A few days after the Angloamerican landings in Normandy, the Russians launched their summer offensive. In the north they broke through the Finnish Mannerheim Line, captured Vyborg (Viipuri), and reopened the Murmansk railway. In the centre they surrounded and captured the German fortified areas, and swept forward through Lithuania to the frontier of East Prussia. In the south they smashed the German Front and advanced through Poland to the Vistula River. By mid July, with the western Allies firmly established in France and the Russians rapidly advancing in the east, Hitler had to reckon with the invasion of Germany; and an invasion of Germany would not only be a threat to the Reich, it might well lead to the immediate overthrow of the regime and the Party. Faced by such a threat, the Party resolved to defend itself and tighten its control.

                Already, on 31st May, Martin Bormann, the Party Chancellor and now the most powerful figure at Hitler's side, had sent out, from the Leader Headquarters, a circular letter to all District Leaders, outlining The Task Of The Party In Case Of An Invasion.

                The invaders, wrote Bormann, would try to mobilise all defeatist elements and enemies of the Government in and behind the area of operation; they would make it their prime business to smash the Party. Therefore the Party must be prepared, and must prepare the Folk, psychologically and materially, to survive the test; it must prove its capacity for leadership; and its Leaders must go fully armed, in soldierly fashion, to the very centres of action. Now, when the invasion of the Reich seemed imminent, Hitler signed two complementary Decrees delimiting the authority of Party and Army, and defining Party control, in such an event. The Decrees (a and b below) were not yet published: they were held in reserve against the hour of danger. Meanwhile, an Order signed by Keitel (No. 58 below) was issued on 19th July.