Two hours later officers from the Belgian intelligence service arrived, bringing the papers to the attention of their superiors in the late afternoon. Late in the evening of 10 January news of the incident reached Berlin via press reports about a crashed German plane.
In the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht , the German armed forces high command, it caused a general consternation, as it was soon deduced that Reinberger must have had papers revealing parts of the attack plan with him. A note in Jodl's diary on 12 January summed up what he had said to Hitler: 'If the enemy is in possession of all the files, situation catastrophic! The Belgians decided to try tricking Reinberger into believing that the papers had been destroyed and give him the opportunity to pass this information on to the German authorities.
There were two parts to the deception: in the first the Belgian investigators asked Reinberger what was in the plans and told him that he would be treated as a spy if he did not tell them. Later Reinberger testified saying: "From the way this question was asked, I realised he [the interrogator] could not have understood anything from the fragments of the documents he had seen. During this meeting Reinberger informed Wenninger that he had managed to burn the papers enough to make them unreadable. Reinberger confirms that most of the documents which could not be destroyed appear to be unimportant.
Result: despatch case burnt for certain. Most had indeed been badly damaged by Reinberger's consecutive attempts to burn them, but the general outlines of an attack against Belgium and the Netherlands were clear from the remaining passages, although the date of the attack was not mentioned and most of the text was concerned with specific instructions to 7. Flieger-Division only. As their content conformed to earlier warnings from the Italian Foreign Minister, Count Galeazzo Ciano , about a German attack to take place around 15 January, on 11 January General Raoul van Overstraeten concluded that the information was basically correct.
At the French liaison officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Hautcoeur, was given a two-page abstract of the contents, albeit without any explanation of how the information had been obtained. Lord Gort , the commander of the British Expeditionary Force , was also warned, and Leopold personally telephoned Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg , telling the former "Be careful, the weather is dangerous", and the latter "Beware of the flu", both predetermined code phrases indicating the Belgians considered a German attack to be imminent.
Rivet was sceptical of the warning but Gamelin considered that, even if it were a false alarm, this would be an excellent opportunity to pressure the Belgians into allowing a French advance into their country. Gamelin intended to execute a decisive offensive against Germany in through the Low Countries; their neutrality would however, be an obstacle to these plans. If this invasion scare would make the Belgians take the side of France and Britain, this awkward problem would be partially solved and strategically vital ground from which to launch the attack effortlessly gained.
On the other hand, if Germany really went ahead with the invasion, it was very desirable that the French forces could entrench themselves in central Belgium before the enemy arrived. Both to intensify the crisis and to be ready for any occasion that presented itself, Gamelin thus ordered 1st Army Group and the adjoining Third Army to march towards the Belgian frontier.
That their deception plan seemed to prove that the documents were genuine, that day further increased Belgian anxiety; the next day they became convinced the situation was critical. A sincere informer, whose credibility may be contested, claims that this plane was carrying plans from Berlin to Cologne in relation to the attack on the West. Because these plans have fallen into Belgian hands, the attack will happen tomorrow to pre-empt countermeasures.
I make explicit reservations about this message, that I do not consider reliable, but which it is my duty to report. General Van Overstraeten, the King of Belgium's military adviser, who was informed of the message at about , was astonished that the informant appeared to know about the capture of the plans. It had not been mentioned in any press report of the crash.
It was possible that it was part of a grand German deception plan, but equally possible that it was genuine. This dramatic gesture was made without reference to the King or Van Overstraeten and without knowing the decision that had been taken to keep Germany in the dark about whether Belgium was in possession of its attack plans.
As it was, he fell in disgrace for acting without the King's permission, as King Leopold was the Supreme Commander of all the Belgian armed forces. Van den Bergen was rebuked so harshly by Van Overstraeten that the Belgian Chief of Staff's reputation never recovered; at the end of January he resigned. One of Van Overstraeten's complaints about Van den Bergen's actions was that he had given the Germans reason to believe that the Dutch had their attack plans.
