David Irving


The Country Poacher

Thus Adolf Hitler at fifty-two set out to conquer Russia.

In a terrible, unceasing onslaught his gray legions of Wehrmacht and Waffen SS troops fought forward across the drab and windswept plains, the glowing yellow fields of Ukrainian sunflower crops, the swamps around Lake Ilmen, the barren steppe, and the rocky deserts and inhospitable tundra of the north, humming with myriads of unseen mosquitoes, until the spent Nazi tide finally lapped the Caucasus Mountains.

Within a few days Field Marshal Leeb’s armored spearheads had reached Dvinsk (Daugavpils) ;  Field Marshal Bock’s tanks were encircling a long ovalshaped pocket from Bialystok to Minsk in which eventually 350,000 Russian prisoners would be taken.  Within a month Smolensk itself would be in German hands and Rundstedt would be at the gates of Kiev.  As the Germans advanced, they found Russian trains still laden with grain and raw materials destined for Germany.  Ironically, Hitler’s tanks were running on the oil he had procured from Russia.

Yet there were disturbing auguries.  Stalin had proclaimed a “patriotic war,” and this was a slogan of dangerous magnetism.  Moreover, his tanks and aircraft were significantly more modern and plentiful than Hitler had been told ;  the German General Staff’s red-bound manual on the Soviet forces soon became known as the “Red Donkey.”  Most ominous of all was the frightening tenacity of the Soviet soldier.  He was willing to die ;  he was brave and dogged.  Frederick the Great once said, “You’ve got to shoot every Russian dead twice, and still turn him over to make sure.”  More than one German officer inspecting a bloody battlefield paid with his life for ignoring this warning.  Chief of Staff Halder wrote privately on July 16, 1941 :  “The Russians drive their men forward into counterattacks without the least artillery support, as many as twelve waves one after another ;  often they are raw recruits, who just link arms and—their muskets on their backs—charge our machine guns, driven by their terror of the commissars and their superiors.  Sheer weight of numbers has always been Russia’s forte, and now the Russian command is forcing us to slay them, because stand aside they won’t.”  But the Russian soldier was poorly led, his armored units were wrongly employed, and analogous errors were made with the Soviet artillery.

A more fundamental obstacle to the invasion was the nature of the Russian terrain, of which the “Red Donkey” had made no mention at all.  Hitler had been undaunted by the sheer distances involved, since unlike Napoleon in 1812 he had the internal combustion engine and the airplane—indeed, he had tempted providence by launching “Barbarossa” on the very anniversary of Napoleon’s invasion.  But in the months to come Hitler was to learn that horses did have certain advantages over mechanical transport.  The Russian roads dissolved into bottomless morasses when the rains came ;  railroads were few and far between, and only tracked vehicles remained mobile when it rained, so the gasoline for the tanks had to be hauled the immense distances from the railheads by relays of farm carts and tractors.

We shall not analyze the Russian campaign in great detail, except to point out where it bore the stamp of Hitler’s own personality or of his ability to inspire faith in his subordinates.  It was a gamble :  he had held forty-eight divisions in reserve during “Yellow,” but he was attacking Russia with only ten or fifteen in reserve.  However, the extent of the gamble was concealed from all but his closest intimates.  When Ribbentrop came on June 27, Hitler laughingly exclaimed that he felt like the legendary horseman who having unwittingly ridden across the frozen Lake Constance died of horror when he learned what he had done :  “If I had had the slightest inkling of this gigantic Red Army assemblage I would never have taken the decision to attack.”

Perhaps it was an unconscious foreboding that caused him two days later, even as the German radio was blaring out the first seven special communiquÈs on “Barbarossa” victories, to think again of his own death and sign a secret constitutional instrument appointing Hermann G–ring his successor.

Today Rastenburg is part of Poland, and all that remains of the Wolf’s Lair are the ruins of bunkers built to defend Hitler from enemy bombing or parachute attacks that never came.  Massive concrete slabs tilt at awkward angles among the trees.

“Security Zone One” was in 1941 a cluster of wooden barracks and single-story concrete blockhouses which were divided into smaller compartments.  “Cold and clammy bunkers,” wrote one civil servant, “in which we freeze to death at night, can’t sleep for the constant rattle of the electric ventilation system and its frightful draft, and wake up every morning with a headache.”  The whole compound was invisible from the air, concealed by camouflage netting suspended from the tree-tops.  A few hundred yards away, on the other side of the road leading from Rastenburg to Angerburg (General Staff HQ), Jodl’s operations staff occupied a similar encampment, “Security Zone Two.”  When Hitler had predicted that “this whole headquarters will one day become a historic monument, because here is where we founded a New World Order,” Jodl had drily replied that it would be better suited as a garrison detention center for Rastenburg.  It had in fact been built in one of the marshiest places in Masuria.  “No doubt some government department found the land was cheapest here,” sighed Hitler.  Jodl’s staff diarist complained in a private letter dated June 27 :  “We are being plagued by the most awful mosquitoes.  It would be hard to pick on a more senseless site than this—deciduous forest with marshy pools, sandy ground, and stagnant lakes, ideal for these loathsome creatures.”

One of Hitler’s two private secretaries wrote a closely observed account of her impressions of the Wolf’s Lair on June 28.  This worm’s-eye view of one of the most powerful men on earth deserves quoting at length if only for the scene it sets :

This time we girls . . . are accommodated as well as the men are.  The blockhouses are scattered in the woods, grouped according to the work we do.  Each department is kept to itself.  Our sleeping bunker, as big as a railway compartment, is very comfortable-looking, paneled with a beautiful light-colored wood ;  it has a concealed wash basin and a mirror, a small Siemens radio on which we can pick up clear broadcasts of very many stations, and we even have electric heaters (which are admittedly not on) and a good bright light in attractive wall lamps ;  there is a narrow, hard mattress filled with hay.  It is a tight fit but not so tight as to be uncomfortable, and now that I have put a few pictures on the bunker wall it all makes an agreeable impression.  There are communal shower rooms, but we have yet to use them as at first there was no warm water and now we like to sleep, as usual, until the very last moment.  As the air-conditioning noise bothered us and the draft went right past our heads ... we have it switched off at night with the result that ... we walk around with leaden limbs all next day.

Despite all this it is wonderful except for an appalling plague of mosquitoes.  My legs have been stung to bits and are covered with lumps.  The antimosquito stuff they give us only works for a short time, unfortunately.  The men are better protected by their long leather boots and thick uniforms ;  their only vulnerable point is the neck.  Some of them go around all day with mosquito nets on.  I tried it all one afternoon, but found it too much of a nuisance.  Indoors it is not so bad with these little monsters.  Wherever a mosquito turns up, it is hunted down.  In the first few days this led to immediate problems of jurisdiction, as the Chief [Hitler] says it should be the Luftwaffe’s job only.  Meantime flyswatters of wire mesh have arrived and anybody not doing anything else is sent mosquito-hunting.  They say the small mosquitoes are replaced by a far more unpleasant sort at the end of June, and their bites will be far more powerful.  God help us !

