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[letterhead]

COORDINATOR OF INFORMATION
WASHINGTON, D.C.

February 14, 1942

Colonel William J. Donovan 
Administration Building

Dear Colonel:

On various occasions you have suggested that it would 
be a good idea if someone around the office would take 
time off to "think like Hitler". The memorandum which is 
here appended represents an attempt on the part of the 
Economics Division in that direction.

If you are interested in it, I should like to discuss 
it further with you.

Sincerely yours,
[signature]
Edward S. Mason

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HITLER'S PROBLEM IN 1942

Acceleration of the U.S. war program will progressively 
shift the balance of military strength against the Axis. 
For the present, however, the limited forces of the Allies 
have been attenuated by Japanese action in the Pacific. It 
is, therefore, Hitler's problem to utilize the period of 
continued Axis superiority to assure the lasting success 
of his venture.

Hitler must choose between two possible courses of action:

(a) To end the war by decisive military victory.

(b) To attain such a degree of economic and military 
security that he will be rendered impregnable
to attack; and on that basis attempt to negotiate peace.

No course of military action leads unerringly to negotiated 
peace. Hitler has already misjudged his enemy's staying-
power on several occasions. The British did not capitulate, 
as expected, after Dunkirk nor during the subsequent Battle 
of Britain. The Russians have not yielded to German power, 
despite serious losses. And the Allies will not surrender 
after Singapore. Barring decisive military defeat to all his 
major enemies, Hitler may attempt, but can not count upon 
a negotiated peace.

There is, at most, but one opportunity to end the war by 
decisive victory: a successful invasion of England. This, 
however, is certain to be a costly enterprise. Of all 
possible theatres, Great Britain is the one most

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accessible to prompt and effective American aid. An invasion 
could not, further, be attempted with major Russian armies 
at bay in the east. And if successful, it does not guarantee 
that the United States, the Dominions, and China, would cease 
to fight. On the basis of present information, therefore, a 
German attempt to invade England must be regarded as the 
least likely course of action that Hitler will undertake.

II. _The Basic Strategy_

A weighing of the alternatives, as wellas [sic] the disposition 
of German forces and the direction of her diplomatic action, 
suggest that Hitler will attempt the second line of action, - 
that designed to render his empire impregnable.                                       

German tactics early in the war appear to have been based 
on the assumption that a series of short, sharp military 
campaigns would achieve, in. time, total victory. This 
sporadic warfare would not be particularly costly. 
Resources would be reconstituted by each successive 
conquest, strength regained in the periods between 
campaigns. The initiative would always rest with 
Germany. And her enemies, piecemeal, would be destroyed 
or capitulate.

These tactics have not succeeded, and offer no prospect of 
success; against Hitler's major enemies: Russia, England 
and the United States. Their collective defeat - or even the 
retention against them of gains already won - now looms as 
a long continuous struggle.

 Thus Hitler must attempt to guarantee the long-run 
economic security of his empire; and he must deny the 
Allies bridgeheads for their growing armed forces.

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III.   _Alternative Campaigns_

Hitler's requirements for obtaining economic and military 
security involve one or more of the following:

a. Conquest and consolidation of the entire Ukraine and the 
Caucasus (or at least the North Caucasus).

b. Neutralization of Russia as a military threat, by force 
of arms or by agreement.

c. Establishment of full control of North Africa and the 
Mediterranean from Casablanca and the Canary Islands to 
Suez and the Levant.

d. Acquisition of the Middle Eastern oil-production areas.

e. Renewal of intensive attacks on the Allies at their most 
vulnerable point - shipping.

Of these alternatives, the first, third, and fifth seem to 
rank highest in urgency. The second, for reasons discussed 
below, is likely to be attempted, if at all, only after success 
of the first is assured. The fourth is contingent upon the 
successful achievement of at least one and, because otherwise 
dangerous, probably all three of the preceding objectives. 
The fifth move - an accelerating attack on Allied shipping - 
is independent of the others and may be expected regardless 
of other decisions.

IV. _The Alternatives Examined_

THE UKRAINE AND THE CAUCASUS

The Ukraine and the Caucasus would constitute a valuable 
economic prize. The latter's oil and the former's agriculture 
and industrial raw materials would significantly

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ease the tight German situation with respect to petroleum, 
food, and clothing materials. Although considerable time 
would be required fully to exploit these resources Hitler 
with the Ukraine and the North Caucasus firmly in his 
grasp, would have taken a long step towards the goal of 
a self-sufficient Germany.

The attainment of the objective would require a major 
offensive on the southern Russian front beginning, presumably, 
early in April, accompanied by [unreadable] operations on 
the Central and Northern Fronts. Unless the Russians 
committed the tactical error of risking their whole armed 
force to oppose the German push, a campaign in the North 
Caucasus would not rid Hitler of his eastern [unreadable] 
He could, however, by pushing [unreadable] and markedly 
weaken their effectiveness.

The conclusion of such a campaign would still confront 
Hitler with the necessity of defending a frontier in the 
east considerably more than 1000 miles long. How large 
a force would have to be held in Russia for this purpose 
would depend [unreadable] the offensive strength which 
remained to oppose him. No doubt such a force would have 
to be considerable. To avoid the necessity of maintaining 
large concentrations on the Russian front indefinitely, 
Hitler will have to neutralize his eastern enemy.

NEUTRALIZATION OF RUSSIA AS A [unreadable]

(a) _By Conquest_

If Germany can eliminate the Russian armies in 1942 
without suffering such loss as to make her position 
in the west insecure in 1943, she will presumably attempt to do


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