Volume 7 1941~1945

Doc No.

No. 331  NAI DFA Berlin Embassy 48/1

Personal code telegram from William Warnock to Joseph P. Walshe (Dublin)
(Nos. 79 and 80)

BERLIN, 8 October 1943

Your telegram 158.1 There are so many uncertain factors that it is hard to give any definite views as to length of war. I shall, however, be surprised if it is over by this time next year. The food position is stable and munitions production is going ahead. A lot will depend on whether Russians can stage any winter successful offensive and how soon Second Front is opened and whether Germans really will produce 'secret weapon'. For their part, Anglo-Americans have not sufficient seasoned troops to carry out Blitz campaign.

There are undoubtedly very few optimists left here; nevertheless I do not think there is any danger of either fight or home front collapsing. Germans have a tendency to grumble at any time; fact that they complain does not mean they will give in without any further resistance.

What have Great Britain or U.S.A. to offer Germany? Utter destruction as great Power and disbandment of German armed forces. It is question of victory or ruin. For anybody who knows Germany, capitulation after Italian fashion is impossible to imagine. The likelihood of Russian-German separate peace is, in my opinion, very slight. The suggestion that the German Army might be able to come to terms with Russia may sound plausible to outside observers, but I do not think the Army is in position to overthrow Government even if it wanted to. The Waffen S.S. (a combatant force) is now large army in itself and has units fighting on all fronts. In East, S.S. has not only divisions but whole army corps. Any attempt to overthrow Government would mean civil war and weaken country considerably. Now that their Chief has become Minister of Interior,2 S.S. control whole country and keep Generals watched too. Furthermore, Army has no outstanding personality with popular appeal except Rommel, who is an adherent of Führer.

Excluding possibility of separate peace with Russia, Army has no choice but to support Government, as Churchill and Roosevelt have stated total destruction of German armed forces is among their aims. As defeat would mean their extermination, armed forces will fight on bitterly to end.

As long as Government and Army remain determined to continue war, people have nothing to say; military commentators state main reason for retreat in East is need to economise man-power.

Führer remains one and only important leader; others depend entirely on him. He has undoubtedly lost much of his power. Göring's star has sunk very low in view of falling-off in achievement of Air Force and their inability to ward off heavy air raids. Goebbels' oratorical and journalistic gifts are admired, but he is not popular. Himmler is feared and disliked.

Rumours are circulated from time to time about 'secret weapon' which is said to be so phenomenal that it will change whole course of the war. The most extravagant claim which I have heard is that it will be very soon brought into use on French coast, that it has range of 300 kilometres, and that Southern England will be laid waste in short time.3

1 See No. 326.

2 Heinrich Himmler (1900-45) Reichsführer SS (1929-45), Reich Minister of the Interior (1943-5).

3 The V-1 guided missile and the V-2 rocket.