German Plans to Seize Food from the Soviet Union

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michael mills
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German Plans to Seize Food from the Soviet Union

Post by michael mills » 15 Dec 2002 04:11

The following passage is from the book "Poland to Pearl Harbor: The Making of the Second World War", by William Carr, 1985.

Page 123:

Simple arithmetic deluded many experts into the belief that a war of exploitation could solve their economic problems permanently. For example, pre-war Europe (excluding Russia) consumed 142.5 million tons of grain of which she produced 132 million tons. The shortfall was made up with 10.5 million tons of imported grain, not available in wartime. Russia produced about 100 million tons of grain of which she exported only 2.5 million tons. Goering's economic experts planned to seize between 8 and 10 million tons of this grain to make up for the shortfall without any regard for the effect this would have on the Russian people. The Nazi leadership felt no sense of moral responsibility for the fate of 'racial inferiors' in the east; they were only statistics to be crossed off the ledger to maintain the living standards of the 'higher' races. Goering's Economic Staff East, an office created in April 1941 to deal specifically with the exploitation of the Russian economy in the short-term interest of the Third Reich, spelt it out in all its stark brutality in a directive in May 1941: "Many tens of millions of people will become redundant and will either die or have to emigrate to Siberia. Any attempt to save the population there from death by starvation by importing surpluses from the black soil zone would be at the expense of supplies to Europe. It would reduce Germany's staying power in the war, and would undermine Germany's and Europe's power to resist the blockade. This must be clearly and absolutely understood'.


Carr's figures show that the population of the Soviet Union consumed about 97.5 million tons of grain annually (production of about 100 tons less exports of 2.5 million). Of that amount, the Germans planned to seize between 5.5 and 7.5 million tons (total seizures less the amount normally exported). Those seizures would therefore have resulted in a reduction in consumption by the Soviet population (assuming no increase in production) of between 5.6% and 7.7% (= 5.5 and 7.5 million as a percentage of 97.5 million).

As the German authorities clearly foresaw, such a reduction in consumption would necessarily to starvation in the Soviet population, particularly in the food-deficit areas. However, it cannot be said that between 5.6 and 7.7% of the Soviet population would necessarily die, since the reduction in the amount of grain available would to some extent be accommodated by a general reduction in consumption to subsistence levels. Accordingly, if a Soviet population of 200 million in 1941 is assumed (it was actually somewhat less), total starvation deaths from the forecast reduction in grains available for consumption by the Soviet population woulkd probably not have greatly exceeded 10 million, again assuming no increase in production, no alternative sources of food, and no emigration of the surplus population. Therefore, it appears that the prediction by the Economic Staff East of several tens of millions of starvation deaths was somewhat exaggerated, perhaps for rhetorical effect.

There is some further interesting information in the 1948 book "The Russo-German Alliance" by "A. Rossi" (nom de plume of the Italian Socialist Angelo Tasca). On page 199 of the book, Tasca writes:

The Soviet leaders' anxiety to provide Germany with proofs of their goodwill was strikingly displayed, and on a lavish scale, in their trading arrangements. Since 10th January, 1941, the USSR and Germany had made a new agreement. There had been some difficulties at first, but they were soon smoothed out. After the beginning of March, 1941, the Russians became more conciliatory and delivered hundreds of thousands of tons of grain in advance of their contracts for September. They were less pressing for the goods Germany was to send in exchange and promised to supply during the following year five million tons of grain, which the Wehrmacht would not, therefore, have to go and find for itself in the Ukraine.


The interesting thing here is the five million tons of grain which the Soviet Union undertook to supply to Germany. That is double the normal annual export amount. How can that be explained?

One possible explanation is that the actual surplus of Soviet annual grain production, over domestic consumption, was in fact five million tons. In that case, the amount by which planned German seizures would have reduced domestic consumption would have been only between 3 and 5 million tons, or between 3% and 5.1%, and deaths from starvation due to the reduction in food available to the Soviet population would have been correspondingly lower, less than 10 million.

Another possibility is that surplus available for export was in fact only 2,5 million tons, but Stalin planned to extract another 2.5 million tons for delivery to Germany, regardless of the consequnences for his own people. In other words, Stalin planned to let some millions of his own people starve, in order to keep Germany happy. That is of course not an impossibility, given that in 1932-33, at a time of harvest failure, Stalin had seized food from Ukrainian and Caucasian peasants, causing mass starvation, in order to supply the cities where the supporters of the Bolshevik regime were concentrated.

A third possibility is that Stalin did not intend to deliver the promised amount anyway. If in March 1941, Stalin was planning to launch a westward offensive in the late summer of that year, then he would have been prepared to promise the Germans anything to keep them sweet, knowing that he would not have to keep to the contract.

Whatever the answer is, the above shows that the leftist mythology of a German "starvation plan", aiming at the extermination of part of the Soviet population, is a travesty based on a distortion of the data. When analysing the starvation that did take place after the German invasion, due allowance has to be made for the reduction in avaialble food through the widespread destruction of the 1941 harvest due to the "scorched-earth" policy ordered by Stalin in July of that year.

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Scott Smith
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Re: German Plans to Seize Food from the Soviet Union

Post by Scott Smith » 15 Dec 2002 04:57

michael mills wrote:Whatever the answer is, the above shows that the leftist mythology of a German "starvation plan", aiming at the extermination of part of the Soviet population, is a travesty based on a distortion of the data.

Europe could have imported foodstuffs from the United States, which was not at war until Pearl Harbor. But wait! The Royal Navy had imposed a Hunger Plan on Europe just to to prevent this.

That the Germans would prioritize their own troops and their own people for receiving the available food is hardly surprising and hardly unusual.
:)

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 20 Dec 2002 06:56

Scott Smith wrote:

Europe could have imported foodstuffs from the United States, which was not at war until Pearl Harbor. But wait! The Royal Navy had imposed a Hunger Plan on Europe just to to prevent this.

That the Germans would prioritize their own troops and their own people for receiving the available food is hardly surprising and hardly unusual.


The European annual grain deficit of 10 million tons only became a problem for Germany once it had conquered a large part of Europe, and thus became responsible for feeding it, in the teeth of the British blockade. The food shortages during the winter of 1940-41 showed the German Government just how big the problem already was and would become.

Food deliveries from the Soviet Union under the economic agreement of 11 February 1940 were enough to cover Germany's needs, but nowhere near enough to cover the total European deficit. Even the 5 million tons promised in the agreement of 10 January 1941 were only half the European requirement. Once Germany became responsible for feeding almost the entire European continent, the shortfall became much worse; the food situation in the winter of 1941-42 was close to famine (and of course it was precisely that for the Soviet POWs).

In the circumstances, it is not surprising that Germany planned to cover the European grain deficit through extracting the surplus from the Soviet Union. The latter simply could not supply enough under the existing arrangements, and furthermore, there was no real security of supply. For example, in September 1940 the Soviet Union drastically reduced its deliveries to Germany, in order to exert pressure on it to speed up deliveries of arms and other manufactured goods, and did not resume normal levels until the 1941 agreement.

However, it is obvious that the German plan was one for ruthless extraction of food, regardless of the effect on the Soviet population, rather than one for genocide using starvation as a weapon. That is shown by the fact that the Wirtschaftsstab-Ost, in its memorandum referring to the probable deaths of tens of millions as a result of the planned extraction of food, looked at the possibility of cultivating replacement food-crops in the food-deficit areas as a means of sustaining the population there.

The situation that would have been created by implementation of the German food-extraction plan is more analogous to the situation in Ireland during the Potato Famine of the 1840s. At that time, despite the failure of the potato crop, Ireland still produced enough food to feed its population. However, the food surplus, being in the hands of landlords, continued to be exported to England to feed the industrial working class there. As a result, there was mass-starvation in Ireland, with demographic effects vastly exceeding anything, proportionally, that the Soviet Union suffered. There was not just the mortality from starvation; there was also mass-emigration, analogous to emigration to Siberia of the surplus population in the food-deficit zones proposed by the Wirtschaftsstab-Ost.

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Roberto
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Post by Roberto » 20 Dec 2002 12:14

michael mills wrote:Whatever the answer is, the above shows that the leftist mythology of a German "starvation plan", aiming at the extermination of part of the Soviet population, is a travesty based on a distortion of the data.


Why does Mills quote secondary sources, instead of the contemporary documents that the supposed "leftist mythology" is based on?

