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Thread: The Nero Decree

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    The Nero Decree

    The Nero Decree (German: Nerobefehl) was issued by Adolf Hitler on March 19, 1945 ordering the destruction of German infrastructure to prevent their use by Allied forces as they penetrated deep within Germany. It was officially titled Demolitions on Reich Territory Decree (Befehl betreffend Zerstörungsmaßnahmen im Reichsgebiet) and has subsequently become known as the Nero Decree, after the Roman Emperor Nero, who supposedly engineered the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD. The decree was deliberately disobeyed by Albert Speer.

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    Speer was appalled by the order and lost faith in the dictator. Just as von Choltitz had several months earlier, Speer deliberately failed to carry out the order. Upon receiving it, he requested to be given exclusive power to implement the plan, instead using his power to convince the generals and Gauleiters to ignore the order. Hitler remained unaware of this until the very end of the war, when Speer, while visiting Hitler in his Berlin bunker, admitted to him that he deliberately disobeyed. Hitler was angry with his minister, but allowed Speer to leave nonetheless. Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945, 42 days after issuing the order. Shortly afterwards, on May 7, 1945, General Alfred Jodl signed the German military surrender, and on May 23 Speer was arrested on the orders of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, together with the rest of the provisional German government led by Admiral Karl Dönitz, Hitler's successor as head of state.

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