Only the weather could now thwart him. On October 2, 1941, as Typhoon began, lunch started fifty minutes late at his headquarters as he listened to the first reports on this last battle, designed to destroy Marshal Timoshenkos armies. When the meal began, he was at first unusually silent, brooding on the great events unfolding five hundred miles to the east. He broke the silence only to ask about the weather prospects for the next few days, and then again, in a forced attempt to put his mind elsewhere, to reminisce about the Berghofwhere even now Martin Bormanns construction crews were carrying out still further architectural improvements to the mountainside.
Yet Russias weather was in no way unpredictable : the first daytime frost always comes on the eighteenth of October (while frost at night might come as early as the end of September). Peter the Great knew this, for he had forbidden ships to leave the Baltic ports after October 18 for fear of the winter storms. The Russian winter reaches its peak every eighteenth of Januarywith the notorious Jordans frostwith Fahrenheit temperatures of zero in Leningrad and minus five in Moscow itself. No snow would actually stick until late November, however ; and once, in 1913, there had been no snow until February.
As soon as Hitler had believed Leningrad encircled and Rundstedts operations at Kiev far enough advanced, he had ordered the army to prepare this attack on Timoshenkos forces west of Moscow, using the armored divisions and Luftwaffe units no longer needed by Leeb or Rundstedt ; he would have liked Typhoon to begin in mid-September, but the army had explained why the attack could not be launched before the end of the month. The Luftwaffe command showed the earliest apprehensions about Typhoons prospects. Indeed, as early as August 14, Jeschonneks deputy, Hoffmann von Waldau, had privately written at Luftwaffe headquarters : It is all getting very late : at the end of October the war will die out in the snow. And on September 9, three days after Hitler issued the directive for Typhoon, Waldau gloomily predicted : We are heading for a winter campaign. The real trial of this war has begun. My belief in final victory remains. West of the Russian capital, meanwhile, Timoshenko had prepared line after line of defensive positions, while an apparently inexhaustible flow of new divisions poured into the front, making a mockery of the German army theoreticians dreams of eliminating the enemys military strength.
In an exultant proclamation to his three million soldiers on the eve of Typhoon, Hitler appealed to them to to give the last mighty heave necessary to smash the enemy before winter breaks upon us. He opened their eyes to the scale of the effort already made since Junetwo thousand road bridges built for the troops, over four hundred railway bridges constructed, eighteen thousand miles of railway track restored to working order, including ten thousand miles already relaid to the standard European gauge. Now he was to speak to the ordinary Berliners. Quite apart from the transport problem, mocked Hitler over lunch on October 1, Russia wont be helped much with one weeks British tank output allocated to her, as she is losing more tanks in a day than Britain can turn out in a week. The only palpable relief for Russia would be if Britain could force us to withdraw tanks and aircraft from the eastern front, and this she can only do by invading the Continent. Churchill has warded off this Stalin demand by arguing that the invasion danger increases with the approach of dull and foggy weather again, and that he needs his forty-five divisions to defend the British Isles. Hitler made fun of the British suggestion that he had not spoken in recent months as he had nothing cheerful to tell the German people. Over this period Churchill has admittedly made almost a dozen speeches, but if you compare actions and achievements, then I am quite content to stand before history as I am. His table companions laughed heartily ; two days later they recognized that Hitler had just tried out his next big speech on them.
At 1:30 P.M. on October 3, 1941, his train arrived in Berlin. He lunched with his staff, then drove through streets of cheering crowds to the Sportpalast, where he now delivered one of the most stirring speeches of his lifewholly ex tempore and hence enormously devout, as Hewel afterward reported. Hitler was exhilarated by the welcome the capital gave him. It was the same atmosphere as at the most wonderful of our meetings during the years of struggle. The reason was that no special tickets had been distributedthe audience really was a cross section of the people. The enthusiasm and acclaim of the Berliners lining the streets to the stadium were also bigger and more genuine than for a long time. The ordinary people really do make the most appreciative audience, they are the people who deep down inside know they support me. They are marked by that kind of stability that can stand the heaviest burdenswhile our intellectuals just flutter here and there.
In his tumultuous speech he outlined his unifying role in Europehow Italy, Hungary, the Nordic countries, and then Japan had come closer to Germany. Unhappily, however, not the nation I have courted all my life : the British. Not that the British people as a whole alone bear the responsibility for this, no, but there are some people who in their pigheaded hatred and lunacy have sabotaged every such attempt at an understanding between us, with the support of that international enemy known to us all, international Jewry.... As in all the years I strove to achieve understanding whatever the cost, there was Mr. Churchill who kept on shouting, I want a war ! Now he has it. Hitler scorned the Churchill clique who were claiming that in these last three months he had met defeat after defeat in Russia ; the truth was that the Wehrmachts divisions had advanced from one victory to the next, tirelessly and courageously, the infantry marching two thousand miles and more since the spring. If people now talk of lightning [Blitz] wars, then it is these soldiers who are responsible for it ; their achievements are like lightning, because never in history have there been advances like these. ... Of course there were also a few historic lightning retreats too, he scoffed, talking about the British regiments, and these certainly beat our operations for speed ; but then there were not such great distances involved, as they always kept that much closer to the coast !
Within an hour Hitlers train was bearing him back to headquarters. Victory in Russia seemed certain. Guderian was approaching Orel. Like two fishermens nets flung out over the sea, Bocks armies were hauling in their catches at Vyazma and Bryansk. Another 673,000 prisoners would be found inside. On the Sea of Azov, Rundstedt destroyed the Soviet Eighteenth Army and took another 100,000 prisoners. In front of Moscow Timoshenko seemed unaware of what was happening to his own armiessome were attacking, others retreating, while all the time Bocks nets pulled tighter.
A grim jocularity overcame Hitlerhe began talking freely at mealtimes again, gossipping about the different kinds of caviar and oysters and the mysterious bacteria that had massacred the crabs some decades before. Russia ? We are planning big things for our share of the territory, our Indiacanals and railroads, the latter with a new gauge of ten feet. The population ... must vegetate. For Stalins rump-empire [beyond the Urals] bolshevism will be a good thingour guarantee of their permanent ignorance. Thus wrote Weizs”cker of Hitlers ambitions. They were an open secret. In his minds eye, Hitler transported himself fifty years onward, to when there would be five million German farmers settled there to tend the crops. He does not attach the slightest importance to overseas colonies, wrote Koeppen. On this score he would most rapidly reach agreement with Britain. Germany only needs a little colonial soil to cultivate tea and coffee everything else he would produce on the Continent itself. Germanys colonial needs would be satisfied by the Belgian Congo. Our Mississippi must be the Volganot the Niger.
