'Let's shoot top 50,000 Germans'
29th November 1943: Stalin proposes that the German High Command should be eliminated at the end of the war - but was he just 'teasing' ?
In Tehran the 'big three', Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill were meeting for their first conference together. Stalin was to press Churchill on whether he was truly committed to the opening of a 'Second Front'. The decision to invade France had been made by the U.S. and Britain at the Quebec Conference in August. The planning and preparation for Operation Overlord was now proceeding apace. However, Stalin was not satisfied that the Allies were genuinely committed until he saw Churchill and Roosevelt in person.
The German General Staff, he said, must be liquidated. The whole force of Hitler's mighty armies depended upon about fifty thousand officers and technicians.
In the evening of 29th November there was a dinner hosted by Stalin. The Allies were already beginning to formally address how they were to deal with Germany after the war - and how the German army should be dealt with. During the evening Stalin and Churchill were to argue over the issue - after they had drunk 'many toasts'.