Summer 1945 • 4

by Tom Goodrich

Although cold-blooded and deliberate, the murder of disarmed and helpless German soldiers by the Americans was nothing new; it was a ruthless policy that stretched from the beaches of Normandy all the way through France, Belgium and into Germany. Dachau was only one of thousands of deliberate massacres that had taken place throughout the defeated Reich, on land, on sea and from the air, during the last year of war. If there was any significance at all to the Dachau slaughter, it was that the war, for all intents and purposes, was finally over. As far as any strategic value to the Allied war effort, there was none at Dachau. Nor was there any strategic value to the countless massacres that occurred during the deliberate firebombing of German cities where hundreds of thousands of women and children were burned alive. Nor was there any strategic value to the sinking of numerous refugee ships on the Baltic filled mostly with the very old and the very young. They were, all of them, simply a harvest of hate.

In 1933, after Adolf Hitler came to power, the World Jewish Congress declared economic warfare against Germany. Well aware of Hitler’s plan to end all Jewish influence in Germany—economically, politically, culturally—influential Jews in Europe and America engaged in a vast anti-German propaganda campaign. The campaign, said organizer Samuel Untermeyer of the United States, was a “holy war… a war that must be waged unremittingly… [against] a veritable hell of cruel and savage beasts.” [1]

As a consequence, Germans responded in kind with a campaign of their own. While citizens were encouraged to shun Jewish businesses, a series of laws were enacted designed to not only drive Jews from the German arts, the media and the professions, but laws were passed to force them entirely from the nation as well. As the economic struggle continued, Jewish journalists, writers, playwrights, and filmmakers from around the globe joined the fray. With the outbreak of war in 1939 and the entry of the United States into the conflict two years later, the war of words reached pathological proportions. Increasingly, as rumors of widespread persecution against Jews under Nazi control spread, the propaganda campaign directed at Hitler and National Socialism devolved swiftly into a fanatical cry of extermination. Nowhere was hatred more intense than among American Jews.

“[A] cancer flourishes in the body of the world and in its mind and soul, and… this cancerous thing is Germany, Germanism, and Germans…,” announced Hollywood script-writer and director, Ben Hecht. “That this most clumsy of all human tribes—this leaden-hearted German—should dare to pronounce judgment on his superiors, dare to outlaw from the world the name of Jew—a name that dwarfs him as the tree does the weed at its foot—is an outrageous thing… It is an evil thing.” [2]

“Germany must perish…,” echoed Theodore N. Kaufman in a widely-read book of the same name. “There remains then but one mode of ridding the world forever of Germanism—and that is to stem the source from which issue those war-lusted souls, by preventing the people of Germany from ever again reproducing their kind.” [3]

After years of this and other poisonous propaganda in newspapers, magazines and movies, eventually, in the minds of a sizable percentage of Americans and Britons, little distinction was drawn between killing a Nazi soldier and killing a German child.

On September 15, 1944, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the demand for extermination official when he endorsed the so-called “Morgenthau Plan.” Named for Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, but actually conceived by the secretary’s top aide, Harry Dexter White—both of whom were Jewish—the program called for the complete destruction of Germany after the victory had been won. In addition to the dismantling or destruction of German industry and the permanent closure of mines, the Morgenthau Plan called for a reduction of the Reich’s land area by one half. As many calculated, and as Roosevelt, Gen. George C. Marshall and other proponent s of the plan well knew, this act guaranteed that roughly two-thirds of the German population, or fifty million people, would soon die of starvation. With the remnant of the population reduced to subsistence farming, and with the shrunken nation totally at the mercy of hostile European neighbors, it was estimated that within two generations Germany would cease to exist. [4]

“Henry, I am with you 100%,” Roosevelt assured his Treasury Secretary. [5]

“They have asked for it…,” snapped Morgenthau when someone expressed shock at the plan. “Why the hell should I worry about what happens to their people?” [6]

“You don’t want the Germans to starve?” Roosevelt’s incredulous son-in-law asked the president in private.

“Why not?” replied Roosevelt without batting an eye. [7]

In fact, the American president had even greater plans for those Germans who were not starved to death or otherwise murdered.

“We have got to be tough with Germany and I mean the German people, not just the Nazis,” Roosevelt privately assured Henry Morgenthau. “You either have to castrate the German people or you have got to treat them in such a manner so they can’t go on reproducing.” [8]

“The German is a beast,” agreed Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. Not only would the top general give the Morgenthau Plan his whole-hearted support, but he would personally do his utmost to kill as many Germans—soldiers and civilians—as he possibly could. [9]

And thus did the murderous Morgenthau Plan become the undeclared, but understood, American policy toward Germany. From the firebombing of Hamburg in 1943 to the firebombing of Dresden in 1945, the goal of the British RAF and the US Eighth Air Force was now to kill every man, woman and child in every German city and town. Likewise, from their first footfall into Germany, the goal of the Red Army in the east and the American army in the west was to rape, and often murder, every woman they caught, to kill all the men they captured and to destroy or steal virtually everything German they came in contact with.


NOTES

[1] New York Times, August 7, 1933; Ralph Grandinetti, “Germany’s Plan to Resettle Jews in Madagascar,” The Barnes Review 4, no. 3 (May/June 1998), 26.

[2] Ben Hecht, A Guide for the Bedeviled (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1944), 120, 115, 130, 144, 155, 156.

[3] Theodore N. Kaufman, Germany Must Perish! (Newark, N.J.: Argyle Press, 1941), 6, 7, 28, 86.

[4] Russell D. Buhite, Decisions at Yalta (Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1986), 25; Eugene Davidson, The Death and Life of Germany (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1959), 6.

[5] “War Crimes: USA,” Lt. Col. Gordon “Jack” Mohr, AUS Ret., LINK

[6] Buhite,Yalta, 23.

[7] Diary of Henry Morgenthau, entry for March 20, 1945.

[8] “David Irving’s Introduction to the Morgenthau Plan,” The Morgenthau Plan, LINK

[9] Thomas Goodrich, Hellstorm—The Death of Nazi Germany, 1944-1947 (Sheridan, CO: Aberdeen Books, 2010), 167.

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Summer, 1945: Germany, Japan and the Harvest of Hate (Paperback, 2018) is avaliable from Amazon Books: here.