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Stríbog
Saturday, July 17th, 2004, 10:55 AM
From Christian Gerlach (Kalkulierte Morde)

Translation (not mine):


[…]The policy of annihilation by hunger approved by Hitler was directed against two population groups: on the one hand against the people in the "forest zone" of central and northern Russia and Belorussia, on the other against the urban population of the Soviet Union in general. It is true that this plan, which in June 1941 was even checked and in principle approved by the Macroeconomic Department of the German Reichsbank, contained some basic flaws overlooked by its authors.

For instance the surplus and deficit regions in the Soviet Union were by no means clearly separated, and especially Ukraine was not the most important surplus region, for it promised only relatively little "surpluses" even if the population’s food consumption was forcibly reduced. Thus the Macroeconomic Department of IG Farben had to conclude on 26 November 1941 that, "under the assumption of normal nourishment", the territories conquered so far were "all together deficit regions in regard to bread grain", which theoretically would have required supplies from the Volga-Urals region. The main flaw, however, was that no one seems to have thought how the starvation was to occur in an area which at least partially contained German troops.

Nevertheless the intention of letting millions of people in the occupied Soviet territories starve or otherwise perish became the guideline for many decision-makers. In this respect the ominous number of 30 million – by which [State Secretary at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture] Backe considered that the population would have to be reduced – played a part.[my emphasis] The fact that many corresponding statements were made by acting figurers from the areas of Belorussia and "Central Russia" is no coincidence, but likely to be related to the fact that these regions were part of the "forest zone".

Thus the Reichsführer-SS and Head of the German Police, Heinrich Himmler, "at the beginning of 1941, before the start of the campaign against Russia, held [a speech] on the Wewelsburg, in which he stated that the purpose of the Russian campaign was the decimation of the Slav population by thirty million", as the former Head of SS and Police von dem Bach-Zelewski testified in 1946 at Nuremberg. Written orders for this annihilation of Slavs had not existed.

At the speech twelve Gruppenführer (higher SS officers) were said to have been present. In fact the mentioned conference of the SS-Gruppenführer on the Wewelsburg with Himmler took place only between 12 and 15 June. According to a later deposition of the Head of the Personal Staff Reichsführer-SS, Karl Wolff, what Himmler had said on the Wewelsburg was that the death of these millions of people was not the goal, but would be the consequence of the war against the USSR.

To this Bach-Zelewski, at the criminal trial against Wolff, added that Himmler had back then predicted that military actions and crises of food supply would lead to this high number of victims.[my emphasis] Himmler’s announcement, however, came very late and was very vague, just like the food planners’ project left many things open. Coincidence or not, two days before the meeting on the Wewelsburg Himmler had talked with Backe about the agriculture of the Soviet regions to be occupied.

All by themselves Bach-Zelewski’s utterances might be explained as a mere attempt to relieve himself, as he was invoking a higher order. They are supported, however, by a deposition that the former Head of SS and Police for the Eastern Territories, Friedrich Jeckeln, made shortly before in January 1946 at Riga:

"Herf [Eberhard Herf, commander of the Order Police Minsk from about January to March 1942 and August 1943 to January 1944, Head of the Staff of the Anti-partisan Units Reichsführer SS (Bach-Zelewski) for one month in July/August 1943] told me that von dem Bach-Zelewski had told him that he – von dem Bach – had been given by Himmler the order to destroy 20 million Soviet citizens on the territory of Belorussia and other regions east of Belorussia, immediately upon the heels of the advancing German Army."

In this respect it must be taken into account that Bach-Zelewski’s territorial area of action was to be "Central Russia" with head-office in Moscow. He himself even wrote once that it was to lie principally to the east of Moscow up to the Urals. A great part of the so-called forest zone would thus have fallen under his jurisdiction, which could explain why he was given the task to destroy so large a part of those 30 million people, a fact that he "forgot" at Nuremberg. The inferno foreseen for Central Russia was to be to terrible that even Erich Koch, one of the most brutal NS politicians, rejected the place of Reich Commissar in Moscow with the justification that this was "a wholly negative activity".[my emphasis]

In his memoirs the former counterespionage officer of Army Group Center, Rudolf-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff, wrote about a visit by the head of the Advance Detachment Moscow of Einsatzgruppe B, Professor Franz Six, who shortly after the moving of the staff quarters to Borissow, i.e. presumably in July 1941, told him about the plan:

"He reported that Hitler had the intention to push the eastern border of the Reich up to the line Baku-Stalingrad-Moscow. To the east of this line there would be created a ‘fire strip’ in the area of which all life was to be wiped out. It was intended to decimate the about thirty million Russians living in this area by hunger through the removal or all food from this gigantic area. All taking part in this action would be forbidden under punishment of death to even give a piece of bread to a Russian. The big cities from Leningrad to Moscow were to be leveled to the ground; Head of SS von dem Bach-Zelewski would be responsible for the execution of these measures.[my emphasis][...]

