New Study: Allies Raped Nearly 1 Million German Women During and After WWII

Germany’s The Local reports:

Professor Miriam Gebhardt’s book When the Soldiers Came, published this week, includes interviews with victims, stories of the children of rape and research that she conducted over the course of a year and a half into birth records in Allied-occupied West Germany and West Berlin.

Gebhardt’s total of nearly 1 million rapes by the US, Britain, and France, includes some 190,000 rapes committed by American soldiers.

American professor of criminology J. Robert Lilly, who previously studied the issue, has said that Gebhardt’s findings are “plausible”, but “no exact number could ever be known because of a lack of records”.

Lilly continued:

“It will be resisted to some extent. There are American scholars who will not like it because they may think it will make the war crimes committed by the Germans less bad,” Lilly said.

“I don’t think it will minimize what the Germans did at all. It will add another dimension to what war is like and it will not diminish that the Allies won.”

(History professor Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz has noted that World War 2 is part of the USA’s state-origin myth that perpetuates a useful self-image of righteousness and benevolence, similar to the dubiousness of the Iranian state now using its actions against ISIS to support a like self-conception.)

Lilly’s assessment, Local added, “chimes with Gebhardt’s attitude to her work, which she says aims simply to expose the horror of such actions in war.”

The rapes “lasted for years, not just at the moment of the conquest,” Gebhardt found.

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  • David J Gill

    I question both the facts, the interpretation and the context of this “study.”

    It’s not American perceptions or WWII as the good war and as the a shining moment of American honor and good will on the world stage that this study should challenge. It is the sanitized perception of war that is put to test. History has rarely covered the grotesque consequences of war on both civilians and soldiers. Human being s in war do horrible things. But the western Allied forces in WWII didn’t have an official policy of rape and pillage and extermination that was pursued by both Germans and Soviets. This study in effect tries to say that the virtuous allies were nothing of the sort…they were just like the Germans and Russians and that is wrong.

    • Robert Barsocchini

      Yes, this is precisely what the American professor of criminology stated would be a common reaction.

      • MCB

        Great piece Robert. We must seek and apply truth wherever and whenever it’s discovered.

        • BobTrent

          Nice of the American troops to give food and gifts to the women they raped. Much better than the Soviet troops who beat, mutilated and murdered their rape victims.

          • Robert Barsocchini

            Author of this study says the dynamic under Western vs. Eastern occupation “was the same.”

            However, it is true that the Soviet side says it was better, and the US side says it was better, and each side has its “facts” and so forth to prove that. This is an historically universal dynamic between competing gangs. What each side says about the other is all but worthless. What we should focus on is honest self-examination.

      • David J Gill

        If a study like that discussed in this article does not put the findings of rape and other crimes by Western Allies in the context of atrocities on the eastern front and the fact that all soldiers in a theater of war that threatens their lives can be prone to abusive acts they misstate history. (Abu Ghraib is an example)

        And describing America’s experience in WWII as part of a national origin myth and then comparing this to the Iranian (Iraqi?) state’s now using its actions against ISIS to support a benevolent national identity seems calculated to give offense to Americans.

        America’s WWII experience is woven of myth, assumed intentions, but also facts.

        • Robert Barsocchini

          your first point is a good argument for the importance of this study, and same argument given by its author.

          Iranians should be much more offended by the comparison, since US has been accomplice in killing millions of them..

          Any good propaganda has a kernel of truth, yes.

          I’ll give you last word on this, if you like, and bow out 🙂 good talking to you.

          • David J Gill

            The study is important. And if viewed in context it does give “…dimension to what war is like…,” as you quote.

            Regarding Iran, is it US support for Saddam in the Iraq / Iran war that you are referring to? Was this policy of the US govt a key driver of that war? I don’t defend what is another US intervention that shouldn’t have happened. All manner of absurd or seriously overstated accusations against the US are made around the world (in addition to the truth of our often regrettable policies.)

            Does good propaganda always have a kernel of truth? The “truth” can also be concocted to put the propaganda in a plausible context.

            I don’t crave the last word. Its always good to have a sane discussion free of expletives and rage. Good talking to you as well!

          • Robert Barsocchini

            I just try to offer last word as a courtesy to commenters, since I’m a writer for this site. Not meant to imply you needed it, or something 🙂

            Yes, I was referring to US installation of and backing for the Shah, whom Amnesty called the world’s worst human rights violator, then the Iran/Iraq war, and the Guardian’s report that “The death toll, overall, was an estimated 1 million for Iran”.


