Hopefully someone who knows the history of pogroms in the Soviet Union prior to WWII can chime in on this one.
When Hitler decided to open up the Russian front, his belief was that he would beat the Soviets in a relatively short time.
I know this particular decision, to launch Operation Barbarossa, has been debated to death, and is viewed as one of the single biggest errors of the war. What isn’t debated is when it started, 22 June 1941.
Depending on what source you read, the Germans discussed this plan “officially” at the Wannsee Conference on 20 January 1942, where the Final Solution was officially put into motion. However, much of the infrastructure had already been put in place, or was being built, before the Wannsee Conference. This makes sense, as much of the outline of the final solution was already prepared and presented at the conference.
So, since the Nazis and Soviets already had the non-aggression pact in place, Stalin was in no mood to fight Germany and Hitler, why didn’t the Nazis approach the Soviets to help them achieve the Final Solution? This would have kept the eastern front quiet and secure, and permit the Germans to pour resources into the West, including any plans to invade England.
So why the hurry? Especially if we are lead to believe the Germans looked at the Final Solution as their most important fight?
The non-agression-pact was an agreement of convenience on both sides, not an alliance between friends or even frenemies with a common goal (apart from getting a piece of Poland and not fighting just now).
Nazi doctrine was that Germany had to seek lebensraum in the east and that the Soviet Union was inhabited by Slavic sub-humans ruled by Jewish-Bolshevik masters. Hitler asking them to a joint holocaust venture is simply ludicrous.
Stalin was preparing for a showdown with Hitler, Hitler was short of resources and wanted to strike before Stalin’s preparations got too far.
Ludicrous by whose standards? Wouldn’t the Nazis use any and all means necessary to achieve their “final solution” including using people he thought of as sub-human to help carry out the task? Those people would just be on the last train, so to speak. Also, if the soviets hated the Jews to the point of organizing pograms of their own, I can’t believe it would be something couldn’t be discussed between the two current allies.
Even though many in Russia believed Hitler was going to invade, stalin was holding out hope that they wouldn’t, at least until his country was ready militarily. Agreeing on a joint program could have, in his min, at least, bought him some time. That wouldn’t bemwhat Hitler was thinking, but that’s the point here,
I know all that. This is all in the history books as to why he indeed period. My question is asking for an educated opinion. Unless the germans were running out of wheat, oil and coal in 1940 to the point where invasion was the only option, fine. Bit that wasn’t the case, was it? I know those were stated aims, and they make sense, but his armies werentmin danger of collapse in 1940, and the nation wasn’t starving. They may have been at their strongest militrily the day they moved into Russia.
Ludicrous by any standard. First of all “The final solution to the Jewish Question” wasn’t considered Germany’s most important fight, despite what you apparently have been led to believe. In fact, calling it a “fight” is pretty absurd in itself.
Second, as I pointed out already, relations between the two were hostile, with Stalin well aware that Hitler desiring to expand eastwards. Even if “Getting rid of the Jews” was the supreme goal of both of these, rather than a secondary goal as it actually is, what would an alliance to that end actually get them that the non-agression pact already in place didn’t? Do you really think “Let’s focus on the Jews for now?” is a question either despot would have considered?
What’s in the history books is an educated opinion. And your logic is deeply flawed. The time to expand and invade isn’t when you’re starving or lacking resources, it’s when you think you might be starving or running out of resources in the future.
Seriously, do you think waiting until you’ve run out of gas is the way to decide when to launch a tank invasion aimed at capturing oil fields?
Thisnis not exactly true, according to wiki. Wiki states that there were pogroms between the two WW’s, and at least two massacres during WWII in the Ukraine. In Russia, you are correct in that there was a longerntime lapse, but only 30, not 50 years. But since Ukraine was part of the USSR during the time in question, I think, at least from the little research I’ve done, is an indication that Jews were not exactly welcome in WWII in USSR (I apologize for using Russia and USSR interchangibly. Bad habit)
a docudrama produced by the BBC and HBO would disagree with you. They based the 90 + minute story on the Wannsee Conference itself. The phrase “fight” was I believe used by Martin Borman’s representative. Perhaps done for effect, however if the docudrama (called “Conspiracy” for anyone interested) is to be believed to be based on the one copy of the meeting notes to survive, it was pretty clear what the tone of the meeting was.
If Stalin saw it as a way to buy some time to get his military in order, I cant see any reason why he wouldn’t. The guy was a butcher, far worse than Hitler in raw numbers, and he killed indiscriminately. I think he’d have a clear conscious. And Hitler and the germans could certainly use it to occupy soviet forces in the west before moving in.
I’m not saying it would have worked. I’m just wondering if it were offered, would Stalin have bitten to buy his country time before the inevitable.
I agree with your statement that they couldn’t wait until it was too late to grab the oil and whatever else they needed for their war effort. However, we are talking maybe 6 months to a year delay, not any longer than that. The germans were getting rid of the Jews in part because the war was going poorly in Russia, and the us had joined the war as well. The Jews were taking up space, food, etc. Ridding them would free up resources for the German people and military.
I’m not entirely sure I understand your question. First, Hitler was in a hurry to invade the Soviet Union because he was convinced he was going to die soon and was running out of time.
But as to the rest of it, like you said, the actually “lets kill all the Jews” part of the Holocaust didn’t start until after Operation Barbarossa, in good part because of the invasion of the Soviet Union. The Germans came up with the Holocaust not because the war was going poorly, but because it was going so well: they were capturing so much territory, including pretty much all of the old Jewish Pale, and they were getting this kind of mentality that said “We really can do anything we set our mind to, can’t we? Why NOT kill the Jews? We have to sort the problem out somehow and we might as well do it.” It wasn’t a matter of freeing up resources.
