Date: April 7th, 2021 11:42 AM
Author: wonderful cruise ship
Other Losses is a 1989 book by Canadian writer James Bacque, alleging that U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower intentionally caused the deaths by starvation or exposure of around a million German prisoners of war held in Western internment camps after the Second World War. Other Losses charges that hundreds of thousands of German prisoners that had fled the Eastern front were designated as "Disarmed Enemy Forces" in order to avoid recognition under the Geneva Convention (1929), for the purpose of carrying out their deaths through disease or slow starvation. Other Losses cites documents in the U.S. National Archives and interviews with people who stated they witnessed the events. The book claims that a "method of genocide" was present in the banning of Red Cross inspectors, the returning of food aid, soldier ration policy, and policy regarding shelter building.
The "other losses" statistic Edit
The title of Other Losses derives from a column of figures in weekly U.S. Army reports that Bacque states actually reflects a body count of German prisoners that died of slow starvation or diseases. The book states that Colonel Philip Lauben, chief of German Affairs Branch at SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force), confirmed that "other losses" meant deaths and escapes, with escapes being a minor part. This is supported by a US Army document lodged in the US National Archives which "plainly states" that the "other losses" category of prisoners was for deaths and escapes. Bacque dismisses claims from his opponents that "other losses" meant transfers or discharges, as these are accounted for in other columns in the same tables. Furthermore, there is no separate column in which deaths were recorded.
The book refers to the Army Chief Historians report that was published in 1947; in the 20 pages dealing with the capture, transfer and discharge of prisoners, the report makes no mention of releasing prisoners without formal discharge. Furthermore, Bacque cites Army orders from General Eisenhower himself (Disbandment Directive No. 1) stating that every prisoner leaving captivity had to have discharge papers.
Disarmed Enemy Forces designation Edit
Other Losses states that Eisenhower sought to sidestep the requirements of the Geneva Convention through the designation of these prisoners as Disarmed Enemy Forces (DEF), specifically stating that "in March, as Germany was being cracked ... a message was being signed and initialed by Eisenhower proposed a startling departure from the Geneva Convention (GC)—the creation of a new class of prisoners who would not be fed by the Army after the surrender of Germany."
The book states that, against the orders of his superiors, Eisenhower took 2 million additional prisoners after Germany's surrender that fell under the DEF designation. According to the book, a million of those who died had fled the Eastern front and most likely ended up in Rheinwiesenlager prisoner transit camps run by the United States and French forces where many such prisoners died of disease or starvation under the cover of the DEF designation.
The book cites orders from Eisenhower which stipulated that the Germans would be solely responsible for feeding and maintaining the DEFs, however, he then prevented any aid from reaching them.
Body count of German prisoners Edit
Other Losses contends that nearly one million German prisoners died while being held by the United States and French forces at the end of World War II. Specifically, it states: "The victims undoubtedly number over 800,000, almost certainly over 900,000 and quite likely over a million. Their deaths were knowingly caused by army officers who had sufficient resources to keep the prisoners alive."
Other Losses contains an analysis of a medical record that it states supports the conclusion of a prisoner death rate of 30%. Bacque also referred to a 1950 report from the German Red Cross which stated that 1.5 million former German POWs were still officially listed as missing, fate unknown.
The book comments that approximately 15% of the deaths in the U.S. camps were from starvation or dehydration and that most deaths were caused by dysentery, pneumonia, or septicaemia, as a result of the unsanitary conditions and lack of medicine. Further, it states that officers from the U.S. Army Medical Corps reported death rates far higher than they had ever seen before.
The book states that Eisenhower's staff were complicit in the scheme, and that in order to carry out such a scheme, Eisenhower kept these prisoners in camps far longer than was necessary It states that, by the end of 1945, only 40% of prisoners had been released. Other Losses further characterizes the 22-volume German Maschke Commission report investigating the deaths of German prisoners as written by "client-academics" as part of a "cover-up" of the supposed deaths.
Treatment of prisoners Edit
Other Losses states that the U.S. dismantled the German welfare agencies, including the German Red Cross, then dismissed the Swiss Government from its role as Protecting Power. No agencies were allowed to visit the camps or provide any assistance to the prisoners, including delegates from ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), which was a violation of the Geneva Convention. It further states that the only notable protest against this was from William Lyon Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada.