Reijnders was sceptical of the information. I don't believe in them at all. The civilian population in the afternoon became worried by the radio broadcast about the leave cancellation. They feared that the Germans would take advantage of the severe cold to cross the New Hollandic Water Line , now that it was frozen.
The next week, to reassure the people, much press coverage was given to the motorised circular saws that were available to cut the ice sheets over inundations. The Belgian Government's desire to keep their possession of the plans a secret was yet further undermined, this time by the King himself. This was sent through Keyes because he had established himself as the secret link between the British Government and the Belgian King. This was of interest to the Allies because both Britain and France had been trying to persuade Belgium to let their troops in ever since the beginning of the war.
There is no transcript of Keyes' conversation with Churchill but if Keyes really did say what he meant to say then it was changed the further down the line it went. The French record of what was on offer stated that 'the King would ask his Government to ask the Allied armies to occupy defensive positions inside Belgium immediately', if the Belgians received satisfaction in related guarantees.
So the French believed that the Belgians would receive a satisfactory response from the British Government in relation to the guarantees, and would then immediately invite the Allied Armies to march in. At Daladier informed Gamelin that the Belgians had in principle agreed to a French advance and asked whether he was ready to execute it.
Gamelin was very pleased, responding that due to heavy snowfall in the area of the Belgian-German border the Germans would be themselves unable to advance quickly, that a German invasion was therefore unlikely and that this posed an ideal situation for a French entrenchment, adding "We must now seize the occasion". Gamelin ordered that the Allied troops under his control during the night of 14—15 January should make their approach march to the Franco-Belgian border so that they would be ready to enter at a moment's notice. Alarmed by the order, Georges worried that the decision was irreversible and would set a series of events in motion that would make a German invasion inevitable at a moment when the French army and airforce had not yet completed their rearmament.
Gamelin lost his temper and abused Georges, forcing him to agree with the order. During the night, the Belgians were told of the manoeuvre. It was only at 8 a. Three hours later Daladier, prompted by the desperate Gamelin who insisted that the premier would make the Belgian government "face up to its responsibilities", told Pol le Tellier, Belgium's Ambassador in Paris, that unless the French had an invitation to enter Belgium by 8 p. The Belgian cabinet that day proved unable to come to a positive decision about the invitation.
This perception that Manstein was covering for himself in this memoir are strengthened by the fact that this edition is a heavily edited version of the original, with many personal anecdotes excised, and the entire chapter on Operation Citadel Kursk has been replaced entirely with an article Manstein wrote for the Marine Corps Gazette , which I found wholly disappointing. On the plus side, the book includes many very useful maps that cover the entirety the text. Even if they are sometimes cluttered, they are very well drawn and virtually all place names included in the narrative can be found on at least one map, making it very easy to follow the sometimes swirling action.
Speaking of that, special kudos to the translator, Anthony Powell, who has taken sometimes convoluted German syntax I speak from experience and given Manstein a consistently erudite, dignified, and sometimes sardonic voice in English. Nov 17, C. Powell rated it really liked it. I was engrossed by this book of Erich von Manstein.
I had heard of the German tank commander from reading other historical accounts of things during WWII.
Therefore, I had to read this book when I saw it on the bookshelf of the local bookstore. I would say it is apologetic, in some ways. Especially, concerning some of the terrible things the Nazi regime did. He also spoke of the Italian artillery units, in the desert war. He expressed an I was engrossed by this book of Erich von Manstein. He expressed an opinion that they were more deserving of credit than history usually gives to them. It glides over some of the more diabolical matters of war and civilians, but then we are listening to a soldier's account concerning military battles.
Manstein was convicted of mistreating prisoners after WWII but was not sentenced to death. That is the only reason I don't give five stars. Perhaps that is bias on my part. It is well worth reading from Manstein's perspective though because he does go into detail about the opponents he was up against in West Europe and the Soviet Eastern Front. Obviously, Manstein only lets us see the things he wants us to see, but this I found very interesting and I felt as though I was looking through his eyes when reading some accounts.
