The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germ

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:09 am

Part 3 of 4

The two men entered the conference room. About four minutes had ticked by since Stauffenberg reached into his briefcase with his tongs and broke the capsule. Six minutes to go. The room was relatively small, some thirty by fifteen feet, and it had ten windows, all of which were wide open to catch the breezes on this hot, sultry day. So many open windows would certainly reduce the effect of any bomb blast. In the middle of the room was an oblong table, eighteen by five feet, made of thick oak planks. It was a peculiarly constructed table in that it stood not on legs but on two large heavy supports, or socles, placed near the ends and extending to nearly the width of the table. This interesting construction was not without its effect on subsequent history.

When Stauffenberg entered the room, Hitler was seated at the center of the long side of the table, his back to the door. On his immediate right were General Heusinger, Chief of Operations and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, General Korten, Air Force Chief of Staff, and Colonel Heinz Brandt, Heusinger's chief of staff. Keitel took his place immediately to the left of the Fuehrer and next to him was General Jodl. There were eighteen other officers of the three services and the S.S. standing around the table, but Goering and Himmler were not among them. Only Hitler, playing with his magnifying glass -- which he now needed to read the fine print on the maps spread before him -- and two stenographers were seated.

Heusinger was in the midst of a lugubrious report on the latest breakthrough on the central Russian front and on the perilous position, as a consequence, of the German armies not only there but on the northern and southern fronts as well. Keitel broke in to announce the presence of Colonel von Stauffenberg and its purpose. Hitler glanced up at the one-armed colonel with a patch over one eye, greeted him curtly, and announced that before hearing his report he wanted to have done with Heusinger's.

Stauffenberg thereupon took his place at the table between Korten and Brandt, a few feet to the right of Hitler. He put his briefcase on the floor, shoving it under the table so that it leaned against the inside of the stout oaken support. It was about six feet distant from the Fuehrer's legs. The time was now 12:37. Five minutes to go. Heusinger continued to talk, pointing constantly to the situation map spread on the table. Hitler and the officers kept bending over to study it.

No one seems to have noticed Stauffenberg stealing away. Except perhaps Colonel Brandt. This officer became so absorbed in what his General was saying that he leaned over the table the better to see the map, discovered that Stauffenberg's bulging briefcase was in his way, tried to shove it aside with his foot and finally reached down with one hand and lifted it to the far side of the heavy table support, which now stood between the bomb and Hitler. [xxv] This seemingly insignificant gesture probably saved the Fuehrer's life; it cost Brandt his. There was an inexplicable fate involved here. Colonel Brandt, it will be remembered, was the innocent officer whom Tresckow had induced to carry a couple of "bottles of brandy" back on Hitler's plane from Smolensk to Rastenburg on the evening of March 13, 1943, and he had done so without the faintest suspicion that they were in reality a bomb -- the very make of bomb which he had now unostentatiously moved farther away under the table from the warlord. Its chemical had by this time almost completed the eating away of the wire that held back the firing pin.

Keitel, who was responsible for the summoning of Stauffenberg, glanced down the table to where the colonel was supposed to be standing. Heusinger was coming to the end of his gloomy report and the OKW Chief wanted to indicate to Stauffenberg that he should make ready to report next. Perhaps he would need some aid in getting his papers out of his briefcase. But the young colonel, he saw to his extreme annoyance, was not there. Recalling what Stauffenberg had told the telephone operator on corning in, Keitel slipped out of the room to retrieve this curiously behaving young officer.

Stauffenberg was not at the telephone. The sergeant at the board said he had hurriedly left the building. Nonplused, Keitel turned back to the conference room. Heusinger was concluding, at last, his report on the day's catastrophic situation. "The Russian," he was saying, "is driving with strong forces west of the Duna toward the north. His spearheads are already southwest of Dunaburg. If our army group around Lake Peipus is not immediately withdrawn, a catastrophe ..." [27]

It was a sentence that was never finished.

At that precise moment, 12:42 P.M., the bomb went off.

Stauffenberg saw what followed. He was standing with General Fellgiebel before the latter's office in Bunker 88 a couple of hundred yards away, glancing anxiously first at his wrist watch as the seconds ticked off and then at the conference barracks. He saw it go up with a roar in smoke and flame, as if, he said later, it had been hit directly by a 155-mm. shell. Bodies came hurtling out of the windows, debris flew into the air. There was not the slightest doubt in Stauffenberg's excited mind that every single person in the conference room was dead or dying. He bade a hasty farewell to Fellgiebel, who was now to telephone the conspirators in Berlin that the attempt had succeeded and then cut off communications until the plotters in the capital had taken over the city and proclaimed the new government. [xxvi]

Stauffenberg's next task was to get out of the Rastenburg headquarters camp alive and quickly. The guards at the check points had seen or heard the explosion at the Fuehrer's conference hall and immediately closed all exits. At the first barrier, a few yards from Fellgiebel's bunker, Stauffenberg's car was halted. He leaped out and demanded to speak with the duty officer in the guardroom. In the latter's presence he telephoned someone -- whom is not known -- spoke briefly, hung up and turned to the officer, saying, "Herr Leutnant, I am allowed to pass."

This was pure bluff, but it worked, and apparently, after the lieutenant had dutifully noted in his log: "12:44. Col. Stauffenberg passed through," word was sent along to the next check point to let the car through. At the third and final barrier, it was more difficult. Here an alarm had already been received, the rail had been lowered and the guard doubled, and no one was to be permitted to enter or leave. Stauffenberg and his aide, Lieutenant Haeften, found their car blocked by a very stubborn sergeant major named Kolbe. Again Stauffenberg demanded the use of the telephone and rang up Captain von Moellendorff, adjutant to the camp commander. He complained that "because of the explosion," the guard would not let him through. "I'm in a hurry. General Fromm is waiting for me at the airfield." This also was bluff. Fromm was in Berlin, as Stauffenberg well knew.

Hanging up, the colonel turned to the sergeant. "You heard, Sergeant, I'm allowed through." But the sergeant was not to be bluffed. He himself rang through to Moellendorff for confirmation. The captain gave it. [28]

The ear then raced to the airport while Lieutenant Haeften hurriedly dismantled a second bomb that he had brought along in his briefcase, tossing out the parts on the side of the road, where they were later found by the Gestapo. The airfield commandant had not yet received any alarm. The pilot had his engines warming up when the two men drove onto the field. Within a minute or two the plane took off.

lt was now shortly after 1 P.M. The next three hours must have seemed the longest in Stauffenberg's life. There was nothing he could do as the slow Heinkel plane headed west over the sandy, tlat German plain but to hope that Fellgiebel had been able to get through to Berlin with the all-important signal, that his fellow plotters in the capital had swung immediately into action in taking over the city and sending out the prepared messages to the military commanders in Germany and in the West, and that his plane would not be forced down by alerted Luftwaffe fighters or by prowling Russian craft, which were increasingly active over East Prussia. His own plane had no long-distance radio which might have enabled him to tune in on Berlin and hear the first thrilling broadcasts which he expected the conspirators would be making before he landed. Nor, for this lack, could he himself communicate with his confederates in the capital and give the signal that General Fellgiebel might not have been able to flash.

His plane droned on through the early summer afternoon. It landed at Rangsdorf at 3 :45 P.M. and Stauffenberg, in high spirits, raced to the nearest telephone at the airfield to put through a call to General Olbricht to learn exactly what had been accomplished in the fateful three hours on which all depended. To his utter consternation he found that nothing had been accomplished. Word about the explosion had come through by telephone from Fellgiebel shortly after 1 o'clock but the connection was bad and it was not quite clear to the conspirators whether Hitler had been killed or not. Therefore nothing had been done. The Valkyrie orders had been taken from Olbricht's safe but not sent out. Everyone in the Bendlerstrasse had been standing idly by waiting for Stauffenberg's return. General Beck and Field Marshal von Witzleben, who as the new head of state and Commander in Chief of the Wehrmacht, respectively, were supposed to have started issuing immediately the already -- prepared proclamations and commands and to have gone on the air at once to broadcast the dawn of a new day in Germany, had not yet showed up.

Hitler, contrary to Stauffenberg's firm belief, which he imparted to Olbricht on the telephone from Rangsdorf, had not been killed. Colonel Brandt's almost unconscious act of shoving the briefcase to the far side of the stout oaken table support had saved his life. He had been badly shaken but not severely injured. His hair had been singed, his legs burned, his right arm bruised and temporarily paralyzed, his eardrums punctured and his back lacerated by a falling beam. He was, as one eyewitness later recalled, hardly recognizable as he emerged from the wrecked and burning building on the arm of Keitel, his face blackened, his hair smoking and his trousers in shreds. Keitel, miraculously, was uninjured. But most of those who had been at the end of the table where the bomb had exploded were either dead, dying or badly wounded. [xxvii]

In the first excitement there were several guesses as to the origin of the explosion. Hitler thought at first it might have been caused by a sneak attack of an enemy fighter-bomber. Jodi, nursing a blood-spattered head -- the chandelier, anlong other objects, had fallen on him -- was convinced that some of the building laborers had planted a time bomb under the floor of the building. The deep hole which Stauffenberg's bomb had blown in the floor seemed to confirm this. It was some time before the colonel became suspected. Himmler, who came running to the scene on hearing the explosion, was completely puzzled and his first act was to telephone -- a minute or two before Fellgiebel shut down communications -- Artur Nebe, the head of the criminal police in Berlin, to dispatch by plane a squad of detectives to carry out the investigation.

In the confusion and shock no one at first remembered that Stauffenberg had slipped out of the conference room shortly before the explosion. It was at first believed that he must have been in the building and was one of those severely hurt who had been rushed to the hospital. Hitler, not yet suspicious of him, asked that the hospital be checked.

Some two hours after the bomb went off the clues began to come in. The sergeant who operated the telephone board at the Lagebaracke reported that "the one-eyed colonel," who had informed him he was expecting a long-distance call from Berlin, had come out of the conference room and, without waiting for it, had left the building in a great hurry. Some of the participants at the conference recalled that Stauffenberg had left his briefcase under the table. The guardhouses at the check points revealed that Stauffenberg and his aide had passed through immediately after the explosion.

Hitler's suspicions were now kindled. A call to the airfield at Rastenburg supplied the interesting information that Stauffenberg had taken off from there in great haste shortly after 1 P.M., giving as his destination the airport at Rangsdorf. Himmler immediately ordered that he be arrested on landing there, but his order never got through to Berlin because of Fellgiebel's courageous action in closing down communications. Up to this minute no one at headquarters seems to have suspected that anything untoward might be happening in Berlin. All now believed that Stauffenberg had acted alone. It would not be difficult to apprehend him unless, as some suspected, he had landed behind the Russian lines. Hitler, who, under the circumstances, seems to have behaved calmly enough, had something else on his mind. He had to greet Mussolini, who was due to arrive at 4 P.M., his train having been delayed.

There is something weird and grotesque about this last meeting of the two fascist dictators on the afternoon of July 20, 1944, as they surveyed the ruins of the conference hall and tried to fool themselves into thinking that the Axis which they had forged, and which was to have dominated the continent of Europe, was not also in shambles. The once proud and strutting Duce was now no more than a Gauleiter of Lombardy, rescued from imprisonment by Nazi thugs, and propped up by Hitler and the S.S. Yet the Fuehrer's friendship and esteem for the fallen Italian tyrant had never faltered and he greeted him with as much warmth as his physical condition permitted, showed him through the still smoking debris of the Lagebaracke where his life had almost been snuffed out a few hours before, and predicted that their joint cause would soon, despite all the setbacks, triumph.

Dr. Schmidt, who was present as interpreter, has recalled the scene. [29]

Mussolini was absolutely horrified. He could not understand how such a thing could happen at Headquarters....

"I was standing here by this table [Hitler recounted]; the bomb went off just in front of my feet ... It is obvious that nothing is going to happen to me; undoubtedly it is my fate to continue on my way and bring my task to completion ... What happened here today is the climax! Having now escaped death ... I am more than ever convinced that the great cause which I serve will be brought through its present perils and that everything can be brought to a good end."

Mussolini, carried away as so often before by Hitler's words, says Schmidt, agreed.

"Our position is bad [he said], one might almost say desperate, but what has happened here today gives me new courage. After [this] miracle it is inconceivable that our cause should meet with misfortune."

The two dictators, with their entourages, then went to tea, and there now ensued -- it was about 5 P.M. -- a ludicrous scene that gives a revealing, if not surprising, picture of the shabby, tattered Nazi chiefs at the moment of one of the supreme crises in the Third Reich. By this time the communications system of Rastenburg had been restored by the direct order of Hitler and the first reports from Berlin had begun to come in indicating that a military revolt had broken out there and perhaps one on the Western front. Mutual recriminations, long suppressed, broke out between the Fuehrer's captains, their shouting echoing through the rafters though at first Hitler himself sat silent and brooding while Mussolini blushed with embarrassment.

Admiral Doenitz, who had rushed by air to Rastenburg at the news of the attentat and arrived after the tea party had begun, lashed out at the treachery of the Army. Goering, on behalf of the Air Force, supported him. Then Doenitz lit on Goering for the disastrous failures of the Luftwaffe, and the fat Reich Marshal, after defending himself, attacked his pet hate, Ribbentrop, for the bankruptcy of Germany's foreign policy, at one point threatening to smack the arrogant Foreign Minister with his marshal's baton. "You dirty little champagne salesman! Shut your damned mouth!" Goering cried, but this was impossible for Ribbentrop, who demanded a little respect, even from the Reich Marshal. "I am still the Foreign Minister," he shouted, "and my name is von Ribbentrop!" [xxviii]

Then someone brought up the subject of an earlier "revolt" against the Nazi regime, the Roehm "plot" of June 30, 1934. Mention of this aroused Hitler -- who had been sitting morosely sucking brightly colored medicinal pills supplied by his quack physician, Dr. Theodor Morell -- to a fine fury. Eyewitnesses say he leaped from his chair, foam on his lips, and screamed and raged. What he had done with Roehm and his treasonable followers was nothing, he shouted, to what he would do to the traitors of this day. He would uproot them all and destroy them. "I'll put their wives and children into concentration camps," he raved, "and show them no mercy!" In this case, as in so many similar ones, he was as good as his word.

Partly because of exhaustion but also because the telephone from Berlin began to bring further details of a military uprising, Hitler broke off his mad monologue, but his temper did not subside. He saw Mussolini off to his train -- it was their final parting -- and returned to his quarters. When told at about 6 o'clock that the putsch had not yet been squelched, he grabbed the telephone and shrieked orders to the S.S. in Berlin to shoot everyone who was the least suspect. "Where's Himmler? Why is he not there!" he yelled, forgetful that only an hour before, as his party sat down to tea, he had ordered the S.S. chief to fly to Berlin and ruthlessly put down the rebellion, and that his master policeman could not possibly have arrived as yet. [30]

The long and carefully prepared rebellion in Berlin had, as Stauffenberg learned to his dismay when he landed at Rangsdorf at 3:45 P.M., got off to a slow start. Three precious, vital hours, during which the Fuehrer headquarters had been shut off from the outside world, had been lost.

Stauffenberg, for the life of him, could not understand why, nor can a historian trying to reconstitute the events of this fateful day. The weather was hot and sultry, and perhaps this had a certain effect. Though the chief conspirators had known that Stauffenberg had left for Rastenburg that morning "heavily laden," as General Hoepner was informed, to attend the 1 P.M. Fuehrer conference, only a few of them, and these mostly junior officers, began to drift leisurely into the headquarters of the Replacement Army -- and of the plot -- in the Bendlerstrasse toward noon. On Stauffenberg's last previous attempt to get Hitler, on July 15, it will be recalled, General Olbricht had ordered the troops of the Berlin garrison to start marching two hours before the bomb was timed to go off. But on July 20, perhaps mindful of the risk he had run, he did not issue similar orders. Unit commanders in Berlin and in the training centers in nearby Doeberitz, Jueterbog, Krampnitz and Wuensdorf had been tipped the night before that they would most probably be receiving the Valkyrie orders on the twentieth, But Olbricht decided to wait until definite word had come from Fellgiebel at Rastenburg before again setting his troops in motion. General Hoepner, with the uniform which Hitler had forbade him to wear in his suitcase, arrived at the Bendlerstrasse at thirty minutes past noon -- at the very moment Stauffenberg was breaking the capsule of his bomb -- and he and Olbricht went out for lunch, where they toasted the success of their enterprise with a half bottle of wine.

They had not been back in Olbricht's office very long when General Fritz Thiele, chief signals officer of OKH, burst in. He had just been on the telephone to Fellgiebel, he said excitedly, and though the line was bad and Fellgiebel was very guarded in what he said, it seemed that the explosion had taken place but that Hitler had not been killed. In that case Thiele concluded that the Valkyrie orders should not be issued. Olbricht and Hoepner agreed.

So between approximately 1:15 P.M. and 3:45, when Stauffenberg set down at Rangsdorf and hurried to the telephone, nothing was done. No troops were assembled, no orders were sent out to the military commands in other cities and, perhaps strangest of all, no one thought of seizing the radio broadcasting headquarters or the telephone and telegraph exchanges. The two chief military leaders, Beck and Witzleben, had not yet appeared.

The arrival of Stauffenberg finally moved the conspirators to action. On the telephone from Rangsdorf he urged General Olbricht not to wait until he had reached the Bendlerstrasse -- the trip in from the airfield would take forty-five minutes -- but to start Valkyrie going at once. The plotters finally had someone to give orders -- without such, a German officer seemed lost, even a rebellious one, even on this crucial day -- and they began to act. Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim, Olbricht's chief of staff and a close friend of Stauffenberg, fetched the Valkyrie orders and began to dispatch them by teleprinter and telephone. The first one alerted the troops in and around Berlin, and a second one, signed by Witzleben as "Commander in Chief of the Wehrmacht" and countersigned by Count von Stauffenberg -- they had been drawn up months before -- announced that the Fuehrer was dead and that Witzleben was "transferring executive power" to the Army district commanders at home and to the commanders in chief of the fighting armies at the front. Field Marshal von Witzleben had not yet arrived at the Bendlerstrasse. He had got as far as Zossen, twenty miles southeast of Berlin, where he was conferring with the First Quartermaster General, Wagner. He was sent for, as was General Beck. The two senior generals in the plot were acting in the most leisurely manner on this fateful day.

With the orders going out, some of them signed by General Fromm, though without his knowledge, Olbricht went to the office of the commander of the Replacement Army, told him that Fellgiebel had reported that Hitler had been assassinated and urged him to take charge of Valkyrie and assure the internal security of the State. Fromm's orders, the conspirators realized, would be obeyed automatically. He was very important to them at this moment. But Fromm, like Kluge, was a genius at straddling; he was not the man to jump until he saw where he was landing. He wanted definite proof that Hitler was dead before deciding what to do.

At this point Olbricht made another one of the disastrous mistakes committed by the plotters that day. He was sure from what Stauffenberg had told him on the telephone from Rangsdorf that the Fuehrer was dead. He also knew that Fellgiebel had succeeded in blocking the telephone lines to Rastenburg all afternoon. Boldly he picked up the telephone and asked for a "blitz" telephone connection with Keitel. To his utter surprise -- communications, as we have seen, had now been reopened, but Olbricht did not know this -- Keitel was almost instantly on the line.

FROMM: What has happened at General Headquarters? Wild rumors are afloat in Berlin.

KEITEL: What should be the matter? Everything is as usual here.

FROMM: I have just received a report that the Fuehrer has been assassinated.

KEITEL: That's all nonsense. It is true there has been an attempt, but fortunately it has failed. The Fuehrer is alive and only slightly injured. Where, by the way, is your Chief of Staff, Colonel Count Stauffenberg?

FROMM: Stauffenberg has not yet returned to us. [31]

From that moment on Fromm was lost to the conspiracy, with consequences which would soon prove catastrophic. Olbricht, momentarily stunned, slipped out of the office without a word. At this moment General Beck arrived, attired in a dark civilian suit -- perhaps this was a gesture toward playing down the military nature of the revolt -- to take charge. But the man really in charge, as everyone soon realized, was Colonel von Stauffenberg, who, hatless and out of breath, bounded up the stairs of the old War Ministry at 4:30 P.M. He reported briefly on the explosion, which he emphasized he had seen himself from a couple of hundred yards away. When Olbricht interjected that Keitel himself had just been on the phone and sworn that Hitler was only slightly wounded, Stauffenberg answered that Keitel was playing for time by lying. At the very least, he contended, Hitler must have been severely wounded. In any case, he added, there was only one thing they could now do: use every minute to overthrow the Nazi regime. Beck agreed. It did not make too much difference to him, he said, whether the despot was alive or dead. They must go ahead and destroy his evil rule.

The trouble was that after the fateful delay and in the present confusion they did not, for all their planning, know how to go ahead. Not even when General Thiele brought word that the news of Hitler's survival was shortly to be broadcast over the German national radio network does it seem to have occurred to the conspirators that the first thing they had to do, and at once, was to seize the broadcasting central, block the Nazis from getting their word out, and begin flooding the air with their own proclamations of a new government. If troops were not yet at hand to accomplish this, the Berlin police could have done it. Count von Helldorf, the chief of police and deep in the conspiracy, had been waiting impatiently since midday to swing into action with his sizable and already alerted forces. But no call had come and finally at 4 o'clock he had driven over to the Bendlerstrasse to see what had happened. He was told by Olbricht that his police would be under the orders of the Army. But as yet there was no rebel army -- only bewildered officers milling about at headquarters without any soldiers to command.

Instead of seeing to this at once Stauffenberg put in an urgent telephone call to his cousin, Lieutenant Colonel Caesar von Hofacker, at General von Stuelpnagel's headquarters in Paris, urging the conspirators to get busy there. This was of the utmost importance, to be sure, since the plot had been better organized in France and was supported by more important Army officers than in any other place save Berlin. Actually Stuelpnagel was to show more energy than his fellow generals at the center of the revolt. Before dark he had arrested and locked up all 1,200 S.S. and S.D. officers and men in Paris, including their redoubtable commander, S.S. Major General Karl Oberg. Had similar energy and similar direction of energy been shown in Berlin that afternoon, history might have taken a different turn.

Having alerted Paris, Stauffenberg next turned his attention to the stubborn Fromm, whose chief of staff he was, and whose refusal to go along with the rebels after he had learned from Keitel that Hitler was alive was seriously jeopardizing the success of the plot. Beck had no stomach to quarrel with Fromm so early in the game and excused himself from joining Stauffenberg and Olbricht, who went to see him. Olbricht told Fromm that Stauffenberg could confirm Hitler's death.

"That is impossible," Fromm snapped. "Keitel has assured me to the contrary."

"Keitel is lying, as usual," Stauffenberg put in. "I myself saw Hitler's body being carried out."

This word from his chief of staff and an eyewitness gave Fromm food for thought and for a moment he said nothing. But when Olbricht, trying to take advantage of his indecision, remarked that, at any rate, the code word for Valkyrie had already been sent out, Fromm sprang to his feet and shouted, "This is rank insubordination! Who issued the order?" When told that Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim had, he summoned this officer and told him he was under arrest.

Stauffenberg made one last effort to win his chief over. "General," he said, "I myself set off the bomb at Hitler's conference. The explosion was as if a fifteen-millimeter shell had hit. No one in that room can still be alive."

But Fromm was too ingenious a trimmer to be bluffed. "Count Stauffenberg," he answered, "the attempt has failed. You must shoot yourself at once." Stauffenberg coolly declined. In a moment Fromm, a beefy, red-faced man, was proclaiming the arrest of all three of his visitors, Stauffenberg, Olbricht and Mertz.

"You deceive yourself," Olbricht answered. "It is we who are now going to arrest you."

An untimely scuffle among the brother officers ensued in which Fromm, according to one version, struck the one-armed Stauffenberg in the face. The General was quickly subdued and put under arrest in the room of his adjutant, where Major Ludwig von Leonrod was assigned to guard him. [xxix] The rebels took the precaution of cutting the telephone wires in the room.

Stauffenberg returned to his office to find that Oberfuehrer Piffraeder, an S.S. ruffian who had distinguished himself recently by superintending the exhuming and destroying of 221,000 bodies of Jews murdered by the Einsatzgruppen in the Baltic regions before the advancing Russians got to them, had come to arrest him. Piffraeder and his two S.D. plain-clothes men were locked up in an adjacent empty office. Then General von Kortzfleisch, who had over-all command of the troops in the Berlin-Brandenburg district (Wehrkreis III), arrived to demand what was up. This strictly Nazi General insisted on seeing Fromm but was taken to Olbricht, with whom he refused to speak. Beck then received him, and when Kortzfleisch proved adamant he too was locked up. General von Thuengen, as planned, was appointed to replace him.

Piffraeder's appearance reminded Stauffenberg that the conspirators had forgotten to place a guard around the building. So a detachment from the Guard Battalion Grossdeutschland, which was supposed to be on guard duty but wasn't, was posted at the entrance. By a little after 5 P.M., then, the rebels were at least in control of their own headquarters, hut that was all of Berlin they were in control of. What had happened to the Army troops that were supposed to occupy the capital and secure it for the new anti-Nazi government?

A little after 4 P.M., when the conspirators had finally come to life following Stauffenberg's return, General von Hase, the Berlin commandant, telephoned the commander of the crack Guard Battalion Grossdeutschland at Doeberitz and instructed him to alert his unit and himself to report at once to the Kommandantur on the Unter den Linden. The battalion commander, recently appointed, was Major Otto Remer, who was to play a key role this day, though not the one the plotters had counted on. They had investigated him, since his battalion had been allotted an all-important task, and satisfied themselves that he was a nonpolitical officer who would obey the orders of his immediate superiors. Of his bravery there could be no doubt. He had been wounded eight times and had recently received from the hand of Hitler himself the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves -- a rare distinction.

Remer alerted his battalion, as instructed, and sped into the city to receive his specific orders from Hase. The General told him of Hitler's assassination and of an attempted S.S. putsch and instructed him to seal off the ministries in the Wilhelmstrasse and the S.S. Security Main Office in the nearby Anhalt Station quarter. By 5:30 P. M. Remer, acting with dispatch, had done so and reported back to Unter den Linden for further orders.

And now another minor character nudged himself into the drama and helped Remer to become the nemesis of the conspiracy. A Lieutenant Dr. Hans Hagen, a highly excitable and self-important young man, had been posted as National Socialist guidance officer to Remer's guard battalion. He also worked for Dr. Goebbels at the Propaganda Ministry and at the moment was actually stationed at Bayreuth where he had been sent by the Minister to work on a book which Martin Bormann, Hitler's secretary, wanted written -- a "History of National Socialist Culture." His presence in Berlin was quite fortuitous. He had come to deliver a memorial address in tribute to an obscure writer who had fallen at the front and he sought to take advantage of his visit by also delivering a lecture that afternoon to his battalion -- though it was a hot and sultry day -- on "National Socialist Guidance Questions." He had a passion for public speaking.

On his way to Doeberitz the excitable lieutenant was sure he saw Field Marshal von Brauchitsch in a passing Army car attired in full uniform, and it immediately occurred to him that the old generals must be up to something treasonable. Brauchitsch, who had been booted out of his command long before by Hitler, was not in Berlin that day, in uniform or out, but Hagen swore he had seen him. He spoke of his suspicions to Remer, with whom he happened to be talking when the major received his orders to occupy the Wilhelmstrasse. The orders kindled his suspicions and he persuaded Remer to give him a motorcycle and sidecar, in which he promptly raced to the Propaganda Ministry to alert Goebbels.

The Minister had just received his first telephone call from Hitler, who told him of the attempt on his life and instructed him to get on the air as soon as possible and announce that it had failed. This seems to have been the first news the usually alert Propaganda Minister had of what had occurred at Rastenburg. Hagen soon brought him up to date on what was about to happen in Berlin. Goebbels was at first skeptical -- he regarded Hagen as somewhat of a nuisance -- and, according to one version, was on the point of throwing his visitor out when the lieutenant suggested he go to the window and see for himself. What he saw was more convincing than Hagen'g hysterical words. Army troops were taking up posts around the ministry. Goebbels, who though a stupid man was extremely quick-witted, told Hagen to send Remer to him at once. This Hagen did, and thereupon passed out of history.

Thus while the conspirators in the Bendlerstrasse were getting in touch with generals all over Europe and giving no thought to such a junior officer as Remer, indispensable as his job was, Goebbels was getting in touch with the man who, however low in rank, mattered most at this particular moment.

The contact was inevitable, for in the meantime Remer had been ordered to arrest the Propaganda Minister. Thus the major had an order to nab Goebbels and also a message from Goebbels inviting him to see him. Remer entered the Propaganda Ministry with twenty men, whom he instructed to fetch him if he did not return from the Minister's office within a few minutes. With drawn pistols he and his adjutant then went into the office to arrest the most important Nazi official in Berlin on that day.

Among the talents which had enabled Joseph Goebbels to rise to his eminence in the Third Reich was a genius for fast talking in tight situations -- and this was the tightest and most precarious of his stormy life. He reminded the young major of his oath of allegiance to the Commander in Chief. Remer retorted crisply that Hitler was dead. Goebbels said that the Fuehrer was very much alive -- he had just talked with him on the telephone. He would prove it. Whereupon he picked up the phone and put in an urgent call to the Commander in Chief at Rastenburg. Once more the failure of the conspirators to seize the Berlin telephone exchange or at least cut its wires compounded disaster. [xxx] Within the matter of a minute or two Hitler was on the line. Goebbels quickly handed his telephone to Remer. Did the major recognize his voice? asked the warlord. Who in Germany could fail to recognize that husky voice, since it had been heard on the radio hundreds of times? Moreover, Remer had heard it directly a few weeks before when he received his decoration from the Fuehrer. The major, it is said, snapped to attention. Hitler commanded him to crush the uprising and obey only the commands of Goebbels, Himmler, who he said had just been named the commander of the Replacement Army and who was en route by plane to Berlin, and General Reinecke, who happened to be in the capital and had been ordered to take over the command of all troops in the city. The Fuehrer also promoted the major forthwith to colonel.

This was enough for Remer. He had received orders from on high and he proceeded with an energy which was Jacking in the Bendlerstrasse to carry them out. He withdrew his battalion from the Wilhelmstrasse, occupied the Kommandantur in the Unter den Linden, sent out patrols to halt any other troops that might be marching on the city and himself set out to find where the headquarters of the conspiracy was so that he could arrest the ringleaders.

Why the rebelling generals and colonels entrusted such a key role to Remer in the first place, why they did not replace him at the last moment with an officer who was heart and soul behind the conspiracy, why at least they did not send a dependable officer along with the guard battalion to see that Remer obeyed orders -- these are among the many riddles of July 20. But then, why was not Goebbels, the most important and the most dangerous Nazi official present in Berlin, arrested at once? A couple of Count von Helldorf's policemen could have done this in two minutes, for the Propaganda Ministry was completely unguarded. But why then did the plotters not seize the Gestapo headquarters in the Prinz Albrechtstrasse and not only suppress the secret police but liberate a number of their fellow conspirators, including Leber, who were incarcerated there? The Gestapo headquarters were virtually unguarded, as was the central office of the R.S.H.A., the nerve center of the S.D. and S.S., which, one would have thought, would be among the first places to be occupied. It is impossible to answer these questions.

Remer's quick turnabout did not become known in the Bendlerstrasse headquarters for some time. Apparently very little of what was happening in Berlin became known there until too late. And it is difficult even today to find out, for the eyewitness reports are filled with bewildering contradictions. Where were the tanks, where were the troops from the outlying stations?

A brief announcement broadcast shortly after 6: 30 P. M. over the Deutschlandsender, a radio station with such a powerful transmitter that it could be heard all over Europe, announcing that there had been an attempt to kill Hitler but that it had failed, came as a severe blow to the harried men in the Bendlerstrasse, but it was a warning that the detachment of troops which was supposed to have occupied the Rundfunkhaus had failed to do so. Goebbels had been able to telephone the text of the announcement to broadcasting headquarters while he was waiting for Remer. At a quarter to seven Stauffenberg sent out a signal by teleprinter to the Army commanders, saying that the radio announcement was false and that Hitler was dead. But the damage to the putschists was almost irreparable. The commanding generals in Prague and Vienna, who had already proceeded to arrest the S.S. and Nazi Party leaders, began to backtrack. Then at 8: 20 P. M. Keitel managed to get out by Army teleprinter to all Army commands a message from Fuehrer headquarters announcing that Himmler had been appointed chief of the Replacement Army and that "only orders from him and myself are to be obeyed." Keitel added, "Any orders issued by Fromm. Witzlebcn or Hoepner are invalid." The Deutschlandsender's announcement that Hitler was alive and Keitel's crisp order that only his commands and not those of the conspirators were to be obeyed had, as we shall see, a decisive effect upon Field Marshal von Kluge, who off in France was on the point of throwing in his lot with the conspirators. [xxxi]

Even the tanks, on which the rebel officers had counted so much, failed to arrive. It might have been thought that Hoepner, an outstanding panzer general, would have seen to the tanks, but he did not get around to it. The commandant of the panzer school at Krampnitz, which was to supply the tanks, Colonel Wolfgang Glaesemer, had been ordered by the conspirators to start his vehicles rolling into the city and himself to report to the Bendlerstrasse for further instructions. But the tank colonel wanted no part in any military putsch against the Nazis, and Olbricht, after pleading with him in vain, had to lock him up too in the building. Glaesemer, however, was able to whisper to his adjutant, who was not arrested, instructions to inform the headquarters of the Inspectorate of Panzer Troops in Berlin, which had jurisdiction over the tank formations, of what had happened and to see to it that only the inspectorate's commands were obeyed.

Thus it happened that the badly needed tanks, though some of them reached the heart of the city at the Victory Column in the Tiergarten, were denied the rebels. Colonel Glaesemer escaped from his confinement by a ruse, telling his guards that he had decided to accept Olbricht's orders and would himself take command of the tanks, whereupon he slipped out of the building. The tanks were soon withdrawn from the city.

The panzer colonel was not the only officer to slip away from the haphazard and gentlemanly confinement imposed on those who would not join the conspiracy -- a circumstance which contributed to the swift end of the revolt.

Field Marshal von Witzleben, when he finally arrived in full uniform and waving his baton shortly before 8 P.M. to take over his duties as the new Commander in Chief of the Wehrmacht, seems to have realized at once that the putsch had failed. He stormed at Beck and Stauffenberg for having bungled the whole affair. At his trial he told the court that it was obvious to him that the attempt had misfired when he learned that not even the broadcasting headquarters had been occupied. But he himself had done nothing to help at a time when his authority as a field marshal might have rallied more of the troop commanders in Berlin and abroad. Forty-five minutes after he had entered the Bendlerstrasse building he stamped out of it -- and out of the conspiracy, now that it seemed certain to fail -- drove his Mercedes back to Zossen, where he had whiled away the seven hours that were decisive that day, told Quartermaster General Wagner that the revolt had failed, and drove on to his country estate thirty miles beyond, where he was arrested the next day by a fellow General named Linnertz.

The curtain now went up on the last act.

Shortly after 9 P.M. the frustrated conspirators were struck dumb at hearing the Deutschlandsender announce that the Fuehrer would broadcast to the German people later in the evening. A few minutes afterward it was learned that General von Hase, the Berlin commandant, who had started Major -- now Colonel -- Remer on his fateful errand, had been arrested and that the Nazi General, Reinecke, backed by the S.S., had taken over command of all troops in Berlin and was preparing to storm the Bendlerstrasse.

The S.S. had at last rallied, thanks mostly to Otto Skorzeny, the tough S.S. leader who had shown his prowess in rescuing Mussolini from captivity. Unaware that anything was up that day Skorzeny had boarded the night express for Vienna at 6 P.M., but had been hauled off the train when it stopped at the suburb of Lichterfelde, at the urging of S.S. General Schellenberg, the Number Two man in the S.D. Skorzeny found the unguarded S.D. headquarters in a most hysterical state, but being the coldblooded man he was, and a good organizer to boot, he quickly rounded up his armed bands and went to work. It was he who first persuaded the tank school formations to remain loyal to Hitler.

The energetic counteraction at Rastenburg, the quick thinking of Goebbels in winning over Remer and in utilizing the radio, the revival of the S.S. in Berlin and the unbelievable confusion and inaction of the rebels in the Bendlerstrasse caused a good many Army officers who had been on the point of throwing in their lot with the conspirators, or had even done so, to think better of it. One of these was General Otto Herfurth, chief of staff to the arrested Kortzfleisch, who at first had co-operated with the Bendlerstrasse in trying to round up the troops, and then, when he saw how things were going, changed sides, ringing up Hitler's headquarters around 9: 30 P.M. to say that he was putting down the military putsch. [xxxii]

General Fromm, whose refusal to join the revolt had put it in jeopardy from the beginning and who, as a result, had been arrested, now bestirred himself. About 8 P.M., after four hours of confinement in his adjutant's office, he had asked to be allowed to retire to his private quarters on the floor below. He had given his word of honor as an officer that he would make no attempt to escape or to establish contact with the outside. General Hoepner had consented and moreover, since Fromm had complained that he was not only hungry but thirsty, had sent him sandwiches and a bottle of wine. A little earlier three generals of Fromm's staff had arrived, had refused to join the rebellion, and had demanded to be taken to their chief. Inexplicably, they were taken to him in his private quarters, though put under arrest. They had no sooner arrived than Fromm told them of a little-used rear exit through which they could escape. Breaking his word to Hoepner, he ordered the generals to organize help, storm the building, liberate him and put down the revolt. The generals slipped out unnoticed.

But already a group of junior officers on Olbricht's staff, who at first had either gone along with the rebels or stuck around in the Bendlerstrasse to see how the revolt would go, had begun to sense that it was failing. They had begun to realize too, as one of them later said, that they would all be hanged as traitors if the revolt failed and they had not turned against it in time. One of them, Lieutenant Colonel Franz Herber, a former police officer and a convinced Nazi, had fetched some Tommy guns and ammunition from the arsenal of Spandau, and these were secreted on the second floor. About 10:30, these officers called upon Olbricht and demanded to know exactly what he and his friends were trying to accomplish. The General told them, and without arguing they withdrew.

Twenty minutes later they returned -- six or eight of them, led by Herber and Lieutenant Colonel Bodo von der Heyde -- brandishing their weapons and demanded further explanations from Olbricht. Stauffenberg looked in to see what all the noise was about and was seized. When he tried to escape, bolting out the door and down the corridor, he was shot in the arm -- the only one he had. The counterrebels began shooting wildly, though apparently not hitting anyone except Stauffenberg. They then roved through the wing which had been the headquarters of the plot, rounding up the conspirators. Beck, Hoepner, Olbricht, Stauffenberg, Haeften and Mertz were herded into Fromm's vacated office, where Fromm himself shortly appeared, brandishing a revolver.

"Well, gentlemen," he said, "I am now going to treat you as you treated me." But he didn't.

"Lay down your weapons," he commanded, and informed his former captors that they were under arrest.

"You wouldn't make that demand of me, your old commanding officer," Beck said quietly, reaching for his revolver. "I will draw the consequences from this unhappy situation myself."

"Well, keep it pointed at yourself," Fromm warned.

The curious lack of will to act of this brilliant, civilized former General Staff Chief had finally brought his downfall at the supreme test of his life. It remained with him to the very end.

"At this moment it is the old days that I recall ... " he began to say, but Fromm cut him short.

"We don't want to hear that stuff now. I ask you to stop talking and do something."

Beck did. He pulled the trigger, but the bullet merely scratched his head. He slumped into his chair, bleeding a little.

"Help the old gentleman," Fromm commanded two young officers, but when they tried to take the weapon Beck objected, asking for another chance. Fromm nodded his consent.

Then he turned to the rest of the plotters. "And you gentlemen, if you have any letters to write I'll give you a few more minutes." Olbricht and Hoepner asked for stationery and sat down to pen brief notes of farewell to their wives. Stauffenberg, Mertz, Haeften and the others stood there silently. Fromm marched out of the room.

He had quickly made up his mind to eliminate these men and not only to cover up the traces -- for though he had refused to engage actively in the plot, he had known of it for months, sheltering the assassins and not reporting their plans -- but to curry favor with Hitler as the man who put down the revolt. In the world of the Nazi gangsters it was much too late for this, but Fromm did not realize it.

He returned in five minutes to announce that "in the name of the Fuehrer" he had called a session of a "court-martial" (there is no evidence that he had) and that it had pronounced death sentences on four officers: "Colonel of the General Staff Mertz, General Olbricht, this colonel whose name I no longer know [Stauffenberg], and this lieutenant [Haeften]."

The two generals, Olbricht and Hoepner, were still scratching their letters to their wives. General Beck lay sprawled in his chair, his face smeared with blood from the bullet scratch. The four officers "condemned" to death stood like ramrods, silent.

"Well, gentlemen," Fromm said to Olbricht and Hoepner, "are you ready? I must ask you to hurry so as not to make it too difficult for the others."

Hoepner finished his letter and laid it on the table. Olbricht asked for an envelope, put his letter in it and sealed it. Beck, now beginning to come to, asked for another pistol. Stauffenberg, the sleeve of his wounded good arm soaked in blood, and his three "condemned" companions were led out. Fromm told Hoepner to follow him.

In the courtyard below in the dim rays of the blackout-hooded headlights of an Army car the four officers were quickly dispatched by a firing squad. Eyewitnesses say there was much tumult and shouting, mostly by the guards, who were in a hurry because of the danger of a bombing attack -- British planes had been over Berlin almost every night that summer. Stauffenberg died crying, "Long live our sacred Germany!" [32]

In the meantime Fromm had given General Hoepner a certain choice. Three weeks later, in the shadow of the gallows, Hoepner told of it to the People's Court.

"Well, Hoepner [Fromm said], this business really hurts me. We used to be good friends and comrades, you know. You've got yourself mixed up in this thing and must take the consequences. Do you want to go the same way as Beck? Otherwise I shall have to arrest you now."

Hoepner answered that he did "not feel so guilty" and that he thought he could "justify" himself.

"I understand that," Fromm answered, shaking his hand. Hoepner was carted off to the military prison at Moabit.

As he was being taken away he heard Beck's tired voice through the door in the next room: "If it doesn't work this time, then please help me." There was the sound of a pistol shot. Beck's second attempt to kill himself failed. Fromm poked his head in the door and once more told an officer, "Help the old gentleman." This unknown officer declined to give the coup de grace, leaving that to a sergeant, who dragged Beck, unconscious from the second wound, outside the room and finished him off with a shot in the neck. [33]

It was now sometime after midnight. The revolt, the only serious one ever made against Hitler in the eleven and a half years of the Third Reich, had been snuffed out in eleven and a half hours. Skorzeny arrived at the Bendlerstrasse with a band of armed S.S. men, forbade any more executions -- as a policeman he knew enough not to kill those who could be tortured into giving much valuable evidence of the extent of the plot -- handcuffed the rest of the plotters, sent them off to the Gestapo prison on the Prinz Albrechtstrasse and put detectives to work collecting incriminating papers which the conspirators had not had time to destroy. Himmler, who had reached Berlin a little earlier and set up temporary headquarters in Goebbels' ministry, now protected by part of Remer's guard battalion, telephoned Hitler and reported that the revolt had been crushed. In East Prussia a radio van was racing from Koenigsberg to Rastenburg so that the Fuehrer could make his long-heralded broadcast which the Deutschlandsender had been promising every few minutes since 9 P.M.

Just before 1 A.M. Adolf Hitler's hoarse voice burst upon the summer night's air.

My German comrades!

If I speak to you today it is first in order that you should hear my voice and should know that I am unhurt and well, and secondly, that you should know of a crime unparalleled in German history.

A very small clique of ambitious, irresponsible and, at the same time, senseless and stupid officers had concocted a plot to eliminate me and, with me, the staff of the High Command of the Wehrmacht.

The bomb planted by Colonel Count Stauffenberg exploded two meters to the right of me. It seriously wounded a number of my true and loyal collaborators, one of whom has died. I myself am entirely unhurt, aside from some very minor scratches, bruises and burns. 1 regard this as a confirmation of the task imposed upon me by Providence ...

The circle of these usurpers is very small and has nothing in common with the spirit of the German Wehrmacht and, above all, none with the German people. It is a gang of criminal elements which will be destroyed without mercy.

I therefore give orders now that no military authority ... is to obey orders from this crew of usurpers. I also order that it is everyone's duty to arrest, or, if they resist, to shoot at sight, anyone issuing or handling such orders ...

This time we shall settle accounts with them in the manner to which we National Socialists are accustomed.
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Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

Postby admin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:10 am

Part 4 of 4


This time, too, Hitler kept his word.

