David Irving


The Black Spot for Halder

Once before, in July 1918, German troops had invaded the Caucasus.  The Turks had caved in the Russian front and marched into Transcaucasia, and the Germans had followed from across the Black Sea ;  then too the Ukraine had been in German hands.  The analogy between then and now, the late summer of 1942, was close indeed !  But if in 1918 the Germans had needed the oil only for their military machine, in 1942 they needed it for the Ukraine too.  Hundreds of thousands of useless tractors littered the collective farms, unable to sow or harvest until once more the oil of Baku began to reach them.  The projected eight million tons of Ukranian grain for Europe would remain a dream unless Hitler could get to Baku.

Between his armies and Baku stood the Caucasus—seven hundred miles of untamed, jagged mountains capped by an eighteen-thousand-foot extinct volcano, Elborus.  Flanked at one end by the Black Sea and at the other by the Caspian Sea, these mountains had throughout history proved a sure barrier to military ambitions.  The Alps had repeatedly been crossed, from the time of Hannibal down through that of the medieval German emperors.  Not so the Caucasus :  the Mongol invaders, Timur, the Seldshuks and Osmans, had all skirted around its eastern end ;  Islam had to take to the Caspian in its northward crusade ;  so did Peter the Great when he invaded northern Persia.  The Caucasus itself was impregnable.  The German occupation forces had held its passes with a solitary company of riflemen in 1918.

Hitler had long ago decided to set a historic precedent.  Field Marshal von List’s army group had been directed to cross the mountains to the Black Sea coast so that the Russian navy there would be finally eliminated.  The F¸hrer was unimpressed by the obstacles.  At one war conference G–ring leaned over the maps, tapped the mountain range with his sausage fingers laden with glittering rings, and coolly announced, “There is not all that much difference between the Caucasus and Berlin’s Grunewald !”

From now on, however, the campaign in Russia suffered from the faulty planning and Intelligence of the summer.  Hitler’s armored divisions outpaced their supply lines and came to a halt ;  they relied on one solitary low-capacity railroad running eastward from the Donets Basin, but this ended far short of the battlefields and there was not enough truck transport to bridge the gaps.  Oil and gasoline were available, but they were at the wrong places.  In the center and northern front, guerrilla warfare behind the German lines increased, and Hitler had to sign a special directive on uniform countermeasures.  Ill-advised by Halder and army Intelligence throughout the summer on Stalin’s remaining reserves, Hitler had committed his armies to too many campaigns on too many fronts, leaving the uncertain divisions of his allies to guard the flanks.  But these allies—Romanian, Hungarian, and Italian—were low in morale and inadequately equipped, and out of thin air the enemy was producing fresh divisions all along the front.  Hitler had no reserves to meet this unexpected situation.  A tug-of-war developed over every German division temporarily withdrawn from the battlefields.  Meanwhile the Russian generals captured in the fighting just smiled faintly when interrogated about the forces still at Stalin’s disposal :  “You are in for the surprise of your lives !”

Hitler was determined not to be surprised.  The Russians would unquestionably first strike at the Hungarian and Italian armies on the Don ;  several times during August he asked Halder to back up the Hungarians with German artillery and antitank defenses, and on the sixteenth he shrewdly prophesied that Stalin might repeat the 1920 ploy used against the White Russian army—attacking across the Don at Serafimovich and striking toward Rostov.  The Italian Eighth Army would probably collapse, and the entire southern front would then be threatened.  Repeatedly throughout August Hitler ordered Halder to shift the 22nd Panzer Division from the Stalingrad fighting to an area behind the Italian army.  Halder paid no heed ;  there is no reference to Hitler’s order in Halder’s diary or in the records of the army group concerned.  History was to show that Hitler’s fears were well founded.

Russia’s strength was anything but exhausted.  On August 2, Halder’s chief of eastern Intelligence, Colonel Gehlen, had indicated that in July alone Stalin had produced 54 new infantry divisions and 56 new armored divisions.  Halder sent all Gehlen’s figures to Hitler the next day, frankly admitting that earlier Intelligence figures had been underestimations ;  but he added that the enemy had achieved this feat only by employing far more female labor than had Germany, and he suggested that since Stalin could now fall back only on eighteen-year-olds for recruits they need expect only 30 more divisions to be raised at most.  In addition, once Stalin had raised these divisions he would still have to solve the problem of equipping and arming them.  In July the Red Army had lost 3,900 tanks, and since they were importing only 400 and manufacturing less than 1,000 a month, sooner or later their tank supply would be exhausted.  But even Halder’s forced optimism evaporated two weeks later.  Gehlen’s new figures now gave Stalin the equivalent of 593 divisions, of which an awe-inspiring number was being held in reserve.  Hitler pathetically clung to his earlier information—his entire strategy in Russia had been based on it.  As the truth finally dawned on him, his anger at Halder and the army’s generals increased.  He nevertheless insisted that Gehlen must have been duped by the Russians.  According to Halder, Hitler foamed :  “I, the head of the greatest industrial nation—I, assisted by the greatest genius of all time,” referring to Albert Speer, “I, whose drive makes the whole world tremble, I sweat and toil to produce just six hundred tanks a month.  And you are telling me that Stalin makes a thousand !”  But it was too late to turn back now.  Hitler’s only hope lay in depriving the Russians of the economic basis for continued defense.

That basis lay in the Caucasus.

On August 9, General Ruoff’s command had captured Krasnodar, and Kleist’s tanks rolled through Maykop ;  but the oil fields were in ruins.  Hitler called on Field Marshal List to strike through the mountains to the ports of Tuapse and Sukhumi as rapidly as possible, thus depriving the Russian fleet of its last sanctuaries and enabling the German army to ferry supplies to the Caucasus by sea.  But only one road crossed the mountains, that from Armavir through Maykop to Tuapse.  The Fourth Air Force were optimistic still.  But on August 11 the OKW Intelligence chief, Canaris, visiting Hitler’s headquarters, wrote in his diary :  “Keitel more candid than usual this time, does not share Richthofen’s optimism.  He does not doubt that the Russians will try to hold the western Caucasus and in particular block the road from Armavir to Tuapse.”  Six days later Kleist’s armor reached the eastern end of the mountain ridge, where it was stalled by stiffening enemy resistance and air attacks.  The Russians had marshaled over three thousand planes in this theater, including trainers and Lend-Lease aircraft.  Time was running out for Hitler.  Seized by uncertainty, he sent one after another of Jodl’s officers to investigate on the spot and spur the army generals on.  He suspected them of frittering away their strength in the Caucasian Highlands instead of building up their main thrusts to Tuapse and Sukhumi.  Speer has testified to Hitler’s cold fury on August 21 when List’s mountaineers proudly announced that they had scaled the Elborus and raised the swastika from its peak.  Army cameramen had filmed the dramatic scene.  Hitler raged that his army’s ambition should be to defeat the Russians, rather than conquer mountains.  Jodl—a Bavarian and mountaineer like List himself—defended the field marshal and for the first time Hitler rounded on Jodl too.  He fumed at List in particular and at the army’s leaders in general, storming at their “arrogance, incorrigibility, and sheer inability to grasp fundamentals.”  By the end of August, List’s offensive had petered out—defeated by impassable roads, wrecked suspension bridges, dense fog, and driving rain and snow.

