The 1996 MA thesis by Karsten Schulz "Nationalsozialistische Nachkriegskonzeptionen für die eroberten Gebiete Osteuropas vom Januar 1940 bis zum Januar 1943", presented at the Berlin Technical University Institute for Political Science, contains a detailed exposition of the various versions of the Generalplan Ost, as well as of other, competing plans for German rule over the conquered Soviet territories put forward by Rosenberg's Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories, the German Labour Front, and some individuals.
It appears that there were six versions of the Generalplan Ost, which need to be carefully distinguished from each other in terms of what they actually propose. Four of them were prepared by the planning staff of the Reichskommissariat für die Festigung deutschen Volkstums (RKF), headed by Professor Konrad Meyer-Hetling. and two by the RSHA, specifically by Standartenführer Ehlich, head of Gruppe III B Volkstum of Abteilung III Sicherheitsdienst-Inland.
The six variants were:
1. The Generalplan of the RKF, dating from about January 1940. This is preserved in a document bearing the title "Planungsgrundlagen für den Aufbau der Ostgebiete", and deals only with the planned germanisation of the annexed western Polish territories (Danzig-Westpreußen, Wartheland, Zichenau, Suwalki, Ost-Oberschlesien).
2. Generalplan Ost of the RKF, dated 15 July 1941. The plan itself has not been found, and is known only from a covering minute from Meyer-Hetling to Himmler with the above date. Judging from material contained in the unpublished autobiography of Professor Meyer-Hetling, in addition to the annexed territories included in the Generalplan, it proposed German settlement in the east of the Generalgouvernement, thereby encircling the ethnic Polish population. The estimated settler requirement is 4.55 million persons over 30 years.
3. Generalplan Ost of the RSHA, dated toward the end of 1941 or the beginning of 1942. The plan itself has never been found, but its main points can be reconstructed from the detailed (and highly critical) commentary on it by Dr Erhard Wetzel of Rosenberg's Ostministerium, dated 27 April 1942.
This is the plan that is usually meant when the Generplan Ost is referred to in secondary literature. It is the plan that, judging from Wetzel's comments, proposed the resettlement in West Siberia of 31 million (including 5-6 million Jews) of the estimated 45 million non-German inhabitants of the specific areas designated for German settlement, over a period of 30 years. The plan calls for the settlement of 10 million Germans on the territory, consisting of Danzig- Westpreußen, Wartheland, Oberschlesien, Generalgouvernement, South Ostpreußen, Bialystok, the Baltic States, Ingermanland, Weißruthenien and some areas in Ukraine.
Wetzel is highly critical of the RSHA plan and clearly considers it infeasible, although he supports the concept of germanisation of territory and the deportation of population groups considered hostile to Germany. He proposes alternative actions, which are most probably to be regarded as representing the views of Rosenberg. There is no indication that this plan was ever given official approval in full by either Himmler or Hitler.
4. The Gesamtplan Ost of the RSHA. The existence of this plan can only be inferred indirectly; it is referred to in a letter of 12 June 1942 from Himmler to Ulrich Greifelt, head of the RKF. It also seems that certain of the comments made by Wetzel in April 1942 refer to this extended plan rather than the original RSHA plan.
The Gesamtplan Ost of the RSHA extended the area of proposed German settlement to the line Lake Ladoga - Valdai Heights - Briansk, and added as settlement areas Zhytomyr, Kamianets-Podilsk and parts of Vynnytsia.
5. The later Generalplan Ost of the RKF. This is known from a document of 71 pages dated 28 May 1942. In addition to the germanisation of the Polish territories annexed to the Reich, it proposes the establishment of three "borderlands" (Marken), Ingermanland, Narew-West Lithuania, and Gotengau (Crimea and Kherson province), and of 36 settlement bases, 14 in the GG, 14 in Ostland, and 8 in Ukraine. The period for the proposed resettlement is 25 years. The plan also gives a detailed estimate of the costs of the proposed ethnic German settlement, totals of 45.7 billion RM for the annexed Polish territories and 20.9 billion for the borderlands and bases, the greater part of which is to be raised by borrowing in the private capital market.
Nowhere does this plan talk of deporting any part of the existing non-German population to Siberia. Rather, it proposes the resettling of the population of land required for German settlement on alternative kolkhozes and sovkhozes within the area under German rule; the rationale for that mild treatment is stated to be the need to retain the cooperation of the native population. The previous method of "evacuation" is explicitly rejected. The desired level of germanisation will be reached when 50% of the population of the borderlands is ethnically German, and 25-30% of the population of the bases. The process of germanisation is estimated to take 25 to 30 years.
6. The "Generalsiedlungsplan" (global settlement plan) of the RKF. This is known from a preliminary draft dated 23 December 1942, written by Greifelt. There appears never to have been a final draft.
The plan defines a "Volksraum" with seven settlement areas: Luxemburg, Lorraine, Alsace, Upper Carinthia, Lower Styria, Bohemia-Moravia and the Incorporated Eastern Territories annexed from Poland. To that is added an "Ostsiedlungsraum" divided into six future Gaus, Litzmannstadt, Krakau, Lemberg, Lublin, Warschau und Bialystock. The Baltic area is increased through the addition of Pleskau (Pskov) and Ingermanland (the latter atributed to Estonia), but is not considered part of the "Ostsiedlungsraum", for unknown reasons.
