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I imagine everyone who listens to this podcast knows about the Nazi effort to remake Central and Eastern Europe by expelling and murdering massive numbers of Slavs, Jews, and Gypsies. The results, of course, were catastrophic. Fewer listeners are probably well informed about the Allied effort after the War to remake Central and Eastern Europe by expelling massive numbers of Germans. The results, as R. M. Douglas demonstrates in his well-researched, even-handed book Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War (Yale University Press, 2012), were catastrophic. As many as 14 million Germans were displaced and somewhere between 500,000 and 1.5 million perished. Of course the Nazi and Allied “ethnic cleansings” (if that’s the right word) were not equivalent, a point that Douglas goes to great pains to emphasis. But the one is well known and the other is not. Until now. I urge you to read this book and find out what happened in this largely forgotten (and very disturbing) episode in the history of the Second World War and its aftermath.
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