This is approximately how the liquidation of collective farms began. On the leaflet you can read the heading: "Hardworking peasant - his own land!"
It seems that this question is not difficult. It is known that the Germans were going to dissolve the collective farms in the occupied territories. However, it is well known that they have retained many collective farms. As is now often explained, ostensibly convinced of their effectiveness. History Soviet agriculture is generally surrounded by a thick mythology, some of which I analyzed in my book “Stalin's Collectivization. Struggle for Bread "(Moscow: Veche, 2019). All these myths turned out to be partly plausible at best, but on the whole they completely misinterpreted the history of collectivization and the changes that took place in the agriculture of the USSR. And what is usually said about the attitude of Germans to collective farms is also a myth, also only partly plausible, but in its essence is incorrect.
An interesting document, preserved in a scattering of documents from the Reichsministry for the Occupied Territories, the Reichskommissariat Ukraine and Ostland, and other occupation bodies, shows how the Germans really treated the collective farms and what they were going to do with them. The document, printed on a badly broken typewriter and therefore difficult to read in places, dated 6 August 1941, is entitled “Abschrift von Abschrift. Aufzeichnung. Die landwirtschaftliche Kollektive in der Sowjetunion ". Translated: “Copy from copy. Recording. Agricultural collectives in the Soviet Union ". Among German documents, papers with the inscription "Abschrift" are quite common. These are copies of various important documents that were made for various departments and bodies, which were in charge of the issues discussed in this document. Many documents have survived in just such copies.
The document is really hard to read: bouncing font, badly punched letters. Apparently, this is a carbon copy.
The Germans were usually very punctual in the conduct of office work and indicated from which body the document originated, to which body it was intended, sometimes indicating a specific addressee. But in our case there are no such indications; it is not known who and where made it, to whom it was intended. Most likely, it was accompanied by a letter explaining where and from where this document is sent for information or for use in work. This cover letter is missing, it is not in the file. Probably, it was published in the office of the Reichskommissariat Ostland (formed on July 25, 1941), but this is only an assumption. In terms of content, the document is a recommendation for a policy in relation to collective farms that could have been worked out in Berlin.
But he is remarkable in that he briefly and succinctly outlines German policy towards collective farms with the rationale for the proposed solutions. As for the belonging, then maybe later either the original will be found, or another copy with more detailed information.
The fight against the Germans is the fight for collective farms
The Germans had a very good idea of the structure of the collective farm system, better than many Soviet and Russian researchers of the history of agriculture. The document begins with the assertion that there is nothing in the USSR for the peasants, they are so hated that in agricultural collectives they are reduced to the position of underpaid agricultural workers without the right to free movement. Bad organization and bureaucratic methods drove them to starvation with millions of victims. “When we promised the peasant liberation from the Bolshevik yoke, he meant by this the dissolution of the collective farm and the return to private farming” (TsAMO RF, f. 500, op. 12463, d. 39, sheet 2).
German experts in Soviet agriculture, of course, could not do without Nazi rhetoric. However, in their assessment of collective farmers as agricultural workers, they were generally right. The Stalinist collective farm, especially in its original 1930 version, was indeed an enterprise in which the collective farm members had practically no economic rights; they had to plow and sow in accordance with a multi-year crop rotation developed by an agronomist; during field work with MTS tractors, collective farmers performed the role of auxiliary workers; harvest plans were applied to the harvest, which in essence deprived the collective farmers of the right to dispose of them. Such a collective farm was more like a state farm than a peasant association. In the version of the collective farm of the 1934 model, introduced after strong peasant resistance and hunger, firm norms of compulsory sale to the state (for cash, which should be noted) were imposed on the crop, norms of payment in kind for the work of the MTS for those collective farms that they served, and the remainder of the collective farm could dispose of myself. The rights to manage the harvest increased, and the delivery of products to the state acquired forms more acceptable to collective farmers. However, the collective farm still could not decide what to sow, how much to sow and when to sow.
This limitation, however, was dictated by the desire to obtain the highest yield of collective farm crops, since this depended on the correct crop rotation, the timing of sowing and harvesting, as well as the varieties of seeds and measures to preserve the purity of the crops sown. Seeds were cultivated, large fields were sown with them, and peasant "stripes" and inconsistencies in crops and varieties were eliminated at the very beginning of collectivization. The Soviet state categorically rejected the agrarian experience of the peasants and relied on agronomy and scientific agricultural technology. It was from this elementary agronomy that the transformation of peasants into agricultural workers took place.
