there is no need to relativize these crimes against civilians by always comparing it to the outrageous crimes of the nazis and their cooperators. its often ignored that german population suffered badly under brutish treatment, too. and yes I do know that the blood toll in the east has caused the persecution of anything that was german. but how the victors haphazardly agonised the people should not be relativated but seen equally. from an objective point of view there can be no separation between the crimes which are done to people from different countrys. and in my opinion the excess of czech population imediately after the war ist just another addition of dastardly crimes against defenceless men, women and children.
While the German civilians suffered at the hands of the victors,it reflected the fact that the very first victims of modern warfare are likely to be civilians of both belligerents.The question of German civilian casualties is often raised nearly 70 years after the events when the hardships of these civiliians are being discussed.Many are now expressing a view that the German people suiffered unneccessary at the hands of the victors and are attempting to equate this with the illtreatment and murder of civilian populations in German occupied territories.Nothing could be further from the truth and the acts of both belligerents can be separated when they are looked at rationally.
Until the "Haque Regulations Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land" which was adopted by the Hague Peace Conference in 1907.(Notice it did not anticipate war by air which I believe the Italians were the first to employ in 1911).Nevertheless this international regulation formed the foundation their obligation to civilians that belligerents would follow in the in time of war.
The important aspect of these international regulations is to be found in Article 46 which provided that "family honour and rights,the lives of persons and private property,as well religious convictions and practices must be respected".Now if you look at the operations of German forces throughout their occupied territories in the Second World War,you will find wholesale breaches of that article,directed,encouraged and motivated by the then German state and its military and administrative structures.For this reason,I would say the treatment of civilians can be made separate in comparsion.
The effect of the then German state domestic and foriegn policies was that millions of civilians were deported from their homes into forced labour and slavery.Thousands of hostages,reprisal prisoners and prisoners were put to death,the latter without so much as a trial.If there were trials established, the outcome was rigged and execution followed.Towns and villages were raised to the ground and don't forget that for Oradour sur Glane,there were 600 villages and their inhabitants put to the sword in the Soviet Union in the same manner.
Millions of Jews were exterminated including Germany's own Jewish population.Thousands of innocent civilians were subject to mass executions and some were lucky to have been carried off to concentration camps and the like.Those who were regarded as "untermenchen" were worked to death to support a German war economy which was quickly found not to be self supportive from its German population.Foodstuffs were seized from occupied teriritories to the point that those civilians in these occupied countries were left to exist at starvation level.The same policy applied to raw materials and machinery,all plundered to maintain the Gernman war economy.Then there were the art lovers of the Third Reich who systematically arranged the seizure of art treasures and furniture from occupied countries to add to their own collections.These were not "ad hoc" acts by individuals,although people such as Goring was prominent in looting occupied countries for his own sake,it was the then German state policy.
The misery and suffering of the German people can be firmly put where it belongs and that is with the Hitler regime.The first stone was cast in 1934 when the leadership German armed forces agreed to state an oath of loyalty to Hitler.This was followed by the failure of the military leadership in 1938 to dispose of Hitler when they knew that there would be a price to pay when they were made aware of the intentions to extend east in the name of the Greater German Reich.Hitler could not have continued without the support of the military structure and the proposal and act to enforce a coup d'etat in July 1944 did not appear to some to be vigorous enough.
For the German civilian.It was he who was entwined in Nazism.The people who voted for Hitler knew who they were voting for.They supported him morally and knew what Nazism stood for.Germany could never recovered the disputed territories without war and although Hitler could disguise his intentions until March 1939,others in Europe finally had to think logically and rationally that what Hitler was about.He was about war.
For the German people,in Germany's decline from 1943 when many,we are told knew that Germany would lose the war,found themselves unable to see a satisfactory end to their suffering.They were in hands of an irrational leader who was determined to take his adopted country down with him irrespective of the harm done to the country's people and its infrastucture.
It cost Europe dear to reinstate democracy in Germany and that was only one half.In monetary terms,it cost Britain 13 million pounds a day to wage war and by the end, the country was near to bankruptcy.On the other hand,Germany could rise from the ashes heavily subsidised by Marshall Aid which Britain could not draw on.