Savage Continent

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Imagine a world without institutions. No governments. No school or universities. No access to any information. No banks. Money no longer has any worth. There are no shops, because no one has anything to sell. Law and order are virtually non-existent because there is no police force and no judiciary. Men with weapons roam the streets taking what they want. Women of all classes and ages prostitute themselves for food and protection…

Thus opens Keith Lowe’s Savage Continent, an unrelenting non-fiction account of ground truth across Europe at the close of World War II and the years immediately thereafter. Based largely on primary sources on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Lowe takes the reader into a world obscured for multiple reasons by both victor and vanquished alike.

What is most chilling about Savage Continent is its blending of individual tales of brutality, deprivation, and survival with the national, regional, and geopolitical contexts for the post-war horror. To use a well-worn phrase from this neighborhood, “it was intentional” that Soviet troops were allowed to rape and loot with abandon across their realm in occupied Germany. It was intentional that everyday Czechs turned on their ethnic German neighbors and strung them up from lampposts in Prague and elsewhere. It was intentional that greatest-generation American officers on multiple occasions and in multiple locales allowed partisans several days to settle scores with their now-conquered foreign enemies, as well as their domestic political opponents. It was intentional that post-war tribunals convened to hold collaborators accountable for their treason devolved into farces of justice miscarried by judicial peers of the defendants. It was intentional that the sainted Democrat FDR and his haberdasher successor granted carte blanche to Stalin and his Red allies to sweep all of Eastern Europe into the Soviet sphere via mass murder, ethnic cleansing, and the ruthless imposition of tyranny.

It was, simply put, an orgy of slaughter, savagery, terror, and revenge – at both the individual and national policy levels – conducted mostly after hostilities had officially ceased.

To his credit, Lowe does not shirk from relating to his readers the central role played by revenge in this drama. He tut-tuts about the morality and the loss of the “moral high ground” (yes, he uses that phrase) occasioned by such deeds, but he unflinchingly tells the truth about modern, civilized human behavior in the wake of world-historical disruptions.

And therein lies the value of Savage Continent to the WRSA audience.

Those who believe that the former United States of America and its neighbors to the north and south will survive the coming turmoil in recognizable forms will find that belief shaken by Lowe’s efforts. His easily-readable writing style, backed by serious scholarship (17 pages of sources, with 42 pages of endnotes), will leave the reader appalled – not just by the volume and scope of the violence, but how it was perpetrated by all sides against anyone who stood in their way.

Savage Continent is not simply about post-war Europe.

It is about the bestial nature of men in war and its aftermath.

It is about illusions of civility, and the loss of those illusions.

It is about the horrific consequences of defeat, and the mythologies of victory.

It is about reality.

Highly recommended.

29 responses to “Savage Continent

  1. OK. I give up.

    You’re right. There’s no hope. It’s coming an unavoidable blood bath, an orgy of all the worst humanity can conjure.

    We can’t prevent it, slow it down, ameliorate, mitigate, temper or otherwise lessen the brutal process of it all. History teaches… and adamantly.

    And your plan is?

    “Win!”

    Win what?

    Win how?

    With what?

    For what?

    For whom?

    Armageddon offers nothing by way of human intervention.

    Shit is what happens when you’re making other plans.

  2. Looks like Lowe also has a book on the Anglo-American aerial massacre of 43,000 German civilians at Hamburg; I’ll read them both. Of course the slaughter of ethnic Germans didn’t begin in 1945…during July-August 1939, the Poles – selfsame who later helped the Nazis kill Jews – killed tens of thousands of Germans in Silesia and elsewhere in Poland. One among several reasons that Hitler shortly thereafter attacked Poland. At any rate, yes, in view of the widening fissures in the ‘Kwa, between races, classes, ideologies, and urban-rural, I’d agree that we are in for major and sudden demographic changes.

    • Just don’t do so expecting an apology from Lowe re National Socialism.

      “Of course the slaughter of ethnic Germans didn’t begin in 1945…during July-August 1939, the Poles – selfsame who later helped the Nazis kill Jews – killed tens of thousands of Germans in Silesia and elsewhere in Poland.”

      So said the Austrian paperhanger.