Outside the dining bunker at midday on October 5, Hitler espied a large table, groaning under a display of agricultural products from East Prussia, for this was Harvest Thanksgiving day. He jested that this vegetarian display with its many hues and colors was far more attractive than if, for example, a pile of butchered animal carcasses had been put therea comment that enjoyed only a mixed reception since there were the most luscious pork chops for lunch that day. At dinner the next day, Hitler was again in an expansive mood. Major Engel, his ebullient army adjutant, had been bitten by a dog, so Hitler uncorked a stream of witticisms about the fearful consequences if rabies should take hold at his headquarters. Dinner was short, so that the latest uncensored newsreel films could be shown. Hitler saw for himself his troops battling forward under General von Manstein, now commanding the Eleventh Army in the assault on the Crimea ; he also saw the northern armies frustrating the frantic Russian attempts to relieve Leningrad.
By October 7, the Bryansk pocket was completely sealed, and the armored divisions were about to close the other huge ring around Vyazma. Jodl stated that the Red Army was about to lose seventy-two divisions in the two pockets, and that so far radio reconnaissance had only located one solitary division outside them. Gripped by this military drama, Hitler did not eat that dayalthough Himmler was guest of honor, it being his forty-first birthday. Hewel marveled in his diary : Vyazma has been captured. The net tightens around Timoshenkos army. Jodl says, The most crucial day of the whole Russian war, and compares it with K–niggr”tz.
Intercepted code-messages from diplomats in Moscow suggested that the end there was not far off. The Turkish ambassador told of tens of thousands of casualties and an indescribable turmoil and confusion ; parts of the citys population were already fleeing for the Ural Mountains. Immense German plans were hatched in this flush of victorythe General Staff looking beyond Moscow, Hitler looking to the south. For a time, elated by his SS Life Guards capture of Mariupol (Zhdanov) on the Sea of Azov, Hitler considered throwing them a hundred miles forward to Rostov on the Donthe very gateway to the Caucasus and the oil fields there. (The fact that in the not too distant future well have used up every last drop of gasoline makes this a matter of the utmost urgency, Keitel told Canaris later in October.) General Eduard Wagner, the armys quartermaster general, wrote privately late on October 5 : Now the operation is rolling toward Moscow. Our impression is that the final great collapse is immediately ahead, and that tonight the Kremlin is packing its bags. What matters now is that the panzer armies reach their objectives. Strategic objectives are being defined that would have stood our hair on end at one time. East of Moscow ! ! Then I think the warll be over and perhaps well see the collapse of their system too, which would see us a fair bit further on in the fight against Britain. I keep having to marvel at the F¸hrers military judgment. This time he is interveningand one can say, decisivelyin the operations, and so far he has been right every time. The major victory in the south is his work alone.
On October 8, Jodl repeated his triumphant verdict : We have finally and without any exaggeration won this war ! At dinner Hitler exultantly scoffed at the distortions being put about by Londons Press Jewsclaims so foolish that a schoolboy with an atlas could refute them. In France Admiral Darlan had now spoken out in favor of a German-French entente. Success, commented Hitler, is always the best basis for bargaining.
On the eastern front it had now begun to rain.
In Kievand later in Odessathere was an urban variation on the scorched earth theme : the Russians had booby-trapped entire buildings, to blow them up by remote control after the Germans moved in. According to the Soviet radio, Leningrad had been similarly prepared. Moscow would be no different. On October 7, Hitler signed an OKW order forbidding Bock to accept Moscows surrender, if offered ; no German troops were to set foot there or in Leningradthese cities were to be encircled and wiped out by fire and bombardment. Small gaps might be left on the far side of the Moscow ring, to allow the citizenry to flee eastward into the Soviet lines and increase the chaos there. A few days later, Heydrich asked Himmler to make it clear to the F¸hrer that responsibility for the effective destruction of Leningrad and Moscow rested solely with the Wehrmacht commanders. He said the SS agents who had penetrated into Leningrad reported that the damage so far was quite negligible, and that if they had learned anything from Warsaw it was that artillery alone was not enoughmassive use had to be made of fire bombs and high explosives.
The coming victory over Russia promised to relieve Hitler of immense strategic burdens. Japan would then be free to wade into the United States, which would then hardly be in a position to come to Britains aid in her final fight with Germany. Roosevelt for his part increased his efforts to swing American public opinion around to supporting war with Hitler now, and he sent Averell Harriman to assist Britains Lord Beaverbrook at a Moscow conference on ways of rushing military support to Stalin. On October 6, Hitler was handed the decoded text of Roosevelts letter introducing Harriman to Stalin :
Harry Hopkins has told me in great detail of his encouraging and satisfactory visits with you. I cant tell you how thrilled all of us are because of the gallant defense of the Soviet armies. I am confident that ways will be found to provide the material and supplies necessary to fight Hitler on all fronts, including your own. I want particularly to take this occasion to express my great confidence that your armies will ultimately prevail over Hitler and to assure you of our great determination to be of every possible material assistance.
Hitler had the text of this letter released throughout the Americas, without revealing how he had obtained it ; he also, to the intense irritation of Roosevelt, amended the presidents salutation (My Dear Mr. Stalin) to My Dear Friend Stalin; and where Roosevelt had prudently concluded with Yours very sincerely, the German propaganda text ended with an oily In cordial friendship.
Roosevelt had long gone beyond strict neutrality. Early in September a U-boat had given him the welcome chance by attempting to torpedo the American destroyer Greer (which had reportedly been cooperating with a British plane chasing the submarine); as a result of this attack, on the eleventh Roosevelt ordered the navy to shoot on sight any warships of the Axis powers encountered in seas, the protection of which is necessary for American defense. Hitler no longer believed the isolationists could keep the United States out of the war, in spite of efforts such as those by Charles Lindbergh, who used the American radio networks to denounce warmongers, among whom he included not only Roosevelt and the British but the Jews as well. Admiral Raeder implored the F¸hrer to permit German warships to meet force with force, since Roosevelts announcement was tantamount to a localized declaration of war under international law ; but after discussing this from every angle with Raeder and U-boat commander Admiral D–nitzas well as with RibbentropHitler remained unconvinced that the military advantages would outweigh the political risks involved in firing back on any U.S. naval attackers, and his restrictions on the warships remained in force. He was not frightened of Roosevelt or the United States. Handed an American magazine which quoted annual statistics on tank and aircraft production in the United States, Hitler scoffed that the figures were ludicrously lowless than one months output of the German munitions industry. As for quality, he rocked with laughter when he saw the first newsreels of the United States two mechanized divisions on maneuvers (the film reached him through South America).
