Welcome to Live View – Take the tour to learn more
Start Tour
There is currently 1 person viewing this thread.
Steve Voltage
21 May 17 21:28
Date Joined: 23 May 09
| Topic/replies: 3,965 | Blogger: Steve Voltage's blog
Is it true more German soldiers died through surrender than combat?
Pause Switch to Standard View World War II Question
Show More
Report tobermory May 21, 2017 9:32 PM BST
Wouldn't have thought so.

Plenty will have been shot when taking them prisoner seemed too much hassle i suppose but no more than other wars
Report mecca May 21, 2017 9:51 PM BST
Not many came back from Russia. Also Yanks were pretty brutal with them . Eisenhower, I think, hated the Germans. Didn't class them as POWs. Called them displaced persons..... Or something like that. So ignored the Geneva convention
Report mecca May 21, 2017 9:53 PM BST
But the Nazi scientists got the red carpet treatment
Report zorrostrikes May 21, 2017 10:05 PM BST
one in twenty that surrendered at stalingrad survived, they marched them through the winter snow and exposure killed a lot of them. i think it was the 6th army. i remember a documentary about it - the german general was promoted by hitler and quickly surrendered to the soviets. he negotiated the peace. i think they should have kept fighting.
Report zorrostrikes May 21, 2017 10:08 PM BST
world at war documentary gives the tally of the dead from every nation at the end of the series. It's in the millions. that means the billions, were still generally untouched?
Report STUDYFORM May 21, 2017 10:30 PM BST
I wouldn't have thought so Steve, nut it is an unknown/unknowable stat.
It's true the Russians treated the German soldiers very badly - Sort of in response for the opposite happening.

I'd have thought that the cold on the Russian front would have accounted for a lot, as would the bigger battles.

Having said that, it would have been tough on the retreating troops trying to turn it in as the allies repatriated Europe.
Report Franzi May 21, 2017 10:54 PM BST
I agree with Study, as does Wikipedia:

Report zorrostrikes May 22, 2017 10:52 AM BST
best episode of world of war about Russia fighting Germans. In it the Russians had a slogan for recruiting. - come and kill your German - awesome slogan.

in that episode - a German householder is waiting for the Russians to come to his house and possibly rape his wife and daughter. there's been bombing in his neighbours house and his neighbour and family are dead. He moves the bodies of his neighbours wife and daughter to his house and hides his wife and daughter . The Russians bust in a day later and intend to rape his family in revenge to what the Germans did in their country. They say, where is your wife and daughter? He points to the bodies. The Russians take off their caps and kneel by the bodies, with the German man, and start to pray for their souls.
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 11:12 AM BST
Thank God we had leaders like Eisenhower.
Report zorrostrikes May 22, 2017 11:38 AM BST
Russians very spiritual people - it's a shame they killed their king and went crazy commies - blame Marx and Engels.

Imagine how Russia would be if they had kept the Tsar?

i've seen enough Russian films over the years to know they aren't the enemy. The enemy is yourself. as the saying goes, you are your own worst enemy.

have a drink, go on have one.
Report treetop May 22, 2017 11:38 AM BST
If Ike had backed Montgomery after Dunkirk we could have ended the war in autumn 1944,saving a million or two lives. He was busy having a dirty weekend in south of france with his PA when the germans launched the battle of the bulge.
On the O.P the germans leadership brought that on their own troops by treating the Russians,Poles,etc so appallingly at the beginning so it was hardly surprising.
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 11:57 AM BST
I think you will find that if it hadn't been for Ike and the Americans neither Montgomery or Britain would have ever set foot in France or Europe again.
Report donny osmond May 22, 2017 11:59 AM BST
had it not been for britain then ike would not have had a base
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 12:01 PM BST
Yes we should be very greatful that they came.
Report donny osmond May 22, 2017 12:03 PM BST
more americans have been killed by guns in usa since bob kennedy was shot
than have been killed in all wars since america existed
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 12:05 PM BST
yes no one should presume on the good nature of the Americans,
it's bad manners.
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 12:07 PM BST
they can be quite a warlike nation, Ike Eisenhower was German after all
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 12:08 PM BST
But they have such great and beautiful aspects also, unlike some nations and people
Report zorrostrikes May 22, 2017 12:19 PM BST
world at war said - 400,000 americans died.

