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Hitler's visit Finland.

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Post 18 Feb 2005, 13:08
On the June 4 1942, it was Finnish Field Marshal Carl Gustav Mannerheim's 75th birthday. Adolf Hitler took this occasion to fly to Finland to congratulate Mannerheim in person and to discuss many important issues regarding how Barbarossa and the war in general were going. The meeting took place in eastern Finland in area of Immola airfield, near the city of Imatra.

Germany and Finland, though not in a formal alliance, had developed a good relationship and were co-belligerents in a struggle agains't the Soviet Union. Both countries had continued good relations since WWI, after Germany aided Finnish Whites during the civil war agains't Reds. Germany was well known for its national socialist goverment, with Hitler as the country's leader, while Finland was a republic with an elected president since 1918.

The meeting would have remained fairly insignificant within the immense history of the Eastern Front, if it hadn't been that 11 minutes of the meeting had secretly been taped by a Finnish radio reporter. The recording was in the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation's archives and survived all these years intact.

What makes this recording so special is that it's the only recording in the world where Hitler speaks in his normal way without readily made speeches. During the filming of German movie Der Untergang, which tells about Hitler's last days, Bruno Ganz, the actor who played Hitler, listened the recording to learn Hitlers speaking style.

The recording.

http://koti.mbnet.fi/~tkwok/aatu.mp3

It contains the discussion with Finnish translation on it and at the end you can hear the whole discussion in German without translation. If you dont want to hear the Finnish translation then skip 30 minutes and 10 seconds.

Here is English transcript.

The transcript starts with Hitler talking as follows, italics were used to emphasize the heightening of their voices in the original voice recording. I also have removed all the "uh's" and repeated words to make the dialog easier to read:

Hitler: ...a very serious danger, perhaps the most serious one - it's whole extent we can only now judge. We did not ourselves understand - just how strong this state [the USSR] was armed.

Mannerheim: No, we hadn't thought of this.

Hitler: No, I too, no.

Mannerheim: During the Winter War - during the Winter War we had not even thought of this. Of course...

Hitler: (Interrupting) Yes.

Mannerheim: But so, how they - in reality - and now there is no doubt all they had - what they had in their stocks!

Hitler: Absolutely, This is - they had the most immense armaments that, uh, people could imagine. Well - if somebody had told me that a country - with...(Hitler is interrupted by the sound of a door opening and closing.) If somebody had told me a nation could start with 35,000 tanks, then I'd have said: "You are crazy!"

Mannerheim: Thirty-five?

Hitler: Thirty-five thousand tanks.

Another Voice In Background: Thirty-five thousand! Yes!

Hitler: We have destroyed - right now - more than 34,000 tanks. If someone had told me this, I'd have said: "You!" If you are one of my generals had stated that any nation has 35,000 tanks I'd have said: "You, my good sir, you see everything twice or ten times. You are crazy; you see ghosts." This I would have deemed possible. I told you earlier we found factories, one of them at Kramatorskaja, for example, Two years ago there were just a couple hundred [tanks]. We didn't know anything. Today, there is a tank plant, where - during the first shift a little more than 30,000, and 'round the clock a little more than 60,000, workers would have labored - a single tank plant! A gigantic factory! Masses of workers who certainly, lived like animals and...

Another Voice In Background: (Interrupting) In the Donets area?

Hitler: In the Donets area. (Background noises from the rattling of cups and plates over the exchange.)

Mannerheim: Well, if you keep in mind they had almost 20 years, almost 25 years of - freedom to arm themselves...

Hitler: (Interrupting quietly) It was unbelievable.

Mannerheim: And everything - everything spent on armament.

Hitler: Only on armament.

Mannerheim: Only on armament!

Hitler: (Sighs) Only - well, it is - as I told your president [Ryte] before - I had no idea of it. If I had an idea - then I would have been even more difficult for me, but I would have taken the decision [to invade] anyhow, because - there was no other possibility. It was - certain, already in the winter of '39/ '40, that the war had to begin. I had only this nightmare - but there is even more! Because a war on two fronts - would have been impossible - that would have broken us. Today, we see more clearly - than we saw at that time - it would have broken us. And my whole - I originally wanted to - already in the fall of '39 I wanted to conduct the campaign in the west - on the continuously bad weather we experienced hindered us.

Our whole armament - you know, was - is a pure good weather armament. It is very capable, very good, but it is unfortunately just a good-weather armament. We have seen this in the war. Our weapons naturally were made for the west, and we all thought, and this was true 'till that time, uh, it was the opinion from the earliest times: you cannot wage war in winter. And we too, have, the German tanks, they weren't tested, for example, to prepare them for winter war. Instead we conducted trials to prove it was impossible to wage war in winter. That is a different starting point [than the Soviet's]. In the fall of 1939 we always faced the question. I desperately wanted to attack, and I firmly believed we could finish France in six weeks.

However, we faced the question of whether we could move at all - it was raining continuously. And I know the French area myself very well and I too could not ignore the opinions, of many of my generals that, we - probably - would not have had the élan, that our tank arm would not have been, effective, that our air force could not been effective from our airfields because of the rain.

