Re: German food supplies
- From: "Louis C" <louisc00@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 08 Feb 2007 15:43:41 -0500
On Feb 6, 5:12 pm, BernardZ wrote:
Would you agree with Tooze was the
mass murders of so many people in Nazi Germany was because the Nazis did
not have enough food to feed the population.
I don't agree that this is Tooze's claim.
p.524: "In the last instance, th eprimacy of the political was
absolute. The murder of millions of racial enemies, regardless of
their potentialusefulness to Germany's war economy, is
incontrovertible proof of this.
(...)However, over the last three decades, historians hace accumulated
a mass of evidence that suggests a far more nuanced picture. (...) If
one accepts that the Judaeocide was an ideological end in itself,
indeed an obsessive fixation of the Nazi leadership, then it is even
possible to see the forced labour programme and the genocide less as
contradictions than as complementary."
p.528: "In the case of the Holocaust, ideological imperatives were
clearly paramount, but subject to pragmatic compromise as
circumstances demanded." The author proceeds to show how, in the case
of the Polish farm workers and the later Ostarbeiter program, deaths
resulted from "ideological imperatives" : "It was clear to all
involved that these conditions were counterproductive ... However, the
creation of a racially pure society was a project in which Hitler's
regime had invested too much for it to be simply abandoned." Then
there was the problem of the implementation of tat policy at the local
level: Old habits, however, died hard ... Routine, grass-roots racism
amongst the German population..." etc.
He writes that mass murders were primarily motivated by Nazi ideology.
p.538: "Obviously, ideology was decisive in the last instance,
especially in relation to the Judaeocide."
From the book p539
"Furthermore, the problem of food supply was at the heart of the entire
crisis of the foreign labour programme in 1942. It was for want of food
that the Soviet prisoners of war, the concentration camp inmates and the
other Ostarbeiter died in such dreadful numbers...
Right, now look at the preceding sentence: "[Food] provided the Third
Reih with a starkly economic incentive for murder on a scale even
larger than the Holocaust". Bottom of the previous page, food is
mentioned as "an independent and powerful 'economic' imperative for
From the book p540
"The Hunger Plan had arrived at the conclusion that millions of people
needed to be killed, starting not from the principles of the racial
struggle, but from the food balance. "
Yes, and that solution was retained because it fitted in so well with
the Nazi world view, and provided a technocratic answer to the
technocrats' (Backe, Sauckel) demand for 'politically-incorrect'
p.542: "a very substantial improvement in [the most disadvantaged
Ostarbeiter and Soviet prisoners'] ration woulud have required only a
very modest further cut in the food supplied to the German population.
But given the mood both in the Food Ministry and in the population at
large, any such redistribution was out of the question. The public
demanded that if the German ration was to be reduced, the foreign
workers should fare even worse."
In p538 to p549 Tooze's book points out the Hunger plan in 1941 was not
directly coupled with racial genocide.
That's not the same as arguing that it was a consequence of the food
Suppose I don't have money, and mug an old lady to steal from her. Is
my attacking her the consequence of my financial situation? No,
because I could have picked a different strategy to improve it. I
wasn't forced to use violence. Ditto with the Hunger Plan.
It is clear that Tooze believes that the Nazis
believed that they could not feed the people that they had.
To be precise: they could not feed the people they had at the level
that they were feeding them. So they had to either reduce rations in
western Europe and Germany or starve some people. They decided to
starve millions, and decided that the Slavs and Jews would be the
"useless mouths" that had to die.
So they had
to get rid of large numbers of people immediately. His conclusion is
p549 "However, in the summer of 1942 it was the concerted extermination
of Polish Jews that provided the most immediate and fail-safe means of
freeing up food delivery to Germany.
You're attributing to him claims that he didn't make. Just because in
1942 the extermination of Polish Jews was picked - and worked as a way
to alleviate the food situation - doesn't mean that the Nazis "had to"
do it. In my example above, just because I find quite a bit of money
in my victim's purse doesn't mean that I had to do it.
Tooze doesn't claim that this was the only solution, for instance
Germany could have reduced food rations all around particularly the
highest ones (e.g. Germany's). The Germans did have a food problem,
but the reason why they picked that particular solution was because it
was appealing to them.
I don't see Tooze having having much faith in this solution. On p543 he
states "Everything depended on reversing the decline in Germany's food
stocks and the political leadership of the Nazi regime was fully aware
of this imperative"
This could be accomplished by increased production, or by restricting
consumption. Killing millions of people was but one way of doing the
latter. Arguing that this was the only solution is disingenuous and
Tooze doesn't do that.
- Re: German food supplies
- From: BernardZ
- Re: German food supplies