Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy (17 September 2017, 26 Elul, 5777)
If Hitler didn't fire his generals, would the war have gone in a different direction?
I understand that it was not so much Hitler having opinions contrary to all his generals. Usually the opinions would be divided. Hitler might than take the minority position. Often this was justified or at other times not necessarily more disastrous than the alternative. Hitler represented the group around him.
At a certain stage it must have been clear that Germany was about to be defeated.
Hitler hoped for a miracle such as the one that happened with Frederick the Great (reigned 1740-1786) of Prussia. In the Seven Years War Frederick was losing to a coalition of his enemies when suddenly one of them (the Czarina of Russia) died and the tables were turned. Hitler revered Frederick. Hitler and his entourage hoped that a similar semi-miraculous event would save them at the last minute.
Even so, the question remains as to whether the war aims of Hitler differed from those of his generals.
When the Germans were winning it did not matter what the priorities were since all aims were being met.
Once they started to lose Hitler and his fellows wished to kill as many Jews as possible. This for them was War Aim no.1.
Hitler also admired Luther and Martin Luther had advocated killing the Jews.
While the chances of military victory had weakened the ability to Kill Jews had not.
The generals on the other hand were divided.
Some of them evidently considered putting up as good a fight as possible to be the more important. This too is problematic. Why would they do that? Would Germany have benefited? Did it benefit?
Hitler stares at his favourite painting
The scene where Hitler was gazing at the painting was actually witnessed by Rochus Misch. In The Bunker, O'Donnell quotes:
't was very late, and I thought of course that the Fuhrer had already retired. I went into his study to find something. There was Der Chef, gazing at the picture by candlelight. He was sitting there, motionless, his chin buried in his hand, as if he were in a trance. Hitler was staring at the king. The king seemed to be staring right back. I had barged in, but Hitler took no notice of me. So I tiptoed out. It was like stumbling upon someone at prayer.'
' Rochus Misch