A slightly different version of the same event is given by Wilfried Strik-Strikfeldt. According hereto "a special envoy of Rosenberg’s Eastern Ministry, in the company of a high-ranking party officials, visited the Army Group at Borissow." As recalled by the Supreme Commander of Army Group Center, General Field Marshal Fedor von Bock, they had spoken with Bock at the meal about the colonization of Russia until possibly east of Moscow. A quintessence in this respect had been the following:

"Forty million Russians too many! They must ‘perish’!" This meant starving to death. Asked about this by him, Strik, Rosenberg had answered that these were "fantasies" of the SS and some others without significance. Von Bock is supposed to have refused to believe what he heard. Yet the General Field Marshal had met Himmler already on 5 June 1941 and been informed by him that the "goal of the campaign in the East was the splitting of Russia into small single states and the extension of the German sphere of interest far beyond the Urals."

On 6 July he noted the following:

"The region is a hunger region. Its products will hardly be sufficient [...], so that I don’t know how one is to solve the problem of feeding the population." Thus von Bock was by no means that much a stranger to these thoughts. When Himmler visited him on 24 October in Smolensk, he – at least according to Bach-Zelewski’s testimony – thanked him for the murder of the Jews, this "dirty work" which he thus would not have to do himself.

Back to Six. The considerations exposed by him are obviously based on the Backe Plan and also show notable coincidence with Jeckeln’s deposition. In what concerns the execution his vision remained naïve and unclear, like in the "Guidelines of Economic Policy". Fortunately the project could not be put into practice that easily.

The Hunger Plan also appeared on other occasions. For Göring it was a favorite subject. In November 1941 he told the Italian foreign minister Count Ciano that within a year 20 to 30 million people would starve to death in Russia. Maybe this was a good thing, for certain peoples needed to be reduced.[my emphasis] Hitler spoke of a "population catastrophe" of the "Muscovites" and declared that due to lack or destruction of food "millions would have to die".

According to Goebbels, the German leadership declared "publicly that Russia has nothing to expect from us and that we will let it starve to death."[my emphasis] The General Plenipotentiary for Labor Employment, Fritz Sauckel, stated on 4 August 1942, during a visit in the occupied Soviet territories, that when he had been there in the autumn of 1941 "all German authorities had persisted in the conviction that in the following, i.e. in the past winter, at least ten to twenty million of these people would simply starve to death."

At least some occupation authorities on site thus stuck to the guidelines as they were repeatedly stated similar to this: "We cannot feed the whole land. The intelligence has been killed, the commissars are gone. Huge areas will be left to themselves (starve to death)." Also the Eastern Minister Rosenberg repeatedly stated that the starvation death of millions was "a harsh necessity that stands outside any sentiment."[my emphasis] Hans Tesmer, head of the Department War Administration at the Commander of the rear area of Army Group Center (1941-1942) and of Army Group Center (1942-1944) disapprovingly remembered the following: "Slogans came up that in Russia several million might well starve to death, that the Russians were to be kept dumb and other similar views of this sort."[...]

Stríbog
Saturday, July 17th, 2004, 12:26 PM
'Beside the 2 million prisoners of war who were already dead when the memorandum quoted at the beginning [Rosenberg’s letter to Keitel of 28 February 1942] was written, another 1.3 million died until the end of the war - about 3.3 million of a total of 5.7 million Soviet prisoners of war (57.8 per cent) died in German captivity.
A comparison with the fate of Russian prisoners of war in the First World War raises the question as to the causes of this enormously high mortality. Back then 1,434,500 Russians had been taken prisoner by the Germans. The mortality of Russian prisoners was 5.4 per cent and thus corresponded to the average mortality of prisoners in the custody of the Western and Central European powers, although it was higher than that of the other prisoners in German hands (3.5 per cent).'

translated from Christian Streit, Keine Kameraden. Die Wehrmacht und die sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen 1941-1945, Bonn 1997, page 10:

Stríbog
Saturday, July 17th, 2004, 08:00 PM
"Into the Russian cities we shall not go. They must die away completely. We need to have no remorse in this respect […] we have no obligations whatsoever towards these people."

