General Hoepner on the War Against Russia

(May 2, 1941)

Translated excerpts from an order issued by General Erich Hoepner, commander of Fourth Panzer Group, entitled “Conduct of Operations”:

A. Fundamental principles.

The war against Russia is an important part of the German people’s battle for existence. It is the old fight of Germans versus Slavs, the defense of European culture against the Muscovite-asiatic flood; and the repulse of Jewish bolshevism.

This war must have as its goal the destruction of today’s Russia and for this reason it must be conducted with unheard-of harshness. Every clash must, in its conception and execution, be guided by the iron will to completely and mercilessly annihilate the enemy. In particular, there is to be no mercy for the carriers of the current Russian-Bolshevik system.

Source: Email from Dr. Geoffrey P. Megargee, Applied Research Scholar, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum