History is Full of Surprises for Those Who Ignore It

It was with a sense of wonder that I read English writer Daniel Johnson's piece "Red Army troops raped even Russian women as they freed them from camps."

What really knocked me out of my chair was this statement, "The Red Army’s orgy of rape in the dying days of Nazi Germany was conducted on a much greater scale than previously suspected." I can only ask, "than previously suspected by whom"? The answer must be that public school graduates are as ill informed in the UK as they are here in never never land (as in Never Read, Never Think). That, coupled with the fact the in both countries the State-sponsored media conform to a leftist world view that eschews truth as anathema, has been enough to teach several generations of post modernist "deep thinkers" that all evil that exists in this world is a result somehow of either Christians with their annoying morality or political right wingers, real and alleged. Is not "Nazi" the worst insult that light weights like Madeleine Albright can pull out of their linguistic bag of tricks? Heard any commentator mention the crimes of the left lately?

Unbelievable as it seems, there are in this world many who remain convinced that the Soviet communists were really no worse than say, the Republicans. It should be obvious that there is no comparison between the two – the communists for all their sins were at least effective. No one can accuse the Republicans of that. How long has stopping the abortion holocaust been part of their alleged "platform"?

The Communist Party on the other hand dealt with the perceived problems of Russia with methods right out of Genghis Khan's handbook. That millions died is not debatable – the numbers tossed around are between thirty and sixty million. That's not counting the millions that died enjoying the dubious distinction of being "liberated" by the Red Army. Complaining about the Soviet Army's predilection for rape seems almost silly in a way – like complaining about the Allied planes causing noise pollution flying over Hamburg or Dresden. Not knowing about the Soviet Army's bad habits is on the other hand, downright dangerous.

That our media of today is staffed by writers and announcers who are essentially clueless is mortifying – one almost longs for the government controlled media of the many conspiracy theories – at least then there would be an excuse other than sheer ignorance.

Johnson's admission of ignorance comes in his review of a book on the Battle of Stalingrad by one Anthony Beevor. Beevor apparently is either as ill-educated as Johnson or simply a shill for the radical feminists. Consider this quote, "I had to come to the conclusion that if there is a lack of army discipline, most men with a weapon, dehumanized by living through two or three years of war, do become potential rapists…" Is that so? Most men?

One might reasonably ask why other armies don't turn into mobs of licentious brutes, which is not to say that some don't but which is to say that most don't. What is scary here, and particularly for writers of the politically correct genre, is the fact that armies take on the characteristics of the nations they are raised to defend. The Russian Army was known as a pack of rapists since long before the Napoleonic wars. The Prussians on the other hand are known for rather an indifferent almost casual brutality. The French Army has always been known for pillaging and plundering, the Polish for suicidal courage, and the British Army (perish the thought!) has come down through history with one of the worst of all reputations for drunkenness and rapine. "The scum of the earth, enlisted for drink" is how the Duke of Wellington put it.

And of course let's not forget the Americans. Our boys, with some exceptions, like Sherman's brigands, have been well known for their essential decency. Unless of course, you happen to be on the wrong map square when some politician starts worrying about his legacy and sends out the bombers and cruise missiles. Still, if you must be invaded, US troops are the ones you want. Nobody has any sayings about them like there are in Europe such as "May God deliver us from the Cossacks!" Those guys aren't handing out chewing gum folks…

It might behoove us to consider history for a moment. Let's focus on the Russian Army and strip away all the banal nonsense about "men as rapists" and consider Russian men as rapists because generalities are for the intellectually vapid – let's look at specifics and see how facts intrude upon silly theories of the mythical "everyman".

In 1805 England seized upon the execution by Napoleon of the duc d'Enghien as a Bourbon terrorist to launch yet another war against the French. Chary as always of risking their own blood, the British deemed it best to wage war with money and let others pay the butcher's bill. They enticed the Austrians and Russians into forming what came to be known as the Third Coalition. Once again, the armies would march to stamp out the hated Corsican usurper.