Hitler could not conceal his disappointment at the current aimlessness of Japanese foreign policy, which he had closely followed through the telegrams intercepted by the Forschungsamt and foreign ministry decoders. The Japanese had refused to show the Germans the texts of their secret exchanges with the Roosevelt administration, but in September Hitler explained to his staff that he was loath to put pressure on Tokyo to enter the war in case this was construed as proof of German weakness. By October 1941 Hitler no longer feared this construction ; he even somewhat prematurely directed his press chief, Dr. Otto Dietrich, to announce to the worldand Tokyo in particularthat the Russian campaign had been won. But Tokyos secret talks with Washington still continued ; her economy was suffering from the overlong interruption of the Trans-Siberian railway by Barbarossafar longer than the two months Hitler had promisedand on October 16 the Japanese Cabinet resigned. To Hitlers annoyance the new prime minister was General Hideki Tojo, and his foreign minister was Shigenori Togo, the former Japanese ambassador to Berlin ; Hitler intensely mistrusted the latter, despite his German wife. He saw in all this just Japanese playacting designed to assuage domestic public opinion, while the Japanese continued to wriggle out of their commitments for a few more months. The truth was, as he revealed by an aside to Ciano on October 25, that Hitler was completely in the dark as to Japanese war plans. We cannot expect Japan to pursue anything but a purely Japanese foreign policy, he had also said in September. We must just contrive to wait until they themselves consider the time ripe for intervention. As for North America, Hitler learned that Pope Pius XII had instructed Roosevelts special emissary Myron C. Taylor that any extension of the war by the United States would be frowned on. Indeed, the Vatican had flatly refused to pronounce the war of the democracies against National Socialism a just war; Hitler learned this on October 7.
That same day Field Marshal von Bock was ordered to proceed with his drive on Moscow and the first snow drifted out of the sky onto Hitlers headquarters. On the sixteenth a fighter pilot arriving at the F¸hrers headquarters to receive the Knights Cross announced that six inches of snow was covering the whole countryside. On the seventeenth the temperature at Leningrad fell to 32 F.; in the far north it was 5ƒ. The next day for the first time the weather was so bad as to prevent any noticeable change in the front lines. Bocks army group was paralyzed by the snow, slush, and slime. Nothing could move except on foot or in the lightest of handcarts, for the roads were few and far between and it was on these that the Russians now concentrated their defense. The only good highwayfrom Smolensk to Vyazmahad been booby-trapped with high-explosive shells, whose remote-controlled detonation caused sudden craters thirty feet wide and eight feet deep. Each night the temperatures fell and froze the snow and mud ; each morning the thaw set in, and the roads were again impassable.
The Russian roads beggar description, wrote one of Canariss aides touring the eastern front. They are frequently up to one hundred yards wide and people use them as they choose. Their surface is a thick, cloying layer of slime of varying depth : if you drive slowly, it bogs your truck down, and if you drive faster, you start sliding and skidding ; despite the width of the roads it is enormously difficult to take evasive action, for all the traffic in both directions tries to keep to the same beaten tracks ; as these ruts are very difficult to get out of, collisions occur. As the German troops struggled to advance through this filth and slush they encountered mournful columns of Russians trudging westward into captivity. There were hundreds of thousands of them, and they presented the German military authorities with problems of feeding, transportation, and accommodation they had never clearly envisaged. The columns of Russian prisoners moving on the roads look like half-witted herds of animals, Canariss aide noted. Barely guarded and kept in order by the fist and whip, these wretched prisoners marched until they were exhausted by hunger or disease ; they were then carried by their comrades or left at the roadside. The Sixth Army [Reichenaus] has ordered that all prisoners that break down are to be shot. Regrettably this is done at the roadside, even in the villages, so that the local population are eyewitnesses of these incidents. In the prison camps the food was so meager that cannibalism broke out. The population, the report continued, greet the German soldiers as liberators from the yoke of bolshevism. But there is a danger that this extremely useful mood, which is displayed by their great hospitality and many gifts, will turn into the opposite if dealt with wrongly.
The first big anti-Jewish SS action occurred at Kiev at the end of September. The report to Canaris by the previously mentioned aide noted : Orders are that the Jews are to be resettled. This takes place as follows : the Jews are ordered at short notice to report to specific collecting points with their best clothes and their jewelry on the following night. No distinctions are made as to class, sex, or age. They are then taken to a preselected and prepared site outside the town concerned, where they have to deposit their jewelry and clothes under the pretext of having to complete certain formalities. They are led away from the road and liquidated. The situations that arise in the process are so horrifying that they can not be described. The effects on the German squads are inevitablethe executions can usually only be carried out under the influence of alcohol. An SD officer ordered to act as an observer related how he had nightmares of the most terrible kind for days afterward. The native population react to this liquidation program, of which they are fully aware, calmly and sometimes with satisfaction, and the Ukrainian militia actually take part. There were even protests that some Jews were escaping the net cast by the SS task forces.(1)
The actual origins of the Kiev pogrom are obscure. The report of the security police suggests that the massacre was a reprisal impatiently demanded by the Ukrainians themselves, since it was the Russian Jews who were reported to have acted as NKVD agents and set fire to the city after the Germans moved in. Whatever the origin, on the last two days of September 33,771 Russian Jews were executed at Kiev. One month later the figure had risen to 75,000.
There are compelling indications that all this was planned long before Barbarossa began : at a course for SS task force commanders at Duben in June, Heydrich had instructed themaccording to Walter Blume, one such commanderthat these Ostjuden were the intellectual reservoir of bolshevism and in the F¸hrers view were to be liquidated. Himmler, the SS Reichsf¸hrer, had orally briefed them in the same sense in May, and late in September he toured the task force headquarters and announced to themfor example to Otto Ohlendorf, commanding Task Force D, in a speech at Nikolaevthat he alone in association with Hitler was responsible.
Himmlers formulation was perhaps purposefully vague. There are documents which strongly suggest that Hitlers responsibilityas distinct from Himmlerswas limited to the decision to deport all European Jews to the east, and that responsibility for what happened to Russian Jews and to European Jews after their arrival in the east rested with Himmler, Heydrich, and the local authorities therewho took full advantage of the atmosphere of hatred and contempt for human life created by their F¸hrer. On September 18, 1941, Himmler wrote to Arthur Greiser, the brutal Gauleiter of the Warthelandthat is, the Polish territories annexed in the German invasion two years earlier :
The F¸hrer wishes the old Reich territory and the Protectorate [of Bohemia-Moravia] to be cleansed and rid of Jews, from west to east, as soon as possible. As a first step I am therefore endeavoring to transportthis year as far as possibleall the Jews of the old Reich and Protectorate into the eastern territories annexed by the Reich in 1939 first of all ; next spring they will then be deported still further eastward [into Russia].
The first sixty thousand, Himmler advised, would be sent to the Lodz ghetto soon to spend the winter there. Heydrich would be in charge of this migration of the Jews. Evidently the second phase, dumping them into Russia itself, could not be begun until the Russian campaign was finished and the military pressure on the railroads was relaxed.
