Consequences of German Nazism

Consequences of German Nazism

German Nazism and the acts of the Nazi German state profoundly affected many countries, communities and peoples before, during and after World War II. While the attempt of Germany to exterminate several nations viewed as subhuman by Nazi ideology was stopped by the Allies, Nazi aggression nevertheless led to the deaths of tens of millions and the ruin of several states.

Effect on Jewish people

Of the world's 15 million Jews in 1939, more than a third were killed in the Holocaust. [ [ History of the Holocaust - An Introduction] ] [ [,,2096327,00.html Pipeline workers find mass grave of Jews killed by Nazis] ] Of the 3 million Jews in Poland, the heartland of European Jewish culture, barely 350,000 survived. Most of the remaining Jews in Eastern and Central Europe were destitute refugees who were unable or unwilling to return to countries that became Soviet puppet states, or countries they felt had betrayed them to the Nazis. Jewish support for Zionism had increased largely because the Holocaust killed off almost all political Jews opposing Zionism (such as the General Jewish Labor Union) and gave weight to the Zionist claim that Jews would only be safe within a nation of their own. This gave a profound impetus for the Zionist movement to press more radically for the creation of a Jewish state (Israel) in the British Mandate of Palestine.

This outraged Arab residents, many of whom firmly opposed such a new state. After various militant acts by the radical Zionist factions on the British Mandate's apparatus, the British withdrew in 1948, placing the region into the Arab-Israeli Conflict, which continues to this day.

Effect on Austria

Austria, which had been unified to Germany in 1938 ("Anschluss"), was separated from Germany again and, just like Germany itself, divided up into four zones occupied by the four victorious nations. However, Austrian diplomacy succeeded in preventing the country from gradually being split into a "Western" and an "Eastern" state. Rather, Austria regained its full independence and sovereignty in 1955 with the signing of the Austrian State Treaty ("Staatsvertrag").

Denazification as well as the restitution of Jewish property were carried out slowly and half-heartedly by the authorities. For decades to come, the Austrian people, supported by politicians of all major political parties, preferred seeing themselves as "Hitler's first victim" over taking responsibility for the crimes that had been committed by Austrian Nazis like Adolf Eichmann, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and of course Hitler himself.Similarly to Germany, the Austrian economy quickly recovered in the course of the 1950s.

Effect on Poland

The Nazis intended to destroy the Polish nation completely and in 1941 Nazi leadership decided that in 10 to 20 years Polish state was to be fully cleared of any ethnic Poles and settled by German colonists. Volker R. Berghahn "Germans and Poles 1871–1945" in "Germany and Eastern Europe: Cultural Identities and Cultural Differences", Rodopi 1999] From the beginning of occupation German policy was to plunder and exploit Polish territory, turning it into a giant concentration camp for Poles who were to be eventually exterminated as "untermenschen". The policy of plunder and exploitation inflicted enormous material losses to Polish industry, agriculture, infrastructure and cultural landmarks. The cost of the destruction by Germans alone is estimated at approximately €525 billion or $640 billion. [ [,,1324630,00.html Poles Vote to Seek War Reparations] , "Deutsche Welle", 11 September 2004] . The remaining industry was largely destroyed or transported to Russia by Soviet Union occupation forces following the war.

The official Polish government report of war losses prepared in 1947 reported 6,028,000 war victims out of a population of 27,007,000 ethnic Poles and Jews alone. For political reasons the report excluded the losses to Soviet Union and the losses among Polish citizens of Ukrainian and Belarusian origin.