The title 'Lost Victories' is aptly named. It did not matter how many times the German tank units won, there was always more enemy to face on another day. If you like Military History; then read this. I am about half way through this book. Manstein's book is too typical. German soldiers were brave, did their duty, didn't pillage, didn't torture, the Soviet's were brutal, and my favorite, were the victims of a totalitarian system!
This book doesn't provide any real insights, but I guess that is because what he said was published in and have been a part of the history books and debate since then. I would read it in spite of all this, because even though he may say what is to be expected it I am about half way through this book.
I would read it in spite of all this, because even though he may say what is to be expected it is still von Manstein, and well, von Manstein is von Manstein, author of the sickle cut and the Third Battle of Kharkov. What is missing? His early days as a solider in WW1. He starts of the book pretty much working for von Rundstedt just before the war. I find it interesting he doesn't speak of his days as an infantryman.
Perhaps he is hiding something? Or perhaps he merely writes to what an audience probably wants to hear? View 2 comments. Well written. However, it goes into a lot of detail on who, why, what and where on too many events. Great for those that like this sort of thing. Good for historians and students of WW I am not one of them. The first part of the book deals with Poland and of course the start of WW11 as we know it.
That part was very, very interesting. But I got bogged down on the rest of the book. I'll give it a 4 because of ALL the info that probably Well written. I'll give it a 4 because of ALL the info that probably won't be found in other books. Oct 10, John rated it really liked it. Manstein's book is interesting on many levels. He provides strategic thinking on the course of the war and the options available to the Germans, insights into Hitler's management of the war, great tactical insight into the operations on his portion of the Eastern front.
It is a bit repetitive and tedious as seemingly every deployment of his forces is described. It would have also been interesting to learn how he finished the war and his observations of the final year of the war after his remo v. It would have also been interesting to learn how he finished the war and his observations of the final year of the war after his removal from command. This was one of the best war time memoirs that I've read.
Manstein was a brillant commander. I wonder what his legacy would be if he could have spent all his efforts on his job instead of fighting for the resourses he needed to do his job from the narrow minded and weak superiors. The world is grateful that things played out the way they did. This book takes the reader from Poland to the offenses in the west to Barbarossa and the failed attempts to free Sixth Army and ultimatly there fate to the This was one of the best war time memoirs that I've read.
This book takes the reader from Poland to the offenses in the west to Barbarossa and the failed attempts to free Sixth Army and ultimatly there fate to the retreats of 43and44 until his sacking in Sep 18, Tom Hastings rated it liked it. I first read an edition of this when I was a teenager, in the late 's. It was originally published in in German and the edition that I just re-read dates to At that time it seemed to me to be both the most pivotal and the coolest. I had a superficial knowledge of history.
By that I first read an edition of this when I was a teenager, in the late 's. By that I mean I knew a whole lot more facts and figures and dates than most of my friends. However, I was completely lacking in anything resembling an in-depth or nuanced understanding of the events and dates I could rattle off.
Lost Victories is one of a number of volumes written by members of the German Army in the late 's and early 's. It is as with almost of them an important work providing insight and thoughts from one of the central actors in the 2nd World War. Upon re-reading, it is ultimately unsatisfying and leaves one wanting more. The first issue is that Von Manstein ends the book with his dismissal from command of Army Group South at the end of March While this incident certainly provides a logical and convenient stopping point, one certainly would have appreciated his thoughts on the final year of the war, even if he was no longer actively in command.
Along the same lines he never really provides an overview of the war in general that as commander that he really only had detailed knowledge of activities in his sphere. While there is certainly a great deal of truth in the idea that Hitler kept his generals compartmentalized there is also strong evidence that on the whole they know more than they cared to admit. The second issue is how the relationship between Hitler and Von Manstein and by extension that between Hitler and the German generals is presented.
It comes across as a series of ongoing professional disputes between an owner and a particularly dogged member of the board of directors. Every once in a while discussions become heated but overall everything is very sanitized and stiff upper lip. There is always just the problem of the soldiers on both sides being killed, wounded, and maimed. But somehow in the record of these conversations the sense of desperation, despair, exhaustion does not come across.
