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Brutal Second World War: Executions by the German Army


Partisans hanged in Russia


A German training exercise in peace time allowed for a quite large proportion of casualties up to 5% killed or wounded. The Germans also used live ammunition far more in training exercises. They also used a type of wooden bullet (which caused nasty injuries and could kill) in training which made training exercises far more realistic.

Such brutal training methods wouldn't have been acceptable in any western army.

The Germans were also far less understanding of incompetence and would remove under performing officers at the drop of a hat. German field police were also quite brutal and German soldiers knew falling back from the front while not in an organized formation left them open to summary justice.

A Polish priest being shot


The Lienz Cossacks were ‘white Russians’ who’d fought bitterly against communism and the rise of the Soviet Union following the Russian Revolution. During the Second World War, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the Lienz Cossacks sided with the Nazis in order to try the topple the communist regime and bring ‘freedom’ to their country.

The Lienz Cossacks who’d fought with the Germans were rounded up by the British. It was up to the United Kingdom to decide what to do with them.

Because of the brutality of the Cossack soldiers, who had murdered and raped their way along with the SS and the German army, the British wanted nothing to do with them and ‘repatriated’ these ‘Russians’ to the Soviet Union, where they ‘belonged.’
Trains and trucks were pulled up and Cossack soldiers were forced into them. As were their wives, families and children – many of whom were not even Russian, having been born in the years after the Lienz Cossacks had left Russia.

The Cossacks didn’t go willingly. British troops had to beat them into submission with billy clubs and rifle-butts. Eventually, almost 35,000 Cossacks were transported to their ‘mother country’ where the Soviets ‘welcomed’ them.

The vast majority of them were sent immediately to labor camps in Siberia, which were little better than the death camps the Nazis had built. Almost all of the Lienz Cossacks ‘repatriated’ back to Russia died in brutal suffering.

The ‘lucky’ ones didn’t even make it that far. Because many of the Cossacks weren’t born in Russia (their parents had left following the Russian Revolution) they were unable to be tried for treason as Soviet Citizens. Therefore the Red Army saved themselves the hassle of a military trial and executed them on the spot, with a bullet through the brains.
Yugoslavia. Shot in the back while fleeing.

The Russian front or the Eastern Front saw some of the most brutal fighting during the Second world War. Both sides followed no rules.

In the following two images, Germans execute Russian soldiers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have just come across your article by mistake and couldn't help leaving a few thoughts of my own. First of all, I am in no way trying to hold any part implied in such a war as LESS evil or not cruel. I personally think that war is the WORST state that a species can find it's self in and stands for everything that we should despise and avoid.

So, to reduce further delay, this: "Such brutal training methods wouldn't have been acceptable in any western army." Germany is and WAS a "very" western country. Brutality is by no means a good criteria (see: soviet brutality witch was at least as horrid as this). When it comes to statistical data on deaths, the soviet machine made the germans look soft, also brutality afterwards in every soviet state left out of the western zone and inside the iron curtain, (Romania for example as to being flipped around by history). The ideology that was left behind can be considered as a redutable distroyer of nations even far after the war had ended.

Probably the big difference between the two, as stated "The Germans were also far less understanding of incompetence ..." that made a big difference then and still does today as to how things are done.

As for: ..."and would remove under performing officers at the drop of a hat", as I recall, Stalin shot everything around him resulting in a large mass of unexperienced and overall bad military command.

At the same time, we must understand the huge difference on how soldiers were equipped and trated when comparing germans to soviets as the greater two rivals in that war. Soviets couldn't have been as disciplined for obvious reasons behind their lines. It is no secret that even rifles were short on their side. One must not take things out of context when trying to analize and compare such matters.

Anywayz, just thought on giving it a few words of personal opinion. Nice pictures!

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Points To Ponder


It is difficult to distinguish between the quality of both the German and Russian soldiers. Both were motivated by their love for their motherland. But there were others factors that drove the two sides to such desperate fighting.

One, both sides knew that this was a no-holds bar war. Not fighting was thus not an option.

Second, both Hitler and Stalin had squads that killed any deserter. Turning away from fighting was just not possible.

