Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. The following is a translation of instructions to speakers in September 1941 explaining why the invasion of Russia was necessary. At the time, although surprised by determined Soviet resistance, the Nazis still expected victory soon.
The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 19, 20 September 1941.
On the Invasion of the Soviet Union
From reports we have received, certain parts of the population have been astonished by the stubborn Bolshevist resistance. Various conclusions have been drawn. Some think that the strength of the Bolshevists was greatly underestimated, while others think that there must be something to Bolshevism since Soviet soldiers defend this system so stubbornly.
To properly understand these questions, it is necessary to point out several individual matters that are apparently not generally known.
The Soviet regime has understood how to wall itself off from the rest of the world. This was done so effectively that not only did extraordinarily limited information about true conditions in the Soviet Union reach the outside world, neither did the Soviet citizen know anything about the rest of the world. The regime took the greatest care to keep its own people from learning about the life of other peoples, about social conditions in other countries, and in particular about National Socialist Germany.
The German government’s leadership, in contrast, was remarkably open. Foreign newspapers were widely available, as long as they were not filled with outright agitation against the Führer and Germany. Until the beginning of the war, each German could listen to foreign radio stations. The “Strength through Joy” organization offered numerous trips abroad so that workers could see other countries, and gave them the opportunity to compare social conditions in Germany with those in other countries.
And how were things in the Soviet Union? Soviet citizens had no access to the press from other countries. It was not possible to learn from the radio, since in the Soviet Union only limited circles of the communist party and the Soviet army were permitted to have a radio set. The average citizen only had a loudspeaker that received only what Soviet leaders thought good for him to hear.
This one-sided information provided a completely false impression of the situation in other countries, giving the individual the feeling that he lived under a regime that gave him a life unmatched by any inhabitant of a “capitalist” country. When one considers that such education and influence existed since 1917, almost 25 years, one can understand why in the absence of any possibility of comparison Soviet citizens felt that they were fighting for something actually worth defending.
The letters from our soldiers who have been on former Soviet territory always report the great astonishment Soviet citizens have when they see the equipment, clothing, and physical condition of the German soldier in comparison to what they have seen of their own soldiers. These people really are convinced that poverty and misery prevail in National Socialist Germany, in comparison to which their own lives seem completely bearable.
It is, therefore, understandable that such people with such primitive thinking follow their instincts in defending against German soldiers who are attempting to “worsen their living conditions.”
Added to that is the vast amount of atrocity propaganda that the Soviets spread to their soldiers about Germany. Each Soviet soldier was told that if he were captured by the Germans, he would suffer the worst tortures and horrors. The soldiers of National Socialist Germany were accused of all the Bolshevist atrocities that they discovered as they marched into the Soviet Union. Fear of sadistic torture and death made a major contribution to the belief of the Soviet solider that had to defend himself to the last breath.
What we see here is a people shut off from the outside world, lacking any possibility of comparison, fighting with determination in the belief that it was necessary to preserve its existence.
The Soviet Union’s huge stockpiles of weapons such as airplanes, tanks, and artillery, which were also concealed as much as possible from the outside world, naturally strengthened belief in the absolute invincibility of the Soviet army.
In explaining these matters, one must emphasize that not only did the Führer clearly see these developments in the Soviet Union, but also had a great deal of evidence that this huge war machine was preparing to attack Germany. German defensive measures interrupted the huge plan of attack developed by the Soviet leadership. Here is just one proof of that. At the beginning of the military conflict at the great battle at Minsk, not far from the German border, almost unimaginable quantities of material were destroyed or captured. One has to realize that if these excellently-equipped motorized units had reached the excellent roads in Germany, it would have been impossible to stop this motorized monster.
The Führer’s proclamation made clear the necessity of this conflict. When explaining the enormous danger to Germany that was averted, the incomparable courage and achievements of the German soldier should be an encouragement for each in the homeland to do his duty in faithful confidence. The Führer saved all of us from what our soldiers discovered in Lemberg, Dubno, Wilna, Riga, and countless other places. Each person must realize that the Bolshevists would treat us no differently. We thank the Führer and our soldiers for striking at Bolshevism, thereby preserving the lives of our women, our children, and our own lives.
In contrast to the World War, National Socialist Germany did not stage great victory celebrations, even though there was certainly enough reason to do so, since the huge battles at Minsk, Smolensk, Gomel, etc., were greater than the historical battles of Tannenberg, Masuren, and others.
We old National Socialists have to remember the parallels to our period of struggle. Although the scale was different, the communists then, too, were our hardest and most fanatic opponents. Compared to our battles with other forces, our movement here had to make by far the greatest sacrifices. Adolf Hitler’s clear leadership, which always gave us a boundless will to victory, brought us to 30 January 1933. That was the end of the hardest battles we fought within Germany. The defeat of Bolshevism will have the same significance not only for Germany, but also for all of Europe. The only thing we have to realize is this: The battle with Bolshevism was absolutely necessary! Hard and heavy battles give us daily proof of the superiority of National Socialist soldiers. Our enormous victories give us the certainty that this battle will be the greatest triumph of the far-sighted military commander Adolf Hitler!
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