To the northeast, Weichs’s Stalingrad offensive was faring better, despite the oppressive heat of high summer in the arid steppes.  General Hoth’s Fourth Panzer Army, plagued by fuel and ammunition shortages and nonexistent roads, halted just south of the city.  But on August 23, Paulus’s Sixth Army covered forty miles, and at 4 P.M. one of his corps commanders reached the Volga at a point just north of the city.  With 88-millimeter guns the first Soviet ships were sent to the bottom of the Volga before night fell, but here too the Red Army’s resistance was stiffening.

Hitler had no reserves left.  Since early August fierce Russian attacks had gnawed at the marrow of Field Marshal von Kluge’s Army Group Center.  Hitler had ordered him to erase a Russian salient at Sukhinichi—one hundred fifty miles southwest of Moscow—left over from the winter crisis ;  this attack, “Whirlwind,” would create the platform for a possible later attack on Moscow itself.  Russian spoiling attacks on General Walther Model’s Ninth Army at Rzhev and Subtsoff left Hitler unconcerned.  Perhaps he hoped to repeat his Kharkov victory.(1)  When Kluge appealed for permission to cancel “Whirlwind” and use the five hundred tanks to save the Ninth Army instead, Hitler would not hear of it.  Provided the armored divisions held their thrust tightly together, like a rapier lunging toward Sukhinichi, “Whirlwind” was bound to succeed.  Kluge stomped out of Werewolf saying, “Then you, mein F¸hrer, must take the responsibility !”

The attack began on August 11, in difficult terrain—heavily fortified, marshy forests alternating with treacherous minefields.  Kluge allowed the divisions to splay out ;  their casualties were horrifying.  Halder remained optimistic of success ;  General Adolf Heusinger—chief of his operations staff roundly disagreed.  The attack failed.

Again summoned to Werewolf on August 22, Kluge was rebuked by a disappointed Hitler and instructed to recast “Whirlwind” as a purely holding operation.  This first major setback of 1942 vexed Hitler deeply.  Four months later he complained, “Our worst mistake this year was that attack on Sukhinichi.  It was a copybook example of how not to stage an attack.  They attacked in just about every direction that they could, instead of holding it tightly and narrowly together and thrusting rapidly through with the five armored divisions.  We had some five hundred tanks committed to the attack on Sukhinichi.  And what did they do ?—Splattered them all over the place :  that was a ‘famous victory’!”

Model’s Ninth Army at Rzhev began bleeding to death.  Hitler injected the “Gross Deutschland” Division into its rump, but at a stormy war conference at noon on August 24, Halder demanded permission for Model to retreat, as his army’s casualties could not be sustained.  One regiment had lost eight commanders in a week.  The army was in danger of burning itself out.

Hitler’s hatred of the General Staff boiled over.  Perhaps it was the insufferable heat ;  perhaps it was Halder’s dry, monotonous voice, or his perpetual sneer, or the Mafia-like cluster of staff officers around him.  More likely it was the parallel with the winter Moscow crisis that suddenly reminded Hitler that Halder was a reactionary relic of the Brauchitsch era.  “You always seem to make the same suggestion—retreat !” he rebuked the general.  This idea had to be stamped out in the army, once and for all, he stormed.  If Model complained that the reinforcements being sent him were useless, then he must be made to realize that the Russian reinforcements were even more so.  Hitler ended his furious tirade by saying, “I must demand the same toughness from my commanders as from my troops.”  For the first time, Halder lost his temper.  “I am still tough, mein F¸hrer.  But out there our fine riflemen and lieutenants are dying by the thousand just because their commanders are denied the only possible decision—their hands are tied.”  To everybody’s embarrassment Hitler interrupted him with a calculated injury :  “What, Herr Halder—you who were as chairbound in the Great War as in this—what do you think you can teach me about the troops !  You, who haven’t even got a wound stripe on your uniform !”—and he pounded the black stripe on his own chest.

Halder visited Hitler in private afterward and tried to reason with him :  it was a crime against German blood to set tasks to sons of German mothers that were downright impossible.  Hitler accused him of turning soft and of losing his nerve now that the troops were beginning to suffer casualties again.

Field Marshal von Manstein, the conqueror of Sevastopol, had been among the hushed and embarrassed witnesses of Hitler’s outburst against Halder.  Manstein had arrived from the Crimea, en route to the north where his Eleventh Army was slated to launch the final assault on Leningrad in September.

Beleaguered since September 1941, Leningrad was the key to the fighting both in the Baltic and in Finland.  Until it was destroyed, Hitler could not release his divisions there to strengthen General Dietl’s army in Lapland, where the enemy might at any time seize the only nickel mines under German control ;  neither Jodl nor Dietl thought either side could secure strategic victories in such formidable terrain, but Hitler disagreed.  Were he Stalin or Churchill, he would risk anything to knock out those nickel mines :  within a few months no more German tanks or shells could be produced.  In late July he had directed the army to storm Leningrad early in September.  For this operation, “Northern Lights,” he promised Field Marshal Georg von K¸chler, the commander of Army Group North, a veritable orchestra of artillery unparalleled since Verdun—nearly a thousand guns marshaled around the city’s flat outskirts to pave the way for the infantry assault by “sheer brute force.”  Among the siege artillery was the 8oo-millimeter “Dora,” a colossal weapon with only forty-six rounds of ammunition left over from Sevastopol ;  there were two 600-millimeter, two 420-millimeter, and six 400-millimeter howitzers as well.  On August 8, K¸chler had told Hitler that he hoped to finish off Leningrad by the end of October, but Jodl interjected that this was too long ;  “Northern Lights,” he noted, was not an end in itself so much as a preparation for the campaign in Lapland.  At Jodl’s suggestion, Hitler brought in Manstein to direct the assault on Leningrad, since K¸chler appeared to lack the necessary impetus.

The trainloads of artillery arriving from the Crimea had not passed undetected by the enemy.  By late August the outlying population was flocking into Leningrad, until perhaps a million refugees were there.  Stern measures of defense had been prepared, including the preparation of demolition charges around the biggest buildings.  The German navy eagerly awaited the day when it could take over the huge shipyards, and it begged Hitler to avoid damaging them.

Hitler feared that the Russians would spoil the attack by striking first at the narrow German salient west of Lake Ladoga—a vulnerable bottleneck of German troops which sealed off Leningrad by land ;  the Russians only kept the city alive by hazardous shipments across the lake itself.  Throughout August, Hitler had anxiously ordered Halder to ensure that the Eighteenth Army had enough tanks and artillery to defend the bottleneck without draining away the strength Manstein’s Eleventh Army would need for “Northern Lights.”  Halder, apparently bent on documenting his disapproval of Hitler’s leadership by petty obstructionism, at first refused the demands then bluntly disobeyed them.

On August 23, Hitler told K¸chler he was putting Manstein in charge.  Together they pored over the air photographs of the city.  Hitler was apprehensive about house-to-house fighting breaking out in this endless maze of streets and buildings.  As K¸chler pointed out, when the assault began, hundreds of thousands of workers would down tools, reach for their rifles, and stream into the trench fortifications.  Only days of terror-bombardment, directed against the factories, munitions works, Party buildings, and control posts would prevent this.  (Manstein later told K¸chler he did not believe, from his experiences with Sevastopol, that the Russians could be terrorized by bombardment.)  Hitler feared a more fundamental danger—that Stalin would attack the bottleneck first.  He knew that the first nine Tiger tanks were on their way from Germany.  “I would set up the first Tigers behind the front line there,” he told K¸chler.  “Then nothing can go wrong.  They are unassailable.  They can smash any enemy tank onslaught.”  Hitler decided that Manstein should launch “Northern Lights” on September 14, after Richthofen had spent three days softening up the city with his bomber squadrons.  With Richthofen at Stalingrad, Hitler told Jeschonnek, that battle was already 100 percent won ;  with Richthofen at Leningrad, the odds on victory would rise to 150 percent.

Manstein was less hopeful, and on August 24 he told Hitler as much—particularly if the Finns would not attack Leningrad simultaneously from the north.  On August 27 the Russians struck just where Hitler had feared, at the vulnerable bottleneck.  Deep wounds were riven in General Georg Lindemann’s Eighteenth Army here, and the Eleventh Army had to divert its strength to his support.  The attack on Leningrad receded ever further into the future.  The much vaunted Tiger tanks were a disappointment.

And all the time the thermometer at Hitler’s headquarters camp continued to rise as the Ukrainian sun beat down.  The ground was rock-hard, the grass had turned brown and dry, the trees and shrubs were grimy with dust, and clouds of dust hung in choking layers over every road.  “Much though we long for rain and cool weather,” wrote the OKW diarist Greiner from Werewolf on August 31, “we dread them too because then it rains in torrents and every lane will become a quagmire within minutes and the humid heat here is said to be particularly grim.  In the forest camp we can just about bear the heat, but we mustn’t try to leave the forest shade.”  As he ended the letter the first rain began to beat down on the wooden roof, and steam rose from the undergrowth.

In Egypt weeks of enforced inactivity had blunted the edge of Rommel’s offensive.  Ahead of his German and Italian divisions lay Montgomery’s Alamein line—a forty-mile-long swath of minefields powerfully defended by tanks and aircraft.

With the revival of Malta, after a British convoy had reached the island in June, the supplies getting to Rommel had dwindled to a trickle.  Hitler’s instinctive dropping of the “Hercules” plan to invade the island now cost the Germans dear.  As the water drought had tormented the British defenders at Hacheim in June, now in July and August the lack of gasoline tortured Rommel.  In June and July his aircraft had flown twelve thousand sorties.  But by early August he was down to his last few hundred tons of gasoline.  Under cover of increasing air supremacy, the British attacks began.  The first signs of panic were seen in the Italian divisions.  The Germans had to regroup to plug the gaps, and every mile of desert cost Rommel more precious gasoline.  The enemy’s fighter bombers roamed the desert almost unimpeded.  Jodl’s deputy, Warlimont, flew out to North Africa at the end of July to see for himself ;  he reported vividly to Hitler on the plight of Rommel, who was confronting an enemy growing stronger each day on the ground and in the air.  Hitler impatiently swung around on G–ring :  “D’you hear that, G–ring !  Saturation bombing raids in mid-desert !”

It was not even as though Hitler intended to stay in the Mediterranean.  This was Italy’s Lebensraum in his view ;  Germany had no title to it—indeed, not only was its climate wrong for the Germanic races, but the south had always been a source of mischief in German history.  He was already thinking of turning Crete over to Mussolini.  The Italians were not slow to stake a formal claim to the island on the pretext that Rommel’s coming offensive in Egypt would make a strong Italian contingent unavoidable.  Admiral Raeder demurred, since the naval staff wanted Crete retained to strengthen Germany’s postwar hand in the south.  Jodl’s staff proposed to filibuster against the Italian claim ;  but Hitler adhered to his doctrinaire attitude, favoring Mussolini.  Anti-Italian feeling ran high among the Germans, particularly since the Italian comando supremo favored its own contingent in North Africa with three times the volume of supplies that was provided to the Germans, although there were nearly a hundred thousand German troops there compared with only forty-eight thousand Italians !  When Rommel launched his long-prepared assault at El Alamein on August 30, the enemy outnumbered him so heavily, and his oil reserves were so low, that by September 3 his Panzer Army Africa was back where it had started.

Raeder and the naval staff warned insistently that this was a turning point in the war.  The army refused to agree.  Halder believed that Rommel would demonstrate his superior leadership and seize the initiative as soon as the British launched their own offensive, “presumably next spring”;  Jodl also persuaded Hitler that the Egyptian offensive had not failed, as the enemy would scarcely succeed in penetrating Rommel’s Alamein position.  Therefore no steps were taken to restore Germany’s lost air supremacy in Africa.  Hitler was convinced that no harm could come to the Axis there—and certainly not in 1942.

It was autumn.  In the fine oak forests around Hitler’s headquarters the scent was unmistakable.  The fields had been harvested, the sunflowers had been laid out to dry on the roofs, and bulging watermelons—used here only as cattle fodder—lay everywhere ;  the poppies were blackening, the ears of corn yellowing, and summer was truly over.  Hitler did not know it, but ahead of him lay only an unbroken succession of defeats, withdrawals, and disappointments.

He was already preparing for a long war.  He had postponed the capture of Baku until 1943.  He harried his subordinates into speeding up construction of the Atlantic Wall.  He turned a baleful eye on partisan activity in Holland and Denmark.  He ordered Kluge to speed the construction of a rear line of defense along the central eastern front.  When General von Weichs arrived at Werewolf in mid-September, Hitler also ordered him to build a defensive line north of Stalingrad as soon as it had been captured and the armies were pressing on to Astrakhan.

