Did Hitler Sell Out Lithuania To Stalin?

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Did Hitler Sell Out Lithuania To Stalin?

Post by David Thompson » 07 Jul 2005 05:37

From Joseph Poprzeczny, Odilo Globocnik: Hitler's Man In The East, McFarland & Co., Inc., Jefferson (NC): 2004, pp. 83-88:
V. Lublin District's SS- und Polizeifuehrer 83

* * *

Lublin District Not Lithuania

Although too much should not be made of it, Globocnik could have become Himmler's senior SS and police officer in Lithuania rather than in what was soon to be designated Lublin District (See Map 2), had territorial issues with the Soviet Union been finalized differently immediately after Poland's rapid defeat. The reason for this quirk of history was that under the 23 August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which paved the way for World War II—Hitler invading Poland just eight days later and Stalin occupying eastern Poland 25 days after that date — Lublin province (wojewodztwo) had initially been assigned to the Soviet "sphere of interest," while Lithuania was to have come within Berlin's orbit. Most significantly, it was Hitler who asked to have the dividing line changed following Poland's collapse, according to former United States State Department consultant, Herbert Feis.2 Consequently, under the terms of a second or refining treaty, finalized on 28 September 1939 — when precise borders, as opposed to mere "spheres of influence" were determined — most of Lithuania was reallocated to the Soviet Union while the Lublin District was moved over to Germany on payment by the Soviet Union of "the amount of $7,500,000 gold dollars, the equivalent of 31,500,000 German marks."3 Relevant here is that it was Hitler who moved, although belatedly, to acquire defeated Poland's Lublin province, whose western perimeter was quickly brought into play as a possible Jewish Reservation — a rural out-of-the-way ghetto—and Globocnik, within a matter of weeks, was assigned to become this district's senior SS and police officer. The circumstantial evidence would appear to be that Lublin was earmarked early for some special or possible demographic purpose. Hitler appears to have intended acquiring the Lublin lands as a Berlin-controlled region, for during a secret address to his generals delivered on 22 August 1939, he had said, inter alia,

V. Lublin District's SS- und Polizeiführer 85

that
"The new method of conducting war corresponds to the new draft of the frontiers — one continuous rampart from Reval, Lublin and Kosice to the mouth of the Danube. The rest will be awarded to the Russians. Ribbentrop has instructions to make every offer and to accept every demand."4
The later renegotiated articles of the 23 August secret Hitler-Stalin Protocol read:
Article I. In the event of the territorial-political reorganization of the districts making up the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the northern border of Lithuania is simultaneously the border of the spheres of influence of Germany and the USSR. The interests of Lithuania with respect of the Vilnius district are recognized by both sides.

Article II. In the event of a territorial-political reorganization of the districts making up the Polish Republic, the border of the spheres of interest of Germany and the USSR will run approximately along the Pissa, Narew, Vistula and San Rivers.

The question of whether it is in the [signatories] mutual interest to preserve the independent Polish State and what the borders of that state will be ascertained conclusively only in the course of future political development.

In any event both governments will resolve this matter through friendly mutual agreement [emphasis added].5
This initial arrangement was altered at Hitler's behest with the exchange of Lithuania, then within the German "sphere of interest," for the Lublin area, as follows:
Point 1 of the secret supplementary protocol signed on 23 August 1939, is changed so that the territory of the Lithuanian state is included in the sphere of interest of the USSR because, on the other side, Lublin voivodship and parts of Warsaw voivodship are included in the sphere of interest of Germany (see map accompanying the Treaty on Friendship and the Border between the USSR and Germany, signed today). As soon as the Government of the USSR takes special measures on Lithuanian territory to protect its interests, the present German-Lithuanian border, with the object of making it a natural and simple border, will be adjusted so that the Lithuanian territory that lies south-west of the line shown on the map goes to Germany.6
The fact that the city of Lublin became the organizational hub or the SS's nerve center for the planning of the extermination of so many European Jews, after February 1942, and that Lublin District was selected as the launching pad for Generalplan Ost after November 1942, may have been a coincidence. But that may not have been altogether the case. The region may have been chosen quite early, by Hitler himself, as a possible demographic Sonderlaboratorium —a venue for some imminent demographic plans and policies. The fact that there was a Lublin Jewish Reservation created so early seems significant. For Globocnik to have been stationed there suggests he was

