If Nazi Germany wins WWII and later becomes a democracy, what is it going to do with its Lebensraum?

Menshevik

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Dec 2012
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#21
Well, the issue is that it has a lot of available Lebensraum and not a lot of people who actually want to move to this Lebensraum.
That isn't the question you asked in the OP.

"If Nazi Germany wins WWII (for instance, by having Britain makes peace in 1940 and by defeating the USSR in 1941-1942--thus pushing the USSR east of the Urals) and becomes a democracy sometime after Hitler's death, what exactly is it going to do with its vast Lebensraum--primarily in the East?

I'm assuming that millions or tens of millions of Slavs are going to get deported east of the Urals while Nazi Germany is still a dictatorship (though I suppose that some Slavs--such as Poles--could end up elsewhere--such as in Latin America if the countries there will accept them). However, is Germany actually going to allow all of these Slavs to return to Eastern Europe after Germany becomes a democracy?

Any thoughts on this?"

I see nothing here referring to a lack of inhabitants or sparse population in Germany's Eastern possessions. I thought the question was a political one, not a question of demographics.
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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#22
That isn't the question you asked in the OP.

"If Nazi Germany wins WWII (for instance, by having Britain makes peace in 1940 and by defeating the USSR in 1941-1942--thus pushing the USSR east of the Urals) and becomes a democracy sometime after Hitler's death, what exactly is it going to do with its vast Lebensraum--primarily in the East?

I'm assuming that millions or tens of millions of Slavs are going to get deported east of the Urals while Nazi Germany is still a dictatorship (though I suppose that some Slavs--such as Poles--could end up elsewhere--such as in Latin America if the countries there will accept them). However, is Germany actually going to allow all of these Slavs to return to Eastern Europe after Germany becomes a democracy?

Any thoughts on this?"

I see nothing here referring to a lack of inhabitants or sparse population in Germany's Eastern possessions. I thought the question was a political one, not a question of demographics.
The question is a political one, but I am wondering if demographics are going to play a role in the political calculation here.
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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#23
The scenario is really going to depend on when and how the Third Reich becomes a "democracy" after Hitler's death. For we must remember that the Nazi Party cultivated a mentality that looked on democracy, as typified in France, Britain, and the US as decadent and chaotic. This is ultimately reflective of Goering's almost cheerful bragging that the Nazi Party planned to oust democracy from Germany as soon as they had power at Nuremburg. Having them win World War II in any way is not going to change the Nazi outlook on political operations on the immediate aftermath of Hitler's death. The only thing that would be immediate would be possible "civil war" within the Nazi Party hierarchy over who becomes the next Fuhrer... or perhaps it's something like how Stalin became the Soviet dictator, simply by an officer or official in charge of party functions and thus able to control what is released.

Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that Nazi Germany couldn't transition toward a more "democratic" government. Those sorts of transitions have happened frequently in Western history and we can look to governments going from some kind of autocracy toward a more democratic government. In some cases it's been a gradual transition over a lengthy period of time, such as slow process of England becoming a Constitutional Monarchy following the Magna Carta. In other cases it could be more rapid and potentially chaotic, mirroring the French Revolution in the establishment of the First Republic. And it would be the nature of the transition that would determine what is likely regarding the territories Hitler sought to annex in WW2...
Completely agreed with all of this.

