|TRANSLATION OF DOCUMENT 294-PS COPY
Source: Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Volume III. USGPO, Washington, 1946/pp.242-251
Memorandum by Brautigam*
In the East, Germany is carrying on a threefold war: a war for the destruction of Bolshevism, a warfor the destruction of the greater Russian Empire, and finally a war for the acquisition of colonial territory for colonizing purposes and economic exploitation.
This threefold mission of the Eastern campaign has brought about the enormous resistance of the Eastern peoples. Were the war being conducted only for the smashing of Bolshevism, then it would have been decided long ago in our favor, for, as all experiences of this war have confirmed, Bolshevism is hated to the utmost by the Eastern peoples, above all by the great mass of peasants. Also the dissolution of the greater Russian Empire into its national components would not have provoked the resistance which we meet now. As the numerous prisoner interrogations and other experiences show the shrewd Russians have a complete understanding that this war will end in territorial losses for them and the non-Russian peoples will break out from the confinement within which Russia has forced them. The reduction of the power of resistance of the Red Army is the major portion of the third goal of our campaign. With the inherent instinct of the Eastern peoples the primitive man soon found out also that for Germany the slogan: "Liberation from Bolshevism" was only a pretext to enslave the Eastern peoples according to her own methods. In order that there exist no doubt at all on the German war aim, however, German publicity refers openly to this intention in increasing measure. The conquered territory is claimed publicly not only for Germany as a colonization area, but even for Germany's embittered enemies, the Dutch, Norwegians, and others. The economic exploitation is proclaimed verbally and in print, and carried out with almost elimination of the demands of the indigenous population, even with the greatest lack of consideration.
The populace has more of an understanding of the measures and duties necessitated by war than the conquered peoples of the West. But the laborer and peasant, who were educated to the highest degree of self-consciousness by Bolshevism, soon perceived that Germany did not regard them as partners of equal rights, but considered them only as the objective of her political and economic aims. That disillusioned them unspeakably, all the more since they had placed colossal hopes on Germany.
The main department for politics of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern territories claims that it has been quite aware of this situation from the beginning. It was soon apparent that the war could not be decided in a short time by arms alone, because of the vast areas and the enemy's inexhaustible reserves of manpower and material, but that as in all great wars of recent times a spiritual disintegration would have to come and the war would have to be changed at the final conclusion to a civil war, all the more since the German Wehrmacht does not intend to occupy completely the territory of the Soviet Union. The Russian. collapse of 1917 and the German breakdown of 1918 were actually not brought about by weapons alone, but primarily by political disintegration. What Lenin achieved in Russia, the 14 points of Wilson and the undermining effect of Marxism accomplished in Germany. In the Soviet Union we found on our arrival a population weary of Bolshevism, which waited longingly for new slogans, holding out the prospect of a better future to them. It was Germany's duty to find such slogans, but they remained unuttered, The population greeted us with joy as liberators, and placed themselves at our disposal willingly and freely with body and life. Wherever Ukrainians, Russians, White Ruthenians and members of the Baltic peoples were enlisted in the German Wehrmacht or in the police they have proved themselves and fought excellently almost without exception. The Main Department for Politics tried every means of keeping this vast capital that had fallen into our lap, and of utilizing it for our purposes. To this purpose it was necessary that National Socialism separate itself from Bolshevism with a sharp line of distinction and open to the populace prospects of a new better life. All measures which the Main Department for Politics suggested were directed toward this one goal of preserving this capital. They have been many times attacked as the expression of a weak sentimental humanitarian attitude, of a form of German sentimentalism, and they were in reality only the expression of completely coarse material politics. For nothing else was contemplated than to preserve the mass millions of the Eastern area in the adjustment to us which was encountered with, in order to draw from it the greatest possible use for Germany both militaristically, politically and economically. Should this political policy succeed, the greatest reactions on the enemy troops were to be expected. For years the masses of the S. U. (Soviet Union) were stirred up against the surrounding world by the most efficient propaganda machine that has ever existed. Until 1939 National Socialism had been the target of the most spiteful attacks. Day after day it was hammered into the laborers and peasants that the active masses in Germany were a sacrifice to the most terrible exploitation. With extreme tension workers and peasants looked forward to the German administration. To be sure they had not completely trusted the Bolshevist propaganda, but in spite of that they met the new masters with a certain feeling of doubt.
