Hermann Wilhelm Goering (2 of 4)

September 1, 1939: After some delays, Hitler's forces invade Poland.

September 1, 1939: Hitler addresses the Reichstag:

...This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our own territory. Since 5:45 a. m. we have been returning the fire, and from now on bombs will be met with bombs. Whoever fights with poison gas will be fought with poison gas. Whoever departs from the rules of humane warfare can only expect that we shall do the same. I will continue this struggle, no matter against whom, until the safety of the Reich and its rights are secured. For six years now I have been working on the building up of the German defenses. Over 90 milliards have in that time been spent on the building up of these defense forces. They are now the best equipped and are above all comparison with what they were in 1914. My trust in them is unshakable. When I called up these forces and when I now ask sacrifices of the German people and if necessary every sacrifice, then I have a right to do so, for I also am to-day absolutely ready, just as we were formerly, to make every personal sacrifice...

September 1, 1939: Chamberlain speaks before the House of Commons:

...It now only remains for us to set our teeth and to enter upon this struggle, which we ourselves earnestly endeavored to avoid, with determination to see it through to the end. We shall enter it with a clear conscience, with the support of the Dominions and the British Empire, and the moral approval of the greater part of the world. We have no quarrel with the German people, except that they allow themselves to be governed by a Nazi Government...

September 3, 1939 Der zweite Weltkrieg: WW2 begins as Britain, Australia, New Zealand and France declare war on Nazi Germany.

September 3, 1939 Athenia-Ereignis: Just hours after Britain declares war on Germany, U-30, commanded by Oberleutnant Fritz-Julius Lemp, sinks the British liner SS Athenia, mistaking her for an armed merchant cruiser. The 13,500 ton passenger liner is carrying 1,103 civilians from Glasgow to Montreal, including more than 300 Americans. 112 passengers and crew are killed, including 28 Americans. Most of the fatalities are caused by a botched rescue attempt as one of the lifeboats is crushed in the propeller of a freighter that takes part in the collection of survivors.

September 3, 1939: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat to the American people:

...It is right, too, to point out that the unfortunate events of these recent years have, without question, been based on the use of force (or) and the threat of force. And it seems to me clear, even at the outbreak of this great war, that the influence of America should be consistent in seeking for humanity a final peace which will eliminate, as far as it is possible to do so, the continued use of force between nations...

September 7, 1939: Grand Admiral Raeder declares that all U-boats have been contacted and none was responsible for the sinking of the Athenia. Meanwhile, Reich Propaganda Minister Goebbels proclaims that the Athenia was sunk by none other than Winston Churchill himself, in an effort to repeat history with a Lusitania-like provocation. (Read)

September 14, 1939 Athenia-Ereignis: Eleven days after sinking the SS Athenia, Oberleutnant Lemp and the U-30 enter Kiel Harbor. Admiral Doenitz swears Lemp and his crew to absolute secrecy. They are not to mention anything at all to do with the incident at any time. Problematically, the U-30 had arrived in post with victory pennants displayed on her conning tower, one of which showed 14,000 tons, the tonnage of the Athenia. The official U-boat Command War Diary makes no mention of the incident and Lemp is ordered (again, by Doenitz) to falsify his War Diary by rewriting two complete pages. An entry for any vessel of 14,000 tons does not appear.

September 17, 1939: The USSR invades Poland from the east.

September 29, 1939: The USSR and Germany divide Poland between them.

September 30, 1939: Goering, Commander in Chief of the Luftwaffe, is awarded the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross.

October 6, 1939: Hitler addresses the Reichstag:

...A Geneva convention once succeeded in prohibiting, in civilized countries at least, the killing of wounded, ill treatment of prisoners, war against noncombatants, etc., and just as it was possible gradually to achieve universal observance of this statute, a way must surely be found to regulate aerial warfare, use of poison gas and submarines, etc., and also so to define contraband that war will lose its terrible character of conflict waged against women and children and against noncombatants in general. A growing horror of certain methods of warfare will of its own accord lead to their abolition and thus they will become obsolete...

October 9, 1939: From a memorandum and directive by Hitler distributed only to the four service chiefs, Goering, Raeder, Brauchitsch, and Keitel:

The aim of the Anglo-French conduct of war is to dissolve or disintegrate the 80-million-state (Germany), again so that in this manner the European equilibrium, in other words, the balance of power which serves their ends, may be restored. This battle, therefore, will have to be fought out by the German people one way or another. Nevertheless, the very great successes of the first month of the war could serve, in the event of an immediate signing of peace, to strengthen the Reich psychologically and materially to such an extent that from the German viewpoint there would be no objection to ending the war immediately, insofar as the present achievement with arms is not jeopardized by the peace treaty. It is not the object of this memorandum to study the possibilities in this direction, or even to take them into consideration. In this paper I shall confine myself exclusively to the other case: the necessity to continue the fight, the object of which, as already stressed, consists, insofar as the enemy is concerned, in the dissolution or destruction of the German Reich. In opposition to this the German war aim is the final military dispatch of the West, that is, destruction of the power and ability of the Western Powers ever again to be able to oppose the state consolidation and further development of the German people in Europe. As far as the outside world is concerned, however, this internal aim will have to undergo various propaganda adjustments, necessary from a psychological point of view. This does not alter the war aim. It is and remains the destruction of our Western enemies. ...

The successes of the Polish campaign have made possible first of all a war on a single front, awaited for past decades without any hope of realization; that is to say, Germany is able to enter the fight in the West with all her might, leaving only a few covering troops in the East. The remaining European states are neutral either because they fear for their own fates or lack interest in the conflict as such or are interested in a certain outcome of the war, which prevents them from taking part at all, or at any rate too soon. ....

