Hitler Was a Control-Freak

Monday, August 1st, 2011

The German army had a proud history of giving only high-level orders and allowing its junior officers to exercise their creativity — but Hitler was a control-freak, as von Mellenthin (Panzer Battles) explains:

Hitler’s method of direct command hastened Germany’s defeat. Orders to “fight for every foot” had disastrous effects. But apart from strategy, his methods of control affected the whole war machine. In democratic states the branches of the armed forces and the various aspects of war economy and industry were firmly coordinated, but in Germany there was a strange separation into independent powers. The army, the navy, the air force, the SS, the Organization Todt, the NSDAP, the commissariats, the numerous branches of economy, all worked separately, but all received their orders directly from Hitler.

At home and on the front these branches ceased to function together and began to work on their own, the one regardless of the needs of the other. The reason for this strange and sinister phenomenon was undoubtedly Hitler’s craving for power and his distrust of any independent force. The old motto, “divide and rule,” was carried to its logical absurdity. To keep the army in its place the Waffen-SS was created.

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