Hitler plans the invasion of Russia

Colonel Warlimont, pictured in 1939, was one of a very small group of officers who learnt that Hitler began planning to attack Russia in 1940.

Following a Military Planning Conference with Hitler at the Berghof, 29 July 1940 General Alfred Jodl, the Chief of the Armed Forces Command Staff discloses to his small group of support officers that Hitler is already pressing for an attack on Russia.

Colonel Walter Warlimont was one of the officers in the Special Command Train Atlas at the Bad Reichenall Station following the conference at the Berghof:

[Including myself] Four of us (Lt. Col. von Lossberg, Capt. Junge, Major Freiherr von Falkenstein) were present, sitting at individual tables in the restaurant car. … Jodl went round ensuring that all doors and windows were closed and then, without any preamble, [he] disclosed to us that Hitler had decided to rid the world ‘once and for all’ of the danger of Bolshevism by a surprise attack on Soviet Russia to be carried out at the earliest possible moment, i.e. in May 1941.

… Jodl countered every question [we had] … although he convinced none of us. … He repeated Hitler’s view and probably his own also that the collision with Bolshevism was bound to come and that it was better therefore to have this campaign now, when we were at the height of our military power, than to have to call the German people to arms once more in the years to come.

… Shortly after Jodl’s disclosure, we happened to discover that Hitler had originally been determined to launch the attack in the late summer of 1940. The most urgent representations from Keitel and Jodl … had been necessary to convince the Supreme Commander that the time and space factors alone, together with the weather conditions, rendered this plan totally impracticable.

See Walter Warlimont: Inside Hitler’s Headquarters, 1939-45