April the 20th was Hitler’s birthday; and Germans were reminded of the fact by a broadcast speech from Goebbels, calling upon them to trust blindly in the Fuehrer and the stars who together would lead them out of their present difficulties. On that day Hitler had planned to leave Berlin for Obersalzberg, thence, from the fabulous mountain cave of Barbarossa, to direct the battles for the south. Ten days ago, he had sent his servants before him to prepare the house for his reception.1 But in those ten days disaster had followed disaster. “ All through the week ”, says Schwerin von Krosigk, “ there was nothing but a succession of Job’s messengers.” Germany was now almost cut in two; only a narrow corridor of land divided the Americans, already over the Elbe, from the Russians, already over the Oder and Neisse and threatening both Dresden and Berlin. In the north, the British were in the outskirts of Bremen and Hamburg; in the south, the French were on the upper Danube, the Russians in Vienna. In Italy, the armies of Field-Marshal Alexander had captured Bologna and were pouring into the valley of the Po. And in the heart of the Reich, General Patton was thrusting south through Bavaria, the cradle of the Nazi movement, towards the Alps, its intended grave.
KeywordsArmed Force Personal Loyalty Liaison Officer Narrow Corridor German People
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