86 Odilo Globocnik, Hitler's Man in the East

seen to be the right, pliant, and obedient person when it came to undertaking such special demographic "experimentation." He was seen as the SS man with the necessary qualities to undertake and guide any such "experiments." True, it is difficult to say with any degree of confidence precisely what Hitler's puzzling phrase, "The new method of conducting war corresponds to the new draft of the frontiers," meant precisely. But notwithstanding that, it seems reasonably clear that Hitler saw Lublin and its environs as being out on "the frontier," and thus well situated for conducting some form of "experimentation," well away from Western Europe, and largely out of sight. Perhaps Lithuania, closer to Moscow, was seen to be inappropriate for such activities. Lublin, on the other hand, was on the edge of the long sought after black earth fields of Ukraine, which had such an appeal to so many Nazis. It is against such a background of vague considerations and Hitler's deliberate, if belated, move to acquire this Polish region, that it is valuable to view Globocnik's appointment to Lublin.

The best-selling monumental book by American correspondent and author William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, briefly alludes to the belated switch in control of Lithuania and Lublin District by Europe's two totalitarian powers. Shirer writes that 10 days after Soviet forces had commenced occupying eastern Poland, that is, on 27 September, Ribbentrop had flown to Moscow to refine the parameters of the dismantling of Poland and its three smaller northeastern Baltic neighbors (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), "by means of a friendly agreement." On Ribbentrop's arrival in Moscow a German diplomat handed him two telegrams just received from Berlin, drawing attention to the fact that Moscow had already begun exerting pressure on the most northerly of these neighbors, Estonia, by demanding that its government allow the basing of two Red Army divisions and an air force brigade within this tiny Baltic state's territory. Hitler responded by ordering the evacuation of some 86,000 Volksdeutsche from Estonia and adjacent Latvia.
Before the day was up he [Hitler] was also giving up Lithuania, on Germany's north-eastern border, which according to the secret clauses of the Moscow Pact, belonged to the Reich's sphere.

Stalin had presented the Germans two choices in the meetings with Ribbentrop, which began at 10 P.M. on 27 September and lasted until 1am. They were, as he [Stalin] had suggested to [Reich ambassador] Schulenburg on the 25th: acceptance of the original line of demarcation in Poland along the Pissa, Narew, Vistula and San Rivers, with Germany getting Lithuania; or yielding Lithuania to Russia in return for more Polish territory (the province of Lublin and the lands to the east of Warsaw) which would give the Germans almost all of the Polish people [emphasis added (by Poprzeczny)].7
Shirer goes on to state that Stalin had strongly urged Ribbentrop to yield to the second option, that is, that Moscow acquire Lithuania and forsake the

V. Lublin District's SS- und Polizeifuehrer 87

Lublin region. Shirer says: "Ribbentrop in a long telegram to Hitler filed at 4am on 28 September put it up to Hitler, who agreed."8 This would appear to contradict the claim by Herbert Feis, who, although not giving the source of his contention that it was Hitler who pushed to acquire the Lublin region, prepared his study using documentary evidence rather than what he was told at the time, which Shirer, as a correspondent, necessarily relied upon so often. Unfortunately, Ribbentrop's memoirs, written while he awaited execution, fail to give a clear answer to this issue. Writing about his September 1939 visit to Moscow, he said:
It again became apparent what tough bargainers the Russians were in obtaining their diplomatic aims, for Stalin and Molotov, while waiving claims to the Lublin region of Poland, made a new claim which conflicted with our agreement the preceding August; now they also wanted to include Lithuania in their sphere of influence. As the Russians stubbornly insisted on this I telephoned the Führer from the Kremlin. He rang me back a little later to say, with some misgivings, I sensed, that he agreed to Russia including Lithuania in her sphere of influence. He added: "I want to establish quite firm and close relations." When I reported these words to Stalin he said laconically: "Hitler knows his business" [emphasis added (by Poprzeczny)].9
Ribbentrop's phrase "while waiving claims to the Lublin region of Poland" appears to suggest that it could have been the German side that sought this area, with Stalin concurring, and suggesting Lithuania become his in return. That the German side was surprised that Stalin expected territory for territory is amazing and difficult to believe. Perhaps they felt that territory could be gained for goods involved in the trade component of the negotiations. Stalin was a tough wheeler and dealer, a man who, as well as practicing purging of opponents, and demographic or ethnic cleansing, also practiced
realpolitik.