Bacque comments that the press was also prevented from visiting the camps, and therefore was unable to report on the state of the camps and the condition of the prisoners.
The book states that many of the U.S. camps consisted of open fields surrounded by barbed wire, with no shelter or toilet facilities. In these camps prisoners were forced to sleep on the ground in the open, though it claims the U.S. Army had plenty of surplus shelter supplies which could have been issued. No supplies such as blankets were supplied to the prisoners, even though these were in good supply at various locations such as the depot at Naples. In a letter, General Everett Hughes stated that there were "more stocks than we can ever use; stretch as far as eye can see."
The book quotes Dr. Konrad Adenauer (later Chancellor of Germany) stating that "The German prisoners have been penned up for weeks without any protection from the weather, without drinking water, without medical care. They are being held in a manner contrary to all humanitarian principles and flagrantly contrary to the Hague and Geneva Conventions."
Both J. P. Pradervand (ICRC French Delegation) and Henry Dunning (American Red Cross) sent letters to the State Department condemning the poor treatment of the German prisoners. Colonel Philip Lauben stated that "The Vosges was just one big death camp."
Prisoner totals Edit
According to Other Losses, the U.S. Army employed a number of methods to reduce the number of prisoners officially on hand. One method was to accuse the Russians of taking far more prisoners than they reported. Another was the "midnight shift", whereby the opening balance of a given week was less than the closing balance of the previous week.
The book describes that a "Missing Million" prisoners exist in the difference in totals between two U.S. army reports (the last of the daily reports and the first of the weekly reports) issued on June 2, 1945. As a consequence of this, according to Quartermaster's reports the number of rations issued to the camps was reduced by 900,000.
Other Losses states that after visiting many of the camps in August 1945, Major General Robert M. Littlejohn (Quartermaster of the ETO) concluded that the U.S. Army was reporting 3.7 million prisoners while it actually possessed 5.2 million, thereby corroborating the conclusions made in a report three months earlier from Lieutenant General John C. H. Lee (in charge of logistics for the ETO), which he had sent to SHAEF headquarters. Other Losses states that Littlejohn subsequently wrote in a report to Washington that because requisitions for supplies were based on these faulty numbers, 1.5 million prisoners were getting no food.
Other Losses states that, three years later, in 1948 the ICRC formally requested documents confirming the total number of prisoners in the U.S. Zone and was eventually told that 3.5 million were there, which omitted approximately 1.7 million from the actual number of 5,224,000.
Food shortage Edit
See also: Food in occupied Germany
Other Losses explicates the 1944–1949 German food crisis to support claims for a high mortality rate.
Other Losses concludes that the 1945 food crisis in Europe was contrived by Allied forces by the use of restrictive food import policy, including restrictions on Red Cross food deliveries, and other means. It states that Eisenhower purposefully starved German prisoners given that "[t]here was a lot more wheat available in the combined areas of western Germany, France, Britain, Canada and the USA than there had been in the same year in 1939." Other Losses states that, in May 1945, the ICRC had 100,000 tons of food in storage warehouses in Switzerland. According to the book, when they tried to send trainloads of this food into the U.S. Zone, the U.S. Army sent the trains back, saying their own warehouses were full. Other Losses states that this prompted Max Huber, head of the ICRC, to send a strong letter of protest to the State Department, in which he described the difficulties placed by SHAEF in the way of the ICRC efforts to provide aid. He said, "Our responsibility for the proper use of relief supplies placed in our care is incompatible with a restriction to the fulfilment of orders which render us powerless to furnish relief which we ourselves judge necessary."
U.S. Army warehouses had 13.5 million Red Cross food parcels taken from the ICRC, which were never distributed. The book also states that German civilians were prevented from bringing food to the camps, and that Red Cross food parcels were confiscated by SHAEF, and the War Department banned them from being given to the men in the camps. The book states that Bacque found no evidence of a drastic food shortage in the U.S. Army —
"We had so much food we didn’t know what to do with it." — Colonel Henry Settle, 106th division.
"We are not in any desperate need of extra food." — Lt Colonel Bailey, SHAEF.
"There is in this Theater a substantial excess of subsistence ... over 3,000,000 rations a day less than those requisitioned were issued." — General Robert Littlejohn, Quartermaster of the ETO.