Newsgroups: alt.revisionism Subject: [Repost] Myth Understanding: The Fallacy of _Other Losses_ Followup-To: Archive/File: people/b/bacque.james bacque.005 [Originally posted on October 7, 1994 by email@example.com (Morrison), as Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, UseNet's alt.revisionism] 1.0 Introduction Recently (September/October 1994) those who would argue the historical truth of the Holocaust on the Usenet newsgroup alt.revisionism have taken up as one of their sources the book _Other Losses_, written by James Bacque. (Full title: _Other Losses: An Investigation into the Mass Deaths of German Prisoners at the Hands of the French and Americans After World War II_) The rationale of this move is apparently to paint the Allies as a force that committed crimes just as terrible as those of the Nazis, probably in the hope that people will forgive the Nazis their crimes because our side did the same thing. 1.1 Purpose It is the purpose of this document to demonstrate the fallacies and shoddy scholarship inherent in _Other Losses_ and thus to show yet another example of "Revisionist Scholarship". 1.2 Sources The Primary source for this document is: _Eisenhower and the Germans POWs: Facts Against Falsehood_ Edited by Gunter Bischof and Stephen E. Ambrose Louisiana State University Press, 1992 ISBN 0-8017-1758-7 LoC Cat# 92-3908 2.0 The Contreversy of _Other Losses_ The main premise of _Other Losses_ is that in the aftermath of World War II, between 800 000 and 1 000 000 German POWs were systematically killed by means of starvation and disease in American and French POW camps. Bacque claims that Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Forces Europe, and the US Army orchestrated the deaths by witholding food and shelter from the POWs. Furthermore, Bacque claimed that professional historians had participated in an American-controlled conspiracy of silence about the alleged events he documents. 3.0 An Analysis of the Claims 3.1 Bacque's Math 101 He asserts that roughly a million German prisoners-- the "Missing Million"-- disappeared from European theatre of operations (ETO) records between two reports issued on June 2, 1945. In the first, the grand total of prisoners "in US custody, ETO" is given as 2,870,000, and in the second, "Total PWs on hand in COM Z" is given as 1,836,000. But the Communications Zone (COM Z) was a subordinate command of the ETO, and its total omitted the million or so prisoners held by the armies and the army groups. Moreover, both reports state exactly the same number of prisoners for which the ETO is responsible overall-- 3,193,747. To judge from these documents, there was no Missing Million. There was not even a Missing One. -Albert E. Cowdrey, _Eisenhower and the German POWs_ p. 79 The title of _Other Losses_ comes from a column found on American reports of prisoner status. Bacque claims that it represents a body count. In fact, footnotes in those same documents indicate that "other losses" is in fact a blanket term covering many things: transfer of prisoners to other holding units, prisoner releases, etc (daily reports, Status of Disarmed Enemy Forces. May 20-June 6, 1945, Third and Ninth Armies, _Classified Correspondance, 1944-45, Secretary General Staff, USFET, RG 332, NA_ reproduced in Bischof, pp 86-87). Furthermore, there are periods in the records when "other losses" is not in the record. It is for this period that Bacque uses the medical record and the famous missing zero typo. A total of 700 000 *should* be given as the number of prisoners in a report issued by the ETO surgeon, but the typist mistakingly omitted a zero, making the total 70 000. Although a glance at the rest of the chart is sufficient to realize the typo, Bacque nevertheless uses that incorrect figure and the number of deaths reported (which was totalled correctly) to give a 30%, when the actual number was about 3.56%, a figure demonstrated by the following table (ETO Surgeon's Report on Essential Technical Medical Data) TABLE I Comparison of Number of Admissions and Death Rates Per 1000 Per Annum For Prisoners of War in ASCZ Enclosures and ETO Troops (Less UK) During Six Week Period Ending 15 June 1945 Admissions (POW) Deaths (POW) # rate/1000/yr # rate/1000/yr Disease 345 324 4 285 2 754 34.2 Non-Battle Injury 37 713 468 98 1.2 Battle Casualty 20 105 250 16 .2 total 403 142 5 003 2 868 35.6 [note: US troop figures have been omitted] Now the table figures make sense if the base number of German prisoners was 700 000. Take deaths due to non-battle injuries. Over a 6 week period, there were 98 deaths, or 2.33 a day. That is (2.33*365) = 839.5 a year. Now, divide by the number of thousands of prisoners (700) and you get 1.2 deaths/ 1000 prisoners/year. If, on the other hand, you use the wrong figure of 70 000, the total becomes 12 deaths/1000 prisoners/year or 10X greater. Thus the total deaths per 1000 prisoners per year becomes 356, or 35.6%. The fallacy can be easily shown by looking at the admission rate. A total of 403 142 prisoners entered hospital during those 6 weeks. If there were only 70 000 prisoners, that means each prisoner entered the hospital 5.76 times. The ridiculous nature of that figure is obvious. On the other hand, Bacque