GENERALPLAN OST (GENERAL PLAN EAST)
THE NAZI REVOLUTION IN GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY
VERSIONS OF GENERALPLAN OST
HITLER'S SECRET MILITARY SUMMITS ON RUSSIA, JULY 1940
GENERAL PLAN EAST
HITLER'S MASTER PLAN FOR
CESLAV MADAJCZYK - Polish Western Affairs 1962, Vol. III No 2
record pertaining to the ideological foundations of Nazi colonization plans in
the east, and the numerous versions of the GPO themselves is extensive. The
following is an annotated and limited list of relevant documents and suggested
1924, Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
York: Houghton Mifflin, 1939), p. 935.
“The foreign policy of a
folkish state is charged with guaranteeing the existence on this planet of the
race embraced by the State, by establishing between the number and growth of
the population, on the one hand, and the size and value of the soil and
territory, on the other hand, a viable, natural relationship … Only a
sufficiently extensive area on this globe guarantees a nation freedom of
B. 1924, Adolf Hitler,
Mein Kampf. 8th Edition (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1939), p.
“The National Socialist
movement must endeavor to eliminate the discrepancy between our population and
our area – the latter viewed not only as a source of nourishment, but also as
a point of support for power politics – between our historical past and the
hopelessness of our impotence today.”
C. 1 May 1927, Hitler
quoted in the Völkischer Beobachter. See Gordon W. Prange, ed.,
Hitler’s Words (Washington, DC: American Council on Public Affairs, 1944),
“As a people without power,
the German people will, according to every indication, completely lose its
position within the not-too-distant future. The German people will disappear
from the earth; in fact, it will perish. This fateful question is the point
of departure of our National Socialist doctrine, our Weltanschauung,
and out teaching.
What is the relationship
which the population has to the soil on which it lives? Can the soil on which
a people lives support the entire population for the time being, and is it
sufficient to allow for a further increase in the population?
Germany is the Fatherland of
62,000,000 people who live together on an area which is 450,000 kilometers
square. This is a ridiculous figure when one considers the size of the other
nations in the world today.
The only thing left for a
people to do, then, is to attempt an adjustment in the relationship between
the area on which it lives, that is its reservoir of subsistence, and its
population … even if it must be done by war. This is the natural way which
Providence has prescribed. Providence has given the world unto man, not so
that he should degenerate into Pacifism, but so that in the eternal struggle
with one another the strength and vigor of man should be preserved and so that
some day the greatest freedom might belong to the most vigorous and most
D. March 1928, Hitler
Speech in Hamburg, Prange, Hitler’s Words, pp. 26-27.
“Twice in history our people
has drawn the sword to advantage. The first time, when our people colonized
the south and east marches with German peasants, and second, when they, here
in the north, east of the Elbe, gained the territory which has been the most
precious treasure of our people. If we had not promoted these great colonies
and shed the blood which gained them, what would be the situation today? This
colonization returned a high rate of interest. The sword of those days has
become the plow of today, and even today this plow assures a great part of our
people its daily bread. If ever in the future of Germany the sword must be
drawn … then it must be drawn in the service of the plow – so that some day
the time will come when the sword will again become the plow.”
E. 16 July 1941, Hitler
Comments, Conference in Führer Headquarters, in Czesław Madajczyk, ed.,
Generalny Plan Wschodni: Zbiór dokumentów (Warszawa: Glówna Komisja
Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, 1990), pp. 61-64.
On Hitler’s aims in the
conquered east: “The Crimea must be cleared of all [racially] foreign peoples,
as must the parts of Galicia which formerly belonged to the Austrian Empire.
…We must make a Garden of Eden out of the newly won eastern territories; this
is important for our future existence; [overseas] colonies play a subordinate
role. … All of the Baltic lands must be annexed to the Reich. Similarly, the
Crimea, with a significant adjoining region (the region north of the Crimea)
must become Reich territory. The annexed territory must be as large as
possible. … The Reich must also annex the Volga Colony and the area around
D. 17 October 1941, Hitler
Monologue, Führer Headquarters, in Madajczyk, Generalny, pp. 69-70.
“The [eastern] region must
lose the character of the Asiatic steppe, it must be Europeanized! It is for
this purpose that we are building great highways to the southern tip of the
Crime and to the Caucasus. German cities established along these roadways
will stretch like a string of pearls, and around these will be German
settlements. The two or three million people we need [for this program] can
be found quicker than we think. We will take them from Germany, the
Scandinavian lands, Western Europe, and America. Chances are that I will not
live to see this, but in twenty years twenty million people will inhabit this
territory. In three hundred years we will have a blossoming parkland of
As for the people indigenous
to the area, we will be sure to select those [of importance]. We will remove
the destructive Jews entirely. … We will not enter Russian cities, they must
die out completely.
There is only one task:
Germanization through the introduction of Germans [to the area] and to treat
the original inhabitants like Indians. … I intend to stay this course with
ice-cold determination. I feel myself to be the executor of the will of
History. What people think of me at present is all of no consequence. Never
have I heard a German who has bread to eat express concern that the ground
where the grain was grown had to be conquered by the sword. We eat Canadian
wheat and never think of the Indians.”
A. 1935 (no day and month
given) Appendix II, Ihor Kamenetsky, Secret Nazi Plans for Eastern Europe:
A Study of Lebensraum Policies (New York: Bookman Associates, 1961), pp.
“Without end, the steppes of
the Russian area extend [to] eastern Europe. Abrupt and sudden is the
difference between the cultural levels of central Europe and the gigantic
districts [to the east]. And yet, on both sides of
the frontier there is the same soil, but not the same people. Only man alone
is able to impress his stamp upon the country. Therefore, on the one side the
well ordered fertility, planned harmony of fields and carefully designed
villages of Germany, and on the other side the zones of an impenetrable
jungle, of the steppes, of never ending primeval forests, where silting rivers
painfully cut their ways.
Badly exploited, fertile
soil of black earth that could be a paradise, a California of Europe, and in
reality abandoned, dreadfully neglected, branded with the stamp of a crime
against culture beyond imagination even today, is a perpetual accusation
against the sub-human and his rule.
Eastern Europe never
progressed beyond a certain primitiveness. It has never known anything but
chaos because it lacked mankind, the valuable bearer of culture, the genius
who systematically planned peaceful reconstruction, who ordered the well
designed exploitation of the immense treasures and the fertility of the soil.
This country has only known the powers of unrestricted despoiling and brutal
armament for war.
Highly civilized nations of
central and western Europe set out with this country as their goal too. Once
there were the Goths and the Waraoger who founded empires here and brought
civilization with them. The Hanseatic League, Swedes, Flemish, Dutch, Swabian,
and Saxonian settlers attempted to bring light into the darkness. A voice
crying for help was heard thence in all centuries. Peter the Great, Catherine
II, and all the others, whatever their names may be, called the German farmer
and officer, the European scientist, physician, and engineer.”
B. 24 October 1939,
Heinrich Himmler: Geheimreden 1933 bis 1945 und andere Ansprachen. Edited
by B.F. Smith and A.F. Peterson (Frankfurt/Main: Propyläen Verlag, 1974), pp.
“When we consider the issue
[of eastern people], we first have to recognize that we have already long
occupied ourselves with the Polish-Slavic problem … then we must clearly
conclude, and thus have I received my tasks from the Führer, that in at least
in the provinces which currently belong to Germany, the problem of the Polish
minority must be solved, it must be eliminated in our lifetime. The
problem must be eliminated.
This is a small piece of
Asia into which we have come, and we want to push the borders of Germany still
farther to the east; and with that the frontiers of Europe.”
C. 9 June 1942, Heinrich
Himmler: Geheimreden 1933 bis 1945 und andere Ansprachen. Edited by B.F.
Smith and A.F. Peterson (Frankfurt/Main: Propyläen Verlag, 1974), pp. 145-161.
“This war makes no sense if
afterwards … Bohemia and Moravia, the German eastern districts of southeast
Prussia, Danzig-West Prussia, the Warthegau, Upper Silesia, the General
Government, the Ostland (inc. the Baltic States and Belorussia), the Crimea,
and Ingermanland aren’t completely settled with Germans within twenty years.
This is the task that we
have set out to accomplish, for as long as we still live, once peace is
established … the land is Germanized when the populace is German.”
Mid-1940 – Himmler’s First “Generalplan”
as developed in the RKFDV. See Rolf-Dieter Mueller, Hitlers Ostkrieg und
die deutsche Siedlungspolitik: Die Zusammenarbeit von Wehrmacht, Wirtschaft
und SS (Frankfurt/Main: Fischer, 1991), pp. 130-138.
27 April 1942 – Summary by
Dr. E. Wetzel of the Generalplan Ost developed in the RSHA. See Madajczyk, Generalny,
pp. 82-110. A copy of this version of the GPO does not exist. Wetzel’s
summary is the most comprehensive document on this version of the GPO that is
28 May 1942 (officially
dated June 1942) – A later version of the GPO as developed in the RKFDV.
