|Master Plan for the East|
Plan of new German settlement colonies (marked with dots and diamonds), drawn up by the Friedrich Wilhelm University Institute of Agriculture in Berlin, 1942, covering the Baltic states, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and Crimea
|Location||Territories controlled by Nazi Germany|
|Type||Genocide and Ethnic cleansing|
|Cause||Lebensraum and Heim ins Reich|
The Generalplan Ost (German pronunciation: [ɡenəˈʁaːlˌplaːn ˈɔst] ; English: Master Plan for the East), abbreviated GPO, was the Nazi German government's plan for the genocide and ethnic cleansing on a vast scale, and colonization of Central and Eastern Europe by Germans. It was to be undertaken in territories occupied by Germany during World War II. The plan was attempted during the war, resulting indirectly and directly in millions of deaths of ethnic Slavs by shootings, starvation, disease, or extermination through labor. But its full implementation was not considered practicable during the major military operations, and was prevented by Germany's defeat.
The program operational guidelines were based on the policy of Lebensraum designed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in fulfilment of the Drang nach Osten (drive to the East) ideology of German expansionism. As such, it was intended to be a part of the New Order in Europe.
The master plan was a work in progress. There are four known versions of it, developed as time went on. After the invasion of Poland, the original blueprint for Generalplan Ost (GPO) was discussed by the RKFDV in mid-1940 during the Nazi–Soviet population transfers. The second known version of GPO was procured by the RSHA from Erhard Wetzelin April 1942. The third version was officially dated June 1942. The final settlement master plan for the East came in from the RKFDV on October 29, 1942. However, after the German defeat at Stalingrad planning of the colonization in the East was suspended, and the program was gradually abandoned. The planning had nonetheless included implementation cost estimates, which ranged from 40 to 67 billion Reichsmarks, the latter figure being close to Germany’s entire GDP for 1941. A cost estimate of 45.7 billion Reichsmarks was included in the spring 1942 version of the plan in which more than half the expenditure was to be allocated to land remediation, agricultural development and transport infrastructure. This aspect of the funding was to be provided directly from state sources and the remainder, for urban and industrial development projects, was to be raised on commercial terms.
The body responsible for the Generalplan Ost was the SS's Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) under Heinrich Himmler, which commissioned the work. The document was revised several times between June 1941 and spring 1942 as the war in the east progressed successfully. It was a strictly confidential proposal whose content was known only to those at the top level of the Nazi hierarchy; it was circulated by RSHA to the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (Ostministerium) in early 1942.
According to testimony of SS-Standartenführer Dr. Hans Ehlich (one of the witnesses before the Subsequent Nuremberg Trials), the original version of the plan was drafted in 1940. As a high official in the RSHA, Ehlich was the man responsible for the drafting of Generalplan Ost along with Dr. Konrad Meyer, Chief of the Planning Office of Himmler's Reich Commission for the Strengthening of Germandom. It had been preceded by the Ostforschung .
The preliminary versions were discussed by Heinrich Himmler and his most trusted colleagues even before the outbreak of war. This was mentioned by SS- Obergruppenführer Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski during his evidence as a prosecution witness in the trial of officials of the Race and Settlement Main Office (RuSHA). According to Bach-Zelewski, Himmler stated openly: "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."A fundamental change in the plan was introduced on June 24, 1941 – two days after the start of Operation Barbarossa – when the 'solution' to the Jewish question ceased to be part of that particular framework gaining a lethal, autonomous priority.
Nearly all the wartime documentation on Generalplan Ost was deliberately destroyed shortly before Germany's defeat in May 1945,and the full proposal has never been found, though several documents refer to it or supplement it. Nonetheless, most of the plan's essential elements have been reconstructed from related memos, abstracts and other documents.
A major document which enabled historians to accurately reconstruct the Generalplan Ost was a memorandum released on April 27, 1942, by Erhard Wetzel, director of the NSDAP Office of Racial Policy, entitled "Opinion and thoughts on the master plan for the East of the Reichsführer SS".Wetzel's memorandum was a broad elaboration of the Generalplan Ost proposal. It came to light only in 1957.
The extermination document for the Slavic people of Eastern Europe did survive the war and has been quoted by Yale historian Timothy Snyder in 2010 and shows ethnic Poles were the primary target of Generalplan OST.
