Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories
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|Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete|
|Formed||17 July 1941|
|Dissolved||8 May 1945|
The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (German: Reichsministerium für die besetzten Ostgebiete (RMfdbO) or Ostministerium) was created by Adolf Hitler on 17 July 1941 and headed by the Nazi theoretical expert, the Baltic German Alfred Rosenberg. Alfred Meyer served as Rosenberg's deputy. The German government formed this ministry to control the vast areas captured and projected for capture by the Wehrmacht in Eastern Europe and Russia. The Ostministerium 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.
Germany established two Reichskommissariats, for Ostland and Ukraine, and planned for two more, for Muscovy and for the Caucasus. The Wehrmacht never established firm possession of the areas designated for the last two Reichskommissariats, so German civilian control never developed there.
In practice, 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 into 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.