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Karma, Political Warfare, and Labor Administration

Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe - Mark Mazower

Dry in parts, but very informative. Explores how various official policies of the Third Reich either directly undermined their war effort, or ensured that German occupying forces could never permanently hold territories they had temporarily conquered and occupied.

 

Just a few examples:

 

1. Policies based on racial hate resulted in the uprooting, expulsion, or execution of millions, which -beyond the moral dimension of the acts- created labor shortages which directly undermined the war effort. Several examples are offered, but none more dramatic than the destruction of Polish agriculture by mass execution of rural Polish Jewish agricultural workers, and the forcible deportation of "ethnic German" Poles from their farms to Germany (where they became displaced urban transients)... all the while, German armies on the Eastern front were facing starvation.

 

2. Many Ukranians living under Stalin initially welcomed attacking German forces as liberators. If properly received, a massive Ukranian fighting force could have been appropriated to German use, however, because of their racial hatred for Slavs and Ukranians, as well as their distrust for "former Bolsheviks", the Germans alienated, harassed, oppressed, and murdered many of them. As a result, they became a force of partisan terrorists and saboteurs who hastened German defeat on the Eastern front.

 

3. Out of arrogance and racial hatred, Hitler's many public speeches made clear that he envisioned a world ruled by Germans, who would subjugate all others. Not only did this consolidate the "all others", and fortify their will to fight Nazi occupation, but it precluded the Third Reich from engaging in political warfare... the Third Reich could not, for example, create dissention in the British Empire by supporting independence movements in India and Kenya, etc, because Hitler had already made clear his opinion that these nations' peoples should not/could not lead themselves. The book does a nice job here of contrasting this to the Imperial Japanese strategy of fostering independence movements in Asia, which allowed Japan to take over countries with domestic revolutionaries, without having to actually commit any Japanese troops to the effort. 

 

4. Nazi ideas about a hierarchy of "racial purity" caused the Third Reich to have completely different policies in each country they occupied, regarding what degree of self-rule the nation could be entrusted with, and to what degree they would be partners or subservient (the Dutch and Danish were closest to being partners). This lack of consistency not only caused a lot of confusion and inefficiencies, but as you might imagine, quite a bit of resentment among different client states of the Reich.

 

You can probably figure out from this review whether this is the kind of thing that interests you. I guess the two things I came away from this book with, were:

a) a new appreciation for how inevitable Nazi defeat was;   and

b) a new appreciation for how clearly the mechanisms of Karma can be seen working behind the scenes to ensure the destruction of the Third Reich at its own hand.