As we all know, the peoples of the S. U. (Soviet Union) have gone through the hardest times. Consequently, they are of a simplicity inconceivable to us, even in the political sphere. A form of government which was not intent only on plundering and exploitation and which put aside the Bolshevist methods would have kindled the greatest enthusiasm and put at our disposal a mass of millions. And the enthusiasm in the occupied Eastern territories would have had its reaction on the force of resistance of the Red Army. It would have been easily attainable to have the Red Army man say to himself: "I fight for a system that is throughout worse than that which awaits me in the case of a defeat. I will be better off in every respect among the Germans than I have been until now". If the Red Army man had become convinced of his general well-being, the war would have been at an end very soon.
Knowing this the Main Department for Politics believed it to be its primary duty to assist our combat troops with all their power by a propaganda campaign aimed at crippling the power of resistance of the Red Army and to shorten the war in this way. For the attainment of this goal there are, among the measures proposed, two of the utmost importance: The Agrarian Law and Religious Freedom, which is essentially distinct from that of the Bolshevists.
Considering the exceptionally great significance which approaches the agrarian question in the Soviet Union, the Main Department for Politics was demanding even before the beginning of the Eastern campaign, that the Kolchos be dissolved and an individual agrarian economy be introduced again. This proposal was turned down by the Four Year Plan with the remark that organic changes were not to be considered during the war. Not until August of 1st year was an increase of the farmland successfully put through.
Before the realization could be carried out, however, the Four Year Plan had recognized that the impetuous pressure of the whole peasant population for the dissolution of the collective would have to be reckoned with in some way in the interest of production itself. The proposal of the Main Department for Politics for the dissolution of the collective found its defeat in the new agrarian decree. A few months had been sufficient to make clear, not only to all Wehrmacht units down to the youngest lieutenant in the line farthest forward, but also to the units in the home country and the civil administration in the occupied Eastern territories, the need of reform in the Kolchos constitution. The only exceptions in this knowledge were the two Reich Commissars, whose disagreement unfortunately caused a delay of several weeks. The new Agrarian Decree came out shortly before the spring planting and was greatly played up in the territories by the Press and Propaganda Dept. of Main Department I. Its direct success was a hitherto inconceivable piece of work of the populace in the spring planting, which was able to be carried out in spite of unfavorable preliminary conditions. In spite of this no lasting effect on the enemy has appeared so far. Naturally, the enemy propaganda countered our Agrarian Decree with every means. Their main argument was that in this it was only a matter of a promise which had as its purpose a momentary tactical success, that moreover Germany intended to make use of the land later for her own purposes. This argument found support in the very slow execution of the Agrarian Decree, which is to be attributed in part to objective reasons (lack of surveyors, land registration, surveying instruments and so forth).
It has been foreseen that in 1942 in the Ukraine 20% of the general economy was to be changed to agriculture cooperatives. The increasing of the farmland, which forms the main criterion of the general economy and is carried through everywhere immediately, has still not been achieved to the extent of 10% of the general economy, although it was decreed, as has been mentioned, in August 1941. The transformation to agricultural cooperatives has generally begun only a short time ago, and according to the directives of the farmer's leader Koerner is not to reach more than 10% by the end of August of this year. In this state of affairs it is understandable that great sections of the Ukrainian peasantry are under the control of enemy propaganda and have lost belief in the earnestness of our intentions.
The religious freedom was likewise to call forth a great propaganda effect. After months long negotiations, it was eventually decided not to announce the freedom of religion ceremoniously, but to let it come into existence as quietly as possible. The propaganda effect consequently slipped from the picture.
