David Irving


“ Blue ”

In mid-1942 Hitler launched his rebuilt armies into “Operation Blue”—the summer campaign that he hoped would leave him master of all Europe as far as Astrakhan, Stalingrad, and Baku.  This was the big push that would indeed bring him to the Volga by September—and to the Caucasus Mountains, beyond which lay the Caspian Sea and the Middle East.  Yet great though the advances the Wehrmacht now made were, strategically the Soviet command remained the victor as autumn approached, for after Kharkov, which Hitler considered one of Stalin’s most costly errors, the Red Army was never again to allow the Germans to encircle them.  Each successive phase of “Blue” netted a smaller haul of prisoners and booty than the last.  The Russian commander Marshal Timoshenko no longer committed his forces to fixed pitched battles but instead withdrew and regrouped to the far side of the lengthening German left flank as the Sixth Army advanced on Stalingrad.

We shall see how through the stubbornness of his army generals like Bock and Hoth, and the persisting inadequacy of the army’s supply arrangements, Hitler was cheated of the ultimate autumn victory ;  his armies were never quite fast enough to catch up with, and scythe down, the withdrawing enemy.  And when the Red Army did stand and fight, it was on its own terms :  with winter drawing on and at the extreme limit of the German lines of supply.

Yet the summer operations started promisingly enough.  Emboldened by the victory at Kharkov, Hitler’s attention was attracted to the two Russian armies orphaned by the disaster—the one east of Izyum and the other, far larger, northeast of Kharkov.  He decided on a short postponement of “Blue,” the main summer campaign, while two preliminary battles (“Fridericus II” and “Wilhelm,” respectively) were fought to wipe out these tempting enemy concentrations.  He flew to Field Marshal von Bock’s headquarters at Poltava on June 1 and won his generals’ support, explaining that this was an opportunity they would be foolish not to seize while they could.  “What we defeat now can’t interfere with our later “Blue” offensive,” he said.  “Wilhelm” began nine days afterward, followed by “Fridericus II” on the twenty-second.  Meanwhile General von Manstein had begun the long-drawn-out final bombardment and assault on the Crimean fortress of Sevastopol.

“Blue” itself—originally scheduled for mid-June—was provisionally set down for the twenty-second.  In the interval Hitler ministered to his coalition.

On June 4, 1942, he made one of his very rare flights outside the Reich frontiers, to honor Finland’s Marshal Mannerheim on his seventy-fifth birthday.  In the dining car of Mannerheim’s special train, its broad windows overlooking the unique Finnish landscape and sunlit Lake Saimaa, Hitler was tempted by the polished and fertile speech of President Ryti to rise in reply himself.  While the local German envoy looked on disapprovingly, he delivered ex tempore a tactful speech on his difficult position during Finland’s 1940 winter war with Russia.  One witness, General Waldemar Erfurth, was so taken with the F¸hrer’s charm that he said that “there can be no doubt that on June 4, 1942, Hitler was in complete possession of his mental faculties.”  After Hitler’s four-engined Focke-Wulf took off again, a flattered Mannerheim commented, “He is phenomenal !” and his Chief of Staff agreed.

Two days later Hitler received Miklos von K·llay, the new Hungarian prime minister.  K·llay had brought a secret written undertaking from Horthy to bury the hatchet with Romania—but only until the war was over.  Thereafter the Hungarians desired “both the Lord God and the F¸hrer”—as Hitler laughingly put it the next day—to turn a blind eye on their fight with Romania.  It would be, K·llay ingeniously suggested, a struggle between Europe and Asia, since the Hungarian frontier was where the Orthodox ceased to hold sway.

Flying back from Finland, Hitler heard that Heydrich had died of his wounds.  In private he bitterly regretted the foolhardy bravado—riding in an open car—which had cost the life of such an irreplaceable man.  He ordered Heydrich’s name graven on the Party roll of honor ;  an SS regiment on the eastern front was named after him.  The state funeral was held in Berlin on June 9 in the Chancellery.  Czech president Emil H·cha and his government attended.  Six hundred of Germany’s leading men gathered behind Hitler to pay homage to the Gestapo chief most of them had inwardly feared.  Hitler used to call him “the man with iron nerves”;  according to his historical officer, Scheidt, Hitler was even grooming Heydrich to become his successor and had appointed him Acting Protector of Bohemia and Moravia in Baron von Neurath’s place in September 1941 as a first step in this direction.  In Prague, Heydrich had modeled himself on Hitler, eliminating the noisy intellectual opposition and winning the workers over.  He had introduced the first social security system they had ever known, and by the time of his assassination the first twenty workers’ convalescent homes had already been built.  On the day he died, fifty thousand Czech workers demonstrated against the British-inspired act in Prague.  As Siegfried’s “Funeral March” died away, Himmler spoke, recalling the day Heydrich had taken up the reins in Bohemia and Moravia :  “There were many in Germany, and many more among the Czechs, who thought the dreaded Heydrich was going to rule by blood and terror.”  But he had not, Himmler explained.  He had merely acted radically against the “unruly dissidents,” restoring respect for German rule and beginning his internal social reforms soon after.  Himmler—who had had cause enough to fear him in the past—spoke with evident emotion now that Heydrich was safely dead.  Hitler laid his wreath, and then Heydrich’s remains were borne in stately procession to east Berlin, to be buried at the Invalidenfriedhof cemetery along with those of Ernst Udet, Fritz Todt, and many of Hitler’s other friends.  All their tombs and monuments have vanished now.

Before President H·cha left Berlin, Hitler advised him to keep the Czechs in rein.  If there was any repetition of the anti-German outbreaks that had caused him to appoint Heydrich in September, he would seriously consider deporting all the Czechs from Bohemia and Moravia.  H·cha asked permission to warn his people of this grim prospect.  Hitler recommended that he do so.  At 11:10 P.M. the F¸hrer left for Bavaria.

The records show him fulfilling few engagements.  At the Osteria restaurant in Munich the next day he lunched with the architect Frau Gerdi Troost and Winifred Wagner’s family.  In Eva Braun’s album a couple of photographs dated June 14 show the F¸hrer and her walking their respective dogs on the Berghof terraces.  But the war conferences continued.

