The Siege of Leningrad in German Documents

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Roberto
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Postby Roberto » 20 Sep 2002 10:41

Erik wrote:
Here is
document no. 6: “Führerorder”:

Quote:
Requests for surrender resulting from the city’s encirclement will be denied, since the problem of relocating and feeding the population cannot and should not be solved by us. In this war for our very existence, there can be no interest on our part in maintaining even a part of this large urban population. If necessary forcible removal to the eastern Russian area is to be carried out.


Roberto wrote:
Clear enough, isn’t it?

Preferably wholesale dying from starvation and other siege-related causes, and “if necessary” (i.e. to the extent that the encirclement should fail to take care of the “large urban population” which “there can be no interest on our part in maintaining even a part of”) the “forcible removal” of whatever survivors there might be, as I already explained on this thread.


Erik wrote:Is the policy of “preferably wholesale dying from starvation”…“clear enough”?


Try to think a little, philosopher.

The city is tightly encircled and "deprived of its life and defense capacity".

No one is to be let out.

Surrender is not to be accepted, even if offered.

This because there is no interest in "maintaining even a part of this large urban population".

What, other than wholesale dying from starvation, exposure and disease, could possibly be expected to be the fate of all or most of the city's inhabitants, under such conditions?

Erik wrote:Why the necessity of a forcible removal of a part of a population of a city that in itself is to be removed from the face of the Earth (according the full quote), if this preference is clear?


Because things might not work out exactly as planned. The resistance of the city's defenders might collapse altogether and the way into the city thus be open for the conquerors at a time when there were still survivors inside the city.

What was to be done with them?

Answer:

[...]If necessary forcible removal to the eastern Russian area is to be carried out.


"If necessary", my dear friend.

A fallback solution.

The German term even expresses this idea more strongly: "Notfalls" means "in case of emergency" or "if it cannot be avoided".

Something we would rather not have to do.

Erik wrote:Either they are too starved to move, or else they would move on their own accord, if given the opportunity.


Whereto would a starving urban population move "on their own accord", and with what results (other than most of them dying)?

Whether they were too starved to move would hardly have been the concern of those carrying out the "forcible removal".

The philosopher's objections, however, are useful in that they illustrate how unrealisitic this fallback solution was and what would have been the most likely consequence of that "forcible removal": wholesale dying of those "forcibly removed" not inside, but outside the city.

Big difference.

III. It is intended to encircle the city and level it to the ground by means of artillery bombardment using every caliber of weapon, and continual air bombardment.


Erik wrote:It seems more probable that this was the “preference”. Starvation is not mentioned.


That sounds a bit naïve, philosopher.

Starvation is not expressly mentioned in this document, but it is mentioned in most of the other documents I cited as the necessary and even desired consequence of the encirclement and "leveling" of the city.

And it doesn't take too great an effort of imagination to understand what is expected to happen to the surrounded population of a city to be leveled to the ground and denied the possibility of ending their plight through surrender.

Especially if it is made clear that "there can be no interest on our part in maintaining even a part of this large urban population".

Erik wrote:It sounds more like treating Leningrad as a military stronghold, since every caliber of weapon, and continual air bombing is considered necessary to “level it to the ground”.


Very feeble, philosopher.

If the city is to be treated like a military stronghold, why destroy it altogether?

Why not take it by assault if that is possible?

Why not demand its surrender or at least accept it if offered, which would be the quickest and militarily most "economic" way (no fighting, no forces tied down, no own casualties) to remove the city as a military stronghold?

Doesn't make much sense, does it, philosopher?

Except, of course, if the objective of the siege is not the reduction of a military stronghold but the obliteration of the city as such and the removal of its population as unwanted "useless eaters".

Which is the objective that comes through from this and other documents transcribed.

Erik wrote:For the sake of clarity, here is the complete quote that you kindly provided on side 1
(Last edited by Roberto on Mon Sep 02, 2002 8:48 pm, edited 2 times in total)

Betrifft: Zukunft der Stadt Petersburg
II. Der Führer ist entschlossen, die Stadt Petersburg vom Erdboden verschwinden zu lassen. Es besteht nach der Niederwerfung Sowjetrußlands keinerlei Interesse an dem Fortbestand dieser Großsiedlung. Auch Finnland hat gleicherweise kein Interesse an dem Weiterbestehen der Stadt unmittelbar an seiner neuen Grenze bekundet.
III. Es ist beabsichtigt, die Stadt eng einzuschließen und durch Beschuß mit Artillerie aller Kaliber und laufendem Laufeinsatz dem Erdboden gleichzumachen.
IV. Sich aus der Lage der Stadt ergebende Bitten um Übergabe werden abgeschlagen werden, da das Problem des Verbleibens und der Ernährung der Bevölkerung von uns nicht gelöst werden kann und soll. Ein Interesse an der Erhaltung auch nur eines Teils dieser großstädtischen Bevölkerung besteht in diesem Existenzkrieg unsererseits nicht. Notfalls soll gewaltsame Abschiebung in den östlichen russischen Raum erfolgen.


My translation:

Quote:
Subject: Future of the City of Petersburg
II. The Führer is determined to remove the city of Petersburg from the face of the earth. After the defeat of Soviet Russia there can be no interest in the continued existence of this large urban area. Finland has likewise manifested no interest in the maintenance of the city immediately at its new border.
III. It is intended to encircle the city and level it to the ground by means of artillery bombardment using every caliber of weapon, and continual air bombardment.
IV. Requests for surrender resulting from the city’s encirclement will be denied, since the problem of relocating and feeding the population cannot and should not be solved by us. In this war for our very existence, there can be no interest on our part in maintaining even a part of this large urban population. If necessary forcible removal to the eastern Russian area is to be carried out.