Generalplan Ost (GPO) (English: Master Plan East) was a secret Nazi German plan for the colonization of Central and Eastern Europe. Implementing it would have necessitated genocide and ethnic cleansing on a vast scale to be undertaken in the European territories occupied by Germany during World War II. It would have included the extermination of most Slavic people in Europe. The plan, prepared in the years 1939-1942, was part of Adolf Hitler's and the Nazi movement's Lebensraum policy and a fulfilment of the Drang nach Osten (English: Drive towards the East) ideology of German expansion to the east, both of them part of the larger plan to establish the New Order.
The final version of the Generalplan Ost proposal was divided into two parts; the "Small Plan" (Kleine Planung), which covered actions carried out in the course of the war; and the "Big Plan" (Grosse Planung), which described steps to be taken gradually over a period of 25 to 30 years after the war was won. Both plans entailed the policy of ethnic cleansing.As of June 1941, the policy envisaged the deportation of 31 million Slavs to Siberia.
The Generalplan Ost proposal offered various percentages of the conquered or colonized people who were targeted for removal and physical destruction; the net effect of which would be to ensure that the conquered territories would become German. In ten years' time, the plan effectively called for the extermination, expulsion, Germanization or enslavement of most or all East and West Slavs living behind the front lines of East-Central Europe. The "Small Plan" was to be put into practice as the Germans conquered the areas to the east of their pre-war borders.[ citation needed ] After the war, under the "Big Plan", Generalplan Ost Many people of eastern Europe were to be affected by it. In their place up to 10 million of Germans would be settled in an extended "living space" (Lebensraum). Because the number of Germans appeared to be insufficient to populate the vast territories of Central and Eastern Europe, the peoples judged to lie racially between the Germans and the Russians (Mittelschicht), namely, Latvians and even Czechs, were also supposed to be resettled there.
According to Nazi intentions, attempts at Germanization were to be undertaken only in the case of those foreign nationals in Central and Eastern Europe who could be considered a desirable element for the future Reich from the point of view of its racial theories. The Plan stipulated that there were to be different methods of treating particular nations and even particular groups within them. Attempts were even made to establish the basic criteria to be used in determining whether a given group lent itself to Germanization. These criteria were to be applied more liberally in the case of nations whose racial material (rassische Substanz) and level of cultural development made them more suitable than others for Germanization. The Plan considered that there were a large number of such elements among the Baltic states. Erhard Wetzel felt that thought should be given to a possible Germanization of the whole of the Estonian nation and a sizable proportion of the Latvians. On the other hand, the Lithuanians seemed less desirable since "they contained too great an admixture of Slav blood." Himmler's view was that "almost the whole of the Lithuanian nation would have to be deported to the East".Himmler is described to even have had a positive attitude towards germanizing the populations of Alsace-Lorraine, border areas of Slovenia (Upper Carniola and Southern Styria) and Bohemia-Moravia, but not Lithuania, claiming its population to be of "inferior race" .
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were to be deprived of their statehood, while their territories were to be included in the area of German settlement. This meant that Latvia and especially Lithuania would be covered by the deportation plans, though in a somewhat milder form than the expulsion of Slavs to western Siberia. While the Estonians would be spared from repressions and physical liquidation (that the Jews and the Poles were experiencing), in the long term the Nazi planners did not foresee their existence as independent entitites and they would be deported as well, with eventual denationalisation; initial designs were for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to be Germanized within 25 years, however Heinrich Himmler revised them to 20 years.
In 1941 it was decided to destroy the Polish nation completely and the German leadership decided that in 15–20 years the Polish state under German occupation was to be fully cleared of any ethnic Poles and settled by German colonists. 32 A majority of them, now deprived of their leaders and most of their intelligentsia (through mass murder, destruction of culture, the ban on education above the absolutely basic level, and kidnapping of children for Germanization), would have to be deported to regions in the East and scattered over as wide an area of Western Siberia as possible. According to the plan this would result in their assimilation by the local populations, which would cause the Poles to vanish as a nation.:
According to plan, by 1952 only about 3–4 million 'non-Germanized' Poles (all of them peasants) were to be left residing in the former Poland. Those of them who would still not Germanize were to be forbidden to marry, the existing ban on any medical help to Poles in Germany would be extended, and eventually Poles would cease to exist. Experiments in mass sterilization in concentration camps may also have been intended for use on the populations.The Wehrbauer , or soldier-peasants, would be settled in a fortified line to prevent civilization reanimating beyond the Ural Mountains and threatening Germany. "Tough peasant races" would serve as a bulwark against attack — however, it was not very far east of the "frontier" that the westernmost reaches within continental Asia of the Third Reich's major Axis partner, Imperial Japan's own Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere would have existed, had a complete defeat of the Soviet Union occurred.
