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The Nazi explanation for Stalingrad, as of late 1943: it's all the fault of the Rumanians, and the Italians, and the Hungarians: Heinrich Himmler (1943): Posen Speech: The Necessity of Stalingrad English Translation: "The winter of 1941-42, with its consequences, was, on the one hand, the work of Fate, which hit us hard for the first time...

...On the other hand, however, it was the work of the political commissars, the "politruks", whose severity and relentlessness, whose fanatical, brutal will drove the raw material of the Slavic, Mongolian mass man to the front, and didn't let him get back out again.

In early 1942 then came our attacks in the Crimea, over the Donetz to the Don and to the Volga. The bow of the German front and its allies was drawn taut. The war could have been brought to a close for Russia in 1942 if all had held out. Since according to all calculations, and in all probability, which must not be left out of consideration in war, with which one must still reckon after all, the Caucasus would have fallen into our hands sooner or later. Russia would have been cut off from its chief sources of petroleum, and hunger would have handled its people even more roughly than is the case today.

Then came the collapse of our allies. First came the breakthrough among the Rumanians, then the breakthrough among the Italian Army, which was already of very little value even then, then the breakthrough and retreat of the Hungarian units: the total loss of approximately 500 km of front.

This loss required the withdrawal of the German front, in order to be able to close it again at all. This loss made the sacrifice of Stalingrad necessary from the point of view of Fate. It is not our intention to reflect upon every detail here today. I am personally convinced that this sacrifice—that sounds dreadfully harsh when I say so now—was necessary, since, without the link-up of enemy forces around Stalingrad, it would no longer have been possible to close the German front. That will, I am convinced, be the finding of military historical research 10, 15, or 20 years after the war. At the same time, a very late consolation...


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