Alfred Jodl 4

June 22, 1941: Operation (Unternehmen) Barbarossa (Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union), begins as 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invade the USSR along an 1,800 mile front. (Clark)

From Jodl's IMT testimony: The surprise attack on 22 June 1941 is a historical fact, which took place because the politicians were of the opinion that the Soviet Union had not kept the pact. It [this attack] might [dishonor the name of Germany for centuries to come], if historical research, after exact investigation of Russian documents, delivers clear proof that Russia had no intention of strangling us politically, or of attacking us. In that case, yes; otherwise, no.

June 23, 1941: Late in the evening, Hitler arrives for the first time at his Eastern Front military headquarters (Führerhauptquartier), located near the small East Prussian (now Polish) town of Rastenburg, known as the Wolf's Lair (Wolfsschanze). Between this date and November 20, 1944, Hitler will spend a total of 800 days there. (Kershaw)

From the IMT testimony of Major Herbert Buchs (Jodl's second adjutant): Yes [there were maps on the wall at Führer HQ], and also in East Prussia—particularly the headquarters—the Führer had a topographic map of Germany, as well as a political map of Europe, and there were similar maps in the various other rooms. Neither in the headquarters in East Prussia, nor in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, nor at the Berghof in Berchtesgaden, have I ever seen such a map [of the concentration camps]. That is quite out of the question.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: The Fuehrer's headquarters was a cross between a cloister and a concentration camp. There were numerous wire fences, and much barbed wire surrounding it. There were outposts on the roads leading to it to safeguard it. In the middle was the so-called Security Ring.

Permanent passes to enter this security ring were not given even to my staff, only to General Warlimont. Every guard had to check on each officer whom he did not know. Apart from reports on the situation, only very little news from the outer world penetrated into this holy of holiest . . . .

Among foreign papers, we studied very carefully the illustrated American and English papers, for they gave us very good information on new weapons. The foreign news itself was received and censored by the headquarters civilian press section. I was given only what was of military interest. Reports concerning internal politics, police, or the present situation were forbidden.

From The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by Robert Payne: Hitler never liked this command post, which had been prepared for him shortly before the invasion of Russia. He disliked it for the same reasons everyone else disliked it. General Jodl called it "a cross between a cloister and a concentration camp," but it was more like a concentration camp than a cloister. Nevertheless, Hitler clung to the place obstinately for months on end. It was his refuge, his home, the one place where he felt perfectly secure. The Russians never discovered his hiding place, and the three Soviet planes shot down by anti-aircraft fire in the outer perimeter were thought to have been seeking another target. The Wolf's Lair was one of the best-kept secret of the war . . . .

Although Hitler found in the forest exactly what he wanted, and was perfectly content to live there for a few weeks, it was no part of his intention to remain there for three and a half years. The decision to remain was forced on him by the nature of the long-drawn-out war with Russia, which absorbed his attention almost to the exclusion of everything else. Month by month, the many roles he had once assumed fell away from him. The orator, the party leader, the lawgiver, the oracle, the chief judge and court of appeal, all these withered away, to be revived at rare intervals, and there was only the commander-in-chief poring over the map and dictating orders that were instantly obeyed.

These orders were issued twice a day—during the war conferences that took place at midday, and again toward midnight. The usual custom was for Colonel-General Jodl to outline the military situation from the reports that had been streaming in from the various fronts, and Hitler would then dictate the measures to be taken, allowing few options to his generals in the field. His decisions were final, not to be questioned, superseding all other decisions, and the words "I order" were constantly repeated.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: It [collaboration with the Fuehrer] took place as follows: Every day I made at least two reports on the situation. Some time ago it was asserted, rather indignantly, that I took part in 119 conferences. I took part in far more than 5,000 conferences. This discussion of the situation, and reporting on the military position, was at the same time an issuing of orders On the basis of the reports on events, the Führer decided immediately what orders were to be given for the next few days.

I worked in this way: When my report was finished, I went into an adjoining room. There, I immediately drew up the teletype messages and orders for the next few days and, while the reports on the situation were still going on, I read these drafts to the Führer for his approval. Warlimont then took them along to my staff where they were sent off . . . .

May I add, to complete the picture it should be said that I did not hear many things which were discussed during these reports on the situation. The same is true of Field Marshal Keitel who worked in a similar manner ... political problems were discussed only to the extent that was necessary for our military measures. Also, on occasions when political and military leaders came together, when the Reich Foreign Minister was present, problems were discussed which lay on the borderline between politics and the conduct of the war. I did not take part in the exclusively political talks with foreign politicians, neutral or allied, or with the Reich Foreign Minister. I did not even take part in the discussions on the organization, armament, and administration of the occupied territories, for the purely military discussions of the situation in which I had to take part often lasted or required as much as 6 or 8 hours a day. I really needed the time I then had left for my own work.

July 2, 1941: Heydrich sends an order setting out the verbal instructions to be given to the Einsatzgruppen in the occupied Soviet territories:

All the following are to be executed: Officials of the Comintern, together with professional Communist politicians in general; top and medium-level officials, and radical lower-level officials of the Party, Central Committee, and district and sub-district committees; People's Commissars; Jews in Party and State employment, and other radical elements (saboteurs, propagandists, snipers, assassins, inciters, etc.).

From Jodl's IMT testimony: I was not familiar with the idea of the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommando, until I came here to Nuremberg. I must say that quite openly, even at the risk of being called a "Parsifal," but it is a fact. I only knew about the Police. The operational territory of the Army was divided into three sectors. The front line was called the fighting zone, and that went back approximately as far as the enemy artillery could fire. In that sector, everything that was anything at all, was in all respects subordinate to the Army. But in that sector there was no Police—except the Secret Field Police, who were, in any case, completely under the jurisdiction of the Army . . . .

[The Secret Field Police were actually a part of the division], they were divisional troops which carried out police work among the troops. Then came the rear area of the armies, which was under the commanding generals of the armies, and behind that were the lines of communication of the Army, which comprised all the supply units and services of the Quartermaster General of the Army. In this main sector—which was by far the largest sector, as it comprised 97 percent of the entire operational area—the entire Police and everything which did not belong to the Army organically was not under the command of the Army, as far as tasks were concerned, but under the Police, under the Reichsführer SS Himmler. Only from the standpoint of servicing the troops—that is, with regard to their supplies or movements during advance or retreat—did the Army, of course, have the right to give orders to the troops regarding their movements and their accommodation. The entire Police received orders about what they were to do from Himmler only. An officer of the Army could never punish a member of the Police or the SS.

