Hitler rejects a defensive strategy in the East
14th January 1944: Guderian raises the possibility of building a strong defensive line in the East to allow time to confront the Allies in the West
It was now becoming increasingly likely that Germany would be fighting on yet another front in 1944, already they faced the Allies in Italy. With the looming prospect of a two-front war, German Generals, or those that dared, were becoming more outspoken in their criticism of Hitler's strategies on the Eastern Front.
Heinz Guderian had been one of the principal architects of mobile tank warfare that led to the 'blitzkrieg' strategies that had served Germany so well early in the war. He had fallen out with Hitler during the campaign for Moscow, after that he had been sidelines from operational roles.
In 1943 Guderian had been brought back into the High Command as Inspector General of Armoured Troops and promoted to the rank of Generaloberst. Nevertheless, he continued to speak his mind, as far as Hitler would listen1:
In January 1944 Hitler invited me to breakfast with the words: ‘Somebody’s sent me a teal. You know I’m vegetarian. Would you like to have breakfast with me and eat the teal?’ We were alone together at a small round table in a rather dark room, since the only light came from one window.