Talk:Organisation Todt

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Some edits[edit]

re my 20070929 undo of the last edit:

The Nazi regime was totalitarian (cf. e.g. Gleichschaltung, Gestapo, KZ as a few of the many mechanisms for establishing absolute social control). It was ruthless (cf. eg. the invasion of Czechoslovakia even though the Suddetenland had been conceded or the invasion of Russia even though Poland had been successfully divided. Compulsory laborers were in the state's complete service: there was no option to do anything else and many were worked to death. If you still genuinely believe this is somehow merely an opinion, please demonstrate that and reinstate the change, otherwise leaave the text alone.

Ludwig X 14:54, 29 September 2007 (UTC)



I've done small stylistic, grammatical, spelling etc. edits before anonmously, but finally came across a topic that I was both very interested in and a corresponding article that obviously needed replacement, so I've created an account and am doing this work as a readily identifiable wiki member.

There were a lot of reasons to replace the previous article. Most obviously, following its major source (Gildea, 2002), it presented the Organisation Todt and its activities primarily from the perspective of its activities in France, for the most part under Albert Speer, in the second half of WWII, omitting a lot of information on the development and history of the OT, which spanned almost the entire history of the Third Reich.

Some of what was lost by doing so can be illustrated by the single question of whether, and how, to use the terms "slaves" and "slavery" in this context. The preceding version of the article was amazingly careless and inaccurate in this respect. I've generally avoided use of the terms for three reasons: 1) “Slavery” is not a literally accurate translation of either “Pflichdienst” or “Zwangsarbeit”; 2) in English usage -- and despite what the (currently locked) Wikipedia article on the subject has to say about the specific meaning of the term “chattel slavery” -- "slavery" has a strong semantic component of “ownership” and "being owned" and an association with a market and a trade in slaves. All of these were irrelevant in the Third Reich context (except perhaps in the most abstract economic sense), particularly in the early stages; 3) Finally, and most importantly, the term “slavery” obscures the way in which an originally limited concept of compulsory service was gradually expanded to encompass not only foreign workers and POWs, but everyone in the dominion of the Third Reich, including Germans. What was effectively a gradually escalated behavioral conditioning terminated in an end result that, presented simply in its final form as a fait accompli, is both in itself significantly more difficult to grasp and tends to block any understanding of what, at least for me, is the biggest mystery of the Third Reich, namely how it happened at all.

Ludwig X 15:24, 21 December 2006 (UTC) 2005.12.21

The more usual term is forced labour, but I don't have time to edit this now. BTW, would there be another word for "paladin" because it has connotations to me as an English speaker which hardly fit Fritz Todt or any other leading Nazi. Lstanley1979 (talk) 09:53, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

How dare you insinuate that Todt et al were anything but Lawful Good? (Weirdly, it turns out that words had meanings before Gygax.) Idontcareanymore (talk) 03:19, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Uniforms?[edit]

Mining, submarine pens and slave labour[edit]

  • According to the Wikipedia article, Project Riese was the "code name for a mining and construction project of Nazi Germany (my emphasis), in upper Silesia" (then Germany, now Poland). Did the OT go in for mining?
  • I can find no mention in this article of the Submarine pens that were largely built by the OT.


  • A library book in my (temporary) possession Hitler's U-boat Bases by Jak P Mallmann Showell (2002), has photographic evidence which seems to contradict the statement that the OT employed conscripted men as its workers. e.g. On page 12: "...pay day...", page 10: " Men of southern European or African origin...", page 6: a OT worker, complete with armband, who is smiling into the camera!

The text is also hard to ignore, discussing as it does the galley slave theory and the construction of a replica Greek war galley and "discover[ing] that it took a considerable time before even highly motivated volunteers could master the task" [of operating the galley]. Showell continues: "The colossal undertaking required more skill and effort than an underfed, conscripted workforce could provide and the majority of labourers were volunteers who were offered considerable incentives in the form of additional pay and extra food rations to get the job done".

All in all, Showell doesn't seem to agree with the 'slave labour' term, at least as far as submarine pens are concerned.

RASAM (talk) 19:40, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

Showell also comes perilously close to being an apologist at times, using a pacifistic veneer to tar Allied conduct with the same brush as Nazi crimes. There is, however, a difference in how the OT operated during the early years of the war (when the U-boat pens in France were largely completed) versus how it did so later in the war.--172.190.50.23 (talk) 07:04, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Meaning of name Org. Todt[edit]

I'm surprised that the article neither mentions, nor that anyone has commented on the play on words involved in the naming of the organisation. I don't speak fluent German, but it's obvious to me that 'Todt' alludes to 'Tod', German for death, i.e. Organisation Death. (One doesn't have to be a genius to realize why the name 'BATTERIE TODT' was chosen for the bunker in one of the pictures in the article). Any experts care to comment?1812ahill (talk) 18:15, 17 March 2013 (UTC)

