by webtoy100 » 23 Aug 2002 23:04
It is of course highly significant that this most high-profile Nazi response to the Stalingrad disaster was made not by Hitler, but his propaganda chief.
Hitler was always much better in glorying in victory, rather than having to explain defeats. I guess even he realised that it was going to look stupid him explaining how the untermenschen who were so inferior were in fact, er, beating them.
Additionally, maybe even he realised that he had busted his flush and that it was all downhill from here on, his enormous ego notwithstanding. In his 'Nemesis' Kershaw hints that, deep down Hitler knew the game was up fairly early on but also realised that, even if he was so inclined to (which he wasn't) there was no going back for him personally so he had no choice but to drag Germany down with him.
Around this time according to Speer he told a meeting of top Nazis at the Berghof that "Gentlemen, we have burnt our boats", meaning, Speer thinks, the Final Solution. He may have been more guilty than anyone else, but he wanted to remind everyone that they were all in the same boat, and had little choice but to fight an increasingly destructive and vain war - vain in both senses of the word.