historygeek2021 wrote: ↑
20 May 2021 23:54
TheMarcksPlan wrote: ↑
20 May 2021 23:26
Peter89 wrote: ↑
19 May 2021 10:41
Hardly reports of glowing optimism:
To discuss with the temperature down a bit...
I tracked this excerpt to Oil & War
, which in turn cites [FN #1] a 1961 biography of Keitel (who was executed in 1946). This is exactly the period of WW2 historiography in which the German generals' version of events were given the most credence, which makes me very suspicious that the quoted exchange ever took place.
As Mueller notes in DRZW, Thomas went so far as to excise unfavorable passages of the OKW KTB to preserve his historical record; fabricating an exchange doesn't seem beyond him. Both witnesses were dead by the time of Thomas's writing...
Good catch. The wider excerpt makes it clear this is exactly the sort of hagiography of Saint Thomas that Müller is trying so hard to debunk:
It doesn't matter what Müller tries to do. What matters is the report that Thomas prepared, and our interpretation about it.
The sources I am aware of - including the one Müller uses - are not containing the unconditional reassurement of Hitler. The framework he gives to the successful exploitation of the East is absolutely ridiculous - it would require a France-like victory or even better.
To whitewash Thomas, one could use his part in the resistance for which he went to the concentration camp. However, I do not try to do that, I simply point out that he was aware of the limits of the eastern campaign. He wrote about topics that are still relevant today; trade, food, raw materials, industry, Soviets behind the Urals.
His claims in summary (IIRC):
- the Soviet agriculture and its machinery as well as its stocks have to be captured largely intact
- the Soviet machinery and working animals are irreplaceable with German ones, and they consume about 60% of the refined crude oil of the Soviet Union
- the meat situation in Germany cannot be expected to improve
- the crucial metals that Germany lacked did not have meaningful quantities west of the Urals except mangan and nickel
- trade: there will be problems with cutting off the link to the Far East; wolfram, silk, rubber and the SU: chrome, foodstuffs, oil
- the Soviet industry, even though weakened, will be able to survive east of the Urals
Of course, the study also points out that the supply of POL in general, manganese, certain foodstuffs, etc. might improve by a great margin, IF the attack is successful. Also it is completely ignorant to the scope of the LL and the Soviets' ability to move the industry eastwards.
One can say it is an optimistic report. One can claim that it assured Hitler, and I'll accept that - but it was still what it was. No sane military decision maker would make an attack based on this report. Except in one case: if the enemy is expected to collapse with remarkable ease and in a very short period of time.
"Everything remained theory and hypothesis. On paper, in his plans, in his head, he juggled with Geschwaders and Divisions, while in reality there were really only makeshift squadrons at his disposal."