does math like this: there were 98 accidental deaths in those 6 weeks. For no reason whatsoever, he decides that the 98 is a projection, that the table states that it predicts 98 prisoners will die over a year. He divides 98 by 52, multiplies by 6 and voila, 11.30769 died during that 6 week period. Aha! he cries, because that is not a whole number, therefore the figures have been fudged! This despite the fact that it is clear that 98 men died *during* the 6 week period. If you use the exact same method on the total of deaths and assume the 2 868 is a projection for the year, then the death rate would be 2868/70 or 40.97 deaths/1000/year, or a death rate of approximetly 4.1%, which is not in agreement with his around 30% calculation. Thus, his own method on his own numbers does not work. 3.2 A Million Unaccounted Dead? The Maschke Commission, set up by the UN in 1950 at the request of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) to determine where missing POWs were determined that 120 000 had died in POW camps outside the USSR. The majority of the deaths were in Eastern and Southern Europe. Oops. 3.3 Bacque Rules of Revisionist Analysis Part I: Use Reliable Witnesses I am 91 years old, legally blind, and my memory has lapsed to a point where it is quite unreliable... Often during my talk with Mr. Bacque I reminded him that my memory has deteriorated badly in the 40 odd years since 1945. Mr. Bacque read to me the USFET POW figures for discharges and transfers to other national zones. It seemed to me that, after accounting for transfers and discharges, there was nothing left to make up the grand total except deaths and escapes, i.e: the term OTHER LOSSES. I was mistaken...many POWs were transferred from one U.S. Command to another U.S. Command. This left one with a loss and the other with a gain. -Col. Philip S. Lauben (ret) to David S. Hawkins, 6 March 1990, copy supplied by Col. Lauben to US Army Center of Military History, Washington, DC. Bischof, p. 84 3.4 Bacque Rules of Revisionist Analysis Part II: The Whole Truth and... Bacque cites the book _One Great Prison_ by Helmut M. Fehling wherein the West German Ministry of Refugees gave a total of 1 407 000 missing German soldiers. In the Canadian edition, he (wrongly) claims the book states Chancellor Adenauer gave that total in a speech in the Bundestag. In the American edition, he corrects the error and properly attributes the origin of the number. Of course, in *neither* edition does he give the full title of the book-- _One Great Prison: The Story Behind Russia's Unreleased POWs_ 3.5 Bacque Rules of Revisionist Analysis Part III: Context, always with context Bacque states that Eisenhower was starving the POWs because there was a surplus of food at the time, yet the POWs were hardly getting enough to survive. Really? Even as late as April, 1945, during the fighting, the food situation was so bad in Holland that the Germans *allowed* the Allies to airdrop supplies to civilians behind their lines. By the end of July, 1945, most liberated areas were struggling to get civilian diets above 2000 calories. (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration Council Meeting, London, 30 July 1945 pp 3-4, Box 25, 080 UNRRA, Adjutant General Files, 1945-46, Office of Military Government (US) for Germany, RG 260, Washington National Records Center, Suitland, Maryland) Document JCS 1517: "The food situation in western Germany is perhaps the most serious problem of the occupation. Average consumption is now about one-third below the generally accepted subsistence level of 2000 calories per day." (20 August, 1945, p.6 in 319.1, CCAC, Records of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, RG 218, NA) Everybody was starving, not just POWs under US Army confinement. 3.6 Bacque Rules for Revisionist Analysis Part IV: Me, exaggerate? Yes, the POW camps were bad. Some really bad. It was documented by the Maschke Commission in the 60s and 70s, Paul Carrell and Gunter Boddeker in _Die Gefangenen_, Rolf Steininger and Heribert Schwan _Als der Kreig zu Ende ging_, both books published in 1981. They did *not* mention any mass deaths. 3.7 Bacque Rules for Revisionist Analysis Part V: The bodies are over there... So where are they? One million dead. The Soviets couldn't hide 40 000 bodies after Katyn and keep it a secret. The US Army couldn't cover up deaths in a tiny jungle village called My Lai. The most powerful men in the US government couldn't keep the lid on Watergate or Iran-Contra. And your telling me that in fifty years *nobody* besides Bacque says anything? None of the guards, none of the POWs, none of the civilians living nearby, not the Red Cross, no respected investigative reporter, not even Eisenhower's political foes in the states? Yeah, right. 4.0 Conclusion There was no food for the POWs because there *was* no food. Conditions were bad, but that has been extensively documented. No reports of mass death and no evidence to support it. Every thesis of Bacque's proven wrong. Full of error, facts out of context, math that makes your head spin, deliberate omission of relevant information... Definitively a textbook example of a revisionist reference.
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