People keep talking about the Holocaust, but no one seems to care about the atrocities the Allied powers committed against people of German ethnicity after the war was over. You would think that, after a war was over, hostilities would end and crimes against humanity would serve no further purpose. After all, Germany had already surrendered unconditionally, had been totally eviscerated as a nation and posed no further threat to the world. But even so, the German people were treated worse than the Jews had been in their concentration camps.
According to wikipedia, German prisoners of war were relabeled 'disarmed enemy forces' and thus not given Geneva accord protections -- even though Germany extended Geneva protections to their POW's throughout the course of the war. (This did not apply to the Soviet Union, which never signed the Geneva Accord and thus Germany had no reason to extend Geneva Accord protections to them.) Even though the war was over and there was no reason imaginable to continue keeping normal German men in concentration camps, upwards of seven million Germans remained confined in concentration camps for years after the war ended. There they were fed as little as 840 calories a day and at most 1,340 calories a day. This is well below starvation rations.
In comparison, Jews in concentration camps were fed 1,300 calories to 1,700 calories a day. The victims of the Holocaust fared better than the the eight million German prisoners held by the Americans and British in concentration camps after the war was over and there was no reason to hold anyone anywhere. Even when the International Red Cross attempted to deliver food to these starving captives, they were turned away and not allowed to feed these helpless millions slated for death by starvation and disease. Yes, these men were German soldiers, but that's a meaningless designation because all men aged 10 and above had been drafted into the war effort and this label applied to literally every last male in Germany. Unless you simply want to kill every last German man in Germany this treatment of prisoners cannot be morally justified. Again, this was after the war was over and there was no reason to hold any prisoners at all!
The excuse given for this insanely harsh treatment of prisoners of war, violating every moral principle of contract fulfillment, reciprocity for how well they treated our prisoners, and showing mercy to people who present zero threat to you and caused no harm to you, was that America didn't have the food to feed all eight million Germans who had surrendered to them. This is absurd. The US occupation forces in Europe seemed to be getting by just fine. In addition, feeding eight million Germans is nothing compared to the war effort had been in America. 16 million men were recruited into the US army. This means the US government was at least capable of feeding this many men, all of whom were deployed overseas, as well as giving them all the gear, ammunition, fuel and vehicles they needed to fight a war. This in addition to the gear we were providing the soviet army at the same time, the loans we were giving to the British, etc. There was no lack of wealth needed to provide a bare subsistence calorie intake to the prisoners who, under the Geneva Convention, we had agreed to feed and shelter as well as our own troops were provided for. This excuse simply does not pass the test of basic arithmetic. We chose to starve people who had surrendered willingly to us assuming they would be extended the Geneva accord protections we had signed and agreed to treat them under. We betrayed and murdered them for no reason, after all hostilities had already long ceased.
Meanwhile, the soviets managed to take fewer German prisoners because most Germans were well aware that honorable death in battle was a better fate than being taken captive by the Russians. Three million Germans were taken prisoner over the course of the war by the Soviets. One million of them were killed, euphemistically listed as 'missing.' If they're still missing after 70 years, odds are they died. No one's going to find them any time soon.
Out of the 91,000 Germans who surrendered after the Battle of Stalingrad, only 6,000 ultimately survived the war. With numbers like that, it's a wonder the Germans ever bothered to surrender. May as well take a few more Russians with you with a bayonet charge than just be butchered helplessly after you've given up your weapons. But at least the Russians were not hypocrites. They had not signed the Geneva Accord, so they were not morally obligated to treat their prisoners well, nor did they ever betray any German expectations about what was awaiting them.
On top of the million Germans who died in Russian POW camps and an unknown number (one estimate was 790,000) who died in the British/French/American POW camps, two million ethnic German civilians were killed after the war was over in Eastern Europe. These were the inhabitants of East Prussia, Silesia, the Sudetanland, etc, Germans who used to belong to the integral territory of Germany but suddenly found themselves stateless as the borders of their nation were redrawn and citizen-less as the people who took over these new borders did not consider Germans as people with human rights. Right on the spot these civilians (mainly women, children, and elderly because all the men had already died or been taken captive in the war) were looted of all their holdings, kicked out of their homes in the depth of winter, butchered for fun, raped en masse, and left to fend for themselves on the long trek to what remained of Germany after the war. A death march for women and children provided no means of transportation and no supplies. The result was inevitable, two million dead out of 11 million who started the journey. No matter how much you might hate and despise German women and children for their 'backing' of Nazi Germany during the war, butchering people for their political leanings or innermost thoughts after a war was over and they presented absolutely zero threat to you is a worse crime than anything the Germans did to anyone during the war. I can't distinguish the difference between Germans slaughtering Jewish civilians during the war and Americans firebombing Dresden, a city with no military targets full of refugees, women and children, a literal Holocaust that burnt tens of thousands of women and children to ash or fused lumps of flesh. But I can distinguish the difference between killing people in wartime, when your warlike spirits are up, you are at your most furious and want to wreak vengeance on the people who are hurting you daily, and coldly murdering millions of innocent women and children after the war is over, after they have already stopped presenting any threat to you, and after all harm to your people has long ended. You can't even say that butchering these civilians helped lower the morale of the troops on the front and caused them to surrender sooner rather than fight on. The war was already over and the troops had already surrendered, unconditionally, years ago!
How can you compare killings during a war and killings after you are already victorious and the enemy has already surrendered to you unconditionally? Killing women and children, who never posed a threat to you from the very beginning of the war, long after the war is already over?