Tantalizing and provocative, Stalingrad seemed to Hitler and his field commanders as good as theirs—there lay the rub.  Hitler told Halder he wanted the virulently Communist city’s entire male population “disposed of” and the women transported away.  Paulus’s troops were already fighting in the outskirts, from house to house and street to street.  Each day, Richthofen’s bombers were pouring a thousand tons of bombs into the Russian positions ;  Richthofen himself—tough and dynamic—was personally supervising the operations from a fighter airfield ten miles west of Stalingrad.  But ground conditions were truly appalling.  A two-mile-high pall of choking dust lay over the battlefields.  Progress was slow.  Richthofen voiced biting criticism of the field commanders Paulus and Hoth, claiming that with more spirit they could have taken Stalingrad in two days.  He himself had found difficulty in spotting any enemy at all, while from his plane he had seen German troops bathing in the river instead of fighting.

In the Caucasus, Field Marshal Wilhelm List fared little better.  His mountain divisions were at a virtual standstill in the narrow passes—still twenty miles and more from the Black Sea coast.  Hitler’s army adjutant, Major Gerhard Engel, returned with a vivid description of the mountain terrain.  There were only four mule paths across the mountains, and the modern and highly mechanized German divisions could scarcely make use of them in their attempt to reach the sea.  Hitler was impatient at List’s slow progress.  Jodl courageously defended the army group’s achievements and pointed out that it was a consequence of the F¸hrer’s own orders for “Barbarossa” that the mountain divisions had neglected their specialized equipment and were thus now little more than glorified infantry divisions ;  Hitler claimed he had ordered their proper fitting out as mountain divisions before “Blue” began, in July, but Jodl replied that Hitler’s memory was at fault.  It was symptomatic of the deteriorating situation that even these two men were falling out with each other.  Previously, the OKW’s outstanding chief of operations had schooled himself to accept Hitler’s orders implicitly ;  once Jodl had explained to Halder that he always remembered what his grandmother had told his mother on her wedding day :  “In matrimony the husband is always right !  And if he says, ‘The water’s running uphill today’ my answer is, ‘Yuh, Yuh, it’s up there already !’ ”

At the end of August, Hitler had summoned List to headquarters.  Faced with the conservative, powerfully religious field marshal, Hitler’s tongue again clove to the roof of his mouth.  He swallowed all his private dislikes—his complaint that List had prevented the SS tanks from breaking into Rostov, his anger at the Elborus flag-planting incident, his impatience over the lengthy delay in ferrying the Romanians across from the Crimea, and List’s general insubordination.  He engaged List in affable conversation, lunched privately with him, then sent him back to the Caucasus.  Once the field marshal had left, Hitler criticized the way he had arrived armed only with a 1:1,000,000 map of southern Russia without any of his forces shown on it—although standing orders prohibited taking strategic maps on plane journeys.  To Hitler, List seemed hopelessly “at sea.”  List for his part did not elaborate on the formidable mountain terrain barring his advance to the coast.  Meanwhile, two of Jodl’s officers sent to investigate the delays in the crossing of the Strait of Kerch had scored some success in getting things moving ;  two days later the crossing was successfully accomplished, and a slow advance along the coast road itself began.  Hitler failed to see why the crossing could not have been made a month before, as he had directed in July ;  did none of his commanders appreciate the urgency of their campaigns ?  From Hitler’s mood his adjutants guessed that a storm was about to break.

His antipathy toward General Halder, the Chief of General Staff, still smoldered.  He complained in private of Halder’s animosity and negative attitude.  “With Jodl I know where I am.  He says what he thinks.  But Halder just stands there like somebody with a guilty conscience.”  He could not abide specialists ;  his verdict on the Halder type was summed up in a bon mot coined in happier times—“A specialist is a man who explains to me precisely why something can not be done !”  Halder had done nothing to wed the army to National Socialism.  To Hitler’s staff it was plain that the general had been passed the Black Spot ;  thus Halder was now treated as though he had an infectious disease.  In his absence, there were debates at the war conferences on who ought to succeed him.  Hitler observed that he really needed an old-fashioned “quartermaster,” a man of drive and imagination, and he recalled that Kleist’s panzer army had had such a Chief of Staff in Kurt Zeitzler.  G–ring’s imminent arrival was announced, and his liaison officer General Karl Bodenschatz slipped out to meet him.  When the Reichsmarschall entered the hut he announced portentously, “Mein F¸hrer, I have been racking my brains all night on a successor for Halder.  What about General Zeitzler ?”  This was characteristic of the way the G–ring-Bodenschatz team worked.  Jodl spoke out on Halder’s behalf in the days that followed.  Together with General Scherff, Hitler’s court historian, he drafted a memorandum proving that Halder’s staff had only been following Hitler’s own orders in the weeks before the impasse in the Caucasus.  But Hitler—tormented by the heat, the rows, and the realization that victory in Russia was finally slipping from his grasp—was already beyond reason.

The storm broke on September 7.  Jodl himself had flown out to Stalino to confer with List and his mountain corps commander General Konrad, a close friend of Jodl’s since they had been cadets together in Bavaria.  He returned to Vinnitsa that evening and reported to Hitler in private, giving a horrendous picture of the conditions in the Caucasus.  The Fourth Mountain Division was being asked to advance on the Georgian coastal towns of Gudauta and Sukhumi along a mountain path over sixty miles long.  All its supplies would have to be carried by mule, of which nearly two thousand were still needed.  The Russians would only have to demolish all the bridges.  The simultaneous advance on Tuapse, the port farther west, would be incomplete before winter set in.  The generals felt there was no alternative to withdrawing from these Caucasus passes and concentrating on the “road” to Tuapse.

Jodl courageously quoted these views to Hitler.  It provoked a furious scene.  Hitler ranted that Jodl had been sent down there to get the offensive moving again ;  instead, he had allowed his insubordinate Bavarian comrades to hoodwink him.  (“All generals lie,” was Hitler’s favorite watchword.)  The F¸hrer said that not since the notorious Hentsch affair in World War I had an army been so betrayed.(2)  He ended the conference and stalked out, refusing for the first time to shake hands with Keitel and Jodl as he went—a snub he persisted in until the end of January 1943.  And whereas at midday he had entertained his staff and guests—Milch, Speer, and Koch—at luncheon, as he had done regularly since May 1940, he announced that he proposed to dine alone in his own quarters from now on.  He left them in no doubt of his mistrust of them.

The real cause of Hitler’s anger remains a matter for conjecture.  His subsequent actions give some clues.  After supper he sent for Julius Schaub, his personal majordomo ;  the crippled minion hobbled in, and Hitler asked him to arrange for a “Wehrmacht hut” to be erected nearby.  Then he sent for Bormann and asked him to provide teams of stenographers to record every word spoken at the war conferences ;  the stenographers were to be housed in the Wehrmacht hut.  Never again would Jodl or anybody else be able to put words into his mouth.  Evidently Jodl had tactlessly suggested that it was Hitler’s own directives, faithfully complied with, that had caused the Caucasus stalemate, for Hitler now also demanded to see every scrap of paper referring to the command of List’s army group.  Jodl could have kicked himself for such an elementary faux pas.  His own rule had always been that the dictator’s reputation for infallibility must remain immaculate ;  the blame must always be laid upon insubordinates, for they were many—never placed on Hitler, for he was only one.

