Are they crazy???!! (why did Germany start the war?)

Discussions on High Command, strategy and the Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) in general.
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cyrill
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Are they crazy???!! (why did Germany start the war?)

Post by cyrill » 31 Dec 2004 02:17

Hi!!! I am new and am not sure wheter this topic has been discussed before but straight to the point.
I dont understand one thing. Why Germany have started this hopeless war against the allies. They knew that if they start war against the Chechs and Poland they will be automatically in war against france, Uk and USA . Did Hitler and his party really thing that they can win the war ? What can you say about that in puerly military point of view? Was the German army and industry comparable with these of the allies(i read that it doesn`t but may be i have missed something)? I know that the Wermacht relied on technology and speed. But however fast they are they are just a dozen of milliin army strength against half of the world. Are they crazy? What were there strategic plans in the eve of the war? pls help i will be very grateful

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 31 Dec 2004 02:26

The Hossbach Memorandum (Text)
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=55420
A Question on Hossbach's Memorandum
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=55353
Hitler's intent to wage aggressive war
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=63711
Grand Admiral Erich Raeder's reflections 10 Jan 1944
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=61243

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cyrill
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Post by cyrill » 31 Dec 2004 16:10

thanks a lot mate. i didnt know for the existance of these documets. cheers

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Re: Are they crazy???!!

Post by Kurt_Steiner » 31 Dec 2004 18:16

cyrill wrote:Hi!!! I am new and am not sure wheter this topic has been discussed before but straight to the point.
I dont understand one thing. Why Germany have started this hopeless war against the allies. They knew that if they start war against the Chechs and Poland they will be automatically in war against france, Uk and USA . Did Hitler and his party really thing that they can win the war ? What can you say about that in puerly military point of view? Was the German army and industry comparable with these of the allies(i read that it doesn`t but may be i have missed something)? I know that the Wermacht relied on technology and speed. But however fast they are they are just a dozen of milliin army strength against half of the world. Are they crazy? What were there strategic plans in the eve of the war? pls help i will be very grateful
The USA waited a bit before joining. And Hitler thought that the UK, an "Aryan" -so, brother in some sense- nation according to him, wouldn't declare war to Germany. Also, I think that Hitler did understimate the power of the USA.

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Re: Are they crazy???!!

Post by PAMO » 31 Dec 2004 18:31

cyrill wrote:Why Germany have started this hopeless war against the allies. They knew that if they start war against the Chechs and Poland they will be automatically in war against france, Uk and USA.
Why do you think the war was hopeless for the Germans?
The Germans defeated France and also the Russian army was almost exhausted. When the Germans started the war the Americans weren't ready to enter the war at all. Even after the Germans conquered France and almost defeated Russia, the Americans were afraid to start an invasion in France and were only able to enter the war in North Africa.
If Hitler didn't make the mistake letting the British troops escape from Dunkirk, Great Britian would have been defeated, too. The Germans just made too many mistakes during the war, so the Allied could beat the German army.

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Post by Ostuf Charlemagne » 31 Dec 2004 23:44

A simplistic view and question .

May I remember you that Hitler didn't wanted a war against western countries and that war was declared by France and Britain ???

The war Hitler wanted was uniquely against the USSR and planned for around 1943 ....by this time he would have lots of Tigers and Me 262 for win it .....

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Post by PAMO » 01 Jan 2005 03:22

Ostuf Charlemagne wrote:May I remember you that Hitler didn't wanted a war against western countries and that war was declared by France and Britain ???
@Ostuf Charlemagne

I agree with you, but Hitler knew that if he attacked Poland, France and Britian would declare war against Germany. Even when Hitler still hoped Britian would join the Axis. Hitler also knew he had to defeat France first, before he could attack the Soviet Union because he knew he couldn't campaign war on two fronts against France and the Soviet Union at the same time.

But I disagree with you when you say the war against the Soviet Union was planned for 1943. That's not true at all.

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Post by Matthew Jordan » 01 Jan 2005 06:56

PAMO wrote:
Ostuf Charlemagne wrote:May I remember you that Hitler didn't wanted a war against western countries and that war was declared by France and Britain ???
@Ostuf Charlemagne

I agree with you, but Hitler knew that if he attacked Poland, France and Britian would declare war against Germany. Even when Hitler still hoped Britian would join the Axis. Hitler also knew he had to defeat France first, before he could attack the Soviet Union because he knew he couldn't campaign war on two fronts against France and the Soviet Union at the same time.

But I disagree with you when you say the war against the Soviet Union was planned for 1943. That's not true at all.
Whether he knew or not france and britain would declare war on Germany after poland is debateable... he did say something to the extent that "they don't want war, I saw the swine in munich"

Hitler had always been looking east.. he never wanted a war in the west, he wanted "lebenstraum" in the east (lebenstraum not just being the once thought "living space",) but rather, the economic advantages, and raw materials... he was living in a 'seige mentality' he wanted the Reich to be self-sufficient, he didn't want to end up as Germany was in WWI with it's population literally starving to death. and the British blocading Germany's materiel` routes.

everyone beleives Hitler to be a gambler... but one must only look at case yellow in it's original conception to see that Germany had no clear strategy for defeating the french... it was woefully inadequate to say the least

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Post by Jan-Hendrik » 01 Jan 2005 08:13

Intrestingly there were no planning in Germany for a lon war , Wehrmacht was only designed for short , fast conflict . Even until end of 1940 there where no evidental concrete military studies for a conflict with the Sovietunion . Even economy was not build up for a long time war ...

If You regard german military planning , instead of political speeches of Hitler ( them Hitler did much , but if they were to take serious so far ? ) you find nothing to underline the claims of today ...


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Matthew Jordan
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Post by Matthew Jordan » 01 Jan 2005 09:12

Jan-Hendrik wrote:Intrestingly there were no planning in Germany for a lon war
Judging by the late entry into the "total war" that everyone else was engaged in, there practically never was.. speer did some wonders... but as the phrase goes: "he was a day late and a dollar short"

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Post by PAMO » 01 Jan 2005 19:21

von rundstedt wrote: Whether he knew or not france and britain would declare war on Germany after poland is debateable... he did say something to the extent that "they don't want war, I saw the swine in munich"

Hitler had always been looking east.. he never wanted a war in the west, he wanted "lebenstraum" in the east (lebenstraum not just being the once thought "living space",) but rather, the economic advantages, and raw materials... he was living in a 'seige mentality' he wanted the Reich to be self-sufficient, he didn't want to end up as Germany was in WWI with it's population literally starving to death. and the British blocading Germany's materiel` routes.
I agree that Hitler wanted "new living space" in the East, but he always knew about a possible war against the West(France).
I have a small part of one of his exposes from 1936 where you can read that Hitler always thought about a war against France. I'm sorry that it is in German, but I try to translate the important part.

(...)
Zur Verbesserung unserer militärpolitischen Lage müsse in jedem Fall bei einer kriegerischen Verwicklung unser erstes Ziel sein, die Tschechei und gleichzeitig Österreich niederzuwerfen, um die Flankenbedrohung eines etwaigen Vorgehens nach Westen auszuschalten. (...)

(...)
To improve our military situation in a military involvment our first goal has to be to subdue Czechia and Austria, to eliminate a war on to fronts in a possible war in the West.(...)

source:
http://hometown.aol.de/razze002/Friedenhitler.html


I'm sorry, but that's the best way I can translate his expose. Maybe someone else can correct any mistakes.

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Post by Michael Kenny » 01 Jan 2005 19:31

Quote:

"May I remember you that Hitler didn't wanted a war against western countries and that war was declared by France and Britain ??? "



Yeah, right. Much like when someone breaks into your house and you catch him and struggle to eject him. The intruder can then claim you 'attacked' him. Get real!

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Re: Are they crazy???!!

Post by Igorn » 01 Jan 2005 19:43

PAMO wrote:Why do you think the war was hopeless for the Germans?
The Germans defeated France and also the Russian army was almost exhausted. When the Germans started the war the Americans weren't ready to enter the war at all. Even after the Germans conquered France and almost defeated Russia, the Americans were afraid to start an invasion in France and were only able to enter the war in North Africa.
If Hitler didn't make the mistake letting the British troops escape from Dunkirk, Great Britian would have been defeated, too. The Germans just made too many mistakes during the war, so the Allied could beat the German army.
Pamo,

Can you clarify what do you mean by the the words "almost exhausted" and "almost defeated"

Best Regards from Russia,

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Post by PAMO » 01 Jan 2005 20:12

@Igorn:

By the end of Barbarossa’s first day, the Luftwaffe had downed 400 enemy aircraft, destroying twice that number on the ground, at the cost of very few casualties. Most of the Bug River’s strategic bridges, whose capture in tact was vital for the offensive to succeed, fell quickly into German hands. The next day, the Soviets regained enough of their composure to launch furious counter-attacks with masses of tanks north-east of Tilsit, Lithuania. After these were virtually annihilated by Panzers coordinated with Stukas, the Germans swept fifty miles into Russian-held Poland.