In a gradual transition to democracy:
This might ensure long term stability for the new German government as they essentially let "democratic" elements sneak back into German politics over time. However, this sort of transition would be quick, particularly given how ardent the Nazis were in crushing what "democracy" had been in the Weimar government after coming to power in 1933. This you would potentially see Nazi Germany retain dictatorial powers over the eastern colonies they wanted as part of their policies and took in the early years of the war for a substantial period of time before democracy becomes an issue in German politics. As such, they would have time to complete their plans for colonizing those regions and essentially integrating them into Germany, and by the time Germany becomes a democracy, you could potentially have generations of German citizens who would have had no involvement in the conquest living in those territories and not wanting to give them up just because the nature of the government changed.
I agree with your analysis of this, though I would question just how much Germans would have actually been willing to settle in the East in this scenario. After all, leaving the comfort of urban, industrialized life in Germany to settle in some eastern wasteland doesn't seem very attractive expect perhaps for hardcore Nazis. Indeed, please remember that Nazis wanted soldier-peasants (Wehrbauer) to settle in the East. Also, there are only a couple million Germans in the German diaspora in Europe (the Germans in the New World aren't going to come back to Europe); thus, that avenue for German colonization of the East is also only going to achieve limited success.

In turn, all of this makes me suspect that large parts of Eastern Europe are simply going to be depopulated wastelands in this scenario--which is going to raise the question of whether a democratic Germany would want to encourage immigration (or, in the case of Slavs, return migration) to these territories on a large scale in order to repopulate these territories.

And given Nazi Germany's methods of dealing with native populations in areas they sought to annex, be it by extermination or expulsion, I'd find it unlikely that by the time the German government abandons the Nazi Party's totalitarian Fascist style dictatorship to become some form of democracy that there would also be enough of the local Slavic populations left that would be able to seriously push for any sort of independence movement. It would essentially be comparable to how the US essentially took territory from many Native American tribes, and the US was a DEMOCRACY for the entirety of the conquest of the Native Americans. In this, I'd find a far more authoritarian regime with less respect for human rights or differing opinions letting territory go after years of occupation and rule... and by the time Germany transitions into a democracy, you'd likely have people that would have had no role in Hitler's conquests and wouldn't see themselves as guilty for his faults... Especially as they would have had a lot of histories that would essentially treat Hitler as a hero.
I agree with all of this. I don't think that Germany is going to worry about any independence movements in the East in this scenario for the reason that you stated. Still, there is a massive difference between this case and the U.S.'s settlement of North America; specifically, the U.S. has a large surplus population and very high birth rates in the 19th century and also received a lot of immigration (primarily from Europe) during this time. In contrast, Germany is going to have a relatively low birth rate, not much of a surplus population, and not a lot of immigration unless it decides to change its immigration policies.

The big reason he is so reviled today is because the Nazis LOST World War II. Had they won... they'd likely do a lot to defend the Nazi Party's actions and it would probably take even longer for German histories to re-examine the Nazi Party's actions than it would for Germany to transition into a democratic government.
I completely agree with this--though I do think that, by this point in time, most Germans are going to conclude that settling the East with tens of millions of Germans is nothing but a pipe dream.
 

Futurist

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May 2014
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#24
(Continued from previous: )

Though I don't necessarily find this likely.

In a rapid transition: It would be this sort of transition that I'd find the most likely. Mostly due to the way in which the Nazi Party operated and how its ideology was driven. Even had they won and been able to exterminate the Jews and Slavs, they would NEED some sort of "boogieman" to frighten people into supporting the regime, and even when they had that proverbial enemy in the Jews and Communists existing when they came to power in 1933, the Nazis didn't have universal support. They gained power in 1933 more to plurality rather than by a majority. And while the Nazis would silence the German Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, along with other possible opponents to their rule... it didn't necessarily END German resistance to Hitler. Even the army had its elements that were at least doubtful of Hitler's leadership, if not in a way in opposition to it. The army certainly wasn't clean or free of the vices and mistakes made by Hitler in WW2, but this doesn't mean that the entire institution was nothing but ardent Nazis. Many only supported Hitler at first because the Nazis offered the army what it wanted since 1918... restoration of power, and they were more than willing to go along with many of the Nazi Party's actions so long as they got their piece of the pie.

