TBR News August 11, 2017

Aug 11 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., August 10, 2017:” Here is a translated, direct quote from a German intelligence secret briefing on political and economic problems in the United States that is circulating, privately, throughout selected recipients on the Internet:

’ A small number of extremely wealthy men control and operate all of the major American print and television media.

Each of the few very powerful, rich men have their own reasons for deciding what qualifies as news.

But the public in America now gets its news, without cost, from various internet sites and the circulation number of major print news has dropped dramatically. This has forced the internet editions of the print news media to erect what they call “paywalls.” This permits a very limited number of articles to be read or downloaded before the system demands money for the use of additional material.

The major print media in America is faced with imminent bankruptcy and are making frantic efforts at attempts to prevent free news sites from being aired on the internet.’”

Table of Contents

  • What Are We To Believe?
  • Any new Korean war could quickly escalate to catastrophe
  • North Korea: Angela Merkel sees no military solution
  • Donald Trump’s nuclear fixation – from the 1980s to now
  • Is the American Empire Worth the Price?
  • ‘Deep state’ memo that rattled McMaster’s National Security Council finally released
  • ‘Nazis, Spies and Terrorists’: Can the German-Turkish Relationship Be Saved?
  • The Browning Version: An Examination of Sources



What Are We To Believe?

Fake news plus phony “intelligence” equals disaster

August 11, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


The Washington Post has published a story claiming that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Un has succeeded in miniaturizing a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. It’s another “leak” coming from an intelligence community that seemingly does little these days but leak like a sieve. Which raises the question: Should we believe them?

What we are dealing with is a national security bureaucracy that is not only highly politicized – that’s not really anything new – but is also engaged in an extended campaign to accomplish specific political objectives. The leaks coming out of Washington have had a clear political purpose – to a) discredit President Donald Trump, and b) push us closer to some sort of conflict on the international stage. And of course the two are not mutually exclusive: indeed, they are congruent. For a war on the Korean peninsula, for example, would define –and, I would submit, discredit – Trump’s presidency, as many thousands would die in a conflagration of unimaginable horror.

The Post quotes a single sentence of a Defense Intelligence Agency assessment dated July 28:

“The IC [intelligence community] assesses North Korea has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery, to include delivery by ICBM-class missiles.”

That’s it: that’s the whole thing. The Post hasn’t actually seen the document: it was read to reporters by the leaker. Oh, and “Two U.S. officials familiar with the assessment verified its broad conclusions.”

What “broad conclusions”? The conclusions drawn by this article aren’t in the least bit broad, but are instead quite specific. Are they true? We just don’t know, and, what’s more, we cannot know. Indeed, we know almost nothing about this alleged “assessment.” We don’t know the identity of the leakers. We don’t know their motives. Based on the sparse information we have, we cannot evaluate the veracity of this latest “revelation,” and this is doubly true not only due to the laconic nature of the reporting, but also because of the journalistic context in which it appears.

To begin with, this story is nothing new. Back in 2013, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) blurted out the DIA’s assessment on Capitol Hill:

“Three hours into a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Lamborn said the Defense Intelligence Agency, which is under the Pentagon, determined with ‘moderate confidence’ that North Korea has the capability to make a nuclear weapon small enough to be launched with a ballistic missile.

“The Colorado Springs Republican gleaned the information from the conclusion of a classified report, though that sentence was unclassified, said his spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen.

“Pentagon officials told The New York Times that the information had previously not been released publicly.

“Pentagon spokesman George Little issued a statement after the hearing, saying ‘it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed, or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage.’”

The Post is telling us the DIA assessment is fresh off the presses, finished as late as “last month” – not so! Whether the Post is being deluded by its sources, or is trying to delude us in collaboration with its sources, is up for debate.

Which brings us to another problem, not only with this story but with all the “news” we’re getting from the mainstream media these days: reporters have become as politicized as their sources in the intelligence community. The Obama holdovers in the national security Establishment are not alone in their campaign to discredit the President. The media have been complicit all along: indeed, the legacy media’s journalists have been eagerly cheerleading the Russia-gate witch-hunt, and openly proclaiming their hostility to this administration. This is in addition to their traditional role as the War Party’s journalistic camarilla.

While this particular story is not directly linked to Russia-gate, or the President’s political fortunes, what it comes down to is that neither the sources of this story nor those who are reporting it can be trusted. It could be true that the North Koreans have developed the capability of miniaturizing nuclear warheads, but we just don’t know. The observant reader is left in a fog – the fog of an information war in which journalism is not a means of discovering knowledge, but a weapon to be deployed in a political-ideological conflict.

If the media is on a war footing, wielding the battle-cry “democracy dies in darkness,” then today the truth is tangential – because a few untruths may be necessary in the fight to push back against the “darkness.”

People complain that there’s too much news, that the sheer volume is overwhelming, and disorienting, but in reality we’re living in a news vacuum because we don’t know what’s true anymore. All standards have been thrown out: sure, the mainstream media was never really objective, but now even that pretext has been abandoned.

If we liken the function of the media in a free society to the function of our eyes and ears, then we have, in effect, been struck blind and rendered deaf. Although actually it’s far worse than that: rather than conveying information about the real world, the mainstream media is giving us a highly distorted version of events –in many cases, a Bizarro World inversion of what is actually occurring.

All this is bad enough, but we must take it one step further. If the media is the eyes and ears of the public, then the intelligence agencies and the national security bureaucracy of which they are a part are Uncle Sam’s sensory organs. The price to be paid for the politicization and corruption of the intelligence community is that US policymakers are operating in the dark – where not only democracy dies, but also any sort of rational decision-making. In which case Uncle Sam is a blinded Titan, deaf to the entreaties of those he unknowingly tramples underfoot, stumbling this way and that – with the very strong possibility of ending up at the bottom of a cliff.

This epistemological disability brings to mind two citations, one from the run-up to the Iraq war and one more recent. The former is the famous “reality-based community” quote reported by Ron Suskind in the course of an interview with a top aide in George W. Bush’s White House:

“The aide said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”

Suskind wasn’t reporting anything all that unusual: this is how our political class thinks. After all, they create the political reality in which the rest of us are forced to live. Yet there is a point beyond which this kind of hubris becomes dangerous – and suicidal. Encased in a bubble, the Beltway elites never saw the victory of Trumpism coming – and that failure may be just the beginning of their undoing (and our own). For as Vladimir Putin put it to Oliver Stone:

“I think that when the United States felt they were at the forefront of the so-called civilized world and when the Soviet Union collapsed, they were under the illusion that the United States was capable of everything and they could act with impunity. And that’s always a trap, because in this situation, a person and a country begins to commit mistakes. There is no need to analyze the situation. No need to think about the consequences. No need to economize. And the country becomes inefficient and one mistake follows another. And I think that’s the trap the United States has found itself in.”

A person who cannot distinguish fantasy from reality is clinically insane, or perhaps senile. What do we call an entire society so afflicted?


Any new Korean war could quickly escalate to catastrophe

August 10, 2017

by David Brunnstrom


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Any new military conflict with North Korea would likely escalate quickly to the use of nuclear weapons, bringing catastrophic casualties not seen since World War Two and an untold economic impact worldwide, former U.S. defense officials and experts say.

While the United States has maintained an uneasy calm with North Korea for more than six decades and spikes in tensions are not new, recent supercharged rhetoric between the unpredictable U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have heightened the risk of miscalculation that could make that nightmare a reality, they say.

