where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
Dre Foerster
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Dre Foerster » 23 Jun 2019 19:24

ljadw wrote:
23 Jun 2019 13:20
Hitler had a program, but not a plan,and especially not a stufenplan . It was not so that on January 31 1933 he had written on a piece of paper how and when he would realize his program .
Uhhhhhhhh, what about Mein Kampf??? Zweites Buch????

Dre Foerster
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Dre Foerster » 23 Jun 2019 19:27

ljadw wrote:
23 Jun 2019 13:11
Dre Foerster wrote:
22 Jun 2019 23:38
Max Payload wrote:
22 Jun 2019 08:08
Dre Foerster wrote:
21 Jun 2019 19:10
In the end, we cannot say that Barbarossa was either in accordance with or against Hitler's wishes, since these were not completely clear.
They may not have been entirely clear to everyone, but presumably they were clear to him. Hitler was not averse to criticising his subordinates or rejecting proposals from them that he deemed inadequate. If the plan submitted to him in December had been against his wishes he would surely have made that clear, and he did in fact amend the plan in respect of the priority given to Moscow. There was still time in December for Hitler to reject the submitted plan and to demand of the Wehrmacht that they come up with something more in accordance with his wishes. He didn’t. It is not impossible that he accept the Barbarossa plan despite it being against his wishes but that seems, to me at least, highly unlikely.
That would make perfect sense if Hitler was a rational actor, but he wasn’t, at least not post Battle of France. The invasion of the Soviet Union was the endgame in Hitler’s stufenplan, the culmination of his entire political career; put simply, it was an ideological act, through and through. Hitler was, more than anything, concerned with the annihilation of “Judeo-Bolshevism” from the face of the earth. Add that to his propensity for changing his mind or delaying making a decision, as well as the German consensus that the Untermesch Soviets would be swiftly crushed, and it becomes very difficult to determine anything long term in Hitler’s thinking beyond a basic desire to destroy the USSR.
It is very questionable that there was a stufenplan .What Hillgruber said does not convince me .
Pretty much everything Hitler did was laid out either in Mein Kampf or in his table talk. If it looks like a plan and smells like a plan, then it's probably a plan.

Max Payload
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Max Payload » 23 Jun 2019 23:22

Dre Foerster wrote:
23 Jun 2019 19:20
If one actually examines the events within the German "High Command" between May and July 1940, you will actually find Hitler's attention being turned away from Britain toward Russia by Halder and Brauchitsch (who had secretly been building an army in the east while developing Plan Otto, all without approval from the Fuehrer).
Do you have any evidence for the existence of this secret army in the east? (If you are referring to the transfer of the 15 divisions of Eighteenth Army to the eastern Polish/Prussian frontiers, or the return of 15 surplus divisions from France to their home districts after the French surrender, or Guderian’s fantasy panzer group in the Warsaw area, these have already been discussed earlier in this thread.)

Do you have any evidence of Halder and Brauchitsch developing plan Otto prior to 22 July?

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Dre Foerster » 23 Jun 2019 23:47

Max Payload wrote:
23 Jun 2019 23:22
Dre Foerster wrote:
23 Jun 2019 19:20
If one actually examines the events within the German "High Command" between May and July 1940, you will actually find Hitler's attention being turned away from Britain toward Russia by Halder and Brauchitsch (who had secretly been building an army in the east while developing Plan Otto, all without approval from the Fuehrer).
Do you have any evidence for the existence of this secret army in the east? (If you are referring to the transfer of the 15 divisions of Eighteenth Army to the eastern Polish/Prussian frontiers, or the return of 15 surplus divisions from France to their home districts after the French surrender, or Guderian’s fantasy panzer group in the Warsaw area, these have already been discussed earlier in this thread.)

Do you have any evidence of Halder and Brauchitsch developing plan Otto prior to 22 July?
https://www.zeit.de/1997/38/Plan_Otto

If you can’t read German, then I’d suggest “Enemy in the East” by Rolf-Dietrich Mueller, which has been translated into English.

I wrote my undergraduate honours thesis at the Royal Military College of Canada on this topic and am now turning it into an article for publication.