Let's have a look at some of the documentary evidence:

Protocol of a meeting of the secretaries of state on 21.5.1941
Source: International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg 1948, Volume 31, page 84

[…]1.) Der Krieg ist nur weiterzuführen, wenn die gesamte Wehrmacht im 3. Kriegsjahr aus Rußland ernährt wird.
2.) Hierbei werden zweifellos zig Millionen Menschen verhungern, wenn von uns das für uns Notwendige aus dem Lande herausgeholt wird.
3.) Am wichtigsten ist die Bergung und Abtransport von Ölsaaten, Ölkuchen, dann erst Getreide. Das vorhandene Fett und Fleisch wird voraussichtlich die Truppe verbrauchen.[…]


My translation:

[…]1.) The war can only be continued if the whole Wehrmacht is fed out of Russia in the 3rd war year.
2.) Due to this umpteen million people will doubtlessly starve to death when we take what is necessary for us out of the land.[my emphasis]
3.) Most important is the collection and shipment of oil seeds and oil cake, only thereafter of grain. The available fat and meat will presumably be consumed by the troops.[…]


“Wirtschaftspolitische Richtlinien für die Wirtschaftsorganisation Ost vom 23.5.1941, erarbeitet von der Gruppe Landwirtschaft”
(“Guidelines of Economic Policy for the Economic Organization East, prepared by the Agriculture Group”)

Source: Bundesarchiv/Militärarchiv, RW 31/144

Damit ist das wesentlichste des Problems gekennzeichnet. Die Überschüsse Rußlands an Getreide werden entscheidend nicht durch die Höhe der Ernte, sondern durch die Höhe des Selbstverbrauchs bestimmt. Selbst eine geringe Herabsetzung um 30 kg je Kopf der Bevölkerung (220 kg statt 250 kg) und eine Herabsetzung der Pferderation um 25 % erzeugen einen Exportüberschuß, der fast an die Friedenshöhe heranreicht. […]
b) Da Deutschland bzw. Europa unter allen Umständen Überschüsse braucht, muß also der Konsum entsprechend herabgedrückt werden. Wie groß durch Drosselung des Verbrauchs die Überschussmengen werden können, zeigen die obigen Beispiele.
c) Dieses Herabdrücken des Konsums ist im Gegensatz zu den bisherigen besetzten Gebieten auch durchführbar deshalb, weil das Hauptüberschußgebiet räumlich scharf getrennt ist.
[…]Die Überschußgebiete liegen im Schwarzerdegebiet (also im Süden, Südosten) und im Kaukasus. Die Zuschußgebiete liegen im wesentlichen in der Waldzone des Nordens (Podsolböden). Daraus folgt: Eine Abriegelung der Schwarzerdegebiete muß unter allen Umständen mehr oder weniger hohe Überschüsse in diesen Gebieten für uns greifbar machen. Die Konzequenz ist die Nichtbelieferung der gesamten Waldzone einschließlich der Industriezentren und Petersburg. […]
1. Aufgabe der gesamten Industrie im Zuschußgebiet, im wesentlichen der Verarbeitungsindustrie im Moskauer und Petersburger Industriegebiet, desgleichen des Industriegebiets im Ural. Man kann wohl annehmen, daß diese Gebiete heute einen Zuschuß aus der Produktionszone von 5-10 Mill.t [Getreide] beziehen. […]
2. […]
3. Jede weitere Ausnahme zwecks Erhaltung dieses oder jenes Industriebezirks oder Industrieunternehmens in der Zuschußzone muß abgelehnt werden.
4. Erhalten werden kann die Industie nur, soweit sie im Überschußgebiet liegt. […]
Aus dieser Lage, die die Billigung der höchsten Stellen erfahren hat, […] ergeben sich folgende Konzequenzen:
I. für die Waldzone: […]
b) Ein deutsches Interesse an der Erhaltung der Erzeugungskraft dieser Gebiete ist, auch hinsichtlich der Versorgung der dort stehenden Truppen, nicht vorhanden. […] Die Bevölkerung dieser Gebiete, insbesondere die Bevölkerung der Städte, wird größter Hungersnot entgegensehen müssen. Es wird darauf ankommen, die Bevölkerung in die sibirischen Räume abzulenken. Da Eisenbahntransport nicht in Frage kommt, wird auch dieses Problem ein äußerst schwieriges sein. […]
Aus all dem folgt, daß die deutsche Verwaltung in diesem Gebiet wohl bestrebt sein kann, die Folgen der zweifellos eintretenden Hungersnot zu mildern und den Naturalisierungsprozeß zu beschleunigen. Man kann bestrebt sein, diese Gebiete intensiver zu bewirtschaften im Sinne einer Ausdehnung der Kartoffelanbaufläche und anderer für den Konsum wichtiger, hohe Erträge gebender Früchte. Die Hungersnot ist dadurch nicht zu bannen. Viele 10 Millionen Menschen werden in diesem Gebiet überflüssig und werden sterben oder nach Sibirien auswandern müssen. Versuche, die Bevölkerung dort vor dem Hungertode dadurch zu retten, daß man aus der Schwarzerdezone Überschüsse heranzieht, können nur auf Kosten der Versorgung Europas gehen. Sie unterbinden die Durchhaltefähigkeit Deutschlands im Kriege, sie unterbinden die Blockadefestigkeit Deutschlands und Europas. Darüber muß absolute Klarheit herrschen. […]
I. Armeeversorgung. Die Ernährungslage Deutschlands in dritten Kriegsjahr erfordert gebieterisch, daß die Wehrmacht in ihrer Gesamtverpflegung nicht aus dem großdeutschen Raum bzw. angegliederten oder befreundeten Gebieten, die diesen Raum durch Ausfuhren versorgen, lebt. Dieses Minimalziel, die Versorgung der Wehrmacht aus Feindesland im dritten und evtl. weiteren Kriegsjahren, muß unter allen Umständen erreicht werden.
II. Versorgung der deutschen Zivilbevölkerung
1) Erst nach der Abdeckung dieses Heeresbedarfs, der unter allen Umständen aus den Osträumen bereitgestellt werden muß, haben Lieferungen nach Deutschland zur Deckung des Zivilbedarfs einzusetzen. Hiebei ist jede Verzettelung auf Nebengebiete unter allen Umständen zu unterlassen. Im Vordergrund steht der Transport von Ölsaaten – insbesondere Sonnenblumenkerne, aber auch Leinsaat, Baumwollsaat, Sojabohnen – nach Deutschland, um die Fettbilanz zu verbessern. […]
2) Erst nach der Bewältigung des Transports der Ölsaaten kann eine Getreideausfuhr stattfinden, die selbstverständlich außerordentlich erwünscht ist, da ja Großdeutschland in steigendem Maße die besetzten Gebiete beliefern muß und auch selbst für die Zukunft seiner Reserven nach der schlechten Ernte 1940 und der bestenfalls zu erwartenden mittleren Ernte in diesem Jahr auffüllen muß. […]
3) […]
V. Diese Ausführungen zeigen, worauf es ankommt. Das Minimalziel muß sein, Deutschland im 3. Kriegsjahr völlig von der Versorgung der eigenen Wehrmacht zu befreien, um der deutschen Ernährungswirtschaft die Möglichkeit zu geben, einerseits die bisherigen Rationen beizubehalten, andererseits gewisse Reserven für die Zukunft anzulegen. Außerdem wird es notwendig sein, auf den drei entscheidenden Lebensmittelgebieten – Ölsaaten, Getreide und Fleisch – Zufuhren in einem größtmöglichen Umfang für Deutschland freizumachen, um die Ernährung nicht nur Deutschlands, sondern auch der besetzten Gebiete im Norden und Westen zu gewährleisten. […]
Abschließend sei nochmals auf das Grundsätzliche hingewiesen. Rußland hat sich unter dem bolschewistischen System aus reinen Machtgründen aus Europa zurückgezogen und so das europäische arbeitsteilige Gleichgewicht gestört. Unsere Aufgabe, Rußland wieder arbeitsteilig in Europa einzubeziehen, bedeutet zwangsläufig die Zerreißung des jetzigen wirtschaftlichen Gleichgewichts der UdSSR. Es kommt also unter keinen Umständen auf eine Erhaltung des Bisherigen an, sondern auf bewußte Abkehr vom Gewordenen und Einbeziehung der Ernährungswirtschaft Rußlands in den europäischen Rahmen. Daraus folgt zwangsläufig ein Absterben sowohl der Industrie wie eines großen Teils der Menschen in den bisherigen Zuschußgebieten.
Diese Alternative kann nicht hart und scharf genug herausgestellt werden.