I cannot, of course, judge exactly what the commanding generals actually experienced while they were together at the front; but I can say with absolute certainty that I have never seen an order which revealed that these police units had been sent into the operational zone for any other purpose than that of maintaining quiet and order, from the police point of view, and uncovering revolts and partisan activities. I have never seen a report or an order which contained anything other than that . . . .

I consider [the idea that the commanding generals of the armies or army groups would have tolerated those conditions without protest] out of the question, because even in the case of much smaller incidents they raised the most violent protects. Hundreds of documents which have been offered by the Prosecution here show how the troops at the front had objected to measures which they considered inadmissible from a humane point of view, or dangerous to peace and order in the occupied territories.

July 3, 1941: Stalin addresses the USSR by way of radio:

Fascist Germany suddenly and treacherously violated the Non-Aggression Pact she concluded in 1939 with the USSR, disregarding the fact that she would be regarded as the aggressor by the whole world. Naturally, our peace-loving country, not wishing to take the initiative of breaking the pact, could not resort to perfidy. It may be asked how could the Soviet Government have consented to conclude a Non-Aggression Pact with such treacherous fiends as Hitler and Ribbentrop? Was this not an error on the part of the Soviet Government? Of course not. Non-Aggression Pacts are pacts of peace between states. It was such a pact that Germany proposed to us in 1939. Could the Soviet Government have declined such a proposal?

I think that not a single peace-loving state could decline a peace treaty with a neighboring state, even though the latter was headed by such fiends and cannibals as Hitler and Ribbentrop. Of course only on one indispensable condition, namely, that this peace treaty does not infringe either directly or indirectly on the territorial integrity, independence and honor of the peace-loving state. As is well known, the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the USSR is precisely such a pact...

July 10, 1941: Ostrov and Pskov are captured and the German 18th Army reaches Narva and Kingisepp. This has the effect of creating siege positions from the Gulf of Finland to Lake Ladoga, with the eventual aim of isolating Leningrad from all directions.

From the IMT testimony of General August Winter: I took part [in Barbarossa] as the first general staff officer of Field Marshal Von Rundstedt's army group. The official reason [for the attack], given to me at the time by my commander and my chief, was that an attack from Soviet Russia was to be expected shortly, and that this was therefore a preventive measure. It was the uniform impression of the command of the army group—including the commander, the chief, and the operations department under my command—that the reason given for the campaign was the true one. Our own impression at the time was that we had hit on active preparations for an offensive campaign. We had a number of facts that confirmed that impression, according to our ideas. I may state them briefly.

First of all, there was the strength of the troops we encountered which, although I cannot give you figures now, was greater than the figures mentioned in our marching orders. Then there was the extraordinary deployment of troops, so near and like a front, which struck us, with unusual large proportions of armored troops far exceeding anything we had expected, and the deployment of a comparatively strong group opposite the Hungarian border, which we could not explain to ourselves as a defensive force. One point is particularly significant; the fact that, during the first week, we found that captured enemy staffs were equipped with maps [that] covered a large area of German or ex-Austrian territory which, again, did not seem in keeping with purely defensive considerations. In addition we observed a number of smaller things, not very important in themselves.

It is particularly noticeable that the units on the Russian Front were equipped with maps, covering much more than the area which would normally be included in a defensive reconnaissance area, even allowing for the fact that, at the beginning of a campaign, such reconnaissance might go beyond the enemy's frontier.

We encountered an enormous number of these difficulties when we approached the Dnieper ... remote-controlled explosions, or delayed-action explosions, which were carried out, as it seemed, on a very large scale in our fighting zone in the Kiev-Kharkov-Poltava area. They caused us a great deal of trouble, and they forced us to adopt extensive countermeasures at the time.

July 16, 1941: From a top-secret memorandum, prepared by Martin Bormann, of a conference at the Führer's headquarters concerning the war in the East attended by Hitler, Lammers, Göring, Keitel, Rosenberg, and Bormann:

A. Now it was essential that we did not publicize our aims before the world, also there was no need for that; but the main thing was that we ourselves knew what we wanted. By no means should we render our task more difficult by making superfluous declarations. Such declarations were superfluous because we could do everything wherever we had the power, and what was beyond our power, we would not be able to do anyway. What we told the world about the motives for our measures ought to be conditioned, therefore, by tactical reasons. We ought to act here, in exactly the same way as we did in the cases of Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium. In these cases, too, we did not publish our aims; and it was only sensible to continue in the same way. Therefore, we shall emphasize again that we were forced to occupy, administer, and secure a certain area; it was in the interest of the inhabitants that we provided order, food, traffic, and so forth, hence our measures. Nobody shall be able to recognize that it initiates a final settlement. This need not prevent our taking all necessary measures—shooting, resettling, etc.—and we shall take them. But we do not want to make any people our enemies prematurely and unnecessarily. Therefore we shall act as though we wanted to exercise a mandate only. At the same time we must know clearly that we shall never leave those countries.

Our conduct therefore ought to be: 1) To do nothing which might obstruct the final settlement, but to prepare for it only in secret; 2) To emphasize that we are liberators. In particular: The Crimea has to be evacuated by all foreigners, and to be settled by Germans only. In the same way, the former Austrian part of Galicia will become Reich Territory. Our present relations with Romania are good, but nobody knows what they will be at any future time. This we have to consider, and we have to draw our frontiers accordingly. One ought not to be dependent on the good will of other people. We have to plan our relations with Romania in accordance with this principle. On principle, we have now to face the task of cutting up the giant cake according to our needs, in order to be able: First, to dominate it; second, to administer it; and third, to exploit it. The Russians have now ordered partisan warfare behind our front. This partisan war again has some advantage for us; it enables us to eradicate everyone who opposes us.

Principles: Never again must it be possible to create a military power west of the Urals, even if we have to wage war for a hundred years, in order to attain this goal. Every successor of the Führer should know security for the Reich exists, only if there are no foreign military forces west of the Urals. It is Germany who undertakes the protection of this area against all possible dangers. Our iron principle is and has to remain: We must never permit anybody but the Germans to carry arms . . . .

