Definitions

Goering

Goering

[gair-ing, gur-; Ger. gœ-ring]
Goering or Göring, Hermann Wilhelm, 1893-1946, German National Socialist leader. In World War I he was a hero of the German air force. An early member of the Nazi party, he participated (1923) with Hitler in the Munich "beer-hall putsch" and after its failure escaped eventually to Sweden, where he stayed until 1927. On his return he reestablished contact with Hitler and was elected (1928) to the Reichstag, of which he became president in 1932. When Hitler came to power (1933) he made Goering air minister of Germany and prime minister and interior minister of Prussia. Until 1936 Goering headed the Gestapo (secret police), which he had founded. He became director of Hitler's four-year economic plan in 1936, supplanted Hjalmar Schacht as minister of economy in 1937, and was virtual dictator over the German economy until 1943. Goering was responsible for the German rearmament program and especially for the creation of the German air force. In 1939 Hitler designated Goering as his successor and in 1940 made him marshal of the empire, a unique rank. Goering was notorious for his love of high-sounding titles, of extraordinary uniforms, of pageantry, and of voluntary or enforced gifts. In later years he spent more and more time at his palatial estate and was addicted to narcotics. Behind his facade of good humor he hid a vindictive temperament. In World War II he was responsible for the total air war waged by Germany; his immense popularity in Germany declined after the Allied air forces, contrary to Goering's emphatic predictions, began to lay Germany to waste. From 1943 on, Hitler deprived him of all formal authority and finally dismissed him shortly before the end of the war, when Goering attempted to claim his right of succession. He surrendered (May, 1945) to American troops and was the chief defendant at the Nuremberg trial for war crimes (1945-46). He defended himself with brilliant cynicism but was convicted and sentenced to death. Two hours before his scheduled hanging, he committed suicide by swallowing a poison capsule.

See biographies by C. H. Bewley (1962), R. Manvell, and H. Fraenkel (1962, repr. 1972), A. Lee (1972), and L. Mosley (1974).

In the Nuremberg Trials there was a document referred to as the "Green Folder" of Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring. This was the master policy directive for the economic exploitation of the conquered Soviet Union. The implications of this document was the death by starvation of millions of Slavic people, something that partially came to pass in the Holocaust, the neglect of Soviet soldiers captured by the Nazis which led to huge mortality rates, and the general expropriation of food in the occupied areas of the Soviet Union. It is also referred to as Document of the Soviet Prosecution, Exhibit USSR 10.

Background

The philosophy expoused by Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf argues for the expansion of the Germans into eastern lands held by the Slavs, referring to these lands as Lebensraum.

Plan Oldenburg

Plan "Oldenburg" (Goering's "Green Folder") was the code-name of the economic subsection of the planned attack of the USSR.

Following the approval of Hitler of the Operation Barbarossa plan, the Fuhrer instructed Reichsmarshall Goering to develop a plan for the future exploitation of conquered territory in the East. Under Goering's leadership, a plan known as Oldenburg was created to include the seizing for the service of the Reich all stocks of raw materials and large industrial enterprises in the territory between the Vistula and the Urals. According to this plan the most valuable manufacturing equipment was to be sent to the Reich and that which was not sent to Germany would be destroyed. The European part of the Soviet Union would be economically decentralized and be made an agricultural appendage of Germany.

The original plan was approved at a secret meeting on March 1, 1941 (protocol 1317-PS). Over the next two months the plan was flushed out in detail and finally adopted on April 29, 1941 (protocol secret meeting 1157-PS). A headquarters was formed to coordinate the "Oldenburg" plan.

According to the plan, the territory of the Soviet Union would be divided into four economic Inspectorates (Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, and Baku) with 23 economic commandants, as well as 12 offices. Subsequently, under the plan, the European part of the USSR would be split into seven states, each of which was to be economically dependent on Germany. The Baltic territories would be made into protectorates of Germany.

On May 8, 1941 the "Common instructions to all Reich commissioners in the occupied eastern territories" was adopted, based on this plan (documents 1029-PS, 1030-PS).

A separate committee was formed to organize the collection of food in the occupied territories. It was tasked with ensuring that by 1942, the German armed forces would be fully nourished by the resources of the USSR, without taking into account the needs of its population.

In accordance with the order of the Supreme Command Chief of Staff of the Wehrmacht Wilhelm Keitel (dated June 16, 1941), the main economic challenge for the territories seized by the Soviet Union, was described as "an immediate and full exploitation of the occupied areas in favor of the war economy of Germany, particularly in the areas of food and oil".

Reichsmarshall Goering, directly supervising the "Oldenburg" headquarters, wrote:

In the East, I intend to loot and pillage effectively. All that may be suitable for the Germans in the East, should be extracted and brought to Germany immediately.

At the beginning of World War II in the East, July 15, 1941, he wrote in his "green folder":

Using the occupation of areas should be made primarily in the areas of food and oil sectors of economy. Get to Germany as much food and oil as possible - that is the main economic goal of the campaign.

Initially, the German military leadership believed that it was not necessary during the war to rebuild the industry and use the natural wealth of the Soviet Union, enough to confine to seizure of finished products and raw materials in warehouses.

Then they made an accounting of industry and mines, to ensure their safety and to establish civil administration of captured territories.

However, when the calculations of lightning war failed, and Germany had suffered great losses in manpower, equipment and weapons, established stocks started to quickly deplete, the German leadership urgently started to develop a plan of economic use of the occupied territories, already during the war itself. Thus German leadership had to abandon the implementation of the plan Oldenburg, recognizing its unsuitability.

After the war ended, the activities of Staff Oldenburg was the subject of consideration and condemnation at the Nuremberg Tribunal.

See also

References

  • Nuremberg Trial document - http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/tgmwc/tgmwc-07/tgmwc-07-65-05.shtml
  • Nuremberg Trial document - http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/imt/nca/nca-02/nca-02-16-responsibility-01-05.html
  • Orders signed by Goering - http://www.snyderstreasures.com/pages/documents.htm#mansfeld

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