Poland's eastern border was significantly moved westwards to the Curzon line. The resulting territorial loss of 188,000 km² (formerly populated by 5,3 million ethnic Poles [Concise statistical year-book of Poland , Polish Ministry of Information. London June 1941 P.9 & 10] ) was to be compensated by the addition 111,000 km² of former German territory east of the Oder-Neisse line (formerly populated by 11,4 million ethnic Germans [ [ The Expulsion of Germans from Poland, Revisited] , H-Net Review] ). Kidnapping of Polish children by Germany also took place,in which children who were believed to hold German blood were taken away; 20,000-200,000 [A. Dirk Moses, "Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History", [ Google Print, p.260] ] Polish children were taken away from their parents. Out of the abducted only 10-15% returned home. [Tadeusz Piotrowski, "Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947", [ Google Print, p.22] ] Polish elites were decimated and over half of Polish intelligentsia murdered. Some professions lost 20-50% of their members, for example 58% of Polish lawyers were exterminated by Germany, 38% medical doctors and 28% of university workers. The Polish capital Warsaw was razed by German forces and most of its old and newly acquired cities were lying in ruins (e.g. Wrocław) or lost to Soviet Union. In addition Poland became a Soviet satellite state, remaining under a Soviet-controlled Communist government until 1989. The Russian troops did not retreat from Poland until 1993.

See also

*Expulsion of Germans by Poland
*Expulsion of Poles by Germany
*Holocaust in Poland
*Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles
*Massacres of Poles in Volhynia
*Destruction of Warsaw

Effect on Central Europe

The peoples of Central Europe found themselves under Soviet military occupation at the end of the war, and the Soviets rapidly installed Communist puppet governments in all the countries they controlled, especially Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and what was then Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia). For all the affected countries installing the totalitarian Communist regimes also meant the collapse of their economies and total loss of their national sovereignty for many years to come. It was to be almost 50 years before the Russian forces were driven out of their gains of 1945.

Effect on the Soviet Union

More than 27 million Soviet citizens had been killed as a result of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, including some 10,651,000 soldiers who fell in battle against Hitler's armies or died in POW camps. [ [ Leaders mourn Soviet wartime dead] ] Millions of civilians also died from starvation, exposure, atrocities, and massacres, and a huge area of the Soviet Union from the suburbs of Moscow and the Volga River to the western border had been destroyed, depopulated, and reduced to rubble. The staggering mass death and destruction there badly damaged the Soviet economy, society, and national psyche. The death toll included c.a. 2 million Soviet Jews killed by the German invaders. [Zvi Gitelman, [ History, Memory and Politics: The Holocaust in the Soviet Union] ] The mass destruction and mass murder was one of the reasons why the Soviet Union installed satellite states in Central Europe; as the government hoped to use the countries as a buffer zone against any new catastrophic invasions from the West. This helped break down the wartime alliance between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted until the USSR's collapse in 1991. Soviet culture in the 1950s was defined by results of the Great Patriotic War.

Close to 60% of the European war dead were from the Soviet Union. A Russian historian Vadim Erlikman has detailed Soviet losses totaling 26.5 million war related deaths. Military losses of 10.6 million include 7.6 million killed or missing in action and 2.6 million POW dead, plus 400,000 paramilitary and Soviet partisan losses. Civilian deaths totaled 15.9 million which included 1.5 million from military actions; 7.1 million victims of Nazi genocide and reprisals; 1.8 million deported to Germany for forced labor; and 5.5 million famine and disease deaths. Additional famine deaths which totaled 1 million during 1946-47 are not included here. These losses are for the entire territory of the USSR including territories annexed in 1939-40. [ [ Soviet deaths in the Great Patriotic War: a note - World War II] ]

To the north, the Germans reached Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) in August 1941. The city was surrounded on 8 September, beginning a 900-day Siege of Leningrad during which almost 1 million civilians died.