The barbarism of the Nazis toward their own fellow Germans reached its zenith. There was a wild wave of arrests followed by gruesome torture, drumhead trials, and death sentences carried out, in many cases, by slow strangling while the victims were suspended by piano wire from meathooks borrowed from butchershops and slaughterhouses. Relatives and friends of the suspects were rounded up by the thousands and sent to concentration camps, where many of them died. The brave few who gave shelter to those who were in hiding were summarily dealt with.

Hitler, seized by a titanic fury and an unquenchable thirst for revenge, whipped Himmler and Kaltenbrunner to ever greater efforts to lay their hands on every last person who had dared to plot against him. He himself laid down the procedure for dispatching them.

"This time," he stormed at one of his first conferences after the explosion at Rastenburg, "the criminals will be given short shrift. No military tribunals. We'll hail them before the People's Court. No long speeches from them. The court will act with lightning speed. And two hours after the sentence it will be carried out. By hanging -- without mercy." [34]

These instructions from on high were carried out literally by Ronald Freisler, the president of the People's Court (Volksgerichetshof), a vile, vituperative maniac, who as a prisoner of war in Russia during the first war had become a fanatical Bolshevik and who, even after he became, in 1924, an equally fanatical Nazi, remained a warm admirer of Soviet terror and a keen student of its methods. He had made a special study of Andrei Vishinsky's technique as chief prosecutor in the Moscow trials of the Thirties in which the "Old Bolsheviks" and most of the leading generals had been found guilty of "treason" and liquidated. "Freisler is our Vishinsky," Hitler had exclaimed in the conference mentioned above.

The first trial of the July 20 conspirators before the People's Court took place in Berlin on August 7 and 8, with Field Marshal von Witzleben, Generals Hoepner, Stieff and von Hase, and the junior officers, Hagen, Klausing, Bernardis and Count Peter Yorck von Wartenburg, who had worked closely with their idol Stauffenberg, in the dock. They were already pretty well broken by their treatment in the Gestapo cellars and, since Goebbels had ordered every minute of the trial to be filmed so that the movie could be shown to the troops and to the civilian public as an example -- and a warning -- everything had been done to make the accused look as shabby as possible. They were outfitted in nondescript clothes, old coats and sweaters, and they entered the courtroom unshaven, collarless, without neckties and deprived of suspenders and belts to keep their trousers hitched up. The once proud Field Marshal, especially, looked like a terribly broken, toothless old man. His false teeth had been taken from him and as he stood in the dock, badgered unmercifully by the venomous chief judge, he kept grasping at his trousers to keep them from falling down.

"You dirty old man," Freisler shouted at him, "why do you keep fiddling with your trousers?"

Yet though the accused knew that their fate was already settled they behaved with dignity and courage despite Freisler's ceaseless efforts to degrade and demean them. Young Peter Yorck, a cousin of Stauffenberg, was perhaps the bravest, answering the most insulting questions quietly and never attempting to hide his contempt for National Socialism.

"Why didn't you join the party?" Freisler asked.

"Because I am not and never could be a Nazi," the count replied.

When Freisler had recovered from this answer and pressed the point, Yorck tried to explain. "Mr. President, I have already stated in my interrogation that the Nazi ideology was such that I -- "

The judge interrupted him. "--- could not agree ... You didn't agree with the National Socialist conception of justice, say, in regard to rooting out the Jews?"

"What is important, what brings together all these questions," Yorck replied, "is the totalitarian claim of the State on the individual which forces him to renounce his moral and religious obligations to God."

"Nonsense!" cried Freisler, and he cut off the young man. Such talk might poison Dr. Goebbels' film and enrage the Fuehrer, who had decreed, "No long speeches from them."

The court-appointed defense lawyers were more than ludicrous. Their cowardice, as one reads the transcript of the trial, is almost unbelievable. Witzleben's attorney, for example, a certain Dr. Weissmann, outdid the state prosecutor and almost equaled Freisler, in denouncing his client as a "murderer," as completely guilty and as deserving the worst punishment.

That punishment was meted out as soon as the trial had ended on August 8. "They must all be hanged like cattle," Hitler had ordered, and they were. Out at Ploetzensee prison the eight condemned were herded into a small room in which eight meathooks hung from the ceiling. One by one, after being stripped to the waist, they were strung up, a noose of piano wire being placed around their necks and attached to the meathooks. A movie camera whirled as the men dangled and strangled, their beltless trousers finally dropping off as they struggled, leaving them naked in their death agony. [35] The developed film, as ordered, was rushed to Hitler so that he could view it, as well as the pictures of the trial, the same evening. Goebbels is said to have kept himself from fainting by holding both hands over his eyes. [xxxiii] [36]

All that summer, fall and winter and into the new year of 1945 the grisly People's Court sat in session, racing through its macabre trials and grinding out death sentences, until finally an American bomb fell directly on the courthouse on the morning of February 3, 1945, just as Schlabrendorff was being led into the courtroom, killing Judge Freisler and destroying the records of most of the accused who still survived. Schlabrendorff thus miraculously escaped with his life -- one of the very few conspirators on whom fortune smiled -- being eventually liberated from the Gestapo's clutches by American troops in the Tyrol.

The fate of the others must now be recorded.

Goerdeler, who was to be the Chancellor of the new regime, had gone into hiding three days before July 20, after having been warned that the Gestapo had issued an order for his arrest. He wandered for three weeks between Berlin, Potsdam and East Prussia, rarely spending two nights in the same place but always being taken in by friends or relatives, who risked death by giving him shelter, for Hitler had now put a price of one million marks on his head. On the morning of August 12, exhausted and hungry after several days and nights wandering afoot in East Prussia, he stumped into a small inn in the village of Konradswalde near Marienwerder. While waiting to be served breakfast he noticed a woman in the uniform of a Luftwaffe Wac eying him closely, and without waiting for his food he slipped out and made for the nearby woods. It was too late. The woman was an old acquaintance of the Goerdeler family, a Helene Schwaerzel, who had easily recognized him and who promptly confided in a couple of Air Force men who were sitting with her. Goerdeler was quickly apprehended in the woods.

He was sentenced to death by the People's Court on September 8, 1944, but not executed until February 2 of the following year, along with Popitz. [xxxiv] Apparently Himmler delayed the hangings because he thought the contacts of the two men, especially those of Goerdeler, with the Western Allies through Sweden and Switzerland might prove helpful to him if he took over the sinking ship of state -- a prospect which began to grow in his mind at this time. [37]

Count Friedrich Werner von Schulenburg, the former ambassador in Moscow, and Hassell, the former ambassador in Rome, both of whom were to have taken over the direction of foreign policy in the new anti-Nazi regime, were executed on November 10 and September 8, respectively. Count Fritz von der Schulenburg died on the gallows August 10. General Fellgiebel, chief of signals at OKW, whose role at Rastenburg on July 20 we have recounted, was executed on the same day.

The death roll is a long one. According to one source it numbered some 4,980 names. [38] The Gestapo records list 7,000 arrests. Among those resistance leaders mentioned in these pages who were executed were General Fritz Lindemann, Colonel von Boeselager, Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Colonel Georg Hansen of the Abwehr, Count von Helldorf, Colonel von Hofacker, Dr. Jens Peter Jessen, Otto Kiep, Dr. Carl Langbehn, Julius Leber, Major von Leonrod, Wilhelm Leuschner, Artur Nebe (the chief of the criminal police), Professor Adolf Reichwein, Count Berthold von Stauffenberg, brother of Klaus, General Thiele, Chief of Signals, OKH, and General von Thuengen, who was appointed by Beck to succeed General von Kortzfleisch on the day of the putsch.

One group of twenty condemned, whose lives Himmler had prolonged apparently in the belief that they might prove useful to him if he took over power and had to make peace, were shot out of hand on the night of April 22-23 as the Russians began fighting to the center of the capital. The prisoners were being marched from the Lehrterstrasse prison to the Prinz Albrechtstrasse Gestapo dungeon -- a good many prisoners escaped in the blackout on occasions such as these in the final days of the Third Reich -- when they met an S.S. detachment, which lined them up against a wall and mowed them down, only two escaping to tell the tale. Among those who perished were Count Albrecht von Bernstorff, Klaus Bcnhoeffer, brother of the pastor, and Albrecht Haushofer, a close friend of Hess and son of the famous geopolitician. The father committed suicide shortly afterward.

General Fromm did not escape execution despite his behavior on the fateful evening of July 20. Arrested the next day on orders of Himmler, who had succeeded him as head of the Replacement Army, he was haled before the People's Court in February 1945 on charges of "cowardice" and sentenced to death. [xxxv] Perhaps as a small recognition for his vital service in helping to save the Nazi regime, he was not strangled from a meathook, as were those whom he had arrested on the night of July 20, but merely dispatched by a firing squad on March 19, 1945.

The mystery which surrounded the life of Admiral Canaris, the deposed head of the Abwehr who had done so much to aid the conspirators but was not directly involved in the events of July 20, enveloped for many years the circumstances of his death. It was known that he was arrested after the attempt on Hitler's life. But Keitel, in one of the few decent gestures of his life at OKW, managed to prevent him from being handed over to the People's Court. The Fuehrer, outraged at the delay, then ordered Canaris to be tried by a summary S.S. court. This process was also delayed, but Canaris, along with Colonel Oster, his former assistant, and four others were finally tried at Flossenburg concentration camp on April 9, 1945, less than a month before the war ended, and sentenced to death. But it was not known for sure whether Canaris had been executed. It took ten years to solve the mystery. ]n 1955 the Gestapo prosecutor in the case was brought to trial and a large number of witnesses testified that they had seen Canaris hanged on April 9, 1945. One eyewitness, the Danish Colonel Lunding, told of seeing Canaris dragged naked from his cell to the gallows. Oster was dispatched at the same time.

Some who were arrested escaped trial and were eventually liberated from the Gestapo by the advancing Allied troops. Among these were General Halder and Dr. Schacht, who had had no part in the July 20 revolt though on the stand at Nuremberg Schacht claimed to have been "initiated" into it. Halder was placed in solitary confinement in a pitch-dark cell for several months. The two men, along with a distinguished group of prisoners, German and foreign, including Schuschnigg, Leon Blum, Schlabrendorff and General von Falkenhausen, were freed by American troops on May 4, 1945, at Niederdorf in the South Tyrol just as their Gestapo guard was on the point of executing the whole lot. Falkenhausen was later tried by the Belgians as a war criminal and sentenced on March 9, 1951, after four years in prison awaiting trial, to twelve years' penal servitude. He was released, however, a fortnight later and returned to Germany.

A good many Army officers implicated in the plot chose suicide rather than let themselves be turned over to the tender mercies of the Volksgericht. On the morning of July 21, General Henning von Tresckow, who had been the heart and soul of the conspiracy among the officers on the Eastern front, took leave of his friend and aide, Schlabrendorff, who has recalled his last words:

"Everybody will now turn upon us and cover us with abuse. But my conviction remains unshaken -- we have done the right thing. Hitler is not only the archenemy of Germany: he is the archenemy of the world. In a few hours I shall stand before God, answering for my actions and for my omissions. I think I shall be able to uphold with a clear conscience all that I have done in the fight against Hitler ...

"Whoever joined the resistance movement put on the shirt of Nessus. The worth of a man is certain only if he is prepared to sacrifice his life for his convictions."  [39]

That morning Tresckow drove off to the 28th Rifle Division, crept out to no man's land and pulled the pin on a hand grenade. It blew his head off.

Five days later the First Quartermaster General of the Army, Wagner, took his own life.

Among the high Army officers in the West, two field marshals and one general committed suicide. In Paris, as we have seen, the uprising had got off to a good start when General Heinrich von Stuelpnagel, the military governor of France, arrested the entire force of the S.S. and S.D.-Gestapo. Now all depended on the behavior of Field Marshal von Kluge, the new Commander in Chief West, on whom Tresckow had worked for two years on the Russian front in an effort to make him an active conspirator. Though Kluge had blown hot and cold, he had finally agreed -- or so the conspirators understood -- that he would support the revolt once Hitler was dead.

There was a fateful dinner meeting that evening of July 20 at La Roche-Guyon, the headquarters of Army Group B, which Kluge had also taken over after Rommel's accident. Kluge wanted to discuss the conflicting reports as to whether Hitler was dead or alive with his chief advisers, General Guenther Blumentritt, his chief of staff, General Speidel, chief of staff of Army Group B, General Stuelpnagel and Colonel von Hofacker, to whom Stauffenberg had telephoned earlier in the afternoon informing him of the bombing and the coup in Berlin. When the officers assembled for dinner it seemed to some of them at least that the cautious Field Marshal had about made up his mind to throw in his lot with the revolt. Beck had reached him by telephone shortly before dinner and had pleaded for his support -- whether Hitler was dead or alive. Then the first general order signed by Field Marshal von Witzleben had arrived. Kluge was impressed.

Still, he wanted more information on the situation and, unfortunately for the rebels, this now came from General Stieff, who had journeyed to Rastenburg with Stauffenberg that morning, wished him well, seen the explosion, ascertained that it had not killed Hitler and was now, by evening, trying to cover up the traces. Blumentritt got him on the line and Stieff told him the truth of what had happened, or rather, not happened.

"It has failed, then," Kluge said to Blumentritt. He seemed to be genuinely disappointed, for he added that had it succeeded he would have lost no time in getting in touch with Eisenhower to request an armistice.

At the dinner -- a ghostly affair, Speidel later recalled, "as if they sat in a house visited by death" -- Kluge listened to the impassioned arguments of Stuelpnagel and Hofacker that they must go ahead with the revolt even though Hitler might have survived. Blumentritt has described what followed.

When they had finished, Kluge, with obvious disappointment, remarked: "Well, gentlemen, the attempt has failed. Everything is over." Stuelpnagel then exclaimed: "Field Marshal, I thought you were acquainted with the plans. Something must be done." [40]

Kluge denied that he knew of any plans. After ordering Stuelpnagel to release the arrested S.S.-S.D. men in Paris, he advised him, "Look here, the best thing you can do is to change into civilian clothes and go into hiding."

But this was not the way out which a proud general of Stuelpnagel's stripe chose. After a weird all-night champagne party at the Hotel Raphael in Paris in which the released S.S. and S.D. officers, led by General Oberg, fraternized with the Army leaders who had arrested them -- and who most certainly would have had them shot had the revolt succeeded -- Stuelpnagel, who had been ordered to report to Berlin, left by car for Germany. At Verdun, where he had commanded a battalion in the First World War, he stopped to have a look at the famous battlefield. But also to carry out a personal decision. His driver and a guard heard a revolver shot. They found him floundering in the waters of a canal. A bullet had shot out one eye and so badly damaged the other that it was removed in the military hospital at Verdun, to which he was taken.

This did not save Stuelpnagel from a horrible end. Blinded and helpless. he was brought to Berlin on Hitler's express orders, haled before the People's Court, where he lay on a cot while Freisler abused him, and strangled to death in Ploetzensee prison on August 30.

Field Marshal von Kluge's decisive act in refusing to join the revolt did not save him any more than Fromm, by similar behavior in Berlin, saved himself. "Fate," as Speidel observed apropos of this vacillating general, "does not spare the man whose convictions are not matched by his readiness to give them effect." There is evidence that Colonel von Hofacker, under terrible torture -- he was not executed until December 20 -- mentioned the complicity of Kluge, Rommel and Speidel in the plot. Blumentritt says that Oberg informed him that Hofacker had "mentioned" Kluge in his first interrogations, and that, after being informed of this by Oberg himself, the Field Marshal "began to look more and more worried." [41]

Reports from the front were not such as to restore his spirits.

On July 26, General Bradley's American forces broke through the German front at St. Lo. Four days later General Patton's newly formed Third Army, racing through the gap, reached Avranches, opening the way to Brittany and to the Loire to the south. This was the turning point in the Allied invasion, and on July 30 Kluge notified Hitler's headquarters, "The whole Western front has been ripped open ... The left flank has collapsed." By the middle of August all that was left of the German armies in Normandy was locked in a narrow pocket around Falaise, where Hitler had forbidden any further retreat. The Fuehrer had now had enough of Kluge, whom he blamed for the reverses in the West and whom he suspected of considering the surrender of his forces to Eisenhower.

On August 17 Field Marshal Walther Model arrived to replace Klugehis sudden appearance was the first notice the latter had of his dismissal. Kluge was told by Hitler to leave word as to his whereabouts in Germany -- a warning that he had become suspect in connection with the July 20 revolt. The next day he wrote a long letter to Hitler and then set off by car for home. Near Metz he swallowed poison.

His farewell letter to the Fuehrer was found in the captured German military archives.

When you receive these lines I shall be no more ... Life has no more meaning for me ... Both Rommel and I ... foresaw the present development. We were not listened to ...

I do not know whether Field Marshal Model, who has been proved in every sphere, will master the situation ... Should it not be so, however. and your cherished new weapons not succeed, then, my Fuehrer, make up your mind to end the war. The German people have borne such untold suffering that it is time to put an end to this frightfulness ...

I have always admired your greatness ... If fate is stronger than your will and your genius, so is Providence ... Show yourself now also great enough to put an end to a hopeless struggle when necessary ...

Hitler read the letter, according to the testimony of Jodl at Nuremberg, in silence and handed it to him without comment. A few days later, at his military conference on August 3 J, the Supreme warlord observed. "There are strong reasons to suspect that had Kluge not committed suicide he would have been arrested anyway." [42]

The turn of Field Marshal Rommel, the idol of the German masses, came next.

As General von Stuelpnagel lay blinded and unconscious on the operating table in the hospital at Verdun after his not quite successful attempt to kill himself, he had blurted out the name of Rommel. Later under hideous torture in the Gestapo dungeon in the Prinz Albrechtstrasse in Berlin Colonel von Hofacker broke down and told of Rommel's part in the conspiracy. "Tell the people in Berlin they can count on me," Hofacker quoted the Field Marshal as assuring him. It was a phrase that stuck in Hitler's mind when he heard of it and which led him to decide that his favorite general, whom he knew to be the most popular one in Germany, must die.

Rommel, who had suffered bad fractures of his skull, temples and cheekbones and a severe injury to his left eye, and whose head was pitted with shell fragments, was first removed from a field hospital at Bernay to St. Germain to escape capture by the advancing Allied troops and thence, on August 8, to his home at Herrlingen near Ulm. He received the first warning of what might be in store for him when General Speidel, his former chief of staff, was arrested on September 7, the day after he had visited him at Herrlingen.

"That pathological liar," Rommel had exclaimed to Speidel when the talk turned to Hitler, "has now gone completely mad. He is venting his sadism on the conspirators of July 20, and this won't be the end of it!" [43]

Rommel now noticed that his house was being shadowed by the S.D. When he went out walking in the nearby woods with his fifteen-year-old son, who had been given temporary leave from his antiaircraft battery to tend his father, both carried revolvers. At headquarters in Rastenburg Hitler had now received a copy of Hofacker's testimony incriminating Rommel. He thereupon decreed his death -- but in a special way. The Fuehrer realized, as Keitel later explained to an interrogator at Nuremberg, "that it would be a terrible scandal in Germany if this well-known Field Marshal, the most popular general we had, were to be arrested and haled before the People's Court." So Hitler arranged with Keitel that Rommel would be told of the evidence against him and given the choice of killing himself or standing trial for treason before the People's Court. If he chose the first he would be given a state funeral with full military honors and his family would not be molested.

Thus it was that at noon on October 14, 1944, two generals from Hitler's headquarters drove up to the Rommel home, which was now surrounded by S.S. troops reinforced by five armored cars. The generals were Wilhelm Burgdorf, an alcoholic, florid-faced man who rivaled Keitel in his slavishness to Hitler, and his assistant in the Army Personnel Office, Ernst Maisel, of like character. They had sent word ahead to Rommel that they were coming from Hitler to discuss his "next employment."

"At the instigation of the Fuehrer," Keitel later testified, "I sent Burgdorf there with a copy of the testimony against Rommel. If it were true, he was to take the consequences. If it were not true, he would be exonerated by the court."

"And you instructed Burgdorf to take some poison with him, didn't you?" Keitel was asked.

"Yes. I told Burgdorf to take some poison along so that he could put it at Rommel's disposal, if conditions warranted it."

After Burgdorf and Maisel arrived it soon became evident that they had not come to discuss Rommel's next assignment. They asked to talk with the Field Marshal alone and the three men retired to his study.

"A few minutes later," Manfred Rommel later related, "I heard my father come upstairs and go into my mother's room." Then:

We went into my room. "I have just had to tell your mother," he began slowly, "that I shall be dead in a quarter of an hour ... Hitler is charging me with high treason. In view of my services in Africa I am to have the chance of dying by poison. The two generals have brought it with them. It's fatal in three seconds. If I accept, none of the usual steps will be taken against my family ... I'm to be given a state funeral. It's all been prepared to the last detail. In a quarter of an hour you will receive a call from the hospital in Ulm to say that I've had a brain seizure on the way to a conference."

And that is what happened.

Rommel, wearing his old Afrika Korps leather jacket and grasping his field marshal's baton, got into the car with the two generals, was driven a mile or two up the road by the side of a forest, where General Maisel and the S.S. driver got out, leaving Rommel and General Burgdorf in the back seat. When the two men returned to the car a minute later, Rommel was slumped over the seat, dead. Burgdorf paced up and down impatiently, as though he feared he would be late for lunch and his midday drinks. Fifteen minutes after she had bidden her husband farewell, Frau Rommel received the expected telephone call from the hospital. The chief doctor reported that two generals had brought in the body of the Field Marshal, who had died of a cerebral embolism, apparently as the result of his previous skull fractures. Actually Burgdorf had gruffly forbidden an autopsy. "Do not touch the corpse," he stormed. "Everything has already been arranged in Berlin."

It had been.

Field Marshal Model issued a ringing order of the day announcing that Rommel had died of "wounds sustained on July 17" and mourning the loss "of one of the greatest commanders of our nation."

Hitler wired Frau Rommel: "Accept my sincerest sympathy for the heavy loss you have suffered with the death of your husband. The name of Field Marshal Rommel will be forever linked with the heroic battles in North Africa." Goering telegraphed "in silent compassion":

The fact that your husband has died a hero's death as the result of his wounds, after we all hoped that he would remain to the German people, has deeply touched me.

Hitler ordered a state funeral, at which the senior officer of the German Army, Field Marshal von Rundstedt, delivered the funeral oration. "His heart," said Rundstedt as he stood over Rommel's swastika-bedecked body, "belonged to the Fuehrer." [xxxvi]

"The old soldier [Rundstedt]," Speidel says, "appeared to those present to be broken and bewildered ... Here destiny gave him the unique chance to play the role of Mark Antony. He remained in his moral apathy." [xxxvii] [45]

The humiliation of the vaunted officer corps of the German Army was great. It had seen three of its illustrious field marshals, Witzleben, Kluge and Rommel, implicated in a plot to overthrow the Supreme warlord, for which one of them was strangled and two forced to suicide. It had to stand idly by while scores of its highest-ranking generals were hauled off to the prisons of the Gestapo and judicially murdered after farcical trials before the People's Court. In this unprecedented situation, despite all its proud traditions, the corps did not close ranks. Instead it sought to preserve its "honor" by what a foreign observer, at least, can only term dishonoring and degrading itself. Before the wrath of the former Austrian corporal, its frightened leaders fawned and groveled.

No wonder that Field Marshal von Rundstedt looked broken and bewildered as he intoned the funeral oration over the body of Rommel. He had fallen to a low state, as had his brother officers, whom Hitler now forced to drink the bitter cup to its dregs. Rundstedt himself accepted the post of presiding officer over the so-called military Court of Honor which Hitler created to expel from the Army all officers suspected of complicity in the plot against him so that they could be denied a court-martial and handed over in disgrace as civilians to the drumhead People's Court. The Court of Honor was not permitted to hear an accused officer in his own defense; it acted merely on the "evidence" furnished it by the Gestapo. Rundstedt did not protest against this restriction, nor did another member of the court, General Guderian -- who the day after the bombing had been appointed as the new Chief of the Army General Staff -- though the latter, in his memoirs, confesses that it was an "unpleasant task," that the court sessions were "melancholy" and raised "the most difficult problems of conscience." No doubt they did, for Rundstedt, Guderian and their fellow judges -- all generals -- turned over hundreds of their comrades to certain execution after degrading them by throwing them out of the Army.

Guderian did more. In his capacity of General Staff Chief he issued two ringing orders of the day to assure the Nazi warlord of the undying loyalty of the officer corps. The first, promulgated on July 23, accused the conspirators of being "a few officers, some of them on the retired list. who had lost all courage and, out of cowardice and weakness, preferred the road of disgrace to the only road open to an honest soldier -- the road of duty and honor." Whereupon he solemnly pledged to the Fuehrer "the unity of the generals, of the officer corps and of the men of the Army."

In the meantime the discarded Field Marshal von Brauchitsch rushed into print with a burning statement condemning the putsch, pledging renewed allegiance to the Fuehrer and welcoming the appointment of Himmler -- who despised the generals, including Brauchitsch -- as chief of the Replacement Army. Another discard, Grand Admiral Raeder, fearful that he might be suspected of at least sympathy with the plotters, rushed out of retirement to Rastenburg to personally assure Hitler of his loyalty. On July 24 the Nazi salute was made compulsory in place of the old military salute "as a sign of the Army's unshakable allegiance to the Fuehrer and of the closest unity between Army and Party."

On July 29 Guderian warned all General Staff officers that henceforth they must take the lead in being good Nazis, loyal and true to the Leader.

Every General Staff officer must be a National Socialist officer-leader not only ... by his model attitude toward political questions but by actively co-operating in the political indoctrination of younger commanders in accordance with the tenets of the Fuehrer ...

In judging and selecting General Staff officers, superiors should place traits of character and spirit above the mind. A rascal may be ever so cunning but in the hour of need he will nevertheless fail because he is a rascal.

I expect every General Staff officer immediately to declare himself a convert or adherent to my views and to make an announcement to that effect in public. Anyone unable to do so should apply for his removal from the General Staff. [xxxviii]

So far as is known no one applied.

With this, comments a German military historian, "the story of the General Staff as an autonomous entity may be said to have come to an end." [46] This elite group, founded by Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and built up by Moltke to be the pillar of the nation, which had ruled Germany during the First World War, dominated the Weimar Republic and forced even Hitler to destroy the S.A. and murder its leader when they stood in its way, had been reduced in the summer of 1944 to a pathetic body of fawning, frightened men. There was to be no more opposition to Hitler, not even any criticism of him. The once mighty Army, like every other institution in the Third Reich, would go down with him, its leaders too benumbed now, too lacking in the courage which the handful of conspirators alone had shown, to raise their voices -- let alone do anything -- to stay the hand of the one man who they by now fully realized was leading them and the German people rapidly to the most awful catastrophe in the history of their beloved Fatherland.

This paralysis of the mind and will of grown-up men, raised as Christians, supposedly disciplined in the old virtues, boasting of their code of honor, courageous in the face of death on the battlefield, is astonishing, though perhaps it can be grasped if one remembers the course of German history, outlined in an earlier chapter, which made blind obedience to temporal rulers the highest virtue of Germanic man and put a premium on servility. By now the generals knew the evil of the man before whom they groveled. Guderian later recalled Hitler as he was after July 20.

In his case, what had been hardness became cruelty, while a tendency to bluff became plain dishonesty. He often lied without hesitation and assumed that others lied to him. He believed no one any more. It had already been difficult enough dealing with him: it now became a torture that grew steadily worse from month to month. He frequently lost all self-control and his language grew increasingly violent. In his intimate circle he now found no restraining influence. [47]

Nevertheless, it was this man alone, half mad, rapidly deteriorating in body and mind, who now, as he had done in the snowy winter of 1941 before Moscow, rallied the beaten, retreating armies and put new heart into the battered nation. By an incredible exercise of will power which all the others in Germany -- in the Army, in the government and among the people -- lacked, he was able almost singlehandedly to prolong the agony of war for well nigh a year.

The revolt of July 20, 1944, had failed not only because of the inexplicable ineptness of some of the ablest men in the Army and in civilian life, because of the fatal weakness of character of Fromm and Kluge and because misfortune plagued the plotters at every turn. It had flickered out because almost all the men who kept this great country running, generals and civilians, and the mass of the German people, in uniform and out, were not ready for a revolution -- in fact, despite their misery and the bleak prospect of defeat and foreign occupation, did not want it. National Socialism, notwithstanding the degradation it had brought to Germany and Europe, they still accepted and indeed supported, and in Adolf Hitler they still saw the country's savior.

At that time [Guderian later wrote] -- the fact seems beyond dispute -- the great proportion of the German people still believed in Adolf Hitler and would have been convinced that with his death the assassin had removed the only man who might still have been able to bring the war to a favorable conclusion. [48]

Even after the end of the war General Blumentritt, who was not in on the conspiracy but would have supported it had his chief, Kluge, been of sterner stuff, found that at least "one half of the civil population was shocked that the German generals had taken part in the attempt to overthrow Hitler, and felt bitterly toward them in consequence -- and the same feeling was manifested in the Army itself. " [49]

By a hypnotism that defies explanation -- at least by a non-German -- Hitler held the allegiance and trust of this remarkable people to the last. It was inevitable that they would follow him blindly, like dumb cattle but also with a touching faith and even an enthusiasm that raised them above the animal herd, over the precipice to the destruction of the nation.



i. On his sixtieth birthday, October 30, 1942, Kluge received from the Fuehrer a  check for 250,000 marks ($100,000 at the official rate of exchange) and a special  permit to spend half of it on the improvement of his estate. Notwithstanding this  insult to his honesty and honor as a German officer, the Field Marshal accepted  both. (Schlabrendorff, They Almost Killed Hitler, p. 40.) Later when Kluge turned  against Hitler the Fuehrer told his officers at headquarters, "I personally promoted  him twice, gave him the highest decorations, gave him a large estate ... and a  large supplement to his pay as Field Marshal ... " (Gilbert, Hitler Directs His War,  pp. 101-02, a stenographic account of Hitler's conference at headquarters on August  31, 1944.)

ii. "We are to be hanged," Moltke wrote to his wife just before his execution, "for  thinking together."
iii. It is said in some of the German memoirs that in 1942 and 1943 the Nazis were in  contact with the Russians about a possible peace negotiation and even that Stalin  had offered to initiate talks for a separate peace. Ribbentrop on the stand at  Nuremberg made a good deal of his own efforts to get in touch with the Russians and  said he actually made contact with Soviet agents at Stockholm. Peter Kleist, who  acted for Ribbentrop in Stockholm, had told of this in his book. [3] I suspect that  when all the secret German papers are sorted, a revealing chapter on this episode  may come to light.
iv. Executed by the Nazis.
v. At the first meeting, Schlabrendorff says, he had an opportunity to examineHitler's oversize cap. He was struck by its weight. On examination it proved to be lined with three and a half pounds of steel plating.

vi. Executed by the Nazis.
vii. One of the difficulties of piecing together the deeds of the plotters is that the  memories of the few survivors are far from perfect, so that their accounts not only  often differ but are contradictory. Schlabrendorff, for example, who had brought the  bombs to Gersdorff, recounts in his book that because they could not find a short  enough time fuse the Zeughaus attempt "had to be given up." He apparently was  unaware, or forgot, that Gersdorff actually went to the Zeughaus to try to carry out  his assignment, though the colonel says that the night before he told him he was  "determined to do it" with the fuses he had.
viii. Hassell describes the painful scene in his diary. "He asked me to spare him the  embarrassment of my presence," Hassell writes. "When I started to remonstrate he  interrupted me harshly." (The Von Hassell Diaries, pp. 256-57.) Only when  Weizsaecker was safely settled down in the Vatican later, as German ambassador there, did he urge the conspirators to action. 'This is easy to do from the Vatican," Hassell commented. Weizsaecker survived to write his somewhat shabby memoirs. Hassell's diary was published after his execution.

ix. Bonhoeffer, Dohnanyi and Oster were all executed by the S.S. on April 9, 1945, less than a month before Germany's capitulation. Their extinction seems to have been an act of revenge on the part of Himmler. Mueller alone survived.
x. Apparently Himmler had widened his net in the intervening four months. According to Reitlinger some seventy-four persons were arrested as the result of Dr. Reckse's spying. (Reitlinger, The S.S., p. 304.)

xi. First the Japanese ambassador intervened to delay their trial. Then on February 3, 1945, a bomb dropped during a daylight attack by the American Air Force not only killed Roland Freisler, while he was presiding over one of his grisly treason trials, but destroyed the dossier on the Solfs. which was in the files of the People's Court. They were nevertheless scheduled to be tried by this court on April 27, but by that time the Russians were in Berlin. Actually the Solfs were released from Moabit prison on April 23, apparently because of an error. (Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis, p. 595n., and Pechel, Deutscher Widerstand, pp. 88-93.)
xii. Canaris was made chief of the Office for Commercial and Economic Warfare.  With the assumption of this empty title the "little Admiral" faded out of German  history. He was so shadowy a figure that no two writers agree as to what kind of  man he was, or what he believed in, if anything much. A cynic and a fatalist, he  had hated the Weimar Republic and worked secretly against it and then turned  similarly on the Third Reich. His days, like those of all the other prominent men  in the Abwehr save one (General Lahousen), were now numbered, as we shall see.
xiii. The Kleists, father and son, were later arrested. The father was executed on April 16, 1945; his son survived.

xiv. Hitler often discussed this technique with his old party cronies. There is a stenographic record of a monologue of his at headquarters on May 3, 1942. "I quite understand," he said, "why ninety per cent of the historic assassinations have been successful. The only preventive measure one can take is to live irregularly -- to walk, to drive and to travel at irregular times and unexpectedly ... As far as possible, whenever I go anywhere by car I go off unexpectedly and without warning the police." (Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 366.)
Hitler had always been aware, as we have seen, that he might be assassinated. In his war conference on August 22, 1939, on the eve of the attack on Poland, he had emphasized to his generals that while he personally was indispensable he could "be eliminated at any time by a criminal or an idiot."

In his ramblings on the subject on May 3, 1942, he added, 'There can never be absolute security against fanatics and idealists ... If some fanatic wishes to shoot me or kill me with a bomb, I am no safer sitting down than standing up." He thought, though, that "the number of fanatics who seek my life on idealistic grounds is getting much smaller ... The only really dangerous elements are either those fanatics who have been goaded to action by dastardly priests or nationalist-minded patriots from one of the countries we have occupied. My many years of experience make things fairly difficult even for such as these." (Ibid., p. 367.)
xv. At their meeting at Casablanca Churchill and Roosevelt had issued on January 24,  1943, their declaration of unconditional surrender for Germany. Goebbels naturally  made a great deal of this in trying to whip the German people into a state of all-out  resistance but in the opinion of this author his success has been grossly exaggerated  by a surprisingly large number of Western writers.
xvi. Because of Allied air superiority in the West, Hitler had forbidden his senior  commanders to travel by plane.
xvii. "If, in spite of the enemy's air superiority, we succeed in getting a large part of our  mobile force into action in the threatened coast defense sectors in the first hours,  I am convinced that the enemy attack on the coast will collapse completely on its  first day," Rommel had written General Jodi on April 23, less than two months  before. (The Rommel Papers, ed. Liddell Hart, p. 468.) Hitler's strict orders had  made it impossible to throw in the armored divisions "in the first hours" or even the  first days. When they finally arrived they were thrown in piecemeal and failed.
xviii. The talks lasted from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M., with a break for lunch -- "a one-dish meal,"  Speidel recounts, "at which Hitler bolted a heaped plate of rice and vegetables, after  it had been previously tasted for him. Pills and liqueur glasses containing various  medicines were ranged around his place, and he took them in turn. Two S.S. men  stood guard behind his chair."
xix. Rundstedt's dismissal may have come partly as the result of his blunt words to Keitel the night before. The latter had rung him up to inquire about the situation. An all-out German attack on the British lines by four S.S. panzer divisions had just floundered and Rundstedt was in a gloomy mood.

"What shall we do?" cried Keitel.

"Make peace, you fools," Rundstedt retorted. "What else can you do?"

It seems that Keitel, the "telltale toady," as most Army field commanders called him, went straight to Hitler with the remarks. The Fuehrer was at that moment conferring with Kluge, who had been on sick leave for the last few months as the result of injuries sustained in a motor accident. Kluge was immediately named to replace Rundstedt. In such ways were top commands changed by the Nazi warlord. General Blumentritt told of the telephone conversation to both Wilmot (The Struggle for Europe, p. 347) and Liddell Hart (The German Generals Talk, p. 205).
xx. Speidel quotes the writer Ernst Juenger, whose books had once been popular in  Nazi Germany but who eventually had turned and had joined the Paris end of the  plot: "The blow that felled Rommel on the Livarot Road on July 17 deprived our  plan of the only man strong enough to bear the terrible weight of war and civil war  simultaneously." (Speidel, Invasion 1944, p. 119.)
xxi. This came out in the "Rote Kapelle" affair in 1942, when the Abwehr discovered a large number of strategically placed Germans, many of them from old, prominent families, running an extensive espionage network for the Russians. At one time they were transmitting intelligence to Moscow over some 100 clandestine radio transmitters in Germany and in the occupied countries of the West. The leader of the "Rote Kapelle" (Red Orchestra) was Harold Schulze-Boysen, a grandson of Grand Admiral von Tirpitz, a picturesque leader of the "lost generation" after the First World War and a familiar Bohemian figure in those days in Berlin, where his black sweater, his thick mane of blond hair and his passion for revolutionary poetry and politics attracted attention. At that time he rejected both Nazism and Communism, though he considered himself a man of the Left. Through his mother he got into the Luftwaffe as a lieutenant at the outbreak of the war and wormed himself into Goering's "research" office, the Forschungsamt, which, as we have seen in connection with the Anschluss, specialized in tapping telephones. Soon he was organizing a vast espionage service for Moscow, with trusted associates in every ministry and military office in Berlin. Among these were Arvid Harnack, nephew of a famous theologian, a brilliant young economist in the Ministry of Economics, who was married to an American woman, Mildred Fish, whom he had met at the University of Wisconsin; Franz Scheliha in the Foreign Office; Horst Heilmann in the Propaganda Ministry; and Countess Erika von Brockdorff in the Ministry of Labor.

Two Soviet agents who parachuted into Germany and were later apprehended gave the "Rote Kapelle" away, and a large number of arrests followed.

Of the seventy-five leaders charged with treason, fifty were condemned to death, including Schulze-Boysen and Harnack. Mildred Harnack and Countess von Brockdorff got off with prison sentences but Hitler insisted that they be executed too, and they were. To impress would-be traitors the Fuehrer ordered that the condemned be hanged. But there were no gallows in Berlin, where the traditional form of execution was the ax, and so the Victims were simply strangled by a rope around their necks which was attached to a meathook (borrowed from an abattoir) and slowly hoisted. From then on this method of hanging was to be employed, as a special form of cruelty, on those who dared to defy the Fuehrer.
xxii. All four, Leber, Reichwein, Jacob and Saefkow, were executed.
xxiii. There is disagreement among the historians whether Stauffenberg set out for  Rastenburg or the Obersalzberg. The two most authoritative German writers on  the subject, Eberhard Zeller and Professor Gerhard Ritter, give contradictory  accounts. Zeller thinks Hitler was still at Berchtesgaden, but Ritter is sure this is a  mistake and that the Fuehrer had returned to Rastenburg. Unfortunately Hitler's  daily calendar book, which has proved an unfailing guide to this writer up to this  point, was not captured intact and does not cover this period. But the best evidence,  including a report on Stauffenberg's movements drawn up at Fuehrer headquarters  on July 22, indicates pretty conclusively that on July 15 Hitler was at Rastenburg  and that it was there that Stauffenberg planned to kill him. Though the two places  from which Hitler tried to conduct the war -- he was rarely in Berlin, which was  being unmercifully bombed -- were about equidistant from the capital, Berchtesgaden,  being more centrally located and near Munich, where the Army garrison was  believed to be loyal to Beck, had certain advantages over Rastenburg for the  conspirators.
xxiv. General Adolf Heusinger, Chief of Operations of the Army High Command, recounts that on July 19 the news from the Ukrainian front was so bad that he inquired at OKW whether the Replacement Army had any troops in training in Poland which might be thrown into the Eastern front. Keitel suggested that Stauffenberg be summoned the next day to advise them. (Heusinger, Befehl im Widerstreit, p. 350.)

xxv. FitzGibbon says (20 July, p. 150) "it is believed that he had previously confessed, but of course could not be granted absolution." The author recounts that Stauffenberg had told the Bishop of Berlin, Cardinal Count Preysing, of what he intended to do, and that the bishop had replied that he honored the young man's motives and did not feel justified in attempting to restrain him on theological grounds. (Ibid., p. 152.)
xxvi. A number of writers have declared that Hitler's daily military conferences at  Rastenburg usually took place in his underground bunker and that because of repairs  being made to it and because of the hot, humid day, the meeting on July 20 was  shifted to the building aboveground. "This accidental change of place saved Hitler's  life," Bullock writes (Hitler, p. 681). It is to be doubted if there was any accidental  change of place. The Lagebaracke, as its name implies, was, so far as I can make  out, the place where the daily conferences were usually held. Only in case of  threatened air raids were the meetings adjourned to the underground bunker which,  at that, would have been cooler on this sweltering day. (See Zeller, Geist der  Freiheit, p. 360, n.4.)
xxvii. According to the account given Allied interrogators by Admiral Kurt Assmann, who was present, Stauffenberg had whispered to Brandt, "I must go and telephone. Keep an eye on my briefcase. It has secret papers in it."

xxviii. A good many writers have contended that at this moment General Fellgiebel was to have blown up the communications center and that his failure to do so was disastrous to the conspiracy. Thus Wheeler-Bennett (Nemesis, p. 643) writes that "General Fellgiebel failed lamentably in the execution of his task." Since the various communications centers were housed in several different underground bunkers,  heavily guarded by S.S., it is most improbable that Stauffenberg's plans ever called  for blowing them up -- an impossible task for the General. What Fellgiebel agreed  to do was to shut off communication with the outside world for two or three hours  after he had sent word to Berlin of the explosion. This, except for an unavoidable  lapse or two, he did.
xxix. The official stenographer, Berger, was killed, and Colonel Brandt, General  Schmundt, Hitler's adjutant, and General Korten died of their wounds. All the  others, including Generals Jodl, Bodenschatz (Goering's chief of staff) and Heusinger,  were more or less severely injured.
xxx. Ribbentrop had been a champagne salesman and then had married the daughter  of Germany's leading producer of the wine. His "yon" had come through adoption  by an aunt-Fraulein Gertrud yon Ribbentrop -- in 1925, when he was thirty-two  years old.
xxxi. A few weeks before, Leonrod had asked an Army chaplain friend of his, Father  Hermann Wehrle, whether the Catholic Church condoned tyrannicide and had been  given a negative answer. When this came out in Leonrod's trial before the People's  Court, Father Wehrle was arrested for not having told the authorities and, like  Leonrod, was executed.
xxxii. "To think that these revolutionaries weren't even smart enough to cut the telephone  wires!" Goebbels is said to have exclaimed afterward. "My little daughter would  have thought of that." (Curt Riess, Joseph Goebbels: The Devil's Advocate, p. 280.)
xxxiii. There are conflicting stories as to why the Berlin radio was not seized. According  to one account, a unit from the infantry school at Doeberitz had been assigned this  task, which was to be carried out by the commandant, General Hitzfeld. who was  in on the plot. But the conspirators failed to warn Hitzfeld that July 20 was the day,  and he was away in Baden attending the funeral of a relative. His second-in-command,  a Colonel Mueller, was also away on a military assignment. When Mueller  finally returned about 8 P.M. he found that his best battalion had left for a night  exercise. By the time he rounded up his troops at midnight, it was too late. According  to a different story, a Major Jacob succeeded in surrounding the Rundfunkhaus  with troops from the infantry school but could get no clear orders from Olbricht as  to what to do. When Goebbels phoned the text of the first announcement Jacob  did not interfere with its being broadcast. Later the major contended that if  Olbricht had given him the necessary orders the German radio network could  easily have been denied the Nazis and put at the service of the conspirators. The  first version is given by Zeller (Geist der Freiheit, pp. 267-68). the most authoritative  German historian on the July 20 plot; the second is given by Wheeler-Bennett  (Nemesis, pp. 654-55n.) and Rudolf Sammler (Goebbels: The Man Next to Hitler,  p. 138), both of whom say Major Jacob gave the above testimony.
xxxiv. His treachery did not prevent his being arrested for complicity in the plot and  hanged for it.
xxxv. Though the film of this trial was found by the Allies (and shown at Nuremberg.  where the author first saw it) that of the executions was never discovered and  presumably was destroyed or, the orders of Hitler lest it fall into enemy hands.  According to Allen Dulles the two films -- originally thirty miles long and cut to eight  miles -- were put together by Goebbels and shown to certain Army audiences as a  lesson and a warning. But the soldiers refused to look at it -- at the Cadet School at  Lichterfelde they walked out as it began to run -- and it was soon withdrawn from  circulation. (Dulles, Germany's Underground, p. 83.)
xxxvi. Father Alfred Delp, Jesuit member of the Kreisau Circle, was executed with them.  Goerdeler's brother, Fritz, was hanged a few days later. Count yon Moltke, the  leader of the Kreisau Circle, was executed on January 23, 1945, though he had had  no part in the assassination plot. Trott zu Solz, a leading light in the Circle and in  the conspiracy, was hanged on August 25, 1944.
xxxvii. "The sentence affected him deeply," Schlabrendorff, who saw a good deal of Fromm  at the Prinz Albrechtstrasse Gestapo prison, later recounted. "He had not expected  it." (Schlabrendorff, They Almost Killed Hiller, p. 121.)
xxxviii. It is only fair to add that Rundstedt probably did not know of the circumstances of Rommel's death, apparently learning them only from Keitel's testimony at Nuremberg. "I did not hear these rumors," Rundstedt testified on the stand, "otherwise I would have refused to act as representative of the Fuehrer at the state funeral; that would have been an infamy beyond words." [44] Nevertheless the Rommel family noticed that this gentleman of the old school declined to attend the cremation after the funeral and to come to the Rommel home, as did most of the other generals, to extend condolences to the widow.

xxxix. General Speidel himself, though incarcerated in the cellars of the Gestapo prison in the Prinz Albrechtstrasse in Berlin and subjected to incessant questioning, became neither broken nor bewildered. Being a philosopher as well as a soldier perhaps helped. He outwitted his S.D. tormentors, admitting nothing and betraying no one. He had one bad moment when he was confronted with Colonel von Hofacker, who, he believes, had been not only tortured but drugged into talking, but on this occasion Hofacker did not betray him and repudiated what he had previously said.

