Bacque 3, Bacque James

In the July 7, 1991 issue of the Washington Post Book World, on page 4,
Gerhard L. Weinberg, William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of History at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and author of numerous
books and articles on World War II reviewed the second edition of
Bacque’s “Other Losses.” Here are some excerpts from the review:

“If the book is unconvincing, it is because it so obviously
flies in the face of reality. The decision to treat German
prisoners as a new category originated with the British, not the
Americans, out of a concern over the anticipated desperate need to
feed millions of refugees, displaced persons, and hungry civilians
in a Europe wracked by almost six years of war. Although the new
epilogue does refer to ‘the widespread food shortages of 1946,’ in
the original text these shortages had miraculously vanished. The
disruption of Europe’s economy, with whose results Eisenhower had
to cope, can hardly be blamed on him.

“When he repeatedly pleaded for more food shipments to cope
with the terrible food situation in the Europe of the spring and
summer of 1945, Eisenhower faced two further, related problems of
which Bacque appears unaware. There still was a war going on, and
much shipping was engaged in the redeployment of forces to the
Pacific theatre…. Shipping in turn had been reduced by the
German effort to starve out Britain; the ships sunk earlier did not
rise back to the surface after V-E day to carry food from the United
States and Canada to those who had sent them to the bottom.

“Bacque’s statistical extrapolations raise several questions
the book makes no effort to answer. Where are the hundreds of
thousands of bodies and why have they not turned up…? Why have
the relatives of the missing millions not applied for and received
the death certificates that are so essential for German families
for purposes of inheritance, pension, remarriage, etc.?”

Weinberg does not deny that there was suffering on the part of German
POWs, and episodes of brutality on the part of their captors. However,
his conclusion on Bacque is:

“When researchers after the original appearance of Bacque’s
book found that he had put words in the mouth of an elderly key
witness who has since repudiated his testimony, Bacque in the new
epilogue denounces them. When they pointed to a 1945 report that
showed the bulk of the “other losses” were members of the
*Volksturm* or people’s militia – schoolboys and the elderly – who
had been released without formal discharges, he declares in his new
Appendix 11 that this was a bit of fakery concocted by Eisenhower
to conceal the deaths. As a true believer in his own fables,
Bacque cannot be convinced by evidence.”
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Gerhard Weinberg on Bacque’s “Other Losses”

Last-Modified: 1994/07/01