Of the 5.7 million Soviet prisoners of war captured by the Germans, more than 3.5 million had died while in German captivity by the end of the war. [ [ Soviet Prisoners of War: Forgotten Nazi Victims of World War II] ] On 11 February 1945, at the conclusion of the Yalta Conference, the United States and United Kingdom signed a Repatriation Agreement with the USSR. ["The United States and Forced Repatriation of Soviet Citizens, 1944-47" by Mark Elliott Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 88, No. 2 (Jun., 1973), pp. 253-275] The interpretation of this Agreement resulted in the forcible repatriation of all Soviets regardless of their wishes. [ [ Forced Repatriation to the Soviet Union: The Secret Betrayal] ] Millions of Soviet POWs and forced laborers transported to Germany are believed to be treated as traitors, cowards and deserters on their return to the USSR(see Order No. 270) . [ [ The warlords: Joseph Stalin] ] [ [ Remembrance (Zeithain Memorial Grove)] ] According to some sources, many were executed or deported to the Soviet prison camps, over 1.5 million surviving Red Army soldiers imprisoned by the Germans were sent to the Gulag in Siberia and the far north. [ [ Sorting Pieces of the Russian Past] ] [ [ Patriots ignore greatest brutality] ] [ [ Joseph Stalin killer file] ] . However, statistical data from Soviet archives, that became available after Perestroika, attest that the overall increase of the Gulag population was minimal during 1945-46 [cite web|url=|title=Victims of the Soviet Penal System in the Pre-war Years|author=Getty, Rittersporn, Zemskov] and only 272,867 of repatriated Soviet POWs and civilians (out of 4,199,488) were imprisoned [ [ Репатриация перемещённых советских граждан // Виктор Земсков ] ] Verify source|date=September 2008.

Effect on Belarus

Belarus lost a quarter of its pre-war population, including practically all its intellectual elite and 90% of the country’s Jewish population. Following bloody encirclement battles, all of the present-day Belarus territory was occupied by the Germans by the end of August 1941. The Nazis imposed a brutal regime, deporting some 380,000 young people for slave labour, and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians more. At least 5,295 Belarusian settlements were destroyed by the Nazis and some or all their inhabitants killed (out of 9200 settlements that were burned or otherwise destroyed in Belarus during World War II). More than 600 villages like Khatyn were burned with their entire population. [ [ Khatyn WWII Memorial in Belarus] ] More than 209 cities and towns (out of 270 total) were destroyed. Himmler had pronounced a plan according to which 3/4 of Belarusian population was designated for "eradication" and 1/4 of racially cleaner population (blue eyes, light hair) would be allowed to serve Germans as slaves.

Some recent estimates raise the number of Belarusians who perished in War to "3 million 650 thousand people, unlike the former 2.2 million. That is to say not every fourth inhabitant but almost 40% of the pre-war Belarusian population perished (considering the present-day borders of Belarus)." [ [ Partisan Resistance in Belarus during World War II] ]

Effect on Ukraine

Ukraine also suffered heavily, with estimates on population losses ranging from 6.5 million to as high as 11 million. More than 700 cities and towns and 28,000 villages were destroyed. [ [ Ukraine :: World War II and its aftermath] ]

See also

*World War II casualties
*Generalplan Ost
*Occupation of Belarus by Nazi Germany
*Forced settlements in the Soviet Union
*Operation Keelhaul
*Hunger Plan

Effect on Yugoslavia

The demographic loss is estimated at 1,027,000 individuals by Vladimir Zerjavic and Bogoljub Kočović, an estimate accepted by the United Nations, while the official Yugoslav authorities claimed 1,700,000 casualties. Very high losses were among Serbs who lived in Bosnia and Croatia, as well as Jewish and Roma minorities, high also among all other non-collaborating population. In the summer of 1941, the Serbian uprising came at the time of the German invasion of the USSR. The Nazi response was harsh. For every killed soldier, the Germans executed 100 Serbian civilians, and for each wounded, they killed 50. [ [ German Occupation of Serbia and the Kragujevac Massacre, by Carl K. Savich] ]

The Yugoslav Partisans fought both a guerrilla campaign against the Axis occupiers and a civil war against the Chetniks. The Independent State of Croatia was established as a Nazi puppet-state, ruled by the fascist militia known as the Ustaše. During this time the Independent State of Croatia created extermination camps for anti-fascists, communists, Serbs, Muslims, Gypsies and Jews, one of the most infamous being Jasenovac. A large number of men, women and children, mostly Serbs, were murdered in these camps. In 1945, Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia was created as a communist republic.

