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Adolf Hitler Liveblogs World War II: December 18, 1940

Adolf Hitler:

Führer Directive 21: The Fuehrer and Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces SECRET                                      

The Fuehrer's Headquarters 18 December 40 (only through officer) 9 copies, 4th copy Directive Nr. 21

Case Barbarossa

The German Armed Forces must be prepared to crush Soviet Russia in a quick campaign before the end of the war against England (Case Barbarossa).

For this purpose the Army will have to employ all available units with the reservation that the occupied territories will have to be safeguarded against surprise attacks.

For the Eastern campaign the Airforce will have to free such strong forces for the support of the Army that a quick completion of the ground operations may be expected and that damage of the eastern German territories will be avoided as much as possible. This concentration of the main effort in the east is limited by the following reservation: That the entire battle and armament area dominated by us must remain sufficiently protected against enemy air attacks and that the attacks on England and especially the supply for them must not be permitted to break down.

Concentration of the main effort of the Navy remains unequivocally against England also during an Eastern Campaign.

If occasion arises I will order the concentration of troops for action against Soviet Russia eight weeks before the intended beginning of operations.

Preparations requiring more time to start are—if this has not yet been done—to begin presently and are to be completed by 15 May 1941.

Great caution has to be exercised that the intention of an attack will not be recognized....

The mass of the Russian Army in Western Russia is to be destroyed in daring operations by driving forward deep wedges with tanks and the retreat of intact battle-ready troops into the wide spaces of Russia is to be prevented.

In quick pursuit a line is to be reached from where the Russian Airforce will no longer be able to attack German Reich territory. The first goal of operations is the protection from Asiatic Russia from the general line Volga-Archangelsk. In case of necessity, the last industrial area in the Urals left to Russia could be eliminated by the Luftwaffe.

In the course of these operations the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet will quickly erase its bases and will no longer be ready to fight.

Effective intervention by the Russian Airforce is to be prevented through forceful blows at the beginning of the operations...