A Jewish national homeland in the Baltics

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#1
What if, after a German WWI victory, the Germans would have decided to create a Jewish national homeland in a part of the Baltics? While this might seem unlikely, it could be a good public relations move for Germany if the Ottoman Empire is allowed to reacquire Palestine at the end of WWI--thus foreclosing the possibility of a Jewish national homeland being created in Palestine.

For what it's worth, Latvia and Estonia seem like the most logical place for a Jewish national homeland to be created in the Baltics. LIthuania has much more Jews due to it being inside of the Pale of Settlement, but Lithuanians also probably had more children than Latvians and Estonians had (at least, they did in 1950). Thus, it seems more prudent to create a Jewish national homeland in Latvia and Estonia (a.k.a. the United Baltic Duchy) than in Lithuania. After all, Lithuanian Jews who are particularly committed to this idea can always move to Latvia and Estonia.

Also, for the record, this Jewish national homeland is going to be in personal union with the German Empire and is essentially going to be a German vassal state.

Anyway, how many Jews would Germany actually manage to get to move to the United Baltic Duchy in the event of a German WWI victory? Any thoughts on this?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#2
Also, if you think that this idea is downright bizarre, I'll respond by saying that this idea is much less bizarre than creating a Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the Far East. After all, at least Latvia and Estonia are located right next to the historical Pale of Settlement.
 
Apr 2018
355
Upland, Sweden
#3
What if, after a German WWI victory, the Germans would have decided to create a Jewish national homeland in a part of the Baltics? While this might seem unlikely, it could be a good public relations move for Germany if the Ottoman Empire is allowed to reacquire Palestine at the end of WWI--thus foreclosing the possibility of a Jewish national homeland being created in Palestine.

For what it's worth, Latvia and Estonia seem like the most logical place for a Jewish national homeland to be created in the Baltics. LIthuania has much more Jews due to it being inside of the Pale of Settlement, but Lithuanians also probably had more children than Latvians and Estonians had (at least, they did in 1950). Thus, it seems more prudent to create a Jewish national homeland in Latvia and Estonia (a.k.a. the United Baltic Duchy) than in Lithuania. After all, Lithuanian Jews who are particularly committed to this idea can always move to Latvia and Estonia.

Also, for the record, this Jewish national homeland is going to be in personal union with the German Empire and is essentially going to be a German vassal state.

Anyway, how many Jews would Germany actually manage to get to move to the United Baltic Duchy in the event of a German WWI victory? Any thoughts on this?
Very interesting idea. What do the Germans gain though? Who is it they really want to pacify in the occupied territories - the Jews, or the native Estonians/ Lats? Unless you plan to very quickly completely flood the country with a huge number of Jews I don't see it working out.

I think there is quite a chance the Estonians/ Lats would have reacted very violently to something like that, espeically the Estonians. Back in the Russian "almost revolution" of 1905 hundreds of manor houses were burnt down by what was essentially a peasant revolt in the Baltic provinces - albeit spurred by a nationalist sentiment for which primarily the Estonian and Latvian speaking middle classes were responsible.

These are a people who, for the past 50 years had been slowly building up their national identity, after having been treated as serfs by a foreign aristocracy for 600 of the past 700 years. While it is true there were some friendly relations between Baltic Germans and Estonians/ Lats during the 1800s, with some prominent Baltic Germans even sponsoring their national awakenings.... I don't think the idea of a million or more Jews moving in all of a sudden is a great way to improve ethnic relations, in fact, I think that could be exactly the kind of thing you would do if you wanted to set a civil war going. And as I said, given that the vast majority of the upper class, especially in Estonia - where the Jewish population was comparatively very small - is German, I don't see it being the Reich's best interests to make the Baltic Duchy into a Jewish homeland, given how that upper class is obviously going to suffer in so many ways if you turn those territories Jewish, both from 1) the unaviodable violence that would occur and 2) their diminished prestige and influence over the territories, in the off chance the plan actually manages to work in the purely functional sense of the word.


Is the PR-stunt really worth it - and would Wilhelmine Germany even care about being "liked" in such a manner? While you certainly can't call the Kaiserreich Jew-hating in the Hitlerian sense of the word or even particularily anti-jewish in its legislation, there was certainly a culture of skepticism towards Jews among much of the Prussian aristocracy who governed the Empire. I don't see them prioritizing symbolic PR of that kind if it damages more tangible purely German interests - such as the wellbeing of the Baltic German aristocracy.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#4
Very interesting idea. What do the Germans gain though? Who is it they really want to pacify in the occupied territories - the Jews, or the native Estonians/ Lats? Unless you plan to very quickly completely flood the country with a huge number of Jews I don't see it working out.
Well, I was thinking of the idea of eventually annexing this territory to Germany, but there probably wouldn't be enough willing Germans to settle in these territories (unless perhaps you get the Russian Germans to move en masse there). In turn, this is why I was thinking of using Jews as a replacement for Germans; of course, you need something to induce the Jews to settle there en masse--hence my Jewish homeland idea.