The seizure of food supplies in Ukraine brought about starvation, as it was intended to do to depopulate that region for German settlement.Soldiers were told to steel their hearts against starving women and children, because every bit of food given to them was stolen from the German people, endangering their nourishment.
Widely varying policies were envisioned by the creators of Generalplan Ost, and some of them were actually implemented by Germany in regards to the different Slavic territories and ethnic groups. For example, by August–September 1939 (Operation Tannenberg followed by the A-B Aktion in 1940), Einsatzgruppen death squads and concentration camps had been employed to deal with the Polish elite, while the small number of Czech intelligentsia were allowed to emigrate overseas. Parts of Poland were annexed by Germany early in the war (leaving aside the rump German-controlled General Government and the areas previously annexed by the Soviet Union), while the other territories were officially occupied by or allied to Germany (for example, the Slovak part of Czechoslovakia became a theoretically independent puppet state, while the ethnic-Czech parts of the Czech lands (so excluding the Sudetenland) became a "protectorate"). The plan was partially attempted during the war, resulting indirectly and directly in millions of deaths of ethnic Slavs by starvation, disease, or extermination through labor.The majority of Germany's 12 million forced laborers were abducted from Eastern Europe, mostly in the Soviet territories and Poland.
One of the indictment charges at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the S.S. officer responsible for the transportation aspects of the Final Solution, was that he was responsible for the deportation of 500,000 Poles. Eichmann was convicted on all 15 counts.Poland's Supreme National Tribunal stated that "the wholesale extermination was first directed at Jews and also at Poles and had all the characteristics of genocide in the biological meaning of this term."
Around six million Polish citizens perished during World War II: about one fifth of the pre-war population.The official Polish government report on war damages prepared in 1947 put Poland's war dead at 6,028,000; 3.0 million ethnic Poles and 3.0 million Jews not including losses of Polish citizens from the Ukrainian and Belarusian ethnic groups. This figure was disputed when the communist system collapsed by the Polish historian Czesław Łuczak who put total losses at 6.0 million; 3.0 million Jews, 2.0 million ethnic Poles, and 1.0 million Polish citizens from the other ethnic groups not included in the 1947 report on war damages. In 2009 the Polish government-affiliated Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) published the study "Polska 1939–1945. Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami"(Poland 1939-1945. Human Losses and Victims of Repression Under the Two Occupations) that estimated Poland's war dead at between 5.6 and 5.8 million Poles and Jews, including 150,000 during the Soviet occupation. Poland's losses by geographic area include about 3.5 million within the borders of present-day Poland, and about two million in the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union. Contemporary Russian sources include Poland's losses in the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union with Soviet war dead In Poland this is viewed as inflating Soviet casualties at Poland's expense. Today's scholars of independent Poland believe that 1.8 to 1.9 million Polish civilians (non-Jews) and 3 million Polish Jews were victims of German Occupation policies and the war."
A 1995 paper published by the M.V. Philimoshin, an associate of the Russian Defense Ministry, put the civilian death toll in the regions occupied by Germany at 13.7 million. Philimoshin cited sources from Soviet era to support his figures and used the terms "genocide" and "premeditated extermination" when referring to deaths of 7.4 million civilians caused by direct, intentional violence. Civilians killed in reprisals during the Soviet partisan war account for a major portion.Philimoshin estimated that civilian forced laborer deaths in Germany totaled 2.1 million . Germany had a policy of forced confiscation of food that resulted in famine deaths of an estimated 6% of the population or 4.1 million. Russian government sources currently cite these civilian casualty figures in their official statements
Civilian losses include deaths in the siege of Leningrad. According to David Glantz the 1945 Soviet estimate presented at the Nuremberg Trials was 642,000 civilian deaths. He noted that Soviet era source from 1965 put the number of dead in the Siege of Leningrad at "greater than 800,000" and that a Russian source from 2000 put the number of dead at 1,000,000.Other Russian historians put the Leningrad death toll at between 1.4 and 2.0 million.
These casualties are for 1941–1945 within the 1946–1991 borders of the USSR.Included with civilian losses are deaths in the territories annexed by the USSR in 1939–1940 including 600,000 in the Baltic states and 1,500,000 in Eastern Poland, 500,000 of the 1,500,000 are Ethnic Poles in the Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union.