The temperature here is a pleasant surprise.  It is almost too cool indoors. ... The forest keeps out the heat :  you don’t notice how much until you go out onto the street, where the heat clamps down on you.

Shortly after to A.M. we two go to the mess bunker, No. 1 Dining Room—a long whitewashed room sunk half-underground so that the small gauze-covered windows are very high up.  On its walls are wood engravings, one of baskets, another of Henry 1, etc.  A table for twenty people takes up the entire length of the room ;  here the Chief takes his lunch and supper with his generals, his General Staff officers, adjutants, and doctors.  At breakfast and afternoon coffee we two girls are also there.  The Chief sits facing the maps of Russia hanging on the opposite wall, and this naturally prompts him to make repeated remarks about Soviet Russia and the dangers of bolshevism.... He must have suffered heavily of late, since the so-called friendship treaty was signed with Russia.  Now he makes a clean breast of his apprehensions, again and again emphasizing the enormous danger bolshevism is for Europe and saying that if he had waited just one more year it would probably have been too late....

We wait in this No. 1 Dining Room each morning until the Chief arrives for breakfast from the map room, where meantime he has been briefed on the war situation.  Breakfast for him, I might add, is just a glass of milk and a mashed apple :  somewhat modest and unpretentious.  We girls for our part can’t get enough to eat, and after we have eaten our own share (with its small butter portion) we switch place settings while nobody’s looking so that we get two or three shares each.  Meanwhile we get the Chief to tell us first what the latest war situation is.

Afterward we go at 1 P.M. to the general situation conference in the map room, where either Colonel Schmundt or Major Engel [Hitler’s army adjutant] does the briefing.  These briefing sessions are extremely interesting.  The statistics on enemy aircraft and tanks destroyed are announced—the Russians seem to have enormous numbers, as we have already annihilated over 3,500 aircraft and over 1,000 tanks including some heavy ones, forty-tonners—and our troops’ advance is shown on the maps, etc.  Now we can see how strenuously the Russians are fighting, and that it would have been fought on even terms if the Russians had any logical leadership, which thank God they have not.

After all we have seen so far, you can say it is a war against wild animals.  If we are amazed to have taken so few prisoners, the answer is that the Russians have been whipped up by their commissars into believing the atrocity stories they tell them about our “inhumanity,” about what would happen to them if they fell into German captivity.  They have been told to fight to the end and to shoot themselves if need be.  And they do ;  for example, at Kovno this happened :  our troops sent a Russian prisoner into a Russian bunker to tell the Russians there to surrender, but he seems to have been shot himself by the commissar in there for having agreed to act as intermediary at all.  Then the entire bunker was blown up by its own occupants.  In other words, perish rather than surrender.  There is a GPU commissar attached to each unit, and the commanding officer has to bow to him.  Away from their leadership, the troops are just a rabble ;  they are absolutely primitive, but they fight doggedly on—which is of course a danger of its own and will lead to many a hard struggle yet.  The French, Belgians, and so on were intelligent and gave up the fight when they saw it was pointless, but the Russians fight on like lunatics, shivering with fear that something will happen to their families if they surrender—that’s what Moscow threatens them with anyway.  What is the use of having so many aircraft if they don’t have any brains ?  In the Russian squadrons it has happened, for example, that the squadron commander flew ahead and the others followed him without knowing what the target was, they just flew behind him.  If he was shot down, they couldn’t even find their own way home as most of them did not even know how to read a compass....

Well, back to the daily routine :  after the situation conference it is time for lunch, which is in No. 2 Dining Room for us.  As this is very often just a hot pot we mostly pass it up.  Anyway, that’s what we do when it’s peas and beans.  If there is nothing important to be done, we sleep a few hours after lunch so we are bright and breezy for the rest of the day, which usually drags on till the cows come home.  Then, around 5 P.M., we are summoned to the Chief and plied with cakes by him.  The one who grabs the most cakes gets his commendation !  This coffee break most often goes on to 7 P.M., frequently even longer.  Then we walk back to No. 2 Dining Room for supper.  Finally we lie low in the vicinity until the Chief summons us to his study where there is a small get-together with coffee and cakes again in his more intimate circle.... I often feel so feckless and superfluous here.  If I consider what I actually do all day, the shattering answer is : absolutely nothing.  We sleep, eat, drink, and let people talk to us, if we are too lazy to talk ourselves....

This morning the Chief said that if ever the German soldier deserved a laurel wreath it was for this campaign.  Everything is going far far better than he hoped.  There have been many strokes of good fortune, for example, that the Russians met us on the frontier and did not first lure us far into their hinterland with all the enormous transport and supply problems that would certainly have involved.  And again, that they did not manage to destroy their two bridges at Dvinsk.  It would have been a big waste of time if we had first had to rebuild those bridges.  I believe that once we have occupied Minsk our advance will surge forward.  If there are any isolated Communists left among our own ranks, they will definitely be converted when they see the “blessings” of life on the other side....

By June 30 the encirclement of Minsk was completed.  Army Group Center destroyed 20 Soviet divisions here, capturing 290,000 prisoners, 25,000 tanks, and 1,400 guns.  A captured Russian corps commander confirmed that there were no Red Army forces of any importance east of the Dvina and Dnieper rivers.  Halder reflected the optimism at General Staff headquarters when he boasted in his diary on July 3 :  “It’s probably not overstating the case if I maintain that the campaign in Russia has been won in two weeks.  Of course that doesn’t mean it’s over.”  In a letter on June 29, Jodl’s war diarist Helmuth Greiner showed that the OKW agreed the campaign was going far better than expected.  “With the capture of Dvinsk and Minsk we have covered in one week one third of the way to Leningrad and Moscow ;  at this rate we would be in both cities in another fourteen days—but we can assume it’ll be even sooner.”

Hitler shared this view.  Staring at the wall map in his dining room, he proclaimed within his secretaries’ earshot, “In a few weeks we’ll be in Moscow.  Then I’ll raze it to the ground and build a reservoir there.  The name Moscow must be expunged.”  Ribbentrop addressed his senior diplomats in similar terms a few days later.  “In six or eight weeks the Russian campaign will be over.  The war against Britain may go on for another six months or for ten years.”  At about the same time Hitler assured Ambassador von der Schulenburg, who had been repatriated from Moscow :  “By August 15 we shall be in Moscow.  By October 1 the Russian war will be over.”

