There was no need for Lebensraum

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by Owen, Nov 9, 2009.

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  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I read the other day that although the Nazis wanted Lebensraum in the east the fact was the German population was moving to the industrial west of Germany or out of the country completly ( mainly to North America.)
    Anyone have any figures of pre-war population movements?
    The Nazis grand idea was being let down by the German people.
    I thought that was rather ironic.
     
  2. L J

    L J Senior Member

    There was a general emigration to the industrialised parts of Germany ,not only to the Ruhr,but also to Silesia,and to the big cities.The same happened in the US,France,and also in Scotland ,where the population of the Highlands stagnated .The problem in Germany was that due to the increase of the population(in 187O 41 million ,in 191O 65 million,the German agriculture was unable to feed the population ).
    It was not the population of the Wast that was increasing,but that of the cities ,and most of the big cities were in the west .
    A comparison of population figures is difficult,because the eastern provinces lost a lot of population
     
  3. L J

    L J Senior Member

    after WW I. (a problem with editing )
    Some numbers :
    Germany in 1871 :40 million
    Germany in 1939 (without Austria and Sudetenland ):68 million Increase :7O %
    East Prussia :in 1939 :1.934 million;in 1939 :2.488 million Increase :28 %
    Another problem was that the number of non Germans in the East was increasing (Poles,Jews )
    About East Prussia :contrary to the general belief ,there were only very few large landowners (54 % had less than 10 ha =25 acres )
    Hitlers quest for Lebensraum was principally caused by the fear that in case of war the Agriculture sector would be unable to feed the population,and that Germany would be starved again .
     
  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    The book I'm reading , Hitler's Empire, says all the borderlands had a population decrease , including the Sudetenland.
    I was reading that when the ethnic-Germans left the Baltic States in 1940 after the Soviets moved in, they were sent to Poland to work the land no matter what skills they may have had.
    There was a desperate shortage of German labour.
    The ethnic Germans were given housing simply be ejecting the residing Poles from their homes.
    They were told to clean their houses & apartments so they were in good repair for the incoming Germans then get out.
    That's from memory, I'm at work at the moment so I can't give exact facts or figures.
     
  5. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    Don't know any figures but I remember Ian Kershaw writing about the movement of German people in his first 'Hitler' book.
     
  6. L J

    L J Senior Member

    For Esat Prussia there was a typo:the first figure was for 188O.
    I gave only figures for East Prussia,because the other provinces in the east (Silesia )lost a lot of population after the German defeat in 1918 .
    I think the problem was that less people were willing to work on the farms,and this caused a big problem for the German agriculture .
    Another problem was that there was not enough land for the German peasants :eek:nly 2.1 ha per farmer(for Britain 3.8 ).The output of the German agriculture was very low .For the nazis there was only one solution :Germany had to obtain Lebensraumin the East :there would be big farms with a big return ,that would be able to feed the German population .
     
  7. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Regarding who was actually going to move into poland after it's occupation, page 79 of Hitler's Empire by Mazower says,

    there were no plans-or so it would seem... - for identifying the German colonists who were supposed to come in ...
    the Nazis resolutely refused to face the fact, the basic demographic shortfall had remained the same for at least a centuary. There simply were not enough Germans available or willing to be resettled on Polish land.
    ...To make matters worse , Germans had been moving westwards in increasing numbers , not only from interwar Poland but even within the Reich itself.
    In 1937-38 , German emigration from eastern Prussia soared; similar migratory trends could be observed in Silesia, Bavaria and, ironically , even in the Sudetenland.
     
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Here's another quote that interested me, by the Reich Protcetor von Neurath, Prague 1940.

    The most radical and theoretically most perfect solution of the problem would be the complete expulsion of all Czechs from the country and its settlement by Germans. This solution , however , is impossible because there are not enough Germans for the immediate occcupation of the territories which belong in the foreseeable to the Greater German area. [Expelling all the Czechs] would leave the fields fallow and the cities deserted.


    It appears that although the SS expropriated huge amounts of Czech land there were not enough Germans to move there.
    They hoped 150 000 families would move onto that land , but instead in the 5 years the Germans occupied the Czech land only 6000 German families settled there.

    I always thought there was some great plan to populate the lands in the east with Germans but it looks like they were making it up as they went along.
    They had the ideas but no real answers to fulfilling them.
     
  9. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    The whole Nazi policy in the East was hallmarked by not-so-organised chaos. It doesnt seem like they really planned anything in any kind of detail, beyond these broad visions of an empire. Look at the rows that took place between the Government-General and the Warthegau leaders over the disorganised shipping of millions of people all over Poland. Laurence Rees Book 'The Nazis: a warning from History' has a section on this.
     
  10. Heimbrent

    Heimbrent Well-Known Member

    As for the actual need of Lebensraum:
    Himmler said in a speech: "There are people who are afraid we don't have enough people to settle in this space [to be conquered] in the east. I don't believe so, I believe we have enough. I believe, when the Führer will call after the war "to the east!" and will tell people about the conditions, there will be a stream towards the east." Note that he says "believe" rather than "think" which at least in German shows some degree of uncertainty.

    The idea of Lebensraum im Osten and all this peasant romanticism also lies in the fact that a lot of people had that "back to nature" kind of wish - they were disillusioned by industrialisation which had been achieved in an extremely short time in Germany (with disastrous consequences esp. for nature). Many early nazis were part of this "return to the soil" movement.
     
  11. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Many early nazis were part of this "return to the soil" movement.