The plan proposes a future population of around 23.1 million persons in the settlement areas of the Volksraum and in the Ostsiedlungsraum, consisting of an existing ethnic German population of 5.3 million, a residual germanised native population of 5.4 million, and 12.4 million German immigrants. As the existing population is 36.3 million, of which 5.6 million are already German(Reich citizens, ethnic Germans, settlers) and 5.4 million are germanisable natives, the plan implies the deportation of around 25 million persons, although such a deportation is not explicitly mentioned.
The same applies to the Baltic area. Of a population of 7.2 million, of which hardly any are considered German, 2.1 million are considered germanisable; the remaining 5.1 million disappear. 3.1 million German settlers are required to bring the total population back up to 5.2 million.
Thus, the deportation of a total of around 30 million non-Germans out of the settlement areas of the Volksraum, the Ostsiedlungsraum and the Baltic area is implied in the plan.
On 12 January 1943, Himmler demanded the inclusion of the Baltic area, the Crimea and Tauria in the "Ostsiedlungsraum". However, the events surrounding the fall of Stalingrad put all further planning activity on hold.
With regard to the question of whether any of the above plans could have been implemented in reality if Germany had retained control of the conquered territories, the thesis has this to say:
Die Generalplanungen basieren auf erobertem Raum im Osten, setzen also einen gewonnenen Krieg oder wenigstens mit vermindertem militärischem Aufwand haltbare Gebietsgewinne voraus. Das war, vom Generalplan des Jahres 1940 abgesehen, nicht der Fall. Deshalb ist es nicht verwunderlich, daß die Planungen Utopien bleiben mußten. Ob sie tatsächlich realitätsferne Hirngespinste geblieben wären, wie Heiber meint #49, oder ob nach Wasser "zwingend angenommen werden [kann], daß für den Fall, daß das nationalsozialistische Deutschland siegreich geblieben wäre, die SS Heinrich Himmlers auch den 'GPO' - so utopisch er auch heute scheinen mag - in vollem Umfang realisiert hätte" #50, ist in solcher Absolutheit nicht zu entscheiden. Es ist eher zu vermuten, daß mit Veränderungen der Gesamtlage entsprechend weitere Modifikationen gefolgt wären.
The global planning was based on conquered territory in the East, therefore they assume a victorious war or at least territorial gains able to be held with a reduced military expenditure. That was not the case, apart from the global plan of 1940. Thus, it is no wonder that the plans had to remain utopian. Whether they indeed would have remained pipedreams divorced from reality, as Heiber believes, or whether according to Wasser "it [can] be conclusively assumed that, in the case where National Socialist Germany had remained victorious, Heinrich Himmler's SS would have implemented the "GPO" also in its full extent - no matter how utopian it may appear today", canot be decided with absolute certainty. Rather it is to be supposed that, corresponding with changes in the total situaiton, further modifications would have occurred.
The Heiber referred to is Helmut Heiber, author of "Der Generalplan Ost", in: Vierteljahreshefte Für Zeitgeschichte, 6, 1958, pp. 281ff. Heiber was a very respected German historian connected to the prestigious Institut für Zeitgeschichte in MUnich; he died a couple of years ago.
If such an experienced historian as Heiber judges that the variants of the Generalplanost were all "realitätsferne Hirngespinste" (pipedreams divorced from reality) then his opinion should be given some weight, and not simply dismissed by some jumped up petty dictator on the Forum staff.
With regard to the question of whether any of the variants of the plan were officially approved and put into practice, the thesis concludes:
Es muß zur Kenntnis genommen werden, daß es keine endgültige, von Himmler akzeptierte Version gab, die eine Realisierung bereits hätte legitimieren können. Bis zum äußerst unwahrscheinlichen Beweis des Gegenteils durch einen entsprechenden Quellenfund muß also davon ausgegangen werden, daß die GPO die Planungsphase nie überschritten haben.
Ausgeblendet wird bei der Diskussion um Realisierbarkeit oder bereits erfolgte Teilumsetzungen weiterhin, daß Himmler "diesen Generalplan zu irgendeinem Zeitpunkt auch dem Führer übergeben" #23 wollte, das heißt, dessen Zustimmung bedurfte oder wenigstens darauf Wert legte.
Gegenwärtig wird die Bedeutung der Generalpläne eher überschätzt.
It must be borne in mind that there was no definitive version accepted by Himmler which could have legitimated an implementation. So we must proceed from the position that, failing the extremely unlikely proving of the opposite by means of an appropriate discovery of a source, the variants of the GPO never went beyond the planning stage.
The discussion about practicability or partial implementations that had already occurred continues to mask the fact that Himmler wanted "to hand this global plan over to the Führer at some point in time", ie he needed the latter's agreement or at least saw it as important.
These days the tendency is to overestimate the importance of the global plans.