            The US, during Hussein’s invasion of Iran, provided Hussein with advanced weaponry like attack helicopters, as well as chemical and bio weapons agents and plans for chem and bio warfare facilities and warhead filling equipment, and gave him satellite and political support as he gassed Iranians and Kurds.

            This was all done openly, discussed in congress.



    • Dr Smileyface

      Careful, your assumptions are showing.

      “Virtuous”? Grow up mate – as you say so poetically yourself, “Human being s in war do horrible things…”

      If you can’t accept that the truth challenges our preconceptions, you should avoid W’s Blog and stick with TV wrestling or pantomimes where even fools and infants know the goodies from the baddies.

      • David J Gill

        Please see my response above to Gord Hicks.

      • David J Gill

        I guess I should have said the Western Allies were “relatively virtuous.” Compared to the brutal atrocities committed by both sides on the Eastern front and by Japan it is a reasonable claim.

        I certainly agree that truth challenges our assumptions. We suffer from a glut of assumptions and a climate of cynicism that considers “truth” naive.
        Governing from principle and conviction unsullied by facts or debate is the mantra of the Republican Party and they make no apologies for this.

    • MCB

      Intentional crimes and atrocities against civilians during war are equally repugnant no matter who commits them.

      • David J Gill

        Does that really need to be said?

    • Gord Hicks

      the “virtuous” allies lmao

      • David J Gill

        I’m referring to the perception form our own somewhat sanitized history of WWII that western forces were fought the good war with apparent virtue. That said, comparing the British and American military misbehavior to the officially sanctioned rape and pillage practiced by both Nazi and Soviet forces on the eastern front.

        War is hell and the strain of life threatening conflict drives some men to do horrible things. This needs to be understood as does the how the story of this article differs from the abuse in the eastern from.

        To say that all nation’s armies in WWII committed rape and other unspeakable crimes is misleading and inaccurate because it conflates the story of rape in war and suggest all are equally guilty.

      • David J Gill

        I guess I should have said the Western Allies were “relatively virtuous.” Compared to the brutal atrocities committed by both sides on the Eastern front and by Japan it is a reasonable claim.

  • JoeThePimpernel

    Anybody who saw or read “Catch 22” knows this.

    • Dr Smileyface

      I recall the rape of ‘Michaela’, but please explain how Heller’s novel allows us to ‘know’ about the reality behind Mr B’s article.

  • Otto Maddox

    The Russians? The other 810,000.

    • Robert Barsocchini

      Nope she was not including the soviets in this.

  • Dr Smileyface

    …and another bit of the myth of ‘exceptionalism’ bites the dust…

    • MCB

      Thankfully, my direct familial lineage sent you Red coats back to your repressive island along with your corn cob teeth as we put our colonialist boots so far up your asses you’re mouth still probably tastes like American leather. It could also partially explain why you have teeth worse than bovine.

      • Nice parallel universe you got there ~ Bit of a pity the ‘VINCERAMOS’ didn’t extend to sending the Pom x greater Euro bankers packing too, cause then you wouldn’t have that small Po-faced parallel-reality gap you have now every time you talk like that 😉

  • Rehmat

    David Irwing in 1981 book, ‘The War Between The Generals’, has claimed that Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of the Allied Forces, with Jewish family roots, murdered 1.7 million Germans by starvation between 1945-50.

  • paul

    Both sides were evil in the war and this is true of almost every war.
    That is the truth we continue to refuse to face. We are not the good ones. We can be the good ones if we choose to be. But that choice would have to begin with self-knowledge of how evil we have been.

  • pacificwaters

    Her stats are BS. She took the number of illegitimate children born to German mothers and Allied fathers and ASSUMED 100 of one hundred rapes for each birth. It’s nothing than a post war German trying prove the nazis weren’t so bad. The individual cases she reported were horrid but they were nothing more than an attempt to use reported isolated incidents to bolster her accusations. Can it be denied that there were rapes? Of course not but why rape when you could buy it for a candy bar or a pack of cigarettes. As late as 1967 and 1968, when I was stationed in Germany, you could buy a Mercedes girl for 10 bucks in front of the kaserne. Soviet records record around 2 million rapes.

  • BobTrent

    I know a man who was born in 1950 to a German woman who an American officer hired as a housemaid. She was not in a position to refuse his sexual advances, for jobs were scarce and a German woman who was a “rent-a-mistress” could feed her family. Coerced sex, while not forcible, is rape nonetheless.