Presentation on theme: "Victory. All across Europe, victory brought celebrations & hope for peace & security."— Presentation transcript:
All across Europe, victory brought celebrations & hope for peace & security.
A returning sailors kisses a complete stranger in the celebration of VE Day in New York City.
"Above the muzzle of our window & from all the other cells of the Lubyanka [Prison] we too, former prisoners of war & former front line soldiers, watched the Moscow Heavens, patterned with fireworks & crisscrossed by the beams of search lights. That victory was not for us."-- Alex Solzhenitsyn on victory celebrations from prison cell
An Austrian mother is overwhelmed with joy when her son returns safely from the war. Millions of other mothers weren’t so lucky.
However, beneath the façade of camaraderie all was not well between the erstwhile allies. Soon new rivalries would emerge & w/them a new kind of war, the Cold War between former allies who now found their common enemy gone.
Welch, West Virginia Chicago, Illinois Compared to Europe, America’s economy was booming. With its territory virtually untouched by the war, the US had 60% of the world’s (remaining) industrial capacity.
However, the US had its problems too: poverty remaining from the Depression and before, several million returning GIs needing work and housing, and the transition back to a consumer economy with no apparent markets to fuel it.
Symbolic of this was disagreement over date of VE day. The Western allies had forgotten a pre-arranged copy of the surrender terms they had agreed on with Stalin. Therefore, a makeshift version was signed on 5/7/45. This led to a Soviet protest and a re-signing of the surrender the next day, thus creating 2 VE days: May 7 & 8, 1945.
Aftermath (1945) ~6 min
The agonies of the concentration camps are reflected in this inmate’s face. He did not survive his liberation
Wedding rings taken by the Nazis from concentration camp victims
A Russian woman swoons at the sight of loved ones massacred by the Nazis.
An Italian war orphan keeps watch over her little sister huddled in a GI’s cast-off overcoat.
Two German soldiers return to Berlin on one pair of legs.
However, peace alone could not solve problems created by 6 years of war. Soon hope turned into despair as mass starvation, wholesale displacement of nations & outright slaughter of helpless civilians continued. Left: Germans & DPs (displaced persons) loot shops in a German city.
There were also angry recriminations against those who had collaborated with the Germans. Left: A French woman, her head shaved as a sign of collaborating with the enemy, carries her child by a German officer through the streets of Chartres to the taunts of her neighbors. Below: Shaving the head of another French fraternizer.
A former concentration inmate identifies an SS officer as a guard at his camp.
"a continent half grave yard & half junk yard.”
The ruins of the Kaiser Kirche in Berlin stand as a silent testament to the war in the midst of modern buildings built since 1945.
Few cities escaped damage from street fighting, shelling, bombing, or Russian & German scorched earth policies. Coblenz Aachen Dresden
Berlin was virtually destroyed, causing some to estimate it would take. 15 years to clear its rubble Some had no shelter at all. People lived in basements & dugouts of rubble in stone age like existence. The dead lay unburied for months, creating a horrible stench There was hardly any police & fire protection, and the rats ruled the streets at night. There were 3000 breaks in water mains, leaving virtually no clean water or sanitary facilities There was very little fuel, electricity, or communications, & thus no working industries Wheeled transportation was virtually destroyed, leaving no ambulances, only stretchers & carts Churches, offices, shops, hospitals, factories were in comparable shape 95% of center leveled, 75% of houses in rest of city
"Wherever we looked we saw desolation. The streets were piled high w/debris which left in many places only a narrow one way passage between high mounds of rubble, & frequent detours had to be made where bridges & viaducts had been destroyed. The Germans seemed weak, cowed, & furtive & not yet recovered from the shock of the battle of Berlin. It was like a city of the dead."
A Polish girl looks over the devastation that once was Warsaw before two failed uprisings and a deliberate Nazi policy of destruction before evacuation left the city in ruins.
Pre-fab huts built for GI’s were the only decent shelters in the midst of the ruins of Hamburg, Germany.
Dresden, Germany before and after the war. The seemingly needless and horrific firebombing raid in February 1945 triggered a firestorm, something usually associated with nuclear bombs. It would become the subject of the novel, Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut who survived the attack as a prisoner of war.