Though never brought to trial, Speidel was kept in Gestapo custody for seven months. As American troops neared his place of confinement near Lake Constance in southern Germany, he escaped with twenty others by a ruse and took refuge with a Catholic priest, who hid the group until the Americans arrived. Speidel omits this chapter of his life in his book, which is severely objective and written in the third person, but he told the story to Desmond Young who gives it in his Rommel -- The Desert Fox (pp. 251-52 of the paperback edition).

Capping an unusual career, Speidel held an important command at NATO in the late 1950s.

xl. In his memoirs, Guderian, who constantly emphasizes how he stood up to Hitler  and criticizes him bitterly, makes no mention of these orders of the day.
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Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

Postby admin » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:20 am

Part 1 of 2




Scarcely had Hitler recovered from the shock of the July 20 bombing when he was faced with the loss of France and Belgium and of the great conquests in the East. Enemy troops in overwhelming numbers were converging on the Reich.

By the middle of August 1944, the Russian summer offensives, beginning June 10 and unrolling one after another, had brought the Red Army to the border of East Prussia, bottled up fifty German divisions in the Baltic region, penetrated to Vyborg in Finland, destroyed Army Group Center and brought an advance on this front of four hundred miles in six weeks to the Vistula opposite Warsaw, while in the south a new attack which began on August 20 resulted in the conquest of Rumania by the end of the month and with it the Ploesti oil fields, the only major source of natural oil for the German armies. On August 26 Bulgaria formally withdrew from the war and the Germans began to hastily clear out of that country. In September Finland gave up and turned on the German troops which refused to evacuate its territory.

In the West, France was liberated quickly. In General Patton, the commander of the newly formed U.S. Third Army, the Americans had found a tank general with the dash and flair of Rommel in Africa. After the capture of Avranches on July 30, he had left Brittany to wither on the vine and begun a great sweep around the German armies in Normandy, moving southeast to Orleans on the Loire and then due east toward the Seine south of Paris. By August 23 the Seine was reached southeast and northwest of the capital, and two days later the great city, the glory of France, was liberated after four years of German occupation when General Jacques Leclerc's French 2nd Armored Division and the U.S. 4th Infantry Division broke into it and found that French resistance units were largely in control. They also found the Seine bridges, many of them works of art, intact. [i]

The remnants of the German armies in France were now in full retreat. Montgomery, the victor over Rommel in North Africa, who on September I was made a field marshal, drove his Canadian First Army and British Second Army two hundred miles in four days -- from the lower Seine past the storied battle sites of 1914-18 and 1940 into Belgium. Brussels fell to him on September 3 and Antwerp the next day. So swift was the advance that the Germans did not have time to destroy the harbor facilities at Antwerp. This was a great stroke of fortune for the Allies, for this port, as soon as its approaches were cleared, was destined to become the principal supply base of the Anglo-American armies.

Farther south of the British-Canadian forces, the U.S. First Army, under General Courtney H. Hodges, advanced with equal speed into southeastern Belgium, reaching the Meuse River, from which the devastating German breakthrough had begun in May 1940, and capturing the fortresses of Namur and Liege, where the Germans had no time to organize a defense. Farther south still, Patton's Third Army had taken Verdun, surrounded Metz, reached the Moselle River and linked up at the Belfort Gap with the Franco-American Seventh Army, which under the command of General Alexander Patch had landed on the Riviera in southern France on August 15 and pushed rapidly up the Rhone Valley.

By the end of August the German armies in the West had lost 500,000 men, half of them as prisoners, and almost all of their tanks, artillery and trucks. There was very little left to defend the Fatherland. The much-publicized Siegfried Line was virtually unmanned and without guns. Most of the German generals in the West believed that the end had come. "There were no longer any ground forces in existence, to say nothing of air forces," says Speidel. [1] "As far as I was concerned," Rundstedt, who was reinstated on September 4 as Commander in Chief in the West, told Allied interrogators after the war, "the war was ended in September." [2]

But not for Adolf Hitler. On the last day of August he lectured some of his generals at headquarters, attempting to inject new iron into their veins and at the same time hold out hope.

If necessary we'll fight on the Rhine. It doesn't make any difference. Under all circumstances we will continue this battle until, as Frederick the Great said, one of our damned enemies gets too tired to fight any more. We'll tight until we get a peace which secures the life of the German nation for the next fifty or a hundred years and which, above all, does not besmirch our honor a second time, as happened in 1918 ... 1 live only for the purpose of leading this fight because I know that if there is not an iron will behind it, this battle cannot be won.

After excoriating the General Staff for its lack of iron will, Hitler revealed to his generals some of the reasons for his stubborn hopes.

The time will come when the tension between the Allies will become so great that the break will occur. All the coalitions in history have disintegrated sooner or later. The only thing is to wait for the right moment, no matter how hard it is. [3]

Goebbels was assigned the task of organizing "total mobilization," and Himmler, the new chief of the Replacement Army, went to work to raise twenty-five Volksgrenadier divisions for the defense of the West. Despite all the plans and all the talk in Nazi Germany concerning "total war" the resources of the country had been far from "totally" organized. At Hitler's insistence the production of civilian goods had been maintained at a surprisingly large figure throughout the war -- ostensibly to keep up morale. And he had balked at carrying out the prewar plans to mobilize women for work in the factories. "The sacrifice of our most cherished ideals is too great a price," he said in March 1943 when Speer wanted to draft women for industry. [4] Nazi ideology had taught that the place of the German woman was in the home and not in the factory -- and in the home she stayed. In the first four years of the war, when in Great Britain two and a quarter million women had been placed in war production, only 182,000 women were similarly employed in Germany. The number of peacetime domestic servants in Germany remained unchanged at a million and a half during the war. [5][/quote]

Now with the enemy at the gates, the Nazi leaders bestirred themselves. Boys between fifteen and eighteen and men between fifty and sixty were called to the colors. Universities and high schools, offices and factories, were combed for recruits. In September and October 1944 a half-million men were found for the Army. But no provision was made to replace them in the factories and offices by women, and Albert Speer, the Minister for Armament and War Production, protested to Hitler that the drafting of skilled workers was seriously affecting the output of arms.

Not since Napoleonic times had German soldiers been forced to defend the sacred soil of the Fatherland. All the subsequent wars, Prussia's and Germany's, had been fought on -- and had devastated -- the soil of other peoples. A shower of exhortations fell upon the hard-pressed troops.


... I expect you to defend Germany's sacred soil ... to the very last! ..,

Heil the Fuehrer!

Field Marshal


None of us gives up a square foot of German soil while still alive ...

Whoever retreats without giving battle is a traitor to his people ...

Soldiers! Our homeland, the lives of our wives and children are at stake!

Our Fuehrer and our loved ones have confidence in their soldiers! ...

Long live our Germany and our beloved Fuehrer!

MODEL, Field Marshal

Nevertheless, with the roof caving in, there were an increasing number of desertions and Himmler took drastic action to discourage them. On September 10 he posted an order:

Certain unreliable elements seem to believe that the war will be over for them as soon as they surrender to the enemy....

Every deserter ... will find his just punishment. Furthermore, his ignominious behavior will entail the most severe consequences for his family ... They will be summarily shot.

A Colonel Hoffmann-Schonforn of the 18th Grenadier Division proclaimed to his unit:

Traitors from our ranks have deserted to the enemy ... These bastards have given away important military secrets ... Deceitful Jewish mudslingers taunt you with their pamphlets and try to entice you into becoming bastards also. Let them spew their poison! ... As for the contemptible traitors who have forgotten their honor -- their families will have to atone for their treason. [6]

In September what the skeptical German generals called a "miracle" occurred. To Speidel it was "a German variation of the 'miracle of the Marne' for the French in 1914. The furious advance of the Allies suddenly subsided."

Why it subsided has been a subject of dispute to this day among thc Allied commanders from General Eisenhower on down; to the German generals it was incomprehensible. By the second week in September American units had reached the German border before Aachen and on the Moselle. Germany lay open to the Allied armies. Early in September Montgomery had urged Eisenhower to allot all of his supplies and reserves to the British and Canadian armies and the U.S. Ninth and First armies for a bold offensive in the north under his command that would penetrate quickly into the Ruhr, deprive the Germans of their main arsenal, open the road to Berlin and end the war. Eisenhower rejected the proposal. [ii] He wanted to advance toward the Rhine on a "broad front."

But his armies had outrun their supplies. Every ton of gasoline and ammunition had to be brought in over the beaches in Normandy or through the single port of Cherbourg and transported by truck three to four hundred miles to the advancing front. By the second week of September, Eisenhower's armies were bogging down for lack of supplies. They were also running into unexpected German resistance. By concentrating his available forces at two critical points Rundstedt was able, by the middle of September, to halt at least temporarily Patton's Third Army on the Moselle and Hodges' First Army in front of Aachen.

Eisenhower, prodded by Montgomery, had then agreed to a bold plan to seize a bridgehead over the Lower Rhine at Arnhem and thus obtain a position from which the Siegfried Line could be outflanked on the north. The objective fell far short of Montgomery's dream of racing into the Ruhr and thence to Berlin, but it promised a strategic base for a later try. The attack, led by a massive drop of two American and one British airborne divisions, flying in from bases in Britain, began on September 17, but due to bad weather, to the circumstance that the airborne troops landed right in the midst of two S.S. panzer divisions they did not know were there. and to the lack of adequate land forces pushing up from the south, it failed, and after ten days of savage fighting the Allies withdrew from Arnhem. The British 1st Airborne Division, which had been dropped near the city, lost all but 2, 163 of some 9,000 men. To Eisenhower this setback "was ample evidence that much bitter campaigning was to come." [7]

Yet he hardly expected the Germans to recover sufficiently to launch the stunning surprise that burst on the Western Front as Christmas approached that winter.


On the evening of December 12, 1944, a host of German generals, the senior field commanders on the Western front, were called to Rundstedt's headquarters, stripped of their side arms and briefcases, packed into a bus. driven about the dark, snowy countryside for half an hour to make them lose their bearings, and finally deposited at the entrance to a deep underground bunker which turned out to be Hitler's headquarters at Ziegenberg near Frankfurt. There they learned for the first time what only a handful of the top staff officers and army commanders had known for more than a month: the Fuehrer was to launch in four days a mighty offensive in the West.

The idea had been simmering in his mind since mid-September, when Eisenhower's armies had been brought to a halt on the German frontier west of the Rhine. Although the U.S. Ninth, First and Third armies tried to resume the offensive in October with the objective of "slugging" their way to the Rhine, as Eisenhower put it, the going had been hard and slow. Aachen, the old imperial capital, the seat of Charlemagne, surrendered to First Army on October 24 after a bitter battle -- the first German city to fall into Allied hands -- but the Americans had been unable to achieve a breakthrough to the Rhine. Still, all along the front they -- and the British and Canadians to the north -- were wearing down the weakening defenders in battles of attrition. Hitler realized that by remaining on the defensive he was merely postponing the hour of reckoning. In his feverish mind there emerged a bold and imaginative plan to recapture the initiative, strike a blow that would split the U.S. Third and First armies, penetrate to Antwerp and deprive Eisenhower of his main port of supply, and roll up the British and Canadian armies along the Belgian-Dutch border. Such an offensive, he thought, would not only administer a crushing defeat on the Anglo-American armies and thus free the threat to Germany's western border, but would then enable him to turn against the Russians, who, though still advancing in the Balkans, had been halted on the Vistula in Poland and in East Prussia since October. The offensive would strike swiftly through the Ardennes, where the great breakthrough in 1940 had begun, and which German intelligence knew to be defended only by four weak American infantry divisions.

It was a daring plan. It would, Hitler believed, almost certainly catch the Allies by surprise and overcome them before they had a chance to recover.  [iii] But there was one drawback. The German Army was not only weaker than it had been in 1940, especially in the air, but it was up against a much more resourceful and far better armed enemy. The German generals lost no time in bringing this to the Fuehrer's attention.

"When I received this plan early in November," Rundstedt later declared, "I was staggered. Hitler had not troubled to consult me ... It was obvious to me that the available forces were far too small for such an extremely ambitious plan." Realizing, however, that it was useless to argue with Hitler, Rundstedt and Model decided to propose an alternative plan which might satisfy the warlord's insistence on an offensive but which would be limited to pinching off the American salient around Aachen. [8] The German Commander in Chief in the West, however, had so little hope of changing the Fuehrer's mind that he declined to attend a military conference in Berlin on December 2, sending his chief of staff, Blumentritt, instead. But Blumentritt, Field Marshal Model, General Hasso von Manteuffel and S.S. General Sepp Dietrich (the last two were to command two great panzer armies for the breakthrough), who attended the meeting, were unable to shake Hitler's resolve. All through the late autumn he had been scraping the barrel in Germany for this last desperate gamble. In November he had managed to collect nearly 1,500 new or rebuilt tanks and assault guns, and in December another 1,000. He had assembled some twenty-eight divisions, including nine panzer divisions, for the Ardennes breakthrough, with another six divisions allotted for an attack in Alsace to follow the main offensive. Goering promised 3,000 fighter planes.

This was a considerable force, though far weaker than Rundstedt's army group on the same front in 1940. But raising it had meant denying the German forces in the East the reinforcements their commanders thought absolutely necessary to repel the expected Russian winter attack in January. When Guderian, the Chief of the General Staff, who was responsible for the Eastern front, protested Hitler gave him a stern lecture.

"There's no need for you to try to teach me. I've been commanding the German Army in the field for five years and during that time I've had more practical experience than any gentleman of the General Staff could ever hope to have. I've studied Clausewitz and Moltke and read all the Schlieffen papers. I'm more in the picture than you are!"

When Guderian protested that the Russians were about to attack in overwhelming strength and cited figures of the Soviet build-up, Hitler shouted, "It's the greatest bluff since Gengis Khan! Who's responsible for producing all this rubbish?" [9]

The generals who assembled at the Fuehrer's headquarters at Ziegenberg on the evening of December 12, minus their briefcases and revolvers, found the Nazi warlord, as Manteuffel later recalled, "a stooped figure with a pale and puffy face, hunched in his chair, his hands trembling, his left arm subject to a violent twitching which he did his best to conceal. A sick man ... When he walked he dragged one leg behind him." [10]

Hitler's spirits, however, were as fiery as ever. The generals had expected to be briefed on the over-all military picture of the offensive, but the warlord treated them instead to a political and historical harangue.

Never in history was there a coalition like that of our enemies, composed of such heterogeneous elements with such divergent aims ... Ultracapitalist states on the one hand; ultra-Marxist states on the other. On the one hand a dying Empire, Britain; on the other, a colony bent upon inheritance, the United States ...

Each of the partners went into this coalition with the hope of realizing his political ambitions ... America tries to become England's heir; Russia tries to gain the Balkans ... England tries to hold her possessions ... in the Mediterranean ... Even now these states are at loggerheads, and he who, like a spider sitting in the middle of his web, can watch developments observes how these antagonisms grow stronger and stronger from hour to hour.

If now we can deliver a few more blows, then at any moment this artificially bolstered common front may suddenly collapse with a gigantic clap of thunder ... provided always that there is no weakening on the part of Germany.

It is essential to deprive the enemy of his belief that victory is certain ... Wars are finally decided by one side or the other recognizing that they cannot be won. We must allow no moment to pass without showing the enemy that, whatever he does, he can never reckon on [our] capitulation. Never! Never! [11]

With this pep talk resounding in their ears the generals dispersed, none of them -- or at least so they said afterward -- believing that the Ardennes blow would succeed but determined to carry out their orders to the best of their ability.

This they did. The night of December 15 was dark and frosty and a thick mist hung over the rugged snow-laden hills of the Ardennes Forest as the Germans moved up to their assault positions on a seventy-mile front between Monschau, south of Aachen, and Echternach, northwest of Trier. Their meteorologists had predicted several days of such weather, during which it was calculated that the Allied air forces would be grounded and the German supply columns spared the inferno of Normandy. For five days Hitler's luck with the weather held and the Germans, catching the Allied High Command completely by surprise, scored several break-throughs after their initial penetrations on the morning of December 16.

When a German armored group reached Stavelot on the night of December 17, it was only eight miles from the U.S. First Army headquarters at Spa, which was being hurriedly evacuated. More important, it was only a mile from a huge American supply dump containing three million gallons of gasoline. Had this dump been captured the German armored divisions, which were continually being slowed down because of the delay in bringing up gasoline, of which the Germans were woefully short, might have gone farther and faster than they did. Skorzeny's so-called Panzer Brigade 150, its men outfitted in American uniforms and driving captured American tanks, trucks and jeeps, got farthest. Some forty jeeploads slipped through the crumbling front, a few of them getting as far as the River Meuse. [iv]

Yet stubborn makeshift resistance by scattered units of the U.S. First Army after the four weak divisions in the Ardennes had been overrun slowed up the German drive and the firm stand on the northern and southern shoulders of the breakthrough at Monschau and Bastogne, respectively, channeled Hitler's forces through a narrow salient. The American defense of Bastogne sealed their fate.

This road junction was the key to the defense of the Ardennes and of the River Meuse behind. If strongly held it not only would block the main roads along which Manteuffel's Fifth Panzer Army was driving for the Meuse River at Dinant but would tie up considerable German forces earmarked for the push beyond. By the morning of December 18, Manteuffel's armored spearheads were only fifteen miles from the town and the only Americans in it belonged to a corps headquarters staff which was preparing to evacuate. However, on the evening of the seventeenth the 101st Airborne Division, which had been refitting at Reims, was ordered to proceed with all speed to Bastogne a hundred miles away. By driving its trucks with headlights on through the night it reached the town in twenty-four hours, just ahead of the Germans. It was a decisive race and the Germans had lost it. Although they encircled Bastogne, they had difficulty in getting their divisions around it to renew the drive toward the Meuse. And they had to leave strong forces behind to contain the road junction and to try to take it.

On December 22, General Heinrich von Luettwitz, commander of the German XLVIIth Armored Corps, sent a written note to General A. C. McAuliffe, commanding the 10Ist Airborne, demanding surrender of Bastogne. He received a one-word answer which became famous: "NUTS!"

The definite turning point in Hitler's Ardennes gamble came on the day before Christmas. A reconnaissance battalion of the German 2nd Panzer Division had reached the heights three miles east of the Meuse at Dinant the day before and had waited for gasoline for its tanks and some reinforcements before plunging down the slopes to the river. Neither the gasoline nor the reinforcements ever arrived. The U.S. 2nd Armored Division suddenly struck from the north. Already several divisions of Patton's Third Army were moving up from the south, their main objective being to relieve Bastogne. "On the evening of the twenty-fourth," Manteuffel later wrote, "it was clear that the high-water mark of our operation had been reached. We now knew that we would never reach our objective." The pressure on the northern and southern flanks of the deep and narrow German salient had become too great. And two days before Christmas the weather had finally cleared and the Anglo-American air forces had begun to have a field day with massive attacks on German supply lines and on the troops and tanks moving up the narrow, tortuous mountain roads. The Germans made another desperate attempt to capture Bastogne. All day Christmas, beginning at 3 A.M., they launched a series of attacks, but McAuliffe's defenders held. The next day an armored force of Patton's Third Army broke through from the south and relieved the town. For the Germans it now became a question of extricating their forces from the narrow corridor before they were cut off and annihilated.

But Hitler would not listen to any withdrawal being made. On the evening of December 28 he held a full-dress military conference. Instead of heeding the advice of Rundstedt and Manteuffel to pull out the German forces in the Bulge in time, he ordered the offensive to be resumed, Bastogne to be stormed and the push to the Meuse renewed. Moreover, he insisted on a new offensive being started immediately to the south in Alsace, where the American line had been thinned out by the sending of several of Patton's divisions north to the Ardennes. To the protests of the generals that they lacked sufficient forces either to continue the offensive in the Ardennes or to attack in Alsace he remained deaf.

Gentlemen, I have been in this business for eleven years, and ... I have never heard anybody report that everything was completely ready ... You are never entirely ready. That is plain.

He talked on and on. [v] It must have been obvious to the generals long before he finished that their Commander in Chief had become blinded to reality and had lost himself in the clouds.

The question is ... whether Germany has the will to remain in existence or whether it will be destroyed ... The loss of this war will destroy the German people.

There followed a long dissertation on the history of Rome and of Prussia in the Seven Years' War. Finally he returned to the immediate problems at hand. Although he admitted that the Ardennes offensive had not "resulted in the decisive success which might have been expected," he claimed that it had brought about "a transformation of the entire situation such as nobody would have believed possible a fortnight ago."

The enemy has had to abandon all his plans for attack ... He has had to throw in units that were fatigued. His operational plans have been completely upset. He is enormously criticized at home. It is a bad psychological moment for him. Already he has had to admit that there is no chance of the war being decided before August, perhaps not before the end of next year ...

Was this last phrase an admission of ultimate defeat? Hitler quickly tried to correct any such impression.

I hasten to add, gentlemen, that ... you are not to conclude that even remotely I envisage the loss of this war ... I have never learned to know the word "capitulation" ... For me the situation today is nothing new. I have been in very much worse situations. I mention this only because I want you to understand why I pursue my aim with such fanaticism and why nothing can wear me down. As much as I may be tormented by worries and even physically shaken by them, nothing will make the slightest change in my decision to fight on till at last the scales tip to our side.

Whereupon he appealed to the generals to support the new attacks "with all your fire."

We shall then ... smash the Americans completely ... Then we shall see what happens. I do not believe that in the long run the enemy will be able to resist forty-five German divisions ... We shall yet master fate!

It was too late. Germany lacked the military force to make good his words.

On New Year's Day Hitler threw eight German divisions into an attack in the Saar and followed it with a thrust from the bridgehead on the Upper Rhine by an army under the command of -- to the German generals this was a bad joke -- Heinrich Himmler. Neither drive got very far. Nor did an all-out assault on Bastogne beginning on January 3 by no less than two corps of nine divisions which led to the most severe fighting of the Ardennes campaign. By January 5 the Germans abandoned hope of taking this key town. They were now faced with being cut off by a British-American counteroffensive from the north which had begun on January 3. On January 8 Model, whose armies were in danger of being entrapped at Houffalize, northeast of Bastogne, finally received permission to withdraw. By January 16, just a month after the beginning of the offensive on which Hitler had staked his last reserves in men and guns and ammunition, the German forces were back to the line from which they had set out.

They had lost some 120,000 men, killed, wounded and missing, 600 tanks and assault guns, 1,600 planes and 6,000 vehicles. American losses were also severe -- 8,000 killed, 48,000 wounded, 21,000 captured or missing, and 733 tanks and tank destroyers. [vi] But the Americans could make good their losses; the Germans could not. They had shot their last bolt. This was the last major offensive of the German Army in World War II. Its failure not only made defeat inevitable in the West, it doomed the German armies in the East, where the effect of Hitler's throwing his last reserves into the Ardennes became immediately felt.

In his long lecture to the generals in the West three days after Christmas Hitler had been quite optimistic about the Russian front, where, though the Balkans was being lost, the German armies had held firmly on the Vistula in Poland and in East Prussia since October.

Unfortunately [Hitler said] because of the treachery of our dear allies we are forced to retire gradually ... Yet despite all this it has been possible on the whole to hold the Eastern front.

But for how long? On Christmas Eve, after the Russians had surrounded Budapest, and again on New Year's morning Guderian had pleaded in vain with Hitler for reinforcements to meet the Russian threat in Hungary and to counter the Soviet offensive in Poland which he expected to begin the middle of January.

I pointed out [Guderian says] that the Ruhr had already been paralyzed by the Western Allies' bombing attacks... . on the other hand, I said, the industrial area of Upper Silesia could still work at full pressure, the center of the German armament industry was already in the East, and the loss of Upper Silesia must lead to our defeat in a very few weeks. All this was of no avail. I was rebuffed and I spent a grim and tragic Christmas Eve in those most unchristian surroundings.

Nonetheless Guderian returned to Hitler's headquarters for a third time on January 9. He took with him his Chief of Intelligence in the East, General Gehlen, who with maps and diagrams tried to explain to the Fuehrer the precarious German position on the eve of the expected renewal of the Russian offensive in the north.

Hitler [Guderian says] completely lost his temper ... declaring the maps and diagrams to be "completely idiotic" and ordering that I have the man who had made them shut up in a lunatic asylum. I then lost my temper and said ... "If you want General Gehlen sent to a lunatic asylum then you had better have me certified as well."

When Hitler argued that the Eastern front had "never before possessed such a strong reserve as now," Guderian retorted, "The Eastern front is like a house of cards. If the front is broken through at one point all the rest will collapse." [12]

And that is what happened. On January 12, 1945, Konev's Russian army group broke out of its bridgehead at Baranov on the upper Vistula south of Warsaw and headed for Silesia. Farther north Zhukov's armies crossed the Vistula north and south of Warsaw, which fell on January 17. Farther north still, two Russian armies overran half of East Prussia and drove to the Gulf of Danzig.
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Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

Postby admin » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:20 am

Part 2 of 2

This was the greatest Russian offensive of the war. Stalin was throwing in 180 divisions, a surprisingly large part of them armored, in Poland and East Prussia alone. There was no stopping them.

"By January 27 [only fifteen days after the Soviet drive began] the Russian tidal wave," says Guderian, "was rapidly assuming for us the proportions of a complete disaster." [13] By that date East and West Prussia were cut off from the Reich. Zhukov that very day crossed the Oder near Lueben after an advance of 220 miles in a fortnight, reaching German soil only 100 miles from Berlin. Most catastrophic of all, the Russians had overrun the Silesian industrial basin.

Albert Speer, in charge of armament production, drew up a memorandum to Hitler on January 30 -- the twelfth anniversary of Hitler's coming to power -- pointing out the significance of the loss of Silesia. "The war is lost," his report began, and he went on in his cool and objective manner to explain why. The Silesian mines, ever since the intensive bombing of the Ruhr, had supplied 60 per cent of Germany's coal. There was only two weeks' supply of coal for the German railways, power plants and factories. Henceforth, now that Silesia was lost, Speer could supply, he said, only one quarter of the coal and one sixth of the steel which Germany had been producing in 1944. [14] This augured disaster for 1945.

The Fuehrer, Guderian later related, glanced at Speer's report, read the first sentence and then ordered it filed away in his safe. He refused to see Speer alone, saying to Guderian:

" ... I refuse to see anyone alone any more ... [He] always has something unpleasant to say to me. I can't bear that." [15]

On the afternoon of January 27, the day Zhukov's troops crossed the Oder a hundred miles from Berlin, there was an interesting reaction at Hitler's headquarters, which had now been transferred to the Chancellery in Berlin, where it was to remain until the end. On the twenty-fifth the desperate Guderian had called on Ribbentrop and urged him to try to get an immediate armistice in the West so that what was left of the German armies could be concentrated in the East against the Russians. The Foreign Minister had quickly tattled to the Fuehrer, who that evening up braided his General Staff Chief and accused him of committing "high treason."

But two nights later, under the impact of the disaster in the East, Hitler, Goering and Jodl were in such a state that they thought it would not be necessary to ask the West for an armistice. They were sure the Western Allies would come running to them in their fear of the consequences of the Bolshevik victories. A fragment of the Fuehrer conference of January 27 has preserved part of the scene.

HITLER: Do you think the English are enthusiastic about all the Russian developments?

GOERING: They certainly didn't plan that we hold them off while the Russians conquer all of Germany ... They had not counted on our ... holding them off like madmen while the Russians drive deeper and deeper into Germany, and practically have all of Germany now ...

JODL: They have always regarded the Russians with suspicion.

GOERING: If this goes on we will get a telegram [from the English] in a few days. [16]

On such a slender thread the leaders of the Third Reich began to pin their last hopes. In the end these German architects of the Nazi-Soviet Pact against the West would reach a point where they could not understand why the British and Americans did not join them in repelling the Russian invaders.


The end came quickly for the Third Reich in the spring of 1945.

The death throes began in March. By February, with the Ruhr largely in ruins and Upper Silesia lost, coal production was down to one fifth of what it had been the year before and very little of this could be moved because of the dislocation of rail and water transport by Anglo-American bombing. The Fuehrer conferences became dominated by talk of the coal shortage, Doenitz complaining that many of his ships had to lie idle because of lack of fuel and Speer explaining patiently that the power plants and armament factories were in a similar situation for the same reason. The loss of the Rumanian and Hungarian oil fields and the bombing of the synthetic-oil plants in Germany caused such an acute shortage of gasoline that a good part of the desperately needed fighter planes had to be grounded and were destroyed on the fields by Allied air attacks. Many panzer divisions could not move for lack of fuel for their tanks.

The hopes in the promised "miracle weapons," which had for a time sustained not only the masses of the people and the soldiers but even such hardheaded generals as Guderian, were finally abandoned. The launching sites for the V-1 flying bombs and the V-2 rockets directed against Britain were almost entirely lost when Eisenhower's forces reconquered the French and Belgian coasts, though a few remained in Holland. Nearly eight thousand of the two V bombs were hurled against Antwerp and other military targets after the British-American armies reached the German frontier, but the damage they did was negligible.

Hitler and Goering had counted on the new jet fighters driving the Allied air forces from the skies, and well they might have -- for the Germans succeeded in producing more than a thousand of them -- had the Anglo-American flyers, who lacked this plane, not taken successful counteraction. The conventional Allied fighter was no match for the German jet in the air, but few ever got off the ground. The refineries producing the special fuel for them were bombed and destroyed and the extended runways which had to be constructed for them were easily detected by Allied pilots, who destroyed the jets on the ground.

Grand Admiral Doenitz had promised the Fuehrer that the new electro-U-boats would provide a miracle at sea, once more wreaking havoc on the British-American lifelines in the North Atlantic. But by the middle of February 1945 only two of the 126 new craft commissioned had put to sea.

As for the German atom bomb project, which had given London and Washington much worry, it had made little progress due to Hitler's lack of interest in it and Himmler's practice of arresting the atom scientists for suspected disloyalty or pulling them off to work on some of his pet nonsensical "scientific" experiments which he deemed more important. Before the end of 1944 the American and British governments had learned, to their great relief, that the Germans would not have an atom bomb in this war. [vii]

On February 8 Eisenhower's armies, now eighty-five divisions strong, began to close in on the Rhine. They had expected that the Germans would fight only a delaying action and, conserving their strength, retire behind the formidable water barrier of the wide and swift-flowing river. Rundstedt counseled this. But here, as elsewhere throughout the years of his defeats, Hitler would not listen to a withdrawal. It would merely mean, he told Rundstedt, "moving the catastrophe from one place to another." So the German armies, at Hitler's insistence, stood and fought -- but not for long. By the end of the month the British and Americans had reached the Rhine at several places north of Duesseldorf, and a fortnight later they had firm possession of the left bank from the Moselle River northward. The Germans had lost another 350,000 men killed, wounded or captured (the prisoners numbered 293,000) and most of their arms and equipment.

Hitler was in a fine fury. He sacked Rundstedt for the last time on March 10, replacing him with Field Marshal Kesselring, who had held out so stubbornly and long in Italy. Already in February the Fuehrer, in a fit of rage, had considered denouncing the Geneva Convention in order, he said at a conference on the nineteenth, "to make the enemy realize that we are determined to fight for our existence with all the means at our disposal." He had been urged to take this step by Dr. Goebbels, the bloodthirsty noncombatant, who suggested that all captured airmen be shot summarily in reprisal for their terrible bombing of the German cities. When some of the officers present raised legal objections Hitler retorted angrily:

To hell with that! ... If I make it clear that I show no consideration for prisoners but that I treat enemy prisoners without any consideration for their rights, regardless of reprisals, then quite a few [Germans] will think twice before they desert. [17]

This was one of the first indications to his followers that Hitler, his mission as world conqueror having failed, was determined to go down, like Wotan at Valhalla, in a holocaust of blood -- not only the enemy's but that of his own people. At the close of the discussion he asked Admiral Doenitz "to consider the pros and cons of this step and to report as soon as possible."

Doenitz came back with rus answer on the following day and it was typical of the man.

The disadvantages would outweigh the advantages ... It would be better in any case to keep up outside appearances and carry out the measures believed necessary without announcing them beforehand. [18]

Hitler reluctantly agreed and while, as we have seen, [viii] there was no general massacre of captured flyers or of other prisoners of war (except the Russians) several were done to death and the civil population was incited to lynch Allied air crews who parachuted to the ground. One captive French general, Mesny, was deliberately murdered on the orders of Hitler, and a good many Allied POWs perished when they were forced to make long marches without food or water on roads strafed by British, American and Russian flyers as the Germans herded them toward the interior of the country to prevent them from being liberated by the advancing Allied armies.

Hitler's concern to make German soldiers "think twice before they desert" was not ungrounded. In the West the number of deserters, or at least of those who gave themselves up as quickly as possible in the wake of the British-American advances, became staggering. On February 12 Keitel issued an order "in the name of the Fuehrer" stating that any soldier "who deceitfully obtains leave papers, or who travels with false papers, will ... be punished by death." And on March 5 General Blaskowitz, commanding Army Group H in the West, issued this order:

All soldiers ... encountered away from their units ... and who announce they are stragglers looking for their units will be summarily tried and shot.

On April 12 Himmler added his bit by decreeing that any commander who failed to hold a town or an important communications center "is punishable by death." The order was already being carried out in the case of the unfortunate commanders at one of the Rhine bridges.

On the early afternoon of March 7, a spearhead of the U.S. 9th Armored Division reached the heights above the town of Remagen, twenty-five miles down the Rhine from Koblenz. To the amazement of the American tank crews they saw that the Ludendorff railroad bridge across the river was still intact. They raced down the slopes to the water front. Engineers frantically cut every demolition wire they could find. A platoon of infantry raced across the bridge. As they were approaching the east bank a charge went off and then another. The bridge shook but held. Feeble German forces on the far shore were quickly driven back. Tanks sped over the span. By dusk the Americans had a strong bridgehead on the east bank of the Rhine. The last great natural barrier in Western Germany had been crossed. [ix]

A few days later, on the night of March 22, Patton's Third Army, after overrunning the Saar-Palatinate triangle in a brilliant operation carried out in conjunction with the U.S. Seventh and French First armies, made another crossing of the Rhine at Oppenheim, south of Mainz. By March 25 the Anglo-American armies were in possession of the entire west bank of the river and across it in two places with strong bridgeheads. In six weeks Hitler had lost more than one third of his forces in the West and most of the arms for half a million men.

At 2: 30 A.M. on March 24, he called a war conference at his headquarters in Berlin to consider what to do.

HITLER: I consider the second bridgehead at Oppenheim as the greatest danger.

HEWEL [Foreign Office representative]: The Rhine isn't so very wide there.

HITLER: A good two hundred fifty meters. On a river barrier only one man has to be asleep and a terrible misfortune can happen.

The Supreme Commander wanted to know if there was "no brigade or something like that which could be sent there." An adjutant answered:

At the present time no unit is available to be sent to Oppenheim. There are only five tank destroyers in the camp at Senne, which will be ready today or tomorrow. They could be put into the battle in the next few days ... [19]

In the next few days! At that very moment Patton had a bridgehead at Oppenheim seven miles wide and six miles deep and his tanks were heading eastward toward Frankfurt. It is a measure of the plight of the once mighty German Army whose vaunted panzer corps had raced through Europe in the earlier years that at this moment of crisis the Supreme Commander should be concerned with scraping up five broken-down tank destroyers which could only be "put into battle in the next few days" to stem the advance of a powerful enemy armored army. [x]

With the Americans across the Rhine by the third week of March and a mighty Allied army of British, Canadians and Americans under Montgomery poised to cross the Lower Rhine and head both into the North German plain and into the Ruhr -- which they did, beginning on the night of March 23 -- Hitler's vengeance turned from the advancing enemy to his own people. They had sustained him through the greatest victories in German history. Now in the winter of defeat he thought them no longer worthy of his greatness.

"If the German people were to be defeated in the struggle," Hitler had told the gauleiters in a speech in August 1944, "it must have been too weak: it had failed to prove its mettle before history and was destined only to destruction." [20]

He was fast becoming a physical wreck and this helped to poison his view. The strain of conducting the war, the shock of defeats, the unhealthy life without fresh air and exercise in the underground headquarters bunkers which he rarely left, his giving way to ever more frequent temper tantrums and, not the least, the poisonous drugs he took daily on the advice of his quack physician, Dr. Morell, had undermined his health even before the July 20, 1944, bombing. The explosion on that day had broken the tympanic membranes of both ears, which contributed to his spells of dizziness. After the bombing his doctors advised an extended vacation, but he refused. "If I leave East Prussia," he told Keitel, "it will fall. As long as I am here, it will hold."

In September 1944 he suffered a breakdown and had to take to bed, but he recovered in November when he returned to Berlin. But he never recovered control of his terrible temper. More and more, as the news from the fronts in 1945 grew worse, he gave way to hysterical rage. It was invariably accompanied by a trembling of his hands and feet which he could not control. General Guderian has given several descriptions of him at these moments. At the end of January, when the Russians had reached the Oder only a hundred miles from Berlin and the General Staff Chief started to demand the evacuation by sea of several German divisions cut off in the Baltic area, Hitler turned on him.

He stood in front of me shaking his fists, so that my good Chief of Staff, Thomale, felt constrained to seize me by the skirt of my jacket and pull me backward lest I be the victim of a physical assault.

A few days later, on February 13, 1945, the two men got into another row over the Russian situation that lasted, Guderian says, for two hours.

His fists raised, his cheeks flushed with rage, his whole body trembling. the man stood there in front of me, beside himself with fury and having lost all self-control. After each outburst Hitler would stride up and down the carpet edge, then suddenly stop immediately before me and hurl his next accusation in my face. He was almost screaming, his eyes seemed to pop out of his head and the veins stood out in his temples. [21]

It was in this state of mind and health that the German Fuehrer made one of the last momentous decisions of his life. On March 19 he issued a general order that all military, industrial, transportation and communication installations as well as all stores in Germany must be destroyed in order to prevent them from falling intact into the hands of the enemy. The measures were to be carried out by the military with the help of the Nazi gauleiters and "commissars for defense." "All directives opposing this," the order concluded, "are invalid." [22]

Germany was to be made one vast wasteland. Nothing was to be left with which the German people might somehow survive their defeat.

Albert Speer, the outspoken Minister for Armament and War Production, had anticipated the barbarous directive from previous meetings with Hitler and on March 15 had drawn up a memorandum in which he strenuously opposed such a criminal step and reiterated his contention that the war was already lost. He presented it to the Fuehrer personally on the evening of March 18.

In four to eight weeks [Speer wrote] the final collapse of the German economy must be expected with certainty ... After that collapse the war cannot be continued even militarily ... We must do everything to maintain, even if only in a most primitive manner, a basis for the existence of the nation to the last ... We have no right at this stage of the war to carry out demolitions which might affect the life of the people. If our enemies wish to destroy this nation, which has fought with unique bravery, then this historical shame shall rest exclusively upon them. We have the duty of leaving to the nation every possibility of insuring its reconstruction in the distant future ... [23]

But Hitler, his own personal fate sealed, was not interested in the continued existence of the German people, for whom he had always professed such boundless love. He told Speer:

If the war is lost, the nation will also perish. This fate is inevitable. There is no necessity to take into consideration the basis which the people will need to continue a most primitive existence. On the contrary, it will be better to destroy these things ourselves because this nation will have proved to be the weaker one and the future will belong solely to the stronger eastern nation [Russia]. Besides, those who will remain after the battle are only the inferior ones, for the good ones have been killed.

Whereupon the Supreme Warlord promulgated his infamous "scorched earth" directive the next day. It was followed on March 23 by an equally monstrous order by Martin Bormann, the Fuehrer's secretary, a molelike man who had now gained a position at court second to none among the Nazi satraps. Speer described it on the stand at Nuremberg.

The Bormann decree aimed at bringing the population to the center of the Reich from both East and West, and the foreign workers and prisoners of war were to be included. These millions of people were to be sent upon their trek on foot. No provisions for their existence had been made, nor could it be carried out in view of the situation. It would have resulted in an unimaginable hunger catastrophe.

And had all the other orders of Hitler and Bormann -- there were a number of supplementary directives -- been carried out, millions of Germans who had escaped with their lives up to then might well have died. Speer tried to summarize for the Nuremberg court the various "scorched earth" orders. To be destroyed, he said, were

all industrial plants, all important electrical facilities, water works, gas works, food stores and clothing stores; all bridges, all railway and communication installations, all waterways, all ships, all freight cars and all locomotives.

That the German people were spared this final catastrophe was due to -- aside from the rapid advances of the Allied troops, which made the carrying out of such a gigantic demolition impossible -- the superhuman efforts of Speer and a number of Army officers who, in direct disobedience (finally!) of Hitler's orders, raced about the country, to make sure that vital communications, plants and stores were not blown up by zealously obedient Army officers and party hacks.

The end now approached for the German Army.

While Field Marshal Montgomery's British-Canadian armies, after their crossing of the Lower Rhine the last week of March, pushed northeast for Bremen, Hamburg and the Baltic at Luebeck, General Simpson's U.S. Ninth Army and General Hodges' U.S. First Army advanced rapidly past the Ruhr, the Ninth Army on its northern perimeter, the First Army to the south. On April 1 they linked up at Lippstadt. Field Marshal Model's Army Group B, consisting of the Fifteenth and the Fifth Panzer armies -- some twenty-one divisions -- was trapped in the ruins of Germany's greatest industrial area. It held out for eighteen days, surrendering on April 18. Another 325,000 Germans, including thirty generals, were captured, but Model was not among them. Rather than become a prisoner he shot himself.

The encirclement of Model's armies in the Ruhr had torn the German front in the West wide open, leaving a gap two hundred miles wide through which the divisions of the U.S. Ninth and First armies not needed to contain the Ruhr now burst toward the Elbe River in the heart of Germany. The road to Berlin lay open, for between these two American armies and the German capital there were only a few scattered, disorganized German divisions. On the evening of April 11, after advancing some sixty miles since daybreak, a spearhead of the U.S. Ninth Army reached the Elbe River near Magdeburg, and on the next day threw a bridgehead over it. The Americans were only sixty miles from Berlin.

Eisenhower's purpose now was to split Germany in two by joining up with the Russians on the Elbe between Magdeburg and Dresden. Though bitterly criticized by Churchill and the British military chiefs for not beating the Russians to Berlin, as he easily could have done, Eisenhower and his staff at SHAEF were obsessed at this moment with the urgency of heading southeast after the junction with the Russians in order to capture the so-called National Redoubt, where it was believed Hitler was gathering his remaining forces to make a last stand in the almost impenetrable Alpine mountains of southern Bavaria and western Austria.

