'For Every Dead German Soldier, 100 Residents ... Executed'

In the summer of 1941, Serbian guerrillas launched an uprising in central Serbia against the German occupation. The Serbian uprising spread and increased in intensity threatening the German military occupation of Serbia and endangering the German southern flank in Europe. The Serbian uprising came at the time of the German invasion of the USSR. Adolf Hitler immediately perceived the danger that the Serbian insurrection posed to the stability of the Balkans region and for German control. Swift action was taken. Hitler ordered that brutal measures be taken to suppress the Serbian revolt. Hitler ordered that the rebellion be quelled “by the most rigorous methods”. Pursuant to the instructions, Wilhelm Keitel ordered that for every German occupation soldier killed in Serbia, a hundred Serbian civilians would be executed, while fifty Serbian civilians would be killed for every wounded German soldier. This unprecedented order, that 100 Serbs would be shot for every German soldier killed, was given to quell the Serbian insurgency. This order would result in one of the most brutal massacres of civilians during World War II, the Kragujevac Massacre when an estimated 5,000 Serbian civilians were executed.

 

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