Belgium and Holland: Both countries are interested in preserving their neutrality but incapable of withstanding prolonged pressure from England and France. The preservation of their colonies, the maintenance of their trade, and thus the securing of their interior economy, even of their very life, depend wholly upon the will of England and France. Therefore in their decisions, in their attitude, and in their actions both countries are dependent upon the West in the highest degree. If England and France promise themselves a successful result at the price of Belgian neutrality, they are at any time in a position to apply the necessary pressure. That is to say, without covering themselves with the odium of a breach of neutrality, they can compel Belgium and Holland to give up their neutrality. Therefore, in the matter of the preservation of Belgo-Dutch neutrality, time is not a factor which might promise a favorable development for Germany...The Nordic States: Provided no completely unforeseen factors appear, their neutrality in the future is also to be assumed. The continuation of German trade with these countries appears possible even in a war of long duration.

October 14, 1939: The British Battleship Royal Oak is torpedoed by Günter Prienin's U-47, in the protected anchorage at Scapa Flow; 833 drown. Note: Prienin will ultimately sink 30 enemy ships.

October 26, 1939: A forced labor decree is issued for Polish Jews between the ages of 14 to 60.

October 28, 1939: Public demonstrations occur in Prague for the first time on the occasion of the Czech Independence Day. On this occasion, some of the demonstrators and some policemen are either killed or injured, for the Police take rather strong measures against the people demonstrating.

November 1, 1939: Goering, Raeder, and Keital (independent of each other, according to Weizsaecker) complain and/or protest to the German Foreign Office that the Russians are receiving far too much in the way of war materials. (Shirer)

November, 1939: Hitler orders planning for Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain.

November 8, 1939: An assassination attempt on Hitler fails.

November 9, 1939: A guard at the British Embassy in Oslo, Sweden, finds a parcel sitting on a ledge in a snowstorm. Soon dubbed The Oslo Report, it consists of about three inches worth of German documents detailing many of the top secret weapons systems being developed by the Reich. A cover letter accompanying the documents is signed by a "well-wishing German" and includes the information that the Germans are test-firing long range rockets in a place called Peenemuende on the island of Usedom in the Baltic. British intelligence will ignore the report due to ignorance of the source and lack of corroboration. (Brown)

November 19, 1939: The first prototype of a HE-177 takes to the air at Rostock-Marienehe.

From the post-war, pre-trial interview of Hermann Goering by the US Strategic Bombing Survey Team (SBS): To quite an extent (we were suffering from fuel shortages) already in June 1944, when we finally managed to get the "bugs" out of the HE 177, which gave us a little trouble. This aircraft was put in operation on the Russian front after it had been used against England. I had to ground that aircraft because it consumed too much gasoline and we just didn't have enough for it.

November 15, 1939: At the funeral of one of the students who was killed on 28 October, there are fresh demonstrations in Prague, in the course of which numerous students are shot, others arrested, and the universities closed.

November 17, 1939: From posters posted in the streets of Prague:

In spite of repeated serious warnings, a number of Czech intellectuals, in collaboration with émigré circles abroad, are trying to disturb peace and order in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia by committing major or minor acts of resistance. In this connection it was possible to prove that the ringleaders of these resistance acts are especially to be found in the Czech universities. Since on 28 October and 15 November these elements gave way to acts of physical violence against individual Germans, the Czech universities have been closed for the duration of 3 years, nine of the perpetrators have been shot, and a considerable number of the participants have been arrested.

November 30, 1939: The USSR attacks Finland.

From Failure of a Mission: Berlin, 1938 - 1939 by Sir Nevile Henderson: He (Goering) once said to me that the British whom he really admired were those whom he described as pirates, such as Francis Drake, and he reproached us for having become too "debrutilized." He was, in fact, himself a typical and brutal buccaneer, but he had certain attractive qualities, and I must frankly say that I had a real personal liking for him...Those who worked with him commented upon his great ability to study files of documents and rows of figures and to extract out of them everything which was essential...He was a man to whom one could speak absolutely frankly. He neither easily took nor lightly gave offence, and he was quick to seize the point at which one was driving. ....

(Goering was) the absolute servant of his master, and I have never seen greater loyalty and devotion than his to Hitler...In all the very frank talks which I had with Goering, he never once spoke of himself or the very great part which he had played in the Nazi revolution. Everything had been done by Hitler, all the credit was Hitler's, every decision was Hitler's, and he himself was nothing. Inasmuch as the enumeration of the posts which Goering filled in the Nazi regime took about five minutes to read, this self-effacement before his leader was all the more remarkable, particularly since, without Goering, Hitler would never have got where he was. Hitler's brain might conceive the impossible, but Goering did it.

October 19, 1939: From a speech by Goering:

In the first mentioned territories the reconstruction and expansion of the economy, the safeguarding of all their production facilities and supplies must be aimed at, as well as a complete incorporation into the Greater German economic system at the earliest possible time. On the other hand there must be removed from the territories of the Government General all raw materials, scrap materials, machines, etceteras, which are of use for the German war economy. Enterprises which are not absolutely necessary for the meager maintenance of the bare existence of the population must be transferred to Germany, unless such transfer would require an unreasonably long period of time and would make it more practical to exploit those enterprises by giving them German orders to be executed at their present location.

December 14, 1939: The USSR is expelled from the League of Nations.

January 20, 1940: Churchill addresses the House:

...In the bitter and increasingly exacting conflict which lies before us we are resolved to keep nothing back, and not to be outstripped by any in service to the common cause. Let the great cities of Warsaw, of Prague, of Vienna banish despair even in the midst of their agony. Their liberation is sure. The day will come when the joy-bells will ring again throughout Europe, and when victorious nations, masters not only of their foes but of themselves, will plan and build in justice, in tradition, and in freedom a house of many mansions where there will be room for all...