When the Main Department for Politics noticed the hesitation of decision in the church. question, it searched for a substitute in another means of propaganda, in the question of returning property rights of the individual. In this the whole world could be clearly shown that National Socialism contrasts distinctly with the Bolshevist expropriation measures and a new property law would be ushered in. The first display of this slogan for propaganda use would have been the immediate raising of the expropriation measures in the Baltic states, which Bolshevism had not yet controlled for a year, and consequently it would have been possible to resume the former property situation without further ado. To the unbounded astonishment of the populace, however, the German administration marched forward to play the role of receiver of the goods stolen by the Bolshevists. The necessity for the restoration of private ownership for the psychological treatment of the populace was referred to by all the General Commissioners in the Baltic states; this population, as everybody knows, ought to be won for German patriotism. Even after the Four Year Plan gave up its old ideas in recognition that a further protraction of the restoration of private ownership would damage even the German economic interests. The fundamental profession of the reinstallation of the pre-Bolshevist property law did not follow, though it was against every political judgment and based only on the unfounded opposition of the Reichs Commissar.
Again a real weapon for the disintegration of the enemy front had been twisted out of our hand, a weapon whose effect may not be undervalued. For the unrecompensed expropriation of private property by the Bolshevists had aroused at the time not only the terror of Russian bourgeois circles including the more prosperous peasants, but also of the entire civilized world. The world, including the laborers and peasants in the Soviet Union who were disillusioned by Bolshevism, awaited now a clear policy in this question on the part of Germany. This silence on the part o f Germany obviously made itself of use to the enemy propaganda, which could reliably persuade the Soviet masses that Germany plans no restoration of individual ownership.
The Main Department for Politics furthermore has always emphasized that the Eastern peoples must be told something concrete about their future. The Department refers to the fact that in case we should not oppose the propaganda of Stalin, the peoples would have to succumb to this propaganda, that is to say, they would believe in their own enslavement by Germany. The Main Department for Politics has accordingly often directed the attention of Wehrmacht units to the expediencyof having the Slavic Eastern peoples receive calming assurances regarding their future from the authoritative German quarters. As the best means, the establishment of a sort of counter-regime to Stalin with a captured Red general was indicated; or, if the word government should be avoided, then just a rebellious general somewhat after the model of de Gaulle, who should become the point of crystallization for all the Red soldiers who are dissatisfied with Stalin. The correctness of this conception has been confirmed in the time following its inception by countless statements of prisoners of war, who have all stated independently that the silence of Germany regarding the future of Russia allows the worst to be feared. Many would like to desert, but they did not know to whom they should go. Under the banner of a recognized counter-revolutionary leader they would gladly and bravely fight against the Bolshevist regime.
All the suggestions concerning this were rejected in their essentials. Permission for front-line duty was effected only for groups of Turkish and Caucasian peoples and finally after several refusals also for the Estonians. Because of the difficulty of recruiting troops, the unit generally came to the point of impressing civilians and prisoners of war into their ranks, in the first line of rear-echelon services. But even in the foremost line they found employment and fought well. Only in the last few weeks under the pressure of danger from the partisans was the formation of native units allowed and that only for combat with the bandits. But even this measure will remain ineffective as far as propaganda is concerned if a combat unit is not activated and a personality with a resounding name is not put at its head.
The Main Department for Politics was compelled, for the sake of attaining the above-outlined goal, to rescind or at least greatly change measures from German quarters which would strengthen the enemy's power of resistance.