We have Von Manstein's word that tell us these things but we have no feeling of them, there is no metaphorical punch in the gut. None of the sense of that comes through. Certainly Hitler lived in a fantasy world to an extent and did all he could to ignore the reality around him.
But despite Von Manstein's words that he emphasized all these things and emotions to Hitler, you never feel them and you have the definite sense that Hitler never felt them either. He defends the infamous "Commissar Order" by stating 'On the contrary, they were - without being soldiers - fanatical fighters, but fighters whose activities could only be regarded as illegal according to the traditional meaning of warfare'.
The growth of partisans behind the German is similarly whitewashed. Von Manstein maintains where rear area administration was in the hands of the German Army there was not partisan activity. The role of the notorious Reich Commissioner Koch in the development of extensive partisan activity in the Ukraine is given all of a sentence: " The, other, however was that the rule of Reich Commissioner Koch had driven the population straight into their arms".
This appeared by the way, not in the main body of the text, but in a footnote. The same footnote goes on to discuss in further depth the different types of partisans and where they were geographically based. Not a word about the extermination squads, the wholesale round-ups of the people for the concentration camps, etc. Even allowing for the era this was written this is a surprising and somewhat shocking omission.
Von Manstein never forthrightly condemns those atrocities or the individuals involved. Throughout the book he takes swipes and Goring and Koch but never faces the issue of German mistreatment head-on. Instead from nebulous comments here and there one has the impression that Von Manstein found those actions distasteful somewhat like an aristocrat reacting to an unpleasant odor in a distracted manner but ultimately unworthy of his notice.
It ends up lessening and tarnishing the image and reputation of one of the most brilliant of the German generals in World War 2. May 29, Drew rated it it was amazing. A fascinating and objective account of one of the Reich's greatest generals. Beginning with the preparations for the invasion of Poland in , Manstein relates his wartime experiences in great detail, ending with his dismissal in the spring of Of particular interest was his assessment of Hitler's character generally negative, noting his over-reliance on Nietzsch-ian willpower, new technology, and confidence in sycophants like Goring, but also his positive aspects, as occasionally he was A fascinating and objective account of one of the Reich's greatest generals.
Of particular interest was his assessment of Hitler's character generally negative, noting his over-reliance on Nietzsch-ian willpower, new technology, and confidence in sycophants like Goring, but also his positive aspects, as occasionally he was a decent tactician. The numerous battle maps will help the reader understand the troop movements Manstein describes. There was a very long but riveting chapter describing the Battle of Stalingrad which kept me on the edge of my seat. Each time he implored Hitler to let them break out of the pocket he met with refusal, which led to the surrender of the 6th Army.
By the campaigns, it was apparent how desparate the situation on the Eastern Front had become. There was a translator's note at the end of my edition which said that there were numerous personal and sentimental passages which were removed in the English-language editions. I wish these had not been taken out, as I would have been keen to read them. So much of the book is high-level tactics and grand strategy, so personal touches would have helped the book to read more evenly.
I would have been very interested in his thoughts about the final year of the war, in which he was on the sidelines. A field marshal forced to watch his country slowly enveloped by the enemy must have been hard to endure. Additionally, I would have liked him to discuss his experience at the Nuremberg trials, but that would have made the book overly long and outside the scope of the topic. I highly recommend this book not only as a study in military history and strategy, but to he how 'the other side' lived and fought in that titanic struggle.
Sep 20, Pieter rated it it was amazing Shelves: militair. It ought to be like that. But Field Marshal Erich von Manstein leads the reader into the war rooms during the period , explaining how certain decisions were made and why. Manstein was the man who came up with the idea of the attack through the Ardennes and Sedan to conquer France.
