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on June 23, 2012
Mr. Douglas has written a very informative book on a subject that is too often neglected by historians of Europe. This subject is the expulsion of fourteen million ethnic Germans from mainly Poland and Czechoslovakia, but also from other East European countries like Yugoslavia after World War II. The expellees were expelled to the remaining parts of Germany that had been heavily damaged after the war and had huge problems in feeding and housing their populations. In the case of Poland most of the persons expelled came from land originally German that was transferred to Poland in the Yalta and Potsdam settlements during and after World War II. These expellees in particular can say we did not cross the border but the border crossed us. Similarly in Czechoslovakia long time German residents in the Sudeten mountains were transferred after World War I against their will to Czechoslovak sovereignty.

The treatment of the German expellees was horrendous. The expellees were first decreed to have lost their nationality and civil rights. They were viciously discriminated against in food rations and almost every other social economic area. They were often placed in camps that provided little food, starvation rations, inadequate or no medical care and housed in overcrowded rooms on straw or no bedding. Starvation and disease took a tremendous toll of human life. After weeks of months or years as slave labor in the camps the would be expellees were packed onto freight cars for a long ride to Germany that could last for weeks. During this time expellees continued to suffer to disease and starvation that caused many deaths. When arriving in Germany their weakened condition in a devastated land caused more deaths. One of the more accurate estimates of the number of expellee deaths is 2.1 million.

Mr. Douglas differs from other chronicles of the expulsion in that he uses Red Cross reports and government and diplomatic records as his references, not the stories of survivors. Yet the story is the same. Red Cross and government records tell the same story as the expellees who survived.

In the book Mr. Douglas provides a detailed view of the organization, or often lack thereof, of the expulsions, and how they were carried out. He provides a detailed biography and description of the original ethnic cleanser Edvard Benes, the President of Czechoslovakia and how he cleverly manipulated Western public opinion to enable him to carry out the expulsion project. Mr. Douglas also gives the reader an oversight of the other expulsion personalities and demonstrates the human misery they caused. He extends the story to the present day to detail how the expulsions were treated or neglected by the historians, educational institutions, and the media in both Western and East European countries.

This book is a must. The writing is good and clear. The detail, footnotes, and bibliography are generally excellent. Any person interested in human rights and/or European history would not want to miss this work.
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on August 11, 2012
R M Douglas' book "Orderly and humane" is an important contribution to the topic of the German expellees after world war two and might as well be the most comprehensive book on the topic in English. These explusions affected 12 to 15 million Germans or people of German heritage, estimates of deaths range from 500,000 to 2 millions. The people expelled were on the one hand German and Hungarian minorities in Eastern Europe, but in most part it was Germans from then proper Germany who were the majority population in areas such as East Prussia, Pomerania and Lower Silesia, all of which were annexed by other countries after the war. For all the expelees their homelands for 700 years were lost forever. Mostly civilians were affected by these expulsions, which the English writer George Orwell had the courage to call a massive crime. One topic concerning German expellees during WW2 and after is however missed out on in this book, maybe due to its early occurrence: It is the forced deportation of about 1 million Volga Germans and other Russian Germans who already in 1941 at the beginning of the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were shipped off to Siberia and Kazakhstan, placed into labor camps where many starved to death, and who were only half heartedly rehabilitated. Far from being a simple evacuation, they lost their belongings and homelands forever, and their fate has never been seriously addressed.
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on March 3, 2014
R.M. Douglas has written a substantial book on a topic that is little known in post-World War II history, the expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe. What makes this book different from previous works on this subject is that the author uses material from various archives across Europe instead of testimony from expellees alone. As the war wound down, many ethic groups in the east were in mood of exacting revenge for the mistreatment that they received at the hands of the Nazis between 1939 and 1945. Since many of the German men were either dead, in prison camps or missing, the expulsions fell mainly on the women, children and elderly who were unable to serve in the military.

Men like Eduard Benes of Czechoslovakia were keen on getting rid of the Germans as he and his fellow countrymen believed that their presence in the Sudetenland portion of the country posed a threat to their nationalistic desires. The Poles were stripped of their lands east of the River Bug by the Soviets and as compensation were given German lands east of the Oder River. The resulting expulsions from the Sudetenland and the Polish "recovered territories" along with the force evictions by the Yugoslavs and the Romanians led to the deaths of at least 500,000 Germans. Little is said about this event because many at that time believed that the Germans "deserved it" and that it was overshadowed by the vastly higher numbers of dead that were a result of German atrocities. Nonetheless, this tragedy was the responsibility of the Allied forces who wanted to eliminate ethnic friction after the war, but in the end committed what we call today ethnic cleansing.

