“We can no longer remain silent. We, more than anybody else, have the right to speak, not only in our own but also in the name of our dead comrades, in the name of all Stalingrad victims. This is our right and our duty. The heavy failures in the military and political field suffered since the beginning of this year, as well as the continuous worsening of the German economy have made us realise the hopelessness of Germany’s situation. Stalingrad was the turning point.Then followed the Caucasus and Kuban area, Africa and Sicily, the collapse of Italy – blow after blow.
The German army’s summer offensive has failed. The Red Army has recaptured Orel and Bjelgorod, Charkov, Taganrog and the Donez basin and is moving towards the Dnjepr. The homeland is being shattered by massive air attacks. The two-front war is imminent. Mussolini’s overthrow, the dissolution of the fascist party, Italy’s withdrawal from the war, Finland’s, Hungary’s and Romania’s most likely withdrawals are steps on the path to Germany’s total isolation, more cataclysmic than 1918. Every reasoning German officer knows that Germany has lost the war. The people feel it as well. Those who are in power and who instigated this disaster, know it as well. Hitler, the statesman, has welded together the mightiest states in the world into a crushing coalition against Germany. Hitler, the army commander, has led the German army into dire defeats. He has sacrificed elite troops in Stalingrad and in Africa for prestige reasons. It is now imperative to save Germany from the same fate. This war is being continued exclusively in the interest of Hitler and his regime, without any consideration for the people and the fatherland.
The continuation of this futile and hopeless war can lead any day to a national cataclysm. It is now the duty of any responsible German to prevent this. We, therefore, appeal to the people and the army. It is up to you to make a momentous decision. Germany expects you to have the courage to face the truth and consequently act courageously and immediately. The national-socialist regime will never be prepared to chose the only path which will lead to peace. Realising this, you are to declare war on this rotten regime and to establish a government which has the confidence of the people. Only such a government can create the conditions for our fatherland to get out of the war with honour and secure a peace which does not hold Germany’s misery and the seed of new wars. Take the initiative! Demand Hitler’s and his government’s immediate resignation! Fight to remove Hitler and his regime and save Germany from chaos and collapse. The soldiers of the 6th German army, the Stalingrad Army, and all German soldiers and officers, captured in Russia, raise their voices in the knowledge that this is their most holy duty to their nation.”
There are over 100 signatures under the appeal, names known in German war history. The long list starts with: General Walter von Seydlitz, Commander of the 51st Battalion Lieutenant General Alexander Edler von Daniels, Commander of the 376th Infantry Division Colonel Hans Guenther v. Hoven, Head of Intelligence of the 6th Army Colonel Luitpold Steidle, Commander of the 767th Infantry Regiment Major General Dr. Otto Korfes, Commander of the 295th Infantry Division Major General Martin Lattmann, Commander of the 14th Tank Division Major Egbert von Frankenstein and Proschnitz, Commodore of the 51st Wing Andreas von Kirschhofer, Lieutenant Colonel, 44th Infantry Division