Erik wrote:You translate “Lage” with “encirclement” in IV, giving the impression that the encirclement is the reason for the eventual request, and not the artillery or air bombardment.


Nice shot in the foot, philosopher.

My translation was actually rather benevolent.

"Lage" means "situation", and what it means is obviously the situation resulting from the following:

III. It is intended to encircle the city and level it to the ground by means of artillery bombardment using every caliber of weapon, and continual air bombardment.


So the "situation" is the consequence of i) encirclement and ii) obliteration of the city and thus destruction of all means of subsistence existing inside the city (including and especially foodstores like the Badayev warehouses, power stations and waterworks).

The necessary consequence of combining both is wholesale dying from starvation, disease and exposure.

And it is this situation which is foreseen to bring about "requests for surrender".

Which are to be denied because

In this war for our very existence, there can be no interest on our part in maintaining even a part of this large urban population.


Erik wrote:It is this – the encirclement – that is to take care (i e, the opposite, really!) of the “large human population”, according to your interpretation.

“Eng einzuschliessen” instead of just “einzuschliessen” suggests a policy of being able to use ”every caliber of weapon”, i e in order to reach every part of the city as a “military objective”, rather than faciliating a “wholesale starvation”.


No, my dear Sir.

The purpose is to avoid "maintaining even a part of this large urban population", which - unless bombing and shelling itself is expected to kill everybody - can only be brought about by wholesale starvation.

Thus encirclement, as becomes clear from other documents I transcribed, means letting nothing get in and no one get out.

The city
[...]is to be sealed of by a ring to be taken as close as possible to the city in order to save forces.[...]
(Halder's order of 28.09.1941, document no. 2, my translation).

It is to be deprived of its life and defense capacity by crushing the enemy air defense and fighter planes and destroying waterworks, stores and sources of light and power.


From the same order, my translation.

Any move by the civilian population in the direction of the encircling troops is to be prevented – if necessary by force of arms.


Again the same order.

The people are to be left to "fry in Petersburg" so as to keep German authorities from being saddled with "a city of 3 ½ million that would only lie on our food supply wallet", as General Quarter Master Wagner wrote to his wife on 09.09.1941 (document no. 3, my translation).

He added:

Sentimentalities there will be none.


Which meant nothing other than "we will let them all die rather than have them on our hands", as the same Wagner clearly spelled out two months later:

Report on Wagner’s statements (excerpt):
[...]The feeding of the great cities can however not be solved. There can be no doubt that especially Leningrad must starve to death, because it is impossible to feed this city. The task of the leadership can thus only be to keep the troops away from this and from the phenomena related hereto.[...]


Document no. 11, my translation.

This outcome was contemplated even in the eventuality of the city's armed resistance collapsing altoghether:

Possibilities
for the treatment of the civilian population of
Petersburg

1.) The city remains encircled and all starve to death.
2.) The civilian population is let out through our lines and pushed away into our rear area.
3.) The civilian population is pushed off through a corridor behind the Russian front

The pre-condition for these 3 points is that the Russian armed forces, i.e. the forces in Petersburg and the 8th Army, if possible also the garrison of Kronstadt, are eliminated either through capitulation or through collapse and dissolution.

Regarding 1.):
Advantage:
a.) A great part of the Communist population of Russia, which is to be found especially among the population of Petersburg, will thus be exterminated.
b.) We don’t have to feed 4 million people.


From document no. 10, my translation. Emphasis is mine.

And there was a preference for this outcome due to

i) its compliance with a master plan established even before the outbreak of hostilities:

[...]b) There is no German interest in maintaining the productive capacity of these regions, also in what concerns the supplies of the troops stationed there. […] The population of these regions, especially the population of the cities, will have to anticipate a famine of the greatest dimensions. The issue will be to redirect the population to the Siberian areas. As railway transportation is out of the question, this problem will also be an extremely difficult one. […]
From all this there follows that the German administration in these regions may well attempt to milder the consequences of the famine that will doubtlessly occur and accelerate the naturalization process. It can be attempted to cultivate there areas more extensively in the sense of an extension of the area for cultivating potatoes and other high yield fruits important for consume. This will not stop the famine, however. Many tens of millions of people will become superfluous in this area and will die or have to emigrate to Siberia. Attempts to save the population from starvation death by using excesses from the black earth zone can only be made at the expense of the supply of Europe. They hinder Germany’s capacity to hold out in the war, they hinder the blockade resistance of Germany and Europe. This must be absolutely clear.[…]


(From document no. 15, my translation. Emphasis is mine.);

ii) ideological considerations:

[…]Regarding 1.):
Advantage:
a.) A great part of the Communist population of Russia, which is to be found especially among the population of Petersburg, will thus be exterminated.
b.) We don’t have to feed 4 million people.[…]


(From document no. 11, my translation. Emphasis is mine.);

and

iii) the utter indifference towards the fate of the city's population at the highest levels of command, as shown in Göring's utterances at a meeting about economic policies and organization of the economy in the newly occupied territories on 08.11.1941:

[...]The fate of the major cities, especially Leningrad, was completely indifferent to him. [Translator’s note: the German term “schleierhaft” literally means “veilful” and may also be translated as “unexplainable”. Translating the term as “indifferent” (in the sense of “I don’t know what will happen to them, and I couldn’t care less”) was considered to better fit the context, however] This war would see the greatest dying since the Thirty Years War.