January 25, 1940: Excerpts of a letter from Hermann Goering to Hans Frank:

1. In view of the present requirements of the Reich for the defense industry, it is at present fundamentally impossible to carry on a long-term economic policy in the Government General. It is necessary so to steer the economy of the Government General that it will, in the shortest possible time, accomplish results representing the maximum that can be secured out of the economic strength of the Government General for the immediate strengthening of our capacity for defense.

2. In particular the following performances are expected of the total economy of the Government General. ....

Supply and transportation of at least 1 million male and female agricultural and industrial workers to the Reich--among them at least 750,000 agricultural workers of which at least 50 percent must be women--in order to guarantee agricultural production in the Reich and as a replacement for industrial workers lacking in the Reich."

February 1940: Believing that conventional aircraft will easily win the war for Germany, Hermann Goering cuts back the engine development program of the Me 262 turbojet fighter aircraft to just 35 engineers.

April 9, 1940: Nazi forces invade Norway and Denmark.

May 19, 1940: The Nazis invade France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands; Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister.

May 26, 1940: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat to the American people:

...Tonight over the once peaceful roads of Belgium and France millions are now moving, running from their homes to escape bombs and shells and fire and machine gunning, without shelter, and almost wholly without food. They stumble on, knowing not where the end of the road will be...

June 25, 1940: An Armistice is signed between France and Germany. Under its terms, the French army is to be disbanded and two thirds of France is to be occupied by the Germans.

July 19, 1940: Adolf Hitler, recent conqueror of France, promotes 12 German generals to the rank of Field Marshal in a ceremony before the Reichstag. From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer:

He (Goering) chewed on his pencil and scribbled like a schoolboy over a composition that has got to be in by the time class is ended. But always he kept one ear cocked on the Leader's words, and at the appropriate moments he would put down his pencil and applaud heartily, his face a big smile of approval from one ear to the other. He had two big moments, and he reacted to them with the happy naturalness of a big child. Once when Hitler named two of his air force generals field marshals, he beamed like a proud big brother, smiling his approval and his happiness up to the generals in the balcony and clapping his hands with Gargantuan gestures, pointing his big paws at the new field marshals as at a boxer in the ring when he's introduced. The climax was when Hitler named him Reichsmarshal. Hitler turned around and handed him a box with whatever insignia a Reichsmarshal wears. Goering took the box, and his boyish pride and satisfaction was almost touching, old murderer that he is. He could not deny himself a sneaking glance under the cover of the lid. Then he went back to his pencil-chewing and his speech. I considered his popularity--second only to Hitler's in the country--and concluded that it is just because, on occasions such as this, he's so human, so completely the big, good-natured boy. (But also the boy who in June 1934 could dispatch men to the firing squads by the hundreds.)

August 1, 1940: Hitler gives Goering the go-ahead for Operation Eagle, the Luftwaffe bombing campaign against Britain. Raeder reports to Hitler that the earliest possible date for an invasion of Britain is September 15. (Read)

September 17, 1940: Hitler postpones Operation Sealion.

From the summary of the post-war interview of Professor William Messerschmitt by the SBS in London: Professor Messerschmitt was not aware that Britain's fighters out-classed German fighters during the Battle of Britain. The plan for the Battle of Britain was first to knock out the RAF and then to make a landing. .... No attempt was made after the battle of Britain to increase the number or effectiveness of German aircraft. This was a great mistake as the Luftwaffe had been a decisive weapon in all other campaigns. Professor Messerschmitt could not understand the reason why no such action had been taken. He always claimed that the war would be won by the nation which could control the air over its own territory and over the battlefield.

September 29, 1940: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat to the American people:

...the Axis not merely admits but the Axis proclaims that there can be no ultimate peace between their philosophy of government and our philosophy of government. In view of the nature of this undeniable threat, it can be asserted, properly and categorically, that the United States has no right or reason to encourage talk of peace, until the day shall come when there is a clear intention on the part of the aggressor nations to abandon all thought of dominating or conquering the world...

November 10, 1940: Hitler authorizes production of the ME 321 glider.

From the summary of Messerschmitt's SBS interview: On November 10, 1940, Professor Messerschmitt completed the drawings for a glider capable of carrying a 21-ton tank which was then Germany's heaviest model. This glider, known as the ME 321, was to be towed by three ME 110s and was to be assisted in its takeoff by eight rockets, four under each wing. On November 7, 1940, Professor Messerschmitt saw Hitler and proposed to him that construction of these gliders be undertaken. He stated that he did not wish to take the matter up through the Air Ministry and preferred to negotiate directly with Todt. Hitler agreed. Messerschmitt saw Todt in Stuttgart two days later and enlisted his help in obtaining the necessary steel and fabrics. The first glider was ready for flight on 28 February 1941 and proved successful. Two hundred were completed by June 1941. They were eventually used in the Russian campaign, specifically in occupying the Orel pocket.

December 18, 1940: Hitler gives orders for the military preparations against the USSR.

January 30, 1941: Hitler speaks in Berlin:

...That the German nation has no quarrel with the Americans is evident to everybody who does not consciously wish to falsify truth. At no time has Germany had interests on the American Continent except perhaps that she helped that Continent in its struggle for liberty. If States on this continent now attempt to interfere in the European conflict, then the aim will only be changed more quickly. Europe will then defend herself. And do not let people deceive themselves. Those who believe they can help England must take note of one thing: every ship, whether with or without convoy which appears before our torpedo tubes is going to be torpedoed...

