Hitler

Jul

7

1943

Hitler gives the go ahead for the V-2 programme

Launch of a V2 in Peenemünde; photo taken four seconds after taking off from test stand, Summer 1943

The A-4 is a measure that can decide the war. And what encouragement to the home front when we attack the English with it! This is the decisive weapon of the war, and what is more it can be produced with relatively small resources. Speer, you must push the A-4 as hard as you can! Whatever labor and materials they need must be supplied instantly. You know I was going to sign the decree for the tank program. But my conclusion now is: Change it around and phrase it so that A-4 is put on a par with tank production.

Jul

1

1943

Hitler sets out objectives for ‘Citadel’

Adolf Hitler with Wilhelm Keitel, left, and Albert Speer, right, at a demonstration of new weapons in the spring of 1943.

What’s at stake ?  Germany needs the conquered territory, or she will not exist for long.  She must win hegemony over Europe.  Where we are — we stay.  Soldiers must see this, otherwise they’ll regard their sacrifices as in vain.  Balkans must not be lost whatever happens ;  our most vital raw materials for war are there.  The Italians have pulled out of Greece and been replaced by Germans.  Feel safer since then.  Crete is firmly in our hands ;  thus we prevent enemy from getting air bases. 

Apr

7

1943

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.

Feb

21

1943

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.

Feb

18

1943

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.

Feb

11

1943

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 ?’

Feb

8

1943

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.

Feb

6

1943

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.

Feb

1

1943

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?

Jan

31

1943

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.