posted on Mar, 15 2008 @ 05:38 AM
Part two - Economics and Logistics
On the 12th of March 1940, Hitler had declared that the Jewish Question was one of space and he didn't have any. After the fall of France, the idea
of a Jewish colony on Madgascar had been resurrected, Eichmann's office had been sent for inoculations and 'Tropics Training'. However, with the
increase in British Naval aggression, the idea had died in August. Now everyone was complaining; Hans Frank, Gauleiter of the General Government
(Poland) refused to allow Poland to be a 'dumping ground' for Jews and demanded the removal of the Jews already there. Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi
‘expert’ on all matters racial and ideological, complained that there were no homes for the Auslanders and Baldur Von Schirach (Head of the Hitler
Youth and Gauleiter of Vienna) demanded to know why the deportations had not yet happened. And, this was the tip of the iceberg, all these demands
fell on Himmler’s desk.
In January 1941 Hitler began preparing for the invasion of Russia and Heydrich began assembling the 3,000 men that would make up the Enisatzkommando.
There were few volunteers, all divisions (SS, SD, Kripo, Gestapo etc) were then instructed to provide a quota. Finally by adding a financial
incentive an adequate number of men ‘volunteered’ to form 4 units.
In March Hitler informed his Commanders-in-Chief of the Armed services “A war such as that against Russia cannot be conducted in a chivalrous
manner. It is a struggle between ideologies and racial opposites and has therefore to be waged with unprecedented and merciless harshness.” (p146,
SS: A warning from history by Guido Knopp).
Although Heydrich’s staff had the plans for the deportation of the Reich Jews prepared, Hitler ordered that there were to be no deportations until
after the war.
The Poles who had already suffered over a year at the hands of the Germans, in the first 6 weeks of the invasion of 1st September 1939, 16,000 people
were shot, of which approximately 5,000 were Jewish. Teachers, Clergy, politicians, professionals – anyone deemed a threat to the invaders.
20,000 university students were sent to the concentration camps. Partisan actions against the occupiers were increasing and the SS responded with
increasing brutality. In the months proceeding the invasion of Russia tens of thousands of boys and men of ‘fighting age’ (14 to 60 years of age)
were rounded up and shot as ‘hostages’ in response to the death of any German personnel.
Just after the invasion of Poland, Helmut Meingold, an economist with the department of German Development Work in the East, concluded that 5.83
million Poles were surplus to German requirements and therefore constituted “an actual erosion to capital.” (p68, Auschwitz, by Laurence Rees) It
can be considered no coincidence then that by the end of the war over 5 million Poles (non-Jews) had in fact been murdered at the hands of the
From early spring 1940 mobile gassing units from the T4 division were touring the hospitals, just as they had in Germany, murdering psychiatric
patients, all ‘useless eaters’ were to be eradicated, non-Jews were first assessed and only hopeless cases were killed. All Jewish patients were
‘eradicated’, hopeless or otherwise. The Euthanasia Unit used bottled carbon monoxide or injections of Phenol. The T4 project was suspended in
early 1941 as war matters took precedence.
Hitler and Himmler were seemingly still looking for a territorial solution to the Jewish problem, emigration efforts were intensified but this method
of removal remained inadequate. In response to criticism from Reichsmarshall Hermann Goering, that Poland was failing to meet economic targets, Hans
Frank reiterated that the surplus population of Poles and Jews were hindering all his efforts and making the region economically unsustainable. He
could not do his job until Himmler had accomplished his. The SS in Lublin were instructed to “where possible” force Jews across the border into
Soviet held territory. In one instance, the Jews were ordered at gun point, to swim across the Bug river only to reach the other side where the
waiting Red Army opened fire on those that did not turn around.
There was literally nowhere left for the Jews to go, war with Russia could only make matters worse. Like Himmler though, Hitler did not want to hear
of problems from his subordinates, by the Fuhrerprinzip, Hitler merely had to state the goal, the whys and the hows were not his concern and so it was
passed all the way down the line.
