Holocaust-Dwarfing Nazi Plans Against Poles: Lucid Details

Review of The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy, by Adam Tooze. 2006. Allen Lane (Penguin Books), England.
Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
Includes Fascinating Insights into GENERALPLAN OST as Vast and Systematic Planned Nazi Genocide of Slavs
Instead of repeating the many other reviewers, I focus on certain mostly-unmentioned items.
Conventional wisdom has it that the “onerous” reparations required of post-WWI Germany caused her to lag economically behind Great Britain. (p. 141). Actually, the German economy had structural features that dragged it down, including an inefficient agricultural sector. (p. 140).
As for Hitler’s rise to power, Tooze assesses the role of Catholic politics as follows (quote) After applying massive pressure to the Catholic Centre party, Hitler got the two-thirds majority he needed for the Enabling Law of 23 March 1933. This freed his government to rule by decree. The road was open to the decisive application of physical force. (unquote)(p. 40).
The Haavara Transfer involved a deal between the Nazi authorities and certain wealthy Zionists in Palestine. It enabled an astonishing one-tenth of German Jews (50,000 people) to escape Nazi Germany, bringing with them 106 million Reichsmarks, which they exchanged for 5.5 million Palestinian pounds. (pp. 89-90).
The drive for German LEBENSRAUM, at the expanse of the Slavic east, was at the root of WWII. Not only Hitler, but also the likes of Richard Walther Darre articulated a policy of LEBENSRAUM. In fact, in a newly discovered archived work, Darre, early in 1936, specified a plan for German LEBENSRAUM in the territories up to the Urals. (p. 198). As justification, Darre invoked German supremacy: The right of Germans to own these territories because of German superiority in various technological achievements. (p. 199).
Some 900,000 Jews were gassed at Auschwitz. However, there were also 200,000 Jewish forced laborers housed at Auschwitz out of a cumulative 400,000 Auschwitz inmates. Of the latter, about 140,000 were Poles. (pp. 526-527).
The author finds parallels, between the balancing of Nazi ideological goals with economic realities, in terms of non-Jews as well as Jews. He comments (quote) At the same time the treatment of the foreign labor force, the concentration camp population and at least a small remnant of the Jewish population was progressively “economized” to take account of the needs of the war economy. (unquote)(p. 538; see also pp. 544-545). Some Nazis (e. g, Himmler) favored the extermination of Jews even at the cost of Jewish laborers, while other Nazis (e. g, Ruestinginspektor Schindler) regarded Poland’s Jews as an indispensable workforce, even as late as at least the summer of 1942. (p. 757).
Tooze assesses the Nazi actions against Slavs as follows, “Poland and the western Soviet Union were practically eviscerated.” (p. xix). The Germans murdered millions of Soviet citizens. This includes 600,000 shot by December 1941 and another 1.6 million dead from forced starvation. (p. 482). More than half of the 1.95 million Soviet POWs in Germany, after November 1941, also perished. (p. 523).
Poles faced malnutrition and starvation conditions during the German occupation. (p. 544). German genocidal thinking against Poles persisted into the latter stages of WWII. As hunger began to affect the Germans, it was to be passed down to Jews and then Poles. In fact, only the good local harvest of 1942 spared millions of ethnic Poles from planned starvation in Spring 1943. (pp. 547, 549).
Considering all the “normal” concentration camps operated by Nazi Germany, there were 1.65 million total inmates, of which less than 475,000 survived the war. (pp. 522-523). This means that 1.1 million workers died, of which 800,000 were gentiles. In addition, at least 130,000 Polish forced laborers died in Germany. (p. 523).
GENERALPLAN OST, finalized in May 1942, called for the removal of 80%-85% of the population of German-occupied Poland, along with comparable proportions of other Slavs. Tooze realizes that the “resettlement in Siberia” provisions should not be taken literally, and quips, (quote) There was still no absolute clarity about the final destination of the displaced populations. But what cannot have been in doubt is that the process of “evacuation” would involve mass death on an epic scale…Only those capable of work were of any interest to the Germans…Any moral consideration had long ago been set aside. The question was one of practicalities. (unquote) (p. 467).
The author is atypical in that he presses the genocidal significance of GENERALPLAN OST, so much so that he juxtaposes it with the Holocaust. He comments (quote) The GENERALPLAN OST set a timetable for the extinction of the entire population of Eastern Europe. It should be taken no less seriously than the program outlined by Heydrich at the Wannsee conference. (unquote)(p. 468).
The reader should also note, from the above quotes, as well as the one immediately below, that the Nazis used the same genocidal rhetoric against Slavs as against Jews. Thus, initial German plans, in the wake of Operation Barbarossa, had called for the starvation of a 20-30 million “surplus population” of Slavs. (pp. 479-480, p. 538). This did not happen, to near anywhere this scale, only because the Germans had insufficient manpower to prevent the movement of feedstuffs. (p. 483).
Tooze challenges those who suggest that Allied bombing was militarily ineffective. He shows that the rapidly-increasing German war production leveled off during and after the Battle of the Ruhr and the bombing of Hamburg, in mid-1943. (See his graph, p. 600).
Now consider the Me 262 jet. Tooze suggests that it failed to appear in time to affect the war not because of poor planning, or insufficient appreciation of its military value, but because of the limitations of Germany’s war economy. (p. 620).

By piotrbein