The 1919 pogroms in Kiev were carried out by the Ukrainian nationalists, who you might learn after a bit of additional research, fought against the Soviets, while the WWII massacres were carried out by the occupying German troops.
Stalin denounced anti-Semitism, supported the establishment of the state of Israel and while there have been reports of personal dislike of Jews on his part, but any government sponsored anti-Jewish action did not occur until the late 40’s early 50’s.
Why not do things when you think you’re at your strongest? Hitler agreed, saying that in mid-1941 German power would be at its “zenith” with Soviet power at its “unmistakable nadir.” Since war with the USSR was considered inevitabe and was a fundamental doctrine of Nazi Germany, why would they not invade then?
You know what was already keeping the eastern front quiet? The non-agression pact. Stalin wasn’t on the verge of an attack, so all Hitler had to do to pour resources into the West was to not attack the SSSR.
Conflict with Soviet Russia was considered inevitable, the mirage of a fast campaign leading to Russian capitulation loomed large.
To Hitler’s defense Germany had been fighting on multiple fronts for most of it’s history, it had a multiple front war going when it still managed to defeat Russia in 1917 and that was without the advent of mobile warfare. This time Britain in 1941 could hardly even be considered a front. But it still seems at least logistically advisable to wait on prosecuting the final solution until the war was over if only because a significant proportion of Russians didn’t appreciate Soviet rule either. But this is hardly the first time immediate Germanic strategic objectives were priority over the long term advantages of swayed public opinion.
I think its a similar situation to Japan- Both were more resource strapped than the Allied forces, both were in proximity to enemies who had the resources they needed, both were moving closer toward an inevitable conflict…they both needed to take the initiative based on what they were doing.
Had Japan not attacked the United States in a surprise attack, they would’ve been inevitably forced to conquer oil-rich areas to maintain their war effort, which would’ve put them in conflict with the US anyway. Only this time, the US sees it coming, and might have better been in a position to defend the Philliphines, possessing a fully intact fleet, and deny Japan what little advantage they had in the war (surprise).
With Germany, I think it was inevitable the Soviets would have gone into open fighting, only the difference would be that Germany would only really have Poland as a buffer (well, their half of Poland anyway). So had Germany not attacked the Soviet Union, the Soviets would have attacked Germany eventually. Hitler probably figured if he struck quickly he could acquire enough resources and territory to prevent the USSR from being a threat to him.
The OP is right-Hitler saw the war with the USSR as the logical way for Germany to expand. Philosophically , Hitler was a Marxist-he saw history as a force beyond human control…to him, the German “volk” would naturally strive to settle a homeland in the east-which meant that the Slavs and Jews had to “get out of the way” (or be killed). This explains why Hitler was anxious to speed up history-he was eager to start war in the east. He actually was woefully unprepared (as we now know)-but that didn’t deter him “we have only to kick in the front door, and the whole rotten house will come crashing down”. In his attack, Hitler was aided by Stalin’s paranoia-Stalin was convinced that the Western Allies wanted to foment war between Germany and the USSR-which is why he ignored the (obvious) signs of German preparation for attack (he even had spies who reported German intentions executed). As it turned out,Stalin was rescued by:
-dedicated army commanders (many were released from prison camps to join the fight)
-Western aid (Studebaker trucks and spam from the USA)
-Hitler’s decision to take command of his armies(this guaranteed German defeat)
-Generals “Mud” and “Winter”
One of Hitler’s beliefs was that he was not going to live a long life. Even in his twenties, he was telling people he would die in his fifties. (And it turned out he was right.) So Hitler was always in a hurry after he came to power in 1932 at the age of 43. He had a lot of things he wanted to accomplish and believed he only had a short time to get them done.
(Perhaps you think all historical determinism is Marxism. It is not. Marx did not invent historical determinism, nor have all historical determinists since his time been Marxists. Many historical determinists disagree radically with Marxism. Besides that, Hitler wsa not a historical determinist. It may be possible to quote-mine him for deterministic statements, but consistency was not something he cared much about.)
Hitler?! We are talking about Hitler here? :eek::eek::eek: The man who preached the triumph of the will, and, to an extent matched by very few others in human history, sought to bend the universe to his own will?
Imagine you’re Stalin in spring of 1941. Hitler approaches you and tries to convince you what a grand idea it would be for you to kill or hand over to the Germans to kill several million males of military age in order to purge the world of the scourge of international Jewry. You wouldn’t have to have Stalin’s paranoia to think it might not be in your best interests to do so.
Well, considering the whole impetus for the war in the first place was to capture Soviet/Slav land, purge the locals and replace them with German settlers (and on the other side of the world, for Japan to help itself to Kamchatka, southern Siberia…), I think it’s fair to say that Stalin could have had a few objections to raise over the whole notion. The Nazis only attacked the West so that it (in theory) could not react to the shift in the balance of power caused by them gorging themselves on the East. Also to spite the French, which is as good a reason to do anything as I’ve ever seen.
Beyond that, Stalin being Stalin, it’s also pretty much a given he’d have invaded East Germany (and the Balkans) the second it lowered its guard. Or at the very least pounced on Europe’s butt monkey: Poland. As evidence by the fact it’s exactly what happened after the Germans & their Balkanic allies lost the war.
Emphasis mine. When the basis of your argument contradicts itself, you’re going to have a bad time.