The trillion-Reichsmark (and a million-lives) question was how to achieve this fundamental objective. In other words, how to win this existential war (and what exactly would this victory look like).
In all campaigns (except the British and the North African ones) the path to victory was crystal clear. Destroy (in a lightning-fast war) a sufficient chunk of armed forces of the opponent, occupy sufficient territory and create a sufficiently clear and present threat (for which there were no countermeasures) to force the adversary to unconditionally surrender to the victorious Wehrmacht.
In the Soviet Union none of the above was possible. For a very simple reason – both the damn country and its armed forces were so damn huge. Enormous. Gargantuan. In addition, its management system (built by Joseph Stalin – also an organizational genius) was highly resilient to external shocks – even of an enormous magnitude.
Hence, Adolf Hitler launched the attack on the Soviet Union without any clear idea how to achieve victory (in other words, how to end the war on his terms). “Destruction of the Red Army” that Adolf Hitler stated as the key objective of Operation Barbarossa (even over the achievement of specific terrain objectives) did not qualify as such.
For the Red Army (that was preparing for its own attack – on Germany) had at its disposal fourteen million men. A complete destruction of the army of such an enormous size even for a four-million Wehrmacht was a pure fantasy.
Especially given the fact that the enormous size of the USSR gave it plenty of room for retreat (this is how Kutuzov defeated another would-be conqueror of Russia – Napoleon Bonaparte). And, of course, an unlimited (for all practical purposes) conscription potential of an almost 200-million strong population of the Soviet Union.
Incredibly, unlike in his previous victorious campaigns, Adolf Hitler had no plans of how to force the Soviet leadership to sign the peace treaty on his terms (i.e. the reincarnation of sorts of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty of 1918 between the Soviet Russia and the Central Powers). Let alone of forcing an unconditional surrender of the Red Army.
His other – criminal – fundamental objective did not help (to put it mildly). The “Lebensraum in the East” objective was a very broad, general and highly abstract idea; consequently, it required a detailed plan for its implementation – what needs to be done, why and how.
In 1940, exactly such a plan (dubbed Generalplan Ost) was prepared by a team led by SS-Standartenführer Dr. Hans Ehlich and SS-Oberführer Dr. Konrad Meyer. The latter was (not surprisingly) an economist and the Chief of the Planning Office of Reich Commission for the Strengthening of Germandom (an organization within the SS). The former was (rather surprisingly) a medical doctor. The work was commissioned (unsurprisingly) by Reich Main Security Office (RSHA).
Development of Generalplan Ost had been preceded by the Ostforschung, a number of studies and research projects carried out over several years by various academic centers to provide the necessary raw data.
The full text of the plan has been discovered in German archives only in the 1980s and reads like a very bad, very bloody and very apocalyptic horror fantasy novel. It entailed the enslavement, expulsion, and mass murder of most Slavic peoples (and substantial parts of the Baltic peoples) in Europe along with planned destruction of their nations, whom the ‘Aryan’ Nazis viewed as racially inferior.
Generalplan Ost called for the removal of 45 million non-Germanizable people from Central and Eastern Europe, of whom 31 million were “racially undesirable”, 100% of Jews, Poles (85%), Lithuanians (85%), Belorussians (75%) and Ukrainians (65%), to West Siberia.
About 14 million were to remain, but were to be forced to work as slaves of up to 10 million Germans who would be settled in Lebensraum freed from the “inferior races”.
Fortunately, this “mass murder manifesto” never left the planning stage. It was never officially adopted as guidelines for governing the occupied territories – let alone put into practice.
There is no indication that any of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the occupied territories in the East, were in any way related to the plan. Likewise, there is no evidence that Adolf Hitler or his military commanders in the East were even aware of its existence (although Heinrich Himmler and his lieutenants obviously were).
The plan was obviously insane (from functional perspective, of course, although it does raise serious questions about the mental health of its authors). Any sane military commander or administrator would have immediately pointed out that its implementation would result only an all-out guerilla warfare in the occupied territories in question.