4.5 million german soldiers? 12 million Russians, 400,000 british soldiers,

in total 60 million dead. 3 percent of world population at the time.

the saying was - american money, british know how and russian blood.
Report zorrostrikes May 22, 2017 12:23 PM BST
i looked at that wiki page - in total with civilians the Russian body count was 26 million ?
no wonder they wanted revenge on the germans.
RT news still reports on it. they do not like the Germans.
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 12:27 PM BST
I think you will find it was American knowhow zorro
I remember talking to a work colleague who has been stationed on an RAF base where they were doing the first tests of the harrier jump jet, vertical take off.
There happened to be an American pilot on the base and he asked could he have a go.
He took the aircraft up , for the first time, and for the first time was able to show the British pilots the unique capabilities of this aircraft.'
He said the British pilots were stunned, think this was in the 60s
Report zorrostrikes May 22, 2017 12:41 PM BST
but - the british had an empire, army held lands overseas. India,china etc.
where as the usa hadn't really been fighting much, spain maybe.
they certainly built all the weapons and sold it to us - making a fortune.
I think we paid it all off just when 9/11 hit?
Report CLYDEBANK29 May 22, 2017 12:50 PM BST
Recall my dad told me a story he'd heard from a work colleague who fought in the WW2.  Can't recall the exact details or numbers involved, but the story involves German soldiers (think it was 2) surrendering near the end of the war and being burned to death by a flame thrower by one of the British soldiers.
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 12:59 PM BST
If you think the British military behaved with the same savagery as the German and Tussian troops you have something wrong.
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 1:02 PM BST
not to forget the Japanese , I don't believe there were any German pows beheaded in Britain
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 1:04 PM BST
Did any starve, not that I know off.
Report lfc1971 May 22, 2017 1:06 PM BST
Did any not return home never to be seen again, I don't think so although Bert trautman stayed on to play football
Report treetop May 22, 2017 6:41 PM BST
Agree your point about the americans helping out lfc but WW2 was probably the first time the victors were billed for arms and supplies to such an extent that it left the British Empire bankrupt. The USA did very well out of the war economically.
Report Ramruma May 22, 2017 7:03 PM BST
@zorrostrikes -- the saying was - american money, british know how and russian blood.

That is the saying, and the Russian front saw First World War levels of slaughter, but I'm not entirely convinced it had a great deal to do with winning the war.

The key to the allies winning was surely Britain continuing to fight after the fall of France. We did not have to: Hitler offered peace terms, or we might have lost the Battle of Britain. If Britain had fallen, then the Americans could not have rescued Europe, so either Germany or the Soviet Union would have won and the continent would have been enslaved under a totalitarian dictatorship of one side or the other.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 22, 2017 7:59 PM BST
Don't forget that in summer 1940 a literally penniless Britain was defying Russia as well as Germany and Italy. Russia was by far the most enthusiastic and reliable ally Nazi Germany ever had. Grain, oil, raw materials, military cooperation ... whatever Nazi Germany wanted, Russians were eager to provide. But for Germany's Russian allies the British naval blockade might well have nipped WW2 in the bud before a whole continent was destroyed.

For every misery Nazi Germany heaped upon the world, Russia is complicit.

There's a passage at the start of Evelyn Waugh's wonderful Sword of Honour trilogy set in London in September 1939. The central character learns that Russia has joined its German allies in the invasion of the Polish empire, and suddenly he can see a purpose in his life.

The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms. Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle.
Report STUDYFORM May 22, 2017 8:10 PM BST
Not Russia and Germany....
Just Stalin and Hitler.

How can so few destroy the world and lives of so many?
How can so many still believe in any benevolent deities?
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 22, 2017 8:54 PM BST
Are you suggesting that Stalin and Hitler and their policies didn't have the enthusiastic support of the people of Russia and Germany/Austria?