On Thursday, North Korea upped the ante by saying it would complete plans by mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam, after Trump said that any threats by Pyongyang would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

The exchange followed a United Nations resolution tightening sanctions on North Korea after it tested two intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads to the United States.

Trump said on Thursday his fire and fury comment was not tough enough.

Despite the war of words, for now the U.S. military says there has been no change in its readiness posture in South Korea or elsewhere in Asia. Analysts say they have seen no evidence of any increased alert in North Korea.

But they warned the bluster could raise the risk of miscalculation that could result in conflict far beyond the scale of the 1950-53 Korean War, which claimed the lives of more than 50,000 Americans and millions of Koreans and ended in an armed truce, not a peace treaty.

“The major thing people are talking about is miscalculation – we could easily stumble into something with the rhetoric being so heated,” said Philip Yun, a Korea expert who was an Asia adviser under former President Bill Clinton.

Yun, now executive director of the Ploughshares Fund, an anti-proliferation initiative, said the risks were exacerbated by the “credibility problem” Trump has acquired due to his frequent off-the-cuff remarks that often appear to go counter to the more measured remarks of his officials.

“In nuclear deterrence, credibility is everything and there’s a situation that if no-one takes you seriously, you have to do something to make sure you are taken seriously, and that’s where the miscalculation can happen,” Yun said.

With hundreds of thousands of troops and huge arsenals arrayed on both sides of a tense demilitarized zone, the Korean peninsula has long been a tinder box.

North Korea’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and its hell-for-leather development of an array of missiles to deliver them, have raised the stakes further.


Even a conventional clash could cause catastrophic casualties, given the thousands of North Korean artillery pieces ranged along the border, at least 1,000 of which are capable of reaching the densely populated South Korean capital Seoul and its metropolitan area, home to some 25 million people.

“It would be very difficult to eliminate that threat before the artillery fire could create a lot of damage on the southern side,” David Shear, who served as the senior U.S. defense official for east Asia under former president Barack Obama, told Reuters.

“I take projections of casualties of thousands to tens of thousands quite seriously and that’s just in South Korea – it’s possible North Korea could attack Japan as well.”

The real danger of any preemptive U.S. strikes against North Korea’s weapons sites would be that Pyongyang, whose conventional forces are considered no match for those of the United States and its allies, might resort to using its chemical and biological weapons and ultimately its nuclear arsenal.

Then there is the potential for casualties running into the millions.

“If they did launch they could potentially wipe out cities in South Korea and Japan, and in the longer term maybe reach the U.S. West Coast and even further inland,” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Program at the Federation of American Scientists.

Even if everything went right for the Pentagon, a U.S. strike campaign against North Korea would take up to a week to be effective, said Kristensen.

A former U.S. military officer who served multiple tours in South Korea and Japan said that to succeed completely, it would take at least a month, given how well protected and dispersed North Korean targets were.

“And it would provoke a massive North Korean reaction, even when they spotted preparation for such a strike, or the instant one began.”

Yun said the catastrophe would not just be human.

“If we had a war, think about what it means. You are talking South Korea, the 11th largest economy in the world, Japan, the third largest economy, and you are talking about ground troops on the Korean peninsula.

“Donald Trump’s agenda would be consumed by this. Nothing else would get done. It’s against his interest and it’s not really an option.”

Reporting by David Brunnstrom and John Walcott; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and James Dalgleish


North Korea: Angela Merkel sees no military solution

Germany’s chancellor has spoken out against the “verbal escalation” in the North Korea conflict, saying there can be no military solution. US President Donald Trump said military solutions were “locked and loaded.”

August 11, 2017


Chancellor Angela Merkel swiftly condemned the escalating war of rhetoric between North Korea and the United States on Friday, saying Germany’s government was of the opinion that the conflict could not be solved by military means.

“Germany will very intensively take part in the options for resolution that are not military but I consider a verbal escalation to be the wrong response,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin.

She was responding to a question about US President Donald Trump having used Twitter to say that “military solutions” were “fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

Merkel instead advocated an international diplomatic response.

“I don’t see a military solution to this conflict,” she said. “I see the need for enduring work at the UN Security Council … as well as tight cooperation between the countries involved, especially the US and China.”

Her remarks echoed a statement released by her office quoting spokesman Steffen Seibert in which he also said the responsibility for the escalation lay with Pyongyang.

“Without the nuclear armament of North Korea the current situation would not have come to this,” Seibert said.

Russia pushes plan to defuse crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated on Friday that Russia believes Pyongyang’s possession of nuclear weapons is “unacceptable.” He also warned the risk of a conflict breaking out is “very high” due to the recent war of words between Washington and Pyongyang.

“I believe the risks are very high, especially considering this rhetoric, when direct threats of using force are voiced,” he said, speaking live on state TV at youth forum for Russian students.

Lavrov also urged the US and North Korea to agree to a joint Russian-Chinese plan to de-escalate tensions. Under the plan, North Korea would halt its missile tests while the US and South Korea would impose a moratorium on large-scale military exercises.


Donald Trump’s nuclear fixation – from the 1980s to now

August 10, 2017

by Anthony Zurcher

BBC News

Donald Trump’s warning that North Korea could face “fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen” has been widely interpreted as a threat backed by the destructive power of the US nuclear arsenal.

In case that message wasn’t clear, the following morning the president boasted that US nuclear weapons were “far stronger and more powerful than ever before”.

“Hopefully we will never have to use this power,” he tweeted, “but there will never be a time that we are not the most powerful nation in the world!”

The president’s recent nuclear sabre-rattling shouldn’t be viewed as an isolated incident, however. Mr Trump has displayed a keen interest in the utility of atomic weapons for decades.

It’s part of a political worldview that has long since solidified into firm beliefs for the septuagenarian. His thoughts on trade have been influenced by the American industrial might of the post-World War Two era. His demographic views of the nation hark back to an ethnic homogeneity that has long since vanished. And his thoughts on atomic weaponry reflect a certain strain of Cold War arms-race enthusiasm and diplomatic brinkmanship.

Last December President-elect Trump emphasised that the US had to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear weaponry and would “outmatch” any adversaries.

In August MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough reported that candidate Trump had asked his foreign policy advisers several times why the US couldn’t use its nuclear weapons – a claim the Trump campaign denied.

The report, however, followed on the heels of an April 2016 town hall forum exchange between Mr Trump and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who asked him why he had refused to categorically rule out the use of nuclear weapons.

“Would there be a time when it could be used?” Trump replied. “Possibly. Possibly.”

When pressed on the risks of openly talking of using nuclear weapons, Mr Trump said: “Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?”

(The US no longer makes new nuclear warheads. It maintains its current arsenal.)

He repeated that he is not going to take any of his “cards off the table”.

Digging back further, in 1990 Mr Trump gave an interview with Playboy Magazine in which the topic of atomic weaponry came up.

“I’ve always thought about the issue of nuclear war; it’s a very important element in my thought process,” Mr Trump said. He called it the “ultimate catastrophe” and compared it to an illness no one wants to talk about it.

“I believe the greatest of all stupidities is people’s believing it will never happen,” he continued, “because everybody knows how destructive it will be, so nobody uses weapons. What [expletive].”

In 1984 – at the height of the Cold War – Mr Trump even told a Washington Post interviewer he wanted to be put in charge of US-Russia nuclear arms negotiations.

“It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles,” Mr Trump said. “I think I know most of it anyway.”

Around the time of this interview a computer game called Balance of Power, which simulated the Cold War struggle between the US and Soviet Union, became a surprise hit.

Players could sabotage, scheme and sabre-rattle up to the brink of nuclear war. The trick was you were never quite sure how close you could get before the missiles started flying. Escalation could lead to inadvertent annihilation.