    I do hope many of them got their wish, 6 feet down.
    ;)
     
    Heimbrent likes this.
  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    That Lebensraum policy was simple hogwash. German economy had more than enough slack to have obtained anything they wanted by a proper expansion programme, allied with a foreign trade policy like other decent countries did: paying imports through exports. They instead decided to go for that nebulous Lebensraum, which really never amounted to much, and for a disastrous Grossraumwirtschaft (large space economy), which was no more than state (badly-)organised pillaging, their campaign of conquest.

    Even setting aside direct war damage, this policy amounted as I said to no more than plundering all Europe of as much as possible of their stockpiles, plant and labour.

    Lebensraum, in the sense of a resettlement towards East of course was impeded by war, and even when it was attempted it did not amount to much more to a great mess in the Warthegau and little more. There simply was no population pressure to do anything like that, it was all a gleam in Rosenberg's and other theoreticians eye. I doubt the Reich had a firm, coherent and competent policy on anything at all.
     
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I doubt the Reich had a firm, coherent and competent policy on anything at all.

    I always thought that there was a joined-up efficient plan but the more I read the more it seems to be choas management.
    Just had a read of the re-settlement of Slovenia. Hitler ignored the demographic realities as they tried to Germanise the Slovenes. It was utter choas, the Germans deported a few thousand Slovenes, far less than Himmler planned for, into Croatia who in turn deported some Serbs.
    When the Serbians refused to take anymore into their land, the Croats started killing them.
    The ethnic Germans sent to Slovenia were unhappy & also troubled/attacked by Slovene guerillas, the SS had to offer those settlers rewards to convince them to stay.
    The plan was a complete failure.
    All really interesting this.
     
  14. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    Its very similar to the Holocaust denial argument. They argue that there is no concrete evidence linking Hitler with the Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution.

    Of course there isnt - its not how Hitler worked. He seems to have thought up these broad, sweeping schemes, passed them on verbally to someone else to carry out, and not asked any questions about how they were implemented.

    Strangely for a totalitarian state, bureaucracy and administration seems to have been a very low priority.
     
  15. L J

    L J Senior Member

    That Lebensraum policy was simple hogwash. German economy had more than enough slack to have obtained anything they wanted by a proper expansion programme, allied with a foreign trade policy like other decent countries did: paying imports through exports. They instead decided to go for that nebulous Lebensraum, which really never amounted to much, and for a disastrous Grossraumwirtschaft (large space economy), which was no more than state (badly-)organised pillaging, their campaign of conquest.

    Even setting aside direct war damage, this policy amounted as I said to no more than plundering all Europe of as much as possible of their stockpiles, plant and labour.

    Lebensraum, in the sense of a resettlement towards East of course was impeded by war, and even when it was attempted it did not amount to much more to a great mess in the Warthegau and little more. There simply was no population pressure to do anything like that, it was all a gleam in Rosenberg's and other theoreticians eye. I doubt the Reich had a firm, coherent and competent policy on anything at all.
    Your argumentation is maybe valid for 2OO9,but flawed,when we are talking on the pre WW II period .THere was no possibility for the German economy to import enough food (the German agriculture was not able to feed the population )and raw materials (Germany had none ) in a period of depression and protectionism .Germany could only pay more imports by exporting more,and every country was trying to block imports . Germany had also very few foreign currency .In 1938 there was a new depression and the world trade fell by 20 % .
     
  16. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    The idea of Lebensraum im Osten and all this peasant romanticism also lies in the fact that a lot of people had that "back to nature" kind of wish - they were disillusioned by industrialisation which had been achieved in an extremely short time in Germany (with disastrous consequences esp. for nature). Many early nazis were part of this "return to the soil" movement.[/quote]

    Kate's reference above brings us back to the fundamentals of the SS spirit and Himmler's vision.Himmler always thought that the countryman was the most ideal recruit to the SS as compared to the urban recruit as they were readily adaptable to lead a simple rural life from the soil.He saw this as the Third Reich would live in the future after his warriors had laid the foundations for the 1000 year Reich.

    Postwar, my mind goes back to Peiper,who during the rapid growth in the West German economy could not grasp this way of life for the future.He turned his back on postwar Western Germany to settle in Traves,North Eastern France where he thought he could lead a simple rural existence.He sought to live in rural France despite not being a "Francophile" It has been recorded that he hated the French but was obviously prepared to live among them in a small community.
     
  17. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Your argumentation is maybe valid for 2OO9,but flawed,when we are talking on the pre WW II period .THere was no possibility for the German economy to import enough food (the German agriculture was not able to feed the population )and raw materials (Germany had none ) in a period of depression and protectionism .Germany could only pay more imports by exporting more,and every country was trying to block imports . Germany had also very few foreign currency .In 1938 there was a new depression and the world trade fell by 20 % .

    Hence the importance of the German-Soviet trade pact, which allowed the import of large amounts of foodstuffs, ores and oil in exchange for manufactured products (and temporary safety). This worked for France, Holland, Belgium, Danemark, etc, all nations enduring the same economic hardships and which were not exactly bent on a war of aggression. Solution for Germany was to embark on a state plundering expedition.
     
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Wasn't Himmler a medievalist?
    Wasn't Barbarossa his hero?
    I think he tried to emulate the Teutonic Knights exploits in the east.
     
  19. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Owen, in the convoluted fief politics of the III Reich you are hard put to determine a single coherent policy, it was pratically one for himself, with the Führer on top enjoying the view.
     
  20. L J

    L J Senior Member

    Germany had not enough food,raw materials and land for a mechanised agriculture . The SU had a lot of foof,raw materials and land for a mechanised agriculture . Thus Germany was goying to occupy European Russia . The extermination of the Jews would be an extra bonus :this is the essence of the Lebensraum .
     

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