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Crimes and Mercies: The Fate of German Civilians Under Allied Occupation, 1944–1950 [Paperback]

by James Bacque
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 15, 2007 0889225672 978-0889225671 Revised
More than 9 million Germans died as a result of deliberate Allied starvation and expulsion policies after World War II—one quarter of the country was annexed, and about 15 million people expelled in the largest act of ethnic cleansing the world has ever known. Over 2 million of these alone, including countless children, died on the road or in concentration camps in Poland and elsewhere. That these deaths occurred at all is still being denied by Western governments.

At the same time, Herbert Hoover and Canadian Prime Minister MacKenzie King created the largest charity in history, a food-aid program that saved an estimated 800 million lives during three years of global struggle against post–World War II famine—a program they had to struggle for years to make accessible to the German people, who had been excluded from it as a matter of official Allied policy.

Never before had such revenge been known. Never before had such compassion been shown. The first English-speaking writer to gain access to the newly opened KGB archives in Moscow and to recently declassified information from the renowned Hoover Institution in California, James Bacque tells the extraordinary story of what happened to these people and why.

Revised and updated for this new edition, bestseller Crimes and Mercies was first published by Little, Brown in the U.K. in 1997.

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Editorial Reviews


"A scholar of great courage and perseverance who deserves to be heard."
Dr. Dwight D. Murphy

About the Author

James Bacque
James Bacque is a novelist, book editor, essayist and historian whose work has helped raise awareness in human rights issues associated with war crimes, particularly spurring debate on and research into the treatment of German POWs at the end of World War II.

His fiction titles include The Lonely Ones, 1969 (Big Lonely in the paperback edition, 1970); A Man of Talent, 1972; Creation (with Robert Kroetsch and Pierre Gravel), 1972; The Queen Comes to Minnicog, 1979; and Our Fathers’ War, 2006. His history titles include Crimes and Mercies, an immediate bestseller upon release, and Other Losses.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Talonbooks; Revised edition (September 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0889225672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0889225671
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
176 of 192 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it." September 3, 2002
An extraordinary book. It tells two of the most extraordinary stories of the 20th century simultaneously. Neither has been told before. One is the story of a great hero - Herbert Hoover, not J. Edgar the FBI boss, but a multimillionaire humanitarian whose courage, outspokenness, persistence and dedication saved literally tens of millions of people from starvation after the first world war and then after the second. And it's the story of why we never hear about this. General Eisenhower, war "hero" and later US president, of whom we have all heard, persued a deliberate policy of preventing available food aid into Germany between 1945-49. Laws preventing emigration turned the country into a prison. As Bacque revealed in earlier book OTHER LOSSES, millions of disarmed soldiers died in prison camps; further more, Bacque tells the story of the suffering of civilians, dying from starvation. It is a part of living memory that times were extraordinarily hard, but Bacque's research has enabled an estimate of the scale for the first time: at least 9 million. He has found the documents which trace the decisions leading to this second holocaust, leading back to Eisenhower and his advisors. It is a courageous act for a man aged more than 70 accuse a war hero and president of being commiting atrocities. Bacques thoughts on collective are thought provocing. It's a sign of the times that a book like this is out of print. By it before it becomes a historical document in itself. Read it and tell people. It's relevant to today.
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102 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Book October 13, 2004
In this powerful new book, Canadian historian James Bacque presents detailed evidence, much of it newly uncovered, to show that some nine million Germans died as a result of Allied starvation and expulsion policies in the first five years after the Second World War -- a total far greater than the long-accepted figures. These deaths are still being concealed and denied, writes Bacque, especially by American and British authorities. Crimes and Mercies -- a handsome hardcover work, illustrated and well-referenced -- is a devastating indictment of Allied, and especially American, occupation policy in defeated postwar Germany. Nearly 15 million Germans fled or were brutally expelled in the greatest act of "ethnic cleansing" in history, a human catastrophe in which some two million were killed or otherwise perished. Then, under the notorious "Morgenthau Plan" and its successor policies, the Allies carried out a massive looting of Germany, and even prevented German civilians from growing enough food to feed themselves. Bacque shows, for example, that General Eisenhower, in violation of the Geneva Convention, in May 1945 forbade German civilians to take food to prisoners starving to death in American camps. He threatened the death penalty for anyone feeding prisoners. Bacque also describes the terrors of the postwar camps in Poland where children and other German civilians lost their lives. Written with fervor, compassion and humanity, and making use of never-before cited records in Moscow archives, James Bacque exposes a little-known but important chapter of 20th century history. He builds upon the revelations of his startling 1989 study, Other Losses, which presented evidence to show that hundreds of thousands of German prisoners of war died as a result of cruel and illegal mistreatment by American, British and French authorities. American historian Alfred M. de Zayas, author of Nemesis at Potsdam and The German Expellees, provides a valuable foreword
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204 of 228 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Bad Some "Top Reviewers" are Filled With Hate! December 30, 2003
By A Customer
If historical facts truely cause some "readers to write trash" so be it. I have read my copy of this book and in my opinion should be required reading by everyone.
Many Germans civilians were killed and their properties stolen from them because of this war. My family lost our farm that we had for over two hundred and fifty years in East Prussia. But I guess accordingly to "The Top Reviewer" we had it coming to us because our German government, at the time, was evil.
I was only a young boy at the time, but we survived. Because we lost our farm in the real eastern Germany, we came to this country.
And I grew up and became an Electronic/Electrical Engineer. By the way. One last special note to "Mr. Top Reviewer", and people like him, when you look up at the moon at night, remember this.
A young German boy survived your bad wishes and was a proud member of the team that helped design and build all of the first unmaned Spacecrafts that landed the moon. This Spacecrafts series were called the Rangers. And they are still there, all of them that went.
Don't forget, never.
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71 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book May 28, 2004
My Grandparents were expelled from their home because of the Potsdam treaty. My grandfather's sister was sent to a Soviet work camp. I have other relatives that were not so lucky. When WWII history is discussed, all we hear about is the holocaust. The holocaust should never be forgotten, but if nobody reads this book, what happened to the Germans will never be remembered. This book will provide an eye opening account of what happened to German civilians after WWII, a subject that is obvlivious to the majority of the American population.
As far as the "top reader" Seth is concerned. If you complain about feeling like a "villan" while reading this book, now you know how all Germans and German-Americans feel when a new holocaust book, tv movie, or film is relased and the blame is placed squarely on the shoulders of the German people, not the Nazi government. I cannot express the anger I felt while reading his review. I really feel sorry for somebody that callous and ignorant. So, hey Seth, there's my name and address, look me up, and we'll have a little chat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The German Holocust
This is not about the murder of a specific group of people based on religion or country of origin. This is the intentional evil designed to exterminate the innocent German people... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dennis Anderson
4.0 out of 5 stars great addition for history buffs !!!!
Surprising info compared to what's taught in school. For peo

