He slammed his hand on the table and said to Hitler “I will not take orders from a local Nazi chieftan”… and got away with it
This is General Dietrich von Saucken. As you can see, he is literally the archetypal monocled patrician Prussian general.
In World War I, he was wounded seven times in battle, and decorated very highly for valour. He stayed in the German army, and at one point was posted to Russia, where he learned to speak the language.
He served in numerous battles of World War II, being decorated many more times. He had a reputation for trying to save as many of his men as possible.
In February 1945, after 35 years’ loyal and distinguished service, he was sacked for insisting it was pointless to continue the War.
A month later he was reinstated – he was too good a general to do without.
Hitler summoned von Saucken to his bunker, gave him his orders – to defend Prussia against Russia.
Nervous glances were being exchanged by Hitler’s minions. Hitler didn’t appear to notice von Saucken had already openly displayed contempt for him.
He had strolled in casually, wearing his cavalry sword (forbidden in Hitler’s presence), and had given him a slightly apathetic military salute, instead of the Nazi salute which had been compulsory for all officers in Hitler’s presence since the previous year.
von Saucken was eyeing his boss with open loathing. Hitler casually threw in “and you will be reporting to Gauleiter Forster” – the local Nazi party leader.
This was not going to work with von Saucken. A Prussian general taking orders from some party functionary?
von Saucken gave Hitler a withering look. The facial equivalent of “get lost, corporal“. Hitler didn’t notice, he was staring at his maps on the table.
Dietrich von Saucken leaned over the table and slammed his hand down on it. That got Hitler’s attention.
von Saucken looked him in the eye and said “I have no intention, Herr Hitler, of taking orders from a gauleiter!”
I imagine one must have been able to hear a pin drop. Fegelein was shot for less than that. von Saucken had openly rebelled – refusing a direct order from Hitler and belittling him by addressing him as Herr Hitler and not, as regulations demanded, mein Führer.
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