Ten days later, at Bialystok, they captured 290,000 prisoners, 2,500 tanks, and 1,500 artillery. Retreating to the Latvian border, the Russians dug-in behind the heavily fortified Stalin Line, their version of the Maginot Line, and just as "impregnable". By July 15, German armor, followed by infantry divisions, had punched through it, captured Vitebsk, and encircled another huge pocket of Reds around Smolensk. They surrendered less than three weeks later, all 310,000 of them. An additional 100,000 were captured just three days later in the Uman pocket. In sharp contrast, German losses in both men and materiel were extremely low.

After some two months of annihilating combat, the Soviet fighting machine was in shambles, still completely off-balance, and unable to mount a single, successful counter-attack. Destruction of man-power, weaponry and territory was nothing short of catastrophic. Doubtless, had Hitler’s offensive not been tampered with and allowed to proceed as it had from the out-set, the USSR would have collapsed by autumn.

Source:
http://www.third-reich-books.com/barbarossa.htm

You have to agree with me that the Red Army wasn't prepared for the war at all and the Wehrmacht was only stopped by several events/situations. Don't you, Igorn?

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Post by Igorn » 01 Jan 2005 20:53

PAMO wrote:@Igorn: You have to agree with me that the Red Army wasn't prepared for the war at all and the Wehrmacht was only stopped by several events/situations. Don't you, Igorn?
Pamo,

Let’s open a military diary of the German Colonel General Halder. He boasted that he defeated Soviet Union for about 14 days. However, gradually the diary author began to lose an ardor. Then one could see the records about shortages of reserves, shells, ammunition, fuel for tanks and trucks, spare parts etc. Trumpets and fanfares are not victoriously ringing. One could see the records about the stiff resistance of the Red Army, about sudden counter-attacks, about hardness and decisiveness of the Soviet Military Leadership, about heavy irrevocable losses of Wehrmacht.

From the diary of General Halder, record of August 10th, 1941: “Worn out German infantry would not be able to oppose the decisive offensive actions to those enemy efforts. At the moment our units strongly exhausted and suffer heavy losses.”

Record from the diary of General Halder of August 11th, 1941: “our forces are worn out. All our efforts is the last and at the same time dubious attempt to prevent the transition to the positional war. Our high command possesses highly limited resources… Our last forces were thrown into the battlefield.”

Blitzkrieg failed already in August 1941. There were no forces. This was the real reason for the stopping. They had to shift to the defense, that meant the positional war. But now some insolent Hitler’s agitators declared that mud in October 1941 is to blame. Not Sirs, mud in October has nothing to do with the delay of Wehrmacht offensive. German’s had to prepare to the war properly and in August 1941 engage the Second Strategic echelon of German army into the actions. Why the Second Strategic Echelon of German army was not engaged into actions? It simply did not exist! Nothing was to engage into the battlefield. Hitler’s army was so weak and not prepared to the war that just after two months of actions they discussed the point of not further advancement but whether German army had enough forces for defensive. Besides it German army was headed not by the smartest people.

From the diary of General Halder, record of August 22nd, 1941: ”A Fuerer’s note is full of ambiguity. OKH status became unbearable because of Fuerer involvement and verbal attacks. Nobody else could be responsible for contradictory orders of Fuerer besides himself… In the second half of the day our discussions and arguments were interrupted by the telephone talk with the Field Marshal von Bock who again stressed that his units would not be able to retain for a long time those lines, which were reached having in mind offensive to Moscow.” There was no discussion about offensive or Blitzkrieg. They discussed how to retain the captured land.

From the diary of General Halder, record of September 5th, 1941: “our units gave up the front bulge near Yelnya”. At the main war strategic direction the units of the Army Group Center could not resist strikes of the Russian 24th Army and gave up the bridgehead, which was necessary for an offensive to Moscow.

If Russian winter, frost, snow, mud and unlimited space are to blame for Barbarossa failure I may agree for a minute. But in this case Germans had to leave from this damn place. Declare a war at June 22, 1941 and then retreat to Berlin to the line of Oder and Varta. Retreat to those place where there were no snow, mud, frost and unlimited space but there were beautiful roads and mild climate and there to defeat stupid Ivans. Why to climb to places where there were mud and frost?

