Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Too Close to Home

Ethnic Cleansing In Eastern Europe Post WWII

Eastern European nations in the post World War II period harbour lots of dirty secrets.  The victorious Western allies allowed a process of ethnic cleansing, during which mainly German folk were forcibly repatriated back to Germany.  In many cases they had lived outside Germany for generations.  The victorious Allied nations at best turned away.  At worst, they helped facilitate the ethnic cleansing. 

R. M. Douglas has written a scholarly tome exposing and addressing the evil madness.  [R. M. Douglas, Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans After the Second World War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012).]  Benjamin Schwarz, writing in The Atlantic said of Douglas's work:
The most thorough study available of the largest expulsion of a people in human history and by far the most horrific instance in post-war Europe of what is now called ethnic cleansing.
Douglas writes:
The moral and ethical questions raised by the population transfers are exceptionally complex and difficult, and it is not possible to deal with them exhaustively here.  But it is clear that many among the Allied leaderships and peoples derived a degree of vicarious satisfaction from the anguish the expellees were undergoing.  They also regarded the deliberately cruel way in which the expulsions were often conducted as not only forgivable but cathartic for the expelling societies themselves. . . .

(As David Curp has written) there is no doubt . . .  that the spectacle of "the Herrenvolk themselves (or at least their women, children, and elderly) being driven from their homes in misery provided a certain grim satisfaction for many Poles who had endured years of racially motivated contempt (punctuated by terror and grief) from their Nazi occupiers."  But grievously as these societies had been physically and psychically wounded by their experience of Nazi occupation, the suggestion that they could recover their collective self-esteem only by way of a display of their own capacity for violence and injustice is both psychologically unsound and ethically bankrupt.  [R. M. Douglas, p. 369-370.]

Surely this must leave a very sour taste in the hearts and minds of the victorious Allies. 

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