Had the harvest in Poland been as good in 1941 as it was in 1942, would there have still been a Holocaust in Poland?

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Piotr Kapuscinski.
Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 9903
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Had the harvest in Poland been as good in 1941 as it was in 1942, would there have still been a Holocaust in Poland?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 13 Feb 2022 09:40

Hi NickA,

You post, "It is arguable that only Hitler's failure to crush the Soviet Union led to the Holocaust....."

Not really. The Einsatzgruppen were formed before the invasion of the USSR, which the Germans believed would be successful, and hundreds of thousands of Jewa had been killed by them before the German defeats at Rostov and Moscow in December 1941 made clear that the USSR was not for the immediate crushing. All that changed after this date was the favoured technique for killing Jews en masse.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
wm
Member
Posts: 7463
Joined: 29 Dec 2006 20:11
Location: Poland

Re: Had the harvest in Poland been as good in 1941 as it was in 1942, would there have still been a Holocaust in Poland?

Post by wm » 16 Feb 2022 00:19

During Barbarossa, the Einsatzgruppen were all about pacifying the freshly conquered territories by eliminating the communists (and the Jews were considered the backbone of communism).
Similarly, during the invasion of Poland, it was all about pacifying the freshly conquered territories by eliminating Polish nationalists.
From that point of view, Barbarossa was not that different from the Polish campaign - only done more efficiently, employing lessons learned earlier.

User avatar
stg 44
Member
Posts: 3372
Joined: 03 Dec 2002 01:42
Location: illinois

Re: Had the harvest in Poland been as good in 1941 as it was in 1942, would there have still been a Holocaust in Poland?

Post by stg 44 » 18 Feb 2022 17:21

Futurist wrote:
21 Jun 2020 07:37
Had the harvest in Poland been as good in 1941 as it was in 1942, would there have still been a Holocaust in Poland? This is a question for everyone here but I'm especially interested in hearing what wm has to say about this topic.

I recently read a bit of Adam Tooze's Wages of Destruction and it really does look like the food situation for Germany and German-controlled territories was rather dire in 1941 and that tragically the Holocaust helped deal with this problem by eliminating several million additional mouths to feed. What also helped according to Tooze, of course, was that the 1942 harvest was much better than the 1941 harvest--as wm himself has previously posted out on this forum, I believe. In turn, this made me wonder if there would have still been a Holocaust in Poland--and especially on such a massive scale--had Poland's harvest in 1941 been comparable to what it was in 1942.

Any thoughts on this?
Probably. The real issue was Hoover's and the Joint Jewish American committee's food aid programs were cut off at the end of 1941 due to US entry into the war and they had been feeding millions of people at no cost to Germany. Once that went away even if the harvest was better there simply was not enough food to go around thanks to the Soviets destroying or evacuating the grain harvest and seed corn in occupied territories in 1941, which meant there were now tens of millions more people to feed, but not even the anticipated grain gains they had planned on pre-war. Rather than solving the food problem the invasion of the USSR only made it much worse. So by 1942 even the Germans were starving and Goebbel's diaries even note that German miners had lost 6kg of weight since pre-war due to food shortages among many other such food details in his diaries for the 1940-43 period.

Return to “Poland 1919-1945”