The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Aggression Against the U.S.S.R.
(Part 14 of 16)

[Page 829]

F. The Motives for the Attack.

It should first be pointed out that not only was Germany bound by solemn covenant not to attack the USSR, but throughout the entire period from August 1939 to the invasion in 1941, the Soviet Union was faithful to its agreements with Germany and displayed no aggressive intentions toward the territories of the German Reich. General Thomas, for example, points out in his draft of "Basic Facts for a History of the German War and Armaments Economy" (2353-PS), that insofar as the German-Soviet trade agreement of 11 August 1939 was concerned, the Soviets carried out their deliveries thereunder up to the very end. Thomas points out that deliveries by the Soviets were usually made quickly and well, and since the food and raw material being thus delivered was considered essential to the German economy, efforts were made to keep up their side too. However, as preparations for the campaign proceeded, the Nazis cared less about maintaining their obligations. At page 315 of his book Thomas says:

"Later on the urgency of the Russian deliveries diminished, as preparations for the campaign in the East were already under way.

"The Russians carried out their deliveries as planned, right up to the start of the attack; even during the last few days, transports of India-rubber from the Far East were completed by Express transit trains." (2353-PS)

Again at page 404, Thomas brings this point out even more forcefully:

"In addition to the Italian negotiations, until June, 1941, the negotiations with Russia were accorded a great deal of attention. The Fuehrer issued the directive that, in order to camouflage German troop movements, the orders Russia has placed in Germany must be filled as promptly as possible. Since the Russians only made grain deliveries, when the Germans delivered orders placed by the Russians, and since in the case of individual firms these deliveries to Russia made it impossible for them to fill orders for the German armed forces, it was necessary for the Wi Rue office to enter into numerous individual negotiations with German firms in order to coordinate Russian orders with those of the German from the standpoint of priority. In accordance with the wishes of the Foreign Office, German industry was instructed to accept all Russian orders, even if it were impossible to fill them within the limits of the time set for manufacture and delivery. Since in May especially, large deliveries had to be made to the Navy, the firms were instructed to allow the

[Page 830]

equipment to go through the Russian Acceptance Commission, then, however, to make such a detour during its transportation as to make it impossible for it to be delivered over the frontier prior to the beginning of the German attack." (2353-PS)

Not only was the Soviet Union faithful to its treaty obligations with Germany, but she had no aggressive intentions toward German territory. A file on Russo-German relations found in the files of the Naval High Command, covering the entire period from the treaty to the attack (C- 170), demonstrates this point conclusively. It will be sufficient to quote a few entries, which include reports from the German ambassador in Moscow as late as June 1941. Entry 165 reads:

"165 A 22,29 4 June

"Outwardly, no change in the relationship Germany- Russia. Russian deliveries continue to full satisfaction. Russian government is endeavoring to do everything to prevent a conflict with Germany." (C-170)

Entry 167 reads:

"167 A 22.53 6 June

"Ambassador in Moscow reports *** Russia will only fight if attacked by Germany. Situation is considered in Moscow much more serious than up to now. All military preparations have been made quietly -- as far as can be recognized only defensive. Russian policy still strives as before to produce the best possible relationship to Germany as good." ( C-170)

Entry 169 also reiterates this point:

"169 A 22.65 7 June

"From the report of the Ambassador in Moscow ***. All observations show that Stalin and Molotov, who alone are responsible for Russian foreign policy, are doing everything to avoid a conflict with Germany. The entire behavior of the Government, as well as the attitude of the press, which reports all events concerning Germany in a factual, indisputable manner, support this view. The loyal fulfillment of the economic treaty with Germany proves the same thing." (C-170)

The reasons, therefore, which led to the attack on the Soviet Union could not have been self-defense or treaty breaches. No doubt, as has been necessarily implied from the materials presented on planning and preparation, more than one motive entered into the decision of the Nazi conspirators to launch their aggression against the USSR All of them, however, appear to

[Page 831]

blend into one grand motif of Nazi policy. The pattern into which these varied reasons fall is the traditional Nazi ambition for expansion to the East at the expense of the USSR This Nazi version of an earlier imperial imperative, "Drang Nach Osten," had been a cardinal principle of the Party almost since its birth, and rested on the twin bases of political strategy and economic aggrandizement. Politically, such action meant elimination of the powerful force to the East, which might constitute a threat to German ambition, and acquisition of Lebensraum. Economically, it offered opportunities for the plunder of vast quantities of food, raw materials, and other supplies. Undoubtedly the demands of the German War economy for food and raw material served to revive the attractiveness of the economic side of this theory while the difficulties Germany was experiencing in defeating England reaffirmed for the Nazi conspirators the temporarily forgotten Nazi political imperative of eliminating, as a political factor, their one formidable opponent on the continent.

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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