It's a horrible thing to have to acknowledge, but the fact is that both were simply exploiting trends and beliefs that already existed in their societies. It's what you have to do, if you want to build a totalitarian state. You can't impose such a state on a population unless the population is eager to embrace all the work and sacrifice involved.
Report zorrostrikes May 22, 2017 9:07 PM BST
benevolent deities? to whom, warmongers. to kings who wage wars.
to dictators who kill their own people. you have free choice and you
continue to vote red or blue? just to be on the winning side.
you watch banal sports that get more and more commercial and corrupt
over the years. instead of just the joy of competing you record stats?
you repeat your mistakes and call it virtue. your sanity is in question.
We have given authority to evil, we make it strong or weak.
we applaud war and call peacemakers party poopers.

as Robert Mitchum puts it in the film Anzio - we like war.
God saves those that come to him, and will not engage in the game Satan has set up.
Report tobermory May 22, 2017 9:09 PM BST

May 22, 2017 -- 12:27PM, lfc1971 wrote:

I think you will find it was American knowhow zorroI remember talking to a work colleague who has been stationed on an RAF base where they were doing the first tests of the harrier jump jet, vertical take off. There happened to be an American pilot on the base and he asked could he have a go.He took the aircraft up , for the first time, and for the first time was able to show the British pilots the unique capabilities of this aircraft.'He said the British pilots were stunned, think this was in the 60s

Is there a link for this ? seems pretty improbable that the British designers did not know what their aircraft could do ?

Report tobermory May 22, 2017 9:09 PM BST
Germany would not have been defeated without all of Britain ,America and the USSR being against them imo
Report STUDYFORM May 22, 2017 9:10 PM BST
Sure they did, sbtw, but the people who opposed them didn't get all the far, did they?
They also heavily used propaganda and had taken over at the end of times of severe austerity. So some of the trends and beliefs were created by them and then exploited.
It was how they cemented power for so long.

This is what's so worrying about some of the trends and beliefs which could take hold in this country (and the US) if certain politicians and sections of the media get their way.

God saves those that come to him, and will not engage in the game Satan has set up.
This is a bit of a cop out zorro. It means god(s) can never do wrong...... convenient.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 22, 2017 9:33 PM BST
Austerity doesn't lead to 10 million Ukrainians starving to death under Russian occupation any more than propaganda can incite the murder of 6 million Jews and others, unless that's what the population wants to happen.

It's the boring stuff, the guns to steal all that grain in Ukraine in 1932, and the timetables to keep the cattle trucks running smoothly from west to east in 1941, which governments can fund and organize. But the vast manpower those projects required, the willingness to work hard to ensure as many murders as possible, that required fundamental enthusiasm on the part of individuals.
Report STUDYFORM May 22, 2017 9:55 PM BST
I don't dispute those things.
It's just about how they controlled the power the way they did....
Night of the long knives and the gulags, being surrounded by sycophants who will do anything to keep their power in turn.

If all opposition is wiped out, the rest gets easier.

Sure the people were willing, although I suspect some were less willing than others. What could they have done about it?
Was it enthusiasm? or was it total fear fuelled indoctrination - I mean - like a Stockholm syndrome?
Would it be easy for it to happen again?
I think it would, however the will of the people is being fuelled, not like the 1930's, but nonetheless thanks to various websites, papers, deflected blame and other media, I can see how it happened before.

As a matter of interest, my uncle, a young Jewish soldier, was in one of the first troops to repatriate one of the death camps.
He's no longer with us, but I SO wish I could have asked him about it. I have the feeling he never spoke about what he witnessed.
The only time I ever saw the subject mentioned in his presence he didn't speak and his expression was something I won't forget.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 22, 2017 10:04 PM BST
Regarding your point that people who opposed these regimes didn't get all that far, how many actually did want to oppose them? Hitler came to power via the ballot box in Germany and a referendum in Austria. Germany was notoriously the only country never to have a resistance movement (apart from a handful of generals in 1944, when they realized they were on the losing side).

