One German's view of the war

Not every German supported the Nazis or the war with Poland. Von Hassell’s diaries provide an alternative perspective from inside Germany:

Among well-informed people in Berlin I noticed a good deal 
of despair. In wide circles there is still rejoicing over the “inspired chess move of the pact with Russia,” over the victories 
in Poland, over the performance of the submarines and the 
Air Corps against England. But among informed people there is growing awareness of our impending disaster.

The principal sentiments are: the conviction that the war cannot be won militarily; a realization of the highly dangerous 
economic situation; the feeling of being led by criminal adventurers; and the disgrace that has sullied the German name 
through the conduct of the war in Poland; namely, the brutal 
use of air power and the shocking bestialities of the SS, especially toward the Jews. The cruelties of the Poles against the 
German minority are a fact, too, but somehow excusable psychologically. When people use their revolvers to shoot down a 
group of Jews herded into a synagogue one is filled with shame. 
A light court-martial sentence pronounced against some of these criminals was set aside by Brauchitsch; a second sentence, 
likewise light, was voided by the disgraceful general amnesty 
for such deeds. And all this time a man like Niemöller has been sitting for years in a concentration camp!

I hear that Blaskowitz, as commander of an army, wanted 
to prosecute two SS leaders–including that rowdy Sepp 
Dietrich–for looting and murder. But in vain. Those who saw 
Warsaw, with its devastation and the many thousands of dead 
bodies lying around, came away with horrible impressions. Of course the commander of the city should not have permitted 
this to happen, but the Nazi determination to bring the war 
to a quick end was primarily responsible.



See The Von Hassell Diaries 1938-1944: The Story of the Forces Against Hitler Inside Germany

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