These manuscripts were produced as part of the Foreign Military Studies Program. This program involved the interrogating of leading German officers on their World War II combat and staff experiences, and the compiling of reports on such interrogations, administered by Historical Section of Headquarters, Theater Forces European Theater, an arm of U.S. Forces European Theater (USFET), 1945-46. The program was assumed and expanded by Operational History (German) Section of Historical Division of Headquarters, USFET, 1946-47, which employed former German officers to produce studies on the German World War II military effort, and which then translated many of the studies into English. The program was continued by Operational History (German) Branch, Historical Division, Headquarters, European Command (EUCOM, formerly USFET), from 1947 to 1951.
Three of the four manuscripts, including the main manuscript, "Greiner Diary Notes 12 Aug 1942 - 12 Mar 1943," were written by Helmuth Greiner. Helmuth Greiner was born on 30 April 1892, in Leipzig, Saxony. Greiner joined the German Army in December 1913, entering the 132d Prussian Infantry Regiment as an officer candidate, and in July 1914 was promoted lieutenant with commission dated 23 June 1913. In World War I he served at the various fronts from the outbreak of war to June 1917, with two brief breaks to recover from wounds. In June 1917 he was detached to serve as military attaché on the staff of the German Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, from which he was transferred to the Historical Division of Army General Staff, Berlin, in January 1919, remaining there until discharged from the Army in March 1920, with the rank of captain, less than a month later Greiner was appointed archivist in the Military History Section of the Historical Branch of the Reichs Archives at Potsdam. He remained in this service until 1935, and it was during this period that he continued his studies in national economy and history at the Berlin University from 1921-24. During this period he did a great deal of writing on the German official history of World War I and was promoted Archivrat.
On 1 April 1935, Greiner was re-called for service in the Wehrmacht, promoted to Regierungsrat (equivalent to major in rank) and attached to the re-organized Historical Division of the Reichs Archives, a branch of the Military History Research Institute of the Army. On 18 August 1939, he was transferred to the National Defense Branch, which later was re-designated Wehrmacht Operations Staff (Wehrmachtsfuehrungsstab), in Hitler's headquarters, as Keeper of the War Diary. Promoted Oberregierungsrab on 1 May 1936 and Ministerialrat on 1 October 1940. Greiner was removed from his post on 22 April 1943, because of his known anti-national socialist sentiments. Following this he was detached to the Office of the German General Attached to Italian Armed Forces Headquarters in Berne for a brief spell, 15 June to 31 July 1943.
From that date to the end of the War, Greiner was not employed, being considered politically unreliable. He was captured by US forces at Oberhof, Thuringia on 4 April 1945.
In addition to his career in the civil service and the Wehrmacht, Greiner is a well known writer on military subjects in the historical vein, his published works including, "Veterans Of World War I," a collection of essays by soldiers of that war; "The 1916 Campaign in Rumania," written for the Swedish General Staff; "The 1916 Invasion of Belgium and the First Major Battles;" "The French Mobilization in 1914;" "The American War Of Secession;" "Guerilla Warfare In 1870-71," and "French Mobilization Plans, 1885-1914," some of which were written specifically as instruction manuals for use in training.
Greiner Diary Notes 12 Aug 1942 - 12 Mar 1943
These 217 pages of notes, compiled in 1945, are based on the memoranda which Greiner wrote in the capacity of custodian of the War Diary of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff during the daily situation reports and discussions held at Hitler's headquarters from August 1942 to March 1943. The contents of the War Diary written during that time were based on these memoranda. All volumes containing the text and appendices of the War Diary were destroyed on orders of General Winter, at that time Deputy Chief of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff, at Lake Hintersee in Upper-Bavaria on 1 May 1945.
On 16 July 1942, Hitler's headquarters were established in the Ukraine, in a small triangular area of woodland, 15 kilometers north-northeast of Winniza at the highway to Shitomir near the village of Strishawka. Hitler and his most intimate advisers and his military staff, the field echelons of the Wehrmacht Operations Staff, were quartered there in log cabins and prefabricated barracks. The camp had been given the code name "Wehrwolf." Headquarters of the Army High Command was located in Winniza after 16 July 1942. Hitler arrived on the night of 21 June 1941, and departed for the last time on 20 November 1944. He spent over 800 days there, off and on, during World War II.
