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Scourged

“Although the Soviet authorities were well aware of the terrible retribution being exacted in East Prussia, they seemed angered, in fact almost offended, to find that German civilians were fleeing. Countryside and town were virtually depopulated. The NKVD chief of the 2nd Belorussian Front reported to G. F. Aleksandrov, the chief ideologist on the central committee, that there were ‘very few Germans left . . . many settlements are completely abandoned.’ He gave examples of villages where half a dozen people remained and small towns with fifteen people or so, almost all over forty-five years of age. The ‘noble fury’ was triggering the largest panic migration in history. Between 12 January and mid-February 1945, almost 8.5 million Germans fled their homes in the eastern provinces of the Reich.” – Antony Beevor, The Fall of Berlin 1945 (ellipsis in original)

Published inAntony BeevorThe Second World War

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