As the Anglo-Saxons freed Europe from Hitler

From the book by William Hitchcock Bitter Road to Freedom, Europe 1944-1945


In Normandy

Thefts and robberies … farm houses [locals] began June 6 and did not stop all summer. David Webster (David Webster), landing in Normandy Invasion Day as part of the 110th Airborne Division, U.S. Army, recalled that he had stolen a bottle of brandy started a few hours after landing. In the town of Colombieres, located just a few miles from the coast and liberated on the first day, according to the memoirs of one of the local residents, Canadians thoroughly ransacked her home. "Robbery was walking through the village — she recalled. — Soldiers looted everything and loaded the loot into cars and trucks. There were disputes about who gets what. They selected the clothes, shoes, food, even took money from the safe house. My father could not stop them. Izschezla furniture, they even dragged my sewing machine .. ".

Looting continued day-to-day and had a predictable effect: "The enthusiasm for the liberators extinguished, the soldiers robbed, krushat and break into the house under the pretext of looking for Germans. When the soldiers came to our house when we were sitting at the table, disappeared my gold watch … hacked locks on cabinets, door bouncer, drawers emptied of them disappeared underwear, things thrown out on the floor, towels disappeared. And all the while they were drinking our calvados and champagne .. ".

August 8 to the south of Caen Major A. J. Forrest (AJ Forrest) saw the soldiers of the 7th Battalion Regiment Green Howards (britantsy! — VC) plundered farmhouse sawed wood furniture and consume the most diverse wildlife that has fallen to them in hands from the hens and rabbits up to the pigeons. "Shame — he thought. — Three hundred Germans seem to have lived in the area and to respect the property of others, not grabbing someone else's livestock and belongings. As he [the owner] will react to this outrage? Not otherwise would curse their liberators. " In fact, the behavior of this kind took place in 1945 — in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany: the looting and theft are common sight in the liberated areas …


After the battle of the Bulge Americans have made great efforts to assist the civilian population of the villages and small towns hit by fierce fighting: fed crowded, provide them with medical care, disinfect the premises. In big cities, the picture is often the case the other (VC):

During this time, General Erskine (Erskine), head of the mission SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) in Belgium, received from the head of the Belgian State Security Committee (High Commission for State Security) General Counsel Gaskhofa Walter (Walter Ganshof) following an alarming message: " I consider it my duty to acquaint you with the facts, coming from all parts of the country where fighting came to American and British soldiers. There have been numerous complaints from the public about the ongoing looting. As you know, the Belgians are immensely grateful to the Allies for the liberation. Without a doubt, they are aware that the difficult conditions in which these troops are fighting … However, I believe that if the military better understand what the hardships endured by the people of those regions, which just passed fights they would refrain from unnecessary looting, destruction, damage to property, so the right people. " Ganskhof also noted that "received numerous reports that Americans consume or spoil a lot of food in front of the civilian population. Half-empty cans with fat or other products released … This has a very negative impact on the distressed people. "

Ganskhof, unfortunately, was aware of the fact that the messages were not the first, and did not relate to the incident, the case near the front. Far away in the rear of the allied military forces also violated the public peace, drunk, robbed, raped and stole. One of the indictments of documents preserved in the archives of the Committee includes complaints about the behavior of the Allied forces in Brussels, have been reported almost every day since September 11, 1944. Some of these violations were minor and fairly predictable: drunkenness, fighting, deliberately broken furniture and broken windows in cafes and bars. But some were more serious: armed robbery, the removal of rings and watches, wallets, clothing, and myself, to rape. The arrival rate of these messages has increased significantly after the winter battles. One of the documents indicates that the Liege after May 1945 was the scene of this banditry: the soldiers were involved in armed robberies, theft of valuables and money from passers-by, disturbing public order in the form of whipping glasses in cafes, etc. Liege newspaper consistently used the term "gangsters" in relation to the U.S. soldiers, while in Brussels women constantly complained about the behavior of American soldiers who behaved rudely with them, molested and harassed constantly by demanding sexual services …

There were complaints of ill-treatment of Americans with the Belgians, Americans hired to carry out ancillary works, senseless destruction of property Belgians even heard statements to the effect that "during the German occupation, there was no such unwarranted destruction," and "that if the situation does not change immediately for the better, most people will turn away from allies, and supportive attitude toward which remain only prostitutes. " Something close to it happened — by June 1945 about 15% (about 500,000 people) are in Europe, U.S. troops had to turn to doctors with symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. It would be an absurd exaggeration to say that. that the Belgians did not feel gratitude to the soldiers of the allied armies. However, sometimes from the lips of civilians and sounded like this: "Lord, deliver us from the liberators ..". (A retelling of an interpreter).