Hitler had every reason to scent victory throughout July 1941.  On July 2 he was shown a decoded Turkish report quoting both Stalin and Marshal Timoshenko as privately conceding to foreign diplomats that they had already written off Leningrad, Minsk, Kiev, and even Moscow, but that they had taken this into account in their calculations.  A decoded morale report from the American embassy in Moscow described air raid precautions there and anxiously noted the food situation and rumors that the Russians were already evacuating their gold reserves to safety.  Over lunch with Ribbentrop on July 4, Hitler was already enlarging on his plans for colonizing Russia, as Hewel’s diary shows, and contrasting the pure nihilism of the Bolshevik revolution with the basic orderliness of the Fascist revolution.  “Where there is no compulsion man will always revert to a rabbitlike existence,” he explained.  “The Russian peasant doesn’t work willingly.  This is why the Communist slogans failed, and they had to resort to the collective system—with commissars instead of landowners.  It’s all the same thing.  Slavs can’t organize, they can only be organized.  They need to be in bondage.”

The next day, July 5, 1941, with the Russian campaign seemingly drawing to an end, Hitler explained to the same select lunchtime audience why he had attacked Russia without a formal declaration of war or even the pretext of an “incident.”  “Nobody is ever asked about his motives at the bar of history.  Why did Alexander invade India ?  Why did the Romans fight their Punic wars, or Frederick II his second Silesian campaign ?  In history it is success alone that counts.”  He, Hitler, was answerable only to his people.  “To sacrifice hundreds of thousands [of troops] just because of the theoretical responsibility-issue [for starting the war] would be criminal.  I will go down in history as the destroyer of bolshevism, regardless of whether there was a frontier incident or not.  Only the result is judged.  If I lose, I will not be able to talk my way out with questions of form.  Look at Norway—we would never have succeeded if I had announced my intention first, yet it was vital for the fate of Germany.  And vice versa :  if Churchill and Reynaud had kept a still tongue in their heads I would probably not have tackled Norway.”

Hitler calculated that he would capture Smolensk in mid-July but that it would take until August to assemble his infantry for an attack on Moscow, so meanwhile his tank formations could “mop up” in the north.  He was noticeably uncertain about how high to rank Moscow itself on his list of objectives ;  to him it was just a place-name, he said, while Leningrad was the very citadel of bolshevism, the city from which that evil creed had first sprung in 1917.  Strategically he was right to emphasize that victory would hinge not on the capture of Moscow but on the destruction of Soviet military strength ;  but the General Staff disagreed with him noisily, and this problem, of how best to employ his tanks after the Dnieper and Dvina rivers had been crossed, continued to beset him throughout July.  “I constantly try to put myself in the enemy’s shoes,” he told his generals on July 4.  “They have virtually lost the war already.  It is good that we wiped out the Russian tank and air forces right at the start.  The Russians cannot replace them now.”  But should he retain his own tank forces for the assault on Moscow or divert them to help Field Marshal Leeb’s drive toward Leningrad ?  “It will be the toughest decision of the whole campaign,” Hitler admitted to his staff.

By this time the coalition was complete :  Slovakia had declared war on June 23 ;  Hungary and Finland had decorously waited a few more days, until Russian aircraft attacked them, then they too declared war.  The Vichy government broke off diplomatic relations with the USSR, and thousands of Frenchmen responded to the call for volunteers to fight bolshevism :  150 airmen volunteered, among them 20 of France’s foremost bomber pilots.  From Denmark, Norway, Spain, France, Belgium, and Croatia came word of legions being formed to fight in Russia.  Hitler directed that those from “Germanic” countries were to be organized by the SS, while the Wehrmacht would attend to the rest.  All must swear allegiance to him.  Sweden and Switzerland remained the exceptions—“Nations on Furlough,” as Hitler contemptuously called them.  As he had predicted, the battle against bolshevism was proving a rallying point for all Europe.  On July 10, Hewel observed of Hitler :  “He predicted it.  ‘I was forced into this fight step by step, but Germany will emerge from it as the greatest national Power on earth.’  He believes that Churchill will topple all at once, quite suddenly.  Then in Britain an immense anti-Americanism will arise, and Britain will be the first country to join the ranks of Europe in the fight against America.”  And Hewel added jubilantly :  “He is infinitely confident of victory.  The tasks confronting him today are as nothing, he says, compared with those in the years of struggle ;  particularly since ours is the biggest and finest army in the world.”

The Vatican also let it be known that it “welcomed the war” with Russia.  That Churchill had broadcast his immediate offer of aid to Russia on the first day of “Barbarossa” did not surprise Hitler.  (In private he mocked the strange spectacle of “Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt as fighters for freedom !”)  But that the exiled Dutch queen should broadcast over the BBC her deepest sympathy for the Russian people conveniently revolted him, and he instructed that the Dutch royal family’s remaining wealth in Holland was to be confiscated forthwith.  Meanwhile, a Dutch East Company was founded in Holland to organize the provision of food for the Netherlands from the Ukraine and to negotiate contracts for Dutch specialists and workers to emigrate to the east.  Japan alone shunned what Hitler regarded as her obligations to the Axis :  Hitler believed that with “Barbarossa” proving such a crushing success, Axis interests would now best be served by Japan attacking the Soviet Union.  He preferred land contact between the Japanese and German armies along the Trans-Siberian railway to an attack on Singapore.  The Japanese were forcefully reminded that their foreign minister had himself declaimed in Berlin that no Japanese statesman could uphold Japanese neutrality if Germany became involved in war with Russia.  But Japan viewed Hitler’s immediate prospects soberly.  On July 2, Weizs”cker commented, in his diary :  “The Japanese are still playing us along.  All we know is that they don’t want to attack Singapore as yet.  If and when they will help against Russia remains to be seen.”

When early victory had seemed certain, Hitler’s mind turned to future campaigns.  On July 8, 1941, he instructed Brauchitsch not to send any new tanks to the eastern front ;  the panzer divisions there were to be reduced in number, and idle tank crews were to be sent back to Germany to train fresh tank divisions.  On the thirteenth, he confirmed this in an OKW order :  in addition to the twenty existing panzer divisions, the army was to establish sixteen more by May 1, 1942—twelve for the east and twenty-four—a whole panzer army—for other tasks.  The next day Hitler ruled that after the Soviet Union’s defeat, the army would be cut back (apart from these panzer divisions) and naval construction would be limited to requirements for the war with Britain and the United States.  The Luftwaffe, however, was to be expanded on a colossal scale, and its factories were to be working at full blast by the spring of 1942.  Of his real future aims at this time we are only meagerly informed.  Hitler seems to have envisaged a future war—perhaps not in his lifetime—between the New World and the Old.  Later in July, gossiping one night about the Englishman’s innate sense of authority, he remarked, “I’m sure the end of this war’s going to mark the start of a lasting friendship with Britain.  But if we’re to live in peace with her, we shall have to give her a knockout blow first—the British expect that from anybody, if they are to respect him properly.”

