Operation Clausewitz

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Operation Clausewitz was the codeword initiation of the defence of Berlin plan by Nazi Germany during the final stage of the European conflict of World War II, the Battle of Berlin. Clausewitz was established in the 9 March 1945 document, Basic Order for the Preparations for the Defense of the Reich Capital (German: Grundsätzlicher Befehl für die Vorbereitungen zur Verteidigung der Reichshauptstadt), a 33 page document containing 24 separate points. The second point of the document, in full (translated) is: "The Reich capital will be defended to the last man and to the last bullet." It has been referred to as the Nazis' last stand against the Soviets.[1]

The document divided the city of Berlin into 9 operational defense zones (A through H, as slices of the outer city of Berlin and Z, its center, corresponding to the government district).[2]:87 It further divided the region into four concentric rings: an outer exclusion zone, extending well past Berlin's city limits; an outer defense zone extending roughly to the city limits; an inner defense zone extending out to the Berlin Ringbahn; and the Citadel (German: Zitadelle), again, zone Z.[2]:87[3] In addition to the establishment of defense zones, this document also described the overall mechanism by which Berlin would be converted to a front line city. This included:[4]

  • The evacuation of all Wehrmacht and SS offices in Berlin[5]
  • Evacuation of the central command post of the capital from General Command on Hohenzollerndamm to L-Tower of the Zoo bunker no more than six hours after the issuance of Clausewitz[4]
  • The imposition of martial law for the civilian populace, and offenses under which the death penalty was authorized[4]

Hitler ordered the execution of Fall Clausewitz on 20 April 1945. This set into motion preparedness according to the Basic Order plan, and would have been followed later by the codeword Kolberg meaning full preparedness should be completed and the battle has started.[4][6][7]

In media[edit]

The 2004 film Downfall makes references to Clausewitz, saying that after it was started "all ministries and departments" were leaving Berlin. The film states that once Hitler started Clausewitz Berlin is a "front city". Finally the film also suggests that the burning of official papers and documents was a direct result of the initiation of Operation Clausewitz.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ McGee, Mark. Berlin: A Visual and Historical Documentation from 1925 to the Present, p. 91
  2. ^ a b Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg,. "DIE RUSSEN IN BERLIN 1945 - DER SPIEGEL 19/1965 (pdf)". www.spiegel.de. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  3. ^ Wires, Richard. Terminology of the Third Reich, 1985. p. 12
  4. ^ a b c d Germany, SPIEGEL ONLINE, Hamburg,. "DIE RUSSEN IN BERLIN 1945 - DER SPIEGEL 19/1965". www.spiegel.de. Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  5. ^ Fischer, Thomas. Soldiers Of the Leibstandarte, 2008. p. 42
  6. ^ Kuby, Erich. The Russians and Berlin, 1945, p. 31
  7. ^ Ziemke, Earl. The Battle for Berlin: End of the Third Reich, p. 40