Hitler had good grounds for concern in the east; but the immediate danger lay in the west. In 1941 he had turned his back on Britain as powerless to thwart him, though obstinately unwilling to recognise its impotence. Now, when his lightning war against Russia, which should have been over two years ago, had foundered, and his Armies were already being thrown back, when his Mediterranean Sea area defences had been pierced and his ally had deserted him, he had to admit that an even greater, and closer, menace threatened him in his rear. The powerless west, heedless of morality, unable to recognise what was best for it, was rising up against him. Directive No. 51, issued as the third Russian winter descended to freeze operations in the east, foresees the dreadful Two Front War which Hitler had always attempted to avoid.