The Russian campaign had been under way for nine days before Helmuth’s letters contain any comment on its progress. His initial attitude may seem out of keeping with his obvious hopes in 1938–40 that Hitler would be defeated by the British and French. One might therefore have thought that he would want Hitler to be defeated by the Russians, whereas he clearly came close to wanting and expecting the Germans to win. The explanation is that he regarded Nazism and Communism as much of a muchness; in 1938 he had complained to his grandfather that ‘the whole outlook and atmosphere’ in Germany was ‘definitely Bolshevist’. His social views may have been well to the left of Peter Yorck’s, but the object of the changes which he wished to introduce was to increase the freedom and responsibility of the individual, whereas he considered that Communism as well as Nazism decreased them. This, taken with his habitual inclination to pessimism, makes it easier to understand why he showed so much concern at the bad news which came from the Russian front.
KeywordsHague Convention Pearl Harbor General Staff German Army German Soldier
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