29 October 1942 – Final
“General Settlement Plan” from the RKFDV. Concerns population transfers in
occupied Poland and Bohemia and Moravia. See Mechthild Roessler and Sabine
Schleiermacher, eds., Der “Generalplan Ost”: Hauptlinien der
nationalsozialistischen Planungs- und Vernichtungspolitik (Berlin:
Akademie Verlag, 1993), pp. 96-117.
An excellent book.
The Enemy in the East: Hitler's Secret Plan to Invade the Soviet Union
Gustavo Corni and Horst Gies,
“Blut und Boden”: Rassenideologie und Agrarpolitik im Staat Hitlers
(Idstein: Schulz-Kirchner Verlag, 1994). An extensive collection of documents
and accompanying commentary on the development of Nazi agricultural
policy based on the notions of “blood and soil” and Germany’s need for
“living space,” both of which were central components of Nazi colonization
plans in Eastern Europe.
Holger Herwig, “Geopolitik:
Haushofer, Hitler and Lebensraum,” in The Journal of Strategic Studies
(London: Frank Cass, 1999), pp. 218-241. The best brief discussion in English
of the relationship between geopolitical thinker, Dr. Karl Haushofer and Adolf
Hitler. Haushofer’s ideas on Germany’s need for “living space” in the east
dramatically influenced Hitler’s thinking on the subject, thereby making
the conquest of Lebensraum a primary goal of Nazi foreign policy.
Ihor Kamenetsky, Secret
Nazi Plans for Eastern Europe: A Study of Lebensraum Policies (New
York: Bookman Associates, 1961). Although dated, Kamenetsky nevertheless
provides an excellent, easily understood summary of the theoretical
origins of Nazi colonization plans by exposing their basis in geopolitical
and “Blood and Soil” thinking in pre-1933 Germany.
Robert L. Koehl, RKFDV:
German Resettlement and Population Policy 1939-1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957). The best English language history of the
Reich Office for the Strengthening of Germandom.
Czesław Madajczyk, ed.,
Generalny Plan Wschodni: Zbiór dokumentów (Warszawa: Glówna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, 1990). An indispensable
primary source reader containing one hundred documents relevant to the
GPO and Nazi population policies, including speeches, letters,
reports, and maps.
Hitlers Ostkrieg und die deutsche Siedlungspolitik: Die Zusammenarbeit
von Wehrmacht, Wirtschaft und SS (Frankfurt/Main: Fischer, 1991). A
combined monograph and documentary collection on the connections between
Nazi Germany’s war in the east and the planned exploitation of the
conquered territory. Mueller includes a section on the complicity of the
German military in developing SS plans to reshape Eastern Europe.
Frank Parrella, “Lebensraum
and Manifest Destiny: A Comparative Study in the Justification of
Expansionism” (MA Thesis: Georgetown University, 1950). An adequate
comparative treatment of the similarities and contrasts between the
Lebensraum-based foreign policy of Nazi Germany and the American
policy of Manifest Destiny. Relies too heavily on published secondary
Henry Picker, Hitlers
Tischgespräche im Führerhauptquartier 1941-42 (Bonn: Athenäum Verlag,
1951). A valuable collection of secret conversations recorded in Hitler’s
headquarters, during which the Nazi leader spoke about a wide variety of
subjects, including German foreign policy, the war against the USSR, and Germanization efforts in Eastern Europe.
Gordon W. Prange, ed.,
Hitler’s Words (Washington, DC: American Council on Public
Affairs, 1944). An excellent compilation of quotes and comments
from Hitler as printed in the German press during the 1920s and
30s. Prange makes it clear that Hitler did not hide his foreign
policy plans and intentions from anyone, least of all the German people.
Mechthild Roessler and
Sabine Schleiermacher, eds., Der “Generalplan Ost”: Hauptlinien der nationalsozialistischen Planungs und Vernichtungspolitik (Berlin:
Akademie Verlag, 1993). A Collection of articles on various aspects of the
Generalplan Ost, including its genocidal dimensions. Contains good essays
from Karl Heinz Roth and Czesław Madajczyk.
Bradley F. Smith and Agnes
F. Peterson, eds., Heinrich Himmler Geheimreden 1933 bis 1945 und andere Ansprachen (Frankfurt/Main: Propyläen Verlag, 1974). An important
collection of several secret speeches by the Reich Leader SS
Heinrich Himmler before and during the Second World War.
Bruno Wasser, Himmlers
Raumplanung im Osten: Der Generalplan Ost in Polen 1940-1944 (Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 1993). The most detailed study of the GPO and
other Nazi resettlement plans as implemented in occupied Poland.
Der Generalplan Ost German
Axis Plans for World
Hitler's Plan for Europe