The Führer emphasizes that the entire Baltic country will have to be incorporated into Germany. At the same time, the Crimea, including a considerable hinterland (situated north of the Crimea), should become Reich territory; the hinterland should be as large as possible. Rosenberg objects to this because of the Ukrainians living there. Note by Bormann: (Incidentally: It occurred to me several times that Rosenberg has a soft spot for the Ukrainians; thus he desires to aggrandize the former Ukraine to a considerable extent.) The Führer emphasizes, furthermore, that the Volga colony, too, will have to become Reich territory, also the district around Baku; the latter will have to become a German concession (military colony).

From Jodl's IMT testimony: [This was not the first time Hitler had made] this decision, if it actually was a decision—and the statements made at this conference—I learned for the first time here in Court. I personally did not take part in the discussion, nor do I know whether the words were said in that way. My remark that the Führer had again taken a decision refers to the verbal order he had given to the Commander-in-Chief of the Army shortly before, perhaps 1 or 2 days earlier. It is quite clear that there was already talk of this and that in the order I am referring to—a letter of the High Command of the Army of 18 September—and in that way the word "again" is to be explained. I was quite unaware of the fact, and I heard of it for the first time here in Court. It was only here in Court that I heard of the conference taking place at all . . . .

Compared with the British and the Soviet Union, we were mere schoolboys in propaganda. You are perhaps aware that propaganda is something quite justifiable and is not limited by any regulations of international law. At one time, in Geneva, there was a long debate about this; and the idea that propaganda should be restricted by international law was rejected. I have already stated that in my preliminary interrogation. In the field of propaganda, I can do whatever I wish. There is no law, either criminal or international, in regard to that. But perhaps you do not know that this propaganda had to be in line with the political directives of the Führer and this was being done here. I am very well acquainted with propaganda, for I studied it for 5 years—yours, too. That is still quite another type of propaganda.

July 23, 1941: An order signed by Keitel abandons the use of legal prosecution and punishment in USSR, replacing these legal methods for terrorism tactics:

In view of the vast size of the occupied areas in the East, forces available for establishing security will be sufficient only if all resistance is punished, not by legal prosecution of the guilty, but by the occupation forces spreading such terror as is alone appropriate to eradicate every inclination to resist. The respective commanders, together with the troops at their disposal, are to be held responsible for maintaining peace in their respective areas. The commanders must find the means of keeping order within the regions where security is their responsibility, not by demanding more forces, but by applying suitable Draconian measures.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: Yes, I remember the order. Certainly [I took part in drafting it], because it is an operational order which supplements a directive. No, it is not at all [a] terrible [order] for it is established by international law that the inhabitants of an occupied territory must follow the orders and instructions of the occupying power, and any uprising, any resistance against the army occupying the country is forbidden; it is, in fact, partisan warfare, and international law does not lay down means of combating partisans. The principle of such warfare is an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and this is not even a German principle. It is not a question of the innocent. It expressly states, "to eradicate every inclination to resist." It is a question of those who resist, that is, by partisan warfare. I approve it as a justified measure conforming to international law and directed against a widespread resistance movement which employed unscrupulous methods. Of that we had evidence.

July 27, 1941: From an order signed by Keitel:

In accordance with the regulations concerning classified material, the following offices will destroy all copies of the Führer's decree of 13 May 1941 ... a) All of files up to the rank of 'general commands' inclusive b) group commands of the armored troops c) army commands and offices of equal rank, if there is an inevitable danger that they might fall into the hands of unauthorized persons. The validity of the decree is not affected by the destruction of the copies. In accordance with Paragraph III, it remains the personal responsibility of the commanding officers to see to it that the offices and legal advisers are instructed in time, and that [the only] sentences [that] are confirmed [are those] which correspond to the political intentions of the Supreme Command. This order will be destroyed, together with the copies of the Führer's decree.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: Unfortunately I cannot tell you [the object of the destruction of that order]; I do not recall this order. I do not believe I ever saw it, at least not before this Trial. I do not know this order; it was shown to me for the first time here in Nuremberg; I had never seen it before. I do not know what it is about, or what order is being rescinded. I have already said that these questions of military legal jurisdiction were dealt with by Field Marshal Keitel, and that he used my Quartermaster Section as a working staff, without my having any part in these matters. I do not know this order. I cannot give you any information about it.

July 29, 1940: General Halder records in his diary remarks that were made by Hitler during a military conference:

Russia is the factor by which England sets the greatest store . . . . If Russia is beaten, England's last hope is gone . . . . Decision: As a result ... Russia must be dealt with. Spring 1941. (Baldwin)

From the affidavit of General Warlimont: I personally first heard about the plan [Barbarossa] on 29 July 1940 . . . . On that day Generaloberst Jodl arrived by special train in Bad Reichenhall, where also Section 'L' of the Armed Forces Operations Staff was quartered . . . . Besides myself, he also ordered three other senior officers ... Colonel von Lossberg, Lieutenant Colonel Freiherr von Falkenstein of the Luftwaffe, and Captain Junge of the Navy to attend. Jodl stunned us by his announcement of the coming attack, for which we were not at all prepared . . . . Jodl announced that the Fuehrer had decided to prepare for war against Russia. The Führer based his decision on the fact that war with Russia must come sooner or later, and that it would be better to carry this campaign through in the course of this war.

From an interrogation of Wilhelm Keitel: I know nothing whatever about a conference with regard to an attack on the Soviet Union. I heard about it for the first time after I was imprisoned here.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: Actually there is no such thing as a conference in these military matters. You have conferences in civil and parliamentary life, but we do not have conferences. I talked to my General Staff officers as often as I pleased. I certainly did not report to him [Keitel] on this very discussion; but that is not in the least important. I am certain that I reported to him what the Führer told me, because that was an important matter; and later, because of this, he wrote a memorandum. Therefore, he must have heard about it-but that is only a supposition, a very likely supposition, which I am voicing here . . . .

[The Soviet prosecutor] asserted that I did not report the preparation for an attack on a neutral country to Field Marshal Keitel. That is an assertion … that I refuted … under oath. We were not concerned with an attack on the Soviet Union at this meeting. We were concerned with the defense against a Soviet attack on the Romanian oil fields . . . .

I was probably the first who learned of the Führer's concern about Russia's political attitude. However, I was not the first who made preparations for an attack on the Soviet Union. To my surprise, I discovered here, through the witness Paulus that, long before we concerned ourselves with any orders of this kind, plans of attack were already worked out in the General Staff of the Army. I cannot tell you with absolute certainty why it was done. Perhaps Generaloberst Halder can tell us about that. I can only express that as a supposition on my part . . . .