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel, and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Germany. Himmler was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and a main architect of the Holocaust.
In Nazi German terminology, Volksdeutsche were "people whose language and culture had German origins but who did not hold German citizenship". The term is the nominalised plural of volksdeutsch, with Volksdeutsche denoting a singular female, and Volksdeutsche(r), a singular male. The words Volk and völkisch conveyed the meanings of "folk".
The Heim ins Reich was a foreign policy pursued by Adolf Hitler during World War II, beginning in 1938. The aim of Hitler's initiative was to convince all Volksdeutsche who were living outside Nazi Germany that they should strive to bring these regions "home" into Greater Germany, but also relocate from territories that were not under German control, following the conquest of Poland in accordance with the Nazi-Soviet pact. The Heim ins Reich manifesto targeted areas ceded in Versailles to the newly reborn nation of Poland, as well as other areas that were inhabited by significant German populations such as the Sudetenland, Danzig, and the southeastern and northeastern regions of Europe after 6 October 1939.
The General Government, also referred to as the General Governorate for the occupied Polish Region, was a German zone of occupation established after the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany, Slovakia and the Soviet Union in 1939 at the onset of World War II. The newly occupied Second Polish Republic was split into three zones: the General Government in its centre, Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany in the west, and Polish areas annexed by the Soviet Union in the east. The territory was expanded substantially in 1941, after the German Invasion of the Soviet Union, to include the new District of Galicia.
Following the Invasion of Poland at the beginning of World War II, nearly a quarter of the entire territory of the Second Polish Republic was annexed by Nazi Germany and placed directly under the German civil administration. The rest of Nazi occupied Poland was renamed as the General Government district. The annexation was part of the "fourth" partition of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, outlined months before the invasion, in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.
Operation Tannenberg was a codename for one of the anti-Polish extermination actions by Nazi Germany that was directed at the Poles during the opening stages of World War II in Europe, as part of the Generalplan Ost for the German colonization of the East. The shootings were conducted with the use of a proscription list, compiled by the Gestapo in the span of two years before the 1939 invasion.
Untermensch is a Nazi term for non-Aryan "inferior people" often referred to as "the masses from the East", that is Jews, Roma, and Slavs. The term was also applied to Blacks, Mulattos and Finn-Asian. Jewish people were to be exterminated in the Holocaust, along with the Polish and Romani people, and the physically and mentally disabled. According to the Generalplan Ost, the Slavic population of East-Central Europe was to be reduced in part through mass murder in the Holocaust, with a majority expelled to Asia and used as slave labor in the Reich. These concepts were an important part of the Nazi racial policy.
Crimes against the Polish nation committed by Nazi Germany and Axis collaborationist forces during the invasion of Poland, along with auxiliary battalions during the subsequent occupation of Poland in World War II, consisted of the murder of millions of ethnic Poles and the systematic extermination of Jewish Poles. The Germans justified these genocides on the basis of Nazi racial theory, which regarded Poles and other Slavic peoples as racially inferior Untermenschen and depicted Jews as a constant threat. By 1942, the Nazi Germans were implementing their plan to kill every Jew in German-occupied Europe, and had also developed plans to eliminate the Polish people through mass murder, ethnic cleansing, enslavement and extermination through labor, and assimilation into German identity of a small minority of Poles deemed "racially valuable". During World War II, the Germans not only murdered millions of Poles, but ethnically cleansed millions more through forced deportation to make room for “racially superior” German settlers. The genocides claimed the lives of 2.7 to 3 million Polish Jews and 1.8 to 2.77 million non-Jewish ethnic Poles, according to various sources such as Poland's Institute of National Remembrance
Holocaust victims were people who were targeted by the government of Nazi Germany for various discriminatory practices due to their ethnicity, religion, political beliefs, or sexual orientation. These institutionalized practices came to be called The Holocaust, and they began with legalized social discrimination against specific groups, and involuntary hospitalization, euthanasia, and forced sterilization of those considered physically or mentally unfit for society. These practices escalated during World War II to include non-judicial incarceration, confiscation of property, forced labor, sexual slavery, medical experimentation, and death through overwork, undernourishment, and execution through a variety of methods, with the genocide of different groups as the primary goal.
