Molobo and Mikka, you have taken this off-topic and are being completely brash and domineering of this topic. This is not about German atrocities in the east, those are well documented and have their own articles. we are talking here about the Soviet atrocities in Prussia, if you want to say that it was retribution for what the Germans did, then say it, it only took me one sentence to say what you said in multiple paragraphs.

What is being attempted by Mikka and Molobo is to divert attention from what the article is about, the rape and murder of the German women and children in German lands taken by Russia. To excuse this event because the Nazis had committed atrocities in Russia is absurd, the German women and children did not deserve what happened to them. it shouldnt be said "well their army did the same in Russia, so its not nearly as important or is somehow excusable". have you ever heard the saying two wrongs don't make a right

so lets get back on topic and talk about the rape and murder of Germans in Prussia. --Jadger 01:36, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Jadger, you army "did not do the same" in Russia, they did much nastier things, see Khatyn massacre for example. And it was not Russia who opened that can of worms. Please don't expect that Russophobic speculations may whitewash the unspeakable German crimes in Eastern Europe. Take care, Ghirla -трёп- 07:08, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Jadger, no one here argues that atrocities of the Red Army are inappropriate topic to cover in WP. The issue here is that they have to be covered properly and encyclopedically. That is, sources should be examined and if they talk a complete nonsense, such as 2 mln German women were raped (obviously impossible) or that Gemran women were crucified by the Soviets (literal Crucifixions committed by the Soviets simply makes no sense, yes they could kill, plunder and rape, but, remember, they were atheists), we should be careful to include such info, sourced or not.
There was a tradition of the anti-Soviet bias in the Western literature since the times of the Cold War and we should keep this in mind. Beevor is a serious scholar, but when he writes, he is influenced by what others wrote as well. I must admit, I haven't read his book, but I read several of its reviews and my observation is that the more respectable magazine (where the review is published), the less it discusses the rape part. From this I conclude that his book is much broader than this detail. OTOH, on WP this book is only referred to in connection with the rapes while he probably provides the context of the events and analyses the accounts as "according to....", etc.
Please don't get me wrong. I am not saying that the rapes didn't happen or that they were justified or they were no big deal to whine, etc. Every rape is a crime. All I am saying is that everything should be covered properly, and especially in case of such a delicate subject of the Great Patriotic War, which for the USSR was a catastrophe of the scale you can't even imagine. --Irpen 02:13, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Hey everyone! Remember sources? Find some sources that say the commonly cited statistics about the number of rapes is wrong, or else we have nothing to talk about. john k 02:21, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

wait a sec, lets look at ur logic: because they were atheist, they couldn't crucify people. now of course the nation was officially atheist, but people often practised religion in secret, are you telling me not a single Russian soldier said "yes there is a God"? and not only that, the Germans were christians, so being crucified could easily of been thought by an atheist to be an ironic way to die.

and you say:"OTOH, on WP this book is only referred to in connection with the rapes while he probably provides the context of the events and analyses the accounts as "according to....", etc. (I, jagder, added the bold)

dont start puting words in the mouth of an author and start conjecturing on the context.

As for more "respectable" sources, I expect you mean more widely distributed and popular. And as such it is less likely to ruffle feathers by talking about rapes (and lose subscribers and money), then a magazine that has a following of knowledgeable and scholarly people.

Don't get me wrong either, I am not saying the events in Russia should be ignored, I am only saying keep the discussion related to them on their pages, and dont let it spill over to here.

and I would love to here how 2 million women being raped is "impossible" as you claim. Indeed a mathematical equation could easily be created to refute your claim. as all we need is for the female population of the land to be more then 2 million, and it can be done. rape does not only refer to non-consentual sexual intercourse, but many other things. lets assume that it takes on average 30 mins to commit one of these rapes, so in total it would take 100,000 hours to rape all the women. of course it was not a single soldier committing all these rapes, according to Vistula-Oder Offensive, there was 2,203,000 Russian infantry soldiers, not including other types. so if each soldier were to be equal, they each would spend 2.7 minutes raping a woman, and they controlled the area for many months before the end of the war, not that the atrocities ended with Doenitz signing a piece of paper. Of course not every soldier committed a rape, and many soldiers committed more then one rape. As you can see, it was entirely possible.

--Jadger 03:07, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Colleague, buy yourself a calculator. `'mikka (t) 22:14, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I dont need to buy a calculator, there is one on my computer, where is the error in my calculations? I gave you the numbers to work with, why dont you compute your own figures then

--Jadger 01:38, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Archiving

Why is material from two days ago archived? john k 02:25, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I guess it has no issues that require resolving. `'mikka (t) 02:28, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Huh? How do you know that? john k 04:05, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I made the archive because "This page is 61 kilobytes long. This may be longer than is preferable; see article size". Rather than copy back text, I chose to put in links to the three sections which had recent edits in them, but if you think that any of these edits should be on this page as well, then you are free to copy them back onto this page. --Philip Baird Shearer 06:04, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

It was completed according to the decision of the Potsdam conference about the expulsion of Germans from territories outside post-war Germany.

Só the Germans run away because they knew the Potsdam decsions long before the meeting? Xx236 13:20, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Precisely. That sentence was illogical and has been fixed. Sorry that it took so long. --Richard 19:19, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Removal of "largest exodus" sentence

If the Partition of India is the only other such event to compare the expulsions against, then the evacuation, flight and expulsions wins because 16.5 million Germans were affected and only 14.5 million Indians/Pakistanis were exchanged.

I'm going to hold off reverting the sentence back in to give others a chance to express an opinion as to whether the sentence is worth putting back in exactly as it was worded.

--Richard 19:18, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Another editor, User:Philip Baird Shearer, had reverted the sentence, but I put it back in to give someone a chance to verify it. --Richard

I think it's important to allow editors to add in reasonable statements into articles, but they need to cite them properly with verifiable statements. I've read a lot about the evacuation, and it's probably the largest one. But I don't know about movements of East Europeans post-WWII, so it might be largest. Orangemarlin 20:26, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, a reference would be good but, until we find one, let us use what we know.
It's a matter of definition. The India/Pakistan population exchange was really two movements of 7 million each - 7million Hindus to India and 7 million Muslims to Pakistan. The expulsion of Germans was 14.5 million from Eastern Europe and primarily to Germany. All the other post-WWII movements were smaller if you take each ethnic group individually. If you take all the ethnic groups together, you would have to throw in the Germans too and so the sentence would still hold true.

The real question is: has there been any other population transfer which involved more than 16.5 million people?

--Richard 20:52, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

How many were involved in the Greek/Turkish population exchanges of the early 1920s? john k 20:57, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

A cursory reading of a few books of mine seem to indicate that this is a fact, but I'm hoping it's not at the level of an Urban myth, you know someone keeps repeating it until we all think it's true. By the way, I don't want to be hit with an edit warring or WP:3RR warning, so someone else needs to revert some of the edits on this sentence. It's kind of controversial, despite the fact it might be a fact. Orangemarlin 21:38, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


The number 16.5 mln sits unreferenced in the intro of Expulsion of Germans after World War II for 3 months now. While in the main article body the number 14 mln is mentioned. Therefore I am removing this "record-breaking" formulation. It was more than enough time. `'mikka 21:58, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

So, the article that you want to read is Demographic estimates of the German exodus from Eastern Europe. This article provides estimates ranging from 13.6 million to 16.8 million. (Oops, if we use the 13.6 million estimate, then the India/Pakistan population exchange is bigger). --Richard 22:56, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


"This evacuation, was part of one of the largest human migrations in recorded history." Are we talking evacuation or expulsion or both added together? I think that this must have a source if it is to remain in the article. For those who do not know WP:V policy states "Articles should contain only material that has been published by reliable sources." and "The obligation to provide a reliable source lies with the editors wishing to include the material, not with those seeking to remove it." --Philip Baird Shearer 22:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

If the factoid affected the usefulness of the article in a major way and I believed that it was probably true then {{fact}} would do. But in this case the article can live without the sentence until a verifiable source is produced. --Philip Baird Shearer 22:24, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

We are talking about the movement of Germans within a 5-year period, a small dot on the timeline of eternity. No particular reason to split hair and distinguish the two IMO. If you agree, then the proper place to demand quotation is Expulsion of Germans after World War II (which is already done, so we just wait). Regardless the number, 14-16 mln is certainly "one of the largest". If you object taking them together, please explain why. `'mikka 22:25, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes I do object, because the evacuation was also part of the largest war in history. It was also an event that took place in the 20th century and there are lots and lots of other things that it it can be linked too. How does any of these factoid bring further illuminating information to an article that is specifically about the evacuation of East Prussia and not an article about the evacuation and expulsion of Germans from eastern Germany in general? One other point the sentence is so vague, that as lots of people were displaced during World War II, how do we know the sentence means specifically evacuation from eastern Germany? --Philip Baird Shearer 22:38, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

I too had some doubts about the value of having the sentence which I why I did not revert its deletion "off the bat" but invited this discussion. However, in response to PBS, the point of the sentence is to place the evacuation in context. If this evacuation was the only movement of Germans out of what is now Eastern Europe during the postwar period, then the story would be quite different. Instead, we need to let the reader know that he/she is looking at one piece of a much larger story.
--Richard 22:56, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
This is surprising. I didn't know there would be any passion about what looked like a small sentence. I was just trying to help out an editor who threw it in there without much other comment, so I'm not going to defend it. And I thought the usual articles I edit, like Evolution, engendered a lot of arguing. Sixty years later, and it almost appears that there is a "they deserve it" sentiment. Orangemarlin 23:31, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
The discussion in this particular section does not warrant such conclusion; please be careful with expressing your disrespect to colleagues. As for "they deserve it", ethnic hatred may last for thousands of years, if some politicians love to play on it. `'mikka 23:37, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm Jewish. I know. Orangemarlin 23:46, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Oh, you guys don't know the half of it. The debate about this article is a backwater in a much larger maelstrom (sorry for the mixed metaphor). The real ugly debate is over at Talk:Expulsion of Germans after World War II. It goes on and on for pages and pages.

