THE ORIGINAL FORWARD TO THIS TITLE:
Just as an OT construction unit completed a specific mission somewhere in Europe, permission to begin work on it promptly arrived from Berlin.
The above incident is cited not so much in a spirit of facetiousness, but to illustrate in a stiking manner, the administrative complexities inherent in a para-military organisation of the size and extent of OT, as it has evolved over a period of 5 years. Up to only 6 months ago, the Organisation Todt was active in every country of continental Europe except Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal and Turkey.
A basic reason for the ponderousness of the OT administrative machinery was the fact that the Nazis intended to use the Organisation as a wedge in the regimentation of labour as part of the “New Order” in a post-war Europe. Long range plans of this type require stabilisation, and stabilisation involves administration.
In this connection the OT trained and harboured a small army of collaborationists, who, already employed as leaders of foreign labour unit within the OT, were groomed for political leadership of European labour with the advent of the “final Nazi victory”. A considerable number of these men have evacuated with OT in Germany.
As to OT’s post-war task to the reconstruction of Europe, grandiose plans were made for it; captured German documents reveal visions of express highways radiating from Berlin to the Persian Gulf through Baghdad, along the Baltic coast to link up with a highway through Finland and to run the length of Norway. A system of canals was to link Mediterranean and the Atlantic through southern France, as part of a communication scheme connecting Bordeaux with the Black Sea. Part of this programme has already been put into execution, notably in Norway and the Balkans.
OT’s comparatively high wages, bonuses, allowances, allotments, and the relative safety it offers, in contrast to combat service in the Armed Forces were, and still are, very attractive to the German male face with the alternative choice. I fact supervisory assignments in OT were generally reserved for Old Party Fighters, Party members with influential connections, and more recently for older SS members in rapidly increasing numbers. High officials especially, are, with few exceptions, members of the original staff or Nazi technicians which the Party formed as soon as the party came into power, and which is represented at the present time by Hauptamt Technik of the NSDAP, headed by Fritz TODT until his death, and now headed by SPEER. The Result is that while OT is administratively a Ministry agency and not a Party formation, in proportion it harbours at least in its permanent administrative staff, possibly more ardent Nazis than a regular formetion of the Party.
If the picture as outlined above has given the impression that nepotism and administrative lag vitally impaired OT’s operational efficiency, its record of past performances should serve to dispel the notion. It has carried out in the space of little over five years, the most impressive building programme since Roman times. It has developed methods of standardization and rationalization in construction to an extent and on the scale heretofore unattempted. The speed with which it effects air raid damage repairs on vital communication systems is indeed impressive.
Today OT is indispensable in any protracted resistance the Nazi might intend to offer. Their experience in making the most out of terrain in the building of field fortifications, in the building of underground tunnels, depots of all kinds, hide-outs, shelters, in fact, of regular subterranean living and operations quarters of vast proportions, is unique. OT personnel left behind in Allied-occupied territory are ideally fitted for sabotage on vital plants and factories.
It is however, as a post-war political organisation that OT presents the greatest potential danger. Its officials are, with few exceptions, not only early and ardent Nazi belonging to either the SS or SA, but have been leaders of men for many years. They have extensive foreign collaborationist connections in practically every country of Europe, behind being in touch with those who were evacuated by OT into Germany. They know through liaison the methods of SD, Kripo, Gestapo, and Geheime Feldpolizei. Their connections with high officials of the SS and SA are both intimate and of long standing. Above allk, their standing in the Partyt, combined with their technical qualifications, will earn them the confidence of Nazi leaders in any plans for a last-ditch resistance.