The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against the U.S.S.R.
(Part 7 of 16)

D. Plans for the Economic Exploitation and Spoilation of the USSR

Not only was there detailed preparation for the invasion from a purely military standpoint, but equally elaborate and detailed planning was undertaken by the Nazi conspirators to insure that their aggression would prove economically profitable. The motives which led the conspirators to plan and launch attack were both political and economic. The economic basis may be simply summarized as the greed of the Nazi conspirators for the raw material, food, and other supplies which their neighbor possessed and which they conceived of themselves as needing for the maintenance of their war machine. To the Nazi conspirators a need was translated as a right, and they early began planning

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and preparing with typical care and detail to insure that every bit of the plunder which it would be possible to reap in the course of their aggression would be exploited to their utmost benefit.

As early as August 1940 General Thomas, Chief of the Wi Rue Amt, received a hint from Goering about a possible attack on the USSR, which prompted him to begin considering the Soviet war economy. In November 19408 months before the attack Thomas was categorically informed by Goering of the planned operation in the East, and preliminary preparations were commenced for the economic plundering of the territories to be occupied in the course of such operation (235-PS). Goering played the overall leading role in this activity by virtue of his position at the head of the Four Year Plan. Thomas describes his receipt of the knowledge and this early planning in these terms:

"*** In November, 1940, the Chief of the Wi Rue together with Secretaries of state Koerner, Neumann, Backe and General von Hanneken were informed by the Reichmarshal of the action planned in the East.

"By reason of these directives the preliminary preparations for the action in the East were commenced by the office of WiRue at the end of 1940.

"The preliminary preparations for the action in the East included first of all the following tasks:

"1. Obtaining of a detailed survey of the Russian Armament industry, its location, its capacity and its associate industries.

"2. Investigation of the capacity of the different big armament centers and their dependency one on the other.

"3. Determine the power and transport system for the industry of the Soviet Union.

"4. Investigation of sources of raw materials and petroleum (crude oil).

"5. Preparation of a survey of industries other than armament industries in the Soviet Union.

"These points were concentrated in one big compilation 'War Economy of the Soviet Union' and illustrated with detailed maps, etc."

"Furthermore a card index was made, containing all the important factories in Soviet-Russia, and a lexicon of economy in the German Russian language for the use of the German War Economy Organization.

"For the processing of these problems a task staff, Russia,

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was created, first in charge of Lieutenant Colonel Luther and later on in charge of Brigadier General Schubert. The work was carried out according to the directives from the Chief of the Office, resp. the group of depts. for foreign territories (Ausland) with the cooperation of all departments, economy offices and any other persons, possessing information on Russia. Through these intensive preparative activities an excellent collection of material was made, which proved of the utmost value later on for carrying out the operations and for administering the territory." (2353-PS)

By the end of February 1941 this preliminary planning had proceeded to a point where a broader plan of organization was needed. General Thomas held a conference with his subordinates on 28 February 1941 to call for such a plan. A memorandum of this conference classified Top Secret and dated 1 March 1941, reads as follows:

"The general ordered that a broader plan of organization be drafted for the Reich Marshal.

"Essential Points:

"1. The whole organization to be subordinate to the Reich Marshal. Purpose: Support and extension of the measures of the four-year plan.

"2. The organization must include everything concerning war economy, excepting only food, which is said to be made already a special mission of State Secretary Backe.

"3. Clear statement that the organization is to be independent of the military or civil administration. Close cooperation, but instructions direct from the central office in Berlin.

"4. Scope of activities to be divided in two steps:

a. Accompanying the advancing troops directly behind the front lines, in order to avoid the destruction of supplies and to secure the removal of important goods.

b. Administration of the occupied industrial districts and exploitation of economically complimentary districts.

"5. In view of the extended field of activity, the term war economy inspection is to be used preferably, instead of armament inspection.

"6. In view of the great field of activity, the organization must be generously equipped and personnel must be correspondingly numerous. The main mission of the organization will consist of seizing raw materials and taking over all

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important concerns. For the latter mission reliable persons from German concerns will be interposed suitably from the beginning, since successful operation from the beginning can only be performed by the aid of their experiences. (for example, lignite, ore, chemistry, petroleum).

"After the discussion of further details, Lt. Col. Luther was instructed to make an initial draft of such an organization within one week.

"Close cooperation with the individual sections in the building is essential. An officer must still be appointed for Wi and Rue, with whom the operational staff can remain in constant contact. Wi is to give each section chief and Lt. Col. Luther a copy of the new plan regarding Russia.

"Major General Schubert is to be asked to be in Berlin the second half of next week. Also, the four officers who are ordered to draw up the individual armament inspections are to report to the Office Chief at the end of next week.

"(signed:) Hamann". (1317-PS)

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