There is definitely one side (mostly Poles and Czechs) who take the position of "dammit, the expulsions were justified because the Germans deserved it for being so brutal and trying to wipe out our culture". I don't agree with this position but an NPOV stance must present all sides and this is one of them.

--Richard 00:30, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, I was reading the article a few weeks ago, and looked at the discussion page, where you can find out how accurate an article might be. I figured that the article was "OK", but I didn't know it was a holy war of sorts. But I have to say it is a violation of NPOV to give undue weight to any particular "justification." Honestly, the article could be written without a POV as to whether it was justified or not. It happened, and that's all I care about. In a 1945 context, after nearly six years of brutal war (and of course,following another brutal war caused by the same country a mere 20 years earlier), I could see why things were done. But 60 years later, it doesn't evoke much passion, even for me who lost family members (as both soldiers and, of course, as victims of the Holocaust), it's history rather than a personal feeling. I even drive a BMW. Orangemarlin 00:54, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Lithuania Minor

This article has been added to the category Lithuania Minor. Is this appropriate? What is this article about? Evacuation of Germans prior to occupation by the Soviets? Evacuation, flight and expulsion of Germans both before and after the end of the war? Evacuation of peoples including Lithuanians from East Prussia?

Is this article limited to East Prussia proper or does it cover "other areas" as well? What are those "other areas"?

I would have thought the article was limited to evacuation and flight (but not expulsion) of Germans (but not Lithuanians or anyone else) in East Prussia only (and not any "other areas") before the occupation by the Soviet army.

--Richard 23:13, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Lithuanians From Lithuania Minor were "evacuated" forcefully as citizens of Third Reich, and effectively most of them that were not Germanised until then, soon became full fledged Germans. And this put an effective end to Lithuania Minor as such, because the region became colonised with people from USSR This is a long discussion, if you want we might continue it.--Lokyz 23:24, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
OK... I learn a lot from editing Wikipedia since I started as a complete ignoramus about this topic a year ago.
Now, here's my question. You say Lithuanians from Lithuania Minor were "evacuated" forcefully. I am concerned that you are using "evacuated" to mean "expelled". As I understand it, the meaning of "evacuation" within the scope of this article is "flight" and "evacuation" but not "expulsion". So... who did the "evacuating"? The German authorities? Or the Soviet army and the Lithuanian government?
Of course, we should discuss the expulsion of Lithuanians from Lithuania Minor. My question is whether this should be discussed in this article about "evacuation" or in the Expulsion of Germans after World War II article.
--Richard 16:27, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Scope of this article relative to the title

The lead sentence of this article reads:

"The evacuation of East Prussia refers to the evacuation of the German population from that area as well as from other Prussian lands in 1944 and 1945."

IMO, this inclusion of "other Prussian lands" within the scope of this article is a bad idea unless the title is changed. It's very clear what East Prussia means. What are these "other Prussian lands"? Prussia ceased to exist as a kingdom/nation in 1871 when the German Empire was formed. Prussia constitued the largest part of the German Empire. (see the map in the Prussia article) So... "other Prussian lands" is very vague and could arguably describe anything from all parts of Germany which were formerly part of the Prussian kingdom. Or, it could describe all lands which were once part of Prussia but were west of the Oder-Neisse line and thus occupied by the Soviet army.

I'm not saying that this article has to restrict itself to the evacuation of East Prussia. I've often wondered why there are no articles on evacuations of Germans outside East Prussia (e.g. from the General Gouvernement and the Reichsgaue). But why would the evacuation of Germans from East Prussia or Prussian lands be any different than the evacuation of Germans from the General Gouvernement and the Reichsgaue?

So, what I am saying is that if we wish to expand the scope of this article to areas outside East Prussia proper then we should change the title to something like Evacuation of Germans from Eastern Europe at the end of World War II.

--Richard 16:21, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

I think we should keep this article to the area that was defined as East Prussia during the last year of World War II. There is nowhere near enough details on this part of the evacuation, let alone enough to make an article about all of the evacuations. The first priority should be to fill in the details on this article. Once it gets near completion then an article overview article on the other areas can be written. Or an overview skeleton/stub article can be written now and in the section East Prussia this can be the main article. The evacuations are after all a human face of the Soviet Offensive Operations articles like the East Prussian Offensive. --Philip Baird Shearer 16:53, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I think I'm OK with this. My comment was to say "either restrict the scope" or "change the title".
However, can you explain for my education, why there is more information about "Evacuation of East Prussia" than other evacuations of Germans? Is it because East Prussia was "always German" even after Versailles? Were the evacuations there any better organized or documented than in the rest of Poland and other Nazi-occupied lands?
Finally, should we create a stub article titled Evacuation of Germans from Eastern Europe at the end of World War II with this article being one of the subsidiaries? That would give people a place to put content that described evacuations outside of East Prussia.
--Richard 17:15, 19 April 2007 (UTC)
I have just finished an article called the Battle in Berlin which is one of the detailed article on the Battle of Berlin. If the RussiansSoviets had rolled the area in one offensive then I would be tempted to agree that one article would be enough, but as the areas were not rolled up in one offensive and the areas were distinct, so I think there is enough information for an article on the evacuation of East Prussia which ties in with the East Prussian Offensive and the Battle of Königsberg. --Philip Baird Shearer 19:01, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Why Expulsion of Germans after World War II is insufficient

I don't quite understand why Expulsion of Germans after World War II is insufficient. `'mikka 20:11, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

OK, let me try again... excuse me if the following answer is a bit pedantic but I don't know what you know and what you don't know.

Really, the umbrella topic is German exodus from Eastern Europe. However, the controversy is because the vast majority of the Germans didn't leave of their own volition but were forced out in the largest of the forced migrations of postwar Europe. It was arguably the largest forced migration in history but that's debatable as we have already discussed above.

Now one major controversy is around the number of Germans who died during this forced migration. Estimates run from 500,000 to 2.2million. Even at 500,000 but especially at 2million, the number of deaths starts to look like a second "unknown" holocaust. The expulsions have been characterized as war crimes and crimes against humanity by the likes of Alfred-Maurice de Zayas.

Now, on the other side, there are those who argue that the 2 million number is inflated for a number of reasons. Some of the historiography of the expulsions is discussed in Demographic estimates of the German exodus from Eastern Europe. Most notably, recent studies have suggested that estimated deaths should be revised downward to the 500,000 to 1.1 million range. Unfortunately, we have not been able to dig deep enough into the sources yet to understand the reasoning behind the downward revisions.

But, part of the issue is that the German government built its estimate of 2.2 million on a "population balance" method that estimated how many Germans lived in Eastern Europe before the expulsions and then estimated how many of them could be accounted for after the expulsions. Those who could not be accounted for were presumed to have died.

The problem now is twofold: first, since this is a statistical estimate, we don't know if they really died. We just know that they are "unaccounted for". Second, even if they did die, we don't know what the cause of death was. If we use "actual death records", the estimates of deaths are dramatically lower than 2.2 million, maybe even lower than 1.1 million.

We do know that many people died in the evacuation of East Prussia, most notably in the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff and the General von Steuben. We also know that there were 200,000-300,000 German refugees from Eastern Europe in Dresden shortly before the Allied bombing. What we don't know is how many were there during the actual bombing and how many died there. There are claims that there were typhus epidemics in German DP camps after the war. I have had difficulty re-verifying this assertion this morning so I'm not sure how reliable these claims of typhus epidemics are.

So... ultimately the number of deaths caused by the expulsions per se depends in large part on how many deaths were attributable to other causes before or after the expulsions. The table below gives one version of the population balance calculation.

