Mass rapes committed by the Soviet Army were excessively spread in the Axis countries during World War II. After nearly fifty years of silence, the memory of women’s experiences of war sexual violence committed by the Allied armies in Germany surfaced in the 1990s (Mark 2005; McPherson 2019). In 1945 Germany saw an uncountable number of rape incidents, presumably equal to two million (Grossmann 2020; Roberts 2008). The Russian soldiers sexually assaulted both young girls and adult women; however, these horrifying historical pages were silenced. Numerous young women became pregnant, while others had to live with the pain of the horrific experience.
Nonetheless, the survivors received little comfort and were stigmatized because the political actors never wanted this topic to be discussed. The Soviet Union used violence as a weapon of war to make the Axis allies withdraw their forces; thus, the atrocities were committed on purpose (Naimark 1995). In order to attain their political goals, the countries never publicized the bloodiest sides of the wartime events.
Moreover, women’s status fluctuated between the hero and victim since the majority of them were perpetrators of the Holocaust. My paper’s research question relates to the proper understanding of the sexual assault and its causes committed against German females in the context of the political struggle for cultural memory in wartime. My argument is that females were unfairly silenced, and the topic should be discussed nowadays because rape and sexual assault are the most debated issues nowadays. Peoples of the countries that took part in World War II should know the history and never be ashamed to deliberate these problems. Even though these are traumatic memories for both sides of the conflict, they must never be overshadowed by the attainment of the political goals.
Grossmann, Elena. 2020. “The Silent Aftermath of the Second World War – Ethical Loneliness in Rape Survivors.” PhD diss., Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle.
Mark, James. 2005. “Remembering Rape: Divided Social Memory and the Red Army in Hungary 1944-1945”. Past & Present 188, no. 1, 133-161.
McPherson, Emily. 2019. “Contrasting silences: the public memory of German women’s experiences of the second world war in a divided Germany, 1945-presentt.” PhD diss., University of New Brunswick.
Naimark, Norman M. 1995. “Soviet Soldier, German Women, and the Problem of Rape.” The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation”, 1945-1949, 69-140.
Roberts, Andrew. 2008. “Stalin’s Army of Rapists: The Brutal War Crime That Russia and Germany Tried to Ignore”. Mail Online. Web.