Hitler's War Aims: Bloodlands Edition
By Bryan Caplan
…Stalin had an economic revolution to defend, whereas Hitler needed a war for his economic transformation. Whereas Stalin had his “socialism in one country,” Hitler had in mind something like National Socialism in several countries: a vast German empire arranged to assure the prosperity of Germans at the expense of others. Stalin presented collectivization itself both as an internal class war and as a preparation for foreign wars to come. Hitler’s economic vision could be realized only after actual military conflict – indeed, after a total military victory over the Soviet Union. The secret of collectivization (as Stalin had noted long before) was that it was an alternative to expansive colonization, which is to say a form of internal colonization. Unlike Stalin, Hitler believed that colonies could still be seized abroad; and the colonies he had in mind were the agrarian lands of the western Soviet Union, as well as the oil reserves in the Soviet Caucasus. Hitler wanted German, as he put it, to be “the most autarkic state in the world.” Defeating Britain was not necessary for this. Defeating the Soviet Union was. In January 1941 Hitler told the military command that the “immense riches” of the Soviet Union would make Germany “unassailable.” [emphasis added]
The inspiration for Hitler’s master plan, appropriately enough, was… Christopher Columbus and Company:
Colonization would make of Germany a continental empire fit to rival the United States, another hardy frontier state based upon exterminatory colonialism and slave labor. The East was the Nazi Manifest Destiny. In Hitler’s view, “in the East a similar process will repeat itself for a second time as in the conquest of America.” As Hitler imagined the future, Germany would deal with the Slavs much as the North Americans had dealt with the Indians. The Volga River in Russia, he once proclaimed, will be Germany’s Mississippi.
If Hitler had succeeded, the schoolchildren of 2200 would no doubt have heard of his courage and vision. And the ocean of innocent blood he shed? Well, times were different back then…