Who had the greater support in France - de Gaulle's Free French or Petain's Vichy government? Until 1944 I'd say Petain. I mean, French troops fought hard and shed blood against British and Commonwealth soldiers in Syria in 1941 to try and prevent the British accessing the Middle Eastern oil pipelines. In the Netherlands Anne Frank is proudly remembered, but the cooperation of much of the general population in rounding up the rest of the Dutch Jews is largely overlooked.

You didn't have to cooperate. In Denmark, where the Jewish population was evacuated to neutral Sweden, there were no reprisals. Nobody was ever forced to serve in a concentration camp. But huge numbers did.

And the inevitable follow-up to the deaths of all those Ukrainians in 1932/3? A wave of immigrants from Russia eager to take advantage of the country's sudden de-population.

I do understand the view that dictators dictate behaviour. That's what they want you to believe, after all. But I just don't see how you can do it unless you're just articulating  and facilitating what appeals to people anyway.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 22, 2017 10:20 PM BST
The night of the long knives was not an attack on opponents of the Nazis. It was an internal battle for supremacy within the party itself. SA men were still shouting Heil Hitler as the firing squads shot them.

In the Communist countries the gulags didn't run themselves. And the vast numbers of people who spied on, interrogated, rounded up and kept the card indexes on the deportees weren't outsiders. They were your neighbours.

In E Germany alone 175,000 registered informants have been personally identified. The volume of destroyed records suggests the total number was 500,000, while members of E German intelligence estimate there were 2 million informers, if you also count the unregistered ones who saw it as their duty to report their neighbours to the authorities.
Report STUDYFORM May 22, 2017 10:22 PM BST
Maybe it's a little from column A and a little from column B.

Hitler swept to power with a huge 29% of the vote iirc.
I suspect it was the eradication of opposition which helped the keenness not to oppose.
Who was going to be in the German resistance - hadn't they all been murdered years before?
Who was going to argue with Stalin?

Also worth remembering, people are sheep. It's why silly fashions take hold and crap records get to number 1.
Also people are very selfish, many will gladly get a neighbour taken away to protect themselves.
Imagine being warned that in 2 days time family will be limited to 2 toilet rolls next month. In the next 2 days millions of people will buy as many as they can fit in their cars and trolleys. It's what people do.

Wasn't Sweden largely a German sympathetic country although neutral, btw?
Report STUDYFORM May 22, 2017 10:28 PM BST
I think the night of the long knives was an attack on perceived opposition as much as actual. Whichever, it would have had the desired effect.

Much of it was a case of power corrupting, releasing criminals and giving them guns and power (Dresden, again iirc) making people regionally powerful.
I think the same in Russia.
Give a few supporters better homes, better cars, servants, better food and power, they'll do anything asked of them.... to anyone.

Thinking about it, there is a case for the OP's assertion.
Report moisok May 22, 2017 10:29 PM BST
Do not forget there was the fear of a communist revolution in germany. Some saw hitler as a bulwark against this.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 22, 2017 10:42 PM BST
Sweden has this awful reputation because it exported iron ore to Germany, and in 1940 that was the reason given for a hare-brained Allied plan to invade neutral Sweden and seize the ore fields. It was supposed to be vital to the German war effort, and this gets repeated to this day.

But in reality Germany had no need of Swedish iron ore. It just bought it because, like today, it was cheap in a market flooded with steel. At that time 40% of Germany's steel was still going to civilian use, and plenty more was being used for construction and, incredibly, being exported, they had so much of it. It was coming from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.

It's unclear why Churchill and others embraced this idea of Swedish ore being vital for Germany: Len Deighton has suggested that they wanted access to Swedish ports, or that they had some mistaken belief that Scandinavia would be a good venue to fight. All it did was provoke a pre-emptive German invasion of Norway.

But hence the idea that Sweden wasn't really neutral.

The fact is though that Sweden did save tens of thousands of Jews from Denmark, Norway and (oddly enough) Hungary via the Swedish embassy in Budapest.
Report tobermory May 22, 2017 11:12 PM BST
The Norway campaign of 1940 was partly intended as securing a position to 'link up with the Finns' against Germany's ally Stalin !

It was pretty much a disaster , though tends to be forgotten that a very large part of Germany's surface fleet went to the bottom there.

