NAZI Generalplan Ost/General Plan East: Ethnic Assessments--Slavs

Figure 1.--.

Generalplan Ost dealt at great length hiw rto del with the existing population of the occupied East. The populationinvluded a mixture of Slavs, Balts, and Jews as well as small number of ethnic Germans. The vast portion of the population was the Slavic peoples. The Germans planned to treat the Slavs, except for the Czechs, much more severely than the Balts. The SS planners planned to murder or expel all Slavs found to be unfit for Germanization from the areas selected for German settlement. The SS planners determined that it would be possible to Germanize about 50 per cent of the Czechs, 35 per cent of the Ukrainians and 25 per cent of the Byelorussians. The rest of the Slav population would be liquidated or deported east of the Urals. It is unclear how the liquidation would take place, but the death camps being prepared to kill Jews would have been available. As for those to be deported beyond the Urals, where most would probably die of exposure and starvation. Nothing would be prepared for them, no food or lodeging. The national percentages varied somewhat in the various interactions of the German plan, but are largely consistent. What is not explained in the Plan is how the SS staff arrived at these percentages. Presumably it was potential for Germinization, but why were the Ukranians seen as slightly more suitable for Germinization than the Bylorusians. The industrial cities of the Soviet Union were to be razed. Industry and manufacturing was to be the province of the Reich. This would finally erase the demographic inballance between Slavs and Germans. Some of the Slavs would be allowed to live as slave labor while the Germans turned the East into a vast agrarian paradise based on German colonization. The German failure to destroy the Red Army in Barbarossa meant that the plans to kill and deport the Slavs east in arger Jewish Holocaust was no longer possible. Instead the Germans began deporting large numbers west a laborers. As the War went against Germany, more and more German workers had to be conscripted to replace caualties, creating a labor shortage in the Reich. German occupation policies and pacification actions in the East resulted in substantial mortalities among those not deported.


Byelorussia was essentially thearea of eastern Poland invaded an annexd by the Soviet Union as part of aoint NAZI-Soviet operation (September 1939). It had a mixed popilation of Byelorussians, Poles, Ukrnisns, Jews, and BAlts. The Soviets occupied the rea for about 2 years (1939-41). It was here in the Katyn Forrest that the NKVD burried the Polish officers they murdered. The Germans then occupied Byelorussia for 3 years (1941-44). The SS decided to treat the Byelorussians similarly to the Ukrainians, although the SS planners saw somewhat less suitable genetiv material there. Thus only bout a quater of the population was to be Germnized and tge rest deported east beyond the Urals. It should be noted that in the NAZI lexicon, deportation east meant murder as part of the Holocaust. This it is not entirely clear to what extent these people would have veen actually deported and not just killed. Byelorussia (modern Belarus) came within the domaine of Reichskommissat Ostland. Hitler appointed the brutal Hinrich Lohse as Reichskommissar für das Ostland. He was the Oberpräsident and Gauleiter of Schleswig-Holstein. With the failure to defeat the Red Army, Lohse was unable to deport Byelorussians east. He did impose a horific reign of terror. He deported 0.3 million peope west for slave labor in the Reich's war indutries. They proved to be the luck ones. Lohse oversaw the killing of hundreds of thousands of other civilians. The Soviets afer the War estimated that Lohse oversaw the burning and destruction of more than half of the settkents in the region, 5,295 settlements. In these actions some or all of the inhabitants were killed. The total number of settkenents were 9,200 settlements. Lohse oversaw thedestruction of some 600 villages along with the entire populations. In all, about 2.2 million people were killed. Te exact number will never be known.


There is a long historical and cultural connction between Czechs and Germans. The Czechs were ruled by the Austrian Hapsvurg monarchy for several centuries. Unlike Poland, the NAZIs did not move againstthe Czrch intekigencia when they occupied Czechoslovakia (March 1939). Einsatzgruppen were sent into Czechoslovakia, but their operations were still fairly limited. They were primarily after political opponents and not academic and cultural figures. Once the War was won and Generalplan Ost could be implemented in full, At that time the Czech intelligentsia was to be eliminated. It is not entirely clear just how they would be eliminated. Actual sgooting Actions as occurred in Poland is likely, but at any rate they\u\y would have been deported from the Protectoralte of Bihenia and Moravia beyondthe area of German settlement. A key factor here was the intense hostility to the NAZI New Order and devotion to Czech nationalism. The SS planners concluded that they would be a threat even from Siberia. There was talk of overseas emigration, but whether that was a realistic possibility, we do not know.


