Adolf Hitler's Order of the Day to the German Troops on the Eastern Front (2 October 1941)
Filled with the greatest concern for the existence and future of our people, I decided on June 22 to appeal to you to anticipate in the nick of time threatening aggression by one opponent. It was the intention of the Kremlin powers-as we know today-to destroy not only Germany but all Europe.
Comrades, meanwhile you will have gained two impressions: First, this opponent had armed himself for attack to such an extent that even gravest apprehensions have been surpassed. Second, God's mercy on our people and the entire European world if this barbaric enemy had been able to move his tens of thousands of tanks before we moved ours! All Europe would have been lost, for this enemy does not consist of soldiers, but a majority of beasts.
Now, my comrades, you have seen with your own eyes "the paradise of workers and farmers." In a country that, owing to its vastness and fertility, could feed the whole world, poverty rules to such an extent that we Germans could not imagine.
This is a result of nearly a 25-year Jewish rule that, as bolshevism, is basically similar to the general form of capitalism. The bearers of this system in both cases are the same: Jews and only Jews.
Soldiers, when I called on you on June 22 to ward off the terrible danger menacing our homeland you faced the biggest military power of all times. Thanks to your bravery, my comrades, we succeeded in barely 3 months in crushing this opponent's tank brigades one after another, in annihilating countless divisions, in taking unsurveyable number of prisoners, in occupying vast regions-not empty space, but those spaces from which the opponent was living and from which his gigantic war industry was being supplied with all kinds of raw materials.
Within a few weeks his three most important industrial regions will be completely in our hands. Your names, soldiers of the German armed forces, and the names of our brave allies, the names of your divisions and regiments and your tank forces and air squadrons, will be associated for all time with the most tremendous victories in history.
You have taken more than 2,400,000 prisoners, destroyed or captured more than 17,500 tanks and more than 21,600 pieces of artillery. Fourteen thousand two hundred planes were brought down or destroyed on the ground.
The world hitherto never has experienced similar events. The territory the German and allied troops have occupied is more than twice as large as the German Reich of 1933, more than four times as large as the English motherland. Since June 22 the strongest fortifications have been penetrated, tremendous streams have been crossed, innumerable localities have been stormed and fortresses and casemate systems have been crushed or smoked out. From the far north where our superbly brave Finnish allies gave evidence of their courage a second time, down to Crimea you stand today together with Slovak, Hungarian, Italian and Rumanian divisions roughly 1,000 kilometers deep in the enemy's country.
Spanish, Croat and Belgian units now join you and others will follow. This fight-perhaps for the first time-is recognized by all European nations as a common action to safeguard the future of this most cultural continent.
The work that has been achieved behind your tremendous front is gigantic. Nearly 2,000 bridges have been built, 25,500 kilometers of railways are functioning again; in fact, more than 15,000 kilometers of railways already have been changed to general European gauge.
Work is being done on thousands of kilometers of roads. Vast territories already have been taken over by the civil administration. Life there is quickly being restored according to reasonable laws. Vast quantities of foodstuffs, fuel and munitions are available.
This outstanding achievement of one struggle was obtained with sacrifices that, however painful in individual cases, in the total amount to not yet 5 per cent of those of the World War. No one knows better what you, my comrades, and with you are brave allied soldiers, have achieved suffered and sacrificed in these three and a half months than one who fulfilled his duty as a soldier in the past war. During these three and a half months, my soldiers, the precondition, at least, has been created for a last mighty blow that shall crush this opponent before Winter sets in.
All preparations, so far as human beings can foresee, have been made. Step by step, this has been prepared systematically to manoeuvre the opponent into such a position that we can now strike a deadly blow.
Today begins the last great, decisive battle of this year. It will hit this enemy destructively and with it the instigator of the entire war, England herself. For if we crush this opponent, we also remove the last English ally on the Continent. Thus we will free the German Reich and entire Europe from a menace greater than any since the time of the Huns and later of the Mongol tribes.
The German people, therefore, will be with you more than ever before during the few ensuing weeks. What you and allied soldiers have achieved already merits our deepest thanks. With bated breath, the blessing of the entire German homeland accompanies you during the hard days ahead. With the Lord's aid you not only will bring victory but also the most essential condition for peace.
Führer and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces