Scott Smith wrote:David, assuming that there was genuinely a Hitler Order (and I think that is far from established) then I think it was LEGAL (I didn't say moral or justified) because Hitler was an absolute Head of State.
I'm sure Genghis Khan would feel comfortable in Smith's ideal world, just like his beloved Führer.
No international law, no human rights, no principles acknowledged by a community of nations overriding the absolute power of an individual state -paradise for a tyrant and mass murderer.
As to when and how Hitler's order was given, here's my translation of Christian Gerlach's findings, from his recent book Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord
(pages 160 and following):
[…]The principle decision of December 1941 is a central missing link in the decision process for the murder of the European Jews. It out the planning for this crime against humanity on a new basis. It does not relieve anybody, however, for it only had the consequence that the many already existing ideas, suggestions and initiatives for extermination actions on a regional level were supported, legitimized, systematized and got a new impulse.
Characteristically the first extermination camp, Chelmno, had initiated its murder activity four days prior to the Führer’s decision and independently of it. Greiser had for this purpose literally obtained a special authorization from Himmler and Heydrich for the killing of 100 000 Jews. It does not seem very probable that Hitler was involved, given that Greiser, had be had the authorization of Hitler, would not have had to thank Himmler for it. This he did, however.
To make it clear: my exposition does not mean that I want to dismiss the results of the past more than twenty years of research on the bases, especially by the so-called Functionalist school. The extermination of the Jews was by no means based simply on this one decision of Hitler’s or only on his decisions, directives and initiatives as a whole, but we are talking about just one, though an important point within the scope of the process that led to the murder of the European Jews. The analysis of this impulse can contribute to also visualize more accurately the role of Hitler. It is surely difficult to understand that Hitler took a principle decision on the murder of all European Jews after the mass murder in a number of countries had already victimized almost a million Jewish people. It is difficult to comprehend that this decision was not taken all at once, but step by step, region by region. Yet especially the case of Chelmno indicates that this is how it was. The prevailing assumption that the basic decision already occurred between the spring and the autumn of 1941 is based on the belief that before crossing the border to mass murder of the Jews there need to have been something like an authorization by the state leadership. Yet for the National Socialists these extermination decisions were political, not moral decisions. They thus could be limited to certain territories or even groups of people (e.g. those “unfit to work”).
How are the contents and consequences of Hitler’s principle decision to be assessed? First of all, his utterances on 12. December were but a relatively short passage of a long speech, and at this time there were political questions that required the German leadership’s attention far more and seemed more urgent to it than the persecution of the Jews. This passage of the speech was already unequivocal, but by itself not yet concrete. The contents of Hitler’s separate meetings with Himmler, Bouhler, Frank, Rosenberg and others we must assume to have been much more concrete. The issue regarding the occurrences in December 1941 is not whether the actors used a more or less radical language (they also did that at other times), but the verifiable results. The three essential results of the speech on 12 December and the ensuing meetings can be summarized as follows:
1.) new principle guidelines for the murder of the Jews by the government of the General Government and the Eastern Ministry – the administrative entities with power of the greatest number of Jews within the German area of influence,
2.) the intensification of the planning and preparations for the murder of Jews in various areas by poison gas,
3.) by announcing the murder of all European Jews, Hitler had also decided on the fate of the German Jews. This is shown e.g. by Hans Frank’s utterance in Cracow on 16 December 1941 that in regard to the murder of the Jews in the General Government “what is happening in the Reich will at the very least have to happen here as well”. This decision contrasts clearly with Himmler’s telegram to Jeckeln fifteen days before. About the systematic murder of Jews in the German Reich only Hitler could decide, for it was he alone who according to the Nuremberg Laws had the right to exempt Jews and so-called half-breeds from the restrictions of these laws and had in 1941 vehemently pointed out that he was the only one to decide on an eventual worsening of the situation of the half-breeds.
Hitler’s decision was necessary for the authorities involved both in regard to the murder of the German Jews an in order to obtain the basis for a central planning of the genocide. Despite all use of camouflage language the indications in Frank’s speech on 16 December in Cracow and in Heydrich’s address after the writing of the protocol of the Wannsee Conference must be taken serious in this respect, for we can see in them the first drafts of an overall planning of the crime. Such an overall planning for short-term murder had obviously not existed before. For the murderous proceeding against the Jews in the occupied Soviet territories the guideline of December 1941 represented only a small step further. The step was somewhat greater in the General Government, where the pressure by the police and parts of the civilian administration was in the direction of a large-scale extermination was already so great that it would have inevitably led to terrible consequences sooner or later.