The clean sweep began at once.  Over the next days Hitler contemplated replacing Keitel with Kesselring ;  he told Jodl he could not work with him any longer either and proposed replacing him with Paulus as soon as the general had taken Stalingrad.  On September 9, the day the first Reichstag stenographers flew in from Berlin, he repeated his intention of ridding himself of Halder, as the general’s nerves were evidently not equal to the strain.  That afternoon he sent Keitel to drop the necessary hint to Halder.  Keitel was also to tell Halder that Field Marshal List’s resignation was required.  For the time being he, Hitler, would command Army Group A in the Caucasus—the ultimate in anomalies, for he was after all Commander in Chief of the Army and Supreme Commander of the Wehrmacht as well.  Keitel took the news to List in person.

List resigned that same evening, but Halder seems to have believed the ax would not fall on him as well.  After all, Jodl continued in office and so did Keitel.  But with Jodl the situation was different :  Hitler still warmed toward him ;  his balding pate was a familiar sight across the map table, and above all he was loyal—apart, of course, from the one lapse about the blame for the Caucasus stalemate.  Jodl commented to his own deputy, “The F¸hrer will have to cast around a long time to find a better army general than me, and a more convinced National Socialist !”  So he stayed on, while Hitler treated him with silent contempt for many weeks.  Meanwhile the war conferences no longer took place in Jodl’s map room but in his own quarters.  They were conducted in monosyllabic brevity by an angry F¸hrer while relays of stenographers recorded every word and interjection.

Under Martin Bormann’s supervision the first three stenographers were sworn in on September 12 and a second batch two days later.  The verbatim record of proceedings in the Wehrmacht hut came to some five hundred pages a day, every page checked and doublechecked by Hitler’s adjutants and then locked away.  “When we win a battle, my field marshals take the credit,” Hitler explained.  “When there’s a failure, they point at me.”  He could trust nobody—but the SS.  After the stenographers had been sworn in, he turned to SS aide Richard Schulze, promoted him to Personal Adjutant, and ordered him to sit in on every military meeting, no matter how confidential.  The towering SS captain became a familiar sight.

Two years later Hitler, in conversation with a medical specialist, revealed a further motive for introducing the stenographers.  The doctor mentioned that Kaiser Wilhelm II had suffered an ear complaint similar to Hitler’s and inquired whether the F¸hrer had ever read J.D. Chamier’s biography of the Kaiser ;  Hitler had, and admitted that English though the author was the Kaiser had emerged well—perhaps better than he deserved.  The doctor’s note of this conversation continues :

Hitler then said that a foreigner probably finds it easier to pass judgment on a statesman, provided that he is familiar with the country, its people, language, and archives.  “Presumably Chamier didn’t know the Kaiser personally, as he was still relatively young,” I said.  “However, his book not only shows a precise knowledge of the archives and papers, but relies on what are after all many personal items like the Kaiser’s letters and written memoranda of conversations with friends and enemies.  Of course in the Kaiser’s time ideas were communicated far more frequently in writing than nowadays when we have the telephone, telegraph, aircraft, and car.”  Hitler then said that for some time now he has gone over to having all important discussions and military conferences recorded for posterity by shorthand writers.  And perhaps one day after he is dead and buried an objective Englishman will come and give him the same kind of objective treatment.  The present generation neither can nor will.

By mid-September 1942 the General Staff had reverted to the comforting theme that the Russians were finished—their lack of strategic reserves demonstrated by their urgent transfer of divisions from along the front to the Leningrad and Stalingrad crisis areas.  Hitler optimistically spoke to Weichs and Paulus of future campaigns and of the capture of Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea.  On September 13 the systematic assault on Stalingrad began.  The next day even Richthofen believed the Russians were flagging.  In his private diary Weizs”cker quoted his friend General Halder thus :  “He says that above all he’s leaving his post without worries for the army.  The Russians are too far weakened to be the danger to us they were last winter.  The weak spot is Africa.”  (Halder hated Rommel.)

But now the Russians began a heroic struggle for Stalingrad, contesting every street, every ruined building, and every yard of the battered city.  Throughout late September Hitler’s anxiety about the Don front, defended only by his poorly armed and unenthusiastic allies, mounted.  Halder still had not executed Hitler’s order for the 22nd Panzer Division to be placed in reserve behind the vulnerable Italian Eighth Army on the Don.  On September 16, Hitler again ordered the transfer.  Was it inertia or pigheadedness on Halder’s part ?  Hitler, seething over the gradual stagnation of the summer offensive, suspected the former.  It was time for Halder—who had identified himself so closely with Hitler’s military ambitions and cast of thought in the first months after Brauchitsch’s dismissal—to be ejected from the war machine like a spent cartridge case.  On September 17, Hitler finally resolved to appoint the bustling General Zeitzler in his place ;  he turned down Keitel’s suggestion that either Manstein or Paulus would be better, and he sent Schmundt, his chief adjutant, to Paris the next day accompanied by General G¸nther Blumentritt, who was to replace Zeitzler as Rundstedt’s Chief of Staff.

It was late on September 23 before Schmundt arrived back at Hitler’s Ukrainian headquarters, bringing a puzzled—and still unenlightened—Zeitzler with him.  An hour after midnight Hitler had him fetched from the guest house, and launched into an impassioned monologue on List and Halder—the latter was “more of a professor than a soldier.”  When the red-faced Zeitzler tried uncomfortably to defend his chief, Hitler cut him short, rose to his feet, and announced that Zeitzler was to replace Halder forthwith.  “I hereby promote you to full general.”  Thus at forty-seven Zeitzler was one of the army’s youngest three-star generals and suddenly catapulted into the highest post of the army’s General Staff.  A rotund, florid, jovial soldier—known throughout the army as “Thunderball” because of his dynamic years as Chief of Staff to General von Kleist—he provided a change from Halder that could hardly have been more dramatic.

Halder attended his last frosty war conference the next midday.  Afterward Hitler took leave of him, while Keitel and the stenographers stood by ;  he rebuked the general for losing his nerve and for lacking the kind of fanatical idealism that Moltke had displayed on behalf of the monarchy.  When Major Engel, the army adjutant, collected Halder outside the door the general was still weeping—as another general put it, Halder had been kicked out like a dog caught piddling on the carpet.  A victory mood reigned among the OKW officials, who rejoiced at the disgrace Hitler had inflicted on the General Staff.  Schmundt proclaimed that the last barrier had fallen ;  the “spirit of Zossen” would now be stamped out, and the German army steeped through and through in the true spirit of National Socialism.

The new Chief of Staff was certainly more closely aligned with the Party than Halder, but he was by no means complaisant.  Keitel accordingly warned him :  “Never contradict the F¸hrer.  Never remind him that once he may have thought differently about something.  Never tell him that subsequent events have proved you right and him wrong.  Never report on casualties to him—you have to spare the nerves of this man.”  But Zeitzler retorted, “If a man starts a war he must have the nerve to hear the consequences.”  Court historian Scherff shared Keitel’s view.  Once he told an army general that there had been errors, but it would be harmful to draw the F¸hrer’s attention to them as he might then lose faith in his “instinctive touch”;  it was the overall picture that mattered.

Hitler tolerated Zeitzler’s robustness willingly at first.  He hoped Zeitzler would succeed in remolding the General Staff, and he even drafted two orders for Zeitzler to deal with first :  the one dispensing with the older army commanders—some of them were over sixty—and the other scrapping the traditional redstriped trousers and insignia of the General Staff.  Zeitzler refused to inaugurate his office with such radical decrees.  The traditions of the General Staff could not be disposed of at a stroke, even by an absolute dictator.  Yet there was sound reasoning behind the desire for younger commanders—as the successes of Rommel, Model, Paulus, and Dietl, all in their early fifties, showed.  In a third decree, Hitler subjected the personnel decisions of the General Staff to the Army Personnel Branch instead of to the Chief of Staff, and he also made his own chief adjutant, General Schmundt, head of that branch—thus for the first time acquiring absolute control over all senior army appointments.  The brazen “freemasonry” of General Staff officers must lose its monopoly within the army.  Hitler ordered :

a)  There is only one officer corps.  The best officers are to be given additional training to equip them for early entry to high front-line commands ;
b)  There is to be no limit on the number selected for training....

In this way a tidal wave of youthful, active frontline commanders, equipped with the skills of the General Staff, promoted in leaps and bounds while still at the peak of their mental and physical abilities, would flood new life into the weary outer reaches of the German army.  Halder’s replacement by a general eleven years his junior was therefore just the forerunner of a much more fundamental revolution.

Hitler’s aversion to the professional staff officer found further justification late in September :  the Gestapo pounced on a Communist espionage ring extending across western Europe, one of whose principals was a staff officer attached to the air ministry.  They had transmitted to their Russian paymasters details of Hitler’s headquarters, his planned offensive in the Caucasus, and exaggerated statistics on German aircraft production and much else.  The shortwave radios were distributed by the Soviet embassy in Berlin just before “Barbarossa” began, and they were serviced by a young Communist, Hans Coppi, aided by the Countess Brockdorf-Rantzau.  The leading figure was Dr. Arvid Harnack, a civil servant in the economics ministry.  The spy ring was a polyglot mixture of nobility and plebs, although Hitler scornfully observed that not one German worker had chosen to identify himself with them—the 117 members finally rounded up were either “warped intellectuals” like Lieutenant Harro Schulze-Boysen of the air Intelligence staff, who fancied himself as the defense minister in a Red Germany, or small fry trapped into betraying their country for sexual or monetary favors.

The first trials began some months later.  The American-born Frau Mildred Harnack, was sentenced to six years’ jail, the countess to ten years’;  the rest were to be hanged—a mode of execution stipulated by Hitler as befitting this offense ;  he also demanded a retrial of the two women, and they were eventually hanged.

The summer of 1942 was over ;  as Hitler flew back to Berlin on September 27, the first autumn thunderstorms were drenching the capital.  A mood of melancholy gripped the people—tired of waiting for the word that Stalingrad had fallen.  The Reich press chief had already ordered the printing of special editions, but the event itself was thereby brought no closer.  In bloody house-to-house fighting Paulus’s troops stormed factory after factory, captured the waterworks, the South Station, and almost all the Volga River bank ;  the swastika had been hoisted above Communist party headquarters.  Hitler was optimistic but failed to inspire even his most dedicated followers with the same hope.

Domestic morale was sagging :  the British night-bombing raids on city centers were proving more than the fighter and antiaircraft defenses could handle.  He ordered the Luftwaffe to build flak towers in Munich, Vienna, Linz, and Nuremberg—the fear that these cities might be laid waste was a “constant nightmare,” he told his staff.  During September heavy raids were made on Bremen, Duisburg, D¸sseldorf, and Munich.  On other nights isolated aircraft sent millions of city dwellers and factory workers to shelters and basements for hours on end.  The Luftwaffe, itself in a period of technical innovation, had neither long-range strategic bombers nor high-speed fighter-bombers comparable with those of the enemy ;  the four-engined Heinkel 177 was a failure, plagued by engine failures and still totally unfit for squadron service, and the much-vaunted Messerschmitt 210 fighter-bomber had had to be scrapped outright earlier in 1942.  Its outstanding successor, the Messerschmitt 410, had only just made its first flight.  Hitler understood nothing about aircraft and had confidently left the Luftwaffe’s future in G–ring’s hands.  He began to suspect that his confidence had been misplaced.  Increasingly he turned to the Chief of Air Staff, the youthful General Jeschonnek, for advice, excluding the pained and pompous Reichsmarschall G–ring ;  or he discussed Luftwaffe policies with the eminently more capable Number Two, Field Marshal Milch, and the Reich’s economic affairs with the munitions minister, Albert Speer, or with Goebbels.

To Goebbels he admitted that he was glad Munich had been bombed—he even found perverse relief in the damage to his own apartment there.  The bombing would do the dour Bavarians good.  The citizens had turned their backs on the war to such degree that he was pleased the British had drawn their attention to it again.  Standing with Goebbels in the Chancellery galleries, where prewar Berlin had seen such spectacular gatherings, Hitler spoke of his longing for peace, which would enable him to return to these elegant surroundings with an easy conscience.  Goebbels found him lively and good-tempered ;  the F¸hrer had just addressed twelve thousand young officers and been fortified in spirit and resolution by the experience.  Hitler confided that despite the winter, once Stalingrad had fallen he expected to fight on southward through the Caucasus, as the climate there would permit the campaign to continue.  By early 1943 he hoped the huge power station at Zaporozh’ye would be working again, and then the mines and quarries of the Donets would begin producing for Germany.

In one respect Hitler still seemed too indulgent to Goebbels ;  the propaganda minister pointed out that in every offensive they lacked that final 10 percent of effort that decided between failure and outright success.  The German public was awaiting a command for the total mobilization of its resources.  Germany was confronted by a totalitarian state wholly committed to the war, while she herself was permitting useless expenditure of effort on, for example, gilding the trappings of Hans Frank’s palaces in Poland.  Hitler, inexplicably, still hesitated to proclaim a Total War, and thus the precious months were squandered.

Anxiety about the western defenses never left him.  For example, Germany’s possession of the Finnish nickel mines at Petsamo (Pechenga) was vital to her war effort.  Thus he ordered every available warship to remain in northern waters now that the nights were lengthening again.  In Holland, Hitler knew that the British secret service was parachuting tons of sabotage material to its agents.  Himmler’s Gestapo had long penetrated the spy net and ambushed each successive shipment of agents and equipment—a self-perpetuating “England Game” on which the F¸hrer was kept constantly informed.