First of all, it is not certain what stand Field Marshal Keitel took in the spring of 1941 with regard to this question. Secondly, the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force—with due respect to both of these gentlemen—saw the problem as a whole only from the point of view of naval or air strategy, and they saw no danger whatsoever in the Russian Navy or the Russian Air Force. What was taking place on land, of course, was of less interest to them. That explains why the strongest opposition came from the Luftwaffe and the Navy; and only the Army, in this case, was much more inclined to see the tremendous danger with which it was confronted. But in spite of this, every one of us, I myself included, warned the Führer most urgently against this experiment, which should have been undertaken only if there really was no other way out. I will not take it upon myself to judge whether there might perhaps have been a political possibility that was not exhausted; I cannot judge that.

July 31, 1941: From a letter from Göring to Heydrich:

Complementing the task that was assigned to you on 24 January 1939, which dealt with arriving at thorough furtherance of emigration and evacuation solution of the Jewish problem, as advantageous as possible, I hereby charge you to make all necessary organizational and practical preparations for bringing about a complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe. Wherever other governmental agencies are involved, these are to cooperate with you. I charge you furthermore to send me, before long, an over-all plan concerning the organizational, factual, and material measures necessary for the accomplishment of the desired final solution of the Jewish question.

August 4, 1941 Stalin to FDR:

The USSR attaches great importance to the matter of neutralizing Finland and her association [with] Germany. The severance of relations between Britain and Finland, and the blockade of Finland, announced by Britain, have already borne fruit and engendered conflicts among the ruling circles of Finland. If the US Government were to threaten Finland with a rupture of relations, the Finnish Government would be more resolute in the matter of breaking with Germany. In that case, the Soviet Government could make certain territorial concessions to Finland, with a view to assuaging her, and conclude a new peace treaty with her.

August 14, 1941: Churchill and FDR release a joint declaration; the Atlantic Charter:

... after the final destruction of the Nazi tyranny, they hope to see established a peace which will afford to all nations the means of dwelling in safety...

August 16, 1941: Joseph Stalin, acting as People's Commissar of Defense, releases Order No. 270, prohibiting any Soviet soldier from surrendering: "There are no Russian prisoners of war, only traitors." The order demands anyone deserting or surrendering to be killed on the spot, and subjects their families to arrest and their wives to be sent to labor camps.

August 24, 1941: Finnish President Ryti, who had declared in numerous speeches to the Finnish Parliament that the aim of the war is to gain more territories in the east and create a 'Greater Finland,' will later declare:

On August 24, 1941 I visited the headquarters of Marshal Mannerheim. The Germans aimed us at crossing the old border and continuing the offensive to Leningrad. I said that the capture of Leningrad was not our goal, and that we should not take part in it. Mannerheim and the military minister Walden agreed with me, and refused the offers of the Germans. The result was a paradoxical situation: the Germans could not approach Leningrad from the north.

August 30, 1941: The last rail connection to Leningrad is severed. (Clark)

August 31 1941: Finnish military leader Mannerheim orders a stop to the offensive when the Finnish advance reaches the 1939 border with the USSR.

September 8 1941: German forces succeed in surrounding and isolating the city of Leningrad. Artillery bombardments, which had begun in August 1941, increase in intensity during 1942, and will be stepped up further during 1943. German shelling and bombings will kill 5,723 and wound 20,507 civilians in Leningrad during the length of the siege.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: I was present during two conferences that the Führer himself had, with the German artillery commander who was in charge of the artillery before Leningrad. He brought along the exact target chart, and it showed a very carefully worked-out system, according to which, only key plants in Leningrad were marked as necessary targets, so as to cripple the power of resistance of the fortress. They were mostly factories that were still producing munitions. The ammunition for this heavy artillery, only a small portion of which could reach the center of Leningrad, was so scarce that one had to be extremely economical in its use. [The artillery consisted] mostly [of] captured guns from France, and we only had as much ammunition as we had captured.

I myself had the artillery target chart in my brief case for many weeks. Only the armament industry was marked on it. It would have been insane to shoot at anything else. Of course, every artillery man knows that, through dispersion, the shots can fall elsewhere.

September 19, 1941: The Germans occupy Kiev.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: As far as I remember, Kiev was occupied at the end of August. I believe it was on 25 August, or about that date . . . . I was a month off in my calculations, and the taking of Kiev was actually at the end of September. The reports that we received from Leeb came in the first days of October. I made a mistake. I am sorry.

From the IMT testimony of General August Winter: I know about Kharkov indeed, because something happened there, which caused us to adopt certain security measures. In the battles along the west border of Kharkov, which were rather long and serious, a divisional staff with all its main material—I cannot remember its number—was destroyed by a delayed-action explosion of this kind. This caused orders to be issued for the carrying out of special security searches, in all buildings which had to be used for accommodation of staffs and other authorities from that time on.

October 3, 1941: Hitler opens up the charitable Winter Aid campaign with a speech at the Sportspalast:

I am grateful to fate that I may lead this fight. I am convinced that no understanding can be reached with these men. They are mad fools, men who for ten years had not spoken another word but "We want another war with Germany." When I endeavored to bring about an understanding, Churchill cried, 'I want war!' He has got it now...

From The Devil's Disciples by Anthony Read: Goebbels was delighted with the speech [above], noting that it would be a great help in his propaganda. Hitler left Berlin at 7 PM, and was back in Wolfsschanze first thing the following morning, to receive the latest reports from the front. The news was good: the German Panzers were overwhelming the Soviet defenses once again. By mid-October, they had captured Orel, and completed another vast encirclement of around 500-600,000 men, at Vyazma and Bryansk, on the highway to Moscow. Jodl reported: 'We have finally, and without exaggeration, won the war!' And Otto Dietrich announced to the press: 'For all military purposes Soviet Russia is done with.' Goebbels, jealous of Dietrich anyway, was furious, and protested to Hitler that his statement was injudicious and might lead to a terrible letdown over the next few days. But Hitler silenced him with the reply that it had been a political chess move, aimed at inducing Japan to enter the war against the Soviet Union.