The Latvians and Estonians might be displeased with large-scale Jewish immigration into their traditional lands, but at the same time, they should be asking whether having their country be flooded with Jews is better than having their country be flooded with Russians. After all, if Germany leaves, Russia could easily fill the vacuum in Latvia and Estonia and try getting a lot of Russians to move there afterwards.

I think there is quite a chance the Estonians/ Lats would have reacted very violently to something like that, espeically the Estonians. Back in the Russian "almost revolution" of 1905 hundreds of manor houses were burnt down by what was essentially a peasant revolt in the Baltic provinces - albeit spurred by a nationalist sentiment for which primarily the Estonian and Latvian speaking middle classes were responsible.

These are a people who, for the past 50 years had been slowly building up their national identity, after having been treated as serfs by a foreign aristocracy for 600 of the past 700 years. While it is true there were some friendly relations between Baltic Germans and Estonians/ Lats during the 1800s, with some prominent Baltic Germans even sponsoring their national awakenings.... I don't think the idea of a million or more Jews moving in all of a sudden is a great way to improve ethnic relations, in fact, I think that could be exactly the kind of thing you would do if you wanted to set a civil war going. And as I said, given that the vast majority of the upper class, especially in Estonia - where the Jewish population was comparatively very small - is German, I don't see it being the Reich's best interests to make the Baltic Duchy into a Jewish homeland, given how that upper class is obviously going to suffer in so many ways if you turn those territories Jewish, both from 1) the unaviodable violence that would occur and 2) their diminished prestige and influence over the territories, in the off chance the plan actually manages to work in the purely functional sense of the word.
Those are good points. That said, though, might there be some sort of compromise in regards to this--such as encouraging large-scale Jewish immigration into this territory but also encouraging these Jews to become Germanized? As I previously wrote, I don't think that there are going to be enough willing Germans to move to Latvia and Estonia unless things get really bad for the Russian Germans--and even then, they might prefer to move to relatively warm Ukraine than to move to cold Latvia and Estonia. If you want to Germanize a territory but don't have enough Germans for the job, why not use Jews as a substitute? Heck, the Germans and Jews can intermarry with each other en masse in order to create a new ruling class for Latvia and Estonia.

Your point about violence here is interesting but I'm not sure if it should be viewed as decisive. I mean, after the Soviet Union crushed post-WWII insurgents in the Baltics, it was able to get a lot of Slavs to move to the Baltics without much problems. If Imperial Germany is willing to be as ham-fisted and ruthless as the Soviet Union was in the Baltics, might it be able to do what the Soviet Union did (but with Jews rather than Slavs)?

Is the PR-stunt really worth it - and would Wilhelmine Germany even care about being "liked" in such a manner? While you certainly can't call the Kaiserreich Jew-hating in the Hitlerian sense of the word or even particularily anti-jewish in its legislation, there was certainly a culture of skepticism towards Jews among much of the Prussian aristocracy who governed the Empire. I don't see them prioritizing symbolic PR of that kind if it damages more tangible purely German interests - such as the wellbeing of the Baltic German aristocracy.
As I wrote above, if the Baltic Germans were willing to intermarry with Jewish newcomers en masse, then this would be a good way for them to increase their numbers and solidify their dominance over Latvia and Estonia. This would be especially true if there would have been an active Germanization campaign for the Jews in Latvia and Estonia--with the logic being that they can get their Jewish national homeland if they agree to be Germanized en masse.

Of course, someone might raise this question: Why should Germany spend a lot of effort trying to alter the demographics of Latvia and Estonia (and thus possibly making these populations hostile to Germany) instead of trying to get as many people as possible from MItteleuropa--including Balts and Jews--to move to Germany proper? Why chase Imperial dreams in the Baltics instead of trying to strengthen Germany proper? After all, if Jews are viewed as being potentially Germanizable, does it really make a difference whether they settle in the Baltics or in Germany proper?
 
Apr 2018
355
Upland, Sweden
#5
Well, I was thinking of the idea of eventually annexing this territory to Germany, but there probably wouldn't be enough willing Germans to settle in these territories (unless perhaps you get the Russian Germans to move en masse there). In turn, this is why I was thinking of using Jews as a replacement for Germans; of course, you need something to induce the Jews to settle there en masse--hence my Jewish homeland idea.