Even placid little Denmark, the crucial link with Scandinavia, was growing restive.  On King Christian’s birthday, September 25, Hitler had sent the customary greetings ;  he received a reply that could only be regarded as deliberately brusque.  As Goebbels put it, Europe’s monarchs needed socking on the jaw now and then to stuff some sense into them.  So Hitler recalled his envoy and military commander from Copenhagen, sent the Danish diplomats in Berlin packing, rejected the apologies belatedly offered by the crown prince, and—after keeping the luckless Danes in agitated suspense for four weeks—delegated the former Gestapo official Dr. Werner Best to act as his strongman in Copenhagen.  He instructed Best to ignore the Danish monarchy completely and ensure that Danish Nazis were introduced into a new government—which was to be “legal and complaisant,” though “with no support among the Danish people.”  If the aged king should die, the Wehrmacht was forbidden to join the official mourning.

What Hitler most feared, however, was an enemy invasion of France.  The Dieppe raid had shown that this was not impossible.  “As you all know,” he reminded G–ring, Speer, Rundstedt, and a handful of selected generals in the Chancellery’s Cabinet Room on September 29, “I have never capitulated.  But let us be quite plain about one point :  a major enemy landing in the west could precipitate a real crisis.”  The enemy would have absolute air supremacy.  The invasion defenses would be pummelled by bombers and ships’ artillery.  Only the strongest concrete bunkers and antitank defenses along the entire coastline could ward off an invasion. The army’s transcript of his three-hour secret speech noted :

Finally the F¸hrer repeated that he saw only one remaining danger for the outcome of the war and that was the emergence of a Second Front in the west, as the fighting in the east and the home base would be directly endangered by this.  The enemy could launch their Second Front anywhere else they liked, as long as it was as far as possible from Europe.  At present he saw his main job as being to spare his country from being turned into a battlefield, which would be the immediate result of an invasion in the west.  If we can prevent that until the spring [by which time the Atlantic Wall’s fifteen thousand bunkers would be built] nothing can happen to us any longer.

We have got over the worst foodstuffs shortage.  By increased production of antiaircraft guns and ammunition the home base will be protected against air raids.  In the spring we shall march with our finest divisions down into Mesopotamia, and then one day we shall force our enemies to make peace where and as we want it.  Once before the German Reich suffered from its own excessive modesty.  The new German Reich will not make the same mistake in its war aims.

The next day he spoke to the German people—for the first time for many months, he apologized, as he had less time for speechmaking than a prime minister who could cruise for weeks around the world in a white silk blouse and floppy sombrero or some other ludicrous garb.

It is of course impossible to talk with these people about Beliefs.  If somebody believes that Namsos was a victory, or Andalsnes—if somebody describes even Dunkirk as the biggest victory in history or sees in some nine-hour expedition [Dieppe] a flabbergasting sign of national triumph—obviously we cannot even begin to compare our own modest successes with them ! ... If in these last few months, and in this country there are only a few months available for campaigning, we advance to the Don, finally reach the Volga, overrun Stalingrad and capture it—and of that they can be certain—in their eyes this is nothing !  If we advance to the Caucasus, that is as unimportant as that we occupy the Ukraine, have the Donets coal in our domain, have 65 or 70 percent of Russia’s iron ore, open up the biggest grain region in the world for the German people and thus for Europe, and also take over the Caucasian oil wells.  All that is nothing !  But if Canadian troops, wagged by a tiny English tail, come over to Dieppe and just manage to hang on there for nine hours before they are wiped out, then that is an “encouraging, astounding proof of the inexhaustible, triumphant energy typical of the British Empire !”  What are our Luftwaffe, our infantry, our tanks against these ?  What is the effort of our engineers, our railway construction teams—what are our gigantic transport systems, built by us to open up and rebuild half a continent in a matter of months, compared with these ? . . . If Mr. Churchill now says, “We want to leave the Germans to fret and ponder on where and when we will open the Second Front,” then I can only say, “Mr. Churchill, you never gave me cause to worry yet !  But that we must ponder—you’ve got a point there, because if my enemy was a man of stature I could deduce fairly accurately where he would strike ;  but if one is confronted by military nincompoops, obviously one hasn’t the faintest idea, for it might be the most lunatic undertaking imaginable.  And that is the only unattractive feature—that with paralytics and drunkards you can never tell what they’ll be up to next.”

1 There was an essential difference.  “Fridericus” at Kharkov was a pincer attack ;  for lack of reserves Hitler could mount “Whirlwind” only with the southern arm of the pincer, the Second Panzer Army.

2 The German army’s High Command had sent Lieutenant Colonel Hentsch, a General Staff officer out to inspect the armies on the Marne.  He was then blamed for the resulting retreat of those armies.


p. 412   Halder quoted G–ring’s words :  Dittmar diary, August 117, 1945, and CSDIC report GRGG 346, August 14, 1945.  On the supply and logistics problems that summer, 1942, see Richthofen’s blistering speech at Rostov, August 15, and especially his annex to his diary, August 23, 1942.

p. 413   Small wonder that on February 11, 1943, Hitler blamed the Stalingrad disaster—besides on his weak allies—on the fact that the OKH “had either not carried out a series of his orders at all, or had done so badly” (Richthofen diary).

p. 414   Richthofen’s opinion was at growing variance with the General Staff’s.  On August 12, 1942, he wrote in his diary :  “My impression is still this—the Russian southern army is destroyed.  Parts of it are in rout along the Georgian Army Road”—beyond the Caucasus mountains !

p. 415   I base my account of “Operation Whirlwind” on Greiner’s original draft OKW war diary (of which I have deposited a complete correct transcript with the IfZ) and on Halder’s diary.  In his postwar diary, March 27, 1946, General von Salmuth suggested that “Whirlwind,” which he had helped prepare as acting commander of the Fourth Army, was one instance of Hitler’s military inability.  “It was worked out as a double pincer from north and south.  Right in the middle burst the Russian offensive at Rzhev, which meant the loss of the pincer’s main arm.  Kluge asked the F¸hrer more than once to call off what would now be a one-armed “Whirlwind” . . . Adolf Hitler just retorted—when Kluge reproached him that he would be sacrificing thirty or forty thousand men for nothing—‘Just see, the offensive will cut through them like butter !’ “

pp. 415-16   The quotation is from Hitler’s war conference on December 12, 1942 (Heiber, page 92).  Greiner’s original draft proves that on August 12, 1942—i.e., right at the start of “Whirlwind”—Hitler had told Halder, “The forces are to be held tightly together in the main direction of attack, Sukhinichi.”

