Repression in occupied states

The enormous territorial gains of 1941 presented Germany with vast areas to pacify and administer. For the majority of people of the Soviet Union, the Nazi invasion was viewed as a brutal act of unprovoked aggression. While it is important to note that not all parts of Soviet society viewed German advance in this way, the majority of Soviet population indeed viewed German forces as occupiers – not liberators. In areas such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (which had been annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940) the Wehrmacht was welcomed by most of the native population. This was particularly true of the recently Soviet occupied territories of Western Ukraine and Western Belarus, which greeted the Germans as liberators from Soviet rule. However, Soviet society as a whole was hostile to the invading Nazis. The nascent national liberation movements among Ukrainians and Cossacks, and others were viewed by Hitler with suspicion; some, (especially those from the Baltic States) were co-opted into the Axis armies and others brutally suppressed. None of the conquered territories gained any measure of self-rule. Instead, the Nazi ideologues saw the future of the East as one of settlement by German colonists, with the natives killed, expelled, or reduced to slave labour. The cruel and brutally inhumane treatment of Soviet civilians, women, children and elderly, the daily bombings of civilian cities and towns, Nazi pillaging of Soviet villages and hamlets, and unprecedented harsh punishment and treatment of civilians in general were some of the primary reasons for Soviet resistance to Nazi Germany's invasion. Indeed, the Soviets viewed Germany's invasion as an act of aggression and attempt to conquer and enslave local population. Regions closer to the front were managed by military powers of the region, in other areas such as Baltic states annexed by USSR in 1940, Reichscommissariats were established. As a rule, the maximum in loot was extracted. In September 1941, Erich Koch was appointed to the Ukrainian Commissariat. His opening speech was clear about German policy: "I am known as a brutal dog … Our job is to suck from Ukraine all

he goods we can get hold of ... I am expecting from you the utmost severity towards the native population." Atrocities against the Jewish population in the conquered areas began almost immediately, with the dispatch of Einsatzgruppen (task groups) to round up Jews and shoot them.[70] Local anti-semites were encouraged to carry out their own pogroms. In July 1941 Erich von dem Bach-Zalewski's SS unit began to carry out more systematic killings, including the massacre of over 33,771 Jews at Babi Yar. By the end of 1941 there were more than 50,000 troopers devoted to rounding up and killing Jews. The gradual industrialization of killing led to adoption of the Final Solution and the establishment of the Operation Reinhard extermination camps: the machinery of the Holocaust. In three years of occupation, between one and two million Soviet Jews were killed. Other ethnic groups were targeted for extermination, including the Roma and Sinti; see Porajmos. The massacres of Jews and other ethnic minorities were only a part of the deaths from the Nazi occupation. Many hundreds of thousands of Soviet civilians were executed, and millions more died from starvation as the Germans requisitioned food for their armies and fodder for their draft horses. As they retreated from Ukraine and Belarus in 1943–44, the German occupiers systematically applied a scorched earth policy, burning towns and cities, destroying infrastructure, and leaving civilians to starve or die of exposure.[71] In many towns, the battles were fought right within towns and cities with trapped civilians caught in the middle. Estimates of total civilian dead in the Soviet Union in the war range from seven million (Encyclop?dia Britannica) to seventeen million (Richard Overy). The Nazi ideology and the maltreatment of the local population and Soviet POWs encouraged partisans fighting behind the front, motivated even anti-communists or non-Russian nationalists to ally with the Soviets, and greatly delayed the formation of German allied divisions consisting of Soviet POWs (see Vlasov army). These results and missed opportunities contributed to the defeat of the Wehrmacht.