(From document no. 17, my translation.)

Erik wrote:The erasing interest seems to be more aimed at the “urban area”, the geographical situation, rather than the urban population, that can expessedly be removed elsewhere, “if necessary” ( i e, if the “Lage” – situation – hasn’t made it move on its own accord(?)).


Considering the other documents shown and the statement in document no. 6:

IV. Requests for surrender resulting from the city’s encirclement will be denied, since the problem of relocating and feeding the population cannot and should not be solved by us. In this war for our very existence, there can be no interest on our part in maintaining even a part of this large urban population.


(emphases are mine),

the philosopher's contention must be considered more than a little ridiculous.

This passage makes clear that the besiegers wanted to get rid of the city's population at least as much as they wanted to get rid of the city itself.

The eventually necessary "forcible removal", as has been explained, was a fallback scenario that was expected not to materialize.

The preferred solution was another: the city's inhabitants perishing with the city and inside the same.

Erik wrote:Is the “erasing” of an unwanted “urban area” to be considered a “legitimate military objective”?


No.

Erik wrote:The Führer Order mentions an interest from the side of Finland of making this area “depopulated”, a “no mans land”(?).

Then the “siege” can perhaps be allowed to have at least a “semblance” of a military legitimacy?


In the military rationale of a Genghis Khan or an Adolf Hitler, perhaps.

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Roberto
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Postby Roberto » 20 Sep 2002 10:56

Scott Smith wrote:
Roberto wrote:Horseshit is what the likes of Smith produce in industrial quantities.

And wine from water does not come out of your press. :mrgreen:


In the opinion of a rambling "Revisionist", perhaps.

Which leaves me cold.

Roberto wrote:Whatever someone else did at any given time and place, it doesn't make the siege of Leningrad look any better.


Smith wrote:Yeah, war sucks--especially when the war is fought to be won by equally-determined belligerents.


Since when is the mass murder of an unwanted civilian population out of subjective logistical considerations a legitimate part of war, Mr. Smith?

Smith wrote:Stalin could have surrendered the city conditionally at any time.


On what scroll of your Articles of Faith is that written, Smith?

I’m asking because the evidence shows exactly the opposite, you see.

Smith wrote:If the Germans refused,


Which they were determined to do.

Smith wrote:then you might have a case of excessive-force.


It seems that the mass killing of a civilian population through siege warfare for no other purpose than getting rid of it is not "a case of excessive-force", in Smith's eyes.

Interesting, if only for what it tells us about "Revisionist" thinking.

The greatest weakness of these people, as I like to say, is that they can't help being themselves and thinking like they do.

Roberto wrote:And now, my dear "Revisionist" friends, I'll hit the road.

Thanks again for giving me some more opportunities to reinforce my points and make our audience acquainted with a relatively unknown but enormous Nazi atrocity.

See you later.


Smith wrote:Like I've said, the H & W forum would be at a loss, if not an outright failure, without you.
:)


Well, I'd say it's an outright failure for folks like yourself, thanks also to my contribution.

I, on the other hand, can only be grateful about the constant futile attacks of your ilk against the inconvenient evidence that challenges their articles of faith.

Just keep 'em coming, old boy.

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Postby Erik » 20 Sep 2002 20:44

Who’s talking about a “genocidal urge” here, first of all?


My point, as everyone just a little more intelligent than the philosopher should have understood in the meantime, is that the German High Command’s intentions in regard to Leningrad were criminal in that

i) they involved the destruction of all or a large part of the city’s population and

ii) this destruction was neither necessary nor deemed necessary nor even intended to help or hasten the achievement of a military objective.


(Quote doc 1)

Two cities are to be erased, wiped from the face of earth.

Regardless of how many of their inhabitants perish during that erasure.

Regardless of what happens to the survivors, who are expected to flee or to be expelled.

And all this only to avoid “that people stay in there who we will then have to feed in winter”.

Mass killing neither intended nor required to achieve a military objective and thus criminal, in other words.

But this was the plan in July 1941. Things got “better” after that. Next document:


(Quote doc 3)

The city was to be sealed of and “deprived of its life and defense capacity”.

Its inhabitants were to be deprived of power, water and food.

They were not to be let out.

The foreseeable consequence of such measures was huge mortality from starvation and exposure.

What was the purpose of this killing?

Was it to force the surrender of the city, as in a “normal” siege?

No. A capitulation was not to be required.

Why not?

Though this was not explained in the order, the reason becomes apparent from other cited documents, including but not limited to Wagner’s letter of 09.09.1941: because German authorities did not want the city’s population burdening their “food supply wallet”.

They did not want to feed the city’s population, which they would have had to do if they had captured the city by assault or accepted its capitulation.

Thus the siege was not foreseen to end when enemy resistance had been broken and the enemy stronghold taken.

It was foreseen to end when there were no more people in the city whom the conquerors would have to feed.

How that would happen in a city “deprived of its life and defense capacity” whose inhabitants were to be kept by force of arms from leaving it was left to the reader’s imagination.



Repeat:

Who’s talking about a “genocidal urge” here, first of all?


Yes, I wonder too! Why are the reader not left to THAT kind of “imagination”???

“Just follow the facts”?

And then, what’s the relevance of your “why did they do it this way when they could have done it that way” - considerations supposed to be when it’s clear that things were done as becomes apparent from the evidence?


