Europe’s Liberation War
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translated from the Third Reich original, Der Freiheitskampf Europas, is the text of the speech delivered by Reich Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Berlin on November 26, 1941.
At that time, Ribbentrop – and much of Germany – believed that the Third Reich was close to winning the war!
Following the Blitzkrieg victories in the west, north and southeast, German armies had swiftly penetrated deep into Russia, inflicting gigantic casualties on the Red Army and coming to within striking distance of Moscow itself. The winter disaster had not yet turned things around. And Pearl Harbor, which brought America into the war, was still eleven days away. (Interestingly, Roosevelt is nonetheless called the person most responsible for the war.)
Under these circumstances, the German optimism of that time certainly seems understandable, indeed downright logical.
This also explains why England – instead of Russia or the United States – is portrayed as the main opponent. At that point, Germany had already been at war with England for over two years. And England was the last of the initial series of opponents still unvanquished.
On the other hand, the Soviet Union – after a mere five months (!) – seemed to be on the brink of collapse.
Of course, to the postwar reader, Ribbentrop’s words seem almost surrealistic. But precisely that is what makes them so interesting! …