On July 31st, 1940, the chief of general staff, general Franz Halder wrote in his diary:
With Russia smashed, Britain’s last hope would be shattered. Germany then will be master of Europe and the Balkans.
The sooner Russia is crushed, the better. Attack achieves its purpose only if Russian state can be shattered to its roots with one blow. Holding part of country alone will not do. Standing still for the following winter would be perilous. So it is better to wait a little longer, but with the resolute determination to eliminate Russia. This is necessary also because of contiguity on the Baltic. It would be awkward to have another major power there. If we start in May 41, we would have five months to finish the job in. Tackling it this year still would have been the best, but unified action would be impossible at this time.
Object is destruction of Russian manpower. Operation will be divided into three actions:
First thrust: Kiev and securing flank protection on Dniepr. Air Force will destroy river crossings. Odessa.
Second thrust: Baltic States and drive on Moscow.
Finally: Link-up of northern and southern prongs.
Successively: Limited drive on Baku oil fields.
It will be seen later to what extent Finland and Turkey should be brought in.
Ultimately: Ukraine, White Russia, Baltic States to us. Finland extended to the White Sea.