Hitlers own attitude is illuminated by an incident at this time. On September 20, he learned that the Bolsheviks were maltreating the large colony of ethnic Germans on the Volga : thousands were being liquidated, and the rest deported to Siberia, according to his sources. The foreign ministry recommended reprisals against Jews in the occupied eastern territories, or even against those in the Reich. But Baron Adolf von Steengracht, Ribbentrops representative, noted that the F¸hrer has not yet decided, and the next day Koeppen recorded that Hitler had decided to reserve reprisals against the Jews for the eventuality of an American declaration of war. When Goebbels saw him two days later, he wrote in an unpublished section of his diary, only : The F¸hrers opinion is that bit by bit the Jews must be got out of Germany altogetherso even to Goebbels, his most trusted and anti-Semitic minister, Hitler made no specific mention of any extermination of either the German or the Russian Jews.
The Russian Jews had few champions. There was almost no German army opposition to their liquidationit was regarded even by Manstein as a salutary preventive measure, wiping out the reservoirs of partisan activity before they became active. Reichenau, commanding the Sixth Army, justified it as part of the German mission to rid Europe permanently of the Asiatic Jewish danger. In a message to his troops he proclaimed :
In the east each soldier is not only a warrior abiding by the usual rules of war, but also the uncompromising bearer of a pure German ideal and the avenger of the bestialities committed against Germans and related races.
This is why the soldier must understand why we have to exact a harsh but just retribution from the Jewish subhumans. This serves the added purpose of stifling at birth uprisings in the rear of the Wehrmacht, since experience shows that these are always conceived by Jews....
Hitler considered the proclamation excellent, and Quartermaster General Eduard Wagner circulated it to other commands as an example.
Yet no direct report by Himmler or Heydrich to Hitler on the barbarous massacres of Russian Jews they themselves had witnessed has ever come to light. At supper on October 5, for example, Himmler, who had just returned from his extended tour of the Ukraine on which he had visited Kiev, Nikolaev, and Kherson, related to Hitler his impressions of Kiev. Werner Koeppen, who was a guest at Hitlers table that evening, recorded Himmlers comments : In Kiev . . . the number of inhabitants is still very great. The people look poor and proletarian, so that we could easily dispense with 80 or 90 percent of them ! The Reichsf¸hrer proposes (and the F¸hrer immediately agrees) that the oldest Russian monastery at Kiev should be confiscated to prevent its becoming the focus of orthodoxy and nationalism. The monastery is at present being guarded by German troops because of its priceless religious treasures.
Hitlers surviving adjutants, secretaries, and staff stenographers have all uniformly testified that never once was the extermination of either the Russian or European Jews mentionedeven confidentiallyat Hitlers headquarters. Even SS General Karl Wolff, Himmlers Chief of Staff and liaison officer to Hitler, was at this time ignorant of the program that now got under way.(2) Colonel Rudolf Schmundt, a regular visitor to the Russian front, appears to have suspected what was going on there ; for when Hitlers movie cameraman Walter Frentz willingly accompanied Himmler to Minsk on an outing with stage designer Benno von Arent, he found himself the horrified witness of a mass open-air execution ; Schmundt advised him to destroy the one color photograph he took, and not to poke his nose into matters that did not concern him.
By mid-October 1941, despite the foul weather, the Russian front was cracking in every joint. Hitler was still fired with optimism. On the thirteenth he and Ribbentrop first began laying the foundations for a Nazi version of a united Europe. Hewel wrote : Reich foreign minister visits the F¸hrer : first thoughts on a European manifesto. Probably in the economic sphere first of all, and probably at the beginning of the winter. F¸hrer is in very best and relaxed mood. Over dinner he revealed that he had been thinking of calling together the economic experts of Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, and Finland to bring it home to them that Russia was an outlet for all their surplus population and a source of all the raw materials they might require. I think it not impossible they would then come over into our own camp with flags flying. He unfolded his economic ideasbased on European self-sufficiencyto his own minister of economics, Walther Funk, the same day ; Funk was enthusiastic. Hitler had a vision in which the Danube, which is linked by the Black Sea to the Dnieper and Don, would now be joined by canals to the Main and Oder. All those who have a feeling for Europe can join in this work, meaning the colonization of the east. And : Everybody will be able to participate, in one form or another, in this European economy. (A month later he was to say, With our new economic organization, the political center of Europe is shifting. England will be nothing but a vast Holland. The Continent is coming back to life.)
His feelings toward the British people remained unchanged. One evening, an English magazine was passed around the little group chatting in his bunker. One photograph showed seven or eight RAF airmen clustered in front of their bomber aircraft ; all were young and keen-looking. Hitler tapped the picture and sighed, I wonder how many crews like these G–ring could show me ! But there was an underlying bitterness against the uncomprehending British government which had followed its invasion of Iran with a demand that the Iranians surrender to them the German colony there of 220, and hand over 21 to the Russians. Hitler, who had agreed in secret negotiations to repatriate 1440 sick British prisoners, partly from the hospitals of Dunkirk, in exchange for 44 German prisoners in a similar condition, stopped the exchange when the British interned and flatly refused to release the German colony in Iran.
When Todt and Fritz SauckelHitlers manpower commissionerdined with Hitler on October 17, they were brimming with everything they had just seen in the east. Again Hitler dreamed aloud of the vast construction projects whereby he would open up the east in a manner similar to the way the Americans had colonized the west. Above all we must lay roads, Koeppen wrote that night.
He told Dr. Todt he must expand his original projects considerably. For this purpose he will be able to make use of the three million prisoners for the next twenty years. The major roadsthe F¸hrer spoke today not only of the highway to the Crimea but also of one to the Caucasus and of two or three through the more northern territoriesmust be laid across the areas of greatest scenic beauty. Where the big rivers are crossed, German cities must arise, as centers of the Wehrmacht, police, administration, and Party authorities. Along these roads will lie the German farmsteads, and soon the monotonous steppe, with its Asiatic appearance, will look very different indeed. In ten years four million Germans will have settled there, and in twenty years at least ten million. They will come not only from the Reich but above all from America, and from Scandinavia, Holland, and Flanders too. And the rest of Europe shall play its part in this opening up of the Russian wastes as well. No Germans will set foot in the Russian towns, insofar as they survive this war (which Leningrad and Moscow certainly will not); let them continue to rot away in their filthy vegetable existence far from the great highways ! The F¸hrer then reverted to the theme that contrary to what some people think no education or welfare is to be laid on for the native population. Knowledge of the road signs will suffice, there will be no call for German schoolmasters there. By freedom the Ukrainians understood that instead of twice they now had to wash only once a monththe Germans with their scrubbing brushes would soon make themselves unpopular there. He as F¸hrer would set up his new administration there after ice-cool calculations : what the Slavs might think about it would not put him out one bit. Nobody who ate German bread today got worked up about the fact that in the twelfth century the granaries east of the Elbe were regained by the sword. Here in the east we were repeating a process for a second time not unlike the conquest of America. For climatic reasons alone we could not venture further south than the Crimeahe did not mention the Caucasus at this pointeven now hundreds of our mountain troops on Crete had malaria ! The F¸hrer kept repeating that he wished he was ten or fifteen years younger so he could live through the rest of this process.
