Today in History: Hitler Takes Command of the German Army
On this day in 1941, in a major shake-up of the military high command, Adolf Hitler assumes the position of commander in chief of the German army.
The German offensive against Moscow was proving to be a disaster. A perimeter had been established by the Soviets 200 miles from the city—and the Germans couldn’t break through. The Germans were being beaten for the first time in the war, and the toll to their collective psyche was great.
But Hitler refused to accept this notion. He began removing officers from their command.
Hitler clearly did not believe in giving back captured territory, so in the biggest shake-up of all, he declared himself commander in chief of the army. He would train it “in a National Socialist way”—that is, by personal fiat. He would compose the strategies and the officers would dance to his tune.