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