Hermann Hoth on extermination of Soviets in 1941

Every sign of active or passive resistance or any sort of machinations on the part of Jewish-Bolshevik agitators are to be immediately and pitilessly exterminated … These circles are the intellectual supports of Bolshevism, the bearers of its murderous organisation, the helpmates of the partisans. It is the same Jewish class of beings who have done so much damage to our own Fatherland by virtue of their activities against the nation and civilisation, and who promote anti-German tendencies throughout the world, and who will be the harbingers of revenge.

Their extermination is a dictate of our own survival.

Hermann Hoth, November 1941

Continue reading Hermann Hoth on extermination of Soviets in 1941

Franz Halder and plans for invasion of Russia

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.

Continue reading Franz Halder and plans for invasion of Russia

Soviet soldiers of World War II as described by the Germans

“The enemy is fighting with the utmost stamina and courage,” Heeresgruppe Mitte [German Army group centre] reported to the German Army High Command on 28 June. German 4th Army described the Soviet soldiers as “exceptionally tough and stalwart.” “White” émigres who had fled Russia after the October Revolution were used to try to convince the encircled Red Army troops to surrender and join the anti-Bolshevik side, but this was “categorically refused,” according to a German Army report. Another German account reads: “What has become of the Russian of 1914–17, who ran away or approached us with his hands in the air when the firestorm reached its peak? Now he remains in his bunker and forces us to burn him out, he prefers to be scorched in his tank, and his airmen continue firing at us even when their own aircraft is set ablaze. What has become of the Russian? Ideology has changed him!” Continue reading Soviet soldiers of World War II as described by the Germans