February 9, 1941: Churchill broadcasts an address to the British people:

...we do need most urgently an immense and continuous supply of war materials and technical apparatus of all kinds. We need them here and we need to bring them here. We shall need a great mass of shipping in 1942, far more than we can build ourselves, if we are to maintain and augment our war effort in the West and in the East. These facts are, of course, all well known to the enemy, and we must therefore expect that Herr Hitler will do his utmost to prey upon our shipping and to reduce the volume of American supplies entering these Islands. Having conquered France and Norway, his clutching fingers reach out on both sides of us into the ocean...

February 24, 1941: Hitler speaks in Munich:

...I am not one of those who see such a war coming and start whining about it. I have said and done all that I could; I have made proposal after proposal to Britain; likewise to France. These proposals were always ridiculed--rejected with scorn. However, when I saw that the other side intended to fight, I naturally did that which as a National Socialist of the early days, I did once before: I forged a powerful weapon of defense. And, just as of old, I proclaimed that we should be not merely strong enough to stand the blows of others but strong enough to deal blows in return. I built up the German armed forces as a military instrument of State policy, so that if war were inevitable, these forces could deliver crushing blows...

March 11, 1941: Thinly slicing US "neutrality," the US Congress passes the Lend-Lease Bill, which enables Britain and her Allies to borrow money to buy additional food and arms. A time limit is placed on the operation of the act--until June 1943. A motion originally passed in the House forbidding US warships to give protection to convoys of foreign ships is defeated. Also to be allowed are transfers of ships to other countries solely on Presidential authority without reference to Congress.

March 27, 1941: Hitler decides to invade Yugoslavia.

April 6, 1941: On Palm Sunday, Hitler invades Yugoslavia and Greece.

April 13, 1941: German troops enter Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

April 14, 1941: Hungarian troops occupy northern Yugoslavia.

May 27, 1941: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat:

...Today the whole world is divided, divided between human slavery and human freedom--between pagan brutality and the Christian ideal. We choose human freedom--which is the Christian ideal. No one of us can waver for a moment in his courage or his faith. We will not accept a Hitler-dominated world. And we will not accept a world, like the post-war world of the 1920's, in which the seeds of Hitlerism can again be planted and allowed to grow. We will accept only a world consecrated to freedom of speech and expression--freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--freedom from want--and freedom from (terrorism) terror. Is such a world impossible of attainment...

June 6, 1941: From Hitler's Commissar Order to his Generals:

The war against Russia cannot be fought in knightly fashion. The struggle is one of ideologies and racial differences and will have to be waged with unprecedented, unmerciful, and unrelenting hardness. All officers will have to get rid of any old fashioned ideas they may have. I realize that the necessity for conducting such warfare is beyond the comprehension of you generals, but I must insist that my orders be followed without complaint. The commissars hold views directly opposite to those of National Socialism. Hence these commissars must be eliminated. Any German soldier who breaks international law will be pardoned. Russia did not take part in the Hague Convention and, therefore, has no rights under it.

June 12, 1941 Declaration of St James's Palace: The representatives of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa and of the exiled governments of Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Yugoslavia and of General de Gaulle of France, met at the ancient St. James’s Palace and sign a declaration: "The only true basis of enduring peace is the willing cooperation of free peoples in a world in which, relieved of the menace of aggression, all may enjoy economic and social security; It is our intention to work together, and with other free peoples, both in war and peace, to this end."

June 22, 1941 Unternehmen Barbarossa: Operation Barbarossa begins as 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invade the USSR along an 1,800 mile front.

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 31, 1941: From a letter from Goering 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 from 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 7, 1941 Goebbels' Diary:

...The Jews have always been carriers of infectious diseases. One must either crowd them together in ghettos and leave them to it, or else liquidate them, failing which they will always infect the healthy civilized population...

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 Defence, 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 19, 1941: Goebbels' Diary:

...The Fuehrer is convinced that his prophecy in the Reichstag (January 20, 1939 and subsequently repeated annually) that, if Jewry succeeded once more in provoking war it would end with their annihilation, is almost uncannily true...

September 1, 1941: Police Decree Concerning the Marking of Jews:

PARAGRAPH I Jews (see Paragraph 5 of the First Executive Decree Concerning the Reich Citizenship Law of 14 November 1935) over the age of six are forbidden to show themselves in public without a Jew's star. The Jew's star consists of a six-pointed star of yellow cloth with black borders, equivalent in size to the palm of the hand. The inscription is to read JEW in black letters. It is to be sewn to the left breast of the garment, and to be worn visibly.

PARAGRAPH II Jews are forbidden: (a) to leave their area of residence without carrying, on their person, written permission from the local police; (b) to wear medals, decorations, or other insignia.

September 8, 1941: Keitel's OKW issues a regulation for the treatment of Soviet POW's. It states that Russian soldiers will fight by any methods for the idea of Bolshevism and that consequently they have lost any claim to treatment in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Stern measures are to be employed against them, including the free use of weapons. The politically undesirable prisoners are to be segregated from the others and turned over to "special purpose units" of the Security Police and the Security Service. There is to be the closest cooperation between the military commanders and these police units.

September 16, 1941: Goering, at a meeting of German military officials concerned with the better exploitation of the occupied territories for the German food economy:

In the occupied territories on principle only those people are to be supplied with an adequate amount of food who work for us. Even if one wanted to feed all the other inhabitants, one could not do it in the newly occupied Eastern areas. It is, therefore, wrong to funnel off food supplies for this purpose if it is done at the expense of the Army and necessitates increased supplies from home.

October 2, 1941: An operational rocket-powered fighter aircraft, the Me 163 A V4 piloted by Heini Dittmar, sets a new world speed record of 623.8 MPH. This record will not be surpassed until an American Douglas Skystreak turbojet-powered research aircraft does so on August 20, 1947.