This did diminish the feasibility of invading England a few months later .
Report Owmybrainhurtz May 23, 2017 1:50 AM BST
My dad was a German soldier. Whether he surrendered or was captured I don't actually know. I do know that most German Prisoners of War held captive in Britain didn't actually like Adolf Hitler and didn't want to escape.
Report STUDYFORM May 23, 2017 8:28 AM BST
This has been an interesting and informative thread.
Report treetop May 23, 2017 6:46 PM BST
A good pal of mine told me when he was in BAOR that more than one german soldier from the eastern front told how the Russians would capture a german soldier then crucify them onto a door frame and send them downstream to terrorise the defenders in any skirmishes.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 23, 2017 11:00 PM BST
It happened in Yugoslavia too.

My dad ended the War in the Ukrainian division which the Germans formed in 1944. The Ukrainians who had joined had intended to take advantage of the supply of German weaponry to use it against the Russians, who had recently re-occupied Western Ukraine, but instead found themselves fighting Tito's communists in the Balkans. My dad told me once of advancing through a forest there surrounded by the corpses of German troops nailed to the trees.
Report tobermory May 24, 2017 12:29 AM BST
I don't think many of those Ukrainians made it out of Yugoslavia safely.

Stalin demanded they be returned to the USSR for the NKVD to deal with them.

They had hoped to be allowed to move to allied countries and I believe the British tricked them into thinking thus would happen and then loaded them onto a train headed for Russia.

Harold Macmillan was the person in charge.

Long ago I read his biography and I recall shortly after the train pulled out there was a blizzard of paper flying out of the windows as the soldiers realized what was happening.

They were destroying their identity papers , knowing they were going to be killed but hoping if they died anonymously the NKVD would not trace their families and kill them too.

Macmillan was haunted by it and was accused of being a war criminal by some.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 25, 2017 12:58 AM BST
It was always a source of grim pleasure in our house when a hideously decrepit Harold Macmillan used occasionally to pop up on the TV news during his twilight years. "Good!" my dad would cry. "Not dead yet. He's still suffering."

11,000 of the Ukrainians handed over to the Yugoslavians and Russians in 1945 had been women and children. All were killed.

The few thousand who were actual frontline fighting men (including my dad) were kept in tents in Rimini for two years while their fate was debated. Legally they were in fact Polish rather than Soviet citizens, as western Ukraine had been occupied by Poland after World War One, and it had still been under Polish rule when War broke out. But Russia had then grabbed it for itself as part of its joint invasion of Poland with its German allies.

It was a bad time in Rimini, owing to the severe post-War lack of food in that part of the world. My dad knew of three suicides in the camp down to hunger. I don't think he ever bore a particular grudge against the British over it: that was just the way the world was then. But it didn't make it easier to bear. Hunger's a terrible thing to live with when you're trapped behind wire with no idea at all when it might end.

Finally, in 1947, the Labour PM Clement Attlee (God bless you, sir) gave the order to declare them stateless and transport them to PoW camps in Scotland. It's still unclear why exactly they were spared in this way. There's speculation that a few thousand bloodthirsty desperadoes with nothing to lose might have come in handy should we ever have found ourselves at war with Russia in that part of the world in the future. Who knows? Maybe they were just seen as a good source of much needed labour at home.

Whatever, he and the 400 others now stationed at Lockerbie spent a few months travelling around Britain to places like Bulford and Salisbury Plain defusing unneeded ordinance. (None of them actually knew anything about defusing bombs - it was blowing things up which they were good at - but they were in no position to refuse, and simply learnt the techniques on the job.) Eventually, in 1948 he was handed an agricultural worker's permit, which I still have, releasing him from custody and allowing him to work 48 hours/week as a farm labourer for 10/6 per week.