My translation:

Thus the essence of the problem has been outlined. The grain excesses of Russia are primarily determined not by the quantities harvested but by the amounts they consume themselves. Even a small reduction of 30 kg per head of the population (220 kg instead of 250 kg) and a reduction of the horse ration by 25 % will create an export excess almost reaching peacetime levels. […]
b) As Germany and Europe need excesses under any circumstances, consume must be reduced accordingly. How large the excess amounts resulting from a restriction of consume may become is shown by the above examples.
c) Contrary to the situation in the hitherto occupied areas this reduction of consume is feasible also because there is a clear geographical separation of the main excess region.
[…]The excess regions are located in the black earth region (i.e. in the south and southeast) and in the Caucasus. The food importing regions are mainly located in the northern forest zone (podsol[?] soil). This means that sealing off the black earth regions must under any circumstances make more or less high excesses available to us in these areas. The consequence is the non-supply of the entire forest zone including the industrial centers and Petersburg.[my emphasis] […]
1. We will give up all industry in the food importing region, mainly the manufacturing industry in the Moscow and Petersburg industrial area and the Ural industrial region. It can be assumed that these regions are currently importing an excess from the production zone in the amount of 5-10 million tons of grain. […]
2. […]
3. Any further exception for maintaining this or that industrial district or enterprise in the importing area must be rejected.
4. Industry can be maintained only insofar as located in the excess region. […]
From this situation, which has been approved by the highest entities, […] there result the following consequences:
II. for the forest zone: […]
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.[my emphasis] 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.[my emphasis][…]
III. Army food supplies. The food situation of Germany in the third year of the war makes it mandatory that the Wehrmacht does not take its food supply out of the greater German area or the annexed or allied areas supplying this area through exports. This minimal goal, the supply of the Wehrmacht out of enemy territory in the third and eventually further years of the war, must be achieved under any circumstances.[my emphasis]
IV. Food supplies for the German civilian population
1) Only after covering the army’s needs, which under any circumstance must occur out of the eastern areas, may there be shipments to Germany to cover civilian needs. Deviations to secondary areas are to be avoided under any circumstances. Priority is to be given to the shipment of oil seeds – especially sunflower seeds, but also linen seed, cotton seed and soy beans – to Germany in order to improve the fats balance. […]
2) Only after the transport of the oil seeds has been handled can there be shipments of grain, which of course are extremely desirable as Greater Germany must increasingly supply the occupied areas and also stock up its own reserves after the bad harvest of 1940 and the at best average harvest to be expected this year. […]
3) […]
V. These considerations show what the key issues are. The minimal goal must be to completely free Germany from the feeding of its own Wehrmacht in the 3rd year of the war in order to give German food economy the possibility of on the one hand keeping the rations so far issued and on the other to create certain reserves for the future.[my emphasis] It will further be necessary to make available supplies for Germany to the greatest extent possible in the three key fields of nourishment – oil seeds, grain and meat – in order to guarantee the feeding not only of Germany, but also of the occupied areas in the north and west. […]
Finally the basics must be again pointed out. Russia under the Bolshevik system has withdrawn from Europe for pure reasons of power and thus disturbed the European work-sharing balance. Our task of reintegrating Russia into this balance necessarily implies tearing apart the present-day economic balance of the USSR. There is no question of maintaining what is there, but we are consciously moving away from it and integrating the food economy of Russia in the European area. This will necessarily lead both the industry and a great part of the people in the hitherto food importing areas to die off.
This alternative cannot be pointed out clearly and harshly enough.
[my emphasis]


File note on a meeting about economic policies and organization of the economy in the newly occupied territories with Hermann Göring on 8.11.1941
Bundesarchiv/Militärarchiv, WI ID/1222

[…] Hinsichtlich der Ernährung bemerkte er [Göring], daß die Truppe ihren Bedarf an Konserven wesentlich einschränken müsse. Der Wehrmacht machte er den Vorwurf, dass sich im Gebiet um Minsk in den Wäldern noch grosse Viehherden herumtreiben, die aber wegen der Partisanen nicht geborgen werden können. Einsatz von Truppen sei unbedingt notwendig.
Das Schicksal der Grosstädte insbesondere Leningrads sei ihm völlig schleierhaft. In diesem Kriege werde das grösste Sterben seit dem dreissigjährigen Krieg sein.
Wenn das Getreide nicht abbefördert werden kann, soll dieses zur Schweinezucht verwandt werden. Ab 1943 verlange er eine Höchstausnutzung der Ukraine. Die Versorgung ganz Europas müsse dann sichergestellt sein. […]


My translation:

[…] In regard to food matters he [Göring] remarked that the troops must significantly reduce their consume of conserves. To the Wehrmacht he addressed the reproach that in the area around Minsk there are still huge herds of cattle running around in the woods which cannot be collected due to the partisans. The deployment of troops was absolutely necessary.
The fate of the major cities, especially Leningrad, was completely indifferent to him.[my emphasis] [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.
If the grain could not be shipped off it should be used for raising pigs.
[my emphasis] From 1943 onward he required a maximum exploitation of the Ukraine. The food supply of the whole of Europe must then be guaranteed. […]



Top level meeting at Orsha on 13.11.1941
Source: State Archive Nuremberg, NOKW-1535

[…]Bemerkungen des Generalquartiermeisters [Wagner] nach dem Abendessen.

[…]Die Frage der Ernährung der Zivilbevölkerung ist katastrophal. Um überhaupt zu einem Ergebnis xu kommen, mußte man zu einer Klassifizierung schreiten. Es ist klar, daß innerhalb dieser Klassifizierung an oberster Stelle die Truppe und ihre Bedürfnisse stehen müssen. Der Bevölkerung kann nur ein Existenzminimum zugebilligt werden. Dabei wird das flache Land noch einigermaßen erträglich darstehen. Unlösbar dagegen ist die Frage der Ernährung der Großstädte. Es kann keinem Zweifel unterliegen, daß insbesondere Leningrad verhungern muß, denn es ist unmöglich, diese Stadt zu ernähren. Aufgabe der Führung kann es nur sein, die Truppe hiervon und von damit verbundenen Erscheinungen fern zu halten.


My translation:

[…]Remarks of the General Quarter Master [Wagner] after dinner

[…]The issue of feeding the civilian population is catastrophic. In order to achieve a result at all there must be made a classification. It is clear that within this classification the troops and their needs occupy the uppermost rank. The population can only be granted an existence minimum.[my emphasis] The situation in the countryside will still be fairly bearable. 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.[my emphasis]


Points to note from the top level meeting at Orsha on 13.11.1941, General Quarter Master Eduard Wagner
Source: State Archive Nuremberg, NOKW-1535

[…]Nichtarbeitende Kriegsgefangene in den Gefangenenlagern haben zu verhungern.
Arbeitende Kriegsgefangene können im Einzelfalle auch aus Heeresbeständen ernährt werden. Generell kann auch das angesichts der allgemeinen Erhährungslage leider nicht befohlen werden.
Die Lage im Verpflegungsnachschub bei der Heeresgruppe Mitte ist z. Zt. So, dass eine sofortige Hilfe nicht einsetzen kann […]


My translation:

[…]Non-working prisoners of war in the prisoner camps are to starve to death.[my emphasis]
Working prisoners of war can in individual cases also be fed out of army supplies. Given the general food situation this cannot be generally ordered, however.
The food supply situation at Army Group Center is currently such that immediate help cannot be provided.[…]


In view of the above, it seems to me that the "leftist mythology" did nothing other than follow the documentary evidence where it leads.

Mills has read the book Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord by "leftist" German historian Christian Gerlach, so he should know that Gerlach points out that and why the starvation plan did not work out as originally planned, as well as the consequences of the failure of a plan that Gerlach considers to have been "utopian" in its original form. One of these consequences was the decision, taken in the autumn of 1941, to let "non-working" Soviet prisoners of war starve to death.

Christian Gerlach, Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord, page 16:

[...]Eine lineare Senkung des sowjetischen Konsumniveaus nach einem Einmarsch schien den deutschen Agrarexperten nicht erfolgversprechend, weil dann Schwarzhandel und Selbstversorgung der Bevölkerung nicht kontrollierbar seien. Deshalb müsse man die “Zuschußgebiete” innerhalb der UdSSR abriegeln und damit den Hungertod von “zig Millionen Menschen” – man prognostizierte etwa 30 Millionen Tote – herbeiführen. Dieser bis dahin beispiellose Plan zielte einerseits gegen die Bevölkerung der “Waldzone” (Nord-, Mittel- und mit Einschränkungen Weißrußland), andererseits gegen die Einwohner der Städte im europäischen Teil der UdSSR.[...]


My translation:

[...]A linear reduction of the Soviet consume level after the invasion would not be successful in the opinion of the German agrarian experts, for it would be impossible to control black market trading and food procurement by the population Thus it was considered necessary to seal off the “food-importing areas” within the USSR and thus to cause the death by starvation of “umpteen million people” – 30 million dead were predicted[my emphasis]. This hitherto unparalleled plan was directed against the population of the “forest zone” (northern and central Russia and, with restrictions, Belorussia) on the one hand and against the inhabitants of the cities in the European part of the USSR on the other.[...]