Well, initially they overestimated their unprepared to the war army and quickly moved forward and reached Smolensk and Orsha. But August ends, then September and then… And genius Hitler’s strategist had to think what would happen next. Thus in 1812 Napoleon army caught under first snow at October 13th and before there was mud. They had to take that into account.

From the memories of Russian Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky: “under sensible assessment of the situation and foreseeing coming winter the enemy had the only solution: immediate retreat to the considerable distance.” (Military History Magazin, July 1991, P.9). Not the best solution but the only one. Question: Why they did not retreat? The answer find in the same diary of General Halder.

From the diary of General Halder, record of September 13th, 1941: “Currently we can’t envisage the quantity of forces which could be released from the East Front with the advent of winter and what forces would be needed to lead the operations next year.” He started to talk about next year! There was not frost or mud but they recalled next year. But this was nothing else but acceptance of the fact that Blitzkrieg ended and Barbarossa failed. Prior to mud, snow and frost. The war turned out to be a long-term one, leading Germany to disaster. That’s why don’t blame mud and frost.
That is also important to note the remark that with an advent of winter the German forces would be released…The genius German strategists headed by Hitler reckoned that with an advent of winter and frost the Red Army would scatter and disperse.

The German General Guderian is witnessing: “The Supreme Command was so sure in the success of their mad undertaking that the important branches of military industry were switched already in Autumn of 1941 for manufacturing of other products. They expected to withdraw 60-80 divisions with an advent of winter thinking that remaining divisions would be sufficient to press down Russia during the winter.” (Guderian, Memories of the Solder, p.206)

From the diary of General Halder, record of November 5th, 1941:”the situation can be improved only with an advent of frost”. Really! They waited for a winter as salvage. On November 5th 1941 they already were in hopeless position. The last hope was on the natural conditions. There would be a frost and we will win. A lack of frost was an excuse. There was no victory because there was no frost. But when frost came again they used that as an excuse. There was no victory because frost was disturbing them. And now Hitler supporters are talking about terrible weather conditions. And Hitler started to talk about minus 52’C . Hitler lied about -52’C but for some reasons some historians don’t expose him. On the contrary they support him saying that the weather in Russia in winter is terrible indeed. On May 29th, 1942 Hitler watched renown Soviet movie “Defeat Germans under Moscow”. Movie is convincing and impressive. In the Hitler’s “Table Talks” one could see the following Hitler’s comment:” This winter we had to go through especially hard testing and trials also because the clothes of our solders, their ammunition and machines at any degree matched the conditions of that winter, when the temperature went down to minus 50’C… First German POW's, there were crowds of POW's without overcoats, gloves, without winter clothes, trampling because of frost, having hand deeply put in pockets which they from time to time removed from pockets to rub ears and nose!...And finally icy German tanks, trucks, cisterns, guns were stretching by endless line due to the fact that German general staff of ground forces did not stock up supplies of frost-resistant fuel and winter clothes”. Hitler and Nazi defenders listen what Fuerer was saying: Not winter but not readiness to the winter is to blame. Hitler, of course, did not consider himself accountable for such situation but accused his generals. They prepared blitzkrieg but motorization level of army was unsatisfactory. They prepared blitzkrieg for summer but for some reasons fought in winter without frost-resistant fuel and winter clothes. The contemporary Hitlerist and Nazi don’t like these Hitler’s revelations and frankness. In their defense of Nazism they went further than Hitler. Hitler accused his generals of carelessness but modern Nazi supporters defend German generals and strategists blaming Russian winter. The most interesting thing that Hitler having burnt his fingers in the winter of 1941 decided to remain in this terrible country for a second winter. Next year he got Stalingrad. Moscow of 1941 didn’t teach Hitler. At Stalingrad in 1942 Germans again were left without warm underwear. And again we hear the stories about wise German generals and terrible Russian winter. If in 1941 shortage of time did not allow Hitler to defeat Soviet Union what he was short of in 1942?
The main question: what conclusions Hitler and his wise generals made out of first disastrous winter in Russia? In 1941 no measures were taken to support military actions in winter. But what was done to prepare for a new winter? Did Hitler thought about it? He thought. And found genius solution.