The "National Redoubt" was a phantom. It never existed except in the propaganda blasts of Dr. Goebbels and in the cautious minds at Eisenhower's headquarters which had fallen for them. As early as March 11, SHAEF intelligence had warned Eisenhower that the Nazis were planning to make an impregnable fortress in the mountains and that Hitler himself would command its defenses from his retreat at Berchtesgaden. The icy mountain crags were "practically impenetrable," it said.

Here [it continued], defended by nature and by the most efficient secret weapons yet invented, the powers that have hitherto guided Germany will survive to reorganize her resurrection; here armaments will be manufactured in bombproof factories, food and equipment will be stored in vast underground caverns and a specially selected corps of young men will be trained in guerrilla warfare, so that a whole underground army can be fitted and directed to liberate Germany from the occupying forces. [24]

It would almost seem as though the Allied Supreme Commander's intelligence staff had been infiltrated by British and American mystery writers. At any rate, this fantastic appreciation was taken seriously at SHAEF, where Eisenhower's chief of staff, General Bedell Smith, mulled over the dread possibility "of a prolonged campaign in the Alpine area" which would take a heavy toll of American lives and prolong the war indefinitely.  [xi]

This was the last time that the resourceful Dr. Goebbels succeeded in influencing the strategic course of the war by propaganda bluff. For though Adolf Hitler at first considered retiring to the Austro-Bavarian mountains near which he was born and in which he had spent most of the private hours of his life, and which he loved and where he had the only home he could call his own -- on the Obersalzberg above Berchtesgaden -- and there make a last stand, he had hesitated until it was too late.

On April 16, the day American troops reached Nuremberg, the city of the great Nazi Party rallies, Zhukov's Russian armies broke loose from their bridgeheads over the Oder, and on the afternoon of April 21 they reached the outskirts of Berlin. Vienna had already fallen on April 13. At 4:40 on the afternoon of April 25, patrols of the U.S. 69th Infantry Division met forward elements of the Russian 58th Guards Division at Torgau on the Elbe, some seventy-five miles south of Berlin. North and South Germany were severed. Adolf Hitler was cut off in Berlin. The last days of the Third Reich had come.



i. On August 23, according to Speidel, Hitler had ordered all the Paris bridges and other important installations destroyed "even if artistic monuments are destroyed thereby." Speidel refused to carry out the order, as did General von Choltitz, the new commandant of Greater Paris, who surrendered after a few shots had satisfied  his honor. For this Choltitz was tried in absentia for treason in April 1945, but  officer friends of his managed to delay the proceedings until the end of the war.  Speidel also reveals that as soon as Paris was lost Hitler ordered its destruction by  heavy artillery and V-1 flying bombs, but this order too he refused to obey. (Speidel,  Invasion 1944, pp. 143-45.)
 ii. "I am certain." Eisenhower wrote in his memoirs (Crusade in Europe, p. 305),  "that Field Marshal Montgomery, in the light of later events, would agree that this  view was a mistaken one." But this is far from being the case, as those who have  read Montgomery's memoirs know.
iii. There was an interesting adornment to the plan called "Operation Greif," which  seems to have been Hitler's brain child. Its leadership was entrusted by the Fuehrer  to Otto Skorzeny. who, following his rescue of Mussolini and his resolute action in  Berlin on the night of July 20, 1944, had further distinguished himself in his special  field by kidnaping the Hungarian Regent, Admiral Horthy, in Budapest in October  1944, when the latter tried to surrender Hungary to the advancing Russians. Skorzeny's  new assignment was to organize a special brigade of two thousand English-speaking  German soldiers, put them in American uniforms, and infiltrate them in  captured American tanks and jeeps behind the American lines to cut communication  wires, kill dispatch riders, misdirect traffic and generally sow confusion. Small units  were also to penetrate to the Meuse bridges and try to hold them intact until the  main German panzer troops arrived.
iv. On the sixteenth a German officer carrying several copies of Operation Greif was  taken prisoner and the Americans thus learned what was up. But this does not seem  10 have curbed the initial confusion spread by Skorzeny's men, some of whom,  posing as M.P.s, took up posts at crossroads and misdirected American military  traffic. Nor did it prevent First Army's intelligence office from believing the tall  tales of some of the captured Germans in American uniform that more than a few  of Skorzeny's desperadoes were on their way to Paris to assassinate Eisenhower. For  several days thousands of American soldiers as far back as Paris were stopped by  M.P.s and had to prove their nationality by telling who won the World Series and  what the capital of their native state was -- though some could not remember or did  not know. A good many of the Germans caught in American uniforms were  summarily shot and others court-martialed and executed. Skorzeny himself was  tried by an American tribunal at Dachau In 1947 but acquitted. Thereafter he  moved to Spain and South America. where he soon established a prosperous cement  business and composed his memoirs.
v. For several hours, judging by the length of the stenographic record of this conference,  which has survived almost intact. It is Fragment 27 of the Fuehrer conferences.  Gilbert gives the entire text in Hitler Directs His War, pp. 158-74.

vi. Among the American dead were several prisoners shot in cold blood by Colonel Jochen Peiper's combat group of the 1st S.S. Panzer Division near Malmedy on December 17. According to the evidence presented at Nuremberg 129 American prisoners were massacred; at the subsequent trial of the S.S. officers involved, the figure was reduced to 71. The trial before an American military tribunal at Dachau in the spring of 1946 had a curious denouement. Forty-three S.S. officers, including Peiper, were condemned to death, twenty-three to life imprisonment and eight to shorter sentences. Sepp Dietrich, commander of the Sixth S.S. Panzer Army, which fought in the northern side of the Bulge, received twenty-five years; Kraemer, commander of the 1st S.S. Armored Corps, ten years, and Hermann Priess, commander of the 1st S.S. Panzer Division, eighteen years.
 Then a hue and cry arose in the U.S. Senate, especially from the late Senator  McCarthy, that the S.S. officers had been treated brutally in order to extort confessions.  In March 1948 thirty-one of the death sentences were commuted; in April  General Lucius D. Clay reduced the' death sentences from twelve to six; and in  January 1951, under a general amnesty, John J. McCloy, the American High  Commissioner, commuted the remaining death sentences to life imprisonment. At  the time of writing all have been released. Almost forgotten in the hubbub over  the alleged ill-treatment of the S.S. officers was the indisputable evidence that at  least seventy-one unarmed U.S. war prisoners were slain in cold blood on a snowy  field near Malmedy on December 17, 1944, on the orders -- or incitement -- of several  S.S. officers.
vii. How they learned is a fascinating story in itself but too long to be set down here.  Professor Samuel Goudsmit has told it well in his book Alsos. "Alsos" was the code  name of the American scientific mission which he headed and which followed Eisenhower's  armies into Western Europe.
viii. In Chapter 27, "The New Order."
ix. Hitler had eight German officers who commanded the weak forces at the Remagen  bridge executed. They were tried by a "Flying Special Tribunal, West," set up by  the Fuehrer and presided over by a fanatical Nazi general by the name of Huebner.
x. The transcript of this March 23 Fuehrer conference is the last one which was saved, fairly intact, from the flames. It gives a good picture of the frantic mind of the Fuehrer and his obsession with trivial details at the moment when the walls are caving in. For the best part of an hour he discusses Goebbels' proposal to use the broad avenue through the Tiergarten in Berlin as an airstrip. He lectures on the weakness of German concrete in the face of bombing. Much of the conference is given over to scraping up troops. One general raises the question of the Indian Legion.

HITLER: The Indian Legion is a joke. There are Indians who can't kill a louse, who'd rather let themselves be eaten up. They won't kill an Englishman either. I consider it nonsense to put them opposite the English ... If we used Indians to turn prayer mills, or something like that, they would be the most indefatigable soldiers in the world ...

And so on far into the night. The meeting broke up at 3:43 A.M.

xi. "Not until after the campaign ended," General Omar Bradley later wrote, "were we to learn that this Redoubt existed largely in the imaginations of a few fanatic Nazis. It grew into so exaggerated a scheme that I am astonished we could have believed it as innocently as we did. But while it persisted, this legend of the Redoubt was too ominous a threat to ignore and in consequence it shaped our tactical thinking during the closing weeks of the war." (Bradley, A Soldier's Story, p. 536.)

"A great deal has been written about the Alpine Fortress," Field Marshal Kesselring commented wryly after the war, "mostly nonsense." (Kesselring, A Soldier's Record, p. 276.)
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Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

Postby admin » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:02 am

Part 1 of 2


HITLER HAD PLANNED to leave Berlin on April 20, his fifty-sixth birthday, for Obersalzberg and there direct the last stand of the Third Reich in the legendary mountain fastness of Barbarossa. Most of the ministerial offices had already moved south with their· trucks full of state papers and of frantic officials desperate to get out of doomed Berlin. The Fuehrer himself had sent most of the members of his household staff to Berchtesgaden ten days before to prepare his mountain villa, the Berghof, for his coming.

He was destined, however, never to see his beloved Alpine retreat again. The end was approaching faster than he had thought possible. The Americans and Russians were driving swiftly to a junction on the Elbe. The British were at the gates of Hamburg and Bremen and threatening to cut off Germany from occupied Denmark. In Italy Bologna had fallen and Alexander's Allied forces were plunging into the valley of the Po. The Russians, having captured Vienna on April 13, were heading up the Danube, and the U.S. Third Army was sweeping down that river to meet them in Hitler's home town of Linz in Austria. Nuremberg, where work had been going on throughout the war on the great auditorium and stadiums which were to mark the ancient town as the capital of the Nazi Party, was besieged and part of the U.S. Seventh Army was sweeping past it toward Munich, the birthplace of the Nazi movement. In Berlin the thunder of Russian heavy artillery could be heard.

"All through the week," Count Schwerin von Krosigk, the puerile Minister of Finance and former Rhodes scholar, who had scooted out of Berlin for the north at the first word of the approaching Bolsheviki, noted in his diary on April 23, "there was nothing but a succession of Job's messengers. Our people seem to be faced with the darkest fate." [1]

Hitler had left his headquarters in Rastenburg in East Prussia for the last time on the previous November 20, as the Russians approached, and had remained in Berlin, which he had scarcely seen since the beginning of the war in the East, until December 10, when he had gone to his Western headquarters at Ziegenberg near Bad Nauheim to direct the great gamble in the Ardennes. After its failure he had returned on January 16 to Berlin, where he was to remain until the end, directing his crumbling armies from the underground bunker fifty feet below the ChanceIlery, whose great marble halls were now in ruins from Allied bombing.

Physically he was fast deteriorating. A young Army captain who saw him for the first time in February later recalled his appearance.

His head was slightly wobbling. His left arm hung slackly and his hand trembled a good deal. There was an indescribable flickering glow in his eyes, creating a fearsome and wholly unnatural effect. His face and the parts around his eyes gave the impression of total exhaustion. All his movements were those of a senile man. [2]

Since the July 20 attempt on his life he had grown distrustful of everyone, even of his old party stalwarts. "I am lied to on all sides," he fumed to one of his women secretaries in March.

I can rely on no one. They all betray me. The whole business makes me sick ... If anything happens to me, Germany will be left without a leader. I have no successor. Hess is mad, Goering has lost the sympathy of the people. and Himmler would be rejected by the Party -- besides, he [Himmler] is so completely inartistic ... Rack your brains and tell me who my successor is to be ... [3]

One would have thought that at this stage of history the question of succession was academic, but it was not -- not in this Nazi cuckoo land. Not only the Fuehrer was obsessed by it but the leading candidates to succeed him, as we shall shortly see.

Physical wreck though Hitler now was, with a disastrous end staring him in the face as the Russians approached Berlin and the Western Allies overran the Reich, he and a few of his most fanatical followers, Goebbels above all, clung stubbornly to their hopes of being saved at the last minute by a miracle.

One fine evening early in April Goebbels had sat up reading to Hitler from one of the Fuehrer's favorite books, Carlyle's History of Frederick the Great. The chapter he was reading told of the darkest days of the Seven Years' War, when the great King felt himself at the end of his rope and told his ministers that if by February 15 no change for the better in his fortunes occurred he would give up and take poison. This portion of history certainly had its appropriateness and no doubt Goebbels read it in his most dramatic fashion.

"Brave King! [Goebbels read on] Wait yet a little while, and the days of your suffering will be over. Already the sun of your good fortune stands behind the clouds and soon will rise upon you." On February 12 the Czarina died, the Miracle of the House of Brandenburg had come to pass.

The Fuehrer's eyes, Goebbels told Krosigk, to whose diary we owe this touching scene, "were filled with tears." [4]

With such encouragement -- and from a British source -- they sent for two horoscopes, which were kept in the files of one of Himmler's multitudinous "research" offices. One was the horoscope of the Fuehrer drawn up on January 30, 1933, the day he took office; the other was the horoscope of the Weimar Republic, composed by some unknown astrologer on November 9, 1918, the day of the Republic's birth. Goebbels communicated the results of the re-examination of these two remarkable documents to Krosigk.

An amazing fact has become evident, both horoscopes predicting the outbreak of the war in 1939, the victories until 1941, and the subsequent series of reversals, with the hardest blows during the first months of 1945, particularly during the first half of April. In the second half of April we were to experience a temporary success. Then there would be stagnation until August and peace that same month. For the following three years Germany would have a hard time, but starting in 1948 she would rise again. [5]

Fortified by Carlyle and the "amazing" predictions of the stars, Goebbels on April 6 issued a ringing appeal to the retreating troops:

The Fuehrer has declared that even in this very year a change of fortune shall come ... The true quality of genius is its consciousness and its sure knowledge of coming change. The Fuehrer knows the exact hour of its arrival. Destiny has sent us this man so that we, in this time of great external and internal stress, shall testify to the miracle ... [6]

Scarcely a week later, on the night of April 12, Goebbels convinced himself that "the exact hour" of the miracle had come. It had been a day of further bad news. The Americans had appeared on the Dessau-Berlin autobahn and the High Command had hastily ordered the destruction of its last two remaining powder factories, which were in the vicinity. Henceforth the German soldiers would have to get along with the ammunition at hand. Goebbels had spent the day at the headquarters of General Busse on the Oder front at Kuestrin. The General had assured him that a Russian breakthrough was impossible, that (as Goebbels the next day told Krosigk) he was "holding out until the British kick us in the ass."

In the evening [Goebbels recounted] they had sat together at headquarters and he had developed his thesis that according to historical logic and justice things were bound to change, just as in the Seven Years' War there had been the miracle of the House of Brandenburg.

"What Czarina will die this time?" an officer asked.

Goebbels did not know. But fate, he replied, "holds all sorts of possibilities."

When the Propaganda Minister got back to Berlin late that night the center of the capital was in flames from another R.A.F. bombing. The remains of the Chancellery and the Adlon Hotel up the Wilhelmstrasse were burning. At the steps of the Propaganda Ministry, a secretary greeted Goebbels with a piece of urgent news. "Roosevelt," he said, "is dead!"

The Minister's face lit up, visible to all in the light of the flames from the Chancellery across the Wilhelmsplatz.

"Bring out our best champagne!" Goebbels cried. "And get me the Fuehrer on the telephone!"

Hitler was in his deep bunker across the way sitting out the bombing. He picked up the telephone.

"My Fuehrer," Goebbels said. "I congratulate you! Roosevelt is dead! It is written in the stars that the second half of April will be the turning point for us. This is Friday, April the thirteenth. [It was already after midnight.] It is the turning point!"

Hitler's reaction to the news was not recorded, though it may be imagined in view of the encouragement he had been receiving from Carlyle and the stars. But that of Goebbels was. "He was," says his secretary, "in ecstasy." [7]

The fatuous Count Schwerin von Krosigk too. When Goebbels' State Secretary phoned him that Roosevelt was dead he exclaimed -- at least in his faithful diary:

This was the Angel of History! We felt its wings flutter through the room. Was that not the turn of fortune we awaited so anxiously?

The next morning Krosigk telephoned Goebbels with his "congratulations" -- he affirms it proudly in his diary -- and, as if this were not enough, followed it with a letter in which he hailed Roosevelt's death, he says, as "a divine judgment ... a gift from God."

In this atmosphere of a lunatic asylum, with cabinet ministers long in power and educated in Europe's ancient universities, as Krosigk and Goebbels were, grasping at the readings of the stars and rejoicing amidst the flames of the burning capital in the death of the American President as a sure sign that the Almighty would now rescue the Third Reich at the eleventh hour from impending catastrophe, the last act in Berlin was played out to its final curtain.

Eva Braun had arrived in Berlin to join Hitler on April 15. Very few Germans knew of her existence and even fewer of her relationship to Adolf Hitler. For more than twelve years she had been his mistress. Now in April she had come, as Trevor-Roper says, for her wedding and her ceremonial death.

She is interesting for her role in the last chapter of this narrative but not interesting in herself; she was not a Pompadour or a Lola Montez. [i] Hitler, although he was undoubtedly extremely fond of her and found relaxation in her unobtrusive company, had always kept her out of sight, refusing to allow her to come to his various headquarters, where he spent almost all of his time during the war years, and rarely permitting her even to come to Berlin. She remained immured at the Berghof on the Obersalzberg, passing her time in swimming and skiing, in reading cheap novels and seeing trashy films, in dancing (which Hitler disapproved of) and endlessly grooming herself, pining away for her absent loved one.

"She was," says Erich Kempka, the Fuehrer's chauffeur, "the unhappiest woman in Germany. She spent most of her life waiting for Hitler." [8]

Field Marshal Keitel described her appearance during an interrogation at Nuremberg.

She was very slender, elegant appearance, quite nice legs -- one could see that -- reticent and retiring and a very, very nice person, dark blond. She stood very much in the background and one saw her very rarely. [9]

The daughter of lower-middle-class Bavarian parents, who at first strenuously opposed her illicit relation with Hitler, even though he was the dictator, she had been employed in the Munich photograph shop of Heinrich Hoffmann, who introduced her to the Fuehrer. This was a year or two after the suicide of Geli Raubal, the niece of Hitler, for whom, as we have seen, he had the one great passionate love of his life. Eva Braun too, it seems, was often driven to despair by her lover, though not for the same reasons as Geli Raubal. Eva, though installed in a suite in Hitler's Alpine villa, couldn't endure the long separations when he was away and twice tried to kill herself in the early years of their friendship. But gradually she accepted her frustrating and ambiguous role -- acknowledged neither as wife nor as mistress -- content to be sole woman companion of the great man and making the most of their rare moments together.

She was now determined to share his end. Like Dr. and Frau Goebbels, she had no desire to live in a Germany without Adolf Hitler. "It would not be fit to live in for a true German," she told Hanna Reitsch, the famed German woman test pilot, in the shelter just before the end. [10] Though Eva Braun had a birdlike mind and made no intellectual impression on Hitler at all -- perhaps this is one reason he preferred her company to that of intelligent women -- it is obvious that his influence on her, as on so many others, was total.


Hitler's birthday on April 20 passed quietly enough, although, as General Karl Koller, the Air Force Chief of Staff, who was present at the celebration in the bunker, noted in his diary, it was a day of further catastrophes on the rapidly disintegrating fronts. All the Old Guard Nazis, Goering, Goebbels, Himmler, Ribbentrop and Bormann, were there, as well as the surviving military leaders, Doenitz, Keitel, Jodl and Krebs -- the last-named the new, and last, Chief of the Army General Staff. They offered the Fuehrer birthday congratulations.

The warlord was not unusually cast down, despite the situation. He was still confident, as he had told his generals three days before, that "the Russians were going to suffer their bloodiest defeat of all before Berlin." The generals knew better, and at the regular military conference after the birthday party they urged Hitler to leave Berlin for the south. In a day or two, they explained, the Russians would cut off the last escape corridor in that direction. Hitler hesitated; he would not say yes or no. Apparently he could not quite face the appalling fact that the capital of the Third Reich was now about to be captured by the Russians, whose armies, he had announced years before, were as good as destroyed. As a concession to the generals he consented to setting up two separate commands in case the Americans and Russians made their junction on the Elbe. Admiral Doenitz would head that in the north and perhaps Kesselring the one in the south -- he was not quite sure about the latter appointment.

That night there was a general getaway from Berlin. Two of the Fuehrer's most trusted and veteran aides got out: Himmler and Goering, the latter in a motor caravan whose trucks were filled with booty from his fabulous estate, Karinhall. Each of these Old Guard Nazis left convinced that his beloved Leader would soon be dead and that he would succeed him.

They never saw him again. Nor did Ribbentrop, who also scurried for safer parts late that night.

But Hitler had not yet given up. On the day after his birthday he ordered an all-out counterattack on the Russians in the southern suburbs of Berlin by S.S. General Felix Steiner. Every available soldier in the Berlin area was to be thrown into the attack, including the Luftwaffe ground troops.

"Any commander who holds back his forces," Hitler shouted to General Koller, who had remained behind to represent the Air Force, "will forfeit his life in five hours. You yourself will guarantee with you· head that the last man is thrown in." [11]

All through the day and far into the next Hitler waited impatiently for the news of Steiner's counterattack. It was a further example of his loss of contact with reality. There was no Steiner attack. It was never attempted. It existed only in the feverish mind of the desperate dictator. When he was finally forced to recognize this the storm broke.

April 22 brought the last turning point in Hitler's road to ruin. From early morning until 3 P.M. he had been on the telephone, as he had been the day before, trying to find out from the various command posts how the Steiner counterattack was going. No one knew. General Koller's planes could not locate it, nor could the ground commanders, though it was supposed to be rolling only two or three miles south of the capital. Not even Steiner, though he existed, could be found, let alone his army.

The blowup came at the daily military conference in the bunker at 3 P.M. Hitler angrily demanded news of Steiner. Neither Keitel nor Jodl nor anyone else had any. But the generals had other news. The withdrawal of troops from the north of Berlin to support Steiner had so weakened the front there that the Russians had broken through and their tanks were now within the city limits.

This was too much for the Supreme Warlord. All the surviving witnesses testify that he completely lost control of himself. He flew into the greatest rage of his life. This was the end, he shrieked. Everyone had deserted him. There was nothing but treason, lies, corruption and cowardice. All was over. Very well, he would stay on in Berlin. He would personally take over the defense of the capital of the Third Reich. The others could leave, if they wished. In this place he would meet his end.

The others protested. There was still hope, they said, if the Fuehrer retired to the south, where Field Marshal Ferdinand Schoerner's army group in Czechoslovakia and considerable forces of Kesselring were still intact. Doenitz, who had left for the northwest to take over command of the troops there, and Himmler, who, as we shall see, was up to his own game, telephoned to urge the Leader not to remain in Berlin. Even Ribbentrop called up to say he was about to spring a "diplomatic coup" which would save everything. But Hitler had no more faith in them, not even in his "second Bismarck," as he once, in a moment of folly, had called his Foreign Minister. He had made his decision, he said to all. And to show them that it was irrevocable, he called for a secretary and in their presence dictated an announcement that was to be read immediately over the radio. The Fuehrer, it said, would stay in Berlin and defend it to the end.

Hitler then sent for Goebbels and invited him, his wife and their six young children to move into the Fuehrerbunker from their badly bombed house in the Wilhelmstrasse garden. He knew that at least this fanatical and faithful follower, and his family, would stick by him to the end. Next Hitler turned to his papers, sorted out those he wished to be destroyed, and turned them over to one of his adjutants, Julius Schaub, who took them up to the garden and burned them.

Finally that evening he called in Keitel and Jodl and ordered them to proceed south to take over direct command of the remaining armed forces. Both generals, who had been at Hitler's side throughout the war, have left vivid accounts of their final parting with the Supreme Warlord. [12]

When Keitel protested that he would not leave without the Fuehrer, Hitler answered, "You will follow my orders." Keitel, who had never disobeyed an order from the Leader in his life, not even those commanding him to commit the vilest war crimes, said nothing further, but Jodl, less a lackey, did. To this soldier, who, despite his fanatical devotion to the Fuehrer whom he had served so well, still retained some sense of military tradition, the Supreme Warlord was deserting the command of his troops and shirking his responsibility for them at a moment of disaster.

"You can't direct anything from here," Jodl said. "If you don't have your Leadership Staff with you how can you lead anything?"

"Well, then," Hitler retorted, "Goering can take over the leadership down there."

When one of them pointed out that no soldier would fight for the Reich Marshal, Hitler cut in. "What do you mean, fight? There's precious little more fighting to be done!" Even for the mad conqueror the scales at last were falling from the eyes. Or, at least, the gods were giving him moments of lucidity in these last nightmarish days of his life.

There were several repercussions to Hitler's outbursts on April 22 and to his final decision to remain in Berlin. When Himmler, who was at Hohenlychen, northwest of Berlin, received a firsthand account on the telephone from Hermann Fegelein, his S.S. liaison officer at headquarters, he exclaimed to his entourage, "Everyone is mad in Berlin! What am I to do?"

"You go straight to Berlin," replied one of Himmler's principal aides, Obergruppenfuehrer Gottlob Berger, the chief of the S.S. head office. Berger was one of those simple Germans who sincerely believed in National Socialism. He had no idea that his revered chief, Himmler, under the prodding of S.S. General Walter Schellenberg, was already in touch with Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden about surrendering the German armies in the West. "I am going to Berlin," Berger said to Himmler, "and it is your duty to go too."

Berger, but not Himmler, went to Berlin that night and his visit is of interest because of his firsthand description of Hitler on the night of his great decision. Russian shells were already bursting near the Chancellery when Berger arrived. To his shock he found the Fuehrer "a broken man -- finished." When he ventured to express his appreciation of Hitler's resolve to remain in Berlin -- "one couldn't desert the people after they had held out so loyally and long," he says he declared -- the very words touched off the Leader again.

All this time [Berger later recounted] the Fuehrer had never uttered a word; then suddenly he shrieked: "Everyone has deceived me! No one has told me the truth! The Armed Forces have lied to me!" ... He went on and on in a loud voice. Then his face went bluish purple. I thought he was going to have a stroke any minute ...

Berger was also the head of Himmler's Prisoner-of-War Administration, and after the Fuehrer had calmed down they discussed the fate of a group of prominent British, French and American prisoners as well as of such Germans as Halder and Schacht and the former Austrian Chancellor, Schuschnigg, who were being moved southeast to keep them out of the hands of the Americans advancing through Germany. Berger was flying to Bavaria that night to take charge of them. The two men also talked of reports that there had been outbreaks of separatism in Austria and Bavaria. The idea that revolt could break out in his native Austria and in his adopted Bavaria once more convulsed Hitler.

His hand was shaking, his leg was shaking and his head was shaking; and all that he kept saying [Berger reported] was: "Shoot them all! Shoot them all!" [13]

Whether this was an order to shoot all the separatists or all the distinguished prisoners, or both, was not clear to Berger, but apparently to this simple man it meant the whole lot.


General Koller had stayed away from the Fuehrer's military conference on April 22. He had the Luftwaffe to look after, and "besides," he says in his diary, "I should never have been able to tolerate being insulted all day long."

General Eckard Christian, his liaison officer at the bunker, had rung him up at 6: 15 P.M. and in a breathless voice had said, "Historical even:s, the most decisive of the war, are taking place here!" A couple of hours later Christian arrived at Air Force headquarters at Wildpark-Werder on the outskirts of Berlin to report to Koller in person. "The Fuehrer has broken down!" Christian, an ardent Nazi who had married one of Hitler's secretaries, gasped, but beyond saying that the Leader had decided to meet his end in Berlin and was burning his papers, he was so incoherent that the Luftwaffe Chief of Staff set out, despite a heavy British bombing that had just begun, to find General Jodl and ascertain just what had happened that day in the bunker.

At Krampnitz, between Berlin and Potsdam, where the now Fuehrerless OKW had set up temporary headquarters, he found him, and Jodl told his Air Force friend the whole sad story. He also revealed something which no one else had yet mentioned to Koller and which was to lead to a certain denouement during the next few frantic days.

"When it comes to negotiating [for peace]," Hitler had told Keitel and Jodl, "Goering can do better than 1. Goering is much better at those things. He can deal much better with the other side." Jodl now repeated this to Koller. [14]

The Air Force General felt that it was his duty to immediately fly to Goering. It would be difficult and also dangerous, in view of the enemy's monitoring, to try to explain this new development in a radio message. If Goering, who had been officially named by Hitler years before as his successor-designate, were to take over peace negotiations, as the Fuehrer had suggested, there was no time to lose. Jodl agreed. At 3: 30 on the morning of April 23 Koller took off in a fighter plane and sped toward Munich.

At noon he arrived on the Obersalzberg and delivered his news to the Reich Marshal. Goering, who had been looking forward, to put it mildly, to the day when he might succeed Hitler, was more circumspect than might have been expected. He did not want to lay himself open, he said, to the machinations of his "deadly enemy," Bormann, a precaution which, as it turned out, was well founded. He perspired under his dilemma. "If I act now," he told his advisers, "I may be stamped as a traitor; if I don't act, I'll be accused of having failed to do something in the hour of disaster."

Goering sent for Hans Lammers, the State Secretary of the Reich Chancellery, who was in Berchtesgaden, for legal advice and also fetched from his safe a copy of the Fuehrer's decree of June 29, 1941. The decree was quite clear. It stipulated that if Hitler died Goering was to be his successor and that if the Fuehrer were incapacitated Goering was to act as his deputy. All agreed that by remaining in Berlin to die, cut off in his last hours from both the military commands and the government offices, Hitler was incapacitated from governing and that it was Goering's clear duty under the decree to take over.

Nevertheless the Reich Marshal drafted his telegram to Hitler with great care. He wanted to make sure of the delegation of authority.


In view of your decision to remain in the fortress of Berlin, do you agree that I take over at once the total leadership of the Reich, with full freedom of action at home and abroad as your deputy, in accordance with your decree of June 29, 1941? If no reply is received by 10 o'clock tonight, I shall take it for granted that you have lost your freedom of action, and shall consider the conditions of your decree as fulfilled, and shall act for the best interests of our country and our people. You know what I feel for you in this gravest hour of my life. Words fail me to express myself. May God protect you, and speed you quickly here in spite of all.

Your loyal
Hermann Goering

That very evening several hundred miles away Heinrich Himmler was meeting with Count Bernadotte in the Swedish consulate at Luebeck on the Baltic. Der treue Heinrich -- the loyal Heinrich, as Hitler had often fondly referred to him -- was not asking for the powers of succession; he was already assuming them.

"The Fuehrer's great life," he told the Swedish count, "is drawing to a close." In a day or two, he said, Hitler would be dead. Whereupon Himmler urged Bernadotte to communicate to General Eisenhower immediately Germany's willingness to surrender to the West. In the East, Himmler added, the war would be continued until the Western Powers themselves had taken over the front against the Russians -- such was the naivete, or stupidity, or both, of this S.S. chieftain who now claimed for himself the dictatorship of the Third Reich. When Bernadotte asked that Himmler put in writing his offer to surrender, a letter was hastily drafted by candlelight -- for an R.A.F. bombing that night had shut off the electricity in Luebeck and driven the conferees to the cellar. Himmler signed it. [15]

Both Goering and Himmler had acted prematurely, as they quickly found out. Although Hitler was cut off from all but a scanty radio communication with his armies and his ministries -- for the Russians had nearly completed their encirclement of the capital by the evening of the twenty-third -- he was now to demonstrate that he could rule Germany by the power of his personality and prestige alone and quell "treason," even by the most eminent of his followers, by a mere word over his creaky wireless transmitter suspended from a balloon above the bunker.

Albert Speer and a remarkable lady witness whose dramatic appearance in the last act of the drama in Berlin will shortly be noted have described Hitler's reaction to Goering's telegram. Speer had flown into the besieged capital on the night of April 23, landing in a cub plane on the eastern end of the East-West Axis -- the broad avenue which led through the Tiergarten -- at the Brandenburg Gate, a block from the Chancellery. Having learned that Hitler had decided to remain in Berlin to the end, which could not be far off, Speer had come to say his farewell to the Leader and to confess to him that his "conflict between personal loyalty and public duty," as he puts it, had forced him to sabotage the Fuehrer's scorched-earth policy. He fully expected to be arrested for "treason" and probably shot, and no doubt he would have been had the dictator known of Speer's effort two months before to kill him and all the others who had escaped Stauffenberg's bomb.

The brilliant architect and Armament Minister, though he had always prided himself on being apolitical, had had, like some other Germans, a late -- a too late-awakening. When he had finally realized that his beloved Fuehrer was determined through his scorched-earth decrees to destroy the German people he had decided to murder him. His plan was to introduce poison gas into the ventilation system in the bunker in Berlin during a full-dress military conference. Since not only the generals but invariably Goering, Himmler and Goebbels now attended these, Speer hoped to wipe out the entire Nazi leadership of the Third Reich as well as the High Command. He procured his gas, inspected the air-conditioning system and then discovered, he says, that the air-intake pipe in the garden was protected by a twelve-foot-high chimney, recently installed on Hitler's personal orders to discourage sabotage, and that it would be impossible to inject his gas into it without being interrupted by the S.S. guards in the garden. So he abandoned his project and Hitler once again escaped assassination.

Now on the evening of April 23 Speer made a full confession of his insubordination in refusing to carry out the wanton destruction of Germany's remaining installations. To his surprise Hitler showed no resentment or anger. Perhaps the Fuehrer was touched by the candor and courage of his young friend -- Speer had just turned forty -- for whom he had long had a deep affection and whom he regarded as a "fellow artist." Hitler, as Keitel also noted, seemed strangely serene that evening, as though having made up his mind to die in this place within a few days had brought a peace of mind and spirit. But it was the calm not only after the storm -- of the previous day -- but before the storm.

For Goering's telegram had meanwhile arrived in the Chancellery and after being held up by Bormann, who saw his opportunity at last, was presented to the Fuehrer by this master of intrigue as an "ultimatum" and as a treasonous attempt to "usurp" the Leader's power.

"Hitler was highly enraged," says Speer, "and expressed himself very strongly about Goering. He said he had known for some time that Goering had failed, that he was corrupt and a drug addict" -- a statement which "extremely shook" the young architect, since he wondered why Hitler had employed such a man in so high a post so long. Speer was also puzzled when Hitler calmed down and added, "Well, let Goering negotiate the capitulation all the same. It doesn't matter anyway who does it." [16] But this mood lasted only a few moments.

Before the discussion was finished, Hitler, prompted by Bormann, dictated a telegram informing Goering that he had committed "high treason," for which the penalty was death, but that because of his long service to the Nazi Party and State his life would be spared if he immediately resigned all his offices. He was ordered to answer with one word: Yes or No. This did not satisfy the wormlike Bormann. On his own hook he got off a radiogram to the S.S. headquarters in Berchtesgaden ordering the immediate arrest of Goering, his staff and Lammers for "high treason." Before dawn the next day the Number Two man of the Third Reich, the most arrogant -- and opulent -- of the Nazi princes, the only Reich Marshal in German history and the Commander in Chief of the Air Force, found himself a prisoner of the S.S.

Three days later, on the evening of April 26, Hitler expressed himself even more strongly on the subject of Goering than he had in the presence of Speer.


Two more interesting visitors had meanwhile arrived in the madhouse of the Fuehrer's bunker: Hanna Reitsch, the crack woman test pilot who, among other qualities, had a capacity for monumental hatred, especially of Goering, and General Ritter von Greim, who on April 24 had been summoned from Munich to appear personally before the Supreme Warlord and had done so, though the plane in which he and Reitsch flew the last lap on the evening of the twenty-sixth had been torn over the Tiergarten by Russian antiaircraft shells and Greim's foot had been shattered.

Hitler came into the surgery, where a physician was dressing the general's wound.

HITLER: Do you know why I have called you?

GREIM: No, my Fuehrer.

HITLER: Because Hermann Goering has betrayed and deserted both me and his Fatherland. Behind my back he has established contact with the enemy. His action was a mark of cowardice. Against my orders he has gone to save himself at Berchtesgaden. From there he sent me a disrespectful telegram. It was ...

At this point, says Hanna Reitsch, who was present, the Fuehrer's face began to twitch and his breath came in explosive puffs.

HITLER: ... an ultimatum! A crass ultimatum! Now nothing remains. Nothing is spared me. No allegiances are kept, no honor lived up to, no disappointments that I have not had, no betrayals that I have not experienced, and now this above all else! Nothing remains. Every wrong has already been done me.

I immediately had Goering arrested as a traitor to the Reich, took from him all his offices, and removed him from all organizations. That is why I have called you. [17]

Then and there he named the startled General lying wounded on his cot the new Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe -- a promotion he could have made by radio, which would have spared Greim a crippled foot and left him at headquarters, the only place from which what was left of the Air Force could be directed. Three days later Hitler ordered Greim, who by now, like Fraulein Reitsch, expected and indeed desired to die in the bunker at the side of the Leader, to depart in order to deal with a new case of "treachery." For "treason," as we have seen, was not confined among the leaders of the Third Reich to Hermann Goering.

During those three days Hanna Reitsch had ample opportunity to observe the lunatic life in the underground madhouse -- indeed, she participated in it. Since she was as emotionally unstable as her distinguished host, the account she has left of it is lurid and melodramatic, and yet it is probably largely true and even fairly accurate, for it has been checked against other eyewitness reports, and is thus of importance for the closing chapter of this history.

Late on the night of her arrival with General von Greim -- it was April 26 -- Russian shells began falling on the Chancellery and the thud of the explosions and the sound of crashing walls above increased the tension in the bunker. Hitler took the aviatrix aside.

"My Fuehrer, why do you stay?" she said. "Why do you deprive Germany of your life? ... The Fuehrer must live so that Germany can live. The people demand it."

"No, Hanna," she says the Fuehrer replied. "If I die it is for the honor of our country, it is because as a soldier I must obey my own command that I would defend Berlin to the last."

My dear girl [he continued], I did not intend it so. I believed firmly that Berlin would be saved on the banks of the Oder ... When our best efforts failed I was the most horror-struck of all. Then when the encirclement of the city began ... I believed that by staying all the troops of the land would take example from my act and come to the rescue of the city ... But, my Hanna, I still have hope. The army of General Wenck is moving up from the south. He must and will drive the Russians back long enough to save our people. Then we will fall back to hold again. [18]

That was one mood of Hitler that evening; he still had hope in General Wenck's relieving Berlin. But a few moments later, as the Russian bombardment of the Chancellery reached great intensity, he was in despair again. He handed Reitsch a vial of poison for herself and one for Greim.

"Hanna," he said, "you belong to those who will die with me ... I do not wish that one of us falls to the Russians alive, nor do I wish our bodies to be found by them ... Eva and I will have our bodies burned. You will devise your own method."

Hanna took the vial of poison to Greim and they decided that "should the end really come" they would swallow the poison and then, to make sure, pull a pin from a heavy grenade and hold it tightly to their bodies.

A day and a half later, on the twenty-eighth, Hitler's hopes seem to have risen again -- or at least his delusions. He radioed Keitel:

"I expect the relief of Berlin. What is Heinrici's army doing? Where is Wenck? What is happening to the Ninth Army? When will Wenck and Ninth Army join?" [19]

Reitsch describes the Supreme Warlord that day, striding

about the shelter, waving a road map that was fast disintegrating from the sweat of his hands and planning Wenck's campaign with anyone who happened to be listening.

But Wenck's "campaign," like the Steiner "attack" of a week before, existed only in the Fuehrer's imagination. Wenck's army had already been liquidated, as had the Ninth Army. Heinrici's army, to the north of Berlin, was beating a hasty retreat westward so that it might be captured by the Western Allies instead of by the Russians.

All through April 28 the desperate men in the bunker waited for news of the counterattacks of these three armies, especially that of Wenck. Russian spearheads were now but a few blocks from the Chancellery and advancing slowly toward it up several streets from the east and north and through the nearby Tiergarten from the west. When no news of the relieving forces came, Hitler, prompted by Bormann, began to expect new treacheries. At 8 P.M. Bormann got out a radiogram to Doenitz.

Instead of urging the troops forward to our rescue, the men in authority are silent. Treachery seems to have replaced loyalty! We remain here. The Chancellery is already in ruins.

Later that night Bormann sent another message to Doenitz.

Schoerner, Wenck and others must prove their loyalty to the Fuehrer by coming to the Fuehrer's aid as soon as possible. [20]

Bormann was now speaking for himself. Hitler had made up his mind to die in a day or two, but Bormann wanted to live. He might not succeed the Fuehrer but he wanted to continue to pull the strings behind the scenes for whoever did.

Finally, that night Admiral Voss got out a message to Doenitz saying that all radio connection with the Army had broken down and urgently requesting the Navy to send over the naval wave length some news of what was happening in the outside world. Very shortly some news came, not from the Navy but from the listening post in the Propaganda Ministry, and it was shattering for Adolf Hitler.

Besides Bormann there was another Nazi official in the bunker who wanted to live. This was Hermann Fegelein, Himmler's representative at court and typical of the type of German who rose to prominence under Hitler's rule. A former groom and then a jockey and quite illiterate, he was a protege of the notorious Christian Weber, one of Hitler's oldest party cronies and himself a horse fancier, who by fraudulence had amassed a fortune and a great racing stable after 1933. Fegelein, with Weber's help, had climbed quite high in the Third Reich. He was a general in the Waffen S.S. and in 1944, shortly after being appointed Himmler's liaison officer at Fuehrer headquarters, he had further advanced his position at court by marrying Eva Braun's sister, Gretl. All the surviving S.S. chiefs agree that, in alliance with Bormann, Fegelein lost no time in betraying his own S.S. chief, Himmler, to Hitler. But disreputable, illiterate and ignorant though he was, Fegelein seems to have been possessed of a simon -- pure instinct for survival. He knew a sinking ship when he saw one.

On April 26 he quietly left the bunker. By the next afternoon Hitler had noticed his disappearance. The Fuehrer's easily aroused suspicions were kindled and he sent out an armed S.S. search party to try to find the man. He was found, in civilian clothes, resting in his home in the Charlottenburg district, which the Russians were about to overrun. Brought back to the Chancellery, he was stripped of his S.S. rank of Obergruppenfuehrer and placed under arrest. Fegelein's attempt at desertion made Hitler immediately suspicious of Himmler. What was the S.S. chief up to, now that he had deliberately absented himself from Berlin? There had been no news since his liaison officer, Fegelein, had quit his post. It now came.

April 28, as we have seen, had been a trying day in the bunker. The Russians were getting close. The expected news of Wenck's counterattack, or of any counterattack, had not come through. Desperately the besieged had asked, through the Navy's radio, for news of developments outside the encircled city.

The radio listening post of the Propaganda Ministry had picked up from a broadcast of the BBC in London one piece of news of what was happening outside Berlin. It was a Reuter dispatch from Stockholm and it was so sensational, so incredible, that one of Goebbels' assistants, Heinz Lorenz, had scampered across the shell-torn square late on the evening of April 28 to the bunker with copies of it for his Minister and for the Fuehrer.

The dispatch, says Reitsch, struck "a deathblow to the entire assembly. Men and women alike screamed with rage, fear and desperation, all mixed into one emotional spasm." Hitler's spasm was the worst. "He raged," says the aviatrix, "like a madman."

Heinrich Himmler -- der treue Heinrich -- had also deserted the sinking ship of state. The Reuter dispatch told of his secret negotiations with Count Bernadotte and his offer to surrender the German armies in the West to Eisenhower.

To Hitler, who had never doubted Himmler's absolute loyalty, this was the heaviest blow of all. "His color," says Reitsch, "rose to a heated red and his face was virtually unrecognizable ... After the lengthy outburst Hitler sank into a stupor and for a time the entire bunker was silent." Goering at least had asked the Leader's permission to take over. But the "treue" S.S. chief and Reichsfuehrer had not bothered to ask; he had treasonably contacted the enemy without saying a word. This, Hitler told his followers when he had somewhat recovered, was the worst act of treachery he had ever known.

This blow -- coupled with the news received a few minutes later that the Russians were nearing the Potsdamerplatz, but a block away, and would probably storm the Chancellery on the morning of April 30, thirty hours hence -- was the signal for the end. It forced Hitler to make immediately the last decisions of his life. By dawn he had married Eva Braun, drawn up his last will and testament, dispatched Greim and Hanna Reitsch to rally the Luftwaffe for an all-out bombing of the Russian forces approaching the Chancellery, and ordered them also to arrest Himmler as a traitor.

"A traitor must never succeed me as Fuehrer!" Hanna says he told them. "You must get out to insure that he will not."

