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By Albert Seaton

A German seize of Moscow in 1941 could have knocked Russia out of the battle; a riveting narrative of this important conflict via a British officer with a deep wisdom of the East ecu resources.

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The trouble with Jodl was that his ideas tended to be narrow and some of his views were wrong-headed, so that his influence on Hitler, such as it was, became malignant in that he fortified his master in his obstinacy. Unknown to von Brauchitsch and Halder, Hitler had resorted to his customary practice of ordering the secretive Jodl who, as a member of the Armed Forces High Command (OKW), had at this time no responsibility at all for ground operations in the east, to prepare an independent appreciation and plan for the new war.

It had little industry, no mineral resources except peat, and the agricultural land was infertile. To the German soldier, Belorussia was to conjure up a picture of the remains of primeval forests of oak, beech and lime (about one-third of the whole area was still wooded and the forests were thickest in the west near the old Polish frontier), vast potato fields covered with great rocks and boulders, pigs in profusion, innumerable dilapidated farmsteads and hamlets and broad lakes with high rounded banks.

Von Bock, who was regarded by the OKH as being difficult and uncooperative, was, notwithstanding, on moderately good terms with Halder; there was, however, some antipathy between him and FieldMarshal von Brauchitsch. Von Bock was the senior and the more experienced of the two and may possibly have considered that he had been superseded when Hitler had appointed von Brauchitsch to be Commander-in-Chief. But it is more likely that von Bock's intolerance was aggravated by von Brauchitsch's apparent indecision, for the Commander of Army Group Center does not seem to have realized, at least until late in the summer, the extent to which the German Army Commander-in-Chief was overshadowed by Hitler.

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