The Latvians and Estonians might be displeased with large-scale Jewish immigration into their traditional lands, but at the same time, they should be asking whether having their country be flooded with Jews is better than having their country be flooded with Russians. After all, if Germany leaves, Russia could easily fill the vacuum in Latvia and Estonia and try getting a lot of Russians to move there afterwards.
Encouraging the Russian-Germans to migrate en masse is a much better idea to be honest, and is exactly what I would do if I was the Kaiser and wanted to demographically alter the country. Your idea is a lot more unorthodox - which makes it quite a bit more interesting, but also more... unorthodox.

Now, as for some counterarguments...
Why should the people of Latvia and Estonia ask themselves that? It's their countries, in their position, would you just sit back and tell yourself "oh, it could be worse - at least we're not governed by the Red Army." when you can, for the first time in three quarters of a millennia almost taste the feeling of liberty and self-determination? It doesn't make any sense, the cultural development during the entire 1800s (during which Estonia and Latvia were under Russian rule after all) was towards a growing national awareness.

Also, there was little precedent by 1918 of the Russian Empire moving in vast amounts of Russians into the Baltic states. If you look at the demographics for Estonia (I am not as familiar with Latvia) in 1897 only 3% of the population is composed of ethnic Russians. Certainly, there was some cultural attempts at russification, as in Finland, although given that the local ruling class was essentially German and that the native population was quite culturally different, this process was much more difficult for the Russian Empire to implement in an effective way. The demographics for 1922 (Eesti Rahvastiik Ene Mariia Tiit, p. 36, in the off chance you can read estonian...) indicate that 8% of the population are Russians - how many of these are actually there as a product of the policies of the Russian Empire and how many are there as a product of either border changes or immigration/ "internal" refugees from the Civil War though? I think the vast majority fall into the latter categories. There is also the fact that many native estonians (200 000) emigrated during the period, either to Russia or to the US, thus making relative population growth perhaps less impressive than it would have been.

As for "Russia moving in to fill the vacuum if Germany leaves", well, would it? Russia was in a period of anarchy, and in the real timeline the Estonians defeated the Red Army (although not a very sizeable portion of it).

Those are good points. That said, though, might there be some sort of compromise in regards to this--such as encouraging large-scale Jewish immigration into this territory but also encouraging these Jews to become Germanized? As I previously wrote, I don't think that there are going to be enough willing Germans to move to Latvia and Estonia unless things get really bad for the Russian Germans--and even then, they might prefer to move to relatively warm Ukraine than to move to cold Latvia and Estonia. If you want to Germanize a territory but don't have enough Germans for the job, why not use Jews as a substitute? Heck, the Germans and Jews can intermarry with each other en masse in order to create a new ruling class for Latvia and Estonia.

Your point about violence here is interesting but I'm not sure if it should be viewed as decisive. I mean, after the Soviet Union crushed post-WWII insurgents in the Baltics, it was able to get a lot of Slavs to move to the Baltics without much problems. If Imperial Germany is willing to be as ham-fisted and ruthless as the Soviet Union was in the Baltics, might it be able to do what the Soviet Union did (but with Jews rather than Slavs)?
Ah, but this is a problem isn't it? If the Baltic Duchy is the Jewish homeland, why are the Jews being encouraged to Germanize? Doesn't that quite diminish the Baltic Duchy's value as a Jewish homeland in the eyes of potential Jewish migrants? Also, Jews assimilated and intermarried with Germans in Germany and yet the Jews were percieved to be different enough for there to be a genocide of them 25 years after the war. But sure, you have a point - who knows what would've happened without WW1...

Still, I would argue doing what you say might even be detrimental to the interests of the Reich's internal cohesion in the German heartlands. Talking of a "Jewish homeland" is a great way to make all of the very well assimilated Jews who are intermarrying, who consider themselves cultural Germans, might think of converting to protestantism etc. concieve of themselves primarily as Jews rather than Germans. Why would you want that?

The difference with the Soviet example is that the Baltic countries had been royally f***ed by 6 years of war by 1945, their cities bombed and many of their people already deported or killed. In a situation in 1918 when none of this has happened, and when Finland (who the Estonians were and are a lot closer to culturally than Latvia) is independent I don't see them being as passive. I also have a hard time seeing the Kaiserreich being as brutal as the Soviets. They had authoritarian tendencies yes, but not totalitarian ones.

As I wrote above, if the Baltic Germans were willing to intermarry with Jewish newcomers en masse, then this would be a good way for them to increase their numbers and solidify their dominance over Latvia and Estonia. This would be especially true if there would have been an active Germanization campaign for the Jews in Latvia and Estonia--with the logic being that they can get their Jewish national homeland if they agree to be Germanized en masse.