Shirer's succinct account, which recognized the belated Lublin acquisition by Berlin, also fails to reveal that the Lithuanian-Lublin territorial exchange included a substantial cash equivalent consideration. Both the August and September territorial deals meant that Europe's post–Great War order, as created at Versailles in 1919–20, and in the absence of both Germany (which was simply punished) and a new Red Russia, was finally being fully and completely dismantled, with Hitler moving to acquire lands that extended even farther east than Bismarck's Prussia had once controlled, while Stalin was recouping most of the lands once held by Czarist Russia. These were lands which his predecessor, Vladimir Lenin, had effectively lost to new independent nations whose very existence was sanctioned at Versailles. It is also interesting that the August Pact was signed by senior German and Soviet officials while they stood beneath a photograph of Vladimir Lenin. There was no longer to be room for Wilsonian notions of national self-determination, and

88 Odilo Globocnik, Hitler's Man in the East

the man who best described the long-held hidden intention of both totalitarian powers to do precisely this was Bolshevism's founder and Stalin's often-ingenious predecessor, Lenin himself, who said in 1920, "Germany wants revenge, and we want revolution. For the moment our interests are the same, but when our ways part, they will be our most ferocious and greatest enemy. Time will tell whether a German hegemony or a Communist federation is to arise out of the ruins of Europe."10

Though Lenin's statement can only be described as brilliantly prescient, not even he could have imagined in 1920 that within about a decade of his uttering these words, a new consolidated political force, based on old German volkisch notions, whose origins dated back to the previous century, would appear with powerful representatives in Berlin, for whom mere hegemony over Eastern Europe was not the aim. Adolf Hitler's volkisch movement sought far more, namely, the removal and murder of all Jews, and the removal of all Slays (i.e. eastward expulsion) from all Greater Germanic Reich-controlled lands which the Reich's leadership was determined to conquer militarily, right up to the western face of the Ural Mountain range, with the newly-acquired lands to be settled only by Germans. This was Hitlerism and Himmlerism, at its crudest and simplest, and Germany's primary reason for waging World War II in the European theatre. For this dream to be realized after military conquest had been effected, men like Globocnik, a bloody ethnic cleanser, were essential: They were going to put these long-held German, volkisch dreams into reality. At the end of a successful eastern war, Hitler's and Himmler's senior SS men like Globocnik would therefore have been involved in establishing across Western Siberia a network of Slavic Bantustans.

This trio of aims was to become Globocnik's three missions while in Lublin: extermination of all Jews; expulsion of all Poles and Slavs; and settlement of Germans upon Lublin District, beginning with the Zamosc Lands, followed by the remainder of the General Gouvernement, and subsequently, following the conquest of Stalin's Red Army, upon all of Western Russia, including Ukraine and the Baltic Lands. What had happened in Germany between Lenin's 1920 statement and shortly before Hitler in January 1933 gained executive power over Germany was that revenge for the so-called Versailles Diktat had been largely displaced by an increasingly well-thought-out format of ideas which revolved around a belief in the need to acquire the vast expanses of the East by the emergent Reich. The East which so preoccupied Nazis included many tiny enclaves and regions which had been settled by German communities over several previous centuries; this included Germans in a handful of villages in Poland's Zamosc Lands, which had come under Globocnik's control in November 1939 when he was made SS and police chief of Lublin District. These non–Slavic communities, whether integrated or unintegrated into the societies within which these people lived, were regarded