On the fifteenth, Admiral Raeder came up to the Berghof for one of his rare meetings with the F¸hrer ;  he was anxious to press the case for the attack on Malta and to obtain permission for the battle fleet in Norway to launch its most ambitious operation against the Arctic convoys yet-code-named “The Knight’s Move.”  Hitler’s enthusiasm for capturing Malta had long since waned, even though the parachute general Kurt Student spoke highly of the German and Italian paratroops he was training in southern Italy, and the Chief of Air Staff, General Jeschonnek, also strongly supported it.  German air raids on Malta had long dwindled, and the island’s air defenses were being reinforced with fresh aircraft, crews, and fuel.  In May, Student had briefed Hitler on British fortifications and defenses in Malta ;  to Hitler it seemed that more was known of the probable British tactics than the Italian.  Jodl’s naval staff officer had told the admiralty :  “The F¸hrer has little confidence in the operation’s success, as the Italians’ assault strength is wholly inadequate and the Italians don’t have the least idea of secrecy.  It seems to be a particularly difficult task, far tougher than Crete, which was difficult enough as it was.”  Hitler offered a string of specious arguments against invading Malta :  even if they succeeded, the Italians could not keep the island garrison supplied (to which the admiralty acidly pointed out that at present the far more difficult supply line to Rommel’s army in North Africa was still open).  Even more farfetched was Hitler’s claim that Malta served their strategy better in British hands, as its supply convoys then offered sitting targets in the antishipping war.  Admiral Raeder was at loggerheads with Hitler over other matters and unable to put his case—that the capture of Malta was the prerequisite for any advance on the Suez Canal—more strongly.  Hitler had allowed the “theoretical planning” for Malta to continue during May, but now, on June 15, he offered the admiral little hope.  On no account could the Axis run the risk of failure through Italian shortcomings again.  One suspects, however, that a different factor operated too—that Malta was British, and Hitler’s “soft” line toward Britain still prevailed ;  nothing must prejudice the chance of an Anglo-German settlement in the autumn, after “Blue” had brought Russia to her knees.

Over 200 submarines were now in or entering German service—a fruit of the prudent policy of conservation Hitler had enforced in 1940.  On May 1 there were 85 prowling the Atlantic alone, with 19 in the Mediterranean, 20 in northern waters, and over 100 fitting out in the Baltic.  The submarine admiral, D–nitz, had made a fine impression on Hitler at their last meeting in East Prussia in mid-May.  Hitler regretted not having devoted more shipyard capacity to submarine construction rather than to big warships—costly white elephants, rendered obsolete by the aircraft carrier and the airborne torpedo.  Capital ships, in Hitler’s eyes, served only a deterrent purpose, tying down enemy warships far from where the enemy would like to commit them.  For this reason he had at first been averse to the admiralty’s plan for “The Knight’s Move,” in which the entire German battle fleet in Norway—the Tirpitz, the Hipper, the L¸tzow, the Scheer, and a dozen destroyers—were to seek to wipe out the next Allied convoy, PQ. 17, bearing supplies to North Russia.  On no account must the Tirpitz go the way of the Bismarck.  But Raeder’s liaison officer assured him early in June that no risk would be involved at all, provided that the Reichsmarschall was ordered to give them Luftwaffe support and—above all—adequate aerial reconnaissance.  Given the right circumstances, the operation might annihilate the convoy down to its very last ship.  When Admiral Raeder left the Berghof on June 15, he had Hitler’s cautious permission to proceed—provided that Allied aircraft carriers in the vicinity had first been precisely located and bombed to a standstill.

On the Russian front, operation “Wilhelm” was over.  The enemy was tensely awaiting Hitler’s next move.  Intelligence agents reported that Stalin had held a two-day council of war in Moscow beginning on June 10 and that he had opted for a purely defensive strategy, regrouping along the Don and Volga and keeping the Germans out of the Caucasus.  It seemed clear that the Russians were no longer deceived by Kluge’s noisy preparations west of Moscow—indeed, on June 16 an Allied press agency in Moscow quoted German strategic designs for the summer at such length that it was obvious there was a leak in German security somewhere.  Hitler was perplexed and furious ;  Halder’s General Staff must be the culprit, he suspected.  Either somebody had been talking too much on the telephone, or just as had happened before the invasion of Poland, Norway, and the Low Countries—it was deliberate treason.(1)  History seemed to be repeating itself with a vengeance :  Hitler was infuriated to learn that the senior General Staff officer of a panzer division had crash-landed in no-man’s-land with the complete secret plans for the first stage of “Blue”—the tank thrust to the Don at Voronezh just as had happened in the notorious Mechelen affair in 1940.  His generals had apparently learned nothing from that incident.  He decided to make an example of them :  the staff officer involved this time was beyond punishment, having been killed by the Russians ;  but Hitler sacked all the officer’s superiors, including the corps commander.  Nor was Field Marshal von Bock spared a tongue-lashing when Hitler saw him the day after his return to the Wolf’s Lair.

Hitler himself signed a new order expanding the security rules he had laid down after the Mechelen incident.  “Security during the preparation of major operations is of particular importance because of the prime risk that operational orders falling into enemy hands might be exploited in time ;  this would jeopardize the entire success of the operation, or at the very least the negligence or disobedience of individual officers would be paid for in the blood of German soldiers.”  Not even the scrambler telephone was safe for discussing strategic plans, he warned.  Couriers were to be armed and provided with means for igniting secret documents.  No secret documents were to be carried by plane to headquarters forward of army level.  As it was, he hoped the Russians could not react fast enough, since “Blue” was due to begin before June was over ;  he coolly ordered the strategic plan to be left unchanged.

Toward midnight on June 21, Hitler’s train left Munich for Berlin.  Bock’s operation “Fridericus II” (east of Izyum) was to begin at 2:15 A.M.  Hitler’s thoughts must have gone back to that night twelve months earlier, when he had spent agonizing hours waiting for the onset of “Barbarossa.”  If it had not been for his stubborn army generals last summer, Russia would have long been defeated !

During the night, his train pulled into a station for twenty minutes.  The telephones were linked up—and there was joyous and totally unexpected news from North Africa :  the fortified port of Tobruk, which had withstood Rommel’s siege for eight months in 1941, had fallen in as many hours.  Thirty-three thousand British prisoners surrendered to the German and Italian troops, together with five generals and a vast quantity of tanks, guns, gasoline, and supplies.

Now Rommel must strike while the iron was still hot.  In Berlin there was a letter from Mussolini clearly stating the Italian view that Rommel must pause while “Hercules,” the assault on Malta, was launched.  But already Rommel was preparing to sweep eastward into Egypt.  He still had fifty tanks, and two hundred more were being repaired after the month’s battles.  Hitler cabled Rommel immediately, promoting him to field marshal.  He trusted him implicitly.  When Goebbels now referred at lunch to Rommel’s irrepressible popularity—along with Dietl, Rommel was the very personification of the ideal German soldier-type—Hitler enthusiastically agreed :  Rommel’s ability was above question.  For example, back in May Rommel had predicted every detail of this last offensive—even that the British would fall right into his trap by withdrawing into what might seem to them an ideal triangle of territory but which was actually one in which German 88s could shoot them to pieces.  Hitler told his staff that he would, if need be, telephone Mussolini to give Rommel a free hand by postponing “Hercules” until the end of August.  The message he then telegraphed to Rome was highflown and urgently persuasive ;  without even mentioning Malta, he described the victory wrought by the German and Italian divisions in Libya as a turning point in history.  Churchill’s Eighth Army was practically in shreds.  Since the British themselves had obligingly built a railroad from Tobruk almost as far as Egypt, a relentless pursuit must now follow.  He closed thus :  “The battle’s Goddess of Fortune draws nigh upon the commanders only once ;  he who does not grasp her at that moment will seldom come to grips with her again.”  Mussolini allowed himself to be persuaded.  “Hercules” was postponed until early September.  Late on June 23, Rommel’s Panzerarmee Afrika crossed into Egypt on a broad front.  Within a week he hoped to be in Cairo.