He was the hero of the Crimea forcing the Germans up to the Causasus. Any Luftwaffe support was too little, too late. The required armies to break the encirclement never reached on time. The scope of the book lasts until the removal of Manstein as chief of the Army Group acting in the South of the Soviet Union. A German defeat in the East was never the way it was meant to be if only… This book was an interesting perspective from one of the best German Generals. What I found fascinating was he often faced decisions where there were no good options.
Under a dictatorship, a dictator cannot permit himself to be forced, because the moment he gives way, his dictatorship ends. He announced his decision in the speeches or by means of orders, and no protest was possible. Indeed, on this question I had constant arguments with him. My written suggestions to him, or to the chief of General Staff for submission to Hitler, would fill a large volume.
In decisive points of purely operational leadership I probably succeeded, generally speaking, in carrying my point. In other cases, as soon as we left the subject of military command, he cut short any discussion. On three occasions, however, I tried, in personal talks with him, to get him to alter the supreme military command, that is, in plain language, to surrender the supreme command, if not in name, at least in fact.
What have we got to do with these matters which are matters of strategy? The High Command is not being accused of anything in connection with strategy. That becomes apparent from the following facts alone: 10 Aug. Only one Field Marshal managed to get through the war and keep his position as Field Marshal. Of 36 Generalobersten, 18 were sent home and 5 died as a result of 20 July or were dishonorably discharged.
Only 3 Generalobersten survived the war in their positions. They could not have been sent away because they were incapable. They were sent away because Hitler distrusted them, and also because he did not think they were severe enough in operational strategy. The witness Gisevius has said something about that. I once received a letter from Generaloberst Beck. It was in the winter of , and he discussed the strategical situation on the basis of the experience at Stalingrad. He said that it was hardly likely that the war would come to a good end. I replied to him that I could not contradict his statement, but that one defeat was no reason to consider the war lost, and that a war was only lost if you yourself.
I went on to say that I had so many worries on my front that I could not begin a lengthy discussion about these matters.
Now, afterwards, it has become clear to me that several other attempts to contact me were made, apparently in order to sound me out. On one occasion, General Von Gersdorff visited me and, as he told me afterwards, he had letters on him from Goerdeler, I believe, and Popitz, which he was supposed to show to me if he got the impression that I could be enlisted for a coup d'etat.
As it was always my point of view, however, that the removal or the assassination of Hitler during the war would lead to chaos, he never showed me these letters. That these were supposed to be feelers is something which became clear to me only afterwards. I had never, therefore, made a promise to anyone to participate in such affairs. The reason given to me by Hitler was that large-scale operations for which he needed me could no longer be carried out and that it was merely a question now of holding out stubbornly and for that a new man would have to be put in my position.
I never believed that this was the true reason. The true reason was without doubt that he mistrusted me too. After all, he was the revolutionary and I was the old Prussian officer. Then too, as the chief of the General Staff, General Zeitzler, told me at the time, there was a continuous campaign of hatred against me on the part of Himmler, and all manner of statements were made, namely, that a Christian like myself could not be loyal; and it is certain, too, that other elements joined in this campaign.
What can you say to the accusation by the Prosecution that the military leadership should be declared criminal? I come from a family of soldiers and I have grown up with military conceptions. The example from among my nearest relatives which I had before me was Hindenburg. We young officers naturally considered the glory of war as something great, and I do not wish to deny that I was proud when during this war an army was entrusted to me. But our ideal, and that applies to my comrades too, did not lie in the conduct of war, but in the education of our youth to be honorable men and decent soldiers.
Under our orders these youths went to their death by the million. And if I may say something personal: My eldest son died as a lieutenant in the infantry, when he was 19; two of my brothers-in-law, who grew up in my house, died as young officers; my best comrades in this war, my young adjutant and my young chauffeur, were killed. Nearly all the sons of my brothers and sisters were killed. That we, the old soldiers, should have led into war for a criminal purpose that youth of ours which was so dear to us, would far exceed any wickedness of which man could be thought capable. It is possible that a man without a family and without tradition, who is obsessed with fanatical belief in a higher mission, may go beyond the limits of human law, but we, the old soldiers, purely from a human point of view, would not have been able to do so.