But in time, this presented many great challenges to both the Army and to Hitler. Officers like Beck heavily disagreed with the plans to push for the Sudetenland in 1938 and might have been willing to try a coup had France and Britain stood firm behind Czechoslovakia. By 1939-1940 there was a great deal of doubt and skepticism over the plans for the Battle of France, and it was only the spectacular successes of 1940 that much of the opposition in the German army seemed to vanish. But in history it wasn't sustainable. As soon as the war began to go bad in the east, many of those who had had doubts in 1938 or 1939 or even 1940 prior to the Battle of France began to conspire against Hitler, which would lead to the Valkyrie bomb plot in 1944. In this, the unease the German army at least had to Nazism and their own self interest in the army within the power structure wouldn't go away just because Germany wins World War II... Particularly as there would be the potential that Nazi Party power structure would have the potential to go into its own civil war on Hitler's death...

This would mean a rapid and chaotic transition... It would start with Hitler's death, either from Parkinson's, the drugs he was being given, or perhaps one of the various assassination attempts actually manages to succeed. This in turn would lead to various elements of the Nazi Party trying to vie for power. And despite the promises made to Goering and Hess... I don't see "line of succession" that made those promises holding for long, not with the egos and personalities that ran the Nazi Party. This would then lead to political murder and intrigue and potentially open civil war with the army supporting one faction or another. Add in the oppressive nature the Nazis managed the eastern territories and the fact that it often INCREASED the number of partisans behind their lines during the war and you would have chaos. In this, the likely winner would be an army faction that would be able to win over more centrist elements within German politics that the Nazis tried to stop between 1933-1945. In this, it'd likely be like the Russian Civil War as Hess, Himmler, Goering, and other Nazi Party heads fight each other (because they can't agree or submit to anyone but Hitler) while the army becomes disenchanted by the chaos created by the Nazi infighting, particularly as their "support" for the Nazis had largely been built around the Nazi Party's promises to stop that sort of chaos...

The result would be that Germany would likely move from Fascist Dictatorship to an authoritarian Republic with some democratic elements largely settled around the army. From there it could either go into the more gradual development of democracy or could take the path that France took in the French Revolution in its transition from the First Republic to Napoleon's First Empire. Regardless, the chaos born out of the civil war would be that most of the eastern territories would be lost or at least transitioned into puppet states with little to no support given what the army had had to go through just to remove any Nazi Party opposition.
I completely agree with all of this (Yes, I read all of this, and I found it to be extremely interesting and very insightful). The one question that I do have is just how long it's going to take for Hitler to croak in this scenario. After all, he could still engage in a lot of large-scale deportations (especially of Slavs) in the East if he lives long enough.

I am skeptical that the new, post-Nazi military-led German government is going to be particularly willing to let the expelled Slavs return to Eastern Europe unless Germany completely abandons Eastern Europe, though. If Eastern Europe will become a bunch of German puppet states, then I doubt that the new German leadership would want to risk having a lot of returning Slavs causing trouble in these puppet states. If Eastern Europe is completely abandoned, though, then I don't think that Germany's new leadership is actually going to care about whether or not the deported Slavs return to Eastern Europe.

I do think that a rapid collapse of Nazi Germany is going to spell the end of the Lebensraum dream, though. Indeed, I simply don't think that an early end to the Nazi regime is going to leave a large imprint in favor of Lebensraum in the German national consciousness.
 

Rodger

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Jun 2014
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#25
While these two things can be associated, they don't have to be. For instance, one could send one's own people to settle a territory without displacing the locals who are already living there if there is enough space there for both the locals and your own people.
Yeah. Me neither. I think a democratized Germany may have eventually seen the eastern provinces just leave.
 
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Sam-Nary

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Jun 2012
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#26
I agree with your analysis of this, though I would question just how much Germans would have actually been willing to settle in the East in this scenario. After all, leaving the comfort of urban, industrialized life in Germany to settle in some eastern wasteland doesn't seem very attractive expect perhaps for hardcore Nazis. Indeed, please remember that Nazis wanted soldier-peasants (Wehrbauer) to settle in the East. Also, there are only a couple million Germans in the German diaspora in Europe (the Germans in the New World aren't going to come back to Europe); thus, that avenue for German colonization of the East is also only going to achieve limited success.