As above, page 10:

[...]Hätte das NS-Regime im Mai 1941 ein plötzliches Ende gefunden, wäre es vor allem durch die Morde an 70 000 Kranken und Behinderten in der sogenannten “Euthanasie”-Aktion, an mehreren zehntausend jüdischen und nichtjüdischen Polen und an vielen tausend Konzentrationslagerinsassen im Deutschen Reich berüchtigt geblieben. Zum Ende des Jahres 1941 was die Zahl der Opfer der deutschen Gewaltpolitik um über drei Millionen Menschen angewachsen (die Gefallenen der Roten Armee nicht gerechnet) – darunter etwa 900 000 Juden, neun Zehntel davon in den besetzten sowjetischen Gebieten, und annähernd zwei Millionen sowjetische Kriegsgefangene. Erst im Laufe des Jahres 1942 wurde dann die jüdische Bevölkerung Europas zum größten Opfer der deutschen Vernichtungspolitik.

[Footnote: Weitere große Opfer hatte bis dahin die deutsche Politik zur angeblichen Partisanenbekämpfung (mindestens 100 000 Menschen, vor allem in Weißrußland, Mittelrußland und Serbien, wurden getötet) sowie die Hungerblockade gegen Leningrad mit Hunderttausenden Toten hervorgerufen][...]


My translation:

[...]Had the NS-regime suddenly come to an end in May 1941, it would have remained infamous mainly on account of the murder of 70 000 sick and handicapped in the so-called “euthanasia” – action, of several ten thousand Jewish and non-Jewish Poles and of many thousand concentration camp inmates in the German Reich. At the end of the year 1941 the number of victims of German policies of violence had increased by more than three million people (not counting the battle dead of the Red Army) – among them about 900 000 Jews, nine tenths thereof in the occupied Soviet territories, and approximately two million Soviet prisoners of war. [footnote] Only in the course of the year 1942 the Jewish population then became the main victim of German extermination policies.

[Footnote: Further huge number of victims had until then been claimed by the German policy of alleged anti-partisan warfare (at least 100 000 people, mainly in Belorussia, Central Russia and Serbia were killed) and the hunger blockade against Leningrad with hundreds of thousands of dead][...]


As above, page 29 and following:

[...]Beide Konzepte, der Hungerplan und die “Territoriallösung Sowjetunion”, waren utopisch und praktisch nicht zu verwirklichen. Man konnte weder Millionen Menschen einfach zum Verhungern zwingen, Städte und ganze Gebiete absperren [footnote] zumal mit schwachen Sicherungstruppen, noch was die Durchführung einer Deportation so vieler Millionen jüdischer Menschen in dünnbesiedelte, weit entfernte und verkehrstechnisch schlecht erschlossene Gebiete angesichts der voraussehbaren Transportprobleme in der westlichen Sowjetunion technisch durchführbar. In jedem Fall waren beides Nachkriegspläne. Es waren gewissermaßen noch destruktive Visionen, die erst bei ihrem Scheitern zur Suche nach realisierbaren Vernichtungplänen führten.

[Footnote: Gemeint ist hier der Normalfall im Besatzungsgebiet. Die Aushungerung von Leningrad 1941 bis 1943, der mindestens 600 000 Menschen zum Opfer fielen, was eine Ausnahme; die deutsche Belagerung band wesentliche Teile zweier deutscher Armeen][...]


My translation:

[...]Both concepts, the Hunger Plan and the “Territorial Solution Soviet Union” were utopian and could not be carried out in practice. It was not possible to simply force millions of people to starve to death, seal of cities and whole regions [footnote], especially with the weak security troops, nor was it technically possible to carry out the deportation of so many millions of Jewish people to the thinly populated, far away areas with few transportation facilities.[my emphasis] Both were in any case plans for the postwar period. They were in a certain sense mere destructive visions, which only after their failure led to the search for extermination plans that could be implemented.

[Footnote: This refers to the normal case in the occupation area. The starvation of Leningrad, from 1941 to 1943, which claimed at least 600 000 victims, was an exception; the German siege tied down most of two German armies][...]


As above, page 30 to 56 (my translation):

[...]In the first weeks and months the Soviet civilian population in huge areas did not receive any food. No rations were established; this was not the Germans’ task, it was said. But then the competent military administration changed its mind and imposed against the German economic administration the introduction of rations, which by themselves were too low to live on, however. The reasons [for this change] were, first, that the cities had to serve as bases for the German troops regarding billeting and transport, second, that the military administration with its weak forces could afford neither epidemics nor unrest, and third, that it was in no conditions to keep the population under control in such a way that it did not gain access to food. Actually thousands of civilians were soon moving along the country roads to obtain food, and the black market flourished. Thus the Hunger Plan in its original form turned out to be in-executable within two or three months.[my emphasis] A counselor of the German military administration analyzed this as follows:

“It is natural that the population of the cities should defend itself against the starvation intended for it[my emphasis], i.e. the urban population tries to obtain food by trading utensils of daily use that the peasants need. This way out will always be possible for the Ukrainian medium cities and cannot be wholly prevented by any police executive, which to carry out there is also too little personnel.”

Yet at the same time, and also in the face of supply problems greater than expected, the principle was upheld that the Eastern Army had to feed itself “out of the land”. This put the German occupation authorities under great pressure to act.

[...]

During pre-decision meetings with Backe and branches of the Wehrmacht on 16 September Göring, with reference to the German military collapse in 1918, issued the directive that in the German Reich the rations could by no means – as the competent bureaus were considering to do – be reduced once again; “reckless saving measures” were exclusively to be taken by other peoples. “Even if one wanted to feed all other inhabitants [besides those working in the German interest], one could not do so in the newly occupied eastern territory”, said Göring. Regarding the feeding of the Soviet prisoners of war one was “bound to no international obligations […] Their feeding can thus be oriented only by the work performed for us.” The German food policy in the Soviet Union was to turn mainly against the Soviet prisoners of war, selectively against the non-working ones.

[...]

The additional result of several days of meetings between the Reich Food Ministry, the Chief Group Agriculture of the Economy Staff East, representatives of the Reich Commissariats Ostland and Ukraine, the Economy Inspection Center and South and the General Government, and Göring’s personal referent Gönnert about the “treatment of the Russian civilian population and the prisoners of war resulting from the impossibility to sufficiently feed the same”, was that the prisoners of war in the occupied Soviet territories were to be fed in the “rank of urgency” after all other population groups – including the Soviet civilian population. Göring also now declared that it was “far-fetched to build borders between the urban and the rural population in the wide spaces of Russia”, which means that like the experts he considered it impossible to seal off the cities, keep their inhabitants from access to food and simply let them starve to death. The prisoners of war were the only population group regarding which this still seemed possible, and the starvation death of those no longer “able to work” was now under way.[my emphasis][...]


michael mills wrote:When analysing the starvation that did take place after the German invasion, due allowance has to be made for the reduction in avaialble food through the widespread destruction of the 1941 harvest due to the "scorched-earth" policy ordered by Stalin in July of that year.


The influence of these hurried Soviet measures, contrary to that of the German exploitation and food distribution policies, is likely to have been rather reduced. At least this is what the absence of mention of Stalin's "scorched earth" policy in German documents other than propaganda directives suggests. One such directive is transcribed on page 128 of the 1997 edition of Christian Streit's book Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945. My translation:

[...]The military leadership tried already at an early stage to find a relieving explanation for the mass dying of the prisoners of war, given that the misery of the prisoners led to unrest among the civilian population of the occupied territories and of course among the prisoners themselves. The Department Wehrmacht Propaganda at the Wehrmacht Command Staff on 10 November gave instructions as to how the propaganda was to be conducted[my emphasis]:

As the mood in the prisoner of was camps cannot be hidden from the civilian population and the partisans and thus will also become known to the enemy, a carefully prepared counter-propaganda[my emphasis] […] must be carried out. […] It is not the intention of the German Wehrmacht to insufficiently feed the prisoners of war or to delay their labor employment. The guilt for this war and thus also for the privations that the prisoners of war must bear lies with the Moscow rulers. Stalin has given the criminal order to destroy food stock and means of production and transport. The prisoners’ own countrymen have partially carried out this diabolic order[my emphasis] […] The German Wehrmacht has orderly supplies at its disposal and has all that it needs. Nobody can expect of it, however, that beside this it still carries out huge transports of food for the prisoners while the fighting is still going on.
The tight supplies and the makeshift accommodation characterize especially the transit camps at the front. As the prisoners are transported further westward, the situation improves.
[...]


