Generalplan Ost

Generalplan Ost (GPO) was a Nazi plan to realize Hitler's "new order of ethnographical relations" in the territories occupied in Eastern Europe during World War II. It was prepared in 1941 and confirmed in 1942. No copies of the actual document have survived, and as such the plan can only be reconstructed from memos, abstracts and other ancillary documents. The plan was part of Hitler's own Lebensraum plan and a fulfilment of the Drang nach Osten.

Generalplan Ost, essentially a grand plan for ethnic cleansing, was divided into two parts, the Kleine Planung ("Small Plan"), which covered actions which were to be taken during the war, and the Große Planung ("Big Plan"), which covered actions to be undertaken after the war was won. The plan envisaged differing percentages of the various conquered nations undergoing Germanisation, expulsion into the depths of Russia, and other gruesome fates, the net effect of which would be to ensure that the conquered territories would take on an irrevocably German character. In ten years time, the plan called for the extermination of most or all Slavs still living behind the front line. Instead 250 million Germans would live in an extended "Reich" 50 years after the war. Hitler compared during a visit to Finland in June 1942 - celebrating the 75th birthday of Mannerheim - his ongoing conquest of Russia with the Cossacks, who had reached the Pacific Ocean.

Under the Große Planung, Generalplan Ost foresaw the eventual expulsion of more than 50 million Slavs beyond the Urals. Of the Poles, only about 3-4 million people were supposed to be left residing in the former Poland, and then only to serve as slaves for German settlers. Generalplan Ost included one component which did get realized in the main - the Endlösung der Judenfrage ("Final Solution of the Jewish Question").

The main initiator of the plan was Heinrich Himmler. During the war the Nazis started to realise the plan by carrying out expulsions in Poland and Ukraine, and by resettling ethnic Germans from further east on previously Polish-owned properties. In 1943, Zamość area, due to its fertile black soil, was chosen for further German colonisation in the General Government as part of Generalplan Ost. Polish farmers were expropriated and forcibly removed from their farms, the Polish population expelled amid great brutality, and the farms were then handed over to German settlers, but few Germans were settled in the area before 1944. Certain amount of Polish children were also forcibly separated from their parents and, after undergoing scrutiny to ensure that they were of appropriately "Nordic" racial stock, were sent to Germany to be raised in German families. Many of these children were sometimes killed by SS, or starved. A very small amount of children who were taken, ever came back to their parents.

Activities such as Operation Tannenberg (Unternehmen Tannenberg) and various Intelligenzaktionen entailing shootings of Polish intelligentsia and activists were also carried out in comformity with Generalplan Ost.

Ironically the Generalplan Ost would be fullfilled in a reversed way as the victorious Soviet Union ethnically cleansed Germany's eastern territories (driving away over 15-20 million people) and colonized them with Poles, Czechs, Slovaks and Soviets.

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