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Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories

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Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories

Alfred Rosenberg, head of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
Rosenberg's office from 1942

The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (German: Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete or RMfdbO) was created by Adolf Hitler on July 1941 and headed by the Nazi theoretical expert and Baltic German, Alfred Rosenberg. Alfred Meyer served as Rosenberg's deputy. This ministry was created to control the vast areas captured by the Germans in Eastern Europe and Russia. It also played a part in supporting anti-Soviet groups in Central Asia.

In February 1942, under Rosenberg's plans, the Ministry tried to promulgate a program of land reform in the occupied territories in the USSR that included promises of decollectivization through the abolition of kolkhozes and the re-distribution of land to peasants for individual farming.

In practice, however, the appointment of Erich Koch to administer the Reichskommissariat Ukraine substantially undermined Rosenberg's authority. Hitler ordered Koch to take a hard and brutal approach; Rosenberg wished to portray the Germans as liberators of Ukraine from Soviet domination, but Koch's brutality helped to push potential Ukrainian allies back to the Soviet camp. Furthermore, Rosenberg's ministry was denied authority over army and other security formations within the occupied territories. The other Reich Commissar, Hinrich Lohse (Ostland) was widely disregarded. The SS filled the resulting power vacuum, acting as they wished.[1]

Germany established two Reichskommissariats, for Ostland and Ukraine, and planned for two more, for Moscow and for the Caucasus. The Wehrmacht never established firm possession of the areas designated for the other two Reichskommissariats, so German civilian control never developed there.

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