On 2nd May 1941 the Reichs economic experts reported that the war could only be sustained to the end of the year and only then, if the Germans were
able to capture Russian supplies, “the entire German army…(would have to) be fed at the expense of Russia. Thereby tens of millions of men will
undoubtably starve to death.” (p68, Auschwitz, by Laurence Rees). Not only would a war against Russia require additional resources but it would
also drastically effect imports as Karl Schnure of the Economic Policy Division of the Foreign Ministry reported to von Ribbentrop in mid 1940,
“Russia (has)…been a very substantial prop to the German war economy…has supplied over 300 million Reichsmarks worth of raw materials, roughly
100 million RMs of which is grain. Our sole economic connection with Iran, Afghanistan..China, Japan and beyond that, with South America is the route
across Russia.” (p129 The Hitler/Hess Deception by Martin Allen)
In March 1941, in preparation for Operation Barbarrossa, Hitler issued the infamous Fuhrer-Order no. 1, “Kommissarbefehl”, all political
commissars and Jews in service to the state were to be shot immediately on capture or surrender. Though the Nazis had by this time committed acts of
great brutality this represented the first documented contravention of international law and was used as just cause in prosecuting the Nazis for war
The order was not received well within the armed services, after the war, under interrogation, General Heinz Guderian explained “The order granted
German soldiers liberties which could easily have led to excesses…(the order) ran counter to the provisions of the Geneva convention. The
supplement by Field Marshal Brauchitsch indicated that even the OKH…did not desire that the order be complied with. As a result I did not take the
order with me to the field and did not distribute it…(and) treated the civilian population in conformance with the Geneva Convention and
International Law.” (p529 Interrogations by Richard Overy, text in brackets mine)
On 10th May 1941 Rudolf Hess flew to Britain, reputedly on a mission of peace, to meet with the Duke of Kent (younger brother of the King and UGLE
Grand Master) at the estate of the Duke of Hamilton. He crash landed just outside Glasgow and was arrested. Hess had been Hitler’s closest
associate since 1921 and was considered a moderating force. Hitler, despite opposition within the Party appointed Martin Bormann to replace him as
Deputy Fuhrer. Bormann was one of the few Party members who was on reasonable speaking terms with Himmler. Additionaly, he and Rudolf Hoess,
commandant of Auschwitz, were also old friends having murdered a former teacher of Bormann’s together in 1924.
The Barbarossa Jurisdiction Order of 13 May 1941, ordered that any villages suspected of partisan or resistence activities were to be liquidated. The
German economy did not have the resources to take on any more prisoners, only those capable of work were to be spared.
With everything in place for the invasion, the weather was the only element beyond Hitler’s control, a wet spring meant the plans would have to be
delayed. While his armed forces worried that a late start could prove fatal to the whole campaign, Hitler remained optimistic issuing a directive on
the 11th June that stated “After the destruction of the Soviet Armed Forces, Germany and Italy will be the military masters of the European
continent.” (p130, Hitler’s War Directives by Hugh Trevor-Roper). Hitler, like many in Germany believed all too readily the ‘hype’
distributed from Goebbel’s propaganda ministry. Increasingly, fearful of losing favour, those around him, most particularly Goering were failing in
their roles and were blaming everyone else around them, concealing the truth from the Fuhrer. Tucked away in the Wolf’s Lair and increasingly
cosseted by Bormann, Hitler was completely ignorant of the rot that was beginning to set in to the German economy. Whether he chose to ignore the
truth or was genuinely unaware is really unknown. Without Hess, Hitler was without anyone in the Party capable of speaking to him with any honesty,
he would remain in this bubble to the very end.
The British at this time, sat perched on the edge of their seats. At a meeting on the 10th May, following Hess’s arrival in Britain,
representatives of the Foreign Office (including Anthony Eden FS), the Ministry of Economic Warfare and SOE outlined their objectives “encourage
Germans to attack Russia by misleading Hitler and by hinting that the large sections both in Britain and United States who preferred to see the
overthrow of the Russian rather than the German regime might be prepared to force through a compromise a peace between Britain and German and combine
to destroy the common enemy, Communism.” (p111, The Hitler/Hess Deception by Martin Allen). When the announcement came through that Hitler had
invaded, Anthony Eden is said to have slapped his thigh and announced that Britain had won the war. Britain knew what Hitler didn’t, Germany was
not capable of economically sustaining a war, they also knew that the best hope for Britain’s independence from a Eurasian superpower, was for the
Fascists and the Communists to destroy each other in an ideological war. They were about to get their wish.