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Directive No. 21 Operation Barbarossa (December 18, 1940)

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II. Probable Allies and their Tasks:

1. On the wings of our operation the active participation of Romania and Finland in the war against Soviet Russia is to be expected.

The High Command will in due time arrange and determine in what form the armed forces of the two counties will be placed under German command at the time of their intervention.

2. It will be the task of Romania to support with selected forces the attack of the German southern wing, at least in its beginnings; to pin the enemy down where German forces are not committed; and otherwise to render auxiliary service in the rear area.

3. Finland will cover the concentration of the German North Group (parts of the XXI Group) withdrawn from Norway and will operate jointly with it. Besides, Finland will be assigned the task of eliminating Hangö. Ori

4. It may be expected that Swedish railroads and highways will be available for the concentration of the German North Group, from the start of operations at the latest.

[ . . . ]

IV. All orders to be issued by the Commanders in Chief on the basis of this directive must clearly indicate that they are precautionary measures for the possibility that Russia should change her present attitude toward us. The number of officers to be assigned to the preparatory work at an early date is to be kept as small as possible; additional personnel should be briefed as late as possible and only to the extent required for the activity of each individual. Otherwise, through the discovery of our preparations – the date of their execution has not even been fixed – there is danger that most serious political and military disadvantages may arise.

[ . . . ]

Source of English translation: “Führer’s Directive” (December 18, 1940). In United States Department of State, Documents on German Foreign Policy: From the Archives of the German Foreign Ministry. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1957-1964. Series D (1939-1945), The War Years, Volume 11: February 1 – June 22, 1941. Document 532, pp. 899-902. (English translation accredited to US Department of State Division of Language Services)

Original German text reprinted in: "Führerweisung" (18. Dezember 1940). In Akten zur Deutschen Auswärtigen Politik, 1918-1945. Bonn: Gebrüder Hermes KG, 1964. Serie D (1937-1945). Band XI, 2: Die Kriegsjahre. Vierter Band, Zweite Halbband, 13. November 1940 bis 31. Januar 1941. Dokumentnummer 532, pp. 750-53.

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