Effect on Western Europe

Britain and France were on the side of the victors, but they were exhausted and bankrupted by the war, and Britain never recovered its status as a superpower. With Germany and Japan in ruins as well, the world was left with two dominant powers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Economic and political reality in Western Europe would soon force the dismantling of the European colonial empires, especially in Africa and Asia. The new states quickly found themselves unprepared for the realities of independence and faced the harsh reality of rapid population growth, social unrest, and political instability, all of which afflict many of these former colonies today.

One of the most important political consequences of the Nazi experience in Western Europe was the establishment of new, human rights based political alliances which eventually became the European Union and an international military alliance of democratic European countries known as NATO to counterbalance the Soviets' Warsaw Pact and Comintern until communist rule in Eastern Europe ended in the late 1980s.

The Communists emerged from the war sharing the vast prestige of the victorious Soviet armed forces, and for a while it looked as though they might take power in France, Italy and Greece. The West quickly acted to prevent this from happening, hence the Cold War.

Effect on Greece

In Greece the German occupation (April 1941-October 1944) destroyed the economy through war reparations, plundering of the country's resources and hyper-inflation. In addition, the Germans left most of the country's infrastructure in ruins as they withdrew in 1944. As a result of an Allied blockade and German indifference to local needs, the first winter of the occupation was marked by widespread famine in the main urban centres, with as many as 300,000 civilians dead from starvation. Although these levels of starvation were not repeated in the next years, malnourishment was common throughout the occupation. In addition, thousands more were executed by German forces as reprisals for partisan activities. As part of the Holocaust, Greece's Jewish community was almost wiped out. Especially the large Sephardi community of Thessaloniki, which had existed in the city since the Middle Ages and earned it the sobriquet "Mother of Israel", was eliminated. In total, at least 81% (ca. 60,000) of Greece's total pre-war Jewish population perished.

The bitterest and longest-lasting legacy of the German occupation was the social upheaval it wrought. The old political elites were sidelined, and the Resistance against the Axis brought to the fore the leftist National Liberation Front (EAM), arguably the country's first true mass-movement, where the Communists played a central role. In an effort to oppose its growing influence, the Germans encouraged the pre-war conservative establishment to confront it, and allowed the creation of armed units. As elsewhere in Eastern Europe, in the last year of the occupation, conditions in Greece often approximated a civil war between EAM and everyone else. The rift would become permanent in December 1944, when EAM and the British-backed government clashed in Athens, and again in a fully fledged Communist insurgency from 1946-1949.

Effect on Germany

More than 7 million Germans, including almost 2 million civilians, died during World War II. (see World War II casualties) After the end of the war in Europe additional casualties were incurred during the Allied occupation and also during the population expulsions that followed.

After the war, the German people were often viewed with contempt because they were blamed for Nazi crimes by other Europeans. Germans visiting abroad, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, attracted insults from locals, and from foreigners who may have had their families or friends live through or perish in the atrocities. Today in Europe and worldwide (particularly in countries that fought against the Axis), Germans may be scorned by elderly people who were alive to experience the atrocities committed by Nazi Germans during World War II. This resulted in a feeling of controversy for many Germans, causing numerous discussions and rows among scholars and politicians in Post-War West Germany (for example, the "Historikerstreit" [historians' argumen] in the 1980s) and after Reunification. Here, the discussion was mainly about the role that the unified Germany should play in the world and in Europe. Bernard Schlink's "The Reader" documents how post-war Germans dealt with the issue.

Following World War II, the Allies embarked on a program of denazification, but as the Cold War intensified these efforts were curtailed in the west.

Germany itself and the German economy were devastated, with great parts of most major cities destroyed by the bombings of the Allied forces, sovereignty was taken away by the Allies and the territory filled with millions of refugees from the former eastern provinces which the Allies had decided were to be annexed by the Soviet Union and Poland, moving the eastern German border westwards to the Oder-Neisse line and effectively reducing Germany in size by roughly 25%. (see also Potsdam Conference) The remaining parts of Germany were divided among the Allies and occupied by British (the north-west), French (the south-west), US-American (the south) and Soviet (the east) troops.

