*** NAZI economics Hunger Plan Herbert Backe

NAZI Hunger Plan: Officials--Herbert Backe (1896-1947)

NAZI World War II Hunger Plan
Figure 1.--Many of the top NAZIs are well known to even casual students of history. One of the lesser known NAZI war crininls is Herbert Backe, but very few will recognize him. Backe was the Minister of Food and author of the Hunger Plan. He is so ssocited ith it that is was often called the Bcke Pln. Hannah Arendt coined the phase 'banality of evil' when writing about Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann. Nothing could, however, better describe Herbert Backe here in his smart uniform and sitting behind his desk in the Ministry of Food. The papers he signed at this desk meant the horendous, debilitating death by starvation of millions of Europeans. Starvation is a slow, incredibly painful process. Once the body fat is gone, the body begins to canabalize itself, first the mussles and eventually the vital organs. It is an unbelievably cruel and slow process. What we know as the Holocaust was organized becusee starvation proved to be such a slow process. Source: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-J02034

After the War, Backe defended Nazism as one of the 'greatest ideas of all times' which 'found its strongest blow in the National Socialist agricultural policy.'

-- Herbert Backe, letter to his wife, January 31, 1946.

Herbert Backe in the Reichsministerium für Emährung und Landeswirtschaft (Ministry of Food and Agriculture--REEUL) is generally seen as the author of the NAZI Hunger Plan which as a result was sometimes referred to as the Backe Plan. He was a technocrat in Richard Walther Darré's Mimistry. He became a powerul force in the Ministry even before he was finally appointed Minister (May 1942). Hitler appears to have more confidence in Backe than the original minister, Daree. Many of the NAZI war criminals are very well known. The Hunger Plan which may have killed 4-5 million people, mostly Soviets, was one of the great crimes of the War. It was one element of Generalplan Ost that was actually implemented. Despite conceptulizing and implementing on of the great crikes of history, ouside historians spcializing in NAZI history, Backe is virtually unknown. Backe was born in Georgia, at the time a Tsarist province. With the outbreak of World War I, Tsarist officias interned him as an enemny alien. He managed to escape and get to Grmany duruing the Russian Civil War. He was at the time of World War II one of aising tier of young second level professionals in the NAZI Party. He was an advocate of invading and deindustrialing the Soviet Union. He wanted to demolish Soviet industry and eliminate the Soviet industrial work force. He thouht that the Soviet Union should be turned back to an agricultural economy focused on produing what for western Europe. This coincided with Hitler's idea in Mein Kampf. There was no idea of taking comntrol of Soviet industry which ws substantial, bur rather retuning the East to an area of peasant agriculture. Backe was critical of Stalin's agricultural policy, wich was to seize control of it through collectivization and use the agricultural harvest to finance industriliztion. As a result, Soviet grain exports were only a fraction of Tsarist levels. This made Germany dependent of trans-Atlantic grain (American, Argentine, and Canadian). Backe wanted to end this dependence by sezing control of Soviet grain production. In Backe's view this would create a continent Grossraumwirtschaft and an efficient division of labor, an industrialized Western Europe and a peasant-based agricultural eastern Europe. This mean eliminating the uneeded urban population of the Soviet Union. Staatssekretär Backe took the lead role in this matter. Darré was apparently not informed of the Barbarossa planning. Darré was both the REFUL Minister and the Reich Farming Leader (Reichsbauernführer). After the launch of Barbarossa, Backe informed Darré that he received instructions that the Führer did not want planning conducted in the Ministry, but rather transferred as a Four-Year Plan task. This meant turned over to Reuchmarshal Göring who was Plenipotentiary for the Four Year Plan. Of course secrecy was a factor, but Hitler seems to have been concerned about Darré when it came to such a radical matter as the Starvation Policy. 【Kay, p. 53.】 The British was arrested by British forces (May 23, 1945). He was arrested along with other members of the short-lived Flensburg government, including Dönitz and Speer. The Americans held Bake and were preparing to try his for war crimes at Nuremberg in the Ministries Trial. Backe was shocked. Despite overseeiong millions of deaths bu starbationn, he did not think he had done anything wrong. He was surprised when he was arrested. He had thought he would deal with Gen. Eisenhower and was sure thst he would be need him as an expert to avoid with food issues. some how whst he had dine uin occupied sreas, he thought the Americans abnd Brutish wiuld not di he same in occuopid Germany. Finally Bake decided to commit suicide, fearful that the Ameicans were going to turn him over to the Soviets wo had born the brunt of his Hunger Plan. An estimated 4.2 million Soviet citizens were starved by the German (1941–44). 【Snyder, p. 411.】 Backe never had to experience thev hunger he had infkicted ion son many. He hung himself in his prison cell (April 6, 1947).


Kay, Alex J. Exploitation, Resettlement, Mass Murder: Political and Economic Planning for German Occupation Policy in the Soviet Union, 1940-1941.

Snyder, Timothy. Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (London: The Bodley Head, 2010).


Navigate the CIH World war II Section:
[Return to NAZI Hunger Plan officials]
[Return to Main NAZI Hunger Plan page]
[Return to Main NAZI crimes page]
[Return to Main NAZI economic page]
[Return to Main NAZI racial policy page]
[Return to Main World War II agriculture page]
[Return to Main NAZI page]
[Biographies] [Campaigns] [Children] [Countries] [Deciding factors] [Diplomacy] [Geo-political crisis] [Economics] [Home front] [Intelligence]
[Resistance] [Race] [Refugees] [Technology]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to Main World War II page]
[Return to Main war essay page]

Created: 5:39 AM 3/22/2013
Last updated: 6:21 PM 9/7/2015