Hitler

Feb

21

1943

Hitler after Stalingrad

21st February 1943: Hitler after Stalingrad

The attacks of nervous irritation increased. One moment Hitler’s collar was too tight and was stopping his circulation; the next his trousers were too long. He complained that his skin itched. He suspected poison everywhere, in the lavatory cistern, on the soap, in the shaving cream or in the toothpaste, and demanded that these be minutely analysed. The water used for cooking his food had to be investigated as well. Hitler chewed his fingernails and scratched his ears and neck until they bled. Because he suffered from insomnia, he took every possible sleeping pill. His bed was warmed with electric blankets and cushions.

Feb

18

1943

Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels calls for ‘Total War’

18th February 1943: Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels calls for ‘Total War’

We promise you, we promise the front, we promise the Führer, that we will mold together the homeland into a force on which the Führer and his fighting soldiers can rely on absolutely and blindly. We pledge to do all in our life and work that is necessary for victory. We will fill our hearts with the political passion, with the ever-burning fire that blazed during the great struggles of the party and the state.

Feb

11

1943

Following Stalingrad, doubt begins to grow in Germany

11th February 1943: Following Stalingrad, doubt begins to grow in Germany

While I was searching desperately for the right words, Edith spoke again. ‘There is one thing that haunts me. I have heard a rumour that they could have escaped, but that Hitler forbade it!’ I was frightened. I had not heard that rumour myself at the time. ‘No! Impossible!’ I said. ‘It would be plain murder. Hitler would never do such a thing. You know that, surely ?’

Feb

8

1943

Mussolini sacks his Foreign Minister, Count Ciano

8th February 1943: Mussolini sacks his Foreign Minister, Count Ciano

I can document all the treacheries perpetrated against us by the Germans, one after another, from the preparation of the conflict to the war on Russia, communicated to us when their troops had already crossed the border. If you need them I shall provide the details, or, better still, I shall, within the space of 24 hours, prepare that speech which I have had in my mind for three years, because I shall burst if I do not deliver it.

Feb

6

1943

Manstein argues with Hitler over role of HQ

6th February 1943: Manstein argues with Hitler over role of HQ

The greater one’s sphere of command, of course, the further ahead one must think. And the greater the distances to be covered and the formations to be moved, the longer is the interval that must elapse before the decision one has taken can produce tangible results. This long-term thinking was not to Hitler’s taste, however – at least not in the operational field. Possibly he disliked the prospect of being confronted with conclusions which did not conform to his wishes. Since these could not be refined, he avoided becoming involved in them wherever possible.

Feb

1

1943

Hitler blames Paulus for Stalingrad

1st February 1943: Hitler blames Paulus for Stalingrad

We are all imagining how it is ending at Stalingrad. F. [Fuhrer] was very depressed. looking everywhere for errors and negligence. Attempted to extenuate a report from Paulus addressed to himself and violently criticised Paulus’s attitude. How can one avoid the road to eternity in such a situation? Faced with the heroism of the fighting man, how could one leave him in the lurch at the last moment?

Jan

31

1943

German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad

31st January 1943: German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad

Von Paulus confirmed, through General Schmidt, that he was no longer in command of the army, that he was a private citizen and would therefore not sign the capitulation order, He refused to receive our delegation, but asked that, as a field marshal, he be personally taken prisoner and escorted by one of our generals.

Jan

30

1943

Hitler ‘only survivors and annihilated’ in this war

30th January 1943: Hitler ‘only survivors and annihilated’ in this war

In days to come it will be said thus: when you come home to Germany, tell them that you have seen us lying at Stalingrad, as the rule of honour and the conduct of war have ordained that we must do, for Germany’s sake. It may sound harsh to say that a soldier has to lay down his life at Stalingrad, in the deserts of Africa or in the icy wastelands of the North, but if we soldiers are not prepared to risk our lives, then we would do better to get ourselves to a monastery.

Dec

28

1942

Gloom and despair over Stalingrad in Hitler’s bunker

28th December 1942: Gloom and despair over Stalingrad in Hitler’s bunker

This evening Jodl spoke very seriously and one could see that even he was counting on Paulus acting independently. (Same view) definitely Chief of the General Staff and the Army Group. Nobody knows what should be done next at Stalingrad. F. [Fuhrer] very quiet and is almost never seen except at daily situation conference and to receive reports.

Dec

18

1942

Paulus refuses to make a breakout from Stalingrad

18th December 1942: Paulus refuses to make a breakout from Stalingrad

While the army commander was probably a better-trained tactician and a clearer thinker, it looked as if his Chief-of-Staff was the stronger personality of the two! And so the upshot of the talks was that General Paulus himself ended by pronouncing the break-out a sheer impossibility and pointing out that the surrender of Stalingrad was forbidden ‘by order of the Fuhrer’!