There is no excuse for this treatment of German civilians after the war had ended. Even if it was correct political strategy to relocate the German population out of eastern territories and force them into the newly shrunken German borders, this could have been done in a peaceful, orderly, and humane fashion. Germans could have been compensated for their lost property and transported by cars and trains to their new lands where the money they had been paid could be used to afford them new shelter and food where they arrived. Do not tell me that we couldn't afford to move these Germans. We moved 16 million GI's overseas, kept them supplied, and gave them all heavy weapons, fuel, and ammunition to fight a war with. We built freaking 100 carriers to serve in the Pacific war. 100 carriers. That's an unimaginable armada never seen before or after. For a nation like that, extending basic humanity to helpless women and children in the middle of winter is the least we could afford to do. Saying 'we can't afford not to massacre millions of Germans' is no different from saying 'we wish to massacre millions of Germans.' After all, if it really was too expensive to move these people humanely, the default position would have, normally speaking, then been 'I guess we can't ethnically cleanse them after all, the cost in human lives would just be too high.' Why on earth would the argument be -- 'well it's imperative that these 11 million Germans be ethnically cleansed, and we can't afford to do it humanely, so I guess we'll just genocide them instead.'
Are genocides decided upon so cavalierly? And is there any excuse for how we go on and on about the Holocaust when we did an equally atrocious deed just a year or two later ourselves, and never feel any guilt or shame about it to this day?
It's hilarious the moral knots Americans have twisted themselves into. The Armenian genocide was a death march ethnic cleansing almost perfectly symmetrical to this German genocide. We treat the Armenian Genocide as a genocide. We include in the Holocaust those Jews who died during death marches where Germans forced Jews to walk back towards Germany to avoid their liberation at the hands of the advancing Soviet armies. We treat the trail of tears as a genocide of Indians in our own American history. But somehow we don't notice or care at all about the two million Germans, a larger number than all of these events combined who were death marched out of Eastern Europe. In all of the other cases except the Trail of Tears, these deaths occurred during war time. Only in this instance were people wiped out for no reason after they already presented no threat and no risk to anyone.
The idea that mass murder of people who had bad political leanings is acceptable does not fly in the face of what really happened in modern history. How many nations have done horrible political acts in the modern day, that we get along with swimmingly now? Russia, China, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda -- the list is almost endless where millions of innocent civilians were killed for seemingly no reason except human depravity. And yet we are now more or less friends with all these countries. The people who live there are seemingly normal moral people, who get by in life just like everyone else. There is no large moral gap between the behavior of, say, Brazilians, and the lifestyle of Germans or Japanese today. Simply having participated in a genocide or mass slaughter of civilians says nothing about a community's overall virtue or worth. Particular circumstances lead to particular outcomes. These sudden paroxysms of violence can occur anywhere in any group of people, and just as suddenly as they come they disappear again, leaving the people just as festive and merry and full of hospitality and loving kindness as before. If we collectively judged every nation as worthy of being genocided simply because they had condoned a slaughter of civilians themselves at some previous date in history, then virtually the whole world would have to be genocided. Even the French did the Albigensian Crusade and slaughtered the Cathars. The British, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgians, etc participated in the subjugation, slavery, and genocide of third worlders all across the colonial age. The Aztecs, Incas, etc of South America genocided their neighboring tribes in horrid human sacrifice mass rituals. The Comanches did the same in North America. The bantus wiped out the Bushmen in South Africa. There are no 'nice' people anywhere. To single out Germans for slaughter due to their 'historic misdeeds' and uniquely label them as no longer befitting of basic human rights cannot be reasoned out from any principled moral foundation no matter how you twist the logic.
Our singleminded insistence on slaughtering innocent helpless Germans after the war does not fit into any principled argument. The Japanese killed more innocent civilians during WW II than the Germans ever did. The Soviets and Mao's China killed more than anyone else could imagine. But our treatment of Japan after World War II is like night and day compared to our treatment of Germany. Not only were no Japanese interned after the War, we brought in food and helped their economy. Though some Japanese were indeed ethnic cleansed from their territories, no mass deaths came as a result of this mass movement of people, and no lame excuses were made about how we couldn't afford to help the Japanese civilians avoid starvation like we said about the Germans, even though they were in an equally bad plight. If we can find it in our hearts to treat the Japanese like this, racially and culturally alien from ourselves, why on Earth did we decide to genocide the Germans, who form the largest ethnic group in America and have been the lynchpin of Western Civilization for centuries?
After the war was over, we should have extended full protection to all civilians and surrendered German soldiers wherever they were on the map. We should have provided the funding and food necessary to make sure all of them were taken care of until Germany was back on its feet again. This would have only taken about five years. After that the German people were capable of caring for themselves again. We -- our strategic bombing campaign -- were the cause of all their famines and shortages in the first place. We destroyed all of their railroads, all of their fuel plants, all their fertilizer plants, all of their industrial capacity that could make tractors and trains and everything needed to feed themselves. That was our decision. To leave them to starve after the war ended is to turn a war measure into a straight out genocide of helpless civilians for no reason at all. Three million germans died unnecessarily after the war was already over. These Germans were under our supposed protection and under the Geneva Accords we were legally obligated to provide for them. We betrayed and murdered them without an ounce of compunction, and we have not even apologized about it to this day.
To this day, Germans are still being raked over the coals for their crimes in World War II. Greece is demanding reparations seventy years after the fact. It's about time Germany present its own victims of the war and say 'enough is enough.' If we were going to compare crimes against humanity, slaughtering helpless civilians after a war is over for no possible reason is a far worse, more cold blooded and calculated deed than anything Germany did during the war. If anything, we should still be paying reparations to them.