The World’s Greatest Unknown Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing

February 23, 2009

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[First published October 6, 2005] You virtually never read about it, nor do genocide scholars generally discuss it, or include it in their books. Yet, about 15,000,000 people were simultanously expelled from 5 countries because of their nationality, and probably around 1,800,000 died in the process or were murdered outright. Did this occur in Africa? No. Surely Asia, maybe China? No. Okay, the Midde East. Wrong again. Well, it had to be in the 17th or 18th Century. And that’s why we con’t know about it. Right? No.

It occurred in Eastern Europe 60 to 66 years ago with the defeat and retreat of the German Army. As Eastern Europe recovered from the Second World War and the occupying victorious Red Army assurred that their post-war governments would be communist and Soviet controlled, ehtnic Germans, most of whom had settled in Eastern Europe well before the war, and Germans who had taken up residence there during the German occupation, were systematically expelled to East and West Germany. True, some may have worked for or supported the German occupation. True, some may have been traitors to their native Hungary, Czechoslavia, Rumania, Yugoslavai, and Poland. However, many of them rereated with the German Army. In any case, whether bemedaled by their native country for previous military service, opposed to Hitler and the occupation, whether having live in the country for generations, they were deported or murdered.

Age or loyalty to their country of birth did not matter. The old and the young, the babies and the crippiled were all expelled into the economic, choatic, defeated, starving, and destroyed Germany, approximately 15,000,000 of them.

The most reprehensible expulsions were about 8,000,000 from the Eastern Terrirories, including German East Prussia, Eastern Pomerania, Eastern Brandeburg, and Silesia. These were part of the German homeland. But, the Soviets took a chunk of the eastern part of Poland, and in compensation gave Poland these Eastern Territories as agreed to at the Yalta Conference. Being part of Germany, they were of course populated by German citizens, over 7,100,000 of them. All were expelled, while 1,400 died from maltreatment (they were systematically denied food), or murdered.

The table below provides the estimate of etthnic or Reich Germans expelled from each Eastern European country and the parallel genocide (genocide is one kind of democide).

See my Statistics of Democide, Table 7.1 for the sources, calculations, and estimates (here).

What about the ethnic Germans living in the Soviet Union? During the war Stalin deported over 1,000,000 of them to the barren wastes of Siberia and Northern Kazakstan. About one out of five died during the deportation or immediaitely there after. In this case, however, Stalin’s ethnic cleansing was nondiscrimantory. He also deported (cleansed) the Crimean Tartars, Georgian Meskhetians, Greeks, and Ukrainians. Overall, the death toll was about 750,000. (see here, from my book Lethal Politics) This was genocide, but you don’t hear about this either.

Links Of The Day


When I was a student of history at Harvard back in 1970, I knew nothing at all about the Expulsion of Germans. None of my history professors considered this event sufficiently notable to mention it, much less to assign a research paper on it. It was curiously not in history class, but in a seminar on Law of War that I first heard about the Expulsion. . . .

Now, when I first approached the subject matter, I thought naively enough that it was a legitimate field of research, like any other. But I soon learned that it was no accident that there was nearly nothing written in English on the theme — it was taboo, it was not chic, it was not fashionable to do research or to publish in this field.

After all, Germans were looked at in a rather monolithic fashion as all Nazis, and not deserving any degree of human sympathy. As citizens of the “evil empire” they were morally disqualified “ad illicio.”

When I read this kind of thing about any genocide, I think of the babies and children who could have nothing to do with any evil doers, but were murdered simply because they shared their nationality, ethnicity, religion, or race.

White House Outline of Bush’s speech before the National Endowment for Democracy (Oct. 6, 2005)

This was an excellent war speech and well done in stessing the necessary elements.

Tidbits from the speech:

This Extremism [the jihadist terrrorists] Cannot Be Given Concessions, Bribed, Or Appeased. We Must Never Accept Anything Less Than Victory”

The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our century. Yet, in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century. [RJR: Yes, and the leftist opposition to the war in Iraq is like their anti-anti-communism of the past]
The stategy to win:

Prevent terrorist attacks before they occur
Deny weapons of mass destruction to outlaw regimes and their terrorist allies
Deny radical groups the support and sanctuary of outlaw regimes
Deny the militants control of any nation
Deny the militants future recruits by advancing democracy and hope across the broader middle east

And, by standing for the hope and freedom of others, we will make our own freedom more secure.

Links I Must Share

“1918 killer flu ‘came from birds'”:

The Spanish flu virus that killed 50 million people in 1918-19 was probably a strain that originated in birds, research has shown.

The informed speculation was that the virus first infected pigs in Kansas, and then mutated to infect humans. Because of the overcrowded conditions of military camps during WWI, and the continuous deployment of many soldiers overseas, the virus spread rapidly around the world. The toll may have been twice the 50,000,000, since many deaths occurred in remote areas of such countries as India.

“US Looking Sideways: Bird Flu” Senate Majority Leader William H. Frist, M.D. gave a speech on bird flu and said:

“. . . we will not be able to sleep through what is likely coming soon — a front of unchecked and virulent epidemics, the potential of which should rise above your every other concern. For what the world now faces, it has not seen even in the most harrowing episodes of the Middle Ages or the great wars of the last century.

We are unprepared for rampant epidemics. And even worse, we haven’t taken sufficient note of the fact that though individually each might be devastating, they are susceptible of either purposeful or accidental combination, in which case they could be devastating almost beyond imagination.

“Senate supports setting interrogation limits”

The Senate defied the White House yesterday by voting to set new limits on interrogating detainees in Iraq and elsewhere, underscoring Congress’s growing concerns about reports of abuse of suspected terrorists and others in military custody.

If the House approves and Bush signs it, the limits will only last until the next 9/11 type attack on the U.S. If it is believed that a captured terrorist has information that will save hundreds of American lives, if not thousands. Then the law will be breached, and rightly so.

Why Democide