October 7, 1941: From a top secret order of the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces signed by Jodl:

... The Führer has again decided that, a capitulation of Leningrad or later, of Moscow, is not to be accepted, even if it is offered by the enemy . . . . Therefore, no German soldier is to enter these cities. By our fire we must force all who try to leave the city through our lines to turn back. The exodus of the population through the smaller, unguarded gaps toward the interior of Russia is only to be welcomed. Before the cities are taken, they are to be weakened by artillery fire and air attacks, and their population should be caused to flee. We cannot take the responsibility of endangering our soldiers' lives in order to save Russian cities from fire, nor that of feeding the population of these cities at the expense of the German homeland . . . . The moral justification for this measure is clear to the whole world . . . . All commanding officers shall be informed of this will of the Führer.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: At the beginning of the second paragraph appears the sentence: "The moral justification for this measure is clear to the whole world." I shall now explain that. The first reason was a report from Field Marshal von Leeb, the Commander of Army Group North at Leningrad. He reported that the population of Leningrad had already begun to flock out toward his lines in the south and west. He pointed out that it would be absolutely impossible for him to keep these millions of Leningrad people fed and supplied, if they were to fall into his hands, because the supply situation of the army group was deplorable at that time. That was the first reason.

Shortly beforehand, Kiev had been abandoned by the Russian armies, and hardly had we occupied the city, [than] tremendous explosions occurred, one after another. The major part of the inner city was destroyed by fire; 50,000 people were made homeless; German soldiers were used to fight the flames, and suffered considerable losses, because further large masses of explosives went off during the fire. At first, the local commander at Kiev thought that it was sabotage on the part of the population, until we found a demolition chart, listing 50 or 60 objectives in Kiev, which had already been prepared for destruction, some time before. This chart was in fact correct, as investigation by engineers proved at once. At least 40 more objectives were ready to be blown up, and for most of them, a remote control was to set off the explosion by means of wireless waves. I myself had the original of this demolition chart in my hands . . . .

Then I only need to say in conclusion that the Führer always expected that what had happened in Kiev, in Kharkov, and in Odessa would happen also in Leningrad, and possibly in Moscow. That was the decisive reason why he gave this order—which already had been put into writing—orally to the High Command of the Army. And the order was given added weight, because the Russian radio reported that Leningrad had been undermined, and would be defended to the last man.

The purpose of the order was exclusively that of protecting German troops against such catastrophes as had already occurred; for entire staffs had been blown into the air in Kharkov and Kiev. For this reason, the Führer issued this order, which I in turn, at his express request, put into writing. Therefore the order began with the words, "The Führer has again decided"—that means "once more," "for the second time." . . . .

We did not want these masses of the population. We had had our experiences in Paris. There, it had even been necessary to use the transport space of four divisions, and the whole relief train "Bavaria," which could supply tens of thousands of people, to save the population from starvation. In Leningrad, that would have been quite impossible because, in the first place, the railways had been destroyed; the rails had not yet been adjusted to our gauge, and the supply situation was very difficult. It would have been impossible to help these millions of people in any way; there would have been a real catastrophe. Hence the idea of pressing them back to the east, into the Russian areas; an idea, incidentally, not in conformity with the assertion which has been made here that we wanted to exterminate the Slavs.

October 14, 1941: From a memorandum originally headed "Reprisal Actions-Prisoners of War" but changed to "Combating of Enemy Sabotage Detachments":

The Chief of the Armed Forces Legal Department has spoken with the Chief of the Armed Forces Operations Staff, by telephone. The Chief of the Armed Forces Legal Department spoke to the effect that, [in] these circumstances one should consider issuing an order fit for publication. Article 23c of the Hague Land Warfare Regulations, which forbids the killing or wounding of an enemy who lays down his arms or is unarmed, if he surrenders unconditionally, had to be explained; when the Land Warfare Regulations were concluded, this manner of waging war was not yet known, and the regulation therefore could not apply to this.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: As such, the destruction of an objective by a demolition troop I consider completely admissible under international law; but I do not consider it admissible during such an operation for civilian clothes to be worn under the uniform, and armpit pistols to be carried, which start firing as soon as the arms are raised in the act of surrender. I believe that these cases were quite rare, that at least these people were mixed with those who wore civilian clothes. I have already said that, if a soldier in full uniform only blows up or destroys an objective, I do not consider it an action contrary to international law; and for that reason, I opposed the Commando Order, in this form, almost to the last moment . . . .

I should like to make a brief comment on this document. I have not seen any of these papers before; I am now seeing them for the first time; but they prove, word for word, what I said here the day before yesterday, under oath, that on their own initiative, the members of my staff, as they heard that the Führer had demanded an executive order, began preparatory work for the draft of such an order, with the Legal Department, and with the Foreign Department, but that I did not accept and, did not submit, any order to the Führer.

October 25, 1941: US Department of State Bulletin:

The practice of executing scores of innocent hostages in reprisal for isolated attacks on Germans in countries temporarily under the Nazi heel revolts a world already inured to suffering and brutality. Civilized peoples long ago adopted the basic principle that no man should be punished for the deed of another. Unable to apprehend the persons involved in these attacks, the Nazis characteristically slaughter fifty or a hundred innocent persons. Those who would 'collaborate' with Hitler, or try to appease him, cannot ignore this ghastly warning. The Nazis might have learned from the last war, the impossibility of breaking men's spirits by terrorism. Instead, they develop their Lebensraum and 'New Order' by depths of frightfulness, which even they have never approached before. These are the acts of desperate men, who know in their hearts that they cannot win. Frightfulness can never bring peace to Europe. It only sows the seeds of hatred that will, one day, bring fearful retribution.

October 29, 1941: From Appendix 1 to Operational Order Number 14 of the Chief of the Security Police and SD:

Chiefs of operational groups decide questions about execution on their own responsibility and give appropriate instructions to the special task forces. In order to carry out the measures laid down in the directives issued, the Einsatzcommandos are to demand from the commandants of the camp the handing over to them of the prisoners. The High Command of the Army has issued instructions to the commandants for meeting such demands. Executions must take place unnoticed, in convenient places, and, in any event, not in the camp itself or in its immediate vicinity. It is necessary to take care that the bodies are buried immediately and properly.

November 9, 1941: From a memorandum entitled 'Transportation of Russian Prisoners of War, destined for Execution, into the Concentration Camps’:

The commandants of the concentration camps are complaining that 5 to 10 percent of the Soviet Russians destined for execution are arriving in the camps dead or half dead. Therefore, the impression has arisen that the Stalags are getting rid of such prisoners in this way. It was particularly noted that, when marching, for example, from the railroad station to the camp, a rather large number of [POWs] collapsed on the way from exhaustion, either dead or half dead, and had to be picked up by a truck following the convoy. It cannot be prevented that the German people take notice of these occurrences. Even if the Wehrmacht generally takes care of the transportation to the camps, the population will attribute this situation to the SS. In order to prevent, if possible, similar occurrences in the future, I therefore order that, effective from today on, Soviet Russians declared definitely suspect, and obviously marked by death (for example with hunger-typhus), and therefore not able to withstand the exertions of even a short march on foot shall, in the future, as a matter of basic principle, be excluded from the transport into the concentration camps for execution.