      “…tens of thousands”?

      Any competent evidence of that?

      • Semper Fi, 0321

        even today, people are investigating wartime rumors and propaganda;
        http://www.jungefreiheit.de/Archiv.611.0.html?archiv06/200639092258.htm

      • I doth not purchase it sir, I doth not purchase it!

      • A bold lie told long enough becomes competent evidence to justify your beliefs. No further thought required.

        Hey, I think the Czechs’ were doing that in the Sudetenland too. Funny, how those Germans were getting picked on serially by their neighbors in the mid to late 30’s.

        Guilford

        PS: The Czechs’ got back the Sudetenland after the war and expelled most Germans — or strung them up by lamppost in Prague and elsewhere as mentioned above.

        I need to read that book — many thanks for posting, reading & reviewing.

    • Mr. JU-87, you comment “Of course the slaughter of ethnic Germans didn’t begin in 1945…during July-August 1939, the Poles – selfsame who later helped the Nazis kill Jews – killed tens of thousands of Germans in Silesia and elsewhere in Poland. One among several reasons that Hitler shortly thereafter attacked Poland”. Damn JU-87, that remark is right out of Josef Goebbels propaganda in August ’39.

      Seems like history in in direct conflict as to your statement “during July-August 1939, the Poles….killed tens of thousands of Germans….” If Adolf Hitler attacked Poland to defend ethnic Germans from Poland, then why did AH resort to the ruse known as The Gleiwitz incident ?

      Here, for your convenience….”The Gleiwitz incident (German: Überfall auf den Sender Gleiwitz) was a staged attack by Nazi forces posing as Poles on 31 August 1939, against the German radio station Sender Gleiwitz in Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia, Germany on the eve of World War II in Europe. This provocation was the best-known of several actions in Operation Himmler, a series of unconventional operations undertaken by the SS in order to serve specific propaganda goals of Nazi Germany at the outbreak of the war. It was intended to create the appearance of Polish aggression against Germany in order to justify the subsequent invasion of Poland. Much of what is known about the Gleiwitz incident comes from the sworn affidavit of Alfred Naujocks at the Nuremberg Trials. In his testimony, he states that he organized the incident under orders from Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller, chief of the Gestapo. On the night of 31 August 1939, a small group of German operatives, dressed in Polish uniforms and led by Naujocks, seized the Gleiwitz station and broadcast a short anti-German message in Polish (sources vary on the content of the message). The Germans’ goal was to make the attack and the broadcast look like the work of anti-German Polish saboteurs. To make the attack seem more convincing, the Germans brought in Franciszek Honiok, a German Silesian known for sympathizing with the Poles, who had been arrested the previous day by the Gestapo. Honiok was dressed to look like a saboteur; then killed by lethal injection, given gunshot wounds, and left dead at the scene, so that he appeared to have been killed while attacking the station. His corpse was subsequently presented as proof of the attack to the police and press”. (Extracted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gleiwitz_incident)

      So, Mr. JU-87, if Hitler had so much justification to attack Poland because of the “….tens of thousands of Germans in Silesia….” killed by the Poles, then why were the NAZIS compelled to stage this attack by Poland against a German radio station ? It would seem the defense of Germans and the PROOF of those “tens of thousands” allegedly slain by Poles as you remark, would not have need of a ruse, a staged event to justify Adolf Hitler’s attack on a sovereign country, Poland.

      Mr. JU-87, I expected better of you. But, I am not surprised. It appears you are like many folks in this country, changing history to suit your needs and agenda. Thus I call your remarks plain & simple BULLSHIT !

    • Mr. JU-87, your accusations against the Polish people of 1939 doesn’t end. You state “Of course the slaughter of ethnic Germans didn’t begin in 1945…during July-August 1939, the Poles – selfsame who later helped the Nazis kill Jews ….in Poland”

      Polish citizens collaborated much less with the NAZIS than in other occupied countries. Statistics taken from the Israeli War Crimes Commission (Richard C. Lukas “Out of the Inferno: Poles remember the Holocaust, Univ Press of Kentucky, 1989 ISBN0-8131-1692-9, page 13), shows that less than 0.1% of Polish gentiles collaborated with the NAZIS. Further, the report by the Israeli War Crimes Commission clearly shows that when grouped by nationality, the Polish people represent the LARGEST number of people who RESCUED Jews during the Holocaust.