Record of April 5th, 1942 from Hitler’s Table Talks: “ in the central part of Russia we have to plant all endless marshy lands with reed so that with an advent of new winter we could easier to cope with terrible Russian frost.” Here is the solution! Let’s stay next winter in endless marshy lands in reeds as tigers. Let’s not laugh for a minute. Bad solution or good one but it was found. If so, call the Minister of the Eastern Territories and order to implement the combat task: to plant reeds on the marshy lands. Soviet Union was not a small country. They were already in April of 1942.and even if an order to plant reeds was given immediately even than could they manage to plant reeds on the invaded territory of hundreds thousand square kilometers? And where they could had taken so many seeds? And how many people were required to implement these? And could reeds rise till autumn in order to protect German warriors from snow and frost? I don’t assess the degree of Hitler’s idiotism here. I am talking about different issue here. If he finds a solution, even idiotic one, act! But Hitler does not have a mechanism to implement his decisions. He rattled something and his words echoed in his concrete bunker and subsided. His secretaries and historians wrote down his words in thick notebooks but Hitler’s words remained forever only in those notebooks not prompting any action.
Hitler rattled something shaking air and preparation to the next winter was over. His words were like dog barking. Nobody listens a dog, nobody reacts. After those words nobody remembered in Germany about new winter until November 19th 1942 near Stalingrad. Question to all Hitler defenders who assert that winter, mud, snow and frost accounted for Germany defeat and Hitler and his genius generals were not to blame. Nazi supporters, did you try yourselves following recommendation of your wise Fuerer to stay for a winter in Russia in marshy land in reed?

