By Erich Von Manstein
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Extra resources for Lost Victories
In the midst of this fighting we suddenly received orders from the Supreme Command to hand over Lwów-which had just capitulated to the troops of Fourteenth Army — to the Soviets and to retire along the whole Army Group front behind the demarcation line arranged by Ribbentrop in Moscow. This ran from the Uzok Pass to Przemyœl and then along the San and Vistula to the north of Warsaw. Thus the battles fought on the far side of those two rivers had been wasted effort as far as the units of Southern Army Group were concerned, and had only benefited the Soviets!
W. not only decided what operations the army should conduct, but also when and how they should be conducted. H. was left to work out the appropriate orders whether or not it agreed with what it was being called on to implement. The Commander-in-Chief of the Army had been demoted from the status of military adviser to the Head of State to that of a subordinate commander pledged to unquestioning obedience. ' theatre of operations in Norway. H. came to be brushed aside like this is to be found both on the personal plane and in the manner in which the question of continuing the war after Poland's defeat was handled.
On the other hand, Halder was Germany's and later Hitler's Chief-of-Staff, after the latter had taken over command of the army. Now, although it may be given to a politician to play the dual role of responsible adviser and conspirator, soldiers are not usually fitted for this kind of thing. Above all, it is traditionally unthinkable in Germany that a Chief of the General Staff should not be on terms of confidence with his Commander-in-Chief. Even if, in the light of Hitler's actions, it is accepted as admissible for a Chief-of-Staff to plan the overthrow of the Head of State and Commander-in- Chief in peacetime, the dual role of Chief-of-Staff and plotter in wartime inevitably created an insoluble dilemma.