The Germans well understood the difference between the collective farm as a peasant association and the collective farm created by the Soviet regime during collectivization. Behind the aforementioned moment, there is an explanation that in the first years of Soviet power, the peasants were united in collective farms, because, firstly, they understood that a large farm would give greater results than a small one, and, secondly, they did not have at their disposal what was necessary for private farming live and dead inventory. And this is also true. In the 1920s, especially in the first years after the Civil War, collective farms usually created the poorest peasants and saw this as a way to make money on the organization of their individual farms.
That is, there was a certain economic sense in the collective farms. However, the author or authors of the document immediately indulge in arguments of the following kind: “With such ideas, we would rob our own exclusive effective propaganda weapon". This means: if they recognized the economic importance of collective farms. And they explain that Soviet radio says that the Germans are dissolving collective farms, and the influence of this Soviet propaganda cannot be overestimated at all. A simple Red Army peasant is convinced that the struggle against the Germans is a struggle for the preservation of the hated collective farms and against individual farming.
This is a very interesting point: the Germans viewed the collective farm problem mainly from a propaganda, not an economic point of view. They relied on those who hated the collective farms, which follows from their total stake on various anti-Soviet elements. In this case, Soviet propaganda worked for the Germans, kindly informing everyone that they intended to free Soviet peasants from collective farms. Where German radio and leaflets could not reach, Soviet agitprop did the work for them.
In general, the propaganda struggle during the war has been studied very little, especially in terms of the influence of propaganda from one side and the other on the minds of the army and the rear. In some cases, Soviet propaganda lost to German propaganda, especially at the beginning of the war. It can be assumed that the propaganda thesis that the Germans would dissolve the collective farms could be one of the reasons that prompted some of the Red Army men to surrender or even go over to the side of the Germans.
You can dissolve collective farms, but it costs money
However, the authors of this document thought about whether to carry out the dissolution of collective farms, how and when it should be done. The main part of the document and the final recommendations are devoted to this.
It was said against the collective farms that the collective farms used many tractors. The tractors were either mobilized into the Red Army, or rendered unusable when retreating. Agriculture, as we know from the previous article, lost the main part of its tractor fleet. New tractors cannot be brought in because the transport is busy with military transport. Where the tractors were, and were in good order, there was a very tense situation with fuel. In general, until the Caucasian oil is seized, there is no need to think about a sufficient supply of fuel to the tractor fleet. Therefore, as the authors of the document write, the planned management of a collective economy with modern machines will not work, and the advantages of collective farms (in the sense: collective farms without tractors and machines) over individual farmers are so small that this cannot be done without a propaganda effect.
This is a rather difficult passage to understand, since the document is drawn up in a very streamlined, even allegorical, hinting at circumstances well known to readers. And at this point the document departs quite far from the agrarian policy of the Nazis. Its compilers understood perfectly well that large-scale farming, such as a collective farm, is, of course, better and more productive than a peasant farm. But they could not declare this directly, because the Nazis doctrinally relied on the peasant economy, in particular on the famous "hereditary yards", and did not create collectives. They thought that it would be good to preserve powerful and productive collective farms, with tractors and machines, their efficiency would justify their existence, but ... both the tractors are out of order, and there is no kerosene, therefore it is better not to put on the collective farms in order to avoid disruption of such a successful propaganda war for them.
It would seem that the question is clear: there is no fuel, the tractors are broken and the propaganda machine must be turned, therefore, the collective farms must be disbanded. But don't be in a hurry. As it was difficult to create collective farms, it was just as difficult to dissolve them. An individual farmer needs at least 4-5 hectares of land for a plow, and a strong kulak economy needs 20-30 hectares. The collective farmers had personal plots of 0,5-1,0 hectares (this is noted in the document), and they needed to be increased. The dissolution of collective farms meant that tens of millions of hectares of land were interleaved. At the time of collectivization, land management and land demarcation in favor of collective and state farms took about ten years, from 1925-1926. until 1935, despite the fact that tens of thousands of people were thrown into land surveying work. Under the conditions of the war and the actual absence of German grassroots personnel, the Germans, with all their desire, could not pull off such a large-scale surveying in any short time. The peasants, for example, did not bother much; they themselves remembered, or knew from the stories of their fathers, communal redistributions and seizure land use. But the Germans were clearly embarrassed by this, since the allocation of land on paper and in kind is a land and income tax, it is an obligation to supply grain and meat. Letting the division of the land take its course meant reaping chaos, a struggle for land with fights and gunfire, numerous problems that the German administration would eventually have to resolve.
In addition, the Germans were going to give the land primarily to proven accomplices, and not to everyone. In addition, there were colonization plans and land allocation for German colonists. There were many factors influencing the decisions.
