AbollonPolweder wrote: ↑
19 Mar 2019 18:35
MarkN wrote: ↑
19 Mar 2019 17:44
Marcks' Operationsentwurf Ost
of 5 August...
Who gave Hitler the information on 21 July? Keitel, Brauchitsch, Jeschonnek, Raeder or Jodl? Where did they get it from?
We know of at least one serious effort to do some "mere blue-sky contingency planning
": Plan OTTO. Who was in charge of that?
You quite sensibly observed, and it cannot be ignored, that Hitler didn't have the capacity to come up with the answers to these military questions himself - he relied on his military advisors. The objectives of Unternehmen BARBAROSSA were based upon what the Heer generals believed were their military limitations.
You are right. Hitler relied on his military advisors. But I beg your pardon, how could Hitler, on July 21, refer to Marx’s plan if it was completed only on August 5? And what does the OTTO have to do with it?
There is no evidence Hitler referred to anything on 21 July. The evidence is that Hitler was informed by his military advisors.
Please note all translations into English below are NOT my own - I have cut&paste them from other sources. I have the original German words.
On 22 July, Brauchitsch had a meeting with Halder to discuss the previous days meeting with Hitler (and other matters). Halder wrote in his diary on the 22 July:
Halder Diary, 22 July 1940 wrote:The Fuehrer was given the following information:
Object: To crush Russian Army or slice as much Russian territory as is necessary to bar enemy air raids on Berlin and Silesian industries. It is desirable to penetrate far enough to enable our Air Force to smash Russia's strategic areas.
Now Max Payload, in what seems to be some desperation, is trying to argue that because this information was noted as point 8
and Brauchitsch's telling of the previous days meeting was point 2
, Hitler was not told this information at the 21 July meeting but at some other time and date!!!!
I really don't think it matters whether, as the original German states: Dem Fueher ist gemeldet
, occured before the grand meeting on 21 July, during that meeting, or sometime after that meeting but before Brauchitsch met Halder on the 22nd.
The key points are:
1) The Heer told Hitler (on or around 21 July) what it could do; Hitler did not set the objectives; and'
2) What the Heer said at that time remained almost a constant right through to the end.
The stated objective of the Marcks Plan presented on 5 August:
Marcks: Operationsentwurf Ost, 5 August 1940 wrote:The purpose of the campaign is to strike the Russian Armed Forces and to make Russia incapable of entering the war as an opponent of Germany in the foreseeable future. In order to protect Germany against Russian bombers Russia must be occupied to the line lower Don - central Volga - north Dvina.
When von Paulus took over direction of the planning at the beginning of September 1940, his brief was:
von Paulus post war testimony, 11 February 1946 wrote:Then, in addition, as a basis for the plan which was to be worked out, the aims - the instructions of the OKW - were given: first, the destruction of those parts of the Russian Army stationed in the west of Russia, to prevent the units which were fit for fighting from escaping deep into Russia; second, the reaching of a line from which the Russian air force would be unable to attack German territory eft'ectively, and the final aim was the reaching of the Volga-Archangel line.
Then Unternehmen BARBAROSSA became a reality with Weisung 21:
Weisung 21, 18 Decemeber 1940 wrote:General Purpose:
The mass of the Russian Army in western Russia is to be destroyed in daring operations, by driving forward deep armored wedges, and the retreat of units capable of combat into the vastness of Russian territory is to be prevented.
In quick pursuit a line is then to be reached from which the Russian Air Force will no longer be able to attack the territory of the German Reich. The ultimate objective of the operation is to establish a cover against Asiatic Russia from the general line Volga-Archangel. Then, in case of necessity, the last industrial area left to Russia in the Urals can be eliminated by the Luftwaffe.
You will notice a common thread throughout. The military objective of reaching a line where the Russians are beyond bombing range of Germany remains from start to finish but the geographical line shifts eastwards sometime during August 1940 from lower Don - central Volga - north Dvina
to Volga - Archangel
. Even the desire to defeat as much of the Red Army as possible before this line is there throughout.
Now, one has to ask oneself whether this information given to Hitler on 21 July was plucked out of thin air at that very moment or whether it was based on some prior thought and planning. Given that it remained a constant, it seems to have been a pretty well thought through idea. Who did that original thinking is open to discussion. I have not seen any evidence to prove beyond doubt which Heer staff officer(s) was/were involved and who briefed one or more from Keitel, Brauchitsch and/or Jodl.
What we do know, however, is that some serious contingency planning and preparation for conflict with Russia was at that very time ongoing. That planning and preparation was being lead by the Chief of Staff of AOK18 under the codename Plan OTTO
Take away points:
Hitler agreed to the Heer's plan and purpose of attack; the Heer didn't agree to Hitler's plan and purpose of attack.
Unternehmen BARBAROSSA was a military plan created (principally) by the OKH on behalf of the OKW. The objectives of the plan were essentially constant throughout the planning process and were predicated on what the Heer believed was doable.
Unternehmen BARBAROSSA was, of course, a product of Hitler's political decision to attack the Soviet Union. But there is no evidence that any of Hitler's (ideological) objectives and goals are within the military plan, and little to no evidence that his ideas influenced the planning other than to help delude the Heer as to the chance and scale of success.