From the summary of Messerschmitt's SBS Interview: The ME 163, which used the rocket principle, was of interest only as an experiment. Work had been done on this aircraft prior to the war. Its flight duration--10 minutes--was too short for operational purposes. It had tremendous speed and had achieved as high as 625 miles an hour at level flight, both altitude and near the ground. The stability of the aircraft, however, was not great enough for its speed.

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 which will one day bring fearful retribution.

November 7, 1941: Sir Richard Peirse, head of RAF Bomber Command, sends over 160 bombers to raid Berlin. More than 20 are lost, and again little damage is done.

November 7, 1941: Goering, at a conference at the Air Ministry:

The Fuehrer's point of view as to employment of prisoners of war in war industries has changed basically. So far a total of 5 million prisoners of war-employed so far 2 million. In the interior and the Protectorate it would be ideal if entire factories could be manned by Russian prisoners of war except the employees necessary for directing. For employment in the interior and the Protectorate the following are to have priority: (a) At the top, the coal mining industry. Order by the Fuehrer to investigate all mines as to suitability for employment of Russians, in some instances manning the entire plant with Russian laborers. (b) Transportation (construction of locomotives and cars, repair shops, et cetera). Railroad-repair and factory workers are to be sought out from the prisoners of war. Rail is the most important means of transportation in the East. (c) Armament industries. Preferably factories of armor and guns. Possibly also construction of parts for aircraft engines. Suitable complete sections of factories to be manned exclusively by Russians if possible. For the remainder, employment in groups. Use in factories of tool machinery, production of farm tractors, generators, etc. In emergency, erect in some places barracks for casual workers who are used in unloading units and for similar purposes. (Reich Minister of the Interior through communal authorities.) OKW/AWA is competent for procuring Russian prisoners of war. Employment through Planning Board for employment of all prisoners of war. If necessary, offices of Reich commissariats. No employment where danger to men or supply exists, that is, factories exposed to explosives, waterworks, power-works, etc. No contact with German population, especially no 'solidarity.' German worker as a rule is foreman of Russians. Food is a matter of the Four Year Plan. Procurement of special food (cats, horses, etc. Clothes, billeting, messing somewhat better than at home where part of the people live in caves. Supply of shoes for Russians; as a rule wooden shoes, if necessary install Russian shoe repair shops. Examination of physical fitness in order to avoid importation of diseases. Clearing of mines as a rule by Russians; if possible by selected Russian engineer troops."

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 drastically underestimated Soviet strength.

December 7, 1941: Japanese forces attack Pearl Harbor.

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.

December 11, 1941: Doubling down, Hitler declares war on the United States.

December 11, 1941: Hitler addresses 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...

1942: From the fourth leaflet distributed by the White Rose resistance group in Munich:

For Hitler and his followers there is no punishment on this earth commensurate with their crimes. But out of love for coming generations we must make an example after the conclusion of the war, so that no one will ever again have the slightest urge to try a similar action. And do not forget the petty scoundrels in this regime; note their names, so that none will go free! They should not find it possible, having had their part in these abominable crimes, at the last minute to rally to another flag and then act as if nothing had happened!

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...

February 2, 1942: Italian Foreign Minister Ciano, addressing his diary:

During the dinner Goering talked of little else but the jewels he owned. In fact he had some beautiful rings on his fingers. He explained that he bought them for a relatively small sum in Holland after all jewels were confiscated in Germany. I am told that he plays with his gems like a little boy with his marbles. During the trip he was nervous, so his aides brought him a small vase filled with diamonds. He placed them on the table and counted them, lined them up, mixed them together, and became happy again. One of his high officers said last evening: "He has two loves--beautiful objects and making war." Both are expensive hobbies. To the station he wore a great sable coat, something between what automobile drivers wore in 1906 and what a high-grade prostitute wears to the opera. If any of us tried a thing like that we would be stoned in the streets. He, on the contrary, is not only accepted in Germany but perhaps even loved for it. That is because he has a dash of humanity.

February 8, 1942: While departing by plane from a meeting with Hitler at the Wolf's Lair (Wolfsschanze) at Rastenburg, builder of the Autobahn Dr Fritz Todt, director of the Organization Todt and Reichsminister of Armaments, dies as his Junker 52 aircraft mysteriously explodes.

February 10, 1942: Albert Speer succeeds Fritz Todt as Reich Minister of Armaments.

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...

March 1942: After much negotiation Goering, under the Four Year Plan, establishes the office of Plenipotentiary for Armaments and War Production and appoints Speer as minister. This is at best a ruse to allow Goering to save face. While officially putting Speer under Goering, Speer will actually continue to answer only to Hitler.

March 21, 1942: Sauckel is appointed Generalbevollmaechtigter fuer den Arbeitseinsatz (General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labor).

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 carrying out the massacre in 1940.

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’s, 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 27, 1942: Heydrich is wounded in an assassination attempt in Prague.

June 4, 1942: Heydrich dies a painful death at the age of 38. Although the exact cause of death has not been definitively established, the autopsy states that his death was most likely caused by bacteria and toxins from bomb splinters received in the recent assassination attempt.

June 10, 1942: All 192 men over 16 years of age in the village of Lidice are murdered by the Germans in reprisal for the assignation of Heydrich.

July 18, 1942: Piloted by Fritz Wendel, the world’s first turbojet fighter aircraft, the Me 262, makes its first successful flight, near Guenzburg, Germany.

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, Donitz, and other areas we have much less territory, much less people, 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...

