When the German military invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 with Operation Barbarossa, the they stripped all the occupied Russian territory of infrastructure and shipped it back to homeland to become part of the German war machine. That meant machinery, raw materials, and labor. Anything that was of no use to the German military was destroyed such as villages and farmland while millions of Russian civilians were murdered in cold blood. This all ties in with Hitler’s theory of Russian and Slavic inferiority and that they needed to be purged from society. This type of brutality is why the fighting on the Eastern Front was so much more vicious compared on the Western Front. There was no humane regard for the other side and the hatred and brutality was incredibly intense.

This is why when the tide of the war turned against the Germans in 1942, the Soviets responded with equal brutality when they finally stepped foot on German soil. They raped and murdered German civilians without any regard for humanity. Tens of millions of their own countrymen perished in the fight and they were not about the let the Germans off easily.

However, Russia’s plunder of Germany did not end once the war ended. When the Soviets were given control of East Germany, they returned the favor committed by the Nazis back in 1940 by stripping down the land of all usable infrastructure such as machinery and raw materials and shipping it back to the Soviet Union. The Soviets viewed it as equitable reparations for the damage caused by the Germans during the war. It is a major reason why for the duration of the Cold War, East Germany was so much weaker compared to West Germany. It’s because the Soviets stripped East Germany of so much of its industrial capacity that it could never fully recover and Soviets never lent any aid because they themselves were not very economically strong. This was a stark contrast from West Germany, where the Allies poured in tons of resourcesĀ to rebuild the nation and the capitalist West German government was heavily focused on modernizing their economy based on the American model of mass industrialization.