In the end, World War II was a conflict that resulted in many dead, Soviet domination in Eastern Europe for the next forty years and the rise of the military-industrial complex in America. This story was one of many that deserve to be known along with events like Operation Keelhaul. The book is 375 pages long and has an extensive bibliography and end note section. A much-needed work that needs to be read. Five stars.
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on June 17, 2012
R.M. Douglas's expose of Allied complicity in Crimes Against Humanity at the end of World War II is so well written that it reads like a stunning novel. Very few Americans or Europeans know about the forcible removable of millions of innocent people, mostly women ,children and the elderly, from their homes for transfer to German soil only because they had German names, ancestors or spoke the language. Their property was confiscated without redress and millions were dumped inside Germany without provision for jobs, housing or basic necessities. Many died during the ordeal. Such was the hatred at the end of the war, not just for Nazis but for all with German names, that this scheme of "ethnic cleansing" was planned and accomplished with the administrative support of the Allied governments. Douglas demystifies the personality of Edvard Benes, President of Czehoslovakia, who lobbied successfully for a homogenous homeland free of all minorities. Such was the Czech hatred for Czechs of German ancestry that they treated them to the same persecutions the Nazis had visited on the Czechs. No one was spared including Jews who had survived the camps. Alice Herz-Sommer, a Czech concert pianist and ethnic German who had been imprisoned for two years In Theresienstadt concentration camp and whose mother and husband had perished in the Nazi death machine, returned to Prague to find German Jews were unwelcome. After her close friend a journalist, Michael Mares, published protest articles against the Czech treatment of anti-Nazi ethnic Germans, he was rewarded with a long prison sentence and Alice fled her homeland to resettle in Israel. Today at 108 years of age and a witness to all of the wars of the 2oth and 21st centuries, Alice repeatedly cautions "hatred only leads to hatred." All national government and United Nations officials should read this tragic and illuminating account of arrogant and irresponsible leadership. This important book is highly recommended.

Caroline Stoessinger, is the author of "A Century of Wisdom, Lessons From the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World's Oldest Living
Holocaust Survivor." (Hardcover) Random House 2012
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on October 15, 2012
I try to avoid writing reviews when I don't have a lot of specific things to say, but I'll make an exception for this one because the current average rating for this book is absurdly low, and I need to do my small part to raise it. There are evidently some people who, in light of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, feel that nothing is too bad for those of German heritage. It's similar to the commonly expressed wish that perpetrators of heinous crimes will be raped in prison, except in the case of the Germans the targets only need to share a genealogy with the criminals, not be criminals themselves.

Douglas has really done a masterful job with this book. He's a great writer, thoughtful in his analysis, and wise in his conclusions. (I now want to read his other books even though they're not on topics of particular interest to me.) He doesn't neglect the context in which the expulsion of the Germans took place, but he also doesn't think that that context means this episode should be whitewashed.

The expulsion of the Germans might not have been orderly and humane, but this book certainly is. Thanks, Dr. Douglas.
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on October 2, 2013
This is a long overdue comprehensive coverage of an almost unknown and unbelievable tragedy following WWII. The author covers the prewar, inter war, and post-war periods for both the immigrating and emigrating countries. Douglas, fortunately, has an engaging writing style on such a detailed and gruesome topic. On a factual basis he has a page of references for every four pages of authorship.
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on August 29, 2012
"Orderly and Humane" is a balanced account of a horrendous episode in European history, and a story that needed telling. Its detail and scholarship are clearly evident. To those who say "they had it coming," - two wrongs don't make a right.
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on January 9, 2013
It has been 66 years since my family was forcibly removed from our homeland, the former Sudetenland, which was in today's Czech Republic. We shared this sad fate with the other 6 million Germans who had settled centuries ago in many of the countries east of the German borders. In the seven decades of my life, I have often wondered why the expulsion of millions of people from the Sudetenland alone was nearly unknown, especially in the U.S. where the term "appeasement policy" finds use by politicians who like to be seen as "hard-liners". I figured, with so many mass murders committed by so many tyrants in the world, the ethnic cleansing (what a nasty euphemism!) of the Germans from Czechoslovakia after WW II was not bad enough to be noticed much.

When I caught sight of the title "Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War", I knew precisely about whom this author wrote. And I was very curious if this work would confirm the tales I heard from my mother and grandmother of the hardships the expelled populations suffered. Not only were these stories confirmed, but the author provides the context in which these "[Un]-Orderly and [In]-Humane..." expulsions took place. This work can help explain to the descendants of these millions what happened to them, and inform all readers how we all suffered under Nazi rule.
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on October 10, 2012
Compelling read, guaranteed amazement and astounding outcomes - must have for all City Libraries and schools. Accountability seems its only with the vanquished never the victor - it was a black mark on those that enforced the act with no accountability assigned.
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on September 21, 2012
This book is about the removal of millions of Germans from the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia immediately after the second world war. The title of the book comes from the allied forrces order and is an indictment of the actual process by which eight million German speaking people were removed from homes they had occupied for hundreds of years. The process was anything but orderly and humane with thousands freezing to death in open rail cars or dying of starvation. The author says that he understands the greater crimes of the Nazis (including expelling Czechs from fhe same area four years previously). One of his major points is that this was agreed to and largely carried out by the U. S, USSR, and Britain at the request of the Czech government. The book is very repetetive of subject matter because of the repeated bungling of the occupying forces and as a result the reader feels he has read all this before. For a person interested in twentieth century history the book adds information not generally available about the tortured history of central Europe.
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