We are left to our imagination on the one hand ; then on the other hand it’s clear “that things were done as becomes apparent from the evidence”?

The imagination is “clearly” redundant!

People starved to death in a city, besieged without any military objective, just for the criminal purpose of murdering.

Isn’t a “genocidal urge” the only possible “motivation”? The thanatology of the Nazi mind ,the “black hole” of eliminatory racism, or something like that, is called for?


Erik wrote:
Why the qualms of faking some sort of “military duty” to offer and accept a capitulation and then taking them to extermination camps, perhaps with willing Finns (lusting for the territory) acting as Sonderkommandos? Why this “sentimentality” of being “responsible for the feeding”?

Why this obsession concerning being “non-conspicious”?

What would be the consequences to the Germans if a murderous intention during the war became known? Would it shame the Nazi code of honor?



If the philosopher bothered to think a bit, he would know the answer to these not exactly bright questions.

Unlike the mass killings in the hinterland of the occupied territories, the siege of Leningrad was taking place before the eyes of the whole world. There was no chance, however remote, of keeping the fate of its population a secret. The reactions of world opinion to the wholesale killing of that population were thus of concern to the German authorities, as becomes apparent i.a. from the Navy Liaison Officer’s letter of 22.09.1941 (document 5, my translation):



Quote:
The city is presumably to be destroyed by artillery, bombs, fire, hunger and cold, without a single German soldier stepping into it.
I personally doubt that this will be possible, given the incredible toughness of the Russian. In my opinion 4 to 5 million people cannot be killed off that easily.
I saw this with my own eyes in Kovno, where the Latvians shot 6 000 Jews, among them women and children. Even a people as rude as the Latvians could no longer bear the sight of this murder in the end. The whole action then ran out of steam. How much more difficult will this be with a city of millions.
Besides this would in my opinion lead to a storm of indignation in the whole world, which we politically cannot afford.


Emphasis is mine.


It should be obvious to everyone other than the philosopher that, in the face of such considerations, leading the population out of the city and finishing it off or letting it die somewhere else would be seen as politically less recommendable than keeping the semblance that the dying of the city’s population was occurring due to and in the course of military operations.


(Erik’s emphasis)

That is,

The city is presumably to be destroyed by artillery, bombs, fire, hunger and cold, without a single German soldier stepping into it.


I e, “military operations” or the semblance of it!

But these very same “military operations” were suspected by the Navy Liaison Officer in the letter above (and with your emphasis) to “lead to a storm of indignation in the whole world, which we politically cannot afford”!!

Then why bother with the “semblance”? “The reaction of the world” would be just the same, according to their own assessments (emphasized by Roberto)?

And why this sentimentality concerning the feelings of a world that was supposed to be permanently ( a thousand years at least) changed by “military operations” anyhow?

If the feelings of the common German soldiers were to be spared, why not use the SS?

Were they sentimental, too? “Fellow Aryans”?



Erik wrote:
If the destruction of Leningrad served no “military objective but the desire to get rid of the population under any circumstances”, why not quit stalling, offer capitulation, promise feeding and accommodation, and then put up an extermination camp?


For the reasons explained above, my dear philosopher.

And then, what’s the relevance of your “why did they do it this way when they could have done it that way” - considerations supposed to be when it’s clear that things were done as becomes apparent from the evidence?



Applying the “semblance” of a military operation, that according to the Naval Officer above would lead to a (quote) storm of indignation in the whole world, which we politically cannot afford, will have the following consequences, according to

Army Group Study of 04.11.1941 (document no. 10):

Quote:
Possibilities
for the treatment of the civilian population of
Petersburg

1.) The city remains encircled and all starve to death.
2.) The civilian population is let out through our lines and pushed away into our rear area.
3.) The civilian population is pushed off through a corridor behind the Russian front

The pre-condition for these 3 points is that the Russian armed forces, i.e. the forces in Petersburg and the 8th Army, if possible also the garrison of Kronstadt, are eliminated either through capitulation or through collapse and dissolution.

Regarding 1.):
Advantage:
a.) A great part of the Communist population of Russia, which is to be found especially among the population of Petersburg, will thus be exterminated.
b.) We don’t have to feed 4 million people.

Disadvantages:
a.) Danger of epidemics.
b.) The psychological effect of the masses starving to death before our front line on the troops is great.
c.) The enemy press is given an effective propaganda tool.
d.) Disadvantageous effects on the development of domestic policies behind the Russian front.
e.) All German, Finnish, German and still existing valuable Russian elements will be the first to perish.
f.) We can take no material out of the city because we cannot enter it.
[…]


The Germans will be the whipping-boys of the world no matter what they do!

And all this because they don’t want to do their military duty of feeding and accommodating the capitulated population!

As I already explained in my post of Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:13 am:

Capturing or forcing the capitulation of an enemy stronghold is a legitimate military objective.

Had

i) this been the declared purpose of the siege,

ii) capitulation been demanded and

iii) the murderous siege conditions been foreseen to end upon capitulation,

the siege of Leningrad would have been a siege like any other – an extremely cruel form of warfare, but not a crime.

Yet none of these conditions were present, as the cited documents clearly show.


If an order of capturing or forcing the capitulation of Leningrad had existed, then the siege would have been a legitimate military objective.

The failure to capture or forcing the capitulation could be ascribed to military incompetence or cowardice, or the courage of the besieged population("the incredible toughness of the Russian").