Thus was seen some of the most bitter, brutal and desperate fighting on the WW2 eastern (Russian) Front.
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
-- George Santayana


"Be polite; write diplomatically; even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue.'
--Mao Zedong


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Your Comments

Senior Observer said...

The reason the German soldier did not rape and loot as the other armies did. Including the US. (I was there) was the discipline. Half the troops or at least a great number of troops on my train to the front were AWOL's or deserters. That would not have happened in the German military. You left your post you were shot. Simple as that. Germans knew that so deserting was not an option. But the ordinary soldier knew that also applied to the officers. You did your duty or else.Remember Rommel? Hitler didn't care. Just follow orders. The respect for the officer by the ordinary soldier was good. I didn't have much respect for our officers. For months after the war we were still drinking instant coffee and instant milk. The general was living it up in London I suppose because I never saw him afterwards even though I was in 3rd DIVARTY Have a nice day


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Great Comments

"The photos are nice, but I hate the way the nazis are portrayed. They are portrayed as always evil. Think about it. What do you think would happen when a country loses WWI? When they enter a depression and are stolen from by gypsies and jews?! Also, the Russians were just as brutal if not worse. They ran the gulags! They murdered men, women, and children who opposed communism. Stalin's regime killed 65MILLION people in it's lifetime. Hitler killed 21MILLION. Take your pick, you politically correct WUSS!"

Anonymous on Nazi Germany: A Pictorial History

"ever heard of the saying two wrongs don't make a right. yes they lost ww1, but they started it so they got their just deserts. and hitler was pure evil,theres no doubt he was a great leader and orator that took advantage of a country in despair. he stood by people that were simular to him and used them to 'persuade' others in high places to flock to his banner. once in power it was easy to unite a nation with his speaches that germeny could rule the world at ANY cost, the hatetred between germany and russia was legendry with both country's sinking to new levels of for russia killing millions of their own under stalin, yes, that was an atocity in itself but it was an internal matter in russia. nothing to do with the west. germany treated the russians as less than human in fact, less than the jews and the feelings were neutral. the battle of stalingrad were tesamony to that. so picking someone to like because they killed 21m instead of 65m is just sick and shows what sort of person you really are. i will say though that although these pictures are interesting, dont belive everything that they show. the picture at the top seems to show two peasants being shot, both are women so we asume that they are inocents. not so, women fought along side their men with amazing efect. rusian women were excellent marksmen and made effective snipers and machine gunners. not behind them a machingun nest. its more likely that the machingun nest was overun and they are being shot for shooting german soldiers. that being said, it saddens me to say that many of the pictures do depict atrocities that the devil himself would be ashamed of.having never been in a war, i can't imagine what humans would go through under such horrific conditions. knowing death was just around the corner probly turned the most mild mannered men and women into monsters. im not going to justify there actions or condone them but to understand what they went through. i hope for all our sakes we never have to go through anything like it again. but i think we will."
Anonymous on Nazi Germany: A Pictorial History

History In Pictures


"The main thing is to make history, not to write it."
--Otto von Bismarck

"When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
--Winston Churchill


"In time of war the loudest patriots are the greatest profiteers."
--August Bebel

"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."

Great Comments....

I think it's important to remember that the German army at this time was one of the most disciplined fighting forces in the world. It's the reason Hitler made them swear an oath on his rise to Fuhrer; he knew they wouldn't break it.

That unflinching devotion to service and country would be their undoing, eventually - there were many suicides in combat. German soldiers who just couldn't deal with the brutality anymore - and the crime. Even leadership attempted to murder Hitler several times.

The Nazis were Germans, but the Germans weren't Nazis. Not all German soldiers were so criminally cruel. Most criminal cruelty was perpetrated not by the German Army, but by the Nazis and their divisions (SS, Gestapo, etc)
(Brutality Of Germans In Russia)
-- By Anonymous

Quotes about War....

"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war."
---Otto von Bismarck


"Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
--Hermann Goering


"To conquer the enemy without resorting to war is the most desirable. The highest form of generalship is to conquer the enemy by strategy."
--Tzu Sun

"All men are brothers, like the seas throughout the world; So why do winds and waves clash so fiercely everywhere?"
--Emperor Hirohito