p. 416   Several versions of Hitler’s famous row with Halder on August 24, 1942, exist :  Heusinger’s, Manstein’s, and Warlimont’s memoirs ;  but I used especially Halder’s private conversation with General Heim on August 13, 1945 (recorded by hidden microphones at CSDIC).  Engel’s “diary” falsely dates the episode on September 4.

p. 418   I have reconstructed Rommel’s supply problems in the desert from his private letters (T84/R274);  from the diary of General von Waldau, now director of air operations (Africa), with its many appendices ;  from Greiner’s draft war diary ;  from the daily reports of Rommel’s Panzer Army Africa ;  from the naval staff war diary and from Ritter’s AA file on Egypt, Serial 1442.

p. 420   Hitler’s plan to “dispose of” Stalingrad’s male population is referred to in both Halder’s diary, August 31, and in Greiner’s draft of September 2, 1942.  Halder was presumably Weizs”cker’s source in writing (diary, September 13) “So our plan is to destroy bolshevism and the Russian empire.  To this end Stalingrad and Leningrad are to be destroyed.”

p. 420   For Richthofen’s hostility to Hoth see his diary, July 22-23, and August 23-25, and 27, 1942 ;  and Greiner’s and Halder’s diaries, August 28, 1942.

pp. 420-21   List’s visit to Hitler is recounted in the diaries of Richthofen, Greiner, Halder, and Army Group A, August 31 ;  and the naval staff war diary, September 1-2, 1942.

p. 422   I base my account on Jodl’s own papers.  Milch, who was present, wrote in his diary on September 7, 1942 :  “Vinnitsa, to see F¸hrer.  Noon conference on Central Planning and aviation.  Row over List.  G–ring had already left.”  And Speer’s deputy Saur told me in 1965, “It was the worst depression I have ever experienced at the HQ, because Jodl’s report was such a shock—up to then nobody had wanted to believe it, and the F¸hrer wouldn’t have found out for a long time either if Jodl, who was an extraordinarily honest man, hadn’t told him.”

p. 422   Julius Schaub’s papers contain a full account of the recruiting of the conference stenographers.  I also used Bormann’s diary, September 7, 1942 ;  Heiber’s introduction to the war conferences, pages 14 et seq.;  and the correspondence between Lammers and G–ring’s staff in September and October (T84/8).

p. 422   One of the stenographers who served Hitler from September 11, 1942, to the very end wrote a diary, which is in my possession.  Hitler evidently went to great lengths to win their respect, for on December 25, 1942, the diary records how the F¸hrer received the two duty stenographers a few minutes early, invited them to sit down while he stood, and explained, “In earlier times I often used stenographers.  In 1931 or 1932 I was called to testify in a trial against Dr. Goebbels in Berlin.  The lawyer—a half-Jew—fired one question after another at me from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. trying to trap me ;  and I was well aware that the press was just waiting to use my testimony to accuse me of just about anything, to get a stranglehold on me.  But the trial report of one day’s proceedings was usually only three or at most four pages long, so nothing precise could be proven from them, so for this day I hired two stenographers from the Bavarian Diet, and these gentlemen really saved my bacon”—a remark he had already introduced the speech with—“as everything happened just as I had imagined.  The next day the press published completely distorted reports of my testimony hoping to bring about my own prosecution.”  Hitler’s only regret was the expense, as the hiring had cost him eight hundred Reichsmarks.  “Anyway, I’m glad to have you here now and only regret I didn’t fetch you in earlier as I want to pin down the responsibility for events once and for all by a shorthand record.  As you see, I have to busy myself with even the smallest trivia here.  Moreover these things must be taken down for later historical research.  Anyway I’m glad you’re here now.”

p. 423   J. Daniel Chamier’s biography, Ein Fabeltier unserer Zeit.  Glanz and Trag–die Kaiser Wilhelm II, was incidentally proscribed reading in the Third Reich, according to the records of the Nazi party censorship commission (NS-11/22).

pp. 425-26   On September 16, 1942, Rommel wrote after a talk with Kesselring :  “He came from the F¸hrer’s HQ.  The battle for Stalingrad seems to be very hard and it’s tying down a lot of strength we could use better in the south.  Field Marshal L[ist] is to be retired. ... It didn’t work out with H[alder] either in the long run, as I predicted” (T84/R274/0890).  Two days later the OKW diarist Greiner wrote in his diary :  “Warlimont tells me that Halder’s out, Zeitzler takes his place, Blumentritt his, and Manstein List’s.  Reshuffle not over yet.  Jodl and Warlimont dodgy.”  Zeitzler’s name was not mentioned as early as September 9—the last four paragraphs of Greiner’s published war diary (OKW war diary, Vol. II, pages 704 et seq.) are a postwar fabrication.  On September 27, Greiner privately summarized :  “The last three weeks haven’t been pleasant—a major crisis of confidence caused by the unsatisfactory situation on the eastern front.  The first victim was Halder, but he really wasn’t up to much anymore as he was a nervous wreck.  His successor is now the diminutive, stocky, ambitious, bustling, and definitely highly energetic Zeitzler.”  The rest of my narrative is based on Zeitzler’s papers (N63/1 and /18) and the diaries of Frau Schmundt, Bormann, and Halder.

p. 426   The order is in the war diary of the chief of army personnel (i.e., Schmundt), October 5, 1942 (T 78/39).  Schmundt replaced Keitel’s ailing brother Bodewin.  As Goebbels observed in his unpublished diary on September 29, 1942 :  “Here was the real cancer in our Wehrmacht.  In the personnel branch are a host of officers who’ve already been there fifteen years and done nothing but deal with personnel problems.”

p. 426   I extracted information on the “Red Orchestra” spy case from the interrogations of Puttkamer and Kraell, Goebbels’s unpublished diary, September 23 and 30, and Milch’s remarks on’October 20, 1942 (MD 16/2731 et seq.);  further, from the 1945 OCMH interrogation of Frau Ingeborg Havemann (nee Harnack), and SS General M¸ller’s letter to Himmler afterward (T175/129/5161).

p. 428   On the “missing ten percent” effort see Goebbels’s unpublished diary, September 25-30, 1942, and Speer’s remarks in Central Planning, October 30, 1942 (MD 46/9014 et seq.).  “I recently talked over this whole question with Goebbels ;  his view is that the people are only waiting to be called upon to make this last effort.”

p. 428   King Christian’s lapidary telegram read simply :  “To Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler.  Best thanks for your congratulations.  Christian Rex.”  I also referred to the diaries of Goebbels, Hassell, Weizs”cker, and the naval staff, and an interrogation of Baron von Steengracht.  For Best’s appointment see his manuscripts written in 1949 (IfZ, ZS-207) and his report on his first six months in Himmler’s files (T175/119/4942 et seq.).

pp. 428-29   A General Staff transcript of the speech is on microfilm, T78/317/1567 et seq.