Of course, someone might raise this question: Why should Germany spend a lot of effort trying to alter the demographics of Latvia and Estonia (and thus possibly making these populations hostile to Germany) instead of trying to get as many people as possible from MItteleuropa--including Balts and Jews--to move to Germany proper? Why chase Imperial dreams in the Baltics instead of trying to strengthen Germany proper? After all, if Jews are viewed as being potentially Germanizable, does it really make a difference whether they settle in the Baltics or in Germany proper?
Besides the points I mentioned earlier: 1) The domestic German effects of your policies 2) The questionable desirability of the Baltic Duchy as a homeland in Jewish eyes if they are encouraged to Germanize 3) the effects on the Baltic Germans (although perhaps that is more questionable, if what you say happens). I don't see where these Jews are going to come from?

Would Western European Jews move to Estonia and Latvia, one of the most peripheral parts of the Kaiserreich, to which they don't really have any connection - and then become German? I know I certainly wouldn't. Would Russians Jews move there? If I am not mistaken, there were some problems in Germany with the Jews who had moved there after the pogroms in the late 19th century. I am not sure the Germans would want them.

That is a good question you asked. There is one way I might see what you propose happening though - if the Germans almost loose the War, and the Jews are deemed responsible. Perhaps then some kind of deal could be made in which you turn the Baltic states into a fancier "Ghetto" - because isn't that more or less what this amounts to, in the end? I mean this Jewish state will not have any self-determination in the most important matters of state, so essentially it will be a Jewish protectorate, at best.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#6
Encouraging the Russian-Germans to migrate en masse is a much better idea to be honest, and is exactly what I would do if I was the Kaiser and wanted to demographically alter the country. Your idea is a lot more unorthodox - which makes it quite a bit more interesting, but also more... unorthodox.
OK--so this should be the plan. Now, the question is whether it's fair game to also encourage Jewish immigration to this region if the Jews agree to become Germanized.

Now, as for some counterarguments...
Why should the people of Latvia and Estonia ask themselves that? It's their countries, in their position, would you just sit back and tell yourself "oh, it could be worse - at least we're not governed by the Red Army." when you can, for the first time in three quarters of a millennia almost taste the feeling of liberty and self-determination? It doesn't make any sense, the cultural development during the entire 1800s (during which Estonia and Latvia were under Russian rule after all) was towards a growing national awareness.
I'm not sure that my question here is inherently unrealistic, though. Sure, the Latvians and Estonians would prefer to live in their own countries without any demographic threats, but if one realistically looks at this, one will conclude that they'll need to have good relations with Germany if they want to avoid getting reconquered by Russia. Thus, their goal will have to be to convince the Germans to change their attitude in regards to this without also getting the Germans to abandon them. I suppose that they could ally with German liberals such as the SPD in order to try achieving this goal.

Also, there was little precedent by 1918 of the Russian Empire moving in vast amounts of Russians into the Baltic states. If you look at the demographics for Estonia (I am not as familiar with Latvia) in 1897 only 3% of the population is composed of ethnic Russians. Certainly, there was some cultural attempts at russification, as in Finland, although given that the local ruling class was essentially German and that the native population was quite culturally different, this process was much more difficult for the Russian Empire to implement in an effective way. The demographics for 1922 (Eesti Rahvastiik Ene Mariia Tiit, p. 36, in the off chance you can read estonian...) indicate that 8% of the population are Russians - how many of these are actually there as a product of the policies of the Russian Empire and how many are there as a product of either border changes or immigration/ "internal" refugees from the Civil War though? I think the vast majority fall into the latter categories. There is also the fact that many native estonians (200 000) emigrated during the period, either to Russia or to the US, thus making relative population growth perhaps less impressive than it would have been.
Yes, the Russian Empire didn't achieve too much success in Russifying the Baltic states. However, it still had most of the 20th century ahead of it. Thus, it's not out of the question that the increasing industrial development in Latvia and Estonia would have gradually brought much more Russians there.

As for "Russia moving in to fill the vacuum if Germany leaves", well, would it? Russia was in a period of anarchy, and in the real timeline the Estonians defeated the Red Army (although not a very sizeable portion of it).
They defeated the Red Army in 1920 but were quickly overrun in 1940. If they want to permanently survive, they'll need Germany's help.

Ah, but this is a problem isn't it? If the Baltic Duchy is the Jewish homeland, why are the Jews being encouraged to Germanize? Doesn't that quite diminish the Baltic Duchy's value as a Jewish homeland in the eyes of potential Jewish migrants? Also, Jews assimilated and intermarried with Germans in Germany and yet the Jews were percieved to be different enough for there to be a genocide of them 25 years after the war. But sure, you have a point - who knows what would've happened without WW1...
You mean "what would've happened without WW2", no?