The expulsions of Germans from the lost areas in the east (see also Former eastern territories of Germany), the Sudetenland, and elsewhere in eastern Europe went on for several years. The number of Germans expelees totaled roughly 15,000,000. Estimates of number of deaths in connection with expulsion range from under 500,000 to 3 million.

After a short time the Allies broke over ideological problems (Communism versus Capitalism), and thus both sides established their own spheres of influence, creating a previously non-existent division in Germany between East and West, (although the division largely followed the borders of states which had existed in Germany before Bismarck's unification less than 100 years before).

A constitution for East Germany was drafted on 30 May 1949. Wilhelm Pieck, a leader of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) party (which was created by a forced merger of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in the Soviet sector), was elected first President of the German Democratic Republic.

West Germany, (officially: Federal Republic of Germany, FRG - this is still the official name of the unified Germany today) received ("de facto") semi-sovereignty in 1949, as well as a constitution, called the "Grundgesetz" (Basic Law). The document was not called a Constitution officially, as at this point, it was still hoped that the two German states would be reunited in the near future.

The first free elections in West Germany were held in 1949, which were won by the Christian Democratic Party of Germany (CDU) (conservatives) by a slight margin. Konrad Adenauer, a member of the CDU, was the first "Bundeskanzler" (Chancellor) of West Germany.

Both German states introduced, in 1948, their own money, colloquially called "West-Mark" and "Ost-Mark" (Western Mark and Eastern Mark).

Foreign troops still remain in Germany today, for example Ramstein Air Base, but the majority of troops left following the end of the Cold War (By 1994 for Soviet troops, mandated under the terms of the Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany and in the mid-1990s for Western forces). The Bush Administration in the United States in 2004 stated intentions to withdraw most of the remaining American troops out of Germany in the coming years. During the years 1950-2000 more than 10,000,000 U.S. military personnel were stationed in Germany. [Tim Kane, PhD., [ Global U.S. Troop Deployment, 1950-2003] , "Heritage Foundation" 27 October, 2004]

The West German economy was by the mid 50's rebuilt thanks to the abandonment in mid-1947 of some of the last vestiges of the Morgenthau Plan and to fewer war reparations imposed on West Germany (see also Wirtschaftswunder). After lobbying by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Generals Clay and Marshall, the Truman administration finally realized that economic recovery in Europe could not go forward without the reconstruction of the German industrial base on which it had previously had been dependent. [ Ray Salvatore Jennings "The Road Ahead: Lessons in Nation Building from Japan, Germany, and Afghanistan for Postwar Iraq] May 2003, Peaceworks No. 49 pg.15] In July 1947, President Harry S. Truman rescinded on "national security grounds" the punitive JCS 1067, which had directed the U.S. forces of occupation in Germany to "take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany." It was replaced by JCS 1779, which instead stressed that " [a] n orderly, prosperous Europe requires the economic contributions of a stable and productive Germany." [ [,9171,887417,00.html Pas de Pagaille!] Time Magazine July 28, 1947.]

The dismantling of factories in the western zones, for further transport to Russia as reparations, was in time halted as frictions grew between East and West. Limits were placed on permitted levels of German production in order to prevent resurgence of German militarism, part of which included severely restricting German steel production and affected the rest of the German economy very negatively (see "The industrial plans for Germany"). Dismantling of factories by France and Great Britain as reparations and for the purpose of lowering German war and economic potential under the "level of industry plans" took place (finally halted in 1951), but to nowhere near the scale of the dismantling and transport to the Soviet Union of factories in the eastern zone of occupation. The Eastern Block did not accept the Marshall Plan, denouncing it as American economic imperialism, and thus it (East Germany included) recovered much more slowly than their Western counterparts. German political end economic control of its main remaining centers of industry was reduced, the Ruhr area was under international control. The Ruhr Agreement was imposed on the Germans as a condition for permitting them to establish the Federal Republic of Germany. [Amos Yoder, "The Ruhr Authority and the German Problem", The Review of Politics, Vol. 17, No. 3 (Jul., 1955), pp. 345-358] (see also the International Authority for the Ruhr (IAR)). In the end, the beginning of the Cold War led to increased German control of the area, although permanently limited by the pooling of German coal and steel into a multinational community in 1951 (see European Coal and Steel Community). The neighboring Saar area, containing much of Germany's remaining coal deposits, was by the U.S. handed over to French economic administration as a protectorate in 1947 and did not politically return to Germany until January 1957, with economic reintegration occurring a few years later. (see also the Monnet Plan). Upper Silesia Germany's second largest center of mining and industry had at the Potsdam Conference been handed over to Poland and its population expelled.