Categories[edit]

The categories of this article (currently Category:Nazi Party organizations, Category:Economy of Nazi Germany, and Category:Nazi paramilitary ranks) are wrong. OT was not a party organization, but part of the government, loosely similar to the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Also, the role of the organization in the German economy was not important, most important was its role as in forced labor. I have yet to find the right categories for this.  Andreas  (T) 01:26, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

Unnecessary CN tagging[edit]

An editor apparently believes that the facts listed below need to be sourced:

  • "Overall, 1% were Germans rejected from military service and 1.5% were concentration camp prisoners; the rest were prisoners of war and forced labourers from occupied countries."
  • "All were effectively treated as slaves and existed in the complete and arbitrary service of a ruthless totalitarian state. Many did not survive the work or the war."
  • "By the end of 1944, of approximately 1.4 million labourers in the service of the Organisation Todt overall, 1% were Germans rejected from military service and 1.5% were concentration camp prisoners; the rest were prisoners of war and compulsory labourers from occupied countries."

Personally, I believe these are well-established, and the request to source them reflects an ahistorical lack of knowledge on the part of the tagger. The tagger's calling them "personal comments" is also odd. However, since the statements do contain statistics, it might be prudent to provide sources for them, despite their "sky is blue" nature. These clearly came from somewhere specific, so could someone find out where and add the source? I'd do, but I won't have the time for about 8 hours from now. Beyond My Ken (talk) 19:42, 16 May 2017 (UTC)

I would also like to know where the above comments came from, that is why I tagged them. The statements are presumably in relation to the end of the war period, as there were mainly German OT workers when the West Wall was being built, thereafter the skilled German workers, supplemented by volunteer skilled workers from other countries, supervised increasing quantities of unskilled workers as the amount of work increased. I do not dispute the fact that most of the latter workers were ex-prisoners of war and people who were volunteered by their countries or taken against their will, or that as the war progressed, able German workers were replaced by disabled and elderly Germans. It just needs a citation.
I find the statement - "All were effectively treated as slaves and existed in the complete and arbitrary service of a ruthless totalitarian state. Many did not survive the work or the war." more of a personal comment by someone, if it is an historian, then lets have a citation.
The article needs improving, it does not mention many facts about the OT, such as the fact that the workers were all paid for their work, not much for some, but there were payment scales for all levels of workers. There is no mention of women working for the OT, about 7% of workers. That the OT worked closely with the Army Engineers. That the OT were the suppliers of men and material to firms that actually organised the work, many of these firms exist today in what was then occupied territories, these firms being often well paid for the work they undertook. See Atlantic Wall Organisation Todt section which explains the link of French firms to the OT organisation with information taken from the Military Intelligence Records Section 1945 book on the OT. The OT employed doctors, nurses, and had ambulances and hospitals for the workers, they even supplied OT whore houses for their workers. It's all in the books produced by SHAEF in 1945.
I do not agree with the way the OT worked, especially the way it treated the workers, there are some true horror stories about their treatment.
The comment made to me which said "could only have been put on by someone who is historically illiterqate" is not warranted. I can see a number of casemates built by OT workers in 1942/3 from my bedroom window! - Ânes-pur-sàng (talk) 21:43, 16 May 2017 (UTC)
Bravo, you can see OT works from your window - that does not make you historical literate, it makes you sighted, and residing in close proximity for something built by the OT, neither of which has anything to do with your knowledge or understanding of history. Perhaps you'd like to go to the article about the Great Pyramid of Giza and tag any statements there that the Egyptians used slave labor to build the pyramids? Maybe you might want to revise any article about the antebellum American South to make sure that slavery is not mentioned there? Perhaps you want an historian to visit you at home and share your view of the Organisation Todt casements while he tells you about the ruthlessness of the Nazi regime?
Face it, your tags could only be placed by someone who has no knowledge of understanding of the nature of the Nazi regime, or who secretly believes that it's all been blown out of proportion -- which I suspect miught be the case, given your attempt above to soften the impact of article and make excuses for OT. Either way, your tags are unwarranted and disruptive. You should confine yourself to articles about sports and Guernsey. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:43, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
It's been sourced, Now, you're either terribly naive and unknowledgable -- the best I can come up with under AGF -- or you're attempting to skew this article about a brutal Nazi organization to soften it. Either way, I suggest you stay away from articles on subjects you know absolutely nothing about from now on. Beyond My Ken (talk) 03:05, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for finding the citation, that was all I asked for. There is no need Beyond My Ken to be so personal about the request. I live in an area of OT operation, I have researched the subject and over a number of years have met and discussed the subject with ex-OT workers, have you? I reiterate that this article does not cover many of the material facts and whether it was brutal or not should not stop the inclusion of verified facts. - Ânes-pur-sàng (talk) 07:44, 23 May 2017 (UTC)