German army entered Russian land on June 22nd 1941 and on December 5th 1941 Russian offensive near Moscow started that meant the end of Hitler’s Third Reich. Of course, after that there were Stalingrad, Kursk and Belorussian strategic operation (Bagration) but that were just new strikes to kill the beast who was mortally wounded near Moscow. Many Hitler’s generals had the same point of view, for example, General von Mellentin:” Moscow Battle was the turning point of the war. Starting from that moment the victory for us was not achievable.” (Panzer Battles. р. 429).
But this point of view is too optimistic. There are more authoritative opinions in this regard. On November 29th 1941, the German Minister of Weapons and ammunition, Fritz Todt advised Hitler to stop the war against Soviet Union. Todt reckoned that: ”from military and economics perspective the Germany has already lost the war" (К. Reinhardt. Die Wende vor Moskau. s. 184). According to the German Minister of weapons and ammunition Germany managed to hold out for five months and one week. But Todt saw the situation from far Berlin. Field officers and generals figured out that the war was lost earlier. From the military diary of General Halder, record of November 24th, 1941:” Lieutenant Colonel Kalden (communication officer under the staff of the 2nd Tank Army) reported about situation and army conditions… The Army command reckons impossible to go on offensive further… Colonel-General Fromm described overall military-economical situation. Falling curve! He considers that we need a truce.” That was declared just after five months and two days from the day Wehrmacht entered into Russian territory: A TRUCE IS REQUIRED! But even these assessments were overstated. Many German authoritative generals consider August 21st 1941 as a date of the German defeat in the World War II. At that day Hitler ordered to postpone offensive for Moscow and instead of that to strike to south so that to encircle Soviet forces near Kiev. In Kiev pocket Germans captured 665,000 Soviet solders and officers, 884 tanks, 3178 field guns, hundreds thousand shells and ammunition, fuel and spare parts. However this was a tactical win. That would be fatal losses for some other army, e.g. British, which at that moment fought against two German divisions in Africa. But for the Red Army such losses were unpleasant but bearable. That had to accept for example German General Guderian: ”Combats for Kiev undoubtedly meant big tactical success. However the question weather that tactical success had significant strategic meaning was under doubt.” (The Memories of the Solder, P.305). The Germans really captured POW’s and materials but lost the whole month of September. The last month when their unprepared to the war army could fight in Russia. Then –October and mud “rasputitsa”, November and frost. Combats for Kiev irrespective of number of captured POW meant transition to the long-term war, mortal for Germany. In other words, Hitler’s decision of August 21st 1941 to turn to Kiev meant loss of the war against Soviet Union. I hear voices of not finished off Nazi: what if Hitler didn’t turn to Kiev… Even if he didn’t turn to Kiev that wouldn’t change anything. In any event the war for Germany was getting lasting and mortal for Germany one. And that couldn’t end up with good results. Let’s imagine that armies of the Group Army Center launched a strike for Moscow. Flanks and rears were not protected. There were no reserves. The German armies could have been supplied only by the only and highly vulnerable and partly damaged railroad line Minsk-Smolensk-Vyazma and by horse transport. From the north side under these not protected territories where German horse carts were moving hung over the forces of the Soviet North-Western Front having about half million solders and hundreds of tanks and field guns. The Russian forces there were not vulnerable because they were positioned on Valdai Highs, which were not passable for German tanks. From the diary of General Halder, record of July 25th, 1941: “we get reports that areas there is not passable for us and enemy from there constantly leads the counter-attacks…”. From the South, from areas of Kiev, Konotop, Bryansk, the only communication line of Germans there was a threat of the Soviet South-Western and Bryansk Fronts having over one million solders, thousand tanks and five thousand field guns. Under such conditions the offensive to Moscow was an advancement to mousetrap. If Hitler went for Moscow having left unprotected flanks and lost than not finished-off Nazi later would say that they advised to turn for Kiev and capture Ukraine. If Hitler went to Kiev, captured Ukraine… and lost, not finished off Nazi were saying: but we advised to advance to Moscow. But in reality Hitler didn’t have any choice. And Hitlerists understood that pretty well. From the diary of General Halder, record of August 7th, 1941:” to the question what we have to be captured: Moscow and Ukraine orMoscow and Ukraine, one has to answer Moscow and Ukraine. We have to do it or otherwise we would not be able to defeat the enemy before advent of Autumn.” They were in August already. Three weeks were left till September and the question itself in August 1941 what way to go was the proof of complete failure of German strategy. If they go to Moscow that they wouldn’t be able to capture Ukraine before advent of mud (rasputitsa) season and then to fight for Ukraine in Autumn and winter. If they go to Ukraine than Moscow wouldn’t be captured before advent of mud (rasputitsa) season and then combats for Moscow would fall on Autumn and winter. One could select one or another option but in any event they couldn’t avoid mud and frost. The war would get lasting one without a hope for Germans to win. But they yet had to capture Leningrad and Crimea. Hitler understood that as well. Halder, record of August 22nd 1941:” the most important goal before advent of winter is not capture of Moscow but capturing of Crimea, industrial and coal areason Donets river and blocking and cutting the communication lines to supply oil from Caucuses. On the north such a goal is encircling of Leningrad and assistance to Finish forces… Capturing of Crimean Peninsula has a paramount importance to ensure supply of oil from Romania.”