Of primary importance, the treatment of prisoners of war should be named. It is no longer a secret from friend or foe that hundreds of thousands of them literally have died of hunger or cold in our camps. Allegedly there were not enough food supplies on hand for them. It is especially peculiar that the food supplies are deficient only for prisoners of war from the Soviet Unions, while complaints about the treatment of other prisoners of war, Polish, Serbian, French and English, have not become loud. It is obvious that nothing is so suitable for strengthening the power of resistance of the Red Army as the knowledge that in German captivity a slow miserable death is to be met. To be sure the Main Department for Politics has succeeded here by unceasing efforts in bringing about a material improvement of the fate of the prisoners of war. However this improvement is not to be ascribed to political acumen, but to the sudden realization that our labor market must be supplied with laborers at once. We now experienced the grotesque picture of having to recruit millions of laborers from the occupied Eastern territories, after prisoners of war have died of hunger like flies, in order to fill the gaps that have formed within Germany. Now the food question no longer existed. In the prevailing limitless abuse of the Slavic humanity, "recruiting" methods were used which probably have their origin only in the blackest periods of the slave trade. A regular manhunt was inaugurated. Without consideration of health or age the people were shipped to Germany, where it turned out immediately that far more than 100,000 had to be sent back because of serious illnesses and other incapabilities for work. This system in no way considered that these methods would of necessity have their effect on the power of resistance of the Red Army, since these methods were used only in the Soviet Union of course, and in no way remotely resembling this form in enemy countries like Holland or Norway. Actually we have made it quite easy for Soviet propaganda to augment the hate for Germany and the National Socialist system. The Soviet soldier fights more and more bravely in spite of the efforts of our politicians to find another name for this bravery. Valuable German blood must flow more and more, in order to break the resistance of the Red Army. Obviously the Main Department for Politics has struggled unceasingly to place the methods of acquiring workers and their treatment within Germany on a rational foundation. Originally it was thought in all earnestness to demand the utmost efforts at a minimum cost of the biological knowledge has led to an improvement. Now 400,000 female household workers from the Ukraine are to come to Germany, and already the German press announces publicly that these people have no right to free time and may not visit theaters, movies, restaurants, etc. and may leave the house at the most three hours a week apart from exception concerning duty.
In addition there is the treatment of the Ukrainians in the Reichs Commissariat itself. With a presumption unequalled we put aside all political knowledge and to the glad surprise of all the colored world treat the peoples of the occupied Eastern territories as whites of Class 2, who apparently have only the task of serving as slaves for Germany and Europe. Only the most limited education is suitable for them, no solicitude can be given them. Their sustenance interests us only insofar as they are still capable of labor, and in every respect they are given to understand that we regard them as of the most minute value.
In these circumstances the following can be determined:
If this danger which threatens the German people is to be prevented in the last moment, then the following is necessary.
If we do not accomplish this change of course at once, then one can say with certainty that the power of resistance of the Red Army and of the whole Russian people will mount still more, and Germany must continue to sacrifice her best blood. Yes, it must be openly stated that the possibility of a German defeat approaches in a tangible proximity, all the more so if the partisan movement for which Stalin is striving with every means, should spread over a greater part of the Ukraine. One should protest that in the South Ukraine such a danger does not exist because of the lack of swamps and forests. The bandit leader Machino needs to be remembered, he who for about 2 years terrorized the Ukraine and knew how to avoid all persecutions. One should also not place his hopes on the economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Certainly the losses in fertile land, raw materials and industrial projects are very significant. On the other hand the Soviet Union still has the Ural territory, fabulously rich in raw materials of all kinds, which for fourteen years has been industrially developed with all power, as well as rich Siberia. Finally we know that the Soviets have systematically carried on an economic policy of hoarding reserves, and we cannot completely tie up the English-American reserves.
However, if we accomplish the proposed change in policy, then it can be believed certain that the decomposition of the Red Army will also succeed. For the power of resistance of the Red Army man is broken the moment that he becomes convinced that Germany brings him a better life than he has led under the Soviets, and that Germany has a small bit of consideration for his national qualities, in other words does not intend to rob him of his soul.
The problem is too serious to be allowed to remain undecided. Here it is a question of the future of the German race, under circumstances concerning even its existence or non-existence. The permanent thesis of the Main Department for Politics has proved itself true, that a quick victory cannot be attained entirely by the aid of arms, but only in conjunction with the application of a great political offensive. That the administration of the occupied Eastern territories is composed almost entirely of personnel not acquainted with Russia is probably one of the reasons why this thesis has not been carried out. The gentlemen slowly grope their way into the problem, for which the majority still require interpreters. Nevertheless it is today already confirmed that wide circles of the lower administrative chiefs in the Ukraine are plainly frightened of the policy commanded by the higher echelon. However, they are not in a position to have their way. So much the more reason one should trust the interpretation of the Main Department for Politics based on the best technical and social knowledge; the Department is even today convinced of a speedy victorious conclusion of the war, insofar as its political directives are followed.
Berlin, 25 October 1942
*[Note: elsewhere the name is spelt Brautigam. Presumably, the correct spelling is Bräutigam]