like me that enjoy history type books. Especially ww2 era .
Published 11 months ago by mark
4.0 out of 5 stars A grimm story
the book is going in to details there has been keept pretty much as a secret, not les from the winner of the 2 ww.
Published 12 months ago by braagaard
4.0 out of 5 stars Allegations that the Allies killed millions of German civilians after...
The author alleges that it was not just the Soviets who abused former German soldiers and brutalized civilians after the war ended, as had been known for many years, but that the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Carpe Diem
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book
This book is about the war crimes committed against the German people after World War II ended. It is a book that is hard to read because the atrocities committed against the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by G. Baugher
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that gives you eyes
This book may be the one of the most important book you ever read. Not because it makes you feel good, but because it makes you feel sick. Read more
Published on August 12, 2011 by JC
5.0 out of 5 stars crimes and mercies
Very chilling account about criminality of Henry Morgentau and Gen D. Eisenhower, Fact hidden masterfully for many decades By official historians printed and electronic media but... Read more
Published on July 14, 2011 by Paul Maresh
2.0 out of 5 stars Questions about Bacque's work
As with Bacque's book Other Losses,a panel of historians assembled to contest Bacque's charges. According to his opponents,Bacque arrived at the figure of 5. Read more
Published on February 28, 2011 by Aaron
4.0 out of 5 stars 1997 pioneering book, still undigested
Based mostly on Soviet records and Hoover Institution Archive, Stanford. First published in 1997 (after the Soviet Union collapsed, of course; before this, Bacque published Other... Read more
Published on June 26, 2010 by Rerevisionist
5.0 out of 5 stars Humbling..
Truly humane in the highest sense..Documenting war crimes against the losers in war..Humane,heart-rending photos of those who were victims of war crimes--The children.. Read more
Published on June 17, 2010 by Cihuacoatl
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