Who Is Responsible?


Certainly, the expulsion in 1945 of 14,000,000 Eastern Germans from
their ancestral homeland by the Czechs, Poles, and Soviets with the
tacit connivance of the Western Allies was a "war crime" by any
standard. Moreover it took on distinctly macabre overtones when the
discrepancy between the number expelled and those who actually reached
Germany reached a possible three million mark.

Surely, too, the as yet little known fact that not Hitler but the
British, by their own admission, initiated unrestricted bombing of
civilian areas ought to merit for them membership in the select
society of "war criminals." The unbelieving reader need only consult
the testimony of the British officials J. M. Spaight and Sir Arthur
Harris, for incontrovertible proof of this charge.[1] A decision of
the British Air Ministry made on May 11, 1940, to attack targets in
Western Germany instituted the practice of bombing purely civilian
objectives. This "epoch-making event," as F. J. P. Veale correctly
describes it, marked an ominous departure from the rule that
hostilities are to be limited to operations against enemy military
forces alone.[2] Spaight, former Principal Secretary of the Air
Ministry, makes the following amazing comment on the decision of May
11, 1940:

Because we were doubtful about the psychological effect of
propagandist distortion of the truth that it was we who started the
strategic bombing offensive, we have shrunk from giving our great
decision of May 11, 1940, the publicity it deserves. That surely was a
mistake. It was a splendid decision.[3]

But the "great decision," the "splendid decision" of May 11, 1940,
which was ultimately to cost the lives of millions, including
thousands of Mr. Spaight's own countrymen, was to have an even more
grisly sequel, for, according to Sir Charles Snow who had charge of
selecting scientific personnel for war research in Great Britain in
World War II, F. A. Lindemann, a Cabinet member and confidant of
Churchill, produced in early 1942 a remarkable Cabinet paper on the
subject of the strategic bombing of Germany.

It described, in quantitative terms, the effect on Germany of a
British bombing offensive in the next eighteen months (approximately
March 1942-September 1943). The paper laid down a strategic policy.
The bombing must be directed essentially against German working-class
houses. Middle-class houses have too much space round them, and so are
bound to waste bombs...[4]

One wonders if it was the cultivated humanitarianism inherent in this
decision to assure the death of more working class Germans per bomb
which entitled the Allies, and in particular the British, to sit in
moral judgment on German leaders at Nuremberg in 1946!

Can anyone doubt that the "Morgenthau Plan" which envisaged the
destruction of the Ruhr mines, the pastoralization of a primarily
industrial Germany, and the political dismemberment of Germany was a
"war crime?" Had it been carried out rigorously, it would have been,
as Freda Utley described it, "the greatest act of genocide perpetrated
in modern times... At least thirty million people would have died of
starvation."[5] Though, fortunately, this diabolical scheme was never
carried out to the letter, its spirit so permeated the occupational
planning for Germany under the early "levels of industry" plans that
for a long time after the war had ended Germans were deliberately kept
on a diet far below that enjoyed by the inmates of Auschwitz up to
almost the end of the war.

Who can doubt the criminal quality of the Soviet butchery of thousands
of Polish officers in the Katyn forest in 1940? Even the Nuremberg
Tribunal resisted (albeit by inaction) Soviet attempts to lay that one
at the door of Germany.[6] Or perhaps the moral superiority of our
"noble' Soviet allies, as we were fond of calling them, rested upon
the manner in which they distinguished themselves in brutalizing the
women of conquered lands. No doubt the enthusiastic response of the
Soviet soldiery to the incitements of Ilya Ehrenburg to seize the
women of Germany as the spoils of victory which resulted in the rape
of half the women of Berlin alone lent substance to the pretensions of
moral dignity assumed by the prosecuting powers at Nuremberg.[7]


Any final summation or balance sheet of German war crimes honestly
verified, it may then be assumed, will most assuredly be balanced out
by the sordid record of Germany's hypocritically self-righteous

At the heart of the conviction that German World War II atrocities
were quantitatively and qualitatively without parallel in the annals
of human experience is the as yet unverified allegation that, in the
pursuit of a macabre "Final Solution," 6,000,000 Jews were
cold-bloodedly murdered in gas chambers and before Einsatzkommando
firing squads. The "evidence" presented in support of this charge to
date has not been more persuasive than that used to substantiate the
gruesome stories of German atrocity horrors spelled out in the long
since discredited Bryce Report of 1915.