The Italian command and Field Marshal Kesselring, Hitler’s Commander in Chief South, watched Rommel’s eastward progress into Egypt with mounting apprehension.  Each mile lengthened his supply lines and shortened the enemy’s ;  each mile brought the enemy airfields in the Nile Delta closer.  Hitler remained optimistic.  Although Rommel had received barely three thousand tons of supplies for the entire army during June, Hitler saw Egypt already in his hands.  “Rommel must be given all the supplies he needs,” he announced at supper on June 28, when the news arrived that four enemy divisions were now encircled in the fortress of Marsa Matruh.  He agreed with Keitel’s prediction that “when the Germans captured Alexandria the entire British public would be thrown into a far greater rage than at the surrender of Singapore.”  It would stir them up against Churchill.  “Let’s hope that the American legation in Cairo continues to keep us so excellently informed of British military plans with its badly enciphered cables.”  To Hitler and his ministers it must have seemed that the British public’s morale was cracking ;  otherwise thirty-three thousand men could not have surrendered Tobruk with barely a fight.  After “Blue” was over in the autumn, an Anglo-German settlement seemed certain.

The British fleet evacuated the harbor at Alexandria and escaped to the Red Sea.  But the British army was preparing to hold out some sixty miles west of Alexandria, at El Alamein, and Field Marshal Rommel now had only seventy tanks and armored cars at his disposal.

“Operation Blue,” Hitler’s great summer offensive in Russia, had begun early on June 28, 1942.  German and Hungarian divisions commanded by General von Weichs punched through the Russian front and swept eastward toward the Don city of Voronezh.  Two days later General Paulus’s Sixth Army began an advance that was eventually to take it southward along the Don.  Hitler—encouraged by the evidence presented to him by Halder—believed the Russian reserves were all but exhausted ;  so sure was he of a swift collapse that he began thinking of taking two armored divisions from “Blue” for a later assault on Moscow.  Yet the auguries of impending disaster were there :  the army’s quartermaster general warned that their fuel would last them only until mid-September.  And the outcome of both “Wilhelm” and “Fridericus II” in terms of prisoners and booty was disappointing—a sign that the Russians had learned their lesson at Kharkov and a similar disaster on the Volkhov River far to the north ;  they were no longer rash enough to let themselves be encircled.  Hitler had anticipated an elastic strategy from Marshal Timoshenko, his Russian adversary in the south, but he hoped to thwart this by moving his tanks down the Don fast enough to prevent the enemy’s withdrawal beyond it.

Once again his generals thwarted this bold plan, though this time his own tongue-tied inability to speak forcefully to his top commanders—and especially those of the aristocracy—was to blame.  The General Staff had proposed gaining time by launching Phase II of “Blue” with infantry divisions alone, but Hitler and Bock maintained that only tanks could move south fast enough to prevent the enemy’s escape.  This did not prevent Bock from acquiescing in General Hoth’s armored drive toward Voronezh.  Remembering Dunkirk in 1940 and Leningrad in 1941, Hitler feared that Voronezh would swallow up his precious armor for days on end, and he expressed growing impatience as the days passed.  Keitel recognized all the familiar omens of trouble and begged him to fly out to Poltava in person and order Bock to leave the city alone.  At this stage the capture of the city was unimportant, provided the railways and aircraft factories could be destroyed.

Tactically this was right.  Hitler made the three-hour flight to Poltava, arriving at 7 A.M. on July 3 ;  but confronted by the granite-faced field marshal, he lost his tongue.  He became affable and friendly, joked about the way Churchill sacked every general who had a run of bad luck, explained why he did not fear an Allied Second Front, hedged about the risk that the Russians—who knew the German overall plan—might yet elude his armies, and assured Bock that the Red Army had sapped its last reserves.  Far from flatly forbidding Bock to take the city of Voronezh, he wrapped up his directives in a double negative so vague that as the F¸hrer was leaving Bock queried, “Am I right in understanding you as follows :  I am to capture Voronezh if it can be done easily or without bloodshed.  But I am not to get involved in heavy fighting for the city ?”  Hitler confirmed this with a silent nod.

Back at the Wolf’s Lair his courage returned to him.  As the days passed, it became more evident that neither Weichs nor Bock appreciated the urgency of making ground to the south.  He watched impatiently ;  the city was captured easily enough on July 6, but the two armored divisions there were immediately subjected to a fierce Russian counterattack.  As the unwanted battle for the city developed, precious time was being wasted.  He ordered the two divisions out and to the south, but now they had to await the arrival of supporting infantry ;  not until the eighth could they disengage themselves from Voronezh, and after one day’s southward progress their fuel ran out.  The army’s quartermaster general, Eduard Wagner, should have provided for this unexpectedly rapid offensive in his logistics, but he had not ;  at the Wolf’s Lair he unjustly laid the blame on Bock.  Two full days had been wasted by Voronezh.  Boiling with anger, Hitler could see the Russian forces slipping away.  Was this not the same Bock who had thwarted his grand designs in 1941 ?  And had not Bock—against his own staffs advice, as they had just told Schmundt at Poltava—argued for the purely defensive treatment of Kharkov in May ?  Bock was having a run of bad luck ;  Hitler discussed him with Keitel and Halder on July 13—and then sacked him.  He told Schmundt he still admired the man, but in the present crisis he could work only with generals who followed his directives to the letter.

The damage was already done, however.  Keitel later told Bock :  “For months afterward the F¸hrer kept harping on ‘those forty-eight hours lost at Voronezh’ as time wasted to catastrophic effect.”  When the first phase ended on July 8, Weichs had rounded up only 28,000 prisoners and 1,000 tanks ;  and the Sixth Army had accounted for only 45,000 prisoners and 200 tanks.  A week later, the second phase, an attempted encirclement of the enemy north of the Donets River, ended with the capture of Millerovo ;  this time there were only 14,000 prisoners.  In retrospect, it should have been clear at once that the majority of the Red Army had escaped.  But Hitler, ill-advised by his General Staff, evidently considered these low hauls further proof that the Red Army was on its last legs :  how else can we interpret his decisions during July 1942 to transport five divisions of the Eleventh Army from the Crimea to the far north, and to withdraw some of his finest units to the western front as well ?

Since the second half of June 1942 Hitler had felt insecure in the west.  On the twenty-first, the Third Air Force had brought back photographic reconnaissance Intelligence from southern England revealing nearly three thousand small craft assembled between Portsmouth and Portland, and numbers of unfamiliar craft drawn ashore at Southampton and Poole.  In occupied France the sabotage of railroads and cables was increasing.  Hitler had visions of massive paratroop and glider landings—cutting the vital rail and road links to prevent him moving up reserves when the main seaborne invasion started.  Halder suggested sending an armored division to the west ;  Hitler agreed, and ordered that three others already in reserve there should remain, together with the SS division “Das Reich” and the Seventh Air Division of paratroops.  On June 26 he decided that “if the Russian resistance during the coming operations should be less than expected,” the two SS divisions “Adolf Hitler Life Guards” and “Death’s Head” would also be transferred to the west.  Three days later he conferred with Rundstedt’s new Chief of Staff in the west, the bustling General Zeitzler, with Speer, and with the general in charge of engineering and fortifications, Alfred Jacob, on their western defenses.  He explained that in view of the enemy’s political obligations, a major Anglo-American invasion attempt was quite possible.  Having thrown the British out of the Continent once, he did not fear them ;  he told foreign diplomats he was relishing the chance of teaching the Americans a lesson too—his Waffen SS elite were just itching to get their hands on American troops.

With remarkable prescience, Hitler predicted in a directive of July 9 that the Allies would most probably invade either somewhere between Dieppe and Le Havre or in Normandy, as these coastal areas were within Allied fighter range and suitable for small-craft crossings.  “In the event of an Allied invasion I will proceed to the west and take command myself.”  Whether Hitler expected a full-scale Second Front soon is uncertain.  He believed that Churchill’s recent visit to Washington had been to advise against such an invasion until 1943 and that Stalin was consequently being advised to stave off defeat until then.(2)  There might still be a diversionary maneuver in the west, but it was unlikely.  On the other hand, desperate leaders might be driven to desperate remedies.  True, Rommel’s Egyptian offensive had been halted at El Alamein, but elsewhere the outlook was black for Britain.  On July 1, Manstein took Sevastopol and was promoted to field marshal.  In the Arctic German submarines and bombers sank twenty-four of the thirty-six Allied merchant ships bound for North Russia in convoy PQ. 17 ;  the Tirpitz and the battle fleet had not even had to go into action.  In the west, therefore, Churchill might find his hand forced over a Second Front—anything was possible.

At the daily war conferences, Hitler’s advisers were confident of victory in the east.  General Halder studiously curried Hitler’s favor.  An adjutant noted one day that July :  “The Chief of Staff is visibly at pains to sweeten the atmosphere.  Luckily for him the situation is obviously well under control.  Von Gyldenfeldt [a staff officer] and I are furious at the way he misses no opportunity of denigrating the former Commander in Chief [Brauchitsch] in his absence—and sometimes quite cleverly too—and tries to put the blame for all the previous decisions and ideas that were contrary to Hitler’s.  Today [Halder] said, ‘Mein F¸hrer, had the field marshal listened to you and me a bit more often, we would have been standing there or there by now.’ ”

In Hitler’s eyes the east was already a German empire.  On July 9 he discussed with Himmler the final plans for settling the South Tyroleans from Italy in the Crimea once the war was over.  On the sixteenth he told Himmler he had no intention of overtly annexing Transcaucasia to the German empire ;  it would suffice to put a guard on the oil fields and frontiers and leave a Resident-General to protect German interests in the “Free Caucasian Protectorates,” as they would be known.  On the twenty-third he instructed Bormann to issue to Reichsleiter Rosenberg broad guidelines for population control in the east :  the native population was to be kept down by encouraging abortion and contraceptive techniques ;  German standards of sanitation and public health would not be enforced (i.e., the natives were not to be immunized or vaccinated).  When Hitler learned that his troops had fathered over a million offspring with Russian women, he instructed Himmler to identify all the children concerned, select those that were racially promising, and “recover” them for Germany ;  if the mothers were also sound and racially acceptable, they could come too, otherwise they would not see their children again.  Still uneasy at the prospect that in later generations even the rejected offspring might “improve” the Russian bloodstock, Hitler ordered the widest distribution of contraceptives to his troops in the east forthwith.  As for education, Himmler told his police officials :  “I can only repeat what the F¸hrer has asked.  It is enough if, firstly, the children are taught the traffic signs at school so that they won’t run under our cars ;  secondly, they learn to count to twenty-five ;  and thirdly, they can write their names as well.  No more is necessary.”

With mounting public unrest over food rationing in Germany, Hitler also ordered a more ruthless exploitation of the occupied countries.  G–ring told the Gauleiters assembled in Berlin :  “Why should we hunger !  Let the people in the countries we occupy eat Cossack saddles !”  To Gauleiter Koch, his viceroy in the Ukraine, Hitler confirmed all Himmler had said.  People everywhere in Europe ate better than those in Germany, he felt.  It was setting back arms production ;  and if the bread ration was not increased, he foresaw political problems too.  Koch was made responsible for extracting at least three million tons of grain from the Ukraine forthwith ;  the Ukrainian people were racially “inferior”—they would find some other way to survive soon enough.

For the final heave on the eastern front Hitler transferred to a forward headquarters in the Ukraine, code-named “Werewolf,” at Vinnitsa.  At 8:15 A.M. on July 16 his entire staff flew in sixteen planes to the new site.  A secretary wrote soon after :  “The airfield was an imposing sight—with the great aircraft lined up ready to take off, their engines turning over, and the air filled with the deep roar of vibrating wings and wires until one after another they rolled down the runway and lifted into the air.”  Three hours later they touched down at Vinnitsa.  Krupp and Mercedes automobiles carried them along rustic lanes to the three-cornered copse concealing Werewolf—a summer camp of log cabins and wooden huts.  Here Hitler’s commandant feared only a Soviet paratroop attack, perhaps disguised in German uniforms, so the F¸hrer found none of the concrete bunkers characterizing the Wolfs Lair at Rastenburg.  But the cabins were damp, the climate was humid, and the site swarmed with deadly anopheles mosquitoes.

Each evening everybody had to swallow Atabrine, a bitter anti-malaria concoction against which the tongue rebelled.  The windows were screened with gauze, but still the mosquitoes got in.  At night it was icy cold.  By day Vinnitsa sweltered in the Ukrainian high summer.  Hitler detested the camp.  He suffered splitting headaches and could not think straight.  The newly creosoted wood gave off an acrid stench in the baking sun.  He easily found fault with everybody.  OKW diarist Greiner noted privately :  “The climate and heat here get the F¸hrer down.  He longs for his old bunker [at Rastenburg], which is a sure sign of where we’ll be quartered this winter.... By then our operations in the Caucasus will be virtually completed anyway.”