And if it did, this was the message, displayed in white letters on a black screen: “You have ignited an accidental nuclear war. And no, there is no animated display of a mushroom cloud with parts of bodies flying through the air. We do not reward failure.”

If Mr Trump’s past comments are any guide, he appears to be making the calculus that the US nuclear arsenal is ineffective if adversaries don’t believe the nation is willing to pull the trigger. It’s all part of the “unpredictability” strategy he repeatedly touted during his presidential campaign (and plugged again in a recent tweet).

Mr Trump – and his Defence Secretary Jim Mattis – have spoken of how the US will prevail in any military confrontation with North Korea. Largely left unmentioned amid the bluster, however, is the danger that an extended standoff could spin out of control and the high cost in human lives – in civilian lives on both sides of the Korean demilitarised zone and for US military personnel – that any such conflict would entail.

The US would almost certainly prevail, but it would be difficult to view such a result as anything but a failure.


Is the American Empire Worth the Price?

August 11, 2017

by Patrick J. Buchanan


“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight,” Samuel Johnson observed, “it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

And the prospect of a future where Kim Jong Un can put a nuclear weapon on a U.S. city is going to cause this nation to reassess the risks and rewards of the American Imperium.

First, some history.

“Why should Americans be first to die in any second Korean war?” this writer asked in 1999 in “A Republic, Not an Empire.”

“With twice the population of the North and twenty times its economic power, South Korea … is capable of manning its own defense. American troops on the DMZ should be replaced by South Koreans.”

This was denounced as neo-isolationism. And, in 2002, George W. Bush declared the U.S. “will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons.”

Bluster and bluff. In 2006, Pyongyang called and raised and tested an atom bomb. Now Kim Jong Un is close to an ICBM.

Our options?

As Kim believes the ability to hit America with a nuclear weapon is the only certain way he has of deterring us from killing his regime and him, he will not be talked out of his ICBM. Nor, short of an embargo-blockade by China, will sanctions keep him from his goal, to which he inches closer with each missile test.

As for the “military option,” U.S. strikes on Kim’s missile sites could cause him to unleash his artillery on Seoul, 35 miles south. In the first week of a second Korean war, scores of thousands could be dead.

If North Korea’s artillery opened up, says Gen. Barry McCaffrey, the U.S. would be forced to use tactical atomic weapons to stop the carnage. Kim could then give the suicidal order to launch his nukes.

A third option is to accept and live with a North Korean ICBM, as we have lived for decades with the vast nuclear arsenals of Russia and China.

Now, assume the best: We get through this crisis without a war, and Kim agrees to stop testing ICBMs and nuclear warheads.

Does anyone believe that, given his youth, his determination to drive us off the peninsula, and his belief that only an ICBM can deter us, this deal will last and he will abandon his nuclear program?

Given concessions, Kim might suspend missile and nuclear tests. But again, we deceive ourselves if we believe he will give up the idea of acquiring the one weapon that might ensure regime survival.

Hence, assuming this crisis is resolved, what does the future of U.S.-North Korean relations look like?

To answer that question, consider the past.

In 1968, North Korea hijacked the USS Pueblo on the high seas and interned its crew. LBJ did nothing. In April 1969, North Korea shot down an EC-121, 100 miles of its coast, killing the crew. Nixon did nothing.

Under Jimmy Carter, North Koreans axe-murdered U.S. soldiers at Panmunjom. We defiantly cut down a nearby tree.

Among the atrocities the North has perpetrated are plots to assassinate President Park Chung-hee in the 1960s and ’70s, the Rangoon bombing that wiped out much of the cabinet of Chun Doo-hwan in 1983, and the bombing of Korean Air Flight 858, killing all on board in 1987.

And Kim Jong Un has murdered his uncle and brother.

If the past is prologue, and it has proven to be, the future holds this. A renewal of ICBM tests until a missile is perfected. Occasional atrocities creating crises between the U.S. and North Korea. America being repeatedly dragged to the brink of a war we do not want to fight.

As Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Sunday, such a war would be “catastrophic. … A conflict in North Korea … would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”

When the lesson sinks in that a war on the peninsula would be a catastrophe, and a growing arsenal of North Korean ICBMs targeted on America is intolerable, the question must arise:

Why not move U.S. forces off the peninsula, let South Korean troops replace them, sell Seoul all the modern weapons it needs, and let Seoul build its own nuclear arsenal to deter the North?

Remove any incentive for Kim to attack us, except to invite his own suicide. And tell China: Halt Kim’s ICBM program, or we will help South Korea and Japan become nuclear powers like Britain and France.

Given the rising risk of our war guarantees, from the eastern Baltic to the Korean DMZ – and the paltry rewards of the American Imperium – we are being bled from Libya to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen – a true America First foreign policy is going to become increasingly attractive.

Kim’s credible threat to one day be able to nuke a U.S. city is going to concentrate American minds wonderfully.


‘Deep state’ memo that rattled McMaster’s National Security Council finally released

August 11, 2017


A controversial memo penned by a former National Security Council staffer has been released. The document states, among other accusations, that the “deep state” is trying to undermine President Donald Trump.

A copy of the “POTUS & Political Warfare” memorandum, dated May 2017, was published by Foreign Policy on Thursday.

Rich Higgins, who served as the director of strategic planning for the NSC, was the author of the seven-page memorandum. He resigned from the NSC in July after National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster discovered he was behind the memo.

Although it does not mention McMaster’s name specifically, the NSC chief is purportedly one of the people described in the memo as trying to restrain Trump, an unnamed source with first hand knowledge of the memo and events, said, according to Foreign Policy.

“The administration has been maneuvered into a constant back-pedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses,” the memo stated.

“Having become the dominant cultural meme, some benefit from it while others are captured by it; including ‘deep state’ actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans,” the document reads.

After the memo reached McMaster, Higgins, who was working in the strategic planning office, was forced to resign by McMaster’s deputy, Ricky Waddell. Waddell told Higgins that if he didn’t resign, his security clearance would be revoked.

McMaster allegedly determined some NSC staffers that were holdovers from former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s brief tenure were the type of people he had been looking to replace. This also led to the firing of top NSC intelligence official Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey, who controlled the NSC’s Middle East portfolio, according to Foreign Policy.

The most notable change resulting from the shake up is the removal of the president’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, from his seat on the security council.

An unnamed source with first hand knowledge of the memo described McMaster’s decision-making after reviewing the document and discovering his inclusion, Foreign Policy reported.

“It was about H.R. McMaster,” the source said. “So, when he starts reading it, he knows it’s him and he fires [Higgins].”

The memo was purportedly first discovered by McMaster and the NSC after a search for staffers who were believed to be giving information to conservative author and activist Mike Cernovich, who seemed to have uncanny knowledge of operations at the NSC.

A subsequent “routine security” audit of NSC staffers’ communications eventually led to the finding of the memo, unnamed sources said, according to Foreign Policy. A different unnamed source explained the email audit as a McCarthyist-type leak investigation targeting staffers who had communication with Cernovich.

“McMaster was just very, very obsessed with this, with Cernovich,” an unnamed senior administration official told Foreign Policy. “He had become this incredible specter.”

Trump eventually saw the memo and was “furious” after learning the author was fired by McMaster, an unnamed senior White House official said.

“He is still furious,” the senior official added.

The fallout from the document has magnified McMaster’s difficulties at the NSC since taking over from Flynn. One unnamed source familiar with the NSC staff stated that the NSC chief “doesn’t really have any allies,” Foreign Policy reported. “It doesn’t seem as though he has the ear of the president, which is obviously essential to his survival.”