Neither the proceedings at Nuremberg in 1946 nor those associated with
the recent trial of Adolf Eichmann were such as to inspire the
confidence of the impartial investigator. Likewise the frenetic
efforts of some academic scholars to prove the charge have fallen
quite flat.[8] But even if one should assume the worst to be true and,
from the welter of conflicting numerical estimates as to the number of
Jewish fatalities, accept the largest, 6,000,000, as undoubtedly
correct, the number of victims of these German atrocities would still
fall far short of the number of German, Japanese, and Italian
non-combatants who perished at Allied hands as the result of mass
population expulsions, saturation bombing of civilian centers,
post-war deprivation, and Soviet massacres and political liquidations.

The simple fact then is that there is every reason to believe that a
final accounting must exculpate Germany of any unique inhumanity in
the waging of World War II, just as revisionist scholarship has
exonerated her of sole or even primary guilt for the war itself.

Certainly there is no justification for those writers, and above all
those academic "scholars," in the West who continue to parrot the
crudities and distortions of yesteryear. There is a monotonous
uniformity in all their interpretations, the fundamental error of
which lies in the fact that they, in assessing the reasons for the
demise of democracy and the rise of Nazi totalitarianism in Germany,
ascribe primary or even sole causality to factors supposedly
indigenous to German history and society. The alleged "weakness" or
"ineptitude" of democratic Germans is a theme which runs like a red
thread through most such treatments. Coupled with a "sinister streak"
which has purportedly manifested itself in a diseased intellectual and
political development and an alleged obsession with militarism, this
usually suffices to "explain" for us "the course of German history"
with its "logical culmination" in National Socialism.

As might be expected, such critics scarcely comment on the Allied
"statesmen" at Versailles, who, in direct violation of the
pre-Armistice agreements, imposed a punitive peace on the Reich. Nor
have they much to say of the intransigence of Western "democratic"
politicians who refused to make the slightest concessions to Germany
during the interwar years. Non-German "guilt," however much it might
have contributed to the rise of Hitler, is never a popular subject
with them.

Germany during the Weimar era produced in Gustav Stresemann and
Heinrich Brüning two of the ablest statesmen of the present century.
These men were thoroughly "democratic" to the core.[9]

Had either of these men been offered a fraction of the concessions to
which they were entitled, the Weimar Republic could have been saved
and the world spared the insane bloodbath of 1939-45, as well as the
consequent alteration of the world balance of power to the advantage
of the U.S.S.R. This was the portentous, terrifying essence of most
genuinely crucial period in modem world history; what seems, indeed,
to have marked the real beginning of the Decline of the West. It is a
story in which the impartial historian can assign at most a very minor
role to German villainy. If villains must be had, the historian must
also look elsewhere: to Paris, to London, to Washington, and to
Moscow, but only lastly to Berlin.


[1] J. M. Spaight, Bombing Vindicated (London: Geoffrey Bles, Ltd.,
1944) and Sir Arthur Harris, Bomber Offensive (London: Collins, 1947).


[2] F. J. P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism (Appleton: C. C. Nelson
Publishing Company, 1953), p.122.

[3] Spaight, op.cit. p.7.

[4] C. P. Snow, Science and Government (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1961), p.48.

[5] Freda Utley, The High Cost of Vengeance (Chicago: Henry Regnery
Company, 1949), pp. 15-16.

[6] See F. J. P. Veale, War Crimes Discreetly Veiled (New York: The
Devin-Adair Company, 1959), pp. 38-51 and Joseph Mackiewicz, The Katyn
Wood Murders (London: Hollis and Carter, 1951).

[7] The sickening story of Allied mishandling of the women of
conquered lands, including Austrians, Germans, and Hungarians is well
exposed in Austin J. App's brochure Ravishing the Women of Conquered
Europe (San Antonio: Privately Printed, 1946).

[8] Gregory Frumkin, Population Changes in Europe Since 1939 (New
York: Augustus M. Kelley, Inc., 1951) and Gerald Reitlinger, The Final
Solution (New York: The Beechhurst Press, 1953).

[9] See particularly Henry L. Bretton, Stresemann And The Revision of
Versailles (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1953) and Felix E.
Hirsch, "Stresemann in Historical Perspective," The Review of
Politics, July, 1953, pp. 360-377. On Brüning consult Hermann Lutz,
German-French Unity (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1957), pp. 103,
108, 110, 118-123, 126-127, and 130 as well as Charles Callan
Tansill's Backdoor To War (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1952), pp.

Western Destiny - July 1964


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