Back in 1996, German historians Carl Dircks and Karl-Heinz Janssen found pieces of Plan Otto in the military archives in Freiburg. The rest was probably destroyed on the orders of Halder. Planning of Otto began at the end of May, 1940, and was finished sometime before June 14. A revised version was presented to Ernst von Weizacker of the Foreign Office by Halder on July 3. This was kept strictly "in house" amongst top OKH officers; Brauchtisch, Halder, Guderian, Marcks, Kuchler and Heusinger, as well as their immediate staffs, were the only ones informed. Otto called for a limited campaign against the Soviet Union in August or September, 1940, involving 80 divisions (Eastern Army), spearheaded by the 18th AOG and Guderian's special panzer group (called both the Guderian Group and Rapid Group), with 400,000 men in reserve. The objectives were to be the Baltics, Belorussia and Western Ukraine, along a line running Leningrad-Smolensk-Kiev. Since 1996, only Mueller and my thesis adviser, Dr. Benoit Lemay, have done any serious research into this subject matter.

Max Payload
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Max Payload » 24 Jun 2019 01:07

AbollonPolweder wrote:
28 Mar 2019 18:49
we can say with a certain degree of confidence that Marcks could not make his plan in 1-2 weeks. He did not fight in the East in the WWI, did not know the details of the future theater of operations. It took him time to learn a lot of information and develop a plan for an attack on the USSR. The working during the month (from July 4 to August 5) is a very realistic period of time for developing such a plan.
Marcks was in Bromberg in early July preparing for the arrival of Eighteenth Army later in the month. According to Halder’s account of a meeting with Kuechler and Marks on 4 July, the purpose was “Orientation on mission of AHq 18 with regard to control of troops, administration in the East”. Also “ Kinzel reviews disposition of Russian forces.”
So Marks had weeks to familiarise himself with the frontier area and the ‘disposition of Russian forces’ so far as they were known, prior to being given the planning brief for the invasion.
Last edited by Max Payload on 24 Jun 2019 01:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Max Payload » 24 Jun 2019 01:27

Dre Foerster wrote:
23 Jun 2019 23:47
I wrote my undergraduate honours thesis at the Royal Military College of Canada on this topic and am now turning it into an article for publication.

Back in 1996, German historians Carl Dircks and Karl-Heinz Janssen found pieces of Plan Otto in the military archives in Freiburg. The rest was probably destroyed on the orders of Halder. Planning of Otto began at the end of May, 1940, and was finished sometime before June 14. A revised version was presented to Ernst von Weizacker of the Foreign Office by Halder on July 3. This was kept strictly "in house" amongst top OKH officers; Brauchtisch, Halder, Guderian, Marcks, Kuchler and Heusinger, as well as their immediate staffs, were the only ones informed. Otto called for a limited campaign against the Soviet Union in August or September, 1940, involving 80 divisions (Eastern Army), spearheaded by the 18th AOG and Guderian's special panzer group (called both the Guderian Group and Rapid Group), with 400,000 men in reserve. The objectives were to be the Baltics, Belorussia and Western Ukraine, along a line running Leningrad-Smolensk-Kiev. Since 1996, only Mueller and my thesis adviser, Dr. Benoit Lemay, have done any serious research into this subject matter.
I look forward to reading your article in due course. Hopefully it will be more convincing than the Zeit article which seems to me to be rather insubstantial.
The Dirks and Janssen study has been discussed in this thread with some scepticism. It might be worth your while checking out pages 7 to 9 of this thread (post#93 through post#135). Not all of the posts are entirely relevant to your proposed article, but it is probably worth your while reading through them.

Dre Foerster
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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Dre Foerster » 24 Jun 2019 01:56

Max Payload wrote:
24 Jun 2019 01:27
Dre Foerster wrote:
23 Jun 2019 23:47
I wrote my undergraduate honours thesis at the Royal Military College of Canada on this topic and am now turning it into an article for publication.

Back in 1996, German historians Carl Dircks and Karl-Heinz Janssen found pieces of Plan Otto in the military archives in Freiburg. The rest was probably destroyed on the orders of Halder. Planning of Otto began at the end of May, 1940, and was finished sometime before June 14. A revised version was presented to Ernst von Weizacker of the Foreign Office by Halder on July 3. This was kept strictly "in house" amongst top OKH officers; Brauchtisch, Halder, Guderian, Marcks, Kuchler and Heusinger, as well as their immediate staffs, were the only ones informed. Otto called for a limited campaign against the Soviet Union in August or September, 1940, involving 80 divisions (Eastern Army), spearheaded by the 18th AOG and Guderian's special panzer group (called both the Guderian Group and Rapid Group), with 400,000 men in reserve. The objectives were to be the Baltics, Belorussia and Western Ukraine, along a line running Leningrad-Smolensk-Kiev. Since 1996, only Mueller and my thesis adviser, Dr. Benoit Lemay, have done any serious research into this subject matter.
I look forward to reading your article in due course. Hopefully it will be more convincing than the Zeit article which seems to me to be rather insubstantial.
The Dirks and Janssen study has been discussed in this thread with some scepticism. It might be worth your while checking out pages 7 to 9 of this thread (post#93 through post#135). Not all of the posts are entirely relevant to your proposed article, but it is probably worth your while reading through them.
Thanks! I’ll definitely do that. But be advised, that article is little more than a summary of their findings, which makes up a chapter in their book Der Krieg de Generale (which I forgot to mention earlier - sorry about that). Still, I do believe that there are a lot of mistakes and gaps in the timeline relating to the little historiography of Plan Otto that exists. My objective in the article is to rectify these issues.

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by ljadw » 24 Jun 2019 11:11

Dre Foerster wrote:
23 Jun 2019 19:24
ljadw wrote:
23 Jun 2019 13:20
Hitler had a program, but not a plan,and especially not a stufenplan . It was not so that on January 31 1933 he had written on a piece of paper how and when he would realize his program .
Uhhhhhhhh, what about Mein Kampf??? Zweites Buch????
There is no mention in Mein Kampf ( which was a collection of speeches and newspaper articles about total varied subjects )or in the Zweites Buch,of a stufenplan, or even of a plan .
Hitler did not write in MK that in 1935 he would restore conscription, in 1936 reoccupy the Rhineland, in 1938 execute the Anschluss and the annexation of Sudetenland etc ...Or that in 1939 he would sign a treaty with the SU .

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Dre Foerster » 24 Jun 2019 13:25

ljadw wrote:
24 Jun 2019 11:11
Dre Foerster wrote:
23 Jun 2019 19:24
ljadw wrote:
23 Jun 2019 13:20
Hitler had a program, but not a plan,and especially not a stufenplan . It was not so that on January 31 1933 he had written on a piece of paper how and when he would realize his program .
Uhhhhhhhh, what about Mein Kampf??? Zweites Buch????
There is no mention in Mein Kampf ( which was a collection of speeches and newspaper articles about total varied subjects )or in the Zweites Buch,of a stufenplan, or even of a plan .
Hitler did not write in MK that in 1935 he would restore conscription, in 1936 reoccupy the Rhineland, in 1938 execute the Anschluss and the annexation of Sudetenland etc ...Or that in 1939 he would sign a treaty with the SU .
Lol that is not what Mein Kampf is. While in prison in 1924 Hitler dictated it to Rudolf Hess.

Are you kidding me, all Hitler talks about his autobiographical sections is how he’s always wanted unification between Germany and Austria! Also, in the last chapter, which is about Lebensraum in Russia, Hitler rejects Weimar Germany’s friendship with the Soviets, declaring that no treaty can last. He even goes on to state that the Soviets, being Jews, will betray their trust, so the Germans should betray it first. This is further supported by several talks with his advisers from 1933 all the way to 1940. Hitler alsobtalks extensively of rebuilding Germany into a great power again and doing away with the Treaty of Versailles; this obviously would necessitate reinstating conscription. Specifics aside, Hitler always wanted people of German blood united under one flag. No one is saying that Hitler was a prophet who laid out specific dates for events or necessarily how he would get to his desired end state, but there are unmissable clues present that Hitler was following a program to which he was blindingly loyal.

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Hanny » 24 Jun 2019 14:14

Swift as greyhounds, tough as leather, and hard as Krupp steel, is present in MK and through the militarisation of the German Youth, not only was the plan already formulated, but the slogans for it existed as well.

stufenplan
https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/guides/z92hw6f/revision/1
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by MarkN » 24 Jun 2019 16:25

Dre Foerster wrote:
23 Jun 2019 23:47
Since 1996, only Mueller and my thesis adviser, Dr. Benoit Lemay, have done any serious research into this subject matter.
I went through the same documents at Freiburg about 20 years ago. My research and analysis was serious but since l found nothing of great academic or historical interest in the 'story' it is lost and buried amongst my many other topics of interest that l have long since moved on from.

I find the Dirks & Janssen theory to be weak academically and find it no surprise that it only attracted attention through journalistic headline grabbing and has subsequently dropped off almost everybody's radar.
Dre Foerster wrote:
24 Jun 2019 01:56
Still, I do believe that there are a lot of mistakes and gaps in the timeline relating to the little historiography of Plan Otto that exists. My objective in the article is to rectify these issues.
For me, Dirks & Janssen's problem was not the gaps in the historical record, but their lack of understanding of military affairs and their determination to reinvent history.

I hope your gap filling is based upon newly found documents and not just a different personal interpretation.

