Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (May 2011)|
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 was 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, it tried to promulgate a program of land reform in the occupied territories in the USSR that included promises of decollectivization through abolition of kolkhozes and re-distribution of land to peasants for individual farming.
In practice, however, Rosenberg's authority was substantially undermined by the appointment of Erich Koch to administer Ukraine with orders from Hitler to be hard and brutal. 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, Heinrich Lohse (Ostland) was widely disregarded. The resulting power vacuum was filled by the SS who acted as they wished.
Two Reichskommissariats were established, for Ostland and Ukraine, and two more were planned, for Moscow and the Caucasus. The latter pair were not set up, as the war turned against Germany and their armies were forced out of the conquered territories.