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According to Mr Wear, Tolstoy (not his real name) advocates the theory that the Allies willingly and knowingly sent Soviet POWs and Soviet collaborators back to the Soviet Union to their deaths in 1945. This theory  is thoroughly discussed by Professor of History Thomas M Barker in an article written for the book “Eisenhower and the German POWs” entitled “A British Variety of Pseudo-history“.

So, let us see what Mr wear has to offer.

“In a secret agreement later confirmed by Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at Yalta, these Russian soldiers were condemned to be sent back without choice to the Soviet Union.”

A secret agreement? Sound almost conspiratorial. The fact is the Yalta Agreement was discussed and approved by the British cabinet in full knowledge of what might happen to those forced to return. Why? Because the British were extremely worried about about western POWs liberated by the Russians and still under Russian control.

“Knowing that torture and death lay ahead of them, many of these Russians chose to end their own lives before returning to the Soviet Union.”

Most Soviet POWs were willing to return home to see their families. Most were screened by the Russians and were either sent home or in the case of a few, kept back in camps for further investigation.  Around 350,000 were either imprisoned, sent to hard labour detachments of killed. The ones concerned for their own safety were those who worked for the Germans. For obvious reason.

See This article from Nottingham University.

“Soviet prisoners at German camps who were to be repatriated to the Soviet Union after the war often begged to be shot on the spot rather than be delivered into the hands of the Soviet NKVD.”

That is more likely to be Soviet prisoners who worked for the Germans.

“Conforming to agreements with the Soviets, an attempt was made to entrain 399 former Russian soldiers who had been captured in German uniform, from the assembly center at Dachau on Saturday, January 19 [1946].”

Mr Wear confirms that very fact. Thank you Mr Wear.

“Thus, for most Soviet POWs, being shot in a German concentration camp was far preferable to being tortured and executed on their return to the Soviet Union.”

This should read somewhat differently:

“Thus, for most Soviet POWs who worked or fought for the Germans, being shot in a German concentration camp was far preferable to being tortured and executed on their return to the Soviet Union.”

“Tragically, however, British and American leaders forced repatriation of Soviet POWs in order to maintain good relations with Stalin and the Soviet Union. The repatriation of the Soviet POWs can be seen as a policy of appeasement that at the time was thought to be in the best interests of the United States and Great Britain.”

Indeed it was. Britain and the US were extremely concerned about the fate of their own men liberated from POW camps by the Soviets and still in the hands of the Soviets.

“Victims of Yalta also states that Stalin abandoned all Soviet POWs during the war.”

Indeed it appears that he did…including his own son.

“The Soviet Union was not a party to The Hague Conventions. Nor was the Soviet Union a signatory of the Geneva Convention of 1929, which defined more precisely the conditions to be accorded POWs.”

Quite true.

“The death of millions of Russian POWs in German captivity constitutes one of the major tragedies of the Second World War.”

You don’t say Mr Wear.

“However, much of the blame for the terrible fate of these Soviet soldiers was due to the inflexibly cruel policies of Joseph Stalin.”

Er…no it wasn’t Mr Wear. As a nation that had signed up to the Hague  Conventions Germany was obliged to look after her prisoners whether the prisoner nation had signed the treaty or not. It was not up to the Red Cross nor the Soviets to provide the main means of care for Soviet POWs in German hands.

Art. 7.

The Government into whose hands prisoners of war have fallen is charged with their maintenance.

In the absence of a special agreement between the belligerents, prisoners of war shall be treated as regards board, lodging, and clothing on the same footing as the troops of the Government who captured them.

The only system that was responsible for the deaths of 3 million Soviet POWs was the National Socialist one.

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