German expellee population 1939-50
Description Germany Eastern Europe Total
Population in 1939 9,500,000 7,100,000 16,600,000
Wartime transfers in 500,000 0 500,000
Natural increase 1939-1950 600,000 400,000 1,000,000
Military losses 1939-45 900,000 550,000 1,450,000
Civilian losses 800,000 500,000 1,300,000
Remaining in East Europe 1,450,000 1,500,000 2,950,000
Expellee population 1950 7,450,000 4,950,000 12,400,000

Those who attack the estimated deaths as being deliberately and artificially inflated assert that the Centre against Expulsions and deZayas have conflated deaths during the flight, evacuation and expulsion and asserted that the deaths in all three phases are due to the "expulsions" thus exaggerating the magnitude of the suffering experienced by Germans during the actual expulsions.

And so... in order to provide an NPOV discussion of this tragic time, we must differentiate between "flight and evacuation" on one side and "expulsion" on the other. The truth is that coverage in Wikipedia has emphasized "expulsion" over "flight and evacuation". For proof of this, just compare the lengths of the two articles Evacuation of East Prussia and Expulsion of Germans after World War II. Then consider that there are subsidiary articles on Demographic estimates of the German exodus from Eastern Europe, Expulsion of Germans from Poland after World War II and Expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II. Finally, consider that all of these "expulsion" articles commit the same sin of conflating "flight and evacuation" with "expulsion" and you can see why it is time for us to shift the balance towards an adequate treatment of the "flight and evacuation" phase of the German exodus from Eastern Europe.

Hope this answers your question. If the above discussion seems long, it is a drop in the bucket compared to the pages and pages of back-and-forth debate that has plagued Talk:Expulsion of Germans after World War II. It took me a good 6-9 months to understand the validity of the above arguments (partly because the arguments were not made cogently using reliable sources) and also partly because I accepted uncritically what I read on Wikipedia when I first read about this topic a year ago.

--Richard 04:51, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

--Richard 04:51, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Beevor as a reference

I have some problems with Beevor being cited in the recent edits you have made. Checking just the first and the last reference for Beevor:

After that, the German Ministry of Propaganda reported that war crimes had taken place in East Prussian villages, in particular in Nemmersdorf, where the entire population was raped and killed by the Soviets.[3]

  • footnote 3. Beevor, p.40

As Antony Beevor also said:[25] “A population which had stood at 2.2 million in 1940 was reduced to 193,000 at the end of May 1945.”

  • footnote 25. Beevor, p.555

Using the cited source

  • Beevor, Antony (2002). "chapters 1-8", Berlin: The Downfall 1945. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-670-88695-5.

or as it has recently been edited to

  • Beevor, Antony. Berlin: The Downfall 1945, Penguin Books, 2002, ISBN 0-670-88695-5

I could not find Nemmersdorf mentioned on page 40 and the pages given in the index for Nemmersdorf are 28 and 118. The very last page in the book is 490 (which is not numbered although the previous page is numbered 489) which makes the citation of page 555 a nonsense.

user:Eurocopter tigre please could you explain these anomalies. --Philip Baird Shearer 00:52, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Yep, I have the Romanian version of the book. :) --Eurocopter tigre 12:40, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Then we had better fix them :-) Please list the fist page of each of the first eight chapters (with their names). This should allow me to tie most of the page references you give to the English publication. As for page 555, please list the chapter that is in and the number of pages from the start or end of the chapter. --Philip Baird Shearer 12:49, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Of course, give me 5 minutes. --Eurocopter tigre 13:16, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Chapter 1 - p.37
  • Chapter 2 - p.50
  • Chapter 3 - p.67
  • Chapter 4 - p.87
  • Chapter 5 - p.108
  • Chapter 6 - p.133
  • Chapter 7 - p.156
  • Chapter 8 - p.181
  • page 555 is the 17th page in Chapter 27;

--Eurocopter tigre 13:21, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Chapter 1 - p.1
  • Chapter 2 - p.11
  • Chapter 3 - p.24
  • Chapter 4 - p.39
  • Chapter 5 - p.56
  • Chapter 6 - p.77
  • Chapter 7 - p.96
  • Chapter 8 - p.115
  • Chapter 27 - p.406; Quote is from the first line of page 420

I'll do the rest later--Philip Baird Shearer 15:06, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Ok, i've fixed them per your info. However, they can still differ a bit. --Eurocopter tigre 16:20, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

I have reversed your edit so that we can make sure that the page numbers are correct and that you are not just guessing the changes. Please give me a little time to set up a spread sheet and have a look at the problem. --Philip Baird Shearer 17:24, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

What is the page that chapter 9 starts on? --Philip Baird Shearer 18:18, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Chapter Chap Chap
length
Pages
Romanian
1 37 13 40
2 50 17
3 67 20 68 72 73 75 82 83 84
4 87 21 96 98
5 108 25 101 109 118
6 133 23
7 156 25 147 152 176
8 181 27 185
9 208
Chapter Chap Chap
length
Pages
English
1 1 10 3
2 11 13
3 24 15 25 28 29 30 35 36 37
4 39 17 46 48
5 56 21 50 57 64
6 77 19
7 96 19 89 93 111
8 115 21 118
9 136

This is a conversion based on the length of the chapter and the relative page positions but no all the numbers are correct. For example in the first paragraph cites Ro 40,72,185 En 3,28, 118: 40/3 is wrong. 72/28 is wrong. 185/118 is correct. to paraphrase Meatloaf "One out of three is bad". So this is going to take longer than expected. :-( --Philip Baird Shearer 19:01, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Just a question - why are you removing the WPMILHIST assessment tag? --Eurocopter tigre 19:32, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Earlier I made a rushed edit on this page. To fix it, I did a cut and past copy, must have missed out the WPMHIST list :-(

It does not look as if this is going to be as simple as it it might have been. I have read either side of my page 3 and it does not seem to be anything to do with the text that the citation covers (your page 40) so could you look in the "source notes" at the back of the book and post a note on, or close to, your page 40. Hopefully I can then look that up in my books "source notes" and see which page it is pointing to. --Philip Baird Shearer 20:17, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

"Eurocopter tigre" we need to fix the references in this article please can you provide the requested source note. So that we can get on and mend the reference. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 10:12, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
Which one actually? --Eurocopter tigre (talk) 12:35, 25 December 2007 (UTC)
I suggest that we start at the beginning (Ro) p.40 as near to the text you are citing as possible. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 13:37, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
That would be the 4th page of the first chapter. --Eurocopter tigre (talk) 15:29, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
Please look at the end of the book there should be a section in which Beevor cites his sources. Have a look for a citation on RO page 40 and I'll look for the same citation in the English book that will then give us the English page that is the same as RO40.
For example page 4 of the English Beevor includes 3 citations listed in the "Source Notes" including the last one of "'I have faith...'SHAT 7 P 128" --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 18:21, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

In the RO version sources are mentioned at the end of each chapter. However, RO p.40 does not have any citations - the closest citation for it would be "NA RG 338 B-338" (RO pg.41). --Eurocopter tigre (talk) 21:20, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Yep got that one, it is the first one on page 4 of the English text. The one before it is on page 2 -- Kardorff p.153. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:25, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
And reading the text from the last citation to the next I find the text you were referring to. It is at the top of page 4 first paragraph :-) --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:30, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

If you could do the same for the next half dozen pages, then I can fix the citation for those pages. --Philip Baird Shearer (talk) 21:30, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Ok, the nearest sources for the following citations are:

  • RO p.83 - Sceglov, p.189
  • RO p.72 - Doenhof, p.18
  • RO p.185 - Krockow, p.61
  • RO p.176 - KA FU, EI: 18, vol.6
  • RO p.96 - Krockow, p.45
  • RO p.98 - 29 January, BA-B R55/616, p.153
  • RO p.101 - Wilhelm Gustloff and Marinesco, Seniavskaia, 2000, p.225, n.19
  • RO p.147 - BA-MA MSg1/976, p.32
  • RO p.152 - GARF 9401/2/94, pp.255-261
  • RO p.109 - Feuersenger, p.206

Anything else? Best, --Eurocopter tigre (talk) 21:32, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Regarding Beevor as a source, he is certainly not infallible. As a single example, he repeats the myth that the Goya was a hospital ship when sunk, despite a number of sources indicating otherwise. He also states that it was carrying "refugees", ignoring the fact that wehrmacht personnel were also aboard. There also appear to be inaccuracies in the Romanian translation of Berlin, for instance in the text regarding the identity of the Soviet unit occupying Allenstein. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 4.242.171.62 (talk) 09:52, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

It would be very usefull if you would post some sources for your affirmations. Best, Eurocopter tigre (talk) 10:54, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Regarding Beevor's fallibility re: Goya, check the sources cited in the Wiki entry for Goya. Regarding possible problems with the Romanian edition of Berlin (though why someone would translate a translated Romanian edition -back- into English in the first place is anybody's guess), The American edition of Beevor clearly states 3rd Guards Cavalry Corps, and 3rd Mechanized Corps apparently didn't even exist in 1945, having become 8th Guards Mechanized Corps in October, 1943. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 4.242.126.120 (talk) 06:41, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

PRUSSIAN HOLOCAUST - updated reference http://nccg.org/preussen/preussen2.html (Landau7 (talk)) —Preceding comment was added at 00:35, 24 January 2008 (UTC)


Wrong Picture_________________________________________

The picture showing "german POW´s marching towards konigsberg" is taken at Torun, not at Konigsberg, the city in the background is quiet obviously Torun with it`s significant St. Mary´s Church. ( 62.180.160.17 (talk) 20:18, 29 January 2008 (UTC) )


Beevor

1. The east prussians were not crossing the Curanian Lagoon, but the “Frisches Haff” lagoon. They tried to escape to Gdansk/ Danzig, where they could be evacuated by ships ( operation Hannibal ). Crossing the Curanian Lagoon would have been senseless.