As a self-professed weapons expert, Hitler was particularly awed by the new Soviet armored fighting vehicles that crawled out of the forests like primeval monsters of whose existence his experts had breathed no word to him :  here was a tank of fifty-two tons, its armorplate so thick that only the Luftwaffe’s 88-millimeter antiaircraft guns made any impression on it ;  and here, south of Dubno, were tanks weighing a hundred tons.  On July 4, OKW war diarist Greiner—who again stated that in fourteen days they would be in Leningrad and Moscow—confidently asserted :  “The Russians have lost so many aircraft and four thousand six hundred tanks that there can’t be many left.”  But by mid-July Hitler’s weary gunners had knocked out eight thousand Russian tanks and still they came.  At the end of July twelve thousand tanks had been captured or destroyed.(1)  Visiting Army Group Center on August 4, Hitler wanly admitted to his panzer commander General Guderian :  “ Had I known they had as many tanks as that, I’d have thought twice before invading.”

The complete failure of his Intelligence agencies rattled Hitler.  An Abwehr colonel apprehensively recorded on July 20 :  “C[anaris] has just returned from the F¸hrer’s headquarters and describes the mood there as very jittery, as it is increasingly evident that the Russian campaign is not ‘going by the book.’  The signs are multiplying that this war will not bring about the expected internal collapse, so much as the invigoration of bolshevism.—C. warns in particular that attempts are being made to brand the Abwehr as the culprits, for not properly informing people about the true strength and fighting power of the Russian army.  For example the F¸hrer is said to have remarked that had he known of the existence of the super-heavy Russian tanks he would not have waged this war.”  Greiner speculated the next day :  “What matters is how much material and manpower they can salvage from these debacles. . . . Nobody discussed this at lunch with the F¸hrer yesterday.  At first he was very taciturn, and just brooded away, so I took the opportunity to stuff my belly with the best of everything.  Then he came to life and delivered a monologue of an hour or more on our brave and gallant Italian allies and the worries they are causing him. . . . You can’t help being astonished at his brilliant judgment and clear insights.  He looks in the best of health and seems well although he seldom gets to bed before 5 or 6 A.M.”

For the ordinary German soldier, the eastern front already had something of a nightmare quality.  To this nightmare, Stalin also added the specter of long-prepared partisan warfare.

On July 3, Hitler had been brought the radio monitoring service’s transcript of Stalin’s first public broadcast since “Barbarossa” began.  Effective and cunning—though Stalin had never been much of a rhetorician—it echoed the May 5 secret speech to the generals of which Hitler was to learn shortly.  Stalin asked his radio audience :  “Are the German Fascist troops really invincible, as their loud-mouthed Fascist propaganda chiefs trumpet to the world ?  Of course they are not !”  He referred to Hitler and Ribbentrop as monsters and cannibals, and claimed that Hitler’s ambition was to restore the landowners to power, to bring back the czars, and to destroy the national cultures of the independent constituent republics of the Soviet Union.  “He will Germanize them and turn them into the slaves of German princes and barons.”  He appealed to patriotic Russians everywhere to destroy everything of value in the path of the advancing Wehrmacht—railway rolling stock, crops, fuel, and raw materials.  They were to form partisan units behind German lines, to blow up roads and bridges, burn down forests, destroy arms dumps and convoys, and remorselessly hunt down and wipe out the enemy and his accomplices.  “This war with Fascist Germany must not be regarded as an ordinary war.”

Hitler piously noted :  “ Thanks to Stalin’s slogan that everything is to be destroyed, millions must now starve.”  The partisan war provided the SS task forces with a fresh rationale for their mass-extermination drives, in which Russian Jews increasingly came to be regarded as “partisan material” and hence ripe for prophylactic massacre.  The identification of Jews with partisans was so fixed in Hitler’s pathological mind that on July 10 we find him telephoning Brauchitsch about the pointlessness of committing panzer divisions to the assault on Kiev :  35 percent of the city’s population were Jews, so the bridges across the Dnieper would not be found intact.  Another factor now also weighed with Hitler :  should the Red workers rise in response to Stalin’s appeal, the vast, sprawling conurbations of Leningrad and Moscow would become deathtraps if Hitler’s precious tanks entered them.

Thus he eventually decided that Moscow and Leningrad were to be destroyed, but not necessarily occupied.  This destruction he would achieve with the bomber aircraft and by mass starvation.  Two days after Stalin’s radio speech Hitler told his private staff that Moscow would “disappear from the earth’s surface” as soon as its riches were safely in German hands.  Unlike his General Staff, who regarded the capital as a strategic target, Hitler saw it only as the seat of bolshevism ;  on July 8 he told Brauchitsch and Halder that its devastation was necessary to drive out its population, whom they would otherwise have to feed in the coming winter.  He ordered the Luftwaffe to disrupt Moscow with a terror raid—ostensibly in reprisal for the attacks on Finnish and Romanian cities—hoping for the kind of national catastrophe that the overcentralization of government in Moscow seemed to invite.  “If an earthquake destroyed Moscow today,” he explained to the Japanese ambassador, “the whole of Russia would perish.”  On July 21 and 22 the Luftwaffe raided Moscow, against Jeschonnek’s better instincts ;  but the intercepted dispatches from the city showed that the results were far short of Hitler’s expectations.

Emotionally Hitler was far more attracted to the destruction of Leningrad.  On July 16, Bormann noted :  “The Leningrad area is being claimed by the Finns.  The F¸hrer wants to raze Leningrad to the ground—then he’ll give it to the Finns.”  Its capture had been confidently expected by mid-July, but even as the evacuation of the last awkward terrain of marsh and forest west of the city was in progress, a new Russian general took command and ordered the troops not to retreat one more step.  Henceforth the Russians clung grimly on with a success that was not without effect on Hitler.  It was now that Hitler began seriously to consider detaching General Hermann Hoth’s tanks from the army group advancing on Moscow to help Leeb’s Army Group North encircle Leningrad ;  he would then also divert Guderian’s panzer group from the Moscow front to Army Group South.  This would leave only infantry armies for the final assault on Moscow.  On July 21, he visited Leeb’s headquarters.  The army group’s war diary records :  “The F¸hrer emphasized that he expects a bitter enemy defense south of Leningrad, as Russia’s leaders fully realize that Leningrad has been held up to the nation as a showpiece of the revolution these last twenty-four years, and that given the Slav mentality, which has already suffered from the fighting so far, the loss of Leningrad might result in a complete collapse.”  As to the fact that this concentration on Leningrad would leave only infantry armies for the assault on Moscow.  “The F¸hrer is not concerned by this, since to him Moscow is only a geographical objective.”

