Early life[ edit ] Bacque was educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto and then the University of Toronto , where he studied history and philosophy graduating in with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Fiction writing[ edit ] Bacque was a mainstream fiction writer and essayist before turning his attention, in , to the fate of German soldiers held as POWs by the Allies after World War II. Bacque had just completed a comic drama for the stage entitled Conrad, about a media mogul in prison, which was scheduled for production on 2 October at the George Ignatieff Theatre in Toronto. In similar French camps some , more are said to have perished. The International Committee of the Red Cross was refused entry to the camps, Switzerland was deprived of its status as " protecting power " and POWs were reclassified as " Disarmed Enemy Forces " to circumvent recognition under the Geneva Convention.
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Content[ edit ] The "other losses" statistic[ edit ] The title of Other Losses derives from a column of figures in weekly U. Army reports that Bacque states actually reflects a body count of German prisoners that died of slow starvation or diseases. This is supported by a US Army document lodged in the US National Archives which "plainly states" that the "other losses" category of prisoners was for deaths and escapes. Furthermore, there is no separate column in which deaths were recorded.
The book refers to the Army Chief Historians report that was published in ; in the 20 pages dealing with the capture, transfer and discharge of prisoners, the report makes no mention of releasing prisoners without formal discharge.
The book cites orders from Eisenhower which stipulated that the Germans would be solely responsible for feeding and maintaining the DEFs, however, he then prevented any aid from reaching them.
Specifically, it states: "The victims undoubtedly number over ,, almost certainly over , and quite likely over a million. Their deaths were knowingly caused by army officers who had sufficient resources to keep the prisoners alive. Medical Corps reported death rates far higher than they had ever seen before.
No agencies were allowed to visit the camps or provide any assistance to the prisoners,  including delegates from ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross , which was a violation of the Geneva Convention. The book states that many of the U. In these camps prisoners were forced to sleep on the ground in the open, though it claims the U.
Army had plenty of surplus shelter supplies which could have been issued. In a letter, General Everett Hughes stated that there were "more stocks than we can ever use; stretch as far as eye can see. They are being held in a manner contrary to all humanitarian principles and flagrantly contrary to the Hague and Geneva Conventions. Army employed a number of methods to reduce the number of prisoners officially on hand. One method was to accuse the Russians of taking far more prisoners than they reported.
Army was reporting 3. Zone and was eventually told that 3. Zone, the U. Army sent the trains back, saying their own warehouses were full. He said, "Our responsibility for the proper use of relief supplies placed in our care is incompatible with a restriction to the fulfilment of orders which render us powerless to furnish relief which we ourselves judge necessary. Army warehouses had Ambrose noted that Bacque is a Canadian novelist with no previous historical research or writing experience.
His introduction concludes that "Other Losses is seriously—nay, spectacularly—flawed in its most fundamental aspects. The panel comments that, among its many problems, Other Losses:  misuses documents ignores contrary evidence employs a statistical methodology that is hopelessly compromised made no attempt to see the evidence he has gathered in relation to the broader situation made no attempt to perform any comparative context puts words into the mouths of the subjects of his oral history ignores a readily available and absolutely critical source that decisively dealt with his central accusation As a consequence of those and other shortcomings, the book "makes charges that are demonstrably absurd.
Eisenhower was not a Hitler, he did not run death camps, German prisoners did not die by the hundreds of thousands, there was a severe food shortage in , there was nothing sinister or secret about the "disarmed enemy forces" designation or about the column "other losses. He had badly underestimated the number of German soldiers surrendering to the Western Allies; more than five million, instead of the anticipated three million as German soldiers crossed the Elbe River to escape the Russians.
So too with German civilians—about 13 million altogether crossing the Elbe to escape the Russians, and the number of slave laborers and displaced persons liberated was almost 8 million instead of the 5 million expected.