Also, Yes, you are correct that this is a very serious issue and problem. Thus, creating a Jewish homeland in the Baltics is probably going to be unlikely. The best that one could hope for is to encourage Russian Germans to move there en masse but also to give Jews the option of moving there if they will agree to become Germanized.

Still, I would argue doing what you say might even be detrimental to the interests of the Reich's internal cohesion in the German heartlands. Talking of a "Jewish homeland" is a great way to make all of the very well assimilated Jews who are intermarrying, who consider themselves cultural Germans, might think of converting to protestantism etc. concieve of themselves primarily as Jews rather than Germans. Why would you want that?
Good point.

The difference with the Soviet example is that the Baltic countries had been royally f***ed by 6 years of war by 1945, their cities bombed and many of their people already deported or killed. In a situation in 1918 when none of this has happened, and when Finland (who the Estonians were and are a lot closer to culturally than Latvia) is independent I don't see them being as passive. I also have a hard time seeing the Kaiserreich being as brutal as the Soviets. They had authoritarian tendencies yes, but not totalitarian ones.
Good points. However, in regards to WWII damage in the Baltic states, just how damaged were they as a result of this war?

Besides the points I mentioned earlier: 1) The domestic German effects of your policies 2) The questionable desirability of the Baltic Duchy as a homeland in Jewish eyes if they are encouraged to Germanize 3) the effects on the Baltic Germans (although perhaps that is more questionable, if what you say happens). I don't see where these Jews are going to come from?
In regards to where these Jews are going to come from, they are obviously going to come from the Pale of Settlement. So, Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Would Western European Jews move to Estonia and Latvia, one of the most peripheral parts of the Kaiserreich, to which they don't really have any connection - and then become German? I know I certainly wouldn't. Would Russians Jews move there? If I am not mistaken, there were some problems in Germany with the Jews who had moved there after the pogroms in the late 19th century. I am not sure the Germans would want them.
Russia proper had relatively few Jews during this time since Jews generally weren't allowed to leave the Pale of Settlement unless they converted to Christianity. However, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland were full of Jews during this time. Also, if Germans were smart, they'd realize that instead of hating on Jews, the proper thing for them to do is to try Germanizing the Jews who are going to immigrate to either Germany or Latvia and Estonia. After all, Jews were already the most Germanized people in Europe due to them speaking Yiddish--which is essentially German with Hebrew letters.

That is a good question you asked. There is one way I might see what you propose happening though - if the Germans almost loose the War, and the Jews are deemed responsible. Perhaps then some kind of deal could be made in which you turn the Baltic states into a fancier "Ghetto" - because isn't that more or less what this amounts to, in the end? I mean this Jewish state will not have any self-determination in the most important matters of state, so essentially it will be a Jewish protectorate, at best.
Without a German Revolution in 1918, though, I really don't see why exactly the Jews would get blamed for Germany's weakness during World War I.
 
Apr 2018
355
Upland, Sweden
#7
OK--so this should be the plan. [...]
Alright!

I'm not sure that my question here is inherently unrealistic, though. Sure, the Latvians and Estonians would prefer to live in their own countries without any demographic threats, but if one realistically looks at this, one will conclude that they'll need to have good relations with Germany if they want to avoid getting reconquered by Russia. Thus, their goal will have to be to convince the Germans to change their attitude in regards to this without also getting the Germans to abandon them. I suppose that they could ally with German liberals such as the SPD in order to try achieving this goal.
Well, I don't think te circumstances are optimal for a "realistic" view to the matter. You have a point, but as national sentiment spreads from the middle classes to the lower classes (a process that was already underway) I think those kinds of copromise solutions will be increasingly unpalatable. I see your point, I'm just not sure the Estonians/ Lats would, necessarily. They rebelled against Tsarist Russia in 1905 because they smelled blood after all...

But perhaps a German victory would convince them their dreams were stillborn, and that they should strive for some kind of cultural self-determination or long-term brake up of the Kaiserreich by supporting the SPD etc. Perhaps... I'm not sure though

Yes, the Russian Empire didn't achieve too much success in Russifying the Baltic states. However, it still had most of the 20th century ahead of it. Thus, it's not out of the question that the increasing industrial development in Latvia and Estonia would have gradually brought much more Russians there.
But the methods of compulsion available to the Soviet Union were of a more dramatic nature, I would argue. Still you have a point, that kind of migration is not improbable - especially if those states developed into some of the richer parts of the Russian Empire (as they were in the Soviet Union).