2. Does Anthony Beevor substantiate his number of 193.000 people left in East Prussia in May 1945? I think this is much to few. The german Author Andreas Kossert ( Ostpreussen Geschichte und Mythos; Masuren ) gives an number of almost 70.000 people, who were classified as masurians ( autochthones ) in October 1946 and another 34.000 unclassified. This was the minority, the majority of german - classified people had to leave. Considering the number of people in the northern ( russian ) part, there must have been much more people left in East Prussia than only 193.000. If Beevor says himself that 1950 still 164.000 Germans were living in East Prussia ( North or South ? ) it is even more obvious, that 193.000 is not realistic for may 1945. (83.176.132.68 (talk) 14:19, 31 January 2008 (UTC))


Superficial

The chapter “evacuation” is partially wrong and partially superficial.

• Refugee heading to the Neisse region southeast of Berlin.

A lot of the refugees (most?) were evacuated by ship throughout the Operation Hannibal. The Neisse region (southeast of Berlin) is 500 km far away from the Baltic coast. How and why should refugees try to go to the Neisse region.
Red Army reached the river Oder on January 31, 1945 near Küstrin/ Frankfurt ( Seelow Heights ). East Prussia is north of that region , Neisse is south of it. Heading from East Prussia to the Neisse region in January 1945 means to cross trough the frontline !! That´s quiet senseless.
Berlin and its southeast regions were the center of soviet offensive in January 1945 and the battle of Berlin, I can´t see any reason, why anybody should try to head to this region.
  • improvised means of transport
off course, but don´t forget that we are talking about the year 1945 and East Prussia was a rather rural area. Even before the war only very few people had a car (and these cars were confiscated in the beginnig of the war, not in 1945). Fuel wasn´t availible for civilians since a long, long time before 1945. Horses and wooden wagons were normal, motorized vehicles were outrageous. ( and why is "means of transport" so important here ? )
  • 8.5 millions fled the eastern provinces
possibly, but the topic is evacuation of EAST PRUSSIA, how many of these refugees were East Prussians ( 2.9 million pre – war inhabitants ).
  • Wehrmacht´s Trakehner stud farms
Trakehnen was a stud farm of the Prussian state since 1732. The horses were used by the Wehrmacht, but this doesn´t make it a “Wehrmacht stud farm” ( Volkswagen wasn´t a Wehrmacht´s factory, even though the cars were in use at the Wehrmacht)
  • severely hampered by retreating Wehrmacht.. haste to move west
There were fierce battles in East Prussia and parts of it were still held by the Wehrmacht in the end of April 1945. The current version implies a race between soldiers and civilians to the west. ( Off course Wehrmacht transports had always priority, due to that civilians had to use the small roads and were aggravated using bridges, crossings or ferries)
  • The remaining men received orders
Were they ordered to leave East Prussia or were they incorporated into Volkssturm ( and therefor stay in East Prussia)?
  • escaped into the woods, hoping to survive
Off course, these men wanted to survive, but what´s the point? One might say, they were civilians without any basic knowledge and training.
  • Refugee trains...arriving in Berlin
East Prussia lost its direct contact to the west in the middle of Janary 1945 (that´s why the population had to cross the Vistula Lagoon and was evacuated by ships), there were no refugee TRAINS to the west after that point. And the refugees arriving in Berlin were not coming from East Prussia ( which is the topic of all this ).

Above all the problem seems to be that Beevor´s book “Berlin – downfall 1945” is the only source used for this article. But first of all Beevor describes the battle of Berlin, East Prussia and especially the evacuation of civilians from East Prussia is only mentioned as a minor matter, so Beevor is not an adequate source on that topic.(HerkusMonte (talk) 10:35, 19 February 2008 (UTC))

You might be right in some of the points presented above, but you have to provide sources in order to make any changes in the article. I would very much appreciate your help if you would come out with some proper, appropiate sources. It is also my interest to make this article as much accurate as possible. --Eurocopter tigre (talk) 20:49, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

Wrong map?

What does the map show? Germany around 1914?Xx236 (talk) 10:51, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Move discussion in process

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:World War II evacuation and expulsion which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RFC bot 01:00, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Figures for German Civilian losses

I corrected a gross error. The German figure from 1958 of 299,000 total civilian dead included a claim of 274,000 in post war expulsions and 25,000 during 1945 offensive. There is nothing in historical liturature telling us that the Red Army killed 300,000 civilians in East Prussia in Jan-Feb 1945, that is absurd. 300,000 soldiers maybe, but not 300,000 civilians. The editor who posted the figure of 300,000 jumped to the conclusion that the German figure referred to the 1945 campaign, that is wrong. --Woogie10w (talk) 14:39, 17 October 2011 (UTC)

The main problem is, that the article is largely based on Anthony Beevor's "Downfall" (see my older comment above). Beevor is focussing on the last days/weeks of the Battle of Berlin with some side notes to the preluding East Prussian offensive and even less about the evacuation of civilians. His book might be a good start for somebody who has never heard about the events, but hardly a source for more detailed information. HerkusMonte (talk) 10:58, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Argument for tighter editing

For your consideration as pertains to the sentences:

Beevor argues that these acts of violence were motivated by a desire for revenge and retribution for crimes committed by the Nazis during their invasion of Soviet Union.[1]

and

Wealthy civilians of East Prussia were often shot by Soviet soldiers, their goods stolen, and their houses set on fire, as a result of Soviet propaganda advocating the eradication of the aristocracy. [2]

Beevor argues? He is making an assertion of causation. That the Russians killed, raped and burned the German citizens is a matter of record. Why they did it is less clear. Are we to believe that the soldiers who committed these crimes did so outside the control of the Soviet military leadership? Are we to understand that the Russian soldiers were just acting upon their own whims, based on their emotions being stirred up by propaganda, that the group as a whole became uncontrollable? This is hardly plausible, as it would be against the manner in which the Russian military fought the entire war. How then does Beevor make this argument? What facts does he draw upon, what sources used? Does any source exist, other than the bald assertion of the author himself? If not, the page is best left without such supposition.

Gunbirddriver (talk) 00:52, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

"Does any source exist, other than the bald assertion of the author himself?"
Prussian Nights by Solzhenitsyn is a source that will support the argument that these acts of violence were motivated by a desire for revenge and retribution.
Solzhenitsyn wrote
It's all come down to simple phrases:
Do not forget! Do not forgive!
Blood for blood! A tooth for a tooth!
--Woogie10w (talk) 01:26, 2 October 2014 (UTC)


What the Wikipedia article is asserting as it stands is that the raping and murdering of civilians that occurred in East Prussia was a response to Soviet propaganda. The article cites Antony Beevor to support this assertion.

The events that occurred in East Prussia did not occur when the Russians fought the First World War. Did Czarist Russia have tighter control of the Russian soldier than Soviet Russia did thirty years later? No, these acts were not the product of out of control soldiers driven by rage. They occurred in the Second World War under the instigation of Joseph Stalin, and his wishes were communicated to the Soviet soldiers through the state controlled propaganda ministry and through the Soviet military command.

One obvious support for this is the experience of Lev Kopelev. Lev Kopelev was a major in the Soviet army who objected to the barbaric treatment of the German civilians. For his trouble he was arrested and sentenced to ten years in a Gulag for “anti-Soviet activities”. (see: "To Be Preserved Forever", Lev Kopelev, 1976)

The UK Daily Mail’s Daniel Johnson comments on the issue, referring to a book by historian Laurence Rees:

In his fine new book, World War Two: Behind Closed Doors, the historian Laurence Rees points out that although rape was officially a crime in the Red Army, in fact, Stalin explicitly condoned it as a method of rewarding the soldiers and terrorising German civilians.
Stalin said people should ' understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle'.
On another occasion, when told that Red Army soldiers sexually maltreated German refugees, he said: 'We lecture our soldiers too much; let them have their initiative.'