The objective must then have been to feed and accommodate as great part of the population of Leningrad as possible, and an eventual criminal intention accordingly to be fostered on the Red Army, since they didn’t offer capitulation fast enough. (????)(Language problem sustained : this is meant to be “irony”!)

Is that it?

My question is then to be reformulated : if the Germans had refrained from a siege, never even contemplated it, captured the city by storming it, “frying” hundreds of thousands in the process, erased the city to the ground, letting the surviving population fend for themselves, and by doing so demonstrating a “legitimate military objective” of destroying an enemy stronghold(??), would a documented order of NOT accepting capitulation nor offering it to the population of Leningrad(unless Stalin himself and the Red Army capitulated), make this conquest criminal?

Had the “conquest” of Leningrad been something like the bombing of Dresden, an air force “frying” affair, perhaps with a non-existent military objective, it would probably be considered criminal for obvious other reasons.

But how would an extant order of neither accepting nor offering capitulation be judged by historiography? Would it be a genocidal project because of this?

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Postby Roberto » 22 Sep 2002 13:38

Roberto wrote:Who's talking about a "genocidal urge" here, first of all?


Erik wrote:Yes, I wonder too!


I presume that by "genocidal urge" the philosopher means a drive to kill every single member of a given group resulting from some irrational, pathetic hatred against this group.

This being so, he's kindly invited to show me where I maintained that an "urge" of this kind was at the root of German intentions and actions against the city of Leningrad and its population.

Erik wrote:Why are the reader not left to THAT kind of "imagination"???


They are, as a matter of fact. What I did on this thread was to show the documentary evidence without a comment for our audience to draw their own conclusions. The term "genocide" came up when one of the philosopher's brothers in spirit got nervous and posted a preemptive explanation why he saw the siege of Leningrad as not genocidal, as if any other poster had pronounced it to be that in the first place.

Which doesn't necessarily mean that the mass murder of the population of Leningrad by the implementation of siege warfare in pursuit of a non-military purpose does not qualify as genocide. As I explained, this depends on the interpretation of the term as officially defined.

Erik wrote: "Just follow the facts"


What do the facts tell us, philosopher?

That the Germans absolutely wanted to wipe out the population of Leningrad out of some irrational, pathetic hatred against them?

No, they don't. Nobody said they did.

What the facts show is that the Germans

i) implemented siege warfare rather than other military measures because they didn't want to have the city's population on their hands to feed and accommodate;

ii) decided that siege warfare would be continued not until enemy resistance had been broken, but until the population of Leningrad had, preferably by dying of starvation, disease and exposure inside the city, disappeared as a conglomeration of "useless eaters" that the conquerors would otherwise have to feed.

In other words, they didn't absolutely want to kill the city's population, but foresaw that the population would die as a result of their measures and welcomed this outcome because it would free them of the burden of having to feed and accommodate a large number of conquered civilians.

The death of the population of Leningrad was not an end in itself, but a means to an end.

Is it legitimate to implement siege warfare leading to the death of enormous numbers of civilians (about a million died in the Leningrad siege) because you don't want to have them on your hands, philosopher?

Or is it mass murder?

Roberto wrote:And then, what's the relevance of your "why did they do it this way when they could have done it that way"- considerations supposed to be when it's clear that things were done as becomes apparent from the evidence?


Erik wrote:We are left to our imagination on the one hand ; then on the other hand it's clear "that things were done as becomes apparent from the evidence"?


Again misrepresenting my statements to dream up non-existing contradictions, philosopher?

Again expecting readers to be dumb enough to read only your stuff?

The statement, as you well know, was that, while Halder's order of 28.09.1941 didn't spell out what was expected to happen to the population, this is not too difficult to figure out given that, according to this order

- the city was "to be sealed off by a ring to be taken as close as possible to the city&#8221";
- no capitulation was to be required;
- the city was to be "deprived of its life - and defense capacity"; by aerial and artillery bombardment directed i.a. against "waterworks, stores and sources of light and power"; and
- "Any move by the civilian population in the direction of the encircling troops"; was to be prevented - "if necessary by force of arms."

Erik wrote:The imagination is "clearly" redundant!


Instead of shooting the bull, why don't you tell us what Mr. Halder could reasonably have expected to be the fate of the population of Leningrad as a consequence of the above mentioned measures outlined in his order?

If your imagination should fail you, have a look at the documents where those consequences are clearly described, for example:

Possibilities:

1.) Occupy the city, i.e. proceed as we have in regard to other Russian big cities:

To be rejected because we would then be responsible for the feeding.

2.) Seal off city tightly, if possible with an electrified fence guarded by machine guns.

Disadvantages: Of about 2 million people the weak will starve to death within a foreseeable time, whereas the strong will secure all food supplies and stay alive. The danger of epidemics that carry over to our front. It is also questionable whether our soldiers can be burdened with having to shoot on women and children trying to break out.[...]


(from document no. 4, my translation)

[...]The city must thus disappear from the face of the earth, like Cartage in its time.
Also for reasons of territorial policy this is necessary, because the Neva is to become the new frontier between Finland and the Eastern Territories.
Besides it is clear than we cannot feed the inhabitants, which are currently estimated at about 5 million.
The city is presumably to be destroyed by artillery, bombs, fire, hunger and cold, without a single German soldier stepping into it.
I personally doubt that this will be possible, given the incredible toughness of the Russian. In my opinion 4 to 5 million people cannot be killed off that easily.[...]