Warfare that German occupation army could only lose (as it failed to win guerilla wars of a much smaller magnitude in Poland, Yugoslavia, Greece and in the Soviet Union).
The plan was supposedly secret but apparently not secret enough because the Soviet propaganda machine very successfully used its key points to develop in Red Army troops a powerful drive and commitment to fight to the death to save their homeland and its people from being destroyed by the “fascist hordes”.
Which, combined with enormous material and human resources and no less enormous production capacity of Soviet war industry (most of which has been successfully evacuated from the Western USSR) ultimately made all the difference in the Eastern Front. And predictably led to the defeat of Germany in World War II, the demise of the Third Reich and Hitler’s suicide in the Führerbunker.
Soviet propaganda received additional enormous help from the Germans. Adolf Hitler believed (correctly) that in the Eastern front Germany was fighting an existential war and (incorrectly) that to win this war, it needed to use the most brutal tools and methods.
In reality, these methods produced exactly opposite results. The infamous “Commissar Order” (issued even before the start of Operation Barbarossa), “Severity Order”, murderous treatment of Soviet POWs, brutal and murderous reprisal policies (part of the anti-guerilla strategy), treatment of Soviet citizens as “subhuman species”; persecution and mass murder of Jews and other strategic blunders of German occupation authorities only transformed initially neutral and even sympathetic to Germany residents of the Soviet union into resolute, dedicated and fearless fighters. Who fought not for Germany, but against it.
With very predictable results
There is no trace whatsoever of any occult teachings in Mein Kampf. Nazi ideology (developed exclusively by Adolf Hitler) may be many things but it was definitely NOT occult. Consequently, all talk about “occult roots of Nazism”, “Nazi occultism”, “Occult Reich”, etc. is just fiction. Period.
True, occult teachings (as well as pagan and neo-pagan religions) did influence the SS. However, the SS was not the whole Nazi Germany (actually, it was only a small part of the Third Reich). And outside the SS the occult activities were not only non-existent, but were actively persecuted… by the Gestapo. Which was an integral part of the SS.
It is also possible that the very much occultist Vril Society (whose existence is very much debatable) also contributed to the establishment and rise of NSDAP. However, there is no evidence whatsoever that Adolf Hitler ever attended the meetings of Thule Society.
Moreover, immediately after Adolf Hitler became the leader of NSDAP, he moved to sever all connections with the Thule Society, which subsequently fell into decline and was dissolved about five years later, well before Hitler came to power.
Consequently, there is no evidence whatsoever that Thule Society (or Vril or any other occult group) ever influenced Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf or Nazi ideology in general (the SS version of this ideology is a different story entirely).
Nazi vision of Germany (never presented as a single distinct document) was defined, obviously, by Nazi identity, Nazi ideology, Nazi mission, Nazi strategic objectives, strategies, tools and methods, but above all, by what Nazis actually did.
First and foremost, Nazis saw their “ideal Germany” as a safe, secure, prosperous, mighty and genuinely happy nation. And, of course, the dominant political, economic and military superpower not just in Europe, but in the whole world.
The country with the largest (and the mightiest) economy, the most powerful armed forces (army, navy and air force), the best science and technology, the best education and health care (and the whole social welfare system) – and, of course, with the highest living standards and the general quality of life in the world.
In other words, the country that creates the highest possible amount of aggregate value – financial, functional, emotional and spiritual – for its citizens by satisfying their genuine aggregate needs to the fullest extent possible – and far better than what any other country does for its citizens.
Emotional and spiritual value will be created by skillful utilization of propaganda and extensive use of symbols, slogans, rituals, etc. And, of course, by tight and comprehensive Nazi control over education system and all forms of artistic and other expression – media (magazines, newspapers, radio, etc.) books, movies, art, etc.
The Nazi vision for Western Europe (and friendly nations in Eastern Europe such as Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria) was essentially a reincarnation of the Holy Roman Empire.
In other words, while these nations keep most of their independence, they still recognize the Führer of Germany as the modern equivalent of a Holy Roman Emperor and thus pledge (and maintain) allegiance to him according to “My honor is loyalty” principle. Loyalty to the Führer of Germany that is.