Hitler had a lot of strategic targets and all were vitally important. If Germans don’t capture the Crimea they will lose the war. If don’t capture Leningrad they will lose the war. If don’t capture the Donetsk basin will lose the war. If don’t capture Caucasus will lose the war. If don’t capture Moscow will lose the war.
That was an on-going race for many targets. But if they capture Moscow they have to reach Kazan, Kuibyshev, Saratov and Astrakhan. They have to built aircraft fields on Volga to press down “the last industrial area” in Urals. And all that for three remaining weeks of August? We can argue for a long time what would happen if German forces didn’t turn to Kiev and went to Moscow. But this question itself shows complete military incompetence of some German generals and their defenders. Since long time it was known that any geographic point could not be goal of operation. Such goal could be the only army of the enemy. “ No war including World War II didn’t refute the correctness of the main principle: the strategy goal must be defeat of the enemy’s forces. This principle remains unchanged and must be leitmotiv for actions in a war.” (Colonel-General Lotar Rendulich, the Management of forces, P.37). Defeat an enemy army and then everything is yours including the capital of enemy, their industry and population. But fight for an enemy capital is idiotism on the level of Napoleon who failed to defeat Russian army, captured Moscow and waited for a surrender of Russians. If Hitler armies went to Moscow then they would have got a strike from the areas of Kiev on their left flank and a strike on their right flank from Valdai Heights.
And why Hitler generals had to argue weather to go for Moscow or Kiev? They had just to act in accordance with Barbarossa plan. What was written there, Moscow or Kiev? Let’s open Hitler’s directive No 21 (Barbarossa) and discover that nothing was mention there in this regard. Before the war Hitler and his genius generals didn’t think about this problem. Moreover, they completely ruled out such situation. All Hitler directive was about “retreat of battle worthy enemies formations must be prevented.” They intended to defeat the Re Army on the Right bank of Dnepr river in Ukraine, preventing retreat behind Dnepr. They reckoned that behind Dnepr River there were not any Soviet Army units. Neither Hitler nor his generals had no idea about seven armies of the Second Strategic Echelon of the Red Army, which were secretly placed behind armies of the First Strategic Echelon.
They had no clue that behind the armies of the Second Strategic Echelon there were the armies of the Third Strategic Echelon. They didn’t take into consideration that besides three Strategic Echelons, hundreds of new divisions, tens of new Corps and Armies could be created quickly and effectively. That armies defeated at the frontier could quickly be replenished and restored.
According to Hitler plan, no Russian forces should be positioned behind Dnepr River but they were there and in millions of solders. But the main thing was that in August 1941 not envisioned turn to Kiev was possible but advancement to Moscow in August 1941 was impossible just because of poor preparation of German army to the war. In the middle of August the fuel for tanks and aircrafts was almost over. They had oil for a short breakthrough of the 2nd Tank Group from Konotop to Lokhvitsa and 1st Tank Group from Kremenchug to Lokvitsa. But they had no oil to advance for Moscow and that was reflected in documents including the military diary of General Halder: Record of August 17th 1941: “ the seriousness of the situation with fuel is well known… We can satisfy only our vital needs. Launching any new operations requiring more oil and fuel is imposible.” That’s it: impossible! After just two months of the war launching of new big operations was impossible. But how they prepared to the war? Offensive to Moscow is the great operation. With great difficulties they found fuel for two tank groups which carried out strikes in the rear of Kiev grouping of the Red Army. But to supply all german army with fuel to launch an offensive to Moscow and repel highly possible counter-attacks in August was impossible. So, we see that Hitler didn’t have a choice Kiev or Moscow in August 1941. He didn’t have fuel for an offensive to Moscow. Hence, the Hitler’s order of August 21st 1941 to turn to Kiev was not decisive. Offensive to Moscow under good weather conditions was impossible because of lack of fuel. And in October 1941 it could be successful because of weather. In other words, already on August 21st 1941 Hitler position was hopeless. If they had fuel than we could argue Moscow or Kiev. But there was no fuel. That’s why even if they didn’t turn to Kiev they had to stop and wait for oil which had to be pumped in Romania, that oil had to be refined and converted into petrol and gas for aircrafts, tanks and trucks and had to be delivered to the areas of Mogilev-Vitebsk-Polotsk. And that could have happened only at the end of September 1941. Without that offensive to Moscow would be impossible. And discussion about offensive to Moscow in August is useless. We can’t argue about impossible events.
But problems with fuel arose not on August 17th 1941 but earlier. Record from the Halder’s diary of August 4th, 1941: “the situation with fuel at the moment does not allow us to use the motorized units for offensive at the south direction. It will take 14 days to replenish the tank units and give them some rest”. It is difficult for me to understand why they needed to replenish the tank units if earlier Halder wrote in his diary that the Soviet forces were defeated and were not able to create a front line. Here is the record from the Halder’s diary of July 3rd, 1941:”It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that campaign against Russia was won during 14 days”. In one month it turned out that German tank crew could not fight further without 14 days of rest. They planned the blitzkrieg for three summer months but in August 1941 they needed a rest. And I am talking about fuel only.