In short, Eisenhower faced shortages even before he learned that there were at least 17 million more people to feed in Germany than he had expected not to mention all of the other countries in war-ravaged Europe, the Philippines, Okinawa and Japan. All Europe went on rations for the next three years, including Britain , until the food crisis was over.
Numerous reviews of the book written by the top talent in the military history profession such as John Keegan and Russel Weigley were persuaded by the findings of the book. Army and suffered egregiously in these camps in the first weeks after the end of the war. No question about it, there were individual American camp guards who took revenge on German POWs based on their hatred of the Nazis.
To sum up: Eisenhower was not a Hitler, he did not run death camps, German prisoners did not die by the hundreds of thousands, there was indeed a severe world food shortage in , there was nothing sinister or secret about DEF designation or about the Other Losses column. The effect to give known facts a twist that seems dramatically new in important ways, but this is means the appearance of originality is a little deceptive. When it seems so, the price is purchased at the price of accuracy.
It has long been known that German prisoners of war suffered terribly at the end of World War II, that they died by the thousands after hostilities ceased in the European theater, and that many were required to work as forced laborers for the victors. How could the Americans almost one-third of whom are by ethnic background German conspire for so long to cover up such a vast crime? And they happened at the end of a war we fought for decency and freedom, and they are not excusable.
There was not even a missing one. Postwar Soviet POW evidence was discredited when the KGB opened its archives in the s and an additional , German soldiers and 93, civilians, previously recorded as missing, were found to be listed as dying in the Soviet camps.
Overmans also states that, did they as Bacque claims, flee to the American Rheinwiesenlager camps, they could have easily had contact with their relatives and that it is "quite inconceivable that these prisoners would not have been reported as missing by their relatives. Yet despite the widespread construction work carried out after the war, not a single one of these legions of dead was found. Marshall , who gave SHAEF as much or more attention to detail than did Eisenhower, would be similarly guilty, perhaps more so under his reasoning, though "Bacque" who cares little for exploring the context, does not even raise the question.
Bacque, one understands, wants a villain in the piece. A complicated modern military bureaucracy such as SHAEF, is a tedious subject to study, unlikely to yield the insidious conspiracy apparently sought by this ex-publisher. None did. Not even Field Marshal Montgomery. Certainly, if there had been a holocaust, it could never have been covered up. One turns from them feeling only embarrassment for the author who naively grounds his thesis upon them. Lauben as the source for the claim that the "other losses" weekly report column covered up deaths.
The New Orleans panel noted that Lauben himself twice has since repudiated this. Often during my talk with Mr Bacque I reminded him that my memory has deteriorated badly during the 40 odd years since It seemed to me that, after accounting for transfers and discharges, there was nothing left to make up the grand total except deaths and escapes. I was mistaken Command to another U. This left one with a loss and the other with a gain.
Brech discussed his experiences in detail, in which he witnessed the poor conditions in the camp, a large number of deaths, and the systematic starving of the prisoners.
Context of food shortage[ edit ] Historian James Tent concludes that "James Bacque might be willing to relegate the world food shortage to the category of myth. Few others will do so. Perhaps he can try the interviewing techniques that he employed in Other Losses—namely putting words in the mouths of selective eyewitnesses. In the end, Bacque usually resorts to conspiracy theories to salvage his outrageous charges.
POW camps. The message, dated March 10, reads Bacque has simply distorted the context beyond all recognition. Army was providing to the civilian population. When the KGB opened its archives in the s, , German soldiers and 93, civilians previously recorded as missing were found to be listed in the Bulanov report as dying in the Soviet camps.
Bohme noted that, of the 5 million prisoners in American hands, the European Theater of Operations provost marshall recorded a total of 15, prisoner deaths.
Army had to improvise for months in taking care of the masses of prisoners to prevent a catastrophe: "In spite of all the misery that occurred behind the barbed wire, the catastrophe was prevented; the anticipated mass deaths did not happen.
In alone, two million of the 3. The U. These soldiers were instead handed over to the Soviet Union.
Other Losses by James Bacque
Other Losses One-Hour Documentary Film on DVD