Adenauer on the Morgenthau Plan and restitution to Jews

Discussions on the Holocaust and 20th Century War Crimes. Note that Holocaust denial is not allowed. Hosted by David Thompson.
User avatar
Posts: 4505
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 15:35
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Post by Roberto » 22 Aug 2002 16:41

[Replaced by following post]
Last edited by Roberto on 22 Aug 2002 16:49, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 4505
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 15:35
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Post by Roberto » 22 Aug 2002 16:45

michael mills wrote:
Doch war die Bereitschaft zur Gewalt gegen jüdische Menschen notwendige, oft aber nicht hinreichende Bedingung für Massenvernichtungsaktionen

Exactly what I said: the anti-Jewish ideology was not sufficient ("eine nicht hinreichende Bedingung") to cause the mass killing.

The hidden cat with it's tail sticking out:

michael mills wrote: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.

Here's what one of those "leftist historians" actually wrote:

Christian Gerlach wrote:Die Antworten auf die Frage nach den Motiven für die Mordaktionen gegen die Juden sind immer wieder umstritten und lösen Mißverständnisse aus. Daher ist folgender Gedanke zur Klarstellung hilfreich: Grundlage für die Vernichtungsentscheidungen, wo und durch wen auch immer, was die eben erwähnte radikale antisemitische Gewaltbereitschaft, verbunden mit der systematischen Politik gegen den jüdischen Bevölkerungsteil auf der Basis des modernen Rassenantisemitismus. Doch war die Bereitschaft zur Gewalt gegen jüdische Menschen notwendige, oft aber nicht hinreichende Bedingung für Massenvernichtungsaktionen. In Verbindung mit Zwängen der Besatzungspolitik jedoch ergaben sich starke Impulse zur Ingangsetzung oder Beschleunigung der Vernichtung. Es geht also nicht um ideologische oder materielle (ernährungswirtschaftliche, sozialpolitische usw.) Motive, sondern um ideologische und materielle Motive, um die fatalen Auswirkungen der Dynamik ihres Zusammenwirkens. Beide Faktoren als Gegensätze zu begreifen ist meines Erachtens nicht nützlich.

Italics are Gerlach's.

My translation:

The answers to the questions as to the motivations for the murder actions against the Jews are again and again disputed and lead to misunderstanding. Therefore the following thought is helpful for clarification: The basis of the extermination actions, wherever and by whomsoever, was the aforementioned radical anti-Semitic disposition to violence rooted in modern racial anti-Semitism. The disposition to violence against Jewish people was a necessary, but often not sufficient condition for mass extermination actions. In connection with dictates of occupation policy, however, there came about strong impulses for the initiation or acceleration of the extermination. The issue thus is not ideological or material motivations (such as food economics, social politics, etc.) but ideological and material motivations, the fatal results of their joint dynamic. To consider both factors as opposite to each other is not useful, in my opinion.

In memoriam
Posts: 1588
Joined: 13 Mar 2002 01:17
Location: Houston, Texas

Post by walterkaschner » 23 Aug 2002 05:55

Greetings Mr. Mills:

In response to my posting that:

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.

You replied that:

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".

I thank you for the correction and I regret that I misunderstood your position. I find your posts on this forum always of interest, well articulated and inevitably challenging, although I hasten to say that I usually can find a thing or two or three (sometimes major, sometimes minor) to disagree with. Thus in the above quote from your post I would suggest that you tend to tilt Pipes' views more toward your direction that they may legitimately deserve.

My edition of Pipes' "Russia Under the Bolshevik Régime" is the 1995 Vintage Books paperback edition, and his discussion of the Jewish pogroms during the Civil War appears on pages 99-114, which I have taken the trouble to reread again to refresh my faltering memory. Certainly it is undeniable, as Pipes points out, that "for most Russians the appearance of Jews [for the first time as government officials] coincided with the miseries of Communism and so was identified with them." p.100.
But the resulting emotion was hatred, not fear, of the Jews, and this on all sides of the political spectrum. Pipes quotes a Russian publicist, writing at the conclusion of the Civil War:

"Hatred of the Jews is one of the most prominent features of contemporary Russian life; possibly even the most prominent. Jews are hated everywhere, in the north, in the south, in the east and in the west. They are detested by all social orders, by all political parties, by all nationalities and by persons of all ages." p.101.

To explain the pogroms against the Jews during the revolutionary period, Pipes points out that their primary motive was plunder.