They defeated the Red Army in 1920 but were quickly overrun in 1940. If they want to permanently survive, they'll need Germany's help.
I certainly see your point. I don't think the Baltic states would survive in the form they currently do without the EU and NATO. The question is though, would the Estonians and Lats think as you do, or would they let themselves be influened by their passions? Suppose the Russian civil war drags on for a decade and Finland remains independent. Remember, this is not a country with an established political elite used to managing foreign policy issues, and the ideas of nationhood are increasingly spreading not just to the elite but to the masses...

You mean "what would've happened without WW2", no?

Also, Yes, you are correct that this is a very serious issue and problem. Thus, creating a Jewish homeland in the Baltics is probably going to be unlikely. The best that one could hope for is to encourage Russian Germans to move there en masse but also to give Jews the option of moving there if they will agree to become Germanized.
No, I meant World War 1 - in the sense of a World War 1 where Germany lost, similarly to how it played out in our timeline. Sorry for being confusing, given that we were presupposing the Germans won for most of the discussion...

Right. Perhaps... let's examine that below. Just out of curiosity, since I can't find any figures - how many Russian Germans were there? My guesstimate gut-feeling tells me there might have been something like 3 million Jews in the previous Russian Empire at the time, and maybe... a million Russian Germans perhaps?

Thank you!

Good points. However, in regards to WWII damage in the Baltic states, just how damaged were they as a result of this war?
Quite damaged. According to Wikipedia World War 2 losses in Estonia amounted to "25% of the population". I would have said somewhere between 10-15% dead, but perhaps losses also include deportations, POWs etc. Obviously much wealth was destroyed. More importantly for our discussion though, the spirit of the country was completely broken. Pretty much the entire ruling bourgeousie and upper class that had set the tone during the inter-war years (remember, this is a small country, it is quite easy to round them all up) was either killed or sent to Siberia.

In regards to where these Jews are going to come from, they are obviously going to come from the Pale of Settlement. [...] After all, Jews were already the most Germanized people in Europe due to them speaking Yiddish--which is essentially German with Hebrew letters.
Right, good point. Rather silly of me to suppose they'd come from Western Europe. In that case it rather depends on the German-Russian/Soviet peace agreement. In Brest-Litovsk much of that area was under either direct German control or effective German control as client states. Supposing they can easily migrate, why choose the Baltic states? I suppose the region was richer than Ukraine and Belarus, but I don't know by how much at that particular time. Will the Baltic states be safer in the sense of being less "pogromiscuous"? Perhaps... unless of course the Estonians and Latvians, who had so far had relatively few Jews compared to the regions you speak of, decide that they don't particularly like large numbers of Jews... but probably it was safer too, at least initially.

Jiddish is certainly a kind of German linguistically, and that affinity does exist. Yet the Latvians and Estonians are primarily Lutheran, and according to the racial-theories of the time that had at least some prominence, even if they weren't nearly as influential as in the Third Reich they were considered more or less "almost arians" - at least that's what the Nazis thought later. Also, I am not entirely sure Jiddish became as common as it did due to love of and affinity for German culture, I think it had more to do with the role of Germans as a traditional commercial class in Eastern Europe (besides Jews). But a connection certainly is there.

The real question seems to boil down to whether the Germans would see eastern European Jews as "Ersatz Germans" being essentially preferable subjects to the native population. Is it credible? The way I see it there are three German "camps" if you will which would have three separate ideas about this: 1) The Junckers and Conservative elite 2) the more urban Liberals as well as 3) the Radicals/ Socialists.

Who would support more Jews in the Empire? I believe many from 1) might think that they had enough trouble with the Jews as it is, and that unlike the native Baltic peoples the Jews had allegiances not just to their particular land but to all other Jews all over Europe and the world. From that Conservative perspective, which minority is likely to be the most troublesome long-term? They might support some Jewish migration I think, but my political gut feeling tells me certainly not in the high hundreds of thousands.

Many liberals in 2) had moved to ally with the conservative right of 1) or otherwise had become quite lacking in influence... although some were perhaps more allied to the SPD, I think that during the late 1800s anyway the liberal movement in Germany was essentially part of Wilhelm's post-bismarckian consensus if you will. The socialists in 3) will, I think, not be allowed influence - and if they will, I think they will focus on building up the welfare of the average German worker, and trying to compromise with 1) - thus becoming more nationalist. This is, incidentally, exactly what happened in Sweden. Our Social Democrats were very influenced by the German movement, and after they got into power for real during the 1930s they started adopting many nationalist positions - quite similar in content to those of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in some ways - thus abandoning their previous liberal allies once the goal of universal suffrage had been achieved...

