Merciless German order

Former building of the Reich Ministry of Economics on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin

What do you know about the German order? So I happened to find a document in the RGVA that gave me mixed feelings of amazement, disbelief and amusement.

This letter is, more precisely, a copy of the letter. Sender – Reich Ministry of Economics. Addressees: Imperial Offices I to XXIX. This refers to the organizations in charge of production, sales, purchases, as well as the export and import of the most important types of industrial and agricultural products; had regulatory and licensing functions. In German, such organs were called Reichsstelle, in Russian, as far as I know, there was no generally accepted name, since the word Stelle is ambiguous. This is a bureau, an authority, and a purchasing point.

The signatory is Dr. Gustav Schlotterer. At that time, Ministerial Director, Head of the “East” Department in the Reichsministry of Economics, Head of the essay “Preparation and Order” in the same ministry, which was engaged in the construction of the European economic space, that is, the subordination of the European economy to Germany, later a major official in the management of the economy in the occupied territory of the USSR … SS man, in 1944 he was promoted to SS-Oberführer.

Merciless German order
Photo of Gustav Schlotterer, cropped after the war

Date – June 23, 1941.

So, what did Dr. Schlotterer write on the second day of the war with the USSR (RGVA, f. 1458k, op. 3, d. 474, l. 71).

As a result of the developments that have taken place, imports from the USSR can no longer be carried out until further notice. Already on the way, e.g. imported goods located at the border, are still to be accepted.

Payments for goods. Those that have already been introduced or are still to be introduced in the transition period must continue to be paid into the special accounts of the state banks of the USSR. The same applies to services, such as freight, that have already been provided.

And the translation:

Import from the USSR, as a result of the development of events, from now on and in the future cannot be carried out. Already sent, for example, imported goods at the border have yet to be accepted.

Payments for goods. Already imported or imported during the transition period must be executed on a special account of the State Bank of the USSR. The same is true for services such as freight that have already been used.

In other words, on the second day of the war with the USSR, Dr. Schlotterer ordered to pay for the supply of goods from the USSR by settlements to a special account of the State Bank of the USSR, apparently opened in the Reichsbank for the needs of foreign trade.

This is the merciless German order! Ordered goods – pay. What other war with the USSR? I know nothing! The goods have entered the territory of the Reich, so pay.

Oil transshipment at the Przemysl station. The transportation of goods continued until the very beginning of the war.

The origin of this letter is something like this. On Monday, July 23, 1941, employees of the firms went to work and, in view of the news of the war with the USSR, began in the morning to call the appropriate imperial bureaus with questions like: “What to do?”, “We have contractual obligations, should we pay for them or how?” The leaders of the imperial bureaus began to call their leaders with requests for instructions. Here is Dr. Schlotterer and gave the instructions above.

Yes, an amazing find, there is nothing to say!

Hitler counted on collaborators

Laughing, we will nevertheless pose questions to this strange document. The first is: why did it happen that way? This is a very important question, since Dr. Schlotterer clearly belonged to the circle of people who knew the intentions in relation to the USSR, and gave his instructions for the calculations, based on the guidelines adopted by the top leadership of Germany. He was a confidant. From the end of 1936 until the beginning of the war, he worked in the Reichsministry of Economics and there he directed all foreign exchange bureaus so that they prevent the export of capital by Jews who left Germany, and also was engaged in the introduction of supervision over Jewish property for its subsequent alienation from its previous owners. That is, Dr. Schlotterer was engaged in a very delicate matter and, judging by his subsequent elevation, distinguished himself in this. So he could not give such an order arbitrarily.

As we were told, Hitler started a war against the USSR with the aim of liquidating and dismembering the Soviet state. But the instructions of Dr. Schlotterer do not fit into such an understanding and say that the intentions of the Hitlerite leadership were somewhat different, at least at first.

In the event of a war, he would give another instruction to destroy the Soviet state: stop payments, since the special account of the State Bank of the USSR is closed and confiscated, draw up certificates on outstanding payments and deliveries and send them to the ministry.

The continuation of settlements on the special account of the State Bank of the USSR, which was already in operation during the war, in my opinion, suggests that a legal successor was supposed for this account. Most likely, some kind of collaborationist government that would act on behalf of the USSR and, after signing an armistice with Germany, would take over Soviet assets and accounts abroad.

