Why despite the terrible conditions and fanaticism of the soviets during WW2 did the wermacht commit very few atrocities overall. Was their some political reason for this? or was it the rigid and disciplined nature of the germans that prevented them from engaging in one of the more barbaric sides of war
>Why despite the terrible conditions and fanaticism of the soviets during WW2 did the wermacht commit very few atrocities overall.
It was simple:
They committed atrocities, and then they lied about them.
That made things super easy.
Because of the Nazi attitude of superiority, they believed they were above raping and pillaging. If they were caught doing anything without orders they were executed. The Soviets didn't really have that kind of policy except for cowardice. Doesn't change the fact that they're fucking Nazis though.
They committed RELATIVELY few atrocities. The main reason for that is twofold; on the one hand most German COs had at least a token idea of moral superiority and on the other the Russians just raped, pillaged and burned pretty much nonstop.
>If they were caught doing anything without orders they were executed.
Haha, nope. On May 14th, 1941, Hitler gave German Soldiers immunity from prosecution for "actions committed by members of the Armed Forces against enemy civilians".
Believing you're above raping and pillaging just means that it's not rape and pillage when you do it.
Not him but
The decree, issued by Field Marshal Keitel a few weeks before Operation Barbarossa, stated:
1) "The partisans are to be ruthlessly eliminated in battle or during attempts to escape", and all attacks by the civilian population against Wehrmacht soldiers are to be "suppressed by the army on the spot by using extreme measures, till [the] annihilation of the attackers;
2) Every officer in the German occupation in the East of the future will be entitled to perform execution(s) without trial, without any formalities, on any person suspected of having a hostile attitude towards the Germans", (the same applied to prisoners of war);
3) "If you have not managed to identify and punish the perpetrators of anti-German acts, you are allowed to apply the principle of collective responsibility. 'Collective measures' against residents of the area where the attack occurred can then be applied after approval by the battalion commander or higher level of command";
4) German soldiers who commit crimes against humanity, the USSR and prisoners of war are to be exempted from criminal responsibility, even if they commit acts punishable according to German law.
The guidelines went on to demand "ruthless and vigorous measures against Bolshevik inciters, guerrillas, saboteurs, Jews, and the complete elimination of all active and passive resistance."
Trust me theres a loooooot more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crimes_of_the_Wehrmacht
>"For acts which members of the Wehrmacht or its retinue commit against enemy civilians, there is no compulsion to prosecute, even when the act represents at the same time a military crime or offense."
>"In judging such deeds it is to be considered in any proceedings that the collapse in the year 1918, the later period of suffering of the German people, and the battle against National Socialism with the movement’s countless sacrifices of blood are incontestably to be attributed to Bolshevik influence, and that no German has forgotten that."
>"3. The chairman of the court must therefore examine whether a disciplinary reprimand is appropriate or whether it is necessary to institute judicial proceedings. The chairman only orders court-martial proceedings for acts against native inhabitants, when the maintenance of discipline or the protection of the troops demands it."
hitler was known for his rash declarations nd decisions especially as the defensive war progressed . There is nothing to indicate that the Wehrmacht actually went through with any of this.
Holy shit, that's an amazing level of denial. Setting aside, for a minute that Hitler was the commander of the Wehrmacht, and every single soldier swore a personal oath to the man, this was signed by Wilhelm Keitel and distributed as general orders for commanding officers in Barbarossa.
It wasn't a "rash decision" but was issued weeks before the invasion as preparation.
Germany's entire doctrine for the Eastern Front was an atrocity, if not against the Russians then against their own troops for the general level of retardation, lack of preparation, and mismanagement that went into it.
Define "very few"
If you're comparing it to the atrocities committed by the Waffen-SS then maybe, but they still did a lot of evil shit (raping civilians, killing innocents) and had their fair share of war crimes.
Of course, that doesn't mean the Soviets didn't do the exact same thing, because they did. The eastern front was hell.
the soviets and even their Japanese allies , the mass soviet casualties were largely due to scorched earth doctrine and gross soviet mismanagement which lead to things like exposure and starvation especially during the winter.
Germany itself had to restrain japan during terrible events such as nanking
He's refering to John Rabe, the German Ambassador to Nanking. Of course, at the time Germany was China's ally, not Japan.
And more importantly, Rabe didn't represent any general German policy, but his personal initiative, along with that of other European and American embassies, to create a safety zone in the foreign quarter.
When Rabe returned to Germany and actually started telling people about what happened, he got arrested by the Gestapo for it.