Massive fire bombing also wreaked near nuclear levels of destruction on Tokyo in 1945.
The remains of Hiroshima bear witness to the even greater destructive power of nuclear weapons.
Survivors of Hiroshima flee the ruins of what used to be their city.
Americans inspect the remains of a bus destroyed in the nuclear attack on Hiroshima.
Wiener Neustadt, near Vienna had only 18 houses & 860 of its previous population of 45,000 left.
Much of Europe’s art & architecture were ruined. Massive amounts of art had also been plundered by the Nazis and needed to be returned to their rightful owners. Below left: a painting by Manet recovered in a mine shaft. Below right: the Veit Stoss Altar, taken by the Nazis, is packed up & returned to Poland
Europe was described as "a continent half grave yard & half junk yard.” Below left: Nuremberg Below right: Munich’s train station
The psychological shock from so much destruction caused many to question whether a decent civilization could be rebuilt. Left: allied soldiers move through a bombed out German city. Below: a cartoon celebrating VE Day and the retreat of the forces of evil. But could they be kept from coming back?
The Human cost
Recent estimates put the number of dead in the Second World War at 72 million, twice the previously estimated total. Forty-seven million civilians died, 20 million from the results of famine and disease. An estimated 25 million soldiers died, 4 million of them in POW camps.
West allies' losses relatively small. Less than 1% of Fr., Britain, U.S., Canada & Italy - total for them all approx. 1.5 mill. E. Eur by contrast suffered horribly in abs. numbers & percentages. USSR lost approx. 27,000,000 (approx. 10% of pop.);Poland ~5.5 mill= 20% popul.; Yugoslavia lost 10%
Ger. lost 3 million soldiers & around 2 million civilians from forced emigration from Slavic lands Two-thirds of German men born in 1918 didn’t survive WWII. Some towns were left totally devoid of adult men. After the war, Treptow, a suburb of Berlin had 1105 women age 19-21, but only 181 men that age.
In addition, the specter of famine & pestilence" loomed over "the lunar landscape of craters & rubble”. Below: Herbert Hoover, who also oversaw famine relief after World War I, watches Polish children eat what many well be their only meal of the day.
Farmland was ruined by flooding & scorched earth policies. Damage to roads and bridges left each area isolated, so even unscathed farmland was useless. Lack of equipment & fertilizer led to lower crop yields and widespread hunger. To make matters worse, farmers wouldn’t trade the food they had for worthless cash.
In addition to shortages of labor, farm machinery, fertilizer, seed & livestock, a drought in 1945 reduced Europe’s agricultural production to 50% below normal. This led to strict rationing, many people receiving under 900 calories a day. Left: a German family’s meal consisting almost totally of potatoes. Below: People line up for their rations of bread.
In Holland, people were allotted less calories in a week than they should have had in a day
Clothes, shoes, medical supplies, & fuel also in short supply. Below left: a woman gathers firewood in the absence of regular fuel supplies. Below right: An Austrian war orphan blissfully hugs a new pair of shoes given to him by the Red Cross.
Unlike WWI, WWII was mainly a civilian experience, especially for countries occupied by Germany. Below: a GI oversees German civilians digging mass graves for thousands of Holocaust victims.
While Britain ransacked over 1/2 its GDP for the war effort, Germany ransacked other countries’ economies and workforces. By September, 1944, there were 7,487,000 foreigners in Germany, the vast majority of them there against their will. They made up 21% Germany’s population. Left: Jews being loaded onto a cattle car for deortation to Germany. Below: French Jews being shipped from Marseilles to Germany
Some cities, by informal consent or luck, escaped major damage: Rome, Paris, Oxford, Venice, Prague Most weren’t so lucky: Berlin in the last 14 days of war was hit by 40,000 tons of shells, making 75% of its buildings uninhabitable. Right: Women salvage bricks from Berlin’s rubble. Below: A woman breaks down in tears when she finds all that remains of her home is rubble.
