Teleprint.   28th January, 1944.

From: High Command Of The Armed Forces, Operations Staff

To: Command In Chief Southwest, Field Marshal Kesselring.

                Within the next few days the Battle For Rome will begin. It will be decisive for the defence of central Italy and for the fate of 10th Army.

                But the significance of this struggle goes even beyond that, because the landing at Nettuno marked the opening of the invasion of Europe planned for 1944.

                The purpose of the enemy is to hold down large German forces as far away as possible from the bases in England where the main invasion forces are still standing ready, to wear down the German forces, and to gain experience for future operations.

                Of the significance of the battle which 14th Army is about to give, every one of its soldiers must be thoroughly aware.

                It is not sufficient to give clear and tactically correct orders. All Officers and Men of the Army, the Airforce, and the Navy must be penetrated by a fanatical will to end this battle victoriously, and never to relax until the last enemy soldier has been destroyed or thrown back into the sea. The battle must be fought in a spirit of holy hatred for an enemy who is conducting a pitiless war of extermination against the German Folk, who is prepared to adopt any means to this end, and who, without any higher ethical purpose, seeks only the annihilation of Germany and, with her, of European culture.

                The fight must be hard and merciless, not only against the enemy, but against all Officers and units who fail in this decisive hour.

                The enemy must be forced to recognise, as he did in the fighting in Sicily, on the Rapido River, and at Ortona, that the fighting strength of Germany is unbroken, and that the great invasion of 1944 is a hazardous enterprise which will be drowned in the blood of Anglosaxon soldiers.

Adolf Hitler.