The remorseless advance of the German armies to the east and southeast continued. The Ninth Army took Rzhev, the Romanians took Odessa, German tanks rolled into Taganrog, mountain troops captured Stalino, Reichenau captured Kharkov and Belgorod, and Mansteins Eleventh Army at last broke through into the Crimean peninsula.
At the same time, the next phase of the deportation of Europes Jews began. The evidence is that Hitlers intention was twofoldto establish a Jewish labor force for his grandiose plans in the east, and to hold them hostage. (The Jewish hostage motif appears again late in 1943.(3)) There was no word of massacring them. On October 6, 1941, Hitler again pronounced at lunch, as Koeppen noted : All the Jews must be removed from the Protectorateand not just to the Generalgouvernement but right on to the east. It is only our heavy need for war transport that stops us doing this right now. At the same time as the Jews from the Protectorate, all the Jews are to disappear from Berlin and Vienna too. The Jews are everywhere the grapevine along which enemy news reports filter into every nook and cranny of our nation with the speed of the winds. Hitherto Adolf Eichmann, one of Himmlers leading experts on Jewish affairs, had continued holding regular conferences with his regional officials on the various problems associated with the Madagascar planfor example, the reeducation of professional Jews into the laborers, farmers, and artisans that would be needed in the new island-state. But on October 18, Himmler scribbled on his telephone pad the message he had just dictated to Heydrich : No emigration by Jews to overseas.(4) Instead, on October 15, 1941, the big exodus from Europe to the east beganthe Jews being herded initially into camps in Poland and the Lodz ghetto. In daily transports of a thousand people, 20,000 Jews and 5,000 gypsies are being sent to the Lodz ghetto between October 15 and November 8, Heydrich informed Himmler on October 19. For the time being Himmler reluctantly kept the ablebodied Jews alive for the work they could perform ; but farther east the Gauleiters had no intention of preserving the unemployable Jews : a letter dated October 25 in SS files states that Adolf Eichmann had now approved Gauleiter Lohses proposal that those arriving at Riga should be killed by mobile gas-trucks. This initially ad hoc operation gathered momentum. Soon the Jews from the Lodz ghetto and Greisers territories were being deported farther eastto the extermination camp at Chelmno. There were 152,000 Jews involved in all, and Chelmno began liquidating them on December 8.
At this stage of the Jewish massacre it is possible to be more specific about the instigators, because on May 1, 1942, Greiser himself mentioned in a letter to Himmler that the current special treatment program of the hundred thousand Jews in his own Gau had been authorized by Himmler with the agreement of Heydrich. Hitler was not mentioned. Meanwhile, from mid-November 1941 onward, the Reichsbahn trainloads of Jewsrounded up in Vienna, Br¸nn (Brno), Bremen, and Berlinheaded direct to Minsk, while others went to Warsaw, Kovno, and Riga. At Kovno and Riga the Jews were invariably shot soon after. At Minsk the Jews did not survive much longer : Wilhelm Kube, Rosenbergs general commissioner of White Ruthenia, recorded on July 31, 1942, that 10,000 had been liquidated since the twenty-eighth, of which 6,500 were Russian Jews, old folk, women and children, with the rest unemployable Jews largely sent to Minsk from Vienna, Br¸nn, Bremen, and Berlin in November last year on the F¸hrers orders. It is not without evidentiary value that Himmlers handwritten telephone notes include one on a call to Heydrich on November 17, 1941, on the situation in the Generalgouvernement and getting rid of the Jews; two days later Heydrich circulated invitations to an interministerial conference on the Final Solution of the Jewish Problemdelayed until January 1942, it became notorious as the Wannsee Conference.
No documentary evidence exists that Hitler was aware that the Jews were being massacred upon their arrival. His remarks, noted by Bormanns adjutant Heinrich Heim late on October 25, 1941, indicate that he did not favor it : From the rostrum of the Reichstag I prophesied to Jewry that if war could not be avoided, the Jews would disappear from Europe. That race of criminals already had on its conscience the two million dead of the Great War, and now it has hundreds of thousands more. Let nobody tell me that despite that we cannot park them in the marshy parts of Russia ! Our troops are there as well, and who worries about them ! By the wayits not a bad thing that public rumor attributes to us a plan to exterminate the Jews. Terror is a salutary thing. Hitler added that, just as he was sidestepping an open clash with the Vatican by postponing the final reckoning with Bishop von Galen until later, with the Jews too I have found myself remaining inactive. Theres no point adding to ones difficulties at a time like this.(5) Hans Lammers testified later that this was undoubtedly Hitlers policy, for when he tackled Hitler on a statement by Himmler that the F¸hrer had charged him with deporting the Jews from Germany, Hitler confirmed this but added, I dont want to be bothered with the Jewish problem again until the war is over.
This does not gainsay the fact that Hitler felt a deep revulsion for Jews. On November 5, for example, Koeppen noted after dinner : The F¸hrer denies that Jews have any talent for anything. They surpass the other races in only one respectthe art of the lie and its unscrupulous application.... Shut them up together with only their own kind, in other words where their lying loses its effectiveness, and their talents desert them and the Jew descends into squalor and poverty. While the Aryan races are improved the more they are allowed to coexist with their racial equals, the Jews suffer by it and degenerate into animals. With their lie that they are a religious community, and by calling their money markets temples, they pulled the wool over the eyes of tolerant bygone generations right up to the present day. In reality no Jew has ever delved into the metaphysicaltheir whole religion is based on the laws of race.
In most circumstances Hitler was a pragmatist. It would have been unlike him to sanction the use of scarce transport space to move millions of Jews east for no other purpose than liquidating them there ; nor would he willingly destroy manpower, for which his industry was crying out. Heinrich Heim recalls one exasperated comment by Hitler when Allied radio broadcast an announcement that the Jews were being exterminated : Really, the Jews should be grateful to me for wanting nothing more than a bit of hard work from them. It was Heydrich and the fanatical Gauleiters in the east who were interpreting with brutal thoroughness Hitlers decree that the Jews must finally disappear from Europe ; Himmlers personal role is ambivalent. On November 30, 1941, he was summoned to the Wolfs Lair for a secret conference with Hitler, at which the fate of Berlins Jews was clearly raised. At 1:30 P.M. Himmler was obliged to telephone from Hitlers bunker to Heydrich the explicit order that Jews were not to be liquidated, and the next day Himmler telephoned SS General Oswald Pohl, overall chief of the concentration camp system, with the order : Jews are to stay where they are.(6)
Yet the blood purge continued. The extermination program had gained a momentum of its own. Hans Frank, announcing to his Lublin cabinet on December 16, 1941, that Heydrich was calling a big conference in January on the expulsion of Europes Jews to the east, irritably exclaimed, Do you imagine theyre going to be housed in neat estates in the Baltic provinces ! In Berlinand with Hitler in East Prussia this can only be taken as a reference to Heydrichs agenciesthey tell us : why the caviling ? Weve got no use for them either.... Liquidate them yourselves !