We could not lead our youth into crime.
Further Your Research
What is your conception of the SD? I do not know what departments in the Reich Security Main Office belonged to it, because the organization and tasks of the Reich Security Main Office are unknown to me. Was that designation correct, or what were these Einsatzgruppen called? Previously, during the time I was a commander-in-chief, I only knew that Higher SS and Police Leaders existed, and that sections of the SD had been given the special task of screening the population.
Let me say, therefore, that the conception of the term Einsatzgruppen as it presents itself now, only became perfectly clear to me here. But I never thought of it as anything special. I merely, considered it to be a part of the SD, which was under Himmler and which had been given special tasks. I had never heard of Einsatzgruppen A, B, or C, and whether the Einsatzgruppe which worked in my territory was called "D" or not, I cannot say today. It may be or it may not be. I just do not know. I mean what title he had as the leader of Einsatzgruppe D.
I am afraid I did not understand. My position in the service at that time was divisional commander, but when the Sudetenland was occupied, I was temporarily chief of the General Staff of that army which marched in from Bavaria. TAYLOR: And during and the first part of the 11th Army which you commanded was fighting at the extreme southern end of the front, was it not? TAYLOR: Now, is it true that you have just been testifying that Hitler had some very particular ideas concerning the methods by which warfare on the Eastern Front should be carried out? TAYLOR: Hitler thought that the occupied Russian territories could best be subdued and pacified by the widespread use of terror, did he not?
It was only during the Trial that I learned that. And I have no recollection of an order to use terroristic methods, either. This is a document issued by the OKW. I ask that a German copy be submitted to the witness. I gathered from his reply that he is quoting the English text.
A German copy is underneath. The commanders must find the means of keeping order within their areas, not by demanding more security forces, but by applying suitable drastic measures. After all, it was issued long before I became commander-in-chief and naturally not every order that was issued before I became commander was submitted to me.
At any rate, I cannot recollect it. TAYLOR: Isn't it plain on the face of this order that it could only be carried out by wide distribution to troops and the leaders of all the formations? After all, the order contains directives for the Southeastern Front, the Central Eastern Front, the Northeastern Front, the Navy, and the Air Force, and also for security in the rear areas of the conquered territory. At that time I was a long way from the front with my armored corps; actually, in July I was west of lake Ilmen, where I was cut off and surrounded for a time.
It is quite impossible that an order would be sent to me concerning the entire front; if it was done at all then I would have received only an extract referring to my area. But here the orders under Figure 6 are concerned with the security of the rear areas, and the armored corps which was far ahead of the front line of the infantry army had nothing to do with these matters. But an armored corps which is ahead of the front and which is continuously engaged in battle with enemy forces has nothing to do with these measures; and even if the order had been dispatched to me, it does not by any means signify that it would have reached me.
As a matter of fact I just remember that in July when I was cut off, a very considerable portion of our baggage-train from headquarters, including very important documents, fell into enemy hands. Therefore, try as I may, I cannot remember having received this order. In fact, I do not believe it was dispatched to the corps at all. TAYLOR: If an army commander received this order, he could only carry it out by distributing it down to his lower formations; isn't that right?
That's the only way he could carry it out?
VON MANSTEIN: He did not necessarily have to distribute it, because Figure 6 mentioned conquered territories, that is to say, rear areas; and the armored group which I came under, which had only two armored corps in the foremost front line, would not necessarily need to transmit this order to the corps because the group itself had to secure its small rear area without the two corps, and in fact it did so. TAYLOR: So assuming you were cut off at the time and never got this order at the time it was issued, didn't any of your fellow generals in the other areas in the Prussian military tradition ever speak to you about this order and indicate they had received it?
Only very rarely can a commander-in-chief talk to other commanders-in-chief. Whether they received the order, that I really could not tell you. Now, Hitler regarded the war on the Eastern Front as ideological war and race conquest, didn't he? TAYLOR: Now, in order to set up a new political administration, an administration that would operate peaceably so that the territory could be exploited, Hitler was very anxious to stamp out those parts of the population - those elements in the population - who would oppose his aims, wasn't he?