A few of the camp huts survive, one of which the men had converted into a chapel. It's still in use and now a listed building.
Report Fabulous May 25, 2017 1:08 AM BST
Decent thread this. I like a lot of the WW2 pages on Facebook, and some of the pics and stories, especially on those dedicated to the eastern front, are very good.
Report treetop May 25, 2017 6:49 PM BST
I have read a lot about the later stages of the war and how the politics and need to keep Stalin on board mattered whilst the politicians were outfoxed as Russia pushed the germans back, screaming.Some hideous events that make me wonder just how hard it must be at the front end of politics during war.Stalin stood back while Warsaw was nearly oobliterated and Churchill began to realise what was happening in Eastren Europe but couldn't get Rooseveldt to believe him.Two communist spies were very hogh in his administration ? Eisenhower pulled back to allow Stalin to take Berlin and dominate eastern europe while Montgomery was screaming at him to advance only for Montgomery to get smeared by the US press.Macmillan for all of his faults helped keep Greece out of communist hands. A horrible time to live in and your dad deserves our sympathy and respect.
Report Alias May 25, 2017 9:10 PM BST
zorrostrikes 21 May 17 22:05 Joined: 29 Sep 10 | Topic/replies: 6,752 | Blogger: zorrostrikes's blog
one in twenty that surrendered at stalingrad survived, they marched them through the winter snow and exposure killed a lot of them. i think it was the 6th army. i remember a documentary about it - the german general was promoted by hitler and quickly surrendered to the soviets. he negotiated the peace. i think they should have kept fighting.

Hitler promoted general Paulus to Field Marshal, having ordered him not to surrender and knowing that no German Field Marshal had ever surrendered before. Paulus did, and if he hadn't, none of his 600,000 would have survived.
Report Alias May 25, 2017 9:13 PM BST
lfc1971 22 May 17 12:59 Joined: 06 Nov 11 | Topic/replies: 13,428 | Blogger: lfc1971's blog
If you think the British military behaved with the same savagery as the German and Tussian troops you have something wrong.

Straight from the Enid Blyton book of Jolly Good Tommy Heroes. Just like the ones in Derry, January 1970.
Report 50Bridge May 25, 2017 11:29 PM BST
I am not sure there was no resistance in Germany.
Depends on definition but have heard from relatives there were parts of Berlin and other major Cities the SS did not go.
I am 50 so only have older people telling me this.
Was in South Africa on holiday 2 years ago and met a nice real old boy from Dresden.
His family moved to US in 1955.
Had to wait 10 years for his older brother to get out of Russia.
Said his brother and his mate were thinking of jumping on a boat , throwing their uniforms overboard. His mate said, '....they'll shoot us....' meaning the Germans.
Missed that boat then surrender came.
10 years later he came back.
In US never spoke German again.
The old boy I met had tears in his eyes telling me.
You are talking conscripts.

Like I said, I am 50 odd now, we do not know.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves May 26, 2017 10:19 AM BST
Depends how you define "resistance". I mean, moaning about the government, arguing with officials, not cooperating with the police, even pulling a sickie - they all go on in any society. But actively working to overthrow the government and overturn their policies, or sabotaging the liquidation of the Jews  - there didn't seem to be any of that in Germany. Even those few in the armed forces who conspired to some extent to end the war only wanted to do so on the basis of keeping the conquests. They had no intention of unconditionally surrendering. And too many of them seemed to be perfectly comfortable with anti-semitism and what it led to.

There wasn't even an intellectual basis for resistance in Nazi Germany. The universities and their students had been among the most enthusiastic supporters of the Nazis. There had long been a tradition in Germany, rooted in the romanticism movement, arguing that the German-speaking peoples had a mythical national consciousness waiting to be embodied by a great leader, plus a deep-rooted destiny to do whatever they sodding well liked on account of being racially superior, like, innit.

But I'm 55. So, like you, it's still only a second-hand interpretation. I worked in W Germany in 1981-2, and as an Englishman the only reference to the events of 40 years earlier I got from talking to the older locals was regular complaints about the apparently needless destruction of their small town by British troops in April 1945. The war was over, and all that. Only years later did I accidentally discover that the town (Uelzen) had been the site of an attack at that time by an armoured column of SS, followed by bitter street fighting with the Guards Armoured Division.
Post Your Reply
<CTRL+Enter> to submit
Please login to post a reply.


Instance ID: 13539