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Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
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witness
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Post by witness » 28 Apr 2003 12:50

michael mills wrote:Witness wrote:
mills individual is quite frankly lying here.
Maybe he is able to demonstrate some corresponding quotations where I find ''the concept of racial mixing " between Slavs and Germans ( or between any other etnic groups for this matter )"disturbing or offensive" ?
Well, here is an example. I wrote:
Of course, that mixing [between Germans and Slavs] mainly affected the Slavic peoples who lived nearest the Germans, ie Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes. Slavic peoples living further to the East, eg Cossacks, probably did not mix with Germans to any appreciable extent; their interbreeding was mainly with Finns, Ugrians, Tartars etc.
to which "Witness" replied:
Do you have problems with Cossacks now ?Well -Cossacks would not have any problems with you...
Just don't spit on the screen.
.

Not exactly a rational response to my suggestion that a Slavic people, the Cossacks, inhabiting the eastern edge of the Slav geographic area, had interbred with other peoples living close to that eastern edge, such as Ugrians and Tartars.

Obviously I do not have any problems with Cossacks. But the very fact that "Witness" interprets my suggestion of interbreeding between Cossacks and other peoples as eidence as some sort of hostility or disdain on my part for Cossacks suggests that he finds that suggestion disturbing.

Witness also wrote:
Yes I think my race is "precious " as any other race on
Earth .
If mills has problems with it ,
probably thinking that only Germanic " Race " is
"Precious'' then he can just "suck it up " and wipe his Nazi -kissing organ.
Why the intemperate and abusive response? I did not attribute any moral significance whatever to the undeniable fact of interbreeding between Slavs and a variety of other peoples, including Germans.

Again, the nature of what "Witness" wrote suggests that he was disturbed by the thought of that interbreeding. If the racial mixing of Slavs and Germans did not disturb him, then he would not have reacted in such an extreme manner.
Plain ridiculous . And how from all this comes that I find ''racial mixing disturbing and offensive " How all the above quotations suggest this ?
No go ahh ...?
Nice try again but this is obvious that you are lying mills .
mills is despretely trying to attribute me some Slavic chauvinism . However mills is not able to provide a single quatation in support of this absurd claim.
Being an Anti-semite , anti -Russian and anti Polish Nazi apologist ( which is obvious to anybody familiar with his posts ) mills is trying to divert attention from his own Nazi ( read racist )
views. :)

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Post by michael mills » 28 Apr 2003 13:02

I regret to see that Roberto is still unable to come up with any evidence that Hitler planned a war of conquest against Poland prior to the issuing of the British guarantee at the end of March 1939. At most, he comes up with some rather vague general statements by Hitler that do not specifically refer to Poland at all.

That is not surprising, since he cannot get the facts right with regard to Czechoslovakia. Germany did not ever annex the whole of that country. In fact, the only part of Czechoslavakia annexed by Germany was the Sudetenland, ceded to it by the Munich Agreement.

Under that Agreement, what remained of Czechoslovakia after the annexation by Germany of the Sudetenland and by Hungary of South Slovakia was divided into three autonomous districts with their own governments, Czechia, Slovakia and Ruthenia, all under German hegemony. Hitler soon allowed Hungary to swallow up and annex Ruthenia.

In March 1939, Germany occupied Czechia militarily, and placed it under the supervision of a Reichprotektor. However, the Hacha Government continued to exist. The real change to the political status of Czechia came in October 1938, not in March 1939. It was not annexed and remained a separate state under German hegemony, only more closely controlled after the military occupation.

Slovakia was not occupied, and became fully independent in March 1939, although in reality it was a German puppet state.

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Post by witness » 28 Apr 2003 13:10

Very interesting extract from the Matthew Cooper book Roberto.
It is already on my hard drive.
Thanks again.

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Post by michael mills » 28 Apr 2003 13:15

"Witness" wrote:
mills is despretely trying to attribute me some Slavic chauvinism
No, I am not. In fact, I would not have realised that "Witness" was of Slavic origin if he had not told us.

But it was obvious to me that he was deeply disturbed by the suggestion, made by another contributor, that Hitler probably had some Czech ancestry (and that the name "Hitler" was of Czech origin, which I doubt). He immediately asked for proof of that, and when he was answered with the suggestion that the historical fact of large-scale mixing between Germans ans Slavs in the Austrian Empire supported the probablity of Hitler's having some Slavic ancestry, asked for proof of that mixing, implying that he did not believe it, or did not want to.

What would it matter if Hitler did have some Czech ancestry? It is clear that he regarded himself as ethnically German, and his whole political life was predicated on that identity.

But it is a truism that an unusually strong identification with a particular ethnic group, to the point of chauvinism, is often found among individuals whose ethnic background is not unequivocally with that ethnic group. An example is Ataturk, who, although he idealised his Turkish identity, was actually of Albanian origin. Hitler may have been a similar phenomenon.

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Post by witness » 28 Apr 2003 13:30

michael mills wrote:"Witness" wrote:
mills is despretely trying to attribute me some Slavic chauvinism
But it was obvious to me that he was deeply disturbed by the suggestion, made by another contributor, that Hitler probably had some Czech ancestry (and that the name "Hitler" was of Czech origin, which I doubt). He immediately asked for proof of that, and when he was answered with the suggestion that the historical fact of large-scale mixing between Germans ans Slavs in the Austrian Empire supported the probablity of Hitler's having some Slavic ancestry, asked for proof of that mixing, implying that he did not believe it, or did not want to.
And again nonsense. If I asked for the proof that Hitler had some Slavic ancsestry it doesn't at all mean that I am ''disturbed by it "
If say I asked for a proof that Napoleon had some Italian anscectry does it suggest that I was ''disturbed '' by this fact ?
mills is having problems with logical reasoning ? Hardly so -he just tries to attribute me some chauvinism which there is none.
Ther reason I asked for this proof was that on the basis of this alleged Hitler Slavic anscestry the other contributor tried to support his claim that Nazis were not anti -Slavic . That is the only reason why I asked for such a proof.Because IMO I think that had Hitler been aware of such Slavic roots in his anscestry he would not have been so rabidly anti-Slavic as is quite obvious ( again even in only his "Mein Kamf ")in so many of his statements.
the probablity of Hitler's having some Slavic ancestry
Probability is only that -probabilty .
Maybe some facts ?

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Post by Roberto » 28 Apr 2003 14:12

Mills wrote:I regret to see that Roberto is still unable to come up with any evidence that Hitler planned a war of conquest against Poland prior to the issuing of the British guarantee at the end of March 1939. At most, he comes up with some rather vague general statements by Hitler that do not specifically refer to Poland at all.
What I regret to see is that Mills, in his customary dishonesty, keeps yelling for evidence for a war of conquest that his beloved Führer did not need to contemplate as long as he could count on a "peaceful" annexation, as in the case of Czechoslovakia. When he realized that things would not be so easy this time, however, he was rather quick in issuing instructions to prepare a military campaign against Poland, the objectives thereof he revealed to his minions on 23 March 1939.

As to the "rather vague general statements" I quoted, they do not refer specifically to Poland, nor did I say they did. They refer to "new living space in the East", to be conquered and ruthlessly germanized – a demand that that could hardly have been fulfilled by Bohemia and Moravia alone, the only non-Germanic territories absorbed by Hitler so far. Or can the dissident researcher convince us otherwise?
Mills wrote:That is not surprising, since he cannot get the facts right with regard to Czechoslovakia.
I see Mills is playing dumb and reading my statement about Hitler having "swallowed" Czechoslovakia in the sense of a claim that Germany annexed the whole country. Which, as Mills well knows, I'm aware he did not, although what he did – annexing the Sudeten area, turning Bohemia and Moravia into a Protectorate and Slovakia into an "independent" puppet state – brought about the same effect of completely destroying what had been the Czechoslovak Republic.
Mills wrote:Germany did not ever annex the whole of that country. In fact, the only part of Czechoslavakia annexed by Germany was the Sudetenland, ceded to it by the Munich Agreement.
Yeah, wise guy, I know that.
Mills wrote:Under that Agreement, what remained of Czechoslovakia after the annexation by Germany of the Sudetenland and by Hungary of South Slovakia was divided into three autonomous districts with their own governments, Czechia, Slovakia and Ruthenia, all under German hegemony. Hitler soon allowed Hungary to swallow up and annex Ruthenia.