Hitler could not wait to begin his revenge against Himmler. He had the S.S. chief's liaison man, Fegelein, in his hands. The former jockey and present S.S. General was now brought out of the guardhouse, closely questioned as to Himmler's "betrayal," accused of having been an accomplice in it, and on the Fuehrer's orders taken up to the Chancellery garden and shot. The fact that Fegelein was married to Eva Braun's sister did not help him. Eva made no effort to save her brother-in-law's life.

"Poor, poor Adolf," she whimpered to Hanna Reitsch, "deserted by everyone, betrayed by all. Better that ten thousand others die than that he be lost to Germany."

He was lost to Germany but in those final hours he was won by Eva Braun. Sometime between 1 A.M. and 3 A.M. on April 29, as a crowning award for her loyalty to the end, he accorded his mistress's wish and formally married her. He had always said that marriage would interfere with his complete dedication to leading first his party to power and then his nation to the heights. Now that there was no more leading to do and his life was at an end, he could safely enter into a marriage which could last only a few hours.
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Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

Postby admin » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:03 am

Part 2 of 2

Goebbels rounded up a municipal councilor, one Walter Wagner, who was fighting in a unit of the Volkssturm not many blocks away, and this surprised official performed the ceremony in the small conference room of the bunker. The marriage document survives and gives part of the picture of what one of the Fuehrer's secretaries described as the "death marriage.'' Hitler asked that "in view of war developments the publication of the banns be done orally and all other delays be avoided." The bride- and groom-to-be swore they were "of complete Aryan descent" and had "no hereditary disease to exclude their marriage." On the eve of death the dictator insisted on sticking to form. Only in the spaces given to the name of his father (born Schicklgruber) and his mother and the date of their marriage did Hitler leave a blank. His bride started to sign her name "Eva Braun," but stopped, crossed out the "B" and wrote "Eva Hitler, born Braun." Goebbels and Bormann signed as witnesses.

After the brief ceremony there was a macabre wedding breakfast in the Fuehrer's private apartment. Champagne was brought out and even Fraulein Manzialy, Hitler's vegetarian cook, was invited, along with his secretaries, the remaining generals, Krebs and Burgdorf, Bormann and Dr. and Frau Goebbels, to share in the wedding celebration. For a time the talk gravitated to the good old times and the party comrades of better days. Hitler spoke fondly of the occasion on which he had been best man at the Goebbels wedding. As was his custom, even to the very last, the bridegroom talked on and on, reviewing the high points in his dramatic life. Now it was ended, he said, and so was National Socialism. It would be a release for him to die, since he had been betrayed by his oldest friends and supporters. The wedding party was plunged into gloom and some of the guests stole away in tears. Hitler finally slipped away himself. In an adjoining room he summoned one of his secretaries, Frau Gertrude Junge, and began to dictate his last will and testament.


These two documents survive, as Hitler meant them to, and like others of his papers they are significant to this narrative. They confirm that the man who had ruled over Germany with an iron hand for more than twelve years, and over most of Europe for four, had learned nothing from his experience; not even his reverses and shattering final failure had taught him anything. Indeed, in the last hours of his life he reverted to the young man he had been in the gutter days in Vienna and in the early rowdy beer hall period in Munich, cursing the Jews for all the ills of the world, spinning his half-baked theories about the universe, and whining that fate once more had cheated Germany of victory and conquest. In this valedictory to the German nation and to the world which was also meant to be a last, conclusive appeal to history, Adolf Hitler dredged up all the empty claptrap of Mein Kampf and added his final falsehoods. It was a fitting epitaph of a power-drunk tyrant whom absolute power had corrupted absolutely and destroyed.

The "Political Testament," as he called it, was divided into two parts, the first consisting of his appeal to posterity, the second of his specific directions for the future.

More than thirty years have passed since I made my modest contribution as a volunteer in the First World War, which was forced upon the Reich.

In these three decades, love and loyalty to my people alone have guided me in all my thoughts, actions and life. They gave me power to make the most difficult decisions which have ever confronted mortal man ...

It is untrue that I or anybody else in Germany wanted war in 1939. It was wanted and provoked exclusively by those international statesmen who either were of Jewish origin or worked for Jewish interests.

I have made too many offers for the limitation and control of armaments. which posterity will not for all time be able to disregard, for responsibility for the outbreak of this war to be placed on me. Further, I have never wished that after the appalling First World War there should be a second one against either England or America. Centuries will go by, but from the ruins of our towns and monuments the hatred of those ultimately responsible will always grow anew. They are the people whom we have to thank for all this: international Jewry and its helpers.

Hitler then repeated the lie that three days before the attack on Poland he had proposed to the British government a reasonable solution of the Polish-German problem.

It was rejected only because the ruling clique in England wanted war, partly for commercial reasons, partly because it was influenced by propaganda put out by the international Jewry.

Next he placed "sole responsibility" not only for the millions of deaths suffered on the battlefields and in the bombed cities but for his own massacre of the Jews -- on the Jews. Then he turned to the reasons for his decision to remain in Berlin to the last.

After six years of war, which in spite of all setbacks will one day go down in history as the most glorious and heroic manifestation of the struggle for existence of a nation, I cannot forsake the city that is the capital of this state ... I wish to share my fate with that which millions of others have also taken upon themselves by staying in this town. Further, I shall not fall in the hands of the enemy, who requires a new spectacle, presented by the Jews, to divert their hysterical masses.

I have therefore decided to remain in Berlin and there to choose death voluntarily at that moment when I believe that the position of the Fuehrer and the Chancellery itself can no longer be maintained. I die with a joyful heart in my knowledge of the immeasurable deeds and achievements of our peasants and workers and of a contribution unique in history of our youth which bears my name.

There followed an exhortation to all Germans "not to give up the struggle." He had finally forced himself to recognize, though, that National Socialism was finished for the moment, but he assured his fellow Germans that from the sacrifices of the soldiers and of himself

the seed has been sown that will grow one day ... to the glorious rebirth of the National Socialist movement of a truly united nation.

Hitler could not die without first hurling one last insult at the Army and especially at its officer corps, whom he held chiefly responsible for the disaster. Though he confessed that Nazism was dead, at least for the moment, he nevertheless adjured the commanders of the three armed services

to strengthen with every possible means the spirit of resistance of our soldiers in the National Socialist belief, with special emphasis on the fact that I myself, as the founder and creator of this movement, prefer death to cowardly resignation or even to capitulation.

Then the jibe at the Army officer caste:

May it be in the future a point of honor with the German Army officers, as it already is in our Navy, that the surrender of a district or town is out of the question and that, above everything else, the commanders must set a shining example of faithful devotion to duty unto death.

It was Hitler's insistence that "a district or town" must be held "unto death," as at Stalingrad, which had helped bring about military disaster. But in this, as in other things, he had learned nothing.

The second part of the Political Testament dealt with the question of succession. Though the Third Reich was going up in flames and explosions, Hitler could not bear to die without naming his successor and dictating the exact composition of the government which that successor must appoint. First he had to eliminate his would-be successors.

Before my death, I expel former Reich Marshal Hermann Goering from the party and withdraw from him al1 the rights that were conferred on him by the decree of June 20, 1941 ... In his place I appoint Admiral Doenitz as President of the Reich and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Before my death, I expel the fanner Reichsfuehrer of the S.S. and the Minister of Interior Heinrich Himmler from the party and from all his state offices.

The leaders of the Army, the Air Force and the S.S., he believed, had betrayed him, had cheated him of victory. So his only possible choice of successor had to be the leader of the Navy, which had been too small to playa major role in Hitler's war of conquest. This was a final jibe at the Army, which had done most of the fighting and lost most of the men killed in the war. There was also a last parting denunciation of the two men who had been, with Goebbels, his most intimate collaborators since the early days of the party.

Apart altogether from their disloyalty to me, Goering and Himmler have brought irreparable shame on the whole nation by secretly negotiating with the enemy without my knowledge and against my will, and also by illegally attempting to seize control of the State.

Having expelled the traitors and named his successor, Hitler then proceeded to tell Doenitz whom he must have in his new government. They were all "honorable men," he said, "who will fulfill the task of continuing the war with all means." Goebbels was to be the Chancellor and Bormann the "Party Minister" -- a new post. Seyss-Inquart, the Austrian quisling and, most recently, the butcher governor of Holland, was to be Foreign Minister. Speer, like Ribbentrop, was dropped. But Count Schwerin von Krosigk, who had been Minister of Finance continuously since his appointment by Papen in 1932, was to retain that post. This man was a fool, but it must be admitted that he had a genius for survival.

Hitler not only named his successor's government. He imparted one last typical directive to it.

Above all, I enjoin the government and the people to uphold the racial laws to the limit and to resist mercilessly the poisoner of all nations, international Jewry. [21]

With that the Supreme German Warlord was finished. The time was now 4 A.M. on Sunday, April 29. Hitler called in Goebbels, Bormann and Generals Krebs and Burgdorf to witness his signing of the document, and to affix their own signatures. He then quickly dictated his personal will. In this the Man of Destiny reverted to his lower-middle-class origins in Austria, explaining why he had married and why he and his bride were killing themselves, and disposing of his property, which he hoped would be enough to support his surviving relatives in a modest way. At least Hitler had not used his power to amass a vast private fortune, as had Goering.

Although during the years of struggle I believed that I could not undertake the responsibility of marriage, now, before the end of my life, I have decided to take as my wife the woman who, after many years of true friendship, came to this city, already almost besieged, of her own free will in order to share my fate.

She will go to her death with me at her own wish as my wife. This will compensate us both for what we lost through my work in the service of my people.

My possessions, insofar as they are worth anything, belong to the party, or, if this no longer exists, to the State. If the State too is destroyed, there is no need for any further instructions on my part. The paintings in the collections bought by me during the years were never assembled for private purposes but solely for the establishment of a picture gallery in my home town of Linz on the Danube.

Bormann, as executor, was asked

to hand over to my relatives everything that is of value as a personal memento or is necessary for maintaining a petty-bourgeois [kleinen buergerlichen] standard of living ... [ii]

My wife and I choose to die in order to escape the shame of overthrow or capitulation. It is our wish that our bodies be burned immediately in the place where I have performed the greater part of my daily work during the twelve years of service to my people.

Exhausted by the dictation of his farewell messages, Hitler went to bed as dawn was breaking over Berlin on this last Sabbath of his life. A pall of smoke hung over the city. Buildings crashed in flames as the Russians fired their artillery at point-blank range. They were now not far from the Wilhelmstrasse and the Chancellery.

While Hitler slept, Goebbels and Bormann made haste. In his Political Testament, which they had signed as witnesses, the Fuehrer had specifically ordered them to leave the capital and join the new government. Bormann was more than willing to obey. For all his devotion to the Leader, he did not intend to share his death, if he could avoid it. The only thing in life he wanted was power behind the scenes, and Doenitz might still offer him this. That is, if Goering, on learning of the Fuehrer's death, did not try to usurp the throne. To make sure that he did not, Bormann now got out a radio message to the S.S. headquarters at Berchtesgaden.

If Berlin and we should fallm the traitors of April 23 must be exterminated. Men, do your duty! Your life and honor depend on it! [22]

This was an order to murder Goering and his Air Force staff, whom Bormann had already placed under S.S. arrest.

Dr. Goebbels, like Eva Braun but unlike Bormann, had no desire to live in a Germany from which his revered Fuehrer had departed. He had hitched his star to Hitler, to whom alone he owed his sensational rise in life. He had been the chief prophet and propagandist of the Nazi movement. It was he who, next to Hitler, had created its myths. To perpetuate those myths not only the Leader but his most loyal follower, the only one of the Old Guard who had not betrayed him, must die a sacrificial death. He too must give an example that would be remembered down the ages and help one day to rekindle the fires of National Socialism.

Such seem to have been his thoughts when, after Hitler retired, Goebbels repaired to his little room in the bunker to write his own valedictory to present and future generations. He entitled it "Appendix to the Fuehrer's Political Testament."

The Fuehrer has ordered me to leave Berlin ... and take part as a leading member in the government appointed by him.

For the first time in my life I must categorically refuse to obey an order of the Fuehrer. My wife and children join me in this refusal. Apart from the fact that feelings of humanity and personal loyalty forbid us to abandon the Fuehrer in his hour of greatest need, I would otherwise appear for the rest of my life as a dishonorable traitor and a common scoundrel and would lose my self-respect as well as the respect of my fellow citizens ...

In the nightmare of treason which surrounds the Fuehrer in these most critical days of the war, there must be someone at least who will stay with him unconditionally until death ...

I believe I am thereby doing the best service to the future of the German people. In the hard times to come, examples will be more important than men ...

For this reason, together with my wife, and on behalf of my children, who are too young to be able to speak for themselves and who, if they were old enough, would unreservedly agree with this decision, I express my unalterable resolution not to leave the Reich capital, even if it falls, but rather, at the side of the Fuehrer, to end a life that for me personally will have no further value if I cannot spend it at the service of the Fuehrer and at his side. [23]

Dr. Goebbels finished writing his piece at half past five on the morning of April 29. Daylight was breaking over Berlin, but the sun was obscured by the smoke of battle. In the electric light of the bunker much remained to be done. The first consideration was how to get the Fuehrer's last will and testament out through the nearby Russian lines so that it could be delivered to Doenitz and others and preserved for posterity.

Three messengers were chosen to take copies of the precious documents out: Major Willi Johannmeier, Hitler's military adjutant; Wilhelm Zander, an S.S. officer and adviser to Bormann; and Heinz Lorenz, the Propaganda Ministry official who had brought the shattering news of Himmler's treachery the night before. Johannmeier, a much decorated officer, was to lead the party through the Red Army's lines. He himself was then to deliver his copy of the papers to Field Marshal Ferdinand Schoerner, whose army group still held out intact in the Bohemian mountains and whom Hitler had named as the new Commander in Chief of the Army. General Burgdorf enclosed a covering letter informing Schoerner that Hitler had written his Testament "today under the shattering news of Himmler's treachery. It is his unalterahle decision." Zander and Lorenz were to take their copies to Doenitz. Zander was given a covering note from Bormann.


Since all divisions have failed to arrive and our position seems hopeless. the Fuehrer dictated last night the attached political Testament. Heil Hitler.

The three messengers set out on their dangerous mission at noon, edging their way westward through the Tiergarten and Charlottenburg to Pichelsdorf at the head of the Havel lake, where a Hitler Youth battalion held the bridge in anticipation of the arrival of Wenck's ghost army. To get that far they had successfully slipped through three Russian rings; at the Victory Column in the middle of the Tiergarten, at the Zoo Station just beyond the park, and on the approaches to Pichelsdorf. They still had many other lines to penetrate, and much adventure lay ahead of them, [iii] and though they eventually got through it was much too late for their messages to be of any use to Doenitz and Schoerner, who never saw them.

The three messengers were not the only persons to depart from the bunker that day. At noon on April 29, Hitler, who had now been restored to a period of calm, held his customary war conference to discuss the military situation, just as he had daily at this hour for nearly six years -- and just as if the end of the road had not been reached. General Krebs reported that the Russians had advanced farther toward the Chancellery during the night and early morning. The supply of ammunition of the city's defenders, such as they were, was getting low. There was still no news from Wenck's rescue army. Three military adjutants, who now found little to do and who did not want to join the Leader in self-inflicted death, asked if they could leave the bunker in order to try to find out what had happened to Wenck. Hitler granted them permission and instructed them to urge General Wenck to get a move on. During the afternoon the three officers left.

They were soon joined by a fourth, Colonel Nicolaus von Below, Hitler's Luftwaffe adjutant, who had been a junior member of the inner circle since the beginning of the war. Below too did not believe in suicide and felt that there was no longer any useful employment in the Chancellery shelter. He asked the permission of the Fuehrer to leave and it was granted. Hitler was being most reasonable this day. It also occurred to him that he could utilize the Air Force colonel to carry out one last message. This was to be to General Keitel, whom Bormann already suspected of treason, and it would contain the warlord's final blast at the Army, which, he felt, had let him down.

No doubt the news at the evening situation conference at 10 P.M. increased the Fuehrer's already monumental bitterness at the Army. General Weidling, who commanded the courageous but ragged overage Volkssturm and underage Hitler Youth troops being sacrificed in encircled Berlin to prolong Hitler's life a few days, reported that the Russians had pushed ahead along the Saarlandstrasse and the Wilhelmstrasse almost to the Air Ministry, which was only a stone's throw from the Chancellery. The enemy would reach the Chancellery, he said, by May 1 at the latest -- in a day or two, that is.

This was the end. Even Hitler, who up until now had been directing nonexistent armies supposed to be coming to the relief of the capital, saw that -- at last. He dictated his final message and asked Below to deliver it to Keitel. He informed his Chief of OKW that the defense of Berlin was now at an end, that he was killing himself rather than surrender, that Goering and Himmler had betrayed him, and that he had named Admiral Doenitz as his successor.

He had one last word to say about the armed forces which, despite his leadership, had brought Germany to defeat. The Navy, he said, had performed superbly. The Luftwaffe had fought bravely and only Goering was responsible for its losing its initial supremacy in the war. As for the Army, the common soldiers had fought well and courageously, but the generals had failed them -- and him.

The people and the armed forces [he continued] have given their all in this long and hard struggle. The sacrifice has been enormous. But my trust has been misused by many people. Disloyalty and betrayal have undermined resistance throughout the war.

It was therefore not granted to me to lead the people to victory. The Army General Staff cannot be compared with the General Staff in the First World War. Its achievements were far behind those of the fighting front.

At least the Supreme Nazi Warlord was remaining true to character to the very end. The great victories had been due to him. The defeats and final failure had been due to others -- to their "disloyalty and betrayal."

And then the parting valediction -- the last recorded written words of this mad genius's life.

The efforts and sacrifices of the German people in this war have been so great that I cannot believe that they have been in vain. The aim must still be to win territory in the East for the German people. [iv]

The last sentence was straight out of Mein Kampf. Hitler had begun his political life with the obsession that "territory in the East" must be won for the favored German people, and he was ending his life with it. All the millions of German dead, all the millions of German homes crushed under the bombs, even the destruction of the German nation had not convinced him that the robbing of the lands of the Slavic peoples to the East was -- morals aside -- a futile Teutonic dream.


During the afternoon of April 29 one of the last pieces of news to reach the bunker from the outside world came in. Mussolini, Hitler's fellow fascist dictator and partner in aggression, had met his end and it had been shared by his mistress, Clara Petacci.

They had been caught by Italian partisans on April 26 while trying to escape from Como into Switzerland, and executed two days later. On the Saturday night of April 28 the bodies were brought to Milan in a truck and dumped on the piazza. The next day they were strung up by the heels from lampposts and later cut down so that throughout the rest of the Sabbath day they lay in the gutter, where vengeful Italians reviled them. On May Day Benito Mussolini was buried beside his mistress in the paupers' plot in the Cimitero Maggiore in Milan. In such a macabre climax of degradation Il Duce and Fascism passed into history.

It is not known how many of the details of the Duce's shabby end were communicated to the Fuehrer. One can only speculate that if he heard many of them he was only strengthened in his resolve not to allow himself or his bride to be made a "spectacle, presented by the Jews, to divert their hysterical masses," -- as he had just written in his Testament -- not their live selves or their bodies.

Shortly after receiving the news of Mussolini's death Hitler began to make the final preparations for his. He had his favorite Alsatian dog, Blondi, poisoned and two other dogs in the household shot. Then he called in his two remaining women secretaries and handed them capsules of poison to use if they wished to when the barbarian Russians broke in. He was sorry, he said, not to be able to give them a better farewell gift, and he expressed his appreciation for their long and loyal service.

Evening had now come, the last of Adolf Hitler's life. He instructed Frau Junge, one of his secretaries, to destroy the remaining papers in his files and he sent out word that no one in the bunker was to go to bed until further orders. This was interpreted by all as meaning that he judged the time had come to make his farewells. But it was not until long after midnight, at about 2:30 A.M. of April 30, as several witnesses recall, that the Fuehrer emerged from his private quarters and appeared in the general dining passage, where some twenty persons, mostly the women members of his entourage, were assembled. He walked down the line shaking hands with each and mumbling a few words that were inaudible. There was a heavy film of moisture on his eyes and, as Frau Junge remembered, "they seemed to be looking far away, beyond the walls of the bunker."

After he retired, a curious thing happened. The tension which had been building up to an almost unendurable point in the bunker broke, and several persons went to the canteen -- to dance. The weird party soon became so noisy that word was sent from the Fuehrer's quarters requesting more quiet. The Russians might come in a few hours and kill them all -- though most of them were already thinking of how they could escape -- but in the meantime for a brief spell, now that the Fuehrer's strict control of their lives was over, they would seek pleasure where and how they could find it. The sense of relief among these people seems to have been enormous and they danced on through the night.

Not Bormann. This murky man still had work to do. His own prospects for survival seemed to be diminishing. There might not be a long enough interval between the Fuehrer's death and the arrival of the Russians in which he could escape to Doenitz. If not, while the Fuehrer still lived and thus clothed his orders with authority, Bormann could at least exact further revenge on the "traitors." He dispatched during this last night a further message to Doenitz.


Our impression grows daily stronger that the divisions in the Berlin theater have been standing idle for several days. All the reports we receive are controlled, suppressed, or distorted by Keitel ... The Fuehrer orders you to proceed at once, and mercilessly, against all traitors.

And then, though he knew that Hitler's death was only hours away, he added a postscript, "The Fuehrer is alive, and is conducting the defense of Berlin."

But Berlin was no longer defensible. The Russians already had occupied almost all of the city. It was now merely a question of the defense of the Chancellery. It too was doomed, as Hitler and Bormann learned at the situation conference at noon on April 30, the last that was ever to take place. The Russians had reached the eastern end of the Tiergarten and broken into the Potsdamerplatz. They were just a block away. The hour for Adolf Hitler to carry out his resolve had come.

His bride apparently had no appetite for lunch that day and Hitler took his repast with his two secretaries and with his vegetarian cook, who perhaps did not realize that she had prepared his last meal. While they were finishing their lunch at about 2:30 P.M., Erich Kempka, the Fuehrer's chauffeur, who was in charge of the ChanceIlery garage, received an order to deliver immediately 200 liters of gasoline in jerricans to the Chancellery garden. Kempka had some difficulty in rounding up so much fuel but he managed to collect some 180 liters and with the help of three men carried it to the emergency exit of the bunker. [24]

While the oil to provide the fire for the Viking funeral was being collected, Hitler, having done with his last meal, fetched Eva Braun for another and final farewell to his most intimate collaborators: Dr. Goebbels, Generals Krebs and Burgdorf, the secretaries and Fraulein Manzialy, the cook. Frau Goebbels did not appear. This formidable and beautiful blond woman had, like Eva Braun, found it easy to make the decision to die with her husband, but the prospect of killing her six young children, who had been playing merrily in the underground shelter these last days without an inkling of what was in store for them, unnerved her.

"My dear Hanna," she had said to Fraulein Reitsch two or three evenings before, "when the end comes you must help me if I become weak about the children ... They belong to the Third Reich and to the Fuehrer, and if these two cease to exist there can be no further place for them. My greatest fear is that at the last moment I will be too weak." Alone in her little room she was now striving to overcome her greatest fear. [v]

Hitler and Eva Braun had no such problem. They had only their own lives to take. They finished their farewells and retired to their rooms. Outside in the passageway, Dr. Goebbels, Bormann and a few others waited. In a few moments a revolver shot was heard. They waited for a second one, but there was only silence. After a decent interval they quietly entered the Fuehrer's quarters. They found the body of Adolf Hitler sprawled on the sofa dripping blood. He had shot himself in the mouth. At his side lay Eva Braun. Two revolvers had tumbled to the floor, but the bride had not used hers. She had swallowed poison.

It was 3:30 P.M. on Monday, April 30, 1945, ten days after Adolf Hitler's fifty-sixth birthday, and twelve years and three months to a day since he had become Chancellor of Germany and had instituted the Third Reich. It would survive him but a week.

The Viking funeral followed. There were no words spoken; the only sound was the roar of Russian shells exploding in the garden of the Chancellery and on the shattered walls around it. Hitler's valet, S.S. Sturmbannfuehrer Heinz Linge, and an orderly carried out the Fuehrer's body, wrapped in an Army field-gray blanket, which concealed the shattered face. Kempka identified it in his own mind by the black trousers and shoes which protruded from the blanket and which the warlord always wore with his field-gray jacket. Eva Braun's death had been cleaner, there was no blood, and Bormann carried out her body just as it was to the passage, where he turned it over to Kempka.

Frau Hitler [the chauffeur later recounted] wore a dark dress ... I could not recognize any injuries to the body.

The corpses were carried up to the garden and during a lull in the bombardment placed in a shell hole and ignited with gasoline. The mourners, headed by Goebbels and Bormann, withdrew to the shelter of the emergency exit and as the flames mounted stood at attention and raised their right hands in a farewell Nazi salute. It was a brief ceremony, for Red Army shells began to spatter the garden again and the survivors retired to the safety of the bunker, leaving the gasoline-fed flames to complete the work of eradicating the last earthly remains of Adolf Hitler and his wife. [vi] For Bormann and Goebbels, there were still tasks to perform in the Third Reich, now bereft of its founder and dictator, though they were not the same tasks.

There had not yet been time for the messengers to reach Doenitz with the Fuehrer's testament appointing him as his successor. The admiral would now have to be informed by radio. But even at this point, with power slipped from his hands, Bormann hesitated. It was difficult to one who had savored it to give it up so abruptly. Finally he got off a message.


In place of the former Reich Marshal Goering the Fuehrer appoints you as his successor. Written authority is on its way. You will immediately take all such measures as the situation requires.

There was not a word that Hitler was dead.

The Admiral, who was in command of all German forces in the north and had moved his headquarters to Ploen in Schleswig, was flabbergasted at the news. Unlike the party leaders, he had no desire to succeed Hitler; the thought had never entered his sailor's head. Two days before, believing that Himmler would inherit the succession, he had gone to the S.S. chief and offered him his support. But since it would never have occurred to him to disobey an order of the Fuehrer, he sent the following reply, in the belief that Adolf Hitler was still alive.


My loyalty to you will be unconditional. I shall do everything possible to relieve you in Berlin. If fate nevertheless compels me to rule the Reich as your appointed successor, I shall continue this war to an end worthy of the unique, heroic struggle of the German people.


That night Bormann and Goebbels had a fresh idea. They decided to try to negotiate with the Russians. General Krebs, the Chief of the Army General Staff, who had remained in the bunker, had once been the assistant military attache in Moscow, spoke Russian, and on one famous occasion had even been embraced by Stalin at the Moscow railway station. Perhaps he could get something out of the Bolsheviks; specifically, what Goebbels and Bormann wanted was a safe-conduct for themselves so that they could take their appointed places in the new Doenitz government. In return for this they were prepared to surrender Berlin.

General Krebs set out shortly after midnight of April 30 -- May 1 to see General Chuikov, [vii] the Soviet commander of the troops fighting in Berlin. One of the German officers accompanying him has recorded the opening of their conversation.

KREBS: Today is the First of May, a great holiday for our two nations. [viii]

CHUIKOV: We have a great holiday today. How things are with you over there it is hard to say. [25]

The Russian General demanded the unconditional surrender of everyone in the Fuehrer's bunker as well as of the remaining German troops in Berlin.

It took Krebs some time to carry out his mission, and when he had not returned by 11 A.M. on May 1 the impatient Bormann dispatched another radio message to Doenitz.

The Testament is in force. I will join you as soon as possible. Till then, I recommend that publication be held up.

This was still ambiguous. Bormann simply could not be straightforward enough to say that the Fuehrer was dead. He wanted to get out to be the first to inform Doenitz of the momentous news and thereby help to insure his favor with the new Commander in Chief. But Goebbels, who with his wife and children was about to die, had no such reason for not telling the Admiral the simple truth. At 3:15 P.M. he got off his own message to Doenitz -- the last radio communication ever to leave the beleaguered bunker in Berlin.



The Fuehrer died yesterday at 1530 hours [3:30 P.M.]. Testament of April 29 appoints you as Reich President ... [There follow the names of the principal cabinet appointments.]

By order of the Fuehrer the Testament has been sent out of Berlin to you ... Bormann intends to go to you today and to inform you of the situation. Time and form of announcement to the press and to the troops is left to you. Confirm receipt.


Goebbels did not think it necessary to inform the new Leader of his own intentions. Early in the evening of May I, he carried them out. The first act was to poison the six children. Their playing was halted and they were given lethal injections, apparently by the same physician who the day before had poisoned the Fuehrer's dogs. Then Goebbels called his adjutant, S.S. Hauptsturmfuehrer Guenther Schwaegermann, and instructed him to fetch some gasoline.

"Schwaegermann," he told him, "this is the worst treachery of all. The generals have betrayed the Fuehrer. Everything is lost. I shall die, together with my wife and family." He did not mention, even to his adjutant, that he had just had his children murdered. "You will burn our bodies. Can you do that?"

Schwaegermann assured him he could and sent two orderlies to procure the gasoline. A few minutes later, at about 8:30 P.M., just as it was getting dark outside, Dr. and Frau Goebbels walked through the bunker, bade goodbye to those who happened to be in the corridor, and mounted the stairs to the garden. There, at their request, an S.S. orderly dispatched them with two shots in the back of the head. Four cans of gasoline were poured over their bodies and ser on fire, but the cremation was not well done. [26] The survivors in the bunker were anxious to join the mass escape which was just getting under way and there was no time to waste on burning those already dead. The Russians found the charred bodies of the Propaganda Minister and his wife the next day and immediately identified them.

By 9 o'clock on the evening of May 1, the Fuehrerbunker had been set on fire and some five or six hundred survivors of the Fuehrer's entourage, mostly S.S. men, were milling about in the shelter of the New Chancellery -- like chickens with their heads off, as one of them, the Fuehrer's tailor, later recalled -- preparatory to the great breakout. The plan was to go by foot along the subway tracks from the station below the Wilhelmsplatz, opposite the Chancellery, to the Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof and there cross the River Spree and sift through the Russian lines immediately to the north of it. A good many got through; some did not, among them Martin Bormann.

When General Krebs had finally returned to the bunker that afternoon with General Chuikov's demand for unconditional surrender Hitler's party secretary had decided that his only chance for survival lay in joining the mass exodus. His group attempted to follow a German tank, but according to Kempka, who was with him, it received a direct hit from a Russian shell and Bormann was almost certainly killed. Artur Axmann, the Hitler Youth leader, who had deserted his battalion of boys at the Pichelsdorf Bridge to save his neck, was also present and later deposed that he had seen Bormann's body lying under the bridge where the Invalidenstrasse crosses the railroad tracks. There was moonlight on his face and Axmann could see no sign of wounds. His presumption was that Bormann had swallowed his capsule of poison when he saw that his chances of getting through the Russian lines were nil.

Generals Krebs and Burgdorf did not join in the mass attempt to escape. It is believed that they shot themselves in the cellar of the New Chancellery.


The Third Reich survived the death of its founder by seven days.

A little after 10 o'clock on the evening of the first of May, while the bodies of Dr. and Frau Goebbels were burning in the Chancellery garden and the inhabitants of the bunker were herding together for their escape through a subway tunnel in Berlin, the Hamburg radio interrupted the playing of a recording of Bruckner's solemn Seventh Symphony. There was a roll of military drums and then an announcer spoke.

[/size]120]Our Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, fighting to the last breath against Bolshevism,[/size] fell for Germany this afternoon in his operational headquarters in the Reich Chancellery. On April 30 the Fuehrer appointed Grand Admiral Doenitz his successor. The Grand Admiral and successor of the Fuehrer now speaks to the German people.

The Third Reich was expiring, as it had begun, with a shabby lie. Aside from the fact that Hitler had not died that afternoon but the previous one, which was not important, he had not fallen fighting "to the last breath," but the broadcasting of this falsehood was necessary if the inheritors of his mantle were to perpetuate a legend and also if they were to hold control of the troops who were still offering resistance and who would surely have felt betrayed if they had known the truth.

Doenitz himself repeated the lie when he went on the air at 10:20 P.M. and spoke of the "hero's death" of the Fuehrer. Actually at that moment he did not know how Hitler had met his end. Goebbels had radioed only that he had "died" on the previous afternoon. But this did not inhibit the Admiral either on this point or on others, for he did his best to muddy the confused minds of the German people in the hour of their disaster.

It is my first task [he said] to save Germany from destruction by the advancing Bolshevik enemy. For this aim alone the military struggle continues. As far and as long as the achievement of this aim is impeded by the British and Americans, we shall be forced to carry on our defensive fight against them as well. Under such conditions, however, the Anglo-Americans will continue the war not for their own peoples but solely for the spreading of Bolshevism in Europe.

After this silly distortion, the Admiral, who is not recorded as having protested Hitler's decision to make the Bolshevik nation Germany's ally in 1939 so that a war could be fought against England and later America, assured the German people in concluding his broadcast that "God will not forsake us after so much suffering and sacrifice."

These were empty words. Doenitz knew that German resistance was at an end. On April 29, the day before Hitler took his life, the German armies in Italy had surrendered unconditionally, an event whose news, because of the breakdown in communications, was spared the Fuehrer, which must have made his last hours more bearable than they otherwise would have been. On May 4 the German High Command surrendered to Montgomery all German forces in northwest Germany, Denmark and Holland. The next day Kesselring's Army Group G, comprising the German First and Nineteenth armies north of the Alps, capitulated.

On that day, May 5, Admiral Hans von Friedeburg, the new Commander in Chief of the German Navy, arrived at General Eisenhower's headquarters at Reims to negotiate a surrender. The German aim, as the last papers of OKW make clear,27 was to stall for a few days in order to have time to move as many German troops and refugees as possible from the path of the Russians so that they could surrender to the Western Allies. General Jodl arrived at Reims the next day to help his Navy colleague draw out the proceedings. But it was in vain. Eisenhower saw through the game.

I told General Smith [he later recounted] to inform Jodl that unless they instantly ceased all pretense and delay I would close the entire Allied front and would, by force, prevent any more German refugees from entering our lines. I would brook no further delay. [28]

At 1:30 A.M. on May 7 Doenitz, after being informed by Jodl of Eisenhower's demands, radioed the German General from his new headquarters at Flensburg on the Danish frontier full powers to sign the document of unconditional surrender. The game was up.

In a little red schoolhouse at Reims, where Eisenhower had made his headquarters, Germany surrendered unconditionally at 2:41 on the morning of May 7, 1945. The capitulation was signed for the Allies by General Walter Bedell Smith, with General Ivan Susloparov affixing his signature as witness for Russia and General Francois Sevez for France. Admiral Friedeburg and General Jodl signed for Germany.

Jodl asked permission to say a word and it was granted.

With this signature the German people and the German Armed Forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the hands of the victors ... In this hour I can only express the hope that the victor will treat them with generosity.

There was no response from the Allied side. But perhaps Jodl recalled another occasion when the roles were reversed just five years before. Then a French general, in signing France's unconditional surrender at Compiegne, had made a similar plea -- in vain, as it turned out.

The guns in Europe ceased firing and the bombs ceased dropping at midnight on May 8-9, 1945, and a strange but welcome silence settled over the Continent for the first time since September 1, 1939. In the intervening five years, eight months and seven days millions of men and women had been slaughtered on a hundred battlefields and in a thousand bombed towns, and millions more done to death in the Nazi gas chambers or on the edge of the S.S. Einsatzgruppen pits in Russia and Poland -- as the result of Adolf Hitler's lust for German conquest. A greater part of most of Europe's ancient cities lay in ruins, and from their rubble, as the weather warmed, there was the stench of the countless unburied dead.

No more would the streets of Germany echo to the jack boot of the goose-stepping storm troopers or the lusty yells of the brown-shirted masses or the shouts of the Fuehrer blaring from the loudspeakers.

After twelve years, four months and eight days, an Age of Darkness to all but a multitude of Germans and now ending in a bleak night for them too, the Thousand-Year Reich had come to an end. It had raised, as we have seen, this great nation and this resourceful but so easily misled people to heights of power and conquest they had never before experienced and now it had dissolved with a suddenness and a completeness that had few, if any, parallels in history.

In 1918, after the last defeat, the Kaiser had fled, the monarchy had tumbled, but the other traditional institutions supporting the State had remained, a government chosen by the people had continued to function, as did the nucleus of a German Army and a General Staff. But in the spring of 1945 the Third Reich simply ceased to exist. There was no longer any German authority on any level. The millions of soldiers, airmen and sailors were prisoners of war in their own land. The millions of civilians were governed, down to the villages, by the conquering enemy troops, on whom they depended not only for law and order but throughout that summer and bitter winter of 1945 for food and fuel to keep them alive. Such was the state to which the follies of Adolf Hitler -- and their own folly in following him so blindly and with so much enthusiasm -- had brought them, though I found little bitterness toward him when I returned to Germany that fall.

The people were there, and the land -- the first dazed and bleeding and hungry, and, when winter came, shivering in their rags in the hovels which the bombings had made of their homes; the second a vast wasteland of rubble. The German people had not been destroyed, as Hitler, who had tried to destroy so many other peoples and, in the end, when the war was lost, themselves, had wished.

But the Third Reich had passed into history.



i. "For all writers of history," Speer told Trevor-Roper, "Eva Braun is going to be a  disappointment," to which the historian adds: " -- and for readers of history too."  (Trevor-Roper, The Last Days of Hitler, p. 92.)
ii. Who these relatives were Hitler did not say, but from what he told his secretaries  he had in mind his sister. Paula, and his mother-in-law.
iii. Trevor-Roper, in The Last Days of Hitler, has given a graphic account of their  adventures. But for an indiscretion of Heinz Lorenz, the farewell messages of Hitler  and Goebbels might never have become known. Major Johannmeier eventually  buried his copy of the documents in the garden of his home at Iserlohn in Westphalia.  Zander hid his copy in a trunk which he left in the Bavarian village of Tegernsee.  Changing his name and assuming a disguise, he attempted to begin a new life under  the name of Wilhelm Paustin. But Lorenz, a journalist by profession, was too  garrulous to keep his secret very well and a chance indiscretion led to the discovery  of his copy and to the exposure of the other two messengers.
iv. Colonel Below destroyed the message when he learned of Hitler's death while he  was still making his way toward the Allied Western armies. He has reconstructed it  from memory. See Trevor-Roper, op. cit., pp. 194-95.
v. The children and their ages were: Hela,12; Hilda,11; Helmut, 9; Holde, 7; Hedda,  5; Heide, 3.
 vi. The bones were never found, and this gave rise to rumors after the war that Hitler  had survived. But the separate interrogation of several eyewitnesses by British and  American intelligence officers leaves no doubt about the matter. Kempka has given  a plausible explanation as to why the charred bones were never found. "The traces  were wiped out," he told his interrogators, "by the uninterrupted Russian artillery  fire."
vii. Not Marshal Zhukov, as most accounts have had it.

viii. May 1 was the traditional Labor Day in Europe.
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Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

Postby admin » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:04 am


I WENT BACK that autumn to the once proud land, where I had spent most of the brief years of the Third Reich. It was difficult to recognize. ] have described that return in another place. [29] It remains here merely to record the fate of the remaining characters who have figured prominently in these pages.

Doenitz's rump government, which had been set up at Flensburg on the Danish border, was dissolved by the Allies on May 23, 1945, and all its members were arrested. Heinrich Himmler had been dismissed from the government on May 6, on the eve of the surrender at Reims, in a move which the Admiral calculated might win him favor with the Allies. The former S.S. chief, who had held so long the power of life and death over Europe's millions, and who had often exercised it, wandered about in the vicinity of Flensburg until May 21, when he set out with eleven S.S. officers to try to pass through the British and American lines to his native Bavaria. Himmler -- it must have galled him -- had shaved off his mustache, tied a black patch over his left eye and donned an Army private's uniform. The party was stopped the first day at a British control point between Hamburg and Bremerhaven. After questioning, Himmler confessed his identity to a British Army captain, who hauled him away to Second Army headquarters at Lueneburg. There he was stripped and searched and made to change into a British Army uniform to avert any possibility that he might be concealing poison in his clothes. But the search was not thorough. Himmler kept his vial of potassium cyanide concealed in a cavity of his gums. When a second British intelligence officer arrived from Montgomery's headquarters on May 23 and instructed a medical officer to examine the prisoner's mouth, Himmler bit on his vial and was dead in twelve minutes, despite frantic efforts to keep him alive by pumping his stomach and administering emetics.

The remaining intimate collaborators of Hitler lived a bit longer. I went down to Nuremberg to see them. I had often watched them in their hour of glory and power at the annual party rallies in this town. In the dock before the International Military Tribunal they looked different. There had been quite a metamorphosis. Attired in rather shabby clothes, slumped in their seats fidgeting nervously, they no longer resembled the arrogant leaders of old. They seemed to be a drab assortment of mediocrities. It seemed difficult to grasp that such men, when last you had seen them, had wielded such monstrous power, that such as they could conquer a great nation and most of Europe.

There were twenty-one of them [i] in the dock: Goering, eighty pounds lighter than when last I had seen him, in a faded Luftwaffe uniform without insignia and obviously pleased that he had been given the Number One place in the dock -- a sort of belated recognition of his place in the Nazi hierarchy now that Hitler was dead; Rudolf Hess, who had been the Number Three man before his flight to England, his face now emaciated, his deep-set eyes staring vacantly into space, feigning amnesia but leaving no doubt that he was a broken man; Ribbentrop, at last shorn of his arrogance and his pompousness, looking pale, bent and beaten; Keitel, who had lost his jauntiness; Rosenberg, the muddled party "philosopher," whom the events which had brought him to this place appeared to have awakened to reality at last.

Julius Streicher, the Jew-baiter of Nuremberg, was there. This sadist and pornographer, whom I had once seen striding through the streets of the old town brandishing a whip, seemed to have wilted. A bald, decrepit-looking old man, he sat perspiring profusely, glaring at the judges and convincing himself -- so a guard later told me -- that they were all Jews. There was Fritz Sauckel, the boss of slave labor in the Third Reich, his narrow little slit eyes giving him a porcine appearance. He seemed nervous, swaying to and fro. Next to him was Baldur von Schirach, the first Hitler Youth Leader and later Gauleiter of Vienna, more American by blood than German and looking like a contrite college boy who has been kicked out of school for some folly. There was Walther Funk, the shifty-eyed nonentity who had succeeded Schacht. And there was Dr. Schacht himself, who had spent the last months of the Third Reich as a prisoner of his once revered Fuehrer in a concentration camp, fearing execution any day, and who now bristled with indignation that the Allies should try him as a war criminal. Franz von Papen, more responsible than any other individual in Germany for Hitler's coming to power, had been rounded up and made a defendant. He seemed much aged, but the look of the old fox, who had escaped from so many tight fixes, was still imprinted on his wizened face.

Neurath, Hitler's first Foreign Minister, a German of the old school, with few convictions and little integrity, seemed utterly broken. Not Speer, who made the most straightforward impression of all and who during the long trial spoke honestly and with no attempt to shirk his responsibility and his guilt. Seyss-Inquart, the Austrian quisling, was in the dock, as were Jodl and the two Grand Admirals, Raeder and Doenitz -- the latter, the successor to the Fuehrer, looking in his store suit for all the world like a shoe clerk. There was Kaltenbrunner, the bloody successor of "Hangman Heydrich," who on the stand would deny all his crimes; and Hans Frank, the Nazi Inquisitor in Poland, who would admit some of his, having become in the end contrite and, as he said, having discovered God, whose forgiveness he begged; and Frick, as colorless on the brink of death as he had been in life. And finaIly Hans Fritzsche, who had made a career as a radio commentator because his voice resembled that of Goebbels, who had made him an official in the Propaganda Ministry. No one in the courtroom, including Fritzsche, seemed to know why he was there -- he was too small a fry -- unless it were as a ghost for Goebbels, and he was acquitted.

So were Schacht and Papen. All three later drew stiff prison sentences from German denazification courts though, in the end, they served very little time.

Seven defendants at Nuremberg drew prison sentences: Hess, Raeder and Funk for life, Speer and Schirach for twenty years, Neurath for fifteen, Doenitz for ten. The others were sentenced to death.

At eleven minutes past 1 A.M. on October 16, 1946, Ribbentrop mounted the gallows in the execution chamber of the Nuremberg prison, and he was followed at short intervals by Keitel, Kaltenbrunner, Rosenberg, Frank, Frick, Streicher, Seyss-Inquart, Sauckel and Jodl.