In turn, all of this makes me suspect that large parts of Eastern Europe are simply going to be depopulated wastelands in this scenario--which is going to raise the question of whether a democratic Germany would want to encourage immigration (or, in the case of Slavs, return migration) to these territories on a large scale in order to repopulate these territories.
There may not be a large number of voluntary immigrants, at least in the initial years after World War II, but keep in mind... that if the transition from Fascist dictatorship to a fully functioning democracy is something that develops gradually, and likely without massive party power struggles, this will mean the Nazis would for a time be able to enforce many of their colonial plans for quite some time. And given the nature with which their government functioned, this transition wouldn't take place over 1 or 2 Fuhrers. So it would not be Hitler, Goering, and then BOOM a nice democratic leader. You'd be potentially looking at centuries of at least authoritarian rule and grandstanding before Germany becomes a democracy. Gradual transitions take time and often have some pushback during the course of said transition.

For example, we mark the "start" of Britain's move toward a Constitutional Monarchy with King John signing the Magna Carta in 1215, however, despite the rights granted to Britain's nobles under it, the rivalry between John and the barons continued and there were civil wars AFTER the Magna Carta was signed, likely over many of the same reasons that lead to the Magna Carta being signed in the first place. And this sort of trend would continue for years with the King's power only gradually declining over the years and with attempts to undo it by some of them. It really wasn't until the Glorious Revolution 1688-89 that the concept the British monarch having less of a governing role than Parliament was really cemented. And as such... I'd think that if Germany goes through a gradual transition, it will take longer, as Hitler and the Nazis were far more tyrannical and murderous than John I was... and it's doubtful their immediate successors are going to be any less dictatorial than Hitler was.

This would mean that the Slavs in those regions are going to face years of persecution, starvation, and death in order to make room for the colonists that the Nazis planned to settle the region with. These difficulties may become less of an issue as time goes on, but that doesn't change that they're going to face a great deal of hardship for a lengthy period of time. And by the time Germany actually becomes a democracy... the Nazi Party's plans of colonization would be completed.

I agree with all of this. I don't think that Germany is going to worry about any independence movements in the East in this scenario for the reason that you stated. Still, there is a massive difference between this case and the U.S.'s settlement of North America; specifically, the U.S. has a large surplus population and very high birth rates in the 19th century and also received a lot of immigration (primarily from Europe) during this time. In contrast, Germany is going to have a relatively low birth rate, not much of a surplus population, and not a lot of immigration unless it decides to change its immigration policies.
You're forgetting that the Nazis had purpose driven policies that were intended to increase the German birthrate. It may not work completely, but over time it WOULD have some measure of effect, particularly with those that would join the Party faithful in the event of a German victory. Those sorts of policies are not going to just end because of Germany winning World War II, they would continue and in time would begin to increase the German population, particularly in the years immediately after the victory... And as such, you wouldn't see a real decline in that until the time period in which the authoritarian/dictatorial hold the government has begins to truly decline.

And as for the immigration issue... moving to the east wouldn't necessarily be immigration, as by the time the war started, Germany saw that as direct annexation. The territory would be PART of Germany, and thus it would be akin to someone moving from New York to Montana for whatever reason. And even if Germans in Germany don't WANT to move east, I really wouldn't see the Nazis not forcing some members of the population to move east. Some of it may be with offers of power in the region, similar to how they perceived the British governing of India... though obviously with their own touch... which would certainly be attractive those seeking to clime the hierarchy of the government. And if that doesn't work... simply resettle people there regardless. There was a supposed deal between Hitler and Stalin that allowed Germans living in the Soviet Union to return to "Germany" if they so wished in 1939. And for some this was seen as attractive and they "came home." However, when they got to "Germany" as the Nazis designated it they were still in what these new immigrants saw as "Poland."