August 6, 1942: From a conference chaired by Goering:

Goering: I have to say one thing to this. I do not wish to praise the Gauleiter Sauckel; he does not need it. But what he has done in such a short time to collect workers so quickly from the whole of Europe and supply them to our undertakings is a unique achievement. I must tell that to all these gentlemen; if each of them used in their sphere of activity a tenth of the energy used by Gauleiter Sauckel, the tasks laid upon them would indeed easily be carried out. This is my sincere conviction and in no way fine words.

August 19, 1942: The Dieppe Raid, also known as The Battle of Dieppe or Operation Jubilee, begins. Six thousand infantrymen--predominantly Canadian--supported by large British naval and Allied air force contingents, invade the German-occupied port of Dieppe in France. Of the 6,086 men who make it ashore, 3,623 will either be killed, wounded, or captured.

August 20, 1942: From a Hitler speech:

...The law is not an end in itself. Its function is to maintain public order...All means used to this end are justifiable...It must adapt itself to this end...The idea that the judge is there to give absolutely irrevocable judgement, even if the world should come to an end as a result, is nonsense... (Maser)

September 8, 1942: Churchill addresses the House:

...those who are guilty of the Nazi crimes will have to stand up before tribunals in every land where their atrocities have been committed in order that an indelible warning may be given to future ages and that successive generations of men may say, "So perish all who do the like again..."

September 30, 1942: Hitler speaks in Berlin:

...He who believes, for example, that Namsos was a victory, or who believes that Andalsnes was a victory, or who believes that even Dunkirk was quite the greatest victory in the history of the world, or who believes (it is all the same to me) that any expedition that lasts 9 hours is an astonishing and encouraging sign of a victorious nation--with such a one we, with our modest successes, cannot of course be compared. For what are our accomplishments as compared with these? If we push forward a thousand kilometers, that is really nothing--an absolute failure...

October 4, 1942: From a speech by Goering:

I have examined with very special care the situation in the occupied countries. I have seen how the people lived in Holland, in Belgium, in France, in Norway, in Poland, and wherever else we set foot. I have noticed that although very often their propaganda speaks officially of the difficulty of their food situation, in point of fact this is far from being the case. Of course everywhere, even in France, the system of ration cards has been introduced; but what is obtained on these ration cards is but a supplement, and people live normally on illegal commerce. The recognition of this has caused me to make a firm decision, creating a principle which must be rigidly adhered to. The German people must be considered before all others in the battle against hunger and in the problem of food supply. It is my desire that the population of the territories which have been conquered by us and taken under our protection shall not suffer from hunger. If, however, through enemy measures difficulties of food supply should arise, then all must know that if there is to be hunger anywhere it shall in no case be in Germany...

October 7, 1942: Hitler personally pens a note in the Wehrmacht daily communiqué:

In future, all terror and sabotage troops of the British and their accomplices, who do not act like soldiers, but rather like bandits, will be treated as such by the German troops and will be ruthlessly eliminated in battle, wherever they appear.

October 18, 1942: Hitler issues his infamous Commando Order.

November 8, 1942: Hitler speaks in Munich:

...If Mr. Roosevelt says he does not hear my speeches, I can only say, I do not talk for Mr. Roosevelt's benefit at all. Once he accosted me by telegraph, and thereupon I gave him my reply, as a polite man would, but otherwise I do not talk to Mr. Roosevelt at all. I now talk through that instrument through which one can only talk today and that instrument talks loud and distinct enough. Otherwise I talk only on the rarest occasions to the movement and to my own German people, and all that I can say for such a speech is only one thing: Think incessantly, men and women, only of the fact that this war will decide the "To be or not to be" of our people. And if you understand that, each one of your thoughts and each of your actions will be one single prayer...

November 12, 1942: Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to Britain, sends a note to British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden suggesting that an international tribunal be established for the trial of major war criminals. Eden rejects the proposal as premature. (Taylor)

November 20, 1942 Stalin to FDR:

We have begun the offensive operations in the Stalingrad area--in its southern and north-western sectors. The objective of the first stage is to seize the Stalingrad-Likhaya railway and disrupt the communications of the Stalingrad group of the German troops. In the north-western sector the German front has been pierced along a 22-kilometre line and along a 12-kilometre line in the southern sector. The operation is proceeding satisfactorily.

December 6, 1942 Stalin to FDR:

...I welcome the idea of a meeting between the three heads of Governments to establish a common strategy. To my great regret, however, I shall be unable to leave the Soviet Union. This is so critical a moment that I cannot absent myself even for a single day. Just now major military operations - part of our winter campaign - are under way, nor will they be relaxed in January. It is more than likely that it will be the other way round. Fighting is developing both at Stalingrad and on the Central Front. At Stalingrad we have encircled a large group of German troops and hope to complete their destruction.

December 17, 1942: United Nations Statement: ...those responsible for these crimes shall not escape retribution...

January 6, 1943: After a stormy interview with Hitler, Grand Admiral Raeder tenders his resignation.

January 22, 1943: From the secret diary of Ulrich von Hassell:

According to people who...have pipe lines to the Army both on the battle front and at home, there is now a real possibility for peace. The evil of the situation is revealed in the fact that at this same time there come reports from the 'enemy's side' which give rise to ever-increasing doubts as to whether they are now holding out for the complete destruction of Germany.

January 24, 1943 Casablanca: FDR, flanked by Churchill, announces the controversial policy of Unconditional Surrender:

Some of you Britishers know the old story: we had a general called US Grant. His name was Ulysses Simpson Grant but in my, and the Prime Minister's early days, he was called "Unconditional Surrender Grant." The elimination of German, Japanese and Italian war power means the unconditional surrender of Germany, Italy and Japan...It does not mean the destruction of the population of Germany, Italy or Japan, but it does mean the destruction of the philosophies in those countries which are based on conquest and the subjugation of other people.

