was a 1989 book by James Bacque. Bacque, who had no training as a historian and had never written a history book, made the startling claim Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
orchestrated a post-war genocide of German prisoners. The story goes Eisenhower so hated the German people, and German soldiers in particular, that he ordered food and medicine, ostensibly stockpiled in abundance, to be withheld from German prisoners of war. Those liquidated by starvation were recorded as "Other Losses", a line item that curiously crept into the record keeping of American and British POW
camp commanders after the German surrender.
And how many Germans did Ike
allegedly liquidate? Bacque totaled up these Other Losses columns and he came to the conclusion that between 800,000 and a million German soldiers were methodically eliminated.
The popular press ran with the book's stunning allegations and Other Losses
quickly rocketed up the best seller list. Much like the "Moon landing were a hoax" books, the popular press and public is generally ill equipped to deal with what appears to be solid, rational arguments based on historical documents, statistics, and eye witnesses.
Legitimate World War II
historians and Ike experts were flabbergasted that such a piece of tripe
could every be confused by anyone as legitimate historical research.
Bacque's thesis was four fold:
1) Eisenhower created a "Disarmed Enemy Forces" (DEF) designation for the German soldiers, removing them from the conventions that protect POWs. Traditionally the Geneva convention
requires POWs to be given the same rations one gives to your own soldiers. If they were no longer POWs, the DEFs could be starved to death.
2) Food and medicine were in abundance in 1945. German soldiers were given far below the 1,500 daily calories budgeted for civilians. Likewise medicine was withheld and death rates were upwards of 30% in post-1945 camps, compared to the 1% death rate experienced in American POW camps before 1945.
3) German POWs were treated in an inhumane fashion, denied shelter and subject to beatings and summary execution
s by revenge-seeking American GIs.
4) That crazy "Other Losses" line item doesn't lie. If it's not a genocide
body count, then what could it possibly be? Huh?
Regarding point 1, Bacque is partially correct. POWs were re-designated as DEFs. However, it was the British who created the new designation, not the Americans and certainly not Ike. And the new designation was indeed changed so the Allied powers could suspend terms of the Geneva Convention. The simple fact was hard choices had to be made. Who got first crack at the food? German civilians and DP
s or German soldiers?
Bacque's argument that food was magically in abundance in 1945 flies in the face of the experience of pretty much every citizen, DP, and POW on the continent in 1945. The food was where? In support of this utterly insane
claim, Bacque points to documents that indicates Eisenhower was hoarding
food in the summer of 1945. Why was he hoarding food instead of giving it to the German POWs? Rations were being horded but not in an effort to starve German POWs. Winter
was coming. Food doesn't magically grow on trees in Winter. And the human body need more calories in Winter. Food was being put aside to meet the ratcheted up Winter demands.
, or lack thereof, is called into question regarding his 30% death rate claim. Bacque arrived at this figure based on a typo
in one report. A clerk in one camp indicated it held 70,000 prisoners and not 700,000. So Bacque took the camp's figure of 21,000 dead and divided it by 70,000, arriving at 30%. The actual figure was 21,000/700,000 or 3%. Even worse he generalized the entire death rate based on that single mistyped report.
Regarding point 3, Bacque at least got that right more or less. Victorious American and British soldiers were not always kind to their captured enemy. POW camps that suddenly had to spring up to handle entire division
s of troops surrendering en mass were not particularly hospitable
. The Americans has generally planned to take in 3 million German POWs. They did not count on an additional 2 million on the Eastern front
rushing west to surrender to the Americans and British.
Regarding point 4, Bacque used one "expert" witness, a 91-year-old colonel
who claimed the figure meant "Deaths and Escapes". The escape rate, the colonel said was minimal. So there you go, genocide, baby. When journalists interviewed Bacque's 91-year-old expert, he disavowed making the claim "Other Losses" meant deaths. He claimed Bacque took advantage of his old age to get him to agree to put his name to words he never spoke.
Further, a bit of simple research identified exactly what "Other Losses" meant. It meant 1) POWs transferred to British or French camps 2) Teenage boys and old men who were conscripted at the last moment to defend the Fatherland
weren't held long as normal POWs. They were quickly released to care for the large number of fatherless German families.
Bacque's Other Losses
work might normally be treated with the same mixture of headshaking ire and amusement the real experts use when, say, a Kodak
photo technician working as a NASA temp proclaims himself a NASA expert and claims photos of rocks are proof there are pyramids on Mars
. However, Other Losses
has been seized by the Holocaust revisionist
crowd. In their convoluted logic Other Losses
figures something like this: The Holocaust never happened, of course ha ha, but if it did, the American army committed genocide itself so why are those whiney Jews acting like they're the only ones who suffered during Word War II? Huh? Huh?