The Pittsburgh Press (September 6, 1944)
London, England (UP) –
The strange spectacle of Nazi forces in disorderly flight in the west while putting up a terrific fight against Russia in the east was attributed today to German fear of Russian vengeance for uncounted atrocities in the Soviet Union.
Both Allied and Russian observers believed Germany would rather lose in the west to the Americans and British than in the east to Russia.
The Germans never attempted to bring up heavy reinforcements to delay the Allies in France, although they continually were replenishing their hard-pressed forces through Poland where they lost as many as 1,000 tanks in some weeks.
A German Army spokesman, Lt. Gen. Kurt Dittmar, in his weekly broadcast to the German people, attributed the collapse in France to the lack of reserves and the material superiority of Allied forces.
He said Germany’s greatest concern was the Western Front, where, he said, British and American material advantages “permits absolutely a comparison with our breakthrough the Maginot Line and the push toward the mouth of the Somme which followed it in 1940.”
Dittmar’s explanation was in contrast to the fact that the Germans have been able to find resources to hold the Russians in Poland and on the borders of East Prussia.
The situation of letting one front fall while bolstering another was emphasized by one Russian observer. He said that while the Germans were collapsing at Avranches, in Normandy, leading to the Falaise encirclement in one of the most complete defeats of the German Army’s history, they were moving 12 full tank divisions to the Warsaw area.
It is obvious that even a part of this huge array of tanks might has prevented Falaise or at least saved part of the huge number of Germans taken prisoner.
But Warsaw is not the only example. As their forces were being shattered in France, the Germans mounted violent counterattacks on the East Prussian border at Siauliai, in Lithuania, together with Tartu, in Estonia, and other Baltic areas.
The German Air Force is being handled similarly. Although the Nazi pilots hardly make an appearance even when the most vital targets are attacked by British or U.S. planes, the air battles in Russia have never diminished, though the Russians now have full superiority.
In addition, the Germans maintain about three times as many men on the Russian front as they do on the west.
Hopes for stalemate
Some observers believe Adolf Hitler has hopes of effecting a stalemate along the Siegfried Line, but if this fails the war will be over and the Anglo-Americans can pour through Germany. They think it likely that the Germans will not quit on the Russian front until the British and Americans complete the occupation of Germany.
One Russian observer said he thought the Germans were wrong if they are basing any hope for the future on this plan.
I believe the Anglo-Americans will take Russia’s views into account when the time comes to occupy Germany. All the world knows Germany’s record in Russia. Millions of Russians have been tortured and slaughtered indiscriminately or driven to slave labor in Germany.
Russia will not forget Lublin’s charnel house, or Babi Yar’s thousands of corpses or the decimation of number of villages, towns and even cities.
Stockholm, Sweden (UP) –
The newspaper Aftontidningen yesterday published an uncredited report, probably from a propaganda broadcast of dubious repute, that rioting and mutinies had broken out in several German cities, most of them in the Rhineland or South Germany.
The dispatch, lacking corroboration in any known quarter, said women, soldiers and workmen demonstrated in the streets.
SS Elite Guards in several cases used firearms against the demonstrators, the Aftontidningen report said.
It said the German garrison at Döberitz near Berlin mutinied. Shots were exchanged during the showing of a film of the execution of Gen. von Witzleben, accused in the anti-Hitler rebellion.