"As a rule, they were perpetrated not by the local population, which lived reasonably peacefully alongside the Jews, but by outsiders, either gangs of brigands and deserters formed to engage in plunder, or by Cossack units for whom looting was a diversion from fighting. The local peasantry participated in the capacity of camp followers, scavengers of spoils that the robbers left behind that were too bulky to carry."

"The primary purpose of pogroms everywhere was plunder: physical violence against Jews was applied mainly to extort money, although mindless sadism was not unknown: 'In the overwhelming majority of cases, murder and torture took place only as instruments of plundering.'" [citation] pps. 106-7.

Moreover, Pipes also points out that a significant number of pogroms were carried out by the Red Army itself, which could hardly be explained as due to a fear of Jewish Bolshevism. p.110. (And see Richard Pipes (ed.) "The Unknown Lenin", Yale University Press 1997, Doc. 61 at 116-117, "Report of Red Army Pogroms", dtd. October 1, 1920).

To the same effect is the following from Orlando Figes, "A People's Tragedy: A History of the Russian Revolution", Viking Press, 1996, at 677:

"The first major pogroms were perpetrated by Petliura's Ukranian Nationalist bands in the winter of 1918-19. The partisans of Makhno and Grigoriev also carried out pogroms, as did the Poles in 1920, and some units of the Red Army. In all these pogroms, except those of the Poles (which were racially motivated), anti-Jewish violence was closely associated with the looting and destruction of Jewish property. The Ukranian peasant soldiers hated the Jews mainly because they were traders, inn-keepers and money lenders, in short the 'bourgeoisie'of the 'foreign' towns who had always exploited the 'simple villagers' and kept them living in poverty. It was common for pogrom leaders to impose a huge revolutionary tax on the Jews - in the belief that they were fantastically wealthy - and then to kill the hostages taken from them when the taxes were not paid. The Bolsheviks employed the same methods during the Red Terror.....The Bolsheviks called this looting the looters."

And although the pogroms of the Revolutionary Period were indeed more widespread and murderous than those preceeding, I would suggest that in great (but not total) part this was due to the virtual anarchy that prevailed in much of Russia during that Period, with the looting, rapine and murder that often occurs when huge numbers of armed men roam the countryside virtually out of control.

All of that, of course, is not to deny that there was a wide spread perception, at least for a time, that the Russian Revolution was Jewish inspired, which in turn greatly aggravated or reignited the anti-Jewish sentiments that had infected many in Europe and indeed in the USA. But I suspect (without much evidence) that that dwindled as time went on and those with some modicum of objectivity came to recognize, with the Bolsheviks' burning of the synagogues, the mock trial of Judaism in Kiev, and the eventual purging by Stalin of his former Jewish comrades, that there was no love affair between Bolshevism and Judaism. And IMHO it would also have dwindled in Germany and areas subject to her influence had it not been for the ascendance of Hitler and his cohorts.

I do not disagree with your belief that the abrupt rise of virulent anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany had objective stimulae, which included the association of many Jews with Bolshevism (not only in Russia, but in Bavaria, Hungary and elsewhere as well) but I just don't believe that the horrors of the Holocaust could have taken place absent an innate, inbred and mindless hatred of Jews fostered, if not inspired, by Hitler's National Socialist creed. There were many manifestations of anti-Bolshevism in Europe during the 1920s and 1930s, some radical end extreme, but in no other country (with possibly Roumania as an exception) did they take the course as in Germany of a ruthless and pitiless oppression (and attempted extermination) of an entire group, simply because of their race.

I also feel that you assign far too much power and influence to the "Jewish Lobby" in the US, a view which I believe is all too common with those who have no direct or intimate experience with the complicated practicalities of the US political process. But this is a matter which can await ventilation on another day.

Regards, Kaschner

User avatar
Posts: 7836
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 16:59
Location: Europe

Post by Qvist » 23 Aug 2002 09:37

Michael Mills wrote:

Are you suggesting that Adenauer was not expressing what he actually believed, and was simply trying to sell a policy to a cabinet that was basically anti-Semitic? Is there any reason to think that Adenauer did not believe in Jewish economic power, and that that belief was based on his experience of empirical reality?