But not by Hermann Goering. He cheated the hangman. Two hours before his turn would have come he swallowed a vial of poison that had been smuggled into his cell. Like his Fuehrer, Adolf Hitler, and his rival for the succession, Heinrich Himmler, he had succeeded at the last hour in choosing the way in which he would depart this earth, on which he, like the other two, had made such a murderous impact.



i. Dr. Robert Ley, head of the Arbeitsfront, who was to have been a defendant, had hanged himself in his cell before the trial began. He had made a noose from rags tom from a towel, which he had tied to a toilet pipe.
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Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

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Part 1 of 2


Abbreviations used in these notes:

DBrFP-Documents on British Foreign Policy. Files of the British Foreign Office.

DDI-I Documenti diplomatica italiani. Files of the Italian government.

DGFP-Documents on German Foreign Policy. Files of the German Foreign Office.

FCNA-Fuehrer Conferences on Naval Affairs. Summary records of Hitler's conferences with the Commander in Chief of the German Navy.

NCA-Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression. Part of the Nuremberg documents.

N.D.-Nuremberg document.

NSR-Nazi-Soviet Relations. From the files of the German Foreign Office.

TMWC-Trial of the Major War Criminals. Nuremberg documents and testimony. TWC-Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals.


1. The Hammerstein memorandum, cited by Wheeler-Bennett in his The Nemesis of Power, p. 285. The memorandum was written for Wheeler-Bennett by Dr. Kunrath von Hammerstcin, son of the General, and was based on his father's notes and diaries. It is entitled "Schleicher, Hammerstein and the Seizure of Power."

2. Joseph Goebbels, Vom Kaiserhof Zur Reichskanzlei, p. 251.

3. Hammerstein memorandum, cited by Wheeler-Bennett, op. cit., p. 280.

4. Goebbels, op. cit., p. 250.

5. Ibid., p. 252.

6. Ibid., p. 252.

7. Andre Francois-Poncet, The Fateful Years, p. 48. He was French ambassador in Berlin 1930-38.

8. Goebbels. Kaiserhof, pp. 251-54.

9. Proclamation of Sept. 5, 1934, at Nuremberg.

10. Friedrich Meinecke. The German Catastrophe. p. 96.

11. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, American edition (Boston, 1943), p. 3. In a good number of quotations from this book I have altered the English translation somewhat to bring it closer to the original text in German.

12. Konrad Heiden, Der Fuehrer, p. 36. All who write on the Third Reich are indebted to Heiden for material on the early life of Hitler.

13. Ibid., p. 41.

14. Ibid., p. 43.

15. Ibid., p. 43.

16. Mein Kampf, p. 6.

17. Ibid., p. 8.

18. Ibid., pp. 8-10.

19. Ibid., p. 10.

20. Hitler's Secret Conversations, 1941-44, p. 287.

21. Ibid., p. 346.

22. Ibid., p. 547.

23. Ibid., pp. 566-67.

24. August Kubizek, The Young Hitler I Knew, p. 50.

25. Ibid., p. 49.

26. Mein Kampf, pp. 14-15.

27. Kubizek, op. cit., p. 52. and Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 567.

28. Kubizek, op. cit., p. 44.

29. Mein Kampf, p. 18.

30. Ibid., p. 21.

31. Kubizek, op. cit., p. 59.

32. Ibid., p. 76.

33. Ibid., pp. 54-55.

34. Konrad Heiden, Ver Fuehrer, p. 52.

35. Mein Kampf, p. 20.

36. Ibid., p. 18.

37. Ibid., p. 18.

38. Ibid., p. 21.

39. Ibid., pp. 21-22.

40. Ibid., p. 34.

41. Heiden, Der Fuehrer, p. 54.

42. Ibid., p. 68.

43. Mein Kampf, p. 34.

44. Ibid., p. 22.

45. Ibid., pp. 35-37.

46. Ibid., pp. 22, 125.

47. Ibid., pp. 38-39.

48. Ibid., p. 41.

49. Ibid., pp. 43-44.

50. Ibid., pp. 116-17.

51. Ibid., p. 118.

52. Ibid., pp. 55, 69, 122.

53. Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday, p. 63.

54. Mein Kampf, p. 100.

55. Ibid., p. 107.

56. Ibid., p. 52.

57. Kubizek, op. cit., p. 79.

58. Mein Kampf, p. 52.

59. Ibid., p. 56.

60. Ibid., pp. 56-57.

61. Ibid., p. 59.

62. Ibid., pp. 63-64.

63. Ibid., pp. 123-24.

64. Ibid., pp. 161, 163.


1. Mein Kampf, pp. 204-5.

2. Ibid., p. 202.

3. Heiden, Der Fuehrer, p. 84.

4. Rudolf Olden, Hitler, the Pawn, p. 70.

5. Mein Kampf, p. 193.

6. Ibid., pp. 205-6.

7. Ibid., p. 207.

8. Ibid., pp. 215-16.

9. Ibid., pp. 210, 213.

10. Ibid., pp. 218-19.

11. Ibid., p. 220.

12. Ibid., pp. 221-22.

13. Ibid., p. 224.

14. Ibid., p. 687n.

15. Ibid., p. 687.

16. Ibid., p. 354.

17. Ibid., p. 355.

18. Ibid., pp. 369-70.

19. Konrad Heiden, A History of National Socialism. p. 36.

20. Mein Kampf, pp. 496-97. The italics are Hitler's.

21. Heiden, A History of National Socialism, pp. 51-52.

22. Heiden, Der Fuehrer, pp. 98-99.

23. Heiden, A History of National Socialism, p. 52.

24. Heiden, Hitler, pp. 90-91.


1. Wheeler-Bennett, Wooden Titan: Hindenhurg, pp. 207-8.

2. Ibid., p. 131.

3. Wheeler-Rennett's Nemesis, p. 58.

4. Franz L. Neumann, Behemoth, p. 23.

5. Heiden, Der Fuehrer, pp. 131-33.

6. Ibid., p. 164.

7. Lt. Gen. Friedrich von Rabenau. Seeckt, aus seinem Leben, II, p. 342.

8. Ibid., p. 371.

9. Karl Alexander von Mueller, quoted by Heiden in Der Fuehrer, p. 190.

10. The record of the court proceedings is contained in Der Hitler Prozess.


1. The figures are from a study of Eher Verlag's royalty statements made by Prof. Oron James Hale and published in The American Historical Review, July 1955, under the title "Adolf Hitler: Taxpayer."

2. The quotations are from Mein Kampf, pp. 619, 672, 674.

3. Ibid., pp. 138-39.

4. Ibid., p. 140.

5. Ibid., pp. 643, 646, 652.

6. Ibid., p. 649.

7. Ibid., p. 675.

8. Ibid., p. 654.

9. Ibid., pp. 150-53.

10. Adolf Hitlers Reden, p. 32. Quoted by Bullock, op. cit., p. 68.

11. Mein Kampf, pp. 247-53.

12. Ibid., pp. 134-35, 285, 289.

13. Ibid., p. 290.

14. Ibid., pp. 295-96.

15. Ibid., p. 296, for this and the two quotations above it.

16. Ibid., p. 646.

17. Ibid., pp. 383-84.

18. Ibid., p. 394.

19. Ibid., pp. 402-4.

20. Ibid., p. 396.

21. Ibid., pp. 449-50.

22. A. J. p. Taylor, The Course of German History, p. 24.

23. Wilhelm Roepke, The Solution of the German Problem, p. 153.

24. Mein Kampf, pp. 154, 225-26.

25. Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 198.

26. See his study of Chamberlain in The Third Reich, ed. by Baumont, Fried and Vermeil.

27. The foregoing, from Chamberlain back to Fichte and Hegel, is based on the works of the authors and on quotations and interpretations in such books as German Philosophy and Politics, by John Dewey; The German Catastrophe, by Friedrich Meinecke; The Solution of the German Problem, by Wilhelm Roepke; A History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell; Thus Speaks Germany, ed. by W. W. Coole and M. F. Potter; The Third Reich, ed. by Baumont, Fried and Vermeil; German Nationalism: The Tragedy of a People, by Louis L. Snyder; German History: Some New German Views, ed. by Hans Kohn; The Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany, by T. L. Jarman; Der Fuehrer, by Konrad Heiden; The Course of German History, by A. J. p. Taylor; L'Allemagne Contemporaine, by Edmond Vermeil; History of Germany, by Hermann Pinnow.

E. Eyck's Bismarck and the German Empire is an invaluable study.

The limitations of space in a work of this kind prohibited discussion of the considerable inf1uence on the Third Reich of a number of other German intellectuals whose writings were popular and significant in Germany: Schlegel, J. Goerres, Novalis, Arndt, Jahn, Lagarde, List, Droysen, Ranke, Mommsen. Constantin Frantz, Stoecker, Bernhardi, Klaus Wagner, Langbehn, Lange, Spengler.

28. Mein Kampf, p. 381.

29. Ibid., p. 293.

30. Ibid., pp. 212-13.

31. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of History, pp. 31-32. Quoted by Bullock, op. cit., p. 351.

32. Quoted in The Third Reich, ed. by Baumont et al., pp. 204-5, from two works of Nietzsche: Zur Genealogie der Moral and Der Wille zur Macht.


1. Kurt Ludecke, I Knew Hitler, pp. 217-18.

2. Baynes (ed.), The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, I, pp. 155-56.

3. Curt Riess, Joseph Goebbels, p. 8.

4. This and the other quoted Hitler reminiscences of January 16-17, 1942, about Obersalzberg are from Hitler's Secret Conversations.

5. Such authorities as Heiden and Bullock tell of the Raubals coming to Haus Wachenfeld in 1925, when Geli Raubal was seventeen. But Hitler makes it clear that he did not acquire the villa until 1928. at which time he says, "I immediately rang up my sister in Vienna with the news, and begged her to be so good as to take over the part of mistress of the house." See Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 177.

6. Heiden, Der Fuehrer, pp. 384-86.

7. See the fascinating analysis of Hitler's income tax returns made by Prof. Oron James Hale in The American Historical Review, July 1955.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Heiden, Der Fuehrer, p. 419.

11. The speech does not appear in Baynes or in Roussy de Sales's collection of Hitler's speeches (Hitler, My New Order). It was published verbatim in the Voelkischer Beobachter (special Reichswehr edition) on March 26, 1929, and is quoted at length in "Blueprint of the Nazi Underground, " Research Studies of the State College of Washington, June 1945.

12. The quotations are from the Frankfurter Zeitung, September 26, 1930.

13. Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression [hereafter referred to as NCAl, Supplement A, p. 1194 (Nuremberg Document [hereafter, N.D.] EC-440).

14. Otto Dietrich, Mit Hitler in die Macht.

15. Funk's testimony, NCA, Suppl. A, pp. 1194-1204 (N.D. EC-440), and NCA, V., pp. 478-95 (N.D. 2328-PS). Thyssen's declarations are from his book I Paid Hitler, pp. 79-108.

16. NCA, VII, pp. 512-13 (N.D. EC-456).


1. According to Heiden, Der Fuehrer, p. 433.

2. Heiden, History of National Socialism, p. 166.

3. Goebbels, Kaiserhof, pp. 19-20.

4. Ibid., pp. 80-81.

5. Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis, p. 243.

6. The above quotes are from Goebbels, Kaiserhof, pp. 81-104.

7. Francois-Poncet, op. cit., p. 23.

8. Franz von Papen, Memoirs, p. 162.

9. NCA, Suppl. A, p. 508 (N.D. 3309-PS).

10. Hermann Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction.

11. Goebbels was not caught napping this time, as he had been on August 13. He immediately gave the press the exchange of correspondence and it was published in the morning papers of Nov. 25. It is available in the Jahrbuch des Oeffenlichen Rechts, Vol. 21, 1933-40.

12. Papen, op. cit., pp. 216-17.

13. Ibid., p. 220.

14. Ibid., p. 222.

15. Francois-Poncet, op. cit., p. 43. He says erroneously, "seventy days."

16. NCA, II, pp. 922-24.

17. Kurt von Schuschnigg, Farewell, Austria, pp. 165-66.

18. Meissner affidavit, NCA, Suppl. A, p. 511.

19. The Hammerstein memorandum, Wheeler-Bennett's Nemesis, p. 280.

20. Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 404.

21. Papen, op. cit., pp. 243-44.


1. NCA, III, pp. 272-75 (N.D. 351- PS).

2. Goebbels, Kaiserhof, p. 256.

3. See affidavit of Georg von Schnitzler, NCA, VII, p. 501 (N.D. EC-439); speeches of Goering and Hitler, NCA, VI, p. 1080 (N.D. D-203 ): Schacht's interrogation, NCA, VI, p. 465 (N.D. 3725-PS); Funk's interrogation, NCA, V, p. 495 (N.D. 2828-PS).

4. Goebbels, Kaiserhof, pp. 269-70.

5. Papen, op. cit., p. 268.

6. Rudolf Diets, Lucifer ante Portas, p. 194.

7. For sources on the responsibility for the Reichstag fire see: Halder's affidavit, NCA, VI, p. 635 (N.D. 3740-PS); transcript of Gisevius' cross-examination on April 25, 1946, Trial of the Major War Criminals [hereafter cited as TMWC], XII, pp. 252-53; Diehl's affidavit, Goering's denial, TMWC, IX, pp. 432-36, and NCA, VI, pp. 298-99 (N.D. 3593-PS); Willy Frischauer, The Rise and Fall of Hermann Goering, pp, 88-95; Douglas Reed, The Burning of the Reichstag; John Gunther, Inside Europe (Gunther attended the trial at Leipzig). There are many alleged testaments and confessions by those claiming to have participated in the Nazi firing of the Reichstag or to have positive knowledge of it, but none, so far as I know, has ever been substantiated. Of these, memoranda by Ernst Oberfohren, a Nationalist deputy, and Karl Ernst, the Berlin S.A. leader, have been given some credence. Both men were slain by the Nazis within a few months of the fire.

8. NCA, III, pp. 968-70 (N.D. 1390- PS).

9. NCA, IV, p. 496 (N.D. 1856-PS).

10. NCA, V, p. 669 (N.D. 2962-PS).

11. Dokumente der deutschen Politik, I, 1935, pp. 20-24.

12. Francois-Poncet, op. cit., p. 61.

13. Text of law, NCA, IV, pp. 638-39 (N.D.2001-PS).

14. Laws of March 31 and April 7, 1933, and January 30, 1934, all in NCA, IV, pp. 640-43.

15. NCA. III, p. 962 (N.D. 1388-PS).

16. Goebbels, Kaiserhof, p. 307.

17. NCA, III, pp. 380-85 (N.D. 392- PS).

18. Law of May 19, 1933, NCA, III, p. 387 (N.D. 405-PS).

19. Goebbels, op. cit., p. 300.

20. N. S. Monatshefte, No. 39 (June 1933).

21. The July 1 and 6 quotations in Baynes, I, p. 287 and pp. 865-66.

22. From a study entitled My Relations with Adolf Hitler and the Party, which Admiral Raeder wrote in Moscow after his capture by the Russians and which was made available at Nuremberg. NCA, VIII, p. 707.

23. Baynes, I, p. 289.

24. Spengler, Jahre der Entscheidung. p. viii.

25. Blomberg's directive, TMWC, XXXIV, pp. 487-91 (N.D. C- (40).

26. Quoted by Telford Taylor in Sword and Swastika, p. 41. The Seeckt papers are now at the National Archives in Washington.

27. The source for the "Pact of the Deutschland" is Weissbuch ueber die Erschiessung des 30 Juni, 1934 (Paris, 1935), pp. 52-53. Herbert Rosinski in his The German Army, pp. 222-23, confirms the terms of the pact. Bullock and Wheeler- Bennett accept it in their books on this period. The source for the May 16 meeting of the generals is Jacques Benoist-Mechin's Histoire de l'Armee Allemande depuis l'Armistice, II, pp. 553-54.

28. Rede des Vizekanzlers von Papen vor dem Universitaetsbund, Marburg, am 17 Juni, 1934 (Berlin: Germania -Verlag).

29. Papen, op. cit., p. 310.

30. NCA, V, pp. 654-55 (N.D. 2950- PS).

31. Papen, op. cit., pp. 330-33.


1. Leo Stein, I Was in Hell with Niemoeller, p. 80.

2. Neumann, Behemoth, p. 109. He states that the quotations are from the research project "Antisemitism" of the Institute of Social Research, published in Studies in Philosophy and Social Science, 1940.

3. Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction, p. 54.

4. Stewart W. Herman, Jr., It's Your Souls We Want, pp. 157-58. Herman was pastor of the American Church in Berlin from 1936 to 1941.

5. The text is given in Herman, op. cit., pp. 297-300; also in the New York Times of Jan. 3, 1942.

6. Affidavit of Nov. 19, 1945, NCA. V, pp. 735-36 (N.D. 3016-PS).

7. Most foreign correspondents in Berlin kept a collection of such gems. My own has been lost. The quotations are from Philipp Lenard, Deutsche Physik, preface; Wallace Deuel, People under Hitler; William Ebenstein, The Nazi State.

8. Wilhelm Roepke, The Solution of the German Problem, p. 61.

9. Quoted in Frederic Lilge's The Abuse of Learning: The Failure of the German University, p. 170.

10. Schirach's American ancestry is given by Douglas M. Kelley, the American psychiatrist at the Nuremberg jail during the trial of the major war criminals, in his book, 22 Cells in Nuremberg, pp. 86-87.

11. Reichsgesetzblatt, 1936, Part I, p. 933. Quoted in NCA, III, pp. 972-73 (N.D. 1392-PS).

12. From his book, Basic Facts for a History of German War and Armament Economy. Quoted in NCA, I, p. 350 (N.D. 2353-PS).

13. The ministry's report of September 30, 1934, NCA, VII, pp. 306-9 (N.D. EC-128); Schacht's report of May 3, 1935, NCA, III, pp. 827-30 (N.D. 1168-PS); text of the secret Reich Defense Law, NCA, IV, pp. 934-36 (N.D. 2261-PS).

14. NCA, VII, p. 474 (N.D. EC-419).

15. Thyssen, I Paid Hitler, pp. xv, 157.

16. Quoted by Neumann in Behemoth. p. 432.

17. Ebenstein, op. cit., p. 84.

18. NCA, III, pp. 568-72 (N.D. 787, 788-PS).

19. The Third Reich, ed. by Baumont et al., p. 630.

20. Eugen Kogon's phrase. See his Der SS Staat-das System der deutschen Konzentrationslager. A somewhat abridged version appeared in English, The Theory and Practice of Hell. It is the best study of Nazi concentration camps yet written. Kogon spent seven years in them.

21. Quoted in NCA, II, p. 258 (N.D. 1852-PS).

22. NCA, VIH, pp. 243-44 (N.D. R-142).

23. Voelkischer Beobachter, May 20, 1936.


1. Friedelind Wagner, Heritage of Fire, p. 109.

2. Papen, op. cit., p. 338.

3. Daily Mail, Aug. 6, 1934.

4. Le Matin, Nov. 18, 1934.

5. Wolfgang Foerster, Ein General kaempft gegen den Krieg, p. 22. This book is based on Beck's papers.

6. NCA, VII, p. 333 (N.D. EC-I77).

7. NCA, I, p. 431 (N.D. C-189).

8. NCA, VI, p. 1018 (N.D. C-190).

9. Ibid.

10. TMWC, XX, p. 603.

11. My New Order, ed. by Roussy de Sales, pp. 309-33. The text of the speech is also in Baynes, II, pp. 1218-47.

12. My New Order, pp. 333-34.

13. Pertinax, The Grave Diggers of France, p. 381.

14. The author's Berlin Diary, p. 43.

15. Francois-Poncet, op. cit., pp. 188- 89.

16. NCA, VI, pp. 951-52 (N.D. C- 139), the text of the order. See also TMWC, XV, pp. 445-48.

17. NCA, VII, pp. 454-55 (N.D. EC- 405), minutes of the meeting.

18. NCA, VI, pp. 974-76 (N.D. C- 159).

19. TMWC, XV, p. 252, for Jodl's evidence; Hitler's Secret Conversations, pp. 211-12, for Hitler's figure.

20. Francois-Poncet, op. cit., p. 193.

21. Berlin Diary, pp. 51-54.

22. Francois-Poncet, op. cit., p. 190.

23. Ibid., pp. 194-95.

24. TMWC, XV, p. 352.

25. Hitler's Secret Conversations, pp. 211-12. Remarks of January 27, 1942.

26. Paul Schmidt, Hitler's Interpreter, p. 41.

27. TMWC, XV, p. 352.

28. TMWC, XXI, p. 22.

29. Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 211.

30. Quoted by Francois-Poncet, op. cit., p. 196.

31. NCA, VII, p. 890 (N.D. L-150).

32. Kurt von Schuschnigg. Austrian Requiem, p. 5.

33. NCA, I, p. 466 (N.D. 2248-PS).

34. Documents on German Foreign Policy [hereafter referred to as DGFP], Series D, I. pp. 278-81 (No. 152).

35. Papen, op. cit., p. 370.

36. DGFP, III, pp. 1-2.

37. Ibid., pp. 892-94.

38. DGFP, I, p. 37.

39. Ibid., III, p. 172.

40. Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, ed. by Malcolm Muggeridge, pp. 43-48.

41. Milton Shulman, Defeat in the West, p. 76. His source is given as a British War Office Intelligence Review, December 1945. It would seem to be from an interrogation of Goering.

42. Text of the secret protocol, DGFp. I, p. 734.

43. TWC, XII, pp. 46~65 (N.D. NI- 051).

44. TMWC, IX, p. 281.

45. DGFP, I, p. 40.

46. Ibid., pp. 55-67.

47. NCA, VI, pp. 1001-11 (N.D. C- 175).

48. The Hossbach minutes, dated Nov. 10, 1937. The German text is given in TMWC, XXV, pp. 402- 13, and the best English translation is in DGFP, I, pp. 29-39. A hasty English version was done at Nuremberg and printed in NCA, III, pp. 295-305 (N.D. 386-PS). Hossbach also gives an account of the meeting in his book Zwischen Wehrmacht und Hitler, pp. 186- 94. The brief testimony of Goering, Raeder and Neurath on the conference is printed in TMWC.


1. Affidavit of Baroness von Ritter, a relative of Neurath. TMWC, XVI, p. 640.

2. TMWC, XVI, p. 640.

3. Ibid., p. 641.

4. Schacht, Accoutlt Settled, p. 90.

5. Jodl's diary, TMWC, XXVIII, p. 357.

6. Ibid., p. 356.

7. Ibid., pp. 36-62.

8. Ibid., p. 357.

9. Telford Taylor, Sword and Swastika, pp. 149-50. The manuscript of Blomberg's unpublished memoirs is in the Library of Congress.

10. Bullock, op. cit., p. 381, and Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis, p. 369.

11. Wolfgang Foerster, Ein General kaempft gegen den Krieg, op. cit., pp. 70-73.

12. TMWC, IX, p. 290.

13. The Von Hassell Diaries. 1938- 1944, p. 23.


1. Dispatch to Hitler, Dec. 21, 1937, DGFP, I, p. 486.

2. Papen, op. cit., p. 404.

3. Ibid., p. 406.

4. Schuschnigg, Austrian Requiem, pp. 12-19; NCA, V, pp. 709-12 (N.D. 2995-PS).

5. Draft of protocol submitted to Schuschnigg, DGFP, I, pp. 513-15.

6. NCA, V, p. 711 (N.D. 2995-PS).

7. Schuschnigg, Austrian Requiem, p. 23.

8. N.D. 2995-PS, op. cit.

9. Schuschnigg gave slightly different versions of Hitler's threats in his book. p. 24, and in his Nuremberg affidavit, 2995-PS (NCA, V, p. 712). I have used both in abbreviated form.

10. Austrian Requiem. p. 24.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid., p. 25, and Schuschnigg's affidavit, N.D. 2995-PS, op. cit.

13. Austrian Requiem, p. 25.

14. NCA, IV, p. 357 (N.D. 1775-PS).

15. NCA, IV, p. 361 (N.D. 1780-PS).

16. From my own notes taken during the broadcast.

17. Dispatch to the German Foreign Office on Feb. 25, 1938, marked "Very Secret, " DGFP, I, p. 546.

18. For Miklas' testimony, see NCA, Suppl. A, p. 523. Papen's suggestion is in his Memoirs, p. 425.

19. Austrian Requiem, pp. 35-36.

20. NCA, IV, p. 362 (N.D. 1780-PS).

21. NCA, VI, pp. 911-12 (N.D. C- 102).

22. Ibid., VI, p. 913 (N.D. C-103).

23. DGFP, I, pp. 573-76.

24. NCA, V, pp. 629-54 (N.D. 2949- PS).

25. Austrian Requiem, p. 47.

26. Testimony of Wilhelm Miklas on January 30, 1946, during anti- Nazi court proceedings against Dr. Rudolf Neumayer. Though the former President is a bit hazy about exact times and the exact sequence of events on the fateful day, his testimony is of great value and interest. NCA, Suppl. A, pp. 518-34 (N.D. 3697-PS).

27. Austrian Requiem, p. 51.

28. See NCA, Suppl. A, pp. 525-34 (N.D. 3697-PS). Also, NCA, V, p. 209 (N.D. 2465-PS, 2466-PS).

29. NCA, VI, p. 1017 (N.D. C-182).

30. DGFP, I, pp. 584-86.

31. Ibid., pp. 553-55.

32. TMWC, XVI, p. 153.

33. DGFP, I, p. 263.

34. Ibid., pp. 273-75.

35. Ibid., p. 578.

36. NCA, I, pp. 501-2 (N.D. 3287- PS).

37. Text of circular cipher telegram, DGFP, I, pp. 586-87.

38. TMWC, XX, p. 605.

39. TMWC, XV, p. 632.

40. Memorandum of Seyss-Inquart at Nuremberg, Sept. 9, 1945, NCA, V, pp. 961-92 (N.D. 3254-PS).

41. TMWC, XIV, p. 429.

42. Text of Schacht's address. NCA, VII, pp. 394-402 (N.D. EC-297- A).

43. NCA. IV, p. 585 (N.D. 1947-PS).


1. The file for Case Green was kept at Hitler's headquarters and was captured intact by American troops in a cellar at Obersalzbreg. The summary of the Apr. 21 Hitler-Keitel discussion is the second paper in the collection. The entire file was introduced in evidence at Nuremberg as N.D. 388-PS. An English translation is in NCA, III, pp. 306- 709; a better English version of the Apr. 21 talks is in DGFP, II, pp. 239-40.

2. Secret memorandum of the German Foreign Office, Aug. 19, 1938, NCA, VI, p. 855 (N.D. 3059-PS).

3. DGFP, II, pp. 197-98.

4. Ibid., p. 255.

5. Weizsaecker memorandum, May 12, 1938, DGFP, II, pp. 273-74.

6. Text of four telegrams exchanged, NCA, III, pp. 308-9 (N.D. 388- PS).

7. Ibid., pp. 309-10.

8. Text of Keitel's letter and of the directive, DGFP, II, pp. 299-303.

9. Ibid., pp. 307-8.

10. Dispatch of the German minister and military attache in Prague, May 21, 1938, ibid., pp. 309-10.

11. Dispatch of Ambassador von Dirksen, May 22, 1938, ibid., pp. 322- 23.

12. Speech to the Reichstag, Jan. 30, 1939, in My New Order, ed. by Roussy de Sales, p. 563.

13. According to Fritz Wiedermann, one of the Fuehrer's adjutants, who was present and who later swore that he "was considerably shaken by this statement." NCA, V, pp. 743-44 (N.D. 3037-PS). 1152

14. Undated Jodi diary entry, TMWC. XXVIII, p. 372 (N.D. 1780-PS).

15. Item II of Case Green, NCA, III. pp. 315-20 (N.D. 388-PS); also DGFP, II, pp. 357-62.

16. TMWC, XXVIII, p. 373. The TMWC volume gives the German text. An English translation of excerpts of Jodl's diary is in NCA, IV, pp. 360-70.

17. The texts of the memoranda are given by Wolfgang Foerster in Ein General kaempft gegen den Krieg. pp. 81-119.

18. Jodl's diary, TMWC, XXVIII. p. 374. English translation, NCA, IV, p. 364 (N .D. I 780-PS).

19. Ibid.

20. TMWC, XX, p. 606.

21. The Van Hassell Diaries, p. 6.

22. Ibid., p. 347.

23. Foerster, op. cit., p. 122.

24. Dispatches of June 8 and 9, 1938, DGFP, II, pp. 395, 399-401.

25. Dispatch of June 22, ibid., p. 426.

26. Ibid., pp. 529-31.

27. Ibid., p. 611.

28. Item 17 of the "Green" file, NCA, III, pp. 332-33 (N.D. 388-PS).

29. TMWC, XXVIII, p. 375.

30. Minutes of the Sept. 3, 1938, meeting, NCA, III, pp. 334-35 (N.D. 388-PS).

31. Schmundt's minutes of the Sept. 9 meeting, ibid., pp. 335-38. It is Item 19 in the "Green" file.

32. Jodl's diary note for Sept. 13, TMWC, XXVIII. pp. 378-79 (N.D. 1780-PS).

33. DGFP, II, p. 536.

34. Reports of Kleist's visit are in Documents on British Foreign Policy [hereafter referred to as DBrFP], Third Series, II.

35. Most of the text of Churchill's letter is in DGFP, II, p. 706.

36. DBrFP, Third Series, II, pp. 686- 87.

37. Nevile Henderson, Failure of a Mission, pp. 147, 150.

38. DBrFP, Third Series, I.

39. Erich Kordt gives his brother's account of this meeting in his book Nicht aus den Akten, pp. 279-81.

40. DGFP, II, p. 754.

41. Ibid., p. 754.

42. L. B. Namier, Diplomatic Prelude, p. 35.

43. There is a considerable amount of material about the conference. The text of the official report drawn up by Paul Schmidt, who acted as interpreter and was the only other person present, is in DGFP, II, pp. 786-98. Schmidt has given an eyewitness account of the meeting in his book Hitler's Interpreter, pp. 90-95. Chamberlain's notes are in DBrFP, Third Series, pp. 338-41; his letter to his sister on the meeting is in Keith Feiling's Life of Neville Chamberlain, pp. 366-68. See also Nevile Henderson's Failure of a Mission, pp. 152-54.

44. DGFP, Jr, p. 801.

45. Ibid., p. 810.

46. Feiling, op. cit., p. 367.

47. NCA, VI, p. 799 (N.D. C-2).

48. DGFP, II, pp. 863-64.

49. British White Paper, Cmd. 5847, No. 2. Text also in DGFP, II, pp. 831-32.

50. See Berlin Diary, p. 137.

51. The chief sources for the Godesberg conference are: Schmidt's notes on the two Godesberg meetings, DGFP, II, pp. 870-79, 898- 908; Schmidt's description of the talks, Hitler's Interpreter, pp. 95- 102; texts of correspondence exchanged between Hitler and Chamberlain on September 23, DGFP, II, pp. 887-92; notes by Kirkpatrick on the meeting, DBrFP, Third Series, II, pp. 463-73, 499-508; Henderson's description in Failure of a Mission, pp. 156-62.

52. NCA, IV, p. 367 (N.D. 1780-PS).

53. Jodl's diary, Sept. 26, 1938, ibid.

54. Text of the Godesberg memorandum, DGFP, II, pp. 908-10.

55. The Times, London, Sept. 24, 1938.

56. Text of the Czech reply, British White Paper, Cmd. 5847, No. 7.

57. Text of Chamberlain's letter to Hitler of Sept. 26, 1938, DGFP, II, pp. 994-95.

58. Though Dr. Schmidt's notes on this meeting are missing from the German Foreign Office papers, his own account of it appears in his book, op. cit., pp. 102-3. Kirkpatrick's notes are in DBrFP, Third Series, II, No. I, p. 118. Henderson's version in his book, op. cit., p. 163.

59. Items 31-33 of "Green" file, NCA, III, pp. 350-52 (N.D. 388-PS).

60. Dispatch from Paris. DGFP, II. p. 977.

61. The text of Roosevelt's two appeals and Hitler's answer to the first one are in DGFp. II.

62. Dispatch from Prague. DGFP, II, p. 976.

63. Text of Hitler's letter of Sept. 27. 1938, DGFP, II, pp. 966-68.

64. Chamberlain's plan, DGFP, II, pp. 987-88. The Prime Minister's messages are quoted by Wheeler- Bennett in Munich. pp. 151-52, 155, from the Czech Archives.

65. Ibid., p. 158.

66. Text in British White Paper, Cmd. 5848, No. I. The letter was handed to Hitler by Henderson at noon the next day.

67. Henderson, op. cit., p. 144. DBrFP, Third Series, I I, p. 614.

68. Jodl's diary. Sept. 28. 1938, NCA, IV, p. 368 (N.D. 1780-PS).

69. Sources: Halder's interrogation at Nuremberg by Capt. Sam Harris, a New York attorney, NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1547-71: also Halder's memorandum, which was given to the press at Nuremberg but is not included in either the NCA or TMWC volumes. Gisevius, To rhe Biller End. pp. 283-328; his testimony at Nuremberg, TMWC, XII, pp. 210-19. Schacht. Account Settled, pp. 114-25.

70. Gisevius, To the Bitter End, p. 325. Also his testimony on the stand at Nuremberg. TMWC. XII, p. 219.

71. Erich Kordt's memorandum, made available to the writer. Allen Dulles, Germany's Underground, p. 46, also gives an account of the call.

72. Accounts of the meetings in the Chancellery on the forenoon of Sept. 28 are given by some of the participants: Schmidt, op. cit., pp. 105-8; Francois-Poncet, op. cit., pp. 265-68: Henderson, op. cit., pp. 166-71.

73. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 107.

74. Ibid., p. 107.

75. Henderson, op. cit., pp. 168-69. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 108.

76. Masaryk later described this scene to the writer, as he did to many other friends. But my notes on it were lost. and I have used Wheeler- Bennett's moving account in Munich. pp. 170-71.

77. From Halder's interrogation, Feb. 25. 1946. NCA. Suppl. B, pp. 1553-58.

78. Schacht, op. cit., p. 125.

79. Gisevius, op. cit., p. 326.

80. Ciano's Hidden Diary. 1937-/938. p. 166. In a telegram dated June 26, 1940, Mussolini reminded Hitler that at Munich he had promised to take part in the attack on Britain. The text of the telegram is in DGFP, X, p. 27.

81. Text of the Chamberlain and Benes notes, DBrFp. Third Series. II, pp. 599, 604.

82. The minutes of the two Munich meetings, DGFP, II, pp. 1003-8, 1011-14.

83. Henderson, op. cit., p. 171. Francois-Poncet, op. cit., p. 271.

84. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 110.

85. Text of the Munich Agreement. DGFP, II, pp. 1014-16.

86. From the official report of Dr. Masarik to the Czech Foreign Office. The sources for this section on the Munich Conference are: DGFP, II, as cited above in note 83; text of the Munich Agreement. ibid., pp. 1014-16; DBrFP, Third Series, II, No. I, p. 227; and Ciano. Schmidt, Henderson, Francois- Poncet and Weizsaecker, op. cit.

87. Berlin Diary, p. 145.

88. The sources for this Chamberlain- Hitler meeting are: DGFP, II, p. 1017, for text of declaration: DGFP, IV, pp. 287-93, for Schmidt's official memorandum on the meeting; Schmidt's book, op. cit., pp. 112-13. DBrFP, Third Series, II, No. 1228, gives a slightly different version of the conversation.

89. DGFP, IV, pp. 4-5.

90. Jodl's diary, NCA, IV, p. 368 (N.D. 1780-PS).

91. Keitel's testimony, April 4, 1946, TMWC, X, p. 509.

92. Manstein's testimony, Aug. 9, 1946, TMWC, XX, p. 606.

93. Jodi's testimony, June 4, 1946, TMWC, XV, p. 361.

94. Gamelin, Servir, pp. 344-46. A disappointing book! Pertinax, The Grave Diggers of France, p. 3, confirms the General here. These are also the sources of Gamelin's advice on Sept. 26 and 28.

95. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 339.

96. DGFP, IV, pp. 602-4.

97. Schacht on the stand at Nuremberg, TMWC, XII, p. 531.

98. Speech to the commanders in chief, Nov. 23, 1939, NCA, III, p. 573 (N.D. 789-PS).


1. "Green" file, Item 48, NCA, III, pp. 372-74 (N.D. 388-PS).

2. Ibid.

3. Hitler's directive, Oct. 21, 1938, NCA, VI, pp. 947-48 (N.D. C- 136).

4. DGFP, IV, p. 46.

5. Heydrich's orders to the police for organizing the pogrom, NCA, V, pp. 797-801 (N.D. 3051-PS); Heydrich's report to Goering on the damage and the number of killed and wounded, NCA, V. p. 854 (N.D. 3058-PS). Report of Walter Buch, chief party judge, on the pogrom, NCA, V, pp. 868-76 (N.D. 3063-PS); Major Buch gives lurid details of numerous murders of Jews and blames Goebbels for the excesses. Stenographic report of the meeting of Goering with cabinet members and government officials and a representative of the insurance companies on Nov. 12, NCA, IV, pp. 425-57 (N.D. 1816-PS). Though the complete report is missing, the part which was found runs to 10, 000 words.

6. TMWC, IX, p. 538.

7. DGFP, IV, pp. 639-49.

8. DBrFP, Third Series, IV, No. 5.

9. Ciano's Hidden Diary, entry for Oct. 28, 1938, p. 185; Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, pp. 242-46.

10. DGFP, IV, pp. 515-20.

11. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 118; his notes on the meeting, DGFP, IV, pp. 471-77.

12. DGFP, IV, pp. 69-72.

13. Ibid., pp. 82-83.

14. Ibid., pp. 185-86; also in NCA, VI, pp. 950-51 (N.D. C-138).

15. Dispatch of the charge, DGFP, IV, pp. 188-89.

16. DGFP, IV, p. 215.

17. Memoranda of Chvalkovsky's two talks, with Hitler and Ribbentrop, on Jan. 21, 1939, DGFP, IV, pp. 190-202. Chvalkovsky's own report to the Czechoslovak cabinet on Jan. 23, Czech Archives, quoted by Wheeler-Bennett in Munich, pp. 316-17. Also see French Yellow Book, pp. 55-56.

18. Text, DGFP, IV, pp. 207-8.

19. Text, ibid., pp. 218-20.

20. Memorandum of meeting, ibid., pp. 209-13.

21. Text, ibid., pp. 234-35.

22. Based on an account later given by the British minister in Prague, NCA, VII, pp. 88-90 (N.D. D- 571 ).

23. Secret minutes of Tiso-Hitler talk, DGFP, IV, pp. 243-45.

24. See DGFP, IV, p. 250.

25. Ibid., pp. 249, 255, 260. For Ambassador Coulondre's dispatch, see French Yellow Book, p. 96 (No. 77).

26. Dispatch from Prague, March 13, 1939, DGFP, IV, p. 246.

27. TMWC, IX, pp. 303-4.

28. The sources for the foregoing section, "The Ordeal of Dr. Hacha, " are: Secret minutes of the meeting of Hitler and Hacha, DGFP, IV, pp. 263-69; it is also in the Nuremberg documents, NCA, V, pp. 433- 40 (N.D. 2798-PS). Text of the declaration of the German and Czechoslovak governments, March 15, 1939, DGFP, IV, pp. 270-71; the first part was issued as a communique; it was actually drafted in the Foreign Office on March 14. Proclamation of the Fuehrer to the German People, March 15, NCA, VIII, pp. 402-3 (N.D. TC- 50). Coulondre's dispatch, French Yellow Book, p. 96 (No. 77). Schmidt's description of meeting, his book, op. cit., pp. 123-26. Henderson on, his book, op. cit., Ch. 9. Scene with secretaries, A. Zoller, ed., Hitler Privat, p. 84.

29. TMWC, XVI, pp. 654-55.

30. Text, DGFP, VI, pp. 42-45.

31. Text, DGFP, IV, p. 241.

32. Berlin Diary, p. 156.

33. The Ciano Diaries, 1939-1943, pp. 9-12.

34. Text, DGFP, IV, pp. 274-75.

35. Ibid., pp. 273-74.

36. DGFP, VI, pp. 20-21.

37. Ibid., pp. 16-17, 40. 38. Reports of Dirksen, March 18, 1939, ibid., pp. 24-25, 36-39.

39. Ibid., p. 39.


1. German memo of meeting, DGFP, VI, pp. 104-7. Lipski's report to Beck, Polish White Book, No. 44; given in NCA, VIII, p. 483 (N.D. TC-73, No. 44).

2. Hitler's assurance to Lipski, Nov. 15, 1937, DGFP, VI, pp. 26-27; assurance to Beck, Jan. 14, 1938, ibid., p. 39.

3. Beck's instructions to Lipski, Oct. 31, 1938, Polish White Book, No. 45; NCA, VII, pp. 484-86. Ribbentrop's memo on meeting with Lipski, Nov. 19, DGFP, V, pp. 127-29.

4. German memo of meeting by Dr. Schmidt, DGFP, V, pp. 152-58. Polish minutes on, Polish White Book, No. 48; NCA, VIII, pp. 486- 88 (N.D. TC-73).

5. Ribbentrop's memo of the meeting, DGFP, V, pp. 159-61. Polish minutes on, Polish White Book, No. 49; NCA, VIII, p. 488 (N.D. TC- 73).

6. Ribbentrop's memo of his meeting with Beck in Warsaw, Jan. 26, 1939, DGFP, V, pp. 167-68; Beck's version is given in the Polish White Book, No. 52.

7. Dispatch of Moltke, Feb. 26, 1939, DGFP, VI, p. 172.

8. Lipski's dispatch to Warsaw on the meeting, Polish White Book, No. 61; also in NCA, VIII, pp. 489-92 (N.D. TC-73 , No. 61). Ribbentrop's memo of the meeting, DGFP, VI, pp. 70-72.

9. Foreign Office memo of the meeting, DGFP, V, pp. 524-26.

10. Ibid., pp. 502-4.

11. Source for this paragraph: DGFP, V, pp. 528-30.

12. DGFP, VI, p. 97.

13. Ibid., pp. 110-11.

14. NCA, VII, pp. 83-86 (N.D. R- 100).

15. Text in DGFP, VI, pp. 122-24. Ribbentrop's report on March 26 meeting with Lipski, ibid., pp. 121- 22; Polish version, White Book, No. 63.

16. Dr. Schmidt's memo of the meeting, DGFP, VI, pp. 135-36.

17. Moltke's dispatch, ibid., pp. 147- 48; Polish version, White Book, No. 64.

18. DBrFP, IV, No. 538.

19. See DBrFP, IV, Nos. 485, 518, 538 (text of Anglo-French proposal), 561, 563, 566, 571, 573.

20. Ibid., No. 498.

21. DBrFP, V, No. 12.

22. Quoted by Gisevius, op. cit., p. 363.

23. The text of Case White, NCA, VI, pp. 916-28; a partial translation is in DGFP, VI, pp. 186-87, 223-28 (N.D. C-120). The text of the original German is in TMWC, XXXIV, pp. 380-422.

24. Confidential German memos on the Goering-Mussolini talks are in DGFP, VI, pp. 248-53, 258-63. See also The Ciano Diaries, pp. 66-67.

25. The circular telegram of April 17, 1939, DGFP, VI, pp. 264-65; Foreign Office memo of the answers, ibid., pp. 309-10; Weizsaecker's call to German minister in Riga, April 18, ibid., pp. 283-84.

26. Ibid., pp. 355, 399.

27. DGFP, IV, pp. 602-7.

28. Ibid., pp. 607-8 (dispatch of Oct. 26, 1938).

29. Ibid., pp. 608-9.

30. Ibid., p. 631.

31. DGFP, VI, pp. 1-3.

32. Davies, Mission to Moscow, pp. 437-39. Ambassador Sieds's dispatch, DBrFP, IV, No. 419.

33. Boothby, I Fight to Live, p. 189. Halifax statement to Maisky, DBrFP, IV, No. 433.

34. DGFP, VI, pp. 88-89.

35. Ibid., p. 139.

36. German memo of Goering-Mussolini talk, April 16, 1939, ibid., pp. 259-60.

37. Ibid., pp. 266-67.

38. Ibid., pp. 419-20.

39. Ibid., p. 429.

40. Ibid., pp. 535-36.

41. Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-41 [hereafter referred to as NSR], pp. 5-7, 8-9.

42. French Yellow Book, Dispatches Nos. 123, 125. I have used the French-language edition (Le Livre Jaune Francais), but I believe the English edition carries the same numbers for dispatches.

43. DGFP, VI, pp. 1, 111. Appendix I of this volume contains a number of memoranda on the staff talks taken from the German naval archives.

44. The Ciano Diaries, pp. 67-68.

45. German memo on the Milan meeting, DGFP, VI, pp. 450-52. Ciano's minutes, Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, pp. 282-87.

46. Text of the treaty of alliance, DGFP, VI, pp. 561-64. A secret protocol contained nothing of significance.

47. Schmundt's minutes, May 23, 1939, NCA, VII, pp. 847-54 (N.D. L-79). There is also an English translation in DGFP, VI, pp. 574- 80. The German text is in TMWC, XXXVII, pp. 546-56.

48. For details of the plan, see N.D. NOKW-2584. This is in the TWC volumes [Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals].

49. NCA, VI, pp. 926-27 (N.D. C- 120).

50. TMWC, XXXIV, pp. 428-42 (N.D. C-126). The English translation of this document in NCA, VI, pp. 937-38, is so abbreviated that it has little value.

51. NCA, VI, p. 827 (N.D. C-23).

52. Text of the Anglo-French draft, DBrFP, V, No. 624; the British ambassador's account of Molotov's reaction is in the same volume, Nos. 648 and 657.

53. "Urgent" dispatch of May 31, DGFP, VI, pp. 616-17.

54. Dispatch of June 1, ibid., pp. 624- 26.

55. Ibid., p. 547.

56. Ibid., pp. 589-93.

57. Ibid., p. 593.

58. Letter, Weizsaecker to Schulenburg, May 27, with postscript of May 30, ibid., pp. 597-98.

59. Ibid., pp. 608-9.

60. Ibid., pp. 618-20.

61. Ibid., pp. 790-91.

62. Ibid., pp. 805-7.

63. Ibid., p. 810.

64. Ibid., p. 813.

65. DBrFP, V, Nos. 5 and 38.

66. Pravda, June 29, 1939.

67. Dispatch of June 29, DGFP, VI, pp. 808-9.

68. TMWC, XXXIV, pp. 493-500 (N.D. C-142). It is given much more briefly in English translation in NCA, VI, p. 956.

69. NCA, IV, pp. 1035-36 (N.D. 2327-PS).

70. NCA, VI, p. 934 (N.D. C-126).

71. The secret minutes of the meeting of the Reich Defense Council, June 23, 1939, NCA, VI, pp. 718-31 (N.D. 3787-PS).

72. DGFP, VI, pp. 750, 920-21.

73. Ibid., pp. 864-65.

74. Text of notes. DGFP, VII. pp. 4-5, 9-10.

75. Report of Burckhardt to the League of Nations, March 19, 1940. Text in Documents on International Affairs, 1939-1946, I, pp. 346-47.

76. DGFP, VI, pp. 936-38.

77. Ibid., pp. 955-56.

78. Schnurre's memo, ibid., pp. 1106- 9.

79. Ibid., pp. 1015-16.

80. Ibid., pp. 1022-23.

81. Ibid., pp. 1010-11.

82. Ibid., p. 1021.

83. DBrFP, IV, No. 183.

84. See DBrFP, VI. Nos. 329, 338, 346, 357, 358, 376, 399.

85. Ibid., Nos. 376 and 473.

86. Two dispatches of Aug. 1, DGFP, VI, pp. 1033-34.

87. DBrFP, Appendix V, p. 763.

88. Burnett's letter in DBrFP, VII, Appendix II, p. 600; Seeds's telegram, ibid., VI, No. 416.

89. DGFP, VI, p. 1047.

90. Ibid., pp. 1048-49.

91. Ibid., pp. 1049-50.

92. Ibid., pp. 1051-52.

93. Ibid., pp. 1059-62.

94. French Yellow Book, Fr. ed., pp. 250-51.

95. Text of two letters, DGFP, VI, pp. 973-74.

96. Attolico's dispatch on his July 6 meeting with Ribbentrop is printed in I Documenti diplomatica italiani [hereafter cited as DDI], Seventh Series, XII, No. 503. I have used the quotation and paraphrasing from The Eve of the War, ed. by Arnold and Veronica M. Toynbee.

97. Memo of Weizsaecker, DGFP, VI, pp. 971-72.

98. The Ciano Diaries, pp. 113-14.

99. Ibid., pp. 116-18.

100. The Ciano Diaries, pp. 118-19, 582-83. Ciano's minutes of the meeting with Ribbentrop are in Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, pp. 297-98; also in DDI, Eighth Series, XIII, No. I. No German record of this meeting has been found.

101. The captured German minutes of the meetings on Aug. 12 and 13 were presented at Nuremberg as documents 1871-PS and TC- 77. The latter is the more complete and is published in English translation in NCA, VIII, pp. 516-29. I have used the version signed by Dr. Schmidt, in DGFP, VII, pp. 39-49, 53-56. Ciano's record of his two talks with Hitler are in Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, pp. 303-4, and in DDI, XIII, Nos. 4 and 21. Also the entries for Aug. 12 and 13, 1939, and Dec. 23, 1943, in his Diaries, pp. 119-20, 582-83.

102. This extract from Halder's diary is published in DGFP, VII, p. 556.

103. See DDI, Seventh Series, XIII, No. 28, and DBrFP, VI, No. 662.


1. Schnurre's memo of the meeting, taken from his dispatch to the embassy in Moscow, Aug. 14, 1939, DGFP, VII, pp. 58-59.

2. Text of Schulenburg's letter, ibid., pp. 67-68.

3. Text of Ribbentrop's telegram, ibid., pp. 62-64.

4. The memo of the British businessmen was found in a file of Goering's office and is published in DGFP, VI, pp. 1088-93. There are numerous jottings on the document in Goering's handwriting. "Oho!" he scribbled several times opposite statements that obviously he could not believe. The whole fantastic and somewhat ludicrous story of Dahlerus' peace mission which brought him briefly to the center of the stage at a momentous moment is told in his own book, The Last Attempt. Also in his testimony at Nuremberg, TMWC, IX, pp. 457-91, and in Sir Lewis Namier's Diplomatic Prelude, pp. 417-33; the chapter is entitled "An Interloper in Diplomacy."

5. Interrogation of Halder, Feb. 26, 1946, NCA, Suppl. B, p. 1562.

6. Hassell, op. cit., pp. 53, 63-64.

7. Thomas, "Gedanken und Ereignisse, " Schweizerische Monatshefte, December 1945.

8. Memo of Canaris on conversation with Keitel, Aug. 17, 1939, NCA, III, p. 580 (N.D. 795-PS).

9. Naujocks affidavit, NCA, VI, pp. 390-92 (N.D. 2751-PS).

10. Dispatch of Schulenburg, 2:48 A.M., Aug. 16, DGFP, VII, pp. 76- 77. The ambassador gave a fuller account in a memo dispatched by courier, and he added details in a letter to Weizsaecker, ibid., pp. 87- 90, 99-100.

11. DBrFP, Third Series, VII, pp. 41- 42. For Ambassador Steinhardt's reports see U.S. Diplomatic Papers, 1939, T, pp. 296-99, 334.

12. Dispatch of Ribbentrop to Schulenburg, Aug. 16, DGFP, VII, pp. 84-85.

13. Ibid., p. 100.

14. Ibid., p. 102.

15. Dispatch by Schulenburg, 5: 58 A.M., Aug. 18, ibid., pp. 114-16.

16. Dispatch of Ribbentrop, 10:48 p.m., Aug. 18, ibid., pp. 121-23.

17. Memo of Schnurre, Aug. 19, ibid., pp. 132-33.

18. Dispatch of Schulenburg, 6:22 p.m., Aug. 19, ibid., p. 134.

19. Dispatch of Schulenburg. 12:08 A.M., Aug. 20, ibid., pp. 149-50.

20. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 392. He does not give his source.

21. Ibid., p. 391.

22. Hitler's telegram to Stalin, Aug.

20, DGFP, VII, pp. 156-57.

23. Dispatch of Schulenburg, 1:19 A.M., Aug. 21, ibid., pp. 161-62.

24. Dispatch of Ribbentrop, Aug. 21, ibid., p. 162.

25. Dispatch of Schulenburg, 1:43 p.m., Aug. 21, ibid., p. 164.

26. Stalin's letter to Hitler, Aug. 21, ibid., p. 168.

27. NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1103-5.

28. DBrFP, VI, No. 376.

29. See DBrFP, Third Series, VII, Appendix II, pp. 558-614. The appendix contains a detailed day-to- day record of the military conversations in Moscow and constitutes the most comprehensive source I have seen of the Allied version of the talks. It includes reports to London, during the negotiations, by Air Marshal Burnett and Gen. Heywood, and the final report of the British mission by Adm. Drax. Also, a verbatim account of the dramatic meeting of Gen. Doumenc with Marshal Voroshilov on the evening of Aug. 22, when the chief of the French military mission tried desperately to save the situation despite the public announcement that Ribbentrop was arriving in Moscow the next day. Also, the record of the final, painful meeting of the Allied missions with Voroshilov on Aug. 26. Volume VII also includes many dispatches between the British Foreign Office and the embassy in Moscow which throw fresh light on this episode.

This section of the chapter is based largely on these confidential British papers. Unfortunately the Russians, so far as I know, have never published their documents on the meeting, though a Soviet account is given in Nikonov's Origins of World War II, in which much use of the British Foreign Office documents is made. The Soviet version is also given in Histoire de la Diplomatie, ed. by V. Potemkin.

30. Paul Reynaud, In the Thick of the Fight, p. 212. Reynaud, pp. 210- 33, gives the French version of the Allied negotiations in Moscow in August 1939. He gives his sources on p. 211. Bonnet gives his version in his book Fin d'une Europe.

31. The documents are in DBrFP, VII (see note 29 above). It is interesting that not a line on the Anglo- French diplomatic efforts in Warsaw to get the Poles to accept Russian help nor on the course of the military talks in Moscow was published in either the British Blue Book or the French Yellow Book.

32. Dispatch of Ribbentrop, 9:05 p.m., Aug. 23, from Moscow, DGFP, VII, p. 220.

33. Secret German memoranda, Aug. 24, ibid., pp. 225-29.

34. Text of the Soviet draft, DGFP, VII, pp. 150-51.

35. Gaus affidavit at Nuremberg, TMWC, X, p. 312.

36. Text of the German-Soviet nonaggression pact and of secret additional protocol, signed in Moscow Aug. 23, 1939, DGFP, VII, pp. 245-47.

37. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 394.


1. British Blue Book, pp. 96-98.

2. Henderson's dispatch, Aug. 23, 1939, ibid., pp. 98-100. German Foreign Office memo of meeting, DGFP, VII, pp. 210-15. Henderson reported on the second meeting on Aug. 24 (British Blue Book, pp. 100-2).

3. Text of Hitler's letter of Aug. 23 to Chamberlain, ibid., pp. 102-4. It is also printed in DGFP, VII, pp. 216-19.

4. Text of Hitler's letter to Mussolini, Aug. 25, DGFP, VII, pp. 281-83.

5. Text of verbal declaration of Hitler to Henderson, Aug. 25, drawn up by Ribbentrop and Dr. Schmidt, DGFP, VII, pp. 279-84; also in British Blue Book, pp. 120-22. Henderson's dispatch of Aug. 25 describing interview, British Blue Book, pp. 122-23. See also Henderson's Failure of a Mission, p. 270.

6. Coulondre's dispatch, Aug. 25, French Yellow Book, Fr. ed., pp. 312-14.

7. NCA, VI, pp. 977-98. From a file on Russo-German relations found in the files of the Navy High Command.

8. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 144.

9. Ibid., pp. 143-44.

10. Ciano Diaries, pp. 120-29.

11. Weizsaecker memorandum, Aug. 20, DGFP, VII, p. 160.

12. Mackensen letter to Weizsaecker, Aug. 23, ibid., pp. 240-43.

13. Dispatch of Mackensen, Aug. 25, ibid., pp. 291-93.

14. See DGFP, VII, note on p. 285.

15. Mussolini's letter to Hitler, Aug. 25, ibid., pp. 285-86.

16. NCA, VI, pp. 977-78 (N.D. C- 170).

17. Ribbentrop's interrogation, Aug. 29, 1945, NCA, VII, pp. 535-36; Goering's interrogation, Aug. 29, 1945, ibid., pp. 534-35; Keitel's testimony on the stand at Nuremberg under direct examination, Apr. 4, 1946, TMWC, X, pp. 514- 15.

18. NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1561-63.

19. Gisevius, op. cit., pp. 358-59.

20. Hassell, op. cit., p. 59.

21. Thomas, "Gedanken und Ereignisse," loc. cit.

22. Testimony of Dr. Schacht, May 2, 1946, at Nuremberg, TMWC. XII. pp. 545-46.

23. Testimony of Gisevius, Apr. 25, 1946, at Nuremberg, ibid., pp. 224-25.

24. The texts of all these appeals are in the British Blue Book, pp. 122-42.

25. Hitler to Mussolini, Aug. 25, 7:40 p.m., DGFP, VII, p. 289.

26. Ciano Diaries, p. 129.

27. Mussolini to Hitler, Aug. 26, 12: 10 p.m., DGFP, VII, pp. 309-10.

28. Ciano Diaries, p. 129. Mackensen's report, DGFP, VII, p. 325.

29. Hitler to Mussolini, Aug. 26, 3:08 p.m., DGFP, VII, pp. 313-14.

30. Mussolini to Hitler, 6:42 p.m., Aug. 26, ibid., p. 323.

31. Hitler to Mussolini, 12:10 A.M., Aug. 27, ibid., pp. 346-47.

32. Mussolini to Hitler, 4:30 p.m., Aug. 27, ibid., pp. 353-54.

33. Dispatch of Mackensen, Aug. 27, ibid., pp. 351-53.

34. Daladier to Hitler, Aug. 26, ibid., pp. 330-31. Also in the French Yellow Book, Fr. ed., pp. 321-22.

35. Halder's diary, entry of Aug. 28, recapitulating "sequence of events" of previous five days. This portion is in DGFP, VII, pp. 564-66.

36. Goering's interrogation, Aug. 29, 1945, at Nuremberg, NCA, VIII, p. 534 (N.D. TC-90).

37. TMWC, IX, p. 498.

38. The account of the doings of Dahlerus is based on his book, op. cit., and on his testimony at Nuremberg, where he learned how naive he had been about his German friends. See above, note 4 for Chapter 15. It is substantiated by a great deal of material from the British Foreign Office published in DBrFP, Third Series, Vol. VII.

39. DBrFP, VII, p. 287.

40. Testimony of Dahlerus at Nuremberg, TMWC, IX, p. 465.

41. DBrFP, VII, p. 319n.

42. TMWC, IX, p. 466.

43. DBrFP, VII, pp. 321-22.

44. British Blue Book, p. 125, and DBrFP, VII, p. 318.

45. Text of British note to Germany. Aug. 28, British Blue Book, pp. 126-28.

46. Dispatch of Henderson to Halifax. 2:35 A.M., Aug. 29, ibid., pp. 128- 31.

47. Dispatch of Henderson to Halifax, Aug. 29, ibid., p. 131.

48. Dispatch of Henderson, Aug. 29, DBrFP, VII, p. 360.

49. Ibid., p. 361.

50. Text of German reply, Aug. 29, British Blue Book, pp. 135-37.

51. DBrFP, Third Series, VII, p. 393.

52. Henderson. Failure of a Mission, p. 281.

53. British Blue Book, p. 139.

54. Text of Chamberlain's note to Hitler, Aug. 30, DGFP, VII. p. 441.

55. British Blue Book, pp. 139-40.

56. Ibid., p. 140.

57. Ibid., p. 142.

58. Schmidt, op. cit., pp. 150-55. Also Schmidt's testimony at Nuremberg, TMWC, X, pp. 196-222.

59. TMWC, X, p. 275.

60. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 152.

61. DGFP, VII, pp. 447-50.

62. Henderson's Final Report, Cmd. 6115, p. 17. Also his book, op. cit., p. 287.

63. DBrFP, VII, No. 575, p. 433.

64. TMWC, IX, p. 493.

65. Henderson's wire to Halifax. 12:30 p.m., Aug. 31, DBrFP, VII, p. 440; letter to Halifax, ibid., pp. 465-67; wire, 12:30 A.M., Sept. I. ibid., pp. 468-69. Kennard's wire to Halifax, Aug. 31, ibid., No. 618.

66. DBrFP, VII, pp. 441-43.

67. British Blue Book, p. 144.

68. Ibid., p. 147.

69. Ibid., p. 147.

70. Text of Polish written reply to Britain, Aug. 31, ibid., pp. 148-49; Kennard's dispatch, Aug. 31 (it was not received in London until 7:15 p.m.), ibid., p. 148.

71. For Lipski's Final Report, see Polish White Book. Extracts are published in NCA, VIII, pp. 499- 512.

72. DGFP, VII, p. 462.

73. Lipski's version in his Final Report, loco cit. Dr. Schmidt's German account of the interview is in DGFP, VII, p. 463.

74. The German text of Hitler's directive is in TMWC, XXXIV, pp. 456-59 (N.D. C-126). English translations are given in NCA, VI, pp. 935-39, and DGFP, VII, pp. 477-79.

75. Hassell, op. cit., pp. 68-73.

76. Dahlerus' testimony at Nuremberg, TMWC, IX, pp. 470-71; Forbes's answer to questionnaire submitted by Goering's lawyer at Nuremberg is quoted in Namier, Diplomatic Prelude, pp. 376-77. Henderson's account is in his Final Report, p. 19.

77. DBrFP, VII, p. 483. Henderson's later account of the dispatch is given in his Final Report, p. 20, and in his book. op. cit., pp. 291- 92.

78. TMWC, II, p. 451.

79. Naujocks affidavit, loc. cit.

80. DGFP, VII, p. 472.

81. Gisevius, op. cit., pp. 374-75.


1. DGFP, VII, p. 491.

2. From Dahlerus' book, op. cit., pp. 119-20; and from his testimony on the stand at Nuremberg, TMWC, IX, p. 471.

3. DBrFP, VII, pp. 466-67.

4. Ibid.

5. TMWC, IX, p. 436. Dahlerus' testimony, as printed here, contains a typographical error which makes him say the Poles "had been attacked, " and is therefore totally misleading.

6. DBrFP, VII, pp. 474-75.

7. Ibid., Nos. 651, 652, pp. 479-80.

8. The text is in DGFP, VII, p. 492, and in the British Blue Book, p. 168. Dr. Schmidt's notes on Ribbentrop's comments to Henderson and Coulondre are in DGFP, VII, pp. 493 and 495, respectively.

9. Schmidt's version of the argument in DGFP, VII, p. 493; Henderson gave his account briefly in his dispatch on the evening of Sept. 1, 1939 (British Blue Book, p. 169).

10. DBrFP, VII, No. 621, p. 459.

11. Ciano Diaries, p. 135.

12. DGFP, VII, p. 483.

13. Ibid., pp. 485-86.

14. Bonnet to Francois-Poncet, 11:45 A.M., Sept. 1, French Yellow Book, Fr. ed., pp. 377-78. Mussolini's proposal for a conference on September 5 was outlined in a dispatch from Francois-Poncet to Bonnet Aug. 31, ibid., pp. 360- 61.

15. DBrFP, VII, pp. 530-31.

16. Henderson's Final Report, p. 22.

17. Text in DGFP, VII, pp. 509-10.

18. From Schmidt's memo, on which this scene is based, ibid., pp. 512- 13.

19. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 156.

20. Ciano Diaries, pp. 136-37.

21. DGFP, VII, pp. 524-25.

22. Ciano Diaries, p. 137. De Monzie, a defeatist French senator, confirms the story in his book Ci- Devant, pp. 146-47.

23. Corbin's dispatch, French Yellow Book, Fr. ed., p. 395.

24. This section is based on DBrFP, VII, covering Sept. 2-3. There is an excellent summary, based on the confidential British Foreign Office papers and on the scant French sources available, in The Eve of the War, 1939, ed. by Arnold and Veronica M. Toynbee. Namier, Diplomatic Prelude, also is useful. I have purposely omitted the references to scores of documents in DBrFP in order to avoid cluttering the pages with numerals.

25. Halifax wires to Henderson: 11:50 p.m., Sept. 2, DBrFP, VII, No. 746, p. 528; 12:25 A.M., Sept. 3, ibid., p. 533.

26. The text is in the British Blue Book, p. 175, and in DGFP, VII. p. 529.

27. DBrFP, VII, No. 758, p. 535.

28. Schmidt's account is in his book. op. cit., p. 157; see also his testimony on the stand at Nuremberg. TMWC, X, p. 200.

29. Schmidt, op. cit., pp. 157-58; also his testimony at Nuremberg, TMWC, X, pp. 200-1.

30. Ibid.

31. DBrFP, VII, No. 762, p. 537, n. 1.

32. Ibid.

33. TMWC, IX, p. 473.

34. Bonnet recounts this himself, op. cit., pp. 365-68.

35. Weizsaecker's memo of the meeting, DGFP, VII, p. 532.

36. The text is in DGFP, VII, pp. 548- 49.

37. The text is given in DGFP, VII, pp. 538-39.

38. This is revealed in the German Foreign Office papers, ibid., p. 480.

39. Text of telegram, ibid., pp. 540-41.

40. Fuehrer Conferences on Naval Affairs [hereafter referred to as FCNA], 1939, pp. 13-14.
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1. Text of Russian reply, DGFP, VIII, p. 4. A number of these Nazi-Soviet exchanges are printed in NSR, but DGFP gives a fuller account.

2. Ibid., pp. 33-34.

3. Molotov's congratulations, ibid., p. 34. His promise of military action, p. 35.

4. Schulenburg dispatch, Sept. 10, ibid., pp. 4-5.

5. Ibid., pp. 60-61.

6. Ibid., pp. 68-70.

7. Ibid., pp. 76-77.

8. Ibid., pp. 79-80.

9. Schulenburg dispatch, ibid., p. 92.

10. Ibid., p. 103.

11. Ibid., p. 105.

12. Ibid., pp. 123-24.

13. Ibid., p. 130.

14. The two telegrams, ibid., pp. 147- 48.

15. Ibid., p. 162.

16. Ibid., Appendix I.

17. Text of the treaty, including the secret protocols, a public declaration. and exchanges of two letters between Molotov and Ribbentrop, ibid., pp. 164-68.


1. Maj.-Gen. J. F. C. Fuller, The Second World War, p. 55. Quoted from The First Quarter, p. 343.

2. Text of Directive No. 3, DGFP, VIII, p. 41.

3. Namier, op. cit., pp. 459-60. He quotes the French text of the convention.

4. Testimony of Halder for defendants in the "Ministries Case" trial, on Sept. 8-9, 1948, at Nuremberg, TWC, XII, p. 1086.

5. Testimony of Jodl in his own defense on June 4, 1946, at Nuremberg, TMWC, XV, p. 350.

6. Testimony of Keitel in his own defense on April 4, 1946, at Nuremberg, ibid., X, p. 519.

7. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 478.

8. FCNA, 1939, pp. 16-17.

9. Weizsaecker's memorandum of his talk with Kirk, DGFP, VIII, pp. 3-4. His testimony at Nuremberg on his talk with Raeder, TMWC, XIV, p. 278.

10. Ibid., XXXV, pp. 527-29 (N.D. 804-D). The document gives both Raeder's memorandum of his conversation and the text of the American naval attache's cable to Washington.

11. Sworn statement of Doenitz at Nuremberg, NCA, VII, pp. 114- 15 (N.D. 638-D).

12. Ibid., pp. 156-58.

13. Nuremberg testimony of Raeder, TMWC, XIV, p. 78; of Weizsaecker, ibid., pp. 277, 279, 293; of Hans Fritzsche. a high official in the Propaganda Ministry and an acquitted defendant in the trial, ibid., XVII, pp. 191. 234-35. The Voelkischer Beohachter article is in NCA, V, p. 1008 (N.D. 3260- PS). For Goebbels' broadcast, see Berlin Diary, p. 238.

14. Schmidt memorandum of the talk, DGFP, vnr. pp. 140-45.

15. Brauchitsch's testimony at Nuremberg. TMWC, XX, p. 573. A note in the OKW War Diary confirms the quotation.

16. Ciano Diaries, pp. 154-55. Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, pp. 309- 16.

17. DGFP, VIII, p. 24.

18. Ibid., pp. 197-98.

19. DGFP, VII, p. 414.

20. Hitler's memorandum, NCA, VII, pp. 800-14 (N.D. L-52); Directive No.6, NCA, VI, pp. 880-81 (N.D. C-62).

21. The text is in TWC, X, pp. 864-72 (N.D. NOKW-3433).

22. Both Schlabrendorff, op. cit., p. 25, and Gisevius, op. cit., p. 431, tell of this plot.

23. Wheeler-Bennett in Nemesis, p. 491n., gives the German sources. See also Hassell, op. cit., and Thomas, "Gedanken und Ereignisse," loc. cit.

24. Halder's interrogation at Nuremberg, Feb. 26, 1946, NCA; Suppl. B, pp. 1564-75.

25. Rothfels, The German Opposition to Hitler.

26. They are given in NCA, VI, pp. 893-905 (N.D. C-72).

27. Buelow-Schwante testified in the "Ministries Case" before the Nuremberg Military Tribunal about Goerdeler's message and his own private audience with King Leopold. See transcript, English edition, pp. 9807-11. It is also mentioned in DGFP, VIII, p. 384n. His telegram of warning to Berlin is printed in DGFP, VIII, p. 386.

28. For the varied accounts of the Venlo kidnaping, see S. Payne Best, The Venlo Incident; Schellenberg, The Labyrinth; Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis.

An official Dutch account is given in the protest of the Netherlands government to Germany, DGFP, VIII, pp. 395-96. Additional material was given at the "Ministries Case" trial at Nuremberg. See TWC, XII.

29. TWC, XII, pp. 1206-8, and DGFP, VIII, pp. 395-96.

30. For various accounts of the bomb attempt, see Best, op. cit.; Schellenberg, op. cit.; Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis; Reitlinger, The S.S.; Berlin Diary; Gisevius, op. cit. There was also some material at Nuremberg from which I made notes and which I have used here, though I cannot find it in the NCA and TMWC volumes.

31. The textual notes are given in NCA, III, pp. 572-80, and also in DGFP, VIII, pp. 439-46 (N.D. 789-PS).

32. Halder's diary for Nov. 23 and his footnote added later. Brauchitsch's testimony at Nuremberg, TMWC, XX, p. 575.

33. Halder's interrogation at Nuremberg, NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1569-70. Also see Thomas, "Gedanken und Ereignisse," loc. cit.

34. Hassell, op. cit., pp. 93-94, 172.

35. Ibid., pp. 79, 94.

36. From the diary of Admiral Canaris, NCA, V, p. 769 (N.D. 3047- PS).

37. NCA, VI, pp. 97-101 (N.D. 3363- PS).

38. TMWC, I, p. 297.

39. Ibid., VII, pp. 468-69.

40. Ibid., XXIX, pp. 447-48.

41. NCA, IV, p. 891 (N.D. 2233-CPS).

42. Ibid., pp. 891-92.

43. Ibid., pp. 553-54.

44. DGFP, VIII, p. 683n.

45. The text, ibid., 604-9.

46. Ibid., p. 394.

47. Ibid., p. 213.

48. Ibid., p. 490.

49. NCA, IV, p. 1082.

50. Ibid., p. 1082 (N.D. 2353-PS).

51. DGFP, VIII, p. 537.

52. Ibid., pp. 591, 753, respectively.

53. Text of trade treaty of Feb. 11, 1940, and figures on deliveries, ibid., pp. 762-64.

54. NCA, IV, pp. 1081-82 (N.D. 2353-PS).

55. DGFP, VIII, pp. 814-17 (Schnurre memorandum, Feb. 26, 1940).
56. NCA, III, p. 620 (N.D. 864-PS).

57. Langsdorff's moving letter is given in FCNA, 1939, p. 62. Other German material on the battle and its aftermath, pp. 59-62.

58. I have used some of the original German sources for this account of the forced landing: reports of the German ambassador and the air attache in Brussels to Berlin, DGFP, VIII, and Jodl's diary. The text of the German plan of attack in the West, as salvaged by the Belgians, is given in NCA, VIII, pp. 423-28 (N.D. TC-58-A). Karl Bartz has given an account of the incident in Als der Himmel brannte. Churchill's comments are in The Gathering Storm, pp. 556- 57. He gives a wrong date for the forced landing.


1. NCA, IV, p. 104 (N.D. 1546-PS); VI, pp. 891-92 (N.D. C-66).

2. Ibid., VI, pp. 928 (N.D. C-122), p. 978 (N.D. C-170).

3. Ibid., p. 892 (N.D. C-166); FCNA, 1939, p. 27.

4. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, pp. 531-37.

5. FCNA, 1939, p. 51.

6. Rosenberg's memorandum, NCA, VI, pp. 885-87 (N.D. C-64). It is also given in FCNA, 1939, pp. 53-55.

7. FCNA, 1939, pp. 55-57.

8. Ibid., pp. 57-58.

9. DGFP, VIII, pp. 515, 546-47.

10. Jodl's diary, Dec. 12, 13-obviously misdated. Halder diary for Dec. 14.

11. Rosenberg memorandum, NCA, III, pp. 22-25 (N.D. 004-PS).

12. DGFP, VIII, pp. 663-66.

13. Text of the directive, NCA, VI, p. 883 (N.D. C-63).

14. Interrogation of Falkenhorst at Nuremberg, NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1534-47.

15. Text of the directive, NCA, VI, pp. 1003-5; also in DGFP, VIII, pp. 831-33.

16. Jodi's diary, March 10-14, 1940.

17. DGFP, VIII, pp. 910-13.

18. Ibid., pp. 179-81, 470-71.

19.1bid., pp. 89-91.

20. Text of Hitler's directive, ibid., pp. 817-19.

21. Dr. Schmidt's minutes of the meetings of Sumner Welles with Hitler. Goering and Ribbentrop are in DGFP, VIII; also Weizsaecker's two memoranda on his talk with Welles. The American envoy also saw Dr. Schacht after the banker, now fallen from grace, had been summoned by Hitler and told what line to take. See Hassell, op. cit., p. 121. Welles has given his own account of his talks in Berlin in The Time for Decision.

22. DGFP, VIII, pp. 865-66.

23. DGFP, VIII, pp. 652-56, 683-84.

24. Text of Hitler's letter to Mussolini, March 8, 1940, ibid., pp. 871-80.

25. Schmidt's minutes of the meetings, ibid., pp. 882-93, 898-909; Ciano's version is in Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, pp. 339-59. Also see Schmidt, op. cit., pp. 170-71, and The Ciano Diaries, for their personal comments on the meetings. Ribbentrop's two telegrams to Hitler reporting on his interviews are in DGFP, VIII.

26. Welles, op. cit., p. 138.

27. Ciano Diaries, p. 220.

28. Dr. Schmidt's transcribed shorthand notes of the meeting, DGFP, IX, pp. 1-16.

29. Hassell, op. cit., pp. 116-18, on which this account is largely based.

30. Allen Dulles, Germany's Underground, p. 59.

31. Shirer, The Challenge of Scandinavia, pp. 223-25.

32. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 579. The British plans for R-4 are given in Derry, The Campaign in Norway, the official British account of the Norwegian campaign.

33. Text of the directive, DGFP, IX, pp. 66-68.

34. Text, ibid., pp. 68-73.

35. Text of, NCA, VI, pp. 914-15 (N.D.C-115).

36. TMWC, XIV, pp. 99, 194.

37. Text of, NCA, VIII, pp. 410-14 (N.D. TC-55). Also in DGFP, IX, pp. 88-93.

38. Renthe-Fink's dispatch from Copenhagen, DGFP, IX, pp. 102-3; Brauer's dispatch from Oslo, ibid., p. 102.

39. The Danish version of the German occupation is based on the author's The Challenge of Scandinavia, and on Denmark during the Occupation, ed. by Borge Outze. Lt. Col. Th. Thaulow's contribution is especially valuable. A Guards officer, he was with the King at the time.

40. From the secret German Army Archives. Quoted in NCA, VI, pp. 299-308 (N.D. 3596-PS).

41. From the Norwegian State Archives; quoted in the author's The Challenge of Scandinavia, p. 38.

42. DGFP, IX, p. 124.

43. Ibid., p. 129.

44. Ibid., p. 186.

45. Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 601.


1. Belgium-The Official Account of What Happened, 1939-1940, pp. 27-29.

2. NCA, IV, p. 1037 (N.D. 2329- PS).

3. Ibid., VI, p. 880 (N.D. C-62).

4. Allen Dulles, op. cit., pp. 58-61. Dulles says Col. Sas personally confirmed this account to him after the war.

5. There is a vast amount of material on the development of the German plans for the attack in the West. I have drawn on the following: the diaries of Halder and Jodl; Haider's booklet, Hitler als Feldherr, Munich, 1949 (an English translation, Hitler as War Lord, was published in London in 1950); extracts from the OKW War Diary published in the NCA and TMWC volumes of the Nuremberg documents; the various directives of Hitler and OKW, published in the Nuremberg volumes and in DGFP, VIII and IX: Manstein, Verlorene Siege; Goerlitz. History of the German General Staff and Der Zweite Weltkrieg; Jacobsen. Dokumente zur Vorgeschichte des Westfeldzuges, 1939-40; Guderian, Panzer Leader; Blumentritt, Van Rundstedt; Liddell Hart, The German Generals Talk; considerable German material in the Nuremberg documents of the NOKW series which were produced at the secondary trials. For the British plans, see Churchill's first two volumes of his memoirs; Ellis, The War in France and Flanders, which is the official British account: J. F. C. Fuller. The Second World War; Draper, The Six Weeks' War. The best over-all account, based on all the German material available. is in Telford Taylor's The March of Conquest.

6. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 42-43.

7. DGFP, IX, pp. 343-44.

8. Both Goering and Kesselring were questioned on the stand at Nuremberg in regard to the bombing of Rotterdam. See TMWC, IX, pp. 175-77, 213-18, 338-40.

9. TMWC, XXXVI, p. 656.

10. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p. 40.

11. For more detailed accounts, see Walther Melzer, Albert Kanal und Eben-Emael; Rudolf Witzig, "Die Einnahme von Eben-Emael, " Wehrkunde, May 1954 (Lt. Witzig commanded the operation. but because of a mishap to his glider did not arrive until his men, under Sgt. Wenzel, had nearly accomplished their mission); Gen. van Overstraeten, Albert I-Leopold III; Belgium-The Official Account of What Happened. Telford Taylor, The March of Conquest, pp. 210- 14, gives an excellent summary.

12. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 46-47.

13. Hitler to Mussolini, May 18, 1940. DGFP, IX. pp. 374-75.

14. From the King's own account of the meeting and that of Premier Pierlot. Published in the official Belgian Rapport, Annexes. pp. 69- 75. and quoted by Paul Reynaud. who was French Premier at the time, in his In the Thick of the Fight, pp. 420-26.

15. Lord Gort's dispatches, Supplement to the London Gazette, London. 1941.

16. Weygand, Rappele au service, pp. 125-26.

17. Churchill. Their Finest Hour, p. 76.

18. Liddell Hart, The German Generals Talk, pp. 114-15 (soft-cover edition).

19. Ciano Diaries. pp. 265-66.

20. Telford Taylor, The March of Conquest, p. 297.

21. Text, Wilhelm II's telegram and draft of Hitler's reply, DGFp. IX. p. 598.

22. Texts of the exchange of letters between Hitler and Mussolini in May-June 1940 are in DGFp. IX.

23. Ciano Diaries, p. 267.

24. DGFp. IX, pp. 608-11.

25. Ciano Diaries, p. 266.

26. Ibid., p. 266.

27. Though copies of the minutes found in the German Archives are unsigned, Dr. Schmidt has testified that he himself drew them up. Since he acted as interpreter, he was in the best position of anyone to do this. They are printed in DGFP, IX, as follows: negotiations of June 21, pp. 643-52; record of the telephone conversations between Gen. Huntziger and Gen. Weygand (at Bordeaux) on the evening of June 21, as drawn up by Schmidt, who had been directed to listen in, pp. 652-54; record of the telephone conversation between Gen. Huntziger and Col. Bourget. Gen. Weygand's adjutant (at Bordeaux), at 10 A.M. on June 22. pp. 664-71; text of the Franco- German Armistice Agreement, pp. 671-76; memorandum of questions raised by the French and answered by the Germans during the negotiations at Compiegne, pp. 676-79. Hitler gave instructions that this document, though not a part of the agreement, was "binding on the German side."

The Germans had placed hidden microphones in the wagon-lit and recorded every word spoken. I myself listened to part of the proceedings as they were being recorded in the German communications van. So far as I know, they were never published and perhaps neither the recording nor the transcript was ever found. My own notes are very fragmentary, except for the closing dramatic session.

28. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p. 177.

29. DGFP, X, pp. 49-50.

30. Ibid., IX, pp. 550-51.

31. Ibid., IX, pp. 558-59, 585.

32. Ibid., X, pp. 125-26.

33. Ibid., pp. 39-40.

34. (bid., p. 298.

35. Ibid., pp. 424, 435.

36. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 259-60.

37. Ibid., pp. 261-62.

38. DGFP, X, p. 82.

39. OKW directive, signed by Keitel, FCNA, 1940, pp. 61-62.

40. Ciano Diaries, p. 274.

41. FCNA, 1940, pp. 62-66.

42. Letter of Hitler to Mussolini, July 13, 1940, DGFP, X, pp. 209-11.

43. Text of Directive No. 16, NCA, III, pp. 399-403 (N.D. 442-PS).

It is also published in DGFP, X, pp. 226-29.

44. The Ciano Diaries, pp. 277-78 (for July 19, 22).

45. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p. 261.

46. DGFP, X, pp. 79-80.

47. Ibid., p. 148.


1. Naval Staff War Diary, June 18, 1940. Quoted in Ronald Wheatley, Operation Sea Lion, p. 16. The author, a member of the British team compiling an official history of the war, had unrestricted access to the captured German military, naval, air and diplomatic archives, a privilege not accorded up to the time of writing to any unofficial American authors by either the British or the American authorities, who hold joint custody of the documents. Wheatley, as a guide to restricted German sources on Sea Lion, is therefore very helpful.

2. OKM (Navy High Command) records. Wheatley, p. 26.

3. Naval Staff War Diary, Nov. 15, 1939. Wheatley, pp. 4-7.

4. Wheatley, pp. 7-13.

5. FCNA, p. 51 (May 21, 1940); Naval Staff War Diary, same date, Wheatley, p. 15.

6. Text, TMWC, XXVIII, pp. 301-3 (N.D. 1776-PS). A not very good English translation is published in NCA, Suppl. A, pp. 404- 6.

7. British War Office Intelligence Review, November 1945. Cited by Shulman, op. cit., pp. 49-50.

8. Liddell Hart, The German Generals Talk, p. 129.

9. From OKH papers, cited by Wheatley, pp. 40, 152-55, 158. The plan was continually being altered throughout the next six weeks.

10. Naval Staff War Diary, Raeder- Brauchitsch discussion, July 17. Wheatley, p. 4011.

11. Halder diary, July 22; FCNA, pp. 71-73 (July 21).

12. Naval Staff War Diary, July 30. and memorandum, July 29. Wheatley, pp. 45-46.

13. FCNA, Aug. 1, 1940. This is Raeder's confidential report on the meeting. Halder gave his in a long diary entry of July 31.

14. DGFP, X, pp. 390-91. It is also given in N.D. 443-PS, which was not published in the NCA or TMWC volumes.

15. FCNA, pp. 81-82 (Aug. 1, 1940).

16. Ibid., pp. 73-75.

17. From the Jodl and OKW papers. Wheatley, p. 68.

18. FCNA, pp. 82-83 (Aug. 13).

19. The two directives, ibid., pp. 81- 82 (Aug. 16).

20. Ibid., pp. 85-86. Wheatley, pp. 161-62, gives details of Autumn Journey from the German military records.

21. Text of Brauchitsch's instructions, from the OKH files. Wheatley, pp. 174-82.

22. FCNA, 1940, p. 88.

23. Ibid., pp. 91-97.

24. Halder's diary of the same date; Assmann, Deutsche Schicksalsjahre, pp. 189-90; OKW War Diary, cited by Wheatley, p. 82.

25. Raeder's report, FCNA, 1940, pp. 98-101. Halder's diary, Sept. 14.

26. FCNA, 1940, pp. 100-1.

27. Naval Staff War Diary, Sept. 17. Wheatley, p. 88.

28. Ibid., Sept. 18. Cited by Wheatley.

29. FCNA, 1940, p. 101.

30. Ciano Diaries, p. 298.

31. FCNA, 1940, p. 103.

32. Vorstudien zur Luftkriegsgeschichte, Heft 11, Der Luftkrieg gegen England, 1940-1, by Lt. Col. von Hesler, cited by Wheatley, p. 59. The two to four weeks' estimate was given Halder, who noted it in his diary on July 11.

33. Adolf Galland, The First and the Last, p. 26. Also from Galland's interrogation, quoted by Wilmot in The Struggle for Europe, p. 44.

34. Luftwaffe General Staff record of directives given by Goering at this conference. Wheatley, p. 73.

35. Ciano Diaries, p. 290.

36. See T. H. O'Brien, Civil Defence. This is a volume in the official British history of the Second World War, edited by Prof. J. R. M. Butler and published by H. M. Stationery Office.

37. Notes on Goering's conference with air chiefs, Sept. 16. Cited by Wheatley, p. 87.

38. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, p. 279.

39. Peter Fleming, Operation Sea Lion, p. 293. An excellent book, but Fleming was denied access to restricted documents, though he says he was permitted to glance through-for an hour or two -- Wheatley's study shortly before it was published.

40. DGFP, X.

41. Schellenberg, The Labyrinth, Ch. 2.

42. New York Times, Aug. 1, 1957.


1. DGFP, IX, p. 108.

2. Ibid., pp. 294, 316.

3. Ibid., pp. 599-600.

4. Ibid., X, pp. 3-4.

5. Churchill, Their Finest Hour, pp. 135-36 (the text of his letter to Stalin).

6. DGFP, X, pp. 207-8.

7. Mein Kampf, p. 654.

8. Speech of Jodl, Nov. 7, 1943, NCA, I, p. 795 (N.D. L-I72).

9. Sworn testimony of Warlimont, Nov. 21, 1945, NCA, V, p. 741; interrogation of Warlimont, Oct. 12, 1945, ibid., Suppl. B, pp. 1635- 37.

10. Halder's diary, July 22, 1940. He records what Brauchitsch told him of the conference with Hitler in Berlin on the previous day.

11. Halder's diary, July 3, 1940.

12. NCA, IV, p. 1083 (N.D. 2353- PS).

13. War Diary, OKW Operations Staff, Aug. 26, 1940. Quoted in DGFP, X, pp. 549-50.

14. See Warlimont's two affidavits, NCA, V, pp. 740-41 (N.D. 303I, 2-PS) , and his interrogation, ibid., Suppl. B, p. 1536. Jodi's directive of Sept. 6, 1940, is given in NCA, III, pp. 849-50 (N.D. 1229-PS).

15. The directive of Nov. 12, 1940, NCA, III, pp. 403-7. The portion dealing with Russia is on p. 406.

16. OKW War Diary, Aug. 28. Quoted in DGFP, X, pp. 566-67n.

17. The Ciano Diaries, p. 289.

18. NCA, VI, p. 873 (N.D. C-53).

19. NSR, pp. 178-81.

20. The German memorandum, ibid., pp. 181-83; the Soviet memorandum of Sept. 21 in reply, ibid., pp. 190-94.

21. Ibid., pp. 188-89.

22. Ibid., pp. 195-96.

23. Ibid., pp. 197-99.

24. Ibid., pp. 201-3.

25. Ibid., pp. 206-7.

26. Ribbentrop's letter to Stalin, Oct. 13, 1940, ibid., pp. 207-13.

27. Text of Ribbentrop's indignant telegram, ibid., p. 214.

28. Text of Stalin's reply, ibid., p. 216.

29. Ibid., p. 217.

30. Memoranda of the meetings of Molotov with Ribbentrop and Hitler on Nov. 12-13, 1940, ibid., pp. 217-54.

31. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 212.

32. Ibid., p. 214.

33. Dispatch of Schulenburg, Nov. 26, 1940, NSR, pp. 258-59.

34. FCNA, 1941, p. 13; Halder's diary, Jan. 16, 1941.

35. Halder diary, Dec. 5, 1940; NCA, IV, pp. 374-75 (N.D. 1799-PS). The latter is a translation of part of the War Diary of the OKW Operations Staff, headed by Jodl.

