The legendary rages of Adolph Hitler as he attempted to guide 1940’s Nazi Germany to a World War II victory and global domination are well-documented, and more recently have made for comical Hitler YouTube videos.
But new evidence just released by German historians of an epic Hitler rant that took place in 1942, aimed at the Nazi generals who had failed to take over Soviet Russia after a year of fighting the Red Army, is being called “spectacular” by Germany’s Spiegel Magazine.
Throughout the tirade, Hitler reflects upon his disillusionment with the year-old Russian campaign and the Nazi generals he despises, choice words about the generals including, “flabby,” “indecent,” and “complete failures.”
The Daily Mail reports that Hitler’s utter frustration and letdown regarding the Nazi’s Russian front, and allegedly incompetent Nazi generals, wasn’t previously known to have afflicted the Fuhrer so early on in World War II, until the documentation of this rant was unearthed.
German historians Matthias Uhl and Johannes Hürter found Hitler’s 1942 Russian rant among the historic annals of the Russian Defence Ministry, the original transcript of Hitler’s disillusionment with his Soviet front having been nabbed by the victorious Soviet Red Army following the fall of Berlin in 1945.
The transcript reportedly documents a conversation between Hitler and one of his Nazi field officers, Wilhelm Keitel.
While Keitel headed up the Hitler Nazi army’s high command for most of World War II, he was also nicknamed “‘Lackeitel,” German for lackey, because he was known for never sticking up for his officers, instead choosing to throw them under the Hitler-run bus as Hitler and Nazi Germany’s hopes for world domination continued to crumble throughout the war.
The 85-minute “conversation” between Hitler and the meek, and more than accommodating Keitel, occurred on September 18, 1942 while Hitler was visiting the Nazi’s eastern front headquarters in Vinnitsa, Ukraine.
According to Spiegel Magazine, Hitler’s rant “reads like a template for Hitler actor Bruno Ganz in the feature film The Downfall,” the often parodied clip of the Nazi leader below with its original sub-titles.
Hitler demanded that his interview with Keitel be documented, and though it would be almost three years before his Berlin bunker was overrun, just like re-enacted above, Hitler was already in a pretty unforgiving mood, the Daily Mail saying this newly discovered Nazi-era Hitler rant “illuminates perfectly the Messiah complex of the Fuhrer.”
When Hitler launched his Blitzkrieg style attack on Soviet Russia on June 22 1941, he figured the Russia would quickly succumb to the Nazi attack just like much of Europe had.
But that turned out not to be the case, Russia’s Red Army absorbing the Nazi attack and stopping it in its tracks, despite unfathomable losses. With a quick Nazi victory nowhere in sight, or even any victory at all, Hitler turned to the blame game, at the same time apparently believing that his absence from the Russian front could lead to disaster.
“I’m dead scared, to be away for a day or only five hours, because something might happen,” explains Hitler, following with some possible sarcasm and/or attempt at Nazi humor. “If I was today to get, for example, a canal root infection, I cannot leave, I must remain here.”
As for those leading his Nazi army against the Russians, Hitler really let them have it, saying of Colonel-General Franz Halder, the Nazi army chief of staff, that he “cannot decide if an attack is to be made with 100 men, with six battalions or two divisions.”
Not pulling back on any name-calling, Hitler called Nazi General Field Marshall, Wilhelm List, a “flabby leader,” and feedback from Hitler on General Field Marshall Fedor von Bock’s performance included that he “failed completely” in his efforts on the Russian front.
Hitler also takes the Nazi Wehrmacht leadership to task for ignoring his commands, saying, “I speak to them every day. This is quite useless,” and calling their failure to listen to Fuhrer-ness “an indecency.”
Last but not least was Nazi Army chief of staff, Alfred Jodl, who particularly chapped Hitler’s hide by saying that all of Hitler’s criticisms were “mean.”
At the same time, in September 1942, Hitler’s confidence that Soviet Russia would be his at some point, even if it was taking longer than the Fuhrer expected, was still high.
But when the Nazis were finally repelled from the horror that was Stalingrad and the Red Army started rolling downhill toward Germany, Hitler’s trademark rants had become moot.
Hitler may have been pleased to learn that both Keitel and Alfred Jodl were later hanged for war crimes in Nuremberg.
As for this latest Hitler rant, it is scheduled to appear in full in an upcoming issue of the German Quarterly Journal of Contemporary History.
[Images, Hulton Archive, Getty Images]