From the diary of General Halder, record of August 11th, 1941: “The Supreme Command is very restricted in resources…our last forces were spent.” They planned the blitzkrieg but their forces were spent already in the first half of August. Two months of the war were not over yet. They were only in Belorussia, the Right Dnepr River Ukraine and just entered in the territory of core Russia but their last forces were already spent. Is it proof and acceptance of the complete failure and defeat!
The blitzkrieg failure is highly noticeable even before that date.

Record of August 5th 1941: “our troops are physically tired. The Fuerer declared (and we ensured him in this) that current development of the situation will lead to the fronts stabilization like in the last world war.”

One day earlier on August 4th, 1941 in Borisov there was a meeting of the Wehrmacht’s High Command, which was attended by Hitler. “Colonel-General Guderian reported the situation on the front of the 2nd Tank Group including replenishment requirements in officers, unter-officers and solders as well as in machines. In case of delivery of necessary amount of new engines it would be possible at 70% to restore combat abilities of tanks to lead the deep operations. And in case of supply of just spare parts it would be possible to lead just limited operations. Colonel-General Hoth reported situation on the front of 3rd Tank Group and underlined that further operations could be led just with limited goals unless engines are delivered” .

This is preparation to the war. They planned blitzkrieg but reached Smolensk (670 kilometers from the border) and their tank engines had to be replaced. Having such tanks how they could dream of blitzkrieg! Hitler generals had in front of them a country of 10,000 kilometers from west to east. How did they plan the war if after 700 kilometers they had to stop and change tank engines? But they didn’t have engines in stock. “ After some hesitations Hitler promised to provide 300 tank engines for the whole East front. That quantity could not satisfy me at all. Our request to get new tanks was rejected.” .(Heinz Guderian, Memories of the Solder, P.256)
Well, even if engines were supplied they would had reached another 700 kilometers and what next?
The matter of German tank forces, which were worn off and lost their offensive capabilities and were incapable to move forward was discussed on August 4th 1941 in Hitler presence. But crisis occurred even earlier. Heinz Guderian is witnessing: “At the end of July in the area of Yelnya heavy combats went on demanding great consumption of ammunition. Here our last reserve, the company guarding our Tank Group’s command control was engaged.” (Memories of the Solder, P.254).
From the diary of General Halder, record of July 11th, 1941: ”On the central part of the front we had to shift to defense. On the area of Ilmen Lake-Kholm-Toropetz we have to leave just insignificant blocks. Tank troops should be withdrawn from the front line for replenishment and repair.”
A tank is created in a such manner that a repair even complex one can be done in the field workshops. But German tanks were so weak and worn out and tank divisions were suffering such heavy losses that main Wehrmacht shocking grouping, 2nd and 3rd Tank Groups just after five weeks of war had to be withdrawn from the front line for replenishment and recovery of their combat capabilities. And on the main strategic direction had to shift to defense for the first time in the course of the World War II. Earlier on July 25th 1941 a decision was taken to dispatch the 17th and 20th Tank divisions from the 2nd and 3rd Tank Groups to Germany for replenishment. They were so worn out and drained that normal replenishment near the front line was impossible. At the same day in the Halder’s diary one could see the following record: “We have to refuse from the deep raids of tank forces. They have to be used in tactical combats, capturing territories step by step. This is tiring business. However this is the only way to defeat the enemy man power.” To refuse from the deep raids of tank forces means to refuse from blitzkrieg. But there is no other solution. Hitler had so little tanks. If he had at least 30,000 tanks that lesser part of tanks (e.g 10,000 ) could be used to finish off encircled Russian groups in pockets and larger and best part of tanks could be used for rapid deep advancement and offensive in other words for blitzkrieg. But German Generals entered Russia almost without tanks. They had less than 4,000 tanks. In the first days they encircled large number of Soviet troops in pockets but encircled Russian forces had to be defeated. And exactly this task was set for insignificant German tank troops. But to continue blitzkrieg they just had no forces.

At the same day of July 25th 1941 Halder wrote about lack of shells and ammunition and explains: “for a mobile war fuel is required, for a positional war shells and ammunition are required!”.

So, German Supreme Command just after one month and three days of a war arrived to the conclusion that deep tank operations had to be stopped. German Command realized that blitzkrieg failed and started talking about positional or trench war like World War I. However they neither had fuel to continue blitzkrieg nor ammunition and shells required for the positional war. That’s why in a candid document of the General Staff one could see so many emotions and exclamation points. And now Hitlerists are supporting wise German strategists: The weather in October disturbed them!

At the early July 1941 they refused from deep tank raids. At the end of July they had to shift to defense. At the early August there was a beautiful weather but they spent their last forces that was recorded in the official documents. In the mid-August 1941 they had to replenish and restore combat capabilities of their drained tank divisions. In September 1941 they were not able not only to go on offensive but even to hold defense. They were knocked-out from the bridgehead near Orsha. And then explained their defeat because of bad weather in October-November etc. 1941. The reasons of the Hitler’s failures of July-August 1941 could be found in June 1941. And one can find them in the book of the General Guenter Bluementrit, “Fatal Decisions”, P. 65-67: “During 20s-30s the Soviets created the immense army comprising of more than million people and steadily were increasing it. That was happening prior to the rebuild of the German Army in 1935…Hitler seriously intended to start a war with Russia in the summer of 1940. He wanted to strike at Russians before they would attack Germany… Having taken this decision Germany has lost a war”. There are much earlier and correct dates. The Minister of Weapons &Ammunitions, Speer began a chapter “Beginning of the fall” in his book as follows: ”Approximately in the first days of August of 1939…”. And that was the beginning of the fall. In August of 1939 Hitler and Stalin by means of Molotov and Ribbentrop signed a pact to separate Poland . This pact inevitably brought up Hitler to a situation where he had to lead a lasting war and that turned out to be a disaster. Besides it Germany has to fight on several fronts at the same time that turned to be mortal for Germany.
All what happened after counter-signing of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact were just stages and details on the Hitler’s way to his suicide. Hitler lost the war not in December of 1941. Not in August or even June of 1941. He lost the war in August of 1939 when he started to play games with Stalin and lost his Germany, Europe and his own life. In 1941 Hitler realized that playing with cardsharp cheater and suddenly stroke Stalin. Stalin did not expect that and with difficulty endured the strike. But main thing was done. Stalin won everything long time ago.




Best Regards from Russia,

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