-Hitler, cited by Christian Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, page 801

Stríbog
Saturday, July 17th, 2004, 08:56 PM
'Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture; otherwise, it is of no interest to me.'

Heinrich Himmler, speech of October 4th, 1943.

I know some of you think the Posen speech is a hoax, but I thought I would post this anyway.

Also:

'It is a question of existence, thus it will be a racial struggle of pitiless severity, in the course of which 20 to 30 million Slavs and Jews will perish
through military actions and crises of food supply.'

Heinrich Himmler, June 1941

Ross
Saturday, July 17th, 2004, 09:05 PM
What follows is the translation of the transcription of the so-called Schmundt Notes featured under

http://www.ns-archiv.de/krieg/1939/schmundt/23-05-1939.shtml

The Schmundt Notes
Report on a Meeting on 23 May 1939

Command Issue
Only through officer
Place: the Führer’s office, New Reich Chancellery
Assistant on Duty: Lieutenant-Colonel of General Staff Schmundt

Participants: The Führer, Field Marshall Göring, Grand Admiral Raeder, Colonel General v. Brauchitsch, Colonel General Keitel, Colonel General Milch, General of Artillery Halder, General Bodenschatz, Commanding Admiral Schniewindt, Colonel at the General Staff Jeschonnek, Colonel of the General Staff
Warlimont, Lieutenant Colonel of the General Staff Schmundt, Captain Engel,
Corvette Captain Albrecht, Captain v. Below.

Subject: Information about the Situation and Political Goals.

The Führer states the purpose of the meeting to be the following:

1.) Presentation of the situation.
2.) Setting of the tasks resulting from the situation for the Wehrmacht.
3.) Clarification of the consequences resulting from the tasks.
4.) Securing the secrecy of all decisions and works resulting from the result of the consequences.

Secrecy is a pre-condition of success.

In the following the contents of the Führer’s statements are rendered:

Our present situation is to be viewed under two aspects:

1.) Actual development from 1933 to 1939.
2.) The constantly equal situation in which Germany finds itself.

In the time from 1933-39 advances were made in all fields. Our military situation improved enormously. Our relationship with our environment has remained the same. Germany had left the circle of the power states. The balance of power was established without Germany’s participation.

Statement of Germany’s vital claims and re-entry into the circle of the power states disturbs this balance. All claims are taken to be an 'intrusion'.

The English fear an economic threat more than a common threat by power.

The mass of 80 millions has solved the ideological problem. The economic problems must also be solved. No German can avoid the creation of the economic pre-conditions for this. Solving the problems requires courage. There must be no avoiding the solution of the problems by adaptation. On the contrary, the circumstances must be matched to the demands. Without intrusion into foreign states or attacking foreign property this is not possible.

The living space, adequate to the greatness of the state, is the basis of all power. For a time one may do without, but then the solution of the problems comes around one way or the other. There is the choice between rising or falling. In 15 or 20 years the solution will be compulsorily necessary for us. Longer than that no German statesman can go around the issue.

At the time we are in a state of national enthusiasm, in the same mood as two other states: Italy and Japan.

The time lying behind us has been well used. All steps were consequently directed towards the goal.

After six years the situation today is the following:

The national-political unification of the Germans has occurred, save for small exceptions. Further success cannot be obtained without bloodshed.

The drawing of the borders is of military importance
The Pole is not an additional enemy. Poland will always be on the side of our enemies. Despite the friendship treaty there has always been the intention in Poland to use any chance against us.

Danzig is not the object that is at issue. The issue for us is the extension of living space in the east and securing of food supplies as well as solving the Baltic problem. Food supplies can only be obtained in areas sparsely populated. Beside the fertility the German thorough agriculture will immensely increase the surpluses.

In Europe there is no other possibility.

Colonies: Warning against giving away colonial possessions. That is no solution of the food problem. Blockade!

If fate forces us to a conflict with the West, it is good to have more land in the East. In the war we can count even less on record harvests than in peacetime.

The population of non-German territories does not do military service and is thus available for work.

The problem 'Poland' is not to be separated from the conflict with the west.

Poland’s inner steadfastness against Bolshevism is dubious. Thus Poland is also a dubious barrier against Russia.