I know northern France myself. You know, I served in the Great War for four years. And - so the delay happened. If I had in '39 eliminated France, then world history would have changed. But I had to wait 'till 1940, and unfortunately it wasn't possible before May. Only on the 10th of May was the first nice day - and on the 10th of May I immediately attacked. I gave the order to attack on the 10th on the 8th. And - then we had to, conduct this huge transfer of our divisions from the west to the east.

First the occupation of - then we had the task in Norway - at the same time we faced - I can frankly say it today - a grave misfortune, namely the - weakness of, Italy. Because of - first, the situation in North Africa, then, second, because of the situation in Albania and Greece - a very big misfortune. We had to help. This meant for us, with one small stoke, first - the splitting of our air force, splitting our tank force, while at the same time we were preparing, the, tank arm in the east. We had to hand over - with one stroke, two divisions, two whole divisions and a third was then added - and we had to replace continuous, very severe, losses there. It was - bloody fighting in the desert.

This all naturally was inevitable, you see. I had a conversation with Molotov [Soviet Minister] at that time, and it was absolutely certain that Molotov departed with the decision to begin a war, and I dismissed the decision to begin a war, and I dismissed him with the decision to - impossible, to forestall him. There was - this was the only - because the demands that man brought up were clearly aimed to rule, Europe in the end. (Practically whispering here.) Then I have him - not publicly...(fades out).

Already in the fall of 1940 we continuously faced the question, uh: shall we, consider a break up [in relations with the USSR]? At that time, I advised the Finnish government, to - negotiate and, to gain time and, to act dilatory in this matter - because I always feared - that Russia suddenly would attack Romania in the late fall - and occupy the petroleum wells, and we would have not been ready in the late fall of 1940. If Russia indeed had taken Romanian petroleum wells, than Germany would have been lost. It would have required - just 60 Russian divisions to handle that matter.

In Romania we had of course - at that time - no major units. The Romanian government had turned to us only recently - and what we did have there was laughable. They only had to occupy the petroleum wells. Of course, with our weapons I could not start a, war in September or October. That was out of the question. Naturally, the transfer to the east wasn't that far advanced yet. Of course, the units first had to reconsolidate in the west. First the armaments had to be taken care of because we too had - yes, we also had losses in our campaign in the west. It would have been impossible to attack - before the spring of 19, 41. And if the Russians at that time - in the fall of 1940 - had occupied Romania - taken the petroleum wells, then we would have been, helpless in 1941.

Another Voice In Background: Without petroleum...

Hitler: (Interrupting) We had huge German production: however, the demands of the air force, our Panzer divisions - they are really huge. It is level of consumption that surpasses the imagination. And without the addition of four to five million tons of Romanian petroleum, we could not have fought the war - and would have had to let it be - and that was my big worry. Therefore I aspired to, bridge the period of negotiations 'till we would be strong enough to, counter those extortive demands [from Moscow] because - those demands were simply naked extortion's. They were extortion's. The Russians knew we were tied up in the west. They could really extort everything from us. Only when Molotov visited - then - I told him frankly that the demands, their numerous demands, weren't acceptable to us. With that the negotiations came to an abrupt end that same morning.

There were four topics. The one topic that, involved Finland was, the, freedom to protect themselves from the Finnish threat, he said. [I said] You do not want to tell me Finland threatens you! But he said: "In Finland it is - they who take action against the, friends, of the Soviet Union. They would [take action] against [our] society, against us - they would continuously, persecute us and, a great power cannot be threatened by a minor country."

I said: "Your, existence isn't threatened by Finland! That is, you don't mean to tell me..."

Mannerheim: (Interrupting) Laughable!

Hitler: "...that your existence is threatened by Finland?" Well [he said] there was a moral - threat being made against a great power, and what Finland was doing, that was a moral - a threat to their moral existence. Then I told him we would not accept a further war in the Baltic area as passive spectators. In reply he asked me how we viewed our position in, Romania. You know, we had given them a guarantee. [He wanted to know] if that guarantee was directed against Russia as well? And that time I told him: "I don't think it is directed at you, because I don't think you have the intention of attacking Romania. You have always stated that Bessarabia is yours, but that you have - never stated that you want to attack Romania!"

"Yes," he told me, but he wanted to know more precisely if this guarantee...(A door opens and the recording ends.)
Last edited by Carius on 24 Apr 2007, 08:47, edited 11 times in total.
Post 11 Apr 2005, 14:37
Some pictures:

Image


Hitler's plane has just landed,

Image


Hitler walking over traditional Finnish board bridge in a forest.

Image


Hitler, Mannerheim and President of Finland, Risto Ryti.

Image


Hitler, Mannerheim, Ryti and other brass of Finland and Germany are having dinner in railway car.
Last edited by Carius on 19 Oct 2006, 21:05, edited 8 times in total.
Post 06 Aug 2005, 14:19
Very interesting.
Post 06 Aug 2005, 14:50
It is a very interesting insight into Hitler's interpretation of the War. Very revealing. Thank you, Comrade!
Post 06 Aug 2005, 23:57
Yes, thank you very much for providing us with this interesting clip. It was very interesting to hear Hitler speak in his normal way (with all the pauses and sudden changes of tone and subject, etc).
Post 24 Apr 2007, 08:52
Part of the German newsreel Die Deutsche Wochenschau, nr: 614, which coveres Hitler's visits to the Eastern Front and Finland.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=T2DZtifoBy8
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