In A Nutshell
One of the most disturbing facets of war is rape. Even in the relatively modern Second World War, millions of women were raped. Under Hitler, the Wehrmacht were allowed to rape any woman on the Eastern Front. In 1944, when the Allies started to take control of the war, the situation switched and millions of German women were sexually assaulted (alleged to have been mostly by Soviet soldiers).
The Whole Bushel
During World War II, Hitler didn’t enforce laws against rape in Eastern Europe. It has been estimated that the Wehrmacht raped up to 10 million Soviet women during World War II, with between 750,000 and 1,000,000 children born as a result. Rapes were rarely prosecuted and they were seen as a way to “crush the Soviet resistance.” In the Soviet Union, women were often taken from their homes and branded with the words “Whore for Hitler’s troops.” There is also evidence that the Nazis used sexual torture and sexual slavery.
Rape was used as a form of humiliation and power mongering. However, in 1944, when the Red Army and Western Allies started to take control of the war, the situation changed and German women were the ones targeted for rape. It has been estimated that Soviet soldiers raped as many as 2 million German citizens in 1944 and 1945, killing around 250,000 of them. British historian Antony Beevor said it was the “greatest phenomenon of mass rape in history.” German women were also beaten on a massive scale. In some cases, it was reported that children as young as 10 years old were targeted by the Soviets.
All of the evidence for rape during World War II has caused many international organizations to investigate the situation and ask for a governing agency that will enforce strict laws to protect women and young children from sexual abuse in conflict areas.
Show Me The Proof
BBC: Russians in Berlin
Rape, Murder and Genocide: Nazi War Crimes as Described by German Soldiers
Victims, Heroes, Survivors: Sexual Violence on the Eastern Front During World War II, Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen