We Have Never Even Considered A War Against the United States

On 11 December 1941 Hitler declared war on the United States, much to the surprise of the German military. As recounted in his memoirs, Colonel Walter Warlimont (later general) was then chief of the OKW’s War Plans division. He received the following call from Colonel Alfred Jodl of Hitler’s military secretariat, a few minutes after Hitler had declared war on the US:

Jodl, calling me from Berlin, (I was just finishing lunch and discussing this latest development with certain officers of the staff): “You have heard that the Fuhrer has just declared war on America?”
Myself: “Yes and we couldn’t be more surprised.”
[Jodl:] “The staff must now examine where the United States is most likely to employ the bulk of her forces initially, the Far East or Europe. We cannot take further decisions until that has been clarified.”
Myself: “Agreed; this examination is obviously necessary, but so far we have never even considered a war against the United States and so we have no data on which to base this examination; we can therefore hardly undertake this job just like that.”
Jodl: “See what you can do. When we get back tomorrow we will talk about this in more detail.”

(Source: Inside Hitler’s Headquarters 1939-1945 by Walter Warlimont.)

Published by

Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

Leave a Reply