There was a moment of silence. Then Guderian began to speak quietly. "I Have already explained to you..." Hitler waving his arm, cut him off. "Explanations! Excuses! That's all you give me!" he shouted. "Well! Then you tell me who let us down at Kustrin - the troops or Busse?" Guderian suddenly boiled. "Nonsense!" he spluttered. "This is nonsense!" He almost spat the words out. Furious, his face reddening, he launched into a tirade. "Busse is not to blame!" he bellowed. "I've told you that! He followed orders! Busse used all the ammunition that was available to him! All that he had! Guderian's anger was monumental. He struggled for words. "To say that the troops are to blame - look at the casualties!". he raged. "Look at the losses! The troops did their duty! Their self-sacrifice proves it!"
Hitler yelled back. "They failed!" he raged. "They failed."
Guderian, his face purpling, roared at the top of his voice: "I must ask you... I must ask you not to level any further accusations at Busse or his troops!"
Both men were beyond reasonable discussion, but they did not stop. Facing each other, Guderian and Hitler engaged in such a furious and terrifying exchange that officers and aides stood frozen in shock. Hitler, lashing out at the General Staff, called them all "spineles," "fools" and "fatheads." He ranted that they had constantly "misled," "misinformed" and "tricked" him. Guderian challenged the Fuhrer on his use of the words "misinformed" and "misled." Had General Gehlen in his intelligence estimate "misinformed" about the strength of the Russians? "No!" roared Guderian. "Gehlen is a fool!" Hitler retorted. What of the surrounded eighteen divisions still in the Baltic states, in Courland? "Who," barked Guderian, "has misled you about them? Exactly when," he demanded of the Fuhrer, "do you intend to evacuate the Courland army?"
Did many generals speak in this way to Hitler? Or was Guderian a special exception?