(see: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1080493/Stalins-army-rapists-The-brutal-war-crime-Russia-Germany-tried-ignore.html#ixzz3F6ycKxad)

The most effective rebuttal to the argument that the rapes were merely the result of propaganda that stirred the Soviet soldiers to acts of revenge is from the author of note himself, Antony Beevor, who is quoted by Daniel Johnson again, this time in the UK Telegraph. Johnson quotes Beevor contradicting the earlier assertion as follows:

Beevor is careful to qualify any suggestion that what happened from 1944 onwards is in any way typical of male behaviour in peacetime. But he admits that he was "shaken to the core" to discover that Russian and Polish women and girls liberated from concentration camps were also violated.
"That completely undermined the notion that the soldiers were using rape as a form of revenge against the Germans," he said.

(see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/1382565/Red-Army-troops-raped-even-Russian-women-as-they-freed-them-from-camps.html)

The assertions I am contending in the Wikipedia article are supported by a source who later notes those assertions were "completely undermined". This being the case, it appears to me the article would be improved if they were removed.Gunbirddriver (talk) 20:47, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

I reverted your removal and I disagree with the removal. I do not Beevor's book to hand but I will get it tomorrow and check what sources he uses for the statements which the Beevor citations support. Because the citations are using a translation it may take me a little time to find the passages on the English version of the book as I may have to read a chapter or two. -- PBS (talk) 20:57, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
It is ten days now and there is no adequate reply. We should not leave things in if their validity is questionable, and the author who made the claim is quoted in a reliable source arguing against it. If there is nothing further than let us proceed and remove the two sentences. Gunbirddriver (talk) 05:31, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

It has been pointed out that the author in question, Antony Beevor, has reversed the opinion cited in the article. There has been no response to this point of fact. Twenty two days is sufficient time to allow comment, and yet no comment is forthcoming from the editors who oppose the deletion. I see no valid reason for User:Yopie to reverse my edit with no comment other than "There is not a consensus for removal". No consensus? There is no discussion. The facts presented are sound enough, and well cited. No response has been offered. What are we to take that to mean? At this point, it is no longer a question of consensus, it is a question of presenting facts in the article that are consistent and can be supported. Editors adding in questionable material with no substantive defense and offering no comment to "the discussion" on the talk page, no matter how many they may be in number, are editors acting in poor faith. Gunbirddriver (talk) 18:13, 24 October 2014 (UTC)


IMO it would be appropriate to include the original observation by Beevor and his subsequent reversal. We should post both opinions and let the readers make their own judgement. Also the newspaper article cited is not by Beevor, we really need to include a citation from the published source that includes Beevor 's reversal. --Woogie10w (talk) 18:30, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
I am opening another can of worms. This article is based for the most part on Antony Beevor's fall of Berlin. German sources, the Schieder commission in particular, attributes the conduct of the Soviet military in East Prussia to their Asiatic traditions and notions. This 1953 racist analysis in West Germany is an echo of Third Reich propaganda. The Schieder commission also made no mention of the huge civilian death toll and destruction perpetrated by the German military and SS in the Soviet Union--Woogie10w (talk) 18:45, 24 October 2014 (UTC)
An acute point Irondome (talk) 01:55, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

Evacuation of East Prussia

What was wrong with this edit that you undid without specifying a reason? The text in the notes [2]->[38] and [5]->[6] are identical and therefore redundant. 86.60.211.2 (talk) 11:45, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

I tweeked refs to remove duplication--Woogie10w (talk) 12:06, 20 January 2015 (UTC)

More Rapes...and Stuff

My how I love the double standard in scholarship. Suddenly its the German women flung themselves at the Russian soldiers and on and on. "Hey, its not rape, she asked for it!" That's kind of a joke in the US, but this is just silly. It is a kick in the face to any german who has suffered through the ordeal to see this technically/theoretically, well-if-you-close-your-eyes-and-look-at-it-this-way eye for an eye nonsense filling up Wikipedia. And it is axiomatic that the discussion will always go back to what the SS or Wehrmacht did in Poland or Russia. Why is it that we accept the Germans acting horribly but outright deny or try to pardon the actions of other forces of war? So as to not go on a rant, let me do what I came here to do 1) Good points, Jadger. 2)I certainly could use your help over on the German 4th Panzer Division page in clearing up some issues. Apparently it is not of poor taste to write a narrative about German war crimes in an area less relevant than War Crimes of the Wehrmacht although in a page such as Prussian "Evacuation" (relating directly to Soviet war crimes), it is still politically incorrect for the German civilian to have his turn to speak. --Hohns3 21:46, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Please think about the difference. How "German 4th Panzer Division" is written: (summary) "a german officer shot 6 polish POWs". How it is written about Russians: "they raped two million german frau", "the rape of women and girls went unchecked in the ruined city", and so on. If you don't see the difference, you will have big troubles contributing to wikipedia. `'mikka (t) 22:08, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
That is a strange assessment for you to make. It appears your concern is numbers. However, I do not understand your logic at all. When you compare a day or two's treatment of POW's by an army division to the consequences of a general campaign of a nation, you are introducing apples against oranges. Actually your summary is just the beginning of what is actually written and it is in the language of a case by case testimonial which has no place on a German 4th Panzer Division wiki. If you would like to discuss that article, we can do so on its respective page. If you are concerned about the "subjective language" in this article, the quote is identified and at the same time he is an expert and legitimate scholar. Compare that to the declarations off of pro-Polish websites completely in Polish. I have no trouble seeing the difference. --Hohns3 23:00, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

just because a reference/source is POV (which you have not provided any evidence to prove it is) does not qualify it for deletion, look up the wikipedia policy mikka. I'm actually surprised that mikka hasnt tried to use something like the following to discredit a source: "Hitler....was....Jesus....reincarnate"(Page#)

--Jadger 02:42, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Those words about some russian officer trying to prevent crimes and being sent to Gulag - is that a joke? Official soviet position was not to take revenge on civilians, and also to help those, who have suffered from war in one way or another in captured towns. In fact, soldiers were strictly punished for war crimes - from stripping of their medals and being sent to penal battalions to court marshall. Most popular text on this matter by soviet propagandist published in soviet newspapers Erenburg:

"Есть люди, и есть людоеды. Немцы брали детей и ударяли ими об дерево. Для воина Красной Армии ребенок – это ребенок. Я видел, как русские солдаты спасали немецких детей, и мы не стыдимся этого, мы этим гордимся. Немцы жгли избы с людьми, привязывали к конским хвостам старух, бесчинствовали, терзали беззащитных, насиловали. Нет, мы не будем платить им той же монетой! Наша ненависть – высокое чувство, она требует суда, а не расправы, кары, а не насилия. Воин Красной Армии – рыцарь. Он освобождает украинских девушек и французских пленных. Он освобождает поляков и сербов. Он убивает солдат Гитлера, но не глумится над немецкими старухами. Он не палач и не насильник. На немецкой земле мы остались советскими людьми."

Rough translation: "There are people, and there are cannibals. The Germans took our children, and hit them against a tree. For a Red Army soldier a child is a child. I saw russian solders rescuing german children, and we are not ashamed of that - we are proud. The Germans burned down our houses with people inside, tied old women to horses' tails, raped, tortured and murdered innocent people. No, we wont pay them with the same coin! Our hatred - is a noble feeling, it requires judgement, not a reprisal, a punishment, not violence. A warrior of a Red Army is a paladin. He liberates ukrainian women and french POWs. He liberates Poles and Serbians. He kills Hitler's soldiers, but he does not torture german old women. He is neither a butcher nor a rapist. On German soil we must remain Soviet people."

Erenburg I.G. "War 1941-1945".

There are also some german civilians' memories about soviet occupation in a book by Lavrinov S.Y. and Popov I.M. "The Collapse of the Third Reich" —Preceding unsigned comment added by 195.184.223.34 (talk) 11:06, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

RfC: Beevor cited forced to reverse himself

Should an assertion be included in the article when it is clearly the authors unsupported speculation? And if that author later reverses himself, should the statement still be left in the article? Gunbirddriver (talk) 06:20, 13 November 2014 (UTC)

See Request comment on articles:"Include a brief, neutral statement of the issue in the talk page section, immediately below the RfC template". This is an biased question and does not meet the requirements of an RfC lead. Please insert what it is that you think is "the authors unsupported speculation?" and what it is that you base this assertion on. (see Suggestions for responding": "if you feel an RfC is improperly worded...") -- PBS (talk) 21:43, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

    • Yes, please re-word the RfC with a neutral statement such as: "Beevor's assertion that Russian soldier rapists were motivated by x should not be included because he reversed himself later in an interview".Markewilliams (talk) 16:18, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
  • Support I have been bold and removed this assertion, which has a degree of synthesis. I suggest we stay as we are and let other eds contribute as to where we go from here. To me, the assertions are pretty thin stuff. Beevor is quite clear in the interview. In a way this strongly qualifies his "Berlin" conclusions. Nullifying the rather dubious wordings which use AB as a prop.Irondome (talk) 01:47, 14 November 2014 (UTC)

The two newspapers mentioned in the section before this RfC:

  1. Roberts, Andrew (24 October 2008). "Stalin's army of rapists: The brutal war crime that Russia and Germany tried to ignore". 
  2. Johnson, Daniel (24 Jan 2002). "Red Army troops raped even Russian women as they freed them from camps". 