In the "trophy" of Germany

In the last months of the war Allied soldiers were even more attuned to abuse by the Germans on that to a great extent influenced by the fierce fighting in the Ardennes, executions of prisoners by the Germans Anglo-Americans, Germans terror against the civilian population in the temporarily captured from the allied territories. However, in the executions of prisoners of war is nothing new was gone: the trigger was pressed by the Germans in Normandy. Captured SS men at best expect scuffle, but that faustnikov, waiting to ambush the Allied armored columns — even teenagers — just do not take the prisoner, now openly acknowledge both American and British veterans. German veterans justify their brutality in that each of them by this time managed to lose some of their loved ones under the bombs. Well, they have their own logic, and it was in the Soviet soldiers who had been allies and (VC).

In February 1945, a correspondent of the magazine «Time» William Walton (William Walton) wrote:

Soldiers … I have entered the land of the Reich, notably a sharp increase hatred of the Germans. The soldiers talk about them with tremendous hostility and express their admiration for the way the Germans treated Russian. "I hope that will be included in the first Russian Berlin — say many soldiers. — They will know what to do with Fritz »(Krauts — VC). Captain John Lane said of the Germans: "I know these geeks. Nothing in them is not good. One paskudstvo, no morals, no scruples, religion, anything at all … I do not know how you can re-educate them in general officers. Most of them are just hopeless. My personal suggestion: kill them all right. "

Of course, the instructions handed out Anglo-American soldiers before entering German territory, not heralded civil Germans no good. Soldiers were taught to see ourselves in every German enemy (VC):

Remember, the Germans, you see — these are the same people who are bursting with pride when bombed Warsaw, who laughed when compared with the ground Rotterdam, who rejoiced when London was burning … There is no fraternizing with them.

After a fair fight you can shake the hand of the enemy. It was not a fair fight — the part of the Germans. You can not shake hands with Gunnu (Hun — VC). No fraternizing with them …

Children are children — around the world — with the exception of Nazi Germany. Of course, they are sweet — but ten years ago, Jerry, who killed your friend, too, was a cutie. Even though it's hard, but let the children understand and that war is not good — maybe they will remember this before you start a new war. No fraternizing with them …

Is it any wonder that the behavior of the allied soldiers left much to be desired? (VC).

"The behavior of some soldiers — one American officer wrote in his report — did not deserve the praise, especially after they fell into the hands of crates of brandy or wine barrels. I mention this because the naive or ill-intentioned people believe that the only Russian raped and robbed. After the battle, the soldiers of any army differ little from each other. "

Army judge advocate general was even more forthright in his report: "The tremendous increase in the number of rapes occurred after the entry of our troops in Germany … 88% of rapes, which were reported to have occurred in March-April 1945 … In a typical situation, one or more soldiers vlamlivalis in German house by force or under the pretext of searching for German soldiers and rape began … This was followed by break-ins, robberies, firing, beatings, and increased the proportion of acts of sodomy …

Although the total number of the cases of rape — 522 (15 white and 55 black Americans were hanged) — may seem small given the fact that by the end of the war in Germany were 1.6 million American soldiers, no doubt, rape was much more. "

When the March 14, 1945 a reporter for the Stars and Stripes has sent a note of the numerous rapes in the land of Rhineland, military censors put it under the carpet. In the same article said that Americans necessarily rape of German women — they can always buy sexual services. U.S. soldiers quickly saw that German women are always ready to sell themselves for food, cigarettes, chocolate, soap and other items of "luxury". Prostitution of this kind flourished in the occupied territories of Germany. She has been associated sharp decline of morals, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (by September 1945 — 190 cases per 1,000 soldiers!), A wave which began to subside until the middle of 1946. Of course, there were many romantic stories and just that quickly led to a softening of the situation in a recent front-line areas. Statistics and surveys of the civilian population show that in mid-summer 1945 crimes in the American occupation zone became much smaller.

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