A successful was in the west with a quick decision is questionable, as is the attitude of Poland.

Pressure from Russia the Polish regime will not withstand. Poland sees danger in Germany’s victory over the West and will try to take this victory away from us.

There can thus be no question of sparing Poland, and the decision that remains is to attack Poland at the first appropriate occasion.

A repetition of the Czech case we cannot believe in. There will be fighting. The task is to isolate Poland. The success of isolation is decisive.

Thus the Führer must reserve for himself the final order to strike. There must be no simultaneous confrontation with the West (France and England).

If it is not certain that in the sequence of a German-Polish confrontation a war with the West is to be excluded, the fight must be mainly directed against England and France.

Principle: Confrontation with Poland – beginning with attack against Poland – will only have success if the West stays out.

If this is not possible it will be better to attack the West and to liquidate Poland[my emphasis] at the same time.

It is a matter of skillful politics to isolate Poland.

A difficult question is that of Japan. While at the time they are for various reasons cool in what concerns going together with us, it is in Japan’s own interest to move against Russia in time.

With Russia economic relations are only possible when political relations have improved. In press statements a cautious attitude is becoming apparent. It is not to be excluded that Russia is disinterested in a shattering of Poland. If Russia keeps driving against us, the relationship with Japan may become closer.

An alliance of France, England and Russia against Germany-Italy-Japan would lead me to attack England and France with some devastating strikes.

The Führer doubts the possibility of a peaceful confrontation with England. It is necessary to be prepared for the confrontation. England sees in our development the foundation of a hegemony that would weaken England. England is thus our enemy, and the confrontation will be one of life and death.

What will this confrontation look like?

England cannot liquidate Germany with a few powerful strikes and force us into submission. For England it is decisive to carry the war as close as possible to the Ruhr area. French blood will not be spared. (West Wall!!) Possession of the Ruhr area is decisive for the duration of our resistance.

The Dutch and Belgian air bases must be occupied militarily. Declarations of neutrality cannot be relied upon. If France and England want to bring about a confrontation during the war between Germany and Poland, they will support the Netherlands and Belgium in their neutrality and let them build fortifications to them force them to come along.

Belgium and the Netherlands will, though under protest, give in to the pressure. If England intervenes during our Polish war, we must thus make a lightning strike against the Netherlands. It is desirable to gain a new line of defense of Dutch territory up to lake Zuider. The war with England and France will be a war of life and death.

The idea that we may be able to buy ourselves out cheaply is dangerous: this possibility does not exist. The bridges must then be broken down, and the issue will no longer be right or wrong, but existence or non-existence of 80 million people.

Question: Short or long war?

All armed forces and state leaders have to strive for a short war. The state leadership must, however, prepare as well for a war lasting 10 to 15 years.

Throughout history people have ever believed in short wars. In 1914 they were still of the opinion that long wars could not be financed. Even today this view is still in many heads. Any state will, however, hold out as long as possible if there is not a decisive weakening right away (for instance Ruhr area). England has similar weaknesses.

England knows that an unfortunate outcome of the war will mean the end of its world power.

England is the motor that drives against Germany. It’s strength lies in the following:

1.) The Briton is proud, brave, tough, resistant and has an organizational talent. He knows how to take advantage of any new event. He has the adventure spirit and the courage of the Nordic Race. Quality sinks with broadening. The German average is better.

2.) It is a world power per see. Constantly increased by allies since 300 years ago. The power is to be seen not only as a real one but also as a psychological one encompassing the world. In addition there is the boundless wealth and the credit-worthiness related thereto.

3.) The geopolitical security and protection by strong sea power and a gallant air force.

England’s weakness:

If in the war we had had two more battleships and two more cruisers and begun the Skagerrak battle in the morning, the British fleet would have been beaten and England brought to its knees. It would have been the end of the World War. In the past it was not sufficient to beat the fleet, one also had to land to defeat England. England could feed itself. This is no longer possible today.

As soon as England is cut off from its supplies it is forced to capitulate. The supply of food and combustion material depends on protection by the fleet.

The attack of the air force against the English homeland does not force England to capitulate in one day. But if the fleet is destroyed, immediate capitulation is the consequence.

There is no doubt that a surprise attack can lead to a quick solution. It would be criminal, however, if the state leadership were to rely on surprise being achieved.

Experience tells us that surprise can be foiled by the following:

1.) Betrayal to persons outside the competent military circles;
2.) Ordinary coincidence leading the whole action to break down;
3.) Human failure;
4.) Weather conditions.