That blaming the plight of Soviet prisoners of war and the civilian population on Stalin's "scorched earth" order was mere propaganda also becomes apparent from the following passages of the memorandum by Prof. Seraphim attached to the letter that the Armament Inspector Ukraine, Lieutenant General Hans Leykauf, sent to the Chief of the Industrial Armament Department at the Wehrmacht Supreme Command, General of Infantry Thomas, on 2 December 1941:

[…]Eine Abschöpfung landwirtschaftlicher Überschüsse aus der Ukraine für Ernährungszwecke des Reiches ist mithin nur denkbar, wenn der ukrainische Binnenverkehr auf ein Minimum gedrückt wird. Es wird versucht das zu erreichen
1. durch Ausmerzung überflüssiger Esser (Juden, Bevölkerung der ukrainischen Großstädte, die, wie Kiew, überhaupt keine Lebensmittelzuteilung erhalten);
2. durch äußerste Reduktion der den Ukrainern der übrigen Städte zur Verfügung gestellten Rationen;
3. durch Verminderung des Verzehrs der bäuerlichen Bevölkerung.
Man muß sich darüber klar sein, daß in der Ukraine letzten Endes nur die Ukrainer durch Arbeit Wirtschaftswerte erzeugen können. Wenn wir die Juden totschießen, die Kriegsgefangenen umkommen lassen, die Großstadtbevölkerung zum erheblichen Teile dem Hungertode ausliefern, im kommenden Jahre auch einen Teil der Landbevölkerung durch Hunger verlieren werden, bleibt die Frage unbeantwortet: Wer denn hier eigentlich Wirtschaftswerte produzieren soll. Daß bei dem Engpaß Mensch im Deutschen Reich weder jetzt noch in absehbarer Zukunft Deutsche in erforderlicher Zahl zur Verfügung stehen können, ist unzweifelhaft. Wenn der Ukrainer aber arbeiten soll, muß er physisch erhalten werden, nicht aus einem Sentiment, sondern aus sehr nüchternen wirtschaftlichen Erwägungen.[…]


Source of quote:

Ernst Klee / Willi Dreßen, “Gott mit uns“. Der deutsche Vernichtungskrieg im Osten 1939-1945, 1989 S. Fischer Verlag GmbH Frankfurt am Main, pages 198 to 201.
Reference: Nuremberg Document 3257-PS, IMT, Volume XXXII.

My translation:

[…]The export of agricultural surpluses from the Ukraine for the purpose of feeding the Reich is only possible if the internal trade in the Ukraine is reduced to a minimum. This can be attained by the following measures:
1. Elimination of unwanted consumers (Jews; the populations of the large Ukrainian towns, which, like Kiev, receive no food allocation whatsoever).
2. Reduction as far as possible of food rations allocated to the Ukrainians in other towns.
3. Reduction of food consumption by the peasant population.
It must be realized that in the Ukraine eventually only the Ukrainians can produce economic values by labor. If we shoot the Jews, let the prisoners of war perish, condemn considerable parts of the urban population to death by starvation and also lose a part of the rural population by hunger during the next year, the question remains unanswered: Who, then, is supposed to produce economic values here?[my emphasis]
As to the scarce resource man, it is beyond doubt that neither now nor in a foreseeable time there will be enough Germans available in the German Reich. If the Ukrainian is to be made to work, we must look after his physical existence, not for sentimental motives, but out of very sober economic considerations.[…]


It becomes clear from the above that the author considered the feeding or starving of Soviet prisoners of war and the civilian population to depend on the German administrative authorities in the occupied territories, and not on circumstances for which these authorities were not responsible.

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Post by Roberto » 20 Dec 2002 15:37

michael mills wrote:As the German authorities clearly foresaw, such a reduction in consumption would necessarily to starvation in the Soviet population, particularly in the food-deficit areas. However, it cannot be said that between 5.6 and 7.7% of the Soviet population would necessarily die, since the reduction in the amount of grain available would to some extent be accommodated by a general reduction in consumption to subsistence levels. Accordingly, if a Soviet population of 200 million in 1941 is assumed (it was actually somewhat less), total starvation deaths from the forecast reduction in grains available for consumption by the Soviet population woulkd probably not have greatly exceeded 10 million, again assuming no increase in production, no alternative sources of food, and no emigration of the surplus population. Therefore, it appears that the prediction by the Economic Staff East of several tens of millions of starvation deaths was somewhat exaggerated, perhaps for rhetorical effect.


Mills forgets to mention how the reduction of Soviet food consumption to serve German needs was meant to be brought about. From my translation of the already quoted

“Wirtschaftspolitische Richtlinien für die Wirtschaftsorganisation Ost vom 23.5.1941, erarbeitet von der Gruppe Landwirtschaft”
(“Guidelines of Economic Policy for the Economic Organization East, prepared by the Agriculture Group”)


[…]c) Contrary to the situation in the hitherto occupied areas this reduction of consume is feasible also because there is a clear geographical separation of the main excess region.
[…]The excess regions are located in the black earth region (i.e. in the south and southeast) and in the Caucasus. The food importing regions are mainly located in the northern forest zone (podsol[?] soil). This means that sealing off the black earth regions must under any circumstances make more or less high excesses available to us in these areas. The consequence is the non-supply of the entire forest zone including the industrial centers and Petersburg.[my emphasis] […]


As German historian Christian Gerlach points out (Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord, page 16, my translation):

[...]A linear reduction of the Soviet consume level after the invasion would not be successful in the opinion of the German agrarian experts, for it would be impossible to control black market trading and food procurement by the population.[my emphasis] Thus it was considered necessary to seal off the “food-importing areas” within the USSR and thus to cause the death by starvation of “umpteen million people” – 30 million dead were predicted[my emphasis]. This hitherto unparalleled plan was directed against the population of the “forest zone” (northern and central Russia and, with restrictions, Belorussia) on the one hand and against the inhabitants of the cities in the European part of the USSR on the other.[...]


So the plan was not for linear reduction of Soviet consumption levels, which would have resulted in less grievous starvation or no starvation at all, but for sealing off the so-called “food importing areas” (the forest zone of northern and central Russia, the major cities) and thereby condemning their inhabitants to death by starvation or emigration to Siberia.

Under these circumstances, the assessment that 30 million people would die if the plan was implemented does not seem at all exaggerated. Mind that the "Agriculture Group" expected this dying to occur not throughout the Soviet Union or the part thereof occupied by German troops, but in
the "food-importing areas" to be sealed off:

[...]From all this there follows that the German administration in these regions[my emphasis] 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[my emphasis] 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[my emphasis] 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.[…]


An exaggeration "for rhetorical effect" in an internal memorandum prepared by a working group of bureaeucrats is a rather unlikely phenomenon, anyway.

michael mills wrote:The interesting thing here is the five million tons of grain which the Soviet Union undertook to supply to Germany. That is double the normal annual export amount. How can that be explained?

One possible explanation is that the actual surplus of Soviet annual grain production, over domestic consumption, was in fact five million tons. In that case, the amount by which planned German seizures would have reduced domestic consumption would have been only between 3 and 5 million tons, or between 3% and 5.1%, and deaths from starvation due to the reduction in food available to the Soviet population would have been correspondingly lower, less than 10 million.


A contention that stumbles over the way in which the German plan was to be carried out, see above: not linear reduction of consumption, but sealing off entire regions from food supplies and thereby causing the starvation death of “umpteen million people”.

michael mills wrote:Another possibility is that surplus available for export was in fact only 2,5 million tons, but Stalin planned to extract another 2.5 million tons for delivery to Germany, regardless of the consequnences for his own people. In other words, Stalin planned to let some millions of his own people starve, in order to keep Germany happy. That is of course not an impossibility, given that in 1932-33, at a time of harvest failure, Stalin had seized food from Ukrainian and Caucasian peasants, causing mass starvation, in order to supply the cities where the supporters of the Bolshevik regime were concentrated.


I don’t see how such a criminal plan on the part of Stalin would make the equally criminal plan of the Nazi government look any better.

The difference being, of course, that the Nazi plan is documented whereas the above considerations about a Soviet plan with similarly sinister consequences are mere guesswork.

The reasons for the food seizures leading to famine in 1932-33 are stated in a somewhat oversimplified manner, to say the least; the issue for Stalin was not “to supply the cities where the supporters of the Bolshevik regime were concentrated” but to overcome the peasants’ resistance to the implementation of collectivization and also the separatist nationalism of Ukraine.

michael mills wrote:A third possibility is that Stalin did not intend to deliver the promised amount anyway. If in March 1941, Stalin was planning to launch a westward offensive in the late summer of that year, then he would have been prepared to promise the Germans anything to keep them sweet, knowing that he would not have to keep to the contract.


Which leads us back to a theory favored by apologists of the Nazi regime, a theory that, unfortunately for these people, is based on much hollow speculation and little if any evidence.