Beevor wrote an article that was published an article in the Guardian (and quotes passages from his book):

The edition of Beevor's book that I have is a UK hardback first edition (which is cited in this article):

There is an Google Books preview online version of this book (some parts available to view)

Some quotes and other information from Beevor's book Berlin: The Downfall 1945

I will page number using the Beevor 2002, but add in links to the 2007 if available.

  • "Ilya Ehrenburg's own mesmerizing call for revenge on Germany in his articles in the Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) had created a huge following among the frontoviki, or frontline troops" Beevor goes on to state that some of the quotes attributed to Ehrenburg were in fact Nazi Propaganda (Beevor 2002, p. 25 (p. 53-54))
  • "'Red Army soldiers don't believe in "individual liaisons" with German women,' wrote the playwright Zakhar Agranenko in his diary when serving as an officer of marine infantry in East Prussia. 'Nine, ten, twelve men at a time - they rape them on a collective basis.'" (Beevor 2002, p. 28 (p. 57)) -- On the same page Beevor makes the point that the Soviet was "an extraordinary mixture of modern and medieval ... T34 tanks, ... Cossack cavalrymen ... Lend-Lease Studebakers ... followed by a second echelon in horse-drawn carts" and had a "variety of characters among the soldiers ... almost as great as their military equipment".(Beevor 2002, p. 28)
  • "Beria and Stalin back in Moscow knew perfectly well what was going on. In one report they were told ... [of] Numerous examples of gang rape..." (Beevor 2002, p. 29 (59))
  • "Narshal Rokossovsky issued order No. 006 in an attempt to direct 'the feelings of hatred at fighting the enemy on the battlefield' and to underline the punishment for 'looting, violence, robbing, unnecessary arson and destruction' It seemed to have little effect ... Even General Okorokov, the chief of the political department of the 2nd Bellorussian Front opposed at a meeting on 6 February that he saw as a 'refusal to take revenge on the enemy'" (Beevor 2002, p. 30 (60 ))

A telling point is made the same page: "But either officers were involved themselves, or the lack of discipline made it too dangerous to restore order over drunken soldiers armed with sub-machine guns." (Beevor 2002 p. 30) This is a well known phenomenon in war, and the traditional view in European armies was that after a successful assault on a city it would be near suicidal to try to stop the soldiers pillaging and raping. This was seen with the British Army in the immediate aftermath the Siege of Badajoz (1812). Instead the authorities would wait a few days and then punish those who were most laggardly at coming back to the colours. It seems that this is the type of approach the Soviet authorities used during this period of the war. It has been noted in many sources, that the Soviet front line troops tended to pass through and were all business, It was second echelon troops who tended to be the worst for committing crimes of all sorts (being very drunk in the front line is a sure way to an early grave). On the same page:

  • The point was made that steps were taken to stop persuade troops that the wanton destruction of manufacturing equipment was to the disadvantage of the Soviet Union who could transport it east if it survived in tact. "Political officers hoped to adapt this approach to the question of rape as well. 'When we breed a true feeling of hatred in a soldier,' the political department of the 19th army declared, 'the soldier will not try to have sex with a German woman, because he will be repulsed.' This inept sophistry only serves to underline the failure of the authorities to understand the problem".(Beevor 2002, p. 30 (61))
  • "German crimes in the Soviet Union and the regime's relentless propaganda certainly contributed to the terrible violence against German Women in East Prussia. But vengeance can only be part of the explanation, even if it later became the justification for what happened. Once soldiers had alcohol inside the, the nationality of their prey made little difference.".(Beevor 2002, p. 30 (61))
  • "Domination and humiliation permeated most soldier' treatment of women in East Prussia. The victims bore the brunt of revenge for the Wehrmacht's crimes during the invasion of the Soviet Union. After the initial fury dissipated, this characteristic of sadistic humiliation became noticeably less marked. By the time the Red Army reached Berlin three months later, its soldiers tended to regard German Women more as casual rights of conquest than a target of hate". (Beevor 2002, p. 31–32)

As for the aristocracy comment it is a summary of Beevor 2002 pp 33–36.

  • The destructive urge of Soviet soldiers in East Prussia was truly alarming. ... Without thinking they torched houses which could have given them warmth and shelter for the night. ... They were also furious to find a standard of living among peasant farmers far higher than anything they had ever imagined. This provoked outrage at the idea that Germans who had already been living so well, should have invaded the Soviet Union..." (Beevor 2002 pp. 33–34)

The sentence which is referred to in the article reads:

  • "Clocks, china, mirror and pianos were smashed in middle-class houses which the Red Army soldiers assumed were those of German barons." (Beevor 2002 p. 35 (67))
  • Lev Kopelev is mentioned on three pages in Beevor 2002, 28, 30, 35. his arrest is mentioned on page 28 in the Words of SMERSH "engaged in propaganda of bourgeois humanitarianism for pity for the enemy".

One last point just before the start of the Berlin offensive operation (the attack on what became post WWII East Germany and Berlin), Ehrenburg published a piece 12th of April he justified the destruction in Germany "he implicitly condoned looting — 'Well, German women are losing fur coats and spoons that have been stolen' — when in Red Army Parlance looting often implicitly included rape." (Beevor 2002, p. 197), he was slapped down for the first and last time by the Soviet leadership who had "finally realized that the horror inspired by the Red Army's onslaught on the civilian population was increasing enemy resistance and would complicated the post-war Soviet occupation of Germany." (Beevor 2002, p. 197) The piece was published in Pravda on 14th of April (two days before the Berlin offensive operation started), under the title "Comrade Ehrenburg oversimplifies".(Beevor 2002, p. 197 (296)). If the Soviets authorities did not think that the newspaper propaganda was having an effect on the behaviour of the troops (or at least their political officers' tolerance of the Red Army's behaviour) Stalin would not have considered it necessary to change tack like this.

The two sentences under review are:

  1. Beevor argues that these acts of violence were motivated by a desire for revenge and retribution for crimes committed by the Nazis during their invasion of Soviet Union.(Beevor (Romanian edition), p. 75)
  2. , as a result of Soviet propaganda advocating the eradication of the aristocracy.(Beevor (Romanian edition), p. 109)

The corresponding pages in the 2002 version are (1) possibly page 25, but more likely page 30. and (2) p. 35. However specifying one page probably does not give an overall picture of what Beevor writes, it is probably better summed up on the quote on page 30 about propaganda, and alcohol . Also it is important to note what Beevor writes on pages 31–32 and pages 197, 326–327. The attitude/motives for rape and pillage changed over the three months of the Soviet invasion of Germany, and what happened in East Prussia and Berlin was different. In East Prussia revenge was a strong motive, but by the time the Red Army was approaching Berlin, Rape was no longer primarily driven by revenge, but rather seen as a form of recreation by the soldiers, and destruction along with looting had become more focused on looting items which would be useful/valuable back home in the USSR. The change in the views of the authorities as mentioned on page 179 of Beevor 2002, very much reflected the same thinking on the Western Allied side after the Bombing of Dresden

It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of the so called 'area-bombing' of German cities should be reviewed from the point of view of our own interests. If we come into control of an entirely ruined land, there will be a great shortage of accommodation for ourselves and our allies. ... We must see to it that our attacks do no more harm to ourselves in the long run than they do to the enemy's war effort.

— Churchill, 29 March 1945 (Taylor 2005, Dresden: Tuesday 13 February 1945.London: Bloomsbury, p. 434).

-- PBS (talk) 21:43, 14 November 2014 (UTC)


User PBS has taken the time to research this topic and deserves our thanks. His presentation makes it clear that Beevor in 2007 still maintains his argument made in the 2002 edition of the book. --Woogie10w (talk) 01:06, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
Indeed, and the work of several hours is appreciated.
  • "Beevor argues that these acts of violence were initially but only partially motivated by a desire for revenge and retribution for crimes committed by the Nazis during their invasion of the Soviet Union"

I would suggest this small clause would cover the subsequent changes to the patterns of violence, sublimating any ideological, propagandistic element which was to a considerable extent evident in the initial phases. A reversion to the age-old behaviours of fighting men in the subsequent phases could be included in a few words which I am sure we can agree on. Irondome (talk) 01:29, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

But this article deals with the initial phase of the Soviet offensive in East-Prussia not the Battle of Berlin--Woogie10w (talk) 02:17, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
  • "German crimes in the Soviet Union and the regime's relentless propaganda certainly contributed to the terrible violence against German Women in East Prussia. But vengeance can only be part of the explanation, even if it later became the justification for what happened. Once soldiers had alcohol inside them, the nationality of their prey made little difference.".(Beevor 2002, p. 30 (61))

This quote appears to cover the initial incursions into EP as well as the actions of later months Irondome (talk) 03:17, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

And again, illustrating the same point from the same time-frame;
  • A telling point is made the same page. I have left PBS's original supporting comments in place.