The Deutsche Volksliste, a Nazi Party institution, aimed to classify inhabitants of Nazi-occupied territories (1939-1945) into categories of desirability according to criteria systematised by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. The institution originated in occupied western Poland. Similar schemes subsequently developed in Occupied France (1940-1944) and in the Reichskommissariat Ukraine (1941-1944).
The Expulsion of Poles by Germany was a prolonged anti-Polish campaign of ethnic cleansing by violent and terror-inspiring means lasting nearly half a century. It began with the concept of Pan-Germanism developed in the early 19th century and culminated in the racial policy of Nazi Germany that asserted the superiority of the Aryan race. The removal of Poles by Germany stemmed from historic ideas of expansionist nationalism. It was implemented at different levels and different stages by successive German governments. It ended with the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.
The Nisko Plan was an operation to deport Jews to the Lublin District of the General Governorate in Poland in 1939. Organized by Nazi Germany, the plan was cancelled in early 1940.
Karl Heinrich Wilhelm Koppe was a German Nazi commander. He was responsible for numerous atrocities against Poles and Jews in Reichsgau Wartheland and the General Government during the German occupation of Poland in World War II.
The Hunger Plan was a plan developed by Nazi Germany during World War II to seize food from the Soviet Union and give it to German soldiers and civilians; the plan entailed the death by starvation of millions of Slavs following Operation Barbarossa, the 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union. The premise behind the Hunger Plan was that Germany was not self-sufficient in food supplies, and to sustain the war and keep up the domestic morale it needed to obtain the food from conquered lands at any cost. It was an engineered famine, planned and implemented as an act of policy. This plan was developed during the planning phase for the Wehrmacht invasion and provided for diverting of the Ukrainian food stuffs away from central and northern Russia and redirecting them for the benefit of the invading army and the population in Germany. The plan resulted in the deaths of millions of people. The plan as a means of mass murder was outlined in several documents, including one that became known as Göring's Green Folder, which quoted a number of "20 to 30 million" expected Russian deaths from "military actions and crises of food supply."
The Zamość uprising comprised World War II partisan operations, 1942–1944, by the Polish resistance against Germany's Generalplan-Ost forced expulsion of Poles from the Zamość region (Zamojszczyzna) and the region's colonization by German settlers.
The Holocaust in Ukraine took place in Reichskommissariat Ukraine, General Government, Crimean General Government and some areas under military control to the East of Reichskommissariat Ukraine as well as Transnistria Governorate and Northern Bukovina and Carpatho-Ukraine in World War II. Between 1941 and 1944 more than a million Jews living in the Soviet Union were murdered by Nazi Germany's Generalplan Ost and the Final Solution extermination policies. Most of them were killed in Ukraine because most pre-WWII Soviet Jews lived in the Pale of Settlement, of which Ukraine was the biggest part.
The Intelligenzaktion, or Intelligentsia mass shootings, was a, not always secret, mass murder conducted by Nazi Germany against the Polish intelligentsia early in the Second World War (1939–45). The operations were conducted to realise the Germanization of the western regions of occupied Poland, before territorial annexation to the German Reich.
The Expulsion of Poles by Nazi Germany during World War II was a massive Nazi German operation consisting of the forced resettlement of over 1.7 million Poles from all territories of occupied Poland with the aim of their geopolitical Germanization between 1939–1944. The expulsions were justified by Nazi racial doctrine, which depicted Poles and other Slavs as racially inferior Untermenschen.
The occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II (1939–1945) began with the German-Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, and it was formally concluded with the defeat of Germany by the Allies in May 1945. Throughout the entire course of the occupation, the territory of Poland was divided between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (USSR) both of which intended to eradicate Poland's culture and subjugate its people. In the summer-autumn of 1941, the lands which were annexed by the Soviets were overrun by Germany in the course of the initially successful German attack on the USSR. After a few years of fighting, the Red Army drove the German forces out of the USSR and crossed into Poland from the rest of Central and Eastern Europe.
The ethnic cleansing of Zamojszczyzna by Nazi Germany during World War II was carried out as part of a greater plan of forcible removal of the entire Polish populations from targeted regions of occupied Poland in preparation for the state-sponsored settlement of the ethnic German Volksdeutsche. The operation of mass expulsions from Zamojszczyzna region around the city of Zamość was carried out between November 1942 and March 1943 on direct order from Heinrich Himmler. It was preplanned by both, Globocnik from Action Reinhard and Himmler, as the first stage of the eventual murderous ethnic cleansing ahead of projected Germanization of the entire General Government territory.