As genuine national-sociopaths, Nazis viewed their relationships with their European vassals as fundamentally biased in favor of Germany. In other words, they were supposed to generate the maximum possible amount of aggregate value for the Third Reich while receiving just a bare minimum to make them content with the relationship (albeit not very happy).
Nazi saw the Third Reich as a colonial empire with enough Lebensraum in the East (Poland, Bohemia and Moravia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Baltic countries, etc.) to achieve and maintain – at all times – self-sufficiency in foodstuffs and natural resources.
Obviously, relationships with its colonies were to be very heavily biased in favor of Germany – colonies were supposed to generate the maximum possible amount of aggregate value for the Third Reich while receiving just a bare minimum to prevent a revolt against their masters. To put it bluntly, Nazis intended to make the citizens of their colonies their servants – or even slaves.
Nazi Germany was to be a totally classless society with no class distinctions whatsoever; there can be only a single German people and beyond that nothing else.
The society where everyone must – to the best of his or her abilities – contribute to the welfare of the German nation by creating the maximum possible amount of aggregate value – financial, functional and emotional – for the German community.
The ideal Nazi state is a strict hierarchy (Führerstaat) structures according to all-important and omnipresent Führerprinzip. In practice it means that every area is managed by a local Führer who is appointed by his (it must be always a “he”) superior, answers only to his superior, must be totally obedient to his superior and has unlimited, absolute power in his area of responsibility.
These leaders (“destined to rule”) will be identified in early childhood, educated within the SS system (“incubator of the Nazi elite” among other functions) and placed on the optimal career track defined by the individual abilities, gifts and talents.
The ideal Nazi nation will consist of Übermenschen (super-human beings) created by skillful application of eugenics tools, methods and technologies. Tools that include sterilization and even physical elimination of “genetically inferior” (and thus undesirable) individuals – e.g. via the involuntary euthanasia program.
The Nazi state is headed, led and managed by The Führer who answers only to God and to the German people. In practical terms, it means that only the whole German nation can force The Führer to resign by voting correspondingly on a nationwide referendum.
However, Nazis sincerely believed that it would never happen because their Führer – Adolf Hitler – was the Chosen One (by God/Providence), the Messiah, the Savior and thus is ultimately infallible (“The Führer is always right!”). Which – for all practical purposes – made national-socialism the neo-pagan quasi-religion.
In an ideal Nazi state (and pretty much in the actual one) all leaders at all levels in the Nazis state are concerned exclusively with maximizing the welfare of Germans. In other words, with satisfying the genuine needs of the German people. Obviously, driven by the boundless and all-embracing love for the people and be ready – if necessary – even to give one’s life for Germany and the German nation.
These needs are identified by the vast nationwide network of informers run by internal intelligence service (SD-Inland), analyzed and structured by SD analysts and presented to decision-makers with recommendations for the best possible decisions (from the standpoint of the welfare of Germans, of course).
Ideal Nazi state is the deeply patriarchal (male-dominated) society. The responsibility of a man is to work for the benefit of the German people (i.e., create the aggregate value for the nation), the responsibility of a woman is to work for her husband and produce and raise as many children as possible thus ensuring the fastest-possible growth of German population.
Which, obviously, will create the need for further colonial expansion. To facilitate this expansion – and to keep the conquered and colonized nations under a firm control, the Nazi state must become a one giant army where all key structures and organizations will be militarized (paramilitarized, to be more precise) – complete with hierarchies, ranks, uniforms, etc.
In an ideal Nazi state, no dissent will be tolerated – it will be treated as high treason (the worst possible crime in the Nazi Führerstaat). Consequently, all opposition will be brutally crushed and all dissenters will either be ruthlessly re-educated in concentration camps (where they will be sent without trial – according to the preventive detention law) or executed (if deemed hopeless or if their crime is considered too grave).