I am not suggesting anything, and my point is perfectly clear: There is no reason to assume that Adenauer did not mean what he said, but there is every reason to be vary of deducing from a single statement made under such circumstances such a firm conclusion about the "real" reasons for economic reparations to Israel (which of course is the name of the state in English, regardless of what it's Hebrew name means). This brief passage simply does not allow the conclusion you are drawing from it, which is this:

I do not think any comment on the above passage is necessary. It reveals exactly why Germany found itself compelled to pay compensation to the Jews.

Your interpretation may of course be right - I really am in no position to say - but this is far from established by this little snippet:

I hope that the cabinet will not make things difficult for me. If the cabinet did cause problems, it would be a foreign policy disaster of the first order. It would not only be a political disaster, it would strongly impede all our efforts to acquire foreign credit again. Let us be clear that now as before the power of the Jews in the economic sphere is extraordinarily strong[my emphasis], so that this - the term is a bit overstated - this reconciliation with the Jews is an absolute requirement for the Federal Republic from a moral standpoint and a political standpoint as well as an economic standpoint.

What strikes me as odd is that he invokes the power of the Jews in the economic sphere and then, in direct conclusion, even in the same sentence ("so that this..."), states that "from a moral and a political standpoint as well as an economic standpoint" this policy is an requirement. This makes me wonder whether it is not the case that his reasoning was elaborated at considerably more length than what was posted here, and that most of his argument dealt with moral and political factors, in which case the ending would make more sense?

I recommend the book "The Seventh Million" by the Jewish-State journalist Tom Segev, in which the background to the German Government decision to pay reparations to the Jewish State is examined in detail. Segev shows that the decisive factor was Adenauer's realisation that in order to gain the full support of the United States for the complete rehabilitation of germany as a member of the Western Alliance, it would be necessary to placate the American Jewish Lobby.

I am not familiar with Mr. Segev's book, and he may well be right. I make no claim to the contrary.

The fact that Adenauer mentioned moral reasons for adopting a policy of paying reparations (which of course were not required by any peace treaty, as had been the case after the First World War) is neither here nor there, in my opinion. Of course the German Government was not going to come out and say openly that it was going to give a lot of money to the Jewish Establishment because it was being coerced by Jewish economic power; of course it would dress up its decision in moralistic terms, as all governments do with all their decisions. Adenauer was simply enumerating what would be the official line, ie Germany recognises its moral obligations blah blah blah.

I fail to see the justification for that. If such concerns were part of Adenauer's policy, this does not neccessarily mean that there was not simultaneously a moral concern. And there certainly is absolutely nothing in the quoted passage that supports such a view - on the contrary, Adenauer mentions the moral dimension without any qualification and on par with the political and economic. In fact, he puts it first, which may or may not be significant.


Financial supporter
Posts: 8429
Joined: 10 Mar 2002 14:06
Location: California

Post by Dan » 23 Aug 2002 14:32

Thanks to Michael Mills and Kaschner for great writing and good info. In that order :D

A good lecturer is worth 27 dry professors.

michael mills
Posts: 8894
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by michael mills » 24 Aug 2002 14:50

Walter Kaschner wrote:

Thus in the above quote from your post I would suggest that you tend to tilt Pipes' views more toward your direction that they may legitimately deserve.

I have not misrepresented what Pipes wrote in any way. I suggest you check your copy of the book again.

Pipes specifically did express his opinion that the observation by outsiders of the Bolshevik takeover in Russia changed the nature of anti-Semitism as it had existed up until that time. The former contempt and dislike changed to fear, because it appeared that the Jews (in their Bolshevik manifestation) had been able to seize control of a vast empire, and therefore that they were powerful.

The forged "protocols of the Elders of Zion" had claimed that Jews were plotting to take over the whole world. The Bolshevik takeover in Russia, widely believed to be the work of Jews due to the highly visible Jews in the Bolshevik leadership, seemed to prove the thesis of the "Protocols", Russia being the first domino to fall, or so it seemed to observers.

Pipes' observation on the above point is separate from what he wrote in relation to the pogroms of 1919. Please note that he is writing about the conclusions drawn by observers of the Russian Revolution, not about the objective reality of it.

Regardless of whether the conclusions drawn by observers were accurate or not, they did provide a powerful motivation for the enormous increase in anti-Semitism after 1917, moreso in Poland, Romania and Hungary than in Germany prior to 1933.

But the resulting emotion was hatred, not fear, of the Jews, and this on all sides of the political spectrum.

Fear and hatred are linked. Fear leads to hatred, which is really a defence mechanism.

