Hitler’s Reaction to the Fall of Vienna

Posted: August 15, 2010 in World War 2

“I would rather be shot than carry out this order.”

Hitler was informed of the fall of Vienna on April 14th, 1945. The Austrian Front had been defended by the 6th SS Tank Army, lead by SS-Obergruppenführer Sepp Dietrich. This National Socialist “veteran fighter” had been leader of the “Adolf Hitler Life-Guards” before 1933. When Hitler was told of the retreat of the 6th SS Tank Army & the capture of Vienna, he fell into a furious rage & had the following radio message sent to Sepp Dietrich: “Führer holds that troops did not fight as situation demanded, & accordingly orders that SS-DivisionsAdolf Hitler“, “Das Reich“, “Totenkopf“, & “Hohenstaufen” be deprived of their stripes. These divisions were among the toughest & most battle-tested that the German Army could still boast. The stripes on the sleeve of their uniforms were meant to represent traditional insignia of the “Old Army”.”

When Sepp Dietrich received Hitler‘s message, he telegraphed back that he would rather be shot than carry out this order.

From Boldt: Die Letzten Tage Der ReichsKanzlei (The Last Days of the Reich-Chancellery)


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