Already at an early stage, Stalin had reached a conviction; Russia should take complete possession of Germany’s ancient eastern provinces: specifically East Prussia, Silesia, Pomerania and possibly other parts as well.
He did not want merely to control or occupy these lands; he wanted them cleared of Germans in totality. He wanted absolute and complete certainty that Germans would never live there again. He wanted outright and unconditional ethnic cleansing, which would involve a total of some 15-million Germans throughout all of Eastern Europe.
By 1944, Stalin had decided on this course of action. Complete planning and preparations were under way. At least one of the western allies had been informed ethnic cleansing was intended. Churchill was quoted in 1944, making reference to “these population transferences” – his euphemism – of which he voiced approval at the time.
The Plan was very simple. East Prussia and Silesia would be attacked and overrun with such numerically superior forces that no functional or conceivable German defense would be possible. Once the territories had been taken, the population would be chased off mercilessly by any means necessary.
Stalin knew exactly how he was going to do it. From the earliest point of his thinking about Germany’s eastern provinces, the common soldiers had been goaded and incited with the promise, and subsequently instructed, to “Take Revenge without Mercy.” That became the rallying cry for the Red Army all through 1944 and it was repeated ad nauseum in all military propaganda, the army newspapers, on radio, even on posters, flyers and large signs.
Soviet propagandists and political officers attached to the army spelled out in careful detail to the soldiers exactly what “Revenge without Mercy” meant: ethnic cleansing, these provinces were to be cleared of Germans regardless of the means necessary to attain this objective.
To get the population moving, the soldiers could loot and pillage freely anything they wanted. The Russian army would provide a generous loot freight allowance, so the plunder could be sent home to Russia.
It meant a complete and emphatic free- for- all concerning the population, to harm, hurt, kill, molest, rape, mistreat and enslave. And it meant to wreck anything which could be destroyed: homes, churches, farms, schools, villages and anything else of the existing country, culture, habitation and history. Solzhenitsyn, who was a captain in the Red Army during WWII, stated unequivocally, “We all knew if the girls were German, they could be raped then shot.”
Once the attack on East Prussia commenced in January 1945, and that province was surrounded and cut off from Germany in just two weeks, Red Army soldiers were taken prisoner by German forces. When they were interrogated, they readily informed their cross-examiners of all the details of their “Revenge without Mercy” instructions and they maintained these directives came directly from Stalin.
The first volume of Renata Reinhart’s IN THE COURSE OF MY LIFE provides a narrative of her personal experience as a 15-year old girl who lost her family in Stalin’s 1945 genocide and how she alone survived.
At least two million German civilians were killed outright throughout Eastern Europe during 1945; mainly women and children, under conditions of often indescribable and criminal savagery, and several million girls and women were repeatedly raped, molested and enslaved. Most were marked for life by the brutality and abuse, and millions of forced conceptions were imposed on the suffering population.
These atrocities have generally never been treated as much more than a footnote on WWII history, and often completely ignored; so it remains to this date. Only recently has Stalin’s genocide received a small amount of attention.
Renata Reinhart’s recollections are an attempt, in a very personal way, to set the record straight, to try and dispel the veil of misinformation, wartime propaganda and the simple falsehoods and fabrications this genocide has been saddled with to this date. The dignity and memory of the millions of victims deserve better than the way it has been treated.
The Russian writer and journalist, Natalya Gesse, stated in 1945, “The Russian soldiers were raping every German female from 8 to 80.” The Red Army became known throughout Eastern Europe as the “Raping Army.”
The Western Allies were by no means innocent, unwitting or uninvolved bystanders to Stalin’s mass murder of German civilians. Churchill knew ethnic cleansing was intended and he personally ordered the massive bombing and destruction of East Prussia’s beautiful medieval capital, Konigsberg, for no justifiable strategic reason. A few months later, the British bombed and leveled Dresden, and killed 30,000 to 40,000 innocent civilians as senselessly as at Konigsberg. They helped pave the way for Stalin’s genocide.
When the Red Army attacked in January 1945, the artillery and the tanks were Russian, but the trucks and the jeeps and other vehicles were American, donated by Roosevelt and Hopkins, and the Russian military was subsisting on food supplies donated by USA.
That may help explain why the Western Allies have been as keen as Russia to ignore, conceal and forget the greatest massacre of civilians during WWII, besides the holocaust. The fact that German civilians, even women and children, were murdered made it seem somewhat acceptable at the time and in the circumstances, to western observers and historians.
The Russian genocide in 1945 is the worst, most savage attack targeting girls and women ever recorded in history. Curiously, it appears never to have been mentioned in any feminist writing since 1945 and never to have been of any concern in women’s literature, writings or commentary or of any interest to the women’s movement anywhere since the end of WWII.