Guderian vs. Hitler

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Thomhasj
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Guderian vs. Hitler

Post by Thomhasj » Sat Jul 24, 2004 12:52 pm

This I read in Cornelius Ryan's The Last Battle, about the failed relief attempt on Kustrin in March 1945:
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?
"We are in a hell of a fine place..." (Feldwebel, 712 Infantry Division talking about Holland)

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Post by Reb » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:50 am

Thomhasj

Guderian was perhaps the roughest of the lot - Zeitzler and Hitler had some pretty radical confrontations as well. Rommel managed to get on his nerves quite a bit too! Gen (later FM) Model once asked Hitler, "Am I comanding Ninth Army or you?" Which was pretty bold! Hitler was more apt to put up with this from Generals with front line experience.

For more on that subject see Hitler's Table Talk or Hitler Directs His War.

It was possible to be pretty frank with Hitler on some occassions but it depended upon the person and rarely got as rowdy as it did with Fast Heinz. Guderian was watching his Prussian homeland being overrun by vengence prone Russians while Hitler played toy soldiers with his maps and his 'will.'

cheers
Reb

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Nibelung
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Post by Nibelung » Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:35 am

There were as it seem's some clashes of Heer generals with Hitler, but does anybody know about an SS general talking back to his Fuhrer?
There are no desperate situations, there are only desperate people. - Heinz Guderian
-- Sine doctrina vita est quasi mortis imago. --

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Post by Beppo Schmidt » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:43 pm

I don't know of any SS General talking back to Hitler to his face, but Sepp Dietrich and Felix Steiner disobeyed his direct orders to spare their men, and Wilhelm Bittrich told Rommel after Normandy: "We are being so badly led from above that I can no longer carry out senseless orders. I have never been a robot and I don't intend to become one."

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Post by Soldat7128 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:52 am

Beppo Schmidt wrote:I don't know of any SS General talking back to Hitler to his face, but Sepp Dietrich and Felix Steiner disobeyed his direct orders to spare their men, and Wilhelm Bittrich told Rommel after Normandy: "We are being so badly led from above that I can no longer carry out senseless orders. I have never been a robot and I don't intend to become one."
IIRC Paul Hausser disobeyed a direct order from Hitler at the Third Battle of Kharkov not to abandon the city (he recaptured it after encircling the Soviet army that rushed into it).

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