I have been reading the biography of the Führer by Volker Ullrich (in an English translation), and he quotes the diary of Hermann Balck that in the fall of 1944 Hitler believed Stalin would go for Istanbul before Berlin… And I felt like I was struck by lightning! After all, this is the same rational grain that the Führer was looking for in vain in Churchill! Another item in the list of Stalin’s mistakes (along with the betrayal of Korea later on)? (The Soviets in 1946 did clumsily try to bite off Turkish Armenia and Iranian Azerbaijan, but then the Americans made them realise the war to have been over.)
© Volker Ullrich. Hitler – A Biography, Volume 2: Downfall 1939-45 (2020)
Source: Balck’s diary entry for 10 Sept. 1944; BA-MA Freiburg, N 647/12.
> Hitler believed that the acute threat on the eastern front had passed, assuming, wrongly, that instead of training its sights on Berlin, the Red Army would pursue Russia’s traditional imperial goal of securing the Turkish straits. ‘On the whole, the Führer figures that the Russians will head for Constantinople and is basing everything upon that,’ noted tank general Hermann Balck after a meeting with Hitler on 10 September.
Just as England suicidally charged at Hitlerian Germany to its own empire’s downfall (of course, they were serving the interests of Jesus the crucified god instead of their own), so did Stalin miss the chance to capture the Straights, realising the millennium-old Russian dream when the Americans were tied up by Germany and Japan. The only conceivable counter-argument would be a separate truce in the West, but that was possible in our timeline, too, and didn’t happen. (Incidentally, I’m not sure as to the feasibility of changing America’s course after a propaganda run of that magnitude.)
This is to say that Hitler did demonstrate a rather clear grasp of geopolitics, and was not necessarily clutching at straws – as late as September 1944! His downfall was in the realm of culture, ironically. Of course, culture is part of geopolitics – but without the time to breed political soldiers, what’s use of army formations when they disintegrate anyway?
Here is the situation on the fronts after the destruction of Army Group South Ukraine (from this still-unsuperseded post-war atlas I had the luck to discover that carefree summer 2011, whose pages I would even print after the manner of antiquated folks).
P.S. Juche Korea has conducted a breathtaking military parade this month to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the KPA’s foundation, with paratroopers landing in front of their Reichstag, and a respected comrade princess being shown the ropes (putting me at ease, considering how in our race, the last remaining good people are boomers doomed to die soon (from César Tort (64) to Igor Strelkov (52)).
One has to keep in mind that the DPR Korea is what Hitlerian Germany could have been had the NSDAP miraculously concluded a separate peace treaty with the Christians as late as 1945-03-23 (before the collapse of the fronts on the Rhine and the Oder), along with the Führer being 20 years younger (not that the duration of the reign is paramount, as the experience of such losers as Franco, Tito, Gaddafi or Putin clearly demonstrates).