To make the German nation genuinely secure, the ideal Nazi state will create a comprehensive State Protection Corps. Which will include order police, criminal police, political police (Gestapo), internal and foreign intelligence (SD) and armed forces – Waffen SS which ultimately will incorporate all branches of Wehrmacht – Army/Heer, Luftwaffe, Kriegsmarine and Abwehr (military intelligence and counter-intelligence).
The Führerstaat is so efficient in identifying and satisfying the genuine needs of Germans that they simply do not need the “basic human rights” – freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of association, political freedoms (to elect and be elected), etc. All political activities must take place within the only party that is needed by the Germans – the Nazi party.
Neither do they need independent (from the executive power) parliament, the courts (or even the Central Bank, for that matter). Consequently, in the ideal Nazi state there will be no such freedoms. As Hitler himself put it, “democracy is not German – it is Jewish”.
Unlike Bolsheviks, Nazis had no intention to eliminate religion from their society by force. However, they sincerely believed that sooner or later Christianity and other religions will “die the natural death” losing the competition for hearts, minds and souls of Germans to national-socialism. Consequently, in their ideal Germany there would be no religion – Christianity or other.
And, obviously, the “ideal Nazi Germany” would be completely Judenrein. Clean of Jews (i.e. of Jewish blood). All Jews in German-controlled territory would be either expelled (i.e. deported to far-off places such as Madagascar) of physically exterminated. Murdered.
Three conclusions can (and must) be immediately drawn from this comprehensive Nazi vision for Germany. First, it apparently fit the needs, wants and desires of the overwhelming majority of Germans who overwhelmingly supported Nazis – until the very end of the Third Reich.
Second, this vision was very obviously criminal as it called for murder of “genetically inferior” individuals of German blood, ethnical cleansing of German-controlled territories of Jews (by deportation and physical extermination), invasion, occupation, colonization and enslavement of entire nations via military conquest (and very possibly extermination of a significant part of this population), preventive detention, harsh treatment and even execution of dissenters, etc.
And, finally, this “ideal Nazi state” was a modern Utopia – plain and simple. For a very simple reason – it was based on a totally incorrect belief of the infallibility of its Führer.
Which in reality was, obviously, not the case. True, Adolf Hitler was an exceptionally gifted political leader and government manager (a genius even) but he was only a human being – with all its limitations.
Consequently, as soon as the system that he led and managed got too complicated for a single individual, the Führerprinzip became a liability. A murderous liability, because Hitler got so overloaded, overburdened and overstressed by his responsibilities that inevitably began to make enormous strategic mistakes.
In fact, his whole control structure (very informal and intangible, but still a structure) over the Nazi system collapsed. Which very quickly led to the accumulation of a critical mass of horrible blunders that ultimately cost him his war, his state, his country and his very life.
A trillion-Reichsmark (literally) question is, obviously, “Why?” Why the Nazi ideology not only became the official (and only) ideology of the German state but was accepted and adopted by the overwhelming majority (over 90%) of the population of not only Germany but Austria as well?
The majority that fought and worked hard until almost the very last days of the Third Reich to keep it in existence almost at any (no matter how enormous) cost.
The first reason was, obviously, Adolf Hitler – one of the most emotionally and spiritually powerful and gifted (if not the most powerful and gifted) orator and propagandist in human history. Orator capable of convincing just about anybody about just about anything.
However, he was much more than just a very, very gifted public speaker. Adolf Hitler was a brilliant political entrepreneur (one of the most brilliant in the history of mankind).
An entrepreneur who created a very fast-growing and highly efficient political and propaganda machine that he and the Nazis used to win the war for minds, hearts and souls of Germans, to come to power in Germany and to make their dreams, visions and objectives a reality.
The second reason was, believe it or not, Nazi pragmatism. Despite their very much idealistic rhetoric, Nazis in general and Adolf Hitler in particular were very pragmatic.
Pragmatic because they developed and implemented solutions to vital problems of German (and later Austrian population). They made promises that Germans wanted to hear – and delivered on these promises. Doing what Germans needed (and wanted) to be done.