The Allies confiscated intellectual property of great value, all German patents, both in Germany and abroad, and used them to strengthen their own industrial competitiveness by licensing them to Allied companies. [C. Lester Walker [ "Secrets By The Thousands"] , Harper's Magazine. October 1946] Beginning immediately after the German surrender and continuing for the next two years the U.S. pursued a vigorous program to harvest all technological and scientific know-how as well as all patents in Germany. John Gimbel comes to the conclusion, in his book "Science Technology and Reparations: Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar Germany", that the "intellectual reparations" taken by the U.S. and the UK amounted to close to $10 billion. [Norman M. Naimark The Russians in Germany pg. 206. (Naimark refers to Gimbels book)] [ The $10 billion compares to the U.S. annual GDP of $258 billion in 1948.] [The $10 billion compares to the total Marshall plan expenditure (1948-1952) of $13 billion, of which Germany received $1,4 billion (partly as loans).] During the more than two years that this policy was in place, no industrial research in Germany could take place, as any results would have been automatically available to overseas competitors who were encouraged by the occupation authorities to access all records and facilities. Meanwhile thousands of the best German researchers were being put to work in the Soviet Union and in the U.S. (see also Operation Paperclip)

For several years following the surrender German nutritional levels were very low, resulting in very high mortality rates. Throughout all of 1945 the U.S. forces of occupation ensured that no international aid reached ethnic Germans. Steven Bela Vardy and T. Hunt Tooley, eds. "Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe" ISBN 0-88033-995-0. subsection by Richard Dominic Wiggers, "The United States and the Refusal to Feed German Civilians after World War II"] It was directed that all relief went to non-German displaced persons, liberated Allied POWs, and concentration camp inmates. During 1945 it was estimated that the average German civilian in the U.S. and U.K occupation zones received 1200 calories a day. Meanwhile non-German Displaced Persons were receiving 2300 calories through emergency food imports and Red Cross help. In early October 1945 the U.K. government privately acknowledged in a cabinet meeting that German civilian adult death rates had risen to 4 times the pre-war levels and death rates amongst the German children had risen by 10 times the pre-war levels. The German Red Cross was dissolved, and the International Red Cross and the few other allowed international relief agencies were kept from helping Germans through strict controls on supplies and on travel. The few agencies permitted to help Germans, such as the indigenous Caritas Verband, were not allowed to use imported supplies. When the Vatican attempted to transmit food supplies from Chile to German infants the U.S. State Department forbade it. The German food situation reached its worst during the very cold winter of 1946-1947 when German calorie intake ranged from 1,000-1,500 calories per day, a situation made worse by severe lack of fuel for heating. Meanwhile the Allies were well fed, average adult calorie intake was; U.S. 3200-3300; UK 2900; U.S. Army 4000. German infant mortality rate was twice that of other nations in Western Europe until the close of 1948. (see also Eisenhower and German POWs)