November 10, 1941: From a speech by Hitler:

The territory which now works for us contains more than 250 million men, but the territory in Europe which works indirectly for this battle includes now more than 350 million . . . . As far as German territory is concerned, the territory occupied by us, and that which we have taken under our administration, there is no doubt that we shall succeed in harnessing every man for this work.

November 21, 1941: Generalfeldmarschall von Rundstedt, still recovering from the effects of a heart attack, reaches Rostov. A counter-attack soon forces the Germans back. When Rundstedt demands to be allowed to withdraw, Hitler will become furious, and replace him with General Walther von Reichenau.

From the IMT testimony of General August Winter: When the attack on Rostock failed in November 1941, and permission to withdraw his leading units had been refused by the OKH, Field Marshal von Rundstedt sent a report to the OKH, to the army to which we were subordinated, in which he said that if the necessary confidence was not felt in his leadership, he must ask the Führer to nominate a new commander for that army group. I have a painfully accurate recollection of this incident, because I myself drafted the telegram, and the Field Marshal made that addition with his own hand. The telegram was dispatched in the evening, and Hitler's answer, relieving him of his post, arrived in the course of the same night . . . .

The application was granted. But perhaps I may tell you that there were repercussions later with Hitler. A few days afterwards Hitler himself flew to Mariupol, in order to obtain information about the actual situation on the spot. On his homeward flight, he visited Field Marshal von Rundstedt's Poltava headquarters and had a discussion with him. In the course of this discussion, Hitler—I cannot tell you for certain whether I witnessed this scene myself, or whether the Chief Adjutant Oberst Schmundt told me about it immediately afterwards—I repeat, there was a personal discussion, in the course of which, Hitler again reproached the Field Marshal for having put that alternative question, and said to him: "In the future I do not intend to tolerate any such applications to resign. When I have once made a decision, the responsibility is transferred to me. I myself am not in a position to go to my superior, for instance, God Almighty, and to say to him, 'I am not going on with it, because I don't want to take the responsibility."'

We considered, at the time, that that scene was of basic importance, and I may add that, to judge from the orders later given on that point, our impression was correct ... he certainly did not alter his decision. Because, as I know, there were two occasions, I believe, on which orders to that effect were issued, forbidding resignations on the part of a commander, or an officer in a leading position, on grounds of unwillingness to assume responsibility.

Winter 1941: 2.8 million Soviet POW's perish through starvation, exposure, and summary execution, in the first 8 months of Barbarossa. (Clark)

From Jodl's IMT testimony: I am informed on this subject because several adjutants of the Führer were sent there personally, and they reported to the Führer in my presence. We were mostly concerned with the mass deaths after the last great battle for the Viazma pocket. The Führer’s adjutants described the reason for the mass deaths as follows: The half-famished, encircled, Russian armies had put up fanatical resistance during the last 8 or 10 days. They literally lived on the bark of trees and roots, because they had retreated to impenetrable wooded country; and when they fell into our hands, they were in such a condition that they could hardly move. It was impossible to transport them. The situation as regards supplies was critical, because the railway system had been destroyed, so that it was impossible to take them all away. There were no accommodations nearby. Only immediate, careful hospital treatment could have saved the majority of them. Soon afterwards, the rain started, and then the cold set in, and that is the reason why such a large number of those prisoners—particularly these prisoners of Viazma—died.

December 6, 1941: Germans forces are pushed back by a major Russian counter-attack near Moscow. With supply lines badly over-stretched—and temperatures of -34C (-29F) and below making German equipment nearly useless—even Adolf Hitler himself begins to realize that he has horribly underestimated Soviet strength. (Clark)

From Jodl's IMT testimony: During that frightful winter battle, with a temperature of 48 degrees of frost, the commanders at the front reported to the Führer in his headquarters that this battle was exclusively a battle for warm shelter. Those who did not have some sort of heating arrangement—that is to say, a village with serviceable stoves—could not hold out, and would not be able to fight the following day. One could say it was really a fight for stoves. And when, because of this, we were forced to retreat, the Führer then ordered that those fireplaces must be destroyed—not only the houses but also the fireplaces were to be blown up—because in such a critical situation, that alone would prevent the Russians from pursuing. Since, in accordance with the Hague Regulations for Land Warfare, every type of destruction is permissible which is absolutely necessary from the military point of view, I believe that for this type of winter warfare—and it happened only during the winter—that order can be justified.

December 7, 1941 Night and Fog Decree:

Within the occupied territories, communistic elements and other circles hostile to Germany have increased their efforts against the German State and the occupying powers since the Russian campaign started. The [number] and the danger of these machinations oblige us to take severe measures as a [deterrent]. First of all the following directives are to be applied:

I. Within the occupied territories, the adequate punishment for offences committed against the German State or the occupying power which endanger their security or a state of readiness is, [in] principle, the death penalty.

II. The offences listed in paragraph I [are], as a rule, to be dealt with in the occupied countries, only if it is probable that sentence of death will be passed upon the offender, at least the principal offender, and if the trial and the execution can be completed in a very short time. Otherwise, the offenders, at least the principal offenders, are to be taken to Germany.

III. Prisoners taken to Germany are subjected to military procedure only if particular military interests require this. In case German or foreign authorities inquire about such prisoners, they are to be told that they were arrested, but that the proceedings do not allow any further information.

IV. The Commanders in the occupied territories and the Court authorities within the framework of their jurisdiction, are personally responsible for the observance of this decree.

V. The Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces determines in which occupied territories this decree is to be applied. He is authorized to explain, and to issue, executive orders and supplements. The Reich Minister of Justice will issue executive orders within his own jurisdiction.

December 7, 1941: Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor.

[For further details see, Countdown To Infamy.]

From Jodl's IMT testimony: The attack [on Pearl Harbor] came as a complete surprise. It was a complete surprise to me, and I had the feeling it was also a surprise for the Führer; for he came, in the middle of the night, to my map room, in order to give the news to Field Marshal Keitel and myself. He was completely surprised . . . .

