Heinz Guderian

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In all countries and at all times men have succumbed to the suggestive powers of unusual personalities, even if the wielders of those powers were not always good men in the Christian sense.

Heinz Guderian (17 June 188814 May 1954) was a German WWII general and tank commander, theorist of tank combat and one of the developers of blitzkrieg strategy. He was not charged with any war crimes during the Nuremberg Trials since his actions and behavior were ruled to be consistent with those of a professional soldier. Heinz Guderian died at the age of 65, in Schwangau near Füssen (Southern Bavaria) and is buried at the Friedhof Hildesheimerstrasse in Goslar.

Quotes[edit]

We have severely underestimated the Russians, the extent of the country and the treachery of the climate. This is the revenge of reality.
You hit somebody with your fist and not with your fingers spread.
The engine of the Panzer is a weapon just as the main-gun.
  • The moral and intellectual condition of a nation may certainly prove of decisive importance on its own account, but all due attention must also be paid to material considerations. When a nation has to reckon with a struggle against superior forces on several fronts, it must neglect nothing that may conduce to the betterment of its situation.
    • Achtung-Panzer! : The Development of Armoured Forces, Their Tactics and Operational Potential (1937)
  • We have severely underestimated the Russians, the extent of the country and the treachery of the climate. This is the revenge of reality.
    • Letter to his wife (9 November 1941) on the German failures in Operation Barbarossa and the battles of the Eastern Front, quoted in Images of Kursk : History's Greatest Tank Battle, July 1943 (2002) by Nikolas Cornish, p. 6; also in The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War (2009) by Andrew Roberts, p. 409
  • To imitate the ostrich in political matters has never been a satisfactory method of avoiding danger; yet this is what Hitler, as well as his more important political, economic and even military advisers, chose to do over and over again. The consequences of this deliberate blindness in the face of hard facts were devastating; and it was we who now had to bear them.
    • On the failure of Hitler and his advisors to face realities of various situations, especially those of the military on the Eastern Front, in Panzer Leader (1952), Ch. 6 : The Campaign in Russia, p. 190
  • It has been deduced from Hitler's great power over the masses that the Germans are an unusually suggestible race. But in all countries and at all times men have succumbed to the suggestive powers of unusual personalities, even if the wielders of those powers were not always good men in the Christian sense.
    • Panzer Leader (1952), Ch. 13 : Leading Personalities of the Third Reich, p. 432
  • Es gibt keine verzweifelten Lagen, es gibt nur verzweifelte Menschen.
    • There are no desperate situations, there are only desperate people.
      • As quoted in Die Deutschen gepanzerten Truppen bis 1945 (1965) by Oskar Munzel
  • Man schlägt jemanden mit der Faust und nicht mit gespreizten Fingern.
    • You hit somebody with your fist and not with your fingers spread.
      • As quoted in Die Deutschen gepanzerten Truppen bis 1945 (1965) by Oskar Munzel, p. 209; this indicated the need to concentrate tank forces for one strong push in one direction and not distribute them over a large area.
  • Der Motor des Panzers ist ebenso seine Waffe wie die Kanone.
    • The engine of the Panzer is a weapon just as the main-gun.
      • As quoted in Die Deutschen gepanzerten Truppen bis 1945 (1965) by Oskar Munzel, p. 159
  • It's simply our duty to save these people, and we still have time to remove them! But it's useless to sacrifice men in this senseless way. It's high time! We must evacuate those soldiers at once!
  • Logistics is the ball and chain of armored warfare.
    • As quoted in Sword Point (1988) by Harold Coyle, p. 141
  • When the situation is obscure, attack.
    • As quoted in Waging Business Warfare (1988) David J. Rogers, p. 236
  • Nicht Kleckern sondern Klotzen!
    • Boot 'em, don't spatter 'em!
      • As quoted in How Great Generals Win (1993) by Bevin Alexander, p. 227; this statement became a stock phrase which Hitler often repeated. It is comparable to the adage "Don't do things by half."
  • If the tanks succeed, then victory follows.
    • As quoted in Panzerkrieg : The Rise and Fall of Hitler's Tank Divisions (2002) by Peter McCarthy and Mike Syron, p. 33
  • Fahrkarte bis zur Endstation.
    • Ticket to the last station.
      • Shouted to his Panzertroops as they were passing him, indicating that they should go as far as they could; as quoted in Panzerkrieg : The Rise and Fall of Hitler's Tank Divisions (2002) by Peter McCarthy and Mike Syron, p. 83
  • New weapons require new tactics. Never put new wine into old bottles.
    • As quoted in Cavalry from Hoof to Track (2009) by Roman Jarymowycz, Ch. 16 : Cold Warhorse: Pegasus ex Machina

External links[edit]

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