In March 1939, Germany occupied Czechia militarily, and placed it under the supervision of a Reichprotektor. However, the Hacha Government continued to exist. The real change to the political status of Czechia came in October 1938, not in March 1939. It was not annexed and remained a separate state under German hegemony, only more closely controlled after the military occupation.

Slovakia was not occupied, and became fully independent in March 1939, although in reality it was a German puppet state.
Thanks for the lecture, Mills. Of course your penny-pinching doesn’t change the fact that the Czechoslovak state was completely dismantled into entities more or less tightly controlled by Germany, even though Hitler had solemnly stated at Munich that the Sudetenland was his last territorial claim in Europe. Hence the Poles’ not unreasonable fear that a similar pattern might develop in regard to their country if they gave in to Hitler’s initial demands, and the sharp change of attitude towards Hitler by the British government after Hitler's moves against Czechoslovakia.

The following passages I translated from Max Domarus, Hitler Reden 1932-1945, Volume 3, pages 1089 and following. It’s not the first time I am posting them, as Mills well knows. So much for his imbecile contention that I "cannot get the facts right".
[…] 12. March, Heldengedenktag (Heroes Memorial Date), already stood in the sign of an impending action against Czechoslovakia. Already on 10 March the German newspapers had begun to publish news about unrest in Carpatho-Ukraine. The government in Prague had on 6 March proceeded against all too separatist measures of the Voloshin autonomous government. This was alleged to have led to unrest in the Carpatho-Ukrainian capital Chust.
The newspaper issues of 11 March reported about “hair raising” conditions in Slovakia. There Tuka and Tiso, thanks to Hitler’s encouraging indications of 12 February, had also banged the autonomy drum so strongly that Prague thought it necessary to intervene. Dr. Tiso, the Slovakian ministers Dr. Ferdinand Durcansky and Dr. Prucinsky were demoted and in their place minister Sidor was given the task to form a new government.
Allegedly in Preßburg (Bratislava) the state of siege had been imposed. The German press wrote that the Czech military was proceeding against the Slovakians. Demonstrators were said to have been arrested, as well as the leader of the Czech independence movement.
[…]
Regarding Slovakia he [Hitler] had in the meantime not been inactive. On 11 March he had sent his experienced Anschluß – specialists, Secretary of State Wilhelm Keppler and Gauleiter Josef Bürckel, to Preßburg. They appeared there in the company or German military men in the Slovakian ministry and demanded of the ministers present that they proclaim the independence of Slovakia. The demoted minister Durcansky held a speech from the Reich radio station of Vienna and promoted the proclamation of an independent Slovakia. The allegedly arresed Minister President Dr. Tiso was called upon by Bürckel and Keppler to come to Hitler. He arrived in Vienna in the morning of 13 March and was immediately sent on to Berlin. The leader of ethnic Germans in Slovakia, Secretary of State Karmasin, played an important part in the staging of events in Preßburg.
In the German newspapers the reports from Slovakia on 13 March took on a dramatic character. It was written that there had been “already 19 dead in Slovakia”. That a German child had been mistreated. That “the terror of the Czech military” was also directed against Germans. That three Reich Germans had been arrested, etc., etc.
About the meeting between Hitler and Tiso in the afternoon of 13 March the following communiqué was published:
Berlin, 13. March
Today the Führer, in the presence of the Reich Minister of the Exterior, received the Slovakian Minister President Dr. Tiso and the accompanying Minister Dr. Durcansky, who came to Berlin from Preßburg by special plane for a conversation about the open questions.

Beside the mentioned persons, Colonel General Keitel and State Minister Dr. Meißner also took part in this “conversation”.
Hitler began this meeting, like the one with Schuschnigg in Berchtesgaden some time before, by giving his interlocutors quite a speech.
[…]He had back then said that, if Slovakia wanted to become independent, he would support, even guarantee this pretension. … If she were to hesitate or didn’t want to separate itself from Prague, however, he would leave the fate of Slovakia to events for which he would no longer be responsible.
With this hint Hitler threatened to leave Slovakia to the Hungarians, as he was currently doing with Carpatho-Ukraine. And this means of pressure, strengthened by a report about Hungarian troop movements at the Slovakian border arriving at the right moment, had the desired effect. The Slovakians gave in and left Hitler with the assurance that Slovakia would show herself deserving of his confidence.
The successful meeting with Tiso seems to have strengthened Hitler’s idea that he might stage a similar show with the Czechoslovak state president Dr. Hacha. Originally he seems to have held the opinion that the remaining part of the Czech state could only be taken by military force of arms and there would be Czech resistance, albeit to a reduced extent.
[…]
Thus he gave the order to have Hacha and the Czechoslovak foreign minister Chvalkovsky to Berlin on 14 March. […]
Tiso had on the same day read the declaration of independence desired by the German Reich in the Slovak parliament and thus destroyed the structure of the Czechoslovak republic.
The German newspapers on this 14 March, however, contained huge headlines and giant articles about new Czech atrocities, about Moscow being involved, the Red underworld having been armed, 50 people injured in Iglau, heavy incidents in Brno, the storming of a German gymnasium, gunshots, bayoneting by Czech gendarmes, etc.
In part there were verbatim the same reports that could be read in the German press for weeks on end in the summer of 1938.
[…]
The Czechs would have had to submit to Hitler’s dictate even without those articles. For the German newspaper readers, however, the new press campaign against the Czechs was much to short. It hardly penetrated the people’s conscience. The people in Germany only shook their heads in astonishment about these Tartar reports. After all the newly formed Czechoslovakian government had since October 1938 uninterruptedly shown its devotion towards Germany and anxiously fulfilled all German wishes for instance in regard to ex-territorial highways and privileged roads of passage. And now “the spirit of Benes” was supposed to have risen again?
[…]
At last, shortly after 1 o’clock in the morning, Hitler deigned to receive the Czech state president and his foreign minister in the work office of the new Reich Chancellery. They sat down at the round table in padded furniture; beside Hitler, Hacha, and Chvalkovsky there were present: Göring, Ribbentrop, Keitel, Dr. Meißner and the envoy Schmidt as interpreter. It was almost like at Tiso’s reception 30 hours before.
And again Hitler began his monologue with a cannonade of grumble. As reported by the envoy Schmidt it was one single huge accusation against the Czechs by Hitler, who here repeated the whole “list of sins” that he had in detail presented to the English and French during the Sudeten crisis without adding any new aspects. In relation to the Benes regime, Hitler claimed, nothing had changed. The Benes-spirit continued alive underneath the surface in the new Czechoslovakia. This was to be no expression of suspicion against Hacha, for of his loyalty one was convinced in Germany. It was necessary for the protection of the Reich, however, that Germany took over the protectorate over the what remained of the Czech state so as to see itself that things were in order.
Hitler concluded his three-quarter-of-an-hour – indictment with the words:
“The marching in of our troops is unavoidable. If you want to avoid bloodshed, you best telephone immediately with Prague and instruct you war minister that no resistance be offered by the Czech troops.“
After these words Hitler dismissed his Czech visitors for the time being. He did it just like he had done on 12. February 1938 with Schuschnigg and Guido Schmidt. Worn down by Hitler’s rhetorical show, they should now be worked over in detail by Ribbentrop and Göring. […]
Hacha and Chvalkovsky, who had listened to Hitler’s indictment, according to Schmidt, in silence and “as if paralyzed”, were now confronted with massive military threats by Göring. He declared, among other things, that he would regret having to bomb the beautiful city of Prague. This remark was nothing but crude military bluff. For neither Hitler nor Göring would seriously have issued such an order. The situation here was completely different than months later at Warsaw, Rotterdam and Belgrade. In Prague there lived 40,000 Germans, and how could Hitler in future speeches have referred to the millenary German city of Prague and its buildings if German planes have before unnecessarily reduced it to rubble? But Göring’s pressure somehow had its effect nevertheless. At least Hacha had a breakdown and had to be propped up by Hitler’s physician Dr. Morell with and injection. Hacha and Chvalkovsky then telephoned with Prague and informed the members of the cabinet about the situation and the impossibility to resist Hitler’s wishes.
In the meantime one and a half hours had passed since they had left Hitler’s office. Now they could go back to him and declared that they were prepared to sign a joint declaration. The text of this “agreement”, which according to Schmidt had been previously worked out and “held at ready” by Hitler, was signed at 3:55 hours in the morning on 15 March and had the following wording:
[…]The Czechoslovakian state president has declared that, in order to serve this purpose and bring about a final pacification, he confidently places the fate of the Czech people into the hands of the Führer of the German Reich. […]

