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    Hitler's slave drivers : the role of the Organisation Todt as overseers of force labour under Nazism

    Dick, Charles (2019) Hitler's slave drivers : the role of the Organisation Todt as overseers of force labour under Nazism. Doctoral thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    Engineers and construction experts of the Organisation Todt oversaw forced labourers working on projects which the Third Reich deemed vital during World War Two, collaborating closely with the SS throughout Nazi‐occupied Europe and in the heart of the Reich. Central questions about the role played by the OT in Germany’s forced labour programme, in which millions of foreign workers died, have until now remained underexplored. This thesis draws on primary sources and seeks to present fresh insights into the largest slave labour programme since the end of the transatlantic African slave trade in the 19th century. It concludes that Fritz Todt’s paramilitary organisation, which was led by his successor, Albert Speer, for the last three years of the war, played a far greater part in the deaths of slave labourers than until now assumed. The OT cooperated with the SS, Wehrmacht and German industry in detaining foreign workers in camps where high death rates were caused by physical violence and “structural violence”, meaning denial of basic needs and extreme hard labour. Highranking SS officers held key posts in the OT, whose vast construction programmes exploited ever more foreign labourers, including prisoners‐of‐war, concentration camp inmates, Jews and Slavs. This study investigates how much brutal SS practices influenced engineers, architects and other OT staff whose job was to construct buildings, bridges and bunkers. It examines how Nazi racist policy affected slave labourers of various origins under the OT, as well as how far Nazi ideology may have motivated OT personnel. Its analysis includes the finding that OT staff shot, beat or worked prisoners to death and were generally responsible for “structural violence” in the labour camps, causing tens of thousands of deaths through exhaustion, malnutrition, disease and exposure.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: This thesis is not currently available for public use.
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2020 16:13
    Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 22:41
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/40467

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