As agreed by the Allies at the Yalta conference Germans were used as forced labor as part of the reparations to be extracted to the countries ruined by Nazi aggression. By 1947 it is estimated that 4,000,000 Germans (both civilians and POWs) were being used as forced labor by the U.S., France, the UK and the Soviet Union. (see also Eisenhower and German POWs) German prisoners were for example forced to clear minefields in France and the low countries. By December 1945 it was estimated by French authorities that 2,000 German prisoners were being killed or maimed each month in accidents. [ S. P. MacKenzie "The Treatment of Prisoners of War in World War II" The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 66, No. 3. (Sep., 1994), pp. 487-520.] In Norway the last available casualty record, from August 29, 1945, shows that by that time a total of 275 German soldiers died while clearing mines, while 392 had been maimed. [Jonas Tjersland, [ Tyske soldater brukt som mineryddere] , "VG Nett", 8 April, 2006] Death rates for the German civilians doing forced labor in the Soviet Union ranged between 19% - 39%, depending on category. (see also Forced labor of Germans in the Soviet Union).

Norman Naimark writes in "The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949." that although the exact number of women and girls who were raped by members of the Red Army in the months preceding and years following the capitulation will never be known, their numbers are likely in the hundreds of thousands, quite possibly as high as the 2,000,000 victims estimate made by Barbara Johr, in "Befreier und Befreite". Many of these victims were raped repeatedly. Naimark states that not only had each victim to carry the trauma with her for the rest of her days, it inflicted a massive collective trauma on the East German nation (the German Democratic Republic). Naimark concludes "The social psychology of women and men in the soviet zone of occupation was marked by the crime of rape from the first days of occupation, through the founding of the GDR in the fall of 1949, until-one could argue-the present." [Norman M. Naimark. "The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945-1949." Harvard University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-674-78405-7 pp. 132,133]

The post-war hostility shown to the German people is exemplified in the fate of the War children, sired by German soldiers with women from the local population in nations such as Norway where the children and their mothers after the war had to endure many years of abuse. In the case of Denmark the hostility felt towards all things German also showed itself in the treatment of German refugees during the years 1945 to 1949. During 1945 alone 7000 German children under the age of 5 died as a result of being denied sufficient food and denied medical attention by Danish doctors who were afraid that rendering aid to the children of the former enemy would be seen as an unpatriotic act. Many children died of easily treatable ailments. As a consequence "more German refugees died in Danish camps, "than Danes did during the entire war."" [ [ Children were starved in war aftermath] , "Copenhagen Post, 15 April, 2005] [Manfred Ertel, [,1518,355772,00.html Denmark's Myths Shattered: A Legacy of Dead German Children] , "Spiegel Online, 16 May, 2005] [Andrew Osborn, [,6903,891930,00.html Documentary forces Danes to confront past] , "The Observer", 9 February 2003] [ [,1564,1545676,00.html Danish Study Says German Children Abused] , "Deutsche Welle", 10 April, 2005]

During the Cold War, it was difficult for West Germans to visit East German relatives and friends and impossible vice versa. For East Germans, especially after the building of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961 and until Hungary opened up its border to the West in the late 1980s, thus allowing hundreds of thousands of vacationing East Germans to flee into Western Europe, it was only possible to get to West Germany by illegally fleeing across heavily-fortified and guarded border areas.

44 years after the end of World War II, the Berlin Wall fell on 9 November, 1989. Both the East as well as the West parts of Germany were reunited on 3 October 1990.

Economic and social divisions between East and West Germany still continue to play a major role in politics and society in Germany today. It is likely the contrast between the generally well-off and economically-diverse West and the weaker, heavy-industry reliant East will continue at least until the foreseeable future.

ee also

* History of Germany since 1945
* Germany
* East Germany
* West Germany
* Cold War
* Marshall Plan
* Berlin Wall
* Ostpolitik
* German reunification

Effect on world politics

The war led to the discrediting and dissolution of the League of Nations and led to the founding of the United Nations on October 24 1945. Like its predecessor, the UN was established to help prevent other world wars and contain or stop smaller conflicts. The principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations are a testament to the world's attitudes at the fall of the Third Reich.