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Post by Roberto » 28 Apr 2003 21:44

michael mills wrote:Roberto wrote:
Cheerfully mixing apples with oranges, Mills conveniently ignores the fact that the Slav inhabitants of the Soviet Union were to be starved to death, displaced to inhospitable regions or, at best, turned into slaves for whom "the word ‘liberty’ means the right to wash on feast days" (see my quote no. 11).

Not that I have a soft spot for the Brits, but did they deliberately endeavour to exploit India in such a way as to bring about massive starvation, and was starvation in India related to such deliberate policies?

Did they pursue a policy of keeping the Indians dumb and docile, not according them any rights and not caring for their welfare, to the point of letting their cities "die away completely" without remorse, because they thought they had "no obligations whatsoever towards these people"?

Last but not least, did they wage a large-scale war of aggression and conquest against India for the purpose of bringing about a system under which the lot of Indians would have been what Hitler had in store for the Slavs, and did they do this also because they considered the Indians inferior being below the level of humanity?

Let’s see if our Nazi-apologist Mills can show us evidence to such parallels.
Roberto is here making a false distinction between German rule in the occupied Soviet Union and British rule in India, based on an alleged German policy of exterminating part of the population of the occupied Soviet Union by starvation.
I'm making a distinction, yes. But why a "false" distinction?
michael mills wrote:In fact, both the British rulers of India and the German rulers (for a very short time) of parts of the Soviet Union followed similar policies of ruthless exploitation for economic gain, policies which could and some cases did lead to mass starvation.
Such as, evidence?
michael mills wrote:The German food policies did not have as their goal the extermination of part of the Soviet population by deliberately denying them food. Rather, their aim was to feed the German population by seizing the food surplus produced by the Soviet Union, in the full knowledge that would very likely lead to a food deficit and wide-spread starvation among the Soviet population. Thus, starvation would be a by-product of German food policies, rather than their goal.

If extermination had been the aim, then when food shortages had failed to wipe out the required proportion of the Soviet population, then other methods would have been resorted to. But that was not the case. Gerlach shows that the German administrators of Belorussia were surprised in the Spring of 1942 when it became apparent that mass starvation had not occurred during the winter to the extent expected, and that most of the population had survived. However, they did not then search around for alternative methods to kill more Belorussians; instead, they tried to increase food production by various means, including limited land reform, which of course served the aim of increasing the surplus available for export to Germany, but also left more for the Belorussian population. Where food shortages did occur, the German administrators favoured the ethnic Belorussians by killing off the Jews, reducing the competiton for the available supply.
All very wonderful, but I don't get the point.

Did I say that Slavs were to be starved to death for the sake of starving them to death?

I don't think so.

It becomes clear from all documents I quoted that mass starvation was a means to an end, the end being obtaining food supplies for the German armed forces and the German home front. When this turned out to be unfeasible - except in the case of encircled Leningrad, which tied down the better part of two armies - , the Germans turned to executable "redux" versions of the great murder plan, namely starving to death Soviet prisoners of war and bumping off the Jews.
michael mills wrote:German policies in the Soviet Union were thus quite similar to those of the British in India, who did not deliberately set out to inflict starvation on the Indian population, but were quite willing to let millions die when there was not sufficient available both to feed that population and meet British commercial objectives. Thus, in the 1870s there were famines that caused the death of millions, even though there was much food in storehouses which had to be guarded by British troops to prevent the starving populace from stealing the contents.

There was another famine during the Second World War that caused the death of millions. Although there was a food surplus in certain areas, it could not be transported to the areas of deficit since the British authorities had requisitioned all means of transport for use in the campaign against the Japanese. In this case, the imperative of prosecuting the war against Japan took precedence over providing relief to the starving populace, and so millions were allowed to die, even though their death was not a deliberate British intention.
Horrible crimes raising the question for evidence supporting Mills' contentions, but somewhat different from the German Hungerplan in that the Brits did not take existing means of subsistence away from the population to use them for their own ends, thus condemning a population that would have not starved but for such requisition to death by starvation. They "merely" failed to intevene to mitigate the results of what were obviously natural catastrophes brought on by drought, bad harvests or other phenomena - a crime comparable to British behavior during the Irish Potato Famine, perhaps, but neither to Stalin's forced famine in the Ukraine in the 1930s nor to the Nazi Hungerplan.
michael mills wrote:The British did wage a number of wars of aggression in India for the purpose of subjugating the country and opening it up for thorough-going economic exploitation, which was the basis of British wealth. In like manner, the war waged by Germany against the Soviet Union had economic exploitation as one of its main goals, although strategic considerations also paid a major role.

