Flight and expulsion of Germans (1. After 1. 95. 0, some emigrated to the United States, Australia, and other countries from there. The areas affected included the former eastern territories of Germany, which were annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union after the war, as well as Germans who were living within the prewar borders of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Baltic States. The Nazishad made plans. The West German government put the total at 1. German migrants to Germany after 1. The largest numbers came from preexisting German territories ceded to Poland and the Soviet Union (about 7 million), and from Czechoslovakia (about 3 million).
During the Cold War, the West German government also counted as expellees 1 million foreign colonists settled in territories conquered by Nazi Germany during World War II. The death toll attributable to the flight and expulsions is disputed, with estimates ranging from 5. West German demographic estimate from the 1. More recent estimates by some historians put the total at 5. West German government figures lack adequate support and that during the Cold War the higher figures were used for political propaganda.
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The third phase was a more organised expulsion following the Allied leaders' Potsdam Agreement. There were some ethnic majority areas, but there were also vast mixed areas and abundant smaller pockets settled by various ethnicities.
Within these areas of diversity, including the major cities of Central and Eastern Europe, regular interaction among various ethnic groups had taken place on a daily basis for centuries, while not always harmoniously, on every civic and economic level. The German Empire introduced the idea of ethnicity- based settlement in an attempt to ensure its territorial integrity.
It was also the first modern European state to propose population transfers as a means of solving . None of the new states were ethnically homogeneous. In 1. 91. 9 ethnic Germans became national minorities in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Romania. In the following years, the Nazi ideology encouraged them to demand local autonomy. In Germany during the 1. Nazi propaganda claimed that Germans elsewhere were subject to persecution.
Nazi supporters throughout eastern Europe (Czechoslovakia's Konrad Henlein, Poland's Deutscher Volksverband and Jungdeutsche Partei, Hungary's Volksbund der Deutschen in Ungarn) formed local Nazi political parties sponsored financially by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, e. However, by 1. 93. Polish Germans lived outside of the formerly German territories of Poland due to improving economic opportunities. Some were given important positions in the hierarchy of the Nazi administration, and some participated in Nazi atrocities, causing resentment towards German speakers in general. These facts were later used by the Allied politicians as one of the justifications for expulsion of the Germans. These demands were adopted by the Czechoslovak Government- in- Exile, which sought the support of the Allies for this proposal, beginning in 1. In part, it was retribution for Nazi Germany's initiation of the war and subsequent atrocities and ethnic cleansing in Nazi- occupied Europe.
Roosevelt of the United States, Winston Churchill of the United Kingdom, and Joseph Stalin of the USSR, had agreed in principle before the end of the war that the border of Poland's territory would be moved west (though how far was not specified) and that the remaining ethnic German population were subject to expulsion. They assured the leaders of the . The respective paragraph of the Potsdam Agreement only states vaguely: . They agreed that any transfers that take place should be effected in an orderly and humane manner. The major motivations revealed were: A desire to create ethnically homogeneous nation- states: This is presented by several authors as a key issue that motivated the expulsions. Stalin saw the expulsions as a means of creating antagonism between the Soviet satellite states and their neighbours.
The satellite states would then need the protection of the Soviet Union. Churchill cited the operation as a success in a speech discussing the German expulsions. As early as 9 September 1. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Polish communist Edward Os. Even in the few cases when this happened and expellees were proven to have been bystanders, opponents or even victims of the Nazi regime, they were rarely spared from expulsion. As a result, Polish exile authorities proposed a population transfer of Germans as early as 1. As Winston Churchill expounded in the House of Commons in 1.
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There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble.. A clean sweep will be made. I am not alarmed by the prospect of disentanglement of populations, not even of these large transferences, which are more possible in modern conditions than they have ever been before. Roosevelt in 1. 94.