36. Complete German text, TMWC, XXVI, pp. 47-52; short English version, NCA, III, pp. 407-9 (N.D. 446-PS).

37. Halder, Hitler als Feldherr, p. 22.

38. FCNA, 1940, pp. 135-36 (conference of Dec. 27, 1940).

39. Ibid., pp. 91-97, 104-8 (conferences of Sept. 6 and 26, 1940). Raeder signed both reports.

40. DGFP, IX, pp. 620-21.

41. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 196. The interpreter gives a fairly complete account of the conversations. The German minutes in the U.S. State Department's The Spanish Government and the Axis are fragmentary. Erich Kordt, who was also present, gives a more detailed account in his unpublished memorandum, previously referred to.

42. Ciano's Diplomatic Papers, p. 402.

43. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 197.

44. The text of the Montoire Agreement is among the captured German Foreign Office papers but was not released by the State Department at the time of writing. However, William L. Langer, Our Vichy Gamble (pp. 94-95), cites it from the German papers made available to him by the Department.

45. The Ciano Diaries, p. 300.

46. Ribbentrop on the stand at Nuremberg, and Schmidt in his book, p. 200, recalled the words.

47. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 200.

48. Halder's diary, Nov. 4, 1940; report of Jodi to Adm. Schniewind, Nov. 4, FCNA, 1940, pp. 112-17; Directive No. 18, Nov. 12, 1940, NCA, III, pp. 403-7 (N.D. 444- PS).

49. FCNA, 1940, p. 125.

50. Ibid., p. 124.

51. The Spanish Government and the Axis, pp. 28-33.

52. Raeder's report is in FCNA, 1941, pp. 8-13; Halder did not record the two-day conference in his diary until Jan. 16, 1941.

53. Text of Directive No. 20, NCA, IV, pp. 101-3 (N.D. 1541-PS).

54. Text of Directive No. 22 and supplementary order giving code names, NCA, III, pp. 413-15 (N.D. 448-PS).

55. NCA, VI, pp. 939-46 (N.D. C- 134).

56. Halder, Hitler als Feldherr, pp. 22- 24.

57. NCA, III, pp. 626-33 (N.D. 872- PS).

58. German figures given by Foreign Office, as of Feb. 21, 1941, NSR, p. 275.

59. German minutes of conference, NCA, IV, pp. 272-75 (N.D. 1746- PS).

60. NCA, I, p. 783 (N.D. 1450-PS).

61. A partial text of Directive No. 25, NCA, VI, pp. 938-39 (N.D. C- 127).

62. OKW minutes of the meeting, NCA, IV, pp. 275-78 (N.D. 1746- PS, Part II).

63. Jodi's testimony, TMWC, XV, p. 387. His "tentative" plan of operations, NCA, IV, pp. 278-79 (N.D. 1746-PS, Part V).

64. Text, letter of Hitler to Mussolini, March 28, 1941, NCA, IV, pp. 475-77 (N.D. 1835-PS).

65. For details see text of directive, NCA, III, pp. 838-39 (N.D. 1195- PS).

66. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 235-36.

67. From the Russian file of the High Command of the German Navy; entries for May 30 and June 6, NCA, VI, pp. 998-1000 (N.D. C- 170).

68. FCNA, 1941, pp. 50-52.

69. TMWC, VII, pp. 255-56.

70. NCA, VI, p. 996 (N.D. C-170).

71. Cited by Shulman, op. cit., p. 65.

72. Top-secret directive, April 30, 1941, NCA, III, pp. 633-34 (N.D. 873-PS).

73. Halder affidavit, Nov. 22, 1945, at Nuremberg, NCA, VIII, pp. 645- 46.

74. TMWC, XX, p. 609.

75. Testimony of Brauchitsch at Nuremberg, TMWC, XX, pp. 581- 82, 593.

76. Text of Keitel's order, July 23, 1941, NCA, VI, p. 876 (N.D. C- 52); July 27 order, ibid., pp. 875- 76 (N.D.C-51).

77. Text of the court-martial directive, NCA, III, pp. 637-39 (N.D. 886-PS). A slightly different version found in the records of Army Group South and dated a day later, May 14, is given in NCA, VI, pp. 872-75 (N.D.C-50).

78. Text of directive, also dated May 13, 1941, NCA, III, pp. 409-13 (N.D. 447-PS).

79. Text of Rosenberg's instructions, NCA, III, pp. 690-93 (N.D. 1029, 1030-PS).

80. Text, NCA, III, pp. 716-17 (N.D. 1058-PS).

81. Text of directive, NCA, VII, p. 300 (N.D. EC-126).

82. Memorandum of meeting, NCA, V, p. 378 (N.D. 2718-PS).

83. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 233.

84. Keitel interrogation, NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1271-73.

85. The Duke of Hamilton's personal report, NCA, VIII, pp. 38-40 (N.D.M-116).

86. Kirkpatrick's reports on his interviews with Hess on May 13, 14, 15, ibid., pp. 40-46 (N.D.s M-117, 118, 119).

87. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, p. 54.

88. TMWC, X, p. 7.

89. Ibid., p. 74.

90. Douglas M. Kelley, 22 Cells in Nuremberg, pp. 23-24.

91. NSR, p. 324.

92. Ibid., p. 326.

93. Ibid., p. 325.

94. Ibid., p. 318.

95. Ibid., pp. 340-41.

96. Ibid., pp. 316-18.

97. Ibid., p. 328.

98. Ibid., p. 338.

99. Schulenburg's dispatches, May 7, 12, ibid., pp. 335-39.

100. Ibid., p. 334.

101. Ibid., pp. 334-35.

102. Sumner Welles, The Time for Decision, pp. 170-71.

103. Churchill, The Grand Alliance, pp. 356-61.

104. NSR, p. 330.

105. NCA, VI, p. 997 (N.D. C-170).

106. NSR, p. 344.

107. Ibid., pp. 345-46.

108. Ibid., p. 346.

109. Text of, NCA, VI, pp. 852-67 (N.D. C-39).

110. The minutes of this meeting never turned up, so far as I know, but Halder's diary for June 14, 1941, describes it, and Keitel told about it on the stand at Nuremberg (TMWC, X, pp. 531-32). The Naval War Diary also mentions it briefly.

111. NSR, pp. 355-56.

112. Ibid., pp. 347-49.

113. Schmidt's formal memorandum of the meeting, ibid., pp. 356-57. Also his book, pp. 234-35.

114. Hitler to Mussolini, June 21, 1941, NSR, pp. 349-53.

115. The Ciano Diaries, pp. 369, 372.

116. Ibid., p. 372.


1. NCA, VI, pp. 905-6 (N.D. C- 74). The complete text in German. TMWC, XXXIV, pp. 298-302.

2. Halder Report (mimeographed, Nuremberg).

3. NCA, VI, p. 929 (N.D. C-123).

4. Ibid., p. 931 (N.D. C-124).

5. Article by Gen. Blumentritt in The Fatal Decisions, ed. by Seymour Freidin and William Richardson, p. 57.

6. Liddell Hart, The German Generals Talk, p. 147.

7. Ibid., p. 145.

8. Halder Report.

9. Heinz Guderian, Panzer Leader, pp. 159-62. The page references in this and subsequent chapters are to the Ballentine soft-cover edition.

10. Blumentritt article, loc. cit., p. 66.

11. Interrogation of Rundstedt, 1945. Quoted by Shulman, op. cit., pp. 68-69.

12. Guderian, op. cit., pp. 189-90.

13. Ibid., p. 192.

14. Ibid., p. 194.

15. lbid., p. 191.

16. Ibid., p. 199.

17. Goerlitz, History of the German General Staff, p. 403.

18. The Goebbels Diaries, pp. 135-36.

19. Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 153.

20. Halder, Hitler als Feldherr, p. 45.

21. NCA, IV, p. 600 (N.D. 1961-PS).

22. Blumentritt article, loco cit., pp. 78-79.

23. Liddell Hart, The German Generals Talk, p. 158.


1. DGFP, VIII, pp. 905-6.

2. NCA, IV, pp. 469-75 (N.D. 1834- PS).

3. The text, NCA, VI, pp. 906-8 (N.D. C-75).

4. Raeder's report on the meeting, FCNA, 1941, p. 37. Also in NCA, VI, pp. 966-67 (N.D. C-152).

5. They are published. along with those of the subsequent talks, including two with Hitler, in NSR, pp. 281-316.

6. Schmidt, op. cit., p. 224.

7. FCNA, 194I, pp. 47-48.

8. N.D. NG-3437, Document Book VIII-B, Weizsaecker Case. Cited by H. L. Trofousse, Germany and American Neutrality, 1939-1941, p. 124 and II.

9. Text of telegram, NCA, VI, pp. 564-65 (N.D. 2896-PS).

10. Ibid., p. 566 (N.D. 2897-PS).

11. FCNA, 194I, p. 104.

12. NCA, VI, pp. 545-46 (N.D. 3733- PS).

13. Falkenstein memorandum of Oct. 29, 1940, NCA, III, p. 289 (N.D. 376-PS).

14. FCNA, 1941, p. 57.

15. Ibid., p. 94.

16. Ibid., Annex I (Raeder's report to the Fuehrer. Feb. 4, 1941).

17. Ibid., p. 32 (March 18, 1941).

18. Ibid., p. 47 (April 20, 1941).

19. Ibid., May 22, 1941.

20. Ibid., pp. 88-90 (June 21, 1941).

21. NCA, V, p. 565 (N.D. 2896-PS).

22. German Naval War Diary, TMWC, XXXIV, p. 364 (N.D. C-118). The partial English translation in NCA, VI, p. 916, is quite misleading.

23. FCNA, Sept. 17, 1941, pp. 108-10.

24. Ibid., Nov. 13, 1941.

25. NCA, Suppl. B, p. 1200 (interrogation of Ribbentrop at Nuremberg, Sept. 10, 1945).

26. N.D. NG-4422E, Document Book IX, "Weizsaecker Case," cited by Trefousse, p. 102.

27. Ibid. Numerous telegrams between Ribbentrop and Ott in May 1941, and Ott's testimony in the "Far Eastern Trial" in Tokyo, cited by Trefousse, p. 103.

28. Vice-Minister Amau on Aug. 29 and Foreign Minister Adm. Toyoda on Aug. 30. Japanese minutes of the two meetings are in NCA, VI, pp. 546-51 (N.D. 3733- PS).

29. Hull, Memoirs, p. 1034. The texts of Toyoda's telegrams to Nomura on Oct. 16, 1941, are given in Pearl Harbor Attack, Hearings before the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack, XII, pp. 71-72.

30. Hull, op. cit., pp. 1062-63.

31. Documents 4070 and 40708. Fur Eastern Trial, cited by Trefollsse, pp. 140-41.

32. Hull, op. cit., pp. 1056, 1074.

33. Intercepted message of Oshima to Tokyo, Nov. 29, 1941, NCA, VII, pp. 160-63 (N.D. D-656).

34. Pearl Harbor Attack, XII. p. 204. The intercepted Tokyo telegram is also given in NCA, VI. pp. 308-10 (N.D. 3598-PS).

35. NCA, V, pp. 556-57 (N.D. 2898- PS).

36. NCA, VI, p. 309 (N.D. 3598-PS).

37. Text of telegram, ibid., pp. 312-13 (N.D. 3600-PS).

38. Schmidt, op. cit., pp. 236-37.

39. TMWC, X, p. 297.

40. Intercepted message of Oshima to Tokyo, Dec. 8, 1941, NCA, VII, p. 163 (N.D. 0-167).

41. N.D. NG-4424, Dec. 9, 1941, Document Book IX, Weizsaecker Case.

42. I have combined here Ribbentrop's testimony in direct examination on the stand at Nuremberg-TMWC. X, pp. 297-98-and his statements during his pretrial interrogation which are contained in NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1199-1200.

43. Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 396.

44. NCA, V, p. 603 (N.D. 2932-PS).

45. Schmidt. op. cit., p. 237.

46. A partial translation of Hitler's speech is published in Gordon W. Prange (ed.). Hitler's Words, pp. 97, 367-77.

47. English translation in NCA, VIII, pp. 432-33 (N.D. TC-62).

48. FCNA, 1941, pp. 128-30 (December 12).


1. TMWC, XX, p. 625.

2. Hassell, op. cit., p. 208.

3. Ibid., p. 209.

4. Schlabrendorff, op. cit., p. 36.

5. Hassell, op. cit., p. 243.

6. The text of the first draft drawn up in January-February 1940, Hassell, op. cit., pp. 368-72; text of the second draft, composed at the end of 1941, Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis, Appendix A, pp. 705-15.

7. Hassell, op. cit., pp. 247-48.

8. Ibid., p. 247.

9. The German Campaign in Russia -Planning and Operations, 1940- 42 (Washington: Department of the Army, 1955), p. 120. This study is based largely on captured German Army records and monographs prepared by German generals for the Historical Division of the U.S. Army which, at the time of writing, were not generally available to civilian historians. However, I must point out that in the preparation of this and subsequent chapters the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, was most helpful in giving access to German documentary material.

10. TMWC, VII, p. 260 (Paulus' testimony at Nuremberg). Hitler's remark was made on June 1, 1942, nearly a month before the offensive began.

11. The Ciano Diaries, op. cit., pp. 442-43.

12. Ibid., pp. 478-79.

13. Ibid., pp. 403-4.

14. FCNA, 1942, p. 47 (conference at the Berghof, June 15). Also p. 42.

15. Halder, Hitler als Feldherr, pp. 50-51.

16. FCNA, 1942, p. 53 (conference of Aug. 16 at Hitler's headquarters).

17. Halder, op. cit., p. 50.

18. Ibid., p. 52.

19. The quotations from Hitler and Halder are from the latter's diary and book, and from Heinz Schroeter, Stalingrad, p. 53.

20. Quoted by Gen. Bayerlein from Rommel's papers, The Fatal Decisions, ed. by Freidin and Richardson, p. 110.

21. Bayerlein quotes the order. Ibid., p. 120.

22. The source for this and for much else in this chapter about Hitler's OKW conferences is the so-called OKW Diary, which was kept until the spring of 1943 by Dr. Helmuth Greiner, and thereafter until the end of the war by Dr. Percy Ernst Schramm. The original diary was destroyed at the beginning of May 1945 on the order of General Winter, deputy to Jodl. After the war Greiner reconstructed the part he had kept from his original notes and drafts and eventually turned it over to the Military History Branch of the Department of the Army in Washington. Part of the material is published in Greiner's book, Die Oherste Wehrmachtfuehrung, 1939-1943.

23. Proces du M. Petain (Paris, 1945), p. 202-Laval's testimony.

24. The Ciano Diaries, pp. 541-42.

25. Gen. Zeitzler's essay on Stalingrad in Freidin (ed.), The Fatal Decisions, from which I have drawn for this section. Other sources: OKW War Diary (see note 22 above), Halder's book, and Heinz Schroeter, Stalingrad. Schroeter, a German war correspondent with the Sixth Army, had access to OKW records, radio and teleprinter messages of the various army commands, operational orders, marked maps and the private papers of many who were at Stalingrad. He got out before the surrender and was assigned to write the official story of the Sixth Army at Stalingrad, based on the documents then in the possession of OKW. Dr. Goebbels forbade its publication. After the war Schroeter rescued his manuscript and continued his studies of the battle before rewriting his book.

26. The Ciano Diaries, p. 556. Mussolini's proposals are given on pp. 555-56 and confirmed from the German side in the OKW War Diary of December 19.

27. Felix Gilbert, Hitler Directs His War, pp. 17-22. This is a compilation of the stenographic record of Hitler's military conferences at OKW. Unfortunately only a fragment of the records were recovered.

28. Goerlitz, History of the German General Staff, p. 431.


1. NCA, IV, p. 559 (N.D. 1919-PS).

2. Ibid., III, pp. 618-19 (N.D. 862- PS), report of Gen. Gotthard Heinrici, Deputy General of the Wehrmacht in the Protectorate.

3. Bormann's memorandum. Quoted in TMWC, VII, pp. 224-26 (N.D. USSR 172).

4. NCA, III, pp. 798-99 (N.D. I130-PS).

5. Ibid., Vlll, p. 53 (N.D. R-36). Notes

6. Dr. Brautigam's memorandum of Oct. 25, 1942. Text in NCA, III, pp. 242-51; German original in TMWC, XXV, pp. 331-42 (N.D. 294-PS).

7. NCA, VII, pp. 1086-93 (N.D. L- 221).

8. TMWC, IX, p. 633.

9. Ibid., p. 634.

10. TMWC, VIII, p. 9.

11. NCA, VII, pp. 420-21 (N.D.s EC-344-16 and -17).

12. Ibid., p. 469 (N.D. EC-411).

13. Ibid., VIII, pp. 66-67 (N.D. R- 92).

14. Ibid., III, p. 850 (N.D. 1233-PS).

15. Ibid., p. 186 (N.D. 138-PS).

16. Ibid., pp. 188-89 (N.D. 141-PS).

17. Ibid., V, pp. 258-62 (N.D. 2523- PS).

18. Ibid., III, pp. 666-70 (N.D. 1015- B-PS).

19. Ibid., I, p. 1105 (N.D. 090-PS).

20. NCA, VI, p. 456 (N.D. 1720-PS).

21. Ibid., VIII, p. 186 (N.D. R-124).

22. Ibid., III, pp. 71-73 (N.D. 031- PS).

23. Ibid., IV, p. 80 (N.D. 1526-PS).

24. Ibid., III, p. 57 (N.D. 016-PS).

25. Ibid., III, p. 144 (N.D. 084-PS).

26. Ibid., VII, pp. 2-7 (N.D. D-288).

27. Ibid., V, pp. 744-54 (N.D. 3040- PS).

28. Ibid., VII, pp. 260-64 (N.D. EC- 68).

29. Ibid., V, p. 765 (N.D. 3044-8- PS).

30. Hitler's Secret Conversations, p. 501.

31. Based on an exhaustive study from the German records made by Alexander Dallin, German Rule in Russia, pp. 426-27. He used figures compiled by OKW-AWA in Nachweisungen des Verbleibs der sowjetischen Kr. Gef. nach den Stand vom 1.5.1944. AWA are the initials for the General Armed Forces Department of OKW (Allgemeines Wehrmachtsamt).

32. NCA, III, pp. 126-30 (N.D. 081- PS).

33. Ibid., V, p. 343 (N.D. 2622-PS).

34. Ibid., III, p. 823 (N.D. 1165-PS).

35. Ibid., IV, p. 558 (N.D. 1919-PS).

36. TMWC, XXXIX, pp. 48-49.

37. Ibid., VI, pp. 185-86.

38. NCA, III, pp. 416-17 (N.D. 498- PS).

39. Ibid., pp. 426-30 (N.D. 503-PS).

40. NCA, VII, pp. 798-99 (N.D. L- 51).

41. TMWC, VII, p. 47.

42. NCA, VII, pp. 873-74 (N.D. L- 90).

43. Ibid., pp. 871-72 (N.D. L-90).

44. Harris, Tyranny on Trial, pp. 349- 50.

45. Ohlendorfs testimony on the stand at Nuremberg, TMWC, IV, pp. 311-23; his affidavit, based on Harris' interrogation, NCA, V, pp. 341-42 (N.D. 2620-PS). Dr. Beeker's letter, ibid., III, pp. 418- 19 (N.D. 501-PS).

46. NCA, VIII, p. 103 (N.D. R-102).

47. Ibid., V, pp. 696-99 (N.D. 2992- PS).

48. Ibid., IV, pp. 944-49 (N.D. 2273- PS).

49. Case IX of the Trials of War Criminals [TWC] (N.D. NO- 511 ) . This was the so-called "Einsatzgruppen Case, " entitled "United States v. Otto Ohlendorf, et al."

50. Ibid. (N.D. NO-2653).

51. Cited by Reitlinger in The Final Solution, pp. 499-500. Reitlinger's studies in this book and in his The S.S. are the most exhaustive on the subject that I have seen.

52. NCA, III, pp. 525-26 (N.D. 710- PS). The English translation here of the last line misses the whole point. The German word Endlaesung ("final solution") is rendered as "desirable solution." See the German transcript.

53. TMWC, XI, p. 141.

54. TWC, XIII, pp. 210-19 (N.D. NG-2586-G) .

55. NCA, IV, p. 563 (N.D. 1919-PS).

56. Ibid., VI, p. 791 (N.D. 3870-PS).

57. Ibid., IV, pp. 812, 832-35 (N.D. 2171-PS).

58. Hoess affidavit, NCA, VI, pp. 787- 90 (N.D. 3868-PS).

59. N.D. USSR-8, p. 197. Transcript.

60. TMWC, VII, p. 584.

61. Ibid., p. 585.

62. Ibid., p. 585 (N.D. USSR 225). Transcript.

63. Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, I, p. 28. London, 1946. This is a summary of the twelve secondary Nuremberg trials, covered in the TWC volumes.

64. The above section on Auschwitz is based on, aside from the sources quoted, the testimony at Nuremberg of Mme. Vaillant-Couturier, a Frenchwoman who was confined there. TMWC. VI, pp. 203-40; Case IV, the so-called "Concentration Camp Case." entitled "United States v. Pohl, et al.," in the TWC volumes; The Belsen Trial, London. 1949; G. M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, op. cit.; Filip Friedman. This Was Oswiecim [Auschwitz]; and the brilliant survey of Reitlinger in The Final Solution and The SS.

65. NCA, VIII. p. 208 (N.D. R-135).

66. NCA, Suppl. A. pp. 675-82 (N.D.s 3945-PS, 3948-PS, 3951- PS).

67. Ibid., p. 682 (N.D. 3951-PS).

68. Ibid., pp. 805-7 (N.D. 4045-PS).

69. The text. ibid., III, pp. 719-75 (N.D. 1061-PS).

70. TMWC, IV. p. 371.

71. Reitlinger, The Final Solution. pp. 489-501. The author analyzes the Jewish exterminations country by country.

72. TMWC, XX. p. 548.

73. Ibid., p. 519.

74. Examination of Josef Kramer. Case I of the Trials of the War Criminals-the so-called "Doctors' Trial." entitled "United States v. Brandt, et al."

75. Sievers' testimony, TMWC, XX, pp. 521-25.

76. Ibid., p. 526.

77. The testimony of Henry Herypierre is in the transcript of the "Doctors' Trial."

78. NCA, VI, pp. 122-23 (N.D. 3249- PS).

79. Ibid., V, p. 952 (N.D. 3249-PS).

80. Ibid., IV. p. 132 (N.D. 1602-PS).

81. Report of Dr. Rascher to Himmler, April 5. 1942, in the transcript of the "Doctors' Trial," Case I, "United States v. Brandt, et al." Dr. Karl Brandt was Hitler's personal physician and Reich Commissioner for Health. He was found guilty at the trial, sentenced to death and hanged.

82. NCA, Suppl. A. pp. 416-17 (N.D. 2428-PS).

83. Letter of Prof. Dr. Hippke to Himmler. Oct. 10. 1942, in transcript, Case I.

84. NCA. IV, pp. 135-36 (N.D. 1618- PS).

85. Testimony of Walter Neff, transcript, Case I.

86. Letter of Dr. Rascher to Himmler, April 4. 1943. transcript. Case I.

87. Testimony of Walter Neff. ibid.

88. Himmler's letter and Rascher's protest. ibid.

89. 1616-PS, in transcript of Case I. The document is not printed in TMWC, and the English translation in NCA is too brief to be of any help.

90. Alexander Mitscherlich. M.D., and Fred Mielke. Doctors of Infamy, pp. 146-70. This is an excellent summary of the "Doctors' Trial" by two Germans. Dr. Mitscherlich was head of the German Medical Commission at the trial.

91. Wiener Library Bulletin, 1951, V, pp. 1-2. Quoted by Reitlinger in The S.S., p. 216.


1. The Goebbels Diaries, p. 352.

2. FCNA, 1943, p. 61.

3. The Italian minutes of the Feltre meeting are in Hitler e Mussolini. pp. 165-90; also in Department of State Bulletin. Oct. 6. 1946, pp. 607-14. 639; Dr. Schmidt's description of the meeting is in his book, op. cit., p. 263.

4. The chief sources are the stenographic records of Hitler's conferences with his aides at his headquarters in East Prussia on July 25 and 26, published in Felix Gilbert. Hitler Directs His War, pp. 39-71; also The Goebbels Diaries, entries for July 1943. pp. 403-21; and the Fuehrer Conferences on Naval Affairs [FCNA], entries for July and August 1943, made by Adm. Doenitz. the new commander of the German Navy.

5. The Memoirs of Field Marshal Kesselring (London. 1953), pp. 177, 184. I have used this British edition of Kesselring's memoirs; they have been published in America under the title A Soldier's Record.

6. See Kesselring. op. cit., and Gen. Siegfried Westphal, The German Army in the West, pp. 149-52.

7. Firsthand accounts of Mussolini's rescue are given in Otto Skorzeny, Skoruny's Secret Missions, by the Duce himself in his Memoirs, 1942-43, and by the Italian manager and manageress of the Hotel Campo Imperatore in a special article included in the British edition of the Memoirs.

8. Hitler quotation from FCNA. 1943, p. 46; the item from Doenitz' diary is quoted by Wilmot, op. cit., p. 152.

9. Halder, Hitler als Feldherr. p. 57.

10. I have quoted the lecture at length in End of a Berlin Diary, pp. 270- 86. The text (in English) is in NCA, VII, pp. 920-75.

11. The above excerpts from Goebbels' diary are from The Goebbels Diaries, pp. 428-42, 468, 477-78. Hitler's talk with Doenitz in August 1943 was noted by the Admiral in FCNA, 1943, pp. 85-86.


1. Dorothy Thompson, Listen, Hans, pp. 137-38, 283.

2. Hassell, op. cit., p. 283.

3. Zwischen Hitler und Stalin. Ribbentrop's testimony, TMWC, X, p. 299.

4. George Bell, The Church and Humanity, pp. 165-76. Also Wheeler- Bennett, Nemesis, pp. 553-57.

5. Allen Dulles, op. cit., pp. 125-46. Dulles gives the text of a memorandum written for him by Jakob Wallenberg on his meetings with Goerdeler.

6. The account of this whole episode is based largely on the report of Schlabrendorff, op. cit., pp. 51-61.

7. To Rudolf Pechel, who quotes him at length in his book, Deutscher Widerstand.

8. There are a number of accounts, some of them firsthand, of the students' revolt: Inge Scholl, Die weisse Rose (Frankfurt, 1952); Karl Vossler, Gedenkrede fuer die Opfer an der Universitaet Muenchen (Munich, 1947); Ricarda Huch, "Die Aktion der Muenchner Studenten gegen Hitler, " Neue Schweizer Rundschau, Zurich, September- October 1948; "Der 18 Februar: Umriss einer deutsehen Widerstandsbewegung, " Die Gegenwart. October 30, 1940; Pechel, op. cit., pp. 96-104; Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis, pp. 539-41; Dulles, op. cit., pp. 120-22.

9. Dulles, op. cit., pp. 144-45.

10. Quoted by Constantine FitzGibbon in 20 July, p. 39.

11. Desmond Young, Rommel, pp. 223-24. Stroelin gave Young a personal account of the meeting. See also Stroelin's Nuremberg testimony, TMWC, X, p. 56, and his book, Stuttgart in Endstadium des Krieges.

12. Speidel emphasizes the point in his book Invasion 1944, pp. 68, 73.

13. Ibid., p. 65.

14. Ibid., p. 71.

15. Ibid., pp. 72-74.

16. Dulles, op. cit., p. 139.

17. Schlabrendorff, op. cit., p. 97.

18. The telephone log of the Seventh Army headquarters. This revealing document was captured intact in August 1944 and provides an invaluable source for the German version of what happened to Hitler's armies on D Day and during the subsequent Battle of Normandy.

19. Speidel, op. cit., p. 93.

20. Ibid., pp. 93-94, on which this account is largely based. Gen. Blumentritt, Rundstedt's chief of staff, has also left an account, and there is additional material in The Rommel Papers, ed. by Liddell Hart, p. 479.

21. The text of the letter is given in Speidel, op. cit., pp. 115-17. A slightly different version is in The Rommel Papers, pp. 486-87.

22. Speidel, op. cit., p. 117.

23. Ibid., pp. l04-17.

24. Ibid., p. 119.

25. Schlabrendorff, op. cit., p. 103. He was still attached to Tresckow's staff.

26. The sources for these meetings of the conspirators on July 16 are the stenographic account of the trial of Witzleben, Hoepner et al.; Kaltenbrunner's reports on the July 20 uprising; Eberhard Zeller, Geist der Freiheit, pp. 213-14; Gerhard Ritter, Carl Goerdeler und die deutsche Widerstandsbewegung, pp. 401-3.

27. Heusinger, Befehl im Widerstreit, p. 352, tells of his last words that day.

28. Zeller, op. cit., p. 221.

29. Schmidt, op. cit., pp. 275-77.

30. A number of guests at the tea party, Italian and German, have given eyewitness accounts of it. Eugen Dollmann, an S.S. liaison officer with Mussolini, has rendered the fullest description both in his book, Roma Nazista, pp. 393-400, and in his interrogation by Allied investigators, which is summed up by Dulles, op. cit., pp. 9-11. Zeller, op. cit., p. 367, n.69, and Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis, pp. 644-46, have written graphic accounts, based mostly on Dollmann.

31. The transcript of this telephone conversation was put in evidence before the People's Court. Schlabrendorff, op. cit., quotes it on p. 113.

32. Zeller, op. cit., p. 363n., cites two eyewitnesses to the executions, an Army chauffeur who observed them from a nearby window, and a woman secretary of Fromm.

33. This account of what went on in the Bendlerstrasse that evening is taken largely from General Hoepner's frank testimony before the People's Court during his trial and that of Witzleben and six other officers on Aug. 6-7, 1944. The records of the People's Court were destroyed in an American bombing on Feb. 3, 1945, but one of the stenographers at this trial-at the risk of his life, he says-purloined the shorthand records before the bombing and after the war turned them over to the Nuremberg tribunal. They are published verbatim in German in TMWC, XXXIII, pp. 299-530.

There is a great deal of material on the July 20 plot, much of it conflicting and some quite confusing. The best reconstruction of it is by Zeller, op. cit., who gives a lengthy list of his sources on pp. 381-88. Gerhard Ritter's book on Goerdeler, op. cit., is an invaluable contribution, though it naturally concentrates on its subject. Wheeler- Bennett's Nemesis gives the best account available in English and uses, as does Zeller, Otto John's unpublished memorandum. John, who after the war got into difficulties with the Bonn government and was imprisoned by it, was present at the Bendlerstrasse that day and recorded a great deal of what he saw and what Stauffenberg told him. Constantine FitzGibbon, op. cit., gives a lively account, based mostly on German sources, especially Zeller.

Also invaluable, though they must be read with caution, are the daily reports on the investigation of the plot carried out by the S.D.- Gestapo, which date from July 21 to Dec. 15, 1944. They were signed by Kaltenbrunner and sent to Hitler, being drawn up in extralarge type so that the Fuehrer could read them without his spectacles. They represent the labors of the "Special Commission for July 20, 1944, " which numbered some 400 S.D.-Gestapo officials divided into eleven investigation groups. The Kaltenbrunner reports are among the captured documents. Microfilm copies are available at the National Archives in Washington-No. T-84, Serial No. 39, Rolls 19-21. See also Serial No. 40, Roll 22.

34. Zeller, op. cir., p. 372, n.l0, quotes an officer who was present.

35. The account of the executions was later related by the prison warder, Hans Hoffmann, a second warden and the photographer, and is given in Wheeler-Bennett, Nemesis, pp. 683-84, among others.

36. Wilfred von Oven, Mit Goebbels bis zum Ende, II, p. 118.

37. Ritter, op. cit., pp. 419-29, gives the details of this interesting sidelight.

38. This figure is given in a commentary in the records of the Fuehrer's conferences on naval affairs (FCNA, 1944, p. 46) and is accepted by Zeller, op. cit., p. 283. Pechel, op. cit., who found the official "Execution Register, " says, p. 327, there were 3, 427 executions recorded in 1944, though a few of these probably were not connected with the July 20 plot.

39. Schlabrendorff, op. cir., pp. 119- 20. I have altered the English text here given to make it conform more to the original German.

40. Gen. Blumentritt gave this account to Liddell Hart (The German Generals Talk, pp. 217-23).

41. Ibid., p. 222. There is considerable source material on the Paris end of the plot, including the account given by Speidel in his book and numerous articles in German magazines by eyewitnesses. The best over-all account has been rendered by Wilhelm von Schramm, an Army archivist stationed in the West: Der 20 Juli in Paris.

42. Felix Gilbert, op. cit., p. 101.

43. Speidel, op. cit., p. 152. My account of the death of Rommel is based on, besides Speidel, who questioned Frau Rommel and other witnesses, the following sources: two reports written by the Field Marshal's son, Manfred, the first for British intelligence, quoted by Shulman, op. cit., pp. 138-39, the second for The Rommel Papers, ed. by Liddell Hart, pp. 495- 505; and Gen. Keitel's interrogation by Col. John H. Amen on Sept. 28, 1945, at Nuremberg (NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1256-71). Desmond Young, op. cit., has also given a full account, based on talks with the Rommel family and friends and on Gen. Maisel's denazification trial after the war.

44. TMWC, XXI, p. 47.

45. Speidel, op. cit., pp. 155, 172.

46. Goerlitz, History of the German General Staff, p. 477.

47. Guderian, op. cit., p. 273.

48. Ibid., p. 276.

49. Liddell Hart, The German Generals Talk, pp. 222-23.


1. Speidel, op. cit., p. 147.

2. British War Office interrogation, cited by Shulman, op. cit., p. 206.

3. Fuehrer conference, Aug. 31, 1944. Felix Gilbert, op. cit., p. 106.

4. Fuehrer conference, March 13, 1943.

5. United States Strategic Bombing Survey, Economic Report, Appendix, Table 15.

6. From U.S. First Army G-2 reports, quoted by Shulman, op. cit., pp. 215-19.

7. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, p. 312.

8. Rundstedt to Liddell Hart, The German Generals Talk, p. 229.

9. Guderian, op. cit., pp. 305-6, 310.

10. Manteuffel, in Freidin and Richardson (eds.), op. cit., p. 266.

11. Fuehrer conference, Dec. 12, 1944.

12. Guderian, op. cit., p. 315.

13. Ibid., p. 334.

14. Albert Speer to Hitler, Jan. 30, 1945, TMWC, XLI.

15. Guderian, op. cit., p. 336.

16. Fuehrer conference, Jan. 27, 1945. This is included in Felix Gilbert, op. cit., pp. 111-32. I have slightly altered the sequence of the text.

17. Fuehrer conference, undated, but probably on Feb. 19, 1945, since Adm. Doenitz notes the discussion in his record of that date. See FCNA, 1945, p. 49. Gilbert, op. cit., gives the Hitler quotation, p. 179.

18. FCNA, 1945, pp. 50-51.

19. Fuehrer conference, March 23, 1945. This is the last transcript preserved. Gilbert, op. cit., gives it in full, pp. 141-74.

20. Testimony of Albert Speer at Nuremberg, TMWC, XVI, p. 492.

21. Guderian, op. cit., pp. 341, 43.

22. Text of Hitler's order, FCNA, 1945, p. 90.

23. Speer, TMWC, XVI, pp. 497-98. This section, including the quotations from Hitler and Speer, is taken from the latter's testimony on the stand at Nuremberg on June 20, 1946, the text of which is given in TMWC, XVI; and from the documents which he presented in his defense, which are given in Vol. XLI.

24. SHAEF intelligence summary, March 11, 1945. Quoted by Wilmot, op. cit., p. 690.


1. Count Lutz Schwerin von Krosigk's unpublished diary. I have given the essential extracts in End of a Berlin Diary, pp. 190-205.

Trevor-Roper, in The Last Days of Hitler, also quotes from it. Trevor-Roper, the historian, who was a British intelligence officer during the war, was assigned the task of investigating the circumstances of Hitler's end. The results are given in his brilliant book, to which all who attempt to write this final chapter of the Third Reich are indebted. I have availed myself of a number of other sources, especially the firsthand accounts of eyewitnesses such as Speer, Keitel, Jodi, Gen. Karl Koller, Doenitz, Krosigk, Hanna Reitsch, Capt. Gerhardt Boldt and Capt. Joachim Schultz, as well as one of Hitler's women secretaries and his chauffeur.

2. Gerhardt Boldt, In the Shelter with Hitler, Ch. 1. Capt. Boldt was A.D.C. to Guderian and then to Gen. Krebs, the last Chief of the Army General Staff, and spent the final days in the bunker.

3. Albert Zoller, Hitler Privat, pp. 203-5. According to the French edition (Douze Ans aupres d'Hitler) Zoller was a captain in the French Army attached as interrogation officer to the U.S. Seventh Army and in this capacity questioned one of Hitler's four women secretaries; later, in 1947, he collaborated with her in the writing of this book of recollections of the Fuehrer. She is probably Christa Schroeder, who served Hitler as stenographer from 1933 to a week before his end.

4. Krosigk's diary.

5. Ibid.

6. Quoted by Wilmot, op. cit., p. 699.

7. Trevor-Roper, op. cit., p. 100. The account was given by one of Goebbels' secretaries, Frau Inge Haberzettel.

8. Michael A. Musmanno, Ten Days to Die, p. 92. Judge Musmanno, a U.S. Navy intelligence officer during the war, personally interrogated the survivors who had been with Hitler during his last days.

9. Keitel interrogation, NCA, Suppl. B, p. 1294.

10. NCA, VI, p. 561 (N.D. 3734-PS). This is a lengthy summary of a U.S. Army interrogation of Hanna Reitsch on the last days of Hitler in the bunker. She later repudiated parts of her statement, but Army authorities have confirmed its substantial accuracy as containing what she said during the interrogation on Oct. 8, 1945. Though Frl. Reitsch is a highly hysterical person, or was during the months that followed her harrowing experience in the bunker, her account, when checked against the evidence of the others, is a valuable record of Hitler's very last days.

11. Gen. Karl Koller, Der letzte Monat, p. 23. This is Koller's diary covering the period from April 14 to May 27, 1945, and is an invaluable source for the last days of the Third Reich.

12. Keitel in his interrogation at Nuremberg, NCA, Suppl. B, pp. 1275- 79. Jodl's account was given to Gen. Koller the same night and recorded in the latter's diary of April 22-23. See Koller, op. cit., pp. 30- 32.

13. Trevor-Roper, op. cit., pp. 124, 126-27. The author gives Berger's account, he says, "with some reservations."

14. Keitel recalled the remark in his interrogation, loc. cit., p. 1277. Jodl's version is in Koller's diary, op. cit., p. 31.

15. Bernadotte, The Curtain Falls, p. 114; Schellenberg, op. cit., pp. 399-400. They agree substantially in their versions of the meeting.

16. Speer on the stand at Nuremberg, TMWC, XVI, pp. 554-55.

17. Hanna Reitsch interrogation, loc. cit., pp. 554-55.

18. Ibid., p. 556. All the subsequent quotations and the events described by Hanna Reitsch are taken from this interrogation and are found in NCA, VI, pp. 551-71 (N.D. 3734-PS). They will not therefore be cited in each case.

19. Keitel, in his interrogation, loc. cit., pp. 1281-82, quoted the message from memory. The German naval records give a similarly worded radio message from Hitler to Jodi dated 7:52 p.m., April 29 (FCNA, 1945, p. 120), and Schultz's OKW Diary (p. 51), which gives the same text, records it as received by Jodi at II p.m. on April 29. This is probably an error, since by that hour of that evening Hitler, judging by his actions, no longer cared where any army was.

20. Trevor-Roper. op. cit., p. 163. gives the first message. The second I have found in the Navy's records, FCNA, 1945, p. 120. The further message from the naval liaison officer in the bunker, Adm. Voss, is also given in FCNA, p. 120.

21. The text of Hitler's Political Testament and personal will is given in N.D. 3569-PS. A copy of his marriage certificate was also presented at Nuremberg. I have given the texts of all three in End of a Berlin Diary, pp. 177-83, n. A rather hastily written English translation of the will and testament is published in NCA, VI, pp. 259-63. The original German is in TMWC, XLI, under the Speer documents.

22. Gen. Koller, op. cit., p. 79, gives the text of Bormann's radiogram.

23. The text of Goebbels' appendix was presented at the Nuremberg trial. I have given it in End of a Berlin Diary. p. 183n.

24. Kempka's account of the death of Hitler and his bride is given in two sworn statements published in NCA. VI, pp. 571-86 (N.D. 3735-PS).

25. Juergen Thorwald, Das Ende an der Elbe, p. 224.

26. This account of the death of the Goebbels family is given by Trevor-Roper. op. cit., pp. 212-14, and is based largely on the later testimony of Schwaegermann, Axmann and Kempka.

27. Joachim Schultz, Die letzten 30 Tage, pp. 81-85. These notes are based on the OKW diaries for the last month of the war and 1 have used them to bolster a good many pages of this chapter. The book is one of several published under the direction of Thorwald under the general title Dokumente zur Zeitgeschichte.

28. Eisenhower, op. cit., p. 426.

29. End of a Berlin Diary.
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Re: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi

Postby admin » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:15 am


Though for this book, as for all others that I have written, I have done my own research and planning, I owe a great deal to a number of persons and institutions for their generous help during the five years that this work was in the making.

The late Jack Goodman, of Simon and Schuster, and Joseph Barnes, my editor at this publishing house, got me started and Barnes, an old friend from our days as correspondents in Europe, stuck it out over many ups and downs, offering helpful criticism at every turn. Dr. Fritz T. Epstein, of the Library of Congress, a fine scholar and an authority on the captured German documents, guided me through the mountains of German papers. A good many others also came to my aid in this. Among them were Telford Taylor. chief counsel for the prosecution at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, who already has published two volumes of a military history of the Third Reich. He loaned me documents and books from his private collection and proferred much good advice.

Professor Oron J. Hale, of the University of Virginia, chairman of the American Committee for the Study of War Documents, American Historical Association, led me to much useful material, including the results of some of his own research, and one hot summer day in 1956 did me a signal service by yanking me out of the manuscript room of the Library of Congress and sternly advising me to get back to the writing of this book lest I spend the rest of my life peering into the German papers, which one easily could do. Dr. G. Bernard Noble, chief of the Historical Division of the State Department, and Paul R. Sweet, a Foreign Service officer in the Department, who was one of the American editors of the Documents on German Foreign Policy, also helped me through the maze of Nazi papers. At the Hoover Library at Stanford University, Mrs. Hildegard R. Boeninger, by mail, and Mrs. Agnes F. Peterson. in person, were generous of their aid. At the Department of the Army, Colonel W. Hoover, acting Chief of Military History, and Detmar Finke, of his staff, put me on the track of German military records, of which this office has a unique collection.

Hamilton Fish Armstrong, editor of Foreign Affairs, took a personal interest in seeing me through this book, as did Walter H. Mallory, then executive director of the Council on Foreign Relations. To the Council, to Frank Altschul and to the Overbrook Foundation I am grateful for a generous grant which enabled me to devote all of my time to this book during its final year of preparation. I must also thank the staff of the Council's excellent library, on whose members I made many wearisome demands. The staff of the New York Society Library also experienced this and, despite it, proved most patient and understanding.

Lewis Galantiere and Herbert Kriedman were good enough to read most of the manuscript and to offer much valuable criticism. Colonel Truman Smith, who was a U.S. military attache in Berlin when Adolf Hitler first began his political career in the early Twenties and later after he came to power, put at my disposal some of his notebooks and reports, which shed light on the beginnings of National Socialism and on certain aspects of it later. Sam Harris, a member of the U.S. prosecution staff at Nuremberg and now an attorney in New York, made available the TMWC Nuremberg volumes and much additional unpublished material. General Franz Halder, Chief of the German Army General Staff during the first three years of the war, was most generous in answering my inquiries and in pointing the way to German sources. I have mentioned elsewhere the value to me of his unpublished diary, a copy of which I kept at my side during the writing of a large part of this book. George Kennan, who was serving in the U.S. Embassy in Berlin at the beginning of the war, has refreshed my memory on certain points of historical interest. Several old friends and colleagues from my days in Europe, John Gunther, M. W. Fodor, Kay Boyle, Sigrid Schultz, Dorothy Thompson, Whit Burnett and Newell Rogers, discussed various aspects of this work with me-to my profit. And Paul R. Reynolds, my literary agent, provided encouragement when it was most needed.

Finally I owe a great debt to my wife, whose knowledge of foreign languages, background in Europe and experience in Germany and Austria were of great help in my research, writing and checking. Our two daughters, Inga and Linda, on vacation from college, aided in a dozen necessary chores. To all these and to others who have helped in one way or another, I express my gratitude. The responsibility for the book's shortcomings and errors is, of course, exclusively my own.
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