I don't know how aggressive these British wars were. If they constituted unprovoked aggressions upon an unsuspecting foe for the sake of thoroughly destroying him, getting hold of his resources and exterminating, starving, displacing or enslaving his population, the British wars may be comparable to Barbarossa except in what concerns the dimensions of the undertaking and the number of victims.
michael mills wrote:Further, the British rulers did not care much for the welfare of the Indian people, and did consider themselves as having any obligations toward them, certainly in the first period of their rule. After all, they were there to make money by exploiting the wealth of the country, not to llok after the natives.
If such indifference to the welfare of the natives took the form of encouraging their settlements to "die off completely" with no remorse whatsoever (and to actively make the central ones disappear from the face of the earth, as the Nazis intended to do in regard to Moscow and Leningrad), the attitude of British rulers towards the Indians can be compared to German attitudes towards the inhabitants of the Soviet Union.
michael mills wrote:Toward the end of the British Raj, the attitude of the rulers did become more benevolent, and it was possible for a very small minority of the population to benefit from European education. But who knows whether, if Germany had ruled Russia for as long as the British ruled India, it would have ended up being more humane and benevolent than it was during the three years of its actual rule, which moreover were years of total war.
Yeah, who knows if German victory would have meant the end of mass killing or only the beginning of greater horror. Let's have a look at some indications in the latter direction, after Gerlach's Kalkulierte Morde, pages 51 and following.
[…]Die von Hitler genehmigte Vernichtungspolitik durch Hunger richtete sich gegen zwei Bevölkerungsgruppen: einerseits gegen die Menschen in der „Waldzone“ in Mittel-, Nordrußland und Weißrußland, und andererseits gegen die städtische Bevölkerung der Sowjetunion allgemein. Zwar enthielt dieser Plan, den im Juni 1941 sogar noch die Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung der Deutschen Reichsbank überprüfte und grundsätzlich guthieß, einige grundlegende Schwächen, die ihre Urheber übersahen. Zum Beispiel waren Überschuß- und Zuschußgebiete in der Sowjetunion keineswegs klar getrennt, und vor allem war die Ukraine gar nicht das wichtigste sogenannte Überschußgebiet, sondern versprach, selbst wenn man den Verbrauch der Bevölkerung gewaltsam herabdrückte, nur relativ geringe „Überschüsse“. So mußte die Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung der IG Farben am 26. November 1941 feststellen, daß die bisher eroberten „Gebiete zusammen – unter der Voraussetzung normaler Ernährung – Zuschussgebiete für Brotgetreide“ seien, die theoretisch Lieferungen aus dem Wolga-Ural-Gebiet benötigt hätten. Vor allem aber scheint niemand eine genaue Vorstellung gehabt zu haben, wie das Verhungern eigentlich in einem Gebiet, wo mindestens zum Teil deutsche Truppen stehen sollten, genau vor sich gehen sollte.
Trotzdem wurde das Vorhaben, Millionen Menschen in den besetzten sowjetischen Gebieten verhungern oder anders umkommen zu lassen, zur Leitlinie fur viele Entscheidungsträger. Dabei spielte oft die ominöse Zahl 30 Millionen – um die die Bevölkerung nach den Vorstellungen Backes zu vermindern war – eine Rolle. Die Tatsache, daß viele entsprechende Äußerungen von Akteuren aus dem Bereich Weißrußland und „Rußland-Mitte“ stammen, ist kein Zufall, sondern dürfte mit dessen Zugehörigkeit zur „Waldzone“ zu erklären sein.
So hielt der Reichsführer-SS und Chef der Deutschen Polizei, Heinrich Himmler, „Anfang 1941, vor Beginn des Rußlandfeldzuges auf der Wewelsburg, [eine Rede], wo er davon sprach, daß der Zweck des Rußlandfeldzuges die Dezimierung der slawischen Bevölkerung um dreißig Millionen sein sollte“, wie der ehemalige Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer von dem Bach-Zelewski 1946 in Nürnberg aussagte. Schriftliche Befehle habe es für diese Slawenvernichtung nicht gegeben. Bei der Rede sollen etwa zwölf Gruppenführer anwesend gewesen sein. Tatsächlich fand die fragliche Tagung der SS-Gruppenführer auf der Wewelsburg mit Himmler erst zwischen dem 12. und 15. Juni statt. Nach späterer Aussage des Chefs des Persönlichen Stabs Reichsführer-SS, Karl Wolff, sagte Himmler auf der Wewelsburg, daß der Tod dieser Millionen Menschen nicht das Ziel, sondern vielmehr Folge des Krieges gegen die UdSSR sein würde. Bach-Zelewski ergänzte hierzu im Strafverfahren gegen Wolff, Himmler habe damals prognostiziert, Kriegshandlungen und Ernährungsschwierigkeiten würden zu dieser hohen Zahl von Opfern führen. Himmlers Eröffnung kam allerdings ziemlich spät und sehr ungenau, wie eben auch das Projekt der Ernährungsplaner vieles offenließ. Zufall oder nicht: zwei Tage vor dem Treffen auf der Wewelsburg hatte Himmler mit Backe über die Landwirtschaft der zu besetzenden sowjetischen Gebiete gesprochen.
Für sich genommen hätte man von dem Bach-Zelewskis Verlautbarungen vielleicht als bloßen Entlastungsversuch erklären können, da er sich auf einen höheren Befehl berief. Sie wird aber gestützt von einer Aussage des ehemaligen HSSPF Ostland Friedrich Jeckeln kurz zuvor im Januar 1946 in Riga:
„Herf sagte mir, daß von dem Bach-Zelewski ihm erzählt hätte, er – von dem Bach – habe von Himmler den Befehl zur Vernichtung von 20 Millionen Sowjetbürger[n] auf dem Territorium Weißrußlands und anderer Gebiete östlich von Weißrußland, gleich dem Vormarsch der deutschen Armee nach dem Osten folgend, erhalten.“
Dabei ist zu beachten, daß Bach-Zelewskis territoriales Aufgabengebiet „Rußland Mitte“ mit Sitz in Moskau werden sollte. Er selbst schrieb sogar einmal, es werde vor allem östlich von Moskau bis zum Ural liegen. Ein Großteil der sogenannten Waldzone wäre damit in seine Kompetenz gefallen, was erklären kann, warum ihm die Aufgabe zufiel, einen so großen Teil jener 30 Millionen Menschen zu vernichten, eine Tatsache, die er in Nürnberg „vergaß“. Das in Mittelrußland vorgesehene Inferno sollte so furchtbar werden, daß sogar Erich Koch, einer der brutalsten NS-Politiker überhaupt, im Juni 1941 den Posten des Reichskommissars in Moskau mit der Begründung ablehnte, es handle sich um eine „gänzlich negative Tätigkeit“.
In seinen Memoiren berichtet der ehemalige Abwehroffizier der Heeresgruppe Mitte, Rudolf-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, über einen Besuch des Leiters des Vorkommandos Moskau der Einsatzgruppe B, Professor Franz Six, der ihm kurz nach dem Umzug des Stabsquartiers nach Borissow, also vermutlich im Juli 1941, von dem Plan erzählte:
„Dabei berichtete er, Hitler beabsichtige, die Ostgrenze des Reiches bis zur Linie Baku-Stalingrad-Moskau vorzuschieben. Ostwärts von dieser Linie werde bis zum Ural ein ‚Brandstreifen’ entstehen, in dessen Bereich alles Leben ausgelöscht werden würde. Man wolle die in diesem Streifen lebenden etwa dreißig Millionen Russen durch Hunger dezimieren, indem man alle Nahrungsmittel aus dem riesigen Gebiet entfernte. Allen an dieser Aktion Beteiligten werde bei Todesstrafe verboten werden, einem Russen auch nur ein Stück Brot zu geben. Die großen Städte von Leningrad bis Moskau sollten dem Erdboden gleichgemacht werden; der SS-Führer von dem Bach-Zelewski werde für die Durchführung dieser Maßnahmen verantwortlich sein.[...]
Eine geringfügig abweichende Version des gleichen Vorgangs gibt Wilfried Strik-Strikfeldt. Danach besuchten „ein Sonderbeauftragter des Ostministeriums Rosenberg in Begleitung eines hohen Parteifunktionärs die HG [Heeresgruppe] Mitte in Borissow.” Nach Wiedergabe des Oberbefehlshabers der Heeresgruppe, Generalfeldmarschall Fedor von Bock, hätten sie mit von Bock beim Essen von der Kolonisierung Rußlands bis möglicherweise östlich von Moskau gesprochen. Eine Quintessenz sei dabei gewesen: „Vierzig Millionen Russen zuviel! Sie müssen ‚umkommen’!“ Damit sei verhungern gemeint gewesen. Von ihm, Strik, darauf angesprochen, habe Rosenberg erwidert, das seien „Hirngespinste“ der SS und einiger anderer ohne Bedeutung. Von Bock habe das Gehörte gar nicht glauben mögen. Doch der Generalfeldmarschall hatte sich schon am 5 Juni 1941 mit Himmler getroffen und von ihm informieren lassen, „Ziel des Feldzuges im Osten [sei] die Zertrümmerung Rußlands in kleine Einzelstaaten und Ausdehnung der deutschen Interessensphäre weit über den Ural hinaus.“ Am 6 Juli notierte er: „Das Gebiet ist Hungerland. Seine Erträge werden kaum reichen [...], so daß ich nicht weiß, wie man die Frage der Ernährung der Bevölkerung lösen will.“ Gar so fremd waren von Bock diese Gedanken also keineswegs. Als ihn Himmler am 24. Oktober in Smolensk besuchte, bedankte er sich zumindest nach Aussage Bach-Zelewskis bei ihm für die Ermordung der Juden, diese „unsaubere Arbeit“, die man so nicht selbst tun müsse.
Zurück zu Six. Die von ihm vorgetragenen Vorstellungen beruhen offensichtlich auf dem Backe-Plan und zeigen auch merkliche Übereinstimmungen mit dem von Jeckeln Ausgesagten. Bezüglich der Durchführung blieben die Vorstellungen von Six wie auch in den „Wirtschaftspolitischen Richtlinien“ aber naiv und unklar. So einfach ließ sich das Vorhaben zum Glück nicht umsetzen.
Der Hungerplan tauchte auch noch bei anderen Gelegenheiten auf. Für Göring war er geradezu ein Lieblingsthema. Im November 1941 sagte er dem italienischen Außenminister Graf Ciano, innerhalb eines Jahres würden 20 bis 30 Millionen Menschen in Rußland verhungern. Vielleicht sei das gut so, denn bestimmte Völker müßten reduziert werden. Hitler sprach von einer „Volkskatastrophe“ für das „Moskowitertum“ und erklärte, wegen fehlender oder zerstörter Nahrungsmittel in den besetzten sowjetischen Gebieten „müßten Millionen sterben“. Die deutsche Führung erklärte laut Goebbels „in aller Öffentlichkeit, daß Rußland nichts von uns zu erwarten habe und wir es verhungern lassen werden.“ Der Generalbevollmächtigte für den Arbeitseinsatz, Frizt Sauckel, sagte am 4. August 1942 bei einem Besuch in den besetzten sowjetischen Gebieten, als er im Herbst 1941 dort gewesen sei, hätten „alle deutschen Dienststellen auf der Überzeugung bestanden, daß im kommenden, also im vergangenen Winter, mindestens zehn bis zwanzig Millionen dieser Leute einfach verhungern würden.“ Zumindest einige Besatzungsbehörden an Ort und Stelle vertraten also durchaus die Richtlinien, wie sie ähnlich wiederholt gegeben wurden: „Wir können nicht das ganze Land verwalten. Die Intelligenz ist totgeschlagen, die Kommissare sind weg. Große Gebiete werden sich selbst überlassen bleiben (verhungern).“ Auch der Ostminister Rosenberg äußerte mehrfach, der Hungertod von Millionen Menschen sei „eine harte Notwendigkeit, die außerhalb jeden Gefühls steht.“ Hans Tesmer, der Chef der Abteilung Kriegsverwaltung beim Befehlshaber rückwärtiges Heeresgebiet Mitte (1941-1942) und bei der Heeresgruppe Mitte (1942-1944) erinnerte sich mißbilligend: „Es kamen Parolen auf, dass in Rußland ruhig einige Millionen verhungern könnten, dass die Russen verdummen sollten und ähnliche Ansichten mehr.“