At any rate, he never told the military leaders of the plan. I refer among other things to the Commissar Order that you have mentioned. That has nothing to do with the extermination of portions of the population -- at the most it was the removal of a certain class of followers of the enemy forces who were considered to be more politicians than soldiers.
TAYLOR: I refer also to Hitler's well-known order of 13 May , which restricted the use of courts-martial in cases where German soldiers had committed crimes against the civilian population. Wasn't that part of this same plan? But we did not follow that plan. As I said, by order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army we employed our legal system in order to punish the excesses in the interest of discipline.
I have already mentioned to you the example of the two death sentences in my corps. In fact, that thought never struck us at the time. TAYLOR: Well, now, what elements in the Russian population did the Germans think would be most likely to oppose their economic and political aims in occupied territory? I can only say that we soldiers had the one thought of keeping the population in occupied territories quiet by treating them reasonably, and our considerations did not go beyond that.
TAYLOR: Whether you worried about it or not, didn't you know who Hitler and the other political leaders thought were the elements in the Soviet population most likely to be obstructive? I'm asking you, didn't you know? Apart from the Commissar Order, I do not know to what extent he thought of annihilating such elements; he did not tell us that, nor did we receive an order to that effect.
Are you telling the Tribunal that you did not know that one of the most important missions of those units was to assist in exterminating the commissars and the Jews in accordance with these policies? As Ohlendorf has testified, this Einsatzgruppe was active in the area of my army. I think you also told us that Himmler was a bitter enemy 10 Aug. What did you do when you learned there was an Einsatzgruppe attached to the Army?
What were you told about it? VON MANSTEIN: At that time it was reported to me - I do not even know if the name "Einsatzgruppe" was mentioned at the time - that organs of the SS were to investigate the population in the operational areas from a political point of view and that they had received orders for that from Himmler. I could not do anything against that, because I could not possibly assume that these units of the SS were given criminal tasks.
TAYLOR: Is the commander-in-chief pleased to have an independent unit operating in his area which he cannot order around? Is that customary? Do you like it? I should like to mention that the Air Force did not come under our command in any way. When we were fighting together we had to make arrangements with them. We could not give them any orders.
In short, we were confined to the actual military leadership, and in the last analysis that is the best thing for a soldier because, according to popular judgment, he knows very little about other matters. Did it not stimulate you to find out what it was doing? I have already said that I was at army headquarters only for 2 or 3 days, after which I went to the front.
I might say that the actual fighting made such demands on me during the entire winter when I was a commander that there was no room for curiosity about things of which I could have no idea. Naturally I talked to my officers. But this question of the SD never cropped up, because as far as we were concerned, it did not appear to us to be an important question. TAYLOR: Did you not ever ask your chief of staff or any staff officer to keep you very carefully informed on what these independent groups under Himmler were doing in your area?
One cannot speak of independent troops of Himmler, for this Einsatzgruppe was comparatively small and 10 Aug. It only appeared when they supplied us with men for combating the partisans in the Crimea. I know that my staff was negotiating with the SS leader about that. I would like to show them to you and ask a few questions about them.
The first one is the Affidavit Number 12, which is already in evidence. It is USA The first part of this affidavit concerns matters which you probably do not know about directly. You should know about the second paragraph, certainly. This is an affidavit by Walter Schellenberg. I would like to read the first two paragraphs. The Tribunal will find this in the first document book on the General Staff.
Wagner could come to no agreement with Muller, and therefore Heydrich asked to send another representative. According to the instructions given to me, I was supposed to make sure that this agreement would provide that the responsible headquarters in the Army would be firmly obligated to give complete support to all activities of the Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos of the Sipo and SD.
I discussed the problem of this mutual relationship in great detail with Wagner. In accordance with this discussion I then presented him with the completed draft of an agreement, which met with his full approval. This draft was the basis for a final discussion between Wagner and Heydrich towards the end of May The various areas were then set down in which.