I think so, referring to the outcome of the war with France in June 1940. In May 1940, French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud invited to the government to the post of Deputy Prime Minister of France, Philippe Petain, who was opposed to the war with Germany. After leaving Dunkirk and breaking through the front on the Somme, Pétain demanded an immediate armistice. After the fall of Paris on June 14, 1940, the Reynaud government resigned and on June 16 a government headed by Pétain was formed, which signed the Second Armistice of Compiegne on June 22, 1940. Subsequently, the parliament endowed Petain with dictatorial powers, and the Vichy government appeared in place of the abolished Third Republic.

Hitler could well count on the outcome of the war with the USSR according to the French version, when after the defeat the Soviet government falls, there are some collaborators who will sign a truce with Germany. This option would have been the most profitable of all for Hitler.

Occupation following the example of the occupation of France

If so, then some of the oddities of the Barbarossa plan, which looked inexplicable for decades, get a simple and logical explanation. Firstly, the detailed planning of the campaign for the first 20 days with access to the Dnieper – Mozyr – Rogachev – Orsha – Vitebsk – Velikiye Luki – Pskov – Parnu line, assumed that the main forces of the Red Army would be defeated. as well as French and British troops in northern France… Further, a sharp weakening of resistance was expected, allowing for a large operational pause of 20 days. Apparently, at this stage, politics should have come into play, and supporters of an immediate armistice with Germany should have appeared in the Soviet leadership, political or military.

Secondly, a further offensive on Leningrad, Moscow and Donbass probably meant creating an environment in which the current government would fall and power would pass into the hands of supporters of an armistice with Germany. The same as in France. Therefore, no detailed development of this offensive was made, since it was assumed that there would be an impromptu dash on Moscow and Leningrad in conditions of very weak resistance, and the headquarters of the army groups would cope with the planning of such an operation.

Thirdly, the mysterious line Arkhangelsk – Volga – Astrakhan, most likely, is not a line that the German army was supposed to reach with battles, but the border of the occupation zone, which the Germans were supposed to occupy under the terms of the armistice. As in France.

As for the dismemberment, this plan does not at all contradict the plans for dividing the territory of the USSR into parts. France was also divided. Alsace and Lorraine were included in the Reich, two departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais were included in the Reichskommissariat Belgium – Northern France, the northern part and the Atlantic coast entered the German zone of occupation, in which the area of ​​German colonization was allocated. Only the so-called Vishists remained. “Free zone”: part of the center, south and southeast of France, excluding the Italian occupation zone.

So the eastern territories were supposed to be arranged in a similar way. Bialystok District – a part of the Reich, Western Ukraine – a part of the General Government for the occupied territories of Poland. And the Reichskommissariat: created – Ukraine and Ostland; and planned: Muscovy (originally Russia), Don-Volga, Caucasus and Turkestan. The Reichskommissariat Muscovy was also supposed to cover the southern Urals, including Sverdlovsk.

A map of a partly accomplished, partly planned division of the occupied territories. This map is not accurate in all details, but it allows you to capture the picture at a glance.

And what is left, who was it intended for? Even after such a division there remained a lot: Western Siberia, Eastern Siberia, Yakutia, Transbaikalia. The Germans had no plans for these territories, and they were unlikely to be so generous as to completely cede all this to the Japanese. Although, of course, the Japanese would have raked in everything they could reach.

If the analogies I draw are correct, then these Trans-Ural territories were supposed to be left to the government that would sign an armistice with Germany. The same as in France.

Potential collaborators neutralized

Do not rush to tear the vest on your chest. For a correct understanding and interpretation of historical events, one must have an idea of ​​the intentions of the parties. The above plans look like pure fantasy, in our opinion. However, Dr. Schlotterer’s letter unexpectedly lends a little credibility to these Hitlerite plans: these plans were worked out, and the Germans were guided by them, at least for a while. And in these plans, essentially intentions, there was a collaborationist government to sign an armistice with the Germans.

This is an interesting plot twist. Instead of paranoid stories about the “German conspiracy”, the Nazis suddenly reckoned on some potential collaborators in the Soviet leadership who were ready to sign an armistice.

First, Hitler was firmly convinced of the existence of such. Reckoning “at random” was generally not peculiar to Hitler, especially in such a grandiose plan, in fact, the main plan of his life. Secondly, they had to be people from the leadership, since for such a role they had to have fame and authority; not from the street, in a word.

Hitler’s plans, as we know, failed. Why? My version is that the supporters of the armistice and agreement with Germany, these very potential collaborators, were identified and neutralized either immediately before the start of the war, or at its beginning. By the way, not necessarily by arrest or execution. They were simply not allowed to realize their intentions. The lesson of the fall of France here clearly went for the future. The story of how they were neutralized would be one of the most instructive and valuable.

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