      Unsubstantiated remarks and bloviating by folks such as you will cause more harm than good to the Patriot movement in this country. For me, you have little or no credibility after your BULLSHIT remarks. Of course what I expect in reply from you, is nothing to substantiate your comments or refute my remarks. Rather I expect you to exclaim that my comments mean nothing to you. Hopefully you’ll prove me wrong.

      In the meantime….the truth will set one free.

    • “At any rate, yes, in view of the widening fissures in the ‘Kwa, between races, classes, ideologies, and urban-rural, I’d agree that we are in for major and sudden demographic changes.”

      Hmm, that might make an interesting sign outside of cemeteries…”Under these grounds lies a demographic.”

      The battle has ALWAYS been…aw shit, never mind.

  3. Then there was the Morgenthau Plan to turn Germany into an “Agricultural State” meaning no Marshal plan and allowing tens of millions of Germans to starve to death. This one went pretty far but a Congressman of German descent went after Morgenthau (a Jew) on the floor of the House accusing him of attempting genocide. FDR backed down telling Morgenthau, “Henry, we have to give them something.” Morgenthau was very bitter feeling that he had been used to float out the idea and then thrown under the bus when it didn’t fly.

    Also there was the Kaufman Plan to genocide the German people by sterilizing all German men. This one didn’t get as far but it did strengthen the German will to fight on even when defeat was clear.

  4. If you can find a copy of Russ Schneider’s book “Gotterdammerung 1945: Last Stand in the East” it paints a bleak picture of what awaited the vanquished Germans and the people of eastern Europe who were once their allies.

  5. Thanks for the review CA. It’s now on my shopping list.

    I wonder how this period of bloody anarchy plays into the European yearning for governance. I would not expect a scar of such magnitude upon the psyche of a people to necessarily disappear with the demise of the generation who directly experienced it.

    StukaPilot — links to documentation?

    #Hobo#

  6. Another book in the same vein:
    Thomas Goodrich’s Hellstorm:
    The Death of Nazi Germany,
    1944–1947

  7. Thank you, CA; great banner too. I’m skeptical that many will get the real lesson…the Fallacy of Tu Quoque and how it’s persuaded good men to wallow in the mud for so long.

    Oh well, at least it should be clear what you wrote, that it was all intentional. Duh, every drop of human action is intentional.

    Ain’t gonna out-bad them; that leaves out-gooding them. They’ll never see it coming cuz they don’t know what it looks like. Rebuild now.

  8. Since Mr. Administrator is sitting in the sand drinking fruity ass rum drinks and murdering harmless little sea creatures, I was compelled to peruse the archives.

    I found this on the first look. It’s a beauty…

    https://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/an-overview-of-the-battlespace/

    Read it. All of it.

  9. Sounds like a worthy read, thanks.

  10. You might also take a look at Hellstorm, by Thomas Goodrich. Focuses on what happened to occupied Germany in the 45-47 period.

  11. RobRoySimmons

    Hitler according to Suvarov was Stalin’s tool, IMO the best book on WWII is “Chief Culprit” which was published by some arm of the Navy College or something. How it made it thru the censors is beyond me, because as soon as it was published the usual suspects started issuing threats to the author. Anyway it is a fascinating read.

    May we finally put the WWII re-enactors cult to pasture (into the history books not the halls of power), and I’m not talking those goose stepping drunk clowns who get paid to go on TV and shout, “Heil Hitler.”

    Anyway I didn’t stand guard at Treblinka, drive a train to Poland and since half my family came from the South I even have to remind my fellow ‘Murikans I never owned a slave. So call me evil, but I’m not possessed of that condition called “White Guilt.”

  12. indyjonesouthere

    Diana Wests latest book, American Betrayal, also pitches a few grenades into the conspirator dens of the American political class better known as the “ruling elite”. The ruling elite can never be trusted. Some excerpts of her book has been on the Gates of Vienna website for the last several weeks.