It was a difficult decision, and flatly condemned by the General Staff.  Halder—plagued like Hitler by the mosquitoes and torrid climate—had already noted in his diary on July 14 :  “The F¸hrer’s constant interference is becoming a regular nuisance.”  Now the general wrote an irritable private letter on July 28.  “He’s playing warlord again and bothering us with such absurd ideas that he’s risking everything our wonderful operations so far have won.  Unlike the French, the Russians won’t just run away when they’ve been tactically defeated ;  they have to be slain one at a time in a terrain that’s half forest and marsh ;  all this takes time and his nerves won’t stand it.  Every other day now I have to go over to him.  Hours of gibberish and the outcome is there’s only one man who understands how to wage wars.... If I didn’t have my faith in God and my own inner buoyancy, I’d go under like Brauchitsch, who’s at the end of his tether and hides behind an iron mask of manliness so as not to betray his complete helplessness.”

Out of the “preventive war” an old-style war of colonial conquest had emerged.  Raw materials such as oil, chrome, and manganese would soon be his in the measure that the Russians were deprived of them.  He would construct an oil pipeline from the Caucasus oil fields to Germany.  On July 14, Hitler told one visitor to the Wolf’s Lair :  “We shall not lose our heads as we press onward ;  we will not advance beyond what we can really hold on to.”  But there seemed no limit to his territorial ambitions.  Germany’s domains would extend to the Urals and two hundred miles beyond.  The Crimea would become the Riviera of the Reich, settled exclusively by Germans and linked to the fatherland by a broad autobahn.  He was overheard to remark :  “I entered this war a nationalist, but I shall come out of it an imperialist.”  It was a role he thoroughly enjoyed.  In the relaxed company of his private secretary, walking in the pitch darkness one night among the blockhouses he made a bantering remark that again illustrated this.  She had left her flashlight on his desk and kept stumbling in the darkness.  An orderly sent to fetch the flashlight reported it missing.  In mock-righteous tones that mimicked a Swabian businessman’s thick accent Hitler assured her :  “Look, I poach other people’s countries—I don’t pinch their flashlights !”  And he added with the loud belly-laugh of which he was still capable in spite of the death and destruction he had loosed :  “And that’s just as well, because it is the small fry that get strung up.  The big fish get away with it.”

At a five-hour conference with his chief minions—Rosenberg, Lammers, Keitel, G–ring, and Bormann—on July 16, Hitler hammered home the point that Germany alone was entitled to benefit from defeating the Soviet Union.  As for their secret aims, while they must be concealed from the world at large the German leaders must themselves be in no doubt :  just as she had in Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium—where Germany had already staked her territorial claims in secret, whatever she might publicly profess for tactical reasons—so too in Russia must Germany adopt the pose of a protector.  “But let there be no doubt in our minds that we shall never depart from these territories.”  The Crimea and Galicia in particular must be annexed.  As for the rest, this “giant cake” must be so cut that Germany could dominate it, rule it, and exploit it properly.  “Never again must there be any military power west of the Urals, even if we have to fight a hundred years’ war to prevent it.”  Germans alone must be permitted to bear arms—this was why Hitler would not allow the Slavs, or Czechs, or Cossacks, or Ukrainians to join in his crusade.  Since the Ukraine would be most vital as Germany’s granary for the next three years, Hitler wanted Gauleiter Erich Koch appointed Reich Commissar—a tough, cruel viceroy who had shown his mettle in the economic management of East Prussia.  Gauleiter Hinrich Lohse would rule the Baltic countries, with Siegfried Kasche in Moscow, Alfred Frauenfeld in the Crimea, Josef Terboven in the Kola peninsula, and Schickedanz in the Caucasus.

In Russia—the “future German empire” as he was to describe it some days later—he would encourage neither schools nor religion, a position on which he met the opposition of Alfred Rosenberg and the strongly Catholic Franz von Papen.  Papen had sent him a long study urging that now was the right moment to reintroduce Christianity into Russia ;  Hitler would not hear of it.  Wisecracking in his usual way in private, he noted that he might eventually consider letting all the Christian sects in “so they can beat each other’s brains out with their crucifixes.”  In this new German empire, soldiers with twelve years of service would automatically inherit a farmstead fully equipped with cattle and machinery.  During the last two years of their military service these peasant-soldiers would be trained on similar farmsteads.  He asked only that some of this new peasant breed should marry girls from the countryside.  They were to retain their weapons, including machine guns, so that they could answer any fresh call to arms against the Asiatic hordes.  The NCOs—particularly those of the Luftwaffe and mechanized divisions—were to manage the gasoline stations along the big autobahns.  Given a future standing army of 1,500,000 men, about 30,000 would be discharged each year.  This soldier-peasant would above all make a far better teacher than the university-trained elementary school teacher, who would always be dissatisfied :  not that Hitler planned to educate the Russian masses.  “It is in our interest that the people know just enough to recognize the signs on the road,” he said.

On July 17, Hitler signed the formal decrees putting these plans into effect.  Parallel to Ribbentrop’s jealous foreign ministry he set up an East Ministry under Alfred Rosenberg to handle the occupied territories ;  to complete the parallel he allowed Rosenberg to appoint a liaison officer, Dr. Werner Koeppen, to the F¸hrer’s headquarters as a counterpart to Walther Hewel.  Heinrich Himmler and Hermann G–ring were given sweeping powers to police and exploit these new domains.  On July 31, G–ring—as head of the Four-Year Plan set up in 1936 to make Germany self-sufficient—signed a document empowering Reinhard Heydrich as chief of the security police to “make all necessary preparations as regards organization and actual concrete preparations for an overall unraveling of the Jewish problem within Germany’s sphere of influence in Europe.”  This amplified his January 1939 order to Heydrich to enforce Jewish emigration from Germany itself.

In some regions, particularly the Baltic countries, the “Jewish problem” had already solved itself since 1939.  According to German reports, two days after the Soviet invasion of Lithuania in 1940 all the local businessmen had been ordered into the streets at 7 A.M. “to clean them”;  the Russians had then mown them down with machine guns while commissars reported to be Jewish had taken over their businesses for the state.  It was this story which at the onset of “Barbarbossa” touched off such primitive and bloody pogroms in Latvia and Lithuania that Himmler’s task forces complained that only a few hundred Jews remained for them to deal with when they arrived.  Leeb’s army group brought these massacres by Lithuanian “irregulars” to the attention of Hitler’s headquarters on July 5 ;  Colonel Schmundt replied that German soldiers were not to interfere with “these political questions”;  it was part of “a necessary mopping-up operation” (Flurbereinigung).

The spirit inspiring Hitler in his war against the European Jews is clear from the entry in Hewel’s diary on July 10 :

... Stayed up until 3 A.M. with the F¸hrer in his bunker.  Very hot and very exhausting, interesting though the conversation was.

He says, “I feel like the Robert Koch of politics.  It was he who discovered the bacillus, thereby opening up new paths for medical science to explore.  And it is I who have discovered the Jews as the bacillus and ferment that causes all decay in society.  And what I have proved is this—that nations can survive without Jews ;  that the economy, culture, art, and so on can exist without Jews and in fact better.  That is the cruelest blow I have dealt the Jews.”