Then, the individual farmer needs horses, horse plows, horse harrows, seeders, reapers, and other equipment. Part of it could be taken from the collective farms, and in the actual division of the collective farm property, the peasants did so. But this was clearly not enough to provide a sustainable economy without tractors or with a minimum of them, if only because arable implements wear out quickly. This presented Germany with the problem of supplying the occupied territories with agricultural implements and simple agricultural machines suitable for individual farmers. In the RGVA, in the documents on the economy of the occupied eastern regions, a document was preserved, which states that from the beginning of the occupation to July 31, 1943, products worth 2782,7 million Reichsmarks (unprocessed) were supplied from the occupied regions of the USSR to Germany, while from Germany in the occupied regions of the USSR was supplied with equipment, machinery, fertilizers, seeds and so on in the amount of 500 million Reichsmarks, and prices were reduced by 156 million Reichsmarks (RGVA, f. 1458k, op. 3, d. 77, l. 104). Supplies amounted to 17,9% of the value of exported agricultural products, which is a lot. Note that this is in conditions when the supply of agriculture in the occupied territories was not at all among the priorities of the occupation authorities and economic departments of the Reich. Yes, the dissolution of collective farms for the Germans cost money.
In general, after weighing everything, the authors of the document made the following conclusions.
Firstly, they still doubted the need to preserve the collective farms, but for the reason that this required a lot of oil products, millions of tons, which would be difficult to deliver along weak and badly destroyed railways, even if the Caucasus was captured, and also because that to manage collective farms a large administrative apparatus was required, which they did not even hope to create.
Secondly, they were attracted more by the state farms: "The grain that is necessary for our purposes, we will first of all take from large state farms (state farms), which in the entire Soviet Union produced about 11 tons of grain" (TsAMO RF, f. 000, op. 000, d. 500, l. 12463). The best wheat grain farms were in the Ukraine and the North Caucasus, just in those areas where the German troops rushed. And hence the conclusion: "The main attention of German economic authorities should be directed to state farms, which were called grain factories by the Soviets themselves" (TsAMO RF, f. 39, op. 3, d. 500, sheet 12463).
Thirdly, only those collective farms can be completely disbanded where there is sufficient equipment for running an individual farm. "Of course, the creation of unproductive dwarf farms is prevented," the authors of the document emphasize. In other words, if the collective farm can be divided into large, kulak, if you like, farms, then the collective farm is disbanded.
Fourthly, in other cases, the division of collective farms is carried out gradually, at least not earlier than the end of the harvest (meaning the 1941 harvest). The authors of the document believed that the gradual division of collective farms should be included in the general principle. It was also emphasized that the collective farm should not be bought out from the peasants in order to turn it into a state farm. Regarding the land issue in such collective farms, which were gradually divided, the authors proposed to give an addition to the household plot for one more hectare and to allow complete freedom of keeping livestock and poultry. The rest of the land was to be allocated according to economic possibilities (TsAMO RF, f. 500, op. 12463, d. 39, l. 5). Household land became the full private property of the peasant and was exempt from tax until the collective farm was completely liquidated.
Fifthly, in those cases when the inventory is clearly insufficient for running a sole proprietorship, but there are tractors, combines and fuel for them, the collective farms are preserved, and the peasants should understand this. In these cases, it was envisaged to increase their personal plots and allow them to keep more livestock and poultry than provided for by the charter of the collective farm. It was proposed to pay for work on the collective farm monthly in cash and in kind.
A well-known photograph. On the plate: "Collective farm. An enterprise under the temporary tutelage of the German army." It could be a kind of subsidiary enterprise of one of the Wehrmacht units, which repaired tractors and provided them with fuel.
These are the guidelines for decollectivization in the occupied territory of the USSR. At least in part, they were carried out in practice, some of the collective farms were disbanded. But this process has not actually been investigated, especially in detail (how exactly it happened).
In any case, the policy of decollectivization stretched out for many years, no one could guarantee its success, both due to internal peasant tensions over property and land issues, and due to the fact that different and conflicting plans were developed in Berlin. For example, the collective farms could have attracted the attention of the SS for the needs of the German colonization of the occupied territories. The collective farm could easily be divided into several hereditary courtyards given to German soldiers, or it could easily be turned into a large estate. The SS Sonderkommando would send all the peasants who disagree with this to the nearest ravine. This is because both collectivization was violent, and decollectivization promised to be a bloody event, associated with an armed struggle.
However, all these are just hypotheses. The Red Army relieved the Germans of all these worries and, in the final analysis, established the collective farm-state farm system in Germany itself.