Throughout July 1942 Hitler based his command decisions on the assumption that the Red Army was on its last legs.  It was a fatally incorrect assumption, but there is no evidence whatever that General Halder advised him differently until August, and by then it was too late to undo the damage already done.  Soon, he felt, Rommel would be astride the Suez Canal ;  the old strategic vision of crossing the Caucasus Mountains and advancing southward through Georgia recurred to Hitler.  These would be the two arms of a pincer whereby he would conquer the Middle East.  He informed Albert Speer that in future the army’s supporting industry—manufacturing tanks and guns—would have equal priority with the Luftwaffe’s.  With Transcaucasia a German dominion, his oil nightmare would be banished.  Once he said, “If I cannot capture at least Maykop, I cannot fight on.”  If he could get the oil fields at both Maykop and Grozny, producing five million tons a year, and even more if his armies captured the Baku oil fields south of the Caucasus, then Stalin would have to concede defeat.  This was the reward at stake in August and September 1942.

There seemed sound evidence that the Russians were collapsing.  In front of Paulus’s Sixth Army the enemy was in full flight toward Stalingrad.  Mass Soviet desertions were reported by Kleist’s First Panzer Army.  The Russian command seemed to be losing control.  In a string of directives issued late in July, Hitler confidently asserted that the three-week campaign had thus far attained virtually all the targets he had set for the southern front.  The operations against Marshal Timoshenko had gone “far better and faster” than expected.  Hitler claimed :  “Only puny elements of Timoshenko’s armies have managed to escape encirclement and get south of the Don.”  Already he had divided Army Group South into two new army groups, A and B ;  to the former he had reluctantly appointed Field Marshal List, and to the latter, General Baron von Weichs.  These two groups would now diverge across the Don—List’s group, by far the weightier, to encircle the escaping Russians south of Rostov and then conquer the Caucasus and the Black Sea coast ;  and Weichs striking southeastward toward Stalingrad and the Volga.  If Stalingrad itself could not be overrun at once, it was important to reach the Volga south of that city, as Hitler was convinced that the river was Stalin’s main waterway from the oil fields to central Russia.  After Stalingrad, the armored divisions would roll down the Volga to Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea.

These directives—inspired by the belief that Timoshenko was finished—were already a momentous departure from his April 1942 directive for a phased campaign in the south, and Hitler went even further, ordering Field Marshal von K¸chler’s Army Group North to prepare a fresh assault on Leningrad in September, followed by an attempt at cutting the Murmansk railroad at Kandalaksha in the autumn.  Then Stalin would be deprived of both the Caucasian and the northern routes of Allied supplies.

Over the last week of July 1942, however, Hitler’s attention was drawn back to Stalingrad, to the capture of which he had assigned only one of the four German armies in the south, Paulus’s Sixth Army.  All the signs were that the enemy was preparing a last stand there, rather than on the Don.  The General Staff learned on July 15—and presumably told Hitler—of a high-level Moscow council of war two days before called by Molotov, Voroshilov, and General Boris Shaposhnikov, the Soviet Chief of Staff, with Allied representatives.  Shaposhnikov announced a strategic retreat to the Volga, to force the Germans to winter there.  “Counterattacks are to be attempted at two places, the first north of Orel and the second north of Voronezh.  Air force and armored troops will take part.  A diversionary thrust will be made at Kalinin.  Stalingrad, Novorossiisk [a Black Sea port], and the Caucasus are to be held.”

Nobody had foreseen that Stalin would voluntarily yield so much ground for a dubious strategic advantage, but the Intelligence certainly seemed confirmed by reconnaissance and other sources.  Rostov, far to the west, was captured after fierce fighting on July 23, but the enemy escaped, blowing up the bridges behind him.  Two days later the entire west bank of the Don was in German hands as far as Voronezh.  Hitler’s spearheads were about one hundred miles from Stalingrad.  In a directive on July 23, Hitler predicted that Timoshenko would reinforce his armies at Stalingrad from the Caucasus region and defend the city with great tenacity.  But again the German army’s supply organization broke down.  For days on end the Sixth Army’s tanks were stranded without gasoline ;  violent rainstorms were blamed for delaying the German supply columns (without, mysteriously, delaying the simultaneous Russian retreat).  Worse still, on July 25, Quartermaster General Wagner switched all logistics effort away from the Sixth Army to the Caucasus operation.  For the first (and only) time Hitler heard the voice of General von Weichs on the telephone, pleading for the decision to be reversed ;  Hitler overruled Wagner, but for ten days the Sixth Army was emasculated by this lack of fuel and ammunition, while the gloating Russian commanders had time to build a line of defense far to the west of Stalingrad.

In the stifling atmosphere of Hitler’s Ukrainian headquarters violent arguments broke out in the thin-walled wooden conference hut—Halder raging in private at this layman’s “grotesque” ignorance of strategy, and the F¸hrer retorting that Halder had repeatedly ignored his orders to transfer a panzer corps from the Rostov group to support the Sixth Army.  Uglier still was the enmity smoldering between Jodl’s staff Hitler’s military “think-tank”—and Halder’s General Staff.  “The General Staff is the last of the Masonic Lodges,” Hitler lamented.  “Unfortunately I forgot to dissolve it.”

His troops fought on.  On July 26, List’s army group swept across the Don for the attack on the Caucasus ;  it was supported by Richthofen’s Fourth Air Force.  Three days later the last railroad linking the Caucasus with central Russia was blown up by German tanks.

Now Hitler considered the Caucasus his for the taking, and he refocused his attention on the fighting west of Stalingrad.  Halder wrote the next day, July 30 :  “At the F¸hrer’s conference General Jodl took the floor and bombastically pronounced that the fate of the Caucasus will be decided at Stalingrad.”  This was what Halder had been arguing for a week himself.  It was decided to transfer the Fourth Panzer Army from List to Weichs at once.  In vain List protested when Halder phoned him that evening that the transfer would leave his left flank exposed ;  he pointed out that now his group too was suffering fuel delays, and he underlined the gamble they were taking by driving southward into the Caucasus with such a weak force, unprotected on its flank.  When he asked that at least the “Gross Deutschland” Division should not be transferred to France, Halder was equally adamant.  (Hitler had rhetorically asked him only a few days before :  “What is the use of victories in Russia if I lose western Europe?”)  In a directive signed by Halder the next day, the Fourth Panzer Army was ordered to the Stalingrad front.  Halder said that while the enemy could no longer move significant reinforcements up against List from the Russian interior, they must assume that “the enemy will concentrate all available strength on Stalingrad to keep the vital Volga artery open.”

Thus two German armies, each with less dependable allied forces in train, were assigned to each of Hitler’s southern strategic targets—Stalingrad and the Caucasus.  If the enemy’s reserves were finished, this was an adequate disposition ;  if they were not, it was not.

From the documents available it is clear that Hitler did not fear any serious risk of “losing western Europe” until 1943, but there were persistent rumors that something more immediate was in the air.  An Abwehr agent in British embassy circles in Madrid reported that Britain was assembling twenty-four hundred launches—calling them in from as far afield as Gibraltar, the Mediterranean, and West Africa—for a determined “invasion attempt” on the Channel or French Atlantic coast toward the end of August.  On July 18 a week of talks between Churchill and Roosevelt’s confidant, Harry Hopkins, began in London.  Two days later a batch of intercepted transatlantic telephone conversations was sent to Himmler—and no doubt Hitler—with an SS general’s comments :  “Although only code words are employed in these intercepted telephone conversations, I deduce the following :  today and tomorrow there must be a highly important meeting between the British and Americans.  This conference will probably determine where the Second Front is to be established and when.  The main people speaking are General Staff officers, ambassadors, and ministers.”(3)  On August 13 a highly trusted Abwehr agent in southern England reported that the invasion target would be the Channel port of Dieppe.

Hitler was confident he could thwart any immediate British adventures ;  of those that might be launched in 1943 he was less certain.  By mid-August he had 29 divisions in the west under Rundstedt’s command, including the “Hermann G–ring,” 2 parachute, 2 SS, and 4 panzer divisions ;  the crack infantry division “Gross Deutschland” was also transferring from the eastern front.  He had no fears for Norway so long as the nights were short ;  what might happen outside Europe did not concern him either.  But the more he studied the bulky military atlases his experts had compiled on the Channel and Atlantic coasts of France, Belgium, and Holland, the more apprehensive he became :  the maps and overlays spoke glibly of “field-type defenses” and used vague military jargon that he suspected concealed a multitude of weaknesses.  He sent out Walter Frentz, his staff movie cameraman, to tour the coastline and photograph what he could find.  The color photographs revealed that the whole coastline would be wide open to a determined Allied assault ;  what had already been built was useless—the very first wave of enemy bombers would pulverize the structures.  Mile after mile of coastline was bare of any fortification whatever.  He resolved to build an impregnable fortress line along the entire Atlantic coastline facing Britain.

Albert Speer and the military experts were summoned to the Werewolf headquarters on August 13 and informed of this decision.  Hitler lectured them in detail on his requirements for this “Atlantic Wall”:  it must be such that with an armed force of half a million troops the entire coastline could be defended ;  assuming 150,000 troops in reserve, the rest would man 15,000 bunkers.  A girdle of bunkers spaced at fifty-yard intervals would protect each of the ten most vital war bases ;  the rest would be spaced at hundred-yard intervals along the entire coast.  Cost was no obstacle.  “Our most costly substance is the German man.  The blood these fortifications will spare is worth the billions !”  Decoy sites, minefields, barbed-wire entanglements, and tank traps would complete the defense of western Europe.  The Wall was to be completed by the end of April 1943.  The submarine bases and naval gunsites were to get special treatment—walls and ceilings of twelve-foot-thick concrete capable of withstanding the heaviest bombs or naval gunfire.  Hitler wanted his troops able to sleep or perform their bodily functions undisturbed by the heaviest bombardment.  Heavy machine-guns, tanks, and antitank guns must all come under cover, for Hitler predicted that any invasion would begin with the saturation bombardment of the entire area.  “It is wisest to consider our own Luftwaffe so weak in the west as to be nonexistent,” Hitler warned.  The individual bunker design must take everything into account.  The Russians were not expected to initiate poison-gas war, but Hitler felt that the Americans probably would, and he suspected that they had developed a brand of gas capable of penetrating existing German gasmasks.  He therefore ordered that all bunkers must be gastight and have oxygen supplies on hand.  The Allies might use napalm bombs, so the bunkers must have steps and ledges to check the flow of blazing oil.  Each bigger bunker must have flame-throwing gear.  The whole Atlantic Wall must be so formidable that the enemy would think twice about even testing it ;  and when an invasion did begin, it would have to be in such strength that it would be no problem for Hitler to distinguish the real Schwerpunkt from any diversionary feints.

The Atlantic Wall’s purpose must be to prevent the enemy from even securing a foothold in western Europe.  It would take Hitler two or three days to rush reserves to the main landing zone, by which time the enemy could have landed up to three hundred thousand troops—once that foothold was granted them.  He predicted to his generals now, in August 1942, that the invasion proper would be preceded during the night by waves of parachute and glider sabotage troops with orders to disrupt the transport and signals systems and to disable headquarters units ;  next would come wave after wave of heavy bombers, saturation-bombing the invasion defenses.  The invasion would follow at dawn, with three or four thousand landing craft and total enemy air superiority.  But by 1943 the Atlantic Wall he had envisaged would be a match for all that.  Of course, as he told a Balkan diplomat on August 14, those mad British might venture something before then.  “If only soldiers had the say in Britain, this operation they are peddling around as their ‘Second Front’ would not take place.  But as lunatics like that drunkard Churchill, and Maccabeans and numskulls like that brilliantined dandy Eden, are at the tiller, we have to be prepared for just about anything !”

What occurred just five days later was indeed a baffling coup de thÈ’tre by the British :  two brigades of Canadian troops were landed with thirty tanks and British commando detachments on either side of Dieppe.  Within less than nine hours the raid had ended in a complete debacle.  The Germans, alerted by the chance meeting of a coastal convoy with the raiding force, wiped out the entire force.  The British lost a destroyer, 33 landing craft, over 100 planes, and 4,000 troops, of whom 1,179 lay dead on the beaches or the few yards they had penetrated along the promenade.  As the minute-by-minute reports from the Luftwaffe and army flooded into Hitler’s headquarters in the Ukraine he was unperturbed ;  Rundstedt’s radio message at 6:15 P.M. that no armed Englishman was left ashore provoked the barest flicker of a smile.  Hitler sent his chief interpreter, Paul Schmidt, to question the prisoners.  Schmidt wrote a few days later :  “Militarily speaking, Dieppe was a total fiasco for the British.  They ran slap into an ambush on the beaches and nothing worked out for them.  The troops probably fought as well as ever, but their top commanders must be frightful.  One prisoner bluntly told me :  ‘The men who ordered this raid and those who organized it are criminals and deserve to be shot for mass murder !’ ”  Yet all the prisoners thought highly of Churchill, despite his blunders ;  he was the only leader capable of pulling Britain through the war, they felt.

