Walter Kaschner wrote:
In the first place, whatever Adenauer might have thought the effect of the Morgenthau Plan might be ( and viewed in light of the obvious political character of his speech quoted by Mr. Mills one may, I think, legitimately question whether it reflected Adenauer's considered judgement of the matter) I know of no evidence that its purpose was to starve 30-40 million Germans, or indeed that that would have been the effect had it been put into practice.
I would presume that Adenauer was referring to the foreseen effect of the Morgenthau Plan rather than a specifically genocidal purpose. But I see no reason to suppose that he did not believe what he was saying. At the very least, his words indicate that there was a widely held belief in the Federal Republic at that time that implementation of the Morgenthau Plan would have resulted in mass-starvation, and that it was equivalent in its nastiness to the crimes of the former National-Socialist Government. Furthermore, it shows that that belief must have been at least tacitly endorsed by the United States Government of the time, since Adenauer had been placed in power by the United States occupation administration, and his Government, and indeed the existence of the Federal Republic, depended on the goodwill of the United States. In other words, Adenauer must have been aware that in attacking the Morgenthau Plan and equating it to National-Socialist crimes, he was not attacking the current United States Government, but rather a faction that had been influential under Roosevelt but was no longer in power. He must have been aware that his view of the Morgenthau Plan was shared by the forces in the United States, in particular in the military and the State Department, that were now determining policy in the new Cold-War situation, and which had been opposed to the attempt by the Treasury Department to take over foregn policy.
Furthermore, the issue of the intent of the Morgenthau Plan is less important; what is important is its logical consequences, which were clearly foreseen. Even the starvation plan which the German Government appears to have intended to impose on the occupied areas of the Soviet Union was not developed for the purpose of starving Russians out of sheer cussedness. Rather, the German Government planned to take out of the occupied territories the food supplies it needed to maintain the German population, which would have the inevitable result that several million Russians would starve; the German planners explicitly recognised this consequence and affirmed it, unlike the initiators of the Morgenthau Plan, who were careful to remain silent on the consequences of what they were proposing.
Moreover, the opposition of the War Department and Department of State was not toward "the Jewish power centred on [sic] the Treasury", but rather toward the very nature of the Plan itself, to which they objected on moral, strategic and pragmatic grounds. Henry Stimpson, the Secretary of War, was indeed upset at the Treasury Department's efforts to take a leading role in deciding the fate of post-war Germany, which he felt was more properly the domain of the Departments of State and of War, and he recognized with some understanding that Morgenthau's harsh position may have been in response to Germany's treatment of the Jews, but from what I have read his opposition to the Morgenthau Plan itself was based on the belief that it was morally wrong to burden the entire German people with the crimes of Nazism and that the practical result would inevitably lead to aggressive revanchisme in the future. I have seen nothing to indicate that either Stimpson or Cordell Hull, the Secretary of State, were opposed to the Plan because it reflected "Jewish power".
Of course the United States military and State Department opposed the Morgenthau Plan for strategic reasons, because they knew that its implementation would create chaos and a revolutionary situation in Germany, which ran counter to the United States' strategic interest in maintaining West Germany as a buffer against the Soviet Union. I did not mean to imply that the military and the State Department opposed the Plan purely because of the Jewishness of many of its proponents, implying that if the Plan had been put forward by, say, Buddhists, they would not have opposed it.
The Jewishness of Morgenthau and many of his minions in the Treasury Department was relevant to the extent that the military and State Department were aware that it was a prime motivating factor in the attempt by treasury to seize control of policy-making in respect to the treatment of Germany after victory. The military and the State Department opposed "Jewish power" at Treasury because they considered the policies being promoted by that power were contrary to the strategic interests of the United States as they saw them.
The Treasury had waged a fairly vicious campaign against the State department in 1944 in the context of its attempt to get control of post-war policy-making. It had not shied from accusing the State Department of Anti-Semitism of of secretly supporting the supposed German Governemnt policy of exterminating the Jews of Europe. The State Department were well aware that the officials of Treasury wh had done that to them were motivated primarily by a strongly pro-Jewish ideology.
Finally, from Mr. Mills' post here and elsewhere on this forum, I have the impression (and again if I'm wrong I would welcome a correction) that he attributes the brutalities of the Third Reich against the Jews to a pervasive, and, in his view, well founded fear of an internationally solidified and powerful Jewish cabal united toward the utilization of whatever means available to quell opposition to the Zionist cause and to punish Germany and all Germans.
A more accurate summation of my position would be that the anti-Jewish actions of the German Government (culminating in the death of millions) were the result of a fear of Bolshevism and the power represented by the Bolshevik domination of Russia, with its potential for expansion and conquest, which were attributed to the machinations of Jews, or of a particular group of Jews. In my view, the fear of Bolshevism, and its interpretation as a manifestation of Jewish interests, was justified, if exaggerated and distorted. The Jewish historian Richard Pipes, in his book "Russia under the Bolshevik regime", expresses the opinion that it was the Bolshevik takeover which changed the motivation of anti-Jewish feeling from one of contempt and dislike into one of fear of "Jewish power", and gave apparent credence to forgeries such as the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion".
Another reason for the National-Socialist animus against the Jews was the belief that the Jews had "sold Germany out" in the First World War and brought about its defeat. There is good reason to believe that the Zionist movement did play a role in bringing the United States into the war on the Allied side, which of course was a decisive factor in swinging the balance of forces against Germany, and that the Balfour Declaration was the payoff to the Zionist Movement for that assistance. The Jewish Lobby in the United States had been a major factor in preventing American intervention on the side of the Entente; it had taken that position because Germany was the enemy of Tsarist Russia, at that time perceived by the Jewish establishment as its main enemy. It seems to have been a promise by the British Government to give Palestine to the Jews, made at the suggestion of the Anglo-Jewish leader Lucien Wolf, that motivated the Zionist movement to cast its lot in with Allies and persuade the American Jewish Lobby to reverse its position and support United States entry into the war on the Allied side; that, coupled with the overthrow of the Tsarist regime, seems to have been what caused American Jewry to change sides.
German nationalists perceived the about-face by the Zionist Movement and American Jewry as a betrayal. However, they were wrong to cast the blame for the "betrayal" onto German Jewry; there is no evidence that German Jews in their great majority were not loyal to their country.
The two factors outlined above explain the anti-Jewish feelings of the National-Socialists and many other Germans, but they are not sufficent to explain the mass killing. I agree with leftist German historians like Aly and Gerlach, who see the motivating force not in ideology but in practical considerations such as the need to conserve scarce food supplies by disposing of unwanted populations.