During October 1941 the Russians stubbornly prevented Hitler from encircling Leningrad completely when the Finnish and German armies advancing on either shore of Lake Ladoga were unable to meet. Partly for political reasons, Mannerheimthe Finnish commanderignored Hitlers appeals to penetrate more steadfastly onto Russian territory ; Field Marshal von Leeb was unable to advance the whole way to meet him. To encourage Mannerheim to resume the offensive, Hitler ordered Leeb to strike with his Sixteenth Army toward the city of Tikhvinwhich would cut the sole railway line between Leningrad and Moscow.
By this time, mid-October, Moscows fate seemed sealed. The Communist party headquarters, the government, and the diplomatic corps had been evacuated. On the night of October 16 the files of the Frunse military academyto which Stalin had delivered his anti-German speeches in Maywere burned. Nobody knew who had started the panic or ordered the evacuations. Then the rains came and Operation Typhoon slithered to a halt. Bocks army group foundered in an unprecedented autumn morass of mud, rain, and slush. His generals had never seen anything like it. Trucks sank up to their axles and had to be winched out. Many were literally torn apart in the attempt. Of half a million vehicles, suddenly the German army lost 150,000. The enemy was fighting only a few miles from his arms factories and arsenals, and could use an intact network of railways around Moscow. But as they had withdrawn, they had methodically ripped up every railway track and tie to deny this weatherproof form of transport to the Germans. The Luftwaffes deputy chief of staff General Hoffmann von Waldau, who had confidently predicted on October 10 : As long as the weather does not continue to deteriorate (and at present it is fine, 28ƒ to 22ƒ) the enemy will not be able to prevent us from encircling Moscow, followed this with a frustrated diary entry six days later : Our wildest dreams have been washed out by rain and snow.... Everything is bogged down in a bottomless quagmire. The temperature drops to 11ƒ, a foot of snow falls, and then it rains on top of the snow. Leebs tanks attacking Tikhvin had to be left behind ; on October 24, Hitler decided to abandon the operation, but two days later Leeb came in person to Rastenburg and persuaded himagainst Hitlers better instincts as the army groups war diary recordsto allow it to proceed. In the Ukraine low clouds, icing, and snow were grounding the Luftwaffe. In the attack on Rostov, General von Kleists tanks were running out of gasoline.
Thus Hitlers bold hopes for the rapid overthrow of Stalins regime were thwarted by the weather. Now all the other strategic issues which he had optimistically adjournedthe Battle of the Atlantic, North Africa, the partisan war, the British second front, and the enemys bombing offensive, not to mention the possibility of open war with the United States in 1942had to be squarely met. In the northern theater, an unusually early winter had begun. Over lunch on October 26, Hitler asked the armys quartermaster general, the ebullient Eduard Wagner, to what extent he had provisioned the eastern armies with winter gear. Both the Luftwaffe and the SS had prepared for their winter campaign in Russia in February or March 1941, and during the summer Hitler had continually reminded Wagner to see to army winter needs. However, Wagners private letters indicate that he had only addressed himself to the problem on October 19 ; but now he assured Hitler that by October 30 both Leeb and Rundstedt would have received half their winter equipment, while the numerically far bigger Army Group Center would have received only one-third. (He mentioned that the Russians destruction of the one railway along the Sea of Azov would delay supplies to the south.) The F¸hrer was extremely nice and friendly to me, wrote Wagner.
In fact, Wagner and the General Staff were more optimistic than Hitler. On October 29, Wagner noted that an enemy pipeline had been captured, still spewing forth gasoline, and this would enable the tanks to press on into Rostov. Everything else is also moving again, and were convinced well shortly finish off Moscow. The Crimea was captured, and Mansteins advance troops were already outside Sevastopolthe ancient fortress at its southern point. But winter was unmistakably closing in : on October 30, Admiral Canaris flew in to Rastenburg, his plane almost colliding with another in the fog. Hitler ran into him on the way to the map room, and asked what weather Canaris had seen at the front. Canaris told him Bad ! and Hitler gestured with annoyance. (A member of the admirals staff wrote : Theyre all getting on each others nervesa bad case of the camp jitters.) The next day snow settled on the Wolfs Lair too. On November 1, Hitler spent an hour at General Staff headquarters, inspecting for himself the winter equipment Wagner had organized. He made no comment, but Wagner noted : He looked at and listened closely to everything ; he appeared fresh and lively and was in a good mood.
But a mood of restlessness, of uneasiness and annoyance, beset him. The war might now go on for two more years, he realized ; and what would be left of Germany and the flower of her manhood when it was over ? Already a hundred and fifty thousand men had died since Barbarossa began ; a war like this was bound to disrupt the national metabolism, if the good blood was being constantly drained away while the evil and pernicious elements were leading their charmed existence in the concentration camps, and all because the Russians had proved tougher than he had bargained for, and because that drunken poltroon Churchill refused to admit the mess he was getting his empire into. Thus Adolf Hitler argued with himself in the months to come. From reliable sources he knew Stalin had warned Roosevelt that his munitions would be exhausted by early December, but he also knewfrom radio interceptsthat Churchill was moving heaven and earth to start shipments of arms to Archangel. Hitler ardently hoped that one day the opposition to Churchills war policies would cause his undoing. Its significant that Britain has already had to lock up over nine thousand people in concentration camps for this reason, he remarked on October 22. Unfortunately the leading pro-Germans like Rothermere and Lord Londonderry are too deeply in the Jewish thrall to be able to put up any real opposition.
Even at this late date he still longed for the great Anglo-German concord which would restore immediate peace. However, from a remark made by Lord Halifax in Lisbon it was clear that Churchill was just waiting for some such hint of an offerpresumably after Russias seemingly inevitable defeatto give him a chance of publicly rebuking the F¸hrer and restoring Roosevelts faith in Britain. Hitler did not expect Roosevelt to start massive arms deliveries to Russia at this point, and even if Stalin did manage to discharge his present military bankruptcy, what was there the United States could offer ? At best an obsolete tank model, for American artillery was useless, and the much vaunted Flying Fortress bombers wereG–ring had assured himof such poor quality, thanks to mass-production methods, that they would be easy prey for any German fighter. In short, neither Britain nor the United States could save Russia. Thus he deceived himself.