On Wednesday, the billionaire Sheldon Adelson-backed Zionist Organization of America, the oldest pro-Israel group in the United States, unleashed a report calling for McMaster’s reassignment to a post not dealing with issues concerning Israel or Iran. The group accuses McMaster of being a threat to Trump due to his firing of Flynn-era NSC staffers. Adelson contributed $5 million to Trump’s inaugural committee before he was sworn in as president.


Nazis, Spies and Terrorists’: Can the German-Turkish Relationship Be Saved?

In recent months, relations between Germany and Turkey have reached a new low. After a series of escalating spats, tourism and investment in the country have collapsed. Will it finally drive Turkish President Erdogan to change course?

August 10, 2017

by Katrin Elger, Maximilian Popp, Christian Reiermann and Michael Sauga


They had a number of things in common — their Turkish origins, their membership in the Green Party — but today their positions couldn’t be any further apart: Ozan Ceyhun is an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while Cem Özdemir, in his position as the co-head of Germany’s Green Party, is one of the fiercest critics of the Turkish president.

In the nineties, Özdemir, 51, and Ceyhun, 56, fought together for migrants’ rights in Germany and against religious fundamentalism — Özdemir as a lawmaker in the German parliament, or Bundestag, and Ceyhun as an employee of the Ministry for Family Affairs of the state of Hesse in Wiesbaden. But as Özdemir climbed the ranks of his party to become co-chairman, Ceyhun became a member of the European Parliament, switched to the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) and later joined Turkey’s Justice and Development (AKP) party.

In Özdemir’s view, Ceyhun is an opportunist serving an authoritarian regime. Meanwhile, Ceyhun accuses Özdemir of consciously trying to turn public opinion against Turkey. He has repeatedly criticized Özdemir on Turkish TV. He says the two of them are no longer in contact, but that they wouldn’t have much to say to each other anyway.

The split between Özdemir and Ceyhun is also reflected on a larger scale in the relationship between Germany and Turkey, two countries closely linked by the almost 3 million Turkish-Germans, by business, by all the tourists who travel each year to the beaches of Izmir and Antalya. This rupture is not only taking place between Germans and Turks, but within the Turkish-German community, within political parties, families and groups of friends. There are disputes about the attempted coup of July 15, 2016, about the purging of the courts, the public authorities, armies and universities, about the question of whether Turkey is still a democracy or if it has already become a dictatorship.

For a long time, Angela Merkel remained silent, even when Erdogan called German politicians “Nazis” and “terror helpers,” had German journalists Deniz Yücel and Mesale Tolu imprisoned and refused to allow German lawmakers to visit German soldiers at the military bases in Incirlik and Konya, where German troops were stationed. The hope was that the president’s rage would eventually exhaust itself, but the opposite happened: the Turkish actions became increasingly arbitrary. Then came the arrest of German human rights activist Peter Steudtner. At that point, at the latest, it became clear: This can’t continue.

In response, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel announced a new direction for the German government’s policy on Turkey. He strengthened travel warnings and is considering suspending German-government backed Hermes export credit guarantees for German companies that work together with Turkish businesses. He also wants the European Investment Bank to be more restrictive in its financing of projects in Turkey. In a July 24 letter to EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, which DER SPIEGEL has seen, Gabriel wrote: “Fundamentally, the position should be that we are not striving for new business.”

He also argued that EU pre-accession assistance should be decreased and restricted to the areas of democracy and rule of law, “so that they benefit Turkish civil society,” and not the government in Ankara.

Gabriel stated the reason in unprecedentedly clear terms in his letter: Erdogan’s policies were “in flagrant contradiction to our European system of values and require a clear response.” Efforts to maintain a good relationship, he wrote, had been “answered with increasingly aggressive and unconstructive politics from Ankara,” including the “disregard for constitutional principles and ever more rampant use of the charge of supporting terrorism without providing sufficient proof.”

This indeed marks a turning point: A post-reunification German government has never repudiated an ally in such strong terms.

Erdogan has accused the German government of “espionage,” and sees it as proof that the Germans are working on removing him from power. He threatened that Germany would get a response “for every display of a lack of respect.”

Two Starkly Different Viewpoints

Greens co-chair Özdemir appeared in front of journalists in Berlin just a few hours after the arrest of Steudtner, the activist. He creased his forehead and pressed his lips together. “What comes next?” he asked. “Will Turkey also arrest business representatives? Or tourists?”

Özdemir is visibly agitated. He has done more than most other German politicians to help strengthen the relationship between the two countries. He once viewed Erdogan as a reformer, but now he is appalled by the developments in his parents’ homeland. With every election win, says Özdemir, Erdogan has become more authoritarian. “Turkey is on its way to becoming a dictatorship,” he says.

Özdemir also argues that the German government is partly responsible. When Turkey was pushing to get into the EU, he says, Merkel was only ready to offer it a “privileged partnership,” weakening the powers pushing for reform in the country. He says Merkel only became interested in Turkey when the refugees began forcing their way through the country on their way to Germany, and she suddenly needed Erdogan as a bouncer. But, he says, this “policy of appeasement” must end. He argues EU accession negotiations should be frozen and EU payments stopped.

Ozan Ceyhun only smiles wearily when he is asked about those kinds of requests. “The Germans are wrong if they believe they can scare President Erdogan,” he says. Ceyhan is sitting at the airport in Ankara, on his way to Brussels for meetings with EU representatives.

Like Özdemir, Ceyhun also believes the relationship between the two countries has reached a nadir. But unlike his former fellow party member, he believes Germany bears sole responsibility. He recalls how, after the German federal election in 2002, he was invited to meet with then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in the Chancellery. Ceyhun had successfully mobilized German-Turkish voters on behalf of the SPD, and Schröder wanted to thank him for it. They spoke about Ceyhun’s work, his plans for the future, and ultimately Schröder asked, “Tell me, Ozan, why are your compatriots actually voting for this Erdogan?”

Ceyhan says that’s the point when he realized that, despite his German citizenship, he would always remain “the Turk.” This disregard, he says, is something he also experiences in Germany’s dealings with Turkey.

He argues that even though the Turks defended democracy against the coup plotters on July 15, 2016, no leading German politician came to Turkey to express his or her solidarity in the weeks that followed. Instead, he claims, Germany offered the plotters refuge, including members of the Islamist Gülen community. And he says that followers of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terror organization, are allowed to speak freely in Germany, but not President Erdogan.

That’s why he considers his president’s tirades against Europe, or Turkey’s denial of the rights to visit Incirlik and Konya to be legitimate responses to the Germans’ hostility. He says the crisis in the relationship between the two countries may be regrettable, but not tragic — because Turkey has other partners.

A Growing Economic Price

In the past few years, Erdogan has learned that his provocations generally lead to warnings from Germany, but no consequences. And so he has continued to intensify the confrontation. This time, though, he may have miscalculated, because the political crisis is now affecting the economy — and that could threaten his power. Turkey’s next national election is scheduled for 2019, and millions of Turks have supported the president not because of his nationalist, Islamist agenda, but because of his promise of prosperity.

Few things could damage the Turkish economy more than when foreign investors have to worry about their safety in Turkey. But precisely that is what is now happening. In mid-July, the news emerged that the Turkish intelligence agency had sent the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) a list with the names of businesses that supposedly had worked with terrorists, including large companies like Daimler and BASF. The government in Ankara tried to mollify the situation, and has now even officially withdrawn the list, a fact that Foreign Minister Gabriel sees as confirmation that the pressure from Berlin is having an impact. But that will hardly suffice for Turkey to calm investors.

