An abbreviation, of course, an abbreviation. “ARLZ measures” – which sounds bureaucratic and complicated. It is only when the abbreviation is dissolved, shows what it’s about: “scarification, clearance, paralysis, destruction”. In other words: scorched earth.

at the beginning of September 1943, adopted the “economic leader of the army group Süd”, major-General Hans Nagel as a “secret commando matter,” a clear command: “In all of the following commanded actions, it is assumed that the whole of the Donets area to the East of the turtle position vacated economically and completely destroyed. Economic tasks in the area of divorce for all the future.“

The “turtle position” was, however, hardly expanded line of defence on the West Bank of the river Kalmius in the South of the present city of Donetsk, at that time, Stalino, in Eastern Ukraine. In the second half of August the German troops in the southern Eastern Ukraine had withdrawn behind that river.

nail was assumed that the turtle position for a longer time could be kept. From here, it should be destroyed on the Eastern shore, everything that was on infrastructure accessible. To do this, the command is set, every production immediately and evacuate, which was a kind of movable.

Then, however, the command continued: “Everything that is not vacated may be, is to destroy, in particular, water and electricity works, even with all the power and Converter stations, mines, factories, means of production, all Art, harvest, which is not transported, villages, and houses.” With other words: The South Eastern Ukraine should be made to the uninhabitable ruins of steppe.

It was not the first such command. As at the beginning of December had begun in 1941, the first Soviet winter offensive, told Hitler the army groups, “to destroy in the to vacate the shared premises of all the accommodation wholeheartedly.” The force must know that “any consideration, have accounted for the situation of the population in the interest of warfare.”

This command was actually implemented, such as, for example, the action of the 253. Infantry division, shows that the “forward of the positions to a depth of at least 20, preferably 30 kilometers, the creation of a perfect ,desert'” prepared. The Local community were considered merely as a “human obstacle” to the advancing Red army.

In his command, Hitler referred to similar instructions from his opponent, Stalin. In fact, the Soviet dictator in his radio address of 3. July 1941 to the removal, if necessary, to the destruction of all the goods, called the were in the of the advancing Wehrmacht-risk areas.

Three and a half months later, the “torch men order” of the Soviet General staff, the Soviet Stavka, in which it said followed: “All of the settlement points in the Hinterland of the German troops in a depth of 40 to 60 kilometers from the main battle line, and 20 to 30 kilometers to the left and destroy the right of the road entirely, and burn it to the ground.”

The military historian Bernd Wegner, however, in the standard work “The German Reich and the Second world war” to the conclusion that these directives “have contributed less due to their destruction as due to the extensive evacuations and economic infrastructure to the Survival of the Soviet Union in the Second world war decisive”.

Actually, the Red army destroyed during the retreat of 1941-42, Yes, just not all the foundations of life of the population of the place, because what would then be the officers of the respective commands of the nail and the other Economy is supposed to?

Nevertheless, Hitler referred to the defeat of Stalingrad unmistakably on Stalin’s command: “The Russian has shown us that.” In reality, the German instructions were far beyond the Soviet role models, but also that “the mass of the civilian population” to the later work, to kidnap so for forced labour.

Now, most front-line soldiers got to know the abbreviation ARLZ. In the majority of units from Division upward an officer of the ARLZ – or “loosening was appointed by the Commissioner”. He had to ensure that the scorched earth policy was fully implemented.

loosening up”, valuable raw materials, transport, and all material stock dissolve meant “. The second stage was the “paralysis”, with the Development of important parts from existing industrial plant to put them out of operation, without destroying it immediately, because you want to keep the possibility of recapture is open.

“eviction” was the third step and was called all kind of transportable goods, as well as the civilian population from the enemy’s threatened area, move if necessary with brutal force. Finally, “destruction”, i.e. the implementation of Hitler as early as 1941 is arranged in the devastation.

the Symbol of the “scorched earth” was the “rail wolf”, a special wagon for the opening of the railway track. It consisted of a retractable claw, which was pulled by a powerful locomotive across the tracks and behind the wooden Sleepers from the shelves crack and the rails bent. Such a “treated” Gleisweg was only after sometimes week-long repairs, re-usable.

The destruction action culminated on 19. March 1945, in the notorious “Nero command” of Hitler, in which it was said: “The struggle for existence of our people forces even within Reich territory, to the advantage of all its resources, the fighting power of our enemy’s weaknesses and to prevent further advances.” Therefore, all the possibilities, “the power of the enemy, directly or indirectly, the most lasting damage would have to be used,”. It was “a mistake” only “in the short term paralyzed” infrastructure for their own purposes.

Therefore, the dictator are ordered from the Berlin führer bunker from “All military traffic, communications, industrial and supply installations as well as material assets within Reich territory, which can be used by the enemy to continue his fight, either now or in the foreseeable future, to destroy.”

However, only comparatively few military power commanders set the command yet, or were able to implement it yet – fortunately. Because otherwise Germany would have actually been to the desert, caused by Adolf Hitler personally.

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