A far more simple and less speculative explanation would be that, to the extent that exports to Germany would require a reduction of Soviet consumption levels, such reduction was foreseen to be carried out linearly throughout the Soviet Union, the logical approach of a totalitarian state with a centralized economy and state-controlled food distribution and also one that would avoid the grievous food shortages in a particular region and the resulting mass starvation that the German plan was foreseen to bring about.
Last edited by Roberto on 20 Dec 2002 20:53, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Dan » 20 Dec 2002 17:29

Whoa, there cowboys

The interesting thing here is the five million tons of grain which the Soviet Union undertook to supply to Germany. That is double the normal annual export amount. How can that be explained?


In agriculture 5% is considered non-significant mathmatically. Too many variables. Harvests in areas like the Soviet Unions could vary 30% between years. Also, there's lots of other stuff people can eat when bread is in short suppy, potatoes are the classic European example, and you don't have to wait untill the end of the season to eat them. The displacement of labor, re-allocations of reasources like Nitrates, and differing priorities when it comes to transport are far more important than 5% decrease in a given year of grain.

My explaination is simple. Stalin ordered more hectares to be planted to make up any deficits.

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Post by michael mills » 21 Dec 2002 02:40

Dan wrote:

In agriculture 5% is considered non-significant mathmatically. Too many variables. Harvests in areas like the Soviet Unions could vary 30% between years. Also, there's lots of other stuff people can eat when bread is in short suppy, potatoes are the classic European example, and you don't have to wait untill the end of the season to eat them. The displacement of labor, re-allocations of reasources like Nitrates, and differing priorities when it comes to transport are far more important than 5% decrease in a given year of grain.

My explaination is simple. Stalin ordered more hectares to be planted to make up any deficits.


THis is a very interesting comment. The German conquerors could also have planted more hectares, and the more efficient German management could also have led to increased production, particularly once the war was over.

The comment about the substitution of potatoes for bread in short supply is also significant. There is a sentence in the passage which Roberto quotes ad nauseam, but which he always ignores. It is:

It can be attempted to cultivate there [in the food-deficit zone] areas more extensively in the sense of an extension of the area for cultivating potatoes and other high yield fruits important for consumption. This will not stop the famine, however.


That shows that the German planners did canvass the option of planting potatoes to make up for the grain that normally was transferred from the food-surplus to the food-deficit zone, but would now be diverted to Germany. They realised that that would not be sufficient however.

However, Carr's figures show that a mortality of tens of millions would have been unlikely.

By the way, where does the prediction of 30 million deaths come from? It does not occur in the passage quoted ad nauseam by Roberto. Herbert Backe did claim that the population of European Russia had grown by 30 million since the First World War, and that was the reason for the decline in Soviet grain exports, and that therefore a population decline of the same degree would lead to an increase in exports. However, such a decline did not presuppose a mass-extermination; it could be achieved by emigration from the Soviet Union, or internal migration within the country. Since the Revolution, population movements, largely through deportation but also through voluntary movement, greater than that level had already been achieved.

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Post by Scott Smith » 21 Dec 2002 06:13

michael mills wrote:
Dan wrote:In agriculture 5% is considered non-significant mathmatically. Too many variables. Harvests in areas like the Soviet Unions could vary 30% between years. Also, there's lots of other stuff people can eat when bread is in short suppy, potatoes are the classic European example, and you don't have to wait untill the end of the season to eat them. The displacement of labor, re-allocations of reasources like Nitrates, and differing priorities when it comes to transport are far more important than 5% decrease in a given year of grain.

My explaination is simple. Stalin ordered more hectares to be planted to make up any deficits.

This is a very interesting comment. The German conquerors could also have planted more hectares, and the more efficient German management could also have led to increased production, particularly once the war was over.

The Soviet famine in the 1930s was largely confined to Ukraine as it was being squeezed as a virtual colony to increase agricultural exports to generate foreign currency and for Western technology to finance the Industrialization program of Stalin's Socialism In One Country.

During the German wartime occupation, however, the Germans were confronted with a very effective scorched-Earth plan which thwarted their efforts to get the economy rolling and use it to their advantage.

Sanning wrote:Not only did Soviet brutality and lack of any restraint differ from the practice during the historic national wars in Europe, but it soon also became apparent that the challenge of a smoking remains of an economy, run on an organizational pattern vastly different from that familiar to Europeans, posed insurmountable problems. The added liability of the disappearance of the entire organizational, administrative and technical apparatus turned a task which was almost impossible to begin with into chaos. Chaos brought starvation, and starvation brought support for the partisans. The book has not yet been written which analyses the German military defeat in Russia in terms of her failure to get the economy of the occupied territories organized effectively and producing again.

[url=http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v06/v06p-91_Sanning.html]"Soviet Scorched-Earth Warfare: Facts And Consequences," by Walter N. Sanning
[/url]

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Post by Roberto » 23 Dec 2002 13:12

michael mills wrote:Dan wrote:

In agriculture 5% is considered non-significant mathmatically. Too many variables. Harvests in areas like the Soviet Unions could vary 30% between years. Also, there's lots of other stuff people can eat when bread is in short suppy, potatoes are the classic European example, and you don't have to wait untill the end of the season to eat them. The displacement of labor, re-allocations of reasources like Nitrates, and differing priorities when it comes to transport are far more important than 5% decrease in a given year of grain.

My explaination is simple. Stalin ordered more hectares to be planted to make up any deficits.


THis is a very interesting comment. The German conquerors could also have planted more hectares, and the more efficient German management could also have led to increased production, particularly once the war was over.

The comment about the substitution of potatoes for bread in short supply is also significant. There is a sentence in the passage which Roberto quotes ad nauseam, but which he always ignores. It is:

It can be attempted to cultivate there [in the food-deficit zone] areas more extensively in the sense of an extension of the area for cultivating potatoes and other high yield fruits important for consumption. This will not stop the famine, however.


That shows that the German planners did canvass the option of planting potatoes to make up for the grain that normally was transferred from the food-surplus to the food-deficit zone, but would now be diverted to Germany. They realised that that would not be sufficient however.


And for good reason, given that the soil in the forest zone of the north was not suitable for agriculture. By the way, why doesn’t Mills mention the foreseen consequences of the expected insufficiency or failure of an attempt to cultivate the infertile soil in the “food-importing areas” more extensively? From the quoted memorandum of 23 May 1941, my translation:

[…]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.[my emphasis][…]


The above passage shows that the German planners considered food supplies from the fertile black earth zone to be the only way to avoid mass starvation in the food-deficit zone. This was out of the question, however, as the food excesses from the fertile zone were meant for the German armed forces and the home front.

michael mills wrote:However, Carr's figures show that a mortality of tens of millions would have been unlikely.


Do they?

5 to 10 million tons of grain (the figures from the a.m. memorandum, no need to quote secondary sources) withdrawn from the “forest zone including the industrial centers and Petersburg”, which depended on these imports for survival, and instead distributed to the German armed forces or shipped to Germany, would have left how many people at starvation level?

According to a memorandum by the Chefgruppe Landwirtschaft des Wirtschaftsstabes Ost of 03.11.1941, Bundesarchiv/Militärarchiv, RW 31/310, the city of Leningrad had a consumption of 700,000 tons per annum (“Der Bedarf für die Stadt Leningrad beträgt ca. 700 000 to.”)

Leningrad, according to Salisbury’s The 900 Days, had 2,500,000 inhabitants at the beginning of the blockade in September 1941 – the original population minus at least half a million evacuees in August 1941 plus 100,000 refugees.

Assuming that the German estimate of required food supplies referred to this population and not to the higher prewar population, this means that the non-delivery of 5 to 10 million tons of grain to the “forest zone including the industrial centers and Petersburg” would have left between 18 and 36 million people without food supplies.

So the prediction that “many tens of millions” would die or have to emigrate does not seem all that exaggerated.

michael mills wrote:By the way, where does the prediction of 30 million deaths come from?


If I remember correctly, Göring said something in this direction to Count Ciano when he mocked himself about the dying of Soviet prisoners of war on 25 November 1941:

Peter Longerich wrote: The former Higher SS- and Police Leader, Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, testified on this question during the Nuremberg trials: Himmler had already stated in a speech made before the beginning of the war, at the Wewelsburg, a cult site of the SS, that the war against Russia was intended to decimate the Slavic population by 30 million. This goal was to be achieved by means of a systematic policy of starvation of the indigenous population. Unmistakable statements to this effect by top Nazi leaders are available. Thus Göring indicated to the Italian Foreign Minister, Count Ciano, in November 1941 that in the course of the year "20-30 million persons will die in Russia of hunger".[my emphasis] At a meeting of Secretaries of State on 2 May 1941, directives were set for the future economic exploitation of the Eastern territories to be occupied: it was stated therein that "without doubt umpteen millions of people will starve to death when we take what we need from the country". The guidelines for the future economic organisation of the East (Agricultural Staff Group) from 23 May 1941 very clearly affirmed that, with respect to the industrialised areas in northern Russia (which were no longer to be supplied with goods from the southern areas): "Many tens of millions of people will be made superfluous in this area and will die or be forced to emigrate to Siberia.


