“I am the greatest warlord of all time.” – Adolf Hitler
“German men and women! The High Command of the armed forces has today… declared the unconditional surrender of all German fighting troops.”
Foreign Minister of the Dönitz government, Schwerin von Krosigk, In a broadcast to the German people on German national radio on the afternoon of 7 may 1945.
as quoted by the New York Times
Hitler [above far right] attained the rank of gefreiter in the First World War (1914-1918). This is equivalent to the rank of private first class in the US Army or lance corporal in the US Marines or British Army.
(He grew up in Linz in what had been the Bohemian area of the Austrian Empire. This led Herr General Fieldmarshal von Rundstedt to refer to him as that “Bohemian corporal.”)
“Anyone can do the little job of directing operations in war.” Hitler to Colonel-General Halder, Chief of the German General Staff in December 1941 after the resignation of Field Marshal Walter von Brauchitsch (1881-1948) as Commander-in-Chief of the German Army (1938-1941).
Instead of appointing a professional soldier, Hitler appointed himself, thus assuming operational command of the German Army. Given that he was already Head of the Nazi Party, Chief of State, Minister of Defense, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, this new responsibility put him in the position of giving orders to himself.
This would be as if President Franklin Roosevelt, who held the office of President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces, had also assumed the roles of Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Staff of the US Army and Airforce and Chief of Naval Operations, Commander in Chief of Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, and Commander in Chief of the Southwest Pacific Theater.
Herr Colonel-General Halder, only man to hold Nazi Germany’s Knights Cross & the US Meritorious Civilian Service Award
“Incredible as it may sound, Hitler did not even have a general plan for the war.” – Colonel General Franz Halder, Chief of the German Army General Staff until dismissed by Hitler in September of 1942.
After the war, Halder worked for the US Army Historical Branch for 15 years and in 1961 received the US Meritorious Civilian Service Award from President Kennedy, thus becoming the only man in history to hold this award and the Knights Cross.