This shows that with his possibly strongest intervention in the extermination process Hitler by no means decided or had to decide all, and that his intervention had clear-cut but in a certain sense limited consequences. The findings of research on the crucial responsibility of other instances, especially the authorities in the very areas of occupation, is hereby confirmed.
For the understanding of the decision process towards murder an approach via the term of the utopian seems useful. Of course ideas about the annihilation of the Jews and the respective preparedness had been there for many years prior to 1941, especially on the part of Hitler. Yet there was a difference between ideas, firm intentions to commit genocide and the implementation thereof. The first plans for a “final solution” contained strongly destructive aspects of slow decimation through horrible living conditions and impediment of reproduction, but also utopian aspects characterized by the impossibility of carrying out these seriously pursued solutions in practice. This applies to the plans of 1939/40 for the “pushing away” of the Jews to the Lublin district as well as to Madagascar. The destructive elements became stronger in the plan to deport Jews to the Soviet Union after a military victory over that country. The procedure of annihilation only became imaginable gradually – despite the widespread preparedness for it. The steps from utopian resettlement and extermination programs to actually executable murder programs were decisive for the execution of the mass murder. Thus the plan decided upon at the beginning of 1941 to force about 30 million people in the Soviet Union to starve to death in order to guarantee the feeding of German-dominated Europe turned out to be unfeasible. It was thereupon replaced in the autumn of 1941 by programs for the murder of certain segments of the populations, such as millions of Soviet prisoners of war “unfit to work”. For the intentions directed against the Jews the point-settings in December 1941 constituted a crucial step towards the realization, i.e. the implementation of the plans for genocide.
As little as this monstrous process was normal politics, as much as Hitler produced it – in this respect the decision about the lives of the European Jews were taken almost as in a “normal” political deliberation: the “Führer” did not take the decision all alone, but after a given time, in a given situation and on a given occasion he approved the initiatives from the state and party apparatus. Many insisted on the murder of all European Jews, but before they could begin with it systematically, there was the need in the National Socialist system for a decision taken by Hitler.
Scott Smith wrote:As to whether massacring civilians can be justified militarily, I wouldn't say so; but in the final analysis it doesn't really matter because the Nazis thought so, and they don't need to justify how they fight their war to-win-it to me.
I see. Whether the Nazis' mass slaughter of innocent civilians and prisoners of war was even an objective necessity of their war effort doesn't matter to Warlord Smith.
It is sufficient for him that they thought
it was - which I doubt he can demonstrate, especially in regard to the genocidal massacres of Jews, gypsies and Soviet prisoners of war.
Scott Smith wrote:Neither do the British, Americans or Russians, each of whom have plenty of innocent blood on their hands.
Irrelevant moral relativism. And then, were the Britain, America and the USSR not sovereign nations as well and thus acting legitimately, by Smith's standards?
Scott Smith wrote:In any case, the Germans are surely fighting to win the war and they are, IMHO, finding security or other motives for the massacres that make sense to them. In other words, I don't think they are killing for the sake of killing in some kind of Genocidal Teutonic orgy, as has been suggested by some.
Like who, Mr. Smith? I don't know of any historian who maintains that the Nazis were hideous monsters who killed merely for the sake of killing. On the contrary, historians like Christian Gerlach have demonstrated how their mass killings resulted from a blend of ideological fanaticism on the one hand and very clear-cut, coldly rational power politics on the other.
Scott Smith wrote:No-war, then, no-Holocaust, IMHO (assuming that "Holocaust" is defined as mass-murder and not merely persecution).
While it doesn't make the Holocaust look any better - except perhaps in the eyes of warlord-minded morons like Mr. Smith - that is certainly arguable, especially in the sense mentioned by Goebbels in his diary entry of 27.03.1942:
Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it can be said that about 60 per cent of them will have to be liquidated whereas only about 40 per cent can be used for forced labor.