Politically, Churchill’s Dieppe decision was inept.  Apparently—as the captured maps and 121-page British operation orders revealed—all this bloodshed and military effort had been squandered only in order to destroy Dieppe harbor and some guns and radar sites ;  Stalin’s chagrin at the failure was obvious.  Hitler was nonplussed that Churchill had even dispensed with paratroops :  had these landed in the rear and fought off the reserves, Dieppe might have ended very differently.  He was encouraged by the appalling quality of the new British “Sten” gun and of the Churchill tanks and equipment the enemy had obligingly ferried across and left on permanent display on the beaches and promenade of Dieppe.  But he knew the real invasion would be different.  For political reasons he ordered the OKW to proclaim that Dieppe was the Second Front ;  but in September, secretly addressing his western commanders, he predicted that in the real invasion the enemy would rely far more on air power.  “We must realize that we are not alone in learning a lesson from Dieppe.  The British have also learned.  We must reckon with a totally different mode of attack—and at quite a different place.”  The Atlantic Wall would now play a vital role.  “If nothing happens in the west next year, we have won the war.”(4)

He considered his personal impressions of the western enemy as largely confirmed.  British morale was evidently as brittle as the low-grade steel of the tanks stranded on the beaches.  The sophistication of the Canadian assault troops was minimal.  One had never heard of Roosevelt ;  another, asked if he knew of any Germans, replied, “Yes, General Rommel and Lili Marlene.”  Few even of the officers believed in a British victory now, Schmidt reported.

True, the Allies had no cause for complacency.  In mid-August a Mediterranean relief convoy bound for Malta had met with a disaster even more crippling than PQ.17.  Only five of the heavily escorted tankers and merchantmen reached harbor :  in three days the Germans had sunk the aircraft carrier Eagle, badly damaged the carrier Indomitable, and sunk the cruiser Manchester, and the Italians had sunk the cruiser Cairo and torpedoed the cruisers Nigeria and Kenya as well.

In the Far East, British and American possessions were falling into Japanese hands.  Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Java, and Sumatra ;  after the monsoon season, late in September, the Japanese might attack Ceylon and India too.  Yet the basic weakness of the Axis was becoming clear :  not only could Hitler and Ribbentrop not agree on their policy toward Japan, but the Japanese showed no inclination to pursue a joint military strategy.  Ribbentrop wanted Japan to strike northward into Russia and counseled Ambassador Oshima to that effect.  But Hitler rebuked his foreign minister and pointed out that this was just what Churchill wanted, as it would take Japanese pressure off Australia and India.  Halder and the naval staff both shared this view :  Japan must shift her naval effort to the western Indian Ocean, at the expense of her ambitions in the Pacific.

The Japanese kept their own counsel, while Hitler, on the other hand, apprised Tokyo of even those most secret plans he dared not impart to the talkative Italians, and he also entrusted all Germany’s military inventions and techniques to Japan ;  he received nothing in return.  Late in July 1942 the General Staff noted with resignation that nothing was known even to the F¸hrer of Japan’s actual intentions ;  and when joint staff talks between General Jodl and a Japanese mission were held on August 5, the latter flatly rejected all the German advice.  “You must not demand too much of Japan,” the Japanese said.

1 Some months later an extensive espionage network centering on a Luftwaffe staff officer was uncovered.

2 This may have been deduced from the intercepted radiotelephone traffic between London and Washington (see page 407).  Hitler mentioned “Churchill himself as proof.”  His belief was confirmed by General Franco, who had it from a reliable agent that Churchill’s main purpose in Washington that June had been to convert Roosevelt to a position opposing Stalin’s demand for a Second Front in 1942.  Churchill had, reported Franco, warned that on no account must such an invasion fail—it might be the beginning of the end.

3 On July 24, 1942, the London conference approved Britain’s proposal for an invasion of Northwest Africa, “Gymnast”—shortly rechristened “Torch”—rather than the American plan to invade Cherbourg or Brest—“Sledgehammer.”
        The archives are silent on just what the intercepted conversations revealed.  Others, less revealing, between Churchill and a Mr. Butcher in Washington on July 22, and between General Mark Clark, General Snyder, etc., were returned by Hitler to Himmler and are in his files.

4 This unpublished speech of September 29, 1942, is referred to at greater length below, page 428.  Captain S.W. Roskill, the British official historian, suggests in The War at Sea, Vol. II, page 251, that the Germans drew the wrong conclusions from Dieppe.  This was certainly not true of Hitler.


p. 400   Baron von Weis”cker was less optimistic—in a private letter to his mother on June 28, 1942—than others “here” that there would be peace talks as early as that autumn ;  but he hoped that by the following spring both Germany and Britain would have realized that they were bashing each other’s brains out to the good of other continents.  He thought a settlement might then be reached along these lines :  restoration of the status quo in the west, and a free hand for Germany in the east.  In his diary on June 24 he referred to “test-attempts,” e.g. by the British consul-general Cable in Zurich and (far plainer) by the British air attachÈ George in Ankara, as being symptomatic of the dilemma of the British—some of whom must be asking themselves the classic cui bono question, as the bloody duel between Britain and Germany progressed.

p. 400   The evidence on Russian reserves as submitted by Halder to Hitler is plain enough :  e.g. he referred on June 25, 1942, to “fresh proof that the enemy lacks reserves” (war diary, OKW historical division);  and on July 6 Halder noted in his diary that while the F¸hrer expected Timoshenko to adopt an “elastic” defence, Halder adhered to his view that the Red Army had been overestimated and completely destroyed by operation “Blue.”  I am aware of Colonel Gehlen’s regular Intelligence reports to Halder, which spoke a very different language about the Red Army’s potential growth ;  but there is no indication whatever that Halder forwarded these unpalatable warnings to Hitler.  On June 28, 1942, Gehlen assessed Stalin’s current strength at 375 rifle divisions, 26 cavalry divisions, and 68 tank divisions and brigades ;  he did not believe that “Blue” would dispose of all the 160 divisions confronting Army Group South (Bock).  Even if one hundred—or upward of 700,000 men—were destroyed, the Russians would still have some 350 rifle divisions, taking those to be raised in the coming winter into account, plus corresponding numbers of cavalry and tank divisions by early 1943.  This was hardly the “military collapse” Halder prophesied.  In retrospect Field Marshal von Bock wrote on March 1, 1943 (diary) ;  “From all the various accounts it is pretty plain to me that just as in the winter of 1941—the collapse of the Russians was expected by us at top level, we split up our forces having overestimated our success, and finally ended up too weak everywhere.”

p. 400   On the Voronezh controversy, and Hitler’s flight to Poltava, I used the diaries of Bock, Halder, and the commandant of the F¸hrer’s HQ.  Bock’s diary, incidentally, establishes that in Halder’s view Voronezh should be fully captured first—a view he amended on July 5 when he realized the damage that the delay was inflicting on the main thrust south.  By the time Halder published his diaries he characteristically claimed in a footnote (Vol. III, page 471) that he had recommended that Hitler leave Voronezh alone !  Not so.