"But either officers were involved themselves, or the lack of discipline made it too dangerous to restore order over drunken soldiers armed with sub-machine guns." (Beevor 2002 p. 30) "This is a well known phenomenon in war, and the traditional view in European armies was that after a successful assault on a city it would be near suicidal to try to stop the soldiers pillaging and raping. This was seen with the British Army in the immediate aftermath the Siege of Badajoz (1812). Instead the authorities would wait a few days and then punish those who were most laggardly at coming back to the colours. It seems that this is the type of approach the Soviet authorities used during this period of the war. It has been noted in many sources, that the Soviet front line troops tended to pass through and were all business, It was second echelon troops who tended to be the worst for committing crimes of all sorts (being very drunk in the front line is a sure way to an early grave)". I am assuming that PBS is referring to Koenigsberg when he mentions "..successful assault on a city", not the later Berlin battle. Irondome (talk) 03:50, 15 November 2014 (UTC)

I was not really referring specifically about cites, just drawing a comparison about ill-discipline and how armies have traditionally dealt with it when it is widespread. Wellington usually as a matter of military expediency kept a short leash on his soldiers who he considered to be "the scum of the Earth", but even he could not always control his men (see the Malplaquet proclamation (1815) for some background reading). The real point I was making is that if Wellington army's behaviour could break down despite his strict orders, given the ambivalence shown by the senior Soviet authorities up until the 14th of April to the revenge attacks, it is not surprising that the junior officers were not willing to keep their men on a sort leash, when to do so might get them arrested for "bourgeois humanitarianism for pity for the enemy", or even shot by drunks under their command, particularly as many officers might well have supported the prevalent view that acts of revenge should not be condemned if not condoned. The general ill discipline seems though to have been more prevalent with troops that were not in the front line, although Beevor in his more recent book The Second World War (7 June 2012) quotes from a Soviet officers diary where his regiment left their designated line of march through Hungary to pillage a small town, as morale boost for the men in his regiment, because they had been grumbling that it was not fair that other regiments had had a chance to rape and pillage and their line of march had not given them the same opportunities. -- PBS (talk) 13:01, 15 November 2014 (UTC)
My impression from general reading on the topic is that the raping was widespread in the supporting and occupying units, but not nearly as common in the front line troops. Some accounts commented on front line troops warning the citizens of the dangers posed once the combat troops left the area. I can't source these off the top of my head, but I can and will find them. The fact that the front line troops behaved differently then the following troops makes one wonder how these actions could be ascribed to propaganda, when both groups were given the same materials from the Soviet authorities.
The tenacity of the Soviet soldier, his unwillingness to surrender even when the situation was hopeless and later the Soviet commanders willingness to commit forces into attacks that resulted in great casualties amongst the attackers came as a surprise to the Germans. The Soviet soldier knew this was expected of him, and if he failed in his duty the consequences were dire. This reflects a discipline far greater then what the Czarist forces showed in the Great War. I can support these assertions and I will do so as time allows. Accepting them at face value for now how then did the Soviet command come to "loose control" in the occupied territories?
Anyway PBS wrote a lengthy defense which I am just now reading, and if you will allow me a little time I will formulate a response. I do believe we all want an article that is truthful and supportable. I will respond in more detail in the next day or so. Gunbirddriver (talk) 06:41, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Regarding "Some accounts commented on front line troops warning the citizens of the dangers posed once the combat troops left the area"; I remember seeing an account of that in Cornelius Ryan's book, The Last Battle (though he was describing the Battle of Berlin at that point). Swanny18 (talk) 01:16, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, in fact it is cited in the information PBS introduced. Beevor is back and forth throughout, ascribing multiple reasons in the material cited above for what occurred in East Prussia. Thus, hanging it all on the influence of propaganda seems to me to be a simplistic view that is unsupportable, seeing that the cited auther contradicts himself. I have been attending to other matters recently and have not been able to answer further, but the question certainly is open for discussion. Gunbirddriver (talk) 06:57, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
User:PBS, User:Gunbirddriver, and other interested colleagues, can we develop this further? I think the motivation for the violence can be consensually agreed at. See my proposal for revised wording above. Thoughts on that? The other main critique raised by GBD has not been discussed yet. Its an interesting argument, lets keep it dynamic. Cheers all! Irondome (talk) 04:12, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think your wording as proposed (01:29, 15 November 2014) has some problems.

  1. Many soviet troops particularly those who had survived for more than a year had seen the results of German atrocities in Russia. Given the drill bit approach of the Soviet commanders to their divisions (use them up and replace them with a new one, while preserving the drill) anyone who survived a year was likely to have been promoted to be an NCO, the moral compass for the none officer ranks in any army. IE those most likely to reign in their men were the ones who would have seen with their own eyes the devastation of Russia. Those who had not, the most junior, most probably believed the propaganda because they were not hearing anything to the contrary (nothing like cynicism by more experienced troops to puncture a propaganda bubble).
  2. The attitude of the Soviet authorities were reflected in the propaganda, and that only changed on 14th of April (two days before the Berlin offensive operation started) and so not relevant to this period of the war.
  3. Given the age old propensity for some (most?) soldiers to rape and pillage unless under strict discipline, that needs not be emphasised, (blue sky).

So in my opinion (and I think it is reflected in the quotes from Beevor), the key to the pillage and rape in Prussia, was the lack of restraint placed on the Red army soldiers by their senior commanders at all levels, and given the strict control of the Communist party on the military hierarchy, the propaganda reflected the view of the political authorities in the Soviet Union right up to Stalin (Only when he saw that it was in his (the Soviet Union's) interests did he take steps to stop the criminal behaviour of the Red Army).

So while the propaganda was not the only input to the behaviour of the Red Army, it was both a partial cause and more importantly a symptom of why the Red Army behaved as it did. The other cause causes were first hand evidence of German atrocities, and lax control of the men. How much of the hatred of the Germans was the encouragement of propaganda and how much was from first and second hand accounts is impossible to say. But the point of the propaganda is that is shows the lack of political will to stop the men acting as they did. That they acted as they did was in part a hatred of the Germans but also the lax control/positive encouragement of the Soviet/Communist authorities.

It would be interesting to find out how the two communist backed Polish Armies behaved and if they had similar problems, because the Poles had just as much reason to hate the Germans. If they behaved differently, then why they behaved differently would make it much easier to work out the major underlying motives of the Red Army's behaviour.

-- PBS (talk) 10:44, 19 December 2014 (UTC)

This comment from PBS:
"the key to the pillage and rape in Prussia was the lack of restraint placed on the Red army soldiers by their senior commanders at all levels, and given the strict control of the Communist party on the military hierarchy, the propaganda reflected the view of the political authorities in the Soviet Union right up to Stalin (Only when he saw that it was in his (the Soviet Union's) interests did he take steps to stop the criminal behaviour of the Red Army)."
is superb in my opinion. It answers directly the concerns I have had with the current wording. If we could incorporate it into the article and find citations to support it I believe the article would be greatly improved. Gunbirddriver (talk) 08:57, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
I would certainly support a form of that wording, if we can source it neatly. I would suggest that the Pravda (?) editorial of April (apologies, I am typing relying only on memory here) which publicly but politically quite mildly criticised the excesses of anti-German propaganda would be perfect to support the last point made about Stalin's political instinct kicking in and beginning a damage-limitation exercise. I think it should be included, as Beevor does mention it. Irondome (talk) 22:29, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
  • Question. This RfC has been listed at WP:ANRFC for a while, but is still awaiting closure. Could editors please comment on whether closure would still be useful or not? Formerip (talk) 23:44, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