V Lublin District's SS- und Polizeifuehrer 89

by men like Globocnik and his SS superiors and academically trained researchers as "lost German blood," lost, that is, to the greater Germanic community (Volk) that centered on the Reich that Adolf Hitler headed. Globocnik's wartime bailiwick, his base for the implementation of this long-term German National Socialist and SS planning, as well as his unprecedented genocidal activities, was therefore to be Lublin, the General Gouvernement's most easterly city, which the Hitler Reich only belatedly acquired from Stalin under the Soviet German Boundary and Friendship Treaty. That treaty also covered strategic commodity— oil and grain — deals to ensure that Berlin was largely able to deflect the impact of Britain's naval blockade. It was followed, over the succeeding months, by a series of other treaties which saw people defined by Berlin as being Germans, but living within Stalin's sphere of control, being moved west into the German sphere, with most of these newcomers settled in pre-war western Poland (Warthe Land). But the August 1939 treaty was finally dishonored on 22 July 1941, when the Soviet Union was invaded, with the Lublin District serving as one of the major springboards for this most ambitious of Hitler's military actions, putting Germany on the road to recovering what volkisch proselytizers had claimed in thousands of booklets, pamphlets, and lectures over previous decades, were long-lost Germanic lands.
The Nazi Party, as it emerged between 1930 and 1933, was really the conflux or fusion of those numerous "racial" or volkisch movements which had sprung up, largely by secession from the Conservative camp, under the leadership of such men as Count Reventlow, von Graef, Wulle, "Knuppel" Kunze, Ludendorff, and others. Between 1925 and 1932 most of these political sects came to join forces with their largest competitor, the Hitler movement. These movements were strongly influenced by and closely linked with the much older Pan-German Movement.11
It is valuable and instructive to view Globocnik's increasing dedication to the cause of the Germanic ideology, violent or aggressive Pan-Germanism, during the years 1930 to 1933, as this conflux or fusion took place on the national stage. His work in Lublin between 1939 and 1943 is best understood in the context of Hitler's eastern goals of ethnic cleansing, in whatever way, of those regarded as "aliens," and the settling of Germans in their place. Globocnik was crucial to this undertaking and was, by far, Hitler's and Himmler's most important and destructive eastern agent in the fulfillment of these aims. This was his significance.

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Post by Molobo » 07 Jul 2005 09:51

David Thompson IIRC -Hitler also tried to "exchange" Memel for Gdansk to Poles.

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Post by michael mills » 11 Jul 2005 15:31

David,

I would advise you not to follow Poprzeczny's interpretation in this point.

The documentary record shows quite clearly that it was Stalin who proposed the transfer of Lublin District to the German sphere of influence in return for the transfer of Lithuania to the Soviet sphere. I suggest you consult the captured German documents contained in the collection "Nazi-Soviet Relations" published by the US State Department.

Stalin's aim in proposing the exchange of territory was threefold:

1. By handing the Lublin District over to Germany, Stalin avoided taking a purely Polish territory under Soviet control. That helped him to promote the idea that the Soviet Union was not really seizing Polish territory, but merely liberating Belorussians and Ukrainians from Polish domination.

Furthermore, the transfer of the Lublin District to German occupation meant that the Polish territories occupied (and then annexed) by the Soviet Union were limited to the area east of the Curzon Line, which had been proposed by Britain in 1919 as the most suitable eastern frontier for the new Polish state.

Since Britain had never accepted de jure Poland's possessions of territories east of the Curzon Line, Stalin was sending a subtle message to Britain that he was not really occupying true Polish territory, that his occupation of territory east of the Curzon Line did not really threaten Poland's independence, and hence there was no cause for Britain to declare war on him as it had on Germany. Britain took the hint.

Finally, by restricting himself to the occupation of territory east of the Curzon Line, Stalin avoided a complete break with Britain, thereby leaving open the option of joining Britain against Germany at some future date.

2. By leaving Germany in occupation of all territory with a Polish majority, and furthermore in occupation of all the territory which had constituted Congress Poland prior to 1914, Stalin avoided involvement in the establishment of a rump Polish state consisting of that territory, which had been Hitler's original idea.

In fact, in the lead up to the Borders and Friendship treaty of 28 September 1939, Stalin rejected, in the same message in which he proposed the exchange of Lublin District for Lithuania, Hitler's concept of a rump Polish state, and demanded that all manifestations of Polish sovereignty be suppressed.

Since all the territory with a Polish majority would now be in the German Sphere of Influence, the odium of suppressing Polish independence would now fall entirely on Germany, whereas Stalin could claim that he was liberating oppressed Belorussians and Ukrainians.

3. By bringing Lithuania under Soviet control, Stalin denied Hitler a forward position from which a German attack on the Soviet Union could be launched (Napoleon's invasion had been made through Vilnius), and conversely gave the Soviet Union a forward position for launching a possible future invasion of East Prussia.

Poprzeczny has also got the bit about the payment of monetary compensation to Germany entirely wrong.

