Hitler’s HQ staff refuse to consider evacuating Africa

A German artillery crew in Tunisia, April 1943.

Things look very bad, Colonel-General,” I began, “we’re no longer equal to the pressure of the British and the Americans. The RAF, in particular, hinders almost all our movements, except when it’s raining. ‘The long front from Gabes to Tunis cannot anywhere near be covered by us. To prevent a disaster as many men as possible should be evacuated at once, to be available on fronts where the Western Allies are sure to land.




Hitler after Stalingrad

Hitler meets Field Marshal Manstein on the Eastern front in early 1943.

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.




Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels calls for ‘Total War’

The packed Berlin Sports palace as Joseph 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.




Following Stalingrad, doubt begins to grow in Germany

German graves somewhere in Russia. Few who died at Stalingrad got a decent burial.

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 ?’




Mussolini sacks his Foreign Minister, Count Ciano

The ceremonial signing of the alliance pact between Germany and Italy in the Ambassadors' Chamber of the new Reichschancellery by the Italian foreign minister, Count Ciano and Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs von Ribbentrop. 20-25 May 1939

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.




Manstein argues with Hitler over role of HQ

German soldiers somewhere on the eastern front in February 1943.

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.




Hitler blames Paulus for Stalingrad

A high proportion of of the men taken prisoner were already in a very poor state, starved, wounded or frostbitten. Their prospects did not improve  in captivity.

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?




German 6th Army surrenders at Stalingrad

The Red flag is raised over Stalingrad, finally the bitter struggle was over.

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.




Hitler ‘only survivors and annihilated’ in this war

Hitler addresses thousands of Nazi Party members and 'fellow soldiers' at the Berlin Sports Palace on 30th January 1943. After approaching the lectern "such was the roaring hurricane of jubilation" that he was unable to speak for sevral minutes.

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.




Gloom and despair over Stalingrad in Hitler’s bunker

German bombers Heinkel He-177A-5 from the I. / KG 50 at the airport in Kiev. These bombers were used to supply German forces encircled in Stalingrad.

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.