Hitlers continued wooing of Britain was both illogical and detrimental to his own war effort. It was the reason he gave Colonel Wilhelm Speidel for rejecting the French offers of collaborationthat it would stand in the way of the later concord with Britain. And when Raeders Chief of Staff, Admiral Fricke, argued with compelling logic that Britains military defeat was necessary for any New Order in Europe, and that this defeat could only be achieved by concentrating on the submarine war in the Atlantic, Hitler explained that he was even now ready to make peace with Britain, as the territory Germany had already won in Europe was adequate for the German peoples future needs. The admiral gathered that to Hitler a colonial empire in central Africa was of only secondary interest. Evidently, the admiral reported, the F¸hrer would be glad for Britain, once the eastern campaign is over, to show signs of sense (not that the F¸hrer expects it of Churchill) even if it meant that Germany could not win further ground than she already occupies. Hitler was not bothered about any formalized, legalized termination of the war, the admiral concluded.
Hitlers attitude toward Britain was a disappointment to his naval staff. In a nutshell, Hitlers strategy was governed by the need to avoid defeat by Britain, rather than by the necessity of defeating her outright now. Britains bombing offensive against the northwest coast (and, of course, Italy) was becoming a serious nuisance to morale ; Hitler ordered G–ring to increase aircraft and antiaircraft production. Britain would not risk invading the French mainland yet, but she might attempt to seize back one of her Channel Isles. Hitler therefore sent Colonel Schmundt to inspect those islands defenses ; afterward, he ordered the army to appoint particularly active garrison commanders to each island and to multiply their infantry and artillery defenses. Britain might invade northern Norway and cut off Germanys iron-ore and nickel supplies ; here too Hitler ordered the reluctant navy to take precautions, although Raeder thought it unlikely Britain would risk such an invasion in winter. Most promising for the enemy would seem to be an invasion somewhere in the Mediterranean, perhaps on Sardinia or Pantelleria.
The Mediterranean had quietly become one of the most vulnerable areas of Axis operations, particularly now that Mussolinis very position was threatened by domestic unrest. The British, with sea and air superiority in the Mediterranean, were slowly but surely throttling the seaborne supplies to North Africa, of which Rommel and the Italian troops needed some five thousand tons a day. Hitler sadly reflected that if he could capture Gibraltar it would solve the whole problem with one blow, but without Spains consent this was impossible. As Rommels supply predicament worsened, Hitler angrily complained that the Wehrmacht commanders had not kept him informed of the situation ; but this was not true, for Raeder had predicted this since early July and had demanded that G–ring divert Luftwaffe units to safeguard the supply line to Tripoli. In September, Hitler had ordered the Tenth Air Corps to do so, but Jeschonnek had got him to change his mind by arguing that the Luftwaffe was barely capable of fulfilling its Barbarossa tasks as it was. In vain Raeder cabled Hitler that victory in Russia would hardly depend on whether or not thirty or forty aircraft were switched to the Mediterranean. Not until mid-October did Hitler tell Mussolini in a letter that G–ring would furnish Luftwaffe support, but by then the rot had set in.
At the end of the month he ordered the navy virtually to abandon the Battle of the Atlantic and switch its submarine force to the Mediterranean too. Italys tottering regime must be militarily buttressed at all costs. The food shortage and British bombing raids had badly impaired Italian morale. Hitler told Admiral Fricke on the twenty-seventh that the Italian royal family, the anti-Fascist elements, the freemasons, and the Vatican were all deeply opposed to the war. Let there be no mistakethe Fascist regime is not as secure as the German government. Any change of government in Italy would spell the end of the Fascist regime, and Italy would unquestionably cross into the enemy camp. Large sections of the Italian public were pro-British. The defection of Italy would moreover lead to the loss of France to the enemy as well, and hence the defection of Spain. The safeguarding of our Continental territory is now our first strategic commandment for the time being, Hitler ordered. Because of this, the active war against Britain must be abandoned : the Schwerpunkt (focus) of U-boat operations must be moved from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean ; he wanted twenty-four submarines stationed there as soon as possible. In vain Fricke argued that nowwith Russia on the verge of collapsewas no time to remove the noose from Britains neck, and that Italy must do more to escort the supply convoys to Tripoli herselfeither by sealing off the Straits of Sicily with minefields or by eliminating Malta.
In Hitlers view the risk to Italy, to the soft underbelly of Europe, was too real to let the rot in the Mediterranean go on.
1 Thus a renegade Russian major named Chumak wrote in a report in December 1942 (forwarded by Colonel Gehlen, the new head of Foreign Armies East, to his superiors): Take the Ukraine : for twenty-three years this nation had to bear the Jewish yoke without protest and in far greater degree than any other nation in Russia.... Yet even though all the Jews were shot between September 28 and October 1 , Kiev is now swarming with them again, and all of them have been issued Russian papers.
2 He began to suspect in August 1942.
3 When Hitler forbade the liquidation of Romes Jews.
4 On February 10, 1942, a foreign ministry official noted that since Barbarossa had acquired other territories suitable for a solution of the Jewish problem, the F¸hrer has accordingly decided that the Jews are to be deported not to Madagascar but to the east.
5 In March 1942 a memo was inserted in a Reich justice ministry file of correspondence with Lammerss Reich Chancellery to the effect that Hitler intended to postpone solution of the Jewish problem until after the war. The memo was catalogued as Item No. 4 on a Staff Evidence Analysis Sheet (Nuremberg document 4025-PS) when the file was first examined by Allied investigators at the Ministerial Collection Center in West Berlin in June 1946. It is now missing. Dr. Robert Kempner, the Nuremberg prosecutor who certified copies of those items produced as trial exhibits (US-923) in August 1946, evidently did not find this document.
6 Himmlers original note on his telephone conversations of November 30, 1941, appears as a facsimile illustration.
p. 318 On Russian winters, see the German air ministry summary dated September 22, 1941 (T77/32/0786 et seq.). After it was all overon November 10, 1942Field Marshal Milch told his staff that he and Albert Speer had just gone over the Russian meteorological records. Last winter [i.e., 1941-1942] was by no means abnormal, but by Russian standards a medium winter, as were the two previous winters.... Last winter was somewhat worse than the notorious winter of 1812 in October, November, and December. But afterward, when the French army [of Napoleon] had already been wiped out, in January, February, and March , that was just about the coldest there had ever been ; but not at the time Napoleon was on his retreat, that was still a medium winter (MD 17/3128).
p. 319 Weizs”cker (diary, September 30, 1941) had evidently hoped for a more definitive speech by Hitler. The Russian campaign has cost us only one tenth the casualties of World War I ; at its end there is to be a speech by the F¸hrer. Theme : We stand invincible astride this continent. For all we care the war can go on another thirty years. On October 5, Weizs”cker revised this. The F¸hrer made his speech yesterday, but only as an entracte, primarily for home consumption. The British can hardly have failed to notice the F¸hrers silent affection for them, which he still has today ; Japan got short shrift indeed.