Under the Borders and Friendship Treaty, one small part of Lithuania, in the Tilsit region, was to be left with Germany. However, the Soveit Union occupied that piece also, and when Germany complained it offered monetary compensation.

Poprzeczny is also wrong in his claim that Germany wanted the Lublin District for a Jewish reservation. The Jewish reservation was originally planned for the area immediately to the east of Krakow, as emerges from Heydrich's memorandum on the concentration of the Jewish population, issued just prior to the conclusion of the Borders and Friendship Treaty.

The decision to establish the Jewish reservation in the Lublin District (some 5000 acres), in place of the area to the east of Krakow, was only made after the transfer of that area to the German sphere.

The German intention was to concentrate the Jews of Poland (and eventually of the Reich) in the easternmost part of the German sphere, thereby facilitating their later transfer into Soviet territory (that intention has been dealt with in another thread). Prior to the Borders and Friendship Treaty, that easternmost part was the eastern section of the krakjow District. After the treaty, it was the Lublin District. There was nothing magical about Lublin itself, just its geographic location.

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Post by Molobo » 11 Jul 2005 16:10

The territory occupied by Soviets didn't go along the Curzon line.

Image

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Post by michael mills » 12 Jul 2005 00:16

Molobo,

You obviously failed Elementary Map-reading.

The map shows that the demarcation line between the German and Soviet spheres of influence substantially followed the Curzon Line, except in the Bialystok region.

The Bialystok region had not been part of Congress Poland before 1914, but had been a province of Russia Proper.

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Post by WalterS » 12 Jul 2005 05:08

You obviously failed Elementary Map-reading.
I had been led to believe by numerous notes from our moderators that such insults, implied or otherwise, were not permitted.

I suppose that such is not the case when said insults are hurled by the likes of Mr Mills, but apply only when similar comments are directed at Mr Mills.

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Post by Dan » 12 Jul 2005 05:47

Walter, perhaps you should give your witch hunts a rest. No one likes people who want to silence debate.

David, thanks for bringing the subject up, Molobo, thanks for that great map, and Michael, thanks for that lesson in realpolitik; the vast majority of those of us reading are enjoying this thread.

Best, and keep it up.

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Post by David Thompson » 12 Jul 2005 06:30

Michael -- You said:
I would advise you not to follow Poprzeczny's interpretation in this point.
To me, how and why this deal went down is of less interest than the poignant reaction of many Lithuanians to the German invasion. I can't help but wonder how many people in that oppressed nation knew (or know now) that in 1940 Hitler had condemned them to a year of Soviet occupation before showing up to play the Jeckyll and Hyde role as liberator/mass murderer in 1941.

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Post by Molobo » 12 Jul 2005 10:38

Molobo,

You obviously failed Elementary Map-reading.
It's not me that misses Eastern Galicia and Bialystok on the map I'm afraid.

The Bialystok region had not been part of Congress Poland before 1914, but had been a province of Russia Proper.
Polish in years 1437-1795 when Poland was partitioned.
It had been in Russian possesion in 1807-1915.

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Post by Molobo » 27 Jul 2005 14:46

I can't help but wonder how many people in that oppressed nation knew (or know now) that in 1940 Hitler had condemned them to a year of Soviet occupation before showing up to play the Jeckyll and Hyde role as liberator/mass murderer in 1941.
That's not all :
http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/fyb/part_4.html
I have gathered, from a very reliable source, information which allows me to assert that, by way of compensation and in order to draw Poland into their game, the National-Socialist leaders have hinted in their conversations with the Poles at the possibility of sharing in a partition of the Russian Ukraine.

In the same connection the Polish Military Attaché, when he received one of my collaborators yesterday, gave some significant indications on the great plans which even recently the leaders of the Third Reich had been hammering out, and in the realization of which they had hoped, until March 26, to enlist Polish complicity.

It is said that when Chancellor Hitler received M. Beck in Berchtesgaden, he had spread out before him a map of Europe corrected in his own hand. On this map Danzig and the Corridor were again attached to the Reich; as to Poland, she was to annex Lithuania and receive the port of Memel. (The interview of Berchtesgaden took place on January 5.) M. Beck is reported to have been astounded at this sight.
M. COULONDRE, French Ambassador in Berlin,
to M. GEORGES BONNET, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Berlin, May 7, 1939.
From the so called "French Yellow Book".Emphasis is mine.

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