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Dre Foerster » 24 Jun 2019 17:51

MarkN wrote:
24 Jun 2019 16:25
Dre Foerster wrote:
23 Jun 2019 23:47
Since 1996, only Mueller and my thesis adviser, Dr. Benoit Lemay, have done any serious research into this subject matter.
I went through the same documents at Freiburg about 20 years ago. My research and analysis was serious but since l found nothing of great academic or historical interest in the 'story' it is lost and buried amongst my many other topics of interest that l have long since moved on from.

I find the Dirks & Janssen theory to be weak academically and find it no surprise that it only attracted attention through journalistic headline grabbing and has subsequently dropped off almost everybody's radar.
Dre Foerster wrote:
24 Jun 2019 01:56
Still, I do believe that there are a lot of mistakes and gaps in the timeline relating to the little historiography of Plan Otto that exists. My objective in the article is to rectify these issues.
For me, Dirks & Janssen's problem was not the gaps in the historical record, but their lack of understanding of military affairs and their determination to reinvent history.

I hope your gap filling is based upon newly found documents and not just a different personal interpretation.
Like I said, their findings were presented in both the books Der Krieg de Generales and Enemy in the East. And if my memory serves me right, it is briefly mentioned in Ronald Smelser’s The Myth of the Eastern Front and David Stahel’s Operation Barbarossa and Hitler’s Defeat in the East. Also, for his upcoming biography of Guderian, my thesis adviser at the Royal Military College of Canada, Dr. Benoit Lemay, has done extensive research in the archives on Otto. I wouldn’t call these or my own work “journalistic headline grabbers” or an attempt to “reinvent history”. The existence of Otto is a fact, and it is a tragedy that it hasn’t been examined in detail by most historians.

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by MarkN » 24 Jun 2019 20:53

Dre Foerster wrote:
24 Jun 2019 17:51
Like I said, their findings were presented in both the books Der Krieg de Generales and Enemy in the East. And if my memory serves me right, it is briefly mentioned in Ronald Smelser’s The Myth of the Eastern Front and David Stahel’s Operation Barbarossa and Hitler’s Defeat in the East. Also, for his upcoming biography of Guderian, my thesis adviser at the Royal Military College of Canada, Dr. Benoit Lemay, has done extensive research in the archives on Otto. I wouldn’t call these or my own work “journalistic headline grabbers” or an attempt to “reinvent history”. The existence of Otto is a fact, and it is a tragedy that it hasn’t been examined in detail by most historians.
You, your thesis advisor, Dirks and Janssen are not the only historians or interested parties that have done "extensive research in the archives on Otto" despite what you may believe. I know of at least two others in addition to myself. I, and my two acquaintances independently, reached a similar conclusion: the material doesn't merit that much attention. In my opinion, the transfer of AOK.18 eastwards with 15 or so divisions was an expected and prudent measure. Nothing untoward in that at all. NOTHING! Indeed, I would argue that it was not even sufficient for the task of border security given the Foreign Office's growing fears of Russian intentions. Secondly, it is incumbent upon a professional army to be constantly updating and revising contingency plans. It would have been most remiss and incompetent of Kuchler and Marcks not to have looked into the matter. Plan OTTO was never of the scale or nature that would warrent a raising of an eyebrow. It would be a concern if Hitler was informed of this contigency planning. The reality that he wasn't is not a cause for concern, it's a jounalistic headline grabber.

Of course, a different set of eyes will give a different interpretation and perspective. I'm not denying the existence of Plan OTTO, nor the archive material; I'm argueing that it's relevance is nothing of the order attributed to it by Dirks and Janssen.

Since I have no idea what you or your thesis advisor have written or believe, I have no idea whether I agree or not.

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Dre Foerster » 24 Jun 2019 22:16

