Target is reducing by 35 divisions to 120 divisions - which means demobilising roughly 20% of the men under arms - allowing them to return to industry and agriculture where labour is needed. The army are not planned to be used in an invasion of England. This order is confirmed by Hitler a week later
In the morning a Fuehrer directive comes in. It directs immediate initiation of measures to lay the foundations for a reduction of Ground Forces to 120 Divs., including 20 of Armour and 10 of mot. Inf. The directive is based on the assumption that with the now imminent final collapse of the enemy, the Army would have fulfilled its mission and so, while still in enemy country, could comfortably start on work to prepare the projected peacetime organisation. Air Force and Navy alone would be carrying on the war against Britain.
The ban is to avoid provoking Britain. Göring orders that the RAF are to be engaged wherever they are met - including over the Channel, but they are not to cross it.
Secretary of State Ernst von Weizsäcker meets Halder at the Foreign Office and tells him that Hitler's attention was directed firmly to the East. As England has not yet made any firm peace proposals a further display of military power will probably be needed.
Halder notes the difficulties are likely to lie in the future as maintaining hostilities on two fronts will overstretch German resources.
Conference with Weizsaecker:
- We can preserve the victories of this campaign only with the means with which they were achieved, that is, with military power.
- No concrete basis for any peace treaty yet.
- We shall keep an eye on the East.
- Britain probably still needs one more demonstration of our military might before she gives in and leaves us with a free hand in the East.
On the whole, satisfaction about the self-restraint shown by Russia and the surrender of military units in French colonies. the problems are not lying in our present situation, but in future developments, for in seeking to preserve the gains of our vitories with military power we will eventually over-strain ourselves.
Gradual elimination of "old School" diplomats by the political command (Foreign Minister) has begun in the posts in Eastern countries.
Following his meeting with von Weizsäcker Halder tasks General Marks, Chief of the General Staff of the 18th Army, with putting together ideas about how the Soviet Union could be attacked.
He also hears a report on the Luftwaffe's prparations for the attack on England. The goals are to destroy the RAF, its supply system and aircraft productoin and, as a secondary goal, damadge the Royal Navy. There is a good early-warning system but the RAF are outnumbered two-to-one.
There is a further report from the Luftwaffe which estimates that air superiority will take fourteen to twenty-eight days to achieve.
It is mentioned that England is thought to be approaching Russia over an agreement about Iran.
Halder presents detailed plans for an assault by 39 divisions, about 500,000 men. The Heer are confident of success if the Kriegsmarine can give them the transports.
Hilter gives approval for further preparations on this basis and says he does not want to inflict a military defeat of Britain as this would bring about the end of her empire which would bring no benefit to Germany - only Japan and the US. Puzzled by the lack of peace proposals he thinks this is because they are putting their hope in Russia.
The earlier decision to reduce the strength of the army by 35 divisions is now scaled back to a reduction of 15 divisions.
The ban was put in place to avoid provoking the British.