Re: "Ivan's War, 1939-1945"
Well, I got to the chapter where she covers the "rapes" of '44, and '45...and even I was stunned...
She pulls no punches. BUT she has got my respect as a Historian, there is NO proselytizing, or preaching. It's horrific enough with just the facts and first-hand accounts she cites. Even though I was EXPECTING it, I wasn't trully prepared for her account. I was even slightly nauseated reading it.
She doesn't excuse it, or glorify it in any way. She treats it the same way she treated the Nazi atrocities in Russia, "just the facts."
She places a LOT of blame on Stalin and the Soviet propagandists exhorting the troops at the border to now 'Get their revenge..." "To hold Court," and "pass judgement." There was also a lot of propaganda, and even perhaps verbal orders from Stalin that the Germans HAD to be treated "roughly" so they would be afraid to EVER go to war again...that the troops bought in to easily...one of the underlying themes was "Kill the wounded beast (and it's offspring) in it's lair..."
But she also paints a good picture of the Soviet troops anger when they first started seeing the "rich" farms and "expensive" houses in Prussia, and started feeling rage that these "rich" people would invade and destroy Russia, which was POOR in comparison...couple that with the booze, the propaganda, and the "gang" mentality, as well as the way they thought of women in general, and started seeing the "dresses and heels...."she makes the point THAT was why there really WASN'T that many rapes in Romania, or Hungary until after the major fight for Budapest.
But she stays away from "numbers," in fact she says something profound, "Numbers are dangerous tools, creating certainties on paper that have nothing much to do with life." She says ten thousand German women and girls suffered rape at the hands of Soviets, or the number may have reached 100,000. But she also warns that Goebbels was active until the end, and some of the "numbers" were contrived to make the Russians look WORSE. SHe cites a captured German diary from the end of the war which quotes a Berlin newspaper that said a 70 year old woman was raped 24 times...and the diarist entered "Who was keeping count?"
Interestingly, the Soviets were generally considered KIND to "young children," carrying "sweets" in their pockets, almost sounding like US troops in that regard the veterans said they reminded them of THEIR children, and apparently any young mother with a SMALL child or baby was "immune" to being raped...by ANY Soviet. But ANY "woman" over 10 or 12, including OLD women, were "fair game."
Another German woman who was hiding in a cellar also recorded that "The Russians seem to prefer 'plump' women to rape," and went so far to say it was almost justice for the ones "who were hoarding food all these years..."
But she also says that with the fall of the USSR, Soviet citizens and veterans are having to face now the "stains" on their past like the Germans had to at the end of the war.
But the bigger point she was making is it HAPPENED. There WERE bodies of women and girls that were lying along the sides of the roads dead raped multiple times wherever the Russian troops marched in Germany.....
The problems we face today are
there because the people who work
for a living are outnumbered by those
who vote for a living.