MarkN wrote:
24 Jun 2019 20:53
Dre Foerster wrote:
24 Jun 2019 17:51
Like I said, their findings were presented in both the books Der Krieg de Generales and Enemy in the East. And if my memory serves me right, it is briefly mentioned in Ronald Smelser’s The Myth of the Eastern Front and David Stahel’s Operation Barbarossa and Hitler’s Defeat in the East. Also, for his upcoming biography of Guderian, my thesis adviser at the Royal Military College of Canada, Dr. Benoit Lemay, has done extensive research in the archives on Otto. I wouldn’t call these or my own work “journalistic headline grabbers” or an attempt to “reinvent history”. The existence of Otto is a fact, and it is a tragedy that it hasn’t been examined in detail by most historians.
You, your thesis advisor, Dirks and Janssen are not the only historians or interested parties that have done "extensive research in the archives on Otto" despite what you may believe. I know of at least two others in addition to myself. I, and my two acquaintances independently, reached a similar conclusion: the material doesn't merit that much attention. In my opinion, the transfer of AOK.18 eastwards with 15 or so divisions was an expected and prudent measure. Nothing untoward in that at all. NOTHING! Indeed, I would argue that it was not even sufficient for the task of border security given the Foreign Office's growing fears of Russian intentions. Secondly, it is incumbent upon a professional army to be constantly updating and revising contingency plans. It would have been most remiss and incompetent of Kuchler and Marcks not to have looked into the matter. Plan OTTO was never of the scale or nature that would warrent a raising of an eyebrow. It would be a concern if Hitler was informed of this contigency planning. The reality that he wasn't is not a cause for concern, it's a jounalistic headline grabber.

Of course, a different set of eyes will give a different interpretation and perspective. I'm not denying the existence of Plan OTTO, nor the archive material; I'm argueing that it's relevance is nothing of the order attributed to it by Dirks and Janssen.

Since I have no idea what you or your thesis advisor have written or believe, I have no idea whether I agree or not.
I think you’re getting a little too excited man. And it’d be nice if you’d be more polite.

If these historians have done such work, then I haven’t found it. Maybe that’s through some fault in my research, I don’t know. I’m not denying their existence: I’m saying that Otto is not popularly known or discussed. Last year Richard Overy visited RMC and I asked him about Otto. He didn’t even know it existed.

Do you work or teach at a university?

1. If the transfer of troops to the east was expected and prudent, then why was Hitler not informed?

2. It’s exactly our position that these deployments did not fit with defensive actions, especially since previous plans developed by Guderian had suggested a minimal delaying action, before a mass withdrawal leading the overextended Soviets into a trap (similar to the Third Battle of Kharkov). It was simply the beginning of a buildup.

3. Otto was developed during a time when Hitler’s eyes were fixed on Britain. And Hitler was going to downsize the army, to the fury of the OKH elite.

4. If Otto was the staring point of the development of plans leading to Directive 21, why is it so dissimilar to it? Otto called only for a limited campaign that sought the political objective of creating buffer states, not a complete conquest of the USSR for the purpose of its eventual annihilation. Moreover, a few days after Halder presented a finalized Otto to Weizacker, from July 6 to 9, as Kuchler and Marcks took command of the 18th Army in the east, they put together a proposal for changing the deployment directive from retreat, to attack once the enemy was discovered to be amassing at the border. This is going backwards from Otto. To me, it is simply a means to which Brauchitsch and Halder can more smoothly present Otto to Hitler and his OKW pawns.

5. Also considering the above, the timeline doesn’t match. If you’re saying these proposals made on July 9 from Kuchler and Marcks are the start to Otto, or some part of it at least, why is it A) so different (only the 18th and Guderian Group vs 80 divisions with 400,000 in reserve); and B) Created and submitted well after the date we know Otto to be finalized by Halder and his staff (July 3)?

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Re: where the "Hitler should have listen to his general " come from?

Post by Richard Anderson » 24 Jun 2019 23:29

18. AOK moved east 4 July 1940
12. AOK moved east 16 July 1940
4. AOK moved east 16 August 1940
III. and XVII. AK moved east 4/5 July 1940
XIX. AK (mot) (Gruppe Guderian) moved to Berlin in July, then to Poland and was renamed Panzergruppe 2 in the Generalgouvernment 16 November 1940 (at the same time XXII. AK (mot) (Gruppe Kleist), which was in Germany, was renamed Panzergruppe 1)
XII., XXX. AK, and XXXXIV. moved east 16 July 1940
XXVI. AK moved east in July 1940
I. and IX. AK and XVI. AK (mot) moved east 13 September 1940
XXXX. AK (mot) moved east in September after reorganizing from XXXX. AK in Wehrkreis X
XIV. AK (mot) moved east in October 1940
XXIV. AK returned to Germany from France in November 1940

Large numbers of divisions moved as well, many to reorganize and re-equip in Germany, before they also moved further east to East Prussia and Poland. I doubt Hitler was unaware of these movements, given his penchant for micromanagement of such affairs. The July-September movements are consistent with rebalancing the forces, especially given the minimal strength of the forces in East Prussia and the Generalgouvernment during the western campaigns. Note that little else, especially Armee and Korps headquarters moved east afterwards, despite Hitler's decision to turn east in the fall, until the spring of 1941.
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