He reverted to this imagery of the Jewish bacillus a few days later when explaining to the Croatian defense minister why every single Jew must be evicted from European soil.  “Because if just one country, whatever the reason, tolerates one Jewish family in its midst, then this will become the seat of a fresh bacillus infection.  Once there are no more Jews in Europe the unity of the European nations can no longer be disrupted.  It is unimportant where the Jews are sent—whether to Siberia or to Madagascar.”  He planned, he said, to approach each country with this demand.  The last country in which the Jews would hold out would inevitably be Hungary ;  the remaining European nations must then send her a joint inter-European summons, calling on her to bend to the “iron will” of Europe.  At this stage Hitler spoke of habitual criminals who were to be liquidated since “if upright, valuable human beings are risking their lives at the front, it is a crime to preserve these villains,” but he did not yet specifically mention Jews in this category.  When he next employed this argument, early in 1943, Jews and incorrigible criminal elements were lumped into a single category.

Hitler’s part in the unfolding Jewish tragedy cannot be usefully analyzed in vacuo.  Jews and Bolshevik leadership were pathologically identified in his mind.  Given this obsession it was an easy progression to draw the same conclusion about leadership in the United States.  In 1939 Hitler had once confided to a bemused General Friedrich von Boetticher, the German military attachÈ in Washington, that he possessed documents proving Roosevelt’s Jewish ancestry and that one day he would release them to an astounded world.  In August 1941 in conversation with a Spanish diplomat he reverted to this theme.  “The arch culprit for this war is Roosevelt, with his freemasons, Jews, and general Jewish-bolshevism.”  Three months later he told the Finnish foreign minister, “Be clear about one point :  the whole of World Jewry is on the side of the Bolsheviks.”

It was to these unidentified Jewish-Bolshevik influences that Hitler ascribed Roosevelt’s attempts to provoke a shooting war with Germany in a way that would justify his declaration of war before a reluctant Congress.  American troops relieved British forces that had preemptively occupied Iceland in May 1940, thus bringing the United States into the German war zone for the first time.  Hans Thomsen, the German charge d’affaires, telegraphed from Washington that Roosevelt, in conversation with Wendell Willkie, had four times reiterated his firm determination to get into the war as soon as possible.  But Hitler was equally determined to avoid war with the United States at this time.  On July 13 the diplomat Etzdorf quoted Hitler as saying, “So long as our eastern operations are still running, we won’t let ourselves be provoked.  Later the Americans can have their war, if they absolutely must.”  Admiral Raeder begged him to regard the Iceland occupation as sufficient cause, as a de facto declaration of war on Germany.  Again the diplomat quoted Hitler as refusing ;  he would do his utmost to prevent Roosevelt from entering the war for one or two more months because the Luftwaffe was still committed to the Russian campaign.  Besides, as Raeder informed the naval staff :  “The F¸hrer still presumes that a victorious Russian campaign will affect the posture of the United States.”  Keitel, Raeder, the admirals, and even the army generals writhed under the rigid prohibitions Hitler now imposed.  He forbade even the mining of Icelandic harbors.  Field Marshal von Bock snorted in his diary on July 25 :  “Keitel says it isn’t easy to take the American occupation of Iceland lying down, and that we’ve had to restrict our U-boats to attacking only ships definitely identified as enemy so as not to hand the Americans the casus belli they are seeking.... We did the same thing in World War I, and I fear that just as happened then—the Americans will find another cause.”

Evidence supporting Raeder’s point of view kept coming in.  It was reported that the American navy had been ordered to fire without warning or provocation on any German warship ;  if the Germans survived long enough to relate this illegal act, the American commander concerned was instructed to deny responsibility and to suggest that a British unit was involved.  Thus Roosevelt hoped to provoke countermeasures.  The “neutral” United States had meanwhile furnished the British admiralty with sets of her secret codes.  All these facts Hitler learned from intercepted U.S. naval code signals.  In a speech to his staff on July 17, Ribbentrop said, “If the United States continue to provoke us after Russia’s defeat, later they can have their war.  We are not fearful of a common front between Britain and the United States.”

Three days later Canaris reported :  “A certain disenchantment is to be discerned in the Reich foreign minister von R[ibbentrop].  Thus he himself now accepts America’s entry into the war as imminent, and for the first time he spoke disparagingly of the ‘journalistic’ reporting of Thomsen and Boetticher.”  Ribbentrop’s stock with Hitler was currently at its lowest.  “The F¸hrer again curses the foreign ministry :  ‘sluts,’ etc.,” wrote Hewel.  And a few weeks later Hewel quoted Hitler as telling him, “I could not stick working three weeks under your boss !”  Hitler, whose lanky SS adjutant Hansgeorg Schulze had just been killed on the Russian front, had recruited his brother, Richard, to replace him ;  Richard Schulze had formerly been adjutant to Ribbentrop and he and Hewel had often been encouraged by Hitler to make fun of their boss, the foreign minister.  “In the evening Schulze and I told funny stories about kepala orang,”(2) Hewel wrote circumspectly in his diary.  “The F¸hrer laughed a lot, then was lost in thought.”

It was no joke to Ribbentrop, however.  Ever jealous of his rights, on June 9 Ribbentrop had asked Hitler to transfer the Party’s foreign organization (AO, Auslands-Organisation) to his ministry, but Hitler had refused.  In July, the question as to whether Rosenberg or Ribbentrop should conduct propaganda in Russia—for example, over the capture of Stalin’s son Jacob and on Russian atrocities—paused a further row ;  Hitler characteristically decided to allow both ministers a free hand.  Rosenberg’s new ministry, set up in mid-July to handle all of Russia and the Baltic countries, was to the foreign minister like a red rag to a bull.

On the twenty-eighth Ribbentrop picked a violent quarrel with Hitler, challenging his very decision to attack Russia.  It was a stiflingly hot summer day.  Hitler was so enraged that he feigned a stroke, collapsed into a chair, and gasped at the petrified Ribbentrop that he must never challenge his decisions again.  Ribbentrop gave his word.  He appears to have suffered the more permanent damage himself, for from that date developed the splitting hemicranial headaches and occasional functional paralysis of the right arm and leg that plagued him until his execution five years later.  At this point, Ribbentrop came as near as he ever did to being replaced as minister.  By whom ?  Perhaps by Goebbels, who had schemed patiently for the day when he could supplant him.  But Hitler charged Lammers to inform the foreign minister that in time of war the diplomatic service must stand aside, until the guns had finished speaking.  Perhaps it was a wider dissatisfaction with the trend of events—he even suspected that the Japanese had made a secret deal with Roosevelt giving him a free hand in Europe—that motivated Hitler’s aversion to the foreign ministry.

Adolf Hitler’s own health was poor, for the first time in five years.  The influence of this on military events in the summer of 1941 cannot be ignored.

