BBC History Magazine
Planning the invasion of western Europe in November 1939
The autumn of 1939 saw the only instance where the German dictator and the great majority of his senior army commanders were truly at loggerheads and with no obvious way out of the impasse. The issue was not the war as such, but the fact that Hitler wanted to turn the army around as quickly as possible after victory in Poland and fling it against the western powers. The generals were horrified by this; the Polish campaign had revealed shortfalls of equipment, and suggested that the German army and air force still had lessons to learn.
The invasion plan also lacked imagination and would have led to an engagement between the bulk of both forces in central Belgium, with the Luftwaffe reduced to a marginal role by the winter weather. Allied firepower superiority alone would have virtually guaranteed a stalemate.
The stand-off got to a point where even the notoriously pro-Nazi general Walter von Reichenau was prepared to leak information in the hope of compromising the offensive. Others plotted a coup against the regime. In the end, only the brutally cold winter of 1939/40 forced a postponement of the operation.