Bloodlands chap 5 – 11

The section of bloodlands talked about the ending results of the genocide.

In 1939, Hitler and Stalin enter into an alliance. Stalin, recognizing that war is soon to break out in Europe, wants to keep Russia neutral, hoping to swoop in and take over after Germany, France, and Britain fight. Hitler proposes that Germany and the Soviet Union divide Eastern Europe between the two of them. In the years that follow, the Soviet Union suffers several embarrassing military defeats, caused by a recent purge of the military that results in a shortage of trained officers.

In 1941, Hitler breaks the alliance with the Soviet Union, sending Nazi troops into Eastern Europe. During the first months of the year, the Nazis achieve major victories in Ukraine but are halted when they reach Moscow. Soviet prisoners of war in Nazi custody are systematically starved and executed en masse. According to Snyder, about 57 percent of Soviet POWs were killed, in contrast to 4 percent of American and British POWs. Five percent of the Soviet POWs were Jewish.

In addition to mistreatment of the Soviet POWs and Jewish citizens rounded up from conquered Soviet territories, the Nazis also use a Hunger Plan designed by Herbert Backe. Under this program, food is routinely denied to civilians in German-occupied territories. About 4.2 million people die due to severely reduced food rations. However, in most areas, the Germans are unable to confiscate all the food or keep people in cities from stealing. They do cut off the grain supply from Ukraine that leads to food shortages throughout the Soviet Union.

Jewish civilians in occupied Ukraine and Poland also suffer under the Nazi occupation. While Nazi activities in Poland are well documented, Snyder discusses occupied Ukraine, where the entire Jewish population of Kiev was marched into the woods and executed. Many of these people had escaped the famine of the early 1930s, as well as regular Soviet purges of ethnic minorities in the region.

At the same time, the Eastern European regions in question are also subject to regular purges from the Soviet government. Artists, intellectuals and ethnic minorities are especially vulnerable to being sentenced to forced labor or executed outright. Between 1937 and 1938, 400,000 Soviet citizens are executed, mostly criminals or people with anti-Soviet sympathies. There is also a similar program in Poland designed to wipe out all Polish resistance. Under this program, officers are given a quota of people to arrest, and fear being arrested themselves if they do not meet it.

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