Hitler

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.

Jan

30

1943

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.

Dec

28

1942

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.

Dec

18

1942

Paulus refuses to make a breakout from Stalingrad

Attempting to warm up the engines of a Ju 52 transport plane at one of the airfield within 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’!

Nov

7

1942

Hitler avoids facing his own troops

A large troop convoy on its way to North Africa.

The atmosphere was tense. We were already many hours late, for at every sizable station a prolonged stop was made in order to connect the telephone cable with the railroad telegraph system, so we could get the latest reports. From early moming on a mighty armada of transports, accompanied by large naval units, had been passing through the Strait of Gibralter into the Mediterranean.