(from document no. 5, my translation)

Report on Wagner's statements (excerpt):
[...]The feeding of the great cities can however not be solved. There can be no doubt that especially Leningrad must starve to death, because it is impossible to feed this city. The task of the leadership can thus only be to keep the troops away from this and from the phenomena related hereto.[...]


(from document no. 11, my translation)

Erik wrote:People starved to death in a city,


That's correct. About a million died, mostly of starvation.

Erik wrote:besieged without any military objective,


That's also correct. The siege was implemented not in order to force the surrender of the city, but in order to destroy it completely and get rid of its population.

Erik wrote:just for the criminal purpose of murdering.


That's nonsense, as the philosopher well knows. The Nazis didn't murder for the purpose of murdering, and nobody here said they did. Their acts of mass murder served very clear-cut ideological, economical and political purposes, which in the case of Leningrad were most concisely described in the following passages of the memorandum from the Army High Command dated 04.11.1941:

Advantage:
a.) A great part of the Communist population of Russia, which is to be found especially among the population of Petersburg, will thus be exterminated.
b.) We don't have to feed 4 million people.


(from my translation of document no. 10)

Erik wrote:Isn't a "genocidal urge" the only possible "motivation"? The thanatology of the Nazi mind ,the "black hole" of eliminatory racism, or something like that, is called for?


The above quoted passage from document no. 10 shows that eliminatory anti-Bolshevism - rather than racism - was one of the motivations in this case, but the other documents cited suggest that this was secondary to the practical-economical purpose of getting rid of an urban population of "useless eaters" in order to avoid upsetting logistical and occupation policies decided upon before the beginning of the attack on the Soviet Union.

Of course one didn't go without the other. The Germans would not have applied such policies against Western Europeans, probably not even against Slavs other than the hated Bolsheviks.

Erik wrote:Why the qualms of faking some sort of "military duty" to offer and accept a capitulation and then taking them to extermination camps, perhaps with willing Finns (lusting for the territory) acting as Sonderkommandos? Why this "sentimentality" of being "responsible for the feeding"?

Why this obsession concerning being "non-conspicious"?

What would be the consequences to the Germans if a murderous intention during the war became known? Would it shame the Nazi code of honor?


Roberto wrote:If the philosopher bothered to think a bit, he would know the answer to these not exactly bright questions.

Unlike the mass killings in the hinterland of the occupied territories, the siege of Leningrad was taking place before the eyes of the whole world. There was no chance, however remote, of keeping the fate of its population a secret. The reactions of world opinion to the wholesale killing of that population were thus of concern to the German authorities, as becomes apparent i.a. from the Navy Liaison Officer's letter of 22.09.1941 (document 5, my translation):

Quote:
The city is presumably to be destroyed by artillery, bombs, fire, hunger and cold, without a single German soldier stepping into it.
I personally doubt that this will be possible, given the incredible toughness of the Russian. In my opinion 4 to 5 million people cannot be killed off that easily.
I saw this with my own eyes in Kovno, where the Latvians shot 6 000 Jews, among them women and children. Even a people as rude as the Latvians could no longer bear the sight of this murder in the end. The whole action then ran out of steam. How much more difficult will this be with a city of millions.
Besides this would in my opinion lead to a storm of indignation in the whole world, which we politically cannot afford.


Emphasis is mine.


It should be obvious to everyone other than the philosopher that, in the face of such considerations, leading the population out of the city and finishing it off or letting it die somewhere else would be seen as politically less recommendable than keeping the semblance that the dying of the city's population was occurring due to and in the course of military operations.


Erik wrote:That is,

The city is presumably to be destroyed by artillery, bombs, fire, hunger and cold, without a single German soldier stepping into it.


I e, "military operations" or the semblance of it!

But these very same "military operations" were suspected by the Navy Liaison Officer in the letter above (and with your emphasis) to "lead to a storm of indignation in the whole world, which we politically cannot afford"!!

Then why bother with the "semblance"? The reaction of the world would be just the same, according to their own assessments (emphasized by Roberto)?


Just the same, philosopher?

Letting a civilian population starve to death or bumping it off in the conquered hinterlands would be judged no worse by world opinion than the unjustified application of military tactics which, despite their extreme cruelty, were at the time considered legitimate under certain conditions, which were not present in this case but the appearance of which could have been maintained?

Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Erik wrote:And why this sentimentality concerning the feelings of a world that was supposed to be permanently ( a thousand years at least) changed by "military operations" anyhow?


Looks like at least some in the German High Command didn't want to burn all bridges behind them, in case things went wrong.

Or then they were concerned about how certain measures might be viewed by the more moderate among their allies or by neutral nations, who it would be inconvenient to turn against them as long as the war was not won.

Erik wrote:If the feelings of the common German soldiers were to be spared, why not use the SS?

Were they sentimental, too? "Fellow Aryans"?


The issue, as I explained, would have been the impact not on whoever the executors would have been but on Soviet civilians and German soldiers exposed to the sight of the killing, resulting in unrest and acts of resistance among the former and affecting the morale or even the discipline of the latter.

Doesn't the philosopher read my posts?

I say "would have", by the way, because the alternative under discussion is a merely academic one, brought up by the philosopher so as to have an "accusation" to ramble against and for which the documents shown offer no support at all.

What becomes apparent from the documents shown is that the besiegers' alternative was not between starving the population of Leningrad inside the city or taking it to extermination camps, but between legitimate behavior saddling them with the feeding and accommodation of the population on the one hand and illegitimate behavior freeing them from this unwanted task and condemning all or most of the city's population to death on the other.

