Operation Clausewitz

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Operation Clausewitz was part of the defence of Berlin by Nazi Germany during the final stage of the European conflict of World War II. Hitler ordered Fall Clausewitz on 20 April 1945 which called for a number of unknown actions but did include the evacuation of all Wehrmacht and SS offices in Berlin[1] and the destruction of official papers and documents of the state. After this operation was initiated Berlin became a front line city.

There is no available information today on the details of Operation Clausewitz.

Possible meanings

There are a number of different theories as to what Operation Clausewitz meant:

  • Richard Wires wrote that it was a defence plan for the Sector Z (Zitadelle) of the city of Berlin, which included the Government quarter.[2]
  • Mark McGee calls it the Nazis' last stand against the Soviets.[3]
  • Erich Kuby refers to it simply as a password that alerted the defenders of Berlin about the incoming battle, while the password Kolberg meant that the battle had started.[4]
  • Earl Ziemke also calls it a password that meant to indicate that the Red Army was approaching Berlin.[5]
  • Everette Lemons defines it not as an operation but the stage in which the Nazi military considered Berlin to be part of the front line.[6]
  • The film Downfall makes references to it, saying that after it was started "all ministries and departments" were leaving Berlin. The film states that once Hitler started Clausewitz Berlin is a "front city". Finally the film also suggests that the burning of official papers and documents was a direct result of the initiation of Operation Clausewitz.

See also


  1. Fischer, Thomas. Soldiers Of the Leibstandarte, 2008. p. 42
  2. Wires, Richard. Terminology of the Third Reich, 1985. p. 12
  3. McGee, Mark. Berlin: A Visual and Historical Documentation from 1925 to the Present, p. 91
  4. Kuby, Erich. The Russians and Berlin, 1945, p. 31
  5. Ziemke, Earl. The Battle for Berlin: End of the Third Reich, p. 40
  6. Lemons, Everette. The Third Reich, A Revolution of Ideological Inhumanity, Volume II Death Mask of Humanity, 2006. p. 534