Had the native Baltic population been Eastern Orthodox Slavs I think your idea of encouraging large numbers of Jews to migrate might have seriously gathered support, even among quite a few conservative Germans. Because the native population are protestant Balts/ Estonians though, I'm not sure I see it happening. But perhaps the conservatives would have thought that Eastern Jews were desirable to divide and rule locally anyway, but I think only if the consequences for the Reich's demographics on the macro-level were not too bad, from their perspective.

Without a German Revolution in 1918, though, I really don't see why exactly the Jews would get blamed for Germany's weakness during World War I.
In 1916 there was a scandal who's name I now forget, relating to the leaking of classified statistics from the German Army - statistics about Jewish participation, casualty rates etc. as well as home-front loyalty. It caused some tensions and overall bad feelings between Jews and Germans at the time.

Ah, here it is. Die Judenzählung.

But you are no doubt right, it would probably not have been as prominent as in our timeline - perhaps something like that would be remembered with shame or forgotten in the Kaiserreich, once victory was at hand and all the Jewish veterans paraded with their catholic and protestant counterparts up in Unter den Linden... not totally inconcieavable.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#8
OK.

Well, I don't think te circumstances are optimal for a "realistic" view to the matter. You have a point, but as national sentiment spreads from the middle classes to the lower classes (a process that was already underway) I think those kinds of copromise solutions will be increasingly unpalatable. I see your point, I'm just not sure the Estonians/ Lats would, necessarily. They rebelled against Tsarist Russia in 1905 because they smelled blood after all...

But perhaps a German victory would convince them their dreams were stillborn, and that they should strive for some kind of cultural self-determination or long-term brake up of the Kaiserreich by supporting the SPD etc. Perhaps... I'm not sure though
I agree with everything that you wrote here.

But the methods of compulsion available to the Soviet Union were of a more dramatic nature, I would argue. Still you have a point, that kind of migration is not improbable - especially if those states developed into some of the richer parts of the Russian Empire (as they were in the Soviet Union).
Yeah, I was thinking of the greater wealth and prosperity in Latvia and Estonia causing a lot of ethnic Russians to move there.

I certainly see your point. I don't think the Baltic states would survive in the form they currently do without the EU and NATO. The question is though, would the Estonians and Lats think as you do, or would they let themselves be influened by their passions? Suppose the Russian civil war drags on for a decade and Finland remains independent. Remember, this is not a country with an established political elite used to managing foreign policy issues, and the ideas of nationhood are increasingly spreading not just to the elite but to the masses...
I get your point here, though I would like to point out that Russia is likely to eventually recover from its civil war. Still, you're correct that Balts could be influenced by their passions and emotions rather than by reason.

No, I meant World War 1 - in the sense of a World War 1 where Germany lost, similarly to how it played out in our timeline. Sorry for being confusing, given that we were presupposing the Germans won for most of the discussion...
OK.

Right. Perhaps... let's examine that below. Just out of curiosity, since I can't find any figures - how many Russian Germans were there? My guesstimate gut-feeling tells me there might have been something like 3 million Jews in the previous Russian Empire at the time, and maybe... a million Russian Germans perhaps?
If you're including Poland, the Russian Empire had over five million Jews and almost two million Germans. Still, a lot of these Jews and Germans were in the western parts of the Russian Empire which were lost to Germany during World War I.

Thank you!
You're welcome! :)

Quite damaged. According to Wikipedia World War 2 losses in Estonia amounted to "25% of the population". I would have said somewhere between 10-15% dead, but perhaps losses also include deportations, POWs etc. Obviously much wealth was destroyed. More importantly for our discussion though, the spirit of the country was completely broken. Pretty much the entire ruling bourgeousie and upper class that had set the tone during the inter-war years (remember, this is a small country, it is quite easy to round them all up) was either killed or sent to Siberia.
OK.

Right, good point. Rather silly of me to suppose they'd come from Western Europe. In that case it rather depends on the German-Russian/Soviet peace agreement. In Brest-Litovsk much of that area was under either direct German control or effective German control as client states. Supposing they can easily migrate, why choose the Baltic states? I suppose the region was richer than Ukraine and Belarus, but I don't know by how much at that particular time. Will the Baltic states be safer in the sense of being less "pogromiscuous"? Perhaps... unless of course the Estonians and Latvians, who had so far had relatively few Jews compared to the regions you speak of, decide that they don't particularly like large numbers of Jews... but probably it was safer too, at least initially.
Yeah, I would think that the greater wealth, urbanization, and industrialization in Latvia and Estonia could have caused some Eastern European Jews to settle there. As for the pogroms, if Germany wins World War I, pogroms in the Pale of Settlement are likely to be less of an issue since Germany will probably try hard to combat anti-Semitism there.

