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Adolf Hitler Liveblogs World War II: June 11, 1941

Adolf Hitler:

Führer Directive 32: Preparations for the period after 'Barbarossa'

A. After the destruction of the Soviet Armed Forces, Germany and Italy will be military masters of the European Continent—with the temporary exception of the Iberian Peninsula. No serious threat to Europe by land will then remain. The defence of this area, and foreseeable future offensive action, will require considerably smaller military forces than have been needed hitherto.

The main efforts of the armaments industry can be diverted to the Navy and Air Force.

Closer co-operation between Germany and France should and will tie down additional English forces, will eliminate the threat from the rear in the North African theatre of war, will further restrict the movements of the British Fleet in the Western Mediterranean and will protect the south-western flank of the European theatre, including the Atlantic seaboard of North and West Africa, from Anglo-Saxon attack.

In the near future Spain will have to face the question whether she is prepared to co-operate in driving the British from Gibraltar or not.

The possibility of exerting strong pressure on Turkey and Iran improves the prospect of making direct or indirect use of these countries in the struggle against England.

B. This situation, which will be created by the victorious conclusion of the campaign in the East, can confront the Armed Forces with the following strategic tasks for the late autumn of 1941 and the winter of 1941-42:

1. The newly conquered territories in the East must be organised, made secure and, in full co-operation with the Armed Forces, exploited economically. The strength of the security forces required in Russia can only be forecast with certainty at a later date. In all probability, however, about sixty divisions and one Air Fleet will be sufficient, with allied and friendly forces, for our further duties in the East.

2. The struggle against the British positions in the Mediterranean and in Western Asia will be continued by converging attacks launched from Libya through Egypt, from Bulgaria through Turkey, and in certain circumstances also from Transcaucasia through Iran.

(a) In North Africa it is important that Tobruk should be eliminated and conditions thereby established for the continuation of the German-Italian attack on the Suez Canal. This attack should be planned for about November on the understanding that the German Africa Corps will be by then brought to the highest possible efficiency in personnel and equipment and with adequate reserves of all kinds under its own hand (by the conversion of 5th Light Division into a full armoured division), so that it is not necessary to move further large German formations to North Africa. The preparations for the attack require that the tempo of transport be quickened by all means available, including the employment of ports in French North Africa and, when possible, the new sea route from Southern Greece. It will be the duty of the Navy, in co-operation with the Italian Navy, to arrange for the necessary tonnage by chartering French and neutral shipping....

(b) In view of the expected British reinforcement of the Near and Middle East, especially for the defence of the Suez Canal, a German operation from Bulgaria through Turkey will be planned, with the aim of attacking the British position on the Suez Canal from the East also. To this end plans must be made to assemble in Bulgaria as soon as possible sufficient forces to render Turkey politically amenable or to overpower her resistance.

(c) If the collapse of the Soviet Union has created the necessary conditions, preparations will be made for the despatch of a motorised expeditionary force from Transcaucasia against Iraq, in conjunction with operations mentioned in paragraph (b) above.

(d) Exploitation of the Arab Freedom Movement. The situation of the English in the Middle East will be rendered more precarious, in the event of major German operations, if more British forces are tied down at the right moment by civil commotion or revolt. All military, political, and propaganda measures to this end must be closely co-ordinated during the preparatory period. As central agency abroad I nominate Special Staff F, which is to take part in all plans and actions in the Arab area, whose headquarters are to be in the area of the Commander Armed Forces South-east. The most competent available experts and agents will be made available to it....

3. Closing of the Western Entrance to the Mediterranean by the elimination of Gibraltar: Preparations for 'Undertaking Felix', already planned, will be resumed to the fullest extent even during the course of operations in the East. It may be assumed that unoccupied French territory may also be used, if not for German troop movements, then at least for the movement of supplies. The co-operation of French naval and air forces is also within the bounds of possibility. After the capture of Gibraltar only such forces will be moved to Spanish Morocco as are necessary to protect the Straits....

4. In addition to these contemplated operations against the British position in the Mediterranean, the 'Siege of England' must be resumed with the utmost intensity by the Navy and Air Force after the conclusion of the campaign in the East. All weapons and equipment required for this purpose will be given priority in the general armaments programme. At the same time German Air Defences will be strengthened to the maximum. Preparations for the invasion of England will serve the double purpose of tying down English forces at home and of bringing about a final English collapse through a landing in England.

C. The time at which the operations planned in the Mediterranean and the Near East can be undertaken cannot yet be foreseen. The strongest operational effect would be achieved by a simultaneous attack on Gibraltar, Egypt, and Palestine. Whether this will, in fact, be possible depends upon a number of factors which cannot, at the moment, be foreseen, but chiefly on the power of the Air Force to provide the forces necessary for the simultaneous support of these three operations.

D. I request Commanders-in-Chief to begin the planning and organisation of these operations as outlined above and to keep me informed of the results so that I may issue final directives before the campaign in the East is over.