As for the pogroms committed by members of the Red Army, they were isolated and always suppressed by the Bolshevik Government when they occurred. The bulk of the Red Army consisted of conscripted peasants, and also Cossacks who had changed sides, and they still had their traditional dislike of Jews. Furthermore, the peasant conscripts may well have had a suppressed dislike of the Bolshevik commissars ruling over them, and took their revenge on Jews when the opportunity presented itself. Anti-Jewish actions by isolated members of the Red Army say nothing whatever about the policies of the Bolshevik Government.

Reference to the actions of the Bolshevik Government against the Jewish religion is also a furphy. Jewish Bolsheviks were anti-religious, and therefore hostile to the Jewish religion. But many Jews are hostile to the Jewish religion and loathe traditionalist Jews.

Labour Zionism was also very hostile to the Jewish religion, and expressed its contempt for it through such means as the "Red Seder", when young Socialist Zionists profaned Yom Kippur by holding parties when pious Jews were fasting. The young Ben-Gurion was notorious for his atheism and his hatred of the rabbinical establishment. Would Mr Kaschner deny that those Socialist Zionists were real Jews, or that Labour Zionism was an avowedly Jewish nationalist movement? I think not.

As for Stalin, he did purge most of his former comrades, and most of the Communist Party in fact. But he did not purge them because they were Jewish, but because they were his rivals, or he perceived them as such. The reason why so many Jews fell victim to Stalin's purge of all levels of the Party was precisely because there so many Jews in the Party. Furthermore, many Jews remained in positions of power, including Kaganovich at the top level and many others at middle levels.

By the 1939 census, some 40% of Soviet Jews were State or Party bureaucrats ("sluzhashchie") or their dependants, a far higher proportion than for any other Soviet ethnic group. That demonstrates the degree to which the Jewish Bolshevik leaders had promoted and fostered their co-ethnics.

User avatar
Posts: 4505
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 15:35
Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Post by Roberto » 05 Sep 2002 20:57

Morgenthau Plan

In August 1944 the American finance minister Henry Morgenthau jr. had prepared a plan for the treatment of Germany after its defeat. Morgenthau was under the impression that both the entities responsible in the USA for Germany policy and the relevant British politicians were pursuing too soft a line. In the memorandum that Morgentau submitted at the beginning of September 1944 a dismemberment of Germany was propagated. After extensive territorial cessions there were to be created three German states, while the economic regions at the Rhine and Ruhr as well as the North Sea Coast were to be internationalized. Besides the total disarmament of Germany and huge reparations (also through forced labor) the Morgenthau Plan foresaw the total dismantling of industrial installations and the closing down and destruction of mines. A control over the whole economy over 20 years would turn Germany into an agrarian state that would no longer be in conditions to carry out aggression policies.
The plan contained, in the respective most radical form, all suggestions and measures that had already been discussed in the debate about the goals of the war. Morgenthau’s suggestions were meant to correct the moderate plans for Germany entertained by the Allied Supreme Command under Eisenhower, the inter-allied European Advisory Commission and the professional departments in Washington and London.
Morgenthau, who was a friend of US-president Roosevelt, seemed to be successful when at the British-American conference in Quebec on 15 September 1944 Premier Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt initialed an (already softened) version of the Morgenthau Plan. But Cordell Hull, the American foreign minister, as well as his British colleague Anthony Eden protested against the plan already on the following day, and the American war minister Stimson called the program “a crime against civilization“. When the Morgenthau Plan reached the public due to a deliberate indiscretion on 21 September 1944, the reaction was so negative that even Roosevelt distanced himself from the plan. The Morgenthau Plan disappeared in the drawers already at the end of September 1944 without ever having been formally discussed by the competent bodies.
For the later policy of occupation and in regard to Germany the Morgenthau Plan was without any significance. But Goebbels and Hitler had used the “Jewish murder plan” for the “enslavement of Germany” with such success in support of their hold-out propaganda that many were led to believe that the program had been implemented in 1945. In publications of the extreme right the Morgenthau Plan plays this role until the present day.
Morgenthau, by the way, was an adherent of agrarian romanticism. The de-industrialization of Germany he propagated would under this aspect not only have been a measure for punishing Germany and preventing another world war.

I translated the above from an article by Wolfgang Benz in Benz et al, Legenden, Lügen, Vorurteile, Munich 1992, pages 154/155.

Return to “Holocaust & 20th Century War Crimes”