[Were we not interested in having Japan at war with America], we would have much preferred a new and powerful ally, without a new and powerful enemy.

December 11, 1941: Hitler declares war on the United States. As he put it before the Reichstag:

And now permit me to define my attitude to that other world, which has its representative in that man, who, while our soldiers are fighting in snow and ice, very tactfully likes to make his chats from the fireside, the man who is the main culprit of this war . . . .
As a consequence of the further extension of President Roosevelt's policy, which is aimed at unrestricted world domination and dictatorship, the USA, together with England, have not hesitated from using any means to dispute the rights of the German, Italian and Japanese nations to the basis of their natural existence. The Governments of the USA and of England have therefore resisted, not only now, but also for all time, every just understanding meant to bring about a better New Order in the world. Since the beginning of the war, the American President, Roosevelt, has been guilty of a series of the worst crimes against international law...

January 1, 1942: General Staff officer of the Army, General Horst Freiherr von Buttlar-Brandenfels, becomes department chief in charge of the Operations Department of the Army.

January 3, 1942: From a Hitler Order:

Cling to every populated center; do not retreat a single step; defend yourself to the last soldier, to the last grenade. That is the requirement of the present moment. Every point occupied by us must be turned into a base, which must not be surrendered under any circumstances, even if outflanked by the enemy. If, however, the given point must be abandoned on superior orders, it is imperative that everything be razed to the ground, the stoves blown up...

From Jodl's IMT testimony: Hitler was a leader to an exceptional degree. His knowledge and his intellect, his rhetoric, and his will power triumphed in the end in every spiritual conflict over everyone. He combined to an unusual extent logic and clarity of thought, skepticism and excess of imagination, which very frequently foresaw what would happen, but also very often went astray. I really marveled at him when, in the winter of 1941-42, by his faith and his energy, he established the wavering Eastern Front; for at that time, as in 1812, a catastrophe was imminent. His life in the Führer headquarters was nothing but duty and work. The modesty in his mode of life was impressive.

February 24, 1942: Hitler speaks to the Reich via radio:

Just as the Hun assault could not be beaten back by pious wishes or fair warnings, just as the invasion of our country from the southeast in the course of centuries was not warded off by diplomatic tricks, and the Mongolian onslaught did not spare old monuments of culture, this danger also will not be overcome by right in itself, but only by strength supporting this right. Right itself is nothing but the duty to defend the life entrusted to us by the Creator of the world. It is the sacred right of self-preservation. Whether this self-preservation will be successful, depends solely on the greatness of our efforts, and on willingness to make any sacrifice to preserve this life for the future. Attila's power was broken, not at a meeting of the League of Nations, but in battle...

February 24, 1942: From a letter from Rosenberg to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces:

A great part of them have died of hunger or from the inclement weather. Thousands have also died of typhus. Several intelligent camp commanders have taken this line [of explanation] with some success . . . .

Before, it had been a question of the population being willing to supply the prisoners of war with food of their own accord. In the majority of cases, however, the camp commanders have forbidden the civilian population to give any food to the prisoners of war, and have preferred to let them die of starvation . . . . Moreover, in many cases, when prisoners of war on the march could no longer keep up from sheer hunger and exhaustion, they were shot in full view of the horrified civilian population; and the corpses were left by the roadside . . . . Remarks have been heard like these: "The more of these prisoners that die, the better it will be for us." . . . . It would be too naive to imagine that what went on in the prisoner-of-war camps could be concealed from the Soviet Government. It is obvious from Molotov's circular note that the Soviets are perfectly well aware of the conditions described above.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: I heard of the letter [above] here in court for the first time. I knew nothing about these reasons for the mass deaths. In any case they are completely wrong; that I do know, because I can give rough figures from memory as regards the number of Soviet prisoners of war and their whereabouts.

From the Soviet cross-examination of Jodl: Colonel Pokrovsky:You will now be shown Exhibit USSR 151, Page 5 of the German text. You will find there the passage to which I should like to draw your attention.

“At the end of 1941, or the beginning of 1942, I was called to Berlin to attend a conference held by the commanders in charge of prisoners of war in the military districts. The newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Prisoner-of-war Department, Major General von Graevenitz, presided over the conference.

During the conference there was a discussion about the treatment of prisoners of war who, because of their wounds or from exhaustion and illness, were unable to work. At the suggestion of General von Graevenitz, several of the officers present, among them many doctors, declared that such prisoners of war should be concentrated in a camp or in a hospital and poisoned.
Following this discussion, Major General von Graevenitz issued an order to the effect that all prisoners of war who were unable to work should be killed, and that medical personnel should be employed for this purpose."

From Jodl's IMT testimony: I knew nothing about that at all, and I cannot comment on this document. It has nothing to do with me, and I do not know whether what has been said here is true, but General von Graevenitz must certainly know about it. I had no connection whatsoever with prisoners of war. That was another [officer], General Reinecke. General von Graevenitz is no subordinate of mine. I had no interviews of any kind with him. I have seen him perhaps twice in all my life. I was not responsible for prisoners of war, and I was not competent to deal with them.

April 13, 1942: Berlin Radio broadcasts a report that German military forces in the Katyn forest near Smolensk had uncovered "a ditch ... 28 meters long and 16 meters wide (92 ft by 52 ft), in which the bodies of 3,000 Polish officers were piled up in 12 layers." The broadcast accuses the Soviets of having carried out the massacre in 1940.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: Regarding the finding of these mass graves, I received the first report through my propaganda department, which was informed through its propaganda company attached to the army group. I heard that the Reich Police Criminal Department had been given the task of investigating the whole affair, and I then sent an officer from my propaganda department to the exhumation, to check the findings of the foreign experts. I received a report which, in general, tallies with the report which is contained in the White Book issued, I think, by the Foreign Office. I have never heard anyone raise any doubts as to the facts as they were presented.

April 17, 1942: After learning German, and memorizing a map of the surrounding area, General Giraud lowers himself down the cliff of the mountain fortress where he is imprisoned. With shaved moustache, he eventually makes his way back to Vichy France.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: Shortly after the successful flight of Giraud, Field Marshal Keitel told me once in a conversation that he was having Giraud watched by Canaris, so that he would not, as the Führer always feared, go to North Africa and there direct the formation of the Colonial Army against us or, so that he could be arrested in the event that he should rejoin his family in the territory actually occupied. That is what he told me. Several months later, he said to me again, "I have now withdrawn this assignment to Canaris because the Führer has given it to Himmler. If two agencies are concerned with it there will only be difficulties and differences."