And this cycle would repeat until the Nazis lose their dictatorial powers, which in a gradual transition would take a very long time.

I completely agree with this--though I do think that, by this point in time, most Germans are going to conclude that settling the East with tens of millions of Germans is nothing but a pipe dream.
This again depends on the length of the transition... And a gradual one is not likely going to be a 50-60 year affair, especially given the nature of how the Nazis ruled Germany. If they somehow avoid the chaos of internal power struggles, it's going to take centuries before their political message begins to decline.
 
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Rodger

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#27
The German desires for breathing room , especially to the east, has been a dream since the days of Charlemagne. It was never able to be fully realized because there weren't enough Germans who had an interest in living in those regions.
 

Sam-Nary

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Jun 2012
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#28
I completely agree with all of this (Yes, I read all of this, and I found it to be extremely interesting and very insightful). The one question that I do have is just how long it's going to take for Hitler to croak in this scenario. After all, he could still engage in a lot of large-scale deportations (especially of Slavs) in the East if he lives long enough.
That would be a hard one to figure, particularly with the ways Hitler is likely to bite it...

By Assassination: There were assassination attempts that came close, and one in 1939 out of the fear that Hitler was going to lead Germany into a war it couldn't win. It failed as Hitler left early and the bomb detonated after Hitler left, but the fact that it occurred and that you would see that German army would try to assassinate Hitler as the war turned bad in history... and the fact that the SS and Gestapo, which in theory were supposed to prevent these attempts from happening, failed to prevent them (though they were good at taking revenge later)… I wouldn't see at least some elements of the German Resistance to Hitler going away just because Germany wins the war and I don't see either the SS or the Gestapo preventing any attempt. Which could well mean that eventually Hitler's proverbial luck runs out. The only thing that a German victory in the war would mean is that those with the best ability to put together a good bomb and get close to Hitler might be less inclined to do so... at least in the immediate aftermath of the victory... Though that could change if army gets the feeling that the SS is starting to replace the Army as the chief military arm of Germany...

By Parkinson's Disease: This has lead to a lot of the speculation on when Hitler would die based on footage of him congratulating Hitler Youth in 1945 as part of the defense of Berlin with one of his hands kept behind his back and seen constantly trembling. This has been diagnosed as symptoms of Parkinson's Disease, which if correct that in history, he probably would have been looking at dying before 1950 from the disease. Now... in a situation where Germany somehow wins WW2 and Hitler remains Fuhrer, he gets better medical care and thus lives a bit longer... but if he had Parkinson's Disease, he would still be looking at a terminal interest... and then there is the issue of his doctor...

By a Reaction to Drugs: There has also been speculation on the actions of Hitler's personal physician Theodor Morell in his treatments for various issues that Hitler complained of. This centers around the fact that Morell was administering a host of stimulants, depressants, and other drugs to affect Hitler's mood and behavior, and often in rapid succession given day to day actions. And the documentaries that I've seen that have indulged in speculating on this issue have made the commentary that the trembling in Hitler's hand in 1945 might not be the result of Parkinson's Disease but the result of all the drugs that Morell was giving his patient. If true... this could be a real potential problem, as the sheer amount of drugs that Hitler was supposed to be taking and the nature of drugs in question... I'd wonder if he might end up dying of an overdose as he got older... Unfortunately, I'm not a medical expert or a bio-chemical expert... so I can't say for sure as to how long that would be, if true.

I am skeptical that the new, post-Nazi military-led German government is going to be particularly willing to let the expelled Slavs return to Eastern Europe unless Germany completely abandons Eastern Europe, though. If Eastern Europe will become a bunch of German puppet states, then I doubt that the new German leadership would want to risk having a lot of returning Slavs causing trouble in these puppet states. If Eastern Europe is completely abandoned, though, then I don't think that Germany's new leadership is actually going to care about whether or not the deported Slavs return to Eastern Europe.
My prime thought is that the nature of the civil war within the Nazi Party and what army factions supported one or more of the Nazi Party heads would essentially force the abandonment of much of the territory taken between 1939-1942. I'd see the more centrist Army faction with support from surviving centrists, Social Democrats, and perhaps even monarchists winning the civil war, but they'd still face a LOT of difficulty and chaos in winning it, something that Petain's Vichy France would likely take advantage of to at least retake the regions west of Alsace/Lorraine and the east devolving into further chaos as partisans of every kind adding to the chaos...