The harshness of the NAZI treatment of the Poles was only in part racial. It was more the strength of Polish culture and nationalist sentiment which mean that the Poles were not suitanle for Germaniaation. The Poles and Russians were the two people that in the NAZI world view present the moset serioys threat to the German people and the achievement of the promary German objective, a vast new empire in the East. And tghis was on superficially a racial issue. Rather it was largely political and economic. Wetzel's racial assessment was that the Poles and and Russians had a great deal of salvageable genetic material. He saw Nordic characteristics that the NAZIs wanted. NAZI officals, including Hitler himself as well as figures in the RSHA strongly opposed any large scale Germanization. They wre probanly correct that there was little channce of success given the strength of The idea was to wipe out the very idea of Polish nationalism. Generalplan Ost foresaw the elimintion of 80-85 per cent of the Polish population. This mean the deportion of lrge numbers of Poles from tge areas annexed by tge Reich, some 20 million people. The Plan called for about 3-4v million peasants to b be Gerni\anized. The pLanners believed that the peasabht with no real education and with the inteligencia elininated could be safely Germnaized. The SS planers intehnded to disperse them among German majorities and believed that they could be Germanized within a single generation. There were Germans of Polis abcestry in the Reich, especially in the Ruhr industral area of western Germany. The question arose of wghat to do with the deported Poles. Wetzel concluded that the 'Polish Question' could not be settled in the same way as the 'Jewish Question'. Here he meant that they could not be murdered. He thought this would discredit the German nation in the eyes of the world for generations to come. (Apparently he believed tht murdering Jews would not because other countries were interestedin getting rid of Jews.) Anotherargument against exterminating Poles was that it would united resustance to Germany as other countries might (for good reason) fear a similar fate. Thus Geralplan Ost forsaw the deportation of 80-85 percent of Poles beyond the Urals. The Plan involved scattering over as wide an area as possible and gradual intermixed with the local populace. This along with the destruction of the inteligencia dilute any national conciouness. The Germansdid not want to Polonize the various peopke deported beyond the Urals. As with the Czechs, Wetzel recommended that the Polish intelligentsia be allowed to emigrate overseas, but not accompny the vast majority of Poles deported east. Himmler after the inasion and occuption of Poland set out to impkement Genealplan Ost. The intelgencia was not forced to emigrate as Wetzel had suggested. Instead they were simoly killed. Polish nationalism and anti-German attitudes. This explains, in part, the severity of German occupation policies. The A-B Action involved the roujnd upon and shooting of the Polish inteligencia. Himmleralso began deporting Poles from areas of Poland ammdxed to the Reuich. They were deported along with Jews to the General Government. Hitler had to force him o cease the deporttions as it began to disrupt the preparations for Barbarossa. There was no coordinated implementation of Geberalpln Ost in Poland. The various Gauleters had diffeebt udeas about Germinization.


Generalplan Ost curiously did not go into great detail about the Russians, despite the fact that the Russiand were the largest Slavic grroup and the Soviet Union the greatest threat to NAZI success in the East. Wetzel in a memorahndum stressed its imprtance. Wetzel's assessment was that the Russian nation was a young one, and thus biologically strong and it had a considerable admixture of Nordic blood. But this only made the Soviet Union a more dangerous foe to the Reich. As World War II unfolded, the Germans occupied large areas of the western Soviet Union, but never asignificant area of tge Russian heartland. Notice that the Russians were to primarily 'eliminated' as opposed to deported. We believe more was involved than race A factor here was presumably the military potential of the Russians


Both Stalin snd Hiler saw the Ukraine as vital to their European empire. The rich agricultural land and mineral resources were vital to the Soviet Union ahd what Hitler coveted. And for Hitler he needed the Ukraine to get to the vast petrokleum resources in the Caucauses. Stalin anticipated this and much of the Soviet armor was un the Ukraine when Hitler launched Btbarossa. And when Barbarossa failed, Hitler launched the second German summer offensive into the Ukraine that ended diatorouslyat Stalingrad. He consantly preached to his geberals about the economic importance of the Ukraine. While both Stalin and Hitler wanted the Ukraine itself, they did not want the Ukraianas that lived there. Stalin engineered the Ukranian famine to break the bavk of the nationalistic Ukranian peasantry. The SS with Generalplan Ost planned to deal even more severely with the Ukranians. SS planners debate how to deal with the Ukranians. Initially the plan was to allow about one-third of the populatttion to remain in the German settlement area. They would be subjected to Germanization. The remaining two-thirds were to be liquidated or deported east of the Urals. The Reichskommissariat Ukraine was to be the political organization. As the Plan was refined, it was decided to deport the Ukrainians not suitable for Germanization to the area of this Reichskommissariat. The failure of Barbsrossa (1941-42) and Operation Blue (1942-43), however, meant tht the SS was nevera able to implement the Plan.


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Created: 6:53 AM 9/28/2012
Last updated: 6:53 AM 9/28/2012