Following Germany’s defeat in World War II, the Red Army behaved awfully but these aspects were hidden until the Fall of the Berlin Wall, German political scientist Anneli Ute Gabanyi stated in a public debate hosted by IPN. According to the researcher, the atrocities and rapes committed by Russian soldiers were revealed only after 1989. The German Democratic Republic was subject to a broad process of Soivietization and this phenomenon persisted until the Fall of the Berlin Wall, IPN reports.
Current Germany in 1945-1990 was divided into the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. The two had diametrically opposed courses. In the FRG, they laid the basis of parliamentary democracy, while the GDR witnessed all the particularities of a dictatorship: state economy, absence of a free press and of freedom of travel.
“They then raised the problem: what should we do with the defeated ones? Shall they be subject to retaliation or not? It’s definite that the Morgenthau plan to transform the postwar Germany into a desert hadn’t been applied. They applied the plan to support not only Germany but also other states by economic rehabilitation. This Marshall plan was also offered to the Eastern states but Russia refused to accept it. What started in the GDR was economic transformation by the model of the Soviet Union, which is the destruction of the market economy. That differed a lot from the fascist and Nazi models that, even if they reoriented the economy to a war economy, never changed the basis of the economy. The GDR was a part of the very industrialized Germany. The industry was destroyed. Agriculture was collectivized and the schools were transformed by the model of Stalin and this ideological model was kept until 1989,” said Anneli Ute Gabanyi.
The senior research analyst at the Research Institute of Radio Free Europe in Munich and senior research associate at the German Institute for International and Security Issues noted that immediately after the USSR’s victory in World War II, the Russian Army, which was considered the winner, had a barbarous behavior and maltreated the civilian population.
“The Red Army behaved awfully and in the GDR, until the Fall of the Berlin Wall, they didn’t talk about these crimes and the fact that Germans were immediately taken justly or unjustly to the freed camps where Jews and Poles were held and were later killed or transported to the USSR. The committed rapes weren’t mentioned anywhere. It was a taboo issue and they started to openly speak about them only after the Fall of the Berlin Wall,” stated the German political scientist.
According to her, the situation in the GDR was kept secret until the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Before this, until 1961, millions of people fled the GDR owing to the economic difficulties and the dictatorial atmosphere in society.
“In the West, there was a short period of denazification. On the other side, a program for reeducating the Germans was imposed. Until the student uprising of 1968, even if a generation of politicians started to disappear, an assessment of Hitlerism hadn’t been conducted, as Communism hadn’t been criticized and appraised in the GDR until 1989,” said Anneli Ute Gabanyi.
The public debate entitled “Final stage of World War II: reality and myths about the USSR’s and Anti-Hitler Alliance’s contribution. Postwar fate of the USSR, Germany and nations freed from Nazi occupation” was the eighth installment of IPN’s project “100 years of USSR and 31 years without USSR: Nostalgia for Chimeras”, which is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.