The usurper was quicker. His Grande Armee marched from the camps in Boulougne facing England all the way to Austria almost before the Austrians realized they were at war. "He makes war in a new way –with our feet not our blood." Napoleon's army of 1805 was arguably the best, or one of the best in the history of war. He and his Marshals soon trounced the "unfortunate General Mack" at Ulm and chased the Austrians right out of their capital city of Vienna!

The much overrated General Katusov force marched his Russian Army to a juncture with that of the remaining Austrians. This force consisted of thousands of serfs impressed into uniform and commanded by the spoiled nobility of Czarist Russia. The "Little Father" of the Russians, Czar Alexander, and his ally the Austrian Emperor Francis had rather a chilly meeting. Francis was glad of the reinforcement but quietly horrified and greatly angered by the stories coming in from the countryside. It seems his allies, the Russians, had been looting, raping and plundering their way across his kingdom with a barbarity that shocked even the Austrian generals who had themselves seen some horrors in the endless wars against the Turk on the military frontier. What was worse, the Austrian citizenry were so terrified by the Russians that they were welcoming the French invaders as liberators!

Alexander was unimpressed by the news that his serfs in arms had been committing depredations. After all, they comported themselves in exactly the same way back in the Rodina, Holy Mother Russia herself. It was a long Russian tradition and harkened back to the Tatars and Mongols who had themselves subjected Russia to a string of brutal invasions. To this day the discerning eye can sense the cruelty of the east in the Russian apparatus of war – look carefully at one of their tanks and the spirit of the Mongol Horde can be discerned in the design.

Borders matter you see, and must be defended to the death. Countries who fail to do that will end up invaded and brutalized. Are you listening Dubya?!

For even after repelling or assimilating the last of the invaders, Russia remained always a land under the shadow of the brutal horseman who had rampaged across the steppes. The plight of the Russian peasant was always worse than that of their cousins in western Europe and remained so under the Czars.

A Russian serf could be sold along with an estate. Their situation was essentially slavery with no hope of manumission. Russian soldiers were "requisitioned" from the nobility who not surprisingly, often sent the dregs off to war, keeping the best to work the estates. Men who should perhaps, have graced a gallows or a drunk tank, found themselves marching through rich lands where they encountered women unlike any they had ever seen back home; places where even the peasants seemed to them to live like the nobility in rich homes boasting delicacies unheard of in the east. Ivan helped himself to whatever he wanted, and he wanted whatever he saw.

Napoleon saw off the Russians and Austrians at the Battle of Austerlitz, a classic example of a modern army destroying a peasant levy commanded by men whose only claim to command was blood. Blood was indeed the price of such folly and the Russians who survived the massacre on the ice marched sullenly back to their eastern lair, to the vast relief of all who'd had the misfortune to be in their line of march.

Fast forward to 1945. Meet the Red Army of kindly old US ally "Uncle Joe," beloved of Roosevelt, the Western intellectuals and the spiritual fathers of those liberals who today can be found in the teacher's unions and the Democratic Party. The lot of the Russian peasant who served in the ranks had not improved appreciably since the days of the Czars. Conditions were if anything worse. The relentless German invaders had turned much of Russia into a zone of desolation. Behind the lines, in both directions, brutal secret political police tortured and murdered at will.

A recent movie called "Enemy at the Gates" gave us a fairly accurate and chilling glimpse of the beastly conditions of war on the Eastern front. A war so horrific, that Germany was in fact defeated beyond any hope of recovery before the first Western Allied soldiers set foot on the shores of Europe. Six million German soldiers had become casualties fighting in this most desperate of all wars and now the Red Army was poised to strike at Berlin. Their tanks sported catchy slogans such as "Forward to the lair of the fascist beast." Thousands of tanks and Stalin Organs (multiple rocket launcher trucks) were waiting to blast the husk of the Wehrmacht to pieces and end it.

The soldiers crouched behind the turrets of the huge T-34 tanks clutching their submachine guns and trenching tools had cold eyes and lived for revenge. For many of them, there was no home to go to; their homes had been destroyed by the Germans or simply obliterated during the huge battles of the early years of the war. They lived for the moment and knew that life was short at the front. Even the commissars had learned to walk softly around the steely eyed men of the Guards Divisions.