After the conclusion of the French campaign a year earlier, he had complained of breathing difficulties and he had been X-rayed in Munich ;  Dr. Morell had feared pleurisy.  The stress of the Russian campaign, coupled with the hot, malarial climate in which the Wolf’s Lair had been sited, told severely on the dictator.  Worse, the brackish waters of Masuria had infected him with dysentery, and for fourteen days until mid-August he was afflicted by diarrhea, stomach pains, nausea, aching limbs, shivery feelings, and high temperatures.  As the crucial strategic controversy developed in these weeks between Hitler and his generals, his ability to overrule them was impaired by his own physical weakness ;  his own grand strategy, which was to set up a vast encircling movement by Army Groups North and South, enveloping Moscow from the rear, was opposed and circumvented by Brauchitsch and his staff, who favored a direct assault on Moscow by Field Marshal von Bock’s Army Group Center.  Brauchitsch stayed in Berlin and ignored Hitler’s orders ;  Hitler was confined by circumstances to his field headquarters.  When the army Commander in Chief did pay a rare visit to the Wolf’s Lair, Hitler vainly warned that the way things were going the fronts would inevitably become static, as they had in World War I.  Halder certainly recognized that Hitler was too ill to oppose the army.  “Despite his medical indisposition,” the general wrote on August 8, “the F¸hrer has given the Commander in Chief the closest instructions on how he wants the air force squadrons used....”

Hitler was still very weak when Goebbels visited him on August 18.  “Unhappily, he looks somewhat strained and sickly,” the propaganda minister wrote.  “This is probably a result of his dysentery, and perhaps also of the drain on his strength of these last few weeks.”  Only later was Hitler’s military plan recognized to have offered the better prospects, for Bock’s armies were still outside Moscow when winter set in.  “Today I still believe,” G–ring was to tell his captors, “that had Hitler’s original plan of genius not been diluted like that, the eastern campaign would have been decided by early 1942 at the latest.”

The illness in mid-1941 cost Hitler more than Moscow, however.  On August 14, Dr. Morell performed an electrocardiogram study of Hitler’s heart.  The graphs were sent to a leading authority on heart conditions, Professor Karl Weber, director of the heart institute at Bad Nauheim ;  Weber was instructed only that the traces were of a “very busy diplomat.”  From them Weber diagnosed beyond a doubt that “Patient A.” was suffering from a virtually incurable heart disease :  rapidly progressive coronary sclerosis.  In a man of Hitler’s age it was not abnormal, but from now on there would always be the danger of angina pectoris—a violent paroxysm of pain behind the chest bone—or of an embolism—the sudden plugging of a blood vessel, with possibly fatal consequences.  There is no evidence that Hitler was told of this heart diagnosis, but his subsequent references to having only two or three more years to live may have been an allusion to this.  More likely Morell kept the truth from him, for in the F¸hrer’s presence he later insisted that Hitler’s heart and other organs were working well.  In private, however, Morell began to study textbooks on the heart, and additional medicines were added to Hitler’s overflowing cabinet.  For repeated periods of two to three weeks Morell took to injecting 0.02 milligrams of a heart tonic, Strophantin, into Hitler’s veins ;  and this he alternated with Prostrophanta, which contained the same ingredients but also glucose and vitamin B complex (nicotinic acid).  To overcome the insufficiency of Hitler’s circulatory system, Morell was also occasionally administering Cardiazol and Coramin internally to Hitler during the rest of 1941.  In the following spring, Morell added to this growing list yet another medicine :  Sympathol.  A solution about one-hundredth as effective as adrenalin, it was meant to regulate Hitler’s heart activity and overcome his heart-vessel insufficiency.

Throughout the coming winter Morell was a daily visitor to the Wolfs Lair.  Hitler passively accepted his portly physician’s explanations for the growing volume of medication being injected into his veins.  “Morell told me my energy consumption is as high as in the tropics, because of my uninterrupted intensive work,” Hitler repeated to another doctor.  And, “Morell is still researching and his works are still expanding.”  Yet Morell’s “Patient A.” was not a medical ignoramus ;  he was better informed than most laymen.  “He knew the connection between blood coagulation and thrombosis, the effect of nicotine on the heart muscles, and the possible relationship between the teeth and an inflammation of the maxillary sinus,” commented a doctor who had long conversations with Hitler.

“Long conversations” is perhaps a misnomer.  Hitler’s conversations were monologues, delivered in a rich Austrian dialect to a handful of cronies assembled in his bunker, or over lunch or dinner at the long oblong table with Jodl at his left, an outside guest like Speer or Goebbels at his right, and his headquarters staff—the liaison officers, the younger adjutants, and secretaries—at their alloted places.  Hitler would talk about the Party and Christianity.  “We must not try to combat religion, but let it wither away !”

One of Hitler’s devoted secretaries wrote in mid-July 1941 :

In our evening discussions with the Chief the Church plays a big part.... It is all so convincing, what the Chief says, when for example he explains how Christianity by its mendacity and hypocrisy has set back mankind in its development, culturally speaking, by two thousand years.  I really must start writing down what the Chief says.  It’s just that these sessions go on for ages and afterward you are just too limp and lifeless to write anything.  The night before last, when we left the Chief’s bunker, it was already light.  We did not turn in even then, as ordinary people would have, but made for the kitchen, ate a few cakes, and then strolled for two hours toward the rising sun, past farmyards and paddocks, past hillocks glowing with red and white clover in the morning sun, a fairyland on which you just could not feast your eyes enough ;  and then back to bed.  We are incapable of getting up before 2 or 3 P.M.  A crazy life ... A strange calling like ours will probably never be seen again :  we eat, we drink, we sleep, now and then we type a bit, and meantime keep him company for hours on end.  Recently we did make ourselves a bit useful—we picked some flowers, so that his bunker does not look too bare.

1 General von Waldau, Jeschonnek’s deputy, noted that by July 30 the Germans had taken :
Army Group South :  162,680 prisoners 4,574 tanks 2,894 guns
Army Group Center :  580,910 prisoners 5,571 tanks 4,300 guns
Army Group North :  56,320 prisoners 1,880 tanks 1,200 guns

2 Malayan :  “head man.”  Hewel had spent twelve years of his youth in the Dutch East Indies and entered his more private thoughts in his diary in this tongue.


p. 281   The Abwehr’s clandestine operations had contributed heavily to the initial success of “Barbarossa.”  Important bridges, including those at Dvinsk, were seized in advance by units of the “Brandenburg” Regiment, and held at a cost of twenty-three lives until Leeb’s main force arrived.  Abwehr-trained Lithuanian activists lost some four hundred dead in similar operations to secure twenty-four key bridges along the attack route of the Sixteenth Army.  See Lahousen’s diary, June 28, and July 10, 1941, and Colonel Erwin Stolze’s written testimony of December 25, 1945 (ND, USSR-231).

