|Kicked Out of Their Own Country||Whiners about repatriation should remember the past. Jeffrey Turner reviews a new book|
British people have for a long time been lectured by their political masters that large-scale resettlement of foreign and non-white Commonwealth immigrants is inhumane, barbaric and, not least, logistically impossible. Those who have fallen for this propaganda would be well advised to read a new book that has recently appeared. It is Microcosm: Portrait of a Central European City, and its author is Norman Davies.
The city is Berlin, and the focus of the book is upon the dark days there in 1945, as Germany was being crushed between the armies of the Soviet Union and the Western allies. In the case of the German capital, it was of course the former who got there first - aided by the decision of western allied commander Dwight D. Eisenhower to reject an attack plan suggested by Field Marshal Montgomery which could well have resulted in British and American troops beating them to it.
Davies' book was the subject of a revealing article by the author himself in the Sunday Times News Review of April 7th, which exposed certain truths well known to connoisseurs of World War II history but hitherto concealed from the public as a whole. The article was titled Europe's forgotten war crime, and prefaced by the statement that: "Millions of Germans were expelled from Eastern Europe at the end of the war in a huge exercise in ethnic cleansing that until now has been hidden from history..." Said Davies:-
The writer continued:-
The Germans were not the only ones to suffer; many Poles were victims of the same process. In compensation for their being uprooted from Eastern Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union, they were given lands that had previously been German. Poland was, in effect, picked up and moved a hundred or so miles westwards, though becoming smaller, overall, than it had been in 1939. The former German city of Breslau was cleared of Germans and settled mainly by Poles, thereupon becoming Wroclaw. Stettin, subject to the same process, was renamed Szczecin, and so on.
Davies makes clear that this operation, wholly unacceptable to liberal opinion when it affected most other nations, was regarded as being justified when the victims were Germans. The difference? Well, they had lost the war and had to be punished! Of course, had the Germans won the war and attempted a similar process of ethnic cleansing with defeated populations - that would have been a war crime. Liberal opinion bows to no-one in its expertise in the art of hypocrisy.
The Germans complied with this massive uprooting process because they had no choice. There just were not any international pressure groups to argue their case. In addition, said Davies:-
In other words, we're the good guys and you're the bad guys, and that justifies everything!
Mass rape of women
The expulsions of these millions of Germans from their homelands, while given a quasi-legal status by the decisions of Potsdam, were accompanied - and indeed preceded - by rape of their women by the soldiers of the Red Army on an unprecedented scale. This is now being acknowledged in a number of new books and newspaper articles - in one case drawing an indignant retort from the Russian ambassador in London denying it ever happened. This is a quite understandable reaction prompted by a patriotism and national pride sadly lacking in most present-day British diplomats. However, it flies in the face of a vast array of factual evidence. Stalin had indeed encouraged his conquering troops to take German women as they pleased as part of the spoils of victory (German military personnel in the occupied lands, on the other hand, were strictly enjoined not to engage in sexual assaults of local women and were promptly shot if they disobeyed). Said Davies:-
In other words, open season on Germans and other foreigners, but not on one's own women! This, of course, was all played down at the time and for many years afterwards.
Principles pushed to background
Of all this ethnic cleansing, including that of the Poles, Davies protests:-
Of course, as the better informed have known for a long time, World war II in reality had little to do with principles and everything to do with questions of power. Had there been, from the British point of view, some concrete power-objective in the whole business, an objective concerned with the defence or furtherance of vital British interests, all the criminal acts arising out of the war and the hatreds engendered in it might - the rape apart - have some slender rationale in the way of realpolitik. That could certainly be said in the Russians' case, but not at all in our own. The war impoverished us, bankrupted us and resulted in the catastrophic diminution of our status among the nations. And at the end of it all, its prosecutors could not even lay solid claim to the moral high ground - not at least now, when the smoke of wartime and post-war propaganda has cleared and the light of truth is shining through.
Terrible things were done in and after World War II - by both sides and with people on both sides as victims. Let's not go on deluding ourselves that all the crimes were committed by one side, for the overwhelming weight of evidence refutes it.
And after Britain's complicity in a huge process of forced resettlement - resettlement, moreover, of people from their own homelands, homelands whose soil their ancestors had tilled for centuries - let us hear no more nonsense about it being inhumane, least of all impossible, to repatriate from our own country populations of comparatively recent arrival, who came of their own free choice and about whose landing here we have never been consulted.