What also becomes apparent from the same documents is that they chose the latter alternative, thus engaging in a crime of mass murder.

Erik wrote:If the destruction of Leningrad served no "military objective but the desire to get rid of the population under any circumstances", why not quit stalling, offer capitulation, promise feeding and accommodation, and then put up an extermination camp?


Roberto wrote:For the reasons explained above, my dear philosopher.

And then, what's the relevance of your "why did they do it this way when they could have done it that way" - considerations supposed to be when it's clear that things were done as becomes apparent from the evidence?


Erik wrote:Applying the "semblance" of a military operation, that according to the Naval Officer above would lead to a (quote) storm of indignation in the whole world, which we politically cannot afford, will have the following consequences, according to

Army Group Study of 04.11.1941 (document no. 10):

Quote:
Possibilities
for the treatment of the civilian population of
Petersburg

1.) The city remains encircled and all starve to death.
2.) The civilian population is let out through our lines and pushed away into our rear area.
3.) The civilian population is pushed off through a corridor behind the Russian front

The pre-condition for these 3 points is that the Russian armed forces, i.e. the forces in Petersburg and the 8th Army, if possible also the garrison of Kronstadt, are eliminated either through capitulation or through collapse and dissolution.

Regarding 1.):
Advantage:
a.) A great part of the Communist population of Russia, which is to be found especially among the population of Petersburg, will thus be exterminated.
b.) We don't have to feed 4 million people.

Disadvantages:
a.) Danger of epidemics.
b.) The psychological effect of the masses starving to death before our front line on the troops is great.
c.) The enemy press is given an effective propaganda tool.
d.) Disadvantageous effects on the development of domestic policies behind the Russian front.
e.) All German, Finnish, German and still existing valuable Russian elements will be the first to perish.
f.) We can take no material out of the city because we cannot enter it.
[...]


The Germans will be the whipping-boys of the world no matter what they do!


Unless they chose the legitimate alternative, which however was out of the question for them.

Erik wrote:And all this because they don't want to do their military duty of feeding and accommodating the capitulated population!


Killing the population of an entire city because you don't want to comply with your duty of feeding and accommodating it seems to be all right with the philosopher.

Very instructive.

If you don't want to feed them, just bump them off or make them starve -no big deal.

As I like to say, the greatest weakness of the "Revisionists" is that they can't help being themselves and thinking like they do.

I wonder how the philosopher would judge the application of such policies by, say, the Soviets in regard to the city of Berlin.

Roberto wrote:As I already explained in my post of Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:13 am:

Capturing or forcing the capitulation of an enemy stronghold is a legitimate military objective.

Had

i) this been the declared purpose of the siege,

ii) capitulation been demanded and

iii) the murderous siege conditions been foreseen to end upon capitulation,

the siege of Leningrad would have been a siege like any other – an extremely cruel form of warfare, but not a crime.

Yet none of these conditions were present, as the cited documents clearly show.


Erik wrote:If an order of capturing or forcing the capitulation of Leningrad had existed, then the siege would have been a legitimate military objective.

The failure to capture or forcing the capitulation could be ascribed to military incompetence or cowardice, or the courage of the besieged population("the incredible toughness of the Russian").

The objective must then have been to feed and accommodate as great part of the population of Leningrad as possible, and an eventual criminal intention accordingly to be fostered on the Red Army, since they didn't offer capitulation fast enough. (????)(Language problem sustained : this is meant to be "irony"!)

Is that it?


Almost correct. The last paragraph sucks insofar as failure to capitulate would not have been a crime of the defendants as long as they could reasonably count on the city being relieved by their own forces, which is what eventually happened.

Erik wrote:My question is then to be reformulated : if the Germans had refrained from a siege, never even contemplated it, captured the city by storming it, "frying" hundreds of thousands in the process, erased the city to the ground, letting the surviving population fend for themselves, and by doing so demonstrating a "legitimate military objective" of destroying an enemy stronghold(??), would a documented order of NOT accepting capitulation nor offering it to the population of Leningrad(unless Stalin himself and the Red Army capitulated), make this conquest criminal?


In such case the criminal behavior would have resided not in the absence of a military objective to be attained by the mass killing, but in an excess of force to the extent that erasing the city and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians was not required in order to gain control of the city. A documented order not to demand or accept capitulation would be a clear indication of an intention to apply force in excess of what was warranted by military necessity - a criminal intention.

Letting the surviving population "fend for themselves" afterwards would also have been criminal to the extent that they were obviously not in conditions to do so - which would have been the case in a "food-importing" region not allowed to receive the necessary imports from the "producer regions".

Erik wrote:Had the "conquest" of Leningrad been something like the bombing of Dresden, an air force "frying" affair, perhaps with a non-existent military objective, it would probably be considered criminal for obvious other reasons.


If it had been "something like the bombing of Dresden", it would be considered criminal for the reasons that the bombing of Dresden is considered criminal.

Erik wrote:But how would an extant order of neither accepting nor offering capitulation be judged by historiography? Would it be a genocidal project because of this?


In the hypothetical case outlined above, such an order would be a clear indication of an intention to apply force in excess of what was warranted by military necessity - a criminal intention.

In the real case under discussion, the decision not to demand or accept surrender is relevant to the criminal nature of the actions in question as an indication that these actions were not aimed at achieving a military objective and criminal already for this reason.