p. 401   On the reasons for Bock’s dismissal, see his diary entries for October 10, December 4 and 9, 1942, and January 3, March 22 and 26, 1943 ;  also the unpublished memoirs of Weichs, commanding the Second Army (N19/10);  the naval staff war diary, July 17, 1942, and Hitler’s remarks at the war conference on December 12, 1942 (Heiber, page 84).

p. 402   The invasion force assembling in southern England is reported by the Commander in Chief.  West in the OKW historical division’s war diary, June 23 ;  in Hanns Ranter’s letter to Himmler, June 25 (T175/122/7940);  in the naval staff war diary, annexes C, Vol. X (PG/32201), and the war diary of the Admiral Commanding France, June 26, 1942.

p. 403   Hitler’s policies for colonizing Russia are outlined in Himmler’s letters to Gauleiter Alfred Frauenfeld, July 10, 1942 (NO-2417) and to Schellenberg, July 17 (T175/55/9345);  in Canaris’s diary, August 10 (AL/1933);  in Bormann’s letter to Rosenberg, July 23 (T175/194/4061 et seq.);  and in a memo on a Rovno conference August 26-28, 1942, in Etzdorl’s AA file, Serial 1247.

p. 403-404   Himmler quoted Hitler’s remarks on education in a secret speech on September 16, 1942 (T175/103/4970 et seq.).  Two days previously he had a telephone conversation with Bormann about “illegitimate children in Russia.”

On the food problem, see G–ring’s conference with the Gauleiters on August 6 (ND, USSR-170);  Etzdorfs memo of August 7 ;  G–ring’s personal assistant’s notes for F¸hrer conferences dated July 24, 27, and 29, and August 11 (Microfilm T84/8);  and Hassell’s diary, September 4, 1942.

p. 404   Halder’s confident advice to Hitler on Russian reserves is indisputable ;  as late as August 24, 1942, for example, he believed they would not need the Eleventh Army in the south (vide Manstein, pages 291 et seq.).  Halder’s postwar protestations that he had warned Hitler cannot therefore refer to this period.  (“The proof I submitted each day at the war conference ... he took as a personal insult.”  And “My calm, sober arguments on the enemy’s reserves position resulted in hysterical outbursts of anger.”  Thus he is quoted by Peter Bor in Gespr”che mit Halder, page 226.)

p. 405   In the Luftwaffe General von Richthofen’s diary, July 19, 1942, is entered the first impatient criticism of what he regarded as the army’s lethargic tempo.  “The armies aren’t going to attack Nikolevskaya for two more days—by which time the Russians will have bolted ! ... F¸hrer ordered the day before yesterday that everything destined for the attack on Rostov (from north and northeast) is to be united under Kleist’s command. ... But even by today this order still hasn’t reached the armies !”  Richthofen was particularly unsympathetic to the “aging and doubtless weary” General Hoth.

p. 406   General von Weichs wrote in his manuscript memoirs :  “I felt obliged to telephone Hitler myself to demand aid for my army, and fast.  But I ran into unexpected difficulties :  Hitler obviously couldn’t use the telephone correctly.  Normally his speech was fast and fluent, but on the phone he stuttered, or paused so long that it was by no means certain he was still there.  Moreover his stuttering was very hard to understand on the phone.  Even my Intelligence officer, who had been listening in, couldn’t tell me afterward what Hitler’s actual answers had been.  So that was the first and last telephone conversation I ever had with Hitler.”  (General Engel’s “diary” must therefore be mistaken in referring to another conversation on November 19, 1942.)

p. 407   Halder’s revealing telephone conversation with List on July 30, 1942, is in the war diary of Army Group A.  His signal to Army Groups A and B next day transferring the Fourth Panzer Army (with its two German and one Romanian panzer corps) to the Stalingrad front is in Vol. II of the published OKW war diary, page 1285.  In a 1964 footnote to his own diaries (page 494) Halder disowns the signal, and suggests it was sent “on Hitler’s instructions”;  but the diary clearly reveals—as of course does Halder’s conversation with List—that he shared Hitler’s appreciation of the situation.

p. 407   Samples of the intercepted Churchill telephone conversations shown to Hitler are on film T175/122/7449 et seq.;  that of July 22 was recorded on “Reel 599”—which gives a hint as to the volume of the intercepted traffic, as one on July 13 is on “Reel 553” and one on July 14 is on “Reel 562.”  Penciled marginal notes indicate that SS General Karl Wolff showed them to the F¸hrer.

p. 408   The same Abwehr agent who reported the Dieppe raid also correctly warned of the November 1942 invasion and of a heavy air raid due on Berlin (naval staff war diary, October 31, 1942, and March 15, 1943).  Of curiosity value is the British interrogation on March 7, 1943, of a Luftwaffe lieutenant, operations officer of a KG.26 torpedo-bomber squadron ;  he described how four days before the Dieppe raid a “war game” had been held at Luftflotte 3 HQ, Versailles, to plan the defense of Dieppe.  “On August 17 all squadron and flight commanders of units on the western front were summoned to a conference at the HQ of director of air operations, Atlantic, General [Ulrich] Kessler at Angers, where they were told that we [the British] were planning an attack on Dieppe.”—ADI(K) Report, 114/1943.  From Rundstedt’s postaction report of September 3, 1942 (T312/505/ 9435 et seq.) it seems most unlikely that the Luftwaffe passed its prior information on to the army.

p. 408   For Hitler’s Atlantic Wall conferences of August 2 and 13, 1942, see General Alfred Jacob’s record on film T78/317/1594 et seq. and ibid., 1090 et seq.;  and PG/32201, and the naval staff war diary, August 6, 11, 13, 17, and 21.  Halder’s diary, August 15, shows the spirit in which the OKH embarked on the new fortifications.  “General Jacob :  F¸hrer’s new demands for permanent improvement of western coastal fortifications (impossible demands !)”

p. 409   In describing the Dieppe debacle I have used the war diaries of the Ninth Air Corps, the naval staff, and its special file, “Enemy Landing at Dieppe” (annexes, Part C, Vol. IIb);  the diary of Koller (Third Air Force), and Junge’s memoirs.  On August 20, 1942, Admiral Theodor Krancke was able to report to Raeder from Werewolf :  “The enemy landing at Dieppe has been contemplated with extreme calmness at F¸hrer HQ.”

p. 409   Paul Schmidt’s remark is quoted from his letter to one “Jasper,” September 6, 1942 (AA Serial 1993);  his interrogation report is in Serial 67, pages 47914 et seq.

p. 410   The quotation is from Hitler’s secret speech to commanders on September 29, 1942 (a record taken by the First Army, in its war diary, annexes, T312/23/9706 et seq.)

p. 411   The OKW records of the joint German-Japanese staff talks will be found in naval archives (war diary, annexes, Part C, Vol. XV);  they are invaluable surveys of German long-term strategy and planning.