My translation:
[…]The policy of annihilation by hunger approved by Hitler was directed against two population groups: on the one hand against the people in the "forest zone" of central and northern Russia and Belorussia, on the other against the urban population of the Soviet Union in general. It is true that this plan, which in June 1941 was even checked and in principle approved by the Macroeconomic Department of the German Reichsbank, contained some basic flaws overlooked by its authors. For instance the surplus and deficit regions in the Soviet Union were by no means clearly separated, and especially Ukraine was not the most important surplus region, for it promised only relatively little "surpluses" even if the population’s food consumption was forcibly reduced. Thus the Macroeconomic Department of IG Farben had to conclude on 26 November 1941 that, "under the assumption of normal nourishment", the territories conquered so far were "all together deficit regions in regard to bread grain", which theoretically would have required supplies from the Volga-Urals region. The main flaw, however, was that no one seems to have thought how the starvation was to occur in an area which at least partially contained German troops.
Nevertheless the intention of letting millions of people in the occupied Soviet territories starve or otherwise perish became the guideline for many decision-makers. In this respect the ominous number of 30 million – by which [State Secretary at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture] Backe considered that the population would have to be reduced – played a part.[my emphasis] The fact that many corresponding statements were made by acting figurers from the areas of Belorussia and "Central Russia" is no coincidence, but likely to be related to the fact that these regions were part of the "forest zone".
Thus the Reichsführer-SS and Head of the German Police, Heinrich Himmler, "at the beginning of 1941, before the start of the campaign against Russia, held [a speech] on the Wewelsburg, in which he stated that the purpose of the Russian campaign was the decimation of the Slav population by thirty million", as the former Head of SS and Police von dem Bach-Zelewski testified in 1946 at Nuremberg. Written orders for this annihilation of Slavs had not existed. At the speech twelve Gruppenführer (higher SS officers) were said to have been present. In fact the mentioned conference of the SS-Gruppenführer on the Wewelsburg with Himmler took place only between 12 and 15 June. According to a later deposition of the Head of the Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS, Karl Wolff, what Himmler had said on the Wewelsburg was that the death of these millions of people was not the goal, but would be the consequence of the war against the USSR. To this Bach-Zelewski, at the criminal trial against Wolff, added that Himmler had back then predicted that military actions and crises of food supply would lead to this high number of victims.[my emphasis] Himmler’s announcement, however, came very late and was very vague, just like the food planners’ project left many things open. Coincidence or not, two days before the meeting on the Wewelsburg Himmler had talked with Backe about the agriculture of the Soviet regions to be occupied.
All by themselves Bach-Zelewski’s utterances might be explained as a mere attempt to relieve himself, as he was invoking a higher order. They are supported, however, by a deposition that the former Head of SS and Police for the Eastern Territories, Friedrich Jeckeln, made shortly before in January 1946 at Riga:
"Herf [Eberhard Herf, commander of the Order Police Minsk from about January to March 1942 and August 1943 to January 1944, Head of the Staff of the Anti-partisan Units Reichsführer SS (Bach-Zelewski) for one month in July/August 1943] told me that von dem Bach-Zelewski had told him that he – von dem Bach – had been given by Himmler the order to destroy 20 million Soviet citizens on the territory of Belorussia and other regions east of Belorussia, immediately upon the heels of the advancing German Army."
In this respect it must be taken into account that Bach-Zelewski’s territorial area of action was to be "Central Russia" with head-office in Moscow. He himself even wrote once that it was to lie principally to the east of Moscow up to the Urals. A great part of the so-called forest zone would thus have fallen under his jurisdiction, which could explain why he was given the task to destroy so large a part of those 30 million people, a fact that he "forgot" at Nuremberg. The inferno foreseen for Central Russia was to be to terrible that even Erich Koch, one of the most brutal NS politicians, rejected the place of Reich Commissar in Moscow with the justification that this was "a wholly negative activity".[my emphasis]
In his memoirs the former counterespionage officer of Army Group Center, Rudolf-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, wrote about a visit by the head of the Advance Detachment Moscow of Einsatzgruppe B, Professor Franz Six, who shortly after the moving of the staff quarters to Borissow, i.e. presumably in July 1941, told him about the plan:
"He reported that Hitler had the intention to push the eastern border of the Reich up to the line Baku-Stalingrad-Moscow. To the east of this line there would be created a ‘fire strip’ in the area of which all life was to be wiped out. It was intended to decimate the about thirty million Russians living in this area by hunger through the removal or all food from this gigantic area. All taking part in this action would be forbidden under punishment of death to even give a piece of bread to a Russian. The big cities from Leningrad to Moscow were to be leveled to the ground; Head of SS von dem Bach-Zelewski would be responsible for the execution of these measures.[my emphasis][...]
A slightly different version of the same event is given by Wilfried Strik-Strikfeldt. According hereto "a special envoy of Rosenberg’s Eastern Ministry, in the company of a high-ranking party officials, visited the Army Group at Borissow." As recalled by the Supreme Commander of Army Group Center, General Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, they had spoken with Bock at the meal about the colonization of Russia until possibly east of Moscow. A quintessence in this respect had been the following: "Forty million Russians too many! They must ‘perish’!" This meant starving to death. Asked about this by him, Strik, Rosenberg had answered that these were "fantasies" of the SS and some others without significance. Von Bock is supposed to have refused to believe what he heard. Yet the General Field Marshal had met Himmler already on 5 June 1941 and been informed by him that the "goal of the campaign in the East was the splitting of Russia into small single states and the extension of the German sphere of interest far beyond the Urals." On 6 July he noted the following: "The region is a hunger region. Its products will hardly be sufficient [...], so that I don’t know how one is to solve the problem of feeding the population." Thus von Bock was by no means that much a stranger to these thoughts. When Himmler visited him on 24 October in Smolensk, he – at least according to Bach-Zelewski’s testimony – thanked him for the murder of the Jews, this "dirty work" which he thus would not have to do himself.
Back to Six. The considerations exposed by him are obviously based on the Backe Plan and also show notable coincidence with Jeckeln’s deposition. In what concerns the execution his vision remained naïve and unclear, like in the "Guidelines of Economic Policy". Fortunately the project could not be put into practice that easily.
The Hunger Plan also appeared on other occasions. For Göring it was a favorite subject. In November 1941 he told the Italian foreign minister Count Ciano that within a year 20 to 30 million people would starve to death in Russia. Maybe this was a good thing, for certain peoples needed to be reduced.[my emphasis] Hitler spoke of a "population catastrophe" of the "Muscovites" and declared that due to lack or destruction of food "millions would have to die". According to Goebbels, the German leadership declared "publicly that Russia has nothing to expect from us and that we will let it starve to death."[my emphasis] The General Plenipotentiary for Labor Employment, Fritz Sauckel, stated on 4 August 1942, during a visit in the occupied Soviet territories, that when he had been there in the autumn of 1941 "all German authorities had persisted in the conviction that in the following, i.e. in the past winter, at least ten to twenty million of these people would simply starve to death." At least some occupation authorities on site thus stuck to the guidelines as they were repeatedly stated similar to this: "We cannot feed the whole land. The intelligence has been killed, the commissars are gone. Huge areas will be left to themselves (starve to death)." Also the Eastern Minister Rosenberg repeatedly stated that the starvation death of millions was "a harsh necessity that stands outside any sentiment."[my emphasis] Hans Tesmer, head of the Department War Administration at the Commander of the rear area of Army Group Center (1941-1942) and of Army Group Center (1942-1944) disapprovingly remembered the following: "Slogans came up that in Russia several million might well starve to death, that the Russians were to be kept dumb and other similar views of this sort."