This manuscript conveys a narrative history of events in the German Armed Forces Supreme Command Headquarters during World War II. The writer, Helmuth Greiner,
Ministerialrat, Custodian of the War Diary, who was charged with writing the War Diary at that headquarters from August 1939 to April 22, 1942. He based his work on notes taken at various conferences, copies of final drafts for entry in the War Diary, copies of Hitler's directives, orders and documents he was able to save from destruction at great personal risk.
Greiner attempted to restore the War Diary, at least partially on the basis of the memoranda which were still in his possession at the time of the writing of this manuscript. During the period from 26 June 1941 to 11 August 1942, Greiner personally destroyed all his handwritten memoranda, with the exception of some notes he found to be particularly important. With the aid of these sources and the trained mind and memory of a professional historian, Greiner was able to present a vivid picture of Hitler's method of command as well as his reaction to success and failures. Greiner gives accounts various factors which influenced decisions in both the military and the political spheres.
In addition to a general description of procedures in the supreme headquarters, it includes details of organization and the composition of Hitler's immediate staff. Brief graphic descriptions are also included of the characteristics of its chief members who served Hitler in his capacity as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Commander in Chief of the Army.
On 18 March 1943, Greiner went on leave for an extended period of time. Upon his return, on April 22, 1943, he was relieved of his position as Custodian of the War Diary by Hitler for political reasons.
Included among the daily situation reports are Distribution of Forces Along the Eastern Front reports and Distribution of the Flying Formations of the Air Force along the Eastern Front reports.
Among the German operations chronicled by Greiner:
Operation BLAU - The German advances into the Soviet Union from 7 May 1942 to 18 November 1942. This operation's apex was the Battle of Stalingrad.
Operation NORDLICHT - Operation Nordlicht, in English "Operation Northern Lights," was devised by the German high command, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht
("High Command of the Armed Forces"), after a year-long battle for Leningrad when Adolf Hitler ordered a final assault on the city. The main objective of the operation was to capture Leningrad using forces of Army Group North under Field Marshal Georg von Küchler, and thereby bring an end to the siege and free up hundreds of thousands of troops. Meanwhile, the Germans were also preparing for the Battle of Stalingrad. Both attacks on Leningrad in the North and on Stalingrad in the South were synchronized by the Germans so as to confuse the Soviets. Operation Nordlicht was to begin on 23 August 1942 with a massive artillery bombardment of Leningrad, following with aerial bombardments by the Luftwaffe. But when the Soviets launched the Sinyavin Offensive on 19 August, the forces that were intended to be used for Nordlicht were transferred from the planned offensive to the defense of the German lines. Although the Sinyavin Offensive was a failure, it caused the Germans to cancel Operation Nordlicht and they would never be able to launch an offensive against Leningrad.
Operation ANTON - Operation Anton was the codename for the military occupation of Vichy France carried out by Germany and Italy in 1942. A German plan to occupy Vichy France had originally been drawn up in December 1940 under the codename of Operation Attila, and soon came to be considered as a single operation with Operation Camellia, the plan to occupy Corsica. Operation Anton updated the original Operation Attila, including different German units and adding Italian involvement. On 8 November 1942 the Allies invaded French North Africa (Operation Torch). General Dwight Eisenhower, with the support of Roosevelt and Churchill, made a secret agreement with Admiral François Darlan, commander of Vichy forces in North Africa, that Darlan would be given control of the fleet if he joined the Allied side. When Adolf Hitler discovered this plan, he immediately triggered the occupation of Vichy France, and reinforced German forces in Africa. Following a final conversation with French premier Pierre Laval, Hitler gave orders for Corsica to be occupied on 11 November, and Vichy France to be occupied the following day.
Operation LILA - The objective of Operation Lila was to capture intact the units of the French fleet at Toulon, and was carried out by the 7th Panzer Division, augmented with units from other divisions. Four combat groups including two armored groups and a motorcycle battalion from 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich were entrusted with the mission. Operation Lila was a failure. The French destroyed its own fleet at Toulon, 77 vessels, including 3 battleships, 7 cruisers, 15 destroyers, 13 torpedo boats, 6 sloops, 12 submarines, 9 patrol boats, 19 auxiliary ships, 1 school ship, 28 tugs and 4 cranes.
