Friday, August 14, 2015

Book Review - Orderly and Humane by R.M. Douglas

    Orderly and Humane is an account of the ethnic cleansing of Germans from Eastern and Central Europe following World War II.  Douglas points out the almost total neglect of this subject in modern accounts of German history.  He cites Mary Fulbrook’s History of Germany 1918-2008 which “disposes of the episode in a single uninformative paragraph.”  He points out this massive catastrophe took place in full view of tens of thousands of journalists, diplomats and relief workers from countries with free presses and it aroused little interest.  He provides the reasons for this neglect.  For American progressive historians “it invites scrutiny of the complicity of their leaders and people in one of the largest episodes of mass human rights abuses in modern history.”  These people would much rather discuss the Atlantic Charter, the Marshall Plan and various UN declarations.  Douglas points out the dangers of covering this episode.  There is a fear that this information “counterbalances” the crimes of the Nazis.  A author can  be accused of being pro-Nazi. 

      This whole problem is based on the belief in collective guilt.  German women and children had to be punished for the crimes of the Nazis.  Americans do not want to investigate this problem because they will experience guilt for America’s role in this tragedy.  During this chaos a large number of women and children and even some Jews and Western POWs were murdered. German women and children were not guilty and Americans were not responsible for this tragedy.  Individual Nazis committed these crimes and Americans were kept in the dark about these policies by their progressive politicians.  To this day documents remain classified or have been destroyed.  Progressive historians do not want to reveal this story.

      It is one thing to ignore historic events.  It is quite another to fabricate history.  Douglas quotes Andrew Bell-Failkoff: “It goes without saying that the transfer has to be conducted in a humane, well-organized manner, like the transfer of Germans from Czechoslovakia by the Allies in 1945-47.”  There are other examples of distorted history.  Professor James F. Tent claimed, “By the spring of 1947, and thereafter to the end of the military occupation, the number and variety of supplemental programs expanded to the point that some observers asked with only slight irony if there were any normal consumers – that is, those consuming 1,550 calories per day – left in the British and American zones.” (p. 111 Eisenhower and the German POWs) And Robert Dallek who found postwar policies "refreshing."  “It is refreshing to study a record of American foreign policy toward Western Europe since the Second World War.  . . .instead of an imperialistic America exploiting Europe's weakness, these documents reveal a generous and often realistic government of the United States aiding a prostrate Europe to regain economic health, defend herself from internal and external threats, and integrate a rebuilt, democratic Germany into the mainstream of her economic and political life.  Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Robert Dallek LaFeber, The Dynamics of World Power, Western Europe, Vol. I (New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1973), p. 3.

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