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Post by Roberto » 28 Apr 2003 21:57

walterkaschner wrote:Roberto, excellent post -- as usual!
Thanks a lot. I hope to reach your level of quality one day, and also that your brilliant contributions are not kept by the shootouts among this forum's gunslingers from getting the attention and large readership they deserve.

Best regards,

Roberto

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Post by walterkaschner » 28 Apr 2003 22:55

Michael Mills wrote:
I regret to see that Roberto is still unable to come up with any evidence that Hitler planned a war of conquest against Poland prior to the issuing of the British guarantee at the end of March 1939.
It was in the afternoon of March 31, 1939 that Neville Chamberlain spoke to the House of Commons and issued the famous (or infamous if one prefers) "guarantee". What Chamberlain actually said was to the effect that "consultations were in progress with other Governments on the questions and disputes of the moment. While these were in progress, if any action clearly threatened Polish independence and if the Poles felt it vital to resist such action by force, Britain would come to their aid; as would France." Donald Cameron Watt, "How War Came" (Pantheon Books, 1989) at 185.

Yet it was several days before Chamberlain's speech that Hitler, undoubtedly frustrated by Poland's refusal to be bullied into acceding to his demands, had casually told von Brauchitsch, Commander in Chief of the Army (OKH) that he intended to use force against Poland no later than September 1; and shortly thereafter the then Colonel Walter Warlimont, as Chief of Operations Staff of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (OKW) began to prepare a specific plan for the invasion of Poland ("Fall Weiss").

Acording to Warlimont, "Inside Hitler's Headquarters 1939-45" (Presidio Press, paperback edition 1964) at 19-20:"

"It was no longer a question of dealing with one of the tasks with which, depending on the world situation, the Wehrmacht might be confronted during the course of the year [italics in the original]; the problem now was to prepare for an act of war, linked from the outset to defined political conditions and, most important of all, based upon a pre-planned timetable."[Emphasis added.]

Warlimont states that the plan he prepared was reviewed by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, von Stülpnagel, and by his superior, General Halder. The representatives of the Navy and Air Force on the OKW Staff were brought into the loop and drafted the portions relating to their respective services themselves. A draft was then prepared in "Fuhrer Type", ie, in very large type which Hitler could read without his glasses, and submitted to Hitler. It was returned to the OKW "a few days later" with an introductory paragraph inserted in Hitler's own handwriting. It was then distributed to the Army, Navy and Air Force Commands on April 3 - three short days after Chamberlain's speech in the Commons. op cit. supra at 20.

Warlimont does not give a specific date on which he began the plan for Fall Weiss, but it clearly must have been some considerable time before Chamberlain's speech on the afternoon of March 31. On the basis of certain Nuremberg documents that I do not have access to, Watt fixes the date of Hitler's conversation with von Brauchitsch as March 25 and states that Warlimont was hard at work on the 27th. See Watt,
supra at 188-9.

Leonard Mosley, in his chatty and entertaining but poorly documented book "On Borrowed Time: How World War II Began" (Random House, 1969) at 208, states that during his tour of Czechoslovakia after March 15, Hitler told his generals that he had so lost patience with the Poles that he had decided to crush them if he could not get what he wanted in any other way. Mosley offers no source for this, nor have I run across one in my limited reading. Nonetheless, given Hitler's understandable irritation at the course of negotiations with the Poles at this time, I tend to give it some credence.

Toward the end of March there were rumors flying around London that Hitler was preparing to march on Poland and that Lithuania would then be next on his list, and Hitler's take over of Memel (Klaipeda) from Lithuania on March 23 surely seemed to support them. Acording to Watts,supra at 184 (citing three German sources unavailable to me), it is alleged that at this time General Halder, Chief of the OKH Staff, warned the British Embassy that plans to attack Poland were under preparation. In any event Hitler's invasion of Czechia and the dissolution of the Czechoslovak State undoubtedly convinced Chamberlain, who had so proudly returned from Munich proclaiming "peace for our time", that Hitler could not be trusted and must be stopped in his tracks. The inference that Poland was to be the next target could logically be drawn from the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, which in addition to Germany to the West, now put a Nazi puppet state on Poland's southern border.

So I am personally satisfied that the evidence compels the conclusion (although perhaps not uncontrovertibly) that Hitler had decided, prior to March 31, that Poland was to be crushed militarily if his demands were not met through "diplomatic" (ie. bullying and threatening) means, which had worked so well with the Austrians, Czechs, Slovacs and Lithuanians. Add to this Hitler's longstanding and recurring call for "Lebensraum" and I personally have no doubt that Poland was an intended subject of German domination, whether by military or other means. A glance at a map will show that, apart from Czechoslovakia, Poland was the only country bordering Germany to the East and of necessity had to be the target in one form or another of a German "Drang nach Osten".

Let us not forget that the quest for "Lebensraum" in the East was not a notion that originated with Adolf Hitler. As Fritz Fischer has IMHO convincingly demonstrated in his "Germany's Aims in the First World War" (W.W. Norton & Co. 1967) it formed an integral portion of Wilhelmenian Germany's policy to the very end of WWI - indeed, the political and geographical results of the Brest Litovsk Treaty were in large part similar to Hitler's reorganization of Poland after its defeat in WWII.

While it may be true that in Mein Kampf or indeed otherwise until the Spring of 1939 Hitler failed in his writing or speeches to identify Poland as a specific target of German aggression, it is difficult - read impossible - for me to see how his dream of Lebensraum could as a practical matter have been realized without either conquering Poland or forcing her into the status of a vassal of Germany. He may have preferred the latter course, but obviously had no qualms about pursuing the former when he found it to be necessary, even at the risk of war with Britain and France.

