General Seeckt's 1915 memo on German expansion in the East

Discussions on all aspects of Imperial Germany not covered in the other sections.
michael mills
Member
Posts: 8820
Joined: 11 Mar 2002 12:42
Location: Sydney, Australia

General Seeckt's 1915 memo on German expansion in the East

Post by michael mills » 14 Nov 2003 05:57

Here is an interesting item I have just found as a footnote in the 1953 book "The Incompatible Allies: A Memoir-History of German-Soviet Relations 1918-1941", by Gustav Hilger, a long-time translator and member of staff of the German Embassy in Moscow.

It is a memorandum written by General Hans von Seeckt in his own handwriting, apparently in 1915, and was published for the first time in Hilger's book. Hilger does not know whether it represents Seeckt's own views, or whether he was copying the ideas of someone else. He included it in his book to demonstrate that, although Seeckt was the foremost promoter of German-Soviet military co-operation after the First World War, he was not always pro-Russian.

The footnote occurs on pages 191-2 of the book.

Separate peace with France and Belgium, on the basis of the status quo ante. Then all land forces against Russia. Conquest of ten thousand square miles, expelling the population, except, of course, the Germans. Russia has a lot of room for them, particularly in magnificent Southern Siberia.

The German people needs great tasks. But we must not diffuse ourselves all over the world, but must concentrate our efforts in Europe. Form: Kingdom of Ostmark under Eitel Friedrich. Free distribution of vastest lands to a million or more veterans who want to become colonizers, the size going with the rank. Faced with the greed this stimulates, all resistance on the part of Social Democracy and Center will collapse at once. Once there are 200 millions of healthy and mostly German people on 200 thousand square miles of soil, say in the year 2000, we shall be at least somewhat secure against this immense Russia that might one day give birth to another Peter the Great. Skobelev already was dangerous.

This war will probably cost us a million men, among them the best. (In the beginning of January we had a total of 150,000 dead, 550,000 wounded, 225,000 of them serious, 325,000 light, and 150,000 missing). Against this what does it mean to expel 20 million men, among them a lot of riffraff of Jews, Poles, Masurians, Lithuanians, Letts, Esthonians, etc?

We have the power to do it; and we have been plunged into conditions which in terms of blood and destruction leave the age of migration far behind; hence, let us behave according to the customs of the age of migration.

Our ally can get his share of the spoils in Volhynia and Podolia if he wants.

Russia with her 400 thousand square miles will come to accept the loss of land, particularly if we cover her rear for further expansion in Asia.

In any event it seems to me to be easier to expel 20 million Russians than to digest 7 1/2 million Belgians.

Were she to win the war, Russia would take from us at least East Prussia, and West Prussia on the right bank of the Vistula. ie about one tenth of the area and one twentieth of the population of the German Reich.

If thus the entire German surplus of energy is for three generations concentrated on colonization in the East, then peace with England on the basis of the status quo also becomes possible; for we shall then have no conflicting interests in the foreseeable future. But if England wants it differently, then our navy is strong enough to continue the war ad infinitum.

If we need more colonies later, we could conquer them. But in the year 2000 the issue will hardly be between Germany and England, but between Europe, Asia, and America.



There is an amazing similarity between the ideas promulgated in Seeckt's memorandum and later National Socialist population policies for the Russian lands, in particular the Generalplan-Ost. Even the language used is reminiscent of SS-speak; the memorandum could have been written by Himmler.

Seekt's prediction of the situation in 2000 was also accurate in part. Although Germany lost two wars, and the German population and the area settled by it contracted rather than expanding (also predicted by Seeckt), by 2000 Russia had ceased to be a power factor, and no longer threatened Germany or anyone else.
Last edited by michael mills on 14 Nov 2003 13:04, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Grünherz
Financial supporter
Posts: 1152
Joined: 07 May 2003 09:13
Location: California

Von Seekt's memo...

Post by Grünherz » 14 Nov 2003 06:07

I always felt that Hitler's "East" ambitions stemmed from WWI. This is proof that his later ideas were shared by more than him. These must be ideas that were prevalent at the time.
Germany's defeat of Russia and the (as I understand it) "takeover" of the Ukraine in the first WW were just a prelude to the Nazi ambitions of WWII.
I must find a copy of this book and read it. Thanks for the very interesting info!
Tom

Return to “Imperial Germany”