Effect on international law

The effect the Nazis had on present-day international law should not be underestimated. The United Nations Genocide Convention, a series of laws that made genocide a crime, was approved in December 1948, three years after the Nazi defeat. That same month, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also became a part of international law. The Nuremberg trials, followed by other Nazi war crimes trials, also created an unwritten rule stating that government officials who "follow orders" from leaders in committing crimes against humanity cannot use such a motive to excuse their crimes. It also had an effect through the Fourth Geneva Convention (Art 33) in making collective punishments a war crime.

Effect on racism

After the world viewed the Nazi death camps, many western peoples began to outwardly oppose ideas of racial superiority. Liberal anti-racism became a staple of many western governments. Whereas racism was still present, openly racist publications were looked down upon. The social progression towards tolerance of different cultures in western societies has continued to the present day. Although figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr. had a profound effect on anti-racism in the west, the effect of the Holocaust, particularly the Jewish death toll during World War II was equally profound. Since the collapse of Nazi Germany, western populations have been wary of racial political parties, fearing the return of a catastrophe similar to the purges carried out by Nazis in Germany.

Effect on future armed conflicts

The major tactical innovation which Nazi Germany introduced was the blitzkrieg, with closely coordinated use of motorized, mechanized, and airborne forces on the schwerpunkt (focal point), followed by encirclement by motorized forces, and exploitation of the gap by conventional infantry forces . Radio communication allowed for the close coordination necessary for such attacks, and allowed for coordination of the airforce. Similarly, the use of air power to supplement conventional ground forces was another innovation in warfare originated by German forces in WWII. The introduction of rockets and jet engines also revolutionized warfare. The use of the V1 flying bomb and V2 rocket represented a new facet of warfare. Jet engines allowed for more sophisticated aircraft and mach speeds. This revolutionized both military and commercial aircraft. The idea of total war was also a revolutionary concept, in which the enemy's economy, industry, and civilian populations were all legitimate targets. This was a major shift in ideology from the rules of engagement which previously governed nations at war.

These new technologies, tactics, and ideologies introduced by Nazi Germany have resulted in major changes in the way nations conduct war, and have been the groundwork for many of the operations carried out today.


* Steven Bela Vardy and T. Hunt Tooley, eds. "Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe" ISBN 0-88033-995-0. subsection by Richard Dominic Wiggers, "The United States and the Refusal to Feed German Civilians after World War II"


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nazism — National Socialism redirects here. For other ideologies and groups called National Socialism, see National Socialism (disambiguation). Nazi redirects here. For the Sumerian deity, see Nazi (god) …   Wikipedia

  • German war crimes — The government of Germany ordered, organized and condoned several war crimes in both World War I and World War II. The most notable of these is the Holocaust in which millions of people were murdered or died from abuse and neglect, 60% of them… …   Wikipedia

  • German Brazilian — Germano Brasileiro  · Deutschbrasilianer …   Wikipedia

  • German resistance — Not to be confused with Werwolf. Memorial plaque to resistance members and wreath at the Bendlerblock, Berlin The German resistance (Widerstand) was the opposition by individuals and groups in Germany to Adolf Hitler or the National Socialist… …   Wikipedia

  • German Resistance — The German Resistance refers to those individuals and groups in Nazi Germany who opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler between 1933 and 1945. Some of these engaged in active plans to remove Hitler from power and overthrow his regime. Their plans… …   Wikipedia

  • Consequences of Nazism — World War II seriesv · d · e …   Wikipedia

  • Nazism and race — Part of a series on Nazism …   Wikipedia

  • German literature — Introduction       German literature comprises the written works of the German speaking peoples of central Europe. It has shared the fate of German politics and history: fragmentation and discontinuity. Germany did not become a modern nation… …   Universalium

  • German exodus from Eastern Europe — Flight and expulsion of Germans during and after World War II (demographic estimates) Background …   Wikipedia

  • German Empire — This article is about the unified German monarchy existing from 1871 to 1918. For Germany before 1806, see Holy Roman Empire. For Germany between 1918 and 1933, see Weimar Republic. For Germany between 1933 and 1945, see Nazi Germany. For German… …   Wikipedia