I am certainly no fan of Colonel Beck nor of Poland's conduct during this period. And I personnally hold no brief for Neville Chamberlain's performance, either at Munich or in his unilateral guarantee of Poland. Both cases it seems to me demonstrate a naïveté unbecoming a head of state. But I am certainly unwilling to lay the blame for Hitler's invasion of Poland on Poland's or on Britain's doorstep, as Mr. Mills seems prepared to do. As we like to say in Texas, "that's got it bass-ackwards."

Regards, Kaschner

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Post by witness » 28 Apr 2003 23:29

Let us not forget that the quest for "Lebensraum" in the East was not a notion that originated with Adolf Hitler. As Fritz Fischer has IMHO convincingly demonstrated in his "Germany's Aims in the First World War" (W.W. Norton & Co. 1967) it formed an integral portion of Wilhelmenian Germany's policy to the very end of WWI - indeed, the political and geographical results of the Brest Litovsk Treaty were in large part similar to Hitler's reorganization of Poland after its defeat in WWII.
Fair enough .The notion of "Lebensraum " at the expense of the Estern Slavic territories (Fahren Sie auf den Osten ? Forgive me my German ) was not invented by the Nazis.
Nazis just gave this notion quite clear racial connotation.

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Post by Scott Smith » 29 Apr 2003 06:27

walterkaschner wrote:I am certainly no fan of Colonel Beck nor of Poland's conduct during this period. And I personnally hold no brief for Neville Chamberlain's performance, either at Munich or in his unilateral guarantee of Poland. Both cases it seems to me demonstrate a naïveté unbecoming a head of state. But I am certainly unwilling to lay the blame for Hitler's invasion of Poland on Poland's or on Britain's doorstep, as Mr. Mills seems prepared to do. As we like to say in Texas, "that's got it bass-ackwards."
What right did Poland have to lay claim to Danzig and what right did Great Britain have to underwrite that claim?
:)

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Post by michael mills » 29 Apr 2003 07:42

The excerpts from Matthew Cooper, "The Phantom War: The German Struggle Against the Soviet Partisans 1941-1944" (a book that I have not read) posted by Roberto, are very interesting.

I found the following particularly significant.
Certainly, although he [Hitler] gave orders of great cruelty concerning the policies to be pursued towards the Russian people, they included no mention of any desire to commit genocide.
And
At a time when the Third Reich, heavily outnumbered in men and material, was fighting for its existence - as it was clearly doing once its soldiers had set foot on Soviet soil - any diversion, however small, of scarce manpower and equipment, or of the attention of already hard-pressed military commands, was bound to be harmful.
The orders for harsh treatment issued by Hitler were determined by a context where National Socialist Germany was fighting for its existence. They were not determined by a desire to commit genocide, as Cooper says.

Given that Germany's fight for existence began in 1941 with the invasion of the Soviet Union, as Cooper says, that would explain why the Germaqn repressive measures associated with that invasion were so much harsher, so much more brutal than the measures adopted by Germany in its conquest of Western Europe. In 1939 and 1940, Germany had not been fighting for its existence, so it could afford to adopt a softer approach. Once the life-and-death struggle had begun, desperate measures were required.

Thus the difference in treatment of the French POWs in 1940 compared with that of the Soviet POWs in 1941 might be less a factor of "racial" differences than of the nature of the struggle itself.

Certainly, Cooper's analysis of the anti-partisan war does not suggest a racial war against the Slavs, but rather a desperate war for existence which predisposed the Germans to over-react to the partisan danger and indulge in mass-slaughters of the civilian population.

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Post by michael mills » 29 Apr 2003 08:16

Concerning the lengthy extract from the book by Domarus detailing the background to the German occupation of Czechia on 15 March 1939, I was not aware that Roberto had previously posted it. I had not read it before.

But perhaps Roberto should pay closer attention to the material he posts. The extract from Domarus actually bears out the essence of what I wrote about the reasons for that occupation.

I had previously written that Czechia had become a German puppet state as of October 1938, with the departure of Benes and the installation of the compliant Hacha Government. Domarus confirms that:
After all the newly formed Czechoslovakian government had since October 1938 uninterruptedly shown its devotion towards Germany and anxiously fulfilled all German wishes for instance in regard to ex-territorial highways and privileged roads of passage.
Actually, since October 1938, Czechoslovakia had been renamed Czecho-Slovakia, to emphasise that Czechia and Slovakia were equal, autonomous territories.

I had also previously written that the impetus for the German occupation of Czechia, even though the Hacha Government was subservient to Germany, to the point of introducing anti-Jewish measures, came from attempts by remaining pro-Benes elements in the Czech administration, particularly in the military, to limit the autonomy of Ruthenia and Slovakia and brign them back under Czech control, to prevent them from procededing to full independence, which is what they wanted. Domarus confirms that:
Already on 10 March the German newspapers had begun to publish news about unrest in Carpatho-Ukraine. The government in Prague had on 6 March proceeded against all too separatist measures of the Voloshin autonomous government. This was alleged to have led to unrest in the Carpatho-Ukrainian capital Chust.
The newspaper issues of 11 March reported about “hair raising” conditions in Slovakia. There Tuka and Tiso, thanks to Hitler’s encouraging indications of 12 February, had also banged the autonomy drum so strongly that Prague thought it necessary to intervene. Dr. Tiso, the Slovakian ministers Dr. Ferdinand Durcansky and Dr. Prucinsky were demoted and in their place minister Sidor was given the task to form a new government.
Domarus also confirms that Hitler distinguished between Hacha, who was considered to be not an opponent of Germany, and residual pro-Benes elements, who were the ones trying to subvert the Munich Agreement which had given Ruthenia and Slovakia their autonomy. He writes:
In relation to the Benes regime, Hitler claimed, nothing had changed. The Benes-spirit continued alive underneath the surface in the new Czechoslovakia. This was to be no expression of suspicion against Hacha, for of his loyalty one was convinced in Germany. It was necessary for the protection of the Reich, however, that Germany took over the protectorate over the what remained of the Czech state so as to see itself that things were in order.
However, the interpretation by Domarus that the Slovak leaders were bullied by Hitler into declaring Slovakia's independence by the threat of Hungarian intervention seems unlikely. Tiso and the other Slovak leaders wanted independence from Prague, just like the Slovaks of today; they would have jumped at the chance that Germany's support gave them, and they would not have needed to be bullied in the slightest.

It is certainly true that Hungary wanted to annex Slovakia, which had previously been Hungarian territory; but it had to be content with the southern strip of Slovakia that was largely inhabited by ethnic Hungarians.

Poland also desired the disintegration of Czechoslovakia, and wanted Hungary to annex Slovakia, thus creating a common Polish-Hungarian frontier. It certainly approved of the Munich Agreement, which turned Czechia and Slovakia into German satellites, and also gave it Cieszyn. It seems to me unlikely that it was alarmed by the German occupation of Czechia; it would have been more annoyed by the independence of Slovakia, since its preference was for annexation by Hungary. What would have alarmed Poland most would have been a reassertion of Czechoslovak independence, which would necessarily have been anti-Polish.

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Post by michael mills » 29 Apr 2003 08:48

Walter Kaschner wrote:
While it may be true that in Mein Kampf or indeed otherwise until the Spring of 1939 Hitler failed in his writing or speeches to identify Poland as a specific target of German aggression, it is difficult - read impossible - for me to see how his dream of Lebensraum could as a practical matter have been realized without either conquering Poland or forcing her into the status of a vassal of Germany. He may have preferred the latter course, but obviously had no qualms about pursuing the former when he found it to be necessary, even at the risk of war with Britain and France.
Hitler's aim from 1933 until early in 1939 was to make an alliance with Poland directed against the Soviet Union, in the same way that he successfully made alliances with Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, and less sucessfully with Yugoslavia. Poland's status in such an alliance would have been similar to that of the above-mentioned countries, ie Germany was dominant, but countries like Hungary were by no means total vassals.

Hitler suggested that Germany and Poland combine to conquer the Soviet Union. Under the suggested arrangement, Poland would take Ukraine, and Germany take Belorussia and establish a hegemony over the Baltic States.