January 30, 1943: Raeder resigns from command of the Kriegsmarine, becoming Admiral Inspector of the Navy, an honorary position. Doenitz becomes Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy (Oberbefehlshaber der Kriegsmarine). Note: Doenitz remains in command of the U-boat fleet (Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote, B.d.U.). (Shirer)

February 2, 1943: Paulus surrenders at Stalingrad.

February 5, 1943 FDR to Stalin:

As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America I congratulate you on the brilliant victory at Stalingrad of the armies under your Supreme Command. The one hundred and sixty-two days of epic battle for the city which has for ever honored your name and the decisive result which all Americans are celebrating today will remain one of the proudest chapters of this war of the peoples united against Nazism and its emulators…

February 11, 1943: From an internal German document concerning the secrecy standard of the original Fuehrer order of 18 October, the Commando Order:

(The order) was given the protection of top secret merely because it is stated therein (l) that . . . sabotage / organization . . . may have portentous consequences ... and (2) that the shooting of uniformed prisoners acting on military orders must be carried out even after they have surrendered voluntarily and asked for pardon ... It is to be assumed that Counterintelligence III is acquainted with the Fuehrer orders and will therefore reply accordingly to the objections of the Army General Staff and the Air Force Operations Staff. As far as the Navy is concerned, it remains to be seen whether or not this case should be used to make sure, after a conference with the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy, that all departments concerned have an entirely clear conception regarding the treatment of members of Commando units.

February 18, 1943 Totalkrieg: In Berlin, Goebbels delivers his most famous speech:

...The tragic battle of Stalingrad is a symbol of heroic, manly resistance to the revolt of the steppes. It has not only a military, but also an intellectual and spiritual significance for the German people. Here for the first time our eyes have been opened to the true nature of the war. We want no more false hopes and illusions. We want bravely to look the facts in the face, however hard and dreadful they may be. The history of our party and our state has proven that a danger recognized is a danger defeated. Our coming hard battles in the East will be under the sign of this heroic resistance. It will require previously undreamed of efforts by our soldiers and our weapons. A merciless war is raging in the East. The Fuehrer was right when he said that in the end there will not be winners and losers, but the living and the dead...

March 5, 1943: Nine months after the Germans had successfully tested the world’s first turbojet fighter aircraft, the British Gloster Meteor completes its maiden flight.

May 17, 1943 Operation Chastise: Using a specially developed bouncing bomb, Royal Air Force Squadron No. 617 (subsequently known as "the Dambusters") attack the Moehne and Eder dams in Germany's Ruhr valley. A catastrophic flooding of the Ruhr valley results. 53 of the 133 aircrew who participate in the attack are killed in action and three bail out to be made prisoners of war. This represents a casualty rate of almost 40%.

May, 1943: Labeled "Black May" by the Germans, Grand Admiral (Grossadmiral) Doenitz loses 47 U-boats this month; one third of those on station. The admiral orders all his boats from the North Atlantic and positions them south of the Azores. Doenitz has decidedly lost the Battle of the Atlantic. (Read)

July 24, 1943: The large port city of Hamburg is hit by a large raid of 740 aircraft killing about 1,500 people. Only 12 aircraft are lost, 1.5% of the force.

July 25, 1943: Adolf Hitler, addressing his Generals:

The Reich Marshal (Goering) has been through many crises with me. In a crisis he stays completely cool. One cannot have a better adviser in times of crisis than the Reich Marshal. In time of crisis the Reich Marshal is both brutal and ice-cool. When it's make or break, I've always seen how he's the ruthless one, as hard as iron. So, you won't find a better man, there isn't a better man around. He's been with me through every crisis, the most difficult crisis, and he's always been ice-cool. Whenever things got really bad, he became ice-cool...

July 26, 1943: Hitler meets with his generals to discuss the situation in Italy. When a foreign ministry officer suggests that they block the exits to the Vatican to prevent the flight of the Pope and other Vatican officials, Hitler seizes on the idea and expands upon it: "I'll go right into the Vatican," he declares. "Do you think the Vatican embarrasses me? We'll take that over right away. For one thing the entire diplomatic corps are in there. It's all the same to me. That rabble is in there (Note: An often-mentioned interpretation contends that this is a reference to Jews that have been given sanctuary in the Vatican.). We'll take that bunch of swine out of there ... Later we can make apologies ... " (Brown)

July 28, 1943: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat:

...The pirate philosophy of the Fascists and the Nazis cannot stand adversity. The military superiority of the United Nations--on sea and land, and in the air--has been applied in the right place and at the right time...

August 2, 1943: The large port city of Hamburg is hit again by a large raid, this time of 791 aircraft. 30 aircraft are lost, 4.1% of the force.

August 22, 1943: Alarmed at the destruction of the rocket facilities at Peenemuende, Speer and Himmler confer at Rastenburg with their Fuehrer. Heinrich Himmler offers to use concentration camp workers for A-4 production, and Hitler takes him up on it, ordering that some prisoners from Buchenwald be shifted to Nordhausen. Speer’s ministry will pay all the bills. Himmler places SS Brigadefuehrer Hans Kammler, a ruthless Nazi of the worst sort, in change of what will become known as Camp Dora. Note: 60,000 prisoners will be funneled into the camp, half will perish. (Sereney, Sellier, Cornwell, Piszkiewicz)

September 3, 1943: The Allied invasion of Italy begins.

September 8, 1943: Italy surrenders to the Allies.

September 10, 1943: German forces occupy Rome.

October 13, 1943: Pietro Badoglio declares that the Kingdom of Italy is now at war with its former ally, Nazi Germany. Note: Italy has the distinction of being the only nation that ended neither World War on the same side on which it had begun the war.

