Hitler sacks his Chief of Staff Franz Halder

As Chief of the Army General Staff Franz Halder, far right, had been at the side of Hitler during the planning of all the Wehrmacht operations until 1942.

The deteriorating relationship between Hitler and his Generals came to a culmination on the 24th September when he sacked his Chief of Staff, Franz Halder. The reality that the objective for 1942, the oilfields of Russia, was not going to be achieved, was sinking in. Deep down their must have been a realisation that the war was looking increasingly unwinnable. The Soviet state had not collapsed when they ‘kicked in the door’ in 1941 and their was every sign that the Russian resistance had been stiffening throughout 1942.

Hitler’s belief that an ‘unconquerable will’ would be sufficient to ensure a German victory was increasingly at odds with the military facts. As a professional soldier Franz Halder was the man who was responsible for presenting Hitler with these unpalatable facts.

Halder’s diary was largely confined to military matters and he only made limited comment on his relationship with Hitler:

24th September 1942

After situation conference, farewell by the Fuehrer: My nerves are worn out, also his nerves are no longer fresh. We must part. “Necessity for educating the General Staffs in fanatical faith in the Idea.” He is determined to enforce his will also in the Army.

Only recently Halder had recorded the statistics for casualties since the launch of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941.

Casualties: 22 June, 1941 – 10 September 1942 in the East:

Killed : 336,349 including 12,385 Officers

Wounded : 1,226,941 including 34,525 Officers

Missing : 75,990 including 1,056 Officers

Total : 1,637,280 including 47,966 Officers

It was bad enough, but it was just the beginning.

Halder was to finish the war in a concentration camp after being suspected of involvement in the July 1944 bomb plot.

The Halder Diaries can be found online.

A portrait of Franz Halder from 1938. He came from a traditional Prussian military background and stood apart from the Nazis.

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Deanna Miron April 19, 2014 at 11:59 am

This is my 3rd cousin. My Great Uncle Wally Halter and him were first cousins. Walter or Wally was a gold medallist in the 1938 Olympics – and was top point scorer overall- My Family spoke very little about Franz and I am really only finding out about him now.

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