Increasingly, the political split is having economic consequences for the two former partner countries, which were bound together by 37 billion euros in trade in 2015. Almost 7,000 German companies are registered in Turkey, and Germany is the country’s most important trading partner.

Istanbul corporate consultant Ayse Slevogt says that Turkey now has a “grave image problem.” Though she, like many others, initially supported the reforms of the Islamist-conservative AKP. She says that after 2003, Erdogan modernized the economy, did away with red tape and opened the market for private investors. The new wealth is on display in the city’s Kadiköy neighborhood, where Slevogt gives the interview. High-rises stand side by side, and sports cars are parked in front of the boutiques.

Slevogt studied psychology in Hamburg, and now advises German companies interested in investing in Turkey. For a long time, companies were fighting for the opportunity to get into business with Turkish companies. Between 2003 and 2012, about 400 billion euros flowed into the country, 10 times more than in the 20 previous years. But in 2016, foreign investments declined by 40 percent.

Slevogt now regularly receives phone calls from Germans who are asking themselves if they should even travel to Turkey, let alone invest there. Last summer, she had to cancel a German-Turkish business summit.

Erdogan’s biggest problem may actually be capital flight from Turkey. The economic boom in recent years has mostly been fueled by infrastructure projects. He has had highways built, as well as airports and hospitals. The money for it came from outside the country; when it stops flowing, the economy suffers. The unemployment rate has now risen to 13 percent, the highest it has been in seven years. The lira hasn’t been this weak against the dollar since 1981.

Tourism, which is the biggest economic sector outside of the construction industry, has collapsed. As recently as 2015, about 6 million Germans still spent their vacations in the country. In 2016, that figure was about one-third less. That number is likely to decrease again this year. According to a recent poll commissioned by DER SPIEGEL, nine out of 10 Germans currently wouldn’t consider the idea of taking a vacation in Turkey.

But tourism is more than just a branch of the economy. It is also about exchange, about getting to know people and, in the best case, creating an understanding of a foreign culture.

Tourism in Crisis

Architects Gabriele and Erdogan Altindis sit on the balcony of their vacation home in Ayvalik, a small city on the Mediterranean coast. The view reaches all the way to the Greek island of Lesbos. President Erdogan is far away and yet still omnipresent. The news is full of reports about the German-Turkish crisis. Erdogan Altindis shakes his head. “Each time we hoped the situation would relax a bit, the discussions started up again,” he says.

Altindis was born in Turkey, but he came to Germany as a child, went to school in Munich and studied architecture at college. He returned to Istanbul during the 1990s, later followed by his wife Gabriele. In 2006, they founded their company, Manzara, and began renovating old buildings in the neighborhood of Galata and renting them to tourists. At that point, Europe was discovering Turkey anew, and Istanbul suddenly became its coolest city.

The Altindis organized city tours, gave grants to artists, expanded their business and, at times, rented out more than 50 apartments. Newspapers and TV stations even reported on the successful German-Turkish couple.

Things changed with the Gezi protests in 2013, which Erdogan crushed. Then came a wave of terrorist attacks in Ankara, then in Istanbul, then the failed military coup, mass arrests, now the conflict with Germany. The vacationers stayed away. They now write letters to Manzara along the lines of “Hang in there! We’ll come back when the political situation changes.” Currently, the Altindis run only eight apartments.

Gabriele Altindis asks herself how she can reconcile the changes in Turkey with her own understanding of democracy. But she is still tied to her adopted home country. The Altindis are now working to open a communal space in Ayvalik with a café, library and concert stage. They’ve filmed a movie they’d like to use to advertise the city on the Aegean. In Ayvalik, like everywhere else on the Turkish Mediterranean coast, a majority of voters came out against Erdogan in April’s constitutional referendum.

Erdogan Altindis says he can understand that Germany has lost patience with Ankara. But a travel boycott would, first and foremost, hurt the opposition. “Europe can’t abandon these people now,” the Altindis believe.

But the Germans’ image of Turkey is primarily shaped by Erdogan. The crisis in the relationship is also affecting the daily lives of the approximately 3 million Turkish-Germans, at a time when their relationship to mainstream German society had only recently become more relaxed.

Splits Among Family Members

Senol Akkaya, 57, literally helped build Germany. He and his construction company were involved in the building of the Chancellery and the Hotel Adlon in Berlin, a top address in the German capital city. At times, he has employed as many as 300 people. Now he feels like he has been cheated and denied the recognition he deserves.

Akkaya sits in a restaurant in Berlin’s Schöneberg district. He has just spoken on the phone with a business partner who used to regularly fly to Antalya to play golf, but is now having second thoughts. The German Foreign Ministry’s travel advisory, Akkaya believes, is scaring Germans away from Turkey.

He came to Berlin as a child with his parents, speaks perfect German, is integrated — and voted to back the introduction of Erdogan’s presidential system during the April referendum. Akkaya believes Erdogan has transformed Turkey into a strong, independent country. He says that under his leadership the economy has grown and that minorities have been granted more rights. When Akkaya traveled to his former homeland with German friends, he showed them with pride how the country had developed under Erdogan. Now he feels like he has to defend himself for supporting Erdogan.

The dispute over Turkish politics is even driving a wedge between Akkaya’s own family. His daughter works as a German teacher in Istanbul, and she watches with concern as freedom of speech is curtailed, and the role of religion grows. She voted against Erdogan in the referendum. The Akkayas now only speak rarely about politics.

During the April referendum, 63 percent of the Turkish-Germans who voted supported Erdogan — considerably more than in Turkey. Now they feel like they are being accused of supporting an anti-democratic leader. Some conservative politicians with the Christian Democrats have even used the vote results to once again question whether Germans should be allowed to hold more than one passport. But if Erdogan is considered to be a despot by the Germans, Turkish-Germans like Senol Akkaya see him as a man who restored their self-confidence.

In a 2016 study by the University of Münster, half of the Turkish-Germans polled said that they feel they don’t get proper recognition by society. And Erdogan taps that dissatisfaction. In 2004, he opened the European Central Office of the Union of European Turkish Democrats, an AKP lobbying group, in Cologne. In 2010, he created the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Relative Communities (YTATB), a government agency focused on Turkish people living in other countries. This enables him to exert influence over politics in Germany — and makes dealing with Erdogan that much tougher. The result is that Berlin’s policies toward Turkey have become a balancing act for the German government. It finds itself having to put the brakes on Erdogan while at the same time having to seek to avoid overly alienating his supporters in Germany.

Green Party co-chair Özdemir believes the German government has only one option: It needs to cut off Erdogan’s influence on Turkish-Germans on a fundamental level. He wants the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (Ditib), which operates many of the mosques in Germany, to be uncoupled from the Turkish government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs in Ankara. Currently, Ditib’s imams are supplied and funded by Ankara, but Özdemir says imams employed by the mosques should be trained in Germany. He would also like to see the government introduce a German-Turkish television channel inspired by Arte, the public Franco-German TV network, to counteract the propaganda on Turkish TV. “We need to finally come up with a strategy for Turkey,” says Özdemir. “We can’t keep simply clambering from one crisis to the next.”

The dispute with Berlin has at least jolted Ankara. Members of the Turkish government, including Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek, have made clear attempts at de-escalation in recent days. They have at the least made it clear that they would be open to allowing Bundestag lawmakers to visit the military air base in Konya within the context of a NATO delegation. This week, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg successfully secured approval for members of the Bundestag to visit Konya as part of a larger NATO delegation on Sept. 8.