The worst death rates were suffered by groups targeted by Hitler's Final Solution. For example, the Gypsies were virtually wiped out with only about 500,000 surviving. Below: Gypsies arrive at the Belzec death camp
Six million Jews of an estimated 10 million, most of them from Russia & Poland, died in the Holocaust Below : New arrivals at Birkenau are separated between those destined for immediate extermination and those sentenced to slave labor (i.e., slow deaths).
Four out of 10 Jews freed from concentration camps (such as the one pictured below left) didn’t survive their first weeks of freedom. Left: a Jewish child lies dead in the streets of the Warsaw Ghetto. Below: child survivors liberated from Auschwitz, 1945
Out of 5.5 million Russian POWs, between 60-80% died in German camps. Of 750k Sov’s captured at Kiev in 1941, only 22,000 survived war After the war, there were 20 million more women than men in the Soviet Union
German reprisals in Yugoslav villages sometimes would execute all males over 15. Below: Stjepan “Stevo” Filipovic, a Yugoslav partisan goes defiantly to his execution by Nazi captors.
Besides the men, horses needed for agriculture in many nations had left for war as well, many never to return.
Unemployment and unstable economies plagued both winners and losers after the war, as seen by this German and British veteran both publicly asking for work.
Finnish goods wait to be sent as reparations to the Soviet Union. Finland had the particular misfortune of losing World War II twice, being invaded by Stalin’s forces in 1940 and then joining Germany to get revenge against Stalin when Hitler invaded Russia in The joke about this stamp was that the Finns were waving goodbye to all their clothes as the last load of reparations to Stalin..
Adding to the postwar problems were million displaced persons (AKA DP's), 10% of Europe's population, searching for homes. Below: Gis feed refugees at a DP camp.
35 million had been forcibly uprooted; 15 million were escaping new political boundaries, especially Soviet Bloc countries. Below: DPs in Salzburg, Austria
Uprooted from their homes, they wandered across Europe, murdered by hostile soldiers & civilians, dying from starvation & exposure, or wasting away in DP camps set up by allies. Not wanted by the locals, the unfortunate emigres were driven further on, attacked by bandits, raped & plundered. Below: Several hundred Jewish children are loaded on a train to remove them from anti-semitic attacks by people who, of all things, blamed the Jews for the war.
Naturally much of this was done vengefully. Hitler expelled 750k Poles from E. Europe & replaced them with 500,000 Germans, a process that was reversed after the war His goal to include all Germans in one border came true, but not as he had planned. Some 8 mill German's, were forcibly uprooted from E. Europe Driven to Germany, some 2 million died on the journey. A German mother hurries ahead of the lone survivors of a group of some 150 refugees looking for help for her sick baby. Unfortunately, the baby has already died… ….which she and the other women in the group finally realize.
A young German rape victim is helped along after reporting the crime. Some 87,000 women in Vienna hospitals, even more in Berlin, reported being raped by Russian soldiers. However, since it was so humiliating to report such a crime, the real number of rape victims is estimated at several times that. There were k “Russian babies” born in E. Germany (1945-6). There is no telling how many abortions were illegally performed & how many women died having them.
Many fled to countryside, already swollen by refugees from wartime bombing. One village went from 890 to 3000 people. Many others, thinking they would find relief, fled to the cities, such as those disembarking from a DP train in Weimar Germany (below). Some 20,000 such DPs were reaching Berlin each day
Extensive bombing created housing shortages & people exposed to elements.
There were 700,000 needy children in Czechoslovakia; half them infected with TB July Broken water mains & sewers in Berlin led to outbreaks of Cholera, killing two-thirds of all newborns. A DP is sprayed with DDT to kill lice and any other vermin living on this woman
Even more tragic, Stalin wanted E. Europeans, especially Russians, in W. Europe back. Many of them had served in the German army, making up an estimated 10% of the Wehrmacht, possibly not even realizing what they were doing.
Many were prisoners of the Germans, often wounded, but Stalin viewed them as traitors too. The allies gave in to Stalin, agreeing to return any people from areas part of USSR before Thousands of Cossacks who had served in the German army at Stalingrad had made their way with their families to Austria, an ideal area with its pastures & relatively plentiful supplies. Then came shattering news they were to be handed over to Stalin. In desperation, some killed themselves and their families.
Overall some 5.5 million Soviet citizens were repatriated. One estimate says 20% were sentenced to death or 25 years hard labor (death) % were given shorter labor sentences from which one might survive. 10% were exiled to Siberia. 15% were sent to rebuild cities % were allowed to return home. The remaining 15-25% escaped or died in transit. Some accounts of DP's disembarking in USSR relate they were taken behind buildings after which came the sound of machine gun fire. American trucks take Soviet DPs to their forced repatriation in Russia A GI poses with three Russian friends right before they are to be turned over to Stalin.
In 1945, the UN Relief & Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) was founded. Until then, US & British armies were responsible for DPs, something they weren’t prepared for. Refugee camps were organized by nationality. Authorities tried to talk people into returning home, but as soon as some agreed, a new flood of refugees came west fleeing the imminent Communist takeovers of their countries. Below: One of the nicer DP camps in Germany. All too often, DPs and Jewish concentration camp inmates found themselves kept in old concentration camps, since there was nowhere else to put them. In some of these camps people continued dying at the rate of 1000 to 1500 a day, their bodies stacked like cordwood as in the days of the Third Reich.
Message boards such as this helped people separated from loved ones by the war find each other.
-Some refugees were siphoned off to Canada, US, Australia, and New Zealand, but slowly since jobs there were scarce too. Not till 1948 and Displaced Persons Act did US let some 200K ref's in The number of refugee camps run by UNRRA rose from 227 to 762, most in W. Germany July, 1945-June, UNRRA budget was $10B, most $ coming from US, Canada, & UK After five years of waiting, DPs finally board a ship bound for their new home in Australia
Getting by in postwar Europe
Before the 1945 harvest, the average German’s diet was 950 calories per day, less than half of what the average worker needed & 1/3 of the American diet. W. Germany was especially hurt since Stalin had the best German lands & 4,000,000 refugees had fled to the West. The first postwar harvest was 15% below expectations, forcing the allies to import food to prevent mass starvation. In Berlin it was 850 calories, leading to 4000 deaths each day, including 50% of all newborns.
Therefore Britain imported 1,000,000 tons of food & the U.S. brought in another 500,000 million tons. This reduced the average single daily meal of watery soup to 400 calories, less than half of some concentration camps. People started collapsing on the job. Unfortunately, a grain shortage in U.S. the next spring led to shipments being stopped. This boosted the average German’s intake to 1500 calories (still deficient). Britain had to ration food for its own people, something it hadn’t had to do during the war. Others dug through the garbage of GI's who were receiving 4200 calories a day.
A Belgian border guard chases a German youth back across the border. Since Belgium’s conquest and liberation had been quick, thus minimizing damage, and its government had spirited away its gold reserves to Britain, it was the one country in Europe whose economy rapidly revived after the war. This drew foreigners across its borders to get food and supplies that were lacking in their own countries.
With German cities reduced to rubble by the war, the one job Germans could get was clearing the rubble in preparation for reconstruction.
German citizens stoop to pick up cigarette butts. Since the value of the old Deutsch Mark collapsed with the Third Reich, cigarettes served as the primary, though unofficial currency in post-war Germany. This was because there was a controlled supply through GI PXs, constant demand, convenient size, & it could calm nerves & hunger. Few cigarettes were consumed by the original buyer. Even kids had their own stash for trading. Many Germans would hang around movie lobbies waiting for Allies to toss butts, because seven cigarette butts equalled 1 cigarette which equalled 2 days pay for the average rubble clearer.
Thriving black markets such as this one outside a German city were the only way German citizens could survive, illegally trading family treasures to GI’s for food & other necessities.
Black market trading was technically illegal, but it was the only way people could get by. Below right: German women are searched for illegal items at a train station.
Story of 1 Ger who traded 320 marks for lb. butter. -> Traded 1/2 lb. for 50 cigarettes. -> Traded 40 cig's for bottle of wine & bottle of Schnapps. -> Traded Schnapps to farmer for 2 lbs. butter. -> Traded 1 lb. butter back to orig. dealer for 320 marks. -> He got 1.5 lbs. of butter, bottle of wine, 10 cigs for nothing.