Source of quote:

http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.org/e ... /pl202.asp

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Post by Roberto » 23 Dec 2002 13:22

Scott Smith wrote:The Soviet famine in the 1930s was largely confined to Ukraine as it was being squeezed as a virtual colony to increase agricultural exports to generate foreign currency and for Western technology to finance the Industrialization program of Stalin's Socialism In One Country.


Smith and/or his guru Sanning, seem to know rather little about the background of Stalin’s forced famine in the Ukraine in 1932/33, which was mainly related to Stalin’s struggle against Ukrainian nationalism:

[...]During the 1920s the Ukraine still enjoyed a considerable measure of cultural and linguistic freedom. But the former Commissar of Nationalities had not changed his mind about the divisive nature of national feeling, whether Ukrainian or Georgian and, when the opportunity offered, its elimination was still on his agenda.
By 1929-30 the time had come, and Stalin was ready to attack ‘the nationalist deviation in the Ukraine’, linking it with collectivization, which would accomplish ‘the destruction of Ukrainian nationalism’s social base - the individual land-holdings’. ‘The kulak was blamed as a bearer of nationalist ideas, the nationalist as a sponsor of kulak attitudes.’
[...]
At the peasant level, which Stalin declared ‘the very essence of the nationality problem’, collectivization was pressed more strongly, and met with more militant resistance in the Ukraine than in the rest of Russia. By mid-1932 70 per cent of Ukrainian peasants were in kolkhozes, compared with the figure of 59 per cent for Russia overall. But this only meant that the class war had now to be pursued within the kolkhozes, where (so Stalin declared) many kulaks and other anti-Soviet elements had sought to take refuge; and were they were responsible for the resistance to the meeting of procurement quotas.
Stalin was incensed with the efforts of the Ukrainian party leadership to get the targets set by Moscow reduced. Kossior, the Ukrainian First Secretary, passed the message on. Addressing a meeting of activists in the summer of 1930 he told them:

<<The peasant is adopting a new tactic. He refuses to reap the harvest. He wants the bread grain to die in order to choke the Soviet government with the bony hand of famine. But the enemy miscalculates. We will show him what famine is. Your task is to stop the kulak sabotage of the harvest; you must bring it in to the last grain and immediately send it off to the delivery point. The peasants are not working. They are counting on previously harvested grain they have hidden in pits. We must force them to open their pits.>>

[…]

Stalin, who took over personal command of what he regarded as a military operation, called for ‘a smashing blow’ at the kolkhozniki, because ‘whole squads of them had turned against the Soviet state’.

[...]

People had been dying through the winter of 1932-3, but death on a mass scale began early in March 1933. In other parts of Russia, outside the areas with large Ukrainian populations, shortage of food was much less, or, as in the rich Russian ‘Central Agricultural Region’, there was no famine at all. The total Soviet grain crop was no worse than that of 1931, only 12 per cent below the 1926 - 30 average, and well above famine level. It was not a crop failure but the excessive demands of the state, ruthlessly enforced, which cost the lives of as many as five million Ukrainian peasants, out of a farm population of twenty to twenty-five million.
There were large reserves of grain which Stalin could have ordered made available, as the Tsarist government had always done, and the Soviet government too in the famine of 1918 to 1921. But in 1932-3 it was strictly forbidden to organize relief. There would have been even larger reserves if the government had not insisted on exporting abroad a massive 4.8 million tons of grain in 1930 and the even larger amount of 5.2 million tons in 1931. In 1932 and 1933 these exports were cut to under 2 million tons. In fact, there were stores of grain in the Ukraine itself, some of it in local granaries under armed guard - much of it in large heaps piled high in the open (for example at Kiev - Petrovka station), where it was left to rot, still under guard.
[...]
Victor Kravchenko, an activist at the time who later escaped abroad, was told by Khatayevich, one of Stalin’s agents:

<<A ruthless struggle is going on between the peasantry and our regime. It’s a struggle to the death. This year was a test of our strength and their endurance. It took a famine to show them who is master here. It has cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay.>> [...]


Source of quote: Alan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin. Parallel Lives, 1993 Fontana Press, London, pages 286 and following

Scott Smith wrote:During the German wartime occupation, however, the Germans were confronted with a very effective scorched-Earth plan which thwarted their efforts to get the economy rolling and use it to their advantage.


Says Smith after his guru Sanning, who expectably presents no evidence as to the supposed effects of the “very effective scorched-Earth plan”.

German officials seem to have been less convinced of the negative effects of Stalin’s measures. In the “Special Instruction No. 44 by the Economy Staff East of 4.11.1941 about the Feeding of the Civilian Population in the Occupied Territories” (Bundesarchiv/Militärarchiv, RW 31/310) we read the following:

[…]Rücksichtslose Plünderungen und Zerstörungen der Bolschewisten haben das Wirtschafts- und Verkehrsleben in den besetzten Ostgebieten auf das schwerste erschüttert. Not und Elend sind für die einheimische Bevölkerung, insbesondere in den Großstädten, die unvermeidliche Folge. Die Verantwortung dafür liegt ausschliesslich bei den sowjetischen Machthabern, die den Befehl zur sinnlosen Zerstörung gegeben haben.
Aufgabe der Wirtschaftsdienststellen im Operationsgebiet ist es trotzdem, die Ernährung der Zivilbevölkerung sicherzustellen, soweit es ohne Beeinträchtigung der deutschen Belange möglich ist.[…]


My translation:

[…]Reckless plundering and destruction by the Bolsheviks have heavily shattered economy and transport in the occupied eastern territories. Need and misery for the indigenous population, especially in the big cities, are the inevitable consequence. The responsibility for this lies exclusively with the Soviet regime, which issued the order for senseless destruction.
The task of the economy authorities in the area of military operations is nevertheless the securing of the feeding of the civilian population, insofar as this is possible without affecting German interests.[…]


A statement that is sure to fill the hearts of Nazi apologists with joy. The problem is that the ensuing statements in the same document reveal the above to be a mere hypocritical propaganda stance:

[…]Für die Landbevölkerung sind besondere Ernährungsvorschriften nicht vorgesehen, weil diese im allgemeinen in der Lage ist, sich selbst zu versorgen. Die Lebensmittelversorgung der städtischen Bevölkerung muß insbesonder hinter die Bedarfsdeckung der Wehrmacht, den deutschen Behörden und die Lieferungsauflagen ins Reich zurücktreten.
[…]
Dabei ist insbesondere zu berücksichtigen, daß
a) die Ernährungs- und Transportlage eine großzügige Behandlung der Zivilversorgung nicht zuläßt und jede Überschreitung der festgesetzten Höchstsätze untragbare Nachteile für die Ernährung der Heimat nach sich zieht,
b) Wehrmacht oder für Wehrmachts- bzw. Reichsbedarf vorgesehene Bestände auf keinen Fall zur Verpflegung der Zivilbevölkerung herangezogen werden dürfen und
c) die Bevölkerung zunächst vielfach noch über Vorräte verfügt, weil mit dem Abzug der russ. Wehrmacht die vorhandenen Lebensmittelvorräte verteilt oder von ihr geplündert wurden. Eine wirkliche Notlage tritt deshalb im allgemeinen erst später ein.[…]


My translation:

[…]For the rural population special feeding provisions are not foreseen, because they are generally in conditions to feed themselves[my emphasis]. The feeding of the urban population must stand back especially behind the fulfillment of the Wehrmacht’s needs, the German authorities and the required supplies to the Reich.
[…]
In this respect it must especially be taken into account that
a) the food and transport situation does not allow for a generous treatment of the civilian population and any exceeding of the maximum rates established will lead to unbearable disadvantages for the feeding of the homeland,
b) the Wehrmacht or stocks foreseen for the needs of the Wehrmacht or the Reich may under no circumstances be used to feed the civilian population and
c) the population often still has stocks available, because during the retreat of the Russian armed forced the available food stocks were either distributed to or plundered by the local population.[my emphasis] A true situation of need will thus generally occur only at a later stage.[…]


So when it came to justifying why the local rural population did not need to be fed and the urban population would only get the leftovers of the Wehrmacht, local German authorities and the German home front, the “senseless destruction” ordered by the Soviet regime had left the rural population “generally in conditions to feed themselves” and the urban population with available stocks which, during the Soviet retreat, had been “either distributed” to the local population by those senselessly destroying Bolsheviks or “plundered” by this population after the “reckless plundering and destruction by the Bolsheviks” had failed to destroy them.