They eliminated unemployment, achieved astonishing economic growth, radically improved the living standards of just about all Germans (with the exception of the very rich), did away with restrictions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, made German economy (and the German armed forces) the most powerful in Europe, united all predominantly German lands (Ein Volk) into Ein Reich, did away with internal existential Communist threat and transformed Germany into the economic, military and political superpower, returning it to its power and glory.
Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of Germans came to a not unexpected conclusion that if the Nazis were so successful in solving the seemingly impossible problems of their Fatherland, their ideology must make sense (i.e., be true and correct).
The third reason was the general European trend away from liberal democracy towards authoritarian and even totalitarian regimes. It began in 1917 when very totalitarian Bolsheviks came to power in Russia (the largest country in Europe by far).
In 1920, Admiral Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya (the last commander of the Austro-Hungarian Navy) became the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary. Quickly transforming it into an authoritarian state (de-facto dictatorship of his).
In 1922 Italy followed suit with the establishment of fascist regime led by Il Duce – Benito Mussolini. Ten years later António de Oliveira Salazar (an economist by training, believe it or not) became Prime Minister of Portugal and immediately established another fascist regime – so-called Estado Novo (“The New State”).
On 17 December 1926, a military coup d’état took place in Lithuania, resulting in the replacement of the democratically elected government with a conservative authoritarian nationalist government led by Antanas Smetona (the first and last president of interbellum Lithuania).
In 1934, the Zveno military organization established a military dictatorship in Bulgaria (obviously, via a military coup). A year later Tsar (Bulgarian King) Boris III successfully staged a counter-coup and established his own authoritarian dictatorship.
The same year (1934) Kārlis Ulmanis (the first Prime Minister of Latvia) staged a bloodless coup, establishing a nationalist dictatorship. And in neighboring Estonia the acting head of state, Konstantin Päts, declared a state of emergency thus establishing another authoritarian regime.
In 1939, Francisco Franco Bahamonde (once the youngest general in Europe) won the civil war (with Soviet-backed Republicans) and became El Caudillo of Spain founding another fascist state. Which was not the first in modern Spanish history – from 1923 to 1930 it was ruled by another dictator General Miguel Primo de Rivera y Orbaneja. Who came to power via military coup that put an end to the liberal and parliamentary monarchy.
In 1940, Marshal Ion Antonescu became the Prime Minister of Romania and (following the fashionable European trend) established his very totalitarian fascist regime (the so-called National Legionary State).
The fourth (and probably the most important) reason was purely psychological. In 1917-33 the Germans received so many severe psychological traumas that Germany became a genuine PTSD nation.
Blockade, hunger, epidemic of murderous flu, defeat in the Great War, collapse of Imperial Germany, establishment of a totally new and unfamiliar regime (Weimar Republic), Communist coups, armed robbery and other murderous terms of the Treaty of Versailles, hyperinflation, Soviet-Polish War (which almost resulted in invasion and occupation of Germany by the Red Army), the Great Depression…
Germans were in a desperate need of an emotional therapy that would help them cope with these psychological traumas (and the resulting post-traumatic stress disorder).
And the Nazi ideology – with its powerful message and no less powerful emotional and spiritual energies (amplified by skillful use of images, slogans and other propaganda tools) was exactly what the Germans needed (for purely mental health reasons).
The final reason was nostalgic. Despite all its radicalism, Nazi ideology was still firmly rooted in German nationalism, militarism and imperialism. Of the Second Reich, to be more precise.
Despite all honest and diligent efforts of its leaders, Weimar Republic was still an alien regime for most Germans. Regime imposed of them by either “November criminals” or just by the series of unfair misfortunes.
Consequently, they welcomed with open arms the radically improved version of the German Empire that the Nazis offered. (Nazis positioned its regime as the successor not to Weimar Republic that they abhorred but to the Deutsches Kaiserreich – the Imperial Germany of 1871-1918).
So it is no surprise that the Nazis have won the hearts, minds and souls of the overwhelming majority of Germans – it would have been an enormous surprise if they hadn’t.