A proposal for resolution has been advanced using the wording of the opposing editor, with a request for some sourcing, but there has as yet been no response from the opposing editor. Gunbirddriver (talk) 04:33, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Would it be possible to implement that proposed change and see if it sticks? We can wait for the other editor for a reasonable amount of time, but it's possible they might never respond. Formerip (talk) 15:01, 22 January 2015 (UTC)
He knows that its right and I know that it's right, but it is difficult to source. Soviet leadership had a dichotomous opinion. They (Stalin, upper level party officials and generals) had a purpose in these actions and seemed to find a sad humor (as conveyed in taped interviews) in the punishment met out to the German people of East Prussia, but when they felt the Soviet soldier was looked down upon for the behaviors then they produced excuses to explain away the events in an attempt to avoid taking away from the Soviet victory over Nazism. Russian historians and researches from foreign lands that have occasion to work within Russia do not have a free hand to comment. So we are left with people like Beevor, who provide multiple explanations: the men were drunk, the officers could not control drunk men armed with machine guns, the men were in high spirits, the German women were seen as fair game, booty (as it were) were the spoils of victory, a just prize for their exertions to achieve the victory, the men were driven by the memory of Nazi brutality to Russians, the men were whipped up into a passion by propaganda. This is not accurate. Soviet soldiers were known for pressing attacks despite fearful losses, for not surrendering a hopeless position. They exhibited a stoic quality to hopeless situations. In truth they had no alternative. Survivors of surrenders were sent to the gulag or worse. Commanders who failed to press attacks when losses mounted were shot.
As it stands the article claims the events occurred because the Soviet soldier was taking revenge and was driven to it by propaganda, but that is the party line and ignores the fact that the party had firm control over the Soviet soldier. The confused nature of Beevor's writings underscore the point. I would rather the article would remain silent on the point rather than state something that is false. But they insist the article remain as is because they can point to one place where Beevor supports the statement and ignore all the others, when the reality is Stalin wanted it done that way, and Russians who objected such as Lev Kopelev were punished as being enemies of the people.
I'll look again how it might be sourced with what we have and give it a try. Gunbirddriver (talk) 06:52, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Could adding [citation needed] where sourcing is lacking work? Formerip (talk) 13:24, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Okay, I believe the recent edit is a fair representation. We'll see what happens.Gunbirddriver (talk) 20:40, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Great. I'll get the request removed from WP:ANRFC and fingers crossed. If in the near future the edit turns out to be controversial and it seems like a formal close to the discusion would be a good idea after all, you can always make a fresh request there. Thanks. Formerip (talk) 21:20, 24 January 2015 (UTC)
Amen--Woogie10w (talk) 00:05, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

The following sources has been discussed on the talk page of the battle of Berlin, and it will be useful for this discussion:

the whole paper is interesting because it give a detailed description of he historiography of the history of this subject. In the context of this debate, I think it allows for a fair summary of the motives.

Why did these crimes occur? How are the victims of rape to be perceived? And, where does the blame fall? It seems that these three questions lie at the center of the study of Soviet war crimes and it is in the context of their debate that this topic has become a more popular subject for scholarly study (Dack 2008, p. 15).

  • Revenge and the act of retribution has been the most popular answer to this first question, as nearly every relevant written work and publication mentions this motivation (Dack 2008, p. 18).
  • Ideological indoctrination and the implementation of Soviet propaganda stands as another popular means by which historians have approached the study of Russian crimes Similar to motivations of revenge and retribution, the role of propaganda has also been widely accepted in scholarly works, again with some emphasizing its influence more than others (Dack 2008, p. 19).
  • In more recent years, a number of new perspectives have begun to formulate:(Dack 2008, p. 20).
    • One such argument is the role that Soviet officers played in the crimes against civilians (Dack 2008, p. 20). [both in encouraging and discouraging such cimes].
    • Another perspective which has developed in recent years involves the influences of sexuality, an interpretation which has been confined to the studies of Antony Beevor (Dack 2008, p. 22).

-- PBS (talk) 16:10, 26 February 2015 (UTC)


When this was an active subject noted the following I am putting it here because I an cleaning out my sand box and do not want to just delete it as it may be of use in the future if this debate is renewed.

The Storm of War by Andrew Roberts: Red Army and rape

The looting, drunkenness, murder and despoliation indulged in by the Red Army in East Prussia, Silesia and elsewhere in the Reich - especially Berlin - were the inevitable responses of soldiers who had marched through devastated Russian town and cities over the previous twenty months.

'Red Army troops loathed the neatness they found on the farms and in the towns of East Prussia: the china lined up on the dressers, the spotless housekeeping, the well-fenced fields and sleek cattle.' The women of Germany were also about to pay a high personal price for the Wehrmacht's four-year ravaging of the Soviet Motherland. 'Altogether at least 2 million German women are thought to have been raped,' records the historian of Berlin's downfall, Antony Beevor, 'and a substantial minority, if not a majority, appear to have suffered multiple rape.'87 In Berlin alone, 90,000 women were raped in the last few days before the city surrendered. As one Red Army veteran joked, he and his comrades used to 'rape on a collective basis'.

end of 553

Not only German women suffered. Polish women, Jewish concentration camp survivors, even released Soviet female POWs were raped at gunpoint, often by up to a dozen soldiers. Because Order No. 227 had decreed that Russians who had surrendered to the Germans were traitors, gang rapes of Russian female POWs were permitted, even actually arranged. Age desirability or any other criteria made virtually no difference. In Darlam for example, Nuns, young girls, old women, pregnant women, and mothers who had just given birth, were raped without pity.

The documentary and anecdotal evidence is overwhelming and indisputable; the Red Army, which had behaved so heroically on the battlefield, raped the women of Germany as part of their reward, with the active collusion of their officers up to and including Stalin. Indeed he explicitly excused their behaviour on more than one occasion seeing it as part of the rights of the conquer 'What is so awful in his having fun with a woman after such horrors' Stalin asked Marshal Tito about the ordinary Russian soldier in April 1945. 'You had imagined the Red Army to be ideal and it is not ideal. Nor can it be. The important think is that it fights Germans'.

As well as for the sexual gratification of the soldiers mass rape was intended as a humiliation and revenge on Germany. If the men of the Wehrmacht had sown the wind in Operation Barbarosa, it was their mothers, sisters and daughters who were forced to reap the whirlwind. Yet is is perfectly possible that the Red Army would have brutalised the Germans even if they had not envied their enemy's prosperity and wanted revenge. When the Red Army entered Manturia in August 1945 there was widespread rape of Japanese and non Japanese people even though the USSR had not been at war with Japan and had not been invaded by her.

It was not the Red Army alone that indulged in this form of warfare against innocents. In North Africa and western Europe, the US Army stands accused of raping an estimated 14,000 civilian women between 1942 and 1945, and although there were arrests and convictions, nobody was ever executed for raping a German woman. Furthermore, what punishment was meted out seems to have been decided on racial lines; although blacks made up only 8.5 percent of the US Army in the European theatre, they accounted for 79 per cent of those executed for rape.

Yet for an overall perspective Russian soldiers were not reprimanded for rape and 14,000 rapes over three years of war hardly equates with 2 million in one city.

The edition of the book I used for this is not on line. But these two editions cover most of the above:

Also this web page mentions some of this information and also another statistic about US soldiers.

  • "Some Things". Liberty Street. 13 March 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 

-- PBS (talk) 09:08, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

the largest exodus of people in human history

If the author assumes people outside Western Europe aren't human. About 16 000 000 Soviet people run away in 1941-1942.[3] Some Germans claim they are the main victims of WWII, why do non-German historian accept the story, I don't know.Xx234 (talk) 12:54, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

German atrocities in Russia

German atrocoties in Soviet Union took place mostly in Belarus and Ukraine, compare Bloodlands by Snyder. Xx234 (talk) 13:01, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Wolf children

The subject still hasn't been included into the article, it remains See also.Xx234 (talk) 13:09, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

The Polish census of 1950 indicated that 164,000 of the former German population remained in Southern East Prussia

I have added Southern, because the Polish census took part in Poland, not in the SU. The Poles didn't have any idea what happened in Kaliningrad region and Lithuania.Xx234 (talk) 13:18, 23 January 2015 (UTC) The same In May 1945 Soviet authorities registered 193,000 Germans in East Prussia - I would expect in Northern East Prussia (but probably outside Memel).Xx234 (talk) 13:51, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Dead link

The Soviet‐German War 1941–45: Myths and Realities: A Survey Essay Xx234 (talk) 13:24, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Massacre of Palmnicken

It was a part of the evacuation, not mentioned here.Xx234 (talk) 13:31, 23 January 2015 (UTC) Heiligenbeil PocketXx234 (talk) 09:41, 26 January 2015 (UTC) was the evacuation of the German civilian population and military personnel is biased, should be German civilian population, prisoners, police and military personnel. I'm not sure where the Nazis should be included - many of them uniformed, some armed and generally more eager to fight than common soldiers, see Erich Koch.Xx234 (talk) 11:38, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Not only aristocracy was hated

I'm not able to quote a source but Soviet soldiers were shocked by the high level of life of common Germans and that made them angry. Xx234 (talk) 13:37, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Postwar by Judt.Xx234 (talk) 09:36, 26 January 2015 (UTC)

Forced labor

Many Germans (including women) were transported into the SU to work, many of them died there, see eg. [4]. Xx234 (talk) 14:22, 23 January 2015 (UTC)