The authors of the above quoted instructions don’t seem to have noticed, or minded, the statements that contradicted their introductory propaganda stance.

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Post by viriato » 23 Dec 2002 19:44

Scott Smith wrote:

The Soviet famine in the 1930s was largely confined to Ukraine...


The Ukraine wasn't the only region touched by the famine in the 1930's. Other regions were touched, the lower Volga, the Kuban and north Kazakhestan. What it can be also said is that those regions were populated in the main by non-Russians, Ukrainians in the Kuban, Germans and to a lesser extent, Ukrainians and Estonians in the lower Volga (down from Samara) and Kazakhs in northern Kazakhestan, and these ethnic minorities were overwhelming touched but not the Russians themselves.

http://www.brama.com/ukraine/history/famine/

http://www.artukraine.com/famineart/famine14.htm

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Post by viriato » 23 Dec 2002 19:55

Roberto I have to disagree with the numbers you stated in your previous post:

...this means that the non-delivery of 5 to 10 million tons of grain to the “forest zone including the industrial centers and Petersburg” would have left between 18 and 36 million people without food supplies.


If the USSR produced 100 million tons of grain per year and was able to both export a little part of it (2,5million tons) and still feed the population in peace time having some 190 million inhabitants, it would mean that you would need half a million tons to feed each million inhabitants (97.5/190). As so the 5 to 10 million tons of grain would feed from 10 to 20 million inhabitants and not the 18 to 36 million we can read in your statement.

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Post by Roberto » 23 Dec 2002 21:17

viriato wrote:Roberto I have to disagree with the numbers you stated in your previous post:

...this means that the non-delivery of 5 to 10 million tons of grain to the “forest zone including the industrial centers and Petersburg” would have left between 18 and 36 million people without food supplies.


If the USSR produced 100 million tons of grain per year and was able to both export a little part of it (2,5million tons) and still feed the population in peace time having some 190 million inhabitants, it would mean that you would need half a million tons to feed each million inhabitants (97.5/190). As so the 5 to 10 million tons of grain would feed from 10 to 20 million inhabitants and not the 18 to 36 million we can read in your statement.


Correct, assuming that the population and production figures are accurate and that all grain not exported was distributed to the population (i.e. none stored by the state as a reserve).

My attempt to reconstruct the calculations of Göring, Backe et al, as I pointed out, was based on a German document according to which 700,000 tons would be needed to feed the population of Leningrad, which I estimated at 2,500,000 on the basis of the data in Salisbury's The 900 Days.

According to this book, page 449, the daily flour ration in Leningrad up to 11 September 1941 was 2,100 tons for 2,500,000 people - which would make 756,000 tons a year or 0.3 tons per person per year. Starvation level was reached, and people started dying like flies, when the daily ration dropped to 510 tons per day, by the end of November 1941.

Which means that, for starvation to come about, food supplies didn't have to be cut by 100 %, but "only" by 75 %.

Which in turn means that the amount you would have to consider are 5,000,000 tons ./. 0,75 = 6,666,667 tons to 10,000,000 tons ./. 0,75 = 13,333,333 tons, corresponding to ca. 13 - 26 million people in the food deficit zone.

By my calculation based on Salisbury's Leningrad figures, on the other hand, the same amounts of flour would correspond to between 22 million and 44 million people, who would be reduced to starvation level if their food supplies were cut by 75 %, i.e. by 5 million or 10 million tons per annum, respectively.

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Post by Darrin » 24 Dec 2002 02:57

The sov lost roughly 26 mil civ assuming this is over 4 years and does not include the 2 years of prewar. While this number is large the number who died of something a kin to starvation and famine was probably very small.

Remeber 26 mil is the total civ deaths from all causes.

All figures are pulled from a hat some more so than others.

With a pop of almost 200 mil the sov could have easily lost 2 mil dead each year just from normal causes during peace time. That would equal 8 mil over 4 years.

The ger killed around 3.5 mil rus during the war now some of these might have been army but the vast majority where civ. Also the ger killed many communits, etc... perhaps as many as 2 mil civ in total for a combined toal of 5 mil civ jews and commies etc.

If the rus lost 2 mil in peactime a year it would not be unexpected if losses do to rus army activites and partisan warfare might have doubled this figur for 8 mil extra during the war. Not to mention civ deaths on the front line, rus camps, gulags est...

Scorthed earth there and back des many crops for perhaps 2 cycles. This temopary transitory problem would proably casue 4 mil dead all by itself.

If these numbers were accurate only 1 mil civ might have died due to starvation.

And the ger were not in occupation of the entrie area by themselves. Some other nations occuping the ares in the south with equal or greater reputations.

The ger army in rus was no more than 3 mil a tiny slice of rus pop off 200 mil.

Planned ger starvation seems to be much less of a probelm then the war in general. Any food the ger took for thier army and nation were probably minor contrubitors. Excpet during the first year when crops were des perhaps. The pesants had been use to the rus constant interfering not to mention weather. After decades they strored supplies and grew unaccouted crops. Any shortage of flour could be made up other crops. And in the rus occupied area they had acess to LL imports.

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Post by Scott Smith » 24 Dec 2002 04:34

Roberto wrote:Smith and/or his guru Sanning, seem to know rather little about the background of Stalin’s forced famine in the Ukraine in 1932/33, which was mainly related to Stalin’s struggle against Ukrainian nationalism

Hmmm, where do I say that crushing Ukrainian nationalism was not a factor in the Ukrainian famine? The Red Tsar killed two birds with one stone through the famine. Non-Russian areas of the Soviet Empire (chiefly Ukraine) were squeezed to generate surplus agricultural exports in order to gain foreign exchange to finance the industrialization program of Stalin's Socialism In One Country.

Professor Riasanovsky wrote:[…] According to Baykov's calculation, 86 percent of all industrial investment during the First Five-Year Plan [i.e., only 51 months from 1928-1932] went into heavy industry. Whole new branches of industry, such as the chemical, automobile, agricultural machinery, aviation, machine tool, and electrical, were created from slight beginnings or even from scratch. Over fifteen hundred new factories were built. Gigantic industrial complexes, exemplified by Magnitostroi in the Urals and Kuznetsstroi in western Siberia, began to take shape. Entire cities arose in the wilderness. Magnitogorsk, for instance, acquired in a few years a population of a quarter of a million.

The First Five-Year Plan was proclaimed a great success: officially it was fulfilled in industry to the extent of 93.7 per cent in four years and three months. Furthermore, heavy industry, concerned with means of production, exceeded its quota, registering 103.4 per cent while light or consumer's goods industry produced 84.9 percent of its assigned total. Of course, Soviet production claims included exaggerations, difficult to estimate because of the limited and often misleading nature of Soviet statistics for the period. A recent expert judgment states:

Yet when everything is said and done, the results in terms of growth of industrial output were unprecedented in the history of modern industrialization in Russia. True, the Soviet official index exaggerated the speed of growth. The rates of 20 and more per cent a year that were claimed never materialized in reality. It is, however, possible now on the basis of the computations performed by American economists and statisticians to conclude that the average annual rate of industrial growth in Russia throughout the first ten years after the initiation of the First Five Year Plan was somewhere between 12 and 14 per cent.

Or to put it very conservatively and without percentages: "The fact remain beyond dispute that quantitatively, during the years covered by the F.Y.P., industrial production did increase and very substantially." Quality, however, was often sacrificed to quantity, and the production results achieved varied greatly from item to item, with remarkable overfulfillments of the plan in some cases and underfulfillments in others. Besides, the great industrial spurt was accompanied by shortages of consumers' goods, rationing, and various other privations and hardships which extended to all of the people, who at the same time were forced to work harder than ever before. The whole country underwent a quasi-military mobilization reminiscent of War Communism.

But the greatest transformation probably occurred in the countryside. As already mentioned, the collectivization of agriculture, planned originally as a gradual advance, became a flood. Tens of thousands of trusted Communists and proletarians--the celebrated "twenty-five thousand" in one instance, actually twenty-seven thousand--were sent from town into villages to organize kolkhozes [village collective-farms] and establish socialism. Local authorities and Party organizations, with the police and troops where necessary, forced peasants into the collectives. A tremendous resistance developed. About a million of the so-called kulaks, some five million people counting their families, disappeared in the process, often having been sent to concentration camps in far-off Siberia or Central Asia. A frightful famine swept the Ukraine. […]

[Emphasis mine.]

Nicholas V. Riassanovsky. A History of Russia, pp. 496-497. Oxford University Press: NY, 1984 [ca. 1963]; ISBN: 0195033612.


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