On today, in a primary shake-up of the military high command, Adolf Hitler assumes the positioning of commander in chief of the German army.
The German offensive against Moscow was proving to become a disaster. A perimeter have been established by the Soviets 200 miles from the city-and the Germans couldn’t break via. The harsh winter weather-with temperatures frequently dropping to 31 degrees below zero-had practically frozen German tanks within their tracks. Soviet General Georgi Zhukov had unleashed a ferocious counteroffensive of infantry, tanks, and planes that had forced the flailing Germans into retreat. In quick, the Germans have been becoming beaten for the very first time in the war, and the toll with their collective psyche was fantastic. “The myth of the invincibility of the German army was broken,” German General Franz Halder would create later.
But Hitler refused to simply accept this idea. He started removing officers from their command. General Fedor von Bock, who was simply suffering severe stomach pains and who on December 1 had complained to Halder he was no more competent to “operate” along with his debilitated troops, was replaced by General Hans von Kluge, whose personal 4th Army have been pushed into permanent retreat from Moscow. General Karl von Runstedt was relieved of the southern armies since he previously retreated from Rostov. Hitler clearly didn’t think in giving back captured territory, so in the most important shake-up of most, 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 techniques and the officers would dance to his tune.