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IAMA grandson of man who helped liberate Dachau concentration camp 68 years ago today. He doesn’t want people to forget what happen, and agreed to answer any questions you might have. I’ll be helping him type responses. AMA.(r/IAmA)
> Most the German army was drafted and just doing a job, but the SS were the real bad guys.
I just want to say, this sentiment is real common nowdays and certainly expressed as fact on every reddit thread about WW2.
Fact is, right from the first day of the fighting in 1939 and until April 1945, the regular german army was continuously involved in an unreal amount of horrific war crimes – almost all happening on the Eastern Front. Again, that’s the normal Wehrmacht, not SS, not Einsatzgruppen, not any special forces. It involved every level of the chain of command, from generals through every officer rank down to the lowliest soldier, it was open and routine and just a normal part of everyday military operations. This is a fact, and the whole “SS were the bad guys, the regular soldier were just like the US or British, just drafted grunts doing their jobs honorably” really doesn’t do history justice. Look up what happened to the population of Belarus as one single example out of dozens, and how the German soldiers operated there from day one (a small country with no uniformed Soviet troops, 1/2 of the population cleaned out, 10,000 villages/towns burned to the ground, over 2,000,000 dead in less than 3 years)
On the topic of Holocaust / death camps, a vast number of civilians were wiped out without any camp or ghetto involved. In fact the majority died that way. And guess who was responsible for a good number of those murders? yes murders, I’m talking about machine-gunning women and children over ditches, not civilians dying from bombings or disease or starvation.
Finally over 3 million young men, Soviet POWs were starved to death, on purpose… that’s 60% of all soldiers captured. Again, guess who was in charge of that, the SS or Wehrmacht.
Anyone who wants the real picture instead of glib misleading answers should read a few history books, based on original sources and research and witness accounts.