How many soldiers sided with Hitler in 1945

History 10/01/20 How many soldiers sided with Hitler in 1945

According to various sources, in German captivity visited from 4.5 to 5.2 million red army. Among them were many of those who deliberately passed to the enemy. Moreover, the cases of desertions recorded, even when the victory of the USSR was already evident.

a different Way – the prisoner one

According to Soviet archival documents, from German captivity back 1 836 562 people. After passing through the filter of the security organs, about a million of them went on to military service, 600 thousand were sent as workers in industrial enterprises, the remaining nearly 300 thousand people as compromised in captivity, ended up in the camp. Among the latter was mostly defectors.

the biggest loss of prisoners in the red army was in the first year of the war, when large military formations were locked in the boiler. So, in Minsk boiler (August 1941) were 323 thousand people in Smolensk (August 1941) – 348 thousand, in Kiev (September 1941), 665 thousand, Vyazma (October 1941) – 662 thousands, Kharkov (may 1942) – 207 thousand.

the vast majority of captured soldiers went against their will: out of ammunition, the soldier was wounded and exhausted, someone the hopelessness of the situation forced to cease resistance. Many subsequently died in the Nazi camps from hunger, disease, wounds, or when attempting to escape.

Part of the red army soldiers found themselves in captivity consciously: one group was those who in a combat situation chose to put himself in the hands of the enemy, than to part with life, in other words chickened out; the other included those who have made their choice for moral or ideological reasons – persistent opponents of the regime. Among them were many volunteers joined the ranks of collaborators.

a Lot of the Counciling soldiers and officers defected to the enemy during the stay in the camps for prisoners of war. According to German historian Christian Streit, this greatly contributed to the German government, creating for the Russian prisoners unbearable conditions of existence. He writes that almost no preparations for their livelihoods and solutions for the further destiny was not done, people are in advance doomed to destruction. They were fed garbage, deprived of winter clothes, threw them on the most difficult parts of the work. The fact that the Soviet Union had not signed the Hague and Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war served as a cover for ill-treatment of Soviet soldiers, said Streit.

no Prisoners, only traitors

a week after the beginning of the great Patriotic war came the Directive, which the Council of people’s Commissars demanded that the soldiers of the red army to defend every inch of ground, fight to the last drop of blood. And on 16 August in parts were sent out Bids order No. 270, in which all surrendering political workers and commanders were automatically classed as traitors. Breaching the order could be shot on the spot.

However, the number of red army soldiers who fell into German captivity, only increased.

Soon the front began to spread the phrase attributed to Stalin: “we Have no prisoners of war, and there are traitors.” For propaganda purposes it was quickly picked up by the German command, started an unprecedented campaign among the Soviet prisoners of war. “Your country turned away from you, – to convince them, you have no choice but to serve a greater Germany.” And many responded to this appeal: because they were promised decent living conditions, nutritious food, uniforms and exemption from terror camp.

But some historians have come to the conclusion that one of the main reasons that caused the red army to move into the enemy camp, there was indifference on the part of the Soviet government.

By 10 October 1941 for attempted desertion and the transition to the side of the enemy, the NKVD was shot 10 201 Soviet soldier what he writes in his book “On the relics, and the oil,” Alexander Yakovlev. Willingly or unwillingly, trapped in a German prisoner soldiers and officers knew that such a fate awaits many of them. The position of the authorities against its own prisoners of war, and without any agitators encouraged “traitors” to join the ranks of the armed forces of the Wehrmacht.

According to the German archives, all were released from the camps 504 thousand Soviet prisoners of war by enlisting in the “volunteer formations”. Over a million were sent to work in Germany. The fate of the remaining camps was sad: about 2 million did not survive the winter of 1941-42.

Odd numbers

it is surprising, but in the last years of the war, Soviet soldiers continued to be captured, albeit in a much smaller quantity. According to the Commission under the President of the Russian Federation on rehabilitation of victims of political repression in 1944 in German captivity was 203 thousand soldiers of the red army in 1945 – 40.6 thousand. There are other sources.

So, according to the figures given in the book “grief secrecy lifted. Losses of the USSR armed forces in wars, combat operations and military conflicts” (Moscow, 1993), for 1944 prisoners and missing, the red army lost 167 563 soldiers, 1945 – 68 637. In the book Ditte gernes of “Hitler’s Wehrmacht in the Soviet Union” referring to the German archival documents it is reported that in 1944 in German captivity were 147 thousand red army soldiers in 1945 – 34 thousand.

Despite the difference in data is striking quite an impressive number of Soviet POWs, was in the hands of the Wehrmacht in the period total offensive of the red army. The historians explain it by the local successes of the German army, which took place in 1944, and early 1945. But, what is most striking, among the fallen in the German prisoner met and voluntarily defected to the enemy.

it is considered that the quantitiesabout defectors in the early years of the war did not exceed 1.5% of all Soviet prisoners of war. They served two specially created transit camp of the 38 operating in the area of German army group Center. In the last year of the war, the number who surrendered at discretion significantly reduced. It is quite obvious that this was due to the inevitable approaching defeat of the Reich. Nevertheless, these cases are still recorded.

In the book “the Second world war. Actual problems” (Moscow, 1995) provides information, according to which of the 27 629 red army soldiers captive from December 1944 to March 1945 there were 1 710 defectors! For comparison, among approximately the same number of captured allies at the bulge on the side of the Wehrmacht ran only 5 people. This begs the question: why are these 1 710 Soviet military victorious marching of the Soviet Union chose Germany lost? At first glance, this is contrary to common sense.

reluctant to Return

for anybody not a secret that the considerable part of Soviet prisoners of war unwilling to return to their homeland. Some feared for their lives, the other ideological opponents of the Stalinist regime, expected to stay in the West. Many probably bribed that in the summer of 1944, there have been positive changes in the content of Soviet prisoners of war: German authorities have balanced their diet with the nutritional standards of the civilian population.

In may 1944, the German command was sent, part of the ROA to the Atlantic the shaft to resist the landing of allied troops. This caused serious concern of the Anglo-American command. The British Ambassador in Moscow a regular Archibald Clark Kerr remarked to the Soviet leadership that would grant Amnesty to its own citizens and to allow all who surrendered to the allies captured, free to return home. 17 June 1944, British intelligence reported that among the captured, and sent to England prisoners, about 10% are Russians.

British historian Nicholas Bettel in the book “the Last war” notes that the Russian much more readily than the Germans surrendered, and during interrogation they told the same story as appeared in the camp of the enemies of the Soviet Union. To the question if they would like to return home, the majority showed indifference or gave a negative answer, says Bettel.

Lord Selborne, at that time Minister of the war economy of great Britain, based on interviews voiced the most compelling reason why Soviet POWs refused to return to their homeland. With him, they said: “We were told that Soviet workers are better than in the West, but what we saw suggests otherwise – the standard of living of workers in France, Belgium, Norway are higher than in Russia.”

Obviously, here lies the explanation of the phenomenon of red army defectors last months of the war. They decided that transit through German captivity will have a chance to be in the hands of the allies. And there they were declared enemies of the Soviet Union, have probably crossed over to Britain or the United States. However, instead of the prosperous West, the vast majority of prisoners were expecting the filtration camps of the NKVD. The allies were loyal to the agreements.

Taras Repin

© Russian Seven

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