November 1, 1943 Moscow Declaration:

...Let those who have hitherto not imbrued their hands with innocent blood beware lest they join the ranks of the guilty, for most assuredly the three Allied powers will pursue them to the uttermost ends of the earth and will deliver them to their accusors in order that justice may be done. The above declaration is without prejudice to the case of German criminals whose offenses have no particular geographical localization and who will be punished by joint decision of the government of the Allies...

November 8, 1943: Hitler speaks in Munich:

...The Americans and the English are now planning the reconstruction of the world. I am now planning the reconstruction of Germany. There will, however, be one difference: whereas the reconstruction of the world by the Americans and the English will not take place, the reconstruction of Germany by National Socialism will be carried out precisely and according to plan...

November 18, 1943: Berlin is attacked by 440 Avro Lancasters and four de Havilland Mosquitoes, but suffers little damage.
From the summary of Messerschmitt's SBS Interview: It was Professor Messerschmitt's opinion that area attacks on cities did no critical damage to war production and that they resulted in a stiffening of morale.

November 22, 1943: A bombing raid kills 2,000 Berliners and renders 175,000 homeless.

December 5, 1943 Operation Crossbow: "CROSSBOW Operations Against Ski Sites" begins in the Nord-Pas de Calais region.

December 24, 1943: FDR delivers a Fireside Chat

...During the last two days in (at) Teheran, Marshal Stalin, Mr. Churchill and I looked ahead--ahead to the days and months and years that (which) will follow Germany's defeat. We were united in determination that Germany must be stripped of her military might and be given no opportunity within the foreseeable future to regain that might. The United Nations have no intention to enslave the German people. We wish them to have a normal chance to develop, in peace, as useful and respectable members of the European family. But we most certainly emphasize that word "respectable"--for we intend to rid them once and for all of Nazism and Prussian militarism and the fantastic and disastrous notion that they constitute the Master Race...

January 7, 1944: Speer and Milch meet with Hitler at his headquarters. The Fuehrer informs them that analysis of English periodicals reveals that the English are near to achieving success in the testing of experimental jet aircraft. Hitler demands that production of the Me 262, the Germans' turbojet fighter aircraft, be put on top priority.

February 20, 1944: The Allies begin a massive bombing campaign of Germany.

February 28, 1944: Famed test pilot Hanna Reitsch arrives at the Berghof to meet with Hitler. The V-1 is too inaccurate, she tells him. She urges him to begin a piloted suicide rocket (Reichenbergs) program and volunteers for it. Hitler immediately rejects the notion, saying that it is not the right psychological moment for such an idea to be presented to the German people. When Hitler changes the subject to jets, Reitsch interrupts him: "Mein Fuehrer, you are speaking of the grandchild of an embryo." Pressing him, she eventually gets his reluctant consent to begin experimental work on the piloted rocket as long as he is not pestered about it during its development. (Toland)

March 24, 1944: 76 Allied prisoners-of-war crawl through a tunnel and escape Stalag Luft III, near Sagan, in Poland. Within a few days, 50 of the captured prisoners (only three will actually get away) will be murdered, by order of Hitler.

March 30, 1944: 781 British bombers attack Nuremberg.

April 19, 1944 Operation Crossbow: At the request of the British War Cabinet, Eisenhower orders that Crossbow attacks be given absolute priority over all other air operations, including attacks directed at the "wearing down (of) German industry" and civilian morale (terror attacks) "for the time being." (Eisenhower II)

May 1944: Hitler decides to produce the ME 262 as a fighter-bomber. Erprobungskommando 262 is formed at Lechfeld in Bavaria as a test unit to introduce the Me 262 turbojet fighter aircraft into service and train a core of pilots to fly it. In the end, slightly over 1,400 Me 262s of all versions will be produced. As few as 200 Me 262s will make it into combat units due to fuel shortages, pilot shortages, and the lack of airfields capable of supporting the Me 262.

From Goering's SBS Interview: The first aircraft were primarily experimental ships and their engines had a lifetime of about four to five hours. Then again, they were completely new machines of which a great number had to be used for the training of pilots. Furthermore, we had to shake out the "bugs" from the engines. So that a lot of the first machines were lost through forced landings. Another thing, the ship had a kind of brake which had to be applied very carefully, otherwise it would roll off the runway and until we had corrected that, we lost a number of machines this way. It was hard to throttle it back because it was very fast. A lot of other things came into it. It was just a completely new ship and a completely new type of engine. But toward the end, everything was under control, and what was needed was a little more experience for the pilots, so that they might know how to fly this ship at its high speeds...The Fuehrer had originally directed that it be produced as a fighter, but in May, 1944, he ordered that it be converted into a fighter-bomber. This conversion was one of the main reasons for the delay in getting this plane into action in any quantity.

June 6, 1944 D-Day: Allied forces invade Normandy in tremendous strength. Hitler issues the following order: "Chief of Staff Western Command emphasizes the desire of the Supreme Command to have the enemy bridgehead annihilated by the evening of June 6, since there exists the danger of additional sea and air-borne landings for support ... The beachhead must be cleaned up not later than tonight." From The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer: "In the eerie mountain air of the Obersalzberg, from which Hitler was now trying to direct the most crucial battle of the war up to this moment--he had been saying for months that Germany's destiny would be decided in the West--this fantastic order seems to have been issued in all seriousness, concurred in by Jodl and Keitel. Even Rommel, who passed it on by telephone shortly before 5 o'clock that afternoon, an hour after his return from Germany, seems to have taken it seriously...

June 6, 1944: German troops execute 96 prisoners by firing squad.

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