Orderly evacuation was soon rendered impossible by events. On 21st February systematic evacuation from the west (as distinct from tactical evacuation, controlled by the District Leaders) was stopped since such migrations expose those concerned to great dangers and privations, and there were now no areas to which they could be evacuated. By 7th March the western Allies had reached the Rhine River on almost all Fronts, and the Americans had captured a bridgehead at Remagen. Next day, on Hitler's orders, the High Command Of The Armed Forces issued terrible threats against deserters, who were to be shot at once, and against soldiers surrendering without being wounded, or without proof that they have fought to the last, whose relatives were to be penalised. But all these threats availed nothing. By 20th March the last German stand in the west had been defeated and the western Allies were preparing to force the Rhine River and occupy the country up to the demarcation line already agreed with the Russian Communists, who had invaded Europe as far as East Prussia, Silesia, and Hungary. It was in these circumstances that Hitler issued the following Scorched Earth Directive.