Whether the criminal mass killing of the civilian population could be considered genocidal in either case depends, once again, on the interpretation of the term, as it is defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. See my post of Mon Sep 09, 2002 11:23 am on this thread.

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Postby Roberto » 22 Sep 2002 13:38

[Repeated post deleted]

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Postby Scott Smith » 23 Sep 2002 06:59

Roberto wrote:Killing the population of an entire city because you don't want to comply with your duty of feeding and accommodating it seems to be all right with the philosopher.

The Germans certainly had no duty to feed a city that refused to surrender, and as no surrender was forthcoming, the Germans had the right, under the time-honored principles of siege-warfare, to seal-off the city as tightly as possible and to bombard it into submission.

failure to capitulate would not have been a crime of the defendants as long as they could reasonably count on the city being relieved by their own forces, which is what eventually happened.

Then the responsibility for the starvation of the noncombatants left with orders to hold the city at all cost fall exclusively upon the Soviet doorstep, don't they!
:)

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Postby Roberto » 23 Sep 2002 10:43

Scott Smith wrote:
Roberto wrote:Killing the population of an entire city because you don't want to comply with your duty of feeding and accommodating it seems to be all right with the philosopher.


Scott Smith wrote:The Germans certainly had no duty to feed a city that refused to surrender, and as no surrender was forthcoming, the Germans had the right, under the time-honored principles of siege-warfare, to seal-off the city as tightly as possible and to bombard it into submission.


All very fine, but the "no surrender was forthcoming" - stuff sounds rather feeble due to the fact that surrender was never demanded, nor even intended to be accepted if offered, because it would create a situation not in line with German economical policies.

As to the "time-honored principles of siege warfare", they could be legitimately applied by the standards of the time to the extent that they were intended and required to force the submission of an enemy stronghold.

Where this was not the case, the application of such methods must, even by the standards of the time, be considered not merely a very cruel form of warfare, but downright mass murder.

In this case, as even Smith should have understood by now, the objective of siege warfare was to bring about not the surrender of the city, but its wholesale destruction and depopulation.

This, in fact, was the reason why siege warfare was implemented in the first place.

The siege of Leningrad sought to bring about not its submission, but its annihilation.

Surrender was accordingly the last thing that the besiegers were interested in.

They therefore decided not only that it would not be demanded, but also that it would not be accepted if offered.

Roberto wrote:failure to capitulate would not have been a crime of the defendants as long as they could reasonably count on the city being relieved by their own forces, which is what eventually happened.


Scott Smith wrote:Then the responsibility for the starvation of the noncombatants left with orders to hold the city at all cost fall exclusively upon the Soviet doorstep, don't they!
:)


Smith should have read the whole of the passage he partially quoted, which refers to a hypothetical case where

i) the besiegers demanded and were prepared to accept surrender;

ii) the besiegers were prepared to grant the civilian population at least the survival minimum of food rations in case of surrender;

iii) the defenders could not reasonably expect being relieved by their own forces and

iv) they nevertheless refused demands for surrender.

As none of the above conditions were present in this case, Smith's considerations are purely academic.

It’s not as if the Soviets had deliberately failed to evacuate the city’s population and thus exposed it to the horror of the siege, by the way.

By early August [1941] 467,000 Leningraders had been evacuated from the city, including 216,000 children. By the end of the month the figures had reached 636,000, including more than 100,000 refugees from the Baltic states. The plans to evacuate another half a million women and children were frustrated by the German advance, and they remained sealed up with the men.


Source of quote:

Richard Overy, Russia’s War, page 103

The above quote was already transcribed in my post of Wed Sep 18, 2002 10:13 am on this thread.

Smith obviously doesn’t read my posts, and he keeps dishing up arguments that have already been refuted.

Which is nothing new to who has come to know Smith like I have, but in this case is so counterproductive that I wonder whether Smith is trying to make any points, however indefensible, of just wants to waste my time because he’s raving mad at me.

Whatever the reason, he’s again giving me an opportunity to reinforce my points and bring information home to a greater number of readers.

Thanks a lot, Mr. Smith.

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Postby Topspeed » 09 Sep 2004 13:41

Roberto wrote:
Auch Finnland hat gleicherweise kein Interesse an dem Weiterbestehen der Stadt unmittelbar an seiner neuen Grenze bekundet.

My translation:

After the defeat of Soviet Russia there can be no interest in the continued existence of this large urban area. Finland has likewise manifested no interest in the maintenance of the city immediately at its new border.

Emphasis is mine.


I would at least like to get a source who in Finland has given this kinda manifests ? I never heard a finn talking in this tone about Leningrad. Otherwise this is pure B/S and speculation. Who is the source of these " Official German documents " ? How official they really are ? Why aren't there a single name of a finn to be found here. The only institution would be government to decide something like this and they certainly did not decide it. If the finn was Vilho Helanen who was AKS leader in Finland and a captain in armed forces ( working with SS in Tallinn ) then he was not any authority to express this kinda views ( his party consisted only 2 % of the seats in the parliament ). I want proof of allogations this magnitude. Nothing else.

rgds,

Juke

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Postby simsalabim » 09 Sep 2004 15:35

You are aware that Robert doesn't post here anymore? Try contacting him at Rodoh.

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Postby Aleksei22 » 09 Sep 2004 16:29

simsalabim wrote:You are aware that Robert doesn't post here anymore? Try contacting him at Rodoh.


Hello,

is RODOH <== CODOH ????


Thank you.

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Postby David Thompson » 09 Sep 2004 17:03

Please carry on discussions like this by PM.


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