p. 283   On July 26, 1941, Etzdorf noted that Hitler had decided “Sweden is to be ‘left to fall by the wayside,’ since she doesn’t want to join the Axis.”  Hitler refused permission for Swedish officers to visit the battlefront.

p. 284   Hitler’s order of July 13, 1941, will be found in naval file PG/32020.  The order of July 14 is on film T77/545.

p. 285   Weizs”cker, Ribbentrop’s number-two man, at least recognized Hitler’s longterm aim of war with the New World.  On August 13, 1941, he wrote cryptically in his diary :  “‘People’ think that Germany and Britain are winning such mutual admiration in the present duel that sometime later they will march together against the U.S.A.”  And on September 15 :  “England is the country of ‘our’ [i.e., Hitler’s] respect, indeed almost of ‘our’ love.  To advance with her against the U.S.A.—that is the dream of the future.”  Careful readers will also find traces of Hitler’s aim in his talk with Ciano on October 25, 1941.

p. 285   Lieutenant Jacob Jugashvili, Stalin’s son from his first marriage, committed suicide in 1943 after British fellow-prisoners made life unbearable for him because of his uncouth behavior.  (See U.S. State Dept. files.)  His interrogations are in AA files, Serial 1386, pages 358994 et seq, and see Hitler’s Table Talk, May 18-19, 1942.

p. 285   On the unknown Russian tanks, see the war diary of Army Group North, June 24-25, 1941 (T311/53);  the Waldau diary, July 3 and 15 ;  Halder’s diary, July 24-25 ;  Hitler’s remarks to Oshima on July 14 and to Goebbels (unpublished diary, August 18, 1941).  The German official historian Klaus Reinhard, in Die Wende vor Moskau (Stuttgart, 1972), pages 18 and 25, comes to the same conclusion as I do :  Halder wholly misinformed Hitler on the Russian strengths, realized this only in mid-August 1941, but continued to make the same error.

P.286   Colonel Erwin Lahousen’s memo of July 20, 1941, is in CO file AL/1933.  Later, Canaris indignantly propagated the self-defense that he had correctly predicted the Russian tank potential and particularly their supertanks, but that nobody had listened to him (Goebbels diary, April 9, 1943).  This was quite untrue.

p. 286   Stalin’s speech will be found in BA file NS-26/v. 1194.  Hitler ordered Hewel to destroy his copy of it.  See his Table Talk on July 11-12, 1941, and particularly the passage in Bormann’s note on the meeting of July 16 (1221-PS) quoting Hitler :  “The Russians have now issued orders for partisan warfare behind our lines.  But this has its advantages—it enables us to exterminate anybody who stands in our way.”  As early as July 5, Hitler ordered the police brigades equipped with captured tanks for their mopping-up operations (T77/792 1414).

p. 288   In Marshal Antonescu’s papers (ND, USSR-237) is the letter Hitler wrote him on July 27, 1941, explaining that he was not trying to capture territory but to destroy enemy material.  “It may be easy enough for the Russians to replace men ;  to replace well-trained combat troops is not so easy for them, while the replacement of arms and material on this scale is quite impossible, particularly once we have occupied their main production centers.”  Besides, as Hitler explained to Minister Fritz Todt on June 20, Germany had not yet attained self-sufficiency in certain raw materials and had to conquer those regions of Russia for that purpose (2353-PS, and Todt diary).

p. 289   Bormann’s note on Hitler’s conference of July 16, 1941, survives (1221-PS);  I also used Colonel Georg Thomas’s papers ;  he learned on July 17 :  “The F¸hrer desires that no military power factor should remain west of the Urals” (T77/441).  Further versions of the conference are in Consul Otto Br”utigam’s hitherto unexploited diary in the Library of Congress manuscripts division ;  in interrogations of Rosenberg, Lammers, and G–ring ;  and in Etzdorf’s notes of July 16 and August 12 1941.  The latter quotes Br”utigam thus :  “F¸hrer has commanded that Crimea with its hinterland Tauria will belong to Germany.  The Russian inhabitants are to be brought out to Russia, ‘I don’t care where, Russia’s big enough.’  Reichskommissar Koch is very reluctant to take up the new job ;  he’ll do it only as long as necessary for the Four-Year Plan.  He’s only interested in East Prussia.”  Hitler’s decrees resulting from the conference are on films T77/545 and T175/145.

p. 290   Werner Koeppen remained at F¸hrer HQ until February 1943, writing a total of 192 lengthy summaries of Hitler’s table talk and conferences for Rosenberg’s information.  Of these, Nos. 27-55 survived, as duplicates were supplied to Gauleiter Alfred Meyer (T84/387);  Koeppen kindly authenticated them for me.  I believe nobody has exploited them before me.

p. 290   On the Lithuanian pogroms, see the war diary of Army Group North ;  Hitler’s talk with Kvaternik on July 22, 1941 ;  and the report of the AA liaison officer in Riga on April 5, 1943 (Serial 1513, pages 372208 et seq.).  Hitler frequently used the “Jewish bacillus” imagery, e.g., in his talk with Horthy on April 17, 1943.  See in this connection Alexander Bein’s interesting analysis, “The Jewish Parasite—Comments on the Semantics of the Jewish Problem” in VfZ, 1965, pages 121 et seq.

p. 292   Hitler’s deduction that Churchill and Roosevelt were conspiring to stage a suitable “incident” is confirmed by a cynical memorandum in Churchill’s secret papers on the search for the Prinz Eugen.  He wrote :  “It is most desirable that the United States navy should play a part in this.  It would be far better, for instance, that she should be located by a United States ship, as this might tempt her to fire upon that ship, thus providing the incident for which the United States would be so thankful.”  Churchill never published this ;  but Ludovic Kennedy did, in Pursuit (London, 1974), page 222.

p. 293   Weizs”cker, who saw Ribbentrop for the first time after six weeks on September 5, 1941, wrote in his diary :  “[Ribbentrop] asked me to avoid anything that might give the F¸hrer—who’s immersed in military affairs—cause for political worry ;  his health has temporarily suffered from the bunker life, so we must spare him every anxiety we can.  He, Ribbentrop, is only feeding good news to him too.  He says that consecutive on our victory in Russia the F¸hrer’s planning to advance southward, probably into Iran or Egypt.”  But Ribbentrop admitted that the strength of the Russian resistance had surprised him.

p. 294   I had Hitler’s electrocardiograms reinterpreted by a competent British expert, who also noted a progressive abnormality of repolarization, of which in a man of fifty-one the most likely cause would be coronary artery disease.  Morell’s medication was, according to an appreciation made for me by Professor Ernst-G¸nther Schenck—who was familiar with the proprietary medicines used by Morell—proper for this disease.  According to Schenck, however, most of Morell’s other medicines were either placebos or deliberately underdosed, no doubt to document to his indispensability as Hitler’s physician.