p. 321 A tactical controversy surrounds the Vyazma-Bryansk encirclement operations. General Hoepners own comments, dated October 4, 1941, are in his papers (N51/2).
pp. 324-25 The journey reports written by Canaris and Lahousen in October 1941 are in CO file AL/1933 ; see also Lahousens interrogations, and the diaries of Halder, November 12-14, 1941, and especially of Bock, October 20 : A nightmare picture of tens of thousands of Russian prisoners of war, marching with hardly any guards toward Smolensk. Half dead from exhaustion and starvation, these pitiful souls trudge on.
p. 325 The quotation is from Colonel Erwin Lahousens journey report, October 23, 1941. In a further report on October 28, on his visit to Bocks HQ at Smolensk, Lahousen wrote : At the conference with his G-2 [intelligence officer], Tarbuk raised the shooting of Jews at Borissov [Bocks former HQ]. Seven thousand Jews had been liquidated there in the manner of tinned sardines. The scenes that had resulted were indescribableoften even the SD could not go on, and had to keep going by heavy consumption of alcohol (AL/1933). In the report of an armaments inspector in the Ukraine to the OKWs General Thomas, December 2, 1941, the active assistance of the Ukrainian militia in the mass killings of the Jews is also emphasized (3257-PS).
p. 326 Himmlers letter to Greiser, September 18, 1941, is in SS files (T175/54/8695). See also his letter to SS Brigadier Uebelh–r, the governor of Lodz, dated October 10 in the same file. The governor had protested that he had no room to accommodate the influx of Jews ; Himmler sharply rebuked him : It is in the Reichs interests that you accommodate the Jews, as it is the F¸hrers will that the Jews must be driven out from the west to east, step by step.
In addition to Hitlers adjutants (e.g., Below, Puttkamer, G¸nsche, Engel, Wolf) whom I interviewed or whose testimony is available, all the (non-Party) Reichstag stenographers who recorded all his war and staff conferences, however secret, after September 1942, were closely interrogated about Hitlers involvement in the Jewish atrocities. Among the private papers of the stenographer Ludwig Krieger I found a note dated December 13, 1945. In the F¸hrer conferences which I reported in shorthand there was never any mention of the atrocities against the Jews. For the present it must remain an unanswered question, whether Hitler himself issued specific orders ... or whether orders issued in generalized terms were executed by subordinates and sadists in this brutal and vile manner. Karl-Wilhelm Krause, Hitlers manservant from 1934 to 1943, believed the latter reason, explaining : Hitler lived in a world of his ownhe liked to believe good rather than evil of people. While Himmlers last adjutant, Werner Grothmann, whom I interviewed in 1970, felt it unlikely that the Reichsf¸hrer SS would have dared act on his own initiative, and Himmlers surviving brother Gebhardformerly a high civil servanttold me the same in 1968, the written testimony of Karl Wolff is persuasive (IfZ, ZS-317) ; Wolff, who was also Himmlers Chief of Staff, believes that Himmler desired, in some bizarre way, to perform great deeds for the Messiah of the next two thousand yearswithout having to involve his F¸hrer in them. Writing a confidential study on Hitler in his Nuremberg prison cell, Ribbentrop also exonerated him wholly. How things came to the destruction of the Jews, I just dont know. As to whether Himmler began it, or Hitler put up with it, I dont know. But that he ordered it I refuse to believe, because such an act would be wholly incompatible with the picture I always had of him. . . (Bavarian State Archives, Rep. 502 AXA 131).
p. 328 Weizs”cker summarized in his diary on October 21, 1941 : The peace compromise with Britain which we are ready to accept consists of this : the British Empire remains intact (woe, if India fell into other hands or chaos); in Europe of course Britain must stand back.... Britainwhich will shortly be ruled by Beaverbrookwill come to realize that Germanys mission is to organize Europe against the Mongol flood from the east and that Germany and Britain will eventually have to stand side by side against the U.S.A.
p. 330 For Eichmanns conferences right up to October 1941 on the Madagascar project, see the reportsand Dieter Wislicenys written testimonyin the IfZ collection F-71/8. Himmlers telephone notes are on film T84/95. Greisers letter of May 1, 1942 (page 330) is answered by Himmler on July 27, 1942, to the effect that he had no objections to liquidating with the utmost discretion the tens of thousands of incurable tuberculosis cases that were also burdening Greisers economy (NO-244). The February 1942 document quoted in my footnote on page 330 is Nuremberg document NG-5770 ; the original is in AA file Undersecretary of State, re Colonies, Serial 2554.
p. 330 Heydrichs letter to Himmler, October 19, 1941, is in SS files (T175/54/8645).
p. 332 In view of Himmlers note of November 30, 1941, I cannot accept the view of Dr. Kubovy, of the Jewish Document Center, Tel Aviv, expressed in La Terre RetrouvÈ on December 15, 1960, that there exists no document signed by Hitler, Himmler, or Heydrich speaking of the extermination of the Jews. Of equal evidentiary interest is Himmlers telephone call to Heydrich on April 20, 1942after a day with Hitleron which the Reichsf¸hrer noted : No annihilation of gypsies. Yet the gypsies were also deported en masse to the death camps by the SS.
p. 333 The quartermaster general, Eduard Wagner, referred to his meeting with Hitler in private letters ; there is more detail in Koeppens report. On January 10, 1942, Wagner frankly admitted to Etzdorf that he had been misled by the General Staffs assessment that the Russian campaign would end in October, which would have released rail capacity for the transportation of winter clothing. But the winter came a month earlier than usual ... On December 15 the troops had their winter clothing, but it could not cope with temperatures of minus 10 ƒF. and worse. On January 25, Keitel gave his OKW staff a similar explanation, and G–ring told Mussolini much the same three days later. Popular legendinspired after the war by the real culprits of the General Staffascribes to Hitler a categorical prohibition on preparing for a winter war in Russia. There is not even a hint of this in the contemporary records.
p. 334 There is information on Hitlers inspection of Wagners winter equipment display on November 1, 1941, in Bormanns diary, Wagners letters, and the testimony of Heinz von Gyldenfeldt, Baron Ulrich von Canstein, and Puttkamer.
p. 335 Raeders anxiety about the Mediterranean is mirrored in the naval staff war diary and in the diaries of Waldau and Weizs”cker. The latter believed (diary, October 30, 1941) : We ought to be hitting Britain in the heart [i.e., the Atlantic] and not on her limbs [Mediterranean]. What weve got now is a case of Not Only but Also. See also G–rings conference with Italians on October 2 (MD 65/7111 et seq.), Hitlers directives of October 29 and December 2, Jodls note of October 22 (Annex XIV to naval staff war diary Part C) and Commander Wolf Junges letter to the naval staff of November 3 (PG/33213), and above all Hitlers letter to Mussolini of October 16 and his conference with Admiral Fricke on October 27, 1941 (PG/31762e).