The Propagander ™ FAQ
Why Did Hitler Insist on No Surrender?
At some point during WW2, it became apparent to all that Germany would not be able to prevail. Why then did Hitler insist that the war continue to the point of utter destruction?
1. Hitler was always convinced that Germany didn't lose WW1 on the battlefield. He was one of the proponents of the 'stabbed in the back' right-wing revisionist myth (Dolchstosslegende). This myth held that the 'November Criminals,' the politicians that sued for an armistice in the wars closing days, had acted prematurely; that German arms were actually winning and that these politicians had betrayed the soldiers, 'stabbed them in the back,' by asking the Allies for an armistice.
This is a provably false contention. In reality, it was the military leadership, Hindenburg and Ludendorff, who had informed the politicians that they 'must' seek an armistice after a failed German offensive convinced him that the cause was lost.
I have asked His Excellency to now bring those circles to power which we have to thank for coming so far. We will therefore now bring those gentlemen into the ministries. They can now make the peace which has to be made. They can eat the broth which they have prepared for us!
This statement by Ludendorff reveals what he had in mind all along; to save the reputation of German arms by disingenuously blaming the politicians for the defeat. So, in reality, it was the politicians who had been stabbed, but Hitler and millions of other Germans were convinced that Germany had never actually lost on the battlefield. Hitler always swore that he would never allow history to repeat itself in this manner. There would never be a premature surrender under Hitler.
2. The Allies policy of 'Unconditional Surrender' left Hitler little realistic choice but to fight until the end. He was certain that if he surrendered to the Allies, no matter how dread the situation facing Germany was, the Allies would destroy Germany in the same manner that he himself intended to destroy his own enemies. Nazi propaganda utilized 'Unconditional Surrender' to spur the German people on, even in the face of hopeless odds.
When, after 12 January 1945, the Russian offensive pushed forward to the Oder and at the same time the Ardennes offensive had not penetrated, it was then that I was forced to realize that defeat would probably set in slowly. Up to that time I had always hoped that, on the one side, the position at the Vistula toward the East and, on the other side, the position at the West Wall towards the West, could be held until the flow of the new mass produced weapons should bring about a slackening of the Anglo-American air war . . . .
3. One of Hitler's heroes was Frederich the Great. He drew inspiration from Frederick's experience of once being on the verge of defeat, only to have an entirely unexpected event totally change his fortunes, granting him a historic victory. Hitler always held out hope that this could happen at any time in WW2's final days. He was always waiting for the Soviets, Americans, and British to fall out and begin to fight among themselves, at which point he imagined that he would be able to preserve his rule by siding with one side over the other.
I knew that enemy propaganda emphasized that under no circumstances would there be negotiations with Hitler. That Hitler did not want to negotiate under any circumstances, I also knew, but not in this connection. Hitler wanted to negotiate if there were some prospect of results; but he was absolutely opposed to hopeless and futile negotiations. Because of the declaration of the enemy in the West after the landing in Africa, as far as I remember, that under no circumstances would they negotiate with Germany but would force on her unconditional surrender, Germany's resistance was stiffened to the utmost and measures had to be taken accordingly. If I have no chance of concluding a war through negotiations, then it is useless to negotiate, and I must strain every nerve to bring about a change by a call to arms . . . .
As long as Hitler was the Fuehrer of the German people, he alone decided whether the war was to go on. As long as my enemy threatens me and demands absolutely unconditional surrender, I fight to my last breath.
Conclusion: For these reasons, Hitler, a very fanatic and stubborn fellow, held out hope until the final moment. His promise to never surrender, under any circumstances, is one of the few he managed to keep, to the great suffering of Germany and the world.
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Walther Johann von Löpp
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