But it is unlikely that Erdogan will change course. He has already become too much of an autocrat to reinvent himself one more time. That’s why the German government desperately needs a long-term strategy for dealing with Turkey. Politicians of various parties are calling for a suspension of the EU’s accession talks with Turkey, but that step would also eliminate all of Europe’s influence over Turkey for the remainder of Erdogan’s time in office.

Another less drastic step, like the one Sigmar Gabriel has suggested in his letter to the EU, would seem to be more appropriate: The EU could freeze the negotiations with Turkey about a broadening of the customs union. Erdogan has great interest in the easing of the exchange of goods between Turkey and Europe. The German government could make concessions from Ankara on human rights issues a precondition for talks about duty exemptions.

In parallel, Germany ought to support Turkey in its dispute over visa liberalization. The EU has lifted visa requirements for Serbians, Ukrainians and even for citizens from the United Arab Emirates. It also has an interest in allowing Turks to travel through the Continent to see that a free Europe is a counterpoint to an authoritarian Turkey. On top of this, it would signal to the Turks that although we may not agree with your government, we do welcome you.

The Browning Version: An Examination of Sources

In his book, The Path to Genocide1 published in 1992, Dr. Christopher
Browning states; “In the summer of 1941, probably in July, Hitler  indicated his approval for the preparation of a plan for the mass murder of all European Jews under Nazi control, though just how and when this was communicated to Himmler and Heydrich cannot be established.”

The probability of such an approval has been elevated to fact in a subsequent study by Dr. Browning, The Euphoria of Victory and the Final Solution: Summer-Fall 1941.2  “When Hitler gave his “victory” speech in mid-July, instigating the immediate implementation of the Final Solution on Soviet territory…” is the specific quote. Since this speech and its implications are of considerable historical importance considering the total lack of such a specific order in official German documents, a careful search was made of Hitler’s speeches during the summer months of 1941.

From the opening of the campaign against the Soviet Union on June 21, 1941 until October 1941, Hitler made no speeches, and the speech he did make on October 3 at the Sportspalast  in Berlin at the opening of the Winter Aid campaign contained only references to the German military successes in the East and made no mention of any “final solution.”3 In response to a query by the author as to the date of this victory speech, Dr. Browning replied in a letter dated November 23, 1994 that the speech in question was taken from Nuremberg Document 221-L. He explained further that the reference he made to a speech was not really a speech but a monologue to a limited audience.4

A search of the German language records of the International Military Tribunal located Document 221-L in Vol. 38, pp. 86-94. Dr. Browning was incorrect. The “speech” was in reality a documentary record taken by Reichsleiter Martin Bormann, Hitler’s secretary, at a closed meeting held in Hitler’s headquarters on July 16, 1941.

It was neither a speech nor a monologue but a precis of a high-level conference concerning, primarily, the administration of newly-acquired territory in Russia. This precis speaks for itself, certainly without an interpretation. In the following translation of the precis, the reader may judge as to the specifics of what Dr. Browning has termed the “implementation of the Final Solution.”

Dr. Browning’s article focuses on the decision for a Final Solution, which he defines as the Germans’ “attempt to murder every last Jew in Europe.” He claims that there were two possible plans of action for carrying out the extermination of Jews. The first plan was created in mid-July of 1941 and was specifically designed towards the “total mass murder of Soviet Jewry.” Dr. Browning states: “In mid-July, convinced that the military campaign was nearly over and victory was at hand, an elated Hitler gave the signal to carry out an accelerated pacification and racial ‘cleansing’ of the newly acquired territories in European Russia.” He states further: “When Hitler gave his ‘victory’ speech in mid-July, instigating the immediate implementation of the Final Solution on Soviet territory…”

A reading of Dr. Browning’s source, Nuremberg document 221-L, however, does not bear out his thesis. The conference concerns itself entirely with the administration of the newly-acquired territories. The only subjects that even remotely approach Dr. Browning’s specific claims refer to the combating of the recently-instituted Soviet partisan movement, the establishment of a security system in the territories and the evacuation of Soviets from the Crimea to colonize the area with Germans.

There is not one word in the text of this conference that refers to Jews or any theoretical plan for their mass extermination in former Soviet territory or elsewhere. The only possible connection is the discussion concerning the ruthless combating of partisans, which were led by political commissars and high-level communist party functionaries, contained such phrases as “shooting” and “rooting out.” Because the leadership of the partisans, the commissars and party leaders was almost exclusively Jewish, a tenuous conclusion could be argued that by destroying the partisan movement, Hitler was calling for the destruction of Jews in the eastern territories.

As to the participants in this conference addressing any kind of a “Final Solution,”  there is not one word contained in the notes of the conference alluding to the extermination of the Jews.

Convoluted, inverted logic seem to be the hallmark of fin de siècle historical writers, demi-journalists and ideologues when they deal with the subject of the persecution of Jews in Europe and Russia between 1933 and 1945.

Both Dr. Browning’s article and another article by Richard Breitman, “Plans for the Final Solution in Early 1941,” in the same journal, contain a number of phrases which strongly indicate that those who write on the subject are reduced to suppositions, theories and, in the majority of cases, fictive renderings or strained couplings of unrelated facts.

In Dr. Browning’s article, the following phrases tend to support this latter thesis, “Were Hitler’s decisions of implementation long preceded by ‘basic’ decisions and ‘secret plans’? Here the historian is necessarily on much more speculative grounds…My reasoning in this regard is admittedly speculative, as is that of other historians who wrestle with the issue.” Dr. Browning offers “scenarios” which might be acceptable for a playwright or a short story writer, but fall totally short of any usefulness to a person attempting to work with historical fact. The word “seems” appears a number of times: …“Himmler seems  to have known” and “…Hitler…seems  to have incited similar planning for the murder of European Jewry in mid-July.”

Richard Breitman’s article in the same edition of German Studies Review is presented in a similar vein as that of Dr. Browning.5

Here are found such quotations as “Deciphering Hitler’s exact intentions at a given time, however, is both tricky and subjective, given his habit of concealment and his disinclination to give explicit, written orders. There is a constant pattern of veiling measures against Jews (and other victimized groups) with euphemisms.” Breitman mentions various meetings of top Third Reich leaders with such comments as: “There is no record of who else (besides Hitler) was present or exactly what was discussed…The content of these meetings of the key authorities on the Final Solution went unrecorded— or at least no notes of them have survived.” Breitmann speaks of “ambiguous language, euphemisms, and camouflage” and begins his penultimate paragraph with “To my knowledge, neither Heydrich or Himmler referred directly to the date of plans for the Final Solution or of Hitler’s authorization of it in a form that has reached posterity.”

In short, both Browning and Breitman support the theory that no written proof exists concerning the Final Solution.

Franciszek Piper discusses this theory when he writes on the number of victims of anti-semitism during the period of the Third Reich. Piper speaks of the reliance of researchers on “discrepant and imprecise data from testimonies and depositions of witnesses, former prisoners, and Nazi functionaries and on court decisions and fragmentary and incomplete records of camp registries, archives and other institutions.”6

The former Soviet Archives contain the complete file of the German concentration camp system seized by Soviet troops at Oranienburg camp in 1945. These are not fragmentary records but complete and from these, it is apparent that the death tolls in all the camps from their beginnings to the end of the war was approximately 400,000.7

Any researcher who has attempted to discover factual material concerning this subject will attest to the enormous proliferation of published material which started during the war and is still in progress, and whose thrust is far more commercial and self-serving than historical. Since historians traditionally pilfer from one another without footnoting the source, it is a laborious task to attempt to locate specific original period sources for intentions, orders and statistics.