The former Gauleiter of Vienna, who is to carry this measure through, is doing it with considerable circumspection and according to a method that does not attract too much attention. A judgment is being visited upon the Jews that, while barbaric, is fully deserved by them. The prophesy which the Fuehrer made about them for having brought on a new world war is beginning to come true in a most terrible manner. One must not be sentimental in these matters. If we did not fight the Jews, they would destroy us. It's a life-and-death struggle between the Aryan race and the Jewish bacillus. No other government and no other regime would have the strength for such a global solution of this question. Here, too, the Fuehrer is the undismayed champion of a radical solution necessitated by conditions and therefore inexorable. Fortunately a whole series of possibilities presents itself for us in wartime that would be denied us in peacetime. We shall have to profit by this.
The ghettoes that will be emptied in the cities of the General Government now will be refilled with Jews thrown out of the Reich. This process is to be repeated from time to time. There is nothing funny in it for the Jews, and the fact that Jewry's representatives in England and America are today organizing and sponsoring the war against Germany must be paid for dearly by its representatives in Europe - and that's only right.
Source of quote:
http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/g/goe ... ts-02.html
Emphasis is mine.
Scott Smith wrote:Perhaps this explains why the treatment accorded the Jews was not uniform, or as I say, monolithic. In other words, I agree that the Germans are trying to exploit them for valuables, incarcerating them into concentration camps and ghettos, impressing them for labor, massacring whole groups that get in their way somehow, etc.
And what about such perfectly legitimate actions as slaughtering the overwhelming majority of the Jewish population under their control in Poland, the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, Hungary, Greece, Yugoslavia and other countries, Mr. Smith?
In what way did all these people get into your beloved Nazis’ way?
Scott Smith wrote:But in other cases they are keeping alive "useless eaters" like Anne Frank and the Little Ghetto Boy, Zvi Nussbaum; they are treating people like Eli Wiesel and his decrepit father in the hospital and so on. Why are the unfit-for-labor not killed if there is a general Hitler Order to kill all the Jews that cannot be worked to death? Anne Frank was sent to Auschwitz and then evacuated to Bergen-Belsen near the end of the war where she contracted Typhus and died. If they had wanted to kill her it wouldn't have been hard.
Well, my dear boy, as you know there’s an explanation for all the individual exceptions you make so much of that is perfectly compatible with a program of mass extermination.
Anne Frank was a Dutch Jew, an adolescent able to work, and she reached Auschwitz at a time when systematic mass killing was already coming to an end. By the time she got to Belsen in early 1945, Himmler had already called an end to the “Final Solution” some months ago (October 1944), and she became part of the jetsam and flotsam of Nazi exploitation and extermination policies that died of starvation and disease in German concentration camps towards the end of the war.
Nussbaum, according to his own account, had the good fortune of being caught at a time when the Nazis were looking for a number of Jews to be taken to Belsen and kept there as bargaining chips. Also an exception that confirms rather than contradicts the rule.
Wiesel had been selected as able to work, and while it was general policy at Auschwitz-Birkenau during most of the camp’s existence to kill permanent inmates who due to disease had become unable to work, there was an instruction issued by Himmler at a time of acute labor shortage, some time in 1943 if I’m not mistaken, that sick or injured inmates who could be cured and sent back to work were not to be bumped off but treated instead. Höss writes about this in his memoirs, as I already mentioned and as Smith, who professes to have read those same memoirs, should know as well.
Scott Smith wrote:
In any case, I never said that millions were not killed--just that Germany was not only a sovereign-State but also a superpower, and that if it was therefore determined that some group was an enemy-alien lodged parasitically and harmfully in their midst, then it was legal (not moral) to eradicate them as an "act of war," little different than the eradication or slaughter of hundreds of thousands (or millions) with conventional explosives, atomic energy, blockades, bullets, etc., or whatever other weapons and tactics that were also used by the Allies.
As to the “legal” crap, see above and my previous posts (including the still unanswered question why, then, Smith goes out of his way to deny the occurrence of certain “legal” actions).
As to the comparison with Allied war crimes, that sucks for a very simple reason: atrocious though the former were, they occurred within the scope of acts of war, efforts to bring about the surrender of a military enemy. None of this can be said of the mass murder by the Nazis of millions of Jews, gypsies, Soviet prisoners of war and others in the countries and territories under their control, which was only remotely if at all related to anything that can be considered acts of war.
I love Smith’s apologetic ramblings. Each of them is a welcome opportunity for me to share historical information and to show what the propaganda nonsense self-dubbed “Revisionism” is all about.