  13. Hans Schadewaldt, ed., POLISH ACTS OF ATROCITY AGAINST THE GERMAN MINORITY IN POLAND (Berlin/NY, 1940) documents the number asserted by Hitler – 58,000 killed – with 100+ firsthand accounts and photos. Richard Blanke, ORPHANS OF VERSAILLES (Lexington, 1993) scales down the August-Sept. civilian massacre figures to c. 5,000 (pp. 233-37), but indicates that thousands of other ethnic Germans were press-ganged into the Polish Army and many of these killed – by the Poles – while other thousands remain “missing”. And this refers only to Silesia, a.k.a. Western Poland; still unquantified massacres of ethnic Germans also occurred in central Poland & the Polish Ukraine: for a survivor’s account of one such, see George Nepomuk, HELL’S MOUTH (London, 1974), p. 12ff. All this, admittedly, pales in the face of the post-war Expulsion massacres (c. 2.5 million deaths) of ethnic Germans throughout eastern and central Europe…or the million or so surrendered German soldiers done to death 1945-47 in allied POW camps.

  14. Alex the Goon

    Any competent evidence of that?
    Irrelevant. All claims of genocide must be taken at face value. And the bigger the claim, the better.

  15. Battlefield USA

    Just type in your search bar – Bloody Sunday of 1939. From there, you will get one side or the other and everything in-between.

  16. Seasons in Hell:Understanding Bosnia’s War by Ed Vulliamy. 1994

    Same story 50 years later. Those that think civil war is fought only by the pure in heart and purpose are not familiar with the species. Prepare for the worst and then pray it never happens.

  17. Other Losses by James Bacque documents the death by starvation of 1.7 million Germans after the war, during what I refer to as the “lost years” of American history (in that it was never taught to us in school). It shows how Americans have used famine to commit genocide, and what that genocide within our own borders may look like.

    Eisenhower deliberately left German ex-soldiers and civilians exposed to the brutality of a German winter with no food or shelter to speak of, while often there were warehouses full of food nearby the camps (which were nothing more than fenced-in enclosures. Need a latrine? Scrape a hole. Need a bed? Scrape a hole.). But who cares, right? After all, they were just EEE-vil Natsies, ever’ last one of them.

    Brought to you by one of the butchers of the Bonus Marchers. Truth, justice, and the American way my ass.

  18. I guess my mom might be one. She was on the road with her mother and 5 sisters Poland traveling from Poland to Germany in 1944 or 1945 trying to escape the Russians. She was also Lutheran in a country that was very heavily Catholic. There was a lot of violence perpetrated against Lutherans in Poland because of religious hatred; Lutherans were perceived as Germans and therefore fair game for Polish attacks. One story my mom told me was of a group of hundreds of refugees by the seaside, forced to wade out into the water (I think by Polish partisans, might have been Russians, I’m not sure) and machine gunned. My mother and her family hugged the ground and escaped the notice of the machine gunners. Another story, she and her cousin were walking near a large river near Warsaw (not sure about the name of the river – Dneiper? names all run together) when they were accosted by Polish partisans who heard them speaking German (my mom speaks German, Polish, English and Russian – she is pretty incredible). The partisans were ready to throw them in the river because they were speaking German and did not stop pushing them toward the river (which as my mother says was very deep and swift and cold) until they heard my mom speaking Polish. Once they were satisfied that my mother and her cousin were ethnic poles, they stopped trying to drown them. Another story – my mother in a barn hiding from Russians. She hid in one of the stalls and the stall was full of bloody coats and clothing (I mean FULL, like several feet deep). My mother is made of iron. I don’t understand how she or anybody during that time kept their sanity. I guess my point is that at that time people were ready to kill – based on religion, ethnicity, race, whatever. I don’t think it is a stretch that Poles were killing Germans any more than I think it crazy that Russians were killing Poles or Germans or…whoever. Crazy times. I want to hear more from my mother but I don’t want to bring up those memories. She’s 89 now and I can see how worked up she gets when she remembers those times. So Zippy I think there is plenty of anecdotal evidence if you look for it. My mother saw hundreds killed and managed to escape. Tens of thousands is not a stretch.