It needs to be remembered that Hitler's attitude to Poland represented a total reversal of the policies of preceding German governments from 1918 to 1933, which were all intensely hostile to Poland because of its annexation of West Prussia, Posen and East Upper Silesia. All the Weimar Governments wanted a revision of the German-Polish frontier, by force if necessary. One of the motivations for the military co-operation with the Soviet Union was to prepare for a future war with Poland, in which Germany and the Soviet Union would divide the country. That was the policy of the German nationalist Gustav Stresemann, during his chancellorship in the second half of 1923 and his subsequent role as Foreign Minister until his death in 1929. In fact, Stresemann's policy of detente with Britain and France, leading to the Locarno Treaty in 1926, was aimed at breaking the nexus between france and Poland, so that Germany would be free to pressure Poland into revising the frontier, ie giving back West Prussia and East Upper Silesia at the least.

Hitler changed all that, and was willing to give up the claims of Polish territory that had previously been German, in the same way that he was prepared to give up the claim to South Tirol in order to win Italy's friendship. Even when he renewed demands for a revision of the Versailles arrangements, they were much more moderate than those made by all the Weimar Governments; only the reunification of Danzig with Germany, and an extra-territorial link to East Prussia.

Walter Kaschner also mentions the return of Memel to Germany on 23 March 1939 as an example of German aggressiveness that would have alarmed Poland.

In truth, the transfer of Memel could have served as a model for Danzig, if the Polish Government had been acting rationally. Like Danzig, Memel had previously been part of Germany, and had a majority German population; like Danzig it had been separated from Germany and given a special status, so that the new state of Lithuania would have a port. Unlike Danzig, Lithuania had annexed Memel.

When Germany heavied Lithuania into giving back Memel, it entered into an agreement whereby Lithuania would continue to have free access to the port, without any customs control. Thus, Lithuania would continue to have its outlet to the sea. The same arrangement could have been made in repsect of Danzig, if Poland had allowed it to be reunited with Germany; thus Poland's overseas trade could have continued to flow unimpeded through the port of Danzig, which had been the rationale for giving Poland special rights in Danzig under the Versailles treaty.

However, unlike Lithuania, the Polish colonels were not prepared to act rationally, and once they got the British Guarantee, which they had asked for, they became even more intransigent, thus making war inevitable.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 29 Apr 2003 12:19

michael mills wrote:The excerpts from Matthew Cooper, "The Phantom War: The German Struggle Against the Soviet Partisans 1941-1944" (a book that I have not read) posted by Roberto, are very interesting.

I found the following particularly significant.
Certainly, although he [Hitler] gave orders of great cruelty concerning the policies to be pursued towards the Russian people, they included no mention of any desire to commit genocide.
And
At a time when the Third Reich, heavily outnumbered in men and material, was fighting for its existence - as it was clearly doing once its soldiers had set foot on Soviet soil - any diversion, however small, of scarce manpower and equipment, or of the attention of already hard-pressed military commands, was bound to be harmful.
The orders for harsh treatment issued by Hitler were determined by a context where National Socialist Germany was fighting for its existence.
That’s not what Cooper says. His contention, in fact, is that orders for harsh treatment were counterproductive to Nazi Germany’s fight for its existence. Mills obviously forgot to read the statement he quoted in its context:
[…]Success in the elimination of the partisan menace was, however, to elude the Germans; indeed, by their measures, they actually ensured the continuance and development of the very movement that they were trying to destroy[my emphasis]. Certainly the Soviets invested considerable resources in the partisan struggle, resources which might have been put to more use, militarily, at the front, but they were better able to do so than were the Germans, for whom acute scarcity of men and material was a major problem. At a time when the Third Reich, heavily outnumbered in men and material, was fighting for its existence - as it was clearly doing once its soldiers had set foot on Soviet soil - any diversion, however small, of scarce manpower and equipment, or of the attention of already hard-pressed military commands, was bound to be harmful. The irony, from the German point of view, was that the guerrilla war was so unnecessary. Its very existence proved the futility and brutality of German occupation policy, which squandered the valuable potential that lay in the East.[my emphasis][…]
michael mills wrote:They were not determined by a desire to commit genocide, as Cooper says.
Again, Mills conveniently left out what does not fit into his bubble:
[…]The history of German rule in occupied Russia in general, and of its security measures in particular, also reveals much about Hitler’s responsibility for the immeasurable atrocities that took place during the war. Certainly, although he gave orders of great cruelty concerning the policies to be pursued towards the Russian people, they included no mention of any desire to commit genocide. Perhaps, therefore, it could be argued that he had no intention of allowing his political officials and soldiers to engage in the destruction of twenty million Russians, of whom at least 750,000 were Jews - the enormity of which figures becomes clear when it is realized that the number of Soviet soldiers and partisans killed in battle amounted to around one third of the total. Perhaps, even, it might be said that the Führer had no knowledge that such wholesale slaughter, initiated solely by subordinates such as Heinrich Himmler, was taking place. Perhaps. But what can be established beyond doubt is that it was Hitler, and he alone, who created the conditions whereby such evil could be done. He shaped the mentality of the invaders. Without his diatribes against the Slavs and the Jews - the Untermensch - and without his orders, or those emanating at his instigation and with his approval from his military staffs, the High Commands of the Wehrmacht and the Army, the atrocities perpetrated by his SS men and his soldiers would not have taken place.[my emphasis] As Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, Chief of the SS Anti-Partisan formations, was to tell the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg after the war: ‘If, for decades, a doctrine is preached that the Slav race is an inferior race, and the Jews not even human at all, then such an explosion is inevitable’[my emphasis]. For that, Hitler must bear responsibility.[…]
michael mills wrote:Given that Germany's fight for existence began in 1941 with the invasion of the Soviet Union, as Cooper says,
Now what makes Mills thinks that Cooper considers "Germany’s fight for existence" to have commenced in 1941?

I’m sure Mills, an eager salesman of Nazi propaganda, would like to believe this. He shouldn’t infer, however, that others endorse such nonsense as well.
michael mills wrote:that would explain why the Germaqn repressive measures associated with that invasion were so much harsher, so much more brutal than the measures adopted by Germany in its conquest of Western Europe. In 1939 and 1940, Germany had not been fighting for its existence, so it could afford to adopt a softer approach. Once the life-and-death struggle had begun, desperate measures were required.
There’s nothing in Cooper’s writings that would support this notion, which is perfectly nonsensical because Nazi brutality against Soviet prisoners of war and civilians was decided upon months before their aggression plunged Germany and the Soviet Union into what the Nazis wanted and proclaimed to be a "life and death struggle" – confident at the time that death would soon be the lot of their opponent.
michael mills wrote:Thus the difference in treatment of the French POWs in 1940 compared with that of the Soviet POWs in 1941 might be less a factor of "racial" differences than of the nature of the struggle itself.
The nature of the struggle, as Mills well knows, was Hitler’s brainchild, something he decided upon before he attacked the Soviet Union. The lameness of Mills’ contention is also laid bare by the fact that French, British and American prisoners of war were treated according to the provisions of international law even when Germany’s situation was desperate, whereas Soviet prisoners of war were pronounced to be "no comrades before and after" at a time when Hitler was confident that Operation "Barbarossa" would be what Goebbels, in his diary entry of 16.06.1941, called a "Siegeszug ohnegleichen", an "unparalleled victory".
”michael mills” wrote:Certainly, Cooper's analysis of the anti-partisan war does not suggest a racial war against the Slavs, but rather a desperate war for existence which predisposed the Germans to over-react to the partisan danger and indulge in mass-slaughters of the civilian population.
Yeah, sure. Especially if you read what you would like to believe into it and ignore his statements to the contrary of your articles of faith, namely the ones highlighted above showing that Cooper considers the "Untermensch" view of the Soviet people to have been a key factor of Nazi brutality.

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