(Apologies to readers: The previous post in this series which I posted up I accidentally labeled as “Sixteen” when in fact it was the fifteenth part. The mistake has been corrected and so this following part if the true sixteenth segment.)
Needless carnage would continue, however, as would Hitler’s illusions of a grand victory. In the winter of 1944 events were disastrous all along the German fronts: Russians barrowed along making great gains, American forces had liberated France, and were sweeping towards Germany piercing the border in some locations. To say that Hitler’s dream of a united German Europe was evaporating would be an understatement.
Still one cannot fade into the obscurity of history without resisting; one must give one final jerk to show that life has yet to completely drain. For Hitler this came in the form of a surprise attack against Allied positions in the Ardennes forest.
Assembling in absolute secret hundreds of thousands of troops and war material, Hitler envisaged an offensive which would wreck such havoc among the enemy lines, complete with spies causing terror and spreading disinformation, that dozens of Allied divisions would be eradicated resulting in the Allies suing for peace, which would then grant Hitler a free hand to stem the Russian tide.
All of this was idealism, however. While upon launching the offensive the German forces were met with mixed resistance, eventually the Allied forces, after substantial loses, solidified their position. Thanks to the efforts of Ultra (the British secret-code decoder) German plans were known in advance. Allied generals used such information to their advantage and countered every move on Hitler’s part with decisive troop placements.
Indeed after a few weeks of sporadic fighting the engagement which became known as the Battle of the Bulge quieted down. Leaving behind scores of dead and wounded the German army retreated in inglorious dismay, the few survivors forever scarred by the deluge of victims.
From this point on there would be nothing but defeat for Germany. In the following months dismay would rock Hitler’s world. The allies would scorch many cities, German citizens welcoming the Americans and British as liberators, while his own generals disobeyed his orders to discontinue negotiations with the enemy.
Though Hitler, half-mad with delusions, still entertained the idea of a last ditch political miracle to save Germany or a unprecedented military victory unrivaled in history, the reality was bare: Dresden had been destroyed, the German military was in disarray, and the Allies were poised to launch their final assault on Berlin despite the death of President Roosevelt. Hitler’s thousand year Reich had come to an abrupt end.