Propagandists like Ilya Ehrenberg stirred up their blood lust with chilling exhortations to revenge.

Attacks were fronted by penal troops – men grabbed by the NKVD or police for crimes as trivial as laughing or talking during political education and some for crimes as dreadful as murder. Many of them had simply had the misfortune to be captured by the Germans early in the war and had been arrested as "class traitors" upon being "freed" from the German POW camps. Together with the Mongolian troops whom Marshal Zhukov considered highly expendable, these men would fight their way through the mine fields under the fire of the crazed German defenders whose wives and families were often trekking westward just behind the thin screen of desperate fighters, in long columns of refugees. These columns were routinely strafed by the Red Air Force and on occasion, simply rolled over by the long lines of Stalin tanks. It got really ugly when the Russian foot soldiers caught up with these refugee columns.

Picture if you will, how such men will treat the civilians of the countries upon whom their dark shadow falls. Then remember their rich heritage of rapine and plunder and ponder this: even these men considered the rear area troops to be the truly dangerous fellows and often warned their own victims to beware the second wave!

Marshal Zhukov actually told Eisenhower that yes, his men did indeed rape grandmothers, in his words, "to their surprise and delight," and that this was an old Russian practice and was considered good luck. Really? I'm unaware of any other nation where this charming bit of mythology holds sway! I wonder if those who maintain that all cultures are morally equal would care to incorporate this practice into our less exotic western mores?

Ivan is a paradox – kind to children and possessed of almost a child like docility, he can turn into a monster with no warning. He treated the "liberated" countries of Eastern Europe just as he treated the Germans with whom he had at least a real grievance. He was brave beyond belief and fought in a war that offered him nothing more than a chance for survival under a brutal regime and an occasional issue of cheap army vodka. See the writings of General von Mellenthin and Colonel von Luck, both German panzer commanders who fought against the Red Army, for a surprisingly sympathetic view of these men.

In the end though, it is difficult to maintain a sympathetic view of them. It is interesting however, to note how the national characteristics shine through, even when cloaked with a dark blanket of ideology. The Prussians were their usual brutal selves in World War Two, the Russians raped everyone in sight. The British got everybody into the war that they could including the USA and supplied arms to anyone who would fight. Napoleon would have been surprised only by the scope of the conflict but not by the conduct of the warring nations.

What conclusions can we draw from all this? Let's try a few and see what we find.

  • Nations exist because groups of people with similar characteristics tend to stay together, and it is dangerous to draw conclusions about all men based on the actions of some men! After years of domination by the anti-nationalist communists, the Russians remain after all, just Russians.
  • History is of scant interest to those who educate and to those who shape the opinions of the masses. Everything is new to them, every day.
  • Communism is a brutal and murderous doctrine that has been largely ignored and even elevated since the end of the Cold War to the status of a mere political party by those in the media and academe. We should be very worried about that because those who cover up mass murder while pontificating routinely about "tolerance" and "hurtful conduct" obviously have an agenda that bodes ill for you and me.
  • It is a real bad thing to be invaded by Russia, regardless of who is in charge!

The one question that keeps coming back to me about this British writer is in reference to yet another of those pesky historical incidents that are considered best forgotten by post modern man. Will he be just as surprised when he hears about this? Perhaps he will be even more surprised, coming as he does from a country where all is pristine socialist perfection and men live to glorify a happy, classless diversity.

It is about a city that was literally torn to pieces in a three day orgy of rape and violence during the Napoleonic Wars. There wasn't a Russian for hundreds of miles in any direction yet the atrocities were indeed committed by another supposedly friendly power against an ally. The city was called Badejoz and the victims were Spanish. The violence finally burned itself out only after the Duke of Wellington had a gallows erected in the center of town as a warning to his troops to desist.

Yes, it was done by British troops and they utterly trashed that Spanish town while terrified French and Hessian prisoners looked on in horror and British officers watched helplessly. Perhaps Misters Johnson and Beevor owe the Russians an apology?

January 28, 2002

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