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80 years ago, the Nazis decided to destroy Leningrad

80 years ago, on October 12, 1941, the headquarters of Army Group North, besieging Leningrad, received a telegram from the headquarters of the Wehrmacht High Command, which said that, on Hitler's instructions, the surrender of the city, even if offered by the enemy, would not be accepted. “No German soldier should enter the city. Anyone who wants to leave the city through our front line, drive back with fire, - said Hitler. - And for all other cities there is a rule that before being taken, they must be destroyed by artillery fire and air attacks, and the population must be forced to flee. It is irresponsible to feed their population at the expense of the German side. "
As early as July 8, 1941, the chief of the General Staff of the German Ground Forces, Halder, wrote in his diary: “The Fuehrer's decision is unshakable to level Moscow and Leningrad to the ground in order to completely get rid of the population of these cities, which otherwise we will then be forced to feed during the winter. The task of destroying these cities must be carried out by aviation. " At the end of August, he sent the commander of Army Group North, von Leeb, an instruction that Leningrad "should be deprived of all viability and defenses by destroying hydraulic structures, warehouses, light and electricity sources." The only thing that worried the Germans, if they often shoot old people, women and children, “this can easily lead to the fact that the German soldier will cease to control himself, ie. and after the war will not be afraid of such acts of violence. The command and the troops are trying in every possible way to find another solution to the issue, but a suitable option has not yet been found. "
In all fairness, it must be said that women, old people and children were nevertheless offered to be allowed to leave the city and move deep into Russia, after which Leningrad was going to be razed to the ground with the help of artillery, aviation and explosives. "Finland in the same way declared its disinterest in the existence of this city directly on its new borders," - said in the directive of the chief of staff of the German naval forces, Admiral Fricke.
In December 1941, as Halder wrote in his diary, he was given the task "to draw up a calculation for the use of chemical agents against Leningrad." On April 1, 1943, one and a half million artillery shells filled with toxic substances were supposed to destroy all living things inside the blockade ring. And although, as von Leeb will later justify, it was one of Hitler's unrealizable fantasies, since the Germans did not have such a number of shells or weapons, the very fact of such cannibalistic plans speaks for itself.
But these criminal plans were thwarted not because of the lack of weapons and shells, but thanks to the defenders of Leningrad and their unparalleled feat.