Jiddish is certainly a kind of German linguistically, and that affinity does exist. Yet the Latvians and Estonians are primarily Lutheran, and according to the racial-theories of the time that had at least some prominence, even if they weren't nearly as influential as in the Third Reich they were considered more or less "almost arians" - at least that's what the Nazis thought later. Also, I am not entirely sure Jiddish became as common as it did due to love of and affinity for German culture, I think it had more to do with the role of Germans as a traditional commercial class in Eastern Europe (besides Jews). But a connection certainly is there.

The real question seems to boil down to whether the Germans would see eastern European Jews as "Ersatz Germans" being essentially preferable subjects to the native population. Is it credible? The way I see it there are three German "camps" if you will which would have three separate ideas about this: 1) The Junckers and Conservative elite 2) the more urban Liberals as well as 3) the Radicals/ Socialists.

Who would support more Jews in the Empire? I believe many from 1) might think that they had enough trouble with the Jews as it is, and that unlike the native Baltic peoples the Jews had allegiances not just to their particular land but to all other Jews all over Europe and the world. From that Conservative perspective, which minority is likely to be the most troublesome long-term? They might support some Jewish migration I think, but my political gut feeling tells me certainly not in the high hundreds of thousands.

Many liberals in 2) had moved to ally with the conservative right of 1) or otherwise had become quite lacking in influence... although some were perhaps more allied to the SPD, I think that during the late 1800s anyway the liberal movement in Germany was essentially part of Wilhelm's post-bismarckian consensus if you will. The socialists in 3) will, I think, not be allowed influence - and if they will, I think they will focus on building up the welfare of the average German worker, and trying to compromise with 1) - thus becoming more nationalist. This is, incidentally, exactly what happened in Sweden. Our Social Democrats were very influenced by the German movement, and after they got into power for real during the 1930s they started adopting many nationalist positions - quite similar in content to those of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in some ways - thus abandoning their previous liberal allies once the goal of universal suffrage had been achieved...

Had the native Baltic population been Eastern Orthodox Slavs I think your idea of encouraging large numbers of Jews to migrate might have seriously gathered support, even among quite a few conservative Germans. Because the native population are protestant Balts/ Estonians though, I'm not sure I see it happening. But perhaps the conservatives would have thought that Eastern Jews were desirable to divide and rule locally anyway, but I think only if the consequences for the Reich's demographics on the macro-level were not too bad, from their perspective.
Yeah, I see what you mean. If the goal is to make good Germans out of the Latvians and Estonians, having a lot of Jews move to Latvia and Estonia might get in the way of that. Plus, as you said, it would be hard for Jews to find a large source of support within Germany during this time period.

In 1916 there was a scandal who's name I now forget, relating to the leaking of classified statistics from the German Army - statistics about Jewish participation, casualty rates etc. as well as home-front loyalty. It caused some tensions and overall bad feelings between Jews and Germans at the time.

Ah, here it is. Die Judenzählung.

But you are no doubt right, it would probably not have been as prominent as in our timeline - perhaps something like that would be remembered with shame or forgotten in the Kaiserreich, once victory was at hand and all the Jewish veterans paraded with their catholic and protestant counterparts up in Unter den Linden... not totally inconcieavable.
Yes, there was the 1916 Jew census, but its results were not encouraging for German anti-Semites since German Jews were discovered to be very patriotic to Germany. Thus, unless a lot of German Jews begin promoting defeatism later on, I don't see massive anti-Semitism developing in Germany after a German WWI win. I mean, there would be some anti-Semitism left over from before the WWI-era, but I don't expect a massive increase of anti-Semitism in Germany after the end of WWI in this TL.
 
Feb 2016
4,071
Japan
#9
What countries would be expected to give up land and towns to build this?

Why must the Jews be rewarded at the expense of those who didn’t inflict the majority of suffering?

The Jews SHOULD have been given a homeland in Germany as it was that country that caused their misfortune. Evict several hundred thousand ex-Nazis from Hesse-Darmstadt or Lippe and give it to the Holocaust survivors. Save a whole lot of trouble in the future.
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,495
SoCal
#10
What countries would be expected to give up land and towns to build this?
There was plenty of available land in Latvia and Estonia to go around--as evidenced by the massive Slavic settlement there in the post-WWII years and decades.

Why must the Jews be rewarded at the expense of those who didn’t inflict the majority of suffering?

The Jews SHOULD have been given a homeland in Germany as it was that country that caused their misfortune. Evict several hundred thousand ex-Nazis from Hesse-Darmstadt or Lippe and give it to the Holocaust survivors. Save a whole lot of trouble in the future.
Sure, your solution would have been the fair one in regards to this. Still, getting Middle Eastern and North African Jews to move en masse to a Jewish state which was located in Germany might be a bit of a problem.
 

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