Monday, October 05, 2015

Goebbels, Total War and Extermination, December 1942 to October 1943

Goebbels' rants about Jews in 1941 and 1942 are well-known, and can be found in my previous article here. In the article below, I focus on the less-explored period from late 1942 when Goebbels made numerous written and verbal remarks about the totality of the anti-Jewish struggle, whereby all bridges were being burned and there were no possibilities of half-measures. Although extermination decisions were made earlier than this period, the frenzy to include as much of Europe as possible in such measures reached a new momentum, and the language that Goebbels used to justify those actions took on a global scale that had not been present to the same degree previously.

In early December, Goebbels gave ministerial briefings regarding western press reports of extermination in Poland. Longerich (p.548) cites both of them from the Osobyi Archive. On December 12th, Goebbels stated that "we have not much evidence with which to counter" these reports therefore it was necessary to focus instead on "English atrocities." Two days later, he said that "If the Jews say that we've shot 2.5 million Jews in Poland or deported them to the east, naturally we cannot say that it was only 2.3 million." Clearly, had the Nazis merely been resettling Jews into reservations in the USSR, Goebbels would not have made these statements. On the same day, Goebbels wrote in his diary, "Jewry must pay for its crime just as our Fuehrer prophesied in his speech in the Reichstag; namely, by the wiping out of the Jewish race in Europe and possibly in the entire world" [source].

A further escalation in this language occurred in May 1943, following the failure of Hitler to secure Hungary's co-operation in deportations, which had led Hitler to state on May 7th that "the junk of small states which still exists in Europe must be liquidated as quickly as possible" (Longerich, pp.580, citing Goebbels diary, May 8th). Goebbels expanded upon this the following day in his infamous article, "The War and the Jews":
None of the Führer’s prophetic words has come so inevitably true as his prediction that if Jewry succeeded in provoking a second world war, the result would be not the destruction of the Aryan race, but rather the wiping out of the Jewish race


The Jews laughed in Germany too when they first saw us. They are not laughing any longer. They chose to wage war against us. But that war is turning against them. When they planned a war to totally destroy the German nation, they signed their own death warrant [source and source].
Four days later, Goebbels and Hitler brought the Protocols into play:
At noon I mentioned this to the Fuehrer. He believed the Protocols were absolutely genuine.... The Jewish question, in the Fuehrer's opinion, will play a decisive role in England.... In all the world, he said, the Jews are alike. Whether they live in a ghetto of the East or in the bankers' palaces of the City or Wall Street, they will always pursue the same aims and without previous agreement even use the same means. Once might well ask why are there any Jews in the world order? That would be exactly like asking why are there potato bugs? Nature is dominated by the law of struggle. There will always be parasites who will spur this struggle on and intensify the process of selection between the strong and the weak. The principle of struggle dominates also in human life. One must merely know the laws of this struggle to be able to face it. The intellectual does not have the natural means of resisting the Jewish peril because his instincts have been badly blunted. Because of this fact the nations with a high standard of civilization are exposed to this peril first and foremost. In nature life always takes measures against parasites; in the life of nations that is not always the case. From this fact the Jewish peril actually stems. There is therefore no other recourse left for modern nations except to exterminate the Jew.... [source].
The need for total extermination was reiterated in October 1943, when Goebbels commented on one of Himmler's Posen speeches:
Regarding the Jewish question, he [Himmler] gives a very unadorned and frank picture. He is of the conviction that the Jewish question can be solved by the end of this year. He advocates the most radical and most severe solution, namely to exterminate Jewry, bag and baggage. Of course, if brutal, this is a consistent solution. Because we must take on the responsibility of entirely solving this question in our time. Subsequent generations will doubtlessly no longer dare address this problem with the courage and obsession as we are able to do today. [source]
Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels were in agreement that the "solution" had to be total, which meant no Jewish survivors could be allowed to remain, as they would be a potential threat in future generations, no matter where they resided.

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