Hitler telegram that shows 'seed of doubt' about winning war emerges
Was this the moment Hitler first sensed he would LOSE World War Two? Telegram where Nazi leader shows first ‘seed of doubt’ emerges in Spain
- Hitler wrote a telegram to Spanish general Munoz Grandes in January 1942
- He added a handwritten annotation saying ‘come what may’ in the message
- Germany was on the brink of defeat at the Battle of Moscow at the time
A telegram by Adolf Hitler in which he appears to show his first ‘seed of doubt’ about victory in World War Two has emerged in Spain.
The typed letter was sent on January 2, 1942, days before the Nazis were defeated by the Soviets in the Battle of Moscow in a major turning point of the conflict.
Hitler wrote the New Year’s greeting to Spanish general and politician Munoz Grandes who commanded the volunteer Blue Division in Spain which fought for the Wehrmacht.
Hitler marked the draft copy in bold pencil with a handwritten insertion of the phrase, ‘come what may,’ described by experts as a ‘seed of doubt’ about Germany’s changing fortunes.
The final letter, which included the correction, was sent on January 2, 1942 – just five days before his army retreated from Moscow after a two-month long attempt by the Germans to take the Russian capital.
A telegram by Adolf Hitler in which he appears to show his first ‘seed of doubt’ about victory in World War Two has emerged in Spain. The Fuhrer annotated his letter in pencil with the phrase ‘come what may’
The Battle of Moscow came at the end of the bruising Operation Barbarossa which was a major setback for the Nazis as the Soviet Union frustrated Hitler’s eastern advances (pictured: German troops at the battle)
The typed letter was sent by Hitler (pictured) on January 2, 1942, days before the Nazis were defeated by the Soviets in the Battle of Moscow
The Battle of Moscow marked a key moment when Soviet forces began to hold off the German invasion.
At the time of writing the letter, it is thought Hitler was mulling over the impending defeat.
Munoz, who later served as deputy prime minister under General Franco, had written in his letter: ‘Together with thoughts that go to my own country, I wish Germany complete victory over our enemies in the year which has just begun.
‘The hardships of the present moment can only confirm my confidence in the final victory, and my sole wish is that the relationship between our two countries may become still deeper and more intimate, even if at the cost of heavy sacrifices.’
Munoz, who later served as deputy prime minister under General Franco, wrote a New Year’s greetings letter to Hitler (pictured)
The fascinating documents, including Hitler’s telegram (pictured) have reemerged for sale at International Autograph Auctions of Malaga, Spain
Manuscript notes show the telegram was received at Wolfsschanze, known as the Wolf’s Lair, which served as Hitler’s Eastern Front military HQ in the Masurian woods in modern-day Poland, on January 1 at 9pm.
It was submitted to Hitler the following day by Colonel Nicolaus von Below, a Luftwaffe officer who served as the Fuhrer’s adjutant.
Hitler then replied: ‘I was grateful for your good wishes for the New Year.
‘I am certain that [come what may] our struggle against our enemies will be as successful in future too as it has been so far, and that final victory will be ours.
‘In grateful remembrance of your country, which can be proud of the exploits of its Blue Division, I send you and your soldiers my best wishes.’
In a second note, Munoz said: ‘I ask your excellence to want to be assured that no sacrifice is too great for us for the final victory of our united arms.
‘We know what we are fighting for and since the agreement at Grafenwoehr we have followed the orders of your excellence without hesitation. Obedient with owed mercy
In a second note, Munoz, who commanded the volunteer Blue Division in Spain, said his fighters are following Hitler’s orders ‘without hesitation’
The Battle of Moscow marked a key moment when Soviet forces began to hold off the German invasion
German tanks are stationed in Matrenino near Russia in November 1941, months before the end of the Battle of Moscow
Just weeks prior to the exchange, on December 19, 1941, Hitler became furious that Moscow had not yet been secured and dismissed his commander in chief Walther von Brauchitsch, assuming control of the Wehrmacht himself.
The fascinating documents have reemerged for sale at International Autograph Auctions of Malaga, Spain.
Richard Davie, specialist at the auction house, said: ‘This is a fascinating telegram prepared by Hitler for Munoz Grandes, a general who later served as deputy prime minister of Spain under Francisco Franco.
‘We often think of Hitler as a strong man who didn’t consider defeat, but here, for the first time, he seems to have a seed of doubt about winning the war.
‘Just a couple of days after, the battle of Moscow ended which was a huge Soviet win. He must have known he was going to lose.
‘There is something about inserting those words, ‘come what may,’ which makes the statement less confident and powerful than he originally intended.
‘It is as if he is worried that the battle could be lost.’
Red Army soldiers advance on the enemy Nazis in Volokolamsk during one of the key turning points in the war
Hitler was responding to a telegram, sent by General Munoz on January 1, which alluded to the sorry-state of the German invasion.
The telegram, also included for sale, reads: ‘Together with thoughts that go to my own country, I wish Germany complete victory over our enemies in the year which has just begun.
‘The hardships of the present moment can only confirm my confidence in the final victory.’
The invasion of Russia – known as Operation Barbarossa – began on June 22, 1941.
Hitler planned for a rapid advance to achieve victory within four months before the worst of the winter cold set in.
But stiff resistance from Soviet forces and a shortage of warm clothing meant that when the Wehrmacht finally neared Moscow in early November it was greatly depleted.
The European winter of 1941 to 1942 was bitterly cold and the Germans were ill-equipped to protect themselves from the sub-zero temperatures.
They had suffered 730,000 casualties and reported over 130,000 cases of frostbite.
The telegrams are expected to sell for £3,000 in an online auction on Friday.
What was Operation Barbarossa? The beginning of a campaign that would ultimately decide WWII
Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941 with the aim of invading the Soviet Union to secure future German interests.
It marked the beginning of a campaign that would ultimately decide the outcome of WWII.
Hitler saw the Soviet Union as his natural enemy and aimed to destroy its armies, capture its vast economic resources and enslave its population.
He believed that he needed the east in order to win the war and secure the long-term prosperity of his county. His commitment was so strong that he sent a huge number of troops to carry out the invasion.
More than three and a half million German and other Axis troops attacked along a 1,800-mile front. This was around 80 per cent of the German army.
How the German forces advanced during the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa in August 1941. The German offensive was launched by three army groups under the same commanders as in the invasion of France in 1940. The invasion took place along a 2,900-km front and took the Soviet leadership completely by surprise
The devastating Panzer division was also deployed – seventeen in total. This consisted of around 3,400 tanks which were supported by 2,700 of the Luftwaffe. It was the largest invasion force to date.
At the time of the invasion German combat effectiveness had reached its peak and the forces invading Russia represented the best it had to offer.
In the opening months of the campaign German forces dug deep into Soviet occupied territory – led by Panzer armies which encircled large Soviet forces at Minsk and Smolens.
But, the Germans severely underestimated their opponent and the weather they would face on their journey to Moscow.
German forces eventually made their way to the gates of Moscow but were pushed back by Soviet forces and in the end had to make a slow retreat from the early months of 1942.
Moscow was a major symbolic military and political target for the Axis forces but the Red Army held strong after reinforcing their defence with new reserve armies and troops drafted in from Siberia and the Far East.
They then launched counter-offensive strikes, forcing German forces back 150 miles from Moscow.
Ultimately, this led to the crumbling of Germany’s northern front, culminating with Russian troops’ push into Germany, where in 1945 they took Berlin and declared victory in the war.
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