Did German High Command even plan for after the war?

At this stage in the war its pretty apparent that Germany is going to lose. Yet they do not even think about surrendering. They are not trying to hide their war crimes. None of them are running or even thinking of running. Do they even care about their cause because they are not making plans for it after they are gone. As the war has gone on it appears that German High Command never considered or planned for losing the war.

I would think a normal person would be trying to hide or come up with some sort of peace deal after what they’ve done. But no.

It’s like Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, and the rest of German High Command decided to spend their 40’s and 50’s killing people until someone finally killed them.

I’m just watching the show week by week and I know the Germans are losing and they just keep committing war crimes after war crimes and keep losing territory. Yet no one is screaming at Hitler or anyone else to make peace, stop killing people or plan to run. They just don’t care! They really don’t care what happens when they lose. It’s so mind boggling. I just don’t get it. Why is that not happening?


I answer that who’s winning is not always so apparent to people at the time. The Japanese were on the losing side of the Pacific war as early as July 1942 (after Midway), but nobody knew it at the time. The Japanese came within a few miles of Port Morseby (overland). At the time, it looked like they’d take it. They didn’t. In retrospect, they were at the end of their supply tether, and the Allies could fly in reinforcements, and the Japanese didn’t have a chance.

That Kursk was the last chance for the Germans to strategically affect the war in the East was not apparent at the time. That the Russians would not run out of men in late 1944 was apparent at the time.

At another level, should a country’s military have control of who runs the country? Should it remove the political leadership when things go awry? Should the military have deposed Hitler when the battle of Britain failed? Should they have deposed Hitler when the U-boat war started going badly? Where’s the line where it’'s “obvious”?

The German military (that is, the High Command) had been raised on the idea that the military did not tell the politicians what to do. It was a convenient moral refuge. (This refuge continued for decades with the “clean Army/dirty SS” arguments.). Also remember, that every German in the military had sworn a personal oath of personal loyalty to Adolf Hitler, specifically. That was another convenient moral refuge.

They also were in fear of Hitler and his men. Any coup would be opposed by the SS (at least). The July Plot touched off a witch hunt in the civilian sector and the military that consumed thousands. It became apparent that the Gestapo had been watching everybody (as everybody thought already.)

Now, on the flip side, the military had done exactly what you describe – in 1918. Ludendorf (mostly) and Hindenburg convinced the Kaiser to give up the ghost in WWI (and then, in the most successful snow job of the 20th century, convinced everybody that they hadn’t, and that the military had been ‘stabbed in the back.’)

Further, clearly there were military personnel who were willing to kill Hitler to try and end the war (though would the Russians have stopped if Hiter was dead? Maybe yes, maybe no.). There were, as we know, several attempts to do just that. But when push came to shove, the hierarchy was unwilling to go along (especially when the plot failed.)

BUT - Himmler. If Hitler had been killed, Himmler would probably have stepped in (even if Goering was technically fuhrer), and the war would probably have gone on. How would the Army have reacted? It can’t be known.

So, let me (at last :-)) say that Hitler was the boss, the security services backed him to the hilt, the very large SS military backed him, and the Army was scattered all over the place. The military bears responsibility for putting their heads down, convincing themselves that they were powerless politically, and going about their business.


Meh, that doesn’t really answer the question. Thanks for trying though.

If it was October 16 1943 and I was in German High Command I would recognize that there’s at least a chance Germany is going to lose the war. I would start to put a plan in place for myself what I’m going to do if I was caught on the losing side. I’d recognize I’ve killed a lot of people and turned Europe into a warzone. They won’t be happy with me. I’d be getting a suit case. Fill it full of cash. Then go talk to the embassy and get passports with fake names and credentials in every country that is still controlled by Germany. Then I’d decide on a place that’s out in the middle of no where and civilized, but easy to get out of if I have to run again. So that if I really was caught on the losing side I could get out of dodge, use different passports at each leg of my trip to my remote but civilized destination to throw people off the trail.

I would think that for someone in German High Command this would be common sense. But apparently the Nazi’s didn’t think of this plan. Only about 20 or so have been identified as using the rat lines. According to Wikipedia the US arrested almost 100k war criminals and tried 177 of them. There should be a lot more people identified as using the rat lines.

Not many people tried to run or hide their identities. None of German High Command tried to get to Japan. Which is surprising to me when I think about it. Another strange thing is that when Hitler died he put Karl Donitz in charge. That guy is a navy man and a nazi, but he’s not someone who’s would carry on the Nazi cause of destroying all the Jews in the world and creating superior Aryan Race. I would think that If you really believed in your cause you’d want to put someone who believes in your cause to carry it on after you right?

You are not taking into account the indoctrination and internal security of the Nazi state.
The non-military SS permeated society and controlled the police. By 1943 you had 10 years of the Goebbels propaganda machine pushing ideology and the Hitler cult. Look how Fox and Trump using the same techniques have perverted US politics in the last ten years even with a political and media opposition. And that without the underlying Prussian culture.
By 1943 the high command, OKW and OKH, was staffed by senior officers who had sold thier integrity for Nazi bribes and were under constant scrutiny by the SS.
And the generals below high command had been colonels and majors when the Nazis came to power and owed thier rise to seniority to the Nazis.