Tracking backwards is a time-consuming and completely unrewarding experience. Finally, one comes to the realization that has apparently struck Messers Browning, Breitman and others: There are no specifics.

Lack of documentation on the Final Solution has led to another explanation: Code words were used to denote mass murder. “Deportation” was the code for transport to Auschwitz and mass gassings. “Forced labor,” “emigration,” “resettlement,” “uprooting,” and “expulsion” were also code words for transport to Auschwitz. The fact that nowhere in the vast archives of captured German documents can original documents be located that specifically address any state-ordered deportation and murder of Jewish civilians (as opposed to Jewish partisans) could either indicate that researchers are incredibly stupid or that no such documents ever existed because there was no such official program.

There is no question that Jews, both in Germany and, in fact, throughout Europe, were deported by official order. Most of these Jews were sent to the Auschwitz camp and many died while imprisoned and forced to work as laborers. But, to date there has never been one authentic document produced by any researcher or historian that establishes the existence of an official governmental policy of mass murder of Jews as a racial entity.

We have a reputable historical journal which publishes an article by an equally reputable academic writer who states that a public document contains specific orders by Hitler for the extermination of Jews. However, that document contains absolutely nothing to support the author’s thesis. Then the question arises as to how many other treatments of this subject have been similarly distorted.

The recurring theme seems to be that since everyone knows that these enormous massacres are commonly believed to have occurred, then there has to be confirming, official documentation in support of their theories. Since no such documentation exists, historians determined to support their thesis can say, as they repeatedly do, that documentation should exist and since it should exist, the next step is to see that it does.

Therefore, creativity eventually takes the place of objectivity to the terminal detriment of both the historian’s reputation and the validity of his theory.


Translation of 221-L

Führer Headquarters, 16. July 1941

Bo/Fu (Bormann/Führer)

Secret State Matters (Top Secret/non-military)

Documentary record

On orders of the Führer, a conference was held today at 1500 hours with Reichsleiter Rosenberg, Reichsminister Lammers, Feldmarschall Keitel, the Reichsmarschall (Göring) and myself (Reichsleiter Bormann).

The conference began at 1500 hours and continued, with a coffee break, until about 2000 hours.

The Führer began by stressing that he wished, first of all, to address certain basic concerns. Various measures were now necessary and as proof of this, for example, a statement in an impudent Vichy newspaper that the war against the Soviet Union is a European war, conducted for all of Europe.

Obviously, the Vichy paper wishes to say, by this hint, that the beneficiaries of this war should not be the Germans alone but that all of the European states should profit as well.

Essentially, we have not publicized our aims before the world; this is not necessary, but the main thing is that we ourselves know what we want. By no means should we make our way more difficult by making unnecessary statements. Such statements are unnecessary because where we have the power we do all we can and where we do not have the power, we can do nothing anyway.

The motivations of our actions before the world must also have a tactical point of view. We must act here exactly as we did in the cases of Norway, Denmark, Holland and Belgium. In these cases we also said nothing about our intentions and it is sensible to continue this.

We repeat, again, that we are constrained to occupy an area to bring order and security; in the interests of the occupants we must establish control in the interest of tranquility, support, commerce, etc., etc., It is, consequently, not perceived that by this means we establish the way for more definitive control! All necessary measures—shooting, resettlement etc.,— we can and should do.

We do not wish, however, to prematurely and unnecessarily turn the population into enemies. We shall act, therefore, as if we are exercising a mandate only. We must recognize at the same time that we will never leave these territories.

We should deal with this accordingly:

1.Do nothing to push ultimate control but keep such preparations in hand;

2.We proclaim that we come as liberators.

In specific:

The Crimea must be evacuated by all foreigners and settled by Germans. In the same manner, the former old Austrian territory of Galicia will become a territory of the Reich. Presently, our relations with Rumania are good but one does not know what these will be in the future. We must consider this and formulate our borders accordingly. We should not have to be dependent upon the goodwill of others; we must plan our relations with Rumania in accordance with this principle.

Basically we have the task of apportioning this giant cake to suit our needs, so that we are able to:

first, to control it,

second, to govern it, and

third, to profit from it.

The Russians have now given an order to conduct partisan warfare behind our front lines. This partisan warfare also gives us the opportunity of rooting out all those who are in opposition to us.

Fundamental principles:

The creation of a military power west of the Urals should never again be possible, even if we have to engage in warfare for a hundred years. All successors of the Führer should know : The security of the nation depends on there being no foreign military presence west of the Urals: Germany must protect this area from all future eventualities. Our iron principle must be and must remain:

It must not be permitted for anyone but Germans to bear arms here !

This is especially important concerning the question of utilizing the armed assistance of the peoples of occupied territories. This is wrong! This policy can turn against us in the end. Only Germans can bear arms—not Slavs, not Czechs, not the Cossacks or Ukranians!

We should by no means adopt a vacillating policy such as we saw in Alsace before 1918. The mark of the English is that they constantly pursue one line and one goal! In this regard we should learn from the English.

Accordingly, we should at no time be dependent upon the personalities of individuals: The British suppression of the Indian princes, etc., is an example: The soldier must always secure the regime!

From the newly acquired Eastern territories, we must create a Garden of Eden; this is essential for us; against this, colonies play a subordinate role.

Likewise, if we divide up an area we must always act as the defender of the law and of the inhabitants. Accordingly, the present choice of words is to speak not about a new territory of the Reich but a necessary task imposed by the war.


In the Baltic, the area up to the Duna will have to be administered in coordination with Field Marshal Keitel.

Reichsleiter Rosenberg stresses that, in his opinion, treatment of the population should vary from district to district. In the Ukraine, we should commence with a cultural consideration. There we must encourage the cultural awareness of the Ukranians, must establish a university in Kiev and other similar things.

The Reichsmarschall points out that we must first think about securing our own food supply and everything else can come later.

(Pertinent question: Is there still a cultural stratum in the Ukraine or are higher class Ukranians found only in emigrants from Russia?)

Rosenberg continues that there are independent movements in the Ukraine which deserve encouragement.

The Reichsmarschall requests from the Führer information about which areas have been promised to other states.

The Führer responds that Antonescu desires Bessarabia and Odessa with an extension leading northwestwards from Odessa.

Upon objections from the Reichsmarschall and Rosenberg, the Führer responds that the new borders envisioned by Antonescu contained little outside of the old Rumanian territories.

The Führer states, further, that insofar as the Hungarians, the Turks and the Slovaks are concerned, nothing has been promised.

The Führer submitted for consideration whether one should add the old Austrian part of Galicia to the General Gouvernment; after objections were expressed, the Führer decided that this area will not be incorporated into the General Gouvernment but still placed under Reichsminister Frank (Lemberg).

The Reichsmarschall believes it proper to incorporate various parts of the Baltic territories, for example, the forests of Bialystok, into East Prussia.

The Führer stresses that the entire Baltic territory must be incorporated into the Reich as a district.

Likewise, the Crimea with an extensive hinterland (area north of the Crimea) should become a district of the Reich; the hinterland should be as large as possible.

Rosenberg expressed his objections because of the Ukrainians living in that area.

(Pertinent question: It has occurred to me a number of times that Rosenberg is partial to the Ukrainians; thusly, he wishes to aggrandize the former Ukraine to a considerable degree.)

The Führer  stressed, in addition, that the Volga Colony must become a Reich territory and also the district around Baku; the latter will have to become a German concession (Military colony).