In this, the new government would have no choice in order to secure power. And the establishment of "puppet states" in the Baltic States and the western Soviet Union would be something of a desperation move as they struggle to at least retain Poland in the east. They wouldn't want a major influx, but the chaos they were under would be such that they need the puppet states to be a sort of buffer state while the Germans fight themselves... And by the time its over... Germany might be able to prevent serious incursions into their territory, but wouldn't have the strength to push outward in the immediate future.
 

Sam-Nary

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Jun 2012
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#29
The German desires for breathing room , especially to the east, has been a dream since the days of Charlemagne. It was never able to be fully realized because there weren't enough Germans who had an interest in living in those regions.
Agreed, though it should be noted that prior to 1917 no German government had ever had the opportunity to make a truly serious try for it, and given the levels of power to which the Nazi Government functioned over the German people, had they been able to advantage of Germany's best chance for it in 1941-1942, they might have had specific policies and powers to have a chance of gaining enough Germans for a chance of success at it.

By contrast when looking at Charlemagne (who the French also hold in high regard as a French leader) through to even Wilhelm II, there often a great deal of local authority that was awarded to German nobles. The system of electors for the Holy Roman Emperor's election and the fact that the King of Bavaria kept his crown and some level autonomy even after the establishment of the German Empire in the Franco-Prussian War would reflect the federal manner in which the Holy Roman, German Empire, and Weimar (and the modern Federal Republic) functioned. This would in turn serve as a limiting factor on what the political head would wish to do...

Hitler and the Nazis in contrast tried to create more of a unitary state that they would then be able to control directly. And if given time... I'd see them being quite willing to force things, regardless of the consequences or what the German people actually want. The problem that I'd see in their system is that they had so many conflicting egos that I wouldn't find their government being stable without Hitler, and thus their policies would not get the sort of longevity they would need to get the chance of success in the bigger picture.
 

Rodger

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Jun 2014
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#30
Agreed, though it should be noted that prior to 1917 no German government had ever had the opportunity to make a truly serious try for it, and given the levels of power to which the Nazi Government functioned over the German people, had they been able to advantage of Germany's best chance for it in 1941-1942, they might have had specific policies and powers to have a chance of gaining enough Germans for a chance of success at it.

By contrast when looking at Charlemagne (who the French also hold in high regard as a French leader) through to even Wilhelm II, there often a great deal of local authority that was awarded to German nobles. The system of electors for the Holy Roman Emperor's election and the fact that the King of Bavaria kept his crown and some level autonomy even after the establishment of the German Empire in the Franco-Prussian War would reflect the federal manner in which the Holy Roman, German Empire, and Weimar (and the modern Federal Republic) functioned. This would in turn serve as a limiting factor on what the political head would wish to do...

Hitler and the Nazis in contrast tried to create more of a unitary state that they would then be able to control directly. And if given time... I'd see them being quite willing to force things, regardless of the consequences or what the German people actually want. The problem that I'd see in their system is that they had so many conflicting egos that I wouldn't find their government being stable without Hitler, and thus their policies would not get the sort of longevity they would need to get the chance of success in the bigger picture.
The Knights Templar, Germanic but not "Germany," made incursions into what is now Poland, Lithuania, and Estonia, I believe. Prussia/German Empire in 1870 had much of what is now Poland. Not all of what Hitler desired, but even those lands could not be filled with German "settlers," even with very favorable conditions.
German Eastern Marches Society - Wikipedia
 
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