The individual Einsatzgruppen were then assigned to the army groups which were to take part in the campaign, and the individual Einsatzkommandos to the respective armies. The area of operations created through the advance of the Army beyond the frontiers of the Reich and the neighboring countries is to be limited in depth as far as possible.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Army has the right to exercise the executive power in this area, and may transfer his authority to the commanders of the army groups and armies.
In the area of army operations, the Reichsfuehrer SS is entrusted on behalf of the Fuehrer with special tasks for the preparation of the political administration, tasks which result from the struggle which has to be carried 'out between two conflicting political systems. Within the realm of these tasks, the Reichsfuehrer SS shall act independently and on his own responsibility. The executive power vested in the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and in agencies determined by him shall not be affected by this.
It is the responsibility of the Reichsfuehrer SS that through the execution of his tasks military operations shall not be disturbed. In the years to he had carried out the liquidation of the Czarist officers. The head of the prison work shops of the NKVD was also caught. Especially in the area east of the Dnieper, the solution of the Jewish question has been taken up energetically by the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police. The areas newly occupied by the Kommandos were purged of Jews.
In the course of this action, 4, Jews were liquidated. At other places the Jews were marked and registered. This rendered it possible to put at the disposal of the Wehrmacht for urgent labor Jewish worker groups up to 1, persons. Partisan snipers dressed as civilians attack single soldiers and small units and try to disrupt our supplies by sabotage with mines and infernal machines. Bolshevists left behind keep the population freed from Bolshevism in a state of unrest by means of terror and attempt thereby to sabotage the political and economic pacification of the country.
Harvests and factories are destroyed and the city population in particular is thereby ruthlessly delivered to starvation. More strongly than in Europe it holds all the key positions in the political leadership and administration, controls commerce and trades, and further forms the nucleus for all unrest and possible uprisings.
Never again must it encroach upon our European living space. He comes also as the bearer of a racial concept and as the avenger of all the cruelties' which have been perpetrated on him and on the German people. Active co-operation of all soldiers must be demanded in the disarming of the population, the control and arrest of all roving soldiers and civilians, and the removal of Bolshevist symbols.
Particularly in enemy cities a large part of the population will have to go hungry. Nevertheless nothing which the homeland has sacrificed itself to contribute may, out of a misguided sense of humanity, be given to prisoners or to the population unless they are in the service of the German Wehrmacht. This is also necessary in order to nip in the bud all uprisings which are mostly plotted by Jews. Support for the Bolshevist fight behind the front by way of thoughtlessness must be prevented.
The nonparticipation of numerous alleged anti-Soviet elements must give place to a definite decision in favor of active co-operation against. Where it does not exist it must be forced by suitable measures. The bearing of every soldier is constantly under observation. It can make enemy propaganda ineffective or give it a springboard.
If the soldier in the country takes from the peasant the last cow, the breeding sow, the last chicken, or the seed, then no restoration of the economy can be achieved. All measures must, therefore, be judged by their lasting effectiveness. Did you see the order, and did it have any influence whatever on your attitude and that of your troops to the civilian population? This is also necessary in order to nip in the bud all uprisings, which are mostly plotted by Jews. I would like to comment on a couple of items.
The emphasis has been added by me. I, for one, would like to see this. It's a shame that the pro-Soviets have continued to post their rubbish here without taking a scitilla's worth of responsibility for it. Further, they have the audacity to suggest that they have a monopoly on posting German documents in full and in context, knowing full well that they don't, and then criticise others for alledgedly doing the same. They also do this without specific reference to those threads, posts, etc.
Manstein's reference to Hitler's desire to avoid a two-front war is noteworthy. He seems to be implying that, once Poland began concentrating its forces so as to be in a position to launch an offensive toward Berlin which, if actually implemented by Poland, would have automatically brought Britain into war against Germany, under the terms of the guarantee given by Chamberlain and referred to by Manstein , Germany had to knock Poland out with a lighting strike in order to avoid such a two-front war.