The third time I heard about the Giraud case was when Field Marshal Keitel told me that a deputy of Giraud—I believe it was about the end of 1943 or in the spring of 1944—approached the counterintelligence service and said that Giraud, who could not agree with De Gaulle in North Africa, asked whether he might not return to France. I told Field Marshal Keitel then that we absolutely must agree to that immediately, because that was extremely favorable for us politically. That is the only thing I ever heard about the Giraud case. Nothing else.

May 1, 1942: People's Commissar of Defence Stalin releases Order No. 130:

It is undoubtedly true, in the first place, that fascist Germany and its army have become weaker during this period than they were ten months ago. The war has brought the German people great disillusionment, the sacrifice of millions of human victims, starvation, and impoverishment. The end of the war is not in sight, but the reserves of man-power are giving out, oil is giving out, raw materials are giving out. The German people are becoming more and more aware of the inevitability of Germany’s defeat. The German people realize with growing clarity that the only way out of the situation that has arisen is the liberation of Germany from the adventurist Hitler-Goering clique.

The Hitlerite imperialists have occupied vast territories in Europe, but they have not broken the will to resistance of the European peoples. The struggle of the enslaved peoples against the regime of the German-fascist highwaymen is beginning to assume general scope. Sabotage at war plants, the blowing up of German ammunition stores, the wrecking of German troop trains, and the killing of German soldiers and officers have become everyday occurrences in all the occupied countries. All Yugoslavia and the German-occupied Soviet areas are swept by the flames of partisan warfare. All these circumstances have led to a weakening of the German rear, which means the weakening of fascist Germany as a whole...

May 5, 1942: According to author Werner Maser, Jodl finally convinces Hitler to, in effect, cancel the infamous Commissar Order (See June 6, 1941). (Maser)

From Jodl's IMT testimony: I remember that there were constant objections from the High Command of the Army which, unfortunately, had to carry out this [Commissar] order, and these went on for a long time. Officers of the General Staff told me confidentially that, for the most part, it was not being carried out. I know of one official application made to the Fuehrer to have this order officially withdrawn. That was done, although I cannot remember when. The High Command of the Army [made that application]. Whether it was the Chief of the General Staff, or the Commander-in-Chief, I cannot say. I know for certain, the order was withdrawn. All the officers to whom I spoke considered, first, that the order should be turned down from the humane point of view and, secondly, that it was wrong from the practical point of view . . . . [It was] General Field Marshal Von Rundstedt [who] applied to have the entire order withdrawn.

June 1, 1942: On the occasion of a conference of commanders-in-chief in the region of Army Group South in Poltava, Hitler declares, "If I do not get the oil of Maikop and Grosny, then I must end this war."

June 16, 1942 Jodl's Diary:

The German field police disarmed and arrested a Ustashi company, because of atrocities committed against the civilian population in Eastern Bosnia. The Führer did not approve of this measure, which was carried out by order of the commander of the 708th Division, as it undermined the authority of the Ustashi, on which the whole Croatian State rests. This is bound to have a more harmful effect on peace and order in Croatia, than the unrest of the population caused by the atrocities.

From the IMT testimony of Hans Bernd Gisevius: Take the Defendant Jodl, for instance. I would like to call your attention to the strange influence which this defendant had and the position he had with regard to controlling access to Hitler.

From Jodl's IMT testimony: I did not have that honor [of knowing or even meeting Gisevius]. I heard the name of this witness for the first time here, and I saw him for the first time here in Court. Obviously, I could give the Führer only an extract of events. In view of his inclination to make emotional decisions, I naturally was particularly cautious in presenting unverified reports made by agents. If the witness meant this by his general term of "key position," he was not wrong. But if he intended it to mean that I kept from the Führer atrocities committed by our own Wehrmacht, or atrocities committed by the SS, then that is absolutely untrue. Besides, how was that witness to know about it?

On the contrary, I immediately reported any news of that kind to the Führer, and no one could have stopped me from doing so. I will give examples: An affidavit by Rittmeister Scheidt was read here. He testified that Obergruppenführer Fegelein told the Chief of the General Staff, Colonel Guderian, and Generaloberst Jodl, of atrocities committed by the SS Brigade Keminski in Warsaw. That is absolutely true. Ten minutes later, I reported this fact to the Führer, and he immediately ordered the dissolution of this brigade. When I heard through the American radio, through my press chief, of the shooting of 120 American prisoners near Malmedy, I immediately, on my own initiative, had an investigation started through the Commander West, so as to report the result to the Führer. When unimaginable horrors committed by an Ustashi company in Croatia came to my knowledge, I reported this to the Fuehrer immediately.

June 16, 1942 Jodl's Diary:

The Operational Staff of the Navy (SKL) applied on 29 May for permission to attack the Brazilian sea and air forces. The SKL considers that a sudden blow against the Brazilian war ships and merchant ships is expedient at this juncture because defense measures are still incomplete, because there is the possibility of achieving surprise, and because Brazil is actually fighting Germany at sea.

July 28, 1942: From Stalin's Order #227 for the Defense of the Soviet Union:

The population of our country, who love and respect the Red Army, start to be discouraged in her, and lose faith in the Red Army, and many curse the Red Army for leaving our people under the yoke of the German oppressors, and itself running east. Some stupid people at the front calm themselves with talk that we can retreat further to the east, as we have a lot of territory, a lot of ground, a lot of population and that there will always be much bread for us. They want to justify the infamous behavior at the front. But such talk is falsehood, helpful only to our enemies.

Each commander, Red Army soldier, and political commissar should understand that our means are not limitless. The territory of the Soviet state is not a desert, but people—workers, peasants, intelligentsia, our fathers, mothers, wives, brothers, children. The territory of the USSR which the enemy has captured, and aims to capture, is bread and other products for the army, metal and fuel for industry, factories, plants supplying the army with arms and ammunition, railroads. After the loss of Ukraine, Byelorussia, Baltic republics, Donetzk, and other areas, we have much less territory, much less people [sic], bread, metal, plants and factories. We have lost more than 70 million people, more than 800 million pounds of bread annually, and more than 10 million tons of metal annually. Now we do not have predominance over the Germans in human reserves, in reserves of bread. To retreat further—means to waste ourselves...
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