Polish reprisals, describing them as . Thus, the expulsions were at least partly motivated by the animus engendered by the war crimes and atrocities perpetrated by the German belligerents and their proxies and supporters. The satellite states would now feel the need to be protected by the Soviets from German anger over the expulsions. Settlers in these territories welcomed the opportunities presented by their fertile soils and vacated homes and enterprises, increasing their loyalty. In most cases implementation was delayed until Soviet and Allied forces had defeated the German forces and advanced into the areas to be evacuated. The abandonment of millions of ethnic Germans in these vulnerable areas until combat conditions overwhelmed them can be attributed directly to the measures taken by the Nazis against anyone suspected of 'defeatist' attitudes (as evacuation was considered) and the fanaticism of many Nazi functionaries in their execution of Hitler's 'no retreat' orders.
Conditions turned chaotic during the winter, when kilometres- long queues of refugees pushed their carts through the snow trying to stay ahead of the advancing Red Army. The main causes of death were cold, stress, and bombing.
Many refugees tried to return home when the fighting ended. Before 1 June 1. 94. Oder and Neisse rivers eastward, before Soviet and Polish communist authorities closed the river crossings; another 8. Silesia through Czechoslovakia. An additional 2. 6 million released POWs were listed as expellees. The evacuation focused on women, the elderly and children . The camps were guarded by Danish military units.
By this time, all of Eastern and much of Central Europe was under Soviet occupation. This included most of the historical German settlement areas, as well as the Soviet occupation zone in eastern Germany. The Allies settled on the terms of occupation, the territorial truncation of Germany, and the expulsion of ethnic Germans from post- war Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary to the Allied Occupation Zones in the Potsdam Agreement. Article XII of the agreement is concerned with the expulsions and reads: The Three Governments, having considered the question in all its aspects, recognize that the transfer to Germany of German populations, or elements thereof, remaining in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, will have to be undertaken. They agree that any transfers that take place should be effected in an orderly and humane manner. They were conducted by military and civilian authorities in Soviet- occupied post- war Poland and Czechoslovakia in the first half of 1. Of the many post- war forced migrations, the largest was the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Central and Eastern Europe, primarily from the territory of 1.
Czechoslovakia (which included the historically German- speaking area in the Sudeten mountains along the German- Czech- Polish border (Sudetenland)), and the territory that became post- war Poland. Poland's post- war borders were moved west to the Oder- Neisse line, deep into former German territory and within 8. Berlin. During and after the war, 2,2. Poles fled or were expelled from the eastern Polish regions that were annexed by the USSR; 1,6. German territories .
Germans were expelled to the American zone, part of what would become West Germany. More than 1 million were expelled to the Soviet zone, which later became East Germany. They concluded that the death toll was between 1. Three percent of the German pre- war population (about 2. Volksbund before that. They went to Austria, but many had returned. Overall, 6. 0,0. 00 ethnic Germans had fled.
In some villages, the entire adult population were taken to labour camps in the Donbass. Of the German nationals, 3. Accordingly, mass expulsions began. Other research indicates that, between 1. Germany, 1. 03,0.
Austria, and none to eastern Germany. An order of 1. 5 June 1. A governmental decree of 2. March 1. 95. 0 declared all expulsion orders void, allowing the expellees to return if they so wished. During the war he was an officer in the SS and was directly implicated in the plundering of cultural artifacts in eastern Europe. After the war he was chosen to author the sections of the demographic report on the expulsions from Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia. They were only allowed to take 1.
The remainder of their possessions were seized by the state. They were taken to internment camps near the German border, the largest of which was Mari. About 3,6. 91 Germans (less than 1. German expatriates in the Netherlands) were expelled. The Allied forces occupying the Western zone of Germany opposed this operation, fearing that other nations might follow suit. Poland, including former German territories.
While many had already fled ahead of the advancing Soviet Army, frightened by rumours of Soviet atrocities, which in some cases were exaggerated and exploited by Nazi Germany's propaganda. By 1. 95. 0, 3,1. Germany, 1,0. 43,5. Polish citizens and 1. Germans still remained in Poland.