The Finns want East Karelia but the Kola Peninsula will be taken over by the Germans because of the nickel mines there.

The annexation of Finland as a confederated state must be prepared for with all care. The Finns have requested the area around Leningrad; the Führer will level Leningrad to the ground and then give it to the Finns.

Then follows a lengthy discussion about the suitability of Gauleiter Lohse whom Rosenberg has proposed as Governor of the Baltic area. Rosenberg emphasizes that as he has already spoken with Lohse, it would be very embarrassing if Lohse was not appointed; for the western part of the Baltic area, Kube would be appointed under Lohse; for the Ukraine, Rosenberg has planned on Sauckel.

The Reichsmarschall stressed the most important aspect for the present was exclusively: Securing of food supplies and, as far as necessary, of trade; securing transportation.

The Reichsmarschall emphasized that Koch should be given the Baltic area because he is well acquainted with it, or one should give Koch the Ukraine because he is the personality with the strongest initiative and the best preparatory training.

The Führer questioned if Kube could be made Reichskommissar for the Moscow area; Rosenberg and the Reichsmarschall feel that Kube was too old.

Rosenberg explained that after repeated interviews, he has apprehensions that Koch would very quickly ignore his instructions; in general, Koch had so indicated himself.

The Reichsmarschall pointed out that Rosenberg should not exert constant control, rather, these people must be very independent.

For the Caucasus area, Rosenberg put forward his chief of staff, Schickendanz. He stated that Schickendanz would fulfill his task well, something the Reichsmarschall doubted.

Rosenberg then stated that Lutze had proposed that he appoint several SA leaders, namely Scheppmann for Kiev, -Manthey-Dr. Bennecke-Litzmann- for Estonia, and Bürgermeister Dr. Drexler for Latvia.

The Führer expressed no objections to the employment of SA leaders.

Rosenberg then explained he had received a letter from Ribbentrop requesting participation by the Foreign Office; he requested the Führer  to determine that the internal formation of the newly acquired areas are not the concern of the Foreign Office. The Führer  is in agreement with this. For the present, it will suffice for the Foreign Office to appoint a liaison officer to Reichsleiter Rosenberg.

The Führer pointed out that the most important area for the next three years was doubtlessly the Ukraine. Therefore, it would be best to put Koch there; if Sauckel were to be used, it would be better to appoint him to the Baltic area.

Rosenberg explained further that he wished to appoint Schmeer, Selzer and Manderbach as Commissioners in the Moscow area.

The Führer wishes that Holz be used as well and that the administration of the Crimea be taken over by Gauleiter Frauenfeld.

Rosenberg explains he intended also to use Hauptmann von Petersdorff; general consternation, general rejection. The Führer and the Reichsmarschall declare that von Petersdorff was, without doubt, mentally ill.

Rosenberg explains further that Oberbürgermeister Stroelin of Stuttgart has been suggested to him as an appointee. There were no objections to this.

Since both the Reichsmarschall and Rosenberg both agree that Kube is too old for the Moscow district, Kasche will take over this district.

(Note for Pg. Klopfer: Please request immediately from Dr. Meyer the documents on the proposed organizations and on the proposed appointments.)

The Reichsmarschall emphasizes he wishes to give the Kola Peninsula to Gauleiter Terboven for exploitation. The Führer is in agreement with this.

The Führer emphasizes that Lohse, provided he feels equal to this task, should take over the Baltic area; Kasche, Moscow; Koch, the Ukraine; Frauenfeld, the Crimea; Terboven, Kola; and Schickendanz, the Caucasus.

Rosenberg then brought up security for the administration.

The Führer said to the Reichsmarschall and the Feldmarschall that he has always stressed that the Police Regiments should be equipped with tanks; for the operations of the Police in the new Eastern Territories with a corresponding number of tanks, a Police Regiment can accomplish a good deal. In balance, declared the Führer, the security is naturally very thin. The Reichsmarschall will set up all of his training airfields in the new areas, and if necessary, even the Ju52s can drop bombs on any rebellions. This huge area must naturally be pacified as quickly as possible, and the best way to accomplish this is to “shoot anyone who only looks sideways.”

Feldmarschall Keitel declared that the inhabitants must be responsible for their actions because it was naturally not possible to provide guards for each shed and each railroad station. The inhabitants should be aware that those who did not perform their duties were liable to be shot and that they would be held accountable for each assault.

Following a question by Reichsleiter Rosenberg, the Führer responded, newspapers—also, for example, in the Ukraine—must be reestablished to serve as sources of information for the inhabitants.

After the recess, the Führer declared that we must understand that today’s Europe is nothing but a geographical term; in reality, Asia extended up to our former borders. Reichsleiter Rosenberg then described the organizational structure he intended to establish; he did not intend to appoint a permanent deputy for the Reichskommissar, but rather, call upon the services of the most efficient of the General Commissars to deputize for the Reichskommissar.

Under the Reichskommissar Rosenberg will form four departments:

first, for general administration,

second, for politics,

third, for economics,

ourth, for engineering and construction

side comments: The Führer declares that activity on the part of churches, under no circumstances, is to come under question. Papen had sent him, via the Foreign Office, a long memorandum stating that now was the right moment to re-establish the churches; this, under no circumstances, will be considered.)

The Reichsmarschall will second to Rosenberg’s office, Ministerial Direktors Schlatterer and Riecke.

Reichsleiter Rosenberg requested appropriate housing; he made a request for the Commercial Mission of the Soviet Union in the Lietzenburger Street; the Foreign Office had expressed the opinion, however, that the building was extraterritorial. The Führer replied that this was nonsense; Reichsminister Dr. Lammers was instructed to inform the Foreign Office that the building was, without further discussion, to be given to Rosenberg.

Rosenberg then proposed to second a liaison officer to the Führer; his adjutant Koeppen was to be appointed; the Führer agrees and adds that Koeppen would fulfill a parallel role to that of Hewel.

Reichsminister Dr. Lammers now awaits from him the proposed draft (see Annex!)

A longer discussion took place about the areas of competence of the RFSS. Obviously, the participants also have the areas of competence of the Reichsmarschall in mind.

The Führer, the Reichsmarschall etc., reiterate that Himmler was to have no greater areas of competence than he had in Germany but his jurisdiction here was absolutely necessary.

The Führer reiterated that in practice, such disputes would quickly subside; he recalled the excellent cooperation between the Army and Air Force at the front.

In conclusion, it is decided to call the Baltic Areas Ostland.

Annex (missing)


1“The Path to Genocide”, Cambridge, 1992 p. 25.

2“The Euphoria of Victory and the Final Solution: Summer-Fall 1941” German Studies Review, October, 1994, pps 473-481.

3VB Nr. 278 of 5. October 1941; Domarus, “HITLER-Reden und Proklamationen 1932-1943,” Vol.II, Munich, 1965, pps. 1758-1767.

4Letter from Dr. Christopher Browning to author, 23 November 1994.

5“Plans for the Final Solution in Early 1941,” German Studies Review, October, 1994, pps 483-493.

6“Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp” ed. Gutman and Berenbaum, Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 62.

7An article on former Soviet archival material appeared in the New York Times of March 3, 1991 and addresses the total figure of 400,000 dead in the camps “under the Third Reich”. It specifically refers to the 70,000 dead in Auschwitz from 1942 to 1945.

The actual figures found on Soviet archival microfilms show a slightly higher figure for Auschwitz, viz 73,000. A response to these totals, astonishing in their nature, is that no allowance has been made for “secret lists” which, since they are secret, cannot be found.



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