Lebensraum

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A lunatic Chaplin imitator
and his greatest fans

Nazism
Icon nazi.svg
First as tragedy
Then as farce
For Fascism, the growth of Empire, that is to say the expansion of the nation, is an essential manifestation of vitality...
Benito Mussolini[1]

Lebensraum, literally meaning "living space" in German,[note 1] was a major policy of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. With origins in the Imperial German Septemberprogramm, the basic policy was that the German people needed "living space" in Eastern Europe to repopulate the land with Germanic people. Lebensraum was the ideological motivation behind Hitler's territorial expansion eastwards. The eventual goal of the policy was to create a strong agrarian middle class of loyal Germans by granting veterans farmland in the new territories, simultaneously suppressing the local people and weakening the labor movement.

The policy led to the annexing of parts of Austria and Czechoslovakia. It is also a reason why Germany invaded Poland in 1939. It was also a core reason as to why Hitler began the war with the Soviet Union, and even more importantly Generalplan Ost, the plan for the total eradication of at least 100 million people in Central and Eastern Europe, the vast majority being Slavs (percentages are population eradicated unless otherwise stated): Poles (80%), Ukrainians (65% to be deported to West Ukraine and enslaved, 35% to be subjected to cultural genocide), Belarussians (75%), and Russians (70 million), and Czechs (50%). Additionally, Latvians (50%), Estonains (≈50%), Lithuanians (85%), and most horrifyingly, Latgalians (100%).

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Notes[edit]

  1. Amusingly, Lebensraum could even more literally be translated "living room", suggesting that Hitler embarked on his genocidal conquest of Eastern Europe out of a desire for a larger parlour. However, the Berghof, Hitler's private residence in Bavaria, had a very spacious and well-decorated living room, and his private apartment in Munich had a nice living room as well. Contrary to rumours that Hitler was asexual, he and Eva Braun liked to screw on the couch. Yes, really.

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