Photos: The Public Domain Review
In his movie "Fury" Brad Pitt plays the role of a Sergeant of American Army advancing well inside Germany in the last phase of WWII. He observes - 'ideals are peaceful but war is violent'. This sums up the blood bath that WW II was.
Since the last part of the great war was taking place inside Germany with the Third Reich putting everything into it, the scourge fell on ordinary Germans. The world's perception of Nazi Germany is of a demonized war machine. Facts are not indivisible. There are always two sides of the story.
And obviously the atrocities committed by Red Army and Allied Forces took toll of ordinary Germans - German women and girls in particular. Since WW II was a massive military confrontation the modern world has ever seen; the brutality was also apocalyptic!
The movies and books presented the Germans as brutal in their pride. The loathing was in fact mutual. So when the Americans on the western front and the Russians on the eastern front were advancing in German mainland the fury was ruthless.
It is a chilling fact that Nazi forces brutally dealt with Warsaw Ghetto and 150,000 people were killed. Indeed Warsaw Ghetto carnage and other cold blooded Nazi atrocities were of diabolical nature when the Germans were the conquerors. But when the American Forces and the Russian Red Army was in German territory the outrages that took place was the other side of the story.
The facts are phantasmagoric! Two million German women from the age of ten to eighty were violated! The records show they were repeatedly violated even up to sixty times - the number of violations totaled 20 million! In Berlin itself 100,000 German women were violated. They included minor girls, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, nuns and even pregnant women.
According to Canadian historian James Bacque, between 1941 to 1950, one and a half million to two million German prisoners of war died and about five million seven thousand German civilians died between 1946 and 1950, largely.
Josef Stalin is much to be blamed who, through his propaganda minister Ilya Ehrenburg, actually encouraged the rape and degradation of the German civilian population. Ironically, Ilya Ehrenburg the propaganda minister of Soviet Russia like Stalin himself was Jewish. He exhorted "Kill, kill, you brave Red Army soldiers, kill. There is nothing in the Germans that is innocent. Break with force the racial arrogance of the German women. Take them as your legal loot. Kill, you brave Red Army soldiers, kill!”
The fall of Germany was a cataclysmic human disaster driving sixteen million ethnic Germans; women, children and elderly fled their ancestral homelands in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and other parts of Eastern Europe to Germany before the advancing Red Army. Of the hapless two to six million perished.
Dresden was a cultural centre of Northern Germany - Zwinger Museum and Palace and Frauenkirche Cathedral were the famous buildings. They remained unscathed up to the end of 1944. When the Nazi forces were falling back before Allied Forces and Red Army Germans were apprehensive of the havoc that would visit Berlin. They started flocking to Dresden. Eventually the population of Dresden swelled. Then the doomsday descended! Between 13 and 14 February 1945 35,000 to 135,000 people were killed in Dresden by Allied bombing. The city was razed to the ground.
War is violence of fiercest nature fed by vengeance and loathing. At the worst it is madness unbound changing sides with the fluctuating fortune. Whichever side is the victor there is another side of the story.