The date to strike must be established long in advance.
Beyond this one cannot, however, live in tension for long.
We must count on the weather conditions making a surprise intervention by the fleet and air force impossible.

This must be considered in the planning as a worst case. .

1.) It remains to be endeavored to deal the opponent a or the devastating blow at the very beginning. Right or wrong or agreements play no part in this.

This is only possible is one doesn’t ‘slip’ into a war with England due to Poland.

2.) Beside the surprise attack and the shattering of English possibilities on the continent, the long war is to be prepared.

The army has to take hold of the positions that are important for the fleet and the air force. If we succeed in occupying the Netherlands and Belgium and beating France, the basis for a successful war against England will have been created.

From western France the air force can take care of the narrower blockade of England, while the wider blockade is carried out by the fleet with the U-boats.

Consequences:

England cannot fight on the continent, the daily attacks by air force and navy cut apart all lifelines.

Time decides against England. Germany doesn’t bleed to death on land.

The necessity of this kind of warfare has been proven by the World War and the military confrontations since then.

From the World War the following compulsory conclusions for the waging of war must be drawn:

1.) Had the navy been stronger at the beginning of the war and the army turned on the Channel ports, the outcome of the war would have been another.

2.) A land cannot be brought to submission by the air force alone.
It is not possible to attack all objectives at the same time, and a few minutes in between bring the defense onto the stage.

3.) What is important is the reckless use of all means.

4.) Once the army in cooperation with the air force and navy taken the most important position, industrial production no longer flows into the Danaid barrel of army battles, but benefits the air force and the navy.

Thus the army must be in conditions to take these positions. The attack according to plan is to be prepared.

To study this is the most important task. The goal is always to bring England to its knees.

Every weapon has a decisive effect on the outcome of battle only as long as the enemy doesn’t possess it.

This applies to gas, U-boats and the air force. For the latter it applied as long as the English fleet had no defense, which in 1940 and 1941 will no longer be the case. Against Poland for instance the tank weapon will be effective, as the Polish army lacks the defense against it.

Where the effect can no longer be deemed decisive, its place is taken by surprise and genius of operation.

This is the program for attack.

The program obliges to the following

1.) Correct evaluation of the weapons and their effect:
for instance
a) Battleship or aircraft carrier, what is more dangerous in the individual case and on the whole. An aircraft carrier is better for protecting a convoy.
b) Is an air attack on a factory more important than one on a battleship? Where are the bottlenecks of factory production?

2.) Regarding the army’s quick preparedness. The neighboring states must be overrun from the barracks.

3.) Regarding the study of the opponent’s weak spots.
These studies must not be left to the general staff. Secrecy is then no longer guaranteed.
The Führer has thus decided to command a small study staff at the Wehrmacht High Command which contains representatives of the three Wehrmacht branches and will on a case by case basis take in the supreme commanders or heads of general staff. This staff must constantly inform the Führer and keep him updated.

The study staff takes care of the intellectual preparation of operations at the highest level and the technical and organizational preparations resulting therefrom. The purpose of certain instructions is nobody’s business outside the staff.

As much as the armament of our opponents may increase, they must at some time reach the end of their possibilities, and ours will be greater.

French recruit classes 120,000 men!

We will not be forced into a war, but there is no way for us around it.

Secrecy is the decisive pre-condition for success. Also towards Italy or Japan the goal must remain secret. For Italy there remains the breaking through the Maginot Line, which is to be studied. The Führer considers the breakthrough possible.

Putting together (bundling) the Wehrmacht branches for the study of the overall problem is important.

The purpose

1.) Study of the overall problem.
2.) " the procedure.
3.) " the required means.
4.) " the necessary training.

The staff must consist of men with much fantasy and best professional knowledge, as well as officers with a sober, skeptical mind.

Principle for the work:

1.) Nobody is to be involved who must not know.
2.) Nobody must learn more than he needs to know.
3.) When at the latest must the respective person know it? Nobody must know anything earlier than he needs to know it.

Upon question by Field Marshall Göring the Führer establishes that

a) the Wehrmacht branches determine what is to be built;
b) the ship building program is not to be changed;
c) the armament programs are to be targeted to 1943 or 44.

For the correctness of the rendering:
Schmundt, Lieutenant Colonel

Source:
Walther Hofer
Die Entfesselung des Zweiten Weltkrieges, pages 61 and following