A GI could buy 25 cartons of cigarettes for $20 in the PX. He could trade those for a Leica Camera, which sold in U.S. for $600. With that $600 he could buy 750 cartons of cigarettes and trade them for 30 Leica cameras which could then sell in U.S. for $18,000. With that money, he could move up to dealing in art & diamonds. He could buy 1 diamond for 2 kilos coffee & 50 cigarettes.
When trains started running, many people traveled to areas with food to trade. Trains got such names as the Potato train, Calorie express, Vitamin train, Nicotine line, Fish Express. (going out) and Silk Stocking Express (coming back). A train overloaded with Germans to make the trip to a Black Market.
In the early months of the occupation, things got steadily worse for the German people. Typhus spread among those too tired to clean lice. Tuberculosis in Hamburg increased five times. Children often went without breakfast or lunch, shoes or winter coats. In contrast, occupation troops were very well off, which led to growing fraternization between allied troops and the local population. All this in spite of the fact that fraternization was strictly forbidden, bringing a fine of $65 (one month’s pay). This gave rise to the famous "$65 question" Left: Early in the occupation, GI’s keep a respectful distance from a young German woman. Below: A sign warning GIs against fraternizing with Germans
U.S. propaganda scared GI's from fraternizing at 1st. QUOTE: "Don't get chummy with Jerry. In heart, body & spirit, every German is a Hitler...If in a German town you bow to a pretty girl or pet a blonde child, you bow to Hitler & his reign of blood."-- Stars & Stripes (GI paper)
In time so much fraternization took place that the Allied authorities could do nothing about it. "It is impossible to distinguish between good girls & bad girls in Ger. Even nice girls of good family, good education & family background have discovered their bodies afford the only real living. Moral standards have crashed to a new low level. At the present rate, in 2 months, I wonder if there will be a decent moral woman left."
One popular trade item Gis had plenty of was chocolate.
Originally, the allies planned to pay all occupation armies in one occupation currency. However, the Russians balked at this until some U.S. official gave them a set of engraving plates & said just keep track of how much they print. Instead they printed vast amounts of this money and used it to pay off their troops, some of them three years behind in pay.
However, they refused to let their soldiers spend it in the Russian sector, so they went to the American sector, there they bought all sorts of souvenirs at outrageous prices: $ occupation marks for fountain pen $1000 marks for Mickey M. watch, lots more for better watches. In July, 1945, American troops were paid approximately $1 mill in occupation marks, but sent back $3 million. Overall this irresponsible printing of money cost U.S. treasury $250 million.
The Nuremberg Trials
On November 20, 1945 trials at Nuremberg opened to show the world the extent of Nazi crimes vs. Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, & POW's. The trials lasted 216 days.
Key to the prosecution’s case were photos taken by Nazi officials and found by allies in their homes after the war.
The mimeograph room where multiple copies of documents were made in four languages.
Left: soldiers guard the cells of the Nazis being tried Right: Stairways were ringed with steel mesh to prevent defendants from jumping to their deaths.
Soviet lawyers at Nuremberg. Stalin was nervous about the trials, fearing they might expose some of his war crimes in the process of investigating those of the Nazis.
A total of 11 Nazis at Nuremberg were condemned & hanged for mass atrocities. Later trials of those involved in certain indictable occupations (business, security, officers, diplomats) would lead to some 20,000 Nazis being convicted over the next 20 yrs. Herman Goering, head of the Luftwaffe (left) and Joachim von Ribbentropp, Hitler’s foreign minister (right) were condemned to death by hanging. However, Goering took poison in his cell. Rudolf Hess (center) was given a life sentence.
Complaints abounded that the most guilty & powerful had escaped to Italy via Switzerland & Austria, using Papal relief fund for refugees from the Nazis to escape to Syria, Egypt & South America. While many big time Nazis escaped, teachers, civil servants, etc. who had been in Nazi party were denied jobs or forced to join rubble clearing crews & the like. Simon Wiesenthal, the “Nazi Hunter.” A survivor of 13 concentration camps and witness to countless atrocities, he tracked down hundreds of Nazi war criminals after the war & brought them to justice. He also ran a clearing house of information to help people find loved ones separated by the war.