In addition the main manuscript described above the disc contains:
OPERATION BARBAROSSA by Helmuth Greiner
A 128 page monograph written by Helmuth Greiner. Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the German invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that was launched on June 22, 1941. The operation was named after the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire, a leader of the Third Crusade in the 12th century.
Greiner was able to use his skill as a military historian and his first hand knowledge from his physical presence at the command and control of the Third Reich, to eruditely forge a history of the German planning for Operation BARABOSSA.
The German General Staff began planning Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, assuming the eastern campaign would last only 3 months. However, within 6 months after the initiation of hostilities the Red Army blunted the Wehrmacht's attack outside the gates of Moscow. Operation Barbarossa had failed. The failure of Operation Barbarossa resulted in Hitler's demands for additional operations inside the USSR, all of which eventually failed.
Although a long-standing and professional organization, the German General Staff failed to achieve strategic success, despite significant success during the early stages of the campaign. Adolf Hitler's nationalistic goal of Russian extermination exceeded the German Army's capabilities. According to Peter Antill and Peter Dennis, authors of "Stalingrad 1942," Operation Barbarossa remains the largest military operation, in terms of manpower, area traversed, and casualties, in human history.
Greiner covers the German-Russian treaty, Hitler's rationale for the attack, details of the planning, and the effects of other events of the war on the operation.
OPERATION FELIX by Helmuth Greiner
A 21-page monograph written by Helmuth Greiner. Operation Felix was the German codename for a plan to capture Gibraltar, the British territory south of Spain.
In August 1940, German military leaders suggested action against the British in the Mediterranean in lieu of a difficult and dangerous operation against the British Isles. On November 12, Hitler issued the directive for Operation Felix, which envisioned a German intervention in the Iberian Peninsula with the purpose of driving the English out of the Western Mediterranean. To secure this objective, the Wehrmacht was ordered to take Gibraltar and close the Straits. The directive further stipulated that the "English should be prevented from gaining a foothold at another point of the Iberian Peninsula or of the Atlantic island."
Hitler followed the issuance with diplomatic efforts to get Spain to enter the war on the side of the Axis. By February 1941, the plan was put aside because of lack of cooperation from Spain and the German need for troops on the eastern front.
THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE GERMAN OFFENSIVE IN THE ARDENNES (Battle of the Bulge) Sep to 16 Dec 1944, by Percy Ernst Schramm
A 296 page monograph by Percy Ernst Schramm. Schramm was the official war diarist from January 1943 to the end of the war. As official War Diarist of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, Schramm had unprecedented access to Adolf Hitler and the highest echelons of the German military and its inner workings.
Percy Ernst Schramm, born October 14, 1894, died November 21, 1970, was a German historian of medieval political symbolism and ritual. His research focused primarily on the ideology of the medieval state, particularly the ways in which the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages represented their authority through images and rituals, as well as the transmission of ideas about the Roman Empire in medieval political and religious thought.
The Ardennes Offensive was a major German offensive, launched towards the end of World War II, through the forested Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg on the Western Front. This German offensive was officially named the Ardennes-Alsace campaign by the U.S. Army, but it is known to the general public simply as the Battle of the Bulge. Combat operations began on 16 December 1944.
It was the biggest and bloodiest single battle American soldiers ever fought, one in which nearly 80,000 Americans were killed, wounded, or captured. The Germans began their large-scale counteroffensive in the Ardennes, to break through to Antwerp. During the first seven days, fog, low clouds and snow seriously limited Allied airpower and by Dec. 24, the Germans had penetrated 50 miles westward. When the weather improved, both Allied and German airpower took to the air to assist their respective ground forces. The Luftwaffe, greatly outnumbered, primarily used fighters, whereas the Allies used bombers, gliders, and cargo planes in addition to fighters. German forces were gradually cut off from their supplies and under withering attacks, they began to fall back. By the end of January